Thai Style Leftover Turkey Lettuce Wraps

What do you do with all that  leftover turkey after Christmas? If you are tired of the go to recipe of Coronation Turkey or turkey sandwiches, try this recipe with a little bit of zing.

I like to spice up my leftover turkey and this is a very quick and tasty Thai inspired recipe. It’s something very simple using Thai flavours with ingredients that you most probably have in the store cupboard. You can serve this as a canape as little lettuce wraps or serve the dish with some boiled jasmine rice.

It’s like a warm meat salad and you can swap out ingredients depending on what you have to hand. Instead of using turkey, you can also use minced pork or chicken. Instead of fresh chillies, you can use chilli flakes and instead of coriander, you can use mint.


Thai Style Minced Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Thai Style Minced Turkey Lettuce Wraps


  • a few slices of leftover turkey, chopped into small cubes
  • little gem lettuce
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 handful of coriander, chopped (including the stalks)
  • 1 long red chilli, julienned lengthwise or 2-3 birds eye chillies if you prefer it hotter
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce or to taste
  • 2 limes cut into wedges


  1. In a hot pan, add some oil and fry the onions for about 2 minutes until it softens
  2. Add the garlic and stir for another minute
  3. Add the leftover turkey and stir in to mix and warm up
  4. Season with the fish sauce, start with a little and adjust seasoning to your own taste
  5. Take off the heat
  6. Add in the chillies and coriander and combine evenly
  7. Serve on individual leaves of the little gem lettuce with some wedges of lime.
  8. Alternatively, you can serve this as a starter in a big bowl and a separate plate of lettuce leaves. Everyone can then make their own lettuce parcels.

 The ingredients were supplied by Sainsbury

Exploring Macau’s Fusion Cuisine at A Wong

Londoners, here’s a chance to Taste Macau. We get to experience this unique centuries old fusion cuisine at A A Wong where Macanese Foopd Ambassador Florita Alves has collaboration with Andrew Wong to create an 8 course tasting menu.

Florita Alves and Andrew Wong at A Wong

Florita Alves and Andrew Wong

The Macau Tourism Board held a lunch to preview this menu recently.  At A Wong, the main dining room is packed and oddly,  I catch a few odd snatches of Cantonese conversations. It appears that among the guests at this lunch to launch the Macanese menu are some transplanted Macanese and representatives of the Macau community. For a moment there, I thought I was back in Hong Kong.

On my visits to Macau, I don’t remember ever having a typical Macanese meal when I visited Macau. This would be a new experience for me.

About Macanese cuisine

Macanese food a true fusion cuisine, a result of the Portuguese explorers making strategic trading ports en route from Europe in Goa, Melaka and Macau during the spice trade. The first Macanese woman was a Malaysian woman from Melaka. The influences can be seen in some of these dishes on the lunch menu. There is still a strong Portuguese slant to some of the dishes and the liberal use of olive oil for cooking.

Macau does not have a large population but their community keeps their old cultures and traditions alive with many festivals. A lot of the locals left prior to the handover back to China but like Hong Kong, many have returned. Macanese cooking is kept alive by grandmas and mothers cooking with their daughters for these events. Recipes are still passed down by word of mouth through the generations.

The 8 course tasting menu was designed to showcase dishes which epitomise Macau and is served tapas style. The highlight of the lunch menu at A Wong was the African Chicken dish, a richly flavoured succulent chicken. It is usually marinaded in the spicy sauce for over 24 hours before being cooked.

The Bacalha married a Potruguese ingredient with Chinese Dim Sum techniques, resulting in a very tasty dumpling. Gambas a Macau, smothered in garlic was an easy winner.

Loved the pudding of the Pasteis des nata wiht flaky pastry and the coffee jelly with coconut pudding was a great combination.

