Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Gordon Ramsay’s Great Escape

December 20, 2010
Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape

Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape

For Jamie Oliver it was Italy, Gordon Ramsay has gone one step further, India.

Over 3.5 million curries are dished up in the UK every year.

Much as we may think there is such a thing as an Indian meal there is not. What we think of as an Indian meal is what we get in an Indian restaurant. There are exceptions, the little Indian restaurants down a little side street down the side of Euston Station in London, but these little restaurants and what they serve is the exception not the norm.

Indians as a general rule do not eat out, at least not eat out in restaurants, they do eat at little roadside snack bars. Food is eaten and cooked at home.

There is no such thing as Indian food. What there is is regional food and to discover these regional dishes Gordon Ramsay travelled across India. He very quickly learnt that the real food of India is not to be found in restaurants, it is found on the street and in the home, he also found it bears no resemblance to what he had been served in Indian restaurants in England.

Gordon Ramsay’s Great Escape had a tie-in series on Channel 4, Gordon’s Great Escape.

An ideal compliment to The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook.

For my lovely friend Sian. Merry Christmas.

Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals

December 19, 2010

Do not have the time. Do not know how. These are common refrains, common excuses people give for not cooking, for dumping some ready mix of yuk seasoned with flavourings and colourings in the microwave or for ordering a take away.

Jamie Oliver adds a further excuse, costs too much.

Do not have the time. How many hours do people spend sat in front of a television watching brain-rotting moronic garbage, the opiate of the masses?

Do not know how. Well Jamie will show you.

Costs too much. Jamie costs out the ingredients and it works out cheaper than takeaways, ready meals or eating out. I would have been very surprised if it had been otherwise.

Yes, there is an initial cost of equipment and utensils that Jamie says are essential. He also recommends that you clear out the clutter from the kitchen so it becomes a working environment.

It is as it says on the front of the book, meals in 30 minutes. I found the approach a little disconcerting as the approach is for an entire meal, not an individual dish and that is the structure of each meal, you are jumping from one dish to another in a very strict sequence. I guess I would have been more comfortable had I also watched the associated TV tie-in on Channel 4, but why the odd broadcast time of 5-30pm!

Each meal how to is highly structured and it is important you strictly follow the structure. Along the way lots of hints and tips to make you a better cook and to enable you to turn out sumptuous meals.

There are 50 meals in Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, 40 of which will be shown on the associated Channel 4 TV series. These are being shown in monthly blocks. The first month was shown before Christmas, more in the New Year. Meals for which there is an associated video are marked in the book.

Jamie Oliver’s 30-Minute Meals is the fastest selling non-fiction book ever! It sold 735,000 copies in 10 weeks! For a nation that does not cook, this is all the more amazing, though having said that, cook books are always at the top of the non-fiction list. Maybe it is the appeal of being able to cook an entire meal within 30 minutes.

Delia Smith’s How To Cook (Book 1) is the best-selling cookbook of all time, with more than a million copies sold!

For my lovely friend Sian. Merry Christmas.

Also see

Jamie Oliver’s 30-Minute Meals breaks sales record

Jamie’s recipe for quick sales: Latest book, 30-Minute Meals is fastest selling nonfiction work ever

Jamie Oliver Cooks Up £100m In Book Sales

Jamie’s Dinners

Jamie’s Italy

Cook with Jamie

Pork Chop in Cider and Tarragon Sauce

November 10, 2010
Pork Chop in Cider and Tarragon Sauce served with potatoes and vegetables

Pork Chop in Cider and Tarragon Sauce served with potatoes and vegetables

ingredients

55-60 pork chops (free range organic)
1 head diced celery
2 diced onions
6 diced carrots
1-2 bottles of cider
1/2 pint of apple juice
2 bunches of fresh tarragon
1 can chopped tomatoes
tomato purée
Marmite
seasoning
chicken bouillon

method

Place pork chops on half bed of roots. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

for tarragon sauce

Fry off rest of base vegetables. Add a little flour. Then add tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, herbs, cider, Marmite etc. Add a little seasoning. You may wish to adjust consistency with gravy mix and flour.

Last week I had dinner with Canon Andrew White. That was my main reason for being there. But I have to say the food was excellent too.

This week I had the pleasure of meeting the chef at YMCA Guildford to compliment him in person. He kindly gave the recipe for the Pork Chop in Cider and Tarragon Sauce. Please scale accordingly, unless of course you are cooking for a banquet.

The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook

October 24, 2010
The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook

The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook

The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook was an event at the Electric Theatre in Guildford, one of the last events of the Guildford Book Festival. It clashed with the Anarchist Bookfair in London, to which I would have liked to have gone, especially as John Pilger was speaking, but I had seen The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook, liked the look, and thought signed copies would make excellent Christmas presents. The previous evening I had been at an Amnesty International event with John Kampfner talking about his book Freedom for Sale.

