Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Wok this way

I have to say, I have never really been a fan of Gok Wan. At first I liked him, then I couldn't stand him, but after last night's 'Gok Cooks Chinese' (which I do not know why he didn't just call 'Wok Wan'), I'm back on team Wan! I was very scepticle about the idea at first. I mean, he first appeared on our screens in 2006, and ever since then has been dressing the nation and sporting the line "It's all about the confidence", but after seeing his confidence with the cleaver, I have no idea why he's kept this secret hidden from us for so long!

So, after 30mins of my husband badgering me to "make something Chinese tomorrow", I thought I'd finally season my new wok, and get to wok, I mean work (cheap gag, I know!)


1. 1 stem of spring onion
2. 1 clove garlic
3. 1 inch ginger
4. 1 stem of lemongrass
5. 1 bird chilli
6. 1/4 sweet pepper
7. 225g raw prawns- (marinaded in garlic powder and chilli powder- optional, but you need to add a tsp of self raising flour so that it does not stick to the wok)
8. 1 tbsp oyster sauce
9. 1 tbsp fish sauce
10. Handful of sesame seeds to garnish


1. Fry off the holy trinity of Chinese spices- the ginger, garlic and spring onion
2. Now add the lemongrass, chilli and pepper. Once they are brown, add the prawns
3. The prawns will not take any time at all to cook, about 3mins in total
4. Once they have turned from a transparent grey to an opaque pink, then add the oyster sauce, fish and sesame seeds.
5. Now for the crucial bit- eat as quickly as possible! These babies need a good home!

Like all takeaways, the Chinese food cooked at home is a million time more tasty and healthier for you. So next time you head to a greasy joint, head to a supermarket instead and get a decent batch of prawns. From wok to plate in under 5mins. Not bad, eh?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Use your loaf

Everyone has something that riles them up; for some it's the Government, for others it's London Underground, for me, it's poorly made sandwiches. Get's my blood boiling.

This weekend I decided to head to Borough Market. It's been a long time since I've visited and fancied a day out. As ever, it did not disappoint, and it's bustling lanes of vendors selling all things bright and wonderful certainly burnt a whole in my purse! So far so good. It was only on the way back home my husband and I decided to pop into a local Moroccan styled deli that things went horribly wrong. While my hubbie set his sights on a chicken, couscous and humous lunch box, I was feeling a little full so I decided to stick to a sandwich- my favourite Prawn and Avocado. We sat ourselves down. The chicken got sent over, and as I looked at the veritable feast that my husband had chosen, I braced myself for my sandwich. It was sent over. White bread. No mayo. Barely any filling. As I picked up this sad looking thing, all of my prawns fell out, and the pathetic shavings of avocado dropped out revealing their oxidised brown flesh. I reached for a fork and pulled Shan's chicken plate in the middle. I was seething. 

Why are so many sandwiches made so badly? And more importantly, what makes a good sandwich? 

1. For me, number one is the bread to filling ratio. Most bad sandwiches I've had often do not add enough filling, and rely too much on a heavy set bread. No. What we want is a 2:1 ratio where the filling is double the bread slice thickness. 

2. Good bread. We also do not want a overpowering slice. What we want is a slice that will serve to hold the filling well, but not take anything away from the flavour of the filling. I personally hate white bread. As well as being tremendously bad for you (Why white bread is bad), it really doesn't taste of anything, so always go for a wholewheat alternative. You don't have to go for an all guns granary blazing loaf, but just not white! Trust me, your sandwich experience will benefit from this!

3. Last, but certainly not least, we want a good filling. Never under estimate what a little consideration to your filling will do for the taste. Take very basic flavours- tuna, egg, cheese. Instead of just adding mayo, take a little time to add a slice of red onion, or bird chilli or rocket. Be wary of adding items with high water content such as cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce as they can make your sandwich soggy. If you're not going to eat it straight away then remove the seeded areas and dry out before adding.

Here's one of my favourite sandwiches: Sunday Roaster. It came about one Christmas very long ago, when my brother and I fancied a midnight sandwich. I piled together all of the ingredients we had left over from lunch, and was one of the best sandwiches I had ever eaten!

To make 1 sandwich

1. 1 Chicken thigh (or any dark meat area)
2. 2 stuffing balls
3. 1/2 parnsip
4. 1/4 cup peas
5. 1 tbsp mayonnaise

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A Fish called Wonder

Forget Bieber, forget The Beatles, there's a new singing sensation in town: The £1 Fish Man. If you haven't heard of him, he is taking the world (or at least YouTube) by storm. He is based in Queen's Market and this guy is a legend: £1 Fish Man What can I say? I'm not much of a singer, so thought I'd pay tribute to the man in my own special way: Butterfly Mackerel with orange and lemon served with baby spinach and grilled new potatoes.

