Showing posts from September, 2011

New England clam chowder.

Here is a soup that is I think rather over looked here in the UK. It is a lovely blend of potato cream and shellfish.  If you can get fresh clams, you can use them Frozen or in tins so you want them out of the shells and just ready to go in the soup at the lat moment.
You will need, 1 tbsp olive oil 3 rashers of streaky smoked bacon 2 onions 1 clove garlic 2 tbsp plain flour 1 can of clams in water, or 200g of frozen clams, best fresh if you can get them out of the shell. 3 large potatoes 2 tbsp celery leaves 1 bay leaf 1 tbsp butter 100ml/ 3floz of double cream 200ml/6floz water or chicken stock all depending Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Start by getting a pan and frying the bacon in some oil.  You want to cook it until it is crisp then remove it from the pan. Then after you have got the bacon out get the onions diced and you garlic crushed and add them to the pan and cook so the onions are soft.
Now add the butter to the pan let that melt and sprinkle the flour…

Make your own Mincemeat

To make your own mincemeat for mice pies at Christmas is so easy and so tasty.The fact of the matter is that it just takes a few moments to get together and you can put all sorts of things in it.Also it does not take any cooking and you can make it now and when you make your mice tarts in December it will be at its best after standing and all the flavours incorporating together. All you need to get is some good clean jars and have a dark cool pace to store them and that is about it.
For my mincemeat you will need, 225g/8oz vegetarian suet 225g/8oz cooking apples 125g/4oz candied peel, chopped 225g/8oz sultanas 225g/8oz raisins 225g/8oz currants 175g/6oz Demerara sugar 1 tsp mixed spice 1 orange, zest and juice 60ml/2fl oz brandy
Take your apples, peal, and core then and dice in to fine chunks about the same size as the dried fruit.Then add every thing to a very big bowl and just keep string every thing until you have a big bowl of the mix.
Now pack this in to sterilized jars , and …
28 September 2011
A recent research study into shopper behaviour by leading marketing agency. Haygarth has revealed that shoppers place Tesco’s own label ranges over and above those offered by Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Asda, M&S and Morrisons.
Both the Tesco’s Finest and Tesco Value ranges topped a poll asking shoppers to name their favourite supermarket own label products. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference and Basic ranges were ranked as shoppers’ second choice whilst Waitrose’s Value and own brand labels ranked bottom in both the premium and value ranges.
The study revealed that 71% of shoppers now say that they see little or no difference between brands and own label products, whilst almost 60% say they are buying more own label than they did two years ago. Only 8% of consumers would reject an own label product.With supermarkets offering sophisticated own label ranges, this has led to these increasing shifts in perception of own label.
This notable shift in perception means that …

Wine regions of the world 2, Australia

Once the wines of Australia was the but of many a joke, the best thing to do with this wine is to lay it down , lay it down and avoid it, all that kind of thing . Now the wine industry and I think you can say wine industry is a vast economic thing. Some of the figures are amazing, Australia produces 760 million litres of wine a year for its export market not to mention the 500 million litres of wine a year for its domestic market, it has 160,000 hectares of designated wine regions, contributes $5.5 billion per year to the economy, accounts for a largest wine market in South Aisia. In fact the list goes on and on but this could make it a victim of its own success as it seems to be going up in price. Not so much a problem of lack of production but more to do with the currency and state of the world economy and that fact that Australia has not been to bother by it.  Therefore, with the Australian dollar value high the cost of the wine is more. But that being as it is I would say still g…

To start with a big thank you.

Well time I think for another look round the news and happening of the world of catering and hospitality.Well when I say that only the bits that are of interest to me, and I hope to you as well. But first I want to say a really big thank you to any one who keeps coming back and looking at my blog.Over the past few months, I have seen the daily viewing fingers go up and up far faster than I thought it possible.This is I must admit very encouraging and I hope an indication that you might like what I am doing with this blog. So let me start by saying a bit thank you to you all .
Gordon Ramsay has opened his first restaurant since the 2010 Mayfair’s Savoy Grill.It is the Bread street kitchen at One new Change in the City of London. It has a 1970s industrial design with vintage avocado brown armchairs.Who cares, I would like to see the wine Balcony that it says holds 2000 bottles of wine.Also the food does not sound as if it will cost you a arm and a leg, short rib burger, braised mutton…

