Chicken Goujons with Cheesy Coleslaw

I love KFC! I love KFC so much I could devour a bucket myself in one sitting (probably two). I can’t always manage all the chicken myself, I’m usually kind enough to pass on the legs and thighs to my boyfriend, though they are generally always minus the skin,( KFC chicken skin is one of my greatest pleasures in life and I would have to love someone an awful lot to be willing to share it with them. Luckily my boyfriend seems to accept this fault in me and I hopefully won’t grow into a fat, lonely old woman with nothing but a bucket of KFC chicken for company). But enough about me and on to today’s post.

As you probably gathered from above I’m rather partial to fried chicken, however this delicacy does not come cheap (yes its fine if you can be satisfied by a 3 piece set, but in the quantities I eat it’s rather costly).  It’s also very calorific which is why I usually confine it to weekends and special occasions (Mondays are special right?). In the meantime the craving for chicken, coleslaw and beans still lives on, I’ve found that this slightly healthier and much cheaper version I make at home usually does the trick.

Cheesy Coleslaw

Ingredients

1 carrot

1 onion

¼ – ½ of a red cabbage

10 tablespoons of mayonnaise

6 tablespoons of coleslaw dressing (salad cream if you are making it back home)

2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce

100g of grated cheese

6 spring onions

A pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Thinly slice the red cabbage and onions then put into a bowl (you can of course use white cabbage but I personally think red looks and tastes better).  Grate the carrot and mix with the cabbage and onion.  Add the mayonnaise, coleslaw dressing and sweet chili sauce and mix thoroughly. Stir in the grated cheese, salt, pepper and spring onions. If the mixture is too dry add more mayonnaise.  Voilà the perfect coleslaw, far superior to any one you can buy premade here in Korea.

Chicken Goujons

Ingredients

3 chicken breasts

2 beaten eggs

Seasoned flour (flour with salt and pepper in it)

Bread crumbs made from 3 slices of bread

1 table spoon of mixed herbs (add to the bread crumbs)

3 cloves of crushed garlic (add to the bread crumbs)

Directions

Slice the chicken breast into to fillet size pieces,  one breast  usually makes 3 or 4. I find it best if you put the seasoned flour on a plate (just enough to cover it) and have your beaten eggs in bowl and your garlic herb breadcrumbs in another already laid out and waiting. Roll the chicken breasts in the flour until coated.  Then dip the flour coated chicken into the beaten egg then roll in the bread crumbs, repeat this until all your chicken pieces are ready. Fry the chicken pieces in a hot frying pan with enough oil to cover the bottom. I generally just fry mine for long enough so they are brown on both side then finish them off in the oven but by all means keep them in the pan on a gentler heat until the chicken is completely cooked through. If you prefer you could also chicken legs or thighs but personally I’m a breast girl.

Potato Wedges

Ingredients

10 small – medium potatoes (normal or sweet, I used both) cut into wedges.

4 tables spoons of oil

1 tablespoon of mixed herbs

Salt & pepper

Directions

In a bowl coat the potato wedges with the oil then stir in the herbs, salt and pepper and cook in your toaster oven for 20 – 30 minutes until brown and crispy.

I usually make the coleslaw first and set it aside then start the wedges off first in the oven, whist I prepare the chicken, that way everything is ready at the same time. If you want to make this even simpler you can buy frozen breaded chicken pieces in Homeplus for those times your feeling really extra lazy (or you could just send out your boyfriend to get KFC, either way). You could also serve this with jacket potatoes instead of wedges, just make sure to add plenty of beans.

Lasagne

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Lasagne was one of the first recipes that I ever mastered. It was always my piece de resistance at university, when I would make it from scratch on a Sunday afternoon. At home over the years I made lasagne less and less as I mastered more interesting and exotic recipes although it’s always been a great fall back. Living in Korea I really began to miss lasagne, they have a microwaveable one they sell in Homeplus, although slightly enjoyable in a plastic kind of way it tastes nothing like a real lasagne should. When I finally found Lasagne sheets in the foreign food mart I knew it was time to make this delicious treat again.

If making this at home I would stick with the beef variety but as you know here in Korea beef is rather expensive unless you get some late at night in Homeplus that has been reduced. So at first I used ground pork but eventually moved on to chicken breast. I find that the combination of chicken and vegetables actually works rather well. I have given the recipe as I made it this time but you can add whichever vegetables you like or are cheapest. Purists just stick with the beef, onions and tomatoes but personally I think extra veg adds taste, bulk and nutrients.

