Category Archives: Food

www.nelliepompoms.co.uk

Standard

It’s all change!  I have recently started a website www.nelliepompoms.co.uk and am   s l o w l y   but surely moving the blogs from here across to there.  Huge thanks to Gabriella Buckingham who designed my original logo and Sarah at Studio Spence who has put it all together for me, if you’re looking for a website then do get in touch with Sarah, she’s very clever (and patient!).

The website has been an idea of mine for ages.  Drawing on my many adventures and journeys, shopping experiences and personal recommendations I have brought everything together and popped it all in one place.  It’s where you will find food and drink suggestions, recent book reviews, the Instagram feed, Twitter timelineNellie Pom Poms Facebook status updates, blog and shopping inspiration from some very lovely people and businesses like Common Farm Flowers, Myddfai, Bowlovers, More-Hall, Bodlon, 2 Little Boys, Hunter Gatherer and more!

So, this blog post is short and sweet (much like myself!), but I do hope you will bookmark www.nelliepompoms.co.uk, sign up to the blog on the website and tell your friends.

Delicious Indonesian Food from Mama Eti’s : Review

Standard

When an old school friend (when I say old I mean young obviously) asked me if I would like to try his Mama Eti’s range I jumped at the chance because I love friends, food, cooking and small businesses, so obviously Mama Eti’s ticks all those boxes!  Jeremy sent me a box of what I can only describe as deliciousness, so many brightly coloured jars containing ingredients and flavours with simple to cook instructions, I couldn’t wait to start whipping up a feast.

IMG_6281Jeremy’s wife, Tina, grew up in Bandung, a tiny and very picturesque village in the foothills of Western Java where she had an idealic but very humble upbringing surrounded by extinct volcanoes, rice paddies and trickling streams.  Moving to England and living so far away from home, the two things she missed most about Indonesia were her family and her mother’s cooking so she used to recreate her mum’s dishes in her kitchen at home, where the smells and flavours immediately transported her back to her village.  It was then that she struck on the idea to cure the homesickness and develop a business which keeps both alive here in England.

The first curry paste we tried was the Sumatran Chicken Curry which was bursting with flavour and the combination of lemon grass, kaffir lime leaf and galangal make this dish uniquely Indonesian, combined with the fiery chillies (I left out the birds eye chills just incase anyone complained) give it the personality that is undeniably of Padang Cuisine. All I had to do was fry the contents of the jar, add in the dry ingredients and brown the chicken before adding the Coconut Milk before leaving to cook in the slow cooker.  It was so yummy that there was nothing left after everyone had gone back for seconds.

IMG_6321

I’m not normally a lamb curry kind of girl but the Sumatran Lamb Curry was decidedly moreish and Big Welsh said it tasted just as nice a few days later.  Influenced by the trading links between the Middle East and Sumatra, it’s a coconut based curry with subtle hints of cardamom, star anise, cinnamon and clove.  I fried up the ingredients and added the lamb leaving it to soak up the flavours for before putting it in the slow cooker.

IMG_6278

Last night we had the Beef Rendang which is the most famous of all the banana leaf curries.  Beef Rendang is a dry but succulent curry typically eaten at festivals and ceremonies, so if you like your curry with an abundance of flavour you will just love Rendang which we did and again there was nothing left!  I dished it up with a mixture of rice and a big bowl of broccoli that was wolfed down.

IMG_6416

The instructions are very easy to follow and the additional ingredient Coconut Milk is one that I have in the cupboard all the time so I was able to throw open the cupboard doors and start cooking straight away.  I’ve always got tins of bamboo shoots and a fridge full of vegetables so could easily add in some of those if I have unexpected guests.  Everything you need is included which makes it ideal for a cupboard staple in our house.  The allergens are highlighted on the packaging and for a milder taste they recommend leaving out the bird’s eye chilli.

We are yet to use the marinades though with the BBQ season fast approaching we will no doubt be trying out recipe and suggestions and will be adding the relish to our lunches without a doubt.  Other products in the range include a Sate sauce which I know I will love as well as Nasi Goreng which I know will complement fried rice and the Fragrant Chicken Soup Spice Paste will find its way in to some recipes I whip up.

