Cooking up a Storm! (with Thaikhun Cookery School)

I love food. Sadly for my waistline and ‘shapely’ butt.

via GIPHY

There isn’t much I don’t like food wise to be honest (except offal, oysters, mussels, black pudding, haggis…ok, there is a fair bit I don’t like) but one of my most favourite cuisines has to be Thai.

I love Chinese food but there is something really special about Thai food, the fragrant curry’s, the unusual herbs and spices they use, that I really like. That said, I am useless at cooking anything Thai. I don’t know what it is, I think that possibly I’m a bit daunted by all the ingredients and it can sometimes look a bit fiddly or time consuming. More often than not I have just had a long day of chasing a toddler about, as well as dealing with my older two, and I am too tired to even think about cooking something new and exciting. I try my best but sometimes, when you come downstairs at 8pm after putting your kids to bed you really don’t feel like slaving over the stove for ages.

Because of feeling uninspired in the kitchen, I was over the moon to hear from the lovely folks at Thaikhun, Guildford to see if I wanted to go and take part in a new cooking school they have started. I was a bit nervous about it but I put on my big girl pants and said yes. It helped that I could take a friend and I immediately knew who that would be. No, not my husband! Hahaha! You guys. No, my best friend, Chloe. A girls night out accompanied by Thai food. Win!

Chloe is a foodie if ever I saw one.  Seriously, this woman knows her stuff. She enjoys food, loves cooking, likes discovering new things and is literally one of the best cooks I know. Very different to myself. Sorry kids. Thankfully she jumped at the chance to come along with me so we got booked on and waited for the day to arrive.

Just before the event, we were told what we would be cooking to whet our appetites. Starter would be Vegetable spring rolls and Main was Thai Green Curry, which is Chloe’s favourite. I am also a fan but only if it isn’t too hot with chili! I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to spice.

The day arrived and we got to the venue 15 minutes before it was due to start so we could sign a disclaimer. I can’t recall what was on it particularly now but I think the jist was that they wouldn’t be held responsible if we were completely inept with a knife and hacked one of our fingers off whilst chopping a carrot nor sue them if you made yourself sick by not cooking your food properly. Both things were entirely feasible with me there!

We were in a group of 9 people and everyone was really lovely. We were all eager to get started and hungry too!

Upon signing our disclaimers, we were bought a welcome drink which was a non-alcoholic mocktail. It was served in a noodle pot with a chili on the side which was different but funky and it tasted very nice. We both enjoyed it. They also bought us over some prawn crackers to chomp on – nom, nom, nom.

ThaikhunMocktail

After a few minutes, it was time to get cooking!

We had to don an apron and a fantastically flattering white paper chefs hat to turn us into master Thai chefs. I honestly looked so classy folks. The main issue was I had tied my hair up because we were cooking and the ponytail was impeding the hat from staying on my sodding head. It kept popping off and I was having visions of it flying off onto the hob, setting alight and then me being responsible for a mammoth fire. I will tell you all I ‘lost it’ after the starters were made. I still have no idea where it went… (*Bin*ahem*)

Thaikhun Cookery schooll

We headed over to the demo table to watch the pro chef make his veggie spring rolls and then, after a watch (I literally gazed on in amazement at how quickly the chef could chop veg and roll these things!) and a taste, it was time to get cooking. It was a bit like the Generation Game! My memory is as bad as Dory’s from Finding Nemo so thankfully Chloe had taken it all in and I happily became comme chef. Chloe is a ninja with a knife so she did the chopping and I did the grating/frying. I am an expert with a deep fat fryer. Deep fried Mars Bar anyone?!

 Thaikhun cookery school

I made the first spring roll and it was a little on the small side shall we say. I should have gone bigger but I was being cautious. Chloe made one next and hers was far larger than mine so I decided to make my next one the same size as hers. It was spring roll wars. Being the div I am, my next one was even bigger than Chloe’s! By the end of making 5 of the things, we had 5 very un-uniform (thanks to me) spring rolls. Bigger is better folks. Bigger is better. Paul Hollywood would have given 0 for uniformity put it that way.

