Bangkok 2017

Over the semester break in February, which yes, was almost four months ago (I’m a little behind on my writing) , Benny and I took a hiatus to go back to continent of culinary delights…Asia! With the intention of exploring a new destination, we opted to visit Vietnam but no trip to Asia would be complete without a cheeky stopover in Bangkok. After our wonderful experience in 2016, we had to go back .

This time around we opted to stay at a Hotel near Khao San Road to be near to the hustle and bustle. Casa Nithra was the perfect option as it was within walking distance as well as super clean, affordable and had the friendliest staff!

Having done all the “touristy things ” the year before we could focus on the one thing we came to do: Eat. I came to Asia prepared to pack on the pounds because it would be a crime to not take advantage of Bangkok’s street food culture. Every meal/snack was a new adventure. Though simple in appearance, I find thai street-food to be as comforting as mum’s home-made chicken noodle soup and packed with flavour and I’d pick it over a fancy five-course meal any day.

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Shrimp fried rice
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Crispy pork belly, pickled vegetables and rice drizzled in soy
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Chicken fried rice

 

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Spicy soup noodles with pork dumplings
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Pad Thai and Fried Banana Springrolls

 

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4 Euros for a bucket of alcohol? Yes, what you save in money you pay for in headaches.

When we weren’t eating (which was almost never) we just took the time to relax by the pool, get a massage or drink a cold Chang at one of Bangkok’s many street bars/ restaurants. Though this post isn’t filled with useful tips or adrenaline-filled tales, I just felt the need to convey my love for the city. The bright people, the dusty streets, suicidal tuk tuk drivers and of course countless food stands make Bangkok a breath of metaphorical fresh air.

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That’s all for now, Folks! Look out for my next post on Vietnam.
– A Pearl of the Orient.

 

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PBJ Sandwiches and what?

Like most other foodies, I’m always open to trying new things. It just so happens that I’ve come across a few comments this month about Grilled Peanut Butter, Jam and Brie Sandwiches. Apparently they are the shit. So after coming home starving from Uni today, I popped my head into the fridge and realised I had all the ingredients available so I thought, why not?

Now I know for a fact that oven-melted camembert and cranberry jam go together like Barbie and Ken so I figured, this wouldn’t be much different, except for the addition of peanut butter.

So how did I do it? Simple.
I took out some bread, slabbed a bunch of peanut butter and strawberry jam on each side, stuck thin slices of brie on the top, formed a sandwich and grilled them in a pan.

My verdict?
Meh.
I mean it’s alright… but after reading about how AMAZING this combination tastes, I was left a little disappointed. My mind was not blown. As a result, I’m going to rate this dish a 5/10.

Have you got any weird (but tasty) food combinations for me to try? If so, do let me know!
Hope you all have a great week!

-A Pearl of the Orient.

Pokéball

Now that I’ve grabbed your attention with a misleading title (I know, I’m just SO devious), I will reveal to you that today’s blogpost has nothing to do with Pokemon, rather, with Poke Bowls.

For those of you who don’t know what that is: a Poke Bowl is a Hawaiian-inspired dish with a rice base, topped with greens and raw fish ( usually tuna) which has been marinated in an asian-style sauce. So basically…sushi, but cooler.

One thing you should know about me? If you tag me in a photo of food, I will instantly crave it. My cravings know no boundaries. So yes, after being bombarded with photos of Poke Bowls on social media, I knew I had to have it. However, after multiple google searches, I realised that not a single place in Vienna serves them. If any entrepreneurs are looking to invest in the food industry…here’s your market!

Anyway, seeing as Poke Bowls are not yet a thing over here, I decided to make my own…which was a bad idea. I don’t think there was a problem with the recipe itself, I just happened to succumb to a series of unfortunate events.

