No Takeout, Week 1


Day 1: So far, So(m) Tam

Daily Dish: Som Tam salad with Sesame Noodles

Notes: Day 1 was fairly easy but not without it’s challenges. I planned to see a movie earlier in the day which got pushed back to later in the evening, which meant dinner would probably be impossible after bucket(s) of popcorn and soda. So instead, I made myself this simple lunch and stored some in a container in the refrigerator to pick at later. The recipe is adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course and this is a peanut free version because I’m allergic but I bet some roasted peanuts, as per the original recipe would be an amazing addition. Also, this being meatless Monday, I had forgo any meat but I definitely plan to make this again with some grilled prawns or have this as an addition to Teriyaki chicken. I made the recipe my own by adding another dimension – fried onion and garlic. I’ve always loved a generous scattering on top of Khau Sway or Biryani but in this particular salad, against the crunch and tang of raw papaya, the sweet flavor was perfect. Traditionally, there’s no need for coconut milk in the salad but I’d love a drizzle next time.

photo 1

Som Tam Salad with Sesame Noodles

Adapted from: Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course

Serves: 1, plus leftovers

For dressing:

2 small cloves of garlic, 1″ piece of ginger, 1 bird’s eye chilli, 1 – 2 tsp tamarind paste, 1 – 2 tsp lemon juice, from a bottle, Salt and pepper, to taste

For salad:

1 small raw papaya, grated, 1/2 a small onion or 1 shallot, chopped, 1 small carrot, grated, Salt and pepper, to taste

For noodles:

1/2 packet egg noodles (or 1 nest), boiled, 1 tsp sesame oil

For assembly:

1 small onion, fried until crisp, 1 – 2 small cloves of garlic, fried until crisp, Cilantro, roughly torn, Basil, roughly torn


In a mortar, grind all the ingredients for the paste except tamarind paste and lemon juice. Remove into a small bowl, check for seasoning adjust if necessary and add tamarind paste and lemon juice. Pour over grated green papaya, carrot and onion and mix well. In a small bowl, add noodles and add a drizzle of sesame oil. Add salad over the noodles and finally, scatter fried onion, garlic, cilantro and basil. Serve!

photo 2


Day 2: Grilled

Daily Dish: Grilled Cheese with Caramelised Onion and Jalapeno

Notes: Day 2 was good – I was kind of looking forward to dinner. I had a stash of Jalapenos that I’ve been itching to try and caramelising them sounded like a good way to go. It was really easy to put together. I also had a sweet potato lying around and I decided to cut thin slices (using a mandolin slicer) and bake them with some barbeque seasoning. All in all, it made for an excellent dinner. Caramelising takes some time though – so it’s perfect for a day when you have some time to spare. Although I managed to get a lot done while the onions were being caramelised, so it’s not like you need to be attentive. I used a cheese slice which I had in the refrigerator but I’m definitely trying this with some good mozzarella or cheddar next.

photo 1

Grilled Cheese with Caramelised Onions and Jalapenos

Serves: 1

Source: The Vanilla Bean Original

For filling:

1 tsp oil, 1 tsp butter, 1 small onion, cut into thin strips, 1 – 2 jalapenos, deseeded and chopped finely, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, a pinch of sugar, Salt and pepper to taste

For assembly:

Sandwich bread, preferred cheese, butter


In a small saucepan, add oil and butter till it melts. Add onions and jalapenos along with remaining ingredients. Let it cook on low flame till golden brown and fragrant. Immediately, heat the grill. Butter both sides of the bread and add the cheese. Add filling on top and grill till cheese is melted and delicious.

photo 3


Day 3: Pistou, Not-so-good-o

Notes: I’m not going to bother with a recipe for this one because it just didn’t appeal to me. The flavours were clashing somehow and even though it made for a pretty picture, it just wasn’t good. The textures were odd and altogether wrong – even though the soup contained tomato, lemongrass and basil. It should add up but it fell short. I was severely disappointed and severely hungry too. The upside – a pleasant walk in breezy weather to buy fresh vegetables and a pitstop to buy the best drink I’ve had in a long time – Sparkling Passion Fruit Juice. I’d sampled some at a bake sale earlier and I finally found it at Santes. Stock up, if there’s any left after I plan to buy it all.



Day 4: Huevos Rancheros, Italicised

Dish: Huevos Rancheros in Marinara Sauce

Notes: I loved the simplicity of this dish. It took me all of 20 minutes to put it together, especially since I always keep a small jar of Marinara sauce on reserve. I also added some stir-fry on the side instead of Guacamole or Pico de Gallo which I loved!


I’m not going to write out an elaborate recipe for this one because it’s pretty much something you can throw together on the fly. Just make eggs your preferred way, toast some bread (Mexican version would use a tortilla), stir fry some mushrooms and zucchini (or whatever mix of vegetables you like) with some salt, pepper and oregano and serve alongside a small serving of Marinara sauce.

photo 1


Day 5: Best Chicken Ever!

Dish: Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich with Spicy Slaw

Notes: This chicken sandwich was the best thing all week (possibly year). It warrants it’s own post. Stay tuned!


2 responses to “No Takeout, Week 1

  1. Pingback: No Takeout, Week 2 | The Vanilla Bean·

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