Ingredients

3 chicken breasts / 500g ground beef

1 onion

6 cloves of garlic

100g of mushrooms

2 peppers (any colour)

30 fresh chopped cherry tomatoes or a can of chopped tomatoes

Lasagne sheets (I bought mine at the foreign food mart)

½ large courgette (Zucchini)

200g spinach (optional)

3 tablespoons of mixed herbs

3 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce

Cheese sauce

50g butter

50g flour

1 pint of milk

50g cheese for the sauce

100g of cheese for the topping

Directions

Finely chop the onions and garlic then fry in olive oil for 5 minutes until they are translucent and slightly browned. Add the chopped chicken breast, the smaller the pieces the better. Fry until the chicken is cooked on the outside then add the vegetables. Fry for 10 minutes until they are starting to get soft, then add the chopped tomatoes, herbs and sweet chili sauce and cook for a further 10 minutes. Take a large lasagne dish (mine is a square dish 25cm by 25cm) and lay out your lasagne sheets on the bottom then top with a layer of the tomato chicken mix and then top with another layer of the lasagne and top with the tomato mix again. Lay out the last layer of lasagne sheets then top with the cheese sauce (directions below) and grated cheese and cook in the oven for 20 – 30minutes until the cheese is golden brown and the pasta is cooked through.

The cheese sauce is very simple to make, melt the butter in a saucepan then add the flour and stir until it forms a paste. Add the milk and stir continuously until the milk heats and the sauce begins to thicken, if it’s too thick add more milk until you reach the right consistency. Once the sauce is right add the extra cheese and stir until it’s melted.

Paul

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We have been going to Yeouido Park for some time now and every time I get off the bus I see Paul. I instantly recognized it as the chain of bakeries we have back home but surely we couldn’t have one in Korea could we?  Alas it turns out we do. This slice of Paris is nestled under the Marriot Executive Apartments Building in the south western corner of the park.

It was Saturday lunchtime so we had to wait 30 minutes for a table (not uncommon in Seoul) but the gastronomic delights served here were well worth the wait. After we ordered we were brought some complimentary bread which tasted exactly as French bread should, crisp on the outside with a soft chewy inside (Paris Baguette you could learn so much from this place). The butter was rich and  creamy (oh how I love French butter ) we were hungry so we asked for more bread and butter and it only cost an extra 700 won!

Our mains arrived, I opted for the poached eggs on top of bacon & potato rosti with a citrus hollandaise sauce and every bite was pure bliss. The eggs were smooth and silky while the bacon was crisp and sweet. The rosti was cooked to perfection and all this richness was balanced with a fresh side salad dressed with sharp vinaigrette. It was an ideal Saturday brunch.

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I didn’t try any of my companions food as I don’t like Salmon (I’m sure this is why my boyfriend does order salmon a lot because he knows I don’t like it and therefore will not eat his food.) He had a Croque saumon poireaux which looked delicious. This toasted sandwich came as a beautiful little square, slathered with melted emmental cheese. He said the flakes of salmon were cooked to perfection and the portion was generous. He did add that it could have been improved with the addition of capers.

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Our other friend had a baguette filled with slice of fresh smoked salmon which he said was divine. Again I didn’t try this one but it looked very nice (apart from the salmon). They had one with chicken that I was itching to try, not wanting to appear too greedy I bought it to take home (for research purposes only of course).  The Chicken baguette was pure heaven. 9,000 won might seem a lot for a sandwich but it’s worth every penny (I’ve paid 5- 6,000 for sandwiches from coffee shops which weren’t a quarter as good). It looked deceptively simple with just grilled chicken lettuce and tomato, I was concerned it would be dry but boy was I surprised. I don’t know what they did to that chicken but it was absolutely amazing, it had this irresistible taste which I just couldn’t put my finger on (I’ll be sure to check next time I go back). This chicken was so juicy, and paired with the tomato it moistened the baguette perfectly leaving it without the need for mayo or dressing.

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On to the sweets, everyone claimed they were full so we decided not to stay for dessert but after admiring the patisserie case throughout my meal there was no way I was leaving without a chocolate éclair. Éclairs are my absolute all-time favourite cake and this one was no disappointment. Filled with sweet and creamy chocolate custard and topped with rich chocolate sauce it was good but 7,000 good I’m not quite sure. The highlight of my meal was the fact they had samples of their chocolate tart and Citron tart. I’m usually a chocolate girl but the taste of the lemon was pure ecstasy, it was light, sweet and sharp all at the same time. The pastry was a dream, crumbly, buttery and divine, (I ate 5 pieces, I think the waitress was just about ready to charge me for a whole one).  The other desserts all looked equally as good but sadly my wallet could not stretch as far as my belly. All patisserie items including desserts, croissants and baguettes are available to take away.

