Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Story So Far.

This year has been a defining one for me and it's tricky to put into words how life changing it has been. I know that sounds a tad over dramatic and sensationalist but this year has been nothing short of incredible for me. I put myself out there, I stopped talking and I started doing and most importantly I'm doing what I love. I thought it would be nice to share with you my highlights of the year with a selection of my favourite photos which perfectly sum up this amazing year I've had!

MasterChef 2017 was undoubtedly the biggest thing to happen to me this year! Getting through the quarter finals and finishing in the final 10 of the show was dream come true stuff! I could never have imagined how hard or how pressurised it would be! Both filming it and watching it air on national TV. Although I am troubled with the occasional pangs of "I should have done this instead of that" and general cringing. I am a better cook as a result of the show and it was the catalyst for everything else this year for which I am very thankful!




In May I launched my first ever supper club, Home at the beautiful Pettigrew Tea Rooms. The entire run sold out! I was over the moon! I was so happy people were coming out to eat my food and what's more they were liking it! I was even reviewed by some blogging contemporaries including Hungry City Hippy! I met some lovely people who came to the supper clubs and worked with a brilliant team but most importantly I learned a lot!









The first supper club paved way for my next series of supper clubs Indian Summer where I really tried to push myself and my food and show the direction I want to take with it! I loved this menu as I feel it more represented my take on Indian food and my style. 







The supper clubs not only gave me a chance to get my food out there and meet some lovely people but I was so overwhelmed with the support I had during the show that I wanted to do something positive. So I decided to donate a proportion of each supper club profit to charity. In the end the supper clubs raised over £1000 the majority of which went to homelessness charities here in Wales (Huggard Centre and The Wallich). I'm very proud of this and hope to continue this in the future also.

I even managed to squeeze in a couple of pop ups too! I had a blast working with the brilliant Dusty Knuckle at their place in Canton. We served up a three course meal to almost 60 people. It was the hardest I've pushed myself but again I learned a lot and was thankful for all their help! 




Up next was the excellent Lost Lands Cinema roof top cinema and one of my all time favourite movies Chef! Serving food amongst the roof tops of Cardiff is something I will not forget any time soon!




Along the way I got to do some pretty cool things too like cooking live at BBC Radio Wales with the fabulous Eleri Sion, chef demos at Tafwyl, Cowbridge Food Festival, Royal Welsh Show and Abergavenny Food Festival! I even got to film my first cooking video with Its On Cardiff! Bonkers!








None of the above would be possible without the support I have had from my amazing family! My mum and dad have been there for me every step of the way and I really think they are the most brilliant people I know. Thank you to my wife Carys and my son Osian for letting me chase my dreams. You made this possible.



There we have it my most incredible year! Who knows what 2018 has in store? Well, I do know we are going from a family of three to four! I never liked sleep anyway!

Lastly thank you to all the people I have worked with along the way for all your support and understanding. Thank you to all those people that supported me during the show, came to my supper clubs and pop ups! This really wouldn't be possible without you! Thank you!

I wish you all the very best for 2018, make sure you make it the best it can be!


Sunday, 17 December 2017

Sprout Pakoras

Hate them or love them this is my spiced take on this seasonal vegetable. Crispy, salty and spicy these pakoras really do the trick.



Ingredients - Makes 10 pakoras:

·         10 uncooked sprouts
·         4-5 tbsp gram flour
·         1 tsp fine sea salt 
·         1 tsp chilli powder (hot)
·         1 tsp turmeric powder
·         1 tsp asafoetida
·         1 tsp ground cumin
·         1 tsp ajwain seeds
·         750ml-1lt sunflower oil
·         Water as required




Method

1.       Remove the outer leaves from the spouts, half and finely slice
2.       Transfer to a large bowl and add all the spices and gram flour to the sprouts and mix well
3.       Then add the water a little at a time to the bowl and mix to form a batter (tip: Use hands for this. The mixture should not be very wet, just enough so that when formed into a small ball shape the shredded sprouts hold together and do not fall apart. More gram flour maybe required if mixture becomes too wet)
4.    Using your hands form small balls of the sprout mixture and drop gently into a deep fat fryer set at 180 centigrade or into a large wok/saucepan filled with enough oil to deep fry  (tip: use instant read probe style thermometer to check oil is at the right temperature to fry)
5.       Fry a few at a time and don’t overcrowd the pan as this will cause the temperature of the oil to drop, resulting in a pakora that is not crispy and a bit oily!
6.       Remove pakoras when golden and place onto a baking tray lined with kitchen roll to drain excess oil.
7.  Serve immediately!

