Showing posts from November, 2011


Now this is what I think of when you think of Christmas.  Dried fruits spices and rich marzipan nut flavours all coming together in the perfect sweet bread stolen.  Now I know that either you love or hate it but I do love it so and I think it is a grate thing to make at any time of the year but especially now.  There is some thing special about a bread that thinks it’s a cake, some thing very satisfying.  Now you can just make one big one or break this down to six small one that part is up to you all you
You will need, 175g/6oz dried mixed fruits 50g/2oz glacé cherries, chopped 50g/2oz almonds, chopped 2 lemons zest, finely grated ¼ tsp ground nutmeg 1 tbsp vanilla extract 2 tbsp brandy 375g/13oz strong white bread flour 1 x 7g/⅛oz sachet fast-action dried yeast 50g/2oz caster sugar 1 egg, beaten 50g/2oz unsalted butter 150ml/5fl oz warm milk, plus extra for glazing 200g/7oz marzipan icing sugar, for dusting
Take the dried fruits, cherries, almonds, lemon zest, nutmeg, vanilla extr…

Honey glazed gammon

It is the time of year to think abut things like this personally I love this kind of thing it is just great to and have a round at parties. Or even do one and take it on a picnic. And really it doe not take a lot of skill it look very impressive and you can do it in advance before every one arrives so why not give it a go
You will need 6kg/13lb 3½oz gammon joint water, to cover 8 cloves, 2 onions 4 large bay leaves 120g/4oz soft brown sugar 1 glass of  orange juice 6 tbsp clear honey 3 tbsp English mustard Cloves for studding the gammon if you want
Now technically you should soak your ham over night but most of the hams that you get these days are not slat cured so you do not have to really.  So place the gammon into a large, deep pan and cover with water.  Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and drain.
Now return the gammon to the pot and cover once more with water and add the onions bay leaf and cloves now you need to bring the water back up to the boil and then just s…

Creamed Brussels sprouts with bacon.

This is not such a far cry away from creamed cabbage and bacon except that I have left some bread crumb and cheese for the topping so you can gratinate it all at the end . You can do this ain advance and it really does not take that long , in fact it is preparing the Brussels that takes the time . 
You will need 900g/2lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed 20g/¾oz butter 4 tsp sunflower oil 150g/5oz smoked streaky bacon 400ml/14fl oz double cream 5½ tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs 4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese salt and freshly ground black pepper
Prepare your sprouts in the usual way . Now some people say you should not but I do put a cross in the base with my knife it is up to you . I think it just helps it cook that little bit better. Now cook them in a pan of boiling water for about  4 to 5 minutes and then refresh them in cold water as soon as you can you only want them to be just part cooked .  Then let them drain fully.
Now in a frying pan add the butter and oil and start by fry…

What do you need to do to make your product special.

This is an interesting question and the truth is that I do not think any one really knows.  The thing about food is that it all has probably been done before and nothing is new.  So if that is true then what is the point of trying , well like most things you have to keep on reinventing and making things new or you will find that people will move on to some other product not yours.
So lest just say you want to produce a pie.  It is a new recipe has your own special pastry and fill and you think it is the best.  But at the end of the day it is a pie. So what can you do to make it truly new and individual to set it our from the rest , what will be its USP , unique selling point , with a me to product .
What can set you out from the rest, what will make it look like the sort of thing that will make the end buyer pick it up and say, I will take this one.  Well that must come down to three things together and one big thing in the end.
So let us start with the three things you have to do…

Homemade whiskey cream

Now this homemade Irish cream is some thing that you can make give as a present or just keep and drink latter.  It is the perfect thing to make boozy ice cream with and you do not have to use the best whiskey. It is cover by any number of sweet creams like flavours that you can use a real cheap whiskey if you like.  In addition, you do not need loads of home brewing kit or house to make the thing its ready in seconds. Served it chilled with plenty of ice or in your coffee.
Ingredients 250ml/9fl oz single cream 1x 397g/14oz tin condensed milk 350ml/12fl oz Irish whiskey 1 tsp Camp coffee essence 3 tsp chocolate sauce 1 tsp vanilla essence 1 tsp almond essence A pinch of xantham gum
Now if you are going to keep this for any length of time and you can keep it in the fridge but you will need to sterilise the bottles.  Wash the bottle in very hot water , use rubber gloves , if you can put your hand in it then it is not to hot enough or on the hot cycle of a dishwasher. Then preheat the o…