If you just so happen to be around Birmingham on the 2nd Saturday of every month head to Brum Yum Yum in Kings Heath and sample their live cooking and take away one of our spice pastes to cook at home.  Be sure to tell Jeremy I suggested you pop along, but don’t ask him to tell you any of our school horror stories!

PS.  Those lovely folk at Netherton Foundry are offering customers a 5% discount when you enter POMPOMS at the checkout – just in time for the glamping, camping and garden cooking season!

Solutions, not problems

Standard

Like many people my mind is always full, busy, racing and at times overloaded.  It’s full of family, the day to day things, ideas, clock watching, memories, limitations, the weather, problems, recipes, housework, life, wellbeing, health, people and also solutions.  Family and friends ask me for advice, recipes, inspiration, opinions, books, things, stories, a mug of coffee, pocket money, support and solutions.  Strangers make conversation with me in queues or on trains, in passing.  People I don’t know ask me how I am each day.  Social Media is ablaze each day with people who live in my phone some asking if anyone wants a cup of coffee or glass of Prosecco, offering bacon sandwiches or responding to a tweet or status.  People talk and engage each and every day in a variety of different ways.  I talk to the telly from time to time, I listen to the radio and agree, sing along or disagree.

I like being able to offer solutions and I’m known as The Solutioneer, it’s what I do and am good at.  I can moan like the rest of them but I can also offer solutions, they might be bonkers or spot on but I give it thought.  I hate the phrase thinking outside the box or blue sky thinking but when a problem appears I try and remove myself from the immediate and look around to see what resources I can bring to a situation.

IMG_6412

This morning on BBC Radio Berkshire Andrew Peach was talking about the closure of Reading Bridge and the impact it will have on everyone who uses it as well as those who don’t use it but will be challenged with the increase of traffic as drivers seek to find a route that doesn’t involve leaving home at 5am or arriving at a destination late.  I phoned in as I normally do and said I had an idea.  As I said some of my ideas are bonkers but some are spot on.  I think my idea was spot on!  The bridge is to be closed as I have said and this is a ridiculous time to do it, it’s exam season and stress levels are high.  So the bridge needs repairing but in this instance the solution is bigger than the problem.  My solution is a simple one – provide shuttle buses either side of the bridge so that those who normally use the bridge can at least cross it by foot and catch a lift the other side.

Some years ago we had roadworks in Wokingham and a friend of mine who regularly used the dug up road was going to be hugely inconvenienced.  She was talking one evening about how she was going to juggle a detour AND get her children to school on time AND get to work with time to spare.  I kindly (stupidly) suggested she dropped her children to me and I would get them there, she needn’t get caught up in the roadworks and we would all have a journey walk to school.  That worked well and everyone got to where they needed to on time, we spent the journey chatting and we were gently exercising.

I’m regularly incensed by drivers and parking around school so decided to look into organising a Walking Bus.  The council did the risk assessment on the route I suggested, I did a parent consultation, sorted routes and rotas, organised everything, involved the press and we set off for our first Walking Bus with a cameraman and journalist.  The children enjoyed it and each time they walked they had a stamp on their card which when full entitled them to a free swim at Carnival Pool.  The council went one step further and allowed the parents using the Walking Bus to meet at the library car park and gave us free parking permits to use whilst the bus was walking.  We were joined by the Police, councillors, teachers and the press – even on that awful day in July 2007 when the heavens opened and we all got soaked!  But we walked in whatever weather, reduced the traffic around school, took gentle exercise, the younger children chatted to the older children, people made friends and stress levels went down.

