Quick & Easy Pad Thai for One

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There are loads and loads of variations of Pad Thai on the internet, some are good, some are not so. Depends what your looking for in your Pad Thai I guess. For me I like mine spicy and sour with lots of crunch and heavy on the coriander and thus over time this is the recipe that I have honed from trying out lots of versions. Feel free to tone down on the chilli and coriander a little if you like!!

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 75g flat rice noodles
  • 8 raw king prawns, deveined
  • 2 spring onions finely sliced
  • 1 and a half long red chilli, finely sliced
  • 50g beansprouts
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 15g roasted peanuts, unsalted and lightly crushed
  • large handful of coriander, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • groundnut oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp light brown or palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp light soy sauce

Method:

  1. Cover the rice nodes with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes
  2. Make the dressing-  combine the lime juice, soy, tamarind paste, fish sauce and sugar and set aside

  3. Heat a large wok, when smoking add 2 tbsp oil. Add in the shallot, garlic and  1 chilli and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly

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  1. Add in the prawns and fry for a further minute and then add the peanuts (reserve a few to sprinkle over at the end)
  • Drain the noodles and toss well with the ingredients, the noodles will start to change texture.

  • Push all to one side on the wok, add in a little more oil and pour in the beaten egg. When the egg is just set, break it up with the wooden spoon and stir back in with the noodles

  • Add in the dressing and bean sprouts, most of the spring onion and stir through

  • Remove from the heat, stir through the coriander and sprinkle the rest of the nuts, spring onion and chilli over the top and serve!

  • Happy eating :)

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    Win a Hello Voucher Card!!

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    Hello Voucher is one of the latest discount cards on the scene in Birmingham, joining the likes of The Gastro Card and The Independent Birmingham card, and I have 4 of these cards to give away to lucky readers!

    Hello voucher offers ‘voucher’ discounts on a wide range of services and activities across Birmingham, so whether you want to dine out, work out, pamper yourself in glorious salons and spas, shop, sightsee, fix your teeth, buy new glasses, order takeaway, pose for a photo shoot, or even learn how to nail the Trapeze – the Hello Voucher Card caters to all and to everything!

    Naturally as Birminghams food scene is so great at the moment, happily, many of the offers and vouchers are food related too!

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    Some of the great places involved at the moment include

    • The Victoria
    • Jekyll & Hyde
    • Blue Rabbit
    • Warehouse Café
    • Kinnaree Thai
    • Saint Kitchen
    • Anderson & Hill Deli
    • WrapChic

    and many, many more. The vouchers range from 2-4-1 deals to a % off the bill.

    There’s already more than 100 vouchers and all of these can be seen on the website, and more are being added all the time. The cards RRP at £23.99 but can currently be snapped up for a bargain £10 on the website. More than 3000 brummies are already owners of this great card, so don’t miss out!

    I have 4 cards to give away to some of my lucky readers using the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

    Click here to enter —->>> a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Terms & Conditions

    • There are 4 cards up for grabs
    • The giveaway will run from 31/8/2014 until 7/9/2014 at midnight. 
    • Winners will be notified after the giveaway ends and have 1 week to provide their contact details or another winner will be drawn
    • The cards will be sent out in second class royal mail post
    • The owner of this blog accepts no responsibility for lost post

    New look Grill Menu @ Hotel la Tour

    I was recently invited to an event hosted by Hotel La Tour to showcase the new menu being launched by their restaurant and to find out about their exciting new project.

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    Hotel La Tour is a fantastic hotel in the heart of Birmingham which has now been open just over 2 years and has recently announced an exciting partnership with local social enterprise Edible Eastside. Beginning in September, guests will be able to taste freshly grown produce including seasonal fruit and vegetables in the Hotel’s restaurant, Grill La Tour, from the Hotel’s new Roof Garden! The roof-top garden will also serve as a relaxing space for guests and visitors alike to enjoy.