Festive Palmiers

This makes a nice change from a mice pie but it is in fact the very thing just presented in a different format.  You can make this very easy as well by just getting in shop bought pastry and mincemeat , or you could make your own its up to you.  I know as some thing different and you do not have a lot of time this is the sort of recipe that can get you out of a tight spot and looking like to are a master baker.  So it is one to keep in the back of your mind for next time w you need to make some thing quick for the kids school sale and you have forgotten
You will need the following ingredients 200g/7oz ready-made mincemeat 2 tbsp good marmalade Dash of orange juice 1 x 375g/13oz pack ready-rolled puff pastry 2 tbsp butter, melted 4 tbsp demerrara sugar 1 egg, beaten

Start by beating the mincemeat and marmalade together , along with the orange juice. You need to blend it all together to make a runny jam consistency.
Now roll out your pastry so that it is nice and flat, brush the edg…

Imperial or metric what way is best.

Now I do not know what the answer is here as to what  you should use. The thing is that in this world we have two of every thing gram and ounces, pounds and kilos, cellcus and Fahrenheit. And then there are recipes in juts cups.
So I have put together a page on this blog  with what I hope will build to a completely comprehensive chart of under standing the difference between a gram , once , pound , kilo litre , pint , inch and centimetre.

My conversion charts page.
The truth is that a recipe works as long as you have the right measurement and the of the ingredients. I remember not so long ago I was given a recipe for a sponge pudding. Now the problem with that was that we had to work out every thing in to grams so we could put together a recipe. Now the liquids were recorded in litres, the dry goods recorded in ounces and the eggs where just eggs no size to them for the sauces you needed just a dash of brandy. Now I know the person who gave me the recipes knew exactly what it all me…

What makes a product special?

At work today, the conversation of what made a product special and what did not came to the surface as it normally does.  Moreover, the problem in what people think that they want and what they want to pay for. Now no matter what I have been doing in life at the end of the day I have only came across a few occasions when I was told that it did not matter what it costs I just want the best .
The truth is that we all have a vision of what we would like to be and would like to have. Then we know that that is a dream so we settle for what we would like.  But the actual reality is that we are restricted, or we should be, by what we can afford.  I hear from customer now who look at the market and say we want free-range eggs, organic meat, and vegetables.  We say fine and tell them how much it cost, so they ask for red tractor and farm assured, we give them that. We end up with chicken from Poland, factory farmed eggs and frozen vegetables from China.
The truth is that if you have an idea…

UK's Best Curry Houses to be announced

23 November 2011
UK’s Best Curry Houses to be announced at the BCA Awards 2011 Celebrating the Authentic Taste of Success London, 23rd November 2011, The Bangladesh Caterers Association announces that their 6th Annual BCA Awards will take place on Sunday 4th December 2011.  The Awards give a unique opportunity to celebrate the fantastic entrepreneurial talent of UK’s best Curry Houses, which has helped make curry amongst the nation’s favourite dishes.
Along with the coveted ‘Caterer of the Year Awards’, there will be 12 Chef of the Year Awards also being presented covering 9 regions in the UK and 4 Honour Awards in recognition of outstanding achievement in Civic Society.
The Bangladesh Caterers Association in their 51st year, are UK’s oldest, largest and strongest pressure group, which represent over 12,000 British Bangladeshi Restaurants and Takeaways.  This unique industry grew from the heart of the Bangladesh migrants who first entered the UK in the 1950’s and…

The National Trust reveals consumers need a leg up with farming knowledge

21 November 2011
The National Trust has revealed the results from a new survey* which show that the vast majority (93 per cent) of people in Great Britain don't know the best time of year to enjoy eating British lamb. 
Only seven per cent of respondents correctly identified autumn as the time for tucking into one of Britain's favourites, with half (49 per cent) choosing spring as the best time to serve lamb - the time of year when most lambs are born.
The research marks six months of the National Trust's mass on-line MyFarm experiment at its 1,200 acre organic farm at Wimpole in Cambridgeshire.
The innovative project aims to involve people in farming and where their food comes from by enabling them to make decisions on a real working farm.

