Recipe: Sweet Malay Sambal for Nasi Lemak


NASI Lemak was one of my favourite dishes to indulge in while we were exploring Singapore and Indonesia last year. A traditional Malay breakfast with lots of variations but in its simplest form it is made up of coconut rice, fried chicken, a boiled egg, ikan bilis (dried salted anchovies), redskin peanuts and a sweet mildly spiced sauce (the sambal) with tomato and cucumber on the side.

It is most prominent in Malaysia and can also be found across the Far East in places such as Brunei, Singapore, parts of Indonesia and the Bangsamoro region of Mindanao in the Philippines. In 2016, Nasi Lemak was recognised as one of the top 10 healthy breakfasts around the world by Time Magazine –  I don’t know if this is strictly true but in short, it’s flippin’ delicious!

Whilst most of the ingredients are readily available in the UK, I have never found a sauce to rival the sweet, sticky and ever so slightly spicy sambal that complements this dish. Thankfully, we are booked up for a trip to Malaysia later this year but I can’t wait that long so I played around with the ingredients that I could get my hands on (we are limited in NE England!) and knocked up my own variation of this sambal.
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Skiing in Val Thorens: Chalet Curling Review


A COUPLE of weeks ago my husband and I were busy enjoying ourselves on our annual ski trip. A week of sunshine, snow, good food and carving down some superb pistes. We went to Val Thorens in France (click here for my resort guide), part of the famous Three Valleys – a world away from the stress of daily life. It was our second time in VT and we booked up a little later than usual with only 8 weeks to spare.

Val Thorens is home to a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets. Self catering apartments co-exist next to luxury 5* hotels and there is even a hostel for those such as students who may want to keep costs to a minimum. This year we opted for a catered chalet – Chalet Curling which is a part of the Chalet des Neiges Hermine complex. We had never stayed in a chalet before but the prospect of homecooked food (made by somebody else no less) and freshly baked cake after a day on the slopes drew us in.

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Recipe: Vietnamese Inspired Crab Salad


LAST weekend we were lucky enough to have some pretty amazing weather. A perfect spring day with bright sunshine, clear blue skies and a mild breeze. Possibly the nicest weather we have had in months and certainly good weather at any rate for the North East of England, good enough to walk outside without a big winter coat and gloves.

As it was mother’s day on Sunday we headed to Sandsend, a small fishing village near Whitby, for a stroll along the beach with Max the dog and some lunch at our favourite spot – a pub called The Hart Inn, a proper Yorkshire pub serving up the freshest seafood. Sandsend is our favourite spot for a Sunday walk anyway and we visit as often as we can. We ordered our usual crab salad with half a lobster as a mother’s day treat, chips for Mum and new potatoes for me. It was warm enough to eat in the pub garden so we basked in the sunlight and devoured our seafood while Max scoffed some gravy bones.

I don’t know if it was the combination of sun, sea and sand; the fresh, juicy crab meat or the notion that Spring was in swing but I just felt inspired. I wanted to put together a dish that was light and colourful with a chilli kick. We are going to Vietnam later in the year and it is no secret that the fresh, zingy flavours of Vietnamese food pairs really well with seafood.
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