Showing posts from January, 2012


STAY IN LLANDUDNO, WALES, FOR AN AMAZING £1 31 January 2012 The Imperial Hotel in Llandudno is running an amazing offer for January and February whereby guests that book one night’s accommodation at the hotel’s normal room rate receive the second night for only £1! What a great reason to visit North Wales for a UK short break. The Imperial Hotel, winner of Visit Wales’ prestigious Gold Award for 2011-2012, is Llandudno’s largest quality Four Star hotel and with this not to be missed offer allows guests an affordable, stylish and memorable two night break. With its central situation on the Promenade, guests can enjoy stunning panoramic views across the bay while being in the heart of Llandudno, one of the finest traditional seaside resorts offering plenty for visitors to see and do. When it comes to dining, guests can enjoy a UK short break choosing from the award winning Chantrey’s Restaurant for fine dining or enjoy The Terrace for a more informal and relaxed atmosphere. …

Wine regions of the world, 4 Austria.

Difficult this one for me as have no real experience of Austrian wine, apart fro the odd bottle of rather crisp white I know very little on experience.  However, like most things you can find out lots for reference books and that is as good a place as any.  The thing is that you tend to find it clumped together with the wines of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Slovene.  And as it shares border with those countries it seem to undervalue what I can say what I have had is a excellent product.  Not that the wines of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Slovene are bad wines, it is just that they are preserved to be so.  In fact, it could be said that I have had more wines form Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Slovene than I have from Austria. It could be that Austrian wine is very much thought to be like German wine and now is rather looked down on by the British wine drinking public.  And the wine does share a common grape varieties, labelling and styles.  However, the wine form what I have had has a …


31 January 2012
From the cake making geniuses… as seen on Heston’s Feasts, Celebrity Juice, Good Morning America and cake makers to many A listed celebs.
The Cake Store has turned its cake making genius to producing a giant cake sculpture of Her Majesty to kick start the Diamond Jubilee party celebrations this year.
The cake was designed and created by cake making star, Steven Howard, who has been the creative director at The Cake Store for 15 years. The huge cake resembles Her Majesty, and even includes a royal waive, handbag and a cosy corgi. It stands a giant four feet tall and weighs 15 kilo.
The Cake Store are busy creating lots of cake styles for street parties including a giant Union Jack made from fresh fruits and dairy cream.
The Cake Store
Kevin and Tim Slatter’s family have been creating amazing celebration cakes since the 1900’s.  These days, the brothers and their team are often asked to provide their cake making wisdom for TV and their cakes have been at some of the ho…

Welsh Lamb takes centre stage during the largest Curry Festival in Wales

31 January 2012
Chefs across Wales are preparing to tantalise your taste buds, seduce your senses and pamper your palate as they compete to become Welsh Curry House of the Year 2012.  The search is now on to see who will win the coveted award, now in its sixth year, with more than 280 Indian restaurants in Wales eligible to compete. So on your UK family holiday get along to one and see for yourself.
“It feels like only yesterday that we started on our journey of discovery to find the best curry houses of Wales - but this is our sixth year! I always get excited when we launch the competition but this year it’s even more exciting as we confirm details for Wales’ largest curry festival,” said Berwyn Rowlands from The Festivals Company, the founders of the competition.
The 2012 competition will also incorporate Wales’ Largest Curry Festival, a must do for your UK family holiday, with all 30 short-listed restaurants taking part. The festival which runs for 5 weeks starting on 20 February …

Coq au vin.

Now if you want to know what is so good about French cooking then all you have to do is make this and you know.  I know that that might seem like a very extreme statement to make but for me this is the classic and iconic French dish. You have to make this with good wine good chicken and bacon and a little time and love.  You cannot just bang it al in the pan and expect it to work, this is some thing that you have to work at. But in the end when you taste the finished result them you will kno that it was all worth it
You will need 1 bottle good-quality red wine  1 small chopped onion 2 sticks chopped celery 1 chopped carrot 4 garlic cloves 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme 2 bay leaves For the stew 1 large chicken 100g/3½oz smoked pancetta, or dry cured smoked streaky bacon salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp plain flour 25g/1oz butter 20 button onions, peeled   20 button mushrooms 3 tbsp cognac olive oil, for shallow frying 4 thick slices white bread Chopped fresh parsley
First you h…

Chicken Hara Masala .

