Sunday, 24 July 2011

Scotch Egg Challenge at The Ship, Wandsworth - Tuesday 20th September

Sexy Scotch Egg

Scotch egg! Scotch egg! How I love thee! For the uninitiated, Oliver Thring gives good background on what a Scotch egg is and where it came from. This is not a Scotch egg.

The formula for what makes a good Scotch egg is very simple:

Soft-Boiled Egg + Seasoned Meat + Breadcrumb + Deep-Frying --> Heaven in a Sphere

A far cry from those supermarket horrors comprising hard, greying eggs rattling around in a case of pappy sausagemeat and moist crumb, never mind what Wikipedia says, a Scotch egg should be warm and cossetting, with meat that yields and a yolk that dribbles.

So I am delighted to announce that I'll be one of a distinguished panel of judges at the Scotch Egg Challenge on Tuesday 9th August Tuesday 20th September (postponed due to the troubles in London) at that marvellous pub called The Ship in Wandsworth to decide who makes the best Scotch Egg.

Open to professionals, pubs and restaurants alike, if you'd like to enter or want more details, please contact the Ship on the Ship blog here. Spectators and tasters also welcome to join the fun.

May the best Scotch egg win!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Doki Japanese Tableware Reopens Next Month

How I hope the new Doki will look - this shop is actually in Tokyo

LATEST on Doki-watch - after a brief sojourn at Pacific Plaza, the not very successful successor to Oriental City, it seems Doki the beloved Japanese tableware shop is moving to Harrow Weald in August. Tetote Factory, its sister bakery, will also re-open in South Ealing next month.

Doki will also be at HyperJapan - a massive event celebrating all things Japanese from today till Sunday at Olympia Two, London.

HyperJapan's site tells us:

"Doki was established in 1978 as Masyu Artware, and was then re-named Utsuwa-no-Yakata, before becoming Doki as it is known today.The Doki shop is moving now to a new premises in Harrow Weald in August. At HYPER JAPAN 2011 it will be presenting a selection of ceramics and pottery imported directly from Japan.

Doki is written as 土器 in Japanese kanji characters, and means earthenware. It is the term used to describe ancient Japanese earthenware, and Doki today provides people living in the UK with the opportunity to buy authentic, beautiful Japanese ceramics, cookware, glassware, lacquerware and more. Doki’s range of products is the most extensive in Europe, and the next best thing to going crockery shopping in Tokyo...".

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Senses of Thailand at Selfridges 14-30 July 2011


As mentioned in my Som Tam post, you can get yourself a taste of Thailand at Senses of Thailand, a celebration of Thai food and culture in Selfridges, London until 30th July.

The promotion is backed by the Royal Thai Embassy, Thai Trade Centre, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, so it's got an official seal of approval, and over the fortnight, we've been told to expect expert cooking demos, tastings, modern and traditional Thai dance performances and puppet shows.

More excitingly as far as I'm concerned are the Thai street food carts which are selling authentic snacks, including Som Tam (the free samples they were giving out weren't quite spicy enough for my liking), and Mieng Kham from the restaurant Patara.

Mieng kham are fantasticly addictive wrapped betel leaves stuffed with nuts, dried shrimp, chillis and shallots - my video above shows how they are made. Again, they're giving out free samples as well as selling do-it-yourself takeaway packs, so do try to catch this rare treat.

Cooking demo from a feisty lady chef


A huge range of Thai snacks, sweets, drinks, fruit and veg and grocery products are on sale during the promotion with lots of free samples and tastings on offer.

I was pleased to see that they have green papaya (aka paw paw) and green mango in stock, so you've no excuse not to make my som tam salad now ...

There's even a rice boutique, with a variety of aged and flavoured rice, including GABA rice, a super food made up of 4 varieties of sprouted brown/unhusked rice, and blue rice which has been naturally coloured with butterfly pea flowers.

Som Tam Spicy Papaya Salad Cart

Coconut Water and Singha Beer

Basil Seed Drinks in numerous flavours

Thai Square Dessert Cart


There's also a Thai Square cart selling traditional Thai desserts such as mango and sticky rice, and durian ice cream, as well as the slightly more bizarre green curry and red curry ice cream, which aren't as frightening as they sound, and the truly delicious Ice Tea and Green Tea ice creams.

