Plymouth Flavour Fest and Thai Fennel Salad

I had my most successful day on the blog yesterday. I appreciate every one of you who spends time reading my posts.  I know many of us are sharing in the loss of a good friend, and we remember him in our shared memories.

So many of us were commenting on how he was the only one who could get away with saying “you’ve got a body for sin, girlfriend“.  I have to confess that, being a ‘good Christian girl’ it didn’t sit terribly well with me, but I will miss it TERRIBLY now I know I won’t hear it again.

The recent Passenger song ‘Let her Go’ reminds me to appreciate what you’ve got before it’s gone:

“But you only need the light when its burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go
Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go”

I don’t want my blog to turn into a maudlin Memorial page, so without further ado, to Plymouth…

While on holiday last week we spent a day at Flavour Fest in Plymouth.  Advertised as the largest free food festival in the South West, it was celebrating its 10th Anniversary.

I’d secretly wanted to go for years – I was at Plymouth University between 2004-2008 – but it always falls around my Mum’s birthday, when we are usually away.  Ben suggested that we go this year and that was enough to make sure we went.

It was indeed a big food fair.  We got there in time to see Michael Caines from Abode Exeter and Gidleigh Park.  He is an amazing chef, and comes across as a really nice guy!  Recipe below…

Michael Caines, Plymough Flavour Fest

Michael Caines

Ben enjoyed a duck burger from Pepper’s Poultry and a massive peanut butter cookie to follow;  Mum had a pasty from Chunk of Devon.   Sorry I didn’t get photos.  I had a nice chat with the man from Chunk, discussing how they keep winning awards for their pasties 🙂

There was lots of lovely fresh veg on salePlymouth Flavour Fest, food festival:

I came away with lots of inspiration, and promptly made a luxurious grasshopper slice when we got home from holiday. I’ll share the recipe with you soon.

In the evening we celebrated Mum’s birthday at Sizzall, where we treated ourselves to the Korean Barbeque, where we were able to cook our own meat and veg in the middle of the table.

It took us a while to really get the knack of it.  We saw ‘regulars’ piling plates high with raw meat and veg and really enjoying the communal experience of cooking and eating together.  I enjoyed wrapping mine up in the little gem lettuce leaves, while Ben tried to grill his – Thug Kitchen Style!

Ben grilling lettuce, going Thug Kitchen



Haha! Spot the (not deliberate) mistake.

Anyway, here is a recipe from Michael Caines on the grand stage:

Thai purée, fennel, dill and lime salad with tomato ketchup sauce

For the Thai purée

  • 60g/2¼oz butter
  • 7g/¼oz lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 4g garlic, crushed
  • 4g ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2g madras curry powder
  • 7g/¼oz saffron
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 white onion finely chopped
  • 150ml/5fl oz fish stock

For the lime oil

  • 30g/1oz lime peel, chopped
  • 150g/5½oz olive oil

For the basil oil

  • 30g/1oz basil leaves
  • 300ml/10½fl oz extra virgin olive oil

For the ketchup sauce

  •  60g/2¼oz unsalted butter
  •  3g fennel seeds, toasted then chopped
  •  3g finely chopped shallot
  •  50g/1¾oz tomato ketchup

For the lime vinaigrette

  • 150ml/5fl oz lime oil
  • 50ml/2fl oz lime juice
  • pinch salt
  • pinch ground white pepper
  • 1 sprig fresh lemon thyme

For the fennel salad

  •   2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  •   iced water
  •   1 tsp chopped dill
  •   salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. For the Thai purée, heat the butter in a pan and gently fry the lemongrass, garlic and ginger without colouring them. Add the curry powder, saffron and lime and cook for a minute. Now add the onion and fry for a further five minutes. Add 50ml/2fl oz water and the fish stock and cook slowly for two hours.
  2. Strain through a colander. Then blend the vegetables for 5-10 minutes until smooth.
  3. Pass the purée through a fine sieve and hang in a muslin cloth suspended over a pan and leave overnight. Keep the cooking juices that drip into the pan. You can use these to thin the purée when it is reheated if necessary.
  4. To make the lime oil, heat the oil with the chopped citrus peel to 80C/176F, then blend in a blender for five minutes. Pass through a damp piece of muslin cloth and leave to cool. Set aside in a plastic container or plastic bottle.
  5. To make the basil oil, heat the basil leaves and the olive oil in a saucepan. Heat to 80C/176F and then pour into a blender. Blend for three minutes. Pass through a sieve lined with muslin cloth and leave to drain. Reserve the oil.
  6. For the ketchup sauce, in a small saucepan melt the butter and heat until nutty brown in colour (beurre noisette).
  7. Pass the browned butter through a sieve into a clean pan and add the chopped fennel seeds, shallot and tomato ketchup. Cook gently for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time, until thick and then set aside in a warm place. The sauce will look split (the oil will separate out) which is fine.
  8. To make the lime vinaigrette, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  9. For the fennel salad slice the fennel thinly using a mandoline and place into iced water for an hour.
  10. Strain the fennel and put it in a bowl, add the chopped dill and mix well.
  11. Now season the lime vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  12. To serve, place some Thai purée onto the serving plates and then swipe it down the middle of the plate. Spoon on the tomato sauce, taking both the sauce and oil. Place the fennel salad on top.
  13. Garnish the plate with the micro basil leaves and drizzle some basil oil around the edge. Finish with a sprinkling of toasted fennel seeds.

Do you like going to Food Festivals?  What is your favourite part of the day?


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One thought on “Plymouth Flavour Fest and Thai Fennel Salad

  1. […] access to all the new and exciting ingredients that come to the bigger cities.  I love the local Food and Drink Festivals because it is a showcase of local food and drink companies, and it’s amazing what is produced […]

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