Firstly, I went to the store and was quite honestly offended by the price of fresh, sushi-grade salmon. Double the price of sushi from a restaurant, yet half the quantity! So me being me, I thought : Meh, smoked salmon will do. Then, while combining the ingredients, I put in WAY too much soy sauce, obviously forgetting that smoked salmon in itself is pretty salty. In combination with cooking too little rice, my Poke Bowl (though pretty) just ended up tasting like sodium and not much else. So why am I still sharing the recipe with you? Because I feel that if you can follow basic instructions (unlike me) , you’d have a masterpiece…so here it is!



Salmon & Avocado Poke Bowl

Author: justputzing
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Asian, Hawaiian
Prep time:  15 mins
Cook time:  5 mins
Total time:  20 mins
Yields: 4
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb sushi-grade salmon
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • Cooked white rice, to serve
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • ⅛ cup sesame oil
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • Sesame seeds
DIRECTIONS
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together red onion, green onion, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and ginger. Set aside.
  2. Remove bones and skin from your salmon, if any, and cut the fish into ¾″ chunks.
  3. Add fish and avocado to the bowl with the marinade. Toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Serve with extra diced green onions and sesame seeds on top of steamed white rice that has been cooled to room temperature.
  6. Enjoy!

    – A Pearl of the Orient.

Baking bread.

If you have a true appreciation for food, I recommend that you go and watch the Netflix series Cooked by Michael Pollan. ( Side note: Make sure you’ve eaten before-hand because those beautiful visuals make you incredibly hungry. Slobbering is also a possible side-effect.)

The series explores the human history of cooking in regards to the four elements: Earth, Fire, Air and Water and takes us back to the origins of cooking and how it has helped us evolve as a species. It has become increasingly evident that many of us are no longer  interested in where our food comes from and how it is being made as long as it’s tasty and lands on our plate fast.  I too, am guilty of ordering out multiple times a week instead of putting those hands to work. With the food production industry providing quick and delicious alternatives, what need is there to cook?

“When we learned to cook is when we became truly human. But we’ve lost touch, I think, with how that food got to our plates”. –  Michael Pollan.

One of the most eye opening episodes for me was that of Air which revolved around bread, the basic staple of our diet since prehistoric times. I was shocked to realise that I didn’t even know how to make the most basic thing without having to google a recipe because it had always just been there, sitting in its plastic wrapper. Speaking of which, did you know that home-made bread needs about 5 basic ingredients? Now, look at label on the packaging of manufactured bread. How many ingredients can you count? It’s no wonder we’ve become so sensitive to food allergies.

Not only did I come away from that episode with a new found appreciation, love and respect for cooking but also the incredible urge to bake some bread myself and so that’s what I did.

Saturday morning was spent baking a home-made ciabatta and I’ve got to say it was pretty fun. Kneading the dough brought me back to the good old playdough days and I’ll admit I might have eaten some raw …but it tasted so good! My patience was tested while waiting for the dough to rise but it was all worth it. I’d forgotten how satisfying it is to make something from scratch and then have someone to share it with. It was perfect; fresh and toasty out of the oven and paired with fresh prosciutto, tomatoes, mozzarella and olive oil.
If you’d like to give it a go yourself, here’s the awesome recipe I used!

Easy Homemade Ciabatta

Author: The Crepes of Wrath

Prep time:  2 hours 30 mins
Cook time:  40 mins
Total time:  3 hours 10 mins
Serves: 1 large loaf
Perfectly crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside homemade ciabatta bread.
Ingredients
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1¾ cup + 2 tablespoons warm (115 degrees F) water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Pour in the warm water, and beat for 5 solid minutes, either with a mixer or a wooden spoon. If you have a dough hook, use it and knead the mixture for an additional five minutes, until the dough is well combined, otherwise just keep beating with the wooden spoon.
  2. When the dough is well combined, flour your hands, stick ’em in a bowl, and pull parts of the dough up and slap it back down into the bowl. Do this for another 5 minutes. This will push air bubbles into the dough and create nice holes when it bakes.
  3. Oil a large bowl, then plop the dough into that bowl. Drizzle your olive oil over the top of the dough, then cover the bowl in plastic wrap and cover with at towel. Place the bowl in a warm spot and allow it to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then sprinkle it with flour. Flour your hands, and shape the dough into a long loaf, about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with a just touch of flour for strictly aesthetic purposes (trust me, it looks pretty), then bake for 35-40 minutes, until the bread is lightly golden. If you tap the bread, you should feel like it’s hollow – that’s how you know it’s ready! Place the bread on a cooling rack and allow it to cool down for a minimum of 20-30 minutes.

