Monday, April 30, 2012

Sweet Heat Round Up # 7 ~ Thai Food

It might be Spring but with the way the weather has been around here, it seldom feels like it, so this month's Sweet Heat challenge was perfect for transporting us to warmer, exotic climates and the beautiful aromatic tastes of Thailand. So whether you have a passport or not, with this collection of recipes you could quite easily be basking on the white beaches of Thailand, sipping coconut water and savouring the regional delights.

To whet our appetites and get things going, Nicola from 41 Feasts kept her other half (and us!) extremely happy with her Thai Spiced Prawns.

Next up and Corina from Searching for Spice recreated one of her favourite restaurant starters and made a fantastic Thai Spiced Beef Salad packed with chilli, lime and coriander for that perfect Thai salad.

Using her newly purchased and delicious curry powder, Janet from TasteSpace made a healthy and wonderful Raw Thai Pineapple Parsnip Rice.

The lovely Janice aka Farmersgirl, and Sweet Heat regular contributor treated us to her super tasty Thai Vegetable Stir Fry with Coriander Rice.

My entry for this month's challenge was one of my favourite starters for a Thai feast – Thai Fishcakes with Cucumber Dipping Sauce.

And you can't have a Thai challenge without a Thai curry appearing so I was delighted to see this beautiful Thai Green Curry from Tango Like Raindrop who was able to finally put her green curry paste to good use.

Another mouth watering and finger licking chicken recipe came courtesy of newcomer and the very lovely Dom of Belleau Kitchen fame who whisked us away to the exotic climates of Thailand with his one-pot Roasted ThaiChicken Thighs.

I was also delighted to welcome another newcomer, Jen from Juanita'sCocina, to the Sweet Heat party with her absolutely fantastic looking and super Spicy Thai Noodles....they definitely pack a spicy punch!

And finally Laura from Credit Munched ends this Thai feast with a deliciously light and aromatic Thai soup packed with Thai chillies, ginger and lime.

As always thank you so much to everyone that took part this month and check out tomorrow's post for the next challenge which is being hosted by the lovely Emma over at Souperior. As always it's going to be spicy!! Happy Cooking : )

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Summers Meal on a Rainy Day....

I have to admit, recently I have been feeling in a little bit of a blogging rut. Lack of inspiration, energy and time has left me drumming my fingers on the laptop and searching my pantry aimlessly, waiting for something to jump out at me that will fill me with a delicious meal and a renewed enthusiasm to write and share. I think it happens to all of us at some point (whether you are a blogger or not), even the most diehard food enthusiast gets stuck from time to time on that age old question “what's for dinner”. Monday night was no exception. Wee One was fed and Hubby was away for the week so it was just me wondering what to eat. I scoured the fridge and decided it was time to use up the asparagus that had been sitting there for the best part of a week and so I decided to opt for a light and delicious Asparagus Soup this time adding a handful of fresh basil at the last moment for an extra fresh Summer got me thinking and my taste buds tingling. Unable to resist the idea of a soup that was warming and filling yet so light and summery I started looking at what else I had that I could eat with the soup and I came up with my new favourite Bruschetta! Grilled and lightly scorched ciabatta, soft, sweet and mellow roasted garlic topped with creamy Boursin cheese and fresh juicy vine-ripened tomatoes mixed with a crisp spring onion and lots of fresh basil. A little dried chilli added a touch of spice and I finished the whole thing off with a good pinch of Maldon salt and a drizzle of Crema di Balsamico.....heaven! It was just what I needed and so good that I knew I would be having the same thing for lunch the next all I need is a little sun and it really would feel like Summer!

Asparagus & Basil Soup

This is just my usual recipe for Asparagus soup (minus the cream) with a small handful of fresh basil leaves added in at the last moment before blitzing. The result is light, fragrant and completely delicious and the addition of the basil helps keep the soup vibrant!

My new favourite Bruschetta

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thai Fishcakes

Whenever I make an entire Thai feast I always like to start with these Thai Fishcakes served with a Cucumber Dipping Sauce that is refreshing and spicy at the same time! They are super easy to make (providing you have a food processor!) and always seem to be a hit, no matter who I serve them to. I love the contrasting crunch of the green beans with the soft fishcakes so I add a little more beans than you would normally expect, but if you like you can reduce the amount of beans a little.

This month's Sweet Heat Challenge is Thai Food so I thought these would be the perfect dish to share.

You can make the fishcakes in advance but I would suggest making the Cucumber Dipping Sauce no more than an hour or so before you plan to serve them so that the cucumber stays crunchy and delicious!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cookbook Review ~ Whitewater Cooks with Friends - Shelley Adams

If you look through my Cookbook collection (it might take a while!) you will quickly notice that it is a very British collection of cookbooks. For most of you that won't come as much of a surprise since you know I am Scottish and only moved to Canada 7 years ago...however for those of you in America and Canada (and of course around the world) there will be a lot of authors you have never heard of that I take for granted, so this month it was lovely to be able to review a Canadian book, and one that is close to home for me.

