Sunday, 23 March 2014

Spring clean super soba noodles with tofu

So, this post is in dedication to Emily, my flatmate. Don't worry, it's not an "in loving memory", she is alive and well, but she does move out Lolo's HQ in a few weeks. After two years of madness, an alarming number of Green & Blacks chocolate bars and 90% onesie wearing around the house I will miss my partner in crime. She has been a great support of Lolo's kitchen - from being a guinea pig, sous chef and cheerleader. 
Maybe this post should be a dedication to her new diet she has to follow. After some extensive tests, poor Embo has to endure a new regime for 12 weeks. That means no wine, (I repeat, NO WINE, the insanity) no citrus, dairy, berries, sweets, fried food...the list goes on. It goes on for about seven pages! But, there are some things she can eat more of which is very exciting. Tofu, sesame, oily fish, nuts, soya, avocado and red meat being but a few. Hoorah! All mixed together, no thanks. But, I was inspired to make sure my Embo had a tasty dinner she could easily cook up. 
Sesame, so I'm told, is a great source of calcium - and tahini paste is something to behold. A wonderful base for marinating, dressings, sweet fillings, spreads... And so readily available in stores now. 
You can make this recipe with any sort of noodles, swap tofu for chicken/beef/pork- whatever you please. I like soba noodles for this, as it's a great cold - pack it away for lunch al desko! 
Fresh, healthy, Spring clean for your tummy

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Mi-so happy chicken: steamy dreamy one pot chicken wonder

There are many little wins in a  fatty's foodie's day. Today was one of those days where a string of little, insignificant decisions happened to culminate to a very happy day. Pondering over an inconceivable amount of smoothie/juice concoctions and winning with a good choice at Crussh, passing by Whole Foods and being able to find a reasonably sized (and priced) bag of Chia seeds I had been searching for and sitting down for a sunny Sunday brunch without having to wait for a table. The good luck happy vibes had aligned in all it's sunny glory and was topped off with this recipe. I probably could have taken a few more photos to get the styling just right, but my boyfriend and I couldn't stop sneaking bites throughout the shoot. These are the first shots of the year outside in the sunshine, with new little bowls I found at a steal on sale. Hope you like them! So this recipe is now known as my happy mood one pot chicken. 

Traditional Chinese cooking has stayed traditional in every sense of the word. Techniques, produce and values...however the only thing that has moved with the times is the humble rice cooker, the only piece of technology that has ever been integrated and accepted into the Chinese kitchen. And even then, they all seem to look like they're from the 80's. Off white, three buttons, faded Disney stickers... an heirloom to say the least. But boy does it deliver every time. The chicken is placed on the rice halfway through cooking the rice for perfect, gentle fresh and tasty steamed chicken. I can barely call this cooking. 
For those who don't have a rice cooker, shame on you, but it is still possible with a pan. Alternative instructions provided below. Enjoy my fatties foodies!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Star anise plum glazed pork chop

It's been a super weekend with some wonderful warm rays of sunshine. An incredibly British habit to constantly start conversation off with weather, but it can't be helped when we have such little time with the sun. And what followed this British habit was quite the British weekend. Long walks in the park, trips to Maltby street market and foodie treasures and a few setbacks of disappointment. A little house trip to the zoo was thwarted when we arrived just at closing time. Not to worry, we'd booked into a nice supper at Bumpkin, which does beautiful seasonal British food. I was double thwarted when I had set my eyes on the specials - pork chop with kale, only to be told as we were ordering that all the specials had finished. 'Maybe try the pork belly?' said the waiter I then bore a strong disliking to for the rest of the night for not telling me earlier what was available. A delusional and internal rant was circulating around in my head....What sort of crazy substitute is pork belly to pork chop? When you're really happy you've made a decision for pork chops I tell you it's a difficult thing to change your mind. I think I was irrationally upset because I know Bumpkin do such great food, I could imagine exactly how perfect it would have been prepared - quality produce, simply seasoned and immaculately cooked for that memorable and moreish first bite. I settled (hardly settled as it was very tasty) for their 'Cow Pie' but my childish side was still yearning for something I couldn't have. I must have looked up longingly at the specials board at least 10 times. To console myself I set my eyes on their legendary apple pie with hazelnut crumble, which I always like to treat myself to. 
The waiter failed to remember that the apple dessert was off the menu as well. I decided to put him on my hitlist and grumble about my crumble all the way home.

However, with the pork chop craving still set, I decided to create something to satisfy my cravings. Plums are a great fruit to work with, pretty much enough varieties to mean they're always in season, and sweet and tangy enough to add to a sauce for savoury. It's almost a twist on sweet and sour pork, but the star anise and oyster sauce give a more darker and sophisticated flavour. It's surprisingly quick to make, so perfect for a mid week dish.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Supper club - come on down!

Last night Lolo's kitchen met and fed another group of wonderful people for supper club. Here's the menu  for you to peruse. If you're wanting a different experience in London with some of your friends please contact me and we can arrange a date. The food is Asian influenced cuisine, similar to the blog recipes you see here.
The way it works for now is that you organise your mateys to come over, treat my house like a private dining room and enjoy. It's BYOB, so you can bring as much or as little alcohol as you want, choose any tunes which tickle your fancy and eat, dance and drink the night away. For approx £20 per head it includes a cocktail, three courses, nibbles and tea/coffee.
I can accommodate up to 8 people - if you've got special dietary requests, a special occassion, food you want from my blog, themes etc. we can chat together for a more personalised service, just shoot over a little email.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Mochi monsters: Cookies and cream mochi snowballs

Let's defy social conventions...well, nothing too radical - it's just ice cream in March for heaven's sake. It's cold and miserable out there, but there are glimmers and afternoons of sunshine and Spring which can only put a smile on our faces. That, for me, is more than enough of a sign to capitalise on a supermarket ice cream deal.
Hong Kong has the most wonderful flavours when it comes to frozen yoghurts and ice creams - and while they don't have the prestige of a creamy and luxurious Italian gelato, they do take inspiration from neighbouring countries to host a variety of creative concoctions. Mochi being one of them.
I can't claim this as a Hong Kong recipe. Mochi ice cream hails from Japan, but it holds a dear and distant memory of hot and sticky summers in Hong Kong. Back in a dinky old apartment building in North Point where my grandparents lived, I specifically remember being stuck in an uneasy lift with my grandma after a trip to the market. We were there for a good hour, but I specifically remember being consoled by two little snowball dumplings of mochi ice cream. A little toothpick in the packet to pick it up with, the time seemed to fly by as I tried to make the ice cream last as long as possible.

Mochi is a sticky, translucent dough made from glutinous rice flour - almost like an Asian version of Turkish Delight in texture. On its own its not much to behold, however paired with some ice's bliss. I found that London are starting to embrace it, with Snog frozen yoghurt branches offering little mochi cubes as a topping for their delicious Snog yoghurts. Simple to make ahead and keep in your fridge as a mini dessert or sweet treat after work or dinner it's definitely worth trying out. Tips here are to make sure you have a lot of cornflour on hand, as the mixture is extremely sticky (but manageable with corn flour) and try to have cold hands and work quickly. (see my instagram page @loloslittlekitchen to look at a video of the speed you need and how to wrap the mochi)