Paul is located inside the Marriott Executive Apartments 28-3 Yeouido Dong the nearest subway stop is Yeoido Line 5 Exit 2. For more information call them on 02-2070-3000 or check out their website.   www.paul-international.com/kr/splash-country/.

 

Potato Salad

I was never a fan of potato salad until I came to Korea (this also goes for coffee, olives and omelettes).  We had a pot luck dinner one night and my lovely friend Corina made an awesome one, which had me craving it so bad I had to make my own. I have tinkered with the recipe and have finally found myself in potato salad heaven. It always goes down well at picnics and BBQs and my boyfriend is always very happy when he comes home to find it in the fridge. It a great comfort food and it’s easy to make in large quantities (which is very important if certain friends e.g. Britney Wilson are around).

The secret to the success of this is the coleslaw dressing and sweet chilli sauce, it gives you that some extra that mayonnaise can’t do alone.

Ingredients 

1kg Potatoes

10 tablespoons Mayonnaise

6 tablespoons coleslaw dressing

2-3 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce

1 tablespoon of celery salt (optional)

1 tablespoon of coarse ground black pepper

5 -10 spring onions

3 tablespoons of mixed herbs

2 tablespoons of rosemary

2 table spoons of mustard (if you have it)

4 tablespoons of fake lemon juice/ or the juice and zest of one lemon

Directions

Cut your potatoes in to halves or quarters depending on size and boil them in salted water for 10 -30 minutes until they are soft and cooked in the middle. Strain them and leave them in the colander until they are cool and dry. When they have cooled chop them up into small pieces (everyone has different opinions on potato salad chunkiness so I’ll leave it up to your discretion). Mix in the mayonnaise and coleslaw dressing into the potatoes until everything is coated. Then stir in the sweet chilli sauce, mustard and lemon juice. Add the celery salt, pepper, mixed herbs and rosemary and mix thoroughly. Throw in the chopped spring onions and serve (although the taste matures well after a night in the fridge so be sure to keep those leftovers).

Gringos Burritos

Finding good Mexican food in Korea can be tricky, even in Seoul where there are numerous restaurants around (even more with the rise of On the Border and Taco bell) it’s not always great and sometime very expensive. Those of you who don’t live in large cities have to travel even further afield to get your next burrito fix.

Gringos burritos have the answer. The geniuses behind this Mexican marvel (Mike and Mark) came up with a delivery system to bring burritos to every home in Korea. The burritos come in 3 flavours chicken, breakfast and vegetarian. They are well stuffed and have a good balance of ingredients which makes every bite authentic and tasty.  The side dishes are equally amazing if not better (the bean dip is so good I would take a bath in it) and the Chili has the perfect meat to spice ratio- its sensational over french-fries topped with cheese. Their salsa is also fresh and spicy and the perfect accessory to glam up some nacho chips. So far they are not making guacamole (but I live in hope), with the extortionate price of avocados here I don’t know if it’s possible, but if anyone can pull it off it’s these two guys.

How it works – The burritos come frozen in vacuumed packs which can be delivered to your home or work all ready for you to cook at home in the oven or microwave. You order in packs of 6 -30,000 or 12 – 55,000 (but as I always say why have 6 when you can have 12 especially if one of them is free, it would be churlish not too). You can mix and match with sides and burritos to make your pack, so choose whatever floats your boat.  Delivery costs 7,500 for those in Seoul and 10,000 for everywhere else. Delivery takes 7-10 days.

A full menu and delivery information can be found on their website.  http://gringoskorea.com/

Cheats Chocolate Brownie

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This brownie is incredibly easy to make and extremely delicious. You will be in dessert heaven in a mere 20 minutes or less. The easiness of this recipe lies in using a box of the brownie mix that they sell now in most Korean supermarkets and just pimping it up a bit. You can add whatever chocolate floats your boat. I usually go for 2 dove bars with a bit of white Toblerone thrown in but snickers also works very well.

Ingredients

1 box of brownie mix (Tous le jour brand)

2 Dove chocolate bars (100g milk chocolate)

50g – 100g of White chocolate

1 – 4 tablespoons of peanut butter. (optional)

Directions

Make the brownie mix according to the directions, (On the Tous le jour box you just add water and mix in a bowl). Chop your chocolate bars in to small pieces and add to the mix along with the peanut butter if your using it. You could also add some mixed nuts at this point if you have some. Stir to combine everything then transfer to a cake tin or if you don’t have one a disposable foil dish you can buy anywhere. Cook in the over for 15 – 30 minutes depending on how you prefer it (gooey or cakey). If you do not have an oven this brownie can also be cooked in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. Serve with Vanilla Ice cream (Hagan Daz if you have just been paid).  Voilà a delicious dessert in minutes.

