Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

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

Plateau de fruits de mer

Friday, September 30th, 2016 | Food

fruits-de-mer

I’ve seen a couple of restaurants offering a fruits der mer platter recently, so thought i would give it a crack myself. The name is French and translates to “fruits of the sea”. It typically consists of a mix of shellfish, served over ice.

Mine included a lobster, cut in half down the middle, a crab, crayfish, prawns in the shell, muscles and clams. All of it was bought live from the fish market. I am not normally a lobster fan, but serving it on ice worked really well.

The downside of serving it all on ice is that it created a very slippy base: when carrying the platter the whole array of food slid from side to side, and I even lost a prawn or two moving it to the table.

fruits-der-mer-table

I served it with two mayonnaises. This was not the plan, but my first one turned out too thin, so I did a second one. I also did a gribiche sauce, which is the pale one in the bowl and a honey mustard sauce (bottom left).

I won’t be doing it again in a hurry: it was too much of a hassle.

How to make a better pizza

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 | Food

better-pizza

We never buy pre-made pizzas in at the Worfolk household. However, I had begun to wonder whether we would actually get better results buying them frozen. My homemade ones were okay, but not the magic I was hoping for. For one, I could not get them crispy enough. I even tried pan frying them.

However, a few weeks ago everything finally came together. Reviewing what I did, I think it was a combination of all the different things I have been trying. So I have tried to codify them into one list.

Give the dough a good knead

I use my stand mixer to knead, so it is easy to leave it running for a while. So I did. I did not time it exactly but I think it was in there for over 10 minutes. I also gave it a longer rise: 2 hours compared to 90 minutes.

Get the oven really hot

Your oven wants to be as hot as possible. Mine, like many domestic ovens, only goes to 250 degrees, so I turn it up to that. I have a granite pizza stone and I have been gradually increasing the time I put it in the oven to heat up. Now I put it in to heat up for at least an hour, maybe even longer. If the pizza does not sizzle when it goes on there, it is not hot enough.

Spin the dough

I have tried spinning the dough round in the air, but not with any real structure to it. Now I use a proper system. Roll it out, then spin it. Does this a little at a time and repeat the process over and over. Each spin moves the dough to the edge of the pizza, so you can then roll that out a bit more. This allowed me to get the dough thinner than I have previously.

Leave a gap

When dressing the pizza with the sauce, cheese and toppings, you want to leave a nice thick border round it. This allows the edges of the pizza to puff up and create a lovely light by crispy edge.

Use a wooden peel

I was using a medal peel (pizza paddle) because I was hoping the pizza would stick to it less. Actually, it turns out it sticks to it more. This meant I had to dust it with loads of flour, and so the base ended up tasting of flour if I was not careful. Using the wooden peel means I have to dust less, avoiding any flour left on the base.