Five spice spare ribs

For this dish it is best that you deep fry your ribs.Now to do this I would say to be authentic you should use peanut oil about 600ml/1 pint should do. Now the only problem with that is that you end up with a lot of oil that you cannot use for any thing else.You can let it cool strain it through a filter and re-use it when cooking pork.But unless you are doing a lot of ribs regularly then this is not very practical. So what I will do is just cook them in the oven.Also the fact that this will be a lot heather is another thing.
For the spareribs and marinade 750g/1½lb pork spareribs approximately 7.5cm/3in long. 1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry 1 tbsp light soy sauce 1 tbsp Chinese black rice vinegar or cider vinegar 2 tsp sesame oil 1 tbsp corn flour
For the sauce 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic 2 tsp five-spice powder 3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions 3 tbsp Chinese rock sugar or granulated sugar 3 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry 150ml/5 fl oz chicken stock 1½ tbsp light soy sauce 2 tbs…

Traditional Plumb pudding

This is a recipe for tradition al plumb pudding, a Christmas classic. You can make this on the day or do it weeks in advance letting you have time to enjoy the day and get out of the kitchen.
The recipe is for a lot; it makes about 2 x 1.2 litre/2 pint puddings so if you are not having a big part round for dinner then cut all the measurements by half. You will need the following ingredients
900g/2lb mixed dried fruits, such as figs, apricots, cherries, raisins, dates or sultanas 150ml/5fl oz of spirit (rum, brandy or whisky) 1 large orange, zest and juice 225g/8oz butter, softened, 225g/8oz dark brown sugar 4 large free-range eggs, 110g/4oz self-raising flour 110g/4oz breadcrumbs 85g/3oz chopped nuts (almonds, hazelnuts or pecans) 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 1 heaped tsp cinnamon
Get your dried fruit in a large bowl. If there are any large pieces of apricot or fig, cut them up so all about the same size. Pour over the spirit , grate the zest of the orange and add to the bowl. Then a…

Pad Thai

The real beauty of this recipe is that is refreshing light and very, very tasty.All the real cooking shill is to have the right authentic ingredients to make this dish.And now they are just common place on the supermarket shelves that you can get them in almost every town in the country now.This simple noodle stir fry is excellent as a starter or as a main course so I highly recommend that you give this a try.
You will need 1 tbsp dried shrimps 100g dried rice stick noodles 3 tbsp vegetable oil 2 eggs 2 garlic cloves 200g small fresh prawns 100g bean sprouts 2 spring onion 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce 1 tbsp Thai chilli sauce 2 tbsp limejuice 1 tbsp palm or brown sugar 2 tbsp roasted peanuts 2 tbsp coriander sprigs 1 lime, quartered
First of all you need to cook your noodles, this is easily take them put them in a blow and just pore some boiling water over them.Once they have rehydrated drain the water off and run them under cold water to stop the cooking and set them to one side.
Now t…

Lancashire hot pot

Another British dish for as you might have guessed Lancashire, and with all the hill farms in the area what better way to use up your lamb.Now if you can get it you should use mutton but it is not always easy to get.For this recipe, I have use neck of lamb for a slow long cook dish like this you do not want your best cuts of meat but some of the cheaper cuts.This should be cooked in the oven on a day when you are out on the garden this time of year tiding up after the summer ready for the winter.Or after a long country walk on a cold but sunny autumn day.I do not know hay it just tastes better if you have been out in the fresh are getting some exorcise. The problem with that is if you have been out all day you do not feel like cooking so do it the day before and just pop it in the oven when you get in.
You will need, 2 tbsp oil 1kg/2lb 2oz neck of lamb diced 2 carrots 1 small sewed. 2 onions 1 tbsp plain flour 250ml/9fl oz lamb stock 1 sprig fresh thyme 1 fresh bay leave 1 tbsp W…

Boston beans

I do not know how authentic this recipe is but I was told that it comes from New England. I do know it has a really sweet and spicy, almost sweet and sour note to the beans and is very tasty. Now if you wish you can make this by just making up the sauce and then adding a tine of beans you can but it does lack that certain something of the fully completed dish.
To make it properly you will need. 400g/14½oz dried haricot beans 3 onions, quartered 6 cloves 75g/2¾oz muscavado sugar 50g/2oz maple syrup 50g/2oz tomato puree 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 2 clove garlic 25ml/1fl oz sherry vinegar Pinch of cayenne pepper 800g/1lb 12oz thick cut smoked streaky bacon dry cured Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
You have to pan this dish in advance and get you beans soaking. So place the beans in a large bowl, cover with water, and soak overnight.
Now to be traditionally you should I think cook this in an oven and you can but I cook my beans on the stovetop. S…

Pie 'n' mash east end special.