Have a lovely week!

– A Pearl of the Orient.

 

Healthy and delicious ways to start your day.

We all know that most mornings are a battle between getting that extra bit of sleep or having enough time to shower and eat breakfast. But what if you could have a little bit of both? Todays blogpost features some of my favourite go-to breakfasts that are not only quick to make but healthy AND tasty too. We can’t have you starting the day hangry, now can we?

1. Porridge with fruit.

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I can’t say that I was always a fan of porridge but recently I’ve been enjoying Alnatura’s Rotebeeren Frühstucksbrei (Berry flavoured porridge). It’s done in 5 minutes and you’ll be kept full until lunch and that’s coming from me…the girl who eats 4 meals between lunch and dinner.

What you’ll need:
-70g of porridge mix
-100ml of warmed milk
-Fruit of choice
-Coconut flakes (if you’re fancy like me)
-Chia seeds (also optional)

Serves : 1

Mix everything together, let it sit for a few minutes and you’re good to go! Bear in mind you need to add more milk if you prefer a thinner consistency .

 

2. Greek yoghurt and granola.

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I love having greek yoghurt with granola in the morning because I feel like I’m treating myself to dessert. It’s like having cookies, yoghurt and a smoothie all in one.

What you’ll need:

-0% fat greek yoghurt
– 50g granola
-Fruit of choice
– Cinnamon to garnish

Serves: 1

You can also add a tiny teaspoon of honey to the mix but I personally find it sweet enough with the berries and granola in there.

3.Egg cups

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I can’t tell you how great these egg cups are. You just have to try them. Whats great about them is that they can be made in bulk and eaten as snacks or be kept for breakfast the following day.

What you’ll need:
-6 eggs
-Spring onion
-Handful of spinach
-Button mushrooms
-Cherry tomatos
-Ham or Bacon
————–
-Sriracha sauce
-Garlic powder
-Salt and Pepper
————–
– A muffin pan

Serves: 2 ( makes about 8 medium cups)

Start by preheating your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Chop up all your ingredients into small pieces and put them into a bowl. Then, crack in your eggs, add some sriracha sauce or any kind of chilli sauce for a kick of flavour and finally some garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into a muffin pan but only about 2/3 full as the mixture rises and leave it in the oven( while you go shower!) for approximately 15 minutes or till the top is hard.

4. Egg and avocado spread on toast.
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Trying to say that avocado and eggs don’t go together is like telling the crazy cat lady she doesn’t belong with her cats. Essentially, we’re talking about a match made in heaven.

What you’ll need:
-1 Avocado
-2 Eggs
-Lemon
-Garlic powder
-Salt and Pepper

Serves: 2

Place the 2 eggs carefully in a pot of boiling water for about 6 minutes; we are soft boiling the eggs so that they are still nice and gooey and easy to mix later. Cut open the avocado, dispose of the seed and spoon the rest of the contents into a bowl. Once the eggs are done, crack the top open , and empty the egg. Using a fork, mash everything together. Don’t forget to add a dash of lemon juice, garlic powder and some salt and pepper to the mixture. Chilli flakes are also always a great idea if you’re feeling adventurous. Spread this on a toasty slice of whole wheat bread and enjoy.

5. Very Berry protein shake

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If you’re not one to stomach solid food in the morning, this shake is the perfect solution for you. The fact that it tastes like a rainbow in your mouth can also be seen as a plus.

What you’ll need:
– 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (approx.25g)
-100ml of milk
-1 banana
-100g of frozen berries
-A teaspoon of natural peanut butter
– 200-300ml water

Serves: 1 ( approx. 500 ml)

Throw all your ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy.

