. . . as seen on display in one of our favourite Restaurants during our recent stay in Bangkok.
Last weekend I invited you, my dear blogging friends, onto an imaginary flight to Bangkok to join our table at “The Verandah”, the elegant restaurant overlooking the mighty Chao Phraya River at our favourite hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.
This is the domain of Chef Pierre (Rimoneau ) who, as part of “The Verandah’s” Asparagus Fest, has graciously parted with two of his most delicious Asparagus recipes, especially created and prepared in order to showcase the delicious flavour of the wonderfully white asparagus and the organically grown green asparagus and using ingredients from the Royal Projects.
In fact I am off tomorrow “Asparagus hunting” in our new hypermarket. It will not be the wonderfully thick white kind of variety which was very much part of my German seasonal feast, when I still lived in the country of my birth, but just the very thin green variety which I got to like later in England – better than nothing at all, I say. Don’t you agree?
Asparagus Salad with waxy boiled quail eggs
80 g Asparagus, green import
90 g Asparagus, white import
120 g Asparagus, local (wherever you are)
30 g mixed salad
20 g sundried tomatoes
10 g parmesan shaving
65 g boiled quail egg
1 g edible flower
25 g lime and olive oil dressing
½ g chervil
Peel and boil the asparagus: 3-4 min for the green one’s and 8-10 min for the white one’s, according to their size. Test.
Pick and clean salad, dry and mix together.
Boil the quail eggs, 3 min. Cool them down and peel them.
Prepare an olive lime juice dressing with salt and pepper.
Set the salad in the plate, add the asparagus cut in length, the sundried tomato cut in strips, and add a flower on top.
Add some parmesan shaving and at the last minute cut the quail eggs and place them on top of the salad, the yolk should be running into the salad.
Serve right away – with the dressing separately.
So, for whatever your personal taste buds crave, I suggest you try both – and why not!? I am sure you will not be disappointed. Second recipe will follow in a couple of days.
I hope you all enjoyed your treat and of course I will pass on your comments together with my personal thanks to Chef Pierre and to Executive Chef Stefan for their kind help and support.
See you again soon, Carina
For the last 10 days I have been at war – at war with the twice annual flu-bug! Not nice at all, especially in our heat. But in the end I emerged as the winner – thanks to my Doctor, some antibiotics and of course because of the loving tender care of my husband! 🙂
So here now is the conclusion, as previously promised, of our short ‘sojourn’ in Kovalam.
For our last evening at VIVANTA by TAJ KOVALAM the golf buggy took us right down to the shore of the Arabian Sea to the hotel’s new contemporary restaurant appropriately named “BAIT”, a very rustic looking place befitting its location.
Our table was set not inside the restaurant, but outside, close to the edge of the beach.
The smell of the sea, the crashing of the waves against the huge bollards along this strip of private beach, competing with the soft sound of music coming from the main restaurant, set us into the right mood to look forward to Chef Elangovan’s promised culinary surprise for that evening.
We could hardly wish for a more romantic setting – the tiny flickering lights of hundreds of fishing boats way out at sea, the clear stars above us high up in the sky, candles on our table and all over the garden.
But to top it all, we had a huge full moon shining down on us, sending its silvery light across the water.
It was then that we decided that we will come back here in a few month time – just for a little break again.
Chef, for this occasion, had prepared indeed a very special treat for us. Something, I must confess, I had not come across before on all my travels around the world.
Red Snapper on Mango Wood
Red Snapper Fillet 300 g
Green chilly 10 g
Salt a pinch
Small onion 5 g
Curry leafs a few
Ginger & garlic paste 1 tsp
Turmeric powder ½ g
Tamarind or lime juice 1 no
Coconut oil 5 ml
Mango wood or
Tamarind wood slab 2 nos
Make paste out of chilly, ginger, garlic, turmeric and tamarind or lime juice.
Grate the small onions and mix with marinate paste and coconut oil.
Apply the marinate all over the fish, rest for a couple of minutes.
Grill the fish in hot pan on both sides
Place the fish on mango wood slab and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
Before serving garnish with sprig of curry leafs.
Accompaniment with roast baby potatoes and char grilled vegetable.
This is a truly delicious fish dish, light and delicate in flavour. I will have to go out hunting for Mango tree slabs from a ‘friendly’ timber merchant since I have a feeling that this preparation will be arriving on our table a few times soon.
PS. Since I have been talking about ‘Mangos” here I cannot get a well known song out of my head; a song which I learned whilst living for 3 years out on the wonderful island of Trinidad/W.I. and was made popular in the James Bond Film “Dr. NO”. “……..Underneath the Mango tree me Honey, And me can watch for the moon …..”
(Photos: CS and JS/Manningtreearchive.com)
For the next few months this is going to be my last report from Mysore.
On our last night here at The Regaalis Hotel we had ordered 3 different dishes from Executive Chef Aga and for me it was
500 g boneless chicken
50 g Amul cheese (or mild cheddar)
50 g Amul cooking cream
05 g green cardamom powder
Some chopped coriander leaves
01 tsp white pepper powder
15 g ginger paste
15 g garlic paste
100 g hung curd (thick yoghurt)
50 g cashew nut paste
To taste salt
1-2 nos green chilly, chopped
Cut the chicken into small pieces and marinate with ginger, garlic, cheese, hung curd and chopped coriander, green chilly and the cooking crème. Check seasoning.
