Category Archives: Cooking

Why Korean food should be on your menu

butternutWhether you are a student, living alone, living with others, bringing up a family or, y’know, just need to eat, we can all agree that eating well these days is more effort and expense than ever. We’ve become so used to being fed garbage food that claims to be good for us, while slowly poisoning us with colours, flavours, preservatives and other chemicals we need not ingest. It is alarming how we are becoming less and less aware of the contents of our food with every year and so many people don’t even beg the question of what they are putting in their bodies.

No wonder the modern world is plagued with cancer, obesity and other illnesses that would have been rarely seen once upon a time.
Now, I could go on about the evils of big corporations and how they manipulate their products in order to control their consumers, but I’m more interested in helping you find solutions.

Now, as you have probably come to realise from the blog, I am a massive lover of Korean food. While being generally quite enjoyable to make, it also has other benefits:

Flexible

I am yet to find a Korean recipe that has one fixed method of preparation. Everyone seems to have their own little tricks and variations on the recipes that I have not come across a single recipe that I haven’t enjoyed.
There is room to play with your ingredients and method that you have so many ways to make your recipe suit your needs.

Relaxing

IMG_0456.JPGI know in our “all go” age we rarely stop to enjoy the process of doing day-to-day tasks but, speaking as someone who is often in a rush and eager to finish the task at hand, I find Korean cooking incredibly relaxing.
There’s nothing quite like the meditative state I slip into while rolling Hobakjuk balls or the calm of chopping the vegetables for kimchi. I love it and I feel all the better for taking that little bit of time to enjoy the moment.

Delicious

Korean food is, in my opinion, the tastiest food there is. I have never been as satisfied as I am when I eat Korean food as it is the perfect balance of taste, texture and temperature.
The grilled meats are to die for and the vegetable dishes have given me a love for some vegetables that I had hated for 20 years!

Healthy

As well as tasting incredible, so many Korean dishes are actually really good for you. despite loving their salt, Korean food is some of the best you can have. Kimchi, a side dish that is eaten with almost every meal, has recently gained recognition around the world as a super food that is known to be insanely good for you.
Also, if you prepare your meals from scratch, you are also aware and in control of what goes into your food, such as salt and sugar.

Cheap

11696527_850932034991471_1306743554_nPossibly the biggest draw of all, Korean food is generally very cheap to make. I can make easily enough Hobakjuk (Butternut squash rice porridge) to last me a week for £5 or less, because the recipe is so simple. And £5 can easily keep you in supply of kimchi for weeks (or months, depending on how much you eat).
Korean food is such an easy hobby for me because it’s so fantastically cheap, which also makes it accessible for anyone. What money you could spend on instant noodles and burgers that offer little to no nutrition, can go an incredibly long way with the right recipes and storage.

So, there are just a few of the benefits of cooking and enjoying Korean food. If you have any questions on preparation, ingredients or storage of Korean food or want some recipe suggestions to suit you, I will be more than happy to help!
I will have more Korean recipes coming very soon! In the meantime, have an excellent day and take care! Xx

Making 호박죽 (Korean butternut squash rice porridge) and Discovering Maangchi!

butternutIn Korea, 죽 ‘juk’ dishes are savoury porridges made from rice. Some are the same consistency of porridge or oatmeal, while others are more like soup with dumplings of rice. Juk is a popular comfort food in Korea and is commonly eaten when ill as it is simple and easy on the stomach, but tasty and good for the body.

While Juk is usually homemade, you can easily buy instant mix in Korea – however, it is incredibly salty!! It is best served warm, but most dishes can be enjoyed cold.

 

My first experiences of ‘juk’ were packets of instant 소고기죽 (Beef porridge) and, while saltier than a mouthful of seawater, was really nice! I’d never had any experience of savoury porridge before, so it was very new to me. When I started making it, I was dubious that the mix would even work. It seemed too small a quantity and too fine to expand into anything substantial, but sure enough it worked! This made me curious about how hard it could be to make it myself.

Being a big fan of butternut squash, I was so happy when I saw a recipe online for 호박죽. But this rice porridge was different from the one I tried. Instead of being an oatmeal-y mix, it seemed to be a kind of soup with dumplings. But, instead of suit, wheat flour and herbs, these dumplings were made of just sweet rice flour, water and a pinch of salt!

It’s so simple, but SO good

The recipe I used came from a lovely website and Youtube channel called Maangchi, which teaches a wide array of Korean recipes.

©Maangchi
©Maangchi

Maangchi is funny, cute, an incredibly talented cook and beautiful (inside and out). Her videos and articles sharing her recipes are clear and fun to make – and all delivered with charisma and a unique sparkle!

