Saturday, 30 July 2016

Special Italian food festival . Bellavita Expo 2016

Stuffed mozzarella cheese

Val Paradiso exv. olive oil producers

Rasines wrapped in lemon leaves,

sweet wine

Neapolitan Pizza team

Italian vegetables

Who does not like Italian food in the world?
Italian food seems the world food these days , most of the corner of the world  you can find pizza or pasta , they might be not authentic but still they are  Italian food.

When I make pasta or some Italian dish at home, I try to use all real Italian ingredients as much as possible except fresh ingredients such as vegetables, meats and fish.
Using Italian products, olive oil, tin tomatoes, some herbs, they are a little more expensive are but worth it for me.

I am so pleased to be invited to the Special Italian food fair in London and it was such a wonderful chance to see all different region specialities under the one roof.

Regional foods in Italy are special, as I pop in any exhibitor’s site, first you can see the map of Italy and the red painted region where they are from.

I do admire this tradition to keep local specialities to the region only can produce.  Family running business seemed keeping tradition for generations. 

Start with the famous pizza from Napoli, thin crispy base and good tomato sauce and good quality of cheese, who need a lot of toppings?

It reminds me out short break in Napoli ,how we loved local famous pizza, even we have to wait for a table for 1 hour,  it was very tasty with special memory.

Looking at all the exhibitors from cured meats, cheese, olive oil , wine , even dried herb from sun soaked country, Sicily , all very interesting  and most of all I am so envy to see them all.

All products seemed got a story to tell, hard work, heart aching, elating ,happy with surrounding their nature, very romantic even.

Extra virgin olive oil by Val Paradiso was exceptional, so intense flavour, never tasted this good.  Such different than any I have tasted.

 Every food lovers should keep in their self  including me. You need just a good crusty bread and cheese with this oil, your meal is ready.

Raisins wrapped in the Lemon tree leaves to give lemon flavour in raisins, how original and poetic thought process, Wow, love  the idea, even before I tasted this lemon flavoured rasin. 

The lemon tree leave parcel was like a gift parcel gives you kind of excitement to open this.

One small exhibition table caught my eyes, stuffed with ham, chilli, capers mozzarella cheese, just like small a pretty purse.

When it was cut in half you can see that packed with ham, chilli, capers and so delicious, salty, spicy and  cheesy.

It would be a perfect for the drinks party, just with wine, or light lunch with salad.
what an lovely idea !  Any good deli should sell this.

The kind owner gave me some to try at home, I baked on the flat bread with roasted peppers and wrapped, like wrapped pizza. Just melt in your mouth. 
As a food blogger and writer I was lucky to have been invited many kind of food show, but this Italian food show was special and loved the food romance .
I loved the story behind in every products,  all very terribly proud of their products and a good story to tell,  a long journey of developing the products, happy or sad!
A good news !

The Bellavita Academy is opening  in London soon.
Italian cookery course, Italian wine sommelier course will be run by the Italian experts. I am looking forward to see this academy.
Web site: Bellavita.Academy.
Web site to look:

Olive oil:
Dry fruits:
Cheese: Caseificlo Saturno
Olive, anchovy and more:

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Tuna Cheviche with Mango and Avocado

Tuna cuts

Vegetables cuts .

Tuna and veggies mix

Tuna  300g
Avocado 1
Mango ½
Capers 2 tsp
Red onion 1 ,  Red chilli 1 .
Olive oil ( Extra V)   2tsp ( optional)
Lemon or Lime juice  1tbsp to 1.5tbsp mo,  Mustard ( Dijon) 3tsp
Mint leaves, toasted sesame ( black and white mix)
Cucumber  ( long and strait) 1
  1. Needs 70% ripe mango and avocado to cut cleanly. Cut 1 cm square ( squeeze lemon on the top ), chopped  onion  and  chilli ( deseeded) small as possible and set aside .
  2. Cut tuna fish 1,5cm square. Mix with chilli and onion and leave aside
  3. Make sauce:  in a bowl, mix with olive oil and mustard , 1tbsp lemon or lime juice , mix well, season with salt , sugar ( a little) and ground white pepper.
  4. Make cucumber ribbons with potato peeler, 2cm with and as long as cucumber’s full length
  5. 2-3 minutes before serve the dish assemble all ingredients and sauce  mix well, if you mix with lemon or lime juice longer than 2-3 minutes,   fish look grey and starting to cure. It has to be last thing to do before you serve.  
  6. In the white serving plate, put food ring in the middle of plate and put marinated fish and veggie  mix.  Press lightly and make nice round mould.
  7. Take off the ring and put cucumber ribbon like an open parcel.
  8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and a few mint leave on the centre, serve with good Sourdough bread.
Hint:  This Ceviche (tartare) should be a little spicy not too spicy.