Delicious Home-made Pizza

Yesterday I was looking at recipes and got it into my head that I was going to make pizza. I don’t know what would make me think this would end well considering the size of my tiny oven and the fact that my baking attempts do not always end in triumph (My marshmallow peanut butter chocolate chip brownie for one). None the less I decided to give it a bash and was amazed with the results. I’m not one to toot my own horn but I nailed it. (Clearly you are thinking that I do like to toot my horn since I went to the trouble of writing on the internet how fabulous at cooking I am.)

I had only attempted making pizza once before back when I was still at school and I can’t say the result was all too great (and that was back in the land of real ovens). None the less, nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that so I decided to proceed. In the end I was actually amazed at how easy it was to make the dough. Generally I have a lot of trepidation when making any recipe that requires yeast. I hate all the time it takes to rise, the knocking and the kneading etc., I just want to eat it now. I don’t like to be kept waiting. (My homemade bread is still not up to par but it is getting better with each try, so I’ll make sure to write about it when I finally bake a decent loaf).

Ingredients

500g flour (I used the one for dumplings and noodles.)

2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon of yeast (I used bobai brand that comes in 8g packages)

4 table spoons of olive oil

14oz ice cold water

Directions

Sift the flour, salt and yeast into a bowl. Then using a table spoon stir in the oil followed by the water bit by bit, you may find as I did that you don’t need it all or you can always add more. Use the metal spoon to get right into the middle of the dough and mix it thoroughly. You know you have added enough water when the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom. If it is too dry add a few more drops of water, if it is too wet add more flour a little at a time until it’s the right consistency.

Once your dough is formed you need to work it for another 5-7 minutes using the metal spoon, this activates the gluten in the flour which makes it springy and elastic rather than a tacky lump. You can do this by putting the spoon into the dough and moving it around, you will find the dough stretches the more you do this. After this take the ball of dough and pull it and stretch it with your hands, I am sure you have seen Italian pizza chefs on TV doing it (I didn’t do it half as elaborately but you get the idea).

Now the dough is ready, form it into balls – I made 3 big ones. The recipe stated that you should leave the balls in the fridge over night before using, but I don’t think it’s hugely important. If you have thought ahead in advance or have a huge amount of restraint and will power it does help the flavour of the dough develop, but it still tastes great if you use it straight away (the dough will keep in the fridge for up to four days). Roll your ball in flour then put a little olive oil on your hands and coat each ball before putting on a tray or plate. Put the plate in a zip lock bag or failing this cling film and store overnight.

If you have prepared in advance take one of your balls out of the fridge and roll it out as thinly as possible (dust the rolling pin and surface first with flour). Meanwhile preheat your oven to its hottest temperature.  If I was at home and using a real oven I would invest in a pizza stone, sadly living here that is not an option so I’m using the back of my baking tray. I found this worked perfectly fine anyhow. Coat the back of the tray with flour then place the rolled out pizza dough upon it. Now you are ready for the sauce. I just made a quick one in my blender using 20 cherry tomatoes, a glug of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of mixed herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper but you could easily use some of the tomato spaghetti sauce that comes in a jar if you don’t have time.  Then top with cheese, I just used the grated mozzarella you can buy everywhere with a bit of parmesan and topped with sliced big tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and red peppers and it turned out great. If you have the resources then use fresh mozzarella or other cheeses. I also made a Florentine pizza using some spinach and eggs I had in the fridge with some fresh parmesan. You can get as fancy as you like with the toppings. However one of the best points of this recipe is that you can get all of the ingredients at your local Korean supermarket you don’t need to go to Homeplus for this, which always makes it a winner in my book. It’s also far cheaper than Pizza Hut my greatest and most costly food addiction.

