Lamb Meatballs

I have always found the phrase ‘the way to a mans heart is through his stomach’ to be true. It is especially true for my boyfriend and lamb. Nothing puts a smile on his face like a big chunk of meat. So he was very pleased when I brought home a bag of lamb mince from the foreign food mart.

I came over all middle eastern in this recipe, making Moroccan style spicy meatballs which have plenty of flavor. You will be in meatball heaven. I served these dry with cous cous and flatbread with a simple tzatziki style dip on the side, but you could just as easily make a tomato based spiced sauce to go along with them.

Ingredients

500g of lamb mince

1 onion

5 cloves of garlic

5 tablespoons of panko bread crumbs

1 egg

1 lemon (the zest and juice)

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 tablespoon of freshly chopped mint

1 teaspoon of coriander

1/2 a teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of chili powder

1 tablespoon of olive oil

A pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Finely chop your garlic and onion and fry them off for five minutes until they are soft and translucent, then add the spices and fry for a few more minutes. In a bowl mix together the raw lamb mince, bread crumbs, chopped mint and onions and garlic. Add a beaten egg to the bowl and mix thoroughly.  When everything has been combined  roll the mixture into small balls.  Fry the meatballs in a little oil for 5-10 minutes until they have cooked through completely. You could also cook them in the oven. Serve with cous cous and flatbread and enjoy. Voilá my morish Moroccan meatballs.

Blood Lust

It’s the saturday before halloween and that can only mean one thing, a halloween themed cocktails. I decided I had to go for a blood colored delight. As you may or may not know I am a huge fan of any occasion where I get to dress up and make themed food and drinks. So with that in mind I present to you my blood lust cocktail, not just for vampires.

Ingredients 

50ml Raspberry Absolute

100ml ginger ale

6 strawberries (frozen)

A teaspoon of sugar

A couple drops of red food coloring

Directions

Blend the vodka, sugar and strawberries together in the blender, add the red food coloring if you want the drink to look more blood like. Pour into tumbler and top with the ginger ale. Serve and enjoy, repeat if necessary.

Herby Garlic Bread

For so long now I have been not been able to make bread for love nor money. The flavor is always fine but inside it’s just a big old mess. For the past week I have been obsessed with The great British Bake off and every night after I watch I have been dying to knock up some goodies. I refused to believe I was incapable of making bread, I just wasnt exactly sure where I was going wrong.

A fellow food blogger I’m friends with is always banging on about  Bob Red Mill flour, so I popped down to the local foreign food mart to pick up a bag.  I followed the  recipe she uses  for whole wheat rolls and they came out pretty good although a bit bland. Now I had the formula I decided I was ready to mix it up, I made the same recipe again but used the white bread flour this time plus a bunch of herbs . The rolls came out amazing, we were hoping to save them for breakfast but they were too good to resist.

Lastly I made the roll recipe again but decided now was the time to make a loaf of bread and it worked, I finally made sliceable bread. The loaf may be a little short and fat (looks aren’t everything you know)  but I’m not using it for sandwiches so I’m pretty damn chuffed. The taste and texture if perfect and it slices like a dream. If you have had problems baking in Korea I would certainly urge you to give this baby a go, it’s so simple. The other great thing is you can get all of the ingredients at your local korean supermarket.  It goes perfectly with my pumpkin soup.

Ingredients

260g of white bread flour (the buksul brand with bread of the front)

8g package of yeast (it’s the bobbai brand found in korean supermarkets, the pack is red,blue and very small)

1 tablespoon of white sugar

1 tablespoon of rosemary

1 tablespoon of mixed dry herbs

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of salt

3/4 – 1 cup of  warm water

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Directions

Mix up all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Start to add the warm water and mix together. After you have added a third of the water, stir in the oil. Continue to add the water bit by bit until a dough has formed. You may find that you do not need all of the water, stop as soon as you have enough. Once the dough has formed knead for 6-8 minutes. You may need to flour your hands several times during this to stop the dough becoming too sticky. When the dough has had the crap beaten out of it, place it in a bowl with a damp towel over it in a warm place. I’ve had my heating on lately so I just put it on one of the hot spots on the floor, I find this does the job well. Leave it to rise for one hour. The dough  should have risen nicely. Punch the dough back down and shape into your desired loaf  shape or you can rip it into pieces and make 8 bread rolls. Cover the loaf or rolls back over with the damp towel and leave to rise again for another 30 minutes.  Once they have risen again pop them in the oven at about 200 degrees celsius for 20 minutes (the loaf) or 10 minutes (the rolls) turn the tray around halfway through cooking to produce a more even rise. Check your bread is done by tapping it, if it doesn’t give a good knock, flip it over to do the other side. When the bread it done slice and slather with butter and enjoy. Voilá easy to make bread in Korea.