Final assembled dish

Saturday, 7 May 2016

10 Course Tasting Menu Dinner at Sat Bains.

Duck Egg with Pea Sorbet

Scallops with Dal Samosa
Aged Beef

Goosnargh  Duck

Rice Pudding

Chocolate Cake


Chicken Liver muesli

Sign  by Sat Bains


This dinning opportunity was from our son, and daughter, John and Catherine.
It was a wonderful 2015 Christmas present from them, how lovely, this is our 3rd time to dine at Michelin stared restaurant experience from them,
Having a Food blogger, teaching Korean cookery time to time and so called foodie as mother, it was a fitting presents from them.
Sat Bains was voted as the Number 1 restaurant in Britain in 2015, I was so excited to have taste his creation.  
Since he made very slow cooked duck egg with green pea shoots and pea sorbet at the Great British Menu since then his fame has rocketed .
Grey and rainy day to drive up to  Nottingham , traffic was very slow , took more than 3 hours from leaving M25, Finally arrived .  It looks like nothing I’ve ever imagined, just literally middle of nowhere and side of the very busy road.
Whoever visiting here has to be only for the food, not for the beautiful countryside or being in a nice country hotel. 
Just simply for his food.
It is a very odd set up and also a very confident set up, I like his confidence, It tells us, my food will talk loudly.
The room was neat and has a good taste all round, and all very thoughtfully done.   Not too showy but just nicely done .
Still rainy, Car park seemed filled up by early evening as it is Friday evening after all.
Before the dinner we all had a welcome glass of Champagne at the bar and had a small talk with sommelier, Laurent  whom I met at the Sake sommelier competition  a few month ago. He asked me bring my own kimchi to show to Chef, Sat Bains.
His special duck egg was not include in 10 course tasting menu but we could order it if we wished to.
I had to have this famous egg dish and liked to judge myself , we ordered one for share .
Looking at the menu all dishes indicate what kind of tastes are in the dish, sweet, salty, bitter, sour and Umami.  It shows he got a big impression to Japanese food during his trip to Japan a month ago, I am following his Instagram.
Starts with wild garlic  soup , very green and had strong garlic flavour,
Very slowly cooked ( 4 hours ) duck egg with pea shoots and pea sorbet, I can see how all critics were mad about this , nothing I had imagined , rich egg with fresh pea shoots and cold smooth green sorbet  makes me smiling, all contrast taste seemed just right strangely.
1st was scallop curry, perfectly cooked scallops and tiny dal samosa.
What a good idea, adding his Indian heritage food was smart and most of all tasty .
2nd, Chicken liver muesli was a surprise, a mind blowing dish.  Frozen liver pieces with dry frozen milk, wow ! Just like eating crunch breakfast.
3rd,  Potato cream cheese and Exmoor caviar. Perfect combination, smooth and
soft bite of salty caviar.
4th,  St, Gorge’s  , aged beef  tartare, flavour of beef was die for.
5th,  Kohirabi  tagliatelle  with green house pesto,
6th,  Goosnargh duck with parsnip, pear, black olive was best for us. Deliciously pink and pear was a perfect match.  Rich sauce and parsnip , this dish was our high light !
7th,  The crossover
8th  Rice pudding , apple. sake. I am not a fan of rice pudding being an Asian , rice pudding is odd concept, but this pudding was melt in my mouth. Hint of sake makes special.  So smooth.
9th,  Chocolate, this one was so airy and sweet, just like eating feather or even air .   Adding miso instead of salt makes interesting  flavour .   Loved  it.
10th.  White.  All made from milk, ice cream, milk flakes ,  very a clever desert.  Everything with different texture with milk, mind blowing
All washed down with good red wine, we opted to have just red wine than mix with white. It was a good choice.
We may not come back here next week or next month not only because its price but also distance , but it was one of our best food expierience!!
I wonder what he will be cooking next 10 course tasting menu?
I really respect chef who can create this kind of dish with deep thinking behind.
Who does not agree Cooking is Art .
Next morning breakfast was interesting, offered 2 course,  porridge and egg dishes. What a good thinking.
Small bowl of porridge if you wish, but we had full English and Chorizo with eggs, nice bread and good strong coffee, these are we need for journey home.
I was told, Kimchi tasting session with chefs will be around 10am, meet up with Chef, Sat to taste my Kimchi and their kimchi.
I was worried this session, as soon as sommelier said chefs do make their own kimchi and we will compare with mine, after all they are the professional chefs working with Michelin 2 star chef.
When  he brought my kimchi, and I cut and ask chef, Sat to taste kimchi liquid first and kimchi itself.
As soon as he tastes mine, he said wow,” this is different level altogether”.
So fresh and tasty. He said he never had kimchi like mine, sparkling and zingy but so fresh taste.  He could not believe my kimchi is fermented.
Well , A lots of people thinks kimchi has pungent fishy smell and unpleasant. But whoever makes it they made wrong not blanced spices and fish sauce in their kimchi.
What a comment !!
We tasted theirs, but somehow it looks very dark not red, too salty.
 For me it was not kimchi, just fermenting Greens.
He was so impressed by mine, even he asked me come back teach them how to make kimchi.
Wow, It can not be better than this can it?

