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Tried & Tested

In case you need reassurance: all these recipes are tried and tested, as such they have the cookalicious seal of approval.

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1. Jeremy Allard - 14 January 2007

Congratulations on producing such a nice website. I have a question for you.

Hi Cath,
Please can you advise as to why granary bread takes longer to cook than ordinary white bread. It was noticed this morning upon reading the instructions for the home made bread machine.

Thanks in anticipation.

2. cath - 15 January 2007

Hi Jeremy,
Tricky question! My breadmaker also requires an extra hour for any wholewheat or granary flour. I think it has to do with the ease at which gluten forms in white bread, this is what makes the dough elastic – and in the wholemeal and granary flours (or loaves with seeds and nuts) this is harder to form and so takes longer to rise and knead in the program. I’d love to know more about the science of breadmaking so if anyone else has any other ideas about this, please let us know!
Thanks, and happy breadmaking…

3. Dave - 29 April 2007

Hi Cath,

Thanks for all your postings, I find your Thai recipes particularly interesting. I have two questions:

1. How different is the flavour of Thai Basil to normal Basil? I would like to use this in some Thai curries, but have not been able to source Thai Basil locally.

2. Do you have a good recipe for Black Bean Sauce? I have sourced Fermented Black Beans in ginger (Yang brand) but have had little success experminenting with various combinations of Black Beans, Soy Sauce and Cornflour.

Thanks in advance,

4. cath - 30 April 2007

Hi Dave, I can definitely help with the first question, but I’m afraid that black bean sauce is not one of my specialties so I can’t advise about that.

Thai Sweet Basil is much stronger and more aniseed than European basil. You can still use your local basil in recipes – maybe adding a little more than usual to bump up the flavour. Make sure to add the basil after you’ve turned off the heat and serve immediately, that way the flavour and smell will be strong and fresh.
I’ve been lucky enough to find Thai basil amongst the herbs at garden centres and markets around here and it grows well over the summer months. Otherwise I do tend to import it via the local Thai supermarket.
Another note is that there are two other Thai Basil varieties which are different again: Holy Basil, which is quite a unique taste, almost spicy and is generally used in stir-frying; and Lemon Basil which is commonly used with seafood dishes, with a strong lemon flavour and scent. Sweet basil leaves are usually added to curries and is the one I find easiest to get hold of here in Scotland. It generally has a dark purple stalk and dark green leaves, with a strong aniseed scent.

Hope that helps!
Thanks for your questions, and good luck with your Thai cooking,

5. nikita burt - 10 June 2008

hi __________

its a niice website but abit plane. i have a question for you.

when the recipe says that you must use a timer – what do you use if you don’t have one?

6. Shanti - 20 October 2008

Hi Cath

Love the website, especially the Thai recipes. Any suggestions for a dinner for 20 people – buffet style or do they call it fork food? I was thinking Thai style with rice and salads…any suggestions?


7. cath - 21 October 2008

Hi Shanti,
Sounds like a great idea. Thai food is perfect for a large dinner as you get to try a range of dishes. It also generally works buffet-style –
I remember home-cooked buffets for me usually had at least one soup and one curry, typically Tom Yum and Green Curry as these are everyone’s favourites!

A vegetable salad (or my Pomelo salad) is a good option too, you can use the same recipe with other vegetables and/or fruits – try fine slices of carrot, courgette or even cucumber instead of the thai pomelo. It is similar in style to the thai green papaya salad (Som Tam), which I’ve also made with green mangoes.

Also consider a meat-salad option such as a pork or beef Laab, it’s quick & fairly economical as it uses mince rather than steak. Meat salads are served warm, but are just as tasty cold for those late arrivals.

For an easy addition, a thai-style chicken in the oven could work. Using thai flavours that you’ve got left over from the other dishes – lemongrass, ginza, basil, coriander, chilli etc. Slosh in a good dollop of fish sauce and lime juice.

If you like Thai curries, many of the curry pastes are very tasty and easy to use, so you might want to try more than one. A Massaman curry doesn’t use coconut milk – often made with chicken and potato, so this offers a less creamy option.

You can serve all of these with steamed fragrant rice and sticky rice. Traditionally, much of this food also comes with raw vegetables like white cabbage, green beans, cucumber sticks etc. So a mixed raw veg salad would also be a good idea.

Check out my Thai food recipes. https://cookalicious.wordpress.com/category/thai-food/ – I wish I had time to post some more, let me know if there is anything specific you had in mind, and if I have a recipe, I’ll get in online for you!

I would avoid stir-frys, but Vietnamese style spring rolls (raw rather than deep fried!) are quite a good addition – although I don’t have a recipe posted as yet, I’m sure there will be plenty of suggestions out there.

Hope that helps! and good luck with all that cooking!

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