food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘travel

traditional set lunch

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Wandering around Insa-dong in Seoul, we overheard someone saying that a restaurant was her mother’s favourite. Of course, we had to try it. She recommended the traditional set lunch.

It included mackerel, tiny sardines, some sort of fish floss, kimchi, tofu, pickled cucumber, pickled chayote (choko), chilli paste, soup, rice and a few other things I couldn’t quite place.

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Written by michelle picker

July 14, 2017 at 6:04 am

korean teahouse

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A visit to Korea wouldn’t be complete without a teahouse. We found this charming one on our travels.

As the weather was hot we chose an iced green plum tea with pine nuts.

To accompany our tea we ordered a traditional Korean confection called Gangjeong. Made of glutinous rice it is a deep-fried rice puff, extremely light, chewy and hollow inside and coated with honey and puffed rice. Gangjeong can also be coated in a variety of nutty beans, nuts, seeds, pollen, or spice powders and are often served during important events like weddings and New Year celebrations.

Written by michelle picker

July 8, 2017 at 5:42 am

korean food shopping

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In Korea, you can’t help but notice all the Lotte stores. There are Lotte Department Stores and even Lotte Duty Free at the airport but best of all are the supermarkets: Lotte Mart. The vast varieties of tofu could be confusing……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

but the most fun for a non-Korean speaker are the snacks. Lotte have their own brand which you will find in Asian stores near you.

 

Of the snacks we tried this was our firm favourite – crunchy little crab-shaped and flavoured snacks with a strong kick of wasabi. Try them if you get the chance!

Written by michelle picker

July 2, 2017 at 5:42 am

dolsot bibimbap

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I think this might be my favourite Korean dish.

Bibimbap literally means mixed rice and this variation is served in a very hot (dolsot) stone bowl. Usually made of granite, the bowl is so hot that anything that touches it sizzles for minutes. Before the rice is added, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil making the rice cook to a crisp, golden brown. Sliced beef and vegetables are common additions and there is often a raw or fried egg on top.

It’s always served with gojuchang (a savoury, sweet and spicy fermented chilli paste) and stirred together thoroughly just before eating. Expect some kimchi and other accompaniments too.

 

Written by michelle picker

June 26, 2017 at 6:03 am

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korean bbq

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I’m making sure I try everything Korean while I’m visiting Seoul. Gogigui (Korean barbecue) refers to the method of cooking meat. The meal is prepared at the diner’s table on gas or charcoal grills. The most representative form is bulgogi which is made from thinly sliced marinated beef. Galbi (beef short ribs) are also popular.

We decided to try bulgogi and pork shoulder as well as a platter of vegetables.

The bulgogi was cooked with onions and a few sweet potato noodles on the copper dish behind the charcoal barbecue. After cooking it was served in the liquid around the edge. Like all Korean meals there were numerous side dishes including steamed egg, kimchi, pickled mushrooms, pickled shiso (parilla) leaf, lettuce salad with black sesame dressing, lettuce and shiso leaves, fresh garlic, chilli paste, fresh tofu and a spicy shredded leek salad.

Written by michelle picker

June 8, 2017 at 5:49 am

cooking class in Provence part 2

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In my last post I detailed 2 amusebouches, a first course and main course I learnt at Jean-Marc Villard’s hands-on French Cooking School. Now for the dessert, a strawberry frangipane tart.

tart-shellsThe pastry was a very short shortcrust, easy to cut, firm enough not to break and wonderfully crumbly. This was made from 200g (7 oz) of plain flour, 130g (½ oz) of butter, 60g (2.1 oz) of powdered sugar, some grated lemon rind and 1 egg yolk. After resting the dough, we rolled it and cut circles for our individual tarts, carefully pressing them into ring moulds and pricking with a fork.

frangipane-baked

For the filling, a frangipane cream made by combining 50g (1¾ oz) each of softened butter, powdered sugar and almond meal. After making a paste we added 1 whole egg and mixed in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. We piped a small amount into each tart shell and baked until golden brown.

strawberry-jamWhen they were cooked and cooled, we spread a little strawberry jam onto each tart shell and arranged fresh strawberries on top.

strawberry-tartsFinally, we made a glaze by heating strawberry jam and water. This was painted onto each tart.

