Thursday, 24 November 2011

New Cookbooks

I've added some new cookbooks to my collection recently, but have had no time to read them, let alone start cooking properly...

  • Jamie Does...: Another treat from Jamie Oliver. Accompanying his TV show where he travelled through various countries - Sweden, Italy, France, Spain, Morocco - it showcases some amazing recipes with the usual Jamie slant. Most of the recipes look relatively easy and definitely things we'd eat in the House of Barchester. After a quick flick, the faves on the list are Calamari (I bought some squid on a recent trip to Weymouth) and the Steak Tartare. 
  • Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey: Having recently enjoyed cooking Thai Green Curry, I thought we should branch out at the Barchester and try some different things. The food has so many ingredients, I'm not sure where I'd start but there's loads of interesting noodle soups and though I'm sure this food isn't necessarily meant to be eaten in Winter, they will keep us warm in our single-glazed box when it starts snowing
  • Appetite (Nigel Slater): Having watched ol' Nige on the TV with his highly annoying yet somehow addictive voice, I came to love his food and especially how he cooks. This book is more of an encyclopedia rather than a recipe book. Every seemingly simple recipe has bullet points on how to mix it up and add to it. It's an amazing book and will definitely become a big favourite of mine. Just need to find the time to spend reading it and learning it...Why wasn't I so interested in 'revising' at school?
I'll keep you updated my achievements and failures. This weekend, I'm cooking a duck crown - a first for me. I've seen a recipe online about cooking some honey down with water and spreading it over the skin to crisp it up. I quite like duck on it's own but The Scouser will want some sauce - perhaps I'll try Nige's gravy recipe... 
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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Thai Green Curry

I made the thai green curry from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food book. I've made it before but without a food processor - trust me, it takes an age to chop everything up into small enough pices to make it really paste-y.

I used loads more coriander this time - nearly two bunches (saved some for the rice). It was reallty tasty and The Scouse loved it. I used two green chillies and he does say to put one raw red one in but I think that would have blown my head off.

The only issue with this is that it is time consuming and not especially cost efficient. From making the paste and buying all the fresh ingredients... It's worth it but definitely not an every-week addition to my repetoire. Unfortunately!
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Monday, 14 November 2011

Masterchef Live & The Wine Show

I went to Masterchef Live, which incorporated The Wine Show, with my family on Friday 11th November as we got some cheap tickets through one of those voucher sites. We were all a bit dubious, but having just come back from 11 long days of work and not much fun, I needed to do something fun that would keep me from sleeping all day.

I don't wish to bore you endlessly so here are my points about the whole thing...

  • The oysters from the east coast were amazing. I will be doing a mail order in the future (when I've saved up)
  • John the wine man - he tried his hardest, sweated through the whole thing, but we didn't buy any wine from him as the minimum was 12 bottles. Can you honestly tell me that there's enough people attending these events to spend 240 quid to make it worth this company's while to buy a large stand? I work in events and I know these stands aren't cheap. Sorry John, I did like the Pinot Noir. 
  • Jesus meat - my dad bought some dried meat called Jesus, because the shape of this salami-type meat is like Jesus wrapped in swaddling. Hmmm... Anyway it was lovely, but expensive. My brother and I went for the less expensive versions. We're still enjoying them!
  • Bloody Marys - I love a good bloody mary (not too spicy) and my dad bought a bottle of this amazing mix made from all kinds of juicy stuff, like vodka (no brainer), balsamic vinegar, spices and it was lovely. It will definitely be making an appearance this Christmas!
  • All the wine - by the time, we got around the wine show it was all a bit bewildering...I do know that Marks & Spencer have some great wines and I think I will be splashing out on their delights more often. 
Would I go back? Yes, if the ticket was 11 pounds next year. And I had a little bit more cash to splash. 
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Reveal the Veal! (or something equally cheesy...)

I had veal for the first time this weekend. I bought it from a responsible supplier at the Masterchef Live show (more on that later) and that was the only reason I broke my promise to avoid eating it.

I roasted it quickly and in a not-too-hot oven, about 170 degrees without the fan on. That would dry it out. It was topside so needed to be rare as I hate dry meat and don't like gravy that much. And I could eat a piece of meat still twitching!

I read that it needed to be rested for some time, so gave it as long as I could before I was too scared it would be cold - 20 minutes. It was a little tricky to slice, but much easier than it would have been if I hadn't rested it. Resting tip - cover it in foil tightly and then lay a tea towel over the top. Keeps even more heat in.

My verdict - it was nice, but I'm not sure it's worth the extra cost and I'd probably prefer to eat older cows who have had a nice life (don't worry, that isn't me swaying towards vegetarianism).

Scouser's verdict - he loved it. So watch this space for more poor veal puns.
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