Friday, July 30, 2010

Garlic trick
So you don't get stinky breath from eating your favourite garlic laden dish, take out the green bit that is inside the garlic. This piece is the one that makes you burp (eek!) and is the one that makes the lovely garlic smell linger.

That is what a chef just told me - am going to try it out and see if it works!

If you already know this then just act surprised when you read this post :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Spaghetti throwing contest?
No, it is not a pasta explosion, like my several icing sugar explosions that my kitchen has witnessed.

Here is a mini trick to see if your spaghetti is cooked – if it looks like it is getting to the point of being ‘al dente’ – grab a piece of spaghetti and throw it against the wall, if it sticks without immediately falling down or sliding down the wall then it is ready.

Friday, July 23, 2010

T for Tapas
The Tapas Revolution has started & two fresh faced Spanish chefs (Omar trained at the famous El Bulli in Espagna and Danny his quiet and sweet sidekick) are at the helm of it. With a big leg of jamon serrano (cured ham) in hand; they are making their way across the UK –in the shape of a big ‘T’ with only a motorbike and a few cooking utensils.

Chef Omar said that he is going to cook for anyone that crosses his path and with only the ingredients they have in their kitchen (err…that might be tough, as if he came to mine he’d only find a pineapple, popcorn kernels and cupcake supplies!).

Before their grand departure for first stop, glamorous Liverpool, the charismatic chef and his sidekick invited a few peeps to a farewell dinner in Westbourne Grove at the lovely El Pirata Detapas for a send off. After this dinner I remembered how much I love Spanish food and how I don’t have it enough!

The menu consisted of the loveliest foods ever. First up was my favourite of the night - Ajo Bianco, a drink made with ground almonds, milk & garlic. Divine! Then there were piquillo peppers with the tastiest and softest baccala (salted cod) served on toasted bread – I think I hogged the whole platter of this; following that, there was a lovely salad with chick peas, orange, sultanas and veg served with a thick red pepper dressing –yum. And, yes there was more, a large rice dish was carried out that had a bit of fish, sausage, rabbit and other meats and treats inside –yum again. All served with sangria that was drunk too quickly on a hot evening and on an empty stomach; the Burger warned me that there was alcohol in there (you could only taste fruity goodness!) Well, with a light head and full belly we bid the energetic chefs off and skipped off home to meet the visiting Dutch and Czech visitors.

Have a watch of their videos and if you live along the ‘T’ in the UK – get out there and ask Omar to cook you a meal – you won’t regret it! 

And a big thanks to Niamh at Eat Like a Girl for the wonderful photos!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Today's snack 'o the day!
Am sure they are extremely unhealthy but they taste good and are a nice treat for an afternoon pick me up! I won't even try and look at the nutritional values of these little parcels.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cooking for dummies

At a certain lunchtime spot I have frequented a few times due to freelance work I undertake, I have on occasion tried the lunch in the staff canteen (cafeteria). Each time, I have looked at the yummy offerings, filled a plate at the lunch bar then eagerly got back to my desk to chow down to then be extremely disappointed. The salad bar wasn’t cheap either and each time I paid for an overly salted, terrible meal – I swore to never go again! This has gone on for a while, so it was boycotted altogether and the predictable PrĂȘt or Eat sandwich was then consumed in greater quantities.

I am not sure when the ball dropped but someone must’ve complained to the canteen manager (not me!) and the food has had a major overhaul since – people around me started saying mmm...and yum and the salad bar became popular again. There are now wonderful salads made with mushrooms and tofu, spinach and feta cheese salads with lentil, cold meat offerings, pasta salads, thai noodle salads and lots of freshly cut veggies that you can load onto your plate. It is almost unrecognisable as the same place that I had salt overdoses from. So, what was the secret to the food quality overhaul?

Simple cooking lessons!! A few simple cooking lessons were given to the staff. How to toast croutons with day old bread, how to make light, fresh simple salads that are filling and healthy (rice and lentils are cheap) how to taste what you make – so it is not like licking a salt shaker anymore but it is yummy and delicious.

SO for those of you who say you can’t cook – here’s proof that it can all be turned around with a few short simple lessons by an expert, or just pick up a Cooking for Dummies book, ask your mum (if she is a good cook)  or just try(!) recipes that aren’t hard to follow, or even watch a YouTube video on how to make a stir-fry - it isn't that hard.

Good luck to the cooking challenged!


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Taste of London
It's been busy in the kitchen but here are a few pics of the wonderful Taste of London food festival that I recently went to. I saw Heston Blumenthal speak, tasted the wares of some of the city's great chefs, ate some fresh New Zealand apples, tasted some lovely organic sparkling wine, won an evening of even mmore yummy tastings and wine at Whole Foods (next week!) and generally filled my tummy with lovely baked, broiled, boiled, salted and cured meats, sweets and treats. What a delightful festival!  A must attend for any foodie.