Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Canapes

Monday, June 19th, 2017 | Books, Food

A lot of my cooking revolves around main courses. It is easy to slip into this pattern: I only do a three-course meal once or twice per week. Therefore, a lot of the starter, lunch and dessert recipes get forgotten about.

However, I have been making a conscious effort to expand this. Adding some new canapes to my repertoire seemed a good direction to go.

A lot of the recipes in this book were too fiddly for me to bother. However, there are some firm favours. The Asian pork balls, for example. And the mini-burgers were not that difficult either.

Pancetta and tomato with basil pesto crostini, and a citrus avocado puree crostino.

Filo tartlets with beef.

All in all, I’ll give this the thumbs up. It has provided me with some great little recipes.

The 4-Hour Chef

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017 | Books, Food

Tim Ferriss is a super-star. Jeff Goins nailed it when he said that people didn’t love Tim Ferriss for the message he brings, but just because he’s such a cool person that you want to me like him.

Since rising to fame with The Four-Hour Work Week, he has gone on to push the franchise with The Four-Hour Body and this, The Four-Hour Chef.

It’s quite clever the way he sells it (or sneaky). He sends you the audiobook for free when you join his mailing list. But there are no recipes in it: every 5 minutes the narrator says “please refer to the print or eBook edition for recipe steps and sidebars”.

Ferriss suggests that cookbooks are written for those who can already cook. They are arranged by category and don’t explain what is going on. Instead, this book is arranged by technique, starting from the basics and building up.

It is arranged into five sections: meta, domestic, wild, science and pro. In meta-learning, he talks about how to learn faster and more efficiently. He then takes you through the building blocks of cookery in dom.

In wild, we are treated to a narrative of Tim’s adventures. How to survive a disaster and catch a pigeon, for example. Science is similar: there is some science in it, but also plenty of stories: the time he attempted Ben & Jerry’s Vermonster, for example, or his food marathon: 26.2 dishes in 24 hours. Something I would love to try.

Finally, in pro, he rounds off with talking to some of the best chefs in the world about how they do what they do.

I tried a lot of the recipes in domestic. They’re fun. None have made my regular rotation, but I made the Vietnamese burgers more than once.

I also really enjoyed a lot of the explanations. Why do you need to brown meat? I knew why already, but no cookbook ever takes the time to explain it: it’s more folk knowledge. Why do you need mustard in a vinaigrette? Why do you rest steak? It’s all in here.

The science is a mixed bag. It’s really interesting to learn about all of the different aspects of the cooking process, gels, emulsions, etc. However, I struggled to follow along with the theory. I more felt like I was getting starter points to learn about it on my own. And some of the science in here is a little dubious. Like his original book, I suspect Ferriss doesn’t let the truth ruin a good story.

If you’re a Tim Ferriss fan, this is a no-brainer. Get the hardback: it’s a monster.

Introducing the Human Baby Cookbook

Saturday, April 1st, 2017 | Books, News

Unlock the secrets to cooking human baby with this beautifully presented new cookbook.

Been tempted to try the other other white meat, but been confused by unclear instructions, endless barbeque sauce choices and the law? Never fear: let us take you by the hand. Learn how to buy, prepare and cook a meat that is abundant, sustainable and environmentally friendly.

This no-expense-spared hardback edition contains 31 delicious recipes, each illustrated with a full-page full-colour edge-to-edge photograph.

For anyone who considers themselves a foodie, this is a must by. Nobody could possibly walk past your bookshelf without commenting!

Order your copy now for £29.99 (plus shipping).

Kenwood stick blender review

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 | Reviews

Our arsenal of kitchen gadgets now contains a stick blender. Despite my reservations about the reliability of my stand mixer, we opted for Kenwood because of a mixer of price and better the devil you know. Also, it has three blades, which is one whole extra blade than normal.

Gordon Ramsay uses a bamix, but that was out of my price range.

The model I settled on was the Kenwood HDP406WH Triblade.

User experience

Initially, I was pretty annoyed by the Kenwood. it has almost no instructions. What attachment does what? It is not clear. It is heavy and hard to lift for any period of time. It gets hot if you use it too much. The power cord is too short.

However, I always give myself a bit of time to cool off before posting a review because I know I usually feel different after a few weeks.

It has been useful. I realised the secret was to use physical force. It struggled to blend everything initially. However, it if you really force the thing down into the jug, it does the job. Whether this will have long term implications I am not sure. But there is really no other option: being able to blend is an essential product feature of a blender.

Attachments

I have not worried about the other attachments. I don’t need them. Perhaps the soup blender may be useful, but you can do the same thing with the standard attachment. Everything else, I will continue to do in the food processor.

Amazing Malaysian

Friday, March 17th, 2017 | Books, Food

Malaysia is a cool country when it comes to culinary history. They have the Malay people, along with large minority populations of Indian and Chinese people. They also have colonial influences from the British and Portuguese. Their food is almost fusion in itself.

