The ASDA team invited a group of journalists and foodies down to Tobacco Docks to talk us through their quality range of produce. We would get to samples dishes created by their various chefs and experts including their innovation chefs Mark Richmond and Margaret McSorley-Walker.
Since University I have had affection for ASDA. As a cash strapped student in Southampton I fondly remember scooting up and down the aisles of the massive store and feeling rather chuffed with my discoveries. I was able purchase items that would normally be catagorized as a 'treat' or 'naughty' items while keeping firmly within my tight student budget. I ate like a queen - not a very healthy or calorie conscious one - but I was very happy come meal and snack time. So while I have always been aware of how cost effective shopping at ASDA is, I have not always been aware of just how good they are at delivering high quality products, particularly when catering for the Christmas period.
Friends of mine have reccommended particular ASDA products before, after the revelation that they not only rivalled but beat the likes of Marks and Spencer on the taste front. I have also seen various blind taste tests on day time TV which prove the likes of ASDA and ALDI are creating truly delicious yet affordable food.
During the evening Mark Richmond created the Spiced Persian Turkey from their Taste of Christmas recipe leaflet. I am not generally into dishes that fall under the healthy bracket, so I was pretty shocked to find it utterly delicious. So delicious in fact, I had two further bowl fulls. The zing from the pomegranate, the sweet refreshment from the carrot ribbons, the fragrance courtesy of the coriander and korma paste, and the combination of the cold spiced mayo/yoghurt sauce, flaked almonds and soft sweet dates.....Wow, is all I can say. It should be noted that one of the food journalists in attendance was pretty impressed that ASDA stocked the ingredient Sumac too.
After making yummy noises in unison while devouring the Mini Christmas Eccles Cakes, we were invited to try some of the other foods displayed around the bar. I instantly gravitated towards the impressive Ham which was about to be carved. While I waited I was quite content sampling the Christmas Fruit Cheese. While I was feasting I chatted to Master of Wine Philippa Carr about my recent trip to Rome and my new fondness for the aforementioned food. While I was in Rome my boyfriend discovered a red wine that he fell in love with. Every time he cooks he reminisces about the first sip, as if it was a first kiss with the love of his life, and looks disappointingly at the glass in his hand filled with a less fruity and smooth wine. Unfortunately the wine he lusts for is £18, and way out of his price range. This was my opportunity to find a solution to keep my man happy....or at least, less grumpy. I described the taste of the Chianti we found in Rome, and she instantly offered up a cheaper alternative that I could purchase for £7.50 from ASDA. This has got me so considerable brownie points....
So after dragging myself away from the cheese display I sat down to watch one of the demonstations.
Chef Crys Todiwala ( of Assado) was going to create a spicy pork dish using solely products from ASDA. He was so full of amazing facts I ended up retaining absolutely nothing about the recipe, but I can tell you a lot you never knew about rice! Did you know there are 100,000 types of rice?Later on Blur bassist turned foodie and producer Alex James would talk all things Cheese.