Bulldogs – This Tastes GREAT

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This week my favourite British bar Bulldogs, is running a promotion in conjunction with the British Embassy called This Tastes GREAT. A fabulous food festival focusing on classic Great British cuisine. There is a special menu on at Bulldogs from September 29th – October 5th. There are a variety of bars and restaurants taking part in the festival offering different dishes, next week Behind Yellow in Nonhyeodong will be serving up its tribute to Queen and country.

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There are 3 items on the special menu, first up was the Breakfast Martini (8,500). What a fabulous way to start, a sweet and fruity martini is right up my street. Made with Hendrick’s gin, berry brandy, raspberry and cranberry jam, and topped with an adorable piece of toast and jam. It went down a treat and at only 8,500 I really hope it stays on the menu. It is the perfect chaser to one of their Pimm’s fruit cups.

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As a Brit myself, I take my pies very seriously. There’s nothing like one to warm you up on a cold rainy day, and yesterday was no exception. With the drizzly rain we were suffering it was just like being at home again. The special Bangers & Barrels (14,500) was the perfect meal for grizzly Monday. The rich ale gravy was filled with pieces of beef, sausages, peas, and carrots and topped with a cheese skirt and their creamy mashed potatoes. It was heavenly, even better than my mum’s, but don’t tell her that.

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As part of the offer they are giving away a California style pale ale, by Scottish brewery BrewDog, to each customer that purchases a Bangers & Barrel Pie. Who doesn’t like free beer? The Fat Boyfriend certainly did.

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For dessert we were served up the Tea-licious Mousse (7,000). Served in these charming little tea cups was the decadent white chocolate and earl grey tea mousse. One mouthful and I was hooked, it was just so creamy, and the white chocolate and earl grey was a match made in heaven. Served on the side were homemade shortbread biscuits, because you can’t have tea without biscuits! A real sweet treat to end the meal, I practically licked the whole cup clean.

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During the festival you can buy each dish individually or buy the set of all three for 27,500. If you buy the set you also get a little bag of British goodies consisting of a sparkling water, a bar of Green and Black’s chocolate, and a Berry White organic juice.  There’s nothing like a goodie bag of free stuff to round off a fantastic meal.

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The This Tastes GREAT menu is available at the Itaewon location and their new Gangnam location. The new Gangnam location is even bigger than the original, and sports some fantastic artwork, by renowned British artist Mat Hughes. They also have BrewDog on tap, and even more pictures of Britains greatest celebrities, as well as all their usual fantastic cocktails and hotdogs.

 

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Bulldogs Gangnam is located at 2F 9  Gangnam-daero, 94-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gangnam station (line 2) and come out of exit 11. Walk straight, then take the first right down the side of the CNN building. Walk down the alley way and turn left. You should see bulldogs just ahead on the right as you exit the alley way. For more information call 02-538-2998 or checkout their facebook page.

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Coconut Milk

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Coconut milk is rich and creamy and one of those staples I always like to keep in the cupboard. It full of goodness and very versatile. But sadly in Korea it’s not as cheap and prevalent as one would like. Sure you can find it at big chain supermarkets, but not so much at the smaller Korean marts. It can also run to about 3,000 a can, which if you are using two doesn’t make a cheap dinner. Luckily though I recently discovered this little trick in which you can use shredded or dried unsweetened coconut to make your own milk, how cool is that? And you actually get a very good result. The shredded coconut works  great and is roughly around 7,000 for 700g on iHerb. This bag will make about 8 cans worth of milk, really lowering the price if you use it regularly. It’s quick and easy to make, and you can whip up a  batch whenever you are need, as the dried coconut stores well.

Ingredients

2 cups unsweetened dried coconut

4 cups of water

Directions 

1. Heat the water until it’s just about to start boiling then turn off the heat.

2. Put the dried coconut and hot water into the blender.

3. Blend for five minutes until smooth. Be careful when doing this, if you have a cheap blender. Blend in pulses and let the cap off to release the steam periodically.

4. Strain the milk and store in an airtight container in the fridge. You will still have a thick paste of the coconut meat left after straining, you can use this in baking or smoothies, or just eat it by it’self as it’s filled with nutrients. Happy Milking!

