This week I was invited to a cookery challenge hosted by the lovely Lisa Faulkner on behalf of Heinz new Chilli Sauces. To help launch their new range, a roomful of 15 bloggers / foodies were challenged to create and cook a dish which would then be judged by Lisa. Lisa won Celebrity Masterchef in 2010, has written two cookery books - oh and lives with John Torode - so she knows a thing or two.
The rules were that we had to incorporate one of the new sauces from the range:
- Peri Peri
- Fiery Sriracha
- Hot Pepper
- Sweet Chilli
- Jerk BBQ
These were sent to us the week beforehand to get the creative juices flowing, then we had to each submit a recipe and a shopping list of ingredients up to £35. We would have 45 minutes to cook on the day at renowned cookery school L'Atelier des Chefs behind Oxford Street.
Arriving at the venue our ingredients were ready and waiting, but there was mingling to be done first and me and Ruth from RockNRollerBaby were getting on so well neither of us noticed the fact we'd drunk 4 glasses of prosecco in the process. A good start...
And we're off!
I headed to my bench hoping I could remember my dish, which was Hot Pepper Lamb with Cauliflower Rice & Peas and a Lime Slaw.
I got started with marinating my lamb in the Heinz Hot Pepper Sauce (and garlic, mango and thyme - recipe at the end), then returned to the important business of gossiping and drinking fizz.
Turns out my benchmate was off of Gogglebox! Here he is:
Around the room there was a huge range of different dishes going on - an amazing Sriracha Shrimp Burger had me a bit worried, but not so much as watching an entire platter of crabs being prepared in a spicy Malaysian sauce. Lisa was walking around throughout chatting to us about the food and being generally charming. At one point I saw her sneakily taste my marinade and I'm pretty sure it blew her head off, so I was a tad concerned - especially as I'd left it way too late to claim myself a space at the hob and ended up with a weedy little burner when I'd been relying on having high heat to tone down some of the chilli and get some colour onto the lamb.
Each of us had to present our dish to Lisa and have her critique it, which was pretty nervewracking. She was very kind and said my lamb was perfectly cooked, so I nearly kissed her.
It was up against all of these... we all got to try them which was great. I'm definitely going to be needing Ruth's recipe for her crispy chicken dish, and the vegan buffalo wings (which were cauli) were a revelation too with a great peanut sauce.
Finally, it was time to announce the winners - first place was unsurprisingly awarded to the very talented May from EatCookExplore for her phenomenal Malaysian Chilli Crab. See it here in a much better pic than this rubbish blurry one:
To my amazement, I won second place! THRILLED! I genuinely skipped home - tricky when weighed down with my prize of big heavy wok, chilli grinder and a generous voucher for Atelier des Chefs.
If you'd like to make my dish yourself, here's the recipe:
Hot Pepper Lamb, Cauliflower Rice & Peas, Lime Slaw
Approx 200g lamb loin fillet
Handful fresh thyme
100ml ish tinned mango pulp
2 cloves garlic
Handful cauliflower florets
1/2 tin black beans or kidney beans
Plenty of All Spice
2 spring onions
Tbsp coconut oil
Small pot creme fraiche
Lots of fresh coriander
Handful red cabbage
Heinz Hot Pepper sauce
Marinate the lamb in hot pepper sauce, mango pulp, garlic and 1/2 the thyme.
Make slaw by chopping cabbage and mixing with creme fraiche, one chopped spring onion, coriander and the juice of one of the limes.
Make cauliflower rice in either a mini chopper or by grating and saute in saucepan with the beans, coconut oil, all spice, garlic, remainder of the thyme, the other spring onion and lots of salt and black pepper.
Heat a pan over a high heat and griddle the lamb for 4-5 minutes and rest for the same amount of time. Slice and serve all together with extra hot pepper sauce for dipping.