I found my self in London the other month and I was in one of the restaurant capitals of the world. Every kind of food will be available to me from all around the world cooked and plated for me to enjoy if I wished to.  But with its coffee bars restaurants and food halls is that the food of the city. I fear not, so here is my Pie 'n' mash recipe.
For your filling, 1 onion 2 cloves garlic 450g/1lb minced beef 1 tsp English mustard 1 tbsp tomato purée vegetable oil 150ml/5fl oz brown ale 100ml/3½fl oz beef stock 2 tbsp plain flour A splash of Worcestershire sauce Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Special pie pastry 10oz /274g  self raising flour 1½ / 39g butter 1½ / 39g lard 1½ / 39g suet 5tdsp of cold water Pinch of salt.
For the mash 4 large potatoes 100ml/3½fl oz hot milk Knob of butter Ground white pepper to taste
For the parsley liquor 50g/2oz butter 50g/2oz flour 500ml/18fl oz chicken stock Lots of  parsley chopped Slat and pepper to taste
Jellied …

'pasta alla puttanesca'

'pasta alla puttanesca', or ‘whore’s pasta’ as it is translated is a quit modern dish that came in to being in the 1960s.Apparently, it gets its name from the fact that it is slapped together with things from jars and tins and not from fresh ingredients from the market. I assume that the reliance on convenience food is because who ever is making it is very busy doing other things.However, it does make a rather tasty and refreshing dish and if you have every thing at hand only takes a little time to make.
Ingredients 3 tbsp olive oil 8 anchovy fillets 2 tsp chopped garlic out of a jar ½ tsp chopped chilli out of a jar 500g/1lb 2oz spaghetti 400g/14oz canned chopped tomatoes 150g/5oz pitted black olives 2 tbsp small capers ½ a glass of white wine Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 2–3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
To make this is incredibly easy , first get your water on to cook your pasta bring it to the boil and add you pasta.
Now in frying pan pop your anchovy wit…


London baker Mellissa Morgan has been named the UK’s brightest new star in the baking industry’s equivalent of the Oscars.
Mellissa, a former theatre worker and teacher, has been crowned Rising Star in the annual Baking Industry Awards 2011 after impressing judges with her storming success since introducing the capital city’s first vegan bakery just 18 months ago
Launching the business, ‘Ms. Cupcake’ ( from her kitchen, Mellissa first wowed shoppers at London’s Greenwich Market with her range of vegan delicacies before opening her first shop, in Brixton, South London, where she now employs seven staff.
Her range includes indulgent brownies, cookies and cupcakes, as well as a plethora of other sugar, soya and gluten-free treats.
Mellissa’s efforts were recognised last night in front of more than 800 industry guests at a gala awards ceremony at London’s Park Lane Hilton, as she was presented with her award by TV presenter Richard Madeley and award sponsor David Powell.

Sweet potato bhajis

Now this is a different twist on a thing that you probably have had a hundred times.The good thing about the sweet potato bhaji is that sweet potato is grate roasted or fried. But the truth is that you make this with carrots or even parsnips as well. All you have to do ir remember that you are cooking raw vegetables so the finer you cut them up the better it will cook.
For the bhajis you will need, 250g/8oz gram flour or chickpea flour 100ml/3½fl oz iced water 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for deep-frying 2 onions 1 sweet potato 1 red chilli 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander 1 tbsp curry paste 50ml/2fl oz white wine vinegar 200ml/7fl oz groundnut oil Yogurt and salad leaves to serve with
To start with, you need to make the batter.Now to do this you will need the gram flour, which is just chickpea flour for want of another name.Add some of the water to the flour and keep working it until you gat a smooth batter.Then set this to one side.
Now take your onions, slice them very thinly…

Wine regions of the world 1, Alsace France.