Halloween Stuffed Peppers!!!

I can’t actually take credit for these, I’m nowhere near creative enough to come up with an ingenious idea like this. I saw the picture on allrecipes.com and decided to set about making my own version. However I think they are so cute that everyone needs to take a look.

Cut the top off your pepper like you would a pumpkin then carve a cute little face out of it. I must confess that I didn’t even do that bit either , I got niall to do it for me. You can stuff your peppers with anything that takes your fancy, I used spicy rice and vegetables with some grated cheese but anything will do, let your imagination run wild.

Liebster Award

So would you believe it, I have been nominated for a blogging award. (Yay!!!!) The two lovely people at Adventures We Seek have nominated me for the liebster award. I never even knew these things existed, but apparently I’m worthy of a nomination. It’s wonderful to know that someone out there is reading my words of wisdom as I’m fairly certain my friends and family give me a miss most of the time. They are always asking me “how did you make this?”  “Don’t you read my blog!” I cry angrily. Either way its good to know that someone out there loves me.

So to accept this momentous accolade you have to:

1)  Thank the blogger who nominated you and share a link to that blog. Thankyou once again Adventures We Seek, How can I ever repay your kindness, my first born child perhaps?

2)  Attach the award icon to your site.

3)  Answer some questions from the previous blogger and choose new ones for your nominees.

4) Nominate other bloggers for the award.

1. The book that changed your life:

I don’t think any book has changed my life, but the book that turned me into an avid adult reader was “Memoirs of a Geisha”. these days I like chick-lit with a few random bestsellers thrown in for good measure e.g. fifty shade of grey. Now if  you’re looking for a book that changed my sex life………………..

2. Your favourite author/writer:

Not sure if I have a favourite but I will read anything by Sophie Kinsella, Adele Parks or Marian Keyes.

3. Your pet and its name:

I do not have a pet, my mother loathes animals and I was never allowed one as a child. Sadly her resentment has rubbed off on me and I too have no desire to share my home with any living creature except my boyfriend. However I do love those teacup pigs, if I had one I would call it Moo.

4.  The craziest thing you have done:

Hmmm my parents do occasionally read this so I will have to keep the truly crazy stories to myself. There have been far too many to mention. However once I was out on Saturday night and bumped into a friend who was heading down to Reading festival. I went with him even though I had no ticket ,no money and no tent. It was incredibly muddy that year and I lost my flip flops in the first 15 minutes of being there. I spent the next  48 hours in a drunken bare footed muddy trance. But as I recall I did have rather a nice time. I’m not sure I would be up to it these days though.

5. Your best friend:

My one and only true partner in crime Miss Rachel Verney. Even though we live in different continents there could be no one else but you, I love you little pea. May we create a new answer for the question above the next time I am back.

6. A childhood prank

I’m not sure how funny they are, but we did always used to try things when we were young. We stuck some money to a paving slab outside a shop once and watched everyone trying to pick it up. We also used to do the knock and run (aka ratties) when you knock on someones door and run away before they answer it, brilliant.

7. Favorite musician:

Another one of those ridiculous questions. Who can answer it? I love lots of music, from indie to dance with some pop thrown in. Anything I can move my drunken feet to or makes me happy when I am sad.

8. A place you would love to visit:

I want to go everywhere!!! But the next few places on my hit list are Hong Kong (were going in December!!!), New York, and Hawaii.

9. If you had just 5 minutes left to live what is the one thing you would do?

Eat!!!!!!!!!!

10. Favorite sport:

I don’t really fancy myself as much of a sportsman. I’m more of a lying down on the sofa and watching project runway kind of a girl. I do  jog occasionally, usually when I’m trying to catch the bus.

11. How do you define love?

Presents!!! (Hint hint) Urgh what a stupid question!

