Daily Archives: May 12, 2010

A vegan, south-east asia inspired lunch menu

Somewhat daunted at cooking a vegan birthday lunch for Emma, local vegan cook from earth kitchen I thought that the best way round it was to experiment a bit and embark on a slightly different menu to my usual theme of modern British and European cooking.

I’d also recently been inspired by Steve Parles South-east Asian menu at the Dock kitchen, where I was taken for my birthday in March. Fabulous food, my only criticism was that it was what I call ‘London potions’ i.e. not large enough to feed a rat, let alone a country girl with a healthy appetite. I do have to give him a big thank you for the Tamarind sorbet recipe….I collared him at the end of the meal. He’d made it up himself, so I was dying to give it a go….the other half said mine was better, less sickly sweet and pairing it with the mango coconut cream broke down the sharpness of it…having said this it was probably more than his life’s worth to say it wasn’t!!

My variation of Steve’s menu ran as follows;

Blood orange and Pomegranate Bellini


Green Papaya, cucumber and carrot salad with palm sugar, ginger, lime and coriander root


Squash with red chilli, lemongrass, lime leaves, coconut and sweet basil

Thai fragrant rice or white quinoa

Beetroot and mint salad

Fried bean curd with chilli


Frozen mango and coconut cream with Tamarind sorbet and sesame caramel


Coffee, tea and Emma’s vegan chocolate truffle cake with Goji berries

I have to admit I misjudged portions on the starters, so it was smaller than intended (more London than mountain sized) but the flavour was superb. This was primarily because it was impossible to get green Papaya. Not seasonal granted, but mixed beautifully with local shredded carrot, cucumber and coriander root.  I ended up serving the fried bean curd, which I’d bought from the Garden Hotel Chinese shop in Bangor, with the salad as I could only use half of each Papaya as they were just too ripe. They felt hard enough but you can never tell I guess.

Unfortunately like many small shops, the Chinese shop in the Garden Hotel has been hit by the supermarket and lack of use has brought its demise. It’s a case of use it or lose it. The girl who worked there told me it would be closing down soon.

It was also here that I got hold of the semi-dried Tamarind, palm sugar and lemon grass. I know some of these things are available in Tesco’s but I’d prefer to spend my money elsewhere!!

Again, I know squash isn’t seasonal but on this occasion I broke the rules!!

The lunch was a success and Emma very generously sent me a message saying

“Denise***Thank you for a fine dining experience.  Exactly what eating out should be all about.  I haven’t had a cooked vegan meal as good as that possibly ever!”

which pretty much made my day xx

Emma and friends with Pomegranate and blood orange Bellini'

toasted sesame caramel looking like a weird sticky mess. It did break up well once it had hardened

serving out the salad and bean curd starter...too damn small for my liking!!

beetroot and mint salad on pretty plates

squash with coconut, rice, beetroot mint salad...lovely contrasting colours and tastes

Mango coconut cream, Tamarind sorbet and shards of sesame caramel

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Research for the BIG WEEKEND warm up supper and party

Carrying out some research for our ‘food references in music’ menu for the BIG WEEKEND warm up party was the source of much hilarity….really, I never knew there were so many, although many only vaguely mention food in the title and not at all in the song, while it was quite difficult to find food references in songs if it wasn’t in the title!! !! I think we did quite well with our extensive (if not totally inclusive) list….

Seeing as it is music and rock and roll, we found plenty of alcohol related songs, titles or lyrics for example, The Streets -Too much Brandy or Dinah Washington- Me and my gin.
Gin, wine and beer seemed to stand out as being the most popular drinks in music think UB40’s-Red, red wine, Snoop doggy dogg’s-gin and juice

The teen’s contribution to the drink theme was ‘my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard’…which I’m very sure it does….but like many of the songs we found with food or drink related titles, isn’t really about food. Anything with a title that included the words sugar, honey, or candy or in this case milkshake is probably referring to other sweet offerings!

