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The Brazillian GP – The final race of the season and some more street food!

November 29, 2011

So we’ve finally reached the end of the season and so it was time to celebrate with some Brazilian food. Brazilian cuisine draws on many influences, starting with Portuguese and also incorporating other European and African influences.

I enjoy tactile food and Brazil is another country with a great street food culture. As a result I chose to make two different snacks for us to nibble upon. The first dish was Coxinhas, deep fried chicken croquettes in the shape of little chicken thighs, and Acarajè, which are black eye pea fritters filled with onions and prawns.

The Coxinhas required the most preparation and so I started on these first.  In order to make 4 (2 each) I needed:

  • 125g of chicken breast
  • 180ml water
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cocktail tomatoes (about 4 cherry ones)
  • 30ml of cream cheese (I did this by eye)
  • ½ cup of plain flour
  • 10mls oil
  • An egg
  • Breadcrumbs

The first thing I needed to do was to simmer the chicken in the water for 20 minutes with the lid on, leaving me with nice soft chicken and a sort of stock.  When it was done I drained the chicken, reserving the liquid, and allowed it to cool.

I then topped the liquid back up to 125ml (despite having the lid on the pan I lost quite a bit!), put it back in the saucepan and added the flour and oil along with some salt and pepper.  This resulted in something that looked like wallpaper paste, but the addition of heat and a lot of stirring eventually resulted in a ball of dough, although it was touch and go for a while!  The pastry then also went to one side to cool down.

While the chicken was cooling I finely diced my two shallots and the flesh of the tomatoes.   I then shredded the chicken when I was able.

The shallots went into a pan with some oil for a couple of minutes, and when they were soft the tomatoes joined them.  Finally the chicken was added along with seasoning, followed by a good dollop of cream cheese to hold everything together.

When the pastry was cool enough to work with (about 30 minutes in the fridge) I split of into four and began assembling the Coxinhas.  The pastry was quite sticky and so I used plenty of flour on my hands and the work surface.  I stretched each piece of pastry into an approximation of a circle and placed a quarter of my filling in the middle.

I then brought up the sides to encase the filling, creating a point at the top and generally trying to make a shape resembling a chicken thigh (this was not my most artistic moment I will admit).

These were then dipped in beaten and then breadcrumbs (I did this twice to give a good coating) before being deep fried.  I don’t own an oil thermometer or professional fryer so I had to guess the temperature of the oil. \But it only needed to be fairly low so to to crisp the outside and gently warm the Coxinhas through.  After about 5 minutes in each in the oil (I managed to fit two at a time in my pan) I drained them on some kitchen towel and they were ready.

So, while the filling and dough for the Coxinhas were cooling I was actually preparing my Acarajè with a plan to serving the two together.  There was a lot less cooking involved in the Acarajè, largely because I was using tinned black eyed peas.  If I had gone for fresh I would have needed to soak them overnight and then boil them, but as it was I could just use them straight away.  To make the Acarajè I needed:

  • 200g of black eyed peas
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • Half a red chilli
  • 100g prawns (I used quite large ones)

The black eyed peas went into my mini chopper to be blitzed to a pulse.  These then went into a bowl and the chilli, the garlic and half the onion were next into the chopper (you can do this in one stage if you have a full size processor, I really need to get round to getting one!) and when finely chopped were added to the black eyed peas.

The other half of the onion was finely sliced and went into a small frying pan to gently sweat down.  To be traditional this should have been cooked in palm oil, but unfortunately I couldn’t get hold of any.  When the onion was lovely and soft the prawn were added and cooked through and the filling was finished.

To make the fritters I shaped the mixture into six balls which I then fried.  In a pan, trying my best to make sure that the entire outside touched the pan at some point and crisped up – this was more or less successful, but I think if I was to make these again in the future it might be easier to just quickly deep fry them!