Allow chicken to marinate for about 1 hour.
Cook the marinated cubes of chicken on a skewer in a clay pot oven (or under a grill, turning frequently) until 3/4th done.
100 g whole cashew nuts
2-3 nos green chilly
50 g sliced onions
30 ml Ghee or Oil
15 g ginger paste
15 g garlic paste
100 g yoghurt
To taste salt
05 g white pepper powder
1 pinch of saffron strands
2-3 nos green cardamom, whole
Soak and puree the cashew nuts in warm water.
Empty the paste in to a container.
Take some water in a pan, add the sliced onion and green chillies and cook until soft and opaque. Puree the mix once cold. Keep the puree aside.
Take some oil or ghee (clarified butter) in a pan, add the pureed onion, saute for 2 to 3 minutes and add the ginger and garlic paste, cashew nut paste, green cardamom powder, add a cup of water (200 ml). Continue to cook on a slow flame for the next 10 to 20 mins or until the oil starts to separate from the gravy and begins to ‘float’. Add the saffron strands, previously soaked in milk for at least 10 to 15 minutes, and check for taste and seasoning. Keep gravy aside.
Zaffrani Kajuwala Murgh is now ready to be enjoyed with oven fresh Parantha or steamed rice.
This is, as you can see, quite a rich dish. But do not try and cut out the cashew nuts, or the dish becomes something quite different. And once in a while I like to indulge – but I assure you, there is no space for pudding or ice cream left afterwards!
So, and as I bid you ‘farewell’ for today from this ancient city of Mysore, I leave you with just a few pictures until next time. We have already earmarked a whole day at the Royal Palace and its surroundings and I know that Andrea will be only too happy to show you around.
Statues are handcarved out of those kind of granit blocks.
Flowers for the Temple
A lorry load of Party Supporters
A house entrance decorated for a social function
No, this is not a spelling mistake and to be frank, I was not even able to find out why exactly this dish was called ‘Petter Pan’.
Having driven by car for 13 hours to see our youngest daughter, Andrea, we were able to take her out of her College for at least one day and two nights and moved her into our hotel “The Regaalis” in Mysore – the City of Palaces.
Of course we were more than happy to be with her for at least those few hours, but we did not have time to go and visit the Royal Palace (again) – which really is nearly a whole day affair (and worth a blog entry by itself), if one wants to do it properly. It is certainly worth it and if you can plan it try to go on a Sunday evening, when the whole Palace is illuminated with thousands of small lights.
The Regaalis is a very pleasant 4-star hotel not too far from the city centre with swimming pool and an excellent reputation especially for its local cuisine. I was taken into the very spacious kitchen to meet ‘the man in charge’ of this gastronomic territory, Executive Chef Aga Thammar Murthuza, who, in his own words, “… wishes to make the dining experience of each and every guest of his a special one….” And he most certainly did not disappoint any of us.
Andrea chose the above fish dish from the menu and Chef happily parted with his recipe for me to share with you. I promise it is really delicious. In fact I went to my local fish market nearby this morning to see if I could get Basa. And lucky me, I was able to get a nice piece which I will make tomorrow for lunch. If you cannot get Basa fish, any other white (softish) fillet will have to do – but take pain to pull out all the little bones before you cook this fish (I have a thing about bones in fish and will forego to eat even the most delicious dish if there are any bones left!).
Basa Fillet 500 g
Salt and pepper to taste
English Mustard Powder (or readymade) 1 tsp
Lemon Juice 3 Lime
Capers 10-15 no’s
Blanched Spinach 50 g
Baby Potatoes 50 g
Chopped Parsley 15 g
Assorted Vegetables 50 g (Broccoli, Zucchini, Carrot)
Garlic 10 g
Method of Preparation:
Slice the fillets of Basa, marinate with fresh lime juice, mustard powder, salt and pepper.
Allow fish to marinate for 5-10 minutes.
Grill the marinated fillets on a griddle.
In the meantime roughly chop the garlic and the blanched spinach.
Heat 1 tsp of butter in pan, add the chopped garlic, sauté till golden brown, add the spinach and stir for 35 to 40 seconds. Boil the assorted vegetables, drain the water, sauté the vegetables with some butter, a pinch of salt and some dried herbs. Toss the boiled baby potatoes with some butter and chopped parsley. Finally heat some butter in a pan, add the Capers and the lime juice and stir for a couple of seconds.
Once the fish is completely done, dish it out on to a plate. Add some sautéed Garlic Spinach, Parsley, Baby Potatoes and the butter sautéed Vegetables. Top the fish with the caper-butter sauce. Garnish with some chopped parsley and a slice of lime and enjoy the first of our three “Regaalis” dishes created by Chef Aga.