Blinhos des bacalhau and Chillicote

Blinhos des bacalhau

Gambas a Macau

Gambas a Macau, grilled prawns with garlic and spices glazed with white wine

Shanghai dumpling wuth Glazed Dried Pork

Shanghai dumpling wuth Glazed Dried Pork

Grilled Portuguese Sausage with Beef Mince Minchi

Grilled Portuguese Sausage with Beef Mince Minci

African Chicken

African Chicken

Pasteis des nata egg custard tart with a Bebinca inspired coconut pudding with coffee jelly and Kahlua

Pasteis des nata egg custard tart with a Bebinca inspired coconut pudding with coffee jelly and Kahlua

Malaysian Influences in Macanese cuisine

On chatting to Florita, I found out that there is a lot Malaysian influence Macau cuisine. Of all the dishes on the menu, the one that most Macanese would identify with and is most representative of the Macanese cuisine is the Minchi, a minced beef dish. Every family has their own recipe for this but Florita gave me her recipe which I will reproduce on this blog soon.  This is normally served with rice as a typical home cooking dish but here it was served with some cubed fried potatoes. There is a very similar dish in Malay cuisine too.

Another example of Malaysian influence is the use of an ingredient called Balichao which used to made
with tiny silver shrimps, a flavouring in many of their dishes. Florita sometimes enhances this with a
splash of Portugese brandy. Balichao is not unlike the Malaysian Belacan (fermented shrump paste). The
Macau version is less pungent. A balichao sauce is served alongside a Portugese meat stew called
Tachuchauchau, not dissimilar to our Nyonya Tau Eu Bak (stewed pork belly) and sambal belacan.

There is a soupy noodle dish called Lakasa with shrimps and vermicelli which they have during
Christmas. We have Laksa a spicy noodle soup. Their famous African Chicken is usually served with a sambal
sauce which is very similar to our Malaysian condiment.

Am fascinated by this cuisine as the melding of the many different food influences has created a food culture that has evolved through the centuries. This has reminded me to investigate our own Malaysian Portuguese fusion cuisine (Kristang)  in Melaka on my next trip there.

If you like to explore different cuisines, don’t miss this  Macanese Food event. The 8 course Macanese tasting menu will be available from the 17th – 29th November at A Wong. 

A Wong

70 Wilton Rd,
London SW1V 1DE
020 7828 8931

A. Wong on Urbanspoon

For more information on Macau visit:

EatCookExplore was a guest of the Macau Government Tourist Office.

Vin Brule with Barolo Italian Mulled Wine

The undulating hills of Piedmont in Northern Italy is the home of the Unesco protected Baroloa and Barbaresco wines. In the cold winters here, they drink their version of a mulled wine called Vin Brule. The Piedmont region has had a lot of French influence over the centuries and this is reflected in their food and culture.

I guess Vin Brulee is one of those recipes that vary from family to family but they all seem to agree that it has great medicinal properties in warding off colds. I got this recipe from my new friend Chiara, a local Piedmont girl I met on my recent visit there for the Alba Truffle Fair.

It is very similar to a Vin Chaud or a Gluhwein as it involves adding warming spices and citrus to a red wine and heated. Once you have made of pot of this, the whole kitchen starts to smell really festive. You can find lots more mulled wine recipes or Christmas drinks ideas here.

As Barolo is a quite an expensive red wine, it might not be your choice to use this wine in the recipe. You can swap it out and use any other full bodied red wine instead.


Vin Brule Italian Mulled Wine

Vin Brule Italian Mulled Wine


  • One bottle of Piedmontese Barolo wine
  • 50 g of sugar
  • One stick of cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • A pinch of mace
  • Skin of a lemon
  • Skin of an orange


  1. Put all the other ingredient in a pot with about a glass of wine, heat and stir until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Pour in the remainder of the wine and bring to a boil. The Italians like to boil their wine so there is very little alcohol left. You can choose to just warm up the wine instead.
  3. Strain the mulled wine into a serving jug and serve it immediately.

Note: Barolo is a DOCG wine from the Langhe area in Piedmont, Italy. The Barolo vineyards were granted World Heritage Status which controls how much is produced and the strict locations where this wine can be produced. The are where the Barolo wine is produced has been growing grapes since 5 C BC and is one of the best wine growing areas in Italy.

The wine for this recipe was provided by Waitrose Wines.


The Langham launches the Wedgwood Afternoon Tea

London has the best Afternoon Teas and the Langham Hotel has won various awards for theirs. They are just about to launch their new Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood.

Cherish Finden at the Langham

Head Pastry Chef Cherish Finden at the Langham

Wedgwood desiged a new china tea set for them and Head Pastry Chef, Cherish Finden  has created a selection of Wedgwood inspired cakes based on old Wedgwood designs. Cherish is a previous winner of Pastry Chef of the year and the Palm Court at the Langham has won Best Afternoon Tea.