I have to say I really enjoyed both dishes.  I though the Coxinhas were really great and I loved that you could taste a certain chickenyness in the pastry.  My partner wasn’t so keen as he thought the texture was a bit soft, but they were right up my alley!  The Acarajè were slightly tricky to eat, my filling kept making a break for it, but were also very tasty with a nice bit of heat to give some life to the beans.

The race itself, well Vettel didn’t win this one.  A gearbox problem left him travelling just slow enough that his teammate needed to pass him, but quick enough to keep him in front of everyone else.  For the rest, Hamilton also suffered gearbox issues and had to retire two thirds of the way through, Rosberg continued his run of finishing where he qualified or just slightly back, but managed to outperform Schumacher once again after Schuchy had a coming together with Senna.  The race was interesting, fun while it lasted, but not terribly memorable.

I’ve really enjoyed my tour around the globe cooking the cuisines of each of the race locations.  I’ve cooked a lot of dishes that I don’t think I would have tried otherwise, and have found some new favourites.  It’s not all been easy and it hasn’t all worked, but I’ve learnt a lot and I feel quite sad now it’s all over and I don’t have another race to plan for.  I need to find a new project!


Abu Dhabi GP – Trying out some Emirati cuisine

November 14, 2011

As a result of the cancellation of the Bahrain GP this was Formula 1’s first visit to the Persian Gulf this year and therefore my first chance to try out the cuisine of the region.  The cuisine is traditionally a fragrant one of rich spices, rice and meat.  I cooked two dishes over two days.  The first (for the Saturday qualifying) was from the modern cuisine of the regions, a Shawarma chicken kebab.  For the race itself I made something a lot more traditional – a chicken Kabsa (كبسة).

So, my Saturday night ‘Quali kebabs’ (my partner works Saturdays so I catch up on quail in the evening).  For these I used:

  • 2 breasts of chicken
  • Lebanese flat breads (or any Arabic bread or pitas)
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground coriander
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Harrisa powder
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic
  • Yogurt
  • Dried mint
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes

Despite this long list of ingredients this is a really simple dish to make and it took about 10 minutes start to finish.  I began by flattening my chicken breasts, coving them in cling film and hitting them with a rolling pin.  Next I prepared the spices to go on them.  I mixed ½ teaspoon each of cumin and coriander with ¼ teaspoon each of cinnamon and harrisa (I bought my harissa several years ago in Morocco and it’s incredibly strong so you may want to use more!). To this I added 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and another or oil (I used peanut) and smothered the resulting marinade over the chicken.

I then cooked the chicken in a griddle pan for ¾ minutes each side so that the chicken was cooked but still moist.

While the chicken was cooking I quickly whipped up the accompaniments.  Some cherry plum tomatoes were sliced and some lettuce was shredded!  For the sauce I combined half a little tub of yogurt (about 60g) with ½ teaspoon of dried mint and a good squirt of garlic puree (I would guess about 2 cloves worth).  Finally I sliced the cooked chicken into strips about 1cm wide and it was time to assemble the kebabs!

Onto each flatbread went the shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.  The chicken went onto and then plenty of garlic sauce finished things nicely.  The amounts I have given made three kebabs, two for the hungry boy and one for me, but you could also make two deep filled kebabs!

I really enjoyed these kebabs, they were quick to make and fine to eat.  The bread I had let things down a little, it was quite dry and sweet, but that’s my own fault for buying the pre-packaged version as the fresh was sold out.  The chicken itself was wonderfully tasty and the garlic sauce was to die for.  I think that it may soon be accompanying many of my meals.

The chicken Kabsa was not so quick to make, but still pretty straight forward.  For two I used:

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • A carrot
  • A tomato
  • An onion
  • A small tin of tomato puree (140g)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Orange peel (Satsuma peel in my case)
  • 8 ounces of long grain rice
  • Flaked almonds
  • Raisins
  • Two cardamom pods
  • Two small cinnamon sticks
  • Two cloves

The cooking started, as so many great dishes do, with the browning of the onions.  To the onions I added the chicken thighs, the chopped flesh of the tomato, two crushed garlic cloves and the tomato puree.  This combination was stirred and left to cook for 5 minutes.

