Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Thai Basil Pork Stir-fry

After Easter, while I was revising for my finals, my college hosted an "international food fair" and invited anyone to bring food or drink from their part of the world. I took a day off from Physics (always enjoyable) and spent the morning helping Bahaa deep-fry a wide variety of foods in true Egyptian fashion, from which he whipped up delicious little kofta (a type of meatball) and a vegetable dish with an delicious yoghurt and lime sauce. Egyptian food is incredible by the way, I don't think I have ever been as well fed as I was when I spent a fortnight in Egypt last summer! Renowned as a nation for hospitality, I think Bahaa's family must be among the most generous. I was staying there during Ramadan, which meant a huge feast at sunset every night. Imagine Christmas dinner, but every day for a month, and you're nearly there.

After this foray into cooking the food he spent his childhood summers eating at his grandmother's house, Bahaa and I decided to try and cook adventurous Egyptian food more often, and hopefully I will be posting about that here later! But for now, I want to share with you a recipe that I sampled at the Thai stall of the food fair. The "chef" seemed a bit non-plussed when I pressed him for a recipe! He told me he didn't really have one but he would try and write something down for me. A few days later I received such a kind email from him with a set of ingredients and instructions. There's something very special about a recipe someone has cooked and written down for you, which I feel is the appeal of food blogs over glossy recipe books. (Though of course they have their place too.)

So here is a family recipe, kindly shared with me and now with you too.

Thai Basil Pork Stir-fry
serves 5

minced pork - 500 g
birds-eye chillies - 3
cloves garlic - 6
dark soy sauce - 6 tablespoons
french beans or fine green beans - 100g
bunch of fresh basil

Put the pork in a dish and pour over the soy sauce. Leave to rest for about 5 minutes while you deseed the chillies and slice the chillies and garlic very finely. Slice the beans into 2 cm lengths.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a wok to a high heat, then add the garlic and chillies. After about 30 seconds these should be aromatic, be careful not to let the garlic burn or it will ruin the dish!
Add the beans, then lift the pork with a spatula and let the excess soy sauce drip off for a few seconds. Add to the pan and fry over a high heat, stirring continuously until cooked through. The mince will break up as it cooks.
Stir in the leaves from the bunch of basil, fry for a minute more then remove from the heat.
I served it up in little lettuce cups (you will need two gem lettuces for 5 people) with noodles dressed simply in a little sesame oil and light soy sauce.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Strawberry & Raspberry Mascarpone Tart

Following my trip to the pick-your-own, I made this excellent dessert to use up some of my summer bounty.

Adapted from a Nigel Slater creation, this is sort of a lighter version of a chilled cheesecake, made with a crumbly biscuit base, a filling of mascarpone and whipped eggs, and topped with summer fruits. Creamy and sweet and delicious, I will let these photos speak for themselves... Recipe after the jump!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Pick-your-own at the Cat and Fiddle farm

The sun has been shining and temperatures have been above 25 degrees since I've been home. That's nearly two weeks! I'm pretty sure this is unprecedented? Really though, this is the best weather I can remember since I was seventeen, when I revised for my AS levels exclusively outside, turning my legs brown as a nut. Back at college after exams I skipped all my chemistry lessons to sunbathe and seemed excessively carefree!

I drove home from Cordelia's this evening in sweltering heat, windows rolled down and radio 1 playing obnoxiously loudly, the scent of freshly picked strawberries filling the car, watching lobster-red people walk around in tiny scraps of clothing... Summer rarely gets going in this country but perhaps that makes it all the sweeter when it finally does and I don't think there's anywhere I'd rather be!

After spending the afternoon picking groaning punnets of perfectly ripe berries at a pick-your-own, tonight we ate them simply drizzled with cream. Tomorrow I will make something a little more adventurous for you :)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Photo catch-up!

Since there was such a gap between posts, here is a little photo round up of the last two months, if you would like to see. (You can click the photos if you want to see them a little bigger.)

I had some exams...

revision break // exam stress : Bahaa took his notes with him to the bathroom and dropped them in the shower // adorable care package from my sister :)
and finished my exams!

With four weeks between exams and graduation you'd think I had a lot of time on my hands but it filled up pretty quickly...
We went to Portugal, and made the most of our last time in Durham (for some of us anyway).

Primal. Barbecuing in Portugal after all the boys proved useless 
Pretty idyllic
a rare snow-less view from my window // walking to the boathouse at 6am on Hatfield day
Bahaa & I had our 2nd anniversary :)
Al fresco dining and lots of beer (/champagne) pong
last ever formal
 And then I graduated!

robed and ready // the Graduate! // trip to the Farne islands with Dad
And then finally I came back to Bournemouth, where the weather has been GLORIOUS and it's actually felt like being on holiday.

Sailing with Dad // Chilli lemon seafood linguini // banana and strawberry "gelato", loosely based on the Lononder's recipe
Charlie was home for the weekend and we went with Judy to an incredible dessert cafe // Ice cream sundae for me // this is pretty much what I've been doing all weekend ;). It's good to be home!

Find me on instagram, I'm genevievemartin :)

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Farewell Picnic - Focaccia Bread

It's been a while since I last posted. I've done my exams, got my results, been on holiday, graduated form university and come home for the summer. More on that in the next few days :) For now I'm sharing a recipe for focaccia bread that I first made last summer and made again for a picnic in the last week of term, in the end it was the last time we were all together in Durham!
It wouldn't be a good send off to our time in Durham without a bit of dodgy weather, so we held it in my garden instead of some glorious outdoor location, to make for a speedy return in the likely event it started pouring with rain. (In the end it was only drizzle - cause for celebration indeed.)

Bread is quite time-consuming, but this recipe is super-easy and you can top it with whatever you like.

More after the jump!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Bahaa's special fried rice

The basics of this dish (rice, egg, soy sauce, oyster sauce, onion, frozen peas) are things I always have in my cupboard or freezer, and you can add pretty much anything that you like to it. A great way to use up a little extra chicken or all those half-vegetables wrapped in cling film looking sad at the bottom of your fridge. My favourite way though is with prawns, the one extravagance I always have in stock.

This works best with cold rice, so next time you're cooking rice make a little extra and eat this the next day! I think brown rice works especially well, but if it's not your taste then plain white is fine.

More after the jump

Friday, 26 April 2013

Lemon Surprise Cupcakes

Another birthday baking post today, and this time with a recipe :) Today was Maddy's birthday and we had a girly lunch out at Zen, an incredible thai restaurant in Durham. Between dim sum, prawn crackers, crispy duck pancakes and noodles Maddy was showered with gifts, balloons, novelty oversize boxes and jaunty hats, somewhat to the amusement of the business men making up the rest of the lunch time diners. Once we were all far too stuffed to eat anything else, I whipped these out, lit up the candles and we all sang happy birthday. Occasions like these make me so sad we're all graduating in a month... (But then I go home and start revising and wishing for it all to be over again, so work that one out.)

These cakes are simple yellow cake flavoured with lemon juice and zest, topped with silky smooth buttercream and with a surprise lemon curd core. I have, in the past, made my own lemon curd. It was fairly straightforward and intensely delicious, but, you know. Finals in 3 weeks and all that.

Recipies after the jump!