I’ve been away from the blog for quite a while due to extra work commitments (hmmm that sounds boring) and I’ve really been missing it. One of my work commitments was to write a feature on the Gables School of Cookery for the Christmas edition of Cotswold Essence magazine.
The Gables is based in a village called Falfield, just off the M5 in South Gloucestershire and is famous for its four-week chalet and yacht cooking course. In the last three years they have been offering one-day courses for home cooks and I was booked onto the one-day Thai food course. I cook Thai curries frequently at home, but must admit nine times out of ten I just buy a good quality Thai paste so it was great to be working with the fresh ingredients.
But of course Thai food isn’t just about curries. We made a fantastic fresh hot and sour prawn soup, stir-fries with crunchy peanuts, chillies and strips of pork, spring rolls and an unusual salad which involved baking fillets of fish until hard, blitzing them into crumbs then deep fat frying them to make crispy fish sprinkles (seriously odd I know). They were scattered on a salad of lettuce, coriander and big torn leaves of mint with a poky sweet and sour chilli dressing. It was absolutely delicious.
But truly the best part of the day were the people on the course. We all had a great time cooking and eating together and even though I went along a confident cook already I can honestly say I learnt an amazing amount of new skills and tips. My favourite dish of the day was a creamy chicken and coconut milk curry, which was incredibly morish but very simple to make.
Serves 4 (yes you’ve read right, serves four not two, but this is the recipe I’m afraid, just eat lots of it or serve to friends)
500g chicken breast, cut into strips
1.25 litres coconut milk
5 dreid kaffir lime leaves
1tsp of dried galangal powder (I’d never seen the powder before but I’m going to seek it out because it is delicious)
1 stem of lemongrass, woody outside removed and then finely sliced
2tbsp lime or lemon juice
2tbsp fish sauce
2tsp chopped red chillies
5 spring onions, shredded
Combine coconut milk, lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass in a pan and bring to the boil. Add chicken, simmer uncovered until chicken is cooked (around 5-6 minutes).
Stir in lime juice, fish sauce, chilli and onion. Bring to the boil, simmer for a few minutes more and serve.
As with most Thai food it’s all in the preparation, once you’ve sorted the ingredients the cooking takes minutes.