I have found a lovely new cookery school in Swords in Dublin called Robyn’s Nest Cookery School. It will be a hands on class as always. There is one difference, I am not going to be able to transport and refrigerate my bacon vodka, however, I will talk you through it. We will make my bacon jam, bacon jam fudge and maple syrup candied bacon.
The class will be from 6.30 – 9.30pm. As it is the first Dublin class, I am going to trial it at a price of €60 for 3 hours. Just bring yourselves and I will sort the rest.
Places are limited so get booking. Really look forward to seeing you there.
I have just spent a terrific weekend in Copenhagen for Copenhagen Cooking, an annual festival focussing on the best that Copenhagen has to offer. There are so many things to love about Denmark, one is that a food blogger in Copenhagen is a MADBLOGGER. For mad is Danish for food. Wonderful.
Out of the blue, I got a call from Danish national TV channel TV2 on Saturday, asking if I would film with them at the festival. It sounded fun so I said yes. But then I didn’t hear from them again. So, I forged on with plans dining at Silver Spoon Under the Sea on Saturday night, a fun and delicious guerilla dining event in the outskirts of Copenhagen at the fish market.
We had lots of fun and didn’t want the evening to end, so we went to a very-late-bar to end our evening. All I had to do the next day was go visit Torvehallerne food (or mad(!)) market, eat, enjoy & fly back home. So, no problem. Right? Just another side of Copenhagen to explore and enjoy.
But then, Danish channel TV2 called me again unexpectedly at 10am on Sunday and asked if I could still film at the Nordic Food Lab (where we would sample the innovations from René Redzepi’s lab) and Nordic Taste (featuring food from Restaurants all over Denmark and Sweden).
So, I did.
I look fairly sleepy but otherwise it was a fun experience. As was Copenhagen Cooking. Unfortunately I can’t embed the video but click on the picture above to be taken to it on the TV2 site. It is in Danish but my bits (obviously) are in English.
Also, it is now confirmed that it is impossible to look graceful eating on camera. But, what of it? Life is too short to worry about that now, isn’t it?
Lots more on Copenhagen Cooking and the Nordic Food Lab and Nordic Taste soon.
Well that is a lot in one title, isn’t it? I have a lot to share, and it is all about BACON. Because bacon makes my world go round.
When I started teaching my bacon masterclass (bacon jam, bacon jam fudge, maple & tamarind candied bacon and bacon vodka), I had a lot of emails from international readers and those outside London asking if I would be teaching them elsewhere and if I would be sharing the recipes.
I can answer that now :)
BACON MANIA ON THE JOHN MURRAY SHOW ON RTE RADIO 1
A face for radio? I was interviewed on the John Murray Show on RTE Radio 1 yesterday morning about my bacon fascination. Bacon the world a better place, as he said himself. (And I am so stealing that). I must say I did love being in a little radio studio in London. I have a taste for it now! I also revealed my plans for an app. More on that later.
ALL THINGS BACON DEMO AT THE THEATRE OF FOOD, ELECTRIC PICNIC
No pop up this year, but I will be cooking some of my bacon recipes for the good folks at Electric Picnic in the Theatre of Food at 7pm on Friday 31st August. There will be lots of tasters. To get your mucky paws on my bacon jam, bacon jam fudge and bacon & maple marshmallow, make sure you are there.
I started thinking about how I could run the classes elsewhere and my thoughts came racing back to the internet. It made perfect sense to build the recipes from the class (and lots of new ones) into an app for the iPhone / iPad (to begin with). That way I can incorporate video and ease you through the bacon jam fudge and marshmallow. I have spent the summer developing recipes and we are building the app now. I will let you know when it will be ready. We want to do it properly so it will take a little time. I would love to hear from you about what you would expect / like from a food app from me. If you have time, please leave a comment below.