 

After one try, the 호박죽 turned out perfectly. And I can see why it is considered such a good comfort food! It’s so wholesome, yet simple! It’s not too rich, yet it’s so satisfying.

And Maangchi has literally hundreds of other fantastic recipes to try, including:

Roast Seaweed snacks

Korean style fried chicken

And Jjajangmyeon (짜장면)

After the brilliant success of the 호박죽, I will definitely be trying as many of her recipes as I can!

Make sure to subscribe to Maangchi, as well as follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Have you tried any of Maangchi’s dishes? Share photos with us on the Learn With Amy Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and make sure to tag Maangchi so she can see your handiwork!

Good luck!

Pancake art?!?!?!?!

photo 4I never knew it was a thing before… But now it is, I feel more contented.

 

So, people make art out of a lot of different stuff. Paint… Garbage… Blue tac… Even themselves! But pancake art is a new one to me!

Youtuber Nathan Shields uploads videos of his work, straight from the pan, to his following of over 13,000 (drooling) fans.

Armed with only a hot pan, a spatula and a squirty bottle of pancake batter, Nathan ‘paints’ amazingly realistic imaged in pancake, resulting in possibly the coolest breakfasts known to man.

His videos include ‘Olaf’ from the hit Disney movie ‘Frozen’

 

A skull

 

And even 3 characters from AMC’s The Walking Dead!!

 

 

As well as videos of making the pancakes, Nathan also makes cute tutorials with his two incredibly cute kids Gryphon and Alice, who both can’t get enough of the fun.

Be sure to like and subscribe to Nathan’s videos, so you can keep up with his creative works of delicious art!

 

Maybe you can use Learn With Amy’s Pancake Recipe to make your own edible art!

Let us know what you think in the comment section below! Have you tried making these yourself? Let us know how it went!

All the best, guys! X

My first Korean restaurant experience!


littlek1web
Restaurant: Little Korea

Location: London’s China Town

Rating: **

Wow! So…. Not a great start to my first ever restaurant review!

Okay, so I ate at Little Korea while on a recent trip to good ol’ London. I went in super excited, ready to discover a new place, eat some good food and speak some Korean. Everything was looking good to begin with… Then things went down hill.

I must say now – the food was just fine. Everything tasted spot on, prices were very reasonable for central London and I didn’t get food poisoning (Always a delight). The only thing that soured things was the service.

Now, I am an understanding lady, I’m a waitress myself and I occasionally know what it feels like not to want to go to work and face a lot of people… but the staff at this place were honestly the rudest that I’ve ever met.

As well as outright ignoring people and being generally sharp toned and careless, when not doing anything, the staff would glare at the customers and try to do their best to rush them out of the place. The service was way too hasty for such a small place (which by the looks of it seats less than 30 people anyway) and they kept pestering customers to finish their meals, despite there still being plenty of free tables and no real demand for the space. They were so rushing, that they actually tried clearing plates that customers were still eating from!

I know people go out to eat for the food, but a big part of it is also the experience and it can really ruin it to be intimidated by rude and careless staff.

I’d eaten breakfast quite late, so all I ordered was seaweed soup (미역국), kimchii (김치) and rice (밥). The food itself was just fine and I couldn’t fault it and in total the whole lot (soup, kimchi, rice and 1 coke) only came to about £11.30 (including the automatic 10% service charge) so it was a very cheap lunch.

I would have been so happy if the service quality had matched the food (which would’ve won an easy 4*) and I would love to want to go back there, but I think the way the staff were towards me and the other customers ensures that, regardless of how good and cheap the food is, I won’t be going back there again.

I’m sorry to say that Little Korea was a big disappointment!

Recipe: American-style pancakes!!

photo 4What’s the best thing about running out of cereal? Finding an alternative breakfast!! And what’s the best breakfast EVER? PANCAKES!

Also, good news for our Asian readers. While most cakey recipes involve oven, which are still not common in Asia, these are just made in a frying pan, so our lovely Asian readers can enjoy this traditional British and American favourite!

So, as I sit here currently stuffed with pancakes, here’s Amy’s pancake recipe!

While we’re at it, Dean Martin and Helen O’Connell discuss their breakfast plans with “How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?”

What you’re going to need:

Ingredients:16

• 120ml Milk
• 150g Self-Raising Flower
• 3tbsp Sugar
• 1 Egg
• 2tbsp butter (melted)
• As much maple syrup as you like
• A few drops of cooking oil

Tools

• A frying pan
• A large mixing bowl or jug
• Smaller bowl
• Mixing spoon
• Flat spatula
• Whisk or fork

Method:

12In the big bowl, mix the sugar and flour together. In the smaller bowl, beat the egg and then mix in the milk and melted butter until they’re well mixed.

