Whilst Asian food is often difficult for people with gluten intolerances, Cambodian and Laos food has an abundance of dishes that are gloriously soy and of course wheat free.
Laos in particular is a land locked country and has not been as open to trade as its neighbours. Food in Laos is still very traditional - ignoring for a moment, the French influence that has led to some marvellous fusion dishes and baguettes and croissants to die for, a fabulous culinary diversion after a month in Asia.
The recipes I am sharing however are the traditional recipes found in the hills and on the streets where gluten is still not a common ingredient.
The flavourings that are more popularly used are herbs and spices grown in the gardens that are literally everywhere.
The dishes we will be making, whilst divine, are quite simple and the ingredients accessible. I have made a big effort to ensure that the dishes we create in the classes will be dishes that feature on your menus for years to come. Some are special occasion and some you will cook more often.
I hurt my right hand and wrist quite badly on our volcano trek and then fell on it again trying to escape the leeches near the hill tribes. As a result I have been in a splint for 4 weeks and have cooked all of the dishes in the Thermomix.
Therefore, you can choose in the class whether to follow the traditional or more contemporary method.
Whichever way you choose - I guarantee you will be satiated. Scroll down for recipes and details of the apron give-away.
My 11 year old is helping with food styling....mmmm...we both need professional help! She says it tastes better out of a jar and that's fine by me.
We have been a little adventurous with our smoothies lately and the vast majority of them have been green. Yes one of my children had a mini tantrum when presented with it, a little reminiscent of the Green eggs and ham character who is harassed relentlessly by Sam-I-Am.
Green smoothies are just so vogue right now so you really must try one. (Tip request that child closes eyes to taste and all will be well. This I did with my second Guinea pig and she deemed it delicious.)
Tanti throwing child also came around and reluctantly admitted that the kale could not be tasted and that the smoothie was ...yummy.
Below is the recipe for the classic banana, strawberry smoothie. NO Tantrums guaranteed.
Banana & Strawberry Smoothie/ icecream
1 tablespoon linseeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 cup activated almonds (soaked in acidulated water overnight)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup yoghurt
water to thin
Process the seeds in your thermomix or blender. Add almonds and coconut and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Process until well blended. The mix will be solid like ice-cream. Now you have a choice. If you would like the thinner smoothie version, add iced water as desired half - whole cup. Blend and pour.
If you like the look of the more solid version below. Simply spoon into a glass and serve with a spoon. Either way enjoy.
Yesterday my food processor kicked the bucket. She was a fabulous draught horse of a kitchen appliance. Not much to look at or talk about, a sensible, frumpy, hard working model. She had toiled tirelesssly beside me for years, 10 in fact. She was a loyal, compliant member of the kitchen team. Her name was Kit.
Replacing Kit had been on my mind for a couple of years. Being a member of the cutting edge healthy foodie business, it is of course my duty to ensure I am up to date with all of the latest kitchen gadgets...and yet the thought of jumping on the Thermomix train made me a little scared of losing that wonderful traditional wholesome cooking experience. Would the thermomix replace all that I hold dear in my beautiful kitchen? The wooden spoon, the french oven and the egg beater - yes I know that most people think this is a party trick these days but I still have one!
On Tuesday morning I attended a thermomix cooking demonstration. I did not tell Kit. The demonstrator was a friend of mine, a brand spanking new consultant, a cult virgin. She did a great job. She sold a machine and signed up a new consultant.
That afternoon, Kit helped me make a batch of Bliss Balls. When cleaning up I could not remove the food processor bowl from the motor. Kit looked a little pale. I filled her with water and ran out the door to the New Thermomix consultant's sign up meeting...
When I came home, Kit had been washed and was sitting peacefully on the drying up rack. I replaced her bowl on the motor and then tried to refit the blade. I could not help her. The blade shaft was cracked in two places. I think it was her telling me it was time to move on. Thank you Kit for all you have done for me and my family and friends.
I took it as a sign that I had done the right thing. I had not rushed out and bought the newest kitchen applicance and thrown out a perfectly good one. I did not feel guilt as my husband and I carried her tenderly to the garbage bin and bid her a fond farewell.
So now with the mourning period over I embark on a new relationship with a new kitchen appliance and I feel that the time is right.