Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Ken Hom’s Complete Chinese Cookbook

Sunday, June 10th, 2018 | Books, Food

We’ve really enjoyed Ken Hom’s cookbook. We’ve been working our way through the 60-odd recipes we thought looked tasty over the past three or fours months and can now conclusively say that it is a winner.

All of the recipes have been easy to follow. A lot of them start the same way: by chopping up some meat and marinating it in a mixture of sesame oil, rice wine, soy sauce and corn flour. Then typically stir-fried with a variety of other ingredients.

If you’re looking for authentic Chinese food, this isn’t the book for you. The recipes are Westernised, which makes them both easy to cook and very tasty.

Sweet and sour pork.

Chicken and sweetcorn soup. It should have been chicken and spinach soup, but I cooked all of the spinach the day before and had to rely on stereotypes to fill in the blank.

Chicken with sesame seeds.

Braised fish.

Tesco removing “best before” dates

Thursday, May 24th, 2018 | Food

This week, Tesco announced that it was removing “best before” dates from around 70 products including apples, potatoes, tomatoes, lemons and onions.

In 2012, I wrote about how banning “best before” dates could contribute to reducing food waste. Has Tesco taken this step because of the relentless pressure of six years of being sharing my blog post? No. But I’m pleased about their decision nonetheless.

Creamy sweet potato soup

Monday, May 7th, 2018 | Food

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with soups a little. Nothing too exciting, but I have decided that rather than working from recipes, I’m just going to throw stuff into a pan and see if I can do it off-script. This recipe worked out well, so I thought I would share.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Carrot
  • Fennel
  • Garlic clove
  • 1 tsp crushed chillis
  • Sweet potato
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 100g sweetcorn
  • 300ml double cream
  • Flat-leaf parsley
  • Chicken breasts

Instructions

Cook the chicken breasts in the oven according to packet instructions: usually around 30-35 minutes at 180-200 degrees C will do it. Put some bowls in a plate warmer.

Meanwhile, heat a large pan with some vegetable oil it in. Finely slice the carrot, fennel and garlic and combine it with the crushed chillis. Season with salt and pepper and cook it for a few minutes.

Peel and dice the sweet potato into any size chunks you like. Throw this in and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add the chicken stock and sweetcorn and bring to a boil. Leave to simmer until the chicken is two minutes away from done.

When the chicken is almost ready, take a stick blender to the pan and destroy everything until there are no lumps. Add the double cream and stir to heat through. You can take the pan off the heat.

Take the chicken out of the oven and slice. Fill your bowls with some soup, then dump the sliced chicken in the middle. Chop some parsley and sprinkle that around the edges.

The Star Inn

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 | Food, Reviews

The Star Inn, also known as The Star at Harome is a Michelin-starred restaurant by Andrew Pern, located on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors.

It’s set in a 14th century thatched cottage with an open fire. The ceiling is a bit low: fine for us, but I felt bad for the tall waiter who had to duck every time he moved through the dining room. The atmosphere was intimate, with only a few tables nicely spaced out in each room.

The food was excellent, but not mind-blowing. What I mean by that is that they have executed the dishes very well. They are skillfully crafted and delicious. However, they are not anything you won’t have had before: it’s just gastropub food done to a very high level. No bad thing.

The dishes

I started with The Rockpool: a langoustine bisque containing king scallop, mussels and a selection of other seafood delicacies (maybe a bit of lobster or an oyster, I’m not sure). After that, I moved onto the venison before finishing with the chocolate torte.

Each dish was well thought through in terms of presentation. I think my starter shined more than the main. Elina had the beef consomme to start, followed by the mutton which was packed with taste. There was a mix up with the dessert when she got rice pudding instead of ice cream, but at least there was a birthday candle in it.

The drinks

They had soft drinks, which beat out our last Michelin experience. That said, I think I managed to disappoint the waiter. When I inquired as to what they had, he said they had a lot of things so just name some. I named dandelion and burdock, followed by Iron Bru, both of which came up short. They did have a good selection of juices and fizzy drinks, though. And the alcoholic selection was extensive, of course.

Cost

It’s a reasonably priced place. We spent just under £100 ordering from the à la carte menu. That got us three courses, plus several little bonus courses, and some soft drinks. The tasting menu is a bit more expensive but they also do a very reasonable locals menu which is £25 for three courses.

Eggs and soldiers

Friday, March 9th, 2018 | Food, Photos

I saw this on Instagram and had to replicate.

Blood pancakes

Saturday, January 27th, 2018 | Food

Recently, we finally found a long-sought-after commodity in Leeds. Blood. They sell it by the bag at the international supermarket.

“What do you do with a bag of blood?” you ask. Why, make blood pancakes, of course.

I was a little skeptical, I think partially because of Elina’s reassurance that I didn’t have to eat all of them. Having tasted them, I would describe them as okay. They taste a lot like Scotch pancakes and go well with lingonberry jam.

Our Korean Kitchen

Sunday, December 31st, 2017 | Books, Food

Our Korean Kitchen is a cookbook by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo.

It sounds exciting, but honestly, it’s not. I just can’t make much from this book. Everything is too difficult.

There is always a question of authenticity vs practicality. Some people may have preferences either way. Mine is probably towards the latter. I want to make stuff from a cookbook. If that means dumping it down for British people, I’m for that.

The recipes I did manage were total winners. The bulgogi is delicious. Elina loves the warming chicken and potato stew. But I’m not sure where to go after that. Have you tried making your own kimchi? It’s not straightforward.

I thought I had really put the effort in after I spent an hour in the international supermarket chasing down gochugaru paste, kimchi sauce, muli and half a dozen other ingredients. But it wasn’t enough.

If you are someone with a lot of determination, you can probably get a lot out of this book. But if, like me, you are time limited and not entirely sure how to use doen-jang soybean paste, you might struggle with this book.

Beef wellington

Saturday, December 30th, 2017 | Food

I tried my hand at a beef wellington. It looks more like a sausage roll, largely due to me using pre-cut fillet steak, rather than an entire fillet. At £30 a pop for one, I think I’ll live with the shape.

The Real Greek

Sunday, December 17th, 2017 | Books, Food

With a name like The Real Greek, you would expect Tonia Buxton’s cookbook to offer authentic recipes. Does it?

Well, that depends on how accurate greek stereotypes are. Everything had feta cheese in it. So, if that is genuinely all Greek people eat, then yes.

It’s a book of simple recipes. If you want to know how to make a beautiful Greek salad or marinate some spicy kebabs, it is full of that stuff. And often, you do just want to make something simple and delicious, so it works well.

The number of actionable recipes was mixed. I’ve made a bunch of skewers and stuffed some burgers with feta cheese. But, despite a range of other dishes, not much else took my fancy. At first, it felt there was very little, although, on going back through them, I have enjoyed several other recipes, too. It doesn’t match up to the likes of Hugh or Mary Berry, but I have added a handful of recipes to my repertoire.

Hairy Bikers Ride Again

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 | Books, Food

The Hairy Bikers Ride Again is a cookbook by Dave Myers and Si King. They spend their time riding around the world on motorbikes, finding new recipes and cooking. And then distilling this into books and TV shows.

In this instalment, they go through India, Argentina and Morocco and Belgium.

Chorizo crumb fish

Spicy mash

It’s an okay cookbook. It’s not your usual type: it’s split between them talking about their travels and then there is a bunch of recipes. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing will come down to your personal preferences.

The recipes worked well. They felt a little safe but produced predictably nice food. Nothing has made it onto my “recipes to come back to” list, but both the vegetable and paneer curries are definitely close.