Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Food trip to Lisbon

Salt cod & potato cake

Garlic prawn

Clams with parsley

Grilled tiger prawn

Mosaic on the road

Cabbage & potato soup

Lisbon city


beef filet steak sandwich
Arriving Lisbon , rainy dark miserable evening was not an ideal for our short break but friendly, chatty , football loving ( Porto ) taxi driver made us very optimistic mood.
Hotel is small and minimalistic Hilton, beautique  hotel, Double Tree, near the metro and central of city, great location.
Very nice with black and white only colour scheme, very modern but too modern for us as an old couple, specially dim lighting of bath room ( ha---)

Next day still drizzling with rain ,took Metro to the centre of River side, busy with tourist and locals, went up the hill see old church, along the narrow hilly road, had shops, small wine bars , snack bars, all very quiet as it is out of tourist season.
Pop in the wine bar, surprised the price 2 euro for the wine and beer, it seems cheapest ( one of ) price we paid in Europe, Still Portugal seemed cheaper than any other capitol in Europe unless you are in Algarve.

Wherever you walk on the road, always typical mosaic pavement, which is quite pretty, I think  Lisbon has a kind of shabby chic beauty with old tile decorated buildings but they are left empty.

Tasted the most famous cabbage, potato soup but rather bland for me, more like our potato & leek soup, had potato& salt cod cake, very filling , tasty and good for a hungry lunch customers, I guess.

Finally we went to Ramiro seafood restaurant, it is in rather edge of the city, looks more like Chinese town. It is well known to the foodies and tourist and do not take reservation ( this is a good sign) .
We joined the queue, still rainy but has good atmosphere , we talked with locals and tourist.
We had to wait an hour but one tourist from USA, behind us were not amused by this queue, complaining to his poor wife, why has to be here, well, hope he enjoyed as we are and apologized to his wife.

We started with Garlic prawn, you can not imagine how many garlic pieces in this, quickly cooked in olive oil and chilli, and sweet Clams and parsley were equally tasty.
Followed by grilled 2 huge Tiger prawns, with butter sauce, wow ! what can I say!!
All washed down with mild  local beer. cost: 60 Euro !

We had to visit again to Ramiro, on the day we were leaving.
We went for very early lunch, got in without queuing, lucky!

Start with oyster, very fresh and clean ocean taste, loved it. Iberico ham , very good again garlic prawn ( I will try at home soon), and 2 beef filet steak sandwich, again perfectly cooked as medium rare and a few garlic pieces, it is a custom to finish with beef sandwich after seafood for the locals, who can ague with this?? and beer. cost ; 45euro, how good is it????

All very quick and served by efficient but friendly stuff. no wonder all foodies love this restaurant.

All I can say I had memorable food break in Lisbon  specially at Ramiro.
Had to have the most famous sweet pie, Custard pie , it is too sweet for me, I'd rather have our custard pie , specially from Marcus Wearing's recipe.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Meat Free Dinner

Baked whole cauliflower


Red lentil& squash dal

Tofu stew

Veggie pancake

All well known chefs seemed campaigning to have Meat Free Monday, but for me it is not all practical,  reason, I always seemed to have left over meat from Sunday roast.
I've decided have meat free Wednesday .
Meat& fish free meal needs  more work unless you have Vegetable stir frying, which is too often use by all. I needs something more to impress to my family.
It is a good idea to mix with Indian and Korean dishes as they are all eaten with rice.

Resent our family favourite is baked cauliflower, boiled as whole for 3 minutes and transfer in a oven proof dish , season with salt,pepper, curry powder, sprinkle over with cheese and bake until topping is cooked , make crispy crust.
They are so pretty to look at.
Dal is another , red lentil cooked with onion and cumin, chilli , so simple but tasty , and provide protein. Adding butternut squash was my idea.

Tofu stew with chilli & bean paste , courgette and chive, shiso leave Korean pancake , I use as a sort of starter as they needs to be eaten when they are hot.

Being Korean food writer meat free meal is not one street menu, I can make many kind of Korean side meat free dishes and they are delicious. Mix up with Indian, Chinese makes more interesting.

Do not make single meat free dish, just mix and match, your family won't notice they are meat free meal.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

My vist to Seoul & Jeju island Korea

Slow cooked pork in Jeju

Jeju beach with volcano stones

Dogani tang
Makguli ( rice wine)

