On Tuesday night, after a hospital procedure which meant I couldn’t really eat for three days prior to it, I headed into central London for a spot of cookery competition at L’Atelier Des Chefs on Wigmore Street. Heinz have recently launched a range of chilli sauces which they sent me to try and then use for the recipe I was to cook at the event. From the Jerk BBQ, Fiery Sriracha, Sweet Chilli, Per Peri and Hot Chilli I decided on two (Sweet Chilli and Fiery Sriracha) as they were my favourites from the collection and then all I had to do was find a recipe.
I love to cook but I don’t think I’m totally brilliant at it and knowing I was going to be up agaist a load of foodie food blggers I had no illusions about where I’d come in the comp but I wanted to give it my best shot, have fun and use the delicious sauces to show them off to their full potential. It was, to me, a serious competition being judged by Celebrity Masterchef (and girl friend of John Torode) winner Lisa Faulkner and I didn’t want to make a complete idiot of myself so lots of prepearation and practic ehad to go in.
I finally decided to give my favourite Chinese dish a twist with the extra additions of the Heinz Chilli sauces and decided upin making Chinese hot and sour chicken with special friend rice. It’s not a dish I usually can do very quickly and considering I only had 45 minutes to make it, somethng I had over looked when making my choice of dish, I knew I was going to up against it. It was, however, rather nice to have a proper deep fat fryer to use instead of jut hot oil in a wok and this I knew, would speed up the process, phew! It did also make me think of Lisa Faulkner in Spooks when she had her head shoved into one – shudder – the reason I never could watch the series again!
Lisa was so lovely and welcoming and gave us lots of words of advice. she loves the sauces and her favourite is the Sriracha too so I’m in good company. She cooks with her daughter lots and gave me lots of inspiration for doing the same. The best tip she offered was to have a bowl for all the rubbish which is so simple but I just hadn’t thought if it so thanks Lisa!
So, with lots of running around the kitchen with a glass (or 4 of proseccon on the go – not the best idea on an empty tummy) I manged to cook. I scaled my dish down a bit and somehow, I managed to finish before everyone else. I also managed to burn my chicken… Oh well!
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Ingredients: 225g chicken breast (cut into strips), 100g bamboo shoots, 1 medium sized pepper (cut into strips), 1 small onion (sliced), 1 spring onion (sliced to 1 inch lengths), 1 5ml spoon salt, 23ml sherry, 1 egg (beaten), 15ml spoon cornflour, oil for deep frying & 3 x 15 ml spoons plain four.
For the Sauce: 45 ml vinegar, 45 ml sugar, 2.5ml salt, 15ml tomato puree, 15 ml soy sauce, 15 ml cornflour, 5 ml sesame seed oil, 2Tbsp Heniz sriracha Sauce & 2TBsp Heinz Sweet chilli Sauce.
Method: Mix the chicken with the salt and sherry and marinate for 15 minutes. Add the egg and cornflour and blend well. Mix together the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Heat the oil in a Wok, coat each piece of chicken with the flour and deep fry for 3 minutes. Remove Wok from heat but leave chicken for further two minutes and then remove with a perforated spoon. Heat the oil again, refry the meat with bamboo shoots for two minutes or until golden, remove and drain. Pour off excess oil leaving only 15ml in the wok, add the spring onion, onion and pepper, followed by the sweet and sour sauce mixture and stir until it thickens and there is not much sauce left. Add the chicken and bamboo shoots, blend well and serve.
Special Fried Rice
Ingredients: 2 Spring Onions (chopped), 3 eggs, 5ml salt, 60ml oil, 50g cooked ham (diced), 50g cooked prawns peeled, 100g green peas (cooked), 4 cups of cooked rice and 30ml of soy sauce
Method: Mix half the spring onions with the eggs and a pinch of salt and beat lightly. Heat a third of the oil in a Wok, add the eggs and stir until scrambled, when eggs set transfer to preheated plate and break into small pieces with a fork. Heat another third of the oil and fry the ham, prawns and peas with the rest of the salt for one minute. Remove with perforated spoon and set aside. Heat remaining oil then add the rest of the spring onions along with the cooked rice, stir to separate each grain of rice, add the soy sauce and stir until it is blended. Add the eggs, ham, prawns and peas and reduce the heat. Serve as soon as everything is well mixed.
And then it was down to the tasting and just like mary Berry Lisa had something good to say about all of them, which wa rather kind when it came to me. She even said she thought being a touch over done gave it a bit more depth and she rather liked it. Kind lady!
I thoroughyl enjoyed the evening but. sadly, did not win. Someone with a delicious crab dish came first but all of the dishes were absolutely wonderful and I even heard someone else, while trying mine, saying how much they liked it. I met some really lovely people including one of the stars of Gogglebox and even though we were all in competition it was like a big party. All the different takes on the sauce were so different and just goes to show that you can go a long way with them. Sriracha is traditionally used in Thai cooking so I took it to an Asian fusion but there were so many wonderful ideas including cauliflower instead of chicken wings and a dip which was out of this world! Yum. Follow the hashtag #HeinzChilliSauceOff to see all the other creations and be inspired!
I had a lovely time failing to cooke perfectly but with some really perfect sauces. Thanks Heinz!