Friday, January 27, 2012

Experiment: Lemon Biscotti (Angel Eyes & Hell Boy pt II)

This recipe is a great way to introduce kids to cooking and what a result! A fantastic biscuit that looks hard to make but is simplicity itself!

At this point in my culinary career I'd not really made biscotti before, so it was basically a test run. Now I don't know about anyone else, but when I'm doing test runs I like to have tight control over ingredients, quantities, temperatures, times, shelves, pan types, etc. In other words, I want the result, be it a cricket bat, or the lightest crumbliest sublime biscuit, to be reproducible if nothing else!

So off I went to my friends in the country. What better fun than to make some biscotti with the kids? Or so I thought!

I prepped up the ingredients and got in my master sous chefs for a baking bonanza!

I'd forgotten how excitable youngsters can be - before I knew what was going on there were all sorts of things flying into the mixing bowl at completely inappropriate times, mixing spoons, nuts, what this? baking powder? let's have some! bosh!
Once I gave in to the concept that making biscotti with 2 youngsters, was NO place for the ordered kitchen mind of the ferdie, and just went with it, I had a great time and so did they! 

And I found out that this recipe will always give you something resembling a biscotti no matter what you do! It might also resemble a cricket bat, but hey, it'll be an edible cricket bat . . he . . he!

What's all this mess? -  err, uh, oh. . .
Uh ooh!! "Has he seen us?"

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New York, I Love You

By Leluu - I have moved to another site, click here to follow my posts
View from The New Yorker Hotel

View from The New Yorker Hotel
I wanted to leave the room quietly and close the door behind me so I flew away, to New York. Although it was just for one week, it was enough to rejuvenate and reflect on things behind the door and things in the new room. Manhattan seemed to be the perfect place for it, "concrete jungle where dreams are made of."

I arrived into New York's bitter wind and sharp cold embraces with a hefty smile. I ran and struggled against the force of the Atlantic wind as if I were a lover of the Arctic Circle, imagining scenes of serendipity with the man of my dreams. Had I passed him earlier in my travels somewhere in the world? Is he getting off the train I am on? Is he holding someone he loves or is he also looking for me too?

The romantic notion of New York City is  embroidered into the weaves of my dream life, my short previous life here as well as my life with television series and movies I have watched from childhood to now. They aren't just movies, they too are my memories. I secretly hope that someone is also waiting for me on top of The Empire State Building or at Brooklyn Bridge or at the Central Park Ice Rink with my lost glove. Or that he appears while I have lunch at The Chrysler or would walk into an East Village cafe and sit beside me, we'd strike up a conversation and live happily ever after.

Continue reading...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recipe: Naan Bread . . . . . and Turkey Kebab

by Simon Fernandez of ferdiesfoodlab
I was a kebab virgin when I went to college - I know!! I was a bit of a late developer what can I say! Anyway there were 2 kebab houses near our digs in south Manchester. Bar the empty shop between them they were next-door to each other; the kebabs were OK. The selling point of Abduls was the good chicken and sauces, the selling point of the Haji's was it's mahoosive donners. (investigative post coming up on donners - watch this space) You can imagine my surprise when Sajaan a kebabeur (it's a real word honest) with Tony Montana sized balls opened his new kebab shop in between the two!!
Perfect kebab, healthy, tasty, and home made!!
Fair play! So we went to try them first chance we got!! Blindingly good! Super fresh naan - IE made to order rather than off some huge pile of naans, the meats beautifully marinated, sauces fresh and vibrant, and the salad ingredients many and varied. When you walked out of Sajaans with your kebab, it would be like Gollum prizing the ring! Maiy preeesciooouuus. . . dribble!

Here's how from home . . . .

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Recipe: Herefordshire Beef Pho w/ Brandy de Jerez Digestif

First day's rest for the festive season! Wake up in the morning, slowly, don't have anything to do today. I love that feeling - holiday! - without a care in the world, no responsibilities to deal with and a bit of cash to spend on a good time! Yeay! What to do? Potter about, make a coffee and call friend, "you fancy hanging out?", "yip : )", "cool, I'll come get you, we can do a little shopping for dinner". "You had breakfast yet?" "No? OK we can grab that too". Quick look in the fridge and larder, what have we got? Some oxtail, onions, lemons, ginger, lemon grass, chillies, bottle of Prosecco : ) hmmm and idea begins to form involving slow cooking oxtail. A little piece of fillet steak, some noodles and some coriander will be all I need.

Unbeknown to me, there were secret elements that had been bought for our consumption, so we picked up a poppy and sesame seed baguette from Des Lys Boulangerie which is a cracking spot by the way, and a few other little bits for our dinner and Champagne brunch!

By this point we were starving. Luckily, almost before I'd managed to start browning the oxtail, a rather lovely combo dip of truffle oil and 25 year old balsamic reserve found its way onto the table with a very enticing, seeded French stick. After a little toning down of the truffle flavour to make it a little subtler the combo was a cracking start that went very well with a glass of Prosecco. Aperitif darling? Why I don't mind if I doo!

Bits on the griddle done, oxtail for the pho on the bubble, I got on with brunch but I found myself being distracted by another festive treat: a little brandy de Jerez!!!!

How could I not indeed!! "Rude not to!! Would you like one?" I inquire, to be greeted by a charming smile and a decisive "I think I'm going to have to try some, quality control you understand." A few giggles later and breakfast was on the table, sorry, err . . brunch was on the table and our oriental dinner was bubbling away nicely on the stove, as we settled in for a movie!

I have to say that a strong coffee with a touch of Jerez brandy makes for a fabulous digestif.

The pho that we had later was close to the original but the response it got: "surprising fusion of flavours and freshness it all went together so well!!" and the fact that it had disappeared are good enough signs to me that it's a keeper!!

note for the purists: I put this post up because folks complained they couldn't get half the ingredients where they lived! This recipe is basically as close as you can get to a Pho with plain old supermarket ingredients. If you can make it in Hereford you can make it anywhere!!! It's missing a few of the light fragrant notes from the specialist leaves namely the Thai basil, but the fine Herefordshire steak more than makes up for that!!

Here's how I made it . . . .


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