Mung bean & kimci pancake

Changduk Palace

Changduk Palace

Pork &Squid Bossam

Stuffed squid

Seafood pancake

Grilled Silver fish in Jeju

Raw fish hoe in Jeju

Spicy belly pork stew in jeju

Pork stew with side dishes

My visit Seoul and Jeju island was mainly talking and eating Korean foods with family and friends, mainly with family. Foods were great as I remember, soft spring onion with seafood pancake, mung- bean pancake with makguli reminds me my youth .  When you bite spring onion pancake, soft and tenderness of spring onion was just so great, somehow  I could not get in here in here in England , looks same but so hard like almost woody.
Stuffed squid with seasoned rice , squid and belly pork stew cooked on the table was my new discovery, can not wait to try here, it will be my recipes, I am sure.
Walking around more understated Changduk palace under late Summer heat , admiring real Korean charm , talking with my elder sister, it was  a sheer joy.
Visit Jeju, I have not been to Jeju since 1968!  with 3 sisters and 2 sister in laws, we hired a car with driver/guide, I enjoyed family gathering but too many theme park around island, wish left as it was. well times are changing in every corner or Korea, even Jeju .
Loved Sea side in Jeju, still the same as I remember with black volcano stones.
Foods in Jeju were quite something, fresh fish, sea foods, black pig, sea vegetables and mountain veggies are all just delicious!
Found exceptionally good Korean BBQ in North Seoul, their slowly cooked Beef rib soup was best I had for a long time.

One thing bothered me greatly since my last visit in 2012, most of family does not make kimchi  at home even they have a helper in the house. 
A good kimchi ( like home made ) is available at posh food shop but sadly taste are all same. I was very happy to see my family is making kimchi at home still.

These home made kimchi will be rare thing soon I fear , desperately sad but it will be.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

My Visit to Seoul

Hi, all.

The Autumn is here it seemed. I am off to Seoul tomorrow ( 4th. Sept).
I will be spoiled by the choices what to eat in Korea, already my family asked me what would you like to have for my first supper on my arrival, 5th.
 I will have oyster, my favourite raw fish and blow fish stew in my home town ( south east) style ( non spicy but a little sour and plenty of Korean water cress/ parsley), yum!
I can not wait.

I probably eat oyster every day which I can afford in Korea not with champagne mind you, may be with Korean sake or makguli.

Hope when I am back from Korea I will write my food journey and photos.

Oh my Korean Thanks Giving Day ( Chuseok) celebration meal on 8th of September will be historical.
After service for the our ancestor,  all our clan, Chos will sit down ( more than 30) have this special meal. Of which I never be able to re-create in my house here, somehow its taste not good as in Korea.
I have not had Chuseok ceremonial meal since 1979, OMG! it will be a such emotional and  memorable meal, I can tell you!!

By the way my Cookery dates are 27th,Sept and 4th, 11th October.

Raw fishes with side dishes

Sea Vegetable

Fish market

Kungbok palace

Korean door ( window)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Grilled( Baked) Chicken thigh with korean spicy sauce.닭 고추장 구이

Chicken thigh with marinating sauce

Grilled chicken with carrot & beetroot salad

I made this recipe using my favourite Korean seasoning sauce, Gochujang,고추장 ( chilli paste).
Gochujang is fermented Korean chilli powder mix with rice powder.

It is used as seasoning sauce for bibimbab( rice with mixed vegetables and beef)
 Mix with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and honey.  I was very surprised by BBC food presenter did not know about this sauce or any Korean foods. One guest chef using this gochujang  for his lamb cutlet, he seemed confused by all.
I realised then, Korean food popularity is still a cult kind of situation in London, perhaps for only foodies and chefs who are  looking for new thing. just for the popularity and its taste

It is spicy but has a sweet note. I love using this sauce , unlike Japanese, Korean raw fish ( sangsun hoe) dipping sauce is mix with, gochujang, vinegar, honey and sesame oil. I prefer this than wasabi and soy sauce specially nice firm fish.

This chilli paste makes a good Bossam ( cooked belly pork in the lettuce wrap with chopped kimchi) sauce when mixed with bean paste. Thinly sliced belly pork marinated this sauce with honey, makes excellent BBQ .

We all love my spicy grilled chicken, I often make as a weekend supper with rice, cucumber  or carrot & beet root salad and kimchi. it is a perfect week-end meal.


12 pieces of chicken thigh meat ( boned and skinned)

Marinating sauce:

1 tbsp  gochujang ( Korean chilli paste) : can be less if you think it is too spicy
2 tsp bean paste or  Chinese black bean paste
2 tsp grated garlic
1tsp grated ginger
1 tbs sesame oil.
2 tbs dark soy sauce
2 tbs  sugar or runny honey
2 tbs  chopped spring onions
1 tsp grated black pepper
3 tbsp apple juice or grated conference pear, kiwi fruit


Make sure chicken meat has not extra fat or skin attached.
Mix all marinating ingredients in a big bowl and spread chicken thigh in a big container, spread sauce evenly on the chicken and leave in the fridge for 4 hours at least.

Take out chicken 30 minutes before cooking time to be at room temperature.
Spread out on the roasting tin, cover with foil. Put in the oven ( 180c) for 30 minutes and take off foil, turn oven at 200c cook until lightly brown .

If you like to be grilled , put high setting, grill after bake 30 minutes.

Serve with chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seed on the top.
Meat will be spicy, sweet and nutty taste, melt in your mouth.
It is good with cooked rice or noodles.( I prefer rice stick noodles)


I can not live without this gochujang in my kitchen, such unique paste, not like soy sauce or bean paste I can not substitute any other  Asia chilli sauce .