I also like that they do not worry too much about food being hot: it all gets served together. This is nice because serving scorching hot food is, quite frankly, a hassle. A hassle worth going to when the food calls for it, but in this case, it is fine to let rice steam for 15 minutes after cooking.

The narrator is Norman Musa. He hails from Penang, but is better known for Ning restaurant in Manchester.

Most of the recipes followed a set pattern. You would start by blitzing a mixture of ingredients: typically chilli, garlic, cinnamon, star anise and onion (or not, in my case) then mixing it with some ground cinnamon and a pandan leaf, before frying it and adding some meat.

It turns out that you can get pandan leaf in Leeds. Many of the other rare ingredients we were unable to procure. Musa also uses dried chilis in most of his recipes. We managed to pick up a bag of a few hundred at the international supermarket.

Fish pate. I have no idea if I was doing this correctly.

Indian lentil patties.

Spicy baked haddock.

Beef with pineapple.

Beef with tomatoes.

Aromatic chicken curry.

Beef with rice.

How to make fried rice

Sunday, March 5th, 2017 | Food

Want to turn a normally healthy food into something unhealthy and delicious, without having to go down to the local takeaway? Follow these instructions.

Fried rice is super-tasty and really simple to make. It works well as a side dish, or as the main event, especially if you are adding some protein into the mix.

Ingredients

  • Long-grain rice
  • Bean sprouts
  • Garden peas
  • Groundnut oil
  • Egg

Instructions

  1. Pre-cook the rice. The instructions on the packet will explain how to do this will be on the side of the packet. Typically it will involve bringing a pan of water to boil and dropping the rice in for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain the rice and set aside.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok until it is nice and hot.
  4. Throw in the beansprouts and garden peas and stir fry them. By stir fry, I mean push around the pan a lot with a wooden spoon.
  5. Throw the rice in too and give it another two minutes.
  6. Make a hole in the centre of the pan, then crack and egg and drop the contents into the hole.
  7. Give the egg a minute or two to cook, then rough it up with a fork until it is lots of little pieces.
  8. Mix everything together and serve.

Spring rolls

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 | Food

Have you ever tried to make your own spring rolls?

I have tried several times, from several different cookbooks. It is difficult. First, you have to get the rice paper in a bowl of water. Th is hard because it does not bend much without cracking. I usually manage to crack it on the way in. Then, once it’s in, god help you if you put it near another spring roll because they stick together like crazy.

Then you add the filling and try to roll it. I was told to tightly roll it, so I did. The filling squirted out the end. This happens every time, even though I never manage to get it that tight.

Finally, you have to cook them. Keeping your oil at the correct temperature and preventing them from sticking together, leaking filling or exploding all at the same time is an art.

It could be that spring rolls happen to be a weakness for me. However, I suspect it might be that the subtle art of making spring rolls is difficult to communicate in a cookbook.

Does anyone have a more positive experience? What are the secrets?

Baconated kale recipe

Monday, January 30th, 2017 | Food

Have you ever thought to yourself “I wish I could eat more kale, which genuinely is a super food, but it just tastes so boring”? If so, never fear. I have found a solution that will have you eating kale until it comes out of your ears.

The solution: combine it with a second super food. In this case, bacon.

Everyone knows bacon is a super food, of course. It cures hangovers. It comes from a magical animal, one that produces chops, ribs, gammon and much, much more. Best of all is the unmistakable smell that comes down the corridor as soon as someone starts frying it.

I used pancetta, but any type of bacon will do. Start by cutting it up into small pieces. Next, fry it in a pan until crispy. While you are doing this, steam the kale. When they are both cooked, toss to mix.

Or, if you want to get more of the bacon flavour into the kale, cook the bacon first and then toss it with the kale. If you have the bacon crispy before it goes in, it should not go soggy during steaming.

Deep fried camembert

Sunday, November 20th, 2016 | Food

camembert-1

This is a recipe from Le Cordon Bleu’s Complete Cooking Techniques. You slice the cheese, crumb it and put it in the fridge until it has regained its structure. Finally, you deep fry it.

camembert-2

Sauces

Thursday, November 17th, 2016 | Food

In the Worfolk household, we have themed months. I work through cookbooks fairly sequentially, and it takes me about a month to get through one, so each month ends to have a theme. For the past two months, that theme has been sauces.

I have been working with Michel Roux’s Sauces. I think it might be my new favourite cookbook. It has so many great recipes in there. It feels different to a regular cookbook and in some ways it makes things easier: if you have a great sauce you can literally just fry some chicken and serve it as is with the sauce.

The book is not without criticism. The recipes use so much veal stock. I don’t think I have ever seen veal for sale in UK supermarkets. Other ingredients are unavailable too. So far though, they have all been easy to substitute.

bread-sauce-wine-mustard

Bread sauce, mustard and white wine sauce.

parsley-nage

Parsley nage with lemon grass.

bearnaise-sauce

Bearnaise sauce.

juniper-sauce

Juniper sauce.

curried-mussels

Curried mussels.

sea-bass-shrimp-sauce

Sea bass and shrimp sauce.

michel-roux-sauces