DUBLIN COOKING CLASS
On Tuesday 4th September I had planeed to teach a bacon masterclass in Dublin, but unfortunately the school is only set up for demo classes, and I need a hands on space. If anyone knows of any, I would love to hear from you. There has been a lot of interest. Please email me on niamh at eatlikeagirl dot com to let me know about a space or to register your interest in attending. Hopefully, we can do it!
That is all for now folks! I am in Copenhagen for Copenhagen Cooking, so next time I come back, expect to hear a little about that :)
A week ago I thought: I know what I am going to do. I am going to roast a chicken and have a glass of wine. I want a roast chicken sandwich, and nothing else will do today.
I now spend almost every day coming up with recipes. Every meal is in danger of becoming a project and a scientific experiment. Which is a grand irony as I left science precisely to get away from this. But there you go, you can’t escape yourself it seems , no matter how you try.
I have become so saturated in food that I sometimes forget the simple and ecstatic pleasure that a roast chicken sandwich can bring. Especially when you are so very hungry that you salivate as it is being made.
That first bite, the crunch of the bread and the collapse and dissolve of the lightly crunching sea salt as it follows. Then the delicate rich and slightly crispy chicken skin. Finally, that lovely chicken meat, tender from roasting and juicy.
Perfectly delicious. A sigh of relief. A lick of butter and some homemade mayonnaise. Good fresh bread with a bite – for me it had to be sourdough. A garden to sit in, a glass of wine, a good book.
Why do we ever complicate things? Of course I did, just a little bit.
I wanted homemade mayonnaise and I wanted to pimp it a little bit. So I made it with rapeseed oil and smoked rapeseed oil. It was divine.
For the roast chicken, take a look at Comfort & Spice. Perfect moist, gorgeous chicken. Every time.
Note on the recipe: there are a few brands of smoked rapeseed oil available from artisan producers and online. I got mine from the Artisan Smokehouse.
Recipe: Smoked Mayonnaise
2 large egg yolks (from the best eggs you can get – free range at a minimum)
1/2 tsp dion mustard
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
pinch of sea salt
175ml rapeseed oil & 75ml smoked rapeseed oil, combined
This is easiest with an electric whisk or mixer. By hand it is possible too but will take a long time.
Add the mustard, vinegar and salt to your egg yolks and whisk for a minute, until blended and thick, then slowly start to add the oil drop by drop initially. This is important as if you don’t add it slowly, the egg yolk will split.
When you are over half way there you can increase the stream to a trickle. When all of the oil is added, taste and adjust seasoning.
Hello all! A little bit of an update on the classes. I am calling time on them for the interim this Thursday. There has been an immense amount of interest so I will probably start them up again, but I am not sure when yet.
I love teaching them and you have enjoyed them too, but finding the right balance between cost for you and cost for me has been really difficult. I don’t want to charge lots, nor do I want the classes to be enormous. At Central St I can teach up to 20 with an assistant comfortably and that is a good number, but even so it can be a challenge to make it work on the balance sheet.
The good news is that when I come back I will have some fresh recipes and new courses too. I have lots to disclose: maple candied bacon ice cream, maple candied bacon arctic roll and maple candied bacon marshmallow. A lot of delicious maple candied bacon and lots of other recipes too. I have been busy.
There are just a couple of places left for the last class in the current series this Thursday (bacon jam, bacon jam fudge, bacon vodka and maple candied bacon). So if you want to come, please drop me a line niamh @ eatlikeagirl . com.
The class on Thursday will be at Central St Cookery School. For details please see the cooking class page.
As always – classes can be arranged privately at homes or suitable venues so please get in touch if you would like to organise that. I have also done some corporate classes which were great fun. I can travel reasonable distances if there are enough people too.
Go to work on an egg. I think today I went to work on six.
Six eggs for breakfast?! Well, not quite, but this week I have been coming up with new variations on the marshmallow, and I find them quite addictive. 3 egg whites produce a large volume of the stuff, and it is so utterly delicious, I could swim in it. Like all things made at home it is simply much better.
