Bangkok Farmers Market food tasting

Bangkok Farmers Market food tasting

Six years ago I tagged along to see a fortune teller with my brother in Seoul. It was just for fun but it was quite amazing how the fortune teller told me so much about myself just by my name, date of birth and my face. One of the distinct points she mentioned was not to go into the food business. But my passion for food and sharing my skills with other people won over and I ignored her advice and started Nicky’s Kitchen cooking school.

My next mile stone is about to occur this weekend at the Bangkok Farmers market at K-Village. I will be cooking a variety of Korean dishes to sell. Before the real deal though, I decided to do a test run and invited a few friends for a tasting session.

We set up a pretend stall to see what it would be like. Below are my two lovely assistants who will be helping this weekend! 

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Seafood pancake and home made kimchi for tasting!

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Cooking two Seafood pancakes at once!

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Korean sweet pancake – aka hodduk was very popular!

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Tasting time… these are delicious!!

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If you are in Bangkok, we hope to see you this weekend!

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In Korean….

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Hodduck class at Korean Tourism Singapore

Hodduck class at Korean Tourism Singapore

I was back in Singapore last week teaching at Korean tourism. It was really good to be back there meeting enthusiastic Korean food lovers.  This class was  all bout teaching Hodduk (호떡)! Check out my  previous blog on how to cook this.

 

about to start the class

 

KakaoTalk_Erica Pak_2 August, 2013

 

KakaoTalk_Erica Pak_2 August, 2013

 

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Next class back in Singapore is on 11 September  and I will teaching chilli rice cake (aka dduk bok yi -떡뽁이).   Contact Korean tourism to register!

Bangkok Balcony gardening update 2

Bangkok Balcony gardening update 2

Finally it’s the rainy season here in Bangkok and so far it’s the best part of the year. It hasn’t rained too much and mostly we are experiencing very pleasant weather. That means it’s time for me to plant and grow more veggies on my balcony!

It took me a while to figure out how hot and windy my main balcony was  during the hot season. My test basil and mint from my previous blog all dried up like twigs and the only thing that seemed to be doing okay is the lemongrass.

So, it was time to say good bye to this basil. Once the basil’s stems turn brown as seen in the picture below, it’s no longer any good to use  for cooking. To prevent this, you need to keep picking the top of the stem to stop from flowering! Once they are hard and woody, they are only good for harvesting the seeds from the dried flowers!

 

old basil-small

 

This lemongrass was grown from what I bought in the supermarket for cooking. I leave a whole lemongrass clump in a cup with some water covering 1/3 of the stem. When the roots start to grow from the bottom it’s time to plant them in a pot as shown below.  I am about to move this lemongrass into a rectangular pot to use as a sun block and protect some of my more sensitive plants. I also bought some organic lemongrass from the Bangkok Farmers market and I’m looking forward to plant those in a week or so once the roots start to come out.

 

lemongrass

 

Here is a snap shot of my hard work for the last few months. I have moved all my veggies and herbs from the main balcony to my master bedroom balcony. It’s much more protected from the wind but still provides enough sun for these fragile little ones to grow.

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So here are some updates on my garden. First of all, my mint which originally shrivelled up, revived beautifully after I trimmed them down completely. Mint is hard to kill so I was very surprised that  mine was all dried up. But now I know, all you need is a bit of patience and loving care. Aren’t they beautiful? I have been adding a sprig or two to my home made juice every morning. They tingle tip of my tongue.

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Sadly, my rosemary plant dried up completely and I had to get new rosemary plants. I think either it was too hot on my main balcony or not enough water or perhaps even too much water or the pot was too small. To find out what went wrong, I have divided three plants into different pots and have located them into various spots around my balcony. Wish me luck!

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My favourite… Yes, I am trying tomatoes again! I have grown them from seeds that hopefully will do better in Bangkok. This particular one is supposed to only grow up to 30cm high and is ready for harvest in 6-8 weeks. Tomatoes love sun and dry weather. I cross my fingers that it will be perfect for these little ones.

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One of them has already flowers growing on top. You know what that means…. TOMATOES!!!

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There is a plant market every wednesdays at Chatuchuk in Bangkok and I was hoping to find lots of local herbs but like Singapore, not many people in Bangkok seem to be growing their own in their home. So I had to grow these thai sacred basils from seedlings. You can never have enough of basil…

thai basil

 

 

I planted some French radish seeds in May and they have grown so much. They seemed to be big enough to harvest but I can never tell…

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So, I plucked two of them out and did a little taste test. The slightly longer radish was like wasabi, full of zing in the mouth. My husband much preferred the smaller one which had a traditional radish taste. I can’t wait to harvest all of them and add them to a salad.

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A new project.  I found these micro herb growing kits  and within 5 days, these little seeds have turn into beautiful kale sprouts for my salad.

Kale

 

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Finally, I was in Singapore for some cooking classes last week and had a chance to convert my girlfriend’s balcony into a fully fledged herbs garden. We headed down to the gardening shops on Upper Thomson road and picked up rosemary, basil, mint and thyme. I guess my years of previous failures and successes taught me how to look for the best herbs and veggies.

Some tips when you buy herbs and looking after them when you bring them home.

  • Always check the bottom of the pots to see if there are too many roots hanging out of the pots. If roots are hanging out, it means the plant has outgrown the pot and it’s been sitting around the shop too long. Not good!
  • Always buy herbs that are not too big. It’s better to grow from little ones. If it’s grown too big, it’s harder to move to a bigger pot. Too much shock to the plants and won’t survive.
  • If there are more than one plant in a pot, always split them into few pots so they have lots of room to grow. We bought a pot of sweet basil and there must have been at least 8 little seedlings so we have divided them into two big pots so they have more room to grow.

 

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After 5 days…. The basil has grown so much!

Basil

 

It’s not always happy house in Nicky’s garden. I have already spotted tiny little bugs munching away my basil and bean leaves. Every morning and evening, I am looking at the back of the leaves making sure my babies are protected.  Happy gardening everyone!!