Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Monday, 23 June 2008
Toasted vermicelli with a rich tomato sauce and crab chilli salsa
This dish is warm, comforting and can be thrown together in less than half an hour, although the tomato sauce will be as good as the length of time you give it to simmer away and release all its flavour. I first had a simplified version of this dish in a Veracruzan restaurant in Mexico City with my great girlfriend, Alex. She adores it and eats it whenever she spies it on a restaurant menu. It is the ultimate in comfort food. If you are wanting just a cosy supper, leave out the crab and grate lots of Gran Padano, or Pecorino over the dish at the end.
400g vermicelli (or angel-hair pasta)
100ml olive oil
For the tomato sauce
4 baby shallots, finely chopped
6 ripe, plum tomatoes, halved
4 serrano or other green chillies, finely chopped
A good pinch of allspice
2 bay leaves
500ml chicken or fish stock
2 tbsp baby capers
For the salsa
2 cloves garlic
5 chipotle chillies en adobo (use 3 tbsp of hot, smoked pimenton if you can’t get hold of chipotles)
2 tsp Demerara sugar (raw cane sugar, normally brown in color)
Juice and zest of a lime
2 tsp fish sauce
450g dressed crab ( Dorset crab is delicious in the summer)
A handful of chopped coriander leaves (cilantro), sour cream.
In a heavy–based frying-pan or paella dish, fry the vermicelli in the oil, stirring from time to time, until it turns a rich golden colour, a few minutes. Scoop out the vermicelli with a slotted spoon and place on a plate with kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil. On a medium heat, sweat the shallots and chillies in the same pan until they are translucent and then grate in the tomatoes cut face down onto a coarse grater, leaving the skin behind (which is indigestible). Add the rest of the ingredients, season with salt, pepper and a good pinch of sugar and simmer for 15-20 minutes whilst you make the salsa and lay the table. Simmering the sauce will concentrate the flavours giving you a lovely, rich tomato sauce.
To make the salsa, bash the cloves with the chipotles and sugar until they are a paste. Add the lime and fish sauce, stir in half the crab and check for seasoning. The salsa should be spicy and slightly sweet, salty and fresh and zesty.
Fifteen minutes before you are ready to eat stir the rest of the crab into the sauce, add the vermicelli and simmer until tender and all the stock has been absorbed. If the noodles look too dry loosen them with a little boiling water. If they are too wet, turn the heat up and simmer off any excess liquid. You are looking for a dish a little like a risotto in texture.
Serve on in shallow bowls plates with a good spoonful of the salsa on top, a dollop of sour cream and lots of fresh coriander.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
Taste of London, an annual food festival in Regent's Park. London's top restaurants are there which is a great way to get a little sampling before going and splurging on a night out. It's a food lover's paradise - plus, there are celebrity chefs on site, book signings, and live cooking demonstrations. We caught Thomasina Miers, of Wahaca (one of London's few Mexican restaurants) cooking up a really interesting Mexian dish. I didn't catch the name of it but it looked and smelled absolutely delicious. During the Q&A I asked her for the recipe - she said to email her and she's send it. Once I get I'll post it because it really was something special!
Today actually felt summer-like. I could really get used to this. It's hard to believe I was wearing a scarf lastnight!
Friday, 20 June 2008
We spent last week in the US (again!). It was a very quick trip and somehow we managed to squeeze in a few days on the beach. We had a fantastic time crashing our dear friends family vacation. Thankfully they were happy to have us!
how many Godbrothers can you fit in a cupboard?!
Watching the guys playing basketball was a riot. I watched the movie Semi-Pro on the flight and was cracking up during this "game". I think you had to be there but it was pure humor. Check out my man!
birthday boys - check out that cake!
And finally, pics of a very crazy night out involving too much liquor and karaoke. View at your own discression! For some reason Brian didn't make it into the pics - I guess he was the one snapping them. Thankfully the children were at home (asleep) with Diana's parents, phew! Any guess on who the guy in the bottom right is? He was way too "Hollywood" to be hanging out in Duck, NC plus his voice was really good. He sang "Don't know why" by one of those boybands ... and it got me thinking that I don't know why he decided that hairstyle AND the frosted tips were a good combo!
We had so much fun on that crazy outing, though the next day was really, really brutal. 4 very hungover adults watching after 4 children - actually that would really be 3 adults because yours truly spent the day in bed. It was baaaad! Diana and I are still cracking ourselves up over all of the insanity. A very fun trip indeed!
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Monday, 2 June 2008
Brian and Kaneu braved the (pouring) rain to go swim. Thankfully our leisure center is not too far from us.
We had a little playtime with Paul and Abraham while Nam Mee taught us how to make mandu. Kaneu loved helping out and it's definitely something we'll be making again. We also learned some new Korean phrases. We are going to miss them when they move back to the US (in July).
Thursday night we went to Wembley arena to see our first football match - how appropriate that it was against the US. Unfortunately we lost, but it was nice to see Becks (#7 in white).
Kew. Could these two be any cuter?
Brian and I enjoyed cocktails before going to see Sex and the City. OMG, loved it! It seemed like it's "the" thing to do this week - we saw tons of groups of girlfriends out in their Saturday best. Brian swears there were dudes out too.