Tomorrow, the 14th of April we’ll celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary. The last year has been an adventure and it’s been wonderful to cook together. One of the best companions in the kitchen has been Karen Martini’s cookbook Everyday
We have still yet to cook everything in this book but we’ve tried a lot. Our top three recipes we’ve cooked from this book are Curry Laksa, Slow Baked Lamb Shoulder and Sang Choi Bao with Pork and Cashews. The Curry Laksa paste might be a bit of work to make from scratch but it was worth it and we continually return to the recipe. I’ve republished the recipe below but we’ve got so confident with this that we regularly change vegetables and leave things out (like clams or tofu puffs which seem hard to source these days).
The Slow Baked Lamb Shoulder goes down in history for Tim’s birthday lunch and also another time when I made it on a Friday night and I pulled the lamb out of the oven and the glass cooking tray broke and went all over the kitchen. I spent days cleaning the grease off the oven and floor.
Until last year I didn’t really eat Sang Choi Bao and so this was a really lovely new thing for me to experience. I think Tim ended cooking this the most and it’s a great quick and easy recipe (more so than the other two!)
There a couple of lovely pasta dishes in there including the Pennette with Porcini, Sherry Tomatoes and Chilli; and Linguine with Prawns, Tomatoes and Peas. Even though it’s not winter, the last month or so we’ve been inspired by her Roasted Winter Vegetables with Feta and Smoked Almonds and been cooking a version of that regularly.
The Banana Cake is absolutely amazing and I have been cooking it for years. But I must admit I’ve lost my mojo these days with the recipe. I can’t seem to get it to cook evenly now and it’s put me off. Maybe it’s the gas oven in the rental house?
The Florentines were a really lovely biscuit and I think they would make a lovely gift for Christmas or celebration. I’m a real sucker for almond cakes so I had to try her Almond, Coconut and Raspberry Cake with Chocolate Ganache. Yum.
Trying to work with Filo pastry is very fiddly and I can’t say I’ll be making the Peat, Goat’s Cheese and Pancetta Tarts again (sorry Karen). The Chicken, Chorizo, Almonds and Skordalia recipe looked and smelled amazing but it was just tough to eat and we were pretty disappointed overall. We didn’t even finish the whole dish.
But overall we can say this book was a lovely way to cook for one’s first year of marriage.
Everyday by Karen Martini, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by John Laurie’
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
100 g ground almonds
900 ml water
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
4 Kaffir lime leaves
300 g clams, thoroughly rinsed
2 handfuls of trimmed green beans, chopped in half
10 raw king prawns, peeled and deveined with tails intact
6 friend tofu puffs, snipped in half with scissors
shredded meat from 2 roasted chick legs
400 g Hokkien egg noodles
100 g rice vermicelli
2 handful of bean sprouts
1 handful of mint leaves
2 handfuls of coriander leaves
1 handful of crispy fried shallots
1 small red chilli (optional)
1 small brown onion, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt flakes
5 small red chillies, finely chopped
15-cm piece of galangal, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons shrimp paste
4 kaffir lime leaves
3 heaped tablespoons tom yum paste (preferably a Thai brand)
1 litre water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
To make paste, combine the onion, garlic, salt, chilli, galangal (if using), ginger, shrimp paste and the four lime leaves in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until you have a rough thick paste. Mix in the tom yum paste, water and oil and blitz to a smooth paste.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the paste and stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn, fry for 2 minutes until fragrant. Mix in the ground almonds and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the water, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and remaining lime leaves and simmer for 2 minutes, then add the clams, beans, prawns and tofu puffs, cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the chicken.
Cover both noodles well in separate bowls with boiling water and leave for 10 minutes, then drain. Add to the Laksa and stir gently, throwing in the bean sprouts and mint. alternatively, for individual serves, put some hot noodles in each bowl, top with the bean sprouts and some mint and coriander, then spoon over the boiling laksa broth, distributing the ingredients evenly. Top with more mint and coriander and the friend shallots and chilli, if needed.