Tag Archives: Eggs

Kitchen Shortcuts and WORLDFOODS Fusion Taste Team Challenge One – Pad Thai

I'm a member of the WORLDFOODS Fusion Taste Team

I am, it must be admitted, a bit of a food snob; I suspect most food bloggers, food geeks, and self proclaimed foodies are. There is nothing wrong with this attitude per se, at it’s most reasonable food snobbery is simply a manifestation of someone caring about their food, what goes into it, who made it, where it came from etc. A mindset that should surely be encouraged if it stops people mindlessly shovelling unknown, tasteless, highly processed, battery farmed, mystery meat meals into their bodies. With diet related illnesses now costing the NHS £13 billion every year we need to start being a little more discerning about the food we eat.

That, I hope you’ll agree, seems fairly reasonable, but there are times when food snobbery can be taken too far. There is a part of my brain that’s extremely reticent to say this but, not all pre-prepared food is bad. I may dream The Good Life middle class dream, of cooking from scratch, everyday, using food I’ve grown or reared myself; but for most people, myself including, that simply isn’t feasible. Batch cooking meals for the freezer, or carefully planning meals around a central base prepared at the weekend can of course help, but sometimes corners still have to be cut. I’m far from the only one who thinks so, in recent years St Delia herself has taught us How to Cheat at Cooking, while Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals and Nigella’s Kitchen both use shortcuts freely to get the meals out fast. Of course all have received some criticism, and not all of the shortcuts they make seem that justified (mince in a can Delia, really?) but they do still have a point.

So on occasion I will use jars of pesto, buy filled pasta and a ready made sauce, or raid the freezer for breaded fish, oven chips and peas. Yet despite all of this I remain wary of endorsing pre-prepared products in this space. It was therefore with some reticence that I accepted an invitation to join WORLDFOODS Fusion Taste Team. WORLDFOODS produce a range of pan-Asian pastes, sauces and marinades, which they state are “100% Natural, use fresh ingredients, food allergens free, gluten free, trans fat free, no genetically modified ingredients” and all products are suitable for vegetarians, vegans & coeliacs. This is all fantastic and certainly commendable, but it’s still not enough to ease my food snobbery. The real test for me can only come with how these products taste.

So I signed up, and shortly thereafter received a beautiful hamper in the post with a range of different bottles and jars, as well as some other lovely bits and bobs to aid in trying them out. WORLDFOODS have since been setting us challenges on a weekly basis to try out each of the products in turn. So far we’ve been through four challenges; Pad Thai, Ayam Percik, Tom Yum and Nasi Goreng. As ever I’ve been slightly slow at getting them written up but I’m far from the only one lagging behind and this week has subsequently been given as a “catch-up” week. I think the WORLDFOODS team may have realised that asking bloggers to work to a weekly schedule is a little like trying to herd cats.

Anyway, with that not so mini-rant out of the way I’ll post up the results of the first challenge:

WORLDFOODS Fusion Taste Team Challenge One – Pad Thai

WORLDFOODS Fusion Taste Team Challenge 1 - Pad Thai

This challenge used the WORLDFOODS Thai ‘Pad Thai’ Noodle Sauce. You can read the official challenge recipe here, which used prawns, with a vegetarian alternative suggestion of tofu, and the optional addition of a shredded omelette. Knowing that the boyfriend doesn’t eat prawns (shame – I love prawns) and not sure he’d eat tofu either I opted to use chicken thighs instead which I chopped into bite-sized chunks. Unable to imagine Pad Thai that didn’t feature egg I also added the shredded omelette. Finally, after forgetting to buy bean sprouts, I threw in some sliced red and green pepper to boost the veg content and make it a bit more colourful. As suggested I garnished with (very) roughly chopped roasted peanuts and squeezed over a wedge of lime.

And do you know what, despite my scepticism and the whole rant at the top of this post, this was actually really nice. Having never been to Asia I can’t comment on it’s authenticity, and I’ll admit it wasn’t as nice as the Pad Thai I used to get from the Tampopo noodle bar back in Manchester, but it did make a quick and simple tasty dinner.

I’ll get the other challenges posted up in the next few weeks as I battle through the May back-log, but you can also find more up to date posts from other members of the team on the WORLDFOODS Fusion of Flavours Facebook Page or by following @fusiontasteteam over on Twitter. In the meantime I’ll leave you with this brilliant video on how to make vegan Pad Thai, heavy metal style.

Thank you to WORLDFOODS for sending me a bottle of their sauce to try out for this blog post.


Sweet Potato, Fennel and Feta Frittata

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming…

Sweet Potato, Fennel and Feta Frittata

Well, May happened. May happened and I did almost no blogging, and the one post I did write doesn’t even really belong here. Terrible, I do apologise.

