Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

Last weekend Tweat Up and Wahaca took over Street Feast at Dalston Yard with Chilli Chilli Bang Bang, a two-day street food event celebrating "the heat, fun and flavour of one of the world's best loved ingredients – the MIGHTY chilli pepper".

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang brought to London the best and spiciest street food, a main bar serving Jose Cuervo tequila cocktails, a Spice Market, a Hot Sauce Deli and demos with UK chefs.

As usual at Street Feast parties, there was a great atmosphere, everyone having a great time despite the short bouts of rain.

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

My tolerance for spicy food is not high, but I managed to try quite a few dishes (though I was too scared of taste Roti Chai's fiery naga chicken wings).

Here's a round-up of some of the best food from Chilli Chilli Bang Bang, starting with Wahaca's Grilled Chicken Tortas with Habanero Mayo and Pork Pibil Tacos with pink pickled onions and habanero chillies.

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

Indian street food traders Rola Wala served naan sliders with Shredded BBQ Mint Chicken and Goan-Style Pulled Pork.

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

Unanimously rated by my friends as the festival's highlight were Som Saa Thai dishes, in particular the Sweet Pork on betel leaves with "mouse sh*t chilli".

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

5-Chilli Yuzu Reimen (Hot Cold Noodles) by Nanban, Japanese soul food by Chef Tim Anderson.

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

Malaysian food by Mandy and her stall Sambal Shiok: Chicken Satay Slider with spicy peanut sauce and Beef Rendang slider with sambak chilli sauce.

And Korean-American food by Busan BBQ: Bulgogi Beef in garlic soy marinade and Mehwah Beef Sliders with spicy jam; Pork Belly Slider in sticky gochujang sauce.

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

'Nduja and Peppers Pizza by Pizza Pilgrims.

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

The legendary hot sauces by The Rib Man: Holy F*ck, Christ on a bike, F*ck Yuzu and Nagarita.

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

BAO's Taiwanese steamed buns with Slow Braised Pork Belly Gua Bao with dou ban jiang pickles and peanut powder.

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

Quinoa Burger with kiwi yoghurt and chilli mayo by Martin Morales' Peruvian restaurant Andina.

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard
Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

Pork Wontons in a spicy, garlicky sauce and Chengdu Pork Wontons in a sour-hot soup by Bar Shu.

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

Finishing with a Street Feast classic: ice lollies by Ice Kitchen.

Chilli Chilli Bang Bang at Dalston Yard

As usual, all the staff and traders did a fantastic job to ensure everyone had a great time! If you've never been to Street Feast, you are really missing out on one of London's best food events!

Seventeen: Szechuan Dinner

One of the perks of being a food blogger is getting invited to nice events, such as tastings, cookery lessons and opening parties. These occasions offer the chance to experience different dishes, discover new cuisines and meet people with whom I share the same passion.

That’s why I loved the Szechuan food event at Seventeen in Notting Hill: at the dinner, which took place in May, I discovered that Chinese food can be incredibly flavoured and spicy and I also met some very nice bloggers!

I extended the invite to my friend Charlotte, only to discover later that she is actually from Szechuan and hence would become the perfect judge of the food’s authenticity! Well, she loved it and also took some amazing pictures of the dishes (waaaay better than my poor attempts at defeating the dim-lit setting), so go have a look at her blog post.

The lovely restaurant manager, Mark, welcomed us downstairs where there is a big room with a bar, a privé area (where we sat) and many small tables. There are many waiters and you never feel un-attended (in a good not-pushy way).

After spending some time introducing each other, chatting, drinking wine, the food started to come our way: Cumin Lamb Skewers and Beef Shank in Spicy Sauce. I liked the lamb, but they got easily over-shadowed by the beef, which was fantastic! In fact, it was probably the best dish of the night: tender meat, melting in the mouth and bursting of flavours.

However, the star of the show was the Sezchuan-style fish: beautiful ceramic bowls of boiled fish, swimming in a broth of peppercorns and red chillies. It was not the kind of spice that hits you at the first bite, but after a few minutes (and for hours afterwards) it will make your mouth burn! I loved the idea of fishing the pieces out of the bowl using the special metal colander (trying to leave out the chillies!).

There was more food to come – believe me! Chongqing Chicken, a cold dish of steamed meat in chilli and sesame sauce; Twice-cooked (boiled and stir-fried) Pork Belly; Green Beans with Pork; Choi Sum Garlic.

By then, I had eaten so much chilli that I couldn’t taste any more flavours! That didn’t stop me from eating, though, as I kept picking at the last pieces of beef shank left from the starters! ;)

The Szechuan “chilli party” finished with Mango Jelly and Mochi Balls with black sesame and peanuts, followed by a soothing Jasmine Tea.

I had a great dinner and enjoyed the atmosphere, service and food. I really appreciated Mark’s efforts in spreading the word about this restaurant, which offers good authentic Szechuan dishes, yet is located out of the “foodie trail” and can be easily overlooked. If you are a fan of spicy food (and are not a vegetarian!), you should pay Seventeen a visit!

For more reviews, visit Feast To The World, Yummy Choo Eats and Dolce Dini.