You can ask for free tastes of all of the flavours before you plunge in.


There's a tropical fruit stand and juice bar selling whole fruits and also making smoothies using Thai fruits such as Mango, Dragon Fruit, Bael, Rosella and Mangosteen, and I even spotted an expert fruit carver showing off his skills as well.


The Oyster & Seafood Bar in the Food Hall itself has a guest menu from Nahm designed by head chef Matthew Albert.

I was invited to try the Nahm menu as a guest of Andre Dang Communications - I had an oyster with young ginger, chilli and kaffir lime which was dreamy, and an oyster with peanut, and green mango nahm jim which texturally didn't quite work for me (something about the crunch of peanuts against the delicate oyster flesh) but was still tasty.

I also had a taste of Nahm's trout, starfruit and corn pepper salad which was a fantastic mix of flavours. I especially liked the crispy fish skin - something I've always been a fan of.


And if you want to eat somewhere a bit more relaxed, renowned Thai Chef Pongtawat Ian Chalermkittichai has taken up temporary residence at Hix Restaurant and Champagne Bar on the ground floor, offering regional specialities and Thai inspired cocktails, and Singha Beer has a temporary bar in Gordons Café on the 1st floor where you can enjoy a traditional Thai snack menu, washed down with Singha or more Thai cocktails.

Senses of Thailand, 14-30 July, Selfridges, London

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Som Tam Recipe aka Spicy Papaya Salad - Thailand (Channel 4 Food)


Som tam is more than a Thai salad - it's a trial by fire.

Journalist Marina O'Loughlin commented that, "I had one in Bangkok that was so fiery I almost had an out-of-body experience", and fellow blogger Hollow Legs' verdict on a proper som tam was that, "It should be face-crunchingly spicy".


That probably makes som tam, a wondrous spicy green papaya salad, sound like a bad thing, but it's not.

I guess the closest analogy for me is when you're standing right next to the speaker at a gig played by your favourite band in the world (for me right now this would be Chicago band Tortoise).

At the end you're left dazed and reeling, with white spots flashing in your eyes and a pounding ache in your ears, but the pain is spiked with the sharpest, purest, giddy pleasure.

Maybe we're all just masochists.


Talking of pounding, "som tam" actually means "sour pound", as it's made in a pestle and mortar - you mash away to blend the ingredients and, between each pestle thwack, you tweak according to taste - a bit more sugar here, a dash more fish sauce there.

The ingredients are relatively fluid - some versions contain tiny crabs, others dried shrimps, but taste, specifically the balance of tastes, is vital here - som tam is a stellar example of a dish comprising the four main tastes of Thai cuisine: sour (lime), sweet (sugar), salt (nam pla), and hot (chilli - scads of it).


But remember that, as this salad is made according to your tastes, if you really want to ramp up the salty fish sauce and tone down the chilli, it's entirely up to you. And serve with (sticky) rice and some saucy pork to soften the delicious blow.

Whatever makes you happy.



A note on the papaya:

Green ie unripe papayas are notoriously hard to find even in Asian and Oriental stores. And when you find them, they can be heinously expensive. A good substitute is the green ie unripe mango (like I used this time around), or even a sharp apple like the Granny Smith.

You could also get yourself down to the Senses of Thailand festival at Selfridges starting today until 30 July, where amongst other Thai delights, they will actually have a som tam street food stall.



My Som Tam recipe on Channel 4 Food

(originally written to accompany Gordon's Great Escape to Thailand)

The beautiful knife in the pictures is a Type 301 Porsche Chinese Cleaver which was given to me by Chroma Knives - 'tis surely a knife of wonder - see

Tortoise can be found at

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Fairy Hobmother - An Offer You Can't Refuse ...


There's been a lot of hoo-ha in the blog world recently about the Fairy Hobmother. This benevolent being has been flitting about granting wishes and no-one really knows why.