This recipe can be doubled easily to make more. Please have a go and post your pakoras, 
tagging me in too, I'd love to see how you get on!





Monday, 6 November 2017

Indian Summer - Look Back

The last two months for me have been another eventful chapter in my little food adventure. I feel I've turned a corner and am stepping out from under the MasterChef umbrella. Doing my own thing and loving it. September saw the start of my Indian Summer campaign, my new branding and putting my own style of food out there for people to try. The whole aim of Indian Summer was to show the vibrancy of Indian food and how it can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. It was also very important to me that I start to forge my own style and show how my food is evolving and hopefully improving. 




It all started way up high on the roof terrace of Jacobs Market with the brilliant Lost Lands Cinema and the fantastic food film 'Chef'. The food was my take on the classic kebab! My version of this national treasure used the very best Welsh PGI lamb shoulder slowly roasted over night, shredded and then crisped up. This sat on top of a fluffy home made naan bread, mint yogurt spiked with cumin, topped with my signature chilli sauce, pickled onions and coriander. For the vegetarian version I crisped up slabs of paneer until golden in a spiced coating then served exactly the same as the lamb kebab.




The dessert was my first collab with the brilliant Pettigrew Bakeries. We recreated the New Orleans classic beignets (little doughnut style morsels of heaven) served with a rich Green & Blacks dark chocolate sauce. David who is the mastermind behind the Pettigrew empire is a real inspiration to me and has become a great friend and mentor over the last year. 



I've been a big fan of the roof top cinema since it started and I'd like thank Ian who runs Lost Lands cinema for inviting me up there and sorting it all out! Thanks for all the help dude much appreciated! Also to Meat Promotion Wales for the backing, Oriel Jones for the lamb and the saint like John and Ceri Cook from Arbennig for letting me use their amazing ovens (again!). I had a blast doing this and was the perfect start to Indian Summer!




I was also lucky enough to take my Indian Summer vibes to Abergavenny Food Festival this year and I had to pinch myself a little to believe it actually happened. This for me was dream come true! I've been a fan of this festival for a number of years but to actually be there showing off my food and what I am all about was for me incredible. There was mango lassis and spiced roasted peach for the masses! Thank you Abergavenny I hope to see you all again soon!



The business end of Indian Summer came in the form of my supper clubs at Pettigrew Tea Rooms. I put so much effort into devising this menu and really trying to showcase what I can do. This was my heart and soul, this is what it is all about and this is what I was most anxious about. To say I pushed myself is an understatement but I am so pleased with the outcome! Smiling faces and full stomachs are what I'm trying to achieve! Sometimes when we are busily working away downstairs at the supper club and I catch the hubbub of conversation in the air from the dining room full of people having a good time that for me is the best feeling. Thank you to all that came to the supper clubs, I really appreciate the support. 








Not only that but if it wasn't for the phenomenal team at Pettigrew this would not be possible. I don't ever really want to do a supper club without them.



By no means was everything all plain sailing and Instagram photos of having fun, but I am not the finished article. I am learning all the time, I am improving all the time and I am loving every minute of it. Even when I wish the ground would open up and swallow me whole, it did not deter me. Which can only mean that I am meant to do this. I've said this before and I'll say it again, I'm just getting started.




Sunday, 20 August 2017

Indian Summer Supper Club

I have been working hard over the last month to bring together an idea I have had for some time, Indian Summer. I want to showcase and highlight how my food and ideas about food are changing and evolving as I carry on my adventure. Having completed a season of sell out supper clubs I wanted to return with something that was exciting for diners and for myself!
The aim of Indian Summer is to keep that feel good summer vibe going well into autumn (well one can only hope!) and I will be trying to achieve just that at the supper clubs.