The Alsace wine region of France I think is one of the most under appreciated wine regions of the world.  Or is it more to do with the wine being very German in taste and it is a French wine.  The history and surroundings can only be a clue to this as the area has passed from German to french hands a few times.  It is a long and thin region that is squeezed in-between French and the German border is distinct for many reason but for this blog, I want to talk about its wine.
The main grape varieties that you will know are Riesling , Tokay, Muscat, Sylvaner , Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer. Now like many people who first come across the wines of the region and the two that I think can give the best idea of the full scope of the region are the Riesling and the Gewurztraminer.
The Riesling are normally dry and very different from the close neighbour  wines in Germany.
Gewurztraminer is my first and perhaps favoured of all of the wines that you can get from the region. And to real wine c…

Chicken alla cacciatore

This is a grand sounding dish that you think should have a classic and traditional way that it should be done.The truth about this is an old dish is it means, chicken cooked 'the hunter's way'.Now what exactly that is very open to interpretation and in a way, that is a good thing.You can find your way of cooking it and that is your way of cooking it. The recipe below it probably not as traditional as a average Italian recipe as I was told to cook a good Italian dish you have seven ingredients and take two away.
For my chicken alla cacciatore you will need.
1 tbsp olive oil 75g/2½oz pancettaor bacon cubes 1 onion finely sliced 500g/1lb chicken thighs, 125ml/4½fl oz white wine 1 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes 2 cloves of garlic 1 bay leaves 1 tsp Thyme leaves 1 tsp Rosemary ½ tsp sugar 1 x 400g/14oz can cannellini beans Salt and ground black pepper to taste.
Start by taking you bacon and oil and frying it in a saucepan.You want to really cook the bacon so that it cry…

Braised red cabbage and white cabbage cream and bacon.

I love cabbage and I think that it is underused and generally ignored by most people who do not really appreciate the fact that it tastes grate and in the case of red cabbage looks so impressive.Rich ruby red in the centre of a table or as a bed of some thing to serve game or for contrast pork on.I do not think you can go wrong this time of year. Therefore, here is a simple veg-cooking recipe that you can do for Sunday lunch or Christmas dinner.And white cabbage normally only ever used for coleslaw but with a little effort it can be so much more.You can make both in advance and reheat latter and it will be fine.
You will need, 50g/2oz butter 750g/1lb 10oz red cabbage 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly 3 tbsp red wine vinegar 1 orange, finely grated zest and juice 250ml/9fl oz red wine A good pinch all mixed spice Salt freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg to taste 85g/3oz raisins

Get your red cabbage and cut in half and then quarters and cut away the hard core.Then shred the cabbage up and …

The York food festival 16th to the 25th September 2011

The York food festival 16th to the 25th September 2011

York Food and Drink Festival is set in and around the City's many historic venues around the city. So if you have a day to kill and are in the are then check it out . The Festival's main focus is Yorkshire food and drink what else would you expect being York , but there are lots to see and do.
There are two principal elements to the event. Firstly Parliament Street (free entry) consists of the markets, demonstration area, Yorkshire Bar and information point - a marquee will enclose the city's fountain in Parliament Street and make this an evening venue for events.
Secondly there is both a day time and evening programme of events in York Guildhall, The Mansion House and in venues across York.
If you can find the time I would recommend finding the time to have a look round and I have put a link here so you can go to the main web site and have a good look at every thing that is going on.…

Coq au vin

Now I was told or so it is said that Caesar first presented the Gauls with this dish.It is said that he took a old scrawny chicken and turned it to a delicious dish by long slow cooking.He invited the Gauls to share the dish and they had to admit that the knowledge of the Romans could only benefit them.The Gauls surrender and accepted the civilization and rule of Rome.Now I do not think that is what actually happened but if history has shown us one thing, it is that strange things can happen. If you are going to make this properly, first you have to marinade your chicken and then slow cook it in a oven with a dish with a lid.Take the dish to the table and then take the lid off so the smell fills the room.
To start with you will need 1 bottle good red wine 1 small onion 2 sticks celery 1 carrot 4 garlic cloves 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme 2 bay leaves 4 large chicken joints  1 tbsp olive oil 100g/3½oz smoked bacon cut into large cubes 1 tbsp plain flour 25g/1oz butter 20 button onions, …