Korean sauce ( gochujang, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Lazy Saturday Lunch with octopus salad

Octopus salad with chilli & red onion

We love late week-end Summer lunch , usually with cold cuts and nice green
salad and nice crunch bread.
This week I found nice fresh Cornish octopus were in the fish corner, have to buy.
We love octopus, specially Italian style with red onion. red chilli, lemon zest, juice
extra olive oil.
But how do you cook octopus?

If  you do not cook properly it can be very chewy and hard to eat.
Put water into the large pan to cover octopus, onion cut in half with brown skin on, 1 carrot, half celery stick, 7 pepper corn, small piece of ginger, 2 covers of garlic and 1 glass of red wine , 1 dry chilli ( small), salt 1 tsp.
Add octopus and let it boil for 2 minutes and simmer for at least 30-45 minutes ( depends on the size of octopus) and check.
If octopus is tender still got a bite , take out and keep leave them to cool.

Slice 1 red onion very thin.
1-2 red chilli ( not bird eye chilli, long ones) cut thin.
1 tbs extra olive oil, one lemon zest and juice
mix together ,Season with salt.
Cut the octopus bite size and mix with onion, chilli mix and season .

Our family love this octopus salad in Summer season, I make spicy octopus stew with Korean spices when the weather is cold.
Hope I can find octopus often at the fish corner specially Cornish one is not too big , easy to cook.
I love grilled octopus as well, if I can find big ones.
I do not know why a lots of people in Britain does not cook octopus at home, the meat texture is just like chicken thigh.
I think too many people eat fish looks pretty, squid, octopus look weird or just does not know how to handle.
Do try at home !
Our dessert was juicy white peach, they are strangely beautiful to look and taste even better. 

White peaches

Lazy Saturday lunch

Monday, 7 July 2014

London Korean Street food Competition.

Tteokbokki with Cheese

Tteokbokki  with Cheese

Bulgogi sauce marinated Hamburger

the Judges

Stuffed fried Chicken ( The winner)



Black rice with Gochujang & Mayo sauce

Contestant and Judges

This year  Korean Culture centre  UK had put up Korean Street Competition on 5th of July at Central street cookery School.
Last year one of my cookery member did got to the final three but sadly lost to the professional chef , Jordan Burke, and he won the Global competition in Seoul.
It is a good event to promote Korean Food world wide.

My a brave cookery member is contesting with black rice with gochujang & mayo sauce.
I thought I can cheer him up a bit to be there.  He is making rather complicated Spanish Black Rice with Korean Sauce.

This year finalist 7 people, 2 professional chefs and 5 amateur cooks were competing.
 Kitchen was heating up when I arrived, all contestants were having a finishing touch but unfortunately, my member is seriously late. I was worried that he will get a huge penalty being late serving to the judges.
But I can only to give encouragement words , He shouldn't make fresh fish stock for this , ready made
stock would be fine as  only 1 and half hour cooking time were allowed.

The dishes were 1, Small pot of tteokbokki with cheese on the top, 2, Baked ttokbokki with Cheese.
3. Bulgogi in the French bread, 4, Beef & pork, tofu stuffed dumpling with crispy skin.
5, Bulgogi sauce marinated hamburger with gochujang & mayo sauce.
6. Stuffed fried chicken  7, Black squid rice with prawn and gochujang & mayo sauce.

I have tasted all of them at the kitchen only one standing out for me, as for the taste and idea, individuality and presentation.
Bulgogi was too tough and salty, not touched any wine, or grated pear or apple juice in the marinating sauce in order to tenderise it seemed ( I am guessing, he may have).

 Tteokbokki  dish was too chewy, It could have been a good dish make Korean Italian pizza but base was too thick, thinly sliced tteok may have worked.
The other ttoekbokki is slightly better in a small dish and adding mushroom makes moist than the other.

Hamburger was nearly  same as Kalbi Bros ( whom I met London Taste Festival) , they do sell their burger at East End Urban Fest.  But tasty and moist.

Dumpling were tasty but lack of her own idea, she made real well  after all she is a chef.

Black rice were tasty but too late, his idea was wrap in the egg pancake, with contrasting colour, but ran out time, poor Dan!

Fried stuffed chicken by chef, Hejazi  was original and tasty . It was the winning dish in this contest, I was very glad the Judges thought same as me.
I think it needs more  to develop into the really a good dish , she has to compete in Korea with other contestants from all over the world.

Two chefs made ( Dumpling & Fried Chicken) good dishes but other amateur cooks need more understanding ingredients and texture.
Ttokbokki seemed universally loved by young people as in Korea.

The winner, Shokofeh Hejazi was a ex lawyer became a chef  ( love her story and very brave to changing the profession)and currently working in the restaurant in London.  Her family comes from Iran,

If I can advice her dish, should be use Persian spice like Sumac and Korean Spice and make something unique. Something more spicy and tangy sauce perhaps.