Okay drum roll please………..My nominations for the Liebstar award, in no particular order are………………………………

1. Cooking and Cocktails  – You combine to two greatest passions into one easy to read blog. Good work!

2. Backpack Bs – I love you, even if you did post a recipe for jigae!!! (Urghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, excuse me whilst I vomit)

3. Country Chick Crafts – You amaze me at every turn, you are the girl I wish to be some day.

4. My Korea Quest – Blogging about all the cool things that Korea has to offer.

5. The Pud Hog – You remind me of all the delicious things I am missing back home, one day we shall eat cake together.

6. Muesli Lover – A blog dedicated to breakfast, well worth getting out of bed for.

7. Adventures We Seek – I have to return the favor, even if you have left Korea 🙁

8. Woman on a Budget – So creative, warning do not read this blog unless you have some time to kill, it’s so addictive you will want to make everything on here.

9. Frugal Feeding – Love this blog, I almost feel that I could live the frugal lifestyle but can’t bare the though of giving up spending sprees in Forever 21 and Pizzahut sunday.

10. License to Roam – Love you pictures, you are also my number 1 stalker, good work.

11. Cooking with Corinna – Very jealous of your new Kenwood mixer, if anyone wants to send me one I would really appreciate it.

My questions!!!

1. If you could be a superhero which one would you be and why?

2. What would you eat for your last meal on earth?

3. If I gave you a $100 right now what would you spend it on?

4. When was the last time you cried and why?

5. Whats the last nice thing you did for someone else?

6. Whats the best costume you have ever worn?

7. If you could go back in time which year would you choose?

8. If  I gave you a free plane ticket where would you go?

9.  What was the best present you have ever received?

10. How would you spend your last day on earth?

11. Is a jaffa cake, a cake or a biscuit?

Vietnamese Claypot Chicken

I picked up this recipe at the cooking class I did whilst I was in Vietnam. It’s not a dish I had ever made before but it’s incredibly tasty and easy to make. I finally got around to buying my clay pot last week, so I thought it was about time that I made this dish again. I picked mine up from the kimchi pot lady based in Hae bang chon, but these dishes are very common throughout Korea and you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding one (they are used for various jiggaes and soups).

I bought my pork stock in Vietnam, it’s a Knorr brand one, we stocked up as soon as we tasted this delicious dish. You can find pork stock in the foreign food mart, but if you can’t find it you could always try it with chicken instead.

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts (you can also use pork or firm white fish)

1 onion

5 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of oil

2 tablespoons of white sugar

2 tablespoons of pork stock

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

1-2 teaspoons of chili powder

1/2  a teaspoon of black pepper

100ml- 150ml of water

Directions

Pour a tablespoon of oil into the bottom of the clay pot. Slice your onion and garlic and add to the pot. Chop your chicken breasts into pieces and put them into the pot too. Add all of the other dry ingredients to the clay pot and mix everything together. Add the water and mix again. Leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes. I usually make this up in the morning before work, that way it has all day.

When it has finished marinating, cook on a medium flame if you have a gas cooker or high if you have electric. Put the clay pot directly on to the heat with the lid on. It should take around 15 minutes to cook. The chicken will be cooked through and the sauce will have reduced. You can stir it every five minutes or so just to check the sauce isn’t catching on the bottom. Serve with brown rice and green vegetables, I used broccoli and green beans but I’ll leave it up to your discretion. Voilá delicious healthy clay pot curry.

Indigo

I’m always looking for a new place to brunch and am very lucky that there plenty of options in my area. Indigo is located less than 100 meters from my house, but until now we have always shied away from paying them a visit. We walk past it several times a day but it just doesn’t seem particularly inviting. From the outside it just looks so drab and dreary and they have these hideous old curtains festooning the windows, it just kind of put us off. However I had always heard good things about it from my friend who used to live in the area. So in the end I finally managed to convince Niall that we needed to give it a try. I was very glad we did, bringing to mind that trusty old phrase never judge a book by its cover.

Once you get inside the place looks much better, they have a big counter with a nice big board behind it listing all their sandwich options , the restaurant opens up around the corner into a cosy little nook with lots of tables and a lovely mural painted on the wall giving a the cafe a hippy chic kind of vibe.

The menu is vast with plenty of options, almost too many really. We opted for our usual sandwich and eggs benedict, the perfect brunch combination.

The sandwich came first, we chose the basil pesto, mozzarella and chicken (9,000) it comes with a choice of french fries or salad but we were served up both, even though we only chose the chips.  I have to say the sandwich was pretty damn good. Served up in a lovely large brown roll, you can also have it in a bagel.  The bread was very soft and tasty. There was mounds of chicken, this was a very well filled sandwich. The chicken was that shredded kind which I personally enjoy. The sandwich was filled to the brim but was still very easy to eat, hats off to whoever made it as that sometimes a problem with big ones. The flavor of the pesto came through nicely and you could certainly taste the mozzarella. I would have liked a little bit more sauce on it, but I had mayo on hand from my chips and that did the job nicely. I’m certainly looking forward to trying some of their other sandwiches if that one was anything to go by, we actually had a bit of a disagreement on choosing which one to get because there were so many good options.

