Thai Green Curry with Coconut & Lemon Rice

thai-green-curry

I fell in love with the wonderfully fresh, aromatic and spicy Thai food, whilst on honeymoon in Thailand. We went to a beach restaurant in Koh Samui and being vegetarian we were well looked after. It was reassuring to know the pots and pans were well cleaned in our view before preparing our food but it meant our food always took longer to prepare.
While we were there we were told that the authentic food is very spicy, so this is a challenge to me as I love spicy food. Towards the end of our honeymoon, in Phuket we went to another beach side restaurant. I asked for the real authentic green curry that the locals would have, to this I was told we would not be able to handle it !! It was a great curry for me I just loved it :D, on the other hand even though  my dear husband had it, it was too much for him and as a result he needed a few glasses of drinks to cool him down.

With Thai food the way in which the food is prepared and served is very interesting as it shows that, if you add the correct ingredients at the right time into the curry you get the most of the herbs and spices and that adds to the flavour and entire eating experience. It not only is a fantastic treat to the taste buds but also the eye as all the food is carved and looks beautiful, even the pineapple served after every meal was cut up in such away that you just wanted to leave it rather than eating it up.

The inspiration for my vegetarian version has been created by basing it on a Tarla Dalal recipe as well as looking at ingredients on ready made jars of curry paste and from TV shows. I put more lemon grass and coriander in the paste and less coconut in the curry, or as I did this time, none at all as the rice had coconut milk. This is a great curry to have if you like spicy food, and would like a change from Indian food and don’t quite fancy Chinese.

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Vegetable Buns

vegetable-buns

My father is a free mason, and when he used to go to the lodge, this is one of the more popular dishes that he would take as the vegetarian option. I remember my older sister helping our mother to make them for him to take. It is a good dish to serve as a snack, with afternoon tea or at parties. Because these can be prepared in advance and then baked before serving makes it good to serve at dinner parties. We tend to use the same filling and pastry as the vegetable pie, however I have also made these buns with the same filling as the toasted sandwich. Experiment with the ingredients you have or enjoy to make the buns.

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Mixed Vegetable Pie

mixed-vegetable-pie

I find this dish to be one of those that has the comfort factor, fond childhood memories and something warm and spicy to eat in the cold weather. We tend to use the basic mix of vegetables similar to what is put in samosa filling – potato, carrot, peas, sweet corn, and onion, however you can use any mix of vegetables you like. As the filling is not very saucy, the addition of the white sauce and tomato ketchup, gives it a wonderful creamy moist texture, and a surprisingly good combination to add as my husband put it. I enjoy eating the pie on its own however, you can serve it with some salad.

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Chinese spring rolls

spring-rolls

My younger sister and two of my nieces love spring rolls. I have never really liked the taste of ready made vegetarian spring rolls, always preferring the home made ones.  I tend to make them in a large batch and freeze them so as they are ready to have when ever I want to make a complete Chinese meal. There are many different versions I have made. Out of them it is the Thai and Chinese versions that I truly enjoy.

Some of the dishes we learnt at a very early age, used to be at the ladies club. We used to meet up on a regular basis and food, flower arranging, house hold tips etc. used to be demonstrated. This is where we learnt how to assemble spring rolls, I remember when my mother and sisters used to do it all together, like a production line. Now when I make them on my own I have fond memories of how we used to listen to music and were gently coaxed into making sure we have enough paste and roll it tightly. After a few broken ones, we got there in the end 🙂 Of course it is much easier now that we buy the ready made frozen pastries, as opposed to rolling them out ourselves, which is where we started – Oh the joys and convenience of ready made items to make cooking life easy 😉

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Vegetarian stir fry

stir-fry

When we first used to make stir fry or Chinese sweet & sour stir fry in Malawi, we would use specific vegetables (cabbage, french beans, carrots etc.) and make the sauce at home. We would have it either with plain rice or fried rice. Then when we came here we saw the supermarkets with pre made sauces like hoi sin, teriyaki, black bean etc. As always we had to be cautious as these tended to contain some form of fish oil or sauce. The other thing with all the ready made sauces is that they have added preservatives to give them the long shelf life. So after trying a few brands which where vegetarian, we created our own version by using shop bought sauces and our own home made mix. However I do try and make the sauces at home to taste, this way I know what I am putting into it and each time the taste is different. The list of ingredients started to change also. After marriage I started adding tofu, mushrooms, and savoy cabbage to my stir fries. By making my own sauce at home I sometimes get the correct balance of vegetables and sauces and sometimes I get it wrong, however that is all part of the fun of cooking.

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Vegetable & Multi grain Soup

multigrain-soup

I had a version of this soup at a friends house, when I was pregnant, it was so tasty and different to what I normally make, i.e. plain tomato or with pasta & vegetables (carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash etc.) In the past I have tried cauliflower soup and found it to be very bland, however the way that this has other vegetables and multi grains gives it a good depth of textures and added flavours. So you guessed it, as always I recreated it at home. My friend used the shop bought multi grain mix, however I made my own mix at home from the individual grains. You can put what ever vegetables you have – it does not have to be what I have used.
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Vegetarian Bean Burgers

burgers

As we were growing up in Malawi, we rarely used to have the western fast foods, i.e. burgers, chips, onion rings etc. Then when we moved over here to England, we tried a few of these fast food places, but were always sceptical because we never really knew what the ingredients were and how it was made. Being a vegetarian, who does not even eat eggs, sometimes the fast food places that serve vegetarian burgers leave us wondering is it really vegetarian?? I have enjoyed the Burger King spicy bean burgers in the past, and have also tried various brands of frozen vegetarian burgers at home. Each one has their own unique way of presenting the vegetables and other ingredients, and hence each one gives a different taste. So I tried to recreate them at home, and came up with my own version instead which is filled with lots of vegetables and  herbs, packed full of flavour. After many attempts at trying out different quantities of ingredients and many a broken patties, due to not binding very well, I finally perfected the recipe to what I thought was good. At least I know what I am putting in and can adjust the taste to what we would enjoy, this way the doubt at the back of my mind is not there. For this recipe I am posting I actually had to measure all the ingredients as I normally just put everything together 🙂 I guess the ultimate compliment was when one of our niece’s friend tried them recently and was really amazed to know that I had made them at home as opposed to the ready made ones that you just pre-heat. It is at times like this that you know you have done well…

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