Now this is a very different Indian dish that I thing is not what people exspect when you offer them some thing called a masala.  The apple mint and yoghurt make this a light fruits almost light dish.
You will need 1 good crisp eating apple 1 medium onion 2 medium green chillies 120ml/4floz plane yoghurt 120ml/4floz coconut milk 225g/8ox diced chicken 1tsp crushed garlic 1tsp crushed ginger 1tbsp oil Good hand full of fresh coriander Good handful of fresh mint 25g/1oz sultanas 2 spring onions Salt and sugar to taste.
Now start by dice your onion and your apple as fine as you can.  What you want to do is cook this down so the apple breaks up to thicken the sauce. Now if you want you can do this in a food processor but it will work just as well in the cooking pan .
In a large frying pan heat the oil and then add the apple and the onion. You have to cook on a low heat as you do not want the apple to burn or caramelise this will send the sauce a brown colure. While this is all cookin…

Guinea Fowl with sherry and almond sauce.

This is a Spanish dish that shows what a influence the Arab world had on Spain when the Moors invaded they brought the culture and that also meant there food . And this dish show that dutifully with a mix of almonds, saffron and sherry.
You will need, 25g/1oz blanched almonds 120ml/¼pt chicken stock 1.3kg/3ld guinea fowl 60ml/4floz olive oil 1 thick slice for white bread 2 garlic cloves 120ml/4floz dry sherry The juice of half a lemon A pinch of saffron threads A pinch of ground cloves 3 good pinches of  paprika Fresh grated nut meg A few sprigs of thyme 1 bay leaf A hand full of parsley choppted
Now to stat with you have to roast your almonds so spared them over a baking sheet and  pop it in a oven set at 150c/300f for about twenty minutes. While they are roasting you can het some of your stock and pour it over the saffron so that infuse the stock with its flavour and colure.
Now take your slice of bread cut the crusts off and fry in some olive oil along with the ruff chopped garli…

My hot fudge sundaes

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.  And it you are going to have ice cream then you can not do better than have a hot fudge sundae to just get that blend of hat sauce cold ice-cream.  It is an easy thing to make adults, and kids alike love them and you can add or take away things as you go. 
For my fudge sundaes you will need 600ml/1pt of good vanilla ice-cream 600ml/1pt of good chocolate ice-cream 2 large ripe bananas 300ml/½pt whipping cream Chopped nuts Fudge chips White chocolate chips 60g /2½oz light muscovado sugar 115g/4oz golden syrup 45ml/3tsp strong black coffee 150g/5oz dark bitter chocolate 45ml/3tbsp Tia Maria A good pinch of cinnamon
First make your fudge sauce, this could not be easier.  Take the muscovado sugar, golden syrup, coffee and cinnamon and put it in a saucepan.  Get this on the heat and bring it to the boil then let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Keep stirring this all the time you do not want it to just burn and caramelise to quick.
Now ta…

Mayonnaise and chips.