An online straw poll of the MyFarm community revealed that 19 per cent knew the best time of year to enjoy lamb - more than double the outcome of the wider non-subscriber survey - suggesting the experiment is making useful progress.�…

Three kinds of shortbread.

I love shortbread and personally nothing more Christmassy than a shortbread biscuit, apart from Christmas pudding , roast turkey and well lots of things.  However, it still counts quite high as a Christmas biscuit.  So here, I have done three different recipes that you can make and you will get three very different kinds of short bread.  Make them put them in a tin and give them as a present, nothing say you care like some thing that you have actually made. Unless you are going to buy me a present then it is a 10 year old bottle of Macallon malt whiskey
Short bread one , 250g/9oz plain flour 75g/3oz caster sugar 175g/6oz butter
This makes a soft shortbread.  Per heat your oven to 160c/325f and grease a tray.  Then mix the flour and sugar in a blow so you have a good mix.  Then rub in the butter so you have a breadcrumb.  Now knead it all together so you get a bough.
Now you can not roll this so you have to shape it by hand or press it down and then cut it , best to press it in to …

Christmas cake with brandy butter icing

Well it is the time of year to think of Christmas and Christmas cakes.  Now this one is a good one as it is very rich and like all fruitcakes, it takes a long time to cook in a low oven.  But apart from that it is easy to make.  As for the icing, I have given you a recipe for brandy butter icing, a lot nicer than just ordinary icing.
For your fruitcake you will need, 80g/2¾oz golden syrup 80g/2¾oz black treacle 50g/1¾oz honey 250g/9oz dark brown sugar 200ml/7fl oz double cream 15g/½oz (about 2 tbsp) mixed spice 250g/9oz unsalted butter 1 tsp orange extract 1 tsp lemon extract 6 medium free-range eggs 350g/12oz currants 350g/12oz raisins 350g/12oz chopped pitted prunes 350g/12oz glacé cherries or more dried fruit 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda Brandy for feeding the cake 2 tbsp apricot jam, boiled and sieved 400g/12oz marzipan For the brandy butter frosting 300g/10½oz icing sugar 50g/1¾oz butter 25ml/1fl oz double cream 25ml/1fl oz brandy
Now like most fr…

Pan-fried mackerel, and winter vegetables.

Mackerel is a good honest fish that has a lot of flavour is very good for you and not to expensive so for all those reason this is the sort of thing that we all should be cooking right now.  All the vegetables are in season and if you take out the wine and what you have id a good light dish that you can seat as a starter or a main cores if you so wished.  The vegetables in the wine really goes well against the mackerel’s richness.
Ingredients For the mackerel 4 x 200g/7oz mackerel fillets, pin bones removed knob of butter 1 tbsp olive oil 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 12 baby carrots, trimmed 12 cauliflower florets 1 leek sliced 200g/7oz podded broad beans 200g/7oz mushrooms 4 leaves from the out side of a Savoy cabbage 2 large garlic cloves 25g/1oz fennel seeds 1 bay leaf Pinch of fresh thyme 300ml/10½fl oz dry white wine Small bunch parsley Salt and freshly ground black pepper Splash red wine vinegar A little butter
All you need are two dishes one frying pan and one sau…

Pan-fried lambs' kidneys

Lamb kidneys are cheap and easy to cook but ate so often not use.  Like most offal it seems to be some thing that people just turn away from and do not want to have any thing to do with.  I do not know why as they are very tasty and done like this you can have them on a slice of toast they are really good. Offal is flavour full and all you need to do is take the time to learn how to prepare it and cook it.
You will need. A dash of  vegetable oil 6 button onions 2 slices of good smoked streaky bacon. 4 button mushrooms 2 lambs' kidneys, ½ tsp red wine vinegar ½ a glass of red wine ½ a glass of dark stock A good piece of unsalted butter. 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves ½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves 1 thick slice crusty white bread, toasted
Now what you need to do before you cook any thing is make sure that your kidney are prepared in the correct way. You want the  fat removed, cut in half, gristle removed from the centre. If you prepare them like this, you will find …

Wine regions of the world, 3 Argentina.