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Panda Express

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Today my blog reached 400 posts. And I thought I would commemorate the occasion by sharing with you one of my greatest pleasures in life – Chinese food. Now I’m not talking so much about the food they enjoy in China. I’m more obsessed with the deep fried, msg laden, batter encased goodies doused in garishly colored sauces that we get back home. It’s my kryptonite, wield Chinese food in front of me and I shall fall. Despite its close proximity, good Chinese food is one of the hardest cuisines to find in Korea. And the westernized stuff is even harder still. When I first found Ho Lee Chow it was a godsend, but it quickly lost it’s allure as it’s so incredibly expensive. For four dishes and a couple of spring rolls it runs over 80,000, which at home in London we could get for less than half the price. So when Panda Express opened I was thrilled indeed, and when I saw the killer prices I was practically giddy.

I had tried Panda Express once before in Las Vegas and to be honest wasn’t too impressed, although I was just coming off a bout of food poisoning which may have had something to do with my less than perfect impression. I likened it to the restaurants at home that have buffets, where you fill up a plastic container full for about a fiver. So I didn’t get my hopes too high but figured it was worth checking out.

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It’s true what they say first impressions can be deceiving . As soon as I took my first bite it literally blew me away, everything was so good! The other incredible thing is the price,  3 main dishes and a side for a mere 12,000! It’s incredible and only 1,200 extra per main dish if you want shrimp or beef.

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We got the following for 12,000! This box consisted of fried chow mein noodles, which were a little dry by themselves but once you had put the other dishes on top were fine. The orange chicken was stellar. It was just so good, nice coating of batter, sweet tasty sauce. It was what fat dreams are made of.  The kung pao on the other hand was rather disappointing, more like a plain old stir fry then the kung pao we all know and love. The Fat Boyfriend was rather disappointed as it’s usually his favourite. I randomly chose the tofu egg plant as the last dish as it’s one of my favourites at home. This was excellent, the spongy fried tofu was well paired with the soft juicy egg plant, though they could have been more generous with the tofu. It’s a nice choice for vegetarians.

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The second set ran a little higher due to the add ons, this one was 14,400, but lets face it still amazing value. For this one we got the fried rice. It was of a good standard and much better than the ones you get in Korean style restaurants. The Bejing beef was amazeballs, battered in a sweet sticky sauce it was all kinds of delicious. The walnut shrimp was also right on par. Battered shrimps (tails on though) which were deep fried along battered walnuts. Want to make a walnut more delicious, deep fry it and drizzle it with a sticky honey sauce. The last dish was the shimp and pineapple, this one was a special they had on. It was fine but not my favourite of the bunch.

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Besides all these dishes were a variety of other mains and a few sides, sadly no spring rolls though. There is fried mandu the filling tastes better than regular mandu but it’s no spring roll, plus you only get 3 pieces. Panda Express may be the Mcdonalds of the Chinese world but I’m glad its here. Cheap, quick, and delicious, it’s what I’ll be eating on hangover Sunday for the forseeable future.

Panda Express is located on the basement floor at The Lotte department Store in Myeongdong. To get there take a train to eljiro 1 station (line 2) and come out of exit 7 and walk into the Lotte deparment store and go down to the basement floor. You will see Panda express in the food court.

Aubergine Fries

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Aubergine fries, my latest food obsession, and by obsession I mean can’t stop thinking about them, complete and utter devotion. I have had them for dinner every night this week, which actually bodes well for me as aubergines are in season right now and so cheap they are practically giving them away. If you have ever wanted to try your hand at making baba ganoush now is the time, this week I got 6 for a mere 1,000 won. The reason these beauties are so good, is that they are crispy on the outside and soft and gooey in the middle while still retaining their shape. I had my qualms about making them at first, as I never thought they would hold up, but they do and they are delightful. Make them tonight and I promise you shan’t be disappointed. Fat Girl guaranteed! The other fab thing is that they are baked, not fried, so you can eat an entire pan full, without feeling the least bit shameful. Though you can of course deep fry them if you wish. I paired mine with a sweet chili mayonnaise I made but really any dip at all will do. I didn’t make my own mayonnaise as I was out of olive oil, and we also have a giant vat of mayonnaise that we got from Costco that needs using.