Monday, 11 April 2016

Trip to NYC in March 2016.

This trip to NYC was my 4th to the city but I have not been for nearly 9 yeas now. I am expecting a few changes but I am confident I will be fine.

I am planning to visit a few new restaurants , like David Chang, Ssam bar, Noodle bar, Mario Batali's  new food emporium, Eatly , new face of Ground Zero so on.

This trip is my treat to see my elder sister and my niece who is a Korean diplomat in UN.

Flight is full , but luckily my next seat was a friendly young man who lives in NYC  we got to talk this and that, discovered he knows one good modern Korean restaurant in Broadway, called Barn Joo.
We loosely arranged to have lunch while I am in NY, as he knows its manager very well. I could not resist to find out .

Arriving in JFK was easy but I had to wait for nearly 2 hours to go through immigration. All the  stuff seemed unfriendly with stern faces.

Arriving in my niece's flat, just cross road from UN  building was such a surprise, what a address to have, well,  high flying Korean diplomat deserve this, I think.

Looking at Easter river and UN is on the right, truly a room with view ( rather a flat with view).

Sunday we all walking to the Greek Restaurant, Ethos 59, Food were familiar as we lived in near Athens for 5 years in middle of 1980s, stuffed vine , octopus , grilled fish, like a good home cooking with friendly service. But nothing special or stand out.

Monday, 21st, March, decided to buy my new compact camera at B&H in 9th Ave,13th Street, walking from 1st, 48th street was not going to be easy but I needed to do this, to getting familiar street of NYC. luckily it was sunny cold fresh day.

Arrived at B&H it was the  exactly I remembered 9 yeas ago, super organized and security minded mega shop.
Bought small compact my chosen camera and plenty of advice and show me all new things in the camera, they do take customer service to highest level.
Even my name was in their system after 9 years  since my last visit this shop.

Sunny Manhattan with cold breeze was quite pleasant for my adventurous day in NYC, bought jeans, local sim card for my phone, looking around and having coffee, talking to New Yorkers at Bus station so on.

Tuesday, my sister and I went to Metropolitan Museum. 
 Entrance fee was a kind Donation system, pay as you wish up to $25 per person, what a good idea!!  I could have paid only $1 but paid $10 for two of us. I can not help thinking  London Museums should use this for the visitors to generate much needed art fund , why not ??

Too big to see in a day, went 20C art rooms and even then too much, Most of all every room was donated by the Art loving rich American citizens their life long art collections to the Nation. How honourable way of thinking, Their name will live forever with art !!
 British rich should do the same, at least who loves art !

Sunny day again, walk down to the Central park and sat for while as New Yorkers do. Having a large park in the big city like New York or London is a saving grace for the people who live in the city.
 I love  Central Park for its style and accessibility and rocks.

East river view from flat


Noodle Bar

Noodle bar Kimchi

Noodle bar Ramyeun

Sculpture in UN

Sea Urchin Bibimbab at Barn Joo

Ground zero

freedom tower , Ground Zero

Add caption

Oyster Bar at Central Termina

Wednesday, my much expected David Chang's noodle bar 13th, 2nd Ave. lunch, having read about the queue for a bowl of noodle in this , we left early to be the first, arrived 11:40, one group even beat us, we were very respectful 2nd in the queue for 12;00 opening.
It is very narrow and small than I expected, very casual , soon room was full with noise, guessing most of them are tourist and possibly so called foodies.
We order Chang's signature Ramyeun, pork broth and for my sister Miso chicken Ramyeun and small bowl of kimchi.
My expectation is very high in these , for years I was reading  about his creations, made kimchi in the world food map after made his version of Bossam.
After all he has Korean parents but parents are actually Korean Japanese.
I think his love of Ramyeun  come from  his upbringing.

