About me

After being diagnosed with a long list of food intolerances seven years ago, I was forced into getting more creative in the kitchen.

For me, the best recipes are those which are easy to prepare and deliver heaps of flavour, perfect for sharing with friends and family without having to single anyone out because of a specialised diet.

My love for cooking and adapting recipes for my own dietary requirements has given me the incentive to share tips with others who also live with restricted diets.

I hope you find a bit of cooking inspiration from my blog. Please feel free to comment and post any questions...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

"Is it an aphrodisiac? I'm not sure but it's very pretty!"

For the lovely people who have read my blog in the past or who have made the kind decision to become a follower, you may have realised that it has been some time since my last post.

Apologies, as my lecturer rightly said this week, a vacant blogger is probably much worse than a prospective journalist who does not blog at all! Therefore, I hereby put it in writing that I will be changing my ways and will be committing to the culture of blogging on a much more regular basis.

Last night, when I should have been locked away in a tower, working on various assignments, I allowed myself to be distracted from the books and instead enjoy delicious and authentic chinese food at "Nudo" in the Newcastle city centre. After all, a girl's gotta eat. Does a girl have to also HAVE  to continue to revel in a bit of procrastination by seeing the new Woody Harrelson film "Rampart". This one does and did and loved it!

Last year when a friend introduced me to the little treasure trove that is Nudo, hidden on Low Friar Street, conveniently two minutes away from Empire cinema, I was intrigued by the vast menu choice and student friendly prices.

The Aubergine in a sweet, sticky soy sauce with stir fried vegetables and rice quickly became my safe go to option, with the occasional dive into a vibrant sushi selection or a pan fried, spicy tofu dish. The options for a pescetarian living with various food intolerances were refreshingly abundant and I was impressed by the knowledge of the waiting staff.

The haphazard decision to eat there last night, came with yet more welcome surprise. Nudo have recently changed their menu, expanding their choices and adding much appreciated diversity for picky eaters like myself.

It is rare that I can go into a restaurant and feel overwhelmed by the choices available to me, without having to grill the waiting staff as to what ingredients are in which dishes and could they possible adapt it to be gluten or dairy free.

After about half an hour and several failed attempts to take our order ( very rarely am I indecisive over food) I settled for the mussels in spicy tom yum soup with ramen noodles (Gluten free!) with a side of spicy edamame beans. My friend went for the  kung pao chicken with rice and to start, fish roe sushi.

Having been warned that the larger coral, jewel like beads of fish roe had a similar consistency and taste to that when you bite into a cod liver oil tablet, we quickly opted for the smaller, sweeter roe sushi and were not disappointed.

When the tiny glittering gems arrived on an oval of rice, tightly wrapped in seaweed, they looked far too pretty to eat, but far too appealing not to. I took the first brave taste, with chopsticks of course, which I insisted on using for the whole meal, despite having ordered soup. If you commit to experiencing other cultures, you do as they do.

The tiny, pink, gleaming beads had an interesting texture which quickly pop and dissolve in your mouth, leaving a delicate and refreshing flavour of, well...sushi. I'm afraid there's no better way to describe it. Slightly sweet and with a slight fishy flavour, but certainly not strong enough to be avoided if you're generally not a fish eater.

The Chicken kung pao arrived first and smelt delicious! Even to a non meat eater. A mixture of stir fried vegetables and chicken with toasted peanuts in an aromatic, medium spiced sauce on a bed of pilau rice. I quickly began my meerkat impersonation...where was my tom yum??

The only issue I have in chinese restaurants like this one is that they are intent on bringing you your meal when it is ready. This may sound like the obvious norm, but in practice, serving two people their main courses ten minutes apart and then delivering a side dish twenty minutes later may not be for the best. The curse of working in a restaurant is that you sub-consciously over scrutinise service wherever you go to eat. Then again, I would have thought that edamame beans would only take two minutes top in the wok.

As the waitress approached our table, lugging a vast terracotta bowl with a wooden ladel teetering on the top, I expected her to veer off to the neighbouring table of five diners. But no, this was my much anticipated spicy muscle and noodle soup.

With eyes much bigger than my belly, I happily delved into the family size portion, hunting down the fat, juicy mussels and quickly filling up on the delicious, but fiery, intensely flavoured soup. The ramen noodles were very similar to an Italian linguine in texture and slipped down a treat, but I was intent on saving room for my edamame.

After a little, 'polite' badgery, the side dish was delivered to the table and at just the right moment. I had confidently ordered the spicy soup, despite questioning looks from the waitress and my friend. I may not look it, but for me when it comes to spice, the hotter the better.

But after several bowls of the maroon broth and a few too many chilli flakes, I welcomed the edamame to my  dish. Although they were also labelled spicy, the marinade they had been fried in had more of a charred, smoky flavour, similar to my favourite spice, smoked paprika. I quickly devoured the bowl before my friend could pronounce the dessert menu and washed it down with a cheeky aloe vera juice.

Overall, the entire meal was delicious and with a bill that came in under £30 I was more than happy with my decision to push back the studies just a teeny bit more and enjoy the new and improved Nudo menu. Researching audio equipment at midnight however, was the downside to my diligence.

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