Friday, March 25, 2016

(Very) Good Friday

Fridays are always good.
But this Friday has been exceptional; a really enjoyable day in the deli.
And what exactly has made it so good? Well I think I've worked it out.

Its all the usual things that make this a great place to work, plus ...
  • It's sunny and everyone seems in holiday spirit. Even those not on holiday are appreciating the first glimpses of spring. There's a real sense of "we've survived winter" excitement. People wearing parkers and woolen gloves, but eating ice cream! 
  • No one has called to save me money on my gas / electricity / broadband / telephone / business rates .... Not one, all day!
  • Lots of visitors are out and about on the high street. Don't get me wrong, I love our regular customers, they're the best, but they don't get anywhere near as excited as first time visitors, ohhing and ahhing over our wares. I love that sort of feedback! On more than one occasion today someone has bought something because a complete stranger had also bought (and enthused about) it. 
  • We've sold more stock than usual. The perfect combination of holiday mood, imminent end of the restrained period of lent, and influx of visitors who have to buy everything they want now because they can't pop in again next week, has greatly increased the average basket size. 
We should have more four-day weekends! And if not, I'd accept more sunny days.  Shame about the forecast for tomorrow.
Happy Easter everyone.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Vietnamese Curry

This week I've been experimenting with another of our new curry pastes. This time its Vietnamese.

I made a Chicken & Potato Curry using Red Chili Kitchen Vietnamese Curry Paste and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thao's recipe:

(Serves 4)
1kg chicken thighs
4 tbsp Red Chilli Kitchen Curry Paste
3 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes).
3 large carrots (peeled and cut into 4cm pieces).
2 shallots (cut in to small wedges).
200ml coconut milk.
500ml of water.
4 tbsp oil.

1. Put chicken thighs and curry paste in a bowl. Ensure paste is rubbed well in to the chicken. Cover the bowl and marinate for 2 hours in fridge. For best results marinate overnight. Take chicken out of the fridge ½ hour before cooking.
2. Heat 4 tbsp oil in a large wok. Add the potatoes and fry until golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer potatoes on to a sheet of kitchen paper. Remove some excess oil from the wok.
3. Remove excess curry paste from the chicken and keep aside to add later. Add chicken into the wok and brown both sides at a medium heat until lightly golden brown.
4. Add the shallots and carrots into the wok and fry for a few minutes.
5. Add remaining curry paste, coconut milk and water into the wok and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the wok and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
6. Add the potatoes and let it simmer for another 10 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are tender. Season with salt.

I served it with rice and a sort of Vietnamese inspired coleslaw which I made by shredding half a cabbage, 3 carrots, 1 red pepper, half a pack of mange tout and half a cucumber, then pouring on Red Chili Kitchen Miracle Dressing and sprinkling on some toasted sesame seeds.