I do not know what this say about me or if it says nothing about me but I think the best foods in the world are potatoes. Versatile and so many different ways you can have them.  But just making them in to chips, not fries but big chunky chips and dipping them in a fresh mayonnaise is very hard to beat. I must admit the first time I saw some one dunk a chip in to some mayonnaise I did think them to be mad but after trying it I knew that some things where just meant to be.
You will need 4 large old potatoes Oil to fry them in 2 free-range egg yolks 1 tsp Dijon mustard 2 pinches sea salt pinch ground white pepper 250ml/9fl oz  olive  oil 1 tsp white wine vinegar 2 tsp lemon juice
Now to make your chips as I am sure I have done this before but I will go over it once more.  Peal your potatoes and then cut them in to nice big fat chunky chips.  Now put them in a pan of salted water and bring them to the boil.  Turn the heat down and simmer the potatoes so that you have some give on the o…

Twitter Helps Celebrities Unite to Bake for the Ben Kinsella Trust

26 January 2012
Celebrities, chefs and politicians are contributing their favourite baking recipes to the Celebrity Bake Book which supports The Ben Kinsella Trust. Ben Kinsella was knifed to death in June 2008 in Islington. He was just 16 years old. His sister, Brooke Kinsella (who is an actress and was in EastEnders) and her family created The Ben Kinsella Trust to raise awareness about the growing problem of knife crime.
Later on this year Brooke will be launching a project to take a knife crime awareness exhibition to schools throughout the country. The intention is to educate children of all ages about the consequences of knife crime and what it can do to a family. The trust aims to educate children as young as primary school age in the difference between right and wrong and against ever picking up a weapon, be it through peer pressure, fear or simply believing it is cool. The Trust also hopes, one day, to build a youth centre in Ben’s name in Islington to help protect, support …

Innovate Services reveals findings from Lunch Box Amnesty

26 January 2012
- Study group reveals only 7% of recorded packed lunches comply with food-based standards for school lunches –
Innovate Services Ltd, the innovative catering facilities operator to the education sector, has today announced the findings from its initial Lunch Box Amnesty study group into the contents of students’ lunch boxes from a food health and safety perspective, in addition to reviewing the nutritional aspects, and has identified some interesting trends.
In total, 120 year 7 and 8 students from four secondary schools participated in the study group, providing a sample of 70 packed lunches to analyse from a nutritional standpoint. Of these, 49 lunch box samples were subsequently tested from a food safety and hygiene perspective and 80 students also completed written questionnaires providing their personal views regarding lunch box contents.
Public health nutritionist, Robert Hobson carried out the analysis on the food types and identified that only 7% of the packe…

Something good coming to the TV.

Now last year I was take up completely with the program “Michel Roux Service” and I do not know if it is coming back this year but I hope it is. For those of you who did not know it followed the progress of a group of young people form different back grounds being trained to become front of house staff. I for one was a very big fan.
Now I find that I could be getting a lot more Roux for my television time as it had been announced that the Roux Family, that is the family, are going to be in a new program called “The Roux Legacy.”
It will be on UKTV good food Channel and have behind the scenes footage of The Waterside Inn and Le Gavroche. With interviews with both Albert, Alain, Michel Sr and Michel Jr as well.  What more could you ask for , well you will get the family working next to each other in two masterclasses  of two recipes and the show will end with Roux Scholarship as a climax as the winner is revealed.
As a Family goes, you do not get much more influential than this and I…

Loseley Valentine Cupcakes

January 2012
Give this Valentine’s Day a twist of sheer loveliness in the form of Valentine Cupcakes with Loseley Summer Meadow Butter.
These little delights will bring an element of light, fluffy love and happiness to the table on the key date of the year to unlock all hearts. (Makes 10 small cupcakes)
For the Cakes: Egg (free range please) 1 plain flour (or use self raising and omit the baking powder) 75G Sugar 50g Loseley Summer Meadow Butter 62g  Baking powder 1/2 tsp Pixley Berries blackcurrant cordial 3 tsp Pink food colouring (optional) few drops
For the Frosting:
If you will be spreading rather than piping your frosting you will need rather less.
Loseley Summer Meadow Butter 75g Icing sugar 250g Pixley Berries blackcurrant cordial 1  – 2 tbs
Add the eggs, butter, flour, sugar, baking powder & salt to a bowl and beat with a hand whisk until blended. Add the cordial and briefly mix again. The batter should be loose enough to dollop off a spoon.
Line …