Vegetab;e spring rolls Thaikhun

The recipe was really simple and we were stunned by how good just a few simple ingredients (veg at that!) could taste. Frying does make most things taste amazing though doesn’t it. After cooking our 5 spring rolls, we were allowed to sit down and scoff them. We thoroughly enjoyed this part!

Vegetable spring roll filling Thaikhun

We then went back to the demo table to learn how to make the Thai Green Curry. This was more complex because they showed us how to make a green curry paste from scratch which was really interesting.  However, the best bit is…even they use ready made paste in their currys! Woo hoo! I loved that. So, if you buy your green curry paste ready to go, this dish literally takes about 25 minutes from start to finish. Super quick and easy.

Thai green curry thaikhun cooking school

Once it was our turn to have a go, we went back to our work station (it was a large table set up with the ingredients, camping stoves and chopping boards for each couple which worked well). Chloe was once again on chopping duty and I stood and watched, sorry, learnt. I also had a chuckle to myself at the rubber gloves that were put out for us because they were called, Feelers ‘Food mates’. Don’t know why I found that funny, but I did. Simple things, eh?!

Feelers rubber gloves

The curry was made in no time at all and a real revelation to us both was not to fry the chicken before putting it in the curry. It goes in raw and almost poaches in the curry sauce which makes it really tender and juicy. It was so scrummy.

Thai green curry we made

Luckily for me it was spicy but not too much so I scoffed my bowl full, as did Chloe. Any leftover ingredients that we hadn’t cooked (like veg for the spring rolls) were boxed up in takeaway boxes so we could bring them home rather than them go to waste.

At the end of the session, we were asked to fill in a feedback form and we were all given a lovely goodie bag so we could recreate the dishes at home. It was a really great touch at the end of a smashing evening. With full goodie bags, full tummies and a new found confidence to cook Thai food more at home from scratch, we went on our way and I got home to bend my husbands ear regarding how good it was. I think he was a bit jealous so he pretended to not be too interested until the next day when I made Green Curry for dinner. Then he perked up. The way to a man’s heart and all that…


Myself and Chloe would honestly recommend Thaikhun cooking school to anyone. We learnt a lot, had fun, came away inspired and decided it would be a wonderful thing to do as a Hen-do or birthday party for adults. I know we would happily both go back.

Thaikhun cooking schools are available at various locations across the country. Prices (at the time of writing) are £50 per person which includes all ingredients, sitting down to eat your food, a welcome drink and a goodie bag. Pretty good value for a lifetime of cooking knowledge.

You can book on to a local Thaikhun thai cooking school session by clicking here.

Thank you for inviting us Thaikhun, Guildford. We shall be back!

Sa-wùt dee kà




Get your Bake On: Poke Ball Biscuits (Pokemon Go!)

Get your Bake On: Poke Ball Biscuits (Pokemon Go!)

 Enlight1 (18)

 If your household hasn’t been bitten by the Pokemon Go bug yet, well done you. I’ve no idea how you have escaped it, but kudos to you.

My boys (not my husband…yet) are obsessed with it and I am 99% sure that this is what our summer holidays will be spent doing.

In fairness, I don’t mind it too much. It’s actually getting the kids asking to go for walks, to spend time outside and to explore. All things I used to do when I was a kid in the summer holidays before numerous on demand TV channels, iPad’s and computer games existed. It’s actually quite nice. The only bummer is my mobile phone has been nabbed by my 8 year old I can’t use it for anything by the time I want to because the battery is so depleted!

Anyhow, in homage to Pokemon Go, and as a summer holiday activity, here is my recipe for (standard) Poke Ball Biscuits! If you google Poke Balls online, there are many different variants of them, but I went with the simplest version for this seen as I am very much a ‘home baker’.

So, here we go!

Gotta catch em all!


Ingredients

For the Biscuit Dough

250g butter, softened

140g caster sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

300g plain flour

For the Icing

500g Box of Royal Icing Sugar (I used this one by Silver Spoon)

50ml Cold Water (in a jug – you may or may not need all of this water)

Red Gel Food Colouring (Gel food colour is much better and gives a more vivid colour than Liquid)

Black writing Icing (Again, I used Silver Spoon)


 Method

1 – Pre-heat the oven to 180’c (160’c Fan) and line a large baking tray/sheet with grease-proof paper.

2 – Mix 250g softened butter and 140g caster sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, or in a freestanding mixer.

3 – Add 1 egg yolk and 2 tsp vanilla extract, then briefly beat to combine.

4 – Sift in 300g plain flour and mix the ingredients until they are well combined

(you might need to get your hands in at the end to give everything a really good mix and press the dough together)

5 – Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out until 1/2cm thick.

6 – Cut the dough using a circular cutter, use whichever size you wish but I used a 3inch one.

7 – Place the dough circles on the baking sheet, leaving a gap of about 3cm between each biscuit, and bake for 15 minutes. The biscuits should still be pale and only lightly coloured on the edges.

8 – Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on the tray. This is important, otherwise your biscuits will be too fragile to move and will possibly break.

9 – Once cooled slightly, remove from the baking tray and place onto a cooling rack so they can cool completely. Repeat this baking process for the remaining uncooked biscuits.

Now you’re ready to decorate!

Whoop!

1 – Empty the contents of the Royal Icing box into a large mixing bowl, I used my stand mixer for this part.

2 – Add water, slowly, until the desired consistency is reached. For me, this desired consistency is known as the 5 second stage, in that the icing, when dropped from a height, takes 5 seconds to mix back into the icing in the bowl. Quite firm but runny enough to pipe.

3 – When the icing has reached it’s desired consistency, pour half of it into a disposable piping bag

(Tip: I place my piping bags in a pint glass and pull the edges over the top of it to keep it in place. I then put the icing in and it is fairly mess free!)

4 – Colour the remaining half of the icing using your Red Gel colouring and mix well. I used about 1/2 a teaspoon of colouring, but judging it by eye is always your best bet. You want a vivid red for these Poke Ball biscuits.

5 – Pipe half of your biscuit with the white icing, doing the border first and then filling it in.

(Tip: I always keep a couple of cocktail sticks handy so I can move the icing about/fill in any gaps on the biscuit easily)

6 – Leave to set for 10 minutes.

7 – Now repeat this step with the red icing on the other half of the biscuit.

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8 – Now leave to set for a bit again, 15 minutes or so just to be sure.

9 – Take your black writing icing and pipe a line across the middle of the biscuit to hide the join line between the white and red halves.

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10 –  Now pipe a black circle in the middle of each Poke Ball, about the size of a 10p.

11 – Finally, pipe a little white dot into the middle of the Poke Ball, on top of the black circle you just piped.

12 – Leave to dry, preferably for 4 hours or overnight. Once the icing has dried, you’re safe to place the biscuits in an airtight container or zip-lock bag for a couple of days…if they last that long!

And there we have it!

Enlight1 (20)

Poke Ball biscuits fit for any Summer Holiday Pokemon hunter, or for a kids birthday party!

Enlight1 (19)


 If you have a go at these biscuits, do let me know by sharing your photos on my Facebook page or by tagging me over on Instagram @lifeisknutts.

Have a super (Pokemon Go!) Summer Knutters!

Gems.x

PS: Here is a photo of the Toddler after munching one of these…it’s safe to say he enjoyed it! 😉

Enlight1 (21)

You Baby Me Mummy



Pick your Poison: Chocolate and Hazelnut Iced Coffee

Pick your Poison: Chocolate and Hazelnut Iced Coffee

Enlight1 (11)

The weather here in the UK this week has been bonkers. My car said it was 41’c inside it the other day when I got in.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like the warm weather but I was literally melting and the toddler was a miserable, sweaty mess too. Nobody got any sleep and I think it is pretty safe to say we actually enjoyed a bit of a breeze and a spot of cloud in our household yesterday! (Sorry sun worshipers…)

Anyhow, in all the heat, I really fancied an iced coffee so had a tinker about and came up with this version. It has a Nuttella type spread in it so imagine a coffee flavoured Ferrero Rocher and you’re pretty much there. Yummers.


 Ingredients

(to make 2 jam jars/glasses of Nuttella Iced Coffee)

2 Heaped Tablespoons of Nuttella or a Nuttella equivalent (plus a little extra to decorate the inside of your glasses)

(I actually used a spread called Duo by Penotti – it is a Vanilla and Chocolate spread and it’s super delicious! I got mine from Ocado)

100g ice (crushed preferably but not essential as long as your blender blades can handle the ice cubes)

300ml milk

150ml Strong black coffee, which has been brewed and left to cool down.

