Author Archives for Emily Knight

About Emily Knight

Emily Knight is a writer and marketer based in Bristol. A Cambridge University Linguistics graduate, she runs Bristol Bites - an online guide to Bristol's food and drink scene - in addition to various freelance writing and marketing projects.
How to host the perfect curry night at home

How to host the perfect curry night at home

July 1, 2015 1:07 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Indian food is famously a favourite takeaway and restaurant cuisine over here in the UK. But with so many options out there and all of those Indian cookbooks available, why not try a curry night at home? Here are some tips for hosting a great curry night. Variety is the spice of life The best thing about throwing an Indian banquet is that you can present various options and guests can pick and choose their own dishes. This is as true for your curries as your side dishes. The first thing to remember is that not everyone likes spicy food – but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy curry. Everyone has a different tolerance for these things, so be sure to provide a range of options from mild to spicy, and super hot if you’re feeling brave! A sauce determines how hot a curry is. Vindaloo dishes lie at the hotter end of the scale, while a creamy chicken korma is usually a little gentler on the tastebuds. Chicken tikka masala and chicken bhuna are good middle options. Accounting for diets Bear in mind that those who you are cooking for may have different dietary requirements. Try including some vegetarian... View Article


Korean food: The rise of kimchi

Korean food: The rise of kimchi

June 18, 2015 12:30 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Korean food is becoming increasingly popular in the UK – particularly kimchi. What is it, and why has it become so stylish? Kimchi – Korea’s national food – is a traditional side dish made with fermented vegetables and seasonings. The main ingredients are normally any combination of cabbage, cucumber, radish, and spring onions. In its earliest modern form it was made with only cabbage and beef stock until red chilli was introduced to Korea in the 1500s, after which the spice became a staple addition. History of kimchi Historical references to kimchi date back as far as the third century, though the dish was very different to what we know now. It was several hundred years before vegetation such as mushrooms and Chinese cabbage were introduced to Korea, at which point the basis for kimchi became a great deal more diverse. You may like: Gyoza and other Japanese snacks are hitting UK retail – but why? Traditionally, once the kimchi is mixed, it’s left to its own devices in containers stored underground for months until it develops its signature sour, spicy flavour. Why? Well, Korea gets cold. Seriously cold. Early Koreans struggled with food preservation during the winter, and the salting... View Article


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Cafe Asia food industry news: May 2015

June 18, 2015 10:04 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Welcome to this month’s Cafe Asia newsletter. As May makes way for June, many minds will start to turn to barbecues, picnics and al fresco evening meals…if the weather holds out of course. While we wait to see what the skies have to offer, have a read of our monthly round-up of top headlines from the catering, manufacturing, cash and carry and food service sectors, giving you an insight into some of the major developments, news stories and movings and shakings… Cafe Asia brand hits Iceland Food Warehouse stores… After an initial meeting at international food trade show SIAL Paris in October 2014, we are excited to announced that Cafe Asia launched in Iceland’s six Food Warehouse stores on May 13th, with hopes of a national roll-out. First introduced in September 2014, The Food Warehouse from Iceland is a new concept: larger stores that feature new and exciting high quality product lines and bulk buy offers in addition to Iceland’s core ranges. The stores are now stocking ten core Cafe Asia lines in dedicated branded freezers – find out more here. Campylobacter contaminates three quarters of supermarket chickens… The results of a year-long study from the Food Standards Agency have... View Article


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Gyoza and other Japanese snacks are hitting UK retail – but why?

June 10, 2015 12:00 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you were asked to think of Japanese food, you would probably think of sushi or other seafood, or maybe ramen. This is also the typical Japanese cuisine that you might expect to find in the UK, where restaurant chains such as Yo! Sushi and Wagamama have grown increasingly popular in recent years. But now Japan’s snack foods are also on the rise, with growing interest in Japan’s calorific comfort food. Need an appetiser or a quick bite to eat? Try these Japanese favourites and find out why they’re doing so well in the UK market. Gyoza Gyoza are dumplings filled with ground meat, usually chicken or pork, and vegetables such as chives, green onions and cabbage, wrapped in a thin dough. As is usual for foods such as these, though, there are all kinds of variations. You may like: Around the world in 10 unusual snack foods There are a few different ways to prepare them, including boiling and deep frying, but the version you’re most likely to encounter both inside and outside of Japan is pan fried, known as yaki gyoza, which makes for a soft wrap with a crispy base. Typically they are served in batches of about... View Article


Chinese food: the regional differences

Chinese food: the regional differences

May 29, 2015 7:21 am Published by Leave your thoughts

While we often refer to “Chinese cuisine”, China is, in fact, a melting pot of different flavours, ingredients and dishes that are influenced by its cultures, geography and history. Here in the UK, our experience of “Chinese food” tends to be focused on Cantonese and Sichuan dishes: but from the sweet and salty offerings of Jiangsu to highly spiced dishes of Hunan, there is plenty more to discover. The food of China is broadly divided into eight key culinary styles, with each having its own recognisable ingredients, flavours, methods of cooking and signature dishes. Sichuan cuisine: bold and spicy… With plenty of garlic, chilli and ginger – and, of course, Sichuan pepper – Sichuan cuisine is characterised by its pungent and spicy flavours. The area produces plenty of mushrooms, vegetables and rice, which form the basis of many of the region’s dishes, while pork, beef and rabbit are more popular here than elsewhere in China. Typical dishes include Kung Pao Chicken and Sichuan Hotpot. Cantonese (Guangdong) cuisine: sweet and tender… Huge numbers of Guangdong emigrants are responsible for the popularity of Cantonese cuisine in the UK: a cuisine that is characterised by the use of sweet sauces such as hoisin,... View Article