Argentina is one of the most important wine regions of South America and also until recently one of the least known and not fully exploited. Now there are a lot of reasons for this and to understand them you have to look back at the history to understand the present.
It is hard to believe now that in the 1920s Argentina was the 8th richest nation in the world. But during the economic depression that gripped the world the country slipped in to a steep decline, florin investment dried up, exports dropped and the rich landowners moved capital out of the country. A growing unrest from the poor and working classes lead to a populist rise of government of General Juan Domingo Peron.  He was influenced by his wife Eva and for a while turned the fortunes of the country around. In 1943 he came to power promising rapid industrialization, better working conditions and organised state controlled unions.  Now most of this was very popular with the poor but not so much with the rich and the milita…


15 November 2011
The Redwood Wholefood Company is the most ethical vegetarian food firm in the UK according to The Good Shopping Guide.
Every year, the consumer handbook reveals ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ of the country’s companies and brands, giving each an ethical score out of 100 based on factors such as animal welfare, the environment and workers’ rights.
This year Corby-based Redwood – which produces over 50 different cruelty-free foods under the Cheatin’, Cheezly and Vegideli brand names – scores 96%, the highest rating of any vegetarian food company included.
Others brands featured are Linda McCartney which scores 75%, Realeat (75%), Cauldron (71%), Quorn (71%), Fry’s (67%), Wicken Fen (67%), Dalepak (63%) and Tivall (54%).
“While some are undoubtedly cashing in on a well-meaning but time-poor veggie community, others are producing genuinely innovative vegetarian and vegan products,” reports the guide.  “One such company is Redwood Wholefoods.”
Commenting on the rating, …

New Christmas drink raises a festive cheer

14 November 2011
Sussex’s award-winning drinks creators Gran Stead’s are turning up the heat this winter with a new alcohol-free tipple which makes a hearty Christmas drink. Gran Stead’s Light and Fiery Ginger Wine has been created in response to calls for an even more deeply-spiced sister to top-selling Gran Stead’s Dark and Mellow Ginger Wine. Both these handmade beverages are big on flavour, making them a satisfying choice for drivers and those avoiding alcohol - they certainly won’t be left feeling hard done by.
“Our new drink is unashamedly fiery and is targeted at those who love their ginger,” says Chris Knox, who with wife and business partner Rosemary developed the latest recipe at their Sussex base.
“It is proving to be a real hit with our customers, and is particularly popular now the cold nights have set in, as people appreciate a smooth drink that gives a bit of a kick.” 
Gran Stead’s website is a great place to find festive cocktail ideas unleash your imagination and hav…


18 November 2011
Some combinations create perfection.  Combine freshly pureed white peaches from Alicante, with chilled vintage champagne, and you’ll get the perfect Bellini.   Combine a private yacht, with the rugged, romantic charm of the Almafi coast, and you’ll get the perfect weekend break.  Combine Veni Vidici with aSMALLWORLD, and you’ll get the perfect way to spend your Saturday afternoons.
It may have begun in New York, but Veni Vidici has fast gained a reputation for organising brunches surpassing anything you’ll find in the ‘Big Apple’. The secret to their success is simple, pure indulgent opulence and an uncompromising assurance of the ‘joie de vivre’. Their most recent brunch set a new precedent in pure extravagance, with select champagnes and rosé wines being specially flown in from the celebrated Cotes de Provence.  It should come as no surprise that Veni Vidici’s now iconic brunches, and their pulsating after-parties, have fast captured the imagination of London’s …