Behind it all is a company called Appliances Online which as the name suggests sells all manner of electrical goods for your home. Obviously, they're wanting to spread their name and gain a good reputation, but they've been sending lucky people items that they don't even stock themselves.

What gives, Appliances Online? WHY ARE YOU SO NICE?

Anyway, I made a wish a while back on the very excellent blog A Rather Unusual Chinaman for some accessories to pimp my Kitchenaid trophy Bertie Branning (named after Max Branning of Eastenders fame) and lo and behold, the Fairy Hobmother sent me:

  1. a rather secksy glass bowl which I'd been lusting after since I'd seen Lorraine Pascale use one on Baking Made Easy.
  2. a meat grinder which came in a box with the words "Fleisch Wolf" on it. FLEISCH WOLF. Yes, the German word for a meat grinder is FLESH WOLF. AMAZING.

kitchenaid mixer with glass bowl

Anyway, I've been asked to spread the love, so
ANYONE who leaves a comment on this post and makes a wish specifying what they would like could be visited by the Fairy Hobmother too!

(Make sure you're contactable either by email or Twittername)

Roll with it, guys - I'm pretty sure you won't get a horse's head in your bed.

Unless you ask for one.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Olive Oil Chocolate Cake


Regular readers may be aware that I'm not a fan of baking, partly because I haven't got a particularly sweet tooth, and partly because I cannot be faffed with the precision of weighing everything out. But occasionally I'll see a picture or read a recipe that makes me go "Ooooooh" and consider whipping out my kitchen scales.

Like this recipe which I came across in the Green & Black's Ultimate Chocolate Cookbook that I won in the Taste Test part of their 15:15 Challenge last year.

A recipe for Olive Oil Chocolate Torte by Jose Pizarro, former chef partner at Brindisa and now chef owner of the new and wonderful eponymous Jose Tapas and Sherry Bar in Bermondsey.


It sounds like it shouldn't work to be honest - curiosity was mainly why I wanted to try it. It contains no flour (yes, it's gluten-free), and no almonds either - in fact, the ingredients seem more suited to a tortilla.

What really spurred me to make it, however, was when Rachel McCormack from Catalan Cooking kindly gave me a bottle of tangerine olive oil - one of a range of artisan oils made by Spanish family-run mill Mallafre where the natural flavourings are actually pressed with the olives, rather than simply infused in the oil afterwards.

If there was one thing that could make this olive oil cake even more exciting, it was adding a note of tangy citrus.

So with a few small adaptations, I made Tangerine Olive Oil Cake for a dinner with friends, and it was beautiful.

Rich, zesty, fragrant, gooey inside, crusty outside, with just the right depth of sweetness, the cake was a total knock-out - everyone had seconds (my husband said it was like a pimped-out brownie).


Tangerine Olive Oil Chocolate Cake Recipe

(adapted from Jose Pizarro's recipe for Olive Oil Chocolate Torte in the Green and Black's Ultimate Cookbook edited by Micah Carr-Hill)

Serves 4-6
  • 125g dark (70% cocoa solids) chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 125g tangerine olive oil (or any good quality olive oil, but not EVOO)
  • 4 large free range eggs, separated
  • 50g sugar
  • Zest of an orange
Oil the base and sides of a 28cm Springform tin and line with baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate with the olive oil in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water, then set aside to cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar till the mixture is light, fluffy and pale in colour. Stir in the cooled chocolate and the orange zest.

Using an electric hand-whisk or stand mixer, in a clean bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the chocolate mixture to make your cake mix.

Pour the cake mix into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool in the tin before demoulding. The cake will deflate as it cools as it has no flour.

Serve with cream and fresh fruit - I served the cake with cherries.

Bought the Carol Jacobs PO bird creamer in Oliver Bonas - awesome, huh? No, it's not like a bird vomiting.

Catalan Cooking has kindly arranged a 10% discount on Mallafre's whole range of gourmet oils, including extra virgin olive, flavoured and organic nut, for readers of Meemalee's Kitchen (I'm earning nothing out of this).

Just go to and use the code meemalee10

mallafre tangerine olive oil