Image via I Go Chop Instagram

I Go Chop: Contemporary Nigerian Street Food Eatery Opens In London

It’s always exciting to learn about new openings in London, particularly new openings that put the spotlight on the diverse and dynamic variety of Nigerian cuisine.

I Go Chop is a brand new contemporary eatery which has opened in Camberwell, South London. The eatery offers a range of Nigerian classics including jollof rice, suya, gizzard and plantain as well as new takes on old favourites like The “Oga Burrito”, a jollof rice and beans burrito.

I Go Chop

Image via I Go Chop Instagram

I Go Chop

Image via I Go Chop Instagram

Check out this new and vibrant space in London and spread the word!

@igochop

@igochop

46 Camberwell Church St, Camberwell, London SE5 8QZ

A Taste Of Asia With Thai Taste

Thai Taste

I had the pleasure of sampling some great quality ingredients by Thai Taste recently when they sent me a gift pack of samples from their product range. The brand has recently partnered with Thai restaurateur Seb Holmes to inspire foodies to create restaurant-quality Thai food at home and with such a wide variety of ingredients in their range, they make the task of home cooking thai food accessible to all. The packaging really stands out and I love the English to Thai translation of the names of ingredients which further highlights the authenticity of the brand.

I decided to try a crab & prawn vermicelli noodle salad which was my very first ever attempt and although as you can see it’s not quite perfect the taste was great. The ingredients do actually taste restaurant quality and you can taste the difference compared to other ready-made mixes found on supermarket shelves.

Crab and Prawn vermicelli salad

I accidentally left the noodles on boil for a few minutes before remembering that they were only supposed to be blanched hence the outcome of the dish looking more like a noodle soup than a salad (I’m nothing if I’m not authentic, open and honest with you all!). Next time I try this recipe I would use less mint next time and perhaps a fraction less coconut milk.

Crab & Prawn Vermicelli Noodle Salad

Serves: 2 (Gluten-free)

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh tiger prawns, de-veined and sliced lengthways in half
  • 50g fresh brown crab meat (white meat or a mixture is also delicious)
  • 100g Thai Taste vermicelli noodles, blanched in boiling water for 10 minutes and then refreshed under cold water
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon coriander root (leave out if you can’t find)
  • 1 tablespoon Thai Taste galangal
  • 1 tablespoon Thai Taste turmeric paste
  • 200ml, Thai Taste coconut milk
  • 10g coriander, picked and washed
  • 1 tsp Thai Taste Red Chilli paste
  • 10g chives, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 10g mint, leaves torn slightly
  • 20g peeled Thai shallots, sliced (any sweet shallot will be nice)
  • 2 spring onion, cleaned and finely shredded
  • 1 lime, chopped into cheeks
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Thai Taste fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Thai Taste palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or sunflower oil

Method:

  1. Mix the garlic, galangal, turmeric and red chilli paste together
  2. In a large pan or wok heat the vegetable oil on a medium to high heat and then fry this paste out, moving constantly to avoid it sticking to the pan. When the paste begins to turn golden brown in colour add the prawns and brown crab meat and continue to fry for a further 2-3 minutes until they are completely pink and hot throughout.
  3. At this stage add the fish sauce and the palm sugar and fry for a further 30 seconds to caramelise the sugar, you will notice that the paste begins to darken at this stage. Next add the coconut milk, blanched noodles, shallots, mint, coriander and chives and delicately toss everything together in the pan allowing the noodles, salad and prawns to all mix and be coated by the coconut sauce.
  4. Serve the noodles straight away in bowls with spoons and chop sticks and a cheek of lime, it’s also great with a good helping of Thai Taste sweet chilli sauce. This recipe makes enough for a hearty lunch, however this is an awesome dish to serve at dinner too, double the recipe if you want a bigger feed.

All of Thai Taste’s products are authentically Thai and can be found in the majority of supermarkets across the UK.

Rum Punch

Rum Punch Fun and Caribbean Cuisine At Cottons Shoreditch

Shoreditch is an absolute foodie hotspot and whilst it has traditionally been seen as “Little Vietnam” given the number of high quality Vietnamese restaurants in the area it is great to see original restaurant that stand out in the area. Cottons is one such restaurant, the flagship restaurant is based in Camden and the second is in Notting Hill, with their third restaurant the pressure to remain authentic is intense given the impact that becoming a chain sometimes has on restaurant brands. Not to say that Cottons is necessarily becoming a chain so to speak but it is certainly become a recognisable brand, enhancing the brand awareness and accessibility of Caribbean cuisine to the mainstream (outside of The Notting Hill Carnival). Having only ever been to the Camden branch I was looking forward to sampling the menu at the exclusive food blogger Rum Masterclass and menu taster. Having grown up in Hackney I have been to numerous independent Caribbean restaurants and have many friends from across the Caribbean so I know what tastes good and what doesn’t when it comes to authenticity of taste. I was not disappointed by the food at Cottons at all, in fact it exceed expectations, as I discussed each dish with fellow foodies we were all impressed (our rum tasting session beforehand may have had something to do with our excitement too!). Cottons is a Pan-Caribbean restaurant, that is the dishes come from or are inspired by various countries from across The Caribbean so go there with an open mind and willing tastebuds.

We were treat to an excellent Angostura Rum Tasting masterclass in which we learnt about the history of the brand. It was a fascinating talk and gave us a great background into the rich cultural heritage of the brand and rum as a whole. I particularly enjoyed learning about the medicinal benefits of Bitters…I’ll let you do some research into what they are.

Here’s what we tasted:

  • Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • Angostura Orange Bitters
  • Amaro Di Angostura
  • Angostura Reserva Blanca
  • Angostura 5 Year Old
  • Angostura 7 Year Old
  • Angostura 1919
  • Angostura 1824

The food was absolutely delightful, we had a steady stream of the starters and mains from the menu so we had the chance to try pretty much everything. Some of the starter dishes include Salt fish fritters with Spiced Mango Chutney and Chilli Jam, Barbecued chicken pieces with Mango chilli salsa, Crayfish and Lobster Mac N Cheese and Caribbean fish goujons. I absolutely loved the mac an cheese and would definitely return to Cottons just for that.

The mains were show stoppers, especially the Seafood platters and mixed meat platters. Mains include curried mutton with  rice n peas, coleslaw and plantain, brown stew chicken with steamed rice and stir fried vegetables, Oxtail and bean stew with Steamed Rice, Trinidadian fish curry and Ital vegetable curry with dumplings.

The oxtail stew, curried mutton and fish curry stood out for me but I have to say that everything I tasted was absolutely wonderful, the flavours were balanced and everything was well seasoned. Some dishes could have been spicier but that’s because I’m a chilli friend.

Get down to the new addition to the Cottons restaurant family in Shoreditch, Curtain Road and tell your friends – it’s definitely worth it! www.cottons-restaurant.co.uk