Very Lazy Chicken Satay Udon

I’ve always loved cooking. To me, nothing is more relaxing than making a tomato sauce from scratch at the end of a busy day, or spending a Sunday morning prepping meals for the week ahead.

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It’s definitely one of the things you have to get into the habit of doing, and there’s nothing wrong with cutting a few corners along the way. I was really excited to have been invited along to a class by Very Lazy at the Food at 52 Cookery School with Hugo Davies, the man behind the @HugDeCook Instagram account.

Very Lazy were a staple in my university days, and I was surprised to see how much the range had grown beyond crushed chillies and garlic, but with products made using lemongrass, too.

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Hugo took us through some absolutely delicious recipes using Very Lazy products – my favourite being the honey and sriracha chicken with grilled pineapple and sesame broccoli.

We even incorporated some into the desserts as well, and baked an apple, blackberry and ginger puff pastry with ginger dust and caramel.

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Hugo’s class got me thinking about the ways in which I could use their products in some of my weekly go-to recipes as well. I was extremely pleased with the end result, and hope you’ll give it a try and tell me what you think!

Satay sauce is so easy to make, and making it at home is so much nicer than buying it straight from the jar. You can also adjust the level of spice to suit your tastes, too.

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Ingredients:

300g Pre-Cooked Udon Noodles (I used Sainsbury’s)

300g Skinless, Boneless, Chopped Chicken Thighs

2 Tbsp Crunchy Peanut Butter

1 Can Coconut Milk

4 Tbsp Very Lazy Chopped Red Chillies

4 Tbsp Very Lazy Smoked Chopped Garlic

2 Tbsp Very Lazy Chilli Paste

2 Tbsp Very Lazy Garlic Paste

1 Tsp Soy Sauce

1 Onion

Handful of Coriander

Sesame Seeds to Serve

Recipe:

  1. In a frying pan, fry the smoked chopped garlic and onion in oil until soft.
  2. Add the chicken thighs to the pan, along with the chopped red chillies and some salt and pepper until they are cooked through – set to one side.
  3. In a saucepan, add the coconut milk, garlic paste and chilli paste and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the crunchy peanut butter and the soy sauce, stirring constantly. Taste as you go and add more chilli or peanut butter to taste.
  5. Go back to the chicken, and heat it through before adding the pre-cooked udon noodles. Stir thoroughly, making sure each noodle is coated in the garlicky-chicken.
  6. Once the noodles are heated through, add the satay sauce to the pan, making sure each noodle is coated in the peanut sauce.
  7. Top with the sesame seeds and coriander – I had it on a bed of salad.
  8. Enjoy!

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Using the products definitely made the process go a lot speedier – and it all tasted delicious, too!

Have you ever used Very Lazy products? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

A Weekend in Brussels

For the August bank holiday weekend I hopped on the Eurostar to visit one of my best friends in Brussels.

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I hadn’t been back since I was a kid, and I’d also never been on the Eurostar before, but we nabbed such an excellent deal with Eurostar Snap that we just had to make the most of it.

Cafe du Sablon, Brussels

I love visiting friends in different cities. While we ended up doing the usual touristy stuff (checking out Manneken Pis, going to the European Parliament) we mostly ended up relaxing, and eating at the most amazing places.

The coffee was also excellent, and we had a great night out at Madame Moustache. Some of my highlights included:

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Carbonnade at Les Clan de Belges – a meaty and comforting Belgian stew, served with fries.

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A cappuccino at Cafe du Sablon.

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Window shopping on Rue Haute and the Marolles.

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We spent most of our time there walking around, and seeing a lot of the town – we frequented several chocolateries, and picked up some speculoos as souvenirs from Maison Dandoy.

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It wouldn’t have been a proper trip without sampling a lot of beer – and our favourite place was Delirium Cafe, although it is incredibly touristy.

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The waffles were best off of the street, in a van, and the best mussels we had were at Le Pre Sale.

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It was the most beautiful weekend, and I can’t wait to go back again soon!

Have you been to Brussels? Did you go to any of these places? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

 

Namaaste Kitchen

A couple of weeks ago I popped along to Namaaste Kitchen in Camden Town.

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Camden is somewhere I frequented a lot more when I was younger, and it’s changed quite a bit – it’s pretty touristy. There are still pockets away from the market that still feel a bit more authentic, and Namaaste Kitchen is one of them.

One of my favourite things to do at a restaurant is ask the waiter what they recommend. You can tell a lot about a place that way, and the enthusiasm and excitement that our waiter had over the dishes was infectious – almost everything we ordered was his recommendation.