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Ingredients

Aubergine Fries 

4-5 aubergines (egg plants)

2 eggs

200g of panko crumbs (or your own breadcrumb mix)

2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (optional, but more delicious)

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 tablespoon of of mixed herbs (your choice)

A pinch of salt and pepper

Sweet Chili Mayo 

6 tablespoons of mayonnaise

2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce

a pinch of chipotle chili powder

salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions 

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cut the aubergines in half length ways, then in half again the opposite way. You can then cut these four pieces into quarters or sixths depending on their size. Spread them out on a tray lined with baking paper. Then sprinkle on the mixed herbs and bake for about 15 minutes. They should almost be cooked through, while still retaining their shape.

2. While the aubergines are cooking, beat your eggs in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, add the panko crumbs, paprika, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, and mix together.

3. When the aubergines are done, take them out of the oven, and dip first into the beaten egg then into the panko crumb mixture and set back on the baking tray. Repeat until they are all coated then then drizzle with a little olive oil and put them back into the oven for another 10 minutes. They are done when the are the crumbs are golden brown.

4. To make the sweet chili mayo mix all the ingredients together and serve with your lovely fries. Eat them, then go out and buy more aubergines cause they are amazeballs.

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Amazing Thai

It’s finally happened, after thinking about it long and hard, Fat Girl is finally on Youtube! In all my glory I’m helping present a cool new show called Seoul Food. A fabulous little vlog about where to eat and how local restaurants cook their cramazing food. Our first episode kicked off with Amazing Thai. I was pretty damn excited about it as I love Thai food. I have used the Y-not delivery service to have it at home once before but had yet to try the food in store. So if you want to watch my Oscar winning/cringe inspiring youtube debut, click here! Or if you don’t really like me very much, it’s worth watching just to laugh at me.

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After we had learned how to make the dishes we got to eat them, which frankly is the only reason I signed up to take part. First up was the Thai Green Curry we made. Fresh out the wok,  Gaeng Keaw-wan gai (13,000) can’t be beaten. The curry was amazing, and I’m not just saying it because I saw it being made in front of me. It was just so luxuriously rich and tasty. The Creamy coconut balanced out the heat of the curry paste. Sometimes a Thai curry can be too spicy but this one was spot on. Served with the rice we couldn’t get enough.

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We also got to share the classic Pad Thai Gai (12,000) dish. Fried noodles that were better than some I have tasted at the street stalls of Bangkok, they really took me back to my travelling days. We got them with stir fried chicken and vegetables, but they have various other varieties including shrimp and tofu.

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Lastly we tried my favorite dish of cashew chicken or as it’s formally known Gai Pad Med Ma Muang (13,000). I pretty much lived on this during my time in Thailand so like to think of myself as an expert. Crispy chicken in a sweet and slightly spicy sauce, mingling with green peppers and cashew nuts. It was pure perfection. The chicken had a nice crispy exterior and as you can see from the picture they don’t skimp on the nuts!

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As we were having a nose around we noticed lots of boxes pilled up the corner, I asked what they were for and found out they are prizes. If you go in store and spend over 100,000 you can get one and inside is a prize. They are sponsored by the Thai embassy and only given to a few lucky restaurants. Inside you can win tickets to Thailand!!! How cool is that? So go in, order like there’s no tomorrow and have your leftovers wrapped up to go.

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Amazing Thai is located at 683-134 Hannam-dong, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hangangjin station (line6) and come out of exit 3. Keep walking straight until you reach the block of restaurants after Dominic. Amazing Thai is located on the 2nd floor on your right. For more information you can call on 02-796-7377, or for a full menu and delivery straight to your sofa check out Y-Not Takeout.

Il Gattino – Sneak Preview

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As your favourite food blogger I always try my best to find you the best food in Korea. And for once in my life I’m ahead of the crowd and sharing with you a restaurant that isn’t even open yet! Il Gattino is having a secret opening and they have the best Italian food in Korea bar none. With Italian chef Flavia in the kitchen serving up her classic Italian cuisine and Giovianni as the warm and inviting host, HBC finally has a restaurant which is worth queuing for.  For a bargain price of only 35,000 we shared the most sumptuous meal. Prices will remain cheap during the secret opening while they test their recipes and see what proves to be popular, but even after this Giovanni tells me that main pasta courses will only cost around 10,000 each and desserts at around 4,000-5,000. He wants the prices to reflect those in Italy and not just overcharge like many restaurants do here just because we are in Seoul.

To kick start the meal we were given their home baked ciabatta bread, chili jam and olive tapinade. The bread was especially good, and perfectly accompanied with the salty tapinade and sweet chili jam. You can never go wrong with freshly baked bread to start a meal.