Our other choice was the eggs benedict (14,000). If you are an avid reader of my blog, you will know I find this a compulsory dish on a brunch menu. This was was pretty decent too. The eggs were perfectly cooked and had a great taste (better than the ones at T.G brunch). The hollandaise was rather thick and needed just a little bit more vinegar to zing it up a bit, although I haven’t found a great hollandaise anywhere yet. This was was almost like putting egg yolks on to eggs, certainly not bad but just missing that lightness that you need. The benedict comes with a choice of ham or bacon, since I don’t like ham I chose the bacon, which I am becoming increasingly fond of. It was that crispy chewy american kind, which I find easier to eat than the English version, although I’m sure many of you would disagree with me. It came with a side salad, which offered a lightness in contrast to the richness of the eggs and bacon. Although I think I would prefer more traditional breakfast accompaniments, mushrooms, asparagus or chips, if I’m eating eggs ben then I like to go all in.

We had had our fill and were on our way out when I spotted the dessert counter. I hummed and hawed for quite a while over my choice. In the end I  thought it as very unfair to make a girl chose between a chocolate brownie (4,500)and a slice of red velvet cake (5,000) so I got them both (I’ve never been one to deny myself). The Butter chocolate chunk was sinfully rich, with thick topping on the cake. This was almost too much to eat in one go so i nibbled at it throughout the afternoon. I will certainly know where to go the next time I need a chocolate fix. The red velvet cake was also divine. I was a little disappointed when they cut into it as I thought they were a bit stingy on the filling. However once I started eating it I found my fears were groundless. There was plenty of topping to go around. The sponge was beautifully moist and I have high hopes of one day making a cake of this caliber myself. I tried to savor this cake but it was just too good and it was devoured rather quickly.

I really enjoyed my brunch at Indigo and will certainly be back for more of their sandwiches and red velvet cake but I still think how easily we could not have gone there and instead headed over the bridge and gone to The bakers Table with its ever inviting interior. Indigos had been in Hae Ban Chon a long time and has clearly stood the test of time thanks to its great menu. However its a neighborhood with a high turnover. Looks are important these days and there are far many more attractive options on this street. I think a makeover could really boost their business, it would certainly make me much more likely to come in.

Indigo is located in HaebangCheon. Take a train to Noksapyeong station (line 6) . Walk straight out of exit 2 for about 200 meters and take the first left and walk straight along the road with all the kimchi pots. Indigo is on your right just opposite the shop.

Pumpkin Soup

Autumn is  here and our salad days are long over. The nights are getting rather chilly, so much so we have even started putting the heating on (although I’m sure I will live to regret this when I see the bill next month). Soup time has finally arrived and with Halloween just around the corner, what recipe could be more befitting than pumpkin soup?

It was brought to my attention by one of my lovely and adorable fans that my recipes have been rather on the unhealthy side and a quick scroll through confirmed it. I have been doing a lot of deep-frying and baking lately. So to satisfy all you health conscious honeys out there I share with you my trusty pumpkin soup. I started making this years ago when I was dieting, although I do prefer it made with butternut squash if I’m back on home turf. Although as always in Korea we take what we can get so I make it with pumpkin instead. I practically lived on this last winter when my work lunches were less than desirable. Now I have a new job and my lunches are far more delicious, I’ve not yet had the need (today we had a KFC burger). However its time to get back on the healthy bandwagon with a big bowl of pumpkin soup (aka Orange Orgasm).

Ingredients

1 large pumpkin (mine was 4,000 but you could use two of the small ones)

2 small onions

6 cloves of garlic

600ml of water

400ml milk

2 chicken stock cubes

1/2 teaspoon of cumin (optional)

Directions

Chop your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Chop the halves again into three pieces then put on a baking tray and roast for about 30-40 minutes until the pumpkin is soft to the touch. Scoop all the pumpkin flesh out and put into a bowl. I like to eat the skin if its nice and crispy as it has lots of goodness in it, it’s almost like a vegetable crisp sometimes but if you don’t like it you can throw it away. If you don’t have an oven you can just peel your pumpkin (although this is not an easy job) cut it into chunks then boil it in the stock. Your soup will come out a bit brighter if you do this but I prefer the roasted version.