British Sausages and Bacon

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One of the biggest complaints I hear from meat lovers in Korea is not being able to find proper sausages. The ones they sell in the supermarket are the pre packaged boiled kind which taste nothing like we are used to back home in Britain. Well look no further meat salvation is here. Gavin is here to fulfil all your sausage needs and more.
Gavin is a Scottish butcher who has been in Seoul for many years now. He supplies many hotels and restaurants but its still a well kept secret among the foreign community. He has a shop at the Shinsegae Department store in Myeongdong but also a delivery service arranged from his website. Which means you get a hot meat injection without even leaving the house.
On to the meat, he has several varieties of sausages which come in packs of 10 for 14,500. We tried the original and the pork and herbs, both of which were great, just like the ones at home, cook on the BBQ or in the frying pan at home. If I had one complaint it would be that their slighly lacking in girth (although as the saying goes its not the size that counts its what you do with it , and Gavin has filled these sausages with some tasty tasty meat).
Also on the menu is bacon at 14,500 for 350g, personally I’m not a lover of bacon (Good lord why? I hear you cry – I dont know why? I eat all other kinds of pork except for ham and bacon, I’m a very strange person). However my boyfriend said it is the best bacon he’s had in Korea by a long way, so take his word for it. It’s as close to the kind we have at home as you will ever find. Not only will Gavin provide you with sausages and bacon, he also has sausage rolls and pies!!! Pork, Lamb, Chicken Curry and Aussie steak 14,500 for a pack of five.
The order forms can be found on his website along with a full menu. Delivery costs 3,500 or free if you spend over 50,000 (very easy to do). http://www.gavin.co.kr
So put Gavins sausage in your mouth – you wont regret it!

Real Chinese Food – Ho Lee Chow

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to find good Chinese food in Korea is like trying to find a meal that doesn’t come with a side of kimchi. Being so close to China I always though that the chinese food would be great here, sadly I was very mistaken. It’s edible but it doesn’t taste like Chinese food from home or China, it’s just this unidentifiable slop in flavourless sticky sauces.

Luckily when living in Cheongju my first year, we did have a really great Chinese nearby which was frequented every time someone had a birthday or someone arrived or left (so basically once a week). It was in my second year that I finally discovered the phenomenon that is Ho Lee Chow. I had just moved to Suwon and didn’t know any of any westernised Chinese food there, I was craving some sweet and sour chicken and fried rice badly. I figured there must be one in Seoul somewhere, I just had to find it. After searching the internet furiously I finally found what I was looking for – “Ho Lee Chow”.
Ho Lee Chow is located on the 2nd floor of the Hamilton Hotel. I couldn’t believe it had been right there in Itaewon looking down at me all that time and had I only looked up I would have seen it. The food is American Chinese food, sadly not British so no chicken balls or bang bang chicken but a vast improvement on the Korean variety. There is a full menu on the website but they have all the usual suspects – springrolls, lemon chicken, Mongolian beef, sweet n’ sour chicken, ribs, General Tso’s, Mu shu pork,  Kung pao chicken, fried rice and noodles. Prices vary from 9,900 – 16,500 per dish. One dish would fill a person easily so make sure to mix and match with your friends (or just order everything if your as greedy as me). Everything tastes exactly as it should, it will certainly satisfy all your cravings until you next get home. They will even wrap up your leftovers and let you take them home, my second favourite thing about ordering Chinese food.
They have 6 locations around Seoul (Itaewon, Yuido, Bundang, Dogok, Lotte world and Apgujeong. Full information and the menu can be found on their website. http://holeechow.co.kr/

Tasty Garlic Dip

My absolute favourite snacking food to eat at home is Doritos and Dip. Oh how I have craved this treat so many times but there was no dip to be found, salsa was my only option.  If there was ever any event in my life to make me believe in a higher power it was the good fortune of me finally discovering how to make dip the week before they released cheesy Doritos in Korea. They have been selling the American cheesy Doritios in homeplus and foreign food mart for some time now, although I will admit the American version is nicer it is also much more expensive at 5,000 a bag. If you eat as many as I do this can develop into a very costly addiction. They currently sell a large bag of the Korean ones in Daiso for 2000.

On to the dip, the secret of this recipe is using half mayo and half sour cream. When I first started making this dip I was buying 1kg boxes of mayonnaise as it was cheaper, I have now moved up several notches on my gluttony belt and have taken to buying the 3.5kg jar of mayonnaise at Costco and where before one large tub of sour cream a trip would suffice I am now on to two at a time. But like I said it is my favourite snack and we all deserve to have something we love waiting in the fridge at home for us.  The recipe below will make a pint of dip but feel free to double or triple it as I do.

Ingredients

 6 tbsp. Mayo

6 tbsp. Sour Cream

50g Cheddar cheese finely grated

2 tbsp. Garlic Powder

3-6 spring onions (depending on girth)

Directions

Mix the mayonnaise and sour cream together in an empty tub or bowl. Stir in the garlic powder cheese and spring onions. Leave for 30 minutes in the fridge if you are capable of restraining yourself, this lets the garlic powder dissolve otherwise it tastes a little powdery.  Serve with cheesy doritos or BBQ doritos if you swing the other way.  Voila my favourite snack in minutes.