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.

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

Hibisicus by Lope ariyo

Lopè Ariyo Brings Contemporary Nigerian Food To The World With Hibisicus

Who’s For Dinner is very pleased to feature the new cookbook by Lopè Ariyo. After helping to judge HarperCollins/Red Magazine’s “The Next Star of African Food” competition in 2016 it is great to see that Hibisicus has come to life! Despite having some of the most rich and vibrant flavours in the world, African cookery has so far taken a back seat in the British food scene. Lopè Ariyo is a 23 year old cooking talent, fresh out of university who wowed the judges with her modern approach to Nigerian cuisine. After winning the competition and landing herself a book deal, Lopè is set to take the cookery world by storm and her wonderful new cookbook Hibiscus was published on 1st June.

Hibisicus by Lope Ariyo Hibisicus by Lope Ariyo

Featuring a stunning collection of delicious Nigerian recipes, Lopè has used the cooking she grew up with and has added her own British twist, adding contemporary touches to Nigerian classics. The book tells the story of Lope’s childhood through the dishes – from her early love affair with plantains, the street food from Lagos, all the way up to her Uncle Yomi’s baked eggs dance. It is a beautifully designed book with stunning images that make Nigerian food look as good as it actually tastes! By combing European ingrediants with African flavours, Hibisicus will open up a new world of culinary delights to people from a variety of backgrounds. It is time for Nigerian food to shine on an international level and Lopè will help to make it happen.
Nigerian cuisine is all about sharing and bringing people closer together – this book will do just that, as well as introducing a whole new audience to a delicious and incredibly vibrant cuisine. It’s time to make Nigerian food just as prevalent as Chinese and Indian food in the wider foodie community! The recipes are easy to follow and reflect Lopè’s vibrant and warm natured personality, we know she’s set to be a star!

Make sure you order a copy online or in book stores.