National Trust says 'take the right bite' this Autumn

13 September 2011 The National Trust has revealed that despite the UK being a nation of apple lovers, the majority of Britons cannot identify home grown varieties. The charity is urging people to 'take the right bite' this Autumn to make the most of the unique British flavours available and help save UK orchards. Research* shows that although more than half of respondents (53 per cent) crunch into an apple each week, and almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Britons who eat apples enjoy eating apples because they can buy home grown varieties, 41 per cent of people who eat apples find it difficult to pick out British grown apples. While British grown varieties such as the Bramley, Cox Orange Pippin and Egremont Russet are recognised by some apple eaters, 61 per cent of adults wrongly guessed that the Granny Smith is grown in the UK when it originates from Australia. Similarly, almost a quarter of people (23 per cent) thought that the Pink Lady is grown in the UK. As part o…

Is organic worth more money than non-organic?

The truth is that the cost of some thing is very relevant to the person who is purchasing the goods.Now if you are in the position to pay for the organics produces and do think that you can warrant the cost of them as your conscience tells you that it is right then you can get them .
If you are a signal parent on a tight budget and have two kids to feed the high ideals of organic farming and the environment are a long way away from what will be going threw your mind.
And that is sadly what we are looking at the gulf between be able to purchase them and not.Is the purchase of organic ingredients being tailored to a more exclusive end of the market so that the maximum amount of revenue can be made?Farmers I know who tell me that the money to be made out of organic is more than if you just farm ordinarily.But the hard thing is to be classed as such.You have to farm for so many years before becoming organic and then you are awarded here in the U.K. leaving you with that transition period…

Chilli chicken

This is a good old fast and furious stir-fry that is full of the things that are so good together.The heat from the chilli and the sweet from the sugar, garlic, and ginger perfect and easy to cook.Just remember that you have your vegetables cut in a similar size and shape and they will all cook together at the same time.
For this dish you will need. 4 garlic cloves 2.5cm/1in piece fresh ginger 1 red chilli, ½ red pepper, ½ yellow peppers 12 cherry tomatoes 5 tbsp water or more of water 1 tsp light brown sugar 1 tbsp groundnut oil 1 tbsp sesame seed oil 250g/9oz skinless chicken breast fillets, sliced 1 courgette 2 tbsp light soy sauce 2 large spring onions ¼ tbsp corn flour
First make sure that your peppers, onions, and courgette are all sliced and that the garlic, ginger, and chilli are chopped.Once you get cooking, it will come together really quickly.
Get your wok on the stove top and heat it up so it is very hot, smoking hot.Slice your chicken in to strips and then add a l…

Galician pie

This is another of the big family style dishes that you make stick in the centre of the table and every helps them self, and talk about the day they have had, who they say and what they did. It is not difficult to make and you can use puff pastry from the shops, you do not have to make your own.

Butter 2 tbsp olive oil 150g/5oz spicy chorizo, peeled, chopped 2 rashers smoked bacon, chopped 2 small red onions, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped A good pinch or two cayenne pepper 250g/9oz tomatoes, halved, seeds removed, chopped 2 ready-roasted and peeled red peppers, sliced 150g/5oz monkfish fillet, cut into 10 evenly sized pieces 110g/4oz small squid rings 110g/4oz cooked, shelled mussels 50g/2oz cooked, peeled prawns 1 small bunch flatleaf parsley, chopped 2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 220°c/425°f , grease a pie dish with the softened butter. Then roll out …

Not so Thai fishcakes

Now Thai fish cakes that I have had in the past are a blended of fish that you blitz together in the food processor with a load of ingredients to make a lovely fish cake.But this fish cake has potatoes init and in that way is more like a traditional British fish cake
For this you will need, 300g/10½ oz white meaty fish Sea salt 1 tbsp olive oil 4 tbsp vegetable oil Flour 3-4 lime leaves 1 large red chilli 4cm/1½ in piece fresh galangal or ginger 2 garlic cloves 2 stalks lemongrass 200g/7oz potatoes mashed 2 tsp fish sauce, or to taste Small handful fresh coriander 1 lime, juice only, or to taste
First, you need to cook your potatoes and your fish now for your.Now for your potato, you do not want it to wet so if you have it use a ricer to mash your potato and do not use any butter or milk.What you want is a almost pure mashed potato. As for your fish, my favourite way is to season with some sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil and just roast in the oven.This gives you a lovely flavou…