Happy New Year 2014

m classI have definitely ended the year 2013 on a delicious colorful sweet note after signing up for a Fancy Macaroon Class with Chef Fabrice Perrin at Culina Art Bahrain… looking forward to making them at home and will share with you my efforts. Loved all the flavor combinations of the macaroons, especially the coconut mandarin and the date and orange.  A few other Bahrain based bloggers have a secret craving for Macaroons as well and our lovely Georgina from Blondie in Bahrain shares her time spent at Culina Bahrain, as does Anita from Slice of my life in her blog post.

While ending the year on a sweet note I would also like to say a big thank you to all those wonderful people (some personally known) who have subscribed to Food and Tools and look forward to another year of food blogging. With so many fabulous food blogs on the web I know it is impossible to keep up with everyone but I really do appreciate when you take the time and leave a comment… I do love your comments… so please don’t be shy.  Also, thank you also for all the likes, without you all it would be me and one big empty web space. 🙂

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day”. -Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Health, Happiness and Best Wishes for 2014.

Moya xxx 🙂

baking · food + drink

Italian Christmas Fruitcake – Panforte

Italian Christmas Fruitcake-3615I wanted to make a different type of fruitcake for Christmas this year after finding an old piece of paper with a recipe for a fruitcake. Mum had given me the recipe after clearing out her cookbook cupboard, she never made the fruitcake herself but thought I might like to try it… mum hoards recipes too! Called a Palestrina (an area in Italy) Christmas Cake, this fruitcake is packed with nuts, some dried fruit, dark chocolate and candied orange peel, all bound together with a honey and sugar syrup.  I guess you could call this a panforte, a renowned speciality fruitcake in Siena, Tuscany. It is best to buy a good quality candied orange peel for this recipe and if you have difficulty finding some, try making your own homemade candied orange peel… it’s not difficult. Continue reading “Italian Christmas Fruitcake – Panforte”

food + drink · posts · salads

Green Papaya Salad – Som Tam

Papaya Salad

Just back from Phuket in Thailand, a quick blog post and a few pics to keep you up to date. Christmas is around the corner and with a bit of catching up needed, blog posts might be somewhat erratic over the next few weeks. Our trip to Thailand was combined with my husband participating in the Laguna Phuket Challenge and I am well impressed, he completed a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21km run… I guess all that porridge for breakfast had something to do with it!

While hubby was doing some light training before his race, I managed to squeeze in a cookery lesson at the Phuket Thai Cookery School. Although familiar with the recipes being prepared that day, it was good to brush up on balancing the spicy, creamy, salty, sour and sweet tastes of Thai dishes. Almost ten years ago I took my first Thai cookery lesson in Phuket at a different location. With cooking lessons you pick up some great tips, learn about new ingredients and each chef has their own little touches which they like to share.

Salad 2

A quick tour around the local market in Phuket Town was given before class. We prepared a Chicken and Coconut Soup, Green Curry with Chicken, Thai Fried Noodles with Prawns, Green Papaya Salad and Mango with Sticky Rice for dessert… we were all very happily stuffed by the end of the day.

Thai 3Can’t resist the markets!

local market thailand

It has been quite some time since I made Green Papaya Salad and I had forgotten just how simple and delicious it is. It’s colourful, crunchy, definitely spicy and has a salty-sour taste which can be made a little sweeter, depending on your taste preferences. You could serve this salad alongside a nice piece of grilled salmon or grilled chicken. In Thailand this salad is sometimes served with steamed jasmine rice as a meal.

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

(serves 2)


  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 6 bird’s eye chillies
  • 2 tablespoons of dried shrimps, blanched
  • 2 long green beans, cut into 1inch lengths
  • 200g shredded green papaya
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1\4 cup of shredded carrot
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts

How to make: Pound the garlic, chilies and dried shrimp into a coarse paste using a pestle and mortar.

Add the long beans and pound to crush lightly. Add the green papaya and 1 tablespoon of the roasted peanuts, pound lightly until the papaya becomes a little limp.

Add the carrot and tomatoes and pound very lightly, just enough to bruise the tomatoes.

In a small dish, stir the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice together until well blended, then pour over salad. Toss all the ingredients together until well combined. Transfer salad to a serving plate and garnish with remaining tablespoon of roasted peanuts.

Notes: If you cannot find green papaya use cucumber and shred with the skin on, do not include the middle part with the seeds. The dried shrimp can be omitted. As this is a spicy dish you can reduce the amount of chills used. Recipe can easily be doubled and the sweetness and saltiness of the dressing can be adjusted according to taste. Use light brown sugar if palm sugar is not available. This julienne peeler comes in handy when you need to shred vegetables.