On my way to Guildford I learnt from Mike Dawes and Amy Turk they were at Guildford Oxjam. I would have liked to have seen them but that is another story.

I arrived at the Electric Theatre around midday which was quite handy as I met Jenny Lord, author of Purls of Wisdom, a knitting book. She signed a copy for me. Whether it is any good, I am in no position to judge, but some of the ladies present assured me it was. They also made the point that no men were present at her talk!

The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook was very poorly attended, maybe three rows in the theatre, which was a pity as the three sisters were very good. The format I do not like, TV chat show host style interviews author. If an author knows their stuff, and if not why are they there, they are more than capable of talking about their book, but it worked this time.

The three sisters were born in Kashmir. Their father left to study for a PhD in England when they were very young, then their mother left to join their father, leaving them in the care of their grandmother. Eventually the girls were sent for and went to join their parents in England. For them it was a culture shock. The last time they had seen their mother she was in a sari, now she was in heels and a miniskirt! Their father they did not recognise at all and had to be reassured that it was indeed their father!

From a very early age, the three sisters cooked, learning from their mother and grandmother. When they arrived in England, their mother expected the girls to prepare the meals. They were also encouraged to cook, their parents often arranging cooking competitions between the three sisters.

The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook came out of a wish to record their mother’s recipes. A little of this and that was not good enough, they needed precise measurements. It was a collaborative effort, the three girls, mother and father. The intended readership was themselves, family and friends. It was a self-published book, sold to those who were interested, hawked around food fairs.

It was at one of these food fairs, that Simon and Schuster took an interest. They liked the concept and wished to publish the book. Thus out of what was intended as a project to record family dishes has evolved The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook (Simon and Schuster, 2010).

Now scattered across three continents, the project has also given the sisters an excuse to meet up. Now even more important as tragically the nineteen-year-old son of one of the sisters was murdered.

We do not refer to European cooking, thus it is meaningless to refer to Indian cooking. The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook is Kashmir cooking. Apart from the big cities that cater for foreigners, Indians do not eat in restaurants, they eat at home or at the roadside. The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook is a book of Kashmir home cooking, the cooking Priya, Sereena and Alexa Kaul grew up with. They are hoping this will be the first of series and they are going to look at the food of other parts of India.

Essential to any Indian cook is her spice box, masala dabba. So important is the spice box that the three sisters have created a spice box to accompany their book with thirteen essential spices. Expensive, but if you are serious about Indian cooking then you need it.

Indian food you should be able to taste the food. Spices are there to enhance the food, not to mask it.

Spices keep for about 18 months. The spice box should be kept in a cool dark place. If they still have a pleasant aroma, then they are usable. If the aroma has gone, then throw them away.

A very enjoyable event. My only regret that my lovely friend Sian was not there as she would have loved it too.

Top story in Gourmet Chef’s Daily (Monday 7 February 2011).

Beetroot Curry

October 6, 2010

I am no great fan of beetroot. There is also a golden beetroot which I sometimes see on the farmers market in Guildford (first Tuesday of the month).

Local Flavours

October 6, 2010
Local Flavours

Local Flavours

I picked up this excellent book from a stall at the farmers market in Guildford (first Tuesday of the month). It is a guide to local producers, farmers markets, food festivals, food trails in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. It also includes recipes using local, seasonal produce.

Local Flavours is published by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes, and Oxfordshire Food Groups, copies can be obtained by e-mailing info@local-food.net.

Local Flavours is an example other areas and regions should follow to promote local produce, foods and producers. Lincolnshire and Hampshire please take note!

Also see

Make the most of Local Flavours … (press release)

Local Flavours (pdf)

Chunky tomato, courgette and basil soup

October 1, 2010

‘All my soup recipes are determined by what veg is in store at the time and after a year of getting to know good veg combos through lots of soup making – I go with instinct on amounts. but, basically if you soften an onion, have a couple of litres of good veg stock, and 2 or three types of complimenting veggies and some fresh herbs , that’s a good start – then experiment!’ — Hakan, Grocer and Grain

Ingredients

one onion
tomatoes (or two tins of chopped tomatoes)
two courgettes
two potatoes
two carrots
garlic
dried basil or Italian herbs
vegetable stock

Preparation

As with previous Grocer and Grain seasonal autumn soups saute a chopped onion until translucent.

Add the courgettes, potatoes, carrots – chop all and stir for a while.

Add some garlic, good few pinches of dried basil/ italian herbs.

Add fresh ripe tomatoes (or two tins of tomatoes), stir.

Add pinch of chilli flakes if wanted.

Add two litres of vegetable stock and simmer for half hour.