At the preview last week, we got to taste these delicious creations, each with delicately balanced flavours. Based on the cakes, I can say that they definitely rank up there as the best afternoon tea I have had in London.

Wedgewood Afternoon Tea

Wedgewood Afternoon Tea 130

Sandwiches with whtie truffle shavings and beetroot bread

Wedgewood Afternoon Tea 133 Wedgewood Afternoon Tea 131 Wedgewood Afternoon Tea 132


In addition to the cakes and savouries, the tea selection includes a Wedgwood selection which is an Assam blend and a very fragrant green tea called silk road.

The Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood will be served at the Palm Court at the Langham from 10 November.


Win Two Tickets to the Foodies Festival Christmas at Truman Brewery

Where can you indulge in lots of festive food and wine and meet lots of introducing food producers. There will be Chefs’ Masterclasses, Pop Up Restaurants, Drinks Masterclasses and even a Children’s Cookery Theatre. Lots of London’s most popular street food stalls will be featured too.

foodies festival

The Foodies Festival will be held at the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane on 28-30 November. You can win a pair of tickets by following the instructions int he Rafflecopter widget below.

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  1. This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 who live in the UK.
  2. The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter (which uses and announced on this page.
  3. The winner will be contacted by e-mail, if they do not respond within a 7 days another winner may be chosen.
  4. The organisers of the Salon du Chocolat Show will be responsible for sending the prize to the winners. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.




The Espresso Italiano Championship 2014

The International National Espresso International (INEI) hosted its 2014 Championship in London for the first time in the stunning RAC Club. They brought together 15 top Baristas from around the world to compete the for ultimate accolade of overall champion.

15 Baristas at the Espresso Italiano Championship 2014

Each Barista had to make 4 cups of espresso and 4 cups of cappuccino and clean up in 11 minutes. Two groups of judges awarded points. the Technical Judges awarded points for technique, speed, presentation and cleanliness. The Sensory judges who had the overriding votes, tasted for the quality of the coffee produced, the coffee blend and flavour.

The only girl competing at the Espresso Italiano Championship 2014

The only girl competing at the Espresso Italiano Championship 2014

Each contestant used a different brand of coffee which seemed to be all Italian (all members of the INEI).

The overall winner of the Espresso Italiano Championship 2014 was Filippo Mezzaro representing Torrefazione Saturno.

The winner of the Espresso Italiano Championship 2014

Espresso Italiano Championship 2014 at the RAC

Expert Espresso Tasting

I had a mini Espresso Tasting masterclass with Fabio of Cortadoro Coffee Lab, the team that won the best espresso.

Cooling down the coffee grains holder

Cooling down the coffee grains holder

How you tamp down the coffee makes a big difference

How you tamp down the coffee makes a big difference

Letting the hot water flow for 25 seconds -Making Espresso

Letting the hot water flow for 25 seconds

The perfect crema on top of a perfect Espresso

The perfect crema on top of a perfect Espresso

Fabio tutored me on the elements that affect a cup of espresso. The taste of an espresso made by a professional barista on a professional coffee machine is quite different in the hands of an amateur. I tasted a cup made by the guy manning the coffee machine and it was highly acidic and bitter.

Fabio stepped in to make a second cup using the same beans from his company, a single estate, high altitude Ethiopian Arabica bean. He firstly flushed the machine, then cooled the coffee bean holder in a bucket of ice (as too high a heat makes it bitter and acidic). He then tamped in down tightly and smoothly and let the water flow for 25 seconds.

This produced a completely different espresso which was aromatic with no acidity, no bitterness but surprisingly sweet with very distinct fruity flavours.

The difference in preparation was not discernible to the average person. Makes me wonder at how poor our coffee experience is at the average high street coffee shop. This really highlights the importance of proper training for baristas as you can have the best quality product but badly executed would result in a very poor experience and taste.