It is joyful to make too, and when you understand the recipe, so easy. When I was making it and thinking about all of the building blocks in my head, I realised that – HEY! – marshmallow is all about four things. Four steps and four factors – the structure (provided by sugar), the wobble (provided by gelatine), the fluffiness (provided by the egg white) and the flavour (in this case vanilla).
I wanted to explain this properly so that you could all confidently bound into your kitchens and make this at home. Cooking is only about understanding a recipe and executing it. That’s it. I think this is where my scientific background really leaps out, I have always wanted to know how things work. Once broken down, a recipe is not intimidating, it is just a crib sheet, and in this case, an introduction to the wonderful world of marshmallow.
I bid you come in. The only trouble is – and consider yourself warned – it is impossible to stop eating it.
Coming soon: my raspberry and rose marshmallow made with pure luscious fruit. I thought I would start with a simple one first to explain it.
Notes on the recipe: you will need a sugar thermometer. They’re not very expensive and are very useful to have. This is a lot easier with a mixer or electric whisk.
Recipe: Vanilla Marshmallow
30g gelatine powder (2 sachets)
4 tbsp golden syrup
3 large egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla extract
150g icing sugar and 150g cornflour, combined and sieved
1 tray greased with a light layer of oil then dusted with a light layer of the icing sugar and cornflour
Get your wobble on by sprinkling the gelatine in the water and leave to the side.
Bring the sugar, the golden syrup and the water to the hard ball stage – 121 – 130 deg C and while you are waiting for the sugar, whisk your egg whites as you would for meringue, until you get soft peaks and can hold the bowl over your head.
Slowly add the sugar mixture to the eggs, while whisking slowly (this is much easier with a mixer like a Kitchenaid).
When the sugar is added, briefly add the gelatine to the warm pot that the sugar was in, the residual heat will melt the gelatine. Add the gelatine to the egg white mixture with the vanilla slowly while whisking, as you did with the sugar. When added stop mixing and you’re done! You have marshmallow.
Pour your marshmallow mix into the tray and leave for a few hours or over night. Then, with an oiled knife, cut into little squares and then dust them with the icing sugar / cornflour mixture.
Store in an airtight box with the excess icing sugar / cornflour.
It has been a peculiar summer for me. Some extreme highs where wonderful things have happened, and some lows where things that I have wanted have felt just out of my reach. I needed to take a little time out from everything and rest my head for a while, while I figured things out. What I do next, what I can do and what I want to do.
I, of course, love what I do and at times this is a problem. I jump from idea to idea and project to project, taking on too much and wanting to do everything all of the time, exhausting myself in the process. So, it was time to focus and make decisions.
In the meantime, I have found myself craving the food that I cooked and loved in my childhood. Seeking a little balance and reconnecting to the person that I was before and, of course, that I still am. This has coincided with an enormous spring clean where I have rediscovered so many things that I had forgotten about. All in the process of attempting to let the whole lot go. It has been a curious time.
I have unusually wanted lots of sweet things like lemon meringue pie, swiss roll and chocolate éclairs, staples of my childhood cooking repertoire. Savoury things like shepherd’s pie (which I have been playing around with lots) and quiche. One thing I really wanted to make was Turkish delight, and to make it in the microwave too.
Odd? Well, not as odd as you would think. When I was a wee ‘un, my mother was gifted with an enormous microwave, which seemed like the most amazing thing in the world to me. She used to buy me Microwave Know How weekly, a crazy little magazine which I would devour, and make the most improbable and sickly sweet microwave meringues and Turkish delight too.
It was fun to do it again, and with great results, although it is a bit fiddly. I adapted the recipe, instead of making Harold’s saffron version, I made mine with gooseberry and elderflower, making a compote first.
I grew up eating lots of gooseberries straight off the bush in my aunt’s garden and also in an abandoned fruit orchard up the road. Their sourness suits my palate well and they are great as a sweet and savoury ingredient. For me they are always summer, wandering around aimless as a child with a full endless day, plucking them randomly from sour to super sweet and ready to burst on the bush. They bring back many fond memories.