Disclosure: the dinner was kindly offered by the restaurant. All views are my own.

Broccoli and Stilton Soup

Looking back at my Food for Runners series, I noticed that soups were missing completely from it. Until now. So this week’s recipe is Broccoli and Stilton soup, which I adapted from Nigella’s recipe.

Vegetables are very important to a runner’s diet, which must include nutrients such as iron, potassium, fiber and vitamin C, to help to fight fatigue and keep energy levels up. Broccoli as a source of these nutrients and they also contain (by weight) more Vitamin C than an orange!

Stock up of veggies with this filling soup, the addition of Stilton cheese makes it creamy and delicious!

Ingredients

* 3 small broccoli, chopped
* 6 spring onions, finely chopped
* 1 tps dried thyme
* 500ml vegetable stock
* 150g Stilton cheese, crumbled
* Olive oil
* Freshly ground pepper
* 1 long red chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

Preparation

Heat the olive oil, add the spring onions and chilli, cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the thyme, broccoli and stir for a minute or so.

Pour the hot vegetable stock and the crumbled Stilton and bring to a bubble, then clamp on the lid and cook for 15 minutes.

Blend with a food processor and add pepper to taste. Scatter with red chilli for serving.

Mauritian Supper Club

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Selina’s, aka Yummy Choo Eats, first Mauritian Supper Club. Hosted in Selina’s house in Croydon, the supper club consisted of starters, main dishes and a dessert, all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. With the help of ‘Mama Choo’, she put together a fantastic 3 course dinner that left us full and satisfied.

We had a small food bloggers meet-up as Sela of Chocolate Walks, Katy of Feel Good Food Book and Laura of The Writing Type were also there. With a total of twelve diners, plus Selina’s husband, mum and in-laws, it felt more like a big family reunion and there was a lovely and warm atmosphere!

We arrived at the dinner just after 7pm and had the time for a rum cocktail before sitting down for dinner. The starters consisted in crispy Chilli Cakes (Gateaux Piment) and Aubergine Fritters (Gateau Bringele), some aromatic Coriander Chutney and a fresh Cucumber Salad.

The main course was impressive – I was glad that I had eaten very little all day and prepared my stomach for this beautiful feast!

The cuisine of Mauritius is a blend of Creole, Chinese, European and Indian influences. As a main course we had Chicken curry (Cari Poulet), Potato and Butterbean curry (Grois Pois), Tomato Chutney (Rougaille) and lentil flat bread (Dhall Pouri) – though they might be inspired by Southern Indian cuisine, the Mauritian recipes have their own distinctive flavours and taste – more delicate and sweet.


Also the way of eating the bread is very different from India, as we were told to make a wrap with it, rather than dip pieces in the curry.

As part of the main course, we also tried an exotic vegetable named Chou Chou, a coconut paste (Chatini Coco), pilau rice and pickles.

I always look forward to the dessert and I was very pleased with my generous slice of Polenta Cake (Pudine Mais). A hot cup of chai at the end of the meal was exactly what I needed.

Yummy Choo Eats’ Supper Club was my first encounter with Mauritian culture and it is clear that food is an important part of it. I wish Selina a great success in promoting Mauritian cuisine in London, this dinner was certainly a great start!

If you’re also a fan of Selina’s blog, vote for her here!


Edible Experiences

Asparagus and Prawn Stir-fry

This week’s “Food for Runners” recipe is a stir-fry of asparagus and prawn served with Basmati rice, adapted from Runners World magazine.

Prawns are low in fat, high in protein, and rammed full of iron and zinc. Aspargus are packed with riboflavin, which helps your body metabolise carbs into the sugars that fuel your runs.

Ingredients

* a knob of ginger, grated
* juice of 1 lime
* 4 tbsp fish sauce
* 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 10 raw king prawns, shells off
* 1 onion, cut into thick slices
* 1 red chilli, finely chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 4 spring onions, in 5cm pieces
* 200g asparagus, cut in half lengthways and into 5cm pieces
* 8 fresh coriander and Basmati rice to serve

Preparation

Mix together the ginger, lemon grass, lime leaves, fish sauce and sugar. Put to one side.

Stir-fry the king prawns for a few minutes until they turn pink. Remove from the pan.

Throw in the onion and stir-fry for two minutes. Add the chilli, garlic and spring onion, and cook until the onion has softened. Add the prawns back to the wok along with the asparagus and fry for a further minute.

Pour over the sauce that you prepared earlier, and cook until the mixture becomes sticky. Sprinkle with the coriander and serve immediately with the Thai rice.

Food Markets in Rome: Campo de’ Fiori

I am in Rome visiting the family and of course I am using all opportunities to take photos of my beautiful city.

One of my favourite parts of Rome is Campo de’ Fiori, literally “field of flowers”. It’s a square near Piazza Navona which hosts a fruit and vegetables market every day. I love the bright colours of pumpkins, tomatoes, mandarins, chili, fennels, roman artichokes and broccoli. The roman broccoli is so peculiar, it is often referred to as a “natural fractal”.

What are the typical vegetables or fruits of your hometown?