The Italian Espresso National Institute safeguards and promotes the original Espresso

through a product certification. Each member company which complies with the certification requirements has the right to use the mark Espresso Italiano Certificato (Certified Italiano Espresso). More information here:

Hunan: Aubergine with Minced Pork stir fry

I have been waiting for this book for ages since I heard that it was being written. If you have never been to the Hunan Restaurant in Pimlico, you need to add that to the London Restaurant bucket list. I had a really memorable meal there and can happily say that it was one of the best (non Cantonese) Chinese meals I’ve had in London.

Hunan the cook book, subtitled ” A lifetime of secrets from Mr Peng’s Chinese Kitchen” is a collection of recipes that spans over 50 years of his experience in the kitchen. Taiwanese Mr Peng who is now 70, still regularly works in the kitchen at the restaurant. By his son’s Michael’s own words, he describes his father as focused, uncompromising and a traditionalist. He lives and breathes food.

About Hunan the cook book

The Hunan cook book is beautifully bound like an old Chinese manuscript. It has a lot of brightly coloured pictures for each recipe. If you have eaten at Hunan, this is like a download of the Mr Peng’s brain and it helps you decipher what it was that you ate at your last meal there as they don’t have a menu.

The book has over 70 recipes and many of them are easily achievable at home. I love cook books like this as it both practical and approachable. I have tried a couple of recipes so far and found them easy to follow and to recreate at home. The recipe for Aubergine and Minced Pork below has an unusual flavour and uses miso and white wine vinegar, not usually found in Chinese cooking.

The unique recipes are a mixture of Taiwanese, Hunanese, Sichuan, Guangdong and Northern Chinese. I am quite thrilled to expand my knowledge as my own Chinese recipe repertoire includes mainly Cantonese and Hokkien dishes. The main ingredients needed to create the multitude of recipes in this book are just 3 vinegars, 4 chilli sauces, sugar, salt, a little Shaoxing wine, slivers of ginger, spring onions and garlic.

It is unlike any other Chinese cook books and doesn’t include the usual takeaway favourites. If you are an adventurous cook, you must add the Hunan Cook Book
to your collection. I will certainly be cooking my way through this book over the years.


Aubergine with Minced Pork

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

4 portions

Aubergine with Minced Pork


  • 1 tbsp minced pork
  • 1 aubergine, cut into 5cm batons
  • 10 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp slaked cornflour for thickening the sauce
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • oil for frying
  • For the sauce
  • 3 tbsp chicken stock
  • 1 tsp miso paste or yellow bean paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 fresh red chilli, finely sliced
  • 10 coriander stalks, finely chopped
  • Salt and sugar to taste


  1. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and season to taste
  2. Heat a little oil in a wok ihntuil almost smoking. Add the pork mince and cook until it changes colour.
  3. Add the aubergines with about 10 tbsp water and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the aubergine has softened
  4. Add the sauce to the wok and stir through before adding the slaked cornflour, white wine vinegar and sesame oil. When the sauce has thickened, it is ready to serve.


This dish works well as part of a meal when served with a few different dishes and steamed white rice.

Win an essential Olive Recipe Book and a selection of Olives

This Olive It recipe book is designed to inspire you and take you on a journey of true discovery. Celebrating the table olive in all its guises and the rich flavours of the Mediterranean, the recipes will show you how versatile and delicious olives can be and encourage you to get creative in the kitchen.

olive it recipe book giveaway

Combining tradition with a contemporary twist, the Olive it! recipe book provides mouth-watering proof that simple table olives can pack an explosively flavoursome punch! From innovative marinades to tantalising tapas and tapenades, the simple and easy to follow book has something for everyone – irrespective of cooking ability – and for every season.

Join celebrated Spanish chefs José Pizarro and Omar Allibhoy as they share the joy of olives and family-trusted recipes that have passed down generations. Having both grown up surrounded by olive trees and immersed in the Mediterranean diet and culture, their love of olives is deep rooted and evident in these inspired olive dishes. With over 40 recipes that will spark your imagination and awaken new taste sensations, explore unique yet delicious combinations, such as green olives with figs, orange and bay to more adventurous combinations such as black olives with wasabi, ginger and smoked salmon and green olives with manchengo, chorizo and melon.

The prize is a copy of this book and a selection of olives. There are 25 copies of this book to win.

How to Win

Just leave a comment below and complete the Rafflecopter widget.

The prize will be sent out by the Olive It Team.

Competition closes on Friday 17th October.

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