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The mango and pomegranate salad was so tasty – garlicky, and not overwhelmingly sweet. We opted for a chatpati tokri chaat for our starter – a deliciously crispy potato basket filled with chickpeas, lentils, cucumber, pomegranate and yoghurt, served with green chutney.

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For our mains we ordered a kebab platter (I was in the mood for some lamb chops), but based on the recommendations we received we also went for the Mangalorean Chicken Korri Gassi – chicken curry with notes of tamarind and coconut, heightened by the addition of mustard seeds. It was creamy, rich, flavourful – everything you want in a curry, without being overwhelmingly hot or spicy.

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I don’t usually go for desserts, but I couldn’t resist the pistachio kulfi – and I’m glad I did.

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I had a great experience at the Namaaste Kitchen, and would definitely recommend it (and the Mangalorean Korri Gassi) if you’re ever in the neighbourhood!

Have you been to Namaaste Kitchen? What were your thoughts? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

 

Fischer’s at Baslow Hall

I was tempted not to write this one up, as the occasion was a family wedding (and what better way to celebrate) but the food was just so good I couldn’t help myself.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

Fischer’s at Baslow Hall is in beautiful Derbyshire, a part of the country I hadn’t really been to before. Our meal there was the cherry on top for the most beautiful weekend – the rest of the time we spent exploring, and doing a bit of wild swimming (just outside Chatsworth House, I highly recommend it).

Anywhere that Jay Rayner describes as “being buried inside Laura Ashley’s coffin“, while also getting his seal of approval is definitely worth a visit. We celebrated the nuptials of some of my favourite people with a seven course tasting menu in a grade 2 listed manor house in the peak district.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

Our first course was a melon gazpacho with lime leaf and lemongrass – topped with the most beautiful and delicate egg-white foam.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The combination of flavours and textures in the next dish really reminded me of my childhood in Japan, mostly with the salty flavours and the crunch of seaweed and tempura batter. The Norfolk quail was complemented with a mirin jelly and toasted seeds, and the buttery flesh worked incredibly well inside its light and crispy shell.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

While perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing of all the dishes, the next course was probably the weakest in my opinion. The Cornish crab and tomato were incredible, but the Stanage cheese ice cream was a bit bland – the cold temperature made the rest of the dish seem tepid.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The next course was exquisite – the pan-fried cod with a lentil and herb puree, served with an onion bhaji was probably one of the best things I’ve eaten all year. The cod was fresh and firm, and the puree combined with the crisp and light bhaji was unreal.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The final savoury course was a classic, and done to perfection. The shorthorn beef with onion puree was everything you’d ever want in a good beef dish – and also looked almost too good to eat.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

I’m always a terrible judge of desserts, as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but the peach melba tasted just like summer.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The thing I love about weddings is that generations just come together. By the time I reached my dessert course (we did a lot of swapping around, so everyone would get the chance to chat) I was sat next to someone who was able to tell me the origin of the peach melba. It’s actually invented in 1892, and named after a soprano – and has now given me a new life goal to attain to. Getting a dessert named after me, and not singing, as anyone who has been unfortunate enough to come to karaoke with me can tell you.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting MenuFischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

The second and final dessert was a pistachio cake, which was served with a strawberry tea and a toasted marshmallow. Despite being a big fan of the Great British Bake Off, I’m not actually that into cake, but I really enjoyed the marshmallow. I will be holding all other marshmallows to this unattainable standard moving forwards.

Fischer's Baslow Hall Tasting Menu

Fischer’s at Baslow Hall was perhaps the most beautiful meal I’ve had this year, for more reasons than one – but the food was undeniably spectacular. They also apparently have beautiful rooms, too, so if you’re lucky enough to nab one you can live the dream and just roll upstairs afterwards.

 

Have you been to Fischer’s at Baslow Hall? What were your thoughts? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram

 

Wilderness

Earlier this month I went to Wilderness Festival – my first proper English festival (camping and all).

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It was definitely one of the highlights of the summer. Whether it’s the incredible food, the amazing atmosphere and activities (Ottolenghi’s talk, the cricket and the hilarious barn-dancing were particular highlights), every detail was meticulously done and I loved every minute of it.

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Like with any UK festival you have to resign yourself to getting a little wet – and there is so much on offer that you’ll most definitely go over your budget, but you’ll meet some incredible people and have an absolute blast.

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Some of my favourite food stands were festival favourites Anna Mae’s and Stakehaus – I went to those in particular multiple times over the course of the festival.

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I also really liked that they sent through a list of each night’s costume themes in advance – seeing the amount of effort people went into was absolutely glorious.

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Until next year, Wilderness!

Have you ever been to Wilderness Festival? What were your thoughts? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram