Yelly Eats

No to takeaway – yes to biryani

So for someone who works a 9-5 job (well, okay, it’s really 8:30AM to 5PM) with a 2-hour commute (return trip, of course), giving up ordering takeaway for Lent can be quite disastrous because there are days when you simply don’t want to cook and you’d rather have pizza or chicken or a Chinese or Indian.  But there you go.  I have given up takeaways for lent.

Alan, bless him, has found something interesting in the aisles of Asda though.  He found a biryani spice mix for under £1.  There were instructions on the box about how to prepare the biryani.  I was excited.  If I couldn’t order a biryani, I would make it myself.  Granted it wouldn’t be my spice mix…but how spicy could it be (surely not as spicy as that biryani I ate in New York – that was like a volcano exploding in my mouth).

So I followed the instructions on the box.  The cooking process was quite fun, actually.

Ginger and onionsOnce the biryani was cooked, I plated up.  I artfully topped the bowl with mint and coriander.  I was so excited!

Lamb biryani

Then it felt as if I had bitten into a birds eye pepper.  I tell you, I was thankful we had mango lassi with our biryani and leftover yogurt because I have never made raita that quickly!

The next chapter of this biryani story is me trying to make biryani completely from scratch.  I don’t want to not feel my tongue when I eat one of my favourite Indian meals.

Watch this space!  Recipe testing is on the horizon.

 

Advertisements
Yelly Eats

Kedgeree

A few weeks back I finally started making kedgeree.  I remember seeing cooking shows in Manila talking about kedgeree.  The idea of a curried rice dish appealed to my very Filipino palate.  We have rice with everything.  Plus, in the shows, it looked like a very easy dish to do.  I never got around to making it.

So when Alan announced we should try to make kedgeree, I was excited.  I’d seen the Hairy Bikers and the Spice Men (Cyrus Todiwala and Tony Singh) do their versions and I always end up wishing I could try it myself.  So I searched for a relatively easy looking recipe.  I wasn’t sure it was going to work but I was hoping it would.

And it did!  And it was good!

KedgereeSo after making it once, I made notes, tried to remember what my thoughts were on improving the taste (mostly add more salt!).  I’ve done it a few more times but this time, I think I’m brave enough to share my version of how to make a quick and easy version of kedgeree.

Ingredients:

  • 4 fillets of smoked haddock (can be just 2, I just like a lot of fish in my kedgeree)
  • 500ml water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (I used medium)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground dried coriander
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 400g basmati rice
  • 500ml water
  • 25g flat leave parsley, chopped finely
  • 25g coriander, chopped finely
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, quartered (optional)

Directions:

  • In a saucepan, heat up 500ml of water and add bay leaves.  When the water starts simmering, add smoked haddock fillets.  Allow the water to come to a boil and turn down the heat to medium and allow the haddock to poach until it turns a light colour.  Poach for 10 minutes.
  • Once the haddock has poached, drain water and allow the fish to cool.  Once cool to touch, peel off the skin and flake the fish into large flakes.
  • In a pan, heat up the vegetable oil and add the onions.  Allow onions to become translucent and slightly brown around the edges on medium heat.  Add curry powder, turmeric, ginger, cumin, and dried coriander and heat until spices become aromatic.  Add the lemon juice to form a paste.
  • Add rice and mix until the rice grains are coated with the spice-lemon paste.

Rice and spice!

  • Add salt to spice and rice mixture.  Mix until everything is well-incorporated.  Pour 500ml of water and mix slightly.  Cover pan and allow water to boil.  Once the water starts boiling, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and allow rice to cook and absorb the water.  Cook covered for 10 minutes on low.
  • Once rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed, stir in flaked fish and chopped parsley and coriander.
  • Top with hard boiled eggs and serve.

Kedgeree my wayMy recipe has a bit more spice, a bit more salt.  But that’s to my taste.  Feel free to customise to your taste.  If you try the recipe, I’d love to know how you get on!  I have fallen completely in love with this beautifully spiced rice comfort dish.

This recipe will serve a greedy 4 or 6 average eaters.

Yelly Writes

Happy hearts day!

Am so one for cheese.  I love all the Valentines day clichés. I buy into all the romance.  I love the whole card, flowers and chocolate things.  I’m most probably the target consumer for all the commercial Valentines Day crap!  And I buy it all in!  I’m a sappy romantice and am proud of it.

I’ve always said, while it’s true that you don’t have to say you love someone because actions speak louder than words, sometimes that someone you love will appreciate the effort to verbalise how you feel.  So if you love someone, say it loud and say it proud!

Happy Valentines Day all!

2013-02-09 14.35.05The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was.  Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.  They’re in each other all along. – Rumi

Yelly Writes

Learning

I’ve always said that a learning environment is the best environment for me.  I’m able to test boundaries, find out what I’m capable of, find out how I can stretch myself and find out what my limits are.

When I was younger, I didn’t really appreciate the opportunities that were there for learning.  I took them for granted.  I’ve learned not to regret not learning when I could.  There’s no sense in bringing back the past, because you can’t.  While my brain is still functional, I think I’m going to take advantage in my interest in learning!