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The bread course was swiftly followed by baked aubergines in a rich tomato sauce, topped with mozzarella. I love this dish, and often make a similar version myself. Tomatoes, cheese, and aubergines work perfectly and it’s also a great option for vegetarians.

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Next we were presented with two different kinds of homemade gnocchi. The first were simply cooked in butter and topped with parmesan cheese. The light pillowy delicate flavour of these was outstanding. Probably the best I’ve ever eaten, they were little clouds of heaven that just melted on the tongue. All they needed was a touch of freshly ground pepper on top to complete them. We actually fought over the last one!

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Our second dish was the gnocchi covered in bolognaise. Made using Giovanni’s  grandmother’s recipe, it was everything a bolognaise should be, simple, rich, and full of flavour.  Again the gnocchi were pure perfection but the sauce really stood out in this dish. I can’t wait to go back and try their lasagne.

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In true European style, no meal is complete without dessert and we were lucky enough to try two. A  sponge topped with a luscious lemon mousse, and my favourite, tiramisu. Made in the traditional way, both were like eating lavish creamy clouds. With homemade mascarpone, light sponge and rich coffee, the tiramisu was flawless. Both were fantastic and I suggest you get one of each because it was very hard to decide which one we liked best. I gave the edge to the tiramisu, the Fat Boyfriend preferred the lemon. I also heard they have a rich chocolate creation that they will be debuting very soon which I am desperate to try.

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The restaurant will be open at the Good to Go location in Hae Bang Chon. But sandwich fans don’t despair, they aren’t going anywhere as the restaurant will be dual run. As I mentioned Il Gattino isn’t even open yet, but they are open to reservations of small groups. Giovanni will find out your tastes and prepare a special set menu just for you. They take lunch and dinner bookings, so if you would like to try their incredible food, please message them using their facebook page.

Il Gattino is located at 46, Yongsan 2 ga, Yongsan gu, Seoul. To get there head to Noksapyeong station(line 6) and come out exit 2. Walk straight and bear left at the kimchi pots. Keep walking up the hill until you see Good to Go/Il Gattino on your right just across from Bonny’s Pizza.

Edamame Hummus

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My favourite bean is back in season and last week I picked up a giant bowlful for only 5,000. It was actually a giant bag full of the little blighters. Aside from boiling them and eating them as a healthy and delicious snack, you can also use them to make a cramazingly tasty hummus. Simple as anything you just boil the beans as usual then use them in place of the chick peas. I just made a regular version but you could also jazz it up by replacing the cumin with wasabi paste.  The beans I got were a different variety than usual, their skins were black and purple rather than the lustrous green we all know and love but still just as delicious. I served it up with my homemade chili chips. I’m obsessed with making homemade tortilla chips at the moment, as they are so much healthier, and if you get one of the big bags of wholemeal tortillas from Costco an absolute bargain.

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Ingredients 

500g of edamame (doesn’t need to be exact)

2-3 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of tahini (see my recipe here)

1 lemon (juiced)

1/2 a teaspoon of salt

1/2 a teaspoon of cumin

Olive oil and paprika for the top

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Chili Chips

3-4 wheat tortillas

2-4 chilies (depending on how hot they are)

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 a teaspoon of chipotle

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

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Directions 

1. First boil your edamame beans for 5-25 minutes. This is rather vague as the green ones usually take about 5 minutes, whereas the black ones take much longer to become softer. So just keep trying them until they are firm but soft in the middle. Reserve the cooking liquid as you will need it for the hummus.

2. Once the beans are done, pop the beans out of the shells and into a blender, add a little of the water at a time, until you reach a thick hummus consistency. Add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and salt to taste then blend again. Hummus tastes are very personal, so just adapt it to your liking. If it’s still too thick add a little more water. Sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with olive oil to serve.

3. To  make the chili chips, put all the ingredients except the tortillas into a blender or food processor and blend until you have a thick gloopy liquid and everything has been pulverized.

4. Preheat your oven up to full heat to around 210 degrees Celsius. Cut your tortillas into eighths then brush each one with the chili paste. Then place onto a large flat baking tray and cook in batches. It only takes a few minutes until they are golden brown and crunchy, so you really need to keep an eye on them  as a minute too long and they will be burnt to a crisp. Serve with your totes yummy edamame bean hummus. Yummy and healthy, what could be better? 

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