Team Melange...Colourful & Creative!

>> Thursday 26 July 2012

Team Melange, Nom Nom Nom 2012 Challenge

Photo by Monica Shaw

On 8th July 2012, on an early Sunday morning after a supper club the night before, travelling to Manchester and Liverpool between both team members, we took part in the Nom Nom Nom challenge at Little Portland street Cookery School.  I was the first person to arrive (eager beaver) once everyone started to turn up we were greeted and fed with delicious breakfast treats. My lovely team member Sumayya of Pukka Paki strolled in soon after, looking reasonably calm ( I was totally the opposite, I have you know I hide behind nervous smiles).. but reassuringly we were both confident once found our feet! And this is where the Pukka Paki and Yummy Choo collaboration began!

I started off with the organic porridge, with a rhubarb compote from Regents Park I was assured! It was what I needed to keep going for the long day ahead..

We were ushered to leave with our cookery school bags and fill with all sorts of ingredients needed from the food markets locally in Marylebone. We ducked and dived under umbrellas to avoid the rain (but gave up after a while) and scurried around the markets, getting a little carried away for our liking..

Picking up edible flowers, fresh herbs, organic vegetables and after buying pretty much most of the market we rushed over to gather the rest from the ever reliable Waitrose.  Which is where we bumped into the rest of our competitors supermarket sweeping with trolleys, gathering ingredients to promptly get back to the cookery school to start cooking! Half of our shopping was in a cab with other competitors who took back the heavier items, but finally we re-grouped into our kitchen spaces, unloading ingredients and getting ready to cook our masterpieces!

Sumayya & myself took out our clean (later to be stained) sheets of instructions, as helpful reminders during the day. Having to ask for every piece of equipment as and when we needed it took a bit of getting used to, but the Cookery School staff made the exchange of dirty dishes with clean as quick as possible. They produced pots, pans, plates ass efficiently and with ease, even when panic set in with Sumayya’s gulab jamun’s not being able to be made, the staff were very helpful in going out of their way.

Two and a half hours flew by very quickly and all the elements of our dish were coming together. Our three courses were a summery fusion of the flavours of Pakistan and Mauritian dishes themed and inspired by the motto of Pakistan,  ‘Faith, Unity, Discipline’ – a motto that can be applied to the spirit of the Olympics.
Our starters was a ‘ceviche’ style, with king prawns marinated in citrus, assorted chilli’s and a blend of Pakistani and Mauritian spices, regional fruit and vegetables, including pineapple, mango, coconut, pomegranate infused with flavours of the Indian sub-continent and enhanced with coloured salts presented with the Olympic rings as inspiration.

Photo by Monica Shaw

This included a fish ceviche with lime juice, coriander, mooli, orange juice , red chilli, cumin.  Prawns with lime juice, rose syrup, mint, radishes, green chilli and finally a fruit ceviche with mango, pomegranate, lemon juice, guava and chaat masala.

Photo by Mecca Ibrahim

Our main dish was a selection of Pakistani and Mauritian street food inspired curries and snacks, served Thahli-style – including a Mauritian chicken daube (in rich spicy tomato sauce), gateaux bringele (aubergine cakes, in gram flour batter) with a coriander chilli satini. A Pakistani style green masala mint, coconut, coriander fish wrapped in banana leaves, okra chips with chaat masala, saffron,cinnamon, cashew nut rice.  I used the Magimix mixer to make my coriander satini, with blended coriander, garlic, chilli and tomatoes, pulsed to a paste. I also used it to make the mango puree for the cheesecakes!

The main dish was decorated with the world flags and presented in a fun, colourful style that represents our countries!

Photo by Monica Shaw

Dessert was a trio inspired selection of 3 regional sweets, presentation based on the ultimate of the Olympics, the 3 medals, one bronze, gold and silver adorned with shimmer dusts. A last-minute semolina halwa, pudine mais (Mauritian corn pudding, with sultanas and coconut) and a ginger crusted,mango and lime cheesecake.

The brief was to create a 3 course olympic themed menu which I feel we accomplished quite well, each dish was creatively presented, colourful (it did stand out) and represented a dip into our native backgrounds and truly representing the collaboration of countries, uniting as one.

We plated our dishes us successfully within the allocated time, mopped each other’s brows after the 2 hours and well were pretty much dying for a well deserved glass of vino. So the fun began once everyone’s dishes had been brought up to be marked by the judges and we could all descend downstairs dig into over 30 dishes of leftovers that everyone had made and sit down finally!

A food quiz and raffle commenced after we had all chowed down and had a drink, which was fun, we almost forgot why we were there in the first place. I also won the most crappy dvd ‘Love’s Kitchen’, trust me to get that question right!

The judges appeared after a while and the winners were announced or in this case Victoria Glass was flying solo but with the generous help of Rosanna Mcphee she brought home the trophy of first prize and it couldn’t have gone to a nicer lass with a damn fine-looking menu . With the quirky twosome of Sinply Sensational winning a well deserved 2nd prize   ( their goreng pisang was the nuts!)

Home-bound after a weary day with full bellies and wine breath, we left Cookery School with several tonnes of goodies in hand and a group photo at the end. As well as walking away with Unearthed chorizo and mojito olives, Shipton Mill flour, Salter weighing scale in shocking pink, Black Garlic, Burt’s Crisps and The Big Book of Bread, plus a wok!

Even though we didn’t win that day, we were winners in our mind from what we accomplished! Online voting starts soon, so please vote for TEAM MELANGE for the Viewer’s choice.

The online raffle is already up and if you’re more than welcome to enter –  the top prize is £630 worth of Wusthof knives, but there are loads of other great prizes that you might be interested in !  Please take part and raise money for Action Against Hunger!

Selina & Sumayya



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Now in its fifth year, Nom Nom Nom is a MasterChef style competition giving the internet's finest bloggers, food photographers and food writers the chance to compete against each other in a professional kitchen. To find out more click here

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