Meanwhile thinly chop your onions and garlic and fry in a pan for a few minutes until they have softened. Then add the cumin if you are using it. Add your pumpkin, onions, garlic, and stock to a large saucepan, and bring to the boil. You can add the milk at this point too. You may want to add more or less milk or stock to your soup depending on how thick you like it, it’s up to you.

When the soup is ready, allow to cool, then blend. Voilá healthy halloween pumpkin soup.

Peanutbutter Chocolatechip Cookies

These cookies are my all time favorite sweet treat. They are really easy to make and taste incredibly good (even if I do say so myself). They literally melt in your mouth, thanks to the copious amounts of chocolate and peanut butter. They are just deliciously soft, chewy and dreamy. The other great point about these is you can source everything in your local GS or Family Mart (I’m old school, it will never be CU to me). I love to eat these straight out the oven, when they are still soft and gooey in the middle.  I usually give them a minute or two to set so I can get them off the tray  first. Washed down with a glass milk these are pretty hard to beat.

This recipe will produce a fair amount of cookies, 12 large ones or 24 small ones. I like to bake up a batch or two then when I am full to bursting and have a few left over for tomorrow, I roll them into balls, put them on a baking tray then pop them in the freezer. That way the next time I’m in the mood for something sweet, I just pop a ball or two into the oven and minutes later I have freshly baked cookies.

Ingredients

220g butter or margarine (I use the ottogi corn spread that they sell everywhere as its cheaper)

200g white sugar

100g brown sugar

1 egg

300g of plain flour (I use the one for noodles and dumplings)

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

4 tablespoons of peanut butter

150g of chocolate chips (or 3 dove bars, cut into chunks)

Directions

Cream together the sugar and butter until its light and fluffy. Add the egg then stir in the peanut butter. Next mix in the chocolate chips. Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt. Roll the mixture into large balls and flatten the mixture with your hand. Bake the cookies at 200 degrees celsius for about 10 minutes, my oven is very quick so I have to keep an eye on them as they can burn. When they are done serve with a glass of milk and enjoy. Voilá my yummy scrummy choconut cookies.

Pho Mein

I like to think of myself as very lucky food wise. Living in HBC I am surrounded with foreign food stores and restaurants. Even the shop across the road stocks everything I could want for any western dinner. As well as all this goodness I am blessed to work around the corner from Pho Mein.  Pho Mein is the best Vietnamese restaurant in Korea ever. Just walking past that place on my way to get a vanilla latte has me drooling.

I don’t think you could go to Pho Mein without trying the pho. They had various varieties of these soup noodles on the menu.  We opted for the Pho Meins Pho (9,500). The pho arrived in a huge steaming bowl with the various accompaniments. The broth was very tasty and full of flavor. Some pho that you have really need a good amount of the hoi sin sauce in them before they get tasty but this one was fine on its own. It had a generous amount of meat which was good too. Although you couldn’t compare it to the pho we had in Vietnam, there was just something different about those, it was very good.

We also ordered the shrimp rolls (5,000) They are king prawns wrapped in a crispy coating and served with a sweet chili sauce. I think we all know by now that I enjoy anything deep fried and these are no exception they have a great texture and taste. They also have various other spring rolls and wedding shomais on the menu.

This time I was keen to try to the fried rice, they had several varieties on the menu and we chose the pineapple shrimp fried rice (10,500). It was everything I hoped it would be. I had the true taste and smell of an authentic fried rice, which bok um bab (korean fried rice) just can’t seem to replicate. There were plenty of chunks of pineapple and shrimps. We had this to accompany the cashew chicken but it could easily stand alone as a main dish.

Lastly we ordered the pièce de résistance – fried cashew nut chicken (16,500). I literally could not fault this dish, it is absolutely perfect. The chicken is coated in this amazing crunchy batter. There’s a generous portion of cashew nuts and the vegetables are fresh and crisp, just what I look for in a dish like this. The sauce is perfect too, sweet and spice balancing in perfect harmony. If you enjoy kung pao chicken at home then this is the dish for you. China factory could learn a lot from this place. I think this one is also even better than the one at Ho Lee Chow, but I would have to do a taste off to make sure.

As you can probably tell I am a huge fan of Pho Mien, they have served me some of the best westernized asian food I have eaten in Korea. The price is also fairly reasonably, considering the amount we ate. We visited the Bangbae location but they have restaurants all over Korea. Take a look at their website to see the menu and find your nearest one. You won’t be sorry.  http://phomein.com/Main/