Eat here: K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, New Orleans (regional cuisine)

K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen
416 Chartres St, New Orleans
http://www.kpauls.com/kpaul

I enjoyed my visit back to New Orleans yesterday, so I’m gonna stick with it a little longer. Back in January when I visited the Voodoo Museum, it was late in the morning and I was pretty hungry by the end of the visit. So from one NoLa classic we went to another: K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen.

If you have even the slightest interest in the cuisine and history of New Orleans, you’ll probably have heard of Chef Paul Prudhomme. His legacy includes several restaurant, cookbooks, spices mixes, blackened redfish, staying in the city post-Katrina where he and his team cooked over 6000 meals in 10 days for the military and remaining locals, and of course for bringing Cajun cuisine to the world. The man is a living legend, and I was really excited to actually visit his restaurant, which opened its doors back in 1979.

Seeing as we were visiting one of the classics of the city, we decided to order the classics: po boy and gumbo 🙂

We decided on the Andouille sausage po boy, which came on a soft roll, dressed with lettuce and a tomato/onion/herb salsa type concoction, as well as a side of breaded, deep fried cauliflower. Because almost everything in America is deep fried (seriously, I even ordered a tofu salad in LA thinking that’d be a safe bet to settle my upset stomach – the tofu was breaded and deep fried. I shit you not.), apparently. I really liked the sausage, and the fancied up salsa was a nice change to a classic. My only complaint was that the bread roll was a little too soft; it got soggy quite quickly under the weight of the filling.

IMG_6126

The second classic of the meal was the chicken and Andouille gumbo. And it was magic. Honest to goodness magic. Not really sure what else I can say about it – sounds as floggy as all hell, but the depth of flavour was out of this world, the chicken pieces were so soft and tender, delicious chunks of sausage, oh my God it was perfect! If you only order one thing from K-Paul’s, make it the gumbo!

IMG_6128

I really enjoyed the lunch service and was glad we chose to go then instead of dinner; the atmosphere is really laid back, feeling more like you’re in a familiar school canteen or something. The lunch menu is also a fair bit cheaper than the dinner service too, meaning you can eat more! Winning all round!

In a city known for incredible chefs and food, it’s pretty hard to stand out, but Chef Prudhomme has been a big name for decades for a reason; after you visit the Voodoo Museum, you should probably drop by K-Paul’s for lunch, too!

 

K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Cook this: coconut pumpkin soup

Remember that particular gem of a friend who I brunched with at Two Little Pigs and All Day Donuts a few weeks ago? That most brilliant lady who I’ve known for something like four years now, but somehow feels like a forever friend? Well not only does she know all the good brunch spots, she’s also pretty nifty in the kitchen – she produces wonderful food porn which frequently has me drooling over my phone, and her Bill Granger coconut pumpkin soup last week was no exception. She kindly passed on the recipe, which, as usual, I screwed around with a little to suit myself, and it turned out a damn good soup! I was really impressed at how easy it was (that’s usually a massive deterent for me making soup more often) and how much flavor it packed. I served it up with some home made Irish soda bread, and plan on making it again and again through out Melbourne’s upcoming winter. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients (serves 4):

– 1-2 tbsp garlic infused oil (I use this to keep it as FODMAPs friendly as possible – if your stomach doesn’t have issues with garlic, just use oil + 3 roughly chopped garlic cloves)
– 1 red chili, chopped
– 2 tsp ground cumin
– 1 tsp ground ginger
– 1 tbsp smoky paprika
– 1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
– 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
– 400ml coconut milk
– 3 tbsp fish sauce
– squeeze of lime juice, to your taste
– fresh coriander leaves and bread to serve

Method:

1. Heat a large pot over low heat, and add the garlic oil, chili, cumin and paprika. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two, until the smells of the spices really come out.

2. Add the pumpkin and carrot, cooking for another few minutes, still stirring.

3. Add 6 cups of water (or vegetable stock – I prefer a stronger coconut flavour so I just used water), turn the heat up and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30min, until the veggies are soft and you can easily stick a fork into them. 

4. Take the pot off the heat to cool for 10 minutes, then purée (I like my Big Foot, which you can see below; a food processor or blender will do the job perfectly well, too) until smooth.

 IMG_8788

5. Stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, and as much salt, pepper and lime juice as you like the taste of.

6. Re-heat over low heat to bring it back up to a warm enough temperature to enjoy, sprinkle with a little fresh coriander and serve with toasted bread.

Cook this: quick & healthy – beef ramen

So it’s a bit of a cheat’s version of ramen, in that the broth is not simmered and tended to for anywhere near as long as a “real” one. But for a quick, healthy, midweek meal, it tastes pretty amazing, it’s actually not horrible for you, and will keep you full for a while!