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From Paris to Iceland: Cafe Asia frozen Asian snacks launch in Iceland warehouse stores

May 6, 2015 1:14 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

After initially meeting at international food trade show SIAL Paris in October 2014, Cafe Asia is launching in Iceland’s six Food Warehouse stores throughout the UK from May 13th, with hopes of a national roll-out. Trading for over 30 years, Cafe Asia is a family-run business producing authentic frozen Asian snack food products with a contemporary twist. Every product uses real herbs and spices and fresh ingredients, with no artificial additions. Ingredients are carefully sourced and quality is regularly benchmarked to ensure unique and delicious handmade, home-style snacks that meet Cafe Asia’s exacting standards. The deal forged with Iceland is testament to Cafe Asia sticking to its guns, producing only authentic recipes that are kitchen quality from a mass production factory. The brand has a strong focus on new product development and a commitment to an ever-expanding range of authentic Asian products that are accessible to a Western audience. In addition to ensuring high quality and authenticity, Cafe Asia products are also optimised for convenience: all can be prepared either via oven or microwave. The four wrap varieties – duck, lamb, onion bhaji and chicken tikka – can all be microwaved from frozen in just two minutes. The Food Warehouse... View Article


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Cafe Asia food industry news: April 2015

April 30, 2015 6:23 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Welcome to the Cafe Asia newsletter for April 2015: Easter is over, the weather is getting warmer and we’re now looking forward to the joys of summer. That’s not all you have to look forward to, though: we’re here again with our monthly round-up of top headlines from the catering, manufacturing, cash and carry and food service sectors, giving you an insight into some of the major developments, news stories and movings and shakings… Is charging for hygiene inspections on the cards…? EU member states, under the burden of public finance squeezes, are now looking to cut regulation costs even further – by making food and drink businesses pay for their own hygiene inspections. The final decision on whether to make this change is due at the end of 2015, with any new regulations unlikely to come into force until 2017 or later. It is estimated by Bob Salmon, founder of Food Solutions, that the cost could be around £500 per visit should these new rules come into place, which would place even greater financial pressure on small food businesses and startups. Exploring Generation Y’s relationship with food… A new study from Elior UK and Allegra Foodservice shows the interesting... View Article


The spice which might surprise you: star anise

The spice which might surprise you: star anise

April 30, 2015 8:48 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Although star anise might call poached pears and stir-fries to mind, the spice is also grown in Arunachal Pradesh – a mountainous state in the north east of India. Known locally as badian khatai, star anise is a key component in garam masala, and is commonly used in conjunction with other spices to create distinctive Indian dishes such as biryanis, kormas and chutneys. Procured from Illicium verum – an evergreen native to Vietnam and China – star anise comprises the seeds and dried outer wall of the tree’s fruit. The star-shaped fruits are harvested before ripening, most commonly between March and May. Although it’s not related to regular anise, both ingredients contain anethole – an organic compound responsible for their strong, sweet flavour. Green star anise: The spice is harvested before it ripens (Image credit: By fuzheado (Flickr: IMG_6719.JPG) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons) Nutritious and delicious Star anise has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since antiquity, and still has a reputation for its restorative qualities today. Traditionally, star anise was used to treat rheumatism, aid digestion and cure colic in babies. Those with a troubled love life may also wish to take note: the spice is allegedly a remedy... View Article


From Armenian wine to Brazilian pizza - how table manners differ across the world

From Armenian wine to Brazilian pizza – how table manners differ across the world

April 16, 2015 2:17 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Mealtime etiquette is a curious thing. Some of the customs accorded to serving and eating food across the world can seem bizarre to outsiders but represent the utmost civility and respect to their practitioners. In almost any culture, mealtimes are given their own set of traditions and formalities that define a certain reverence to eating not to be underestimated by visitors. To break those rules can be seen as ignorance, impoliteness or consummate offence. To observe them can be the difference between local acceptance or no further dinner invitations. Symbolically, mealtime customs represent the value attached to food. They are often far more than mere superstitions, signifying cultural heritages and the importance of sharing food over centuries of observation. Chopsticks, for example, age-old utensils of choice for many Asian countries, have picked up plenty of practices, rituals and omens over their generations of use: Chopsticks and empty plates In China, lighting incense sticks – a Buddhist symbol of the soul – at funerals is common. Mourners place the incense sticks upright and hence – at mealtimes – it is considered insensitive and unlucky to place one’s chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice in the same way. Likewise, Korea and... View Article


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Cafe Asia food industry news: March 2015

April 15, 2015 12:21 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Welcome to the Cafe Asia news round-up for March 2015: a time when most of our minds here in England are focused on the upcoming Easter weekend, and food of course. As such, we’re here again with our monthly round-up of top headlines from the catering, manufacturing, cash and carry and food service sectors, giving you an insight into some of the major developments, news stories and movings and shakings… Food fraud fines set to rise… For more unscrupulous food and drink businesses, food fraud is seen as an easy way to cut costs and make more money with relatively low penalties imposed on those who are found out. All of that is changing, though, with the EU handing out far tougher penalties to those who commit food fraud. Fines can now be in the millions of pounds, while fraudsters now also run the risk of jail time, as seen in the case of Michael Redhead, who was imprisoned for six months and fined £50,000 for claiming that one type of fish was another when selling to the Iceland supermarket chain. Nut contamination scandal – the new Horsegate? The Food Standards Agency is currently investigating a number of cases where... View Article