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    Edible Eastside are based in Digbeth, have established a growing commitment to supplying businesses and educational institutions a space in the centre of the city to master the art of horticulture. The partnership with LaTour will see the enterprise further their links with the city centre and help aid in the promotion of sourcing independently grown produce.

    Staff at the hotel will also be able to assist in the maintenance of the garden, something which they are very much looking forward to. Hotel LaTour are already using produce provided by Edible Eastside’s local allotment space and work on the roof-top garden will start at the beginning of September.

    On our visit to Hotel La Tour we were lucky enough to have a seat at the Chef’s Table, where they usually serve a small tasting menu to groups of 6-8. We were able to chose off the new A La Carte Menu instead on this special occasion. The Chef’s Table is really great if you’re a foodie, there’s a fab view into the large busy kitchen and the chefs are able to interact with you as they serve the dishes and you can really find out a lot about where the food has been sourced and how it was prepared.

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    As you might expect with the name ‘Grill La Tour’ the menu is heavily grill based – lots of steaks but also plenty of seafood. I chose the Tempura Squid with Vietnamese Sauce for my starter which was perfectly cooked with a light batter and a very moreish sauce with perfect balance of salty sweet sour and spicy flavours. Other starters on offer include a Heritage Tomato and Burrata Salad, Grilled Langoustines and much more.

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    Their signature cocktail was a welcome accompaniment to the food, made with gin and apple, it was delicious!

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    It was no surprise that almost all of us chose steak in one form or another for our mains! I went for the Hanger Steak Skewer with Shoestring Fries and Garlic Butter whilst others went for the RibEye and Fillet, both very reasonable value, and 2 people even shared the 900g Tomahawk! Now that was a pretty piece of meat! There are other options too though including things like Poached Fillet of Turbot, and Steak and Brummie Ale Pie.

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    Puds include their Signature Jaffa Cake Pudding as well as to die for Chocolate Soufflé, but I went for Treacle Tart with Clotted Cream. Their pastry chef has some serious skills – as I’ve discovered previously on trying out their Afternoon Tea as we finished off the meal with some very tasty Petit Fours.

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    I’ really liking the re-vamped Grill Menu at Hotel La Tour, and the new partnership with Edible Eastside promises to bring the public even closer to the source of their food, something diners today rank very highly. The Hotel offer some great deals on staying and eating at the Hotel, one not to miss if you’re in Birmingham.

    Disclosure: I was kindly invited to this event by the Hotel, the event and the food was complimentary but as always all views and opinions are my own and I was not required to write about the event

     

    Review: Lasan, Birmingham

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    It will probably sound something of an outrage to Birmingham food lovers that neither lee or I have ever been to Lasan. I’ve followed him faithfully since rising to fame on The F Word, through the ups and downs of Great British Menu, oohing and ahhing over the delicious looking food, have been to eat at all his other ventures, and even very briefly met him at a blogger event a year or so back! So how we have never been to Lasan I have no idea. We have tried to get a weekend table a few times, but have always left it a little too late and they’ve already been fully booked (never ones to be organised Lee and I!)

    Anyway, the other week, we put this right. On a whim on a weeknight we booked a table and turned up full of anticipation.

    I liked the decor of the restaurant, and we were seated on the mezzanine level which was lovely. Service throughout was very friendly, a tad slow in parts (ordering and getting the bill) but the food service was very timely.

    We we treated to an amuse bouche to start – a little pastry shell with chickpeas and tamarind. This was delicious, had a real kick to it and was hopefully a sign of brilliant things to come. Some poppodoms and chutneys were also provided free of charge, a nice touch.

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    I started with the Burrah Kebab – hung beef marinated in papaya and cumin and cooked in the tandoor with a kachumber salad it was unbelievably tender and the spicing just spot on. Lee had the Onion & Palak Pakora. Again this was delicious – so light and the subtle spices balanced amazingly. So far, so good. Well better than good!