The food will still be drawing heavily on my cultural background but influenced also by my own particular taste in food, styles and experiences. The result is vibrant plates of food which pack a punch in terms of flavour. Here I am very much stepping away from what I did on MasterChef and am very much trying to establish my own style:

Indian Summer supper club will be held in the stunning and handsome West Lodge building in Bute Park, home to the equally magnificent Pettigrew Tea Rooms. The setting and venue only just surpassed by the amazing team there that support me during the supper clubs. I am over the moon to be returning to Pettigrew Tea Rooms to what is quickly beginning to feel like home.



But the supper clubs are just one part of Indian Summer with a couple of surprises and special announcements to be made over the next couple of months!



This series of supper clubs will run until the end of October (when British Summer Time ends!) and will be chargeable at £40 per person via the links below:

For Saturday the 23rd of September: SOLD OUT

For Saturday the 7th of October: SOLD OUT

For Saturday the 21st of October: Click here

For Saturday the 28th of October: SOLD OUT

Fantastic food in an informal environment is my idea of a great night out and I hope to deliver just that for you!


Worth noting:
  • The menu is set and there are no alternative menu options, I can cater for some dietary requirements but not all - please contact if you have any questions on this.
  • It is BYO with corkage charges 


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Indian Summer

I've had a blast over the last few months doing as much as I possibly can to make the most of the amazing opportunities I've had since finishing on MasterChef. What I've lost in sleep I've gained in sheer excitement and realisation that I'm doing things that make me so very happy. In a word I feel alive! It's been a steep learning curve and at times I've felt a bit beaten up, but my journey is just in its infancy and there is still so much to do.



I'm very proud with what I have achieved with my first sold out series of supper clubs HOME. In total we raised £800 for worthy causes and the feed back from guests at the supper clubs has been brilliant! Not to mention some great reviews from the likes of Hungry City Hippy, Munchies & Munchkins and Soliciting Flavours. I'm so very thankful to my folks, my wife and the entire team at Pettigrew Tea Rooms for helping me make this happen, I could have not done it without them!







In between supper clubs I managed to sneak in a pop up at what I like to call my happy place Dusty Knuckle! Here I debuted my take on the much loved kebab! 



My take on this national treasure used the very best Welsh PGI Lamb Shoulder slowly roasted over night, shredded then crisped up in Dusty Knuckle's wood burning oven! This sat on top of a fluffy home made naan bread, mint yogurt spiked with cumin, topped with my signature chilli sauce, pickled onions and coriander! For the vegetarian version I crisped up slabs of paneer until golden in a spiced coating then served exactly the same as the lamb kebab.



Again a huge thanks here to Dusty Knuckle for letting me take over the place, Meat Promotion Wales for their backing, Martin Player for the lamb, Arbennig for letting me use their amazing ovens and Pettigrew Bakery for letting me use their facilities to make all my naans and for their help! I feel truly humbled to have such great support from some amazing people that I look up to. Thank you.


This brings us nicely to Indian Summer! Starting from September I plan to keep the summer vibe going well into October with a series of pop ups, supper clubs and events! All with the aim of bringing the heat and showcasing how my food is evolving and I'd love for you to be a part of it!

I'm very proud to announce that I will be kicking off my Indian Summer Series with Lost Lands Cinema on the roof of Jacobs market! I will be popping up there on the the 2nd of September serving up my lamb and paneer kebabs! 



The movie will be the almost cult status, feel good foodie film 'Chef'! A movie that I adore! The lead character's passion for food and the effect that social media can have are so relatable! I have to thank Lee aka Fuud Blog for lending me the DVD (ask your parents kids) way back when! I'm so glad he did as fast forward 18 months or so and here I am serving food at a screening of this brilliant movie! Crazy!

Tickets will be sold on a food, film and drink option where one ticket gains you entry to watch the movie and a kebab of your choice along with a themed cocktail (El Jefe Ticket) or a film only option where food and drinks can be purchased on the night.




Tickets on sale now! Click this link: Lost Lands Cinema 

I hope to see you all there!

More announcements due very soon......