Asian Inspiration

Hello beautiful people! I don’t know what it’s like in your corner of the world, but here in Paris it’s suddenly gone from two weeks of gorgeous sunny days to grey clouds and imminent rain. It has been so incredibly hot and glorious, I don’t want it to change!!

Louis and I were house-sitting last week and it was amazing to switch from our little apartment to a big, beautiful house, with a huge garden to boot! It really felt like we were on holiday, despite the fact I still had to go to work every day, but lapping up the luxury meant I let my everyday routine slip such as prepping lunches to take in the week. I ended up spending so much money on food at lunchtimes!! I’m tempted to just leave my bank card at home this week so I will have no choice but to either prep my lunches or starve hehe. Being back in our own space is the best feeling though, and our little cat Leon missed us so much as we did him! Dorothy definitely got it right – there’s no place like home 🙂

The food/blog side of life hasn’t been making waves recently and for that I sincerely apologise, again! As much as life and other responsibilities do get in the way, I know that doesn’t justify my absence. I’ve been trying to fit too many things into my evenings when all I really want to do is watch an hour of TV and go to bed! With that in mind, I’m going to try and make weekends my blogging days because I will be more rested and will have much more time to spare!

Last weekend I decided to finally test out a recipe from this amazing cookbook my friend Margot offered us, “Le grand livre de la cuisine du monde”, or ‘The big book of food from around the world’ which is a mammoth of a book containing more than 100 recipes (at least!) from around the globe.

It’s handy having friends that work in publishing eh? In the mood for something spicy and full of flavour, we opted for the galette au chou from the Japan section and pergedel (viande et legumes haches) from the South-East Asia section. In real speak, we made a cabbage frittata, with lots of other veggies, and meatballs!

Because Louis had an awful week of being sick, I didn’t mind him playing video-games while I prepared and cooked dinner. I changed and substituted various items from the recipe according to what we already had at home so in brackets you’ll find what I used instead of what the recipe called for (and I’m a first-hand witness of how amazing it tasted anyway!) Sometimes it really bugs me when people have to meticulously follow a recipe to the T – while I see the logic for this in terms of baking cakes etc, I much prefer trusting your experience and instinct as to what tastes good together and just seeing how it goes!


Galette au chou     Prep time: 35m     Cooking time: 20m

1 medium-sized pak choi
2 onions
2 carrots, grated
200g bean sprouts
Handful of chives and coriander, chopped
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
3 eggs
2 tbsp of rice flour (I only had rye flour to hand so I used that and it was fine)
Seasoning: 2 tsps of Shichimi (a Japanese 7-spice mixture); 1 tbsp of soya sauce and sesame oil; salt & pepper

Method

For the pak choi, onion and carrots, finely slice (julien-style), or grate the veggies and put in a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped chives, coriander and ginger.

In another bowl, crack the 3 eggs and add the flour. Beat well, ensuring all the flour is incorporated. Add this to the bowl of grated veggies. Mix well so that the egg covers all the veggies. Season with shichimi, soya sauce, sesame oil and S&P.

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Heat a large frying pan with a tbsp of coconut oil until melted. Carefully pour the batter into the pan, keeping the shape of the galette nicely rounded and thick. Cook for about 10m on each side.

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YUM!

Tip: if you have a pan with a detachable handle and is oven-proof, place in the oven in order to cook the top-side of the galette. If not, use two spatulas to get good leverage when turning it over. It can get messy and if it breaks it’s not the end of the world, sometimes cutting it in half before you flip it is the easiest option.


Pergedel (Viande et legumes haches)     Prep time: 30m     Cooking time: 15m

500g of minced beef (I used 300g and it made 14 small meatballs)
1 onion
Handful of chives and coriander, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 egg
2 small-medium sized potatoes, boiled and mashed
Seasoning: 1 tsp of chili powder; S&P
(The recipe also called for a small piece of galanga and habanero pepper, neither of which I found in the local supermarket but if you’re more prepared than I am I’m sure they would taste fantastic!)

Method

Wash and cut the potatoes, placing them in a pan of water and left to cook until you can easily pierce a fork through.

Finely chop the onion and lightly fry in a pan with some coconut oil for about 5mins. Take off the heat and put in a large mixing bowl. Season with the galanga and habanero (finely chopped) if you choose to incorporate (I used simple chili powder in mine).

Once the potatoes are cooked, mash them up and add to the onions. Next add the minced meat, chopped chives, coriander and garlic and seasoning. Crack an egg in a bowl, whisk and stir through the meat mixture. (I have never heard of using mashed potato in meatballs but I thought this was an amazing idea, it adds a sticky component to the mixture and it tastes lovely when cooked through).

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Heat a large, shallow pan with a knob of coconut oil. Grab a small mound of the mixture in your hands and make little round balls, placing them in a clockwise position in the pan (this way you can easily remember where you started when turning them over, thanks Jamie Oliver for that tip!)

I managed to cook 7 meatballs at a time in my pan, needing a good 10-15m cooking time for each batch.

I let my meatballs cook abit too long but still so delish

I let my meatballs cook abit too long but still so delish

A perfect light dinner for two which is exactly what is needed now that summer is just around the corner. I love that it was packed with veggies and great exotic flavours, I literally want to try all the recipes in this book – don’t worry, I won’t go all Julie & Julia on you guys, this blog is enough for the moment! 🙂

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