Well, it’s not every day (or indeed every year) that one turns thirty. This past week has been absolutely packed with activity and I apologise in advance for lumping all these events together into one post!

One picnic in Richmond at Saturday lunchtime and a night at Courvoisier‘s Complete History of Food with Bompas and Parr (a quirky and fun enough experience with Bompas and Parr jellies and dining in an iguanadon but definitely not enough food). All my photos from that night can be found in this Flickr photoset. Rather than describe everything in detail, I’ll direct you to Kang’s post on the event as his views reflect mine closely.

Fig with Beetroot, Port and Vanilla Sauce

Duck Confit

Rotating Giant Cake

A Sunday morning bicycle ride around the Ealing Sky Ride route followed by a surprisingly delicious Polish/English-style roast lunch at the newly opened Frank’s Cafe in Acton (also home to the gigantic omelette).

Roast Beef with all the Trimmings

That night, seeing the fantastic Placido Domingo in a brilliant semi-staged Simon Boccanegra at the Proms and afterwards, a great late dinner at Racine with Rahul. The dinner ended on a high with another great cherry clafoutis and Rahul’s vanilla ice cream with Valrhona chocolate sauce.

Deep Fried Aubergine and Courgette Flowers

Vanilla Ice Cream with Valrhona Chocolate Sauce

Then on the big day itself, a dinner at HK Diner with our favourite crispy noodles. The Chinese believe that you’ve got to eat noodles on your birthday as their length represents longevity. I reckon the effects were probably negated by the fact that they were crispy noodles but hey, it’s one of the few superstitions to which I still subscribe! There was also a plateful of seemingly greaseless salt and chilli fried squid.

Mixed Meat Crispy Noodles

Salt and Chilli Fried Squid

There was also a great lunch yesterday but that’s for the next post. Oof, July is turning out to be extremely busy!

Three years! Can you believe I’ve been at this for three years?! The last year especially has been great – I feel like I’ve met more readers in person than ever before and I think Twitter has helped a lot with that. What else has happened? Well, we got married! We went to Wales! We went to Brussels! We went to Rome! It was a big past year and this year is looking set to match it.

This blogging milestone really snuck up on me and it was last week when I realised it was already mid-May and what in the world was I going to do to celebrate this? Well, how about holding a giveaway; yes, I’m giving away stuff – foodstuffs that I really enjoy and hope that you will too. No company sponsored this – it’s all out of my own pocket.

Here’s what’s definitely in the food giveaway package:

A tin of limited edition garlic Spam, as seen in this post. It’s Monty Python themed!

Spam with Stinky French Garlic

A jar of Tean’s Gourmet crispy prawn chili, as featured here in this post.

Tean's Crispy Prawn Chilli

In addition, I’m going to personalise the box of goodies for the winner with a few selected extras, depending on where you’re located: what I mean is, if you’re in London, I doubt you want a jar of Marmite, for example. I’ve already got ideas of what to send if you’re in the UK or Europe, or you’re from the rest of the world, and I’ll be in contact with the winner to discuss this.

To be in with a chance to win it all, just leave a comment! It can be absolutely anything; heck, just drop by and say hi – I know there are a few of you out there and it would be great to “meet” you all! I’ll draw one of the comments randomly and that commenter will have all of this posted to them. The draw will take place on Monday, 31 May at 22:00 (BST) and I’ll announce the result soon after. I’ll leave the comments open so you can still say hi but of course, you won’t be eligible for the draw (sad face).

Thanks again to all the Tamarind and Thyme readers out there and I hope to “meet” more of you this upcoming year!

Cake Closeup

OK, so I didn’t bake this cake for the occasion but instead took this back in February when I baked this chocolate cake for a friend’s birthday. But this is also a birthday – my blog’s birthday! I can’t believe it’s been two years already. I thought this might be a good occasion to feature a few posts from the past that have proved very popular as well as a few of those for which I have a soft spot.

Top Posts

  1. Budae Jjigae = Army Stew – This Korean stew with Spam and hot dogs and ramen has proved to be the most popular post on the blog!
  2. Pork with Basil and Chili – This recipe is straight from a cooking school I attended in Chiang Mai. This is a perfect one dish meal when served on rice.
  3. Byron’s Burgers – I visited the first Byron’s burger restaurant in Kensington soon after it opened.
  4. Loco Moco – again, a slightly trashy combo of white rice, hamburger, fried egg and gravy has set everyone’s tastebuds tingling!
  5. Banana Leaf Rice at Samy’s Curry, Singapore – One of my favourite things to eat in Malaysia and Singapore is banana leaf rice and I even went on a search for a dal recipe that matched what I ate there.
  6. New Orleans Style Barbecued Prawns – A recipe for grilled prawns (in the oven) that’s great for a starter.
  7. A Tribute to my Mother – This post, written about six months after my mother passed away, received many responses. I featured a recipe for lemon squares that I used to bake with my mother when I was a teenager.
  8. If I Had to Choose One Fruit… – That would be the mangosteen! I adore its luscious sweet-tangy flesh.
  9. Kimbap-ba-doo-wap! – This post features one of my most popular photos on Flickr. Who can resist a maki sushi-like roll filled with lots of goodies?
  10. Tomato and Egg, Chinese Style – This classic Chinese dish requires only a few ingredients and is very budget friendly!

I Like These!

This isn’t an exhaustive list – it’s hard to choose favourites amongst one’s blog posts!

  1. Red-Cooked Belly Pork – Here’s a classic Hunan pork belly preparation and it’s the first recipe I ever posted on the blog!
  2. Bánh Mi for Me – Shame I can’t get the right kind of light baguette for these Vietnamese sandwiches. Still, the flavours are all there!
  3. An Indian Fakeaway – I ran with the idea of a “fakeaway” when I first heard the word coined on a BBC article written when the recession was starting to affect many people’s lives and their everyday eating.
  4. Llet Merengada -I’ve never seen this milky concoction outside Spain… I could use some of it in this heat!
  5. Sprattus Sprattus – I have good memories of that time I fried up so many tasty little sprats, thus stinking up our flat for a good three days!

I’ll be updating my About page soon too so keep watch over that! A big thank you to everyone who’s dropped by! I love reading your comments and emails and do drop a line to say hi if you haven’t before! And once again, I hope to meet (or “meet” online) more of you in the future!