15/06/2012

A Jersey holiday Competition! And yummy butter!

When is butter not butter? When it’s Jersey Black Butter, that’s when.

A few weeks ago, after spotting a Tweet asking if anyone wanted to try Jersey Black Butter (OMGYESPLEASEMEEEE!) I was sent a jar of this lovely stuff. I’ll let Rachael, the lady who sent me the jar, explain it for me.

“I’m working with the Jersey Tourist Board. We’re about to launch a month long Facebook competition (it goes live this Friday). The main prize will be a holiday to Jersey but we’re also holding themed weeks where we’ll be giving away daily prizes. Week 3 is…food & drink. We’ve confirmed Jersey Black Butter as a supplier

(http://www.jerseyblackbutter.com/products.html)

as it’s something quite unique to Jersey (as lovely as the fudge is, you can get fudge in most places!) It should be noted that the Black Butter is actually a spiced, fermented apple conserve, rather than actual butter. I had visions of very confused food bloggers opening the packages!

So, in tandem with this and to help raise awareness of the competition, I’ve been contacting food bloggers to review this yummy black butter. “

And here is the copy about the competition. G’wan, enter, you know you want to. I know that I certainly want to, I’d love to go to Jersey and not just because I had a massive crush on Bergerac.

With a beautifully warm climate and lush green fields, Jersey is an island packed with culinary delights. From the island’s own vineyards to its fresh seafood and a wide range of delicious dairy products made from the rich, creamy Jersey milk, there’s plenty to discover for the gastronome. To help you discover the island, this June Jersey Tourism are giving two people the chance to win a 3 night stay on the island, complete with a complementary walking tour by Jersey-born naturalist Arthur Lamy.

As well as this 3 night stay, which includes flights and 5-star accommodation for two, there’s also a chance to win prizes every day – from Friday 15th – Thursday 21st you can win delicious hampers of Jersey fudge,chocolate & black butter from La Mare Estate! (http://www.lamarewineestate.com/shop/)

Visit the Jersey Tourism Facebook page to enter – http://on.fb.me/KkZeYW

I’ve always wanted to pet a Jersey cow too.

JerseyCowCopyrightApplies

Now it’s on to the butter!

My husband’s cousin used to make an apple butter, and I remember him mentioning how nice it was, back when we first met, so an apple butter is not a strange thing to me but this….

I have had this jar in my cupboard for a while now. It’s time to open it…

Black Butter jar

The strong, fruity smell hits you as soon as you take the lid off. It’s dark, and rich and smells of bonfire night and Christmas. It has that depth of smell associated with ginger cake and toffee apples, slightly burned but not in an unpleasant way at all. My immediate thought was that I wanted to bake apple muffins and put this in the middle. I keep on sniffing the jar, it smells so good. Imagine Jamaican Ginger Cake smooshed with roasted apples and extra cinnamon and you are almost there.

Close up

I think it would be incredible mixed in with plain vanilla ice cream, or a light sorbet. It has so much flavour that it is hard to pair it with anything but I suspect it would add life and zing to anything creamy.

I admit that I’ve already tried it simply spread on some good bread

On seedy bread

 

and that I accidentally got it into my bacon sandwich. *ahem* I should have checked the butter knife BUT it was really nice in that!

We’re going to try it with vanilla ice cream later, or perhaps in some Greek yoghurt, or maybe on toast…

Thank you very much Rachael for sending this to me, it’s delicious!

12/06/2012

A Mango Masterclass at Suda Thai, Covent Garden.

My lovely friend Kavey gets invited to a fair few things and, I’m very happy to say, sometimes I get to go along too! Recently we were lucky to be able to attend a Mango Masterclass at Suda Thai, a chic – but not too chi-chi – restaurant in Slingsby Place, just off St Martin’s Lane. I will say now that I will most definitely return.

