Even the boy jumped up and down when I told them we were invited to a Barbie extravaganza at Westfield. The girls mouths dropped and then they all ran around like loons screaming…Ok I guess they were a little excited. Supper was bolted down. Off we set to Westfield Stratford City.
The Barbie Experience, well it was a Barbie Experience Extravaganza. The kids were totally immersed in every kind of Barbie doll and Barbie house and Barbie accoutrement. I literally didn’t see the girls for an hour. Which was totally ok because I was happy to be sitting and drinking champagne and chatting to fellow parents. I love the fact that my boy is completely happy to be surrounded by pinkness and was happily playing with horse riding Barbie and his face when the ‘real Barbie’ turned up! Priceless.
In between dates with Barbie last week I also put together some ideas for food shoots with Lisa Barber and made all the necessary pumpkin carving trick or treating preparations. I always buy a load of squash to turn into various creatures. Then after the event turn them into soup. I don’t even bother peeling them. Just de-seed and if you are feeling particularly virtuous. You can roast the seeds with olive oil and salt and pepper, a little ginger.
If you have carrots and the odd parsnip lying around in the bottom of the fridge throw that in as well. Although go easy on the parsnips. They tend to take over with their sweetness. I roast them till black around the edges and they are soft and sweet. Let them cool and then peel the more robust of the squash, squeeze out the garlic cloves. Set aside.
Heat up some olive oil add a chopped onion, crushed garlic, sauté till translucent then throw in the squash some chill flakes, black pepper and veg or chicken stock. This soup can be a little sweet so add a dash or two of vinegar to cut through the sweetness. Divine!
I had a little gathering this weekend too. I made Sushi and Gyoza. I give you my Gyoza recipe. Have a wonderful week.
Gyoza with Spicy Dipping Sauce
This is my version. I know you are supposed to use minced pork. But I had a couple of friends coming to my party that don’t do pig. I brought a pack of chicken thighs, de-bonned and skinned them and chopped them up roughly. I also chopped up a a handful of raw large prawns too. You do not have to do that at all. Buy chicken breast or just use pork. I just prefer chicken thigh meat to the breast thats all.
20g Cabbage (finely shredded)
2 Garlic Cloves (crushed)
1 Spring Onion (finely chopped)
30 Gyoza Skins
6 chicken thighs (boned and skinned and chopped roughly)
8 large raw tiger prawns (chopped roughly)
1 large red chilli (finely chopped)
6 thai basil leaves (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 pinch of Maldon sea salt
Take all the above and throw into a bowl, use your hands and mix well. Fill up a cup with water.
Now make the dumplings. With a gyoza skin in the palm of one hand, spoon a small amount of the mix into the centre of the skin. Add an amount approximate to a teaspoons worth. Dip your finger in some water and moisten the edge of the skin to make it easy to seal.
Fold the filled gyoza skin in half and pinch at the top to seal it. Now start folding over the skin on the side facing you and pleating it together to achieve an effect like a folding fan when it is open. The goal is to achieve a sealed wrap which has the pleated texture on one side, but is flat on the reverse side. To be honest as long as the gyoza has a flat bottom and the pasty is well sealed you are good to go. As you can see from the picture. I will not win any awards in Gyoza making!
When you have made as many as you need, heat up a little cooking oil in a pan and gently place the gyoza in it with the flat side facing down. Cook on a high heat until the bottom of the gyoza become crispy and golden.
To finish cooking the gyoza, add a small cup of water to the pan so that the gyoza are a third or less submerged. Place a lid on top of the pan and leave the heat on medium-high.
Allow the gyoza to steam until the water has evaporated, then leave them cooking on the bottom a little longer to make sure that they become crispy and delicious.
Spicy Dipping Sauce
Ok this is actually a Vietnamese recipe but what the hell. It is good and it works really well with the Gyoza. As usual with these kind of things measurements are superfluous. It is all about taste. I make a jar and keep it in the fridge, then use it when I am making noodles or stir fry rice. I would probably put it over my cornflakes (if I ate cornflakes).
No measurements just do this to taste. Take a jar and add.
Garlic very finely chopped ( I use about 6 cloves)
Thai small red chillies finely chopped (I use about 6 with seeds in)
Freshly squeezed lime juice.
Taste. Then taste again, adjusting for sweetness, sourness, chilli heat.