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Newsletter: 🍜 In celebration of 40 years of Chinese cooking with the great Ken Hom 🥢

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Ken Hom’s 40 fabulous years

In 1984 a young Chinese-American appeared in his first BBC television programme, a new series on Chinese cookery which, in his own words, “opened up a whole new world to the British Public.” That young man was, of course, the great Ken Hom. He thrilled viewers by cooking exciting dishes in real time and introduced British viewers to the wok – in fact his second ever programme focused on how to choose and use your wok.

The book that accompanied the series broke all sales records in non-fiction publishing and from there he continued on his journey, sharing his love of cooking and going on to become a true national treasure.
On May 3 he celebrates his 75th birthday, and all this year will be a celebration of his 40 years on the BBC, and as a pre-eminent ambassador for Chinese and Asian cuisines. This coming Saturday, April 27, Ken will be on UK screens taking part in the BBC 1’s Saturday Kitchen, which is hosting a special program devoted to Ken Hom celebrating his life in cooking.
Many of Ken's published cookbooks are included in the ckbk app & website, which now includes more than 1,000 of Ken's recipes. Books such as Easy Family Dishes and The Taste of China form part of our Top 1000 cookbooks list, selected by the great and the good of the culinary world.

Win a Ken Hom Wok

To mark 40 years since Ken introduced us to the joys of wok cookery, we are giving away a best-selling Ken Hom Wok. More than 8 million of these woks have been sold worldwide, and we could think of no more appropriate gift to help you explore his wonderful books.

Visit our Instagram page to find out how to enter.

ckbk users in the UK can get 15% off any Ken Hom Wok by entering code KENHOMCKBK15 at checkout.
Wok in hand, why not whip up a celebratory Delectable Broccoli Chicken, or a dish of Rich Aubergine with Tomato and Basil.
Search all Ken Hom's most popular recipes on ckbk
Pictured above: Stir-fried Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms from Ken Hom Cooks Thai

Explore Spring's finest vegetables

Spring brings a wealth of new seasonal food from the garden. Fresh salads and new vegetables, the vibrant and tender produce we had to make do without during winter, are once again on the table. Turn to veg-focused recipes to make the most of these new arrivals, and remind yourself of the bright textures and flavors unique to the season.

Explore our Vegetables Bookshelf for inspiration.
Try Marinated Maple & Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower with Yoghurt Sauce on a bed of multi-colored leaves, or any of Bettina Campolucci Bordi’s plant-based recipes.

Get fresh with a Kohlrabi & Radish Salad from Meat Free Mowgli. Or brighten your day with a Spring Rice Bowl with Chive Oil from Whole Bowls.

Culinary travels with a dynamic duo

Jeffrey Alford, who died earlier this year, was an American-born Canadian food writer and culinary explorer. He collaborated with his wife Naomi Duguid, a fellow food writer, on a number of extensively researched books on Asian food and travel which won multiple awards. Two of these titles are now available to ckbk members.
Mango & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent takes us on a taste-packed journey into India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Recipes with their introductory texts explore the everyday foods from across these diverse cuisines. The dishes are spicy and tempting while remaining approachable for the Western home cook.
Try a simple Cucumber Salad with Hot Spiced Mustard Dressing, or Morning Rice with Yoghurt and Fresh Fruit. Or spend a bit more time and bake some Goan Meat Tarts served with a Tomato Chutney.
With stunning photographs and a deep-dive into that ultimate staple of Asian food culture, Seductions of Rice is a culinary tour led by the authors’ love of the grain. With explanation of varieties and how to select, store, and cook rice from the great range of rice-eating cultures, there is much here to explore and cook. Try Thai Jasmine Rice, a Basic Risotto, and Senegalese Festive Rice and Fish.
If you are hungry for more rice, Onigiri: Fun and Creative Recipes for Japanese Rice Balls by Sanae Inada is also newly added to ckbk. The book is a playful and informative guide to one of Japan’s favorite comfort foods, with over fifty recipes to get your onigiri journey started, or add to your repertoire. Try Edamame Onigiri, Chicken Rice Onigiri, or these Botamochi (sweet soy and red bean rice balls).

Ingredient focus: asparagus

Each year, Saint George’s Day on April 23rd marks the official start to the asparagus season in the UK. Asparagus is the young shoot of a plant related to the lily. A great seasonal delicacy, there are several varieties, with deep green shoots the most widely appreciated in England. The thicker pale cream shoots of white asparagus, grown in the dark underground, are particularly prized in continental Europe for their milder flavor.
Asparagus stems are mostly tender, but their woody base needs to be snapped off or trimmed away before eating. They can be eaten raw, and are most commonly enjoyed lightly steamed or boiled.

Roasted asparagus with crack of black pepper and shavings of parmesan is a great treat, the nutty, grassy taste enhanced by the oven.
Try Three Bean Garden Salad with Asparagus and Coconut Dressing, a plate of Asparagus and Parmesan Panzanella, or any of these 20 Ways With Asparagus.

6 of the best pretzel recipes

April 26 is National Pretzel Day, and there are few things more perfect with a beer, or munched outside sitting on the new spring grass. If you have never made your own, here are 6 great pretzel recipes worth making the effort for.

Traditional Pretzels with Horseradish Mustard Dip

from Gabriel Kreuther: The Spirit of Alsace by Gabriel Kreuther

Sourdough Pretzels

from Slow Dough, Real Bread by

Soft Rye Pretzels

from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

Chocolate Pretzels

from The Art of the Cookie by Shelly Kaldunski

Soft Pretzels

from Gluten-Free Family Favorites: The 75 Go-To Recipes You Need to Feed Kids and Adults All Day, Every Day by Peter Bronski and Kelli Bronski

Pretzel Grissini

from Gabriel Kreuther: The Spirit of Alsace by Gabriel Kreuther
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