My Leiths blogs have told the tale of the delicious food I get to cook/massacre during the day, but for most of us students after hours is reserved for everything but food. Luckily my mum makes me lovely home-cooked dinners (Happy Mother’s Day) when I get home otherwise I’d be eating leftovers in a plastic bag from school as well as take-away burritos from the station. However, my friend Lucie (check out her blog taste-fully) and I were on an after-school mission to make an impressive mid-week dinner worthy of calling ourselves professionals.
After picking up the March issue of Jamie magazine at school we decided upon an Asian fusion menu: pork and prawn gyoza, papaya salad and for dessert, ginseng tea & ginger creme brulee. We had to pootle around Electric Avenue, Brixton looking in specialist shops for green papayas and ginseng powder, neither of which we found. I delayed the search by embarrassing myself in thinking a Hall avocado was a green papaya… We prevailed with our search and got green mangoes and ginseng in syrup instead, as well as picking up a blowtorch to brulee with.
Now I wouldn’t advise doing this menu if you’re short of time as it is a long process filling the gyoza, but you can cheat your way through some steps e.g. using stem ginger tossed in caster sugar instead of making your own crystallized ginger. The Jamie magazine recipes are good but if anything quite advanced and tailored for foodies, with a number of obscure ingredients rather than a supermarket assemble in five minutes easy recipe card. You don’t have to have a lot of specialist equipment though, steam dumplings in a covered pan and grill creme brulees if you don’t have a blowtorch.
The dumplings were delicious, especially with the addition of a little rice wine vinegar in the filling for a zing, keep them moving in the pan so you don’t have any casualties. The salad was great even with the substitutions (we also added pistachios in lieu of peanuts). And a creme brulee on a Wednesday night is always welcomed with open arms, though the ginseng and green tea weren’t really detected the ginger gave a sweet warmth. I’d say it’s worth subscribing to the Jamie magazine (£4 an issue) if you’re a die-hard Jamie fan or just interested in keeping on top of what’s new in food around the globe, it seems to have a good team of researchers and the recipes we tested definitely satisfied two hungry cookery students.