 

 

strawberry-tart-plated

 

cooking class in Provence

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While in Provence, I took the opportunity to participate in a hands-on cooking class with chef Jean-Marc Villard at his French Cooking School. After shopping for local and organic ingredients, we returned to the specially designed teaching kitchen, where Jean-Marc guided us in preparing and cooking a traditional French meal which we later enjoyed on the terrace with the chef and his wife Alice.

zucchini-flowers-cut

We started with 2 amusebouches, a small appetiser of one or two bites which is normally selected by the chef and served before the first course, both to whet the appetite and to give a glimpse of the chef’s approach to cuisine. Our first was deep-fried zucchini flowers. These were dredged in a simple tempura batter, deep-fried in grapeseed oil and served with a fresh pesto.

fried-zucchini-flowers

 

 

The second was a fresh sardine escabeche.

sardine-escabeche

 

 

 

 

 

Sardine fillets were laid in a flat dish (skin side down) and seasoned. Onions, garlic, carrots and peppers were sautéed in olive oil, seasoned and spread over the sardines. Finally a slightly reduced mixture of white wine, vinegar and water was poured over everything to cook the sardines. It was served garnished with fresh dill.

zucchini-saladFor the first course we started by preparing a zucchini (courgette) salad. We cut the zucchinis in half and used a mandolin to cut thin strips lengthwise. To this we added pink peppercorns (which are particularly sweet here in France), grated lemon rind, dill, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. After mixing thoroughly we set this aside in a colander. Meanwhile, the sauce was on the stove. Vanilla pods were added to some chicken stock which was then reduced by half. Be careful not to use salty chicken stock as it will become too salty when reduced. To the reduced stock we added as much butter as there was stock and a little finely chopped candied lemon rind. The sauce was then aerated using a wand mixer. Next we prepared fresh prawns (shrimp) which we seasoned and quickly pan-fried. To assemble the dish we placed some of the zucchini salad in a form ring, followed by some mixed salad leaves. The ring was removed, the prawns arranged around the salads and the sauce carefully poured around the edges without wilting the salad leaves.

prawns-and-zucchini-salad-with-vanilla-butter-sauce

For the main course, saddle of lamb. This was boned and rolled, seared on the stovetop and finished in the oven along with some fresh garlic cloves (skin on). Of course, the sauce was also reducing on the stove, this time a veal stock with fresh sage leaves.

eggplant-fillingTo accompany the lamb we stuffed large cherry tomatoes. After cutting the tops off the tomatoes and carefully scooping out the flesh and seeds, we seasoned them with salt and placed them upside down on the board, allowing any liquid to drain. The eggplants (aubergines) were cut in half lengthwise and baked (skin side up) until soft. stuffed-cherry-tomatoesIn a saucepan we sautéed very finely chopped shallots and garlic then added the chopped eggplant pulp, some finely chopped rosemary, chopped parsley, a little chickpea flour to bind and salt and pepper. We then filled the tomatoes and put the lids back on for roasting.

potato-galette-with-goat's-cheeseWe also made a typically French accompaniment, a potato galette – this one with a goat’s cheese centre. The peeled potatoes were cut into thin slices with a mandolin and placed in a bowl with melted butter, salt and freshly ground black pepper. After mixing well, making sure that every piece of potato was buttered and seasoned, we arranged 2 layers of slices around central discs, then a generous amount of goat’s cheese, followed by one more layer of potato. We then cut the edges off with a cookie cutter and transferred them to a baking sheet and into a hot oven until golden brown. Finally, the plating and voilà!

lamb-main-course

Stay tuned for dessert….