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    Our mains followed on the faultless theme and I can really see why they call Aktar the Spice King and his team are fully doing his creations justice. Lee’s Lamb Labadar came with cutlet, 10 hour confit shoulder, awadhi style pate of breast, tempered lentils and a smoked, spiced braising jus. I tried a mouthful and it was pure heaven – the jus was something completely out of this world. My Thengapal Duck with spiced pumpkin and a Keralan style caramelised onion and pepper sauce didn’t buck the trend. Every mouthful was a little taste burst and all the flavours were harmonious. Needless to say we both soaked up every last bit of the sauce with our side order of Pilau rice with petit pois.

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    We even decided to share a desert, which, unless we are having a tasting menu when desert is a given, usually means the food has been so good we have had to have more, as we are not the biggest desert people!

    We shared an Apple and salted caramel macaroon with strawberry ice-cream. It was a lovely finish to the meal. My only comment on this was the couple of large mint leaves stuck on top. Not needed and we all know what Lee thinks of inedible garnishes!

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    Our first visit to Lasan was a roaring success and I doubt we will leave it long before we visit again!!

    http://www.lasan.co.uk

     

    Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own

     

    Review: Albion, Crosby

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    It’s not too often that purely reading a menu gets me salivating and excited anymore, but in the case of Albion this was certainly the case. Fellow blogger Bacon on the Beech helpfully replied to a request for suggestions of places to eat in this area of the country and boy I am glad I took up this recommendation.

    The set up at Albion is simple, with wooden tables and chairs, but the addition of some quirky bits and pieces such as the exposed brickwork in places and candles on each table give it a great feel. It was quiet when we went for lunch, only a couple of other tables in, but we enjoyed the peaceful ambience

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    The concept of the food seems to be ‘old classics’, but these are certainly done with brilliant modern bang up to date execution. I loved the inclusion of the dates of origination of each dish too. You can tell they have really put a lot of thought into the place, trying to keep the theme throughout, obvious by things such as the drinks list offering things like pints of bitter shandy served in glass tankards, and old school fizzy drinks like Fentimans Curiosity Cola.

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    We happily sipped our shandies whilst eating some Pork Dustings which were scratchings of excellent quality, and came with a selection of flavoured salts for ‘dusting’ (sage & onion, beetroot & nutmeg and beef) as well as some sticky relish.

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    We were then presented with a little extra course to get the party started; monkfish with home-made black pudding and tartar sauce. The black pudding was excellent – and great to hear they make it themselves.

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    To start with I chose the Coronation ‘Road’ potted chicken, coconut mayonnaise, pickled carrots, mustard cress, a great balance of sharp and sweet and a lovely imaginative starter. Topped with a slither of crispy chicken skin and I was a happy girl. Lee went for the Corned bully beef hash, homemade brown sauce, roast beetroots. Again the flavours of this were a hit but with it came the tiniest criticism (and probably the only criticism of the whole meal) it was a tad burnt on the bottom.

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    Mains included the Colonial ‘7 boy’ chicken curry – 7 accompaniments, roast onion basmati rice for the other half and Slow braised beef shin, crispy potato, balmoral sauce, shredded bacon for me. The presentation of the curry, with it’s 7 little perfect accompaniments (pickled carrots, chillies, curried peanuts, sweet limes, toasted coconut, sultanas and banana) on a little bit of driftwood was fantastic presentation, and I’m told they all really enhanced the curry. My shin was perfectly cooked and I could have licked the sauce off the plate (I restrained myself)

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    We were absolutely stuffed, but as the food had been so good we really wanted to try a pud too, so we went for one to share – ‘Poor Knights of Windsor’, hot sherry jam, hokey pokey cinder toffee. Not the kind of thing I’d usually pick off a menu but the cinder toffee drew me to it. I had no idea really what this was, so a quick google while it was cooking revealed poors knights of windsor is white bread soaked in milk and spices then fried, so a bit like french toast. To me the bread had an almost pancake like texture (gorgeous!) and the hot jam was a delight. Lovely gooey mouthfuls and Lee went from saying that he couldn’t possibly manage even one spoon of pudding to demolishing most of it before I had chance to pick up my spoon! A successful pud then.