Back on the alcohol theme she also suggested Kesha-Dolla particularly the part where she says ‘Before I leave brush ma teeth with a bottle of Jack’. I like the idea of having a drop of Jack on the menu.

The other half went for the play on words approach coming up with Ragoo-Kings of Leon, River of Bass-Underworld, Ace of Bass, or Scooby snacks-Fun loving Criminals and Rokit-Herbie Hancock. He then went off on his own little random roll with ‘Cod is a DJ’ ‘Rice, rice baby’ and bizarrely trans-fatty acid-Lamb. I had to stop him before he got too silly, but before I could do that he was joined by Sophie the seamstress who added Sade-‘smoothie operator’ and Kate Nash ‘my hands are moulding into the shape of a crustacean’….somebody kill me now!!!

Most food references were in the titles but we did find some songs with food in the lyrics.

The streets-don’t mug yourself ‘2 plates of full English with plenty of scrambled eggs and plenty of fried tomatoes’
Or Men at work- Land down under ‘he just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich’ and 50 cent- ‘I love you like a fat kid loves cake’.

Then we aptly found Faithless-Insomnia ‘make my way to the refrigerator, one dry potato inside, no lie, not even bread, jam’ not that we wanted to put one dry potato on the menu.

Gorillaz-superfast jellyfish references carrots and chicken and the Black eye pea’s references rice and peas and chicken stuffing.

So far our favourite rock and pop inspired possibilities include
‘My Boy lollipop’-Millie,

‘Performance and cocktails’ (were ignoring their ‘too many sandwiches’ as there is no place for sarnies on the menu)

For seafood references we found ‘Pulling mussels from a shell ‘-Squeeze, ‘Rock lobster’- B52’s or ‘Spicy Snapper’-Ian Pooley any of which would make a great starter.

A gin and tonic sorbet might have to be in there somewhere as a nod to all of those gin related songs and of course Carrot cake for pudding after ‘Carrot cake and wine’-Stereophonics along with ‘Ice cream’-New Young Pony club.

Nirvana’s ‘Big cheese’ and Portishead’s ‘Biscuit’ will of course be served with coffee.

Thanks to our mate Rich for his Rock lobster suggestion, although I think we should skip the ‘I’m a spam eating homo, by Blah and an even bigger thank you to Sophie for her suggestion of the day Blur-Bank holiday

‘Grandma needs new dentures
To eat the crust on pizza
Been taken out by her daughter
Because she thought she oughta
The kids are eating Snickers
Because they’re so delicious
Then there’s sticky fingers
And mother loses her knickers
Bank holiday comes six times a year
Days of enjoyment to which everyone cheers
Bank holiday comes with a six pack of beer
Then it’s back to work
Barbecue is cooking
Sausages and chicken….’

Well, I haven’t lost my knickers (yet)…but there’s always time for that!!!!….The song kind of has it all there!!! I’m sure there are loads of good, if not better references out there….including
Beatles-Strawberry Fields
Queen-…fried chicken in there somewhere
Madonna-Hard Candy
Presidents of the USA-Peaches
Herbie Hancock-Watermelon Man
Tom Waits-Chocolate Jesus (plus others)
Snow Patrol-Chocolate
Whipped cream and other delights-Sergio Mendes
D’Angelo-Brown Sugar

With the bunch of songs we have I’m not sure were aiming for a gourmet menu on the night, but it will good home cooked food, lots of fun and truly rock n roll inspired for anyone who fancies a party!!…and of course after dinner drinks are a definite (brushing our teeth with a bottle of Jack!!)

Cocktails (maybe Pina Colada….good old Barry Manilow!!) and milkshake lollies
Homemade Vegemite breadsticks
Either a lobster, snapper or mussel starter
Possibly homemade pizza with rocket ….or fried or grilled chicken with rice and peas
Gin and tonic sorbet
Cheese and Crackers
Carrot cake and ice cream

If you fancy it email moelfabansecretsupperclub@live.co.uk to book a place or call us on 07775 828769
Denise xx

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