Next into the pot went the carrot, which had been grated, the satsuma rind and the spices along with 375ml of hot water.  The lid went onto the pot at this point and everything was left to simmer for 25 minutes.

Once the chicken was cooked I removed it from the pan and placed it, covered, in a dish in a warm oven to keep it hot.  The rice was then added to the cooking liquor and the lid went back on for another 30 minutes for the rice to cook and absorb all the juices.

When the rice was done it was time to serve.  The chicken thighs were retrieved from the oven and served on top of the rice, then the sliced almonds and raisins were sprinkled on top.

I really enjoyed this dish.  The chicken was wonderfully soft and the rice had loads of flavour.  My partner wasn’t particularly keen on the fruitiness that resulted from the peel, but I loved it (spicy fruity couscous is one of my favourite meals, but he won’t go near it!).  This dish had no spice, but it still had plenty of flavour.  The amounts I’ve given should have served two, but it produced loads of rice!  With a bit more chicken it would go much further and as it is I will be using the spare rice as a lunch this week.

As for the race, Vettel didn’t win for a change.  Unfortunately this wasn’t because he was fairly beaten but because he fell off the track at the second corner with an unexplained right rear puncture which ended his race.  Hamilton was quick to take advantage of this and speed off into the lead, with Alsono in pursuit with both of them barely seen for the rest of the race.  The top end of the field was mainly about strategy, with not much overtaking, the main highlight being Buttons intermittent KERS system .  Further back there were plenty of squabbles as the lower teams fought hard for non points places in an effort to secure their seats for next season.  All in all this wasn’t the most exciting of races, but it wasn’t the worst either, and hard though it may have been on Vettel, it was great to see Lewis back to his winning ways.

The Italian GP – My first homemade pasta!

September 16, 2011

When I moved from Cardiff to Geneva I brought an awful lot of cooking stuff with me.  Included in this was an unused pasta machine (I just hadn’t found the time to give it a go!) and an unopened bag of pasta flour that I had bought from Carluccio’s with the best intentions of making lots of fresh pasta at home.  Last Sunday was the Italian GP at Monza and although Monza is in the North of Italy, an area more famous for its risottos than its pasta dishes, I thought this was the perfect time to finally crack open the pasta machine and flour.

Feeling ambitious I thought I’d have a go at making some filled pasta little realizing just how much work this would involve.  The filling I decided on was squash and sage and I started by preparing this.  I cut about 150g of squash into small pieces and steamed them till they were soft.  I then left the squash to cool before mashing it with about 50g of ricotta, 2 tablespoons of grated pecorino (it’s from the North!) and 5 chopped sage leaves (from my balcony!).

Making the squash and sage filling

With my filling done it was time to have a go at the pasta.  The recipe on the side of the flour bag recommended making the dough on a marble worktop, but lacking one of these I had to go with my bog standard formica.  I poured 200g of the flour onto the work surface and made a well in the middle into which I placed two eggs as directed.  I then attempted the beat the eggs together with a form and slowly incorporate the flour.  This proved tricky and I some of the egg escaped my flour pile.

Eventually I had formed a firm dough (there was a fair amount of flour left over so my eggs must have been small) and it was time to knead.  I kneaded the dough for 10 minutes until it started to look glossy and then wrapped it in cling film and put it in the fridge for half an hour to rest.  It was then time to roll it out!

Making the pasta dough

It turned out that, although one skilled person can do this easily, when novices are involved this is a job for two – one to feed the pasta through and one to turn the handle!  I was the feeder and my partner was on handle duty.  We broke small pieces off our lump of pasta and slowly turned these into thin wide ribbons of pasta by slowly decreasing the space between the two rollers.

