Fish and Sultana Lasagne

Marmite Mentions: I have been looking on various international Marmite sites and Bokomo Foods, distributor of Marmite in South Africa and happened across this recipe.  It certainly sounds different, and I will have to give this a try sometime!!

_INGREDIENTS_

_* 100 g green ribbon noodles_

* 12,5 ml oil

* 2 slices of brown bread

* white wine

* 12,5 ml margarine

* 1 medium onion, chopped

* 1 clove of garlic

* 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped

* 200 g tuna, drained and flaked (1 tin)

* 25 ml tomato paste

* 5 ml curry powder

* 5 ml turmeric

* 75 g sultanas (100 ml)

* 3 ml salt

* 1 ml black pepper, freshly ground 

Cheese Sauce:

* 50 ml margarine

* 50 ml cake flour

* 700 ml milk

* 80 g Cheddar cheese, grated (200 ml)

* 2 ml salt

* 1 ml cayenne pepper

* 2 ml paprika

_METHOD_

_Preheat oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF).

_ Cook noodles for more or less 10 minutes in boiling water until soft but firm.

Drain and stir in oil.

Soak 2 slices of brown bread in white wine.

Heat margarine in saucepan.

Sauté onion, garlic and green pepper in margarine.

Add flaked fish, tomato paste, curry powder, tumeric, sultanas, salt and pepper.

Mash bread mixture and add to fish mixture

Make cheese sauce as follows: Melt margarine and stir in flour.

Add milk gradually, stirring continuously until mixture is smooth and thick.

Simmer for 5 minutes from heat, add cheese and flavour with salt and cayenne pepper.

Layer noodles, fish mixture and cheese sauce alternately in a greased casserole dish.

End with a layer of cheese sauce and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes

If you have a go at this please leave a comment here letting me know how it turned out!

Marmite Shower

I was asked recently to judge a photography competition. This isn’t your average photo comp though. This is for the fabulous people at Marmite and their (not so) secret society called the Marmarati. I was asked to give an example of the kind of lengths they want the participants to go to and I came up with this. Of course I ‘shopped my head coming out of the jar itself, but I assure you that it was actual Marmite poured on my head to achieve this. A lot of it.

Many a catering tub and over 20 jars were used in the making. Warmed in a 70ºC oven to make it runny enough to pour. I can’t even explain how intense the yeasty smell was in my bathroom as I was doing this, let alone the mess it created in the 5 attempts.

For those interested, this is a self portrait. There are no behind the scenes images for nudity reasons! It was taken using a Profoto white beauty dish on a Profoto head boomed out over the camera with a C-Stand about a metre from my face. Canon 1Ds MkIII with 100m lens, 160th at ƒ11. Kitchen jug in one hand, camera remote in the other. I had it tethered using Adobe Lightroom to my MacBook Pro sitting on an apple box in front of me so I could see the results come up and therefore alleviating the need to get out of the bath during each attempt.

If you would like to get involved with the competition, head here to the Marmarati website. There are also art & crafty categories if you aren’t photographically minded. Get involved and good luck!

♥ MARMITE ♥

This is a tribute to my absolute love of Marmite. I am a self confessed Marmite addict. I’m such a Marmite geek that I even have a special silver lid for my Marmite.

It’s not often that there is less than 3 jars on the shelf - preferably of different varieties. My favourite ever Marmite was the Limited Edition Guinness Marmite.  Oh My. And then there was the Champagne Marmite  - which I slightly embarrassing brought 2 jars of in Selfridges around Valentines Day - the jars had ‘I Love You’ written on it. Perhaps the staff at Selfridges thought I had two lovers to buy gifts for.  I’m sure they wouldn’t have guessed that actually my doubly marmitey purchase was purely for my own consumption. And then there was also the scrumptious Marston’s Marmite, aptly decorated like a cricket ball. The new XO variety is stronger than ever and therefore better than ever. Particularly lovely on crumpets.

I have been in my element during the recent flourish of marmitey products on the shelves of the supermarkets. Marmite cheese, Marmite cereal bars, Marmite bread sticks, Marmite rice cakes and Marmite cashew nuts and my absolute favourite: Marmite flatbreads. AND I even snaffled a cheese and Marmite sandwich for £1 in M&S a couple of weeks ago - an instant and addictive addition to my ‘on the go’ cheap snack choices.

Marmite is 100% my absolute favourite food product. Not only do I love it so much in it’s purest from that I could eat it off a teaspoon but it enhances my enjoyment of various dishes.

