Friday, 31 July 2009

Addie's Thai Cafe

July 2010- Unfortunately our 2nd visit recently left a far less favourable impression than the review below. Portions seemed to have shrunk, a flustered waiter who barely understood English was completely unhelpful, my Malaysian friend was thoroughly unimpressed with the lack of heat and spice in the Tom Yam and the annoying lady that nagged us the first time round was even worse, rushing us through our entire meal and reminding us constantly how we needed to eat fast and leave. Having now discovered the far cheaper and mindblowingly delicious Fitou's Cafe (formerly known as Number One Cafe) at 1 Dalgarno Gardens near White City, Addie's Thai has officially been struck off our list.

Addie's Thai Cafe 30 July 2009
121 Earl's Court Road
London SW5 9RL
Tel: 0207 259 2620

Thank goodness a friend finally brought me here- Addie's is the bomb! I have heard many including those of Thai origin singing its praises as the best Thai restaurant in London for authentic street hawker food, and based on my first visit alone I am already inclined to agree.

Everything you need to know about the place is on its ultra-informative website, from a picture-by-picture description of each dish on the menu right down to Chef Addie's career history. So I will skip the waffling and get straight to my lowdown on the sumptuous lunch we had.

A warm and cosy interior with brisk, efficient service- the only niggle we had was a slightly off-putting waitress who gave us an unnecessarily long lecture when we asked for small bowls to share our noodles! Apparently if it were her in a Thai stall she would never want to eat someone else's dish nor have someone eat hers.

To avoid further nagging we said fine and shared by passing our bowls round and taking turns trying each other's orders instead- next time miss, spare us the blah-blah and just bring the crockery please.

Pad Thai (£6.50)- Tangy, punchy, flavoursome and beautifully presented under an omelette web. Such a well-executed classic, a far cry from the stodgy tasteless mounds of noodles many other restaurants try to pass off under this name.

Yen Ta Fore (£8.50)-I have never had pink soup, but if all pink soups tasted like this I'd happily slurp up!

The weird hue is due to fermented red bean paste, the same ingredient which gives it its appetising salty tang. I chose thin rice noodles which were cooked just right, and was particularly impressed with the generous load of toppings- big juicy king prawns, squid, gorgeously textured crunchy jelly fish, fish balls, thick slices of fish cake, fried tofu chunks, crispy beancurd skin and morning glory/water convolvulus (kangkung to Malaysians). Yum yum yum.

Tom Yam Moo Sub (£6.95)- Another delicious slurper, though less garish in appearance and a tad lighter on the palate. Clear noodle soup with a spicy bite reminiscent of Vietnamese pho, topped with minced pork, ground peanuts, beansprouts and a sprinkling of dried chilli.

Kho Moo Yang (£7.50)- The 'oohs', 'aahs' and 'mms' abound- definitely our all-round favourite dish of the meal. The humble menu description of "grilled neck end pork" just does not do this divine dish justice, with its heap of moist succulent slices and sublime dipping sauce. Taste-wise it's sweet and sticky with a charred smokiness, sort of like a cross between the ubiquitous char siew (barbecued pork) and bak kwa (dried Chinese smoked jerky). Only more luscious.

Som Tam (£6.95)- I truly believe my mother's adoration of this Thai papaya salad is one of the main reasons she likes visiting my aunt in Bangkok so much. No doubt she would rave about Addie's version- robust, punchy and very very spicy. I'd recommend telling them to hold back on the chillies if heat is not your thing :) Aside from strips of raw papaya, long beans and tomatoes, you get four options to go with the salad including raw prawns and the aforementioned "grilled neck end pork"-we chose a combination of dried shrimp and salted crab which worked deliciously.

Green pandan pancake with Thai custard filling & vanilla ice cream (£3.50)

Steamed sticky rice with banana stuffing & vanilla ice cream (£3.50)

After being blown away by the mains and sides, I suppose it is inevitable that we found the desserts slightly lacklustre in comparison. They were both tasty and did exactly what they say on the tin, but one feels the menu could have done with a wider selection to include Thai classics like the cold "Red Rubies" dessert Tub Thim Krob (sweet water chestnuts with tapioca, coconut milk, shaved ice and syrup), or options such as mango to go with the steamed sticky rice (at the moment banana and yam are the two choices).

However, I am only being nitpicky- most restaurants don't go beyond complimentary orange slices and textbook banana fritters so Addie's deserves credit for at least offering some traditional sweetmeats to end the meal.

As a whole, wowzers. The entire meal really hit the spot and a repeat visit is most definitely in order- I can smell the Kho Moo Yang already!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Savoury Cheddar & Herb Muffins

Soft, cheesy, fragrant and delicious served warm. Feel free to chop and change with any other optional ingredients listed below :)

*Makes 12 muffins

Combine in a large bowl:
360g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp dried herbs (or finely chopped fresh chives/dill/herb of choice)
Pinch of salt
250g grated cheddar

Combine and add to flour mix slowly until a stiff batter is formed:
250ml milk
1 egg
50g melted butter

Stir in if desired: fried onions, minced garlic, crispy bacon bits, smoked ham, olives, sundried tomatoes, baby spinach leaves, roasted peppers, chopped jalapenos/other chillies, fried button mushrooms etc.