Serves 2


1. 1 Mackerel (split down the middle)
2. 1/2 lemon- zest and juice
3. 1/2 orange- zest and juice
4. Drizzle of olive oil
5. 8 new potatoes
6. Handful of baby spinach


1. Line a tray with foil and place you mackerel on top
2. Whisk ingredients 2-4 together and marinade the Mackerel. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Turn the Mackerel so that it's skin side up. Wrap the foil edges around, and place in the oven for 10mins at 200 degrees.
4. Slice the new potatoes, and boil. Once they are done, strain and add to the tray with the Mackerel.
5. Add a dash of salt to the potatoes and return to the oven. This time leave the foil open.
6. Now blanche the baby spinach (Boil water in a pan, once it starts to boil, turn it off and add the spinach. Leave it in the water for 1min and drain). Add a bit of salt and grate a bit of lemon zest over the top. (If I had had some feta cheese, this would have been perfect to add here too, so if you can, do!)
7. By this time your fish should be crispy on the top, and soft and flakey on the underside. (Total oven should be 20-25mins).

Now plate up and eat. Very rarely does something so simple take so many platforms of flavour and texture, but this is one. Massively tasty and undoubtedly healthy- win, win.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Egg-stra special

To many households, an egg is just an egg. Good for a sandwich, necessary for baking, and handy for the old egg wash or two. To me, an egg is more, so much more. As I stated in one of my first ever posts, it is hailed as one of my top five ingredients, and to me is one of the most versatile products. After a disappointing search in my freezer and store cupboard for a 'main event' in tonight's dinner, I suddenly thought I'd make an old favourite; one of those dishes that's like turkey at christmas (a good turkey, that is), and makes you wonder why you eat it so rarely when it tastes so good. On tonight's menu-  Egg curry with sweet pepper, coconut and lemongrass. A bit of a mouthful? You bet.

Now even though this is quite a common dish in most Asian households, I'm not sure whether many others would know of this great tasting sensation. Don't be fooled people, Egg curries are fantastic. As the eggs themselves retain their shape and do not expel any particular flavour, the curry itself can be comprised of any combination of ingredients you like. I particularly love lemongrass, coconut and sweet peppers, so have opted to make my Egg curry with this base but honestly, you could accent your curry with tomato, bird chilli, coriander, anything.

Serves 2


1. 4 hard boiled eggs
2. 1 medium sized onion
3. 1 tsp cumin seeds
4. 1 tsp fennel seeds
5. 1 tsp dill seeds
6. 1 clove garlic
7. 1/2 inch ginger
8. 1 stick lemongrass
9. 1/2 sweet pepper
10. 1 tomato
11. 1 cup water
12. 1 tsp coriander powder
13. 1 tsp cayenne powder
14. 1 tsp curry powder
15. 1 tsp cinnamon powder
16. 1 tbsp tomato paste
17. 1 tbsp coconut milk


1. Fry ingredients 2-9 in some vegetable oil.
2. When these are golden, add the chopped tomato and cup of water. 
3. Then add items 12-16.
4. Once the sauce has reduced, and you are left with a thick consistency, add the coconut milk.
5. Remove from the heat.
6. At this point you can add your eggs, or if you can spare another 3mins, pan fry the eggs in a bit of oil with a pinch of turmeric and cumin seeds. This will crispen the outside and add another fantastic flavour layer.

Get some rice cooked or naan heated and get to eating. Alternatively, smash up the eggs and you've got yourself a very tasty filler. Now, that's what I call an egg sandwich.

Monday, 14 May 2012


I am so sorry I have been missing in action recently, but believe me when I say that my absence has only been in pursuit of food journeys, and not just idol loitering! However, to say I'm sorry, how about a little apology baking? Or post weekend treat? Or Monday sum sum? Here's my three in one- Nutella-ella-ella bite.