I hope I was able to provide some inspiration ! Let me know if you decide to try any of the above dishes or if you’ve got any cool variations or ideas of your own.

– A Pearl of the Orient.

 

 

Spinach and Feta Pastry

I’ve decided to post up another perfect student recipe for you all today! A perfect student recipe consists of 4 main aspects. It’s cheap, quick, tasty and requires minimal effort. Your welcome.

I love making this Spinach and Feta Pastry when I’m in the mood for something filling (other than a microwaveable pizza) but don’t feel like messing about in the kitchen for half an hour. It’s delicious and easy to re-heat for lunch over the next 3 days and served well with a side of salad.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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-Spinach(350g)
-Feta  (100g)
-Puff pastry
-One Egg
-Bacon (If desired)

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1: Line a tray with baking paper and preheat the oven to approx. 180 degrees Celsius.
Step 2: Unroll your puff pastry and place it on the tray.
Step 3: In the center, spread out your spinach , feta cheese and bacon (which has been chopped up) evenly.
Step 4: Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Step 5: Crack open an egg into a bowl. Fold in all the sides of the puff pastry to make a small parcel and brush over the sides with egg to make them stick.
Step 6: Flip over the parcel and also coat it with a layer of egg, then place it in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

May your taste buds be delighted! I’m now going to make myself a cup of tea, wrap myself in a blanket and watch a movie. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a great start to the week!

– A Pearl of the Orient.

P.S. I’m sorry about the crap photos, I’m just getting into this and I have no idea what I’m doing! I’m working on it!

 

I’m sorry for what I said while I was hungry

You’ve all heard of the newly coined term “Hangry“.

According to dictionary.com the word is defined as : (Adj) To be irritable as a result of being hungry.

I bet you’re nodding your head now because you can instantly relate as can hundreds of other people who are regularly affected. It’s a horrible emotion isn’t it? I feel like I take it to a whole new level though and the word ‘Irritable’ doesn’t cut it. When I’m hangry, all hell breaks loose and the poor souls around me have to pay the price – especially my boyfriend and you don’t want to be him or the delivery guy who is five minutes late for that matter.

Now, to people who are not slaves to their emotions, this sounds like an excuse to behave like an Oger and get away with it but I promise you this is a very REAL mental state.The only thing I can do to reduce the suffering of those around me and myself is to take preventative measures and quickly recognize the signs of being hangry so I can promptly bring the situation under control.

You know you’re hangry when:
1) Your stomach is grumbling in 2 second intervals. These noises are there for a reason! They are an audible warning sign screaming: FEED ME NOW. When you get the feeling that your stomach is ingesting itself, you’re already too late. You’ve probably already insulted an old lady and stolen a toddlers Lollipop.

2) Everyone starts to irritate you. Suddenly a joke someone just pulled that would’ve had you on the floor an hour ago makes you want to slap them across face…with a brick.

3) The only language you speak is Sarcasm. Everything that comes out of your mouth is sarcastic or extremely negative and any comment on why I’m pulling such a long face will be met with a snide retort of why you woke up this morning looking like Jabba the Hut.

4) You lose the ability to concentrate on anything except for what you’re planning to eat. Images of mouth-watering burgers and golden fries dripping in glorious oil swim in your mind and any tasks involving some form of common sense are beyond you. All that’s left is your shell of a body and the animal instinct to devour everything in sight.

Luckily there are always a few remedies to avoid such outbreaks.

  1. Eat breakfast. For the love of humanity, do it! Eating a healthy and whole breakfast ensures that you start the day with a full belly and high spirits . In the worst case scenario that you haven’t yet had the chance to eat breakfast number 4, you’re not running on fumes.
  2. Drink lots of water. It really curbs your appetite and keeps you full ( to a certain extent of course).
  3. Always carry something to munch on in your bag. A cereal bar, some rice cakes or even a Snickers because: Du bist nicht du, wenn du Hungrig bist 😉

Have a great start to the week and stay happy! – A Pearl of the Orient.

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