Dollop equally between 12 lined muffin cups. Bake at 170 C for 35 mins until golden brown.

Best enjoyed warm (you can reheat cold muffins by microwaving for about 10-15 seconds).

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Frozen Bananas- Natural Ice Cream

Overripe bananas: probably one of mankind's most common problems. I love banana bread/cakes/muffins but there is only so much of baked banana I can take, so thank you Mum for this easiest and most amazing of tips!

Peel, slice and freeze overripe bananas, then leave at room temperature for a few minutes or briefly microwave for 5-10 seconds. Result: the healthiest, creamiest, naturally sweet and delicious banana ice cream you could possibly imagine. Try it, I kid you not!

Brick Lane Beigel Bake- Hot Salt Beef Beigel

Brick Lane Beigel Bake
159 Brick Lane
London E1 6SB
Phone: Hmm. 0171 729 0616 on the sign, 0207 729 0616 on the card. Tell me which works!

FINALLY got to try this after living in London for 5 years!

First of all, some necessary beigel/bagel clarification so you get your expectations right. What's on sale here is NOT a New York bagel- moist, malty and generally large, puffy and doughy- nor is it a Montreal version- sweet, thin with a large hole, crunchy and usually topped with seeds. Beigel Bake produces daily on-site the traditional London-style beigel- chewy, dense and tasty, with a coarser air-bubbled texture and a slightly harder bite.

3 ingredients is all- aforementioned beigel, lots of mustard (a bit too much in fact, I'll ask them to be less generous in future for the sake of my nasal passages) and a toppling stack of hot salt beef. But Oh My Heavens. The BEEF!

I present to you, huge succulent hulks of ultra moist melt-in-your-mouth perfectly fatty-but-not-greasy deliciously tender mouthwateringly salty juicy mmm mmm yum ooooh woah...
All for £3.30. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in this little kosher East End institution. So good I have crazy Malaysian friends who buy slabs of the meat by the kilo to take home!
70p slab of cheesecake (sorry I took a bit before I remembered to photograph it)- yum!

The smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel is excellent too. Maybe next time- tonight it's all about the BEEF.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Easy Peasy Chunky Guacamole

I like my guacamole simple and unadulterated with just a bit of zing- feel free to add or remove anything to suit your taste and increase the recipe as needed.

Serves one

Mash together roughly:
1 ripe avocado (if you are an avocado virgin, please see "Easy Twisty Way of Cutting an Avocado" below)
Good squeeze of lime juice (I used about 1/4 of a lime)
Few sprigs of coriander, finely chopped
Salt to taste

Serve immediately as a dip, topping or spread on anything and everything imaginable.

Other options: a bit of finely chopped jalapeƱo, serrano or any fresh hot chilli, minced garlic, chopped onion, diced tomatoes, ground cumin, chilli powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce, sour cream, even cottage cheese...

Easy Twisty Way of Cutting An Avocado
Cut lengthwise all the way around (working around the seed) and twist the two halves apart.
Tap the blade of your knife so that it's wedged into the seed, and twist to remove.
Spoon the flesh out with a spoon.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Crunchy Crumb Banana Muffins

SAM TAN'S KITCHEN HAS MOVED! Please visit the new website/online store at You can also follow Sam on InstagramFacebook and Twitter. Thank you!

Banana muffins with a difference. Thrown together by hand in a matter of minutes, this is one of my favourite ways to turn overripe fruit into a moist, cinnamon-y treat.

*Makes 8 very large or 12 medium muffins*

Sift together in a large bowl:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of mixed spice/cinnamon

Combine in a separate bowl and then fold into flour mix until just moistened:
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sugar (white or brown both work)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter/oil
Dash of vanilla extract
Optional: stir in some chopped pecans/walnuts if desired.

Line muffin pan with paper cases and spoon batter in until 2/3 full.

Cinnamon Crumb Topping

Mix together:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Cut in 1 tbsp butter using a two butter knives or a fork until the mix resembles a coarse, crumbly cornmeal. Sprinkle generously over muffins before baking.

Bake at 190C for 20-30 minutes until golden brown/skewer comes out clean.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

The Recession Takes Its Toll :(

Modified 12 July 2009- Have been told that both Kam Tong and Kiasu have reopened! :)

Modified Tues 19 May 2009
- Just discovered Kam Tong on Queensway has also closed down, joining the list of casualties below! Never eaten there myself, but I've been told by friends who used to be fans that the quality has been dropping significantly over the years so that may be part of the reason. Sigh... wonder who's next.

Original post 5 May 2009:
They are dropping like flies.

Last night a friend told me that Kiasu on Queensway, one of my favourite Malaysian restaurants and Time Out Cheap Eats 2007 winner, had closed down. We were in the area for dinner and walked past it on the way back; sure enough there it was, dark and boarded up, the latest casualty in the economic crisis :(

Just last week Arivind and I had tubed to Chinatown excitedly for dimsum at our favourite 40% discount joint Chinese Experience, only to discover it was emptied out and shuttered, with a sign plastered on saying "non-payment of rent".

