Sunday, 13 November 2011

BIRTHDAY SUPPER WITH FRIENDS

To celebrate my entry into "middle middle age", I cooked a Thai-inspired supper for good friends. My son cleverly sourced gyoza (Japanese dumplings "like we have at Wagamama, mum!") and spring rolls in the oriental supermarket in Kingston, and I bought prawn toasts from Waitrose. The only canape I made myself was Chinese pancakes filled with smoked salmon and cucumber and, as we found, a rather too generous helping of wasabi.

The main course was Thai green curry and green papaya salad, fragrant and lime-infused, simple yet delicious. But the culinary piece de resistance was undoubtedly pudding - Indian ice-cream or kulfi - served with homemade brandy snaps.

I remember making brandy snaps as a child with my mother. I loved the way the mixture spread and bubbled in the oven, taking on a lovely burnished chestnut colour as it cooked. We'd take the sheet of mixture out, let it cool for a few moments, before shaping the brandy snaps on a wooden spoon. They are very easy to make, bar a few dicey moments when I burnt my finger on the baking sheet! If you don't want to go to the trouble of shaping them, leave them flat; they are just as delicious! I used this recipe from the BBC Food website.


As for the kulfi, this is definitely a cheat's version. Kulfi is traditionally made with milk that is slow-cooked until its volume is decreased by half and its lactose and fat content is increased. Fortunately, tinned condensed milk saves a great deal of time, and the only other ingredients are double cream and flavourings, in this case ground pistachios and saffron. With such a simple base, you could easily add other flavours, such as rosewater or almonds, mango or even avocado. This recipe comes from the Ocado website:

Ingredients

  • 1 pinch Saffron Threads
  • 60g Pistachios
  • 450g Condensed Milk, can
  • 300ml Double Cream
Soak the saffron threads in 1tbsp boiling water in a small bowl for 2 minutes. Chop the pistachios roughly, reserve a few to scatter on the top, then continue with the rest until very finely chopped.

Tip the condensed milk into a bowl, and add the nuts. Stir in the saffron threads and liquid.

Whip the cream until it holds its shape, then fold it into the milk mixture until well combined. Divide the mixture between the holes in the ice-cube tray, and place in the freezer until frozen. Once completely frozen, place the ice-cube tray in a freezer bag, and store in the freezer until needed.

To serve, remove from the freezer, pop the kulfi portions out of the ice-cube tray, and serve on plates, sprinkled with the reserved chopped pistachios.


I used Nigel Slater's Green Thai Curry recipe, and you can find the recipe for Green Papaya Salad in an earlier post on this blog - here.

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