To quote the very nice PR person, Alix:

“In honour of Mango Month 2012, we would like to invite you to an intimate mango masterclass and dinner at Suda Thai restaurant (www.suda-thai.com

We will start with mango cocktails and, whilst dining on delicious Thai food, will be shown a demonstration of how to make savoury and sweet mango Thai dishes, including a mango salad and mango rice dessert. Interspersed with our dining on non-mango foods such as Thai curries, noodles etc., it should make for a really fun and informative evening!”

I do like a nice bit of mango, but it’s quite hard to find the pale Asian/Indian ones in the supermarkets. They all sell the big, round red and green ones, which I’ve always found to be either underripe, or quite fibrous, even when ripe, so an evening of hopefully Asian mangoes was absolutely my thing.

On a very warm night, Suda was an oasis of cool breezes and zingy drinks.

We started off with a mango, mint and chilli shot, which was very sweet, perfectly cut by the mint and which then left just a tiny frisson on heat when you finished it. As most people know, I am a total chilli wuss, but this was perfect. I think I had a few of those, and then a Mango Colada arrived. I don’t drink alcohol, so the Pimms was out of the question sadly but this drink was just right.

Mango colada

Mango pulp, coconut milk, lemon juice and ice. It was excellent.

We were served some delicious appetisers of summer rolls, with avocado, prawn and mango, and they came in little boat shaped dishes.

Summer Roll    Flotilla

Our flotilla, after we’d finished.

Oh, and our charming table companion!

Cutie

Once everyone had gathered, we headed to the much more spacious upstairs and took our places at table.

There was a talk from a very quiet lady, but sadly my hearing failed me and I honestly could not hear what she was saying, or make out who she was!

We crowded around the head of the table, and I will say it is very difficult to watch a cooking demonstration when there are foodies with cameras right in front of the chef so I listened happily, and then photographed the food at the table. Much easier that way.

Crispy fish with green mango salad

Crispy fish with green mango salad.

I loved this. The dressing had roasted chilli paste, fish sauce and palm sugar, and the salad also had roasted cashews, crispy shallots and onions in it. The fish just added more crunch and I could have eaten much more of it. Our end of the table made very short work of that.

Off we went again to another demo. Kavey fed me a spoonful of warm, sticky coconut rice to try and Oh My God it was good.

This is the table laid out with all the samples of what would be cooked for us.

Sample dishes close up   Sample dishes  29052012123     29052012122

Back to our seats we went and then the dishes came flooding out.

Kavey and the squid

Chargrilled skewer of fish in Thai spices; mussel, squid and prawn, with another  version of a green mango salad.

This was utterly gorgeous. The salad was crunchy and fresh, both tart and sweet at the same time, and the fish was amazingly flavourful. I do not like mussels, but I tried one cooked this way and liked it. This doesn’t mean I’ll be eating any more of them though…

 

Fried fish and mango salad with salsa

Fried fish, salad and a mango salsa.

Duck breast in red curry sauce

Duck breast in Thai red curry sauce – utterly gorgeous, even if it was a bit too hot for me. I loved the sauce from this spooned onto the plain steamed sticky rice.

Sweet and sour crispy chicken and bok choi

A variation on sweet and sour chicken, with big juicy chunks of mango, plus some beautifully cooked greens. I used up the sauce that the greens were in on the last of my rice because it was just so tasty I wasn’t going to waste any of it.

Sticky coconut rice with fresh Asian mango

Asian mango, sweet sticky coconut rice.

This is a dish that many of us could have eaten again and again. The mango was so sweet as to be almost caramel in flavour and that rice was absolutely delicious. I need to learn how to make that!

We had a lovely time, and it was nice to sit around and chat, and not be made to feel utterly weird for taking photos of my food. Thank you to my fellow food bloggers Jennie and Kavey for keeping me company.

I am never buying a red and green mango again. It’s the slimmer, yellow ones all the way now, assuming I can get them. I’d rather have none at all than fibrous, dry ones. I suspect I may be spoiled for mangoes now.

Kavey’s more detailed write up – and a recipe – can be found here and May from Slow Food Kitchen’s excellent write up is here.

We ate as guests of Suda Thai.