Monday, 8 September 2014

Vietnamese Food, with Kids, Easy Peasy lemon Squeezy! #pancakes

So we had the best holiday in Vietnam, kids were amazing and then some.  We came home last Tuesday and people were very interested in feedback, and guarantee the 2nd question was about he food.  Well Marks and Spencers have launched a Vietnamese food range, so that shows its "bang on trend", and I will be trying it tomorrow, but thought I'd let you see what we ate first hand.

Firstly, it's not spicy food.  The food is amazing and flavoursome, but they offer chillies and sauces for you to add heat if you wish.  The Pho is a principal dish in Vietnam, and can be eaten at any time. We saw a lot of the locals eating it for breakfast too.  It is pretty simplistic but absolutely beautiful. Considering I don't like soups, or wet food(!) even I loved it.  A lot of the mums from home were concerned about food for the children, but there was rice and pancakes on most menus, so if they didn't want to try anything else, they could still eat well.   Personally, when dragging kids around museums and stuff and they are happy to do so, interspersed with rice or pancakes, I'm all over that! Having said that, they also had spaghetti bolognese a couple of times, which also features in my Vietnamese cookbook!

Pho Ga (chicken noodle soup) I added the chilli myself!
Vietnam is renowned for its street food, and we were actually staying in what they called "food street" in the "Old Quarter"of Hanoi (incidental not planned)!  If you stayed in an all inclusive or a posh hotel in the City, and wandered into the old quarter, you might turn your nose up at the street traders, but!!!!!!    We were staying in an apartment overlooking "food street" and they washed and scrubbed everything to within an inch of its life, and could not have been cleaner - food, surfaces, pots and utensils.  We ate locally every night and we had the best food, without any "tummy" issues, another question I was asked!

We also loved it when eating local clams, to die for, to see a pizza delivery guy turn up at a hotel which overlooked "food street"..... no words!

White roses

street food, you picked it and they cooked it and brought to your own hot plate, see below

Spring rolls and chilli dip

Squid in banana leaves

Clams to die for - from food street, you ate what they had basically!

Cao Lau a favourite for Chis, local to Hoi An - includes pork rind!

Our bungalow in Hoi An, they cooked for us on Saturday night, as an offering and a thank you!

Spring rolls, on every menu, but delicious

Wantons, a favourite of mine, if not too greasy!

Steamed spring rolls

Stuffed squid

Morning Glory and garlic (a type of water spinach)

Sticky rice, Scarlett couldn't get enough of it (thankfully)!


Jasper had his own method of eating with chopticks, but it worked!

Trying some new fruit
My initial worry was that we would end up eating dog.  On the contrary most traders and locals had dogs as pets.  We were told that you could definitely get it in Hanoi, but we didn't go looking.  We had a book with us to translate the menus, but to be honest we didn't need it.

I will have a go at trying my own, it will never match up as it won't be in the location, in the heat, and deserved after a long day out in the sun or on the water, or up a mountain!

Will keep you posted!
Annie x

Monday, 11 August 2014

So Where's The Missing Pound? A bit of a yarn of my dad's!

My dad (RIP) used to love to tell this story to people, I still enjoy it myself, and for some reason it popped into my head so thought I'd share!

3 flatmates were in need of a new washing machine, and they found one for sale locally for £30.
They asked their mate John to get it for him, since he had a van.
John duly obliged, and when he went to pick it up, did a deal with the seller and got it for £25.

When he delivered the washing machine back to the flatmates, he explained the deal, and with the £5 change they agreed to accept £1 each back and let John keep £2 for his petrol.

So.............................if the girls therefore paid £9 each, 3 x 9 = £27, plus John's £2 = £29!
Where's the missing pound :)

Annie x

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Domino's Carnivale Pizza Party

As I write this, we have of course been eliminated from the World Cup 2014, after the worst performance in over 50 years.  Having read the title of my blog however, you can probably work out that I am a huge QPR fan, and having gained promotion to the Premiership last Month, via the play-offs, I shall continue to smile this Summer!

We have however been enjoying the Brazil World Cup for other reasons.  Experimenting with International fayre, and the odd Brazilian tipple.  I was therefore delighted to be asked to host a Domino Carnivale Pizza party, to coincide with the England game.

So, friends invited, house decorated, Caipirinha's mixed and Domino's ordered - I love their website where you can track your order through prep to delivery status, the kids were sat watching it progress too and getting very excited!

The new additions to the menu, as part of the Carnivale range include:

Fiesta Pizza - chicken breast strips, red onions, green and red peppers, seasoned with a fajita spice, with a drizzle of Mojito style dressing.

Rio Pizza - Pulled Barbacoa Beef, punched up with a kick of chipotle sauce, red onoins, green and red peppers.

Nachos - with Domino's secret recipe tomato sauce, topped with mozzerella cheese, with or without jalapenos, served with a tangy salsa dip.

Fajita Wedges - the favourite potato wedges baked with fajita seasoning, served with a tangy salsa dip.

We all had a bit of everything and everyone agreed that the spices were just right!  I particularly loved the nachos with jalapenos, and both pizzas were fantastic - it's a shame they may be only appearing for the World Cup?

The kids also had a bit of everything which was a turn up, but I also got them some little choccy bits for afters.

Shame about the result, but we still had a great party, with great company, food and drink :)

For more information you can read the Dominos Blog or follow them on twitter @dominos_uk - a proper account with real people yayyy!

So to France 2016 for the Euros then, Go Engerland and
Come on You Super Hoopserssssssssssssssssssssssss
Annie x

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Portuguese Piri Piri Pork Burger with Aioli

I was very excited to be asked to put together a football themed burger for, and having been given a choice, I chose Portugal as my country to represent.  There are some fab recipes on the page, and I will certainly be having a go at some of the others!

When you think of tastes for Portugal, Piri Piri chilli springs to mind, along with other herbs and spices, and definitely pork over beef,  Also, my lasting memory of Portugal was a garlicky mayonnaise they served with bread with each meal.  So I settled on a Portuguese Piri Piri Pork Burger with Aioli.

Armed with my shopping list I popped down to Waitrose to get said ingredients.  My first problem was that I couldn’t find any Piri Piri chillis.  However, I did find a pre-prepared rub in the Waitrose Cooks’ ingredients” section, which saved me from buying all the spices individually.  I did consider one of the many sauces you can get, but settled on the rub as it had the perfect blend I was looking for. 

I was also going to make my own Aioli, but again Waitrose already produce a garlic mayonnaise, so didn’t feel the need to re-invent the wheel.

Ingredients – makes 4 good size burgers
500g Waitrose lean, minced free range pork
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 free range egg yolk (we have our own chicken)
2 tsp Piri Piri Rub
(salt and pepper is already incorporated in the rub, so didn’t add any further)
Iceburg lettuce leaves
Vine tomatoes
Crusty rolls
Waitrose Garlic Mayonnaise
Small Portuguese flag – optional!

With your hands, combine the free range pork with the onion, free range egg yolk and Piri Piri rub.  If you’ve time to marinade then I would, but will still taste delicious if not.

When you are ready to cook, pre-heat your grill, or fire up the BBQ, and cook for around 6 minutes each side, depending on the thickness of your burger.

Load your roll with the burger, lettuce, tomato and garlic mayo, and serve with some spicy wedges and salad.

Will of course be cheering on England, but will also look out for my new second team Portugal.  For├ža Portugal!!!!!

Thanks for reading.