18 November 2011
The popular CaskFinder smartphone application has launched the World’s Biggest Ale Trail.
Available for iPhone and Android the World's Biggest Ale Trail offers customers the chance to use their phone's camera to scan QR codes placed on Cask Marque certificates in accredited pubs. There are 7,500 Cask Marque pubs and bars across the UK to choose from to take part in the World’s Biggest Ale Trail.
The app records the number of pubs visited and rewards prizes for milestones of 25, 50 and 100 pubs. Once you have scanned 100 pub barcodes you become a Cask Marque ambassador, which includes the opportunity to spend the day with an assessor, visiting a number of pubs to see how Cask Marque ensure a quality pint.
Real ale is helping to save the great British institution of the pub – the recent Cask Report found cask drinkers are more than twice more likely to visit pubs on a regular basis than non-cask drinkers. With the opportunity to try before you buy, cask is re…

Scottish Win for Costa Coffee's Barista of the Year's Speciality Drink

18 November 2011
Costa Coffee's ( Winner of Best Speciality Drink at this year's Barista of the Year Awards was Boyd Murdock from Scotland with his Cranachan Affogato, an espresso based coffee.  He fought off tough competition which was open to all 25,000 barista's worldwide and ended with a final twelve baristas from India, Asia and Europe, after weeks of perfecting the final recipes.
The Winning Drink - A Cranachan Affogato
1 teaspoon Honey 1 small scoop of vanilla icecream 3 teaspoons raspberry coulis Raspberry syrup 1 teaspoon toasted pin head oatmeal 1 shot of Costa mocha Italia coffee
Layer ingredients into the glass. First add the honey, next the icecream and raspberry coulis.  Then sprinkle the oatmeal over the top and drizzle a little of the syrup. At the last minute, add the shot of hot Costa coffee. Serve immediately and enjoy.  In this way the coffee stays hot and the icecream doesn’t melt.
Flying the flag for Scotland, Boyd who works at the…

Lugo Rock in Falmouth Cornwall receives CHEFS award

18 November 2011
The Lugo Rock Bed & Breakfast Falmouth is an ideal place to enjoy Cornwall, and Falmouth is a fabulous destination to visit. It is a vibrant town with the world’s 3rd largest deep water harbour, it is framed by the south west coast path, it is a premier sailing destination with beaches, a castle, the MaritimeMuseum, parks and galleries - something for everyone!
The Lugo Rock B and B Falmouth is located just 100 yds from the Blue Flag GyllyngvaseBeach and a short walk form Falmouth town. The Lugo Rock B&B Falmouth is a friendly, relaxed family-run business which provides high quality guest accommodation in Falmouth.
The Lugo Rock bed and breakfast Falmouth has recently been awarded the CHEFS (Cornwall Healthier Eating & Food Safety) Award which requires businesses to demonstrate the highest possible standards of good hygiene, to offer healthier options to their menus and to source some Cornish ingredients. The Lugo Rock Guest House in Falmouth is one of on…

A bit about Benedictine.

A jock that I remember is that two men go to Italy and decide that they would like to go to a bar and drink what the locals drink.  But they have no idea what to have so they ask eth bar man what you drink around here . The bar man say all sorts of thing but one thing that he knew the pope drank was Benedictine.  So the two men set about drinking the Benedictine. The next day they were not feeling at all well and one turns to the other and say if that is what the pope drinks, I can see why they carry in around in a chair.
The history of Benedictine goes back to 1510 when it was made by the Dom Berardo’s monastery at Fécamp in the Normandy region of France.  That was up until 1789 when the monasteries were forcibly closed and production was banned .
Benedictine was not made until 1860 when a descendant from the monastery layers found a secrete recipe in a bundle of old papers. He built a very gothic distillery and went in to production.
Benedictine has in the region of 56 ingredien…


Here is another sauce that you will find easy to make and if you like things hot then is perfect for you. From north Africa this is perfect to go in cuscus or as a side dip or in a lot of north African dishes. Also Harissa keeps well in the fridge, but be sure to cover it with a little olive oil to keep it from being exposed to the air.
Ingredients 250g/9oz long, fresh red chillies Sea salt 3 heaped tsp ground caraway seed 3 heaped tsp ground cumin seed 1 tsp black ground cumin seed 4 cloves garlic 100g/3½oz roasted and peeled red bell pepper 2 tsp tomato purée 2 tsp red wine vinegar 4 tbsp olive oil 2 level tsp smoked paprika
Now all depending on how hot you want your Harissa  will depend on how you prepare your chillies . Remove the tops of the chillies, now if you do not want lots of heat then do the following.  Slice the chilli in half lengthways.  Lay each chilli on a chopping board, cut-side up, and gently scrape away the seeds with a teaspoon and discard.  By removing the see…