Years ago a health visitor (HV) was suggesting ways in which to get my non sleeping child to sleep through the night.  I tried every idea thrown at me a warm bath, chamomile or lavender bubble bath, lavender cream on toes/chest/behind ears, warm milk, gentle lighting, calm story before lights out, warm milk and then did controlled crying but ended up exhausted.  I felt like my child had all the control and I did all the crying.  HV asked me if the solution was bigger than the problem to which my reply was a big fat yes, of course it was.  HV kindly suggested that I stopped trying to fix something that was both knackering and exhausting us and fretting our child so I nodded in tearful agreement and thought about it.  I thought about what she said and realised that YES the solution wasn’t working and intact was making the problem worse.  So we stopped with the controlled crying and put said fretful child into our bed where she slept all night.  Result.  Although we had been woken up once and had got out of bed once, as soon as she was in our bed she drifted off to sleep and we slept too.  Waking up after 6 hours sleep to a toothy grin and a gurgle was the bonus.

Sometimes the solution is bigger than the problem or it’s staring at you but you can’t see it, or sometimes the solution is simple yet effective.  Whatever the problem there’s got to be a solution and a solutioneer.

IMG_6414

Lunch in La Rosière

Standard

If you happen to be in La Rosière and fancy somewhere that’s not off the beaten track but also not on the piste then take a look at Au P’tit Creux.

IMG_5700 When we went there were lots of tired legs and as it was the lunching hour so we dumped our skis and boots in the car and headed to Au P’tit Creux, where earlier Big Welsh had seen someone eating kebab and chips. Kebab and chips!  Of all the tasty French cuisine and our tummies rumbled at the mention of dirty food!

The menu consisted of paninis, sandwichs, kebabs, frites, pizza, crepes and drinks. Laree went for a Nutella crepe, Mook had a thon et fromage panini, Loops had a saussicon baguette and Big Welsh and I had the kebab and chips combo (he had barbecue sauce and I had garlic).  Then we waited patiently outside in the glorious sunshine.

Our food arrived (highlighted by M le patron (Gilles) squeaking a toy pig which made everyone chuckle) and hungrily we tucked in and didn’t stop until we had eaten everything. It was THAT delicious. It really was!!  The only waste was the Nutella smeared across Laree’s face but that soon disappeared!  M le patron offered her a great big slab of ice to clean her salopettes which she took with no hesitation.

The banter and friendliness of Gilles led me to tell Big Welsh that I was convinced he had been a skiing instructor in a previous life, which I questioned him about when I saw him a bit later after our post lunch ski.  He had indeed been a ski instructor and had stopped 10 years ago and was now running Le P’tit Creux with his wife Annie.

IMG_5701 As well as tasty food available to eat in or take away (oh yes and vin chaud) they also offer free delivery of pizzas to your holiday residence which is a massive bonus.  If you’re in La Rosière pop in and say bonjour to Gilles and Annie and enjoy your meal.  We did!

Recipe: Thai Green Curry

Standard

IMG_5531One of my favourite easy dishes is Thai Green Curry, there are other colours available as well but green is the one I make the most as everyone in the family will eat it and there will be no complaints.  I can’t be doing with fussy eaters!

Not only is the curry bursting with flavours and colours it is also really simple to make and what goes in depends on what you like or have to hand.

Ingredients

Meat – I tend to use chicken breasts or thighs, works equally well with thin strips of beef or big fat prawns

Vegetables – you choose but I use Leeks, Spring Onions, Peppers (Red, Yellow, Orange), Baby Sweetcorn, Mange Tout, Sugarsnap Peas, Brocoli, Water Chestnuts, Bamboo Shoots, Spinach, Basil, Lemongrass

Coconut Milk

Thai Green. Red ot Jungle Paste

Method

I fry the meat (unless I am making a vegetarian option), leeks and spring onions in oils that have got some oomph (Chiltern Cold Pressed Chilli Infusion or Stir Fry Infusion are what I have to hand) and then either

Slow Cooker – pop it in with coconut millk, Thai paste and most of the vegetables, (leave out the green vegetables) and cook on keep warm or low heat for 6 hours or so.  Just before serving give the green vegetables a quick dip in boiling water and then transfer them to the slow cooker.

Wok – throw the chicken in with the rest of the ingredients and let it bubble away for 15 minutes or so, until the vegetables are cooked to your liking.

Serve with rice or noodles and enjoy!