DENBIGHSHIRE has a great and surprising culinary secret.
It is home to some of the best Thai ready meals in the UK.
Authentic Thai Cuisine is a small home business run in the foothills of Moel Famau by Dtoy Harvey.
Dtoy has run the business making Thai ready meals for seven years.
She said: “In the past I did a lot of charity work for groups like MacMillan and the Rotary clubs.
“They would get me to do Thai banquets.
“They are very popular in the area as there is no Thai restaurant here.
“I started selling the ready meals in Loggerheads garage and they became popular by word of mouth.
“We use wholefood and don’t use any additives or preservatives.”
There are only a limited number of locations that sell the meals, but they manage to sell about 400 units a week.
These locations include The Patchwork Traditional Food Company in Ruthin.
Thai cuisine is an aromatic, colourful and delicious cuisine.
Dtoy honed her cookery skills when growing up in Thailand.
She said: “I come from a big family.
“Both of my parents were good cooks so I had to help cook for my brothers and sisters.
“I also travelled abroad a lot with my husband, Graham, who was a petroleum engineer.
“So, I had to entertain a lot of the time and this allowed me to build up the skills of cooking for large groups of people and cooking for people who weren’t used to Thai food.”
Many cuisines from outside of the UK have a reputation for being quite spicy, but Dtoy says that Thai food is not necessarily hot.
She said: “It’s not too fiery, Thai food doesn’t need to be hot.
“There is enough flavour in the curry and in Thailand chilli is normally served on the side as a garnish, so you can decide how hot it is going to be.”
Dtoy spends two days a week making the ready meals at the beginning of the week and she then delivers them on Wednesdays.
She has her own kitchen in a former lorry container at the back of her home where she makes up the meals.
Dtoy starts by washing the rice.
She saves the starch water from this to soak the vegetables for about 20 minutes.
She believes that this is a key part of making the meals as it helps to detoxify them.
It is also best to put in water that is already hot as this will make the cooked rice fluffier.
Dtoy said: “Thai cooking is easy and fast and you can put anything in it.”
As Dtoy went about making a Penang curry, she certainly made the whole thing seem easy.
But the most striking things were the smells and the colours.
She asked her son, Tom, to chop some Kaffir lime leaves for the curry, the smell of which sent us another level of delight.
As he chopped the leaves Tom told us about how the fact that Thai food is so aromatic is what makes it unique.
"For my GCSEs I did a catering course,” he said.
“I cooked Thai food for the exam and the smell drew people from all over the school to where I was cooking."