Then pour the egg mixture into the flour mix and mix it together.
6Make sure not to mix it too thoroughly, as you still want some small lumps to remain and you want to mix air into it, not beat it out.

While you mix, set a pan on a medium-high heat and put a little cooking oil in the pan.

Once it’s mixed enough (but not too much), set it aside until the pan is hot enough.

(The way I tell if the pan is ready to go is by dropping a tiny tiny amount of pancake mix into the middle of the pan and watching. If it forms a tiny pancake, then it’s ready!)

Pour a small ladle’s worth into the middle of the pan and let it cook.

Don’t be too hasty to flip it over. Wait until little bubbles form on the surface and then caaaaaaaarefully slide the spatula underneath and then REALLY caaaaarefully flip it over (being careful not to splash yourself with hot mix or oil).

Note: Avoid the temptation to flatten down the cooked side of the pancake with the spatula. A lot of people think that’ll help them cook faster, but it’ll only squish the air out of them, making them flatter and less fluffy.

Cook only one or two at a time, so they have space to expand and you’re less likely to burn them or yourself.
When they’re a light golden-y brown-y on both sides you can remove them from the pan, put them on a plate and keep cooking until you run out of mix!

Once you’ve finished them, you can top them with anything you like. My favourite is a little butter and a generous glug of maple syrup! Very traditional!
Enjoy!!

(Please remember, this is just a guideline and you should always take care when cooking. Use your sense and have fun safely!)

Bon Appétit!
If you tried these for youself, send us a picture on Twitter or Facebook!
You can also find me on my personal Twitter and Instagram! 😀

Recipe: Simple fudge

A while ago, I tried something that I’d been too chicken to attempt for ages.

I started making fudge.

That might not sound huge, but with my history of clumsiness, I figured that maybe handling pans of boiling hot sugar would be a bit silly – me being the doofus who once manage to badly cut my hand open while slicing a bagel.

But, once I had tried the first time, I realised that I might not be as cursed as I thought. While making fudge I suffered no burn, bruises, cuts or injuries of any kind. It was like a miracle and I realised then that I loved making fudge because, not only did I not die making it, it tasted REALLY GOOD! Everyone who tried it, even people who usually hated fudge, loved it and said I had a gift.
So, very pleased with myself and my new-found ability, I present to you my fudge recipe!!

Ingredients

1 large can of Condensed milk
500g of sugar (I use granulated or demerara – just depends what’s in the cupboard!)
150ml of milk
and
100g soft butter
1tsp Vanilla extract (totally optional)

Instructions

Step 1
Line a square tin with greaseproof paper (trust me, you’ll want to do this FIRST!)

Step 2
Put all of the ingredients in a large pan over a medium heat. Stir the ingredients constantly to prevent any lumps or burning.
Wait for all of the ingredients to melt together (keep stirring)

Step 3
When all of the ingredients are melted together, turn the heat up and bring it all to the boil (Don’t forget to stir). When the mixture reaches boiling, turn down the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 15-20 minutes (You’d better still be stirring!)

Step 4
After that time is up, get a really cold glass of water and take a tiny amount of the mixture (in a spoon, not your fingers!) and drip it into the water. A little soft ball of fudge should form. If it’s still gooey, keep it simmering for a while longer.

Step 5
Once the mixture reaches the “Soft ball stage”, as it’s called, you can take the pan off the heat.
And if you thought your stirring times were over, think again! You need to stir the fudge-y mixture until it goes very thick and begins to set. (your arms should be aching like crazy by now from all that stirring!)
– Be very careful not to splash yourself with the mixture or burn yourself on the pan! It happens! –

Step 6
Take the square tin (lined with baking paper) and pour (or scoop) the mixture into the tin. Flatten it out with the back of a spoon or a spatula until it’s level and fits nicely in the tin.

Step 7
Cool and allow to set in the fridge until it’s fudge and enjoy as you please!

Note: Once it’s done, keep the fudge wrapped up or in an airtight container so it lasts longer and stays fresh.
I recommend keeping the fudge in the fridge in between servings as it’s even better when cold!
If you’ve tried that and want to take it one step further you can try covering the sliced up pieces in melted chocolate and letting it set so you have delicious chocolate covered fudge! Top with a slice of strawberry, and I think that’s what heaven may taste like!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe and have a lot of fun preparing it. A video tutorial will be following this post up very soon including other awesome flavours!

Remember: This is just a guideline and I’m no chef, so please take care when following this recipe and just treat it as a guideline – I don’t want anybody getting hurt over fudge!

If you liked that and want to get in touch with us, send us a message through the contact page or find us on Facebook and Twitter!
Also, you can come connect with me on my personal Twitter and Instagram pages! All the best X

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