These addictively savoury noodles, laced with fiery chilli oil and fragrant, mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns do require a reasonably well stocked Chinese larder, but are relatively straight forward to make and will quite possibly become a regular on your weekly menu.
Shawarma is up there as one of my favourites, it's so tasty and the hands down winner over the Turkish Doner or the Greek Gyros. Although it's traditionally cooked on a large skewer, rotisserie style, it's easily possible to recreate this fantastic street food classic at home.
There is something quite magical about a good fish stew, it packs in so much flavour, yet is still fresh, light and healthy. A great fish stew doesn't need to be complicated - if you can get hold of some fresh white fish and a few mussels or clams, foodie greatness awaits with just a few key store cupboard ingredients and about 45 minutes of your time.
A good mole has layers of contrasting, rich sweet and savoury flavours in the sauce. Pasilla and Ancho chillies combine to give a lovely roasted fruitiness with mild chilli heat, whilst the cocoa and spices lend themselves perfectly to this unctuous, velvety sauce. There's good reason why 125 million Mexican's go nuts for it and they've made it their national dish.
Chicken soup is soul food in the purest form. It's simple, healthy and good for your very being. Poaching chicken meat has gone out of fashion here in the UK. Admittedly you do lose the gooey, sticky caramelised bits that are so good when roasting a whole bird - but there are real benefits that come from gently simmering a chicken. As well as soft, juicy, tender meat - you end up with a wonderful broth to use as the base for a hearty soup.
Khao Soi is a noodle soup from Northern Thailand, packed full of flavour. It's spicy, it's fresh, it's fragrant, there is so much going on - you'll love it. The base of the soup is pretty similar to a red curry so to keep things simple, I've just used our brilliant Thai red curry paste.
I love the way amazing food can conjure up vivid memories. I first tasted satay years ago at my mate Woody's 18th birthday party - his wonderful Malaysian mum had made chicken satay skewers. I can remember thinking that it was possibly the most delicious thing I had EVER eaten.
It's sometimes hard to get excited about cucumber, particular when they are 'straight from the fridge cold' and sliced into slightly uninspiring rounds. Cucumbers are 96% water, they have a lovely clean, crunchy texture but need a little helping hand to bring out their best.
I just love the fresh vibrant flavours of a noodle salad, a riot of textures and flavours - brought together with a zingy, aromatic dressing. Year-round versatility, you can incorporate whatever fresh veg or salad happens to be in season at the time, or lurking in your fridge and needs using up.
There is a fantastic chef called Samin Nosrat who talks about the basic elements of cooking - check out her book "Salt Fat Acid Heat" - it's won loads of awards. At the heart of good cooking lies good decision making and the primary decision regarding heat is whether to cook slowly over gently heat or quickly over intense heat. Cooking food over charcoal or wood on a BBQ can be a combination of both, the skill lies in deciding the perfect moment to start cooking. It is a brilliant way to introduce an extra layer of flavour...
Vietnamese cuisine is a real melting pot of flavours. It's heavily influenced by the French who occupied the country during the 19th Century so you'll see ingredients like French baguettes and pate commonly being eaten. Mix those up with more traditional South East Asian ingredients like noodles, chilli and coconut, add in wonderfully fragrant herbs and you have something remarkable. Vietnamese food is about fine-tuning your tasting skills to balance out sweet, sour, salty, umami, bitter and hot flavours. It's also about combining perfect textures, crunchy vegetables and silky meat or fish to create the perfect harmony of taste.
It's so exciting to think that one fifth of the way through the 21st century and here in the UK, we are still making new food discoveries. I was first introduced to chimichurri sauce by a friend of mine a few years ago. Beaming with excitement, he proclaimed, 'you're gonna love this', as he slathered the thick, herby sauce over a freshly cooked steak. Of course, like most new food discoveries, there is nothing new about chimichurri sauce. It's been an Argentinian staple for generations.
The tacos that you find on every Mexican street corner are often cooked really quickly - it's street food, you can't hang about. We have a recipe that will allow you to make really quick authentic tacos, that are so tasty, it will become your 'go to' meal.