Whitewater Cooks with Friends is the third published cookbook by Shelley Adams (Whitewater Cooks and Whitewater Cooks at Home), who is the previous owner of Fresh Tracks Cafe at Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, BC. Although Adams has now retired from running the Cafe this book is the result of some gentle persuasion and a reminder from her daughter and friend of Shelley's mantra that “great recipes are meant to be shared!” Here Shelley has teamed up with her friends to collaborate on a fantastic selection of their favourite recipes that they have shared together throughout the years.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Roast Lamb Baguette

One of the best things about having a Roast dinner is what you can do with the left-overs after. For Easter Monday we slowly barbecued a boneless and butterflied leg of lamb. It was probably the best Roast Lamb we've ever done and despite eating way more than we should have, we still had plenty left for several other meals. Up first was this delicious Roast Lamb Baguette. Since the lamb was barbecued on the charcoal BBQ it had a lovely mellow smokiness so I decided the best option was to keep the Baguette nice and refreshing and go for some Greek flavours with plenty of crisp greens, fresh mint and a Tzatziki inspired mayo. If you are in a real hurry you could always substitute bought Tzatziki for the Tzatziki mayonnaise – both will taste fantastic.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bircher Muesli

Bircher is by no means a new thing but it seems to have seen somewhat of a revival over the last few years appearing in plenty of recent cookbooks and food magazines. I was introduced to it several years ago by my sister and dad who had in turn been given it by my brother and sister-in-law. Needless to say I was very thankful for the introduction as I absolutely love it and it is a great way to start the day.

It's kind of a cross between a yogurt muesli parfait and porridge, which perhaps doesn't sound too appetizing but trust me – it is! Not only is it delicious but it's a lovely healthy way to start your day and even better, you can make it in advance so if you are up early and don't have time to grab something you can make this the night before, add a few extra ingredients in the morning then take it with you. The other advantage to making it the night before is that it allows the oats to soften and plump up so that they aren't too crunchy.

Of course there are lots of versions of this around, so it's really just a case of making it as you like. This is my favourite version which includes dried cranberries and cherries as well as almonds but adapt it to your own tastes and if you find you would prefer it a little sweeter you can always add a drizzle of honey.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Cupcakes {Double Chocolate!}

This Easter I have been thrown for a bit of a loop. Not only did it seem arrive out of nowhere, but I have been a little out of our ordinary routine for the last little bit due to family matters. Needless to say my list of 'Easter Ideas' that I did several months ago has done nothing but collect cyber dust (so to speak!). That being said I didn't want Easter to pass without some sort of baking so of course I turned to my trusty cupcakes! After all you can never go wrong with some light and moist chocolate cupcakes, topped of course with more chocolate and some mini Easter eggs!

Last year Mum sent me out some Easter themed cupcakes and rabbit decorations however I didn't get them until after Easter so I have been patiently waiting for the last year to use them! These of course are optional extras but I just love those cute little bunnies hovering over the Easter eggs, looking like they are ready to eat them! You decorate your cupcakes however you fancy.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cookbook Review ~ The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days - Tarek Malouf

It was only a matter of time before I reviewed this book - The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days....For those of you that regularly follow my blog you will know that the recipe for my Cupcakes is courtesy of the first book by Tarek Malouf – The Hummingbird Bakery (which was the first book I ever reviewed). I can't say enough how much I love the recipe – it never fails me and every time I make Cupcakes I end up with beautifully moist, melt in your mouth cakes that disappear far too quickly! So as I said, it was literally only a matter of time before I gave in and book number two was used and reviewed!

This book varies slightly from the first (in addition to the obvious fact that it's about 3 times as big!) in that the chapters are divided into occasions instead of specific cakes, such as Valentine's Day; Spring Weekend Bakes; Mother's and Father's Day; Birthdays and Celebrations and Rainy Day Treats to name a few. I happen to love this – it makes searching for a recipe for a special occasion so much easier. The rest of the book however is on the same par as the first, filled with mouthwatering pictures of delicious cakes that you just want to devour and the accompanying recipes don't disappoint. Now as much as I was desperate to review this book it was a little trickier for me than any other book I review as generally we don't eat a lot of baking in this house – unless of course it's a special occasion! Not because we don't enjoy it, but more so that with just being the 3 of us (and really Wee One has only recently started eating cookies and cakes and is definitely limited to special treats!) we just don't eat enough to justify me making a giant cake. I would love to – really I would, but my jeans and expanding waistline wouldn't, so I had to tread with caution for this review! Thankfully I chose to review it when Mum was out visiting so that we had at least one extra person in the house to help enjoy the results! I did however decide to only review 3 recipes for the time being but there are so many amazing looking treats and delights that I will certainly be trying a lot more in the future and will try and update here when possible!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sweet Heat # 7

So far this year Sweet Heat has challenged you to Rock Indian food and make some Spicy Spanish Tapas, and so now I thought it would be nice to take a trip to South East Asia for some Spicy Thai Food! With Spring just around the corner (apparently!) I love the light, fresh and vibrant flavours of Thai cooking which of course includes plenty of spicy heat. On top of that the Songkran Festival which is Thai New Year begins on April 12th this year, so what better way to celebrate that to indulge in plenty of aromatic Thai food. Due to the vastness of this months theme you have plenty of options – it can be sweet, savoury, a starter, main course, soup, street food or even a Thai inspired condiment – whatever you like, it just has to include chillies of some form (and they don't necessarily have to be Thai chillies!). So transport yourself and your kitchen and take a journey to beautiful Thailand and start cooking some spicy Thai food to invigorate and excite your taste buds.

As always the usual rules apply......
  • You must mention Sweet Heat in your post with a link back to this site. You are more than welcome to also include the Sweet Heat Logo on your post but it's not mandatory.

  • Send your post url, your name and a photo of your creation to no later than April 27th.
  • You can create your own recipe or make your favourite recipe but please credit the original source if using someone else's, and please if using someone else's recipe, you must write the directions in your own words!

  • You can enter as many times as you like. The more the merrier!

  • Your entry must include chillies of some description, after all that is what this challenge is all about.

  • If you tweet your recipe use the hashtag #sweetheat and tag me @LyndseyFleenor and I will re-tweet it! You can also post the link of your entry on my facebook page.

This month you have until April 27th to enter, so what are you waiting for?... Can you handle the heat?!
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