Now that we’re home, we miss Asian food. Sure, there’s a lot of Asian restaurants here, but it’s just not the same. Nick is an amazing chef and he took it upon himself to cook something we ate and miss at least once a week. So far we had a very delicious Banh-Mi and this week we made this great Thai massaman curry. It was almost as good as the ones we had in Thailand (but it’s just not the same).
Don’t be put off by the ingredient list, it’s very easy to make and most of the spices are good to have anyway. And chances are, you’ve already got a great deal of them laying around.
And yeah, I would love to show you a picture of what it looks like when it’s done, but we were too damn hungry.
adapted from Thaifood.about.com
500 gram of chicken, cut into bite size pieces
3 potatoes, cut in chunks
1 can/ 400 ml coconut milk
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 tomato, cut in cubes
1 onion, minced
1 piece of ginger of about 5 cm, grated
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red chili, thinly sliced
200 ml chicken stock
1 stalk lemongrass, minced
3 bay leaves
1 tea spoon of turmeric
1 tea spoon of ground coriander
1 tea spoon of whole cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cardamon
1 tablespoon of tamarind
3/4 teaspoon shrimp paste
2 table spoons of fish sauce
1 table spoon of brown sugar
a handful of cashewnuts
Enough rice for 4 people
Get a stewing pan, a big one. Heat it over medium heat and drizzle in some oil. Add the onion, ginger and chili. Stir for 1 minute. Add the garlic. Stir for another minute. It should start to smell really great. The smell of fried onion and garlic is one of my favorite smells in the world.
Now add the chicken stock and the minced lemongrass. Stir. Add bay leaves. Stir. Red pepper. Stir. Turmeric. Stir. Ground coriander.Stir. Cumin seed. Stir. White pepper. Stir. Cardemon. Stir. Tamarind. Stir. Shrimp paste. Stir. Fishsauce. Stir. Sugar and chopped cashews. Bring this to a light boil.
Add the chicken and coat it with the mixture. Add the coconut milk and the potatoes. Stir everything and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to get a good simmer.
Let this simmer 3o-40 minutes. We let it simmer for 1,5 hours because we were walking the dog and sort of forgot about it. I like to believe this made it even better. Stir occasionally. When you’re almost ready to eat, put a pan of water on the stove for rice. When you put the rice in the pan of water, it’s time to add the tomato to the curry.
When your rice is ready, your curry is ready. Taste it. Does it need more salt? Add some fish sauce. Not spicy enough? Add some chili. Too spicy? Add some coconut milk. Is it too sour? Add some sugar. Is it too salty or sweet? Add some tamarind or lime juice.
Put the rice on a plate, scoop over the curry and top with a few cashews and coriander. We love loads of coriander.
By the way, did anyone else expect to get a loooooot of coriander in their food in Thailand, and found it wasn’t that much?
When you’re traveling, you get so many stimuli, you are influenced by everything that you see, think, do, smell and hear. All of these things can help you grow immensely as a person, but you really need to take some time to reflect upon all of these things, or you’ll just get stuck. Taking some time off the road every once in awhile is important to me, to us. Because it helps me grow as an individual. And as a couple, by giving us time and space to reflect on and process everything we’ve experienced together.
It also gives us the chance to really get to know a place, and love it even more than you would during a usual encounter of a couple of days. Chiang Mai is one of the place where we grew some roots. We had an apartment for a month, just outside of the city near the mountains. It was quiet, sunny and homely, just what we needed for a while. We had such a great time here, there were amazing late night conversations and we learned so much. Chiang Mai is a city forever in our hearts (yes this is a cliché).
- parking lot smoking at one of Bangkok’s malls
- on a ferry boat crossing the river to go to Bangkok Medical Museum where we somehow (unintended) ended up in the mortuary
- exploring the city, I love finding patterns
- there are scooters everywhere
- all of a sudden, a million tanks and nobody seemed surprised
- one of Bangkok’s best cafes, here are more nice places to have a coffee
- Korean barbecue with Pema, a beautiful girl from Holland, teaching in Thailand
- malls malls malls
We have launched part one of our new website and we couldn’t be more excited. There are still some things to adjust but we love it. And we hope you do too.
I was looking through our pictures, trying to find good shots for a post and I stumbled on these pictures from Bangkok. It’s been a while since we last where there and I really miss that city. Bangkok has it all. Except for the weather. The godforsaken, everything melting, scorching heat that Bangkok is so notorious for, sucks. Kuala Lumpur is still a really hot city but it rains here every couple of hours (must be the season), cooling it down it bit.
We hope you have a great weekend with nice weather! (the thunder here in Kuala Lumpur is so loud at the moment, I can’t even hear my music).
Living on the beach is something I could get used to. Filling my days with eating, reading, swimming and taking strolls along the beach. Wearing nothing but a bikini and a sarong. Having elaborate lunches on the beach with smoothies, fresh fruit and noodles (it’s still Thailand).
Our home on Koh Phayam was a tiny wooden cabin with an outdoor shower and toilet. I never thought I would shower among rainbows one day, but I did and it was every bit as wonderful as you would think. The floorboards of our little house were creaking and had massive holes in them, there was always at least one gecko running around the ceiling and at night our only light was a candle.
It felt like going back to the basics. There was internet, but only barely fast enough to check your email. This meant we could not work. The weeks before coming to Koh Phayam we had plunged into work like a deep-sea diver, we had spent every free minute on our laptops. And now here on Koh Phayam, we couldn’t. There was no escaping ourselves. Nick has no problem relaxing, he was made for reading books all day. I always find it difficult to switch from work mode to relax mode. It took me a few days to completely relax and not worry about emails, clients, blogging and Facebook. Even when you absolutely love what you do, it can get overwhelming and sometimes you need some distance.
