Welcome to my food blog Any Tom Yum , Spotted Dick or Haricot Bean...My name is Harriet Jenkins and I work for AB World Foods, a company passionate about flavour and World cuisines. This blog will give you a taster of the sorts of things that i get up to in search of foodie perfection across the globe...

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Best Vietnamese in London?!

I thought I should pass on this restaurant tip as it was soooo good…

Mien Tay 180 Lavender Hill, Battersea SW11 5TQ (02073500721)

Last night I went to Mien Tay on Lavender Hill, which is a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant. Recently reviewed by AA Gill IN THE Sunday Times, it received 4 out of 5 stars and was said by him to be ‘the best Vietnamese in London’. Traditionally most Vietnamese are found in Kingsland Road in the Northern part of London, but this is situated just a 5 min walk from Clapham Junction – so has great transport links and is in the South of London.

After visiting pre and post review some of the dishes I can recommend are:

-Fresh (summer) shrimp rolls
-Pho soup with beef
-Crispy egg pancake with beansprouts
-Green Papaya salad with dry spicy beef
-Beef with lemongrass and chilli
-Goat curry with galangal

The top three dishes are very traditional and the signature dishes of Vietnam – staples, really, if you go to a Vietnamese restaurant.

For four people it came to £50 which is peanuts and it’s BYOB – even better!!!

If you get the chance to go let me know what you think!

Happy Cooking!


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

More Sweet Treats

When i was up in St Andrews a couple of months ago i was inspired by a new bakery called Bibi's. they had some great flavour ideas including the mini oreo cupcakes (a recipe inspired by Hummingbird and Bibi's is below in an older post) and the choc mint cupcakes i had a go at this week- i was pretty chuffed with the results!

I also had a go at making some cherry compote cupcakes with white chocolate and marscapone icing. I dropped a spoonful of cherry compote in the middle of the vanilla sponge mix and it made a fabulous gooey centre...all cakes were made with the delicious Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract of course...!!

Happy Cooking!


Marketing Meeting Fun - we cook regional Thai!!

Each month i invite the Marketing teams (Blue Dragon and Pataks) to join me in the AB World Foods kitchen for a research and learning session. We look at our products, competitors products, and learn about the cuisines of the Far East and India.

This session we focused on regional Thai - i had been out in Thailand for a month, earlier on in the year, and i was keen to share with them some of the dishes i had experienced...

Prawns in a curdled yellow curry sauce – SOUTHERN

Naturally seafood is very important in the south and this dish is commonly made with crab. We however used prawns for their ease and it worked rather well. A touch of mild curry powder added the pop of yellow colour to the dish and the addition of eggs to the curry sauce base thickened and curdled the mixture. It was delicious and one of the favourites!
Pad Thai with Crispy Wontons– CENTRAL

I tried this fantastic dish in perhaps the best Pad Thai restaurant in Bangkok. They leave out the noodles from the dish, in favour of serving the bits in the sauce with a bundle full of deep fried crispy wontons – YUM! The secret ingredient in the best Pad Thais is the pickled radish. It adds a sweet vinegary flavour that just lifts the dish from great to fantastiche!!
Wood ear Mushrooms with egg and coriander – CHAOZHOU

This dish is great for texture – the mushrooms are kind of crunchy and rubbery at the same time, and the coriander adds a fantastic freshness to the eggs. All seasoned up with chillies and light soy sauce, it makes for a yummy vegetarian dish. Chaozhou (as I mentioned previously in my blog) is a style of cooking that comes from Chinese immigrants to Thailand – making use of Chinese recipes that incorporate some Thai influences/ ingredients.
Jungle Curry – NORTH

Jungle curry is a very hot curry for the north. It is traditionally made with a paste to start, and then cooked in a stock (rather than coconut milk) with pea and apple aubergines, chicken, thai sweet basil, coriander and many chillies and green peppercorns. It certainly cleaned out the sinuses!
Som Tam with Fruit (in silver bowl on left) – ISARN

This dish is popular among the dieters of Bangkok as it contains almost no calories! It traditionally comes from the Isarn or North Eastern part of Thailand and is made from green papaya and has a hot and sour flavour profile. The street hawkers of Bangkok like to change it up a bit and sometimes make it with fruits like rose apple (and salty crabs), which give it a pleasing crunch. We made ours with granny smith and pink lady apples, radishes, carrot and sugar snap peas for their crispness.

Happy cooking!


Monday, 14 June 2010

Soul Food In Nowa Sol, Poland

Me (left), Zaneta (Middle) and Anjali (Right) outside ABFoods, Poland
Anjali Pathak and i were asked by the guys in HR at our outpost in Poland, to come over for their summer festival. Allsorts of things kicked off over the weekend including music concerts, funfairs, food and other Polish frolics. Anjali and i were demonstrating our specialist cuisines, Indian and Oriental respectively, and we made quite an impact! People on both days jumped onto the stage to help us prepare our dishes - the enthusiam to learn new recipes was inspirational and with the help of Zaneta (our ABFooodsPolska fixer) we made a real impact over the two days.