 Whipped cream to serve

Cocoa Powder to decorate


Method

1 – Place the ice,  hazelnut spread, cooled coffee and milk in a blender.

2 – Whizz for a minute or so.

3 – Using the back of a spoon, dip the spoon in your chocolate & hazelnut spread and smear it around the inside of your glass. This is where the double coloured spread came into it’s own, it looked completely lush!

4 – Pour the iced coffee into the glass and top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cocoa powder.

Enjoy with a straw…and a bit of sunshine! 😉

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 If you have a go at this recipe, do share it with me on my Facebook Page or over on instagram by tagging me @lifeisknutts

Gems.x




Get your Bake On! White Chocolate Easter Egg ‘Bark’

White Chocolate Easter Egg ‘Bark’

Another recipe from the house of Knutts…otherwise known as the Knutt House!

Today, me and the toddler had a bit of time to kill and he was driving me mad asking for milk every 2 minutes…seriously, this kid can DRINK! Lord help me when he’s old enough to go to the pub and he has a taste for alcohol if he carries on at this rate!

We used some of our time to concoct something using up a multitude of Easter Eggs which have been sat in the cupboard taunting me (eat me! eat me! I can hear them….and I can’t stop myself!) so they had to go. And this seemed like a fitting way to dispose of them…

And so, today, White Chocolate Easter Egg ‘Bark’ was born!

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Ingredients:

300g – White chocolate (I used easter eggs)

1 cup – Marshmallows

1 cup – Mini Eggs (or anything else you have lying about that you need to use up!)

4 cups – Rice Crispies

Small amount of different food colourings, if you wish to marble different coloured chocolate into the mix too to make it look even more e-number ridden!

 

Method:

  1. Break your chocolate up into pieces so it melts quicker.
  2. Using a bain marie (basically a saucepan filled with a little water and a glass bowl sat on the top of it), melt your chocolate.
  3. Tip your rice krispies and half of your marshmallows and half of your mini eggs into a large bowl.
  4. Once the chocolate has melted, pour 3/4 of it into the rice krispy/marshmallow bowl and mix.
  5. Tip the remaining white chocolate into 2 small bowls and colour these pots of chocolate using the food colouring of your choice.
  6. Line a baking tin with cling film.
  7. Tip the white chocolate/rice krispie/marshmallow/mini egg mixture into the prepared tin.
  8. Blob the coloured chocolate at random over the top of your rice krispie/chocolate mixture. IMG_9229
  9. Using a knife/skewer or end of a spoon, swirl the mixtures together until you’re happy with how they look. The toddler really took his time over this bit….the messier the better! 😉IMG_9237
  10. Once you’ve prised the mixing implement from your toddlers hand, and stopped them from eating all of the mixture, you’re ready to throw the remaining marshmallows and mini eggs on top.
  11. Push the marshmallows and mini eggs into the rice krispie mixture slightly and pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours at least to set.
  12. Once set, remove from the tray using the cling film to help lift it out and cut of break into pieces.
  13. Scoff it!!!!!!!!!

We hope you manage to have some fun making this and that your easter egg stash depletes a little!

If you have a go, do share your photos on my Facebook page or over on Instagram!

Happy baking!

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And finally….yet again, the toddler had a strop whilst cooking as he didn’t like the fact I asked him not to keep eating the mixture and marshmallows rather than putting it in the bowl.

I’m such an awful mummy… 😉

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My attempt at Creme Egg Cookies by Britt @ ‘She who bakes’

My first attempt at Creme Egg cookies by the amazing Britt at She Who Bakes.

I didn’t have any orange coloring to hand so just went with chocolate on the top and they still taste super yummy, they just don’t look quite as lovely as Britts! 

They’re basically cookie dough covered mini creme eggs and the recipe is over on Britts blog page.

Give them a go in the run-up to Easter – they’re delicious!!

I’ve already eaten 2… 🙈🙊😂

#getinmybelly 
  
Find Britt and her amazing creme egg recipe here!