29 March 2013

Ishtar's Eggs

Scotch Quail eggs in a filo nest.
You would never guess by looking at the images of white drifts, the snow covered landscape up and down the country and watching the thermometer mercury flatline that we've just passed one of the calendar's major annual punctuations - the spring equinox and that we are rapidly heading for Christianity's most important one.. the Eastertide festival. You would also never guess in less than two days time we will be pushing our clock and watch hour hands forward by one unit. All of the above are generally considered to be indicators of warmer weather, longer days and a general ushering in of a welcome and eagerly awaited seasonal metamorphosis. Despite the extreme low temperatures and stubborn persistence of wintry conditions though familiar Easter symbols of resurrection, renewal, rebirth, fertility and fecundity have made their appearance.

One theory has it that Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols were the egg and the bunny but Christianity hijacked much of her paraphernalia and so the egg became associated with Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the body. The egg is still a potent symbol but these days are invariably made from chocolate and no doubt we will all be tucking in this weekend!

Here at incredibly Fed we put our heads together to come up with an appropriately seasonal post for our blog which you might enjoy. Well here it is... Scotch quail Eggs. We have put them in a nest of filo pastry which is edible lined with dried nori seaweed, also edible.

They are easy and quite fun to do. Boil quail eggs for several minutes, shell and leave to cool. Remove the skin from good quality sausages and combine filling. Wet your hands to prevent the sausage meat sticking to them and take enough to cover one egg generously and flatten out. Cover the egg making sure it is sealed in all around. Dip the covered egg in beaten egg and roll in breadcrumbs. Deep fry for several minutes until golden brown! Serve with your favourite pickle!

Posted by incredibly fed

22 March 2013

Malaysia's Heritage Dish - Nasi Lemak

Malaysian cultural icons - Bicycle rickshaws and Nasi Lemak.  
No series of posts about Malaysian cuisine could possibly neglect to mention an iconic dish that is considered so important it ranks as part of the country's national heritage no less! It is such an integral element of the national diet that recently raging controversy was sparked when well meaning health experts dared to suggest that it's place on school and college menus should be curtailed due to the increasing obesity problem slowly becoming evident among pupils and students around the country. When I'm visiting my family there however, I eat it so often that I take it for granted and almost forget to talk about it or that it is worthy of a post all to itself!

Nasi Lemak is a dish eaten in Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, the Riau Islands and Southern Thailand. It is rooted in Malay culture and the name literally means "Fatty Rice" derived from the cooking process whereby rice is soaked in coconut cream and then the mixture is steamed. Sometimes knotted screwpine (pandan) leaves are thrown into the rice while steaming to give it more fragrance. Aromatics such as ginger and lemon grass may also be added for enhanced fragrance. Because of it's versatility it is now served and eaten at any time of the day. Traditionally the dish comes as a platter of food wrapped in a banana leaf with cucumber slices, small dried anchovies (ikan bilis), roasted peanuts, cucumber, hard boiled egg, and the all important spicy sauce (sambal). To make the dish more substantial and upmarket chicken, cuttlefish, cockles, pickled vegetables and beef rendang can be added.


3 Cups Rice
1half Cup Cocnut Rice
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
I and Half Cup Water
4 Cms Ginger thinly sliced
I medium red Onion thinly sliced
I Pandan Leaf Knotted
1 Stick Lemon Grass Bruised
Half Tbsp Salt
Half Tbsp Sugar

100g Dried chillies soaked and blended
100g Red onion Sliced
60g Shallots blended
30g Garlic blended
30g Belacan
50ml Tamarind juice
100g Ikan bilis (Dried Anchovies)
Salt and sugar to taste

5 Boiled eggs halved
150g Roasted Peanuts
1 Large cucumber sliced
150g Ikan Bilis deep fried


Rice: Wash rice in cold water and drain. Put into rice cooker Add all the "Rice" ingredients. Cook for 30 minutes until soft.

Sambal: Heat oil in a wok add blended ingredients until oil separates (about 5 minutes) Add tamarind juice and cook for a further two minutes. Add Ikan bilis and onion slices. Finally add salt and sugar to taste and simmer for a further two minutes. Assemble the rice Sambal and condiments as per the photograph. Enjoy...!

Posted by incredibly fed

15 March 2013

Chilli Crabs at Fatty Crabs

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur
One evening on my recent trip to Malaysia my nieces brought me to one of their favourite restaurants in KL - Fatty Crabs. Its a very popular city eatery specialising in Malay cuisine and in particular as the name suggests crab and all kinds of shell fish. We had great fun and a good laugh slowly working our way through the fare but take note this is not a meal for the faint hearted, those in a rush or the prissy!  Now you may think tackling whole crab is a lot of work for a little reward and you are of course entitled to your opinion but in my view nothing beats the rewarding taste of the rich crab meat covered in a tangy chilli sauce won with a little effort from its tough exoskeletal armour.

Back in London I really wanted to see if I could recreate this very memorable total eating experience. If you are tempted by this recipe but the prospect is a bit too daunting we would recommend you try cooking just crab claws or indeed an alternative more meaty crustacean such as lobster. The correct tools are essential. Forget a knife and fork which are useless, its a case of fingers with much needed help from a nut cracker type implement to break the shell. Fatty Crab provides small hammers as well as a long forked prong to extract the meat which we would say are also indispensable. An apron or bib which covers you from head to foot is advisable to avoid costly dry cleaning bills, oh, and finger bowls are useful too!