To make 2 serves:
– 2.5 cups beef broth
– 1 cup water
– 2 tbsp fish sauce
– 1 tbsp soy sauce (I use dark soy)
– a 2cm piece of ginger, peeled
– 200g ramen noodles, cooked as per packet directions
– 300g bean sprouts
– 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
– 150g rump steak, very thinly sliced
– 1 small lime, halved
– a little fresh coriander, to serve

IMG_2279.JPG

To put it all together:
1. Combine the stock, water, fish sauce, soy sauce and ginger in a large pot. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
2. While the broth is simmering away, divide the ramen noodles between two large bowls. On top of them, layer the bean sprouts, then the beef and shallots.
3. Ladle the broth over the layers in the bowl; the raw beef slices will cook almost instantly in the hot broth.
4. Squeeze over a little lime juice and sprinkle with coriander to serve.

Cook this: lamb, mushroom & barley soup

20140803-184732-67652136.jpg

I’ll be honest, I found this recipe in a food magazine and I can’t for the life of me remember which one – I have a pile on my coffee table and I just rip out the recipes I like. Anyway, I played around with it a little and made it for dinner last week and it was amazing, especially seeing as I’m not usually a big soup lover! Really tasty, the lamb was so soft and tender, and the barley made it a more substantial meal. The little squeeze of lemon juice and fresh parsley just topped it off. It was also really quick and easy to throw together – you just need to allow enough time for it to simmer away. Best part was that it was pretty cheap, and it made 6 serves, so we’ve got left overs for the week!

Ingredients (to make 6 serves):
– 650g diced lamb
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 50g butter
– 2 brown onions, diced
– 500g button mushrooms, sliced
– 2 carrots, diced
– 5 celery sticks, chopped
– 5 garlic cloves, peeled, roughly chopped and crushed (mortar & pestle works best)
– 5 bay leaves
– 2 tsp smoked paprika
– 2 tsp dried thyme
– salt and pepper
– 2.5lt vegetable stock
– 1 cup barley, rinsed and strained

Method:
1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and spray with cooking oil. Cook the lamb until just browned, remove from the pot and set aside.
2. Re-heat the pot with the olive oil and butter, and add the onion and mushroom. Cook, stirring constantly, until softened and browned.
3. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaves, paprika and thyme, as well as a little salt and pepper – combine and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
4. Return the lamb to the pot, stir it all together, and pour in the vegetable stock and barley. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Check your soup after 60 minutes to see how the barley is going; if it’s not quite cooked through, add a little more water if needed and simmer for a little longer. I found mine was done by the 60 minute mark.
5. Divide your soup up into bowls and/or plastic tubs to refrigerate or freeze, and serve with a little squeeze of lemon juice stirred through and some fresh parsley sprinkled on top!

Eat here: Pho Hung, Melbourne (Vietnamese)

Pho Hung, Preston, Melbourne
http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/1434863/restaurant/Melbourne/Pho-Hung-Preston

Living in the northern suburbs basically means a truck load of incredible (and often cheap) food from all corners of the globe in pretty easy reach. Happy days! Husband and I usually meet straight after work on Friday nights for a quick bite to eat before doing our grocery shopping at the Preston Market, and it’s more often than not Chinese or Vietnamese food. Because it’s delicious and generally pretty good value for money.

We’d heard that Pho Hung on High Street in Preston was pretty popular for their pho. We finally decided to give it a try. Even though we arrived at 5.30pm on Friday night, the place was already packed; it always is. People seem to flock here at all times of the day and night, it’s amazing!

20140801-180455-65095010.jpg

We ordered a bowl of beef brisket pho each (medium serve for $9.50, large for $11.00), which came out pretty quickly and with a side of bean sprouts, basil, lemon and chilli.

20140801-180454-65094647.jpg

With the addition of lemon juice, crushed basil leaves, a little soy sauce and some fish sauce, the broth tasted more balanced to my tastes. The beef was magnificent – soft and thinly sliced, easily pulled apart by my spoon. The noodles were good too, also super soft while holding their structure.

While it didn’t hold a candle to the stuff I tried in Vietnam (sorry, I hate to sound like THAT girl, but it was so good over there!), it was still very good and I happily polished off as much as I could fit in. I’ve only just started getting into pho, so I’d really love to try out some more places – there are at least 50,000 pho joints in Melbourne so I shouldn’t have to look too far for more (any suggestions would be GREATLY welcomed!!). I feel it should also be noted that this place gets a lot of bad reviews, particularly for it’s service, and I can see why; the lady who took our order barely spoke to us, let alone made any eye contact. However, the food is pretty good and decently priced, so I’m not too offended by the lack of friendliness – I was there to eat, not to make new pals.

If you’re in the area and have a hankering for pho, it’s definitely worth a visit, particularly on the cold, winter nights Melbourne is getting at the moment – just bring your appetite because the bowls are HUGE!

Pho Hung on Urbanspoon