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    Albion really impressed me that day and is one of those places that really gets me upset that I don’t live closer and know I won’t be able to re visit for a while. So those of you up in the North West – you lucky little people, get visiting!

    http://www.albionrestaurants.co.uk

     

    Disclosure: We paid for our meal in full, all opinions as always are our own

     

    Spicy Tomato Soup

     

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    In my effort to eat more fruit and vegetables, (we’re now supposed to eat 7+ portions a day don’t you know!) I’ve decided to start cooking more soups. They’re perfect for a weekend lunch and you can pack them full of the vegetables you need. And the leftovers make an easy weekday lunch to take to work and heat up.

    This Spicy Tomato Soup has a hefty kick of chilli heat as well the warmth of cumin and is really delicious. Perfect with some fresh crusty bread, or a Middle Eastern Flatbread. You can easily add a little less chilli if you’re not keen on spicy food as well.

    I based my recipe on this one here from BBC Food website, but made a few changes here and there to spice it up just that little bit more!

    The changes I made were using 1 scotch bonnet chilli in place of one of the red chillies, and also adding in 1/2 tsp of both cumin powder and coriander powder when softening the onions. I left out the oven roasted tomatoes to garnish the soup as I didn’t have enough time.

    The fresh coriander worked well, but I think I would add a little more as the taste was not that strong.

    Happy eating :)

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    Review: The Blue Mango, Birmingham

    The Blue Mango is an Indian Restaurant in the heart of Birmingham, situated just off Broad Street on Regency Wharf. It’s not somewhere I had been before although it had been on my radar, so I looked forward to trying it. There’s some fabulous Indian food going on in Birmingham and the surround at the moment, the likes of Raja Monkey, Lasan, Delhi 6, Punjabi Rasoi and many many more so the bar is set pretty high.

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    The restaurant inside was large and spacious with a combination of booths and tables. For a Wednesday night it was filling up quite nicely while we were there. We had some excellent and prompt service, and it was a nice touch to be asked after our starter if we needed a break before the mains were brought out (we did!)

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    So what of the food? Poppadoms were crisp and non greasy with a traditional and good quality dip selection. Starters wise we went for a Dosa – Wafer thin and crispy rice flour crêpe served with chicken tikka filling along with fresh coconut and tomato chutney  and a Punjabi Samosa – Dough pastry stuffed with spiced potatoes served with green peas, hung curd and tamarind sauce. I’m a little obsessed with tamarind at the moment and can’t get enough of the stuff so was trying my best to steal the tamarind sauce of Lee’s samosa plate – it was excellent and the samosa it self lovely and light. I’ve never tried a dosa before and must say I loved it. A filling starter though. The tomato chutney that came along side I wolfed down it was so good.

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    For my main I chose something I wasn’t familiar with; Chicken Tak-a-Tak – Strips of chicken breast marinated and basted in tandoor and sautéed on an iron taws with fresh melee of pepper, tomatoes and fresh green chilli. This arrived at the table sizzling on the tawa and the flavours were excellent. It was a drier dish that a usual curry, and was huge – plenty enough for two to share. Lee decided on a Hydrabadi Nalli Gosht – Slow cooked lamb shanks cooked with mild smooth nutty gravy. Anybody that knows him or reads the blog won’t necessarily be surprised at this choice – he’s a bit of lamb shank and lamb in general fiend! The meat was very tender, falling of the bone just how it should be and again he enjoyed the flavours a lot. We shared some rice and an garlic naan, but to be honest we barely made a dent in them as everything was so large!

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    The food at Blue Mango was extremely enjoyable and decent value for the huge portion sizes on offer. I would certainly recommend you to try it out if you’re looking for somewhere new to go.

    http://bluemangobirmingham.co.uk

     

    Disclosure: We were invited to try out the Blue Mango and the meal was complimentary. A positive review was not required, and all views as always, are our own.