Rolling out the dough

We then tried to cut out small circles with which to make our filled pasta.  Unfortunately my cutter was made of plastic not metal and was not sharp enough to go right through the pasta but instead sort of perforated it.  This meant we had to carefully extract each circle form the surrounding pasta, an excruciating process.  The cut circled were floured and put to one side.  After we had rolled and cut about half the pasta we were starving and so we decided to assemble some of the pastas.

To my dismay it turned out that with the later circles I had not dusted them with enough flour and quite a few of them had stuck.  We managed to salvage 24 circles, enough for 12 filled pastas, not a huge meal for 2!  Trying to not be too disappointed we got on with the assembly.  Placing a teaspoon of the squash filling on a circle, wetting the pasta edges with water and then sealing it with another pasta circle.  There were a couple more casualties where some of the pastas developed small holes, but with so few we decided to go ahead and cook them anyway.

Assembling the filled pasta

So it was into plenty of boiling salted water that our little parcels went.  They took about 2 minutes to cook through and the ones with holes in help up surprisingly well.  Rather than drain them properly and risk damaging them, I fished the fragile pastas out individually with a slotted spoon and served them up.  I topped them with a sage butter, simple but tasty!

Cooking the filled pasta

My partner wasn’t too keen on the sage butter but enjoyed the pastas.  I was really impressed, for a first attempt they weren’t bad!  They may have looked like mini fried eggs but they tasted pretty good!  The pasta itself was really thin and just slipped down.  I think the filling could have been a bit more “squashy” but other than that I was really pleased.  We were still starving though as 6 small filled pasta, even accompanied with a glass of lovely Prosecco, does not fill up an adult!

The pasta served up

We thought the best thing to do would be to turn the rest of the pasta into tagliatelle and whip up a quick sauce.  We put the cutting attachment on the pasta maker and got to work rolling out, this was even more so a job for two as catching the strands whilst turning the needle was nigh on impossible!  Lacking a pasta stand (I just knew I needed more equipment :-p) we draped the strands over the back of a chair.

The pasta hanging on the chair

The tagliatelle was cooked in more salted water and I quickly fried some garlic in some olive oil before adding a couple of chopped deseeded tomatoes.  The pasta was drained and mixed with the sauce before being served topped with some pecorino – simple and absolutely delicious.

The pasta served

The fresh pasta was a lot of work to make, but it was also great fun!  It tasted a lot better than the dried pasta and I think the knowledge that we had made it ourselves (or the Prosecco) made it better even than shop bought fresh pasta.  Not something for a busy work night, but something I would love to try again when my partner and I both have plenty of time to enjoy making it.

The race was a spectacle be-fitting the legacy and importance of Monza, a heritage track and one which a long history in Formula. This is a uniquely high-speed circuit where speeds can reach over 340 km’s an hour. The track is a series of straight with only four real corners, which lends itself to high speed, wheel to wheel racing and some eye-pulpingly quick braking.

The start featured a bold and characteristically brilliant move from Fernando Alonso, whose Ferrari screamed up the inside of the track, inches from the concrete wall and grabbed the lead from pole sitter Vettel. Behind them, into the first chicane, the out of control HRT of Luizzi slid across the grass and smashed through the field, taking out two other cars (including the well placed Nico Rosburg in a fast Mercedes) and causing an immediate safety car to be deployed.

At the restart, Alonso didn’t have the speed to hold off Vettel, but he didn’t make it easy, holding off the quicker Red Bull for three laps until Vettel drove around the outside, throwing up grass from the verge where he touched it.  From there in the lead, the Red Bull was untouchable, once more driving in a class of its own. However, his team mate Webber smashed off his front wing on the back of the other Ferrari, and found his brakes no longer worked. Moments later, a collision with the barriers ended his race.

But that wasn’t the whole story done. The winner was assured, but the rest of the podium places were still scrapped over with an epic race long battle between Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher. On the straights, the Mclaren could not keep up with the quicker Mercedes, and canny driving allow the old master to hold off the younger man for over twenty laps, at one point forcing him onto the grass. Jenson Button, racing around this battle Royale, intuitively took a great opportunity and passed both of the combatants quickly wearing out their tyres.