6 January 2012
Whilst red suggests passion, pink is said to be the colour of unconditional and romantic love, which is why Croft Pink is the drink of choice on St Valentine’s Day.
This warm and giving rosé, with its delicate, soft cherry hue, is always a welcoming loving cup, especially enjoyed by those who like to have more fun with their drink.
Croft Pink is for lovers of informality and versatility, especially when served chilled, over ice or in a delicious cocktail or two bringing out its vibrant raspberry flavours with hints of honey and grapefruit.
Show your love with a Pink Blossom, a lovingly effervescent cocktail of Croft Pink, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, sparkling wine and frozen berries (recipe below).  Or be stirred, be shaken, be adventurous and let loose with a Runaway – a spirited blend of Croft Pink, Calvados, Benedictine, lemon juice and Angostura. Spice it up with Pink Cashmere, an exotic blend of Croft Pink with apricot nectar and a gentle kick of black peppe…

Tipsy laird

For all intense purposes, this is a whiskey trifle, but it can be more than that. At its very basic leave it is just like a trifle but you have put some whiskey in it but at its very best you can go right over the top. Personally, this particular version is a good one as it used the best taste combinations of raspberries and white chocolate.
You will need 6 tbsp whisky The juice of 1 orange 2 tbsp raspberry jam 5 trifle sponges 450g/1lb raspberries 110g/4oz white chocolate 450ml/1pt fresh custard 400ml/13fl oz double cream 150g/5oz cream cheese 55g/2oz toasted flaked almonds and chopped nuts mixed
This recipe is made in three stages and all are relatively easy. Fist the base, you need to take your trifle sponge and dip that in the whiskey and place that on the bottom of the bowl . Now take your jam and orange juice, heat that in a pan, and then pass that through a sieve on to the sponge in the bowl. Let that soak in to the sponge and add any whiskey that you have left. Then on to…

Wine journalist Matthew Jukes awarded ‘Honorary Australian of the Year’

23 January 2012
Matthew Jukes, wine writer and author, was last night named 'Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK' at the Australia Day Foundation Dinner at Australia House.   Presented annually to a non-Australian resident who has displayed 'Australian characteristics' or has contributed significantly to Australia, Matthew Jukes’ long-term passion for, and on-going commitment to, the Australian wine industry has been recognised with this extremely prestigious award.
However, it is not just his support of the wine industry that has led to this honour.  Matthew is a keen supporter of homeless charities around the world.  He is the Patron and Founder of Touch Wine and Wine Rules, annual events which raise money for the homeless charities The Hutt St Centre in Adelaide, South Australia and St Mary’s House of Welcome in Melbourne, Victoria.  Bringing together two of Matthew’s greatest passions, rugby and wine, these events have so far raised over $700,000 AUD for ch…

Malmaison, Smoak, Hotel Du Vin and Bistro Du Vin create two new food and beverage clubs

24 January 2012 Hotel du Vin, Bistro du Vin, Malmaison and Smoak have announced the creation of two new food and beverage dining clubs - ClubMal and Societe du Vin. The brands have over the years created several food and beverage initiatives tailored to their loyal following of diners. In the new wave of voucher third parties they have created a programme where their guests reap the discounted benefits with no hidden costs, just great perks passed directly to the consumer.
Fond favourites at the hotel restaurants such as the Roast du Vin with two courses for Sunday lunch, cheese and wine platters with a bottle of wine and the Mal Steak Nights will all continue to be available, but this is something more.
The two programmes - ClubMal for Malmaison and Smoak, and Societe du Vin for Hotel du Vin, Pub du Vin and Bistro du Vin, launched on the 4th January 2012 with a 50% off food offer for January. On registration an email is dispatched with the latest offers based on the register's …