Liquidise and serve.

Should serve four.

Many thanks to Hakan of Grocer and Grain in Brighton for sharing this recipe for autumn soup using fresh seasonal vegetables.

also see

Sweet potato and butternut squash soup

Grocer and Grain rootsy vegetable soup

Sweet potato and butternut squash soup

October 1, 2010

‘All my soup recipes are determined by what veg is in store at the time and after a year of getting to know good veg combos through lots of soup making – I go with instinct on amounts. but, basically if you soften an onion, have a couple of litres of good veg stock, and 2 or three types of complimenting veggies and some fresh herbs , that’s a good start – then experiment!’ — Hakan, Grocer and Grain

Ingredients

one large onion
two large sweet potatoes
one large butternut squash
a couple of carrots or a parsnip (root vegetables optional)
vegetable stock

Preparation

Saute a large onion in a large saucepan until soft and translucent, then add two large peeled and chopped sweet potatoes, one large peeled and chopped butternut squash, also could add couple of carrots or parsnip – a root veg.

Then let this all ‘sweat’ with lid on and stir occasionally to avoid veg sticking to bottom on meduim heat for 5 minutess. You may wish to have added a little oil to the bottom of the pot.

Then add about 2 litres of veg stock (‘boullion’ gives a good flavour, or veg stock cubes), some chilli flakes – optional.

Then let simmer for about 30 minutes until veg is soft, then blend – handheld blender is quickest option.

Season as necessary and add sliced red chilli for colour and kick!

Many thanks to Hakan of Grocer and Grain in Brighton for sharing this recipe for autumn soup using fresh seasonal vegetables.

also see

Grocer and Grain rootsy vegetable soup

Chunky tomato, courgette and basil soup

Grocer and Grain rootsy vegetable soup

September 24, 2010

‘All my soup recipes are determined by what veg is in store at the time and after a year of getting to know good veg combos through lots of soup making – I go with instinct on amounts. but, basically if you soften an onion, have a couple of litres of good veg stock, and 2 or three types of complimenting veggies and some fresh herbs , that’s a good start – then experiment!’ — Hakan, Grocer and Grain

Ingredients

one onion
3 large parsnips
4 large carrots
1 celeriac
4 medium potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of garam masala (optional)
vegetable stock

Method

Saute onion, then chop up parsnips, carrots, celeriac, potatoes, cloves of garlic, and add to pot (to which you may like to add a little oil).

Stir and ‘sweat’ (until veg looks a bit ‘battered’ at the edges!).

Then add 2 teaspoons ( depending on taste preference) of garam masala and stir into all the veg so it all gets a coating.

Then add the veg stock and simmer until soft.

Then blend and season – inc a sprinkle of chilli flakes if you like, also chopped flat parsley works well.

Play around with veg amounts – this is quite a sweet soup.

Using fresh seasonal vegetables, the first soup of the autumn season at Grocer and Grain in Brighton. Many thanks to Hakan of Grocer and Grain for sharing the recipe.

Garam masala: An aromatic mixture of ground spices used as a base in many Indian dishes (‘masala’ means spice). The proportion of spices changes according to the dish being cooked (and the cook!) but typical ingredients are cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, with substitutions or additions made depending on whether the dish includes meat, vegetables or fish. You make your own or buy from any good food store.

Also see

Sweet potato and butternut squash soup

Roasted parsnip and apple soup

How the British Fell in Love With Food

September 11, 2010
How the British Fell in Love With Food

How the British Fell in Love With Food

12 April 1984, a small group of people met and formed the Guild of Food Writers.

A cookery book is usually one chef or writer. In this, How the British Fell in Love With Food is unusual, it has contributions from the Guild of Food Writers. From Jane Grigson to Rich Stein and Raymond Blanc to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Noticeable by his absence is Jamie Oliver.

But despite, or maybe because of, a plethora of cookbooks (glossy coffee table cookbooks are never out of the best seller lists), the English cannot cook, they are not in love with food. Cookbooks are to impress. Sadly cooking is seen as a chore, something to spend the minimum amount of time and money on.

Contrary to the title, the British have not fallen in love with food, I only wish it were true.

A couple of years ago I started an article on how dire was the state of food in Britain. I must revisit it one day.

There are though rarities, little oasis in an otherwise food desert. For example The Deli in North Camp. Then there is Brighton where one is spoilt for choice, Taj the greengrocer, Infinity Foods, Iydea. Then the delight I came across at the beginning of the week, Grocer and Grain.

How the British Fell in Love With Food is a celebration of 25 years of the Guild of Food Writers.

For my lovely friend Sian who likes to try new things.

Also see

Jamie’s Dinners

Cook With Jamie

Bad Food Britain

Not on the Label

Two Caravans