Feeling free on Koh Phayam like I haven’t felt free in forever. Nowhere to go, nothing to do except for reading or swimming. Reading always clears my head and makes room for new inspiration, thoughts and ideas. I had so many books I still wanted to read and I have to say, I read quite a few of them while basking in the glorious Thai sun. One of the best ones, Looking for Alaska, is actually a Young Adults book.
The patterns the sea left in the sand every morning and the glorious sunshine revived us. We have talked before about living close to the beach and being here made this idea even more idyllic. But, after spending last week in the mountains of Cameron Highlands, living in the mountains, near the woods has also really taken our fancy. A mountainy beach front house with a garden adjacent to the woods, with deers (or alternatively these guys) running around in the early mornings when I get back from my morning walk along the shore line… does anyone know where I might find this?
Tuba is not an undiscovered piece of Bangkok. It’s one of the better known places to relax after a hard day of working and/or shopping.
Tuba is on Ekamai, a street known for its upscale restaurants and bars. It isn’t the cheapest place to have a beer, but you don’t just go here for the beer. You go here for the incredible furniture. And the crazy big cocktails.
The music is really bad, think 90’s mixed with Justin Bieber. And it’s loud. But the furniture.. it’s so pretty! During the day they actually double up as a secondhand furniture shop, so if you really like a piece, you can go and get it for your home.
Address: 34 Ekamai, Soi 21, Bangkok
Bangkok is one of the most inspiring cities I’ve ever been too. Although we were only there for a month, I feel like we got to know the city. I truly loved it. Since we were both raised in small(-ish) Dutch cities that have nothing on a huge city like Bangkok, we were continuously in awe as we were wandering around.
There is so much going on in Bangkok, new cafes and shops are opening every day, and each one is even better than the last one. Because we are running our company while traveling, we are always looking for places that have an inspiring interior, fast wifi, tasty food, good drinks and a crowd that’s not spilling beer over our laptops.
Bangkok can be quite overwhelming at times. It’s so ginormous and busy and hot (oh god it’s so hot). If you are looking to escape the heat, have good coffee, work, or drink a beer or two (not all of them serve beer), these are the places to go. And there are so many more places like this, go out and explore!
If you find anything similar, let us know one way or another so we can visit them when we get to Bangkok sometime in the future!
We don’t know the exact address for this place, and neither do we know the correct name. It’s on Thanon Pradiphat and it has a huge garden. You’ll find it if you look for a retro looking cafe with a garden. They’ve got lots of outside tables and even a swing! The coffee and Thai food are great here. The cafe is full of retro furniture and they have every childhood collectible you could ever think of. My favorite was a tiny E.T. doll.
The staff doesn’t really speak English. Translating for us, was a girl with a pet squirrel. She just let it run around, climbing on the furniture and eating peanuts. I asked/begged Nick if I could have one, but here I am, squirrel-less.
Address: Thanon Pradiphat, Bangkok
Library Cafe is kind of hard to find if you don’t know where to look. It’s in a side street of a side street of Sukhumvit Road.
This cafe stands out for its extremely good styling. The style is 70’s mixed with contemporary stuff. Everything just goes together perfectly. The little wooden spoons (which we are looking for, if you know where to get ‘m let us know!) complement the good coffee. Upstairs is a Japanese style sitting area with pillows on the floor. Shoes off before you go upstairs!
Library Cafe gets a Sparrow-in-Space-award for the prettiest toilets I’ve ever seen. I kept drinking lots of water so I could pee again, just to spend some more time there. If you don’t like interior design, coffee, tea or food, just go here to pee. Seriously, this toilet is better than eighty percent of the hotel rooms I’ve slept in.
The food is good as well, although some of the dishes come in quite small portions. The pies are great. Try them all!
Address: Soi Sukhumvit 24, Bangkok
We are in Malaysia! How did that happen?
After three months of Thailand we were ready for a new adventure (and our visa was running out so we were going to be kicked out anyway). It feels really good to be somewhere new again.
In our three months in Thailand we never got around to a Thai massage. Feeling obliged, our last day in Thailand, we walked into this complete shithole of a massage parlor recommended by our hotel in Trang. The fungus was everywhere and no one spoke English. I loved it, I wanted an authentic Thai massage. Nick was scared, he doesn’t really like rough massages. Our masseuses were big, old and sturdy and they folded me any way possible. I loved it, Nick still hasn’t come out of hiding.
About the jungle… Trang has a botanical garden that looks like a jungle, or was a jungle made into a botanical garden, not sure. There is a jungle canopy walk, which takes you through the tree tops. You can see flying squirrels, bats, monkeys and armadillo’s (armadillo’s are not found in the tree tops). None of that was for us, we only saw a snake, a yellow bird and some lizards. Some of the best fun we had in a while.
For now there is work to be done, food to be eaten and Georgetown to be enjoyed. Love you!
We have had a great time last week at Ko Lanta. Being on the beach always clears my mind and gives me room to think. There was a lot to think about. Last weekend a year ago Nick’s mum passed away and our time spent remembering her brought back a lot of memories. We drank red wine (her favorite) on the beach while looking at the stars. If she could have seen us, she would have approved.
Being on the beach also got us talking about the Sparrow in Space blog. We both feel that a lot of good photos and special moments get left unshared and we love to share. So that is why this is the first edition of our new weekly post: Through our eyes. Prepare for many more to come!
1 – Ko Lanta, no the beach
2 – Morning light in our bungalow
3 – Waking up on the beach
4 – Nick is watching the birds at sunset
5 – Hundreds of birds in Krabi
6 – Khlong Nin beach at Ko Lanta
7 – Trang, such a quirky little town with amazing sunsets