23rd - 29th January 2012 is Food Allergy and Intolerance Week

20 January 2012
Is it possible some of your readers suffer from food intolerance? Food Allergy and Intolerance Week might be a good time to find out!
Food allergies and intolerances are becoming increasingly common. But what is a food intolerance and how does it differ from a food allergy?
A classic food allergy only affects around 2% of the population but symptoms can be severe and sudden. In contrast, food intolerances are much more common and may occur when certain antibodies (known as IgG) are triggered, as the result of a reaction to specific foods.
Almost any food can cause a reaction but foods eaten most regularly are often the chief culprits – typically, wheat and dairy products, closely followed by other gluten grains, eggs and yeast. Symptoms may be delayed for hours or even days after eating the food, making it very difficult to pinpoint the culprit. Having several intolerances further confounds the situation! But, don’t worry, help is at hand!
The Food Intolerance Tests…

New lab inspired recipe book by celebrity chef & best-selling author

20 January 2012
Gurpareet Bains, celebrity chef and author of the No. 1 best-selling Indian Superfood, presents Indian Superspices: lab-inspired recipes to help with everyday ailments such as colds, PMT, hangovers and even insomnia. His unique approach uses spices in medicinal quantities to alleviate stress, anxiety, allergies and a range of other ailments. It will also help manage weight loss and aid with detox.
Gurpareet already has a large fan base among A-list celebrities and Royalty. He is the creator of the ‘world’s healthiest meal’ and winner of the 2011 English Curry Awards’ ‘Chef of the Year’ title.
On his journey, Gurpareet reveals the amazing secrets of a spice that has been scientifically-proven by the US FDA in the treatment of asthma, diabetes, psoriasis and viral infections, as well as inhibition of cancer cell growth and improvement of the immune system. Gurpareet proves that Indian cuisine is robust enough to absorb medicinal quantities of spices and still deliver de…

Arbroath smokie chowder

Nothing to making this soup, all you have to do is remember that you do not want to over cook the fish so poach it first and add it at the last minute to the soup. Another thing is if you cannot get hold of Arbroath smokie then you could just use smoked haddock just as long as you use natural smoked haddock. Do not use the bright yellow stuff, it will not give the same flavour and turn the soup a yellow colure.
You will need 325g/12oz Arbroath smokie or smoked haddock 1 lt/2pt water 1 onion 1 bay leaf 1 stick celery, diced 3 medium potatoes 55g/2oz butter 40g/1½oz flour 290ml/½ single cream A little chopped parsley or chives A pinch nutmeg Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Take your fish and place it in a pan and cover it with the water so it is completely covered then add the bay leaf and cover with a bit of greaseproof paper. Bring it up to the boil and then turn the heat of and let the fish sit in the pan for about 5 minutes then remove from the water. Place the fish t…

Haggis with neeps and tatties

Now at first Haggis does not sound that nice when you ask what it is. It is a dish containing sheep's 'pluck', that is to say the heart, liver and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet and salt. This is seasoned with the all-important spices the most closely guarded secret to any Haggis recipe. Then you add some stock make a sort of stuffing that fills a sheep’s stomach. This is then simmered for approximately three hours and that is your haggis.
Now you might not like the sound of this but take that leap of faith and try it , it has a sort of ruff texture and a  savoury flavour. It uses such cheap cuts of meat as it was more a thing of necessity but if you have eaten black pudding this should not be a problem to you.
As to its original origin according to the grate Alan Davidson, food writer and not comedian, it goes back to Ancient Romans or even earlier. Now I have never made a haggis and I do not think you would get the ingredients easily from the shops but you cou…

Clootie pudding

This is rich fruit pudding a bit like a Christmas pudding but not, it is a classic Scottish dessert. Excellent on a cold winters night when you have been out all day in the cold . You can get next to an open fire and have some pudding with clotted cream and a good malt whisky. What you will need is a god clean tea towel pillow case or piece of muslin to cook this.
You will need 225g (8oz) plain flour 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp mixed spice 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground ginger ¼tsp sea salt 175g/6oz caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling 100g/4oz shredded suet 100g/4oz sultanas 75g/3oz currants 75g/3oz chopped stoned dates 50g/2oz Muscatel raisins 1 apple or carrot, coarsely grated 1 tbsp black treacle 1 medium egg 150ml/5fl oz buttermilk 225g/8oz clotted cream
Apart from how you cook this it is very much like any pudding really of its kind. Start by sifting the flour, bicarbonate of soda in to a bowl Then add the spices, salt , sugar, suet, dried fruits, and the grated ca…


