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World Steak Challenge

A Meat Lover’s Dream At The World Steak Challenge

I was recently invited to attend The World Steak Challenge Awards at the Magic Roundabout in Old Street, London.  With perfect weather and plenty of Pimm’s; guests, judges and entrants had the opportunity to sample some great steak and network with industry leaders. I absolutely love steak so it was a really great opportunity to learn more about the “steak sector” and the best cuts of meat available on the market.

 

Poland was announced as the world’s overall best steak producer 2017. The winning steak is a sirloin, grain fed and reared by F&M Frackowiak of Woj. Wielkopolskie, Poland and entered into the competition by ABP Poland. Two steaks entered by ABP Poland scooped four awards, including two Gold medals and the overall World Steak Challenge championship title.  I had the opportunity to taste the winning steak and I can safely say that it was a worthy winner! Not only was it succulent and tender but it was just so smooth juicy. I hope I will be able to find restaurants in London who source this steak so that I can eat it again and introduce fellow meat lovers to this delicious cut of meat.

The global steak challenge, which recognises Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal steak quality, is presented by Global Meat News.

 

  • World Steak Champion 2017 – ABP Poland for its Sirloin
  • Best Sirloin goes to ABP Poland
  • Best grain fed goes to ABP Poland for its Sirloin
  • Best grass fed goes to Martins Meats with a Rib Eye grass fed produced by Hill View Farm, Cheltenham, Glos England
  • Best Rib Eye goes to ABP Poland
  • Best Fillet goes to the 2015 and 2016 champions Jack’s Creek of New South Wales, entered by Albers gmbH of Germany.

The 10 gold medal winning countries are Australia 2, Brazil 1, England 2, Finland 1, Ireland 3. Northern Ireland 2, Poland 2, Scotland 1, Spain  2, USA 1.

An expert international judging panel shortlisted the 2017 champion and gold medal award winning steaks from a long list of more than 120 steaks. There are also 19 silver medal winners and 33 bronze medal winners.

Announcing the Champion, Chair of judges Marco Peerdeman said:  “It was a very tidy entry with great marbling with a lovely trim. The taste was great, it was rich but a bit different – it looks like a wagyu but once you taste it you realise it’s not.”

More information visit: https://www.worldsteakchallenge.com/

A Taste Of Asia With 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.

Thai Taste

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.

Small Plates With a Big Taste At VOC Cocktail Bar and Restaurant

I was recently invited back to VOC Cocktail bar and restaurant which I had the pleasure of visiting a while ago. This foodie gem in a hidden courtyard located away from the hustle and bustle of Kings Cross is definitely worth a visit.

The new menu is inspired by the traders and adventurers of the 17th Century. It takes diners on a culinary adventure of small plates across three key territories: ‘From the Sea’; ‘From the Land’ and ‘From the Field’. By encouraging diners to select 2-3 small plates each this concept encourages communal dining in a warm and cosy environment.

Upon arrival we experienced a lovely warm welcoming which I could see was extended to all guests of the restaurant not just because I was an invited guest.

We enjoyed some lovely welcome cocktails. I went for a Raspberry Shrub which is bottle
matured for at least one week and is made using Pampero Especial with fresh lemon juice, honey and fresh raspberries. It is a sweet cocktail which I enjoyed and I particularly like the way in which it was presented. My friend enjoyed The Butterfly which consists of Spiced rum, ginger liqueur & coconut, topped with ginger beer & served with dried lime & a splash of liquorice which was not too sweet and had a great ginger flavour.

From the menu we selected six dishes, two from each territory. From The Sea we selected: Sea Farer Batativa Scallops with Dutch Gin, Baby Greens and Tomato Salsa, Garlic Pan Fried Prawns with chilli.

From the land we selected; Scottish Blackface Lamb, assorted Herb Crusted lamb cutlets served with petite grilled veg along with Grilled Veal Kalbi, Korean marinated veal with wild mushrooms.

From the field: Chargrilled ribbons of Aubergine & Courgette with Feta, sweet basil and lemon as well as Patatas Bravas, cubed roasted potatoes.

Of all the six small dishes my favouries were the Blackface lamb and the Pan Fried Prawns. They were just so perfectly cooked and succulent that you would be forgiven for ordering more. My friend felt that the prawns were too greasy but I really enjoyed them and in that moment you could see why small plates simply aren’t big enough!  The scallops were really well marinated and the veal slices were tender. Whilst I enjoyed the vegetable small dishes they did not stand out, perhaps I should have tried something more unusual like the Salt Beetroot Carpaccio. I shall definitely try different “From The Field” dishes when I return.

Whilst I am not the biggest dessert fan it would have been rude not to taste the sweet treats on the menu! We went for the Chocolate Mousse with Crunchy Gianduia Core and Chocolate Biscuit Base and Pastry Cream with a Hint of Lemon Short Pastry Base. Desserts are not served as small plates but we did end up sharing, I actually enjoyed both but the chocolate mousse was the clear winner.

All in all VOC is a great restaurant for any occasion. There is an attention to detail with regards to the food that means that it is definitely one step ahead of an average restaurant. The quality of ingredients and the creative thought put into creating this new small menu cannot be overlooked. The customer service and atmosphere are really great too. Make sure you take a moment to step into this hidden gem in the heart of London, you really won’t be disappointed.

VOC Cocktail Bar and Restaurant

2 Varnishers Yard, London N1 9AW.

www.voc-london.co.uk