Seafood risotto

This risotto is a nice one as it has a fish and tomato stock to it that gives it a real flavour, that and the fennel.  There is some thing about shellfish and fennel that I think is a winning combination that you find hard to beat.
You will need 500g/1lb 2oz white fish filleted skin pined and boned 16 langoustines, raw 2 carrots, ½ Small fennel bulb 300ml/10fl oz dry white wine 3 garlic cloves 700g/1lb 9oz mussels 500g/1lb 2oz clams 500g/1lb 2oz small squid 3 shallots 350g/12oz risotto rice 1 tbsp tomato purée A little butter Some olive oil. Chopped fresh chives or parsley to finish Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
No it goes with out saying that all your self-fish wants to be washed, mussels de-bearded, squid sliced and with fish diced and prawns shelled and deveined.  However, do not throw the shell or fish bones away, keep hold of them to make your stock.
Start by roasting your sells from the prawns with the carrots.  Once the shell turn dark pink and that carr…

Mango chutney

Another Indian chutney today but this one is one you probably will recognise as the mango chutney you know and love.  But if you like you can make this al little more special.  Here you have the basic recipe but you could if you wanted add some chilli or use more ginger and garlic, add slices of lime, experiment with it.  The good thing about making a thing like this is that you can make it your own with   Also do not just have it with curry try it with cheese, it’s very good.
You will need 4 large mangoes Salt 4 cloves garlic 450g/1lb caster sugar 2 baking apples 1 small red chilli 1 inch fresh root ginger 600ml/1 pint white wine vinegar
Also when making any jam or preserve remember to use a lot bigger pan than you need with a thick base, you do not want it to stick and burn and it will boil up at the every beginning.
So start by, peeling, stoning and slicing your mangos then, coring and chopping your apples and put them in the large pan.  Now if your mangos are very hard then yo…

Goan Coconut chutney.

Now I do not know if you can call this a chutney as like most of them it is not cooked in any way.  It is more like a blend of spices that you just let marinade for a while and then sever with a dish.  However, is does have a real intense flavour and is well worth making. The idea is that you make it about a day before you need it and then use the next day but you can freeze it and bring it out when you want to use it .  I like to think that is it a bit like pesto when you think about it.  And like pesto there are other recipes that use red chillies and just pure coconut mixes as well. The hard thing is to get the coconut out of the coconut, but you can just get it from the shop now so you do not have to do that if you want.
You will need.
115g/4oz fresh coconut 110g/4oz fresh coriander 1 onion 2.5cm/1in piece of fresh ginger 2 garlic cloves 1 chilli 2 tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp coriander seeds 2 cloves 1cm/½in piece of cinnamon stick 1 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar
Now if you are a purist yo…

My version of Classic Italian meatballs in tomato sauce

Now for a good meatball you need a mix of tow kinds of meat, beef, lamb, pork or veal all are good.  My favour is both pork and beef you just get a better nicer meatball at the then but the choice is up to you.  As for the rest of this recipe, it is entirely what you put in it the basics are here, but you can add or take stuff away as you see fit. The real good thing about any dish like this is that you can make it incredibly difficult with loads of ingredients , or just use the basics . Then only thing that I would really insist on is that you use fresh herbs and season the meatballs well.
For your meatballs you will need, 500g/1lb 2oz pork mince 500g/1lb 2oz beef mince 100g/3½oz bread crumbs 6 sprigs thyme 6 sage leaves 6 sprigs of rosemary Small bunch parsley leaves 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1egg 100g/3½oz parmesan cheese A dash of oil, for frying Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
First het your herbs and chop them to a fine chop.  You do not want any hard t…