Bannock is a slightly sweet, fruit loaf a bit like a teacake but darker sort of toffee taste. It is good for afternoon tea but also goes very well with cheese. This recipe I do not think is an original as it would have once been cooked on a griddle and would not have any yeast, more like an unleavened flat bread.
You will need 7g fast-action yeast 1 tsp caster sugar 250ml/9fl oz lukewarm water 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour 125g/4½oz unsalted butter 250g/9oz dried mixed fruit 50g/2oz light muscovado sugar Egg glaze
Start by mixing your yeast and caster sugar in the water , let it sand for a while so the mix goes all frothy.
While you are doing that gently melt the butter. Now sift your flour in to a large bowl and add the melted butter and the yeast and bring this altogether to make a dough. Now turn it out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth elastic dough.
Now put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover, let it prove in a w…

The Cranachan

Now this does sound like some kind of mythical beast that will swoop down and devour whole villages, but it is in fact a very tasty desert.  I was first introduced to this dessert by a Scottish chef Steven Gordon who told me how to make it . I thought that it would not be that nice after all it was mainly just cream and oatmeal and that them proved me wrong.
You will need for the Cranachan 100g/4oz medium oatmeal 2 tbsp raspberry jam 2 tbsp water to loosen the jam 300ml/½ pint double cream 1 tsp Runny honey 5 tbsp whisky 175g/6oz fresh raspberries icing sugar
First start by toasting the oatmeal either under the grill as long as you are very carful or on the oven . You can even do this in a heavy frying pan if you wish . If you do not want to do any of that you can always just take some oat cakes and crumb them like you would for a bisect base in a cheese cake. Once toasted let them cool.
Now take your jam and heat in a pan with a little water to let this down , if you like you can …

Breathe Fire into Chinese New Year

18 January 2012
This Chinese New Year it is time to unleash the luckiest sign of the Chinese zodiac - the dragon.
Celebrate Chinese New Year on January 23 with friends and family and add fuel to the fire with a sizzling Oriental banquet and a little help from the leading Chinese and Oriental food supplier, Wing Yip.
Wing Yip has some great recipe ideas and tips for hosting an Oriental banquet to welcome Chinese New Year of the Dragon, as well as further information on Chinese signs of the zodiac and amazing dragon facts for Chinese New Year. 
Mr Wing Yip, founder of Wing Yip, said: “The UK has a thriving Chinese cultural heritage and it is fantastic to see communities coming together to welcome in the Chinese New Year of the Dragon.  
“The occasion will be marked with colourful festivals and street parades and whether entertaining friends by cooking Oriental treats at home or ordering a takeaway, the cuisine is an integral part of the festivities.”
For those who want to celebrate …

Burns Night or Burns Nicht.

You have to give it to the Scots that celebrating a poet as part of a national night of celebration is some thing that should be admired. After all you do not get a Shakespeare night of Wordsworth night here in England and more the pity. Every where you find expatriate Scots you will probably find a burns night , and my research tells me that it is a very strong tradition in New Zealand’s Dunedin , which Burns nephew Thomas Burns was the founding farther. A Burns supper is a celebration of his life and poetry and in a mix of tradition food and the words of the bard The first suppers were held in Ayrshire at the end of the 18th century to start with on the anniversary of his death but then held on his birthday. Now what you are expecting is to have Haggis the most traditional of Scottish dishes.  And do not forget the Scotch whisky and the recitation of Burns'
You gather and have a few drinks and then the host will say a few words and declare the evening open . After that you hav…