Incredibly Fed Crab in Chilli Sauce 
2 Large Cooked Mud crabs or other shell fish
1 Large Onion (Chopped)
2 Red Chillies (Chopped)
1 Tbsp Garlic Paste
1 Tbsp Ginger Paste
8 Tbsp Ketchup
4 Tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
1 Tbsp Light Soy
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 Tbsp Rice Wine
4 Tbsp Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Woscester Sauce
4 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Belacan
1 Stick Lemon Grass (Bruised)
4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
Spring onion (Garnish)

To make the sauce blend onion, chillies and belacan to a paste and fry on heated wok for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, lemongrass and ginger and fry for another 3 minutes before adding the liquid ingredients and frying for a further 2 minutes then add sugar. If mixture is too thick let down with water. Simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust to taste. Sauce should be spicy and sweet. Finally add the cooked crab pieces, crab claws or lobster into the sauce and toss for a few minutes ensuring each piece is well coated. Transfer to a large serving dish and garnish with spring onion. Serve with generous amounts of warm or toasted bread to mop up the delicious sauce!

Posted by incredibly fed

8 March 2013

Seared Duck for a long lost Friend

We are not huge fans of social networks and communicating in cyberspace finding face to face contact far more preferable. Indeed we find mobile phones deeply intrusive, intensely irritating and not to say downright rude when given priority by their owners over those who have made the effort to be physically present with them. But hey-ho our view is "if you can't beat them join them" and there is no doubt that cyberspace communication has its benefits. I recently reconnected with a friend from my days in Dublin and with whom I had lost contact when I moved to London well over twenty years ago. Thanks to the wizardry of Mark Zuckerberg and his mates we are now in touch again and find we still have much in common. He is now married to a Catalan partner and living just outside Barcelona. Need I say that he too loves his food. That's more than enough for me, we have reignited a friendship and I am very pleased about it.

Last week he was attending a course nearby and we planned to have dinner at my flat one evening. I wanted to show him a picture album I still had and in which he figured prominently... Ooooo believe it or not we were once the bright young things in town!

I decided on this easy one much of which could be done in advance leaving me free to chat and giggle over old photographs.

Seared ducked breasts with mixed beans and chorizo.


2 Duck breasts
Small handful Cardamom pods
Cinnamon stick
Star Anise
Half tbsp 5 Spice powder
1 Tsp Garlic salt

Mixed Beans

1 Tin Chick peas
1 Tin Broad beans
1 Tin Canaloni beans
1 Onion sliced
2-3 Celery sticks chopped
Chopped Parsly stems
2 Cloves Garlic chopped
5-6 cms of Chorizo sausage
1 Tbsp Tomato paste
300 mls Chicken stock
1 tsp Paprika
Half glass red wine
Dash Worcester Sauce
Dash Tabasco sauce
Chopped Parsly Leaves (Garnish)


Place the ingredients for the dry marinade in a coffee grinder or blender and reduce to powder. Score the fat layer on each of the breasts into diamond shapes and rub in the powder. Leave for a few hours or overnight in a sealed container in the fridge.

Place the breasts on a cold pan and slowly bring up the heat melting much of the fat away. (approx 4 minutes) When nicely browned and crisp turn over and leave for a further 2 minutes. This will result in rare meat but you can adjust the length of cooking to taste. Meanwhile slice the chorizo fairly thinly and place in a separate pre-heated pan. Add the onion, celery, parsley stems, garlic and Paprika and cook until translucent. Add the red wine, Tabasco and Worcester sauces and chicken stock and simmer for a few minutes until stock reduces. Finally rinse the beans and add to the liquid. Season to taste. This can all be done well in advance. (Indeed its better if you do!) The duck breasts can be heated gently under tin foil in the oven. Slice diagonally and serve on top of the mixed beans with a garnish of fresh green parsley leaves.

Posted by incredibly fed

1 March 2013

Kuih Koci

Kuih Koci, (pronounced Kway Kochi) is a Nyonya dessert of steamed glutinous rice flour filled with delicious brown sugar and grated coconut all wrapped up in banana leaf parcels. Nyonya cooking is very popular in Malaysia and developed as a result of the intermarriage between Chinese immigrants and native Malay over several centuries. Melaka and Penang are the main centres of Nyonya population, culture and cuisine to the present day.

Buddhist Temple in Melaka 

For a touch of Far Eastern Exotica which is guanteed to amuse your guests we suggest serving these delicious little treats for afternoon tea.


2 Cups Glutinous Flour
1 Cup Coconut Milk
2 Tbsp Salt
2 Cups Grated Coconut
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Stalk Pandan (Screwpine) leaves
Banana Leaves
Vegetable oil


Cook the brown sugar with a little water until melted add in the Pandan leaf and leave to simmer for a minute on medium heat. Place the grated coconut and half the salt in and stir until the mixture dries out (approx 5 minutes).

Meanwhile make a dough by mixing the glutinous flour with  the remainder of the salt and coconut milk and a little water if necessary. Knead till a soft dough is formed. Divide the dough into ping pong ball size and flatten. Place a tsp of the sugar filling and surround with the dough making sure the filling is sealed inside. Cut the banana leaves into rectangles of approximately 6 cm x 12 cm and gently warm over heat to render them pliable. Coat the non shiny side of the leaves with a little vegetable oil and place the dough ball in the middle and fold into small parcels as shown in the photograph. Place in a steamer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool and serve.

Posted by incredibly fed