They are perfect for this Turkish delight as they cut deliciously through the intense sweetness. If you haven’t had them – and from twitter it seems like a lot of you haven’t – seek them out.
Note on the recipe: as it is a US recipe, it was in cups. I have translated to metric for you and included the original cup measurements too.
Recipe adapted from Harold McGee at The New York Times.
Recipe: Gooseberry & Elderflower Turkish Delight
3/4 cups + 1/2 cup / 115g + 75g cornflour, plus more for dusting
3 cups / 600g sugar
1/4 cup / 60ml golden syrup
juice of half a lemon
Cooking oil, for greasing pan
1/2 cup / 50g icing sugar
200g green gooseberries, topped and tailed
2 tbsp elderflower cordial (mine was homemade but you can buy it too)
First, make your compote by topping, tailing and halving the gooseberries, then stewing with a couple of tablespoons of water until they burst. Add the elderflower and taste – you may want to add more depending on how strong your cordial is. Pass the mixture through a sieve so that you only leave the skins and seeds behind, leaving a lovely puree in the bowl.
Pour the water into a glass bowl. Slowly whisk in the 115g cornflour until smooth. Transfer to the microwave and cook on high power for 2 minutes. Carefully remove and stir with a heat-resistant spatula. Return to the microwave and heat for 1 minute at a time, stirring between until the mixture thickens, bubbles and becomes translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Then heat on half power for 3 minutes.
Mix in the sugar and golden syrup. Heat on high power for 5 minutes. Stir and repeat, then stir and repeat again. After the last time, stir in the lemon juice and the elderflower and gooseberry compote.
Continue to heat on high power for 3-minute periods, stirring in between, until a little syrup scraped onto the edge of a cold plate quickly sets to a tacky solid, from 12 to 21 minutes.
Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking oil and scrape
and spread the mixture into it. Allow to rest, uncovered, until it is firm enough to handle, several hours or overnight.
Dust the top with cornflour. Invert onto a small cutting board, using a spatula if needed, and dust the other side with cornflour. Transfer the board to the freezer for 30 minutes.
Cut into 3/4-inch squares with scissors or a knife.
Combine the remaining 75g cornflour and the icing sugar, and toss the squares in it. Store the Turkish delight in this mixture in a wide, shallow container.
The Olympics have arrived. Huzzah! Most Londoners have been grimly anticipating it, with many leaving, and others staying at home. I was looking forward to it, despite not managing to get any tickets. It is the only sporting event which I have any interest in, especially now that it has come to London.
How to get there though? The Olympics ticket site is like the seventh circle of hell. Such a tease. You get tickets, you add to your basket, you think you’re about to buy (HOORAY!) and then… you are put in an endless queue, where each and every time, I have lost my tickets. I despair.
Never mind, there is lots of other stuff going on and I plan to see what I can. I loved the opening ceremony, utterly bonkers and eccentric, everything it should have been. I went along to see the bike race towards the end on Saturday. On Sunday, I went to Stratford.
Yes, Stratford! Although hold tight, I didn’t get a ticket. I went instead to the Global Feast. An Olympics fringe dining event, organised by Atmos & Latitudinal Cuisine, and curated by Ms Marmite Lover at the Old Stratford Town Hall. Each night a menu is served by supper club hosts serving cuisines from around the globe, by latitude, supper club style. The meal is served on a quirky table that is a designed from a map of the countours of the world, designed by Atmos and all housed in a marquee on the Town Hall grounds.
I went on the Africa night, with a menu from Arno Maasdorp of the Saltoun Supper Club. Starting with a cocktail of red berries and cognac, several canapés were served, my favourite were the meatballs in a cone. The springbok carpaccio was delicious and tender but the leaf it was served in was too bitter and dominating a contrast for me.
On then to the dinner, we took our places