After the first round of pit-stops, the battle resumed, but eventually Schumacher conceded and Lewis took a hard earned fourth place. A relieved Alsonso kept Ferraris pride intact by getting third, while Button took second pace after driving the second half of the race almost on his own. But the day was Vettels, undoubtedly fine with both his pace and his over-taking. Another win for the young German, and that’s the championship all sewn up…

The Belgian GP – The first GP I have missed!

August 31, 2011

So last weekend was the Belgian GP and I was away at a wedding.  I didn’t get back home until the evening of the Sunday and so I missed the entire race.  My partner however watched and enjoyed it, and gave me a blow by blow account of all the action when I got back.  I’ve also co-opted him write the race report at the end of this post!

In addition to missing the race it was also too late to cook by the time I got home and so I cooked my meal on the Monday instead.  This time out the meal was beef carbonnade with real chips and homemade mayo.  This seemed like an unusual combination but I wanted to have both dishes so I thought I’d have a go.

Chips and mayo is an absolute favourite of mine, it’s also extremely popular in Belgium!  I have never made real mayo before and thought this was the perfect excuse to have a go.  Despite much browsing of the internet for tips and recipes I had no idea just how much work making mayonnaise would be.

I started off with two egg yolks, a heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard and some salt.  These were given a good whisking before any oil was added.  The oil I had chosen to use was groundnut (peanut!) oil as this is pretty flavourless,  I didn’t want the mayo to taste too much of the oil as can happen with olive oils etc.   I started by adding single drops of oil to the egg mix and beating each in well.  After about 5 minutes of this I felt confident enough to go for some slightly larger quantities of oil.  All in all it took me 10 minutes to beat in 50ml of oil.  By this time you could see that the mix was starting to change and look a bit like mayo.

Over another 10 minutes I incorporated another 125ml of the oil by which time the mixture was almost solid and my arm felt like it would fall off.  The recipes I had seen used 200-250mls of oil for two yolks, but I found that 175ml was the absolute limit for mine, they must have been small!  There was one more thing to add to finish the mayo and that was 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar.  Once I had beaten this in the mixture slackened a bit to a more appetizing consistency and also lightened up looking more cream than yellow.  The mayo was ready and it tasted amazing!

Making my mayonnaise!!

Beef carbonnade is a sweet sour beef dish made with beer.  The process of making it was pretty similar to the goulash.  First I browned 1.4kg of beef which had been cut into chunks before removing them and cooking 700g of sliced white onions in the pan.  When the onion had softened a little I added 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 4 crushed garlic cloves and let everything cook some more.

Cooking the meat and the onions

After another 5 minutes I added 3 tablespoons of flour and then 600mls of beer.  As with any wine, the quality is important.  I used Chimay, which is a traditional Belgian beer brewed by monks.  I don’t drink beer myself, but my partner got very excited when he found this in the shop so I knew it was good!


After adding the beer I returned the beef to the pan, added a bay leaf, a couple of springs of thyme and 300mls of beef stock.  I then stirred everything, brought it to the boil, covered and put in the oven for 2 hours on 150C.

Making the sauce

Half an hour before the beef was due to come out of the oven I started on the chips.  There was no great skill involved in these, I peeled and chopped some potatoes and then deep fried them in hot oil for 15 minutes until they had started to colour and crisp up.  Then I drained them on kitchen paper to get rid of the excess fat.  I was then ready to serve up.

All served up!

The sauce of the carbonnade was amazing despite the fact I realized that I had forgotten to add the sour element, some white wine vinegar!  Unfortunately though the meat was tough.  Unlike the meat I used for my goulash this was pre-cut and I don’t think the quality was as good.  It was edible, but there was a lot of chewing involved and this let the rest of the meal down.  The chips were lovely, as anything that is deep fried is, and the mayo was magnificent.  It was definitely worth the effort!

