Recipe #22 The Happy Christmas Special

The festive season kind of delayed my posts – I’ve been rather caught up in a mass of wrapping paper, ribbons, food planning, plan execution and a lot of ashtanga and hatha yoga! So to make up for my lack of posting, here’s a two in one double whammy Xmas special post 🙂 One recipe is pure veggie too -yay!

True to my fascination with Thailand’s local ingredients, I decided I would whip up something interesting for Christmas morning using green peppercorns (previously encountered in Thailand’s fiery Jungle Curries) and quail’s eggs which seem to be in abundance as components in street-side pancake/ Thai crêpe stalls. I also used enoki mushrooms, shimeiji mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, and wild rocket produced by The Royal Project– an initiative by Thailand’s super awesome King and Queen to enable agricultural self-sufficiency in an ecologically sustainable manner.

After much pondering on how to use the ingredients to bring out their best flavours, and how the plate was to be presented, I ended up with this…

Quail’s eggs in a nest of sautéed shimeiji and enoki mushrooms, with a gourmet cheese and herb muffin. Served with a zingy tomato and green peppercorn relish and- every amateur cook’s best friend- a balsamic reduction taken one step further with a bit of locally produced palm sugar to add complexity to the final product.

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The recipe for the cheese muffins can be found by clicking here. It is a previous recipe of mine which I simply baked in cupcake cases… A little efficiency goes a long way 😉

For the balsamic reduction:

I combined 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan with 1 tbsp palm sugar at the start. I brought this to a boil and set to slowly simmer and reduce for 10 minutes. NB. If your reduction gets too thick, it will solidify! Not good! Luckily if you make a mistake, you can still thin the mixture while with some hot water to prevent you from falling at the first hurdle on your way to gourmet mastery… *This totally hasn’t happened to me before!!*

For the Tomato Relish:
3 tomatoes finely diced
1 small red onion finely diced
1 clove garlic finely diced
7-8 green pepper corns fresh
Salt
2 kaffir lime leaves finely chopped
1 medium hot chilli finely chopped/ minced
75 ml tomato juice
1.5 tsp butter
1tsp palm sugar
1.5 tsp balsamic vinegar

Heat butter till golden brown and fry tomatoes and onions and chilli and pepper corns and garlic and kaffir lime leaves and chilli. Fry till soft. Add tomato juice, palm sugar, and salt. Fry on low heat for 20 mins.

Assembly:

Get your balsamic reduction and relish ready in advance.

Mix up the muffin batter and set to bake.

Wash the rocket and mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms and season with salt and pepper in the last few minutes if cooking.

Boil and peel 3 quail’s eggs per person. Whilst warm, roll in some salt and cracked black pepper to create the speckled eggs.

Whilst the eggs are boiling and muffins baking, go all out Pollock on the plate with the balsamic reduction. Place a nice round blob of relish at the top of the plate. Follow this up with a muffin and a small nest of hot mushrooms. Top with warm speckled eggs. Add a little ball of wild rocket at the side and serve!

Part Deux:

Later on, I also improvised a cooked ham(pork shoulder joint as I couldn’t find any with the bone in), boiled in cider for 55 minutes, then baked at 150•c for an hour, coated in honey and spices and served with a spiced apple and raspberry chutney that I devised in my head whilst ingredient shopping the day before.

The ham was moist, well seasoned and not bad at all for a first attempt but it is need of refining further so that the flavour of the cider comes through more… I’m very proud of my chutney so here are a few pictures and its recipe!

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Apple and raspberry chutney:

1 jazz apple finely diced
2 small shallots finely diced
20 raspberries
1/2 cup water
6 tbsp palm sugar
6 cloves
2″ stick cinnamon
– boil fruit and spices and sugar in a small saucepan for 15 mins then add shallots. Stir and boil further for 15 mins till the juices lightly coat the back of the spoon.

This chutney also goes beautifully on a cheese board!

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