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A TASTE OF BORNEO FOR ALL THE FAMILY LAUNCHES AT ST FAGANS FOOD FESTIVAL
The boom in home cooking caused by the COVID-19 lockdown inspired an entrepreneur to launch a range of sauces which she hopes will get the whole family cooking together.
Abergavenny-based Sorai is launching its new range of cooking sauces, Aroma, at the first virtual St Fagans Food Festival on September 12 (Saturday).
Founder Maria Stella (pictured above) drew on her life growing up in Borneo to create the sauces. She said: “One of the big things about living as we did in Borneo is cooking and eating together. It’s such an event, a time when families get together and can share cooking skills and stories and laugh together. I noticed during lockdown that families were coming back together to cook here too, so I wanted to give them sauces which will keep that trend going after the pandemic ends.”
“Cooking from scratch is also healthier for us as we know exactly what’s going into a dish. I had been thinking about making cooking sauces for a while and decided this was the time to do it. These sauces are designed to be an integral part of a dish from the start, rather than being something added to it at the end.”
“The new sauces aren’t as intensely spiced as our other sauces because we want people to add items such as chilli, salt, or pepper to make their dishes to their family’s taste.”
The plant-based cooking pastes can be used in a marinades, stews, casseroles, soups, and stir frying. They join nine other sauces sold under the Sorai banner.
The new cooking sauces are: – Rendangerous – Addictively enticing with warming aromatic spices. – Tribal – Wholesome herbs, no-nonsense humble warm tribal flavours. – LaksaRomin – Rich, aromatic, and infused with 25 ingredients to ignite your taste buds.
Maria said: “I had worked in the public and voluntary sector in England for decades, but when I moved to Wales, I was looking for something different to do so I could continue to spend quality time with my children. So, I created my business with products derived from many years of recipe development having served them to family and friends and at community and corporate events.”
During lockdown, local chef Nigel Smith reached out to us & got us involved with a spectacular cookalong which he put on via social media. As a private hire chef, & the world at a standstill, Nigel took it upon himself to provide the cookalong experience during lockdown, to help all of us stuck at home find something useful & exciting to do. What Nigel offered was a real insight & an introduction to the world of cooking from scratch, which was a lot easier than first anticipated.
Each week, there was a different menu that was released a few days before the cookalong itself along with a list of ingredients which would be required – you could either source these ingredients yourself, or for a small cost, Nigel would put together a bag of the ingredients for you, all weighed & ready to go. We were lucky enough to receive a bag of ingredients, so all we had to do was take part & cook – pretty straightforward!
On the menu of which we joined in with, there was a theme of ‘Movie Night’ & on the menu itself there was; – Tandoori chicken pizza to be served with mint raita – Spicy potato wedges – Chicken bites – Toffee popcorn
Each dish was prepared separately, & Nigel carefully explained each step. Naturally, a few of us cooking along fell off the wagon a bit but this wasn’t a problem as Nigel was there to ask questions to via Instagram live!
The whole thing was absolutely chaotic, especially if you’ve never sort of prepared anything from scratch before. You’d be dashing around trying to find utensils or new plates all the time! But it really was fun & a great way of learning as a beginner. It was also a really good way of introducing yourself to dishes you perhaps wouldn’t usually opt for.
Hopefully in the future we never experience another lockdown quite like we did over the summer, but should you ever choose to participate in a cookalong, be prepared for a very messy kitchen – perhaps rope someone in to tidy as you’re going along or you will end up with a hell of a lot of washing up to do!
We really did enjoy taking part, & we were really quite surprised at just how easy it is to make things from scratch – it certainly inspired us to cook more, as we then started making things weekly. Of all of the things made, we enjoyed the pizza the most – it had a slight twist as the base was more of a naan base, & it was gorgeous! The wedges were also so simple to do, & beat a bag of frozen ones any day, we now always make these ourselves. The chicken for us didn’t quite go to plan, as we mixed some ingredients up along the way but hey! First time for everything. The popcorn & toffee sauce were stupidly simple to make, & also so satisfying, & of course, so tasty.
A huge thank you to Nigel for getting in touch with us & introducing himself, & what he does with us!