Friday, 2 March 2012


Lastnights' show had me reaching for my passport.  With advances in technology more of us are enjoying programmes in high definition and 3D but I'm championing smellavision.  Imagine inhaling all those herbs, spices and just in general, the awe inspiring produce that the contestants were able to get their hands on.

I'm definitely in John Torode's camp in that I find Thai/Malay/Indo food to be the most exciting and delicious of all cuisines.  It's light, fragrant, surprising and inventive.  For anybody who has ever watched Chef Wan Islaim (think of a male, Asian, Rusty Lee) you can't fail to be enthused.  Other ambassadors including Bobby Chinn and the inimitable Keith Floyd who gifted the residents of Phuket with their first celebrity chef establishment-Floyd's Brasserie in the Burasari Resort, extolled the virtues of Thai cooking.

I'm getting behind Tom the plasterer to take this years title, his pork and mango sorbet dish hit all the right spots for me and his use of fish and cockroach paste earlier on proved he's not afraid to go out on a limb.

I reckon that even the fantastic Seewoo wouldn't have fish and cockroach paste on their shelves and I don't know if I'm quite brave enough to try it but a dish that I eat frequently is Rendang.  Here's my own, simplified version.


     Lemongrass (stalk or Lazy)
     6-8 Shallots 
    1-2 Red chillies (deseeded if you don't want too much heat)
    Thumb size piece of Galangal (thai ginger)
    Thumb size piece of Ginger
    1-2tsps turmeric
    4 tablespoons of cashews

    Pack of frying steak
    Fennel seeds
    Coconut milk

    As this is my version, it's a bit slap dash and not an exact replica.  All you have to do is pound the first half of the ingredients in a pestle and mortar or processor till you're left with a paste then add to a hot pan with a little oil and cook off for 2-3 minutes.  Now add your beef.  Once your beef is browned add the coriander, coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves and cook for a further few minutes.  Season with salt and sugar.

A good tip to balance too much heat is to add a touch of golden syrup.  I make it without the chillies for Finlay, but still with a dash of the syrup and he loves it.  It's also great with chicken and I like to serve it with rice noodles.


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