Learning

Yelly Eats

Pork puff pastry

Recipe in development!

Char siu in puff pastry…in my head it was going to work.  But I think I need to read up on how people do this so that I can see where I went wrong and adapt my recipe.

The filling works though so that’s one thing that went right!

Pork puff pastry trial

Yelly Writes

Of passports and celebrity sightings

I am now officially eligible to apply for British citizenship…but I am a proud carrier of a Philippine passport.  I am planning on applying for UK citizenship though, if only for the ease that it presents when I do intend to travel to parts unknown because apparently you get visa-free access to 173 countries with a UK passport!  Not that I’m a traveler but it would be good to take be able to take advantage of travel deals, to have the convenience of going on a mini-break to almost anywhere, if and when I can.

But until then, I shall have to renew my Philippine passport every 5 years.

I went to London today to renew my Philippine passport because my passport expires in June this year.  I came armed with my tablet so that I could read my ebooks or work on work emails while I waited.  Because there would be a wait.  One thing that hasn’t changed much is the waiting in line in Philippine government institutions.  The Philippine embassy in London isn’t any different.  But as soon as I stepped through the double doors of the Philippine embassy in London on Suffolk Street it felt like being back home.  You could hear conversations in Filipino and for some reason there was an aroma of steamed rice wafting all over the embassy!

I like to come prepared and I like to make sure that I prepare for every possibility (or at least, I like to think so!).  Before I left for the embassy, I made sure I read and reread the instructions for passport renewal.  Also, if you are applying to renew your passport, if you can, I suggest you print a copy of the application forms because, whilst there are forms that you can fill out at the embassy, it makes things move along quicker if you have all your forms filled out, your money ready, and your passport and other supporting documents available and in order according to the numbering on the forms.

You get to the embassy and take a name from the number thingmebob and wait for your number to be called.  It was a bit of a wait because not everyone came with the right documents, or they didn’t have photos or they didn’t fill out the forms right, or they didn’t have the right forms.  I guess, after filling out forms for my UK residency (there were pages and pages) I learned to prepare and pay attention to detail.  Am not trying to say anything bad about my countrymen at all.  I’m sure anyone who worked in an environment where I worked would make sure all the boxes that needed ticking would be ticked and all the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed.

It took all of 5 minutes to submit my documents, get them inspected and me to make the payment.  Then I was sent upstairs to wait to get my photo taken.  They call you when your passport is ready for pick up so I had the rest of the day to spend in London.

I was horribly hungry so I went to my new favourite place to eat:  Tokyo Diner in Chinatown.  It’s a brilliant little space on the corner of Newport Street.  The food is tasty and authentic and you get a small serving of Japanese rice crackers and bottomless genmaicha (brown rice tea) on the house.  They don’t accept tips, by the way and prefer that you pay in cash.  (They also give you extra rice if you ask for it…as much rice as you can manage!).

Tokyo DinerI ordered a tamago don from the lunch specials menu and waited for my food to arrive.  And when it did, it was mmmm-mmmm good!

Tamago DonI did my usual people watching and noticed this beautiful and familiar blonde sitting in the corner of the restaurant.  I thought she looked like Myanna Buring from Ripper Street and Downton Abbey.  At one point, she moved to the table next to me.  I noticed her looking at my food and when she ordered, she placed an order for the tamago don lunch special as well!  I was certain she was Edna Braithwaite from Downton Abbey.  I even did the creepy thing of taking a sneaky snapshot!

Myanna BuringI sent her a message on Twitter to ask.  And she confirmed that she was indeed Myanna Buring and that I should’ve said hi.  Ah well!  I didn’t want to interrupt what seemed to be me-time.  One never knows whether you can interrupt celebrities these days.

TweetMyannaBuringAnd the celebrity sightings didn’t stop there.  After having my late lunch, I headed back to Liverpool Street.  I was early but all I had to do was hang around Liverpool Street Station for the direct to Harwich Town train that left 16:44.

London Liverpool StreetI went to WH Smith to get myself a free drink (thank you O2 Priority!) and as I was walking back to the main central area of the station I heard a girl giggle heartily and the sound made me smile so I turned to look at where the sound was coming from.  It was from a very pretty Filipina-looking girl in a black turtle neck paired with black palazzo trousers and chatting to someone animatedly on her phone.  My jaw dropped.  Two celebrity sightings in one day?  I had to say hello to a fellow Filipino and one of the prettiest faces in country.  So I turned on my heel and went to say hello to Dominique Cojuangco (Gretchen Barretto’s only child).  Then I started to doubt myself.  I may have just imagined that the girl was who she was.  Also, I didn’t really want to act all stalkerish.  Everyone deserves their alone time and I thought most celebrities enjoy time where they can be themselves and have time to their thoughts.

I did the usual and sent her a tweet and she did say that it her and I should’ve said hi.

TweetDBCojuangcoAh well!  Next time, maybe?