I can't believe it. Two great restaurants, one of them award-winning, always packed to the brim with customers, serving great food at cheap prices, once doing bustling business but now, just like that, wiped out of existence.

Guess the recession doesn't discriminate when choosing its victims.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Creamy Mash with Sauteed Bacon & Onions

I always buy potatoes in huge bags because they're cheaper that way, but more often than not I end up with a lot of leftover sprouting ones and suddenly need to find a use for them straightaway. For the record, there is nothing wrong with a sprouting potato as long as you remove the sprouts and eyes thoroughly- I've eaten them for years and have yet to be poisoned:)

Surprisingly, and this has never happened before, today I discovered a sprouting onion too-one random large brown one in the store-bought bag had a bunch of tall green shoots growing out of its top! They looked and smelt like spring onions so I did some Googling and found out that you could indeed use them as such. The new things you learn everyday hey? :)

So there you have it, two perfectly safe-to-eat sprouting vegetables that combined to result in a delicious version of a classic comforting British dish.

Creamy Mash with Sauteed Bacon & Onions
Serves 3-4 as a side

The Mash:
Wash and roughly peel 6 medium white potatoes (I love to leave bits of skin on for a rustic bite). Cut into chunks, boil until tender and drain.

Heat 100ml double cream and 50g butter briefly in a microwave for about 30 seconds until butter is melted and cream is warm (or you can do it in a pan over the stove if you prefer). Add to the cooked potatoes and mash until creamy.

Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bacon and Onion Topping:
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small skillet. Add and saute over high heat until charred:

1 or 2 stalks spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 medium onion, sliced into strips
Some bacon, cut into bits

Spoon generously over mash. Serve immediately.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Fresh coriander, lemongrass, spring onions, chillies, garlic, shrimp paste (belacan)... chuck together and blitz for an incomparably punchy and aromatic paste that characterises the gorgeous spicy flavours of Asian cuisine, and then cook with chicken and coconut milk for a beautiful rich Thai green curry. Perfect served hot with Thai Pineapple Fried Rice and Seafood Kerabu.

Blend until smooth:
6 small fresh birdseye chillies
2 cloves garlic
3 stalks spring onions
2 stalks lemongrass, chopped
Generous handful fresh coriander
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp shrimp paste (belacan-sold in tubs/blocks, a dark brown dry substance which you'll find very stinky if you are not familiar with it, but crucial for the correct flavour)

To Cook:

Dry fry the paste on high heat without oil until fragrant.

Add 1 kg chicken pieces- I like to use thighs and drumsticks. Stir until covered in paste, then lower heat, cover and simmer for about 30-40 mins or until cooked. Add a bit of water if necessary.

Add 200g long green beans, chopped. Cook a further 5-10 mins.

Stir in 1 cup (250ml) coconut cream quickly until sauce thickens and turn off heat. Do not overheat as curry will become too oily.

Serve immediately.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Sticky Hoisin Roast Chicken Wings

SAM TAN'S KITCHEN HAS MOVED! Please visit the new website/online store at You can also follow Sam on InstagramFacebook and Twitter. Thank you!
Extremely simple but so delicious- my Mum's recipe originally called for minced garlic (I eventually got too lazy) and actual chicken pieces, but I've found that wings absorb the flavour best. Be sure to use only Lee Kum Kee hoisin sauce- no other brand tastes as good.

Cut 1 kg chicken wings into two parts, separating at the joints between the drummets and the wings.

Coat each piece well and refrigerate overnight with:
4 tbsp Lee Kum Kee hoisin sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing cooking rice wine (or dry sherry)

When ready to cook, arrange the pieces on a baking tray lined with foil and baste with marinade. Drizzle generously with lots of honey.

Roast at about 200C (395 F) for about 25 mins or until a nice caramelised reddish brown. Flip wings over, glaze again with lots of honey and any leftover marinade and continue roasting until golden and sticky.

*If your wings are cooked but look too pale for your liking, drizzle with honey and place it on the top rack of your oven under the grill/broil function for a few mins until it bubbles and turns deep red. This is a quick cheat to get the honey to caramelise faster.

Let it cool a little so you don't burn your fingers. Then devour!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Thai Seafood Kerabu Salad

Light and cool, mouth-wateringly tangy and boldly flavoursome with a spicy kick all at the same time. Plus it's easy peasy!

Bring to boil:
1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
Juice of 2 limes
2 small fresh birdseye chillies, finely chopped
1 ½ tbsp palm sugar/brown sugar

Add and simmer uncovered for 2 minutes:
200g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
200g squid, sliced into rings or pieces
200g seafood sticks, cut into small chunks (add near the end to prevent unravelling)

Let cool to room temperature. Drain the excess liquid (can be kept in a container and used as stock/flavouring).

Finely chop together and stir into seafood:
1 small onion
Generous handful fresh coriander
1 tbsp fresh mint (if available)
1 stalk lemon grass
(if available)

Place on top of lettuce leaves on a plate. Refrigerate at least 1 hour until well chilled.

Best served cold with hot Thai Pineapple Fried Rice.