Ramyeun 's noodle was very nice , curly and slightly chewy but broth was too rich my liking and quite salty. belly pork on the top was nicely cooked and tender,
When Kimchi  was arrived , I was so surprised its casualness , just like put in without any thought. looks not appetizing nor nicely plated.
Taste was worst, so salty and chewy which I hate about these characteristic bad kimchi taste  ( due to brine too long or salt quantity was not right, too much salt, this brine process is most important and difficult)

I wonder this is one of bad patch ?  Even who does not know much about kimchi, this one can not be the taste they would like.

After kimchi, I have no desire eat anything else, left with huge disappointment in my  heart. I expected much much more.
London Rayeun is much better, even without kimchi.
On the way out  saw, Ssam Bar and Milk Bar. no queue at the Ssam Bar, tempted go in but I am to full with Ramyeun. perhaps, next day.

Afternoon, Visiting UN head quarter arranged by my high flying diplomat niece for UN, we could be able to see all corners of conference cntre, even main one.
I always thought, UN does not work for solving World problem due to their nation's interest rather than looking at a bigger picture, meant well  when they founded, Just very expensive A Talk Shop.
All head of country talk, never solve world problem it seemed. How can it be ?

Having talked to my niece, I have to agree to her point. UN is best for small and poor country , Best for these counties' voice can be heard, other wise these poor countries' opinion never mattered or helped by rich and powerful nations.

Thursday ,  J.  Weng whom I met in the flight informed me, he made a booking at Korean up market restaurant in Broadway, Barn Joo for Lunch.

Left home early to  have a look at Mario Batali's Food emporium Eatly near by.
Took the Bus with Metro card just like locals.
Wow what a shop. everything in one roof , even 4 restaurants, coffee , ice cream bar, kitchen ware, and nice fresh vegetables, cheese.
Enviable concept , I think it will work in London too , all Italian food lovers would flock in these mega shop much better than anything in London .

As usual I went kichen shops nearby, whenever I travel I never miss to discover some local kitchen gadgets that is my hobby. bought a few things for my sister.

Arriving Barn Joo,   has impressive entrance hall, more like Korean village house. Manager Park was expecting me with broad friendly smile. Good to see house is nearly full even it is not weekend., a good sign .

I like to see more their creative side of dishes than just typical Korean dish , after all I can do at home any day.
Start with bean paste and tofu soup, Kimchi jeon , and sea urchin Bibimbab. What a treat!!
Never had sea urchin Bibimbab, very  luxurious.Bibimbab indeed and taste goes very well .
Bibimbab is anything goes , if you can afford why not?
I really loved this topped with mountain veggies and chopped sesame leaves, they are a heavenly match and soy sauce seasoning rather than spicy gochujang based sauce.  very good choice by the chef.

Mega Brazian susi , was huge, more tuna fish than rice, I can see why New Yorkers would love this. Less rice, more fish means an ideal healthy diet  dish
It was lovely experience to dine here. I can see how Korean cuisine is getting more high end now, a few chefs try to create Western style of Korean food in New York it seemed right for the city. Why not?

Friday, my niece hired a guy to drive around NY. Our first stop was Ground Zero, new memorial building was superb, fitting site and names of victims were around all over water fall, moving sight.

On to the Brooklyn, a smart looking town with stylish houses, not like Manhattan, relaxed atmosphere with style,  our Italian pizza lunch was uneventful nor tasty , but  too salty clam pizza and rather mean undija pizza.

Next , Chelsea food market, very clean and  organised market and full of tourist, rather modern market that London Borough market, could not resist to oyster stall.  had 6 , but nothing special for me. I am simply an oyster fanatic.

Lastly brief visit High Line, garden created with abandoned old rail way, What a good idea, I know London is making Garden Bridge after this.

Our final visit was Korean Town in New Jersey,   Wow!! I never seen like this huge super market with mounts of Korean foods and fish , Vegetables, fruits, more than I have seen in Seoul. You can get any Korean ingredients and more.

Korean restaurant near by. so busy , famous for soft tofu stew . Just like in Korea, they brought 10 different free side dishes,  Banchan, with main,  I do miss this kind of dining out, efficient, generous portions and most of all tasty like in Korea. Well I do not think London , even New Malden.

Saturday. nephew, YJ invited us Lunch, Japanese grilled meat restaurant , U Gak in 51st. more like Korean bulgogi restaurant than Japanese. Had a wonderful selection of beef, grilled at the table.

Sunday was cold and miserable. as my niece's birthday , I made simple Tiramisu as her birthday cake.

Monday, my final day  as my flight is late evening I had plenty of time to do my last shopping and visit  my one of favourite place, Central Terminal oyster Bar.
Still cold breeze  , after my shopping at Sacks 5th, walk down with my sister Park lane to the grand building, Central Terminal, most impressive  train station building , I think.