This recipe should really have been posted last Monday to compensate for my absence from my Blog for more than one week. Jo and I decided from one moment to the next to make a 13 hour car journey (one way) to visit both our daughters in their respective Colleges in another part of India.
But more about this in my next post.
This recipe was given to me by Farial, a dear Lebanese girl friend when I lived in West Africa. It is delicious and so easy to make but, the trouble making anything ‘jelly’ in a tropical climate is, that before you can count to 10 the jelly starts melting and if you try to photograph your ‘creation’ as well, you really need to be “Speedy Gonzales” to get a half way decent photo before you have red wine jelly juice!
2/3 oz powdered gelatin
Juice and finely grated rind of ½ lemon
1 fl oz brandy
2 Tbsp water
½ pint dry Spanish (or any other) red wine
8 level Tbsp redcurrant jelly (optional and if available)
4 oz sugar
Put gelatin into a bowl with lemon juice, brandy and 2 Tbsp water and stand for 10 minutes to soften. Put remaining ingredients into a saucepan; bring to the boil, boil for 5 minutes then strain. Add softened gelatin, stir until dissolved. Strain into a 1 ½ pint wetted mould (or any other shapes) and allow to set in a cold place.
Serve with frosted white grapes.
Brush small bunches of grapes with lightly beaten egg white, sprinkle with caster sugar and stand in a cold place for about 1 hour to harden.
…… and all this in one so young.
Whilst we were recently in Bangkok, Ms. Amanda Hyndman, General Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, announced the promotion of Stefan Trepp to the position of their new Executive Chef. He succeeded the brilliant Chef Norbert Kostner who becomes the Hotel’s Culinary Director. I wish them well in their new endeavour.
Chef Stefan was born in 1979 in Switzerland. He started off on the long hard road of culinary excellence to become a Master Chef in Chur/Switzerland, where he studied for 3 years. He very quickly but steadily rose up in his profession by first working in some of the best hotels in Switzerland, before he embarked on his professional journey around the world to the USA, Dubai and the Philippines, where he was Chef de Cuisine of the Mandarin Oriental Manila.
He left Manila in 2007 and joined the Banyan Tree Phuket/Thailand as their Executive Sous Chef in September of that year.
Chef Stefan is a highly innovative Chef who totally lives and breathes food – this is his all time consuming passion and his total dedication to his craft shows in the dishes he prepares for a highly sophisticated international clientele.
In 2009 he joined the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok where he started working closely with the famous Chef Norbert Kostner, the then Executive Chef.
Chef Stefan’s love clearly now belongs to South-East Asia – the places, the peoples, their custom and above all their unique cuisine.
He has an incredible talent for bringing edible art to your plate, but how can one ‘destroy’ such a beautiful ‘picture’ by actually eating it – a good and valid question and the answer is simple – only with a heavy heart! After all nobody likes to destroy beauty.
With Valentine’s Day not too far away, he created a most delightful Appetizer for me and for you, my friends, and he named it:
Steamed Blue River Prawns
Young Vegetables, greens and Mango
Virgin olive oil and Thai lemon dressing
12 pc or 1 kg Blue River Prawns
0.2 kg leek
0.1 kg Carrots
Half a piece of Fennel
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 pc Small Radish, whole, washed
1 pc Carrots, peeled and washed
0.2 kg Fresh Pea in pod washed
1 pc Beetroot whole, unpeeled
0.1 kg Green pea sprouts
8 pc kg Cress flower
8 pc Eatable Nasturtium flowers
0.2 lit Virgin Olive Oil
0.1 lit White wine vinegar
2pc Thai green Lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Method for the Blue River Prawns:
Bring a large pot of water to boil and season with salt and pepper.
Add diced leek, carrots, fennel and onion and boil for 5 minutes.
Reduce heat below boiling point and add Blue River Prawns, simmer gently for 4 minutes.
Allow the Prawns to cool in the cooking liquid.
When cold take out of the water and peel off the shell.
Method for the Vegetables:
Wash and peel carrots and slice into thin long slices.
Boil carrots for 30 seconds in seasoned water. Remove from heat and place in ice cold water to cool.
Roll carrots and set aside until needed for plating.
Wash beetroot and boil in water ca 15-20 minutes or until soft.
Allow beetroot to cool in the cooking liquid.
When cold remove from liquid, peel and slice into thin rounds. Use
a cutter for desired shape and size.
Set beetroot aside until needed for plating.
Slice raw radish into thin disk and set aside until needed for plating.
Add green peas in boiling and well seasoned water until crunchy.
Remove from boiling water and cool in ice water.
When cold peel peas and set aside together with the rest of vegetables.
Mix olive oil, lemon juice and white wine vinegar to a dressing, season with salt and pepper.
For the plating:
Cut Prawns into 3 medium size pieces and gently place on the outer left side of a round plate.
Add the vegetables in between of the Prawns; add eatable Nasturtium flowers, green pea sprouts and cress flower.
Before serving, drizzle vinaigrette carefully over the prawn, vegetables and flowers and add fresh Mango dices.
Tip: This dish can be prepared one day in advance and be plated on the day after or when needed.
(Photos: Manningtree Archive)