I've never really understood the whole Nutella craze. I mean to me, having a bit of toast with Nutella is like trying to eat a main and dessert at the same time- they do not go together. To be fair, by this point I had never actually tasted Nutella, but then found out that it was manufactured by the same company that made Ferrero Rocher- hold the phone- it just got interesting! Yes, ever since then a jar of Nutella has resided in my store cupboard. Still not in favour of the toast idea, but as I'm a big cupcake fan (literally and metaphorically), I thought…

Molten Nutella Cupcakes:

Makes 9 Muffin cases


4 oz self raising flour
4 oz caster sugar
4 oz margarine (at room temperature)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
9 tsp Nutella


1. Use a mixer to beat the margarine and caster sugar until you barely feel the sugar granules.
2. Add in the eggs- one at a time and mix in-between every addition.
3. Sift the self raising flour- again add a small batch at a time. I usually divide into three parts, and this means that the flour can mix properly. 
4. Now add the vanilla extract.
5. Slowly mix in, so that the mixture remains fluffy. 
6. Fill the muffin cases so that they are 1/3 full of cake mixture.
7. Add the tsp nutella to each case.
8. Add another spoonful of the cake mixture to the cases.
9. Bake for 20min, check with a cocktail stick to make sure they are cooked all the way through.

After you have left to cool for about 10mins, you can frost, or if you're like me, remind myself to not eat too much, and attack.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

(Lady) Finger Lickin' good!

It's been a lovely few days made even more lovely by the fact that a near and dear friend of ours chose the God sent bank holiday as the setting for his beautiful wedding. I love weddings, not only because you are in the presence of love and are witnessing a "soul's counterpoint in another" (John Beckwith, Wedding Crashers- great film), but because you are also in the presence of truly scrummy food. Yes, I am the shameful person at the wedding who follows the waiters and/or tips them to come straight to me.

Well, this wedding was no different, and if I may, I would like to single out my favourite item of Monday's event- the Paneer starter- OMG, I know I was literally eating my waistline, but it was sooo worth it. In that moment I realised that heaven did indeed exist at the end of a cocktail stick, and further lead me to believe that all things really do taste better in bite size. Starters are always better than mains, fact. So, next post I thought, I will make my own little treat.

Now I know not a lot of people like veg. I know even fewer like lady's fingers, but people, people, people…give this a try, I promise, it is good eating! Sweet and Salty Lady Finger Fries

Makes 7 Fries

1. 1/2 cup gram flour
2. 1/2 cup self raising flour
3. 1 tsp ground roasted jeera
4. 1 tsp whole jeera seeds
5. 1/2 tsp paprika powder
6. 1/2 cup of water
7. 7 Lady's fingers
8. Oil to fry

To garnish
9. Handul of Sesame seeds
10. 1 tsp honey
11. Salt to season
12. Basil

1. Heat the oil in a deep pan.
2. Mix ingredients 1-6 together. This should make a thick batter. 
3. Now dip in your Lady's fingers, and deep fry.
4. Drain on tissue and drizzle the honey over the top and add the sesame seeds, salt and basil.

If you seriously can't deal with lady's fingers, then try with mushrooms or aubergine or potatoes. They might not be Lady's fingers, but they'll still be finger lick in' good!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Ditch the dirt, and dish the dessert!

Well, it's certainly been a busy few weeks for Love My Grub. My knives and mixing bowls have barely had a chance to dry off as I have been working on the next Lovely venture!

A little while ago, I was approached by a Restauranteur who wanted to collaborate to mark their 20th year in the business. Ingeniously, he came up with the idea of revamping their Indian dessert menu. This was something I was dying to do, as I have all too often felt like having a dessert after a curry, but been put off by the high sugar, low taste element. Research slips were sent out, and feedback came back with much of the same story. The more and more I spoke to people, the more and more I was convinced that instead of the standard westernising of Indian desserts, I would take typical English desserts, and add a bit of an Asian twist. 

Now, even for me a self confessed Asian food lover, Indian desserts do have a bit of a reputation of being comatosely sweet and I wanted to rebrand their name as being 'Sugar and spice and all things nice', i.e working in some healthier options! Moreover, it's almost summer (yes, almost being the key word), so I really, really wanted to introduce some refreshing, and light options. Fruits, yoghurt and all those things that a full tummy craves after a hot curry. I've worked in one of the tastiest yet most underused fruits- Lychees which will be served with peppermint sorbet, and an aptly named Eastern Mess- which takes inspiration from the very British Eaton Mess, but uses another great Asian jewel- Jackfruit in place of the standard berry option.

The photographs above are another two desserts on offer from tonight: 

1. Chocolate, Date and Cashew Sundae- chewy spiced fridge cake, with soft vanilla Kulfi
2. Coconut Ladoo served  with fresh Mint Tea

Don't miss out guys, and please head for Putney Tandoori! Get some grub, and share the love!