Monday, December 17, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hotspots: Narai Thai Northcote (Restaurant Review)

We were out for dinner with one of my partners, for an early "Xmas function for the families", and the venue of choice was the Narai Thai Northcote, being somewhat central for all three households. We've been here once before, for combined birthday dinner, and this time remembered to bring along the folding high-chair for the baby! This is a cheerful, relaxed suburban Thai restaurant, if perhaps priced higher than I'd have expected for the meals.

Pud bai gapoa: chicken stir fried with garlic, chilli and sweet basil. I really liked this dish, the chicken and egg mix was delightfully blended with the sprouts. The basil was a lighter flavour than I'd hoped but the flavours blended sufficiently that I wasn't disappointed at all.

Pud khing: beef stir fried with ginger, onion and black bean sauce. This was a tender dish, with a light chilli heat, the beans were crisp, the onions sweet and the sauce rich.

Gang Dang; traditional Thai curry made from red curry paste, cooked in coconut milk and vegetables, with duck. We almost didn't get a shot of this one, as it was so delicious but we did manage this quick shot. tender duck, fragrant curry and a nice selection of vegetables.

Narai Thai on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 10, 2012

Family Feasts: Beans, Bangers & Cornbread

Some nights the pressures of a day at work make the prospects of a involved and intricate dinner rather unappealing, and something quick, easy and tasty is the order of the evening. I'm loathe to eat most things "right out of the box, and even when recovering from a crushing day, I still need to do "something" to my meals to save me from "meat and three veg" boiled pap.

I put the oven on, as there was still a chill in the air, and looked in the shelves. cans of baked and "four bean mix" beans stared up at me. Taking one of each, and grabbing the brown sugar, Keens curry powder, and some smoked paprika from the Oasis Bakery, I quickly tossed these together, in a casserole dish, and popped them into the oven.

With Thanksgiving coming up fast, I wanted to try out a variation of corn bread I had thought up whilst relabeling our dry-goods jars and stumbling upon our Spanish corn-flour (made with actual corn, rather than wheeten corn-flour. I quickly whipped up a batch of batter, substituting half the regular flour for corn-flour and plopped it into these cupcake moulds. Throwing this into the oven as well, I looked at the meat portion of the meal, and whilst this was cooking, set to defrosting something from Hoth, our chest freezer.

The addition of the corn-flour added a very new flavour to the muffins, much more reminiscent of tortilla taco-shells than the more familiar, sweet gritty cornbreads I've made with just polenta.

 So, thin supermarket sausages. Not the most appealing of gourmet options, but entirely salvageable with just a few easy additions. I first heated the pan, and ducked out to the veggie patch, and harvested a handful of rosemary sprigs. After a quick rinse, and a dollop of beef-lard in the pan, I sprinkled on the stripped rosemary leaves, and laid the sausages on top. A substantial sloshing of balsamic vinegar, and throwing the lid back on, I reduced the heat and left them to sit, shaking them about from time to time to avoid sticking and to cook them evenly.

When the beans and cornbread were ready, I gave the sausages a burst of heat, and a second slosh of balsamic vinegar, and deglazed the pan to get all the sticky reduction onto them.

All in all a tasty meal, from humble ingredients.