There have been a few exciting developments though. To celebrate my blog’s first birthday (erm, which was in early April, there’s a post about the past year somewhere in the back log, honest) I bought myself a domain! Okay so not that exciting for people who aren’t me, but for people who are me it’s a shiny new toy to play with…and procrastinate from blogging with. At the moment it’s just set up to redirect here while I figure out what I want to do with it and how I can do whatever it is that I decide I want to do with it. In the meantime I’ll try not to let it distract me from actually writing something and hopefully posting will once again become more regular.

For now, here’s a quick post about the frittata I took into work today. This was my contribution to a colleague’s fundraising drive for the Japanese disaster relief. She’d asked a different person each day, over two weeks, to bring in a dish to share and asked everyone who ate to donate a small sum in return. Of course I forgot that I’d signed up to bring something in today, until about 8:30pm last night. Cue me scouring the cupboards and making a mad dash to the shops.

I love frittatas and tortillas. I like to think of them as pastry-less quiches, which is something else I love. They all fall under that category of brilliantly simple, anything goes dishes that can change to reflect the seasons, your mood, or whatever you have lurking in the back of the fridge. My favourite kind of cooking.

This one pretty much came about for the last of the above reasons; I had sweet potatoes and I had fennel. I suspected the two would work together, and Google bolstered my suspicions. Both caramelised slightly in the pan, which gave the frittata a delicious sweetness. Of course a frittata is almost always improved, as many things are, by the addition of cheese. I’d originally planned to add ricotta, inspired by a recent post from Eat Like a Girl, but the local shops didn’t have any so some creamy feta was a great alternative.

Sweet Potato, Fennel and Feta Frittata

Serves 4-6 with some salad on the side

  • 2 Sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 large fennel bulb (or 1 small blub – mine just happened to be huge!)
  • 100g feta (1/2 a standard sized block)
  • 6 eggs
  • milk (at a guess 100ml, I just sloshed some in, how much is a “slosh”?)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt & pepper

Peel the sweet potatoes and thinly slice into rounds about 5mm thickness. Halve the fennel if using a whole bulb, cut the core out and thinly slice this too. If you’re lucky enough to have some fronds on your fennel save these.

Preheat the grill to high. In a decent sized frying pan, ideally with a lid, heat the oil then add the potatoes. Move the potatoes around to coat them in oil, then cover with the lid. If you don’t have a lid you could use a plate, the seal doesn’t need to be perfect. Leave to cook on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes give the potatoes a bit of a stir and add the fennel, then cover and cook for another 5 minutes.

Beat the eggs together with the milk and season with a little salt and pepper. When the potatoes and fennel are ready pour over the eggs mix and give it all a gentle stir. Keep moving everything in the pan around a bit until the egg is almost set then crumble over the feta, pushing it down slightly into the nearly set egg. If you have any fennel fronds tear them up and scatter them over the top too.

Pop the pan under the hot grill for a few minutes until golden on top.

This is probably nicest warm, but it also makes a really tasty lunch cold the next day.

Making do with what you have: not really bibimbap

Not really, but sort of, bibimbap

Sort of bibimbap ready to be stirred.

This isn’t my recipe for bibimbap and what I did doesn’t really constitute a proper recipe any way. I doubt even I would be able to replicate the random substituted ingredients if I made this again, let alone anyone else. If you want a proper recipe for bibimbap I suggest you follow Hollowlegs recipe that I adapted to make this version.

Rather than providing a clear and reliable recipe this post is here to show that you don’t have to follow a recipe exactly to make something that tastes good, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t have exactly the right ingredients or even equipment. Cooking, as with life, is all about doing the best with what you’ve got, and that is precisely what I tried to do here. Oh, and when in doubt consult the internet. Continue reading

Breakfast at Fifteen London and some thoughts on Jamie Oliver

My boyfriend hates Jamie Oliver, and I mean really, truly hates. This has lead to some blazing rows, but I know he’s not alone. With some people there seems to be this undercurrent of mistrust, annoyance and just general dislike to everything he does, and quite frankly I can’t understand it.

Why am I telling you this? Well, a couple of weekends ago I was kindly invited by Hannah Norris at Nourish PR to try out the new breakfast menu at Fifteen London. I’d never been to Fifteen before, under the assumption that as celebrity chef restaurant firstly, I couldn’t afford to eat there, and secondly they’d take one look at me and know I couldn’t afford to eat there. It’d be just like that scene in Pretty Woman where she goes shopping, except without me being a prostitute.

Freshly baked hot cross buns

Freshly baked hot cross buns

Continue reading