Not So Healthy Lunch!

2015-04-15_1357_0019  Sometimes I just want comfort food, something simple and yummy. I love warm bread with fresh lemon curd BUT lemons are not easy to get here so my Cambodian twist on it is orange, passion fruit and lime curd. Also the bread really has to be freshly made and not this nasty bought stuff, it is the anticipation when you smell the bread cooking! I had to make do with my gluten free bread but it still tasted nice.

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Orange Passion Curd2015-04-15_1328_0010

  • 3/4 c juice
  • 1cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c cooled melted butter
  • 1 TBS zest from oranges or limes
  1. Juice of 1 orange, 2 passion fruit and about 10 limes to make up 3/4 cup juice (make sure you sieve it to remove pulp and seeds)
  2. Whisk the eggs in the juice until they are mixed throughrally
  3. Add sugar, butter and zest and mix
  4. Cook at 1 min intervals on high, stir each time with a metal spoon until the mixture turns thicker and coats the back of a spoon
  5. Put in sterilized jars and put the lids on and allow to cool before eating.

Bread2015-04-15_1339_0013

  • 1/2 tsp yeast mixed with 1TBS sugar and 140mls warm water. Mix and leave to begin to bubble
  • Mix in 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 TBS oil
  • 200 mls water
  1. mix all the ingredients together and knead for about 15 mins until smooth and silky.
  2. Put in a bowl and cover and allow to rise for 45-50mins until double the size
  3. Shape into a loaf and put in a greased pan. Cover and leave about 30-40 mins until double the size.
  4. Cook for 35 mins at 180-200. You will know it is finished if it has a nice golden crust and has a hollow sound when you tap it. Allow to cool for about 20 mins before eating.
  5. Alternatively you can put it in a bread maker and follow the makers instructions.

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Pchum Ben

We have just had a week off school as Cambodia celebrates Pchum Ben. I have written about it in a previous post so if you want to know more then read here
The celebrations for Pchum Ben start 16 days before the actual holiday with very early chanting from the monks at the nearby wat (sometimes as early as 4.30 depending on who has arrived at the wat and requires the monk to chant) So this month has been somewhat sleep deprived!
As people are leaving offerings at each wat for their deceased relatives inside and outside the wat will be these piles of food with a cut out of a person or skeleton. Normally I don’t see them but this year I noticed them outside a nearby wat.

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As this is one of the holidays where shops could be closed for up to a week, many Cambodians return to their family in the provinces. It is a time where Phnom Penh is super quiet especially on the roads and the roads going out of Phnom Penh can be busy, so we have always stayed at home and just had a quiet week. This year was no exception! After the actual Pchum Ben day on Wednesday the wat fell blissfully silent and a lie in was actually possible!
I finally finished a project I started 6 weeks ago before school started to make a giant family planner for the wall. Giant it is… and also very bright!

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We were also able to get away to a local hotel with a nice quiet pool where they let you swim as a day visitor…well it was quiet until we arrived! We were the only people using it and it was a nice break from the house. We then finished off the day out with a meal at Divine Pizza.

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Fun Learning Language

One of the things we have always tried to make a priority is to learn Khmer. Ideally this should be done full time for about 18 months for someone to be fluent….with my job that will never happen. The temptation is to give up or not bother but for me talking to someone in their heart language is so important even if I can only communicate a little. So I keep plodding on little by little.Image

Normally I have my lesson during the school day but today is a holiday so I decided to have my lesson with my teacher at the market, much to the amusement of my local market sellers!!! I found out what the names of some of the more strange vegetables were and realized I did know quite a few already.

Some foreigners are a little wary of the market as it is a little crazy, noisy, smelly and looks dirty (underfoot) but I have found the produce to be extremely fresh and most of all I have to practice my Khmer. The sellers are very patient and helpful and sometimes I find really interesting and lovely tasting food.

Yesterday I found a seller who had these deep fried breads which tasted very similar to Indian piri piri bread and they went well with the pork Dansak which I had taught Sambath to make.

While I was at the market I bought ingredients for one of our family favorites, pumpkin and coriander soup so I thought I would share it with you.

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Ingredients or in Khmer “Gruang”

Spicy Pumpkin and Coriander Soup

  • 1/4 pumpkin
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 shallots
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger (adjust for spiciness)
  • 1/2 inch fresh turmeric (or 1/2 tsp dried turmeric)
  • 100g yellow lentils
  • 3 TBS dried coriander
  • 1 dried chilli pepper (optional)
  • fresh coriander (garnish)
  • fresh yoghurtImage
  1. Wash and soak lentils
  2. Soak dried pepper in hot water
  3. Roast coriander seeds on a dry frying  pan until they start popping then grind them.
  4. Chop and fry garlic, onions, ginger and shallots until soft

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  5. Add in ground coriander and stir quickly then put in pumpkin and sweet potato chopped into cubes.
  6. Stir fry until coated then add in blended dried pepper. ( I pound in my mortar with a little of the water it soaked in until it makes a paste)
  7. Now add 1/2 pint of water and lentilsImage
  8. Simmer until vegetables and lentils are soft. This could take about an hour. Top up water as necessary. You made need to do this several times. i put in a cup at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Leave to cool then blend until smooth then return to heat until piping hot
  10. Serve with chopped fresh coriander, yoghurt and bread.

to market to market to buy….

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……pigs snouts or durian anyone? I do like going to the local market but there are some things that I actually really do not want to buy!!! These are two of them. I dont usually get to the maket during the week as it is important when getting fresh fruit and veg  and especially meat to go early. Sambath our house helper will not buy meat after 9:30 so I follow her example! So most of the time I go on the weekend to our local market or maybe the Russian market, Orassay or Olympic if I am after clothes as they are much better than the local one. I find it is an excellent place to practise my Khmer as the shop sellers are really friendly and willing to correct my misprounouced words…also it ofen will get me the loal price rather than the foreigners price!

However not everything in the market is smelly and horrible….

Phoebe and my favourite rest from shopping drink