Gado Gado Satay Sauce

On Sunday Freya painted all day, I gardened all day; and we were both excellently productive.

For dinner I decided to make another tofu dish. We still had 2 packs left that were ‘just’ out of date and I hate throwing food away. I checked a few cookbooks, and found a Gado Gado recipe in Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook. We didn’t have all the ingredients for the whole dish but we did have all the ingredients for the sauce. I was sure I could cobble something together with all the ‘on edge’ leftovers that I had knocking about. At least half the dish could be made – that would do I thought!

Had I read ahead, and read more carefully, I probably wouldn’t have started this sauce so late in the day. It takes at least 90 minutes to make, probably longer. We decided to snack on leftover pork and mash instead and put this sauce aside for another day. Just as well really. It was very hot. Too hot for Freya anyway. She wouldn’t have been impressed at having this smothered all over her dinner. As it happens it wasn’t that hot when I used it for real the next day! Perhaps the tasting spoon was covered in chillies!

The last time I made a sauce that took this long was during a Cookery Course at Loaf in Birmingham. We were making a Massaman curry and had to pound all sorts of spices and chillies and garlic in a very big pestle and mortar for about an hour! I recall asking why you couldn’t just blast it all in a Thermomix, but apparently whacking something releases more flavour. It probably did – but it did seem like a lot of effort.

This doesn’t require any whacking, just a lot of stirring and adding ingredients.

The sauce has garlic, lemongrass, sambal oelek (Indonesian chilli paste), ginger and shallots; all which are blitzed (in a Thermomix (smiley face)) and fried off in oil for almost an hour. You add sweet paprika, sugar, seasoning, tamarind, coconut milk and ‘boiled peanuts’ and keep cooking for some more time. It is worth it honest. It just takes time. Boiling unsalted peanuts for half an hour was definitely something I was glad I read in advance; at least there was some multitasking!

As I said before it is hot; hotter than I expected, but very easily fixed with more coconut cream or yoghurt. It suited my tastes but it isn’t all about me.

This made lots. Four jars worth to be precise. I hope it keeps otherwise that was a lot of effort for nothing. On the plus side our go-to ‘istu 20 minute meal’ of tofu with peanut sauce can probably be modified a little to accommodate this sauce rather than the one in their book.

Would I make this again? Possibly. Are there easier satay sauces out there – most definitely!

Oaty, Nutty, Fruity Cookies

Oaty, Fruity, Nutty Cookies

Sunday turned out to be slightly more productive than Saturday.

For a start we went to the gym and had a very long workout. Freya started experimenting with a rug she is going to knit for the sitting room on the boat. She’s going to knit lots of offcuts of suit fabric on giant needles into a hefty rug of three colours. Early signs are that it is going to be awesome!

While she experimented I went back into the kitchen to bake.

I don’t do sweet things very often (I’m sweet enough as it is – haha) but these cookies caught my eye whilst flicking through the pages I never really look at in any cookery books – the ones at the back with the puddings in !

They are from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage Light and Easy cookbook. Like everything in his book they are ridiculously easy to make – so I knocked up a batch.

All you do is beat some crunchy peanut butter with some runny honey, then add an egg, some bicarbonate of soda, raisins and porridge oats until you have a gooey gloop.

Blob the gloop (dessertspoon sized) in the oven on some baking parchment and bake for about 10 minutes. When they are done cool them on a wire rack. Couldn’t be easier could it! Again – one bowl – one spatula/spoon. No washing up – dead easy.

They are lovely and chewy. Nice and soft. And so peanutty. I don’t usually like peanuts but these were amazing. I think the raisins just sweetened them up enough for me to change my point of view.

It does say in the book that these are best eaten within 2 to 3 days. We made 10. They lasted 2 – 3 hours. I think I’ll make some more today!