The race itself was a mix of high triumph and disaster. After a chaotic first corner and the first outbreak this season of proper carbon fibre confetti, the young Mercedes driver Nico Rosburg managed to grab the lead from pole sitter Seb Vettel. But Vettel came back and re-took the lead. Then Lewis Hamilton had a massive collision with Kumai Kobashi, nosing into the wall at about 240km an hour, which unsurprisingly brought out the safety car. This allowed Vettel, having jumped everyone by pitting early, to get to the lead but it also brought Schumacher, who had started last, and Jenson Button back into the fray, allowing them to close up. Once the re-start, passing broke out throughout the field, and Button managed to come from 13th to 3th in the matter of twenty laps. Schumacher, pursuing him, managed to overtake his team-mate Nico Rosburg and grab a hard fought fifth. But Vettel, riding his Red Bull rocketship, pointed it at the horizon and was never really seen again, effectively wrapping up the 2011 World Championship. Everyone else’s opinion: He’s just too good.

The Hungarian GP – Goulash!

August 5, 2011

Last weekend was the Hungarian GP and after a less than successful attempt at German cuisine I was feeling a bit nervous.  I decided that I would focus on cooking one dish well.  Given that the race was in Hungary there was never any doubt about what I would cook – Goulash!  I had a look around the web for recipes and settled on one by the infallible Delia. There were going to be no failures this week!

The night before the race we were visiting some of our new neighbours, who happen to be Austrian.  Telling them of my planned meal they quickly informed me that the secret to a good goulash is to use the same weight in onions as meat.  They also agreed to come over after the race and taste my efforts!

On the day of the race I got up early to get on with my cooking.  The recipe required the goulash to be in the oven for two and a half hours, but not being that familiar with the French cuts of meat (they butcher the animals differently over here) I wanted to make sure that the meat was tender. So I wanted to ensure it was in the oven for as long as possible.

My slab of meat

From my local Carrefour (the good butcher is on holiday) I bought a large slab of beef weighing around nine hundred words.  I cut this up into approximately one inch cubes and browned these in batches in a large oven proof pan before putting them to one side.  Next up was the onions.  Nine hundred grams turned out to be eight large onions rather than the three required in the recipe.  The onions were then roughly chopped and then put into the pan the meat had been browned in.

This quantity of onions took a lot of cooking and it was about fifteen minutes later, when the onions had begun to brown and caramelize, that I was able to return the meat and juices to the pan along with two cloves of crushed garlic.

Browning the meat and onions

To this I then added one tablespoon of hot paprika, one of sweet smoked paprika and two of plain flour, giving everything a stir to create a paste with the juices.  Finally I added three dried bay leave (from my mum’s garden back home!) and two tins of chopped tomatoes.  On went the lid and then the pan went into the oven at one hundred and forty degrees centigrade.

Making the sauce

Three Hours later I gave everything a stir and added two red peppers which I had de-seeded and roughly chopped before putting the lid back on and the pan back in the oven.

Just out of the oven after 5 1/2 hours

We finally ate the Goulash five and a half hours after it went in the oven!   By this time the stew was a deep brown/red and the meat was falling apart.  I had cooked some rice to go with the dish, but the Austrians recommended we just had bread.  I also omitted the crème fraiche which was to added at the last minute on their recommendation.  The stew was delicious, it was full of flavour and oh so soft.  There was a great depth and richness to the sauce and a hint of spiciness which brought everything to life.   It went down rally well with the Austrians, we demolished the lot!  I would love to cook this again; it’s a great cook and leave dish for when you have guests round.

The delicious goulash served up

The race was another exciting spectacle.  It started under damp conditions and the road dried through-out the race. Once again there was plenty of action with many overtaking manoeuvres and cars that were squirming all over in the wet conditions.  The two Maclaren team mates gave an incredible demonstration of expert driving, passing and re-passing on the narrow track over the course of six or seven laps. This was complimented by Nick Heldfield’s Renault catching fire, then, sans driver, exploding (but only a little).  The race was eventually won by Jenson Button, the master of the drying track, with Seb Vettle in second.  It’s great to see that some of the other teams have finally caught the Red Bulls up, the result is some fantastic competitive races.