I love this station ,high ceiling and beautiful painting ( stars )  narrow and long  impressive windows,  bustling with travellers , they all seemed eager to be somewhere .

One day I love to take train from this station, how romantic!!!
My favourite oyster bar is in this basement.
As soon as we went down, still empty seats are at the Bar, nothing seemed changed , it was 36years ago I came  here with my husband, it was our honeymoon, since then whenever I am in NYC, I have to be here.

Oyster and clam chowder are must have. Had  6 combined oyster by chef's choice, 2 New York, 2 Seattle, 2 Main.
My preference was Seattle, by size, Main by taste.

I am so glad I have done this, It was just like visiting an old friend. How could I leave not seeing my oldest friend!!

My one regret was not visiting Strawberry Hill in Central park to pay my respect to John Lennon, for his music and life .

Hope I will visit NYC soon. Then I can do more food and culture things.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Spicy Beef Soup ( Yukgaejang (육개장)

Spicy Beef Soup  ( Yukgaejang. 육개장)


This beef soup is very hearty and warm soup for winter but also popular in the Summer season in Korea.   Specially when you lost appetite to any bland foods due to the Summer Heat.

Traditionally this soup is made with brisket beef , but brisket is not widely available in Britain ( Local butcher or Super market), I  use short rib of beef or, with oxtail, it makes better  deeper and rich stock  from bones, much wholesome soup as a main dish.

I sometimes make like Vietnamese Soup, Pho. Adding thinly sliced raw skirt beef and cooked rice noodle .



2- 3Lt. water

Half  mooli ( long white radish ( daicon)

1 onion, 3 carrot. 3 celery sticks. 1 thumb size of ginger, 3 garlic( skin on),

1 dry chilli, 10 whole pepper corns, dry 1 sheet of kelp ( your palm size), 4 dried shitake mushrooms.

3-4 leeks, 100g of Korean dried fern shoots ( optional) and soak in the warm water for 2 hours.

1 pack of bean sprout, 1 bunch of spring onion,

1 tbs of Korean chilli flakes, 1 tbsb of sesame oil.

 2 tsp of crushed garlic.

3 ( 10cm long) short rib of beef or  800g of meaty oxtail.



 Trimmed  meat , cut off all excessive fat and put in the roasting pan and put in the oven, grill  until meat is brown both side. ( this helps to remove fat)
  1. Cut all the vegetables, mooli, cut 5ch thick, cut onion in half, carrot and celery , 5cm long and put in the pressure cooker with browned meat, add water, and rest of dry ingredients except kelp.
  2. Boil for 10 minutes first then reduce the heat ,simmer for 1 hour to 1hour 30 minutes  ( no longer) until meats are just tender to pull off from the bone. Do not cook too long, meat can be tasteless. ( if you do not use pressure cooker, it takes longer, 2 hours, check the meats)
  3. Take out meat and pull off the meat ( or shred), set aside, put back  bones into the  cooker add dried kelp and simmer another 30 minutes.
  4. Pour stock to the another big pan but save mooli , discard rest of vegetables and spices.
  5. Skim the fat ( if any) and cut cooked mooli thin strip 1cm by 5cm set aside.
  6. Cut leeks thin strip 10cm long by 0,5cm thick, soaked fern shoots ( if you have) cut 10cm and add to the pan with crushed garlic and boil until vegetables are cooked, season with Korean light soy sauce .
  7. Chop spring onion set aside as wash bean sprout as well.
  8. Quick boil rice noodle , wash ,drain set aside to ready for plating..
  9. Make chilli paste: in a small pan put sesame oil and when it is hot ( do not burn) add chilli flakes and stir quickly add 1 tbsp light soy sauce and 3tsp toasted sesame seeds. Stir and put in the small dish .
  10. Plating: put shredded meat noodle and add boiling hot soup add handful of  bean sprout and spring onion , then serve with chilli paste.
  11.  Serving chilli paste separately is a good idea, they can control spicy level.


Hint: if you wants make like Pho style, just add thinly sliced ( against grain , makes tender) skirt beef before adding hot soup.
You can add cabbage kimchi if you wish when you eat.

This soup has deep flavour as I cooked with bones. Meat is tender not chewy like brisket, I do prefer short rib and oxtail meat. They are much tender, moist, and has a rich flavour than brisket


Ready for cooking

Plating ( rice noodle, cooked meat and raw beef)

Add soup and  spring onion

Add chilli paste and kimchi ( soup 1)

Add bean sprout and spring onion ( soup 2)