Tag Archives: food

Spice Up Your (Thai) Life!

Goong Pad Kari, honestly…

My wife, being a thoroughly modern woman, busy with career, running marathons, catching up with friends etc etc, leaves all the cooking to me. Which is fine! I hasten to add. Because I quite enjoy it.

Good colours…

But even I do get bored a bit, of the same old, same old recipes. So, for 10 weeks on a Saturday morning, I’ve been going to a Thai cookery course at our local school. To spice things up a bit, you understand.

Wok action!

Ever since I was a student, living with a Chinese guy who taught me how to cook rice properly, I’ve been fond of Eastern flavours. And Thai is the best, the freshest, the zingy-est . I just love it. Thai Fish cakes, Masman curries, Pad Thai – we’re working our way through the classic Thai repertoire.

Salmon and Snake beans (+ Kaffir lime leaves)

Eh voila! the resultant fish cakes…

Back-packers favourite – Pad Thai!

My favourite – Masman curry

Our teacher is Surat, born in Udon, northern Thailand. She knows how to wield her wicked looking chopping knives, and she never tires of our really basic questions (can you freeze this? can you reheat that? Can you get the other in Tesco’s?). I wonder if she ever does Spag Bol at home, just for a change?

Getting stuck in

Wok Wizardry

and more magic

We’re 10 in the class, and the ratio is about 3 women to 1 man – again, fine by me… Pretty good showing by the blokes, I think! Shows that I’m not the only one who has to do all the cooking at home (…)

Ooops, too many beans – watch out for Surat!

Digging in.

What an ace way to spend an hour on a Saturday morning. And the best is I go home with the dinner already cooked, leaving me more time to enjoy a glass of wine.

Laab (beef salad to you and me)

Jeez, this is the bit I hate! and the wife doesn’t do this either!!!

If you enjoyed this, check out:

Foodies’ Paradise in Girona, Spain

Foodies’ Paradise in Girona, Spain

The whole reason we went to Spain this year is because we watched Masterchef in January, where the finalists had to do a service in El Celler De Can Roca. “Would you eat that food if you had the chance?” I asked the kids. “Of course”, they answered, “but that 2nd finalist needs to work on his plating-up technique…”. OK, I hadn’t really expected that response,  but I took the hint, phoned the restaurant, booked the table for August, and only then sorted out the rest of the holiday…

Arrival or the pilgrims.

Now there’s not much point only doing a pilgrimage like this half-heartedly, so we invited friends along too. After much dressing up, application of lipstick (just the girls) etc, we arrived at the temple dedicated to Catalan food. What joys await!

2 tomes for wine – one for white, one for red…!

The menu is extraordinary. Choosing is impossible, so it’s simpler to go for the taster menu and have everything… (mind you, we went for the 9 course taster, there is a 14 course beast for those of greater hunger!).

The excitement begins before the main food gets near the table. The Amuses-bouches are a great way for the chefs to show off their talents, and it started with our first surprise. A paper lampoon, which unravels to reveal savoury bonbons:

Tastes of the World: Mexico, Peru, Thailand, Morocco and Japan

You have to work out which flavour is from which country

This next one is amazing: a miniature olive tree is brought to the table, with real olives hanging from the branches, that you pick and eat – right off the tree…

They taste caramelised and pop-corny

Campari explosions, truffled bonbons…

So at this point we haven’t even started the actual menu…. It arrives, each dish more exquisite that the last. Here’s a selection – to whet your appetite (haha…)

Oysters in Cava (which was still fizzing in the bowl!), apple compote, ginger, pineapple, lemon confit and spices

Sole with olive oil, fennel, bergamot, orange, pine nuts and green olives

Sierra Mayor Iberian suckling pig, melon, orange and beetroot (OMG – this is to die for…!)

OK, so I’ve missed a few dishes out (!?!), but hey, we need a drink! So of course, my daughter takes over wine tasting duties. in the other hand is a Coke. How typical!

El Rocallis 07 DO Penedes

Then come the desserts!!! Charles reaches Nirvana, and Imogen relaxes with a fag.

Gold and Chocolate makes a young man happy

A taste of Havana, and a Mojito ice cream

Who thought ash could taste nice !!! (it did…)

After all this indulgence the senses are refreshed with a perfume cone and a homage to Willy Wonker

A quintessence of lemon

Our waiter turns into Willy Wonker

Sweets galore!

All hail the Rocas brothers! We are overcome! Immy, who has made friends with Davide our waiter, asks him “to pass on our compliments to the chefs”. Davide ups the ante, and asks the kids if they would like to meet the chefs? So off we troop to the kitchen (!)

Joan Roca and the kids – how cool is that!!!

And then a tour of the wine cellar. Immy is so delighted she throws her arms around Davide to give him a hug. There is a tear in Davide’s eye. He has been charmed.

50,000+ bottles. I could stay here for ever.

This place is so fantastic. No feeling of pretentiousness or snobbery. The wonderful food, and the welcoming people. These are memories that will last for ever, and after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Smiling god-mother and god-daughter, and a wonderful meal.

If you like this post, here’s 2 food posts that I follow regularly: great food and great stories.



Oi! that kid’s got my baguette!


I like my food, and it looks like I have always done so. This is me, aged 2? 3?. Got my hands on a baguette and I’m not going to give it up. France, no doubt. And here’s me, a year or two later, with a banana. Got a good grip on it, not giving that one up either. Suspect that’s France too.


And then it’s my kids turn. France again for the following pix. This time in the South, Uzes:



And then along came my daughter! A big surprise, as the Pecks hadn’t produced a girl in the whole of the 20th century. She’s made up for that – very girl, very loud

In Beziers, very pink, very smiley

Matching hat, very swish

And so the wheel turns. From father to son, and to daughter of course. Look, I even have the photographic proof. There’s my son, and he’s nicked my baguette!

Cheeky tyke!