Month: January 2009

Salsify & Roast Garlic Soup

Salsify is a most underrated vegetable. It’s ugly, and it’s awkward. It’s like a stroppy teenager that refuses to wash. It’s not much fun to prep and goes off colour really easily. Dark brown and holding onto every bit of dirt, I had some ground into my palms which took so much scrubbing, I  think I’ve lost some layers of skin. It requires a lot of TLC. Putting it mildly.  So, why bother? Once  you crack it and this shy vegetable shows you it’s smile, you can’t help but fall in love with it. Tender and delicate, it’s often referred to as the oyster of the vegetable kingdom as it’s reported to have a similar flavour. I find it a little nutty, and so I like to pair it with roast garlic, which I think compliments it well. Once you take the beast that is garlic with some firm roasting, so that it relaxes and releases a sweetness, it holds hands with the salsify in this soup, and they become the best of friends. They don’t overpower each other, it’s a very delicate soup. This …

Baozi Inn, Chinatown, London

I’ve developed a slight obssession with Sichuan province in China: it’s culture, and especially it’s food. My research, in print and online, has shown it to be full of colour and flavour. I’ve met people from there and Westerners that have lived there, one claims that she has never been anywhere where people smile so much. Isn’t that a lovely recommendation? I had hoped to go there on holiday last year, particularly to Chengdu, but I couldn’t squeeze it in, so, that trip is on hold for the moment, but hopefully not for too long. Until I get there, I’ve been keeping busy reading and trying the offerings from Fuschia Dunlop, the famed English chef who studied Sichuanese cookery at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine in Chengdu, China. She has many lovely books, one worth trying is Sichuan Cookery. I’ve also been indulging in the recent sudden crop of authentic Sichuan restaurants which have set up in London, most to my shame, I have yet to blog. Angeles in Kilburn and the Sichuan in …

Roast Yorkshire Pork

I do love the swine. I love it any/which way it comes. Bacon, pork belly, chorizo, black pudding, loin, pork chops, ribs, sausages. Tender and crispy, moist and wonderful, oozing fat and dripping with flavour. Ah, the swine. Sourcing it well is most important. Every piece of meat we eat is the product of a number of factors: husbandry, the abbatoir and the butchery; each stage is equally important. The meat available to us in most shops and supermarkets is compromised on at least one of these fronts, in the name of price and value, speeding up the process to rush it to our shelves, or using intensive farming methods, common in pigs as chickens and equally cruel, but less well publicised. Now, I don’t want to demonise the commercial pig farmer, but in our world, there’s a tendency to put profit over welfare, of the pig and the end consumer. I know it’s a very difficult time to be a farmer, they in the main are trying to compete and provide what the supermarket …

My favourites and your favourites of 2008

One thing I have learned in my time as a food blogger, is that you and I don’t always agree. As hard as I try, things I love don’t impress you, and things that I think are meh, you sometimes think are great. I don’t intentionally publish meh posts, but I do fall out of love with some of them. I look with a critics eye, and think, that photo? What was I thinking?! I could have done this better if… yadda yadda. Now, what is that about? Why do you love them so? I love salmon fish cakes, but, top post for 2008? Really?! Anyway, I forgive you. We don’t always see eye to eye, and in the interest of each of us getting a say, I am going to share my favourites and yours. Let’s start with yours, as you vastly outnumber me, and I don’t want a fight. There’s power in numbers. Salmon Fish Cakes – I love salmon fish cakes, and clearly you do too. It’s your number 1 recipe for 2008! …

And that was 2008! What for 2009? Part 2

Yesterday, I blogged the fist part of my annual sum up, And that was 2008! What for 2009? , with the promise of returning with the second part. I know you’re all just dying to read it, so here it is. Last year was a sociable one for food bloggers, putting it mildly, we had many meetups and events. It was a busy few months prior to Christmas, so much so that I didn’t blog half of what I did, and wondered at times if I should have a second blog, as it seemed that recipe posts were being dwarfed by everything else, if only because I had no time to cook. I will change that this year. I love to cook, and I need to. I love playing and creating, tasting and eating, photographing and styling, but there was just no time. Ah, blog guilt. After our first bloggers meetup, we had many more, my personal highlight was the macaron classes at L’atelier des Chefs with 18 other food bloggers. I’ve always wanted to …

And that was 2008! What for 2009? Part 1

So, that was 2008! Hard to believe that it was only this time last year that I was typing away about 2007, full of anticipation, wondering what 2008 would bring. What a year it was! Alot happened, so much so, that when I started this post I realised I should publish it in two parts, as it was turning into something of an essay. And, we don’t want one of those! 2007 had presented some personal challenges and large changes, and I was determined that 2008 would be the year that I started focusing my energies and really pushing myself, more than I had done before. I really wanted to push myself creatively, try new things, improve my photography and generally to explore. I was going to do things I hadn’t done before, learn new things, take risks, and jump right in. Easy to say, but did I do it? That’s for you to judge. I thought 2008 was a great year. Lots happened, and like any year, it had it’s ups and downs. But, …