I put marmite on crumpets and on toast. When I have a boiled egg I put Marmite on my dipping soldiers. 50% of people think this is normal - 50% of people seem to think this is the strangest thing they could ever imagine.

It works with scrambled egg and poached egg on toast as well.  Sometimes I’m a purest and enjoy a good old plain unadulterated Marmite sandwich (which were always a Friday staple for us at school). Sometimes I spread it thickly on sliced bread to revitalise a boring cheese sandwich. Naturally, I also love to embrace the magical enjoyment of cheese on toast with Marmite.  

In fact, Marmite and cheese are a match made in heaven.  Next time you make cheese sauce, try putting a teaspoon of marmite in it (or perhaps you better start with half).  It makes it 10x richer and 10x cheesier. (Add a touch of english mustard and lots of black pepper for the perfect cheese sauce - a recipe mirrored lovingly from years of watching Mommy Baker make it that way).

It’s fair to say that I use Marmite a considerable amount when I cook. I put a good blob of marmite into my Spaghetti Bolognese or Chilli, in risotto and in stew.  I also infamously (and often controversially) put Marmite in all my gravy and jus concoctions. (I hereby call for Marmite stock cubes.)

Put Marmite and red wine into any of the above and trust me, even despite some strange looks, you won’t look back. I have even ponder about the possibility of a Marmite drink - Marmite Milkshake? Could that work? Well I can share a secret -my best Marmite pipe dream so far? Marmite Ale.

This suggestion has evoked various reactions but most positive, and non more positive than the reactions of the Marmarati themselves which I hope may have started some cogs turned to make this dream a thirst quenching reality: “Oh my goodness, we braced ourselves for that but still weren’t ready for your genius suggestion. We’ll inform Lord Marmarati!” “Mmm… Marmite Ale sounds truly scrumptious. You’ve got us salivating like a rabid dog.”

It’s not just the product I love but the Marmite the brand. They have got it spot on. The love or hate element drives real commitment from their fans - an ‘us and them’ unity of the highest loyalty. I am impressed with the success of the social media involvement in Marmite’s campaigns. My two favourite Marmitey Media gems are as follows: 

Marmarati/Marmite XO

The campaign surrounding the release of XO product was very old worldy and very exciting - like a Marmite jar filled to the brim with anticipation and suspense.  A top secret society of tasters was established, complete with website, members only Facebook page and a most beautiful logo…

First and second circles of marmite ambassadors were selected to discuss and develop the secretive wonders of this product and an ‘inner sanctum’ was established to safe guard the XO progression. A tasting party was held in all its grandure and a Marmarati Flickr was set up to reveal pictures of the tasting induction (as well as featuring pictures of the elusive  members of the Marmarati’s inner sanctum).

Members of this group were all carefully selected Marmite lovers. They were involved in the process of Marmite XO from start to finish, from selecting the final XO from initial variants to being the first to receive and therefore taste the final product - which came complete with a specially crafted presentation box and fanciful jar. A perfect way to create involvement and therefore substantiate value amongst their biggest fans who in turn become active brand representatives - uploading videos to the Marmarati website and creating discussion around the new product.

To spread the excitement wider, a Marmarati Twitter page was created by ‘the rusted guardians of the most delicious elixir this country has ever produced’ to identify and converse with Marmite evangelists worldwide.

Marmite Election Campaign

The Marmite Election Campaign proved that good old traditional media can be enhanced by the powers of social media. My mom forwarded me a mock campaign letter from the ‘Love Party’, which slammed vicious rumours such as ‘marmite makes your tongue hairy’ as slander from the malicious ‘Hate Party’. The letter came complete with support rosette-style money off voucher to help ‘spread the love’.

The letter linked back to the Marmite ‘Love Party’ Facebook Page where you could vote and join the party. You could even get a pack with stickers/signs/magnets to spread the love in your own constituency. With almost 400, 000 Facebook members a fan of Marmite the power of Marmite is not to be sniffed at. There is a 'Hate Party' Facebook Page as well but with a measly 160,000 members there is definitely a lot more passion for the love of Marmite out there. Youtube played a part too with a 'Love Party' Broadcast and a 'Hate Party' Broadcast.

There was even a dedicated news site to keep the news updated, where it was finally revealed that the ‘Love Party’ wins. (Naturally love conquers all- especially when it comes to Marmite). A perfectly topical way to generate coverage of the Marmite brand which cleverly incorporates people who actually dislike the product.  A deliciously ingenious concoction of traditional and digital media.

(Top Picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leehaywood/4541298223/)

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