British GP Postponed in my House

July 11, 2011

Just a quick note to say that I won’t be putting up a post on the British GP this week. Unfortunaly I fell off my bike on Saturday hurting my wrist and chipping two teeth. As a result I can’t really cook and I can only eat soup so I’ve postponed my British Fare until next weekend when I will hopeflly be up to both making and eating it!

The Malaysian Grand Prix – Nasi Lemak

April 10, 2011

So the second race of the year took place at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia.  The race was at 9am British Time so it was another early start, although luckily not quite as early as Australia had been.  This time I thought I’d go for a breakfast dish as that was more appropriate, although a Malaysian breakfast is quite different to a British one.

There could be no more appropriate a choice of dish than Nasi Lemak which is considered to be the national dish of Malaysia.  Nasi Lemak translates as fatty rice and is sold in banana leaves for breakfast.  Despite much scouring of my local Asian stores I couldn’t find any banana leaves, although I did find the dried anchovies (ikan bilis) and shrimp paste (belacan) that I needed.

The rice can be served with a variety of accompaniments, but I decided to keep it simple and go for just two of the more traditional ones. These were sambal, a spicy sauce with the dried anchovies in it, and a sliced, hard-boiled egg

I started things off with the simplest task, boiling my eggs.  While these were on I made my spicy paste.  I toned this down slightly from the recipe I found online as I thought that 5 chillies were a little much for my tender taste buds.  Instead I went for 2 small dried piri piri chillies, 2 small shallots, a clove of garlic, half a teaspoon of shrimp paste, a small amount of salt and half a tablespoon of sugar.

I pounded the ingredients together in a pestle and mortar to make a very sticky grey paste.  The sauce appears a deep red in the pictures I have seen so I guess my reduction of the chilli quantity affected the colour quite significantly.

The ingredients for my Sembal paste

With the paste made I moved onto the rice.  I gently fried a teaspoon of ginger paste and a shallot in some peanut oil. Then I added a cup of rice and mixing everything together.  After this, I added a cup of coconut milk and a cup of water, put a lid on the pan and left it to simmer gently.

I then moved back to my sambal topping.  I started off by frying a handful of dried anchovies in more peanut oil until they were brown and crispy.  I then removed them from the pan and set them aside before adding my paste to the pan.  The aroma as the spices cooked was great and filled the room; it was very fragrant with a hint of chilli.  When the mix had cooked through for a few minutes I returned the anchovies to the pan.

Cooking the Paste

All the ingredients seemed quite disparate and didn’t really form into a sauce, so I added a squirt of tomato puree and a little water to bind everything together. This resulted in something much similar to the pictures I had seen.  With the sauce made, I quickly de-shelled the eggs and checked on the rice. This was just about done, so I served the whole meal up.

All Served up

The spicy paste was very hot, but there was only a small amount in comparison to the creamy rice, so the result was fairly mild. I hadn’t been sure about the combination of eggs and coconut rice, but I think it worked rather well. The dish was actually very nice as a breakfast option. It tasted like I’d imagine the inspiration to kedgeree to be like. I wasn’t overly keen on the crispy anchovies, they were a little unusual to me at that time in the morning. However, my partner really went for them, eating mine as well as his own.

The race itself: This could have been another boring race, with Vettel leading start to finish. However, everyone behind him managed to liven things up plenty. There was an awful lot of over-taking, not all down to the DRS snf some hair-raising moments with Alonso’s attempts at over-taking Hamilton. There was also Vitaly’s Petrov’s spectacular attempt to become the next Russian on the moon by launching himself over a drainage ditch. Who needs rain to make a race interesting?


April 7, 2010


My name is Rhi and I live in Cardiff.  One of my great passions is food, cooking and eating.  I thought it would be fun to write a blog about food that inspires me, the things I have been cooking and the restaurats I have eaten at.

So here goes…….