The stage upon which we 'performed'!
It was quite intimidating standing up in front of the people of Nowa Sol and having to have everything translated by a translator. I cooked a selection of dishes from a variety of cuisines including a Chinese Sichuan-style stir fry, Japanese Teriyaki Salmon and Thai Chicken Satay, using Blue Dragon products. Everything went without a hitch thanks to the great handymen on site, Zaneta and my 'assistante' Anjali!

Hopefully we will be invited back next year to demonstrate some more exciting and exotic Oriental and Indian dishes...

Happy Cooking!


Nielsen-Massey Goodies

Rum & Raisin Brownies

Macademia Cookies
This month i have taken on the responsibility of looking after the Nielsen-Massey brand of Vanilla Extract, for which i'm really excited! It's meant i've been able to get in the kitchen and practise various recipes for our PR company, including Macademia Cookies, Fruit and Nut Muffins, Vanilla Cookies and Rum and Rasin Brownies.

Crisp Vanilla Cookies

Fruit & Nut Muffins
I also got into the cupcake fever and cooked some Oreo Cupcakes for the ABWF charity bake sale - i am pleased to announce that they all went within two minutes! Must be the superior quality of the Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract i was using...! ;)

Oreo Cupcakes

Makes 6

100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100ml semi-skimmed milk
1 egg
1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 170/325/gas3. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter until a sandytexture is formed. Whisk the milk, egg and Nielsen-Massey together in a jug, then slowly pour about half in with the dry ingredients. Mix until combined and with no lumps. Pour in the remaining liquid, scarape down the sides of the bowl and ensure everything is smooth and well combined.
Line a muffin tin with 6 muffin cases (preferably brown which can be bought from ASDA and most good baking shops). Spoon the mixture into the cases until 2/3 full. Place in the oven for 20-25mins until firm. Check if they are cooked, by placing a skewer in the centre of a cupcake and ensuring that it pulls out cleanly. If not replace for another 5 minutes.
Top with a cream cheese icing made from 300g icing sugar, 50g unsalted butter, 1tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract creamed together - it should be of a light and fluffy dropping consistancy. Pipe onto the cupcakes with a meringue nozzle (to create the wide fluted shape) and top with a mini oreo cookie

I *heart* baking!
Happy cooking!

Undercover at the Dusit Thani

Front enterance of the Hotel
Amazingly Tim Beard had managed to squeeze me into the legendary Dusit Thani hotel in Bangkok for my last day in Asia, and i worked both lunch and evening services. There was so much that I could have learnt there, but the political situation (and subsequently the closing of all but three of their restaurants) prevented me from achieving it.

Making Nam Prik Om
However, the one day that I did spend in the kitchens was great. I started off with an introduction with Chef Erwin and his deputy Phillipe. I was then given the grand tour of the restaurants and kitchens - only three were open and one was prepping – and then was invited to join the head chefs for their daily briefing.
Stuffed Prawn, pork and crab claws
I then was invited to join the Thai restaurant, Benjarong, to learn how to prepare some of their dishes, including Stuffed Crabs and Crab Claws, Nam Prik Num, Nam Prik Rua, Gaeng Som Pla Chen, Pork Satay, Sweet Pork and Pomelo salad. Chef Siriwat was a great help and talked me through all the recipes and methods, even demonstrating some of them too me including the Nam Prik ong, Stuffed crabs and Pomelo salad. I stayed with them for three hours or so.
Ingredients for Nam Prik Rua
Then in the evening, at 6pm I joined the Vietnamese restaurant, Thien Duong. Again, they were more than hospitable. Even though they had no customers whilst I was there, they demonstrated to me (and got me making) their version of summer rolls, Deep fried Summer Rolls, Vietnamese Ravioli and Prawn on Sugar cane sticks. They also talked me through the different dipping sauces used with each dish.
Nam Prik Om - stir fried until dry
From there I went to The Pavilion kitchen, which is the main buffet area for evening dinner and breakfast. I was in the kitchen and was taught how to make Thai Green and Red curries as well as Pad Thai.

All in all this was a fantastic experience and I just wish more restaurants had been open (Chinese, Thai, French, Italian, Steakhouse) so that I could have spent more time in each of them, learning the ropes.
Happy Cooking!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Dim-Sum - Hong Kong's Breakfast

The great thing about dim-sum is that there is always something for everyone – be it steamed, fried, baked or wokked.

Traditionally served as breakfast for Hong Kong natives, it sprang up in the southern Cantonese area of China as an accompaniment to drinking tea or 'yum cha'. Dim sum literally means 'to touch your heart' and given the fondness people have for these little snacks across the whole world, it is a very fitting translation!

As is the tradition, we enjoyed our dim-sum at lunchtime (as to eat it in the evening is not traditional and slightly frowned upon - much like drinking a cappuccino at breakfast in Italy)! We were presented with a dim-sum banquet that consisted of cold drunken chicken (so called because it is cooking in shaoxing wine), followed by multitudinous varieties of dumplings and buns, rounded off traditionally with a noodle dish served for the whole table.
Drunken Chicken with dipping sauces
Steamed buns - Left Char Siu Bau, Right Sweet Custard
Deep-fried Chinese chive dumplings
Shu Mai - pork and prawn
Shu mai - crab and pork, b/g noodles
Cheong Fun - Square rice noodles rolled around bbq pork
Special Stir-fried Egg Noodles
Happy Cooking!