Holy Basil Chicken (gai pad graprow).

Game changer. For a little while now I have been foraying into non coconut milk based Thai dishes. Not that I do’t enjoy them, more because it seems that Northern Thai dishes pack more of a punch, and seem a little more exciting. This is a relatively “dry” dish, however the small amount of sauce packs a compensating punch. You can make your own Holy Basil sauce (detailed below), but those sachets from the Thai shop on Albert Road are off the chart.

Ingredients:
1 egg
1 chicken breast (or any other cut of boneless chicken, about 200 grams)
3 cloves of garlic
4 Thai chilies
spring onions
1 red pepper
1 tablespoon oil for frying
1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
½ teaspoon light soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
1 splash of dark soy sauce
1 handful of Thai holy basil leaves
Optional, but recommended: Holy Basil paste.

Instructions:
First, fry the egg. Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan on high-medium heat. When the oil is hot and sizzling, drop in the egg. Let it sizzle and bubble up, and at the same time, splash some of the hot oil onto the top of the egg (don’t flip the egg, unless you really want to). After the egg looks about right to your cooked likeness (I like mine runny), take it out, drain the excess oil, and put it on a plate for later.

Cut the chicken into small bite sized pieces and heat your wok on high. When the oil is hot, add the chilies, garlic and Holy Basil paste. Stir fry them for about 20 seconds or so until they get really fragrant, but don’t let them burn or get too dry. Toss in your chicken and add the red pepper. Keep stir frying continuously. Add the Holy Basil paste. At this stage you want to continue to stir and cook your chicken until it’s just about fully cooked all the way through.

Add 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce, ½ teaspoon light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sugar, and finally a splash of dark soy sauce. Keep stir frying for about another 30 seconds whilst adding the chopped spring onions. Grab a handful of holy basil, toss it into the pan, fold it into the chicken, and then immediately turn off the heat. The holy basil really only needs to cook for about 5 seconds, and it will continue to wilt and cook from the existing heat of the chicken.

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Valentines Key Lime Pie.

H never fails to surprise me. Outstanding.

key lime piekey lime pie

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Ale Watch – Manchester Marble Brewery Earl Gey IPA.

Tea flavoured bears can go either way. I remember when Brewhouse did a local collab with All About Tea, which produced a beer with an aftertaste not unlike sucking on a cold tea bag. Although I should say that the second batch was better. Anyway, this IPA caught my eye whilst in Brighton and since Earl Grey is my hot beverage of choice it was a no brainer. I poured it out into the glass, took a couple of tentative sips aaaaaaaand…….EXCELLENT. At 6.8% you still got your citrus IPA fix, bit with a faint lemon like twist. It actually works, love the simple bottle design too. 8/10.

early grey Ripa

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Rowland’s Castle Sundays.

Dog walks in the forest, followed by a seriously good pub roast in The Castle Inn makes for a fine Sunday. Could not fault any of it; especially the beautifully rare beef. In fact the best pub roast that I care to remember. Their homemade crumble and ice cream was on point too. I was perhaps a little baffled by their Provençal themed interior decor though, you would have thought that a traditional pub in an area of outstanding natural beauty would been, well… nicely cosy and traditional. Anyway, the food spoke for itself.

Sofa and blanket now please.

HwalktreesBengal Lancerroast

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Brighton Bound.

Another truly excellent excursion to our trendier coastal cousin Brighton, this time as a belated birthday outing for H. The iconic vegetarian restaurant Terre A Terre had been booked for lunch, and whilst being a devout meat eater, I knew I had a special culinary experience in store. As expected, it certainly did not disappoint. We opted for a sharing tapas dish that came with a carafe of house wine; pretty much zero of it had anything to do with Spain, but that did not matter in the slightest. The range of world flavours, textures and sheer imagination was brilliant; each individual piece was savoured to the last. I knew vegetarian food could be good, but this was next level dining. Go visit if you can.

With business out of the way, the day was cleared for ironic pier fun, ice cream and waffles, and a visit to an impressive grog shop. Thanks again Laura and George, already looking forward to our next adventure.

grafterre a terre tapasseafrontcoinsice creamboozegamma ray

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The Annual Fayling Herry Ride 2015.

Arctic temperatures: check. Wind & rain: check. Hardy Portsmouth riders keeping warm with booze: check. It’s the 2015 edition of the Annual Fayling Herry Ride. Sorting the wheat from the chaff since 2010.

ChangLemondMackeson Souton the roadtideclub sammichcrew deepbridgebikesboat

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Polish Bigos.

It all started with a hunk of meat. Boczek to be precise. How my dear grandmother came to possess this roasted Polish bacon, I’m not quite sure. But she had, and was offering it to me. Never one to turn down food, I thought this could be a good opportunity to make something of it and then return the gesture by presenting the old girl some of the resulting dish.

So what to do with this Boczek? Naturally I wanted to do it justice, so I turned to my Polish colleagues at work for advice. The answer was pretty immediate: Bigos. This classic Polish dish is guaranteed to see you through any winter, not matter how baltic it gets. I also got the sauerkraut and kielbasa sausages from the excellent Polish store on Elm Grove; Fajny Sklep. If you haven’t been in there you should, it’s a real treasure trove of eastern european food and grog. Massive props to the wonderfully kind woman behind the meat counter, who walked me through all the different types of kielbasa for my bigos. Like boeuf bourguignon, this is also a dish that benefits from being started early and left overnight to really get the flavours to lock in.

Ingredients:
50g butter
2 med onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 jar / bag sauerkraut
1 can peeled chopped tomatoes
1 half white cabbage
250g smoked sausage (kielbasa)
400g roasted bacon (boczek)
pork belly
mushrooms
300ml strong beef stock
glass of apple juice
2 tb of flour
2 bayleaves
salt and pepper

Method:
Thickly dice the pork belly, boczek and kielbasa and brown in separate batches in a heavy stewing pot. Remove with a slotted spoon and add butter to fry the onions until golden
Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water and drain well, and mix with the onions. Add the tomatoes and apple juice. Shred the cabbage finely and mix in, add the stock stirring well.
Return the meats to the pot and allow to simmer on a low heat for one hour, or whack in the oven on a low heat if you need to go for a nap (I did). Season to taste. Remove from heat and leave covered for 24 hours. Refrigerate and reheat before serving with either mashed potatoes or crusty bread.

Dziękuję Kamila!

EDIT: I bought some in for Kamila’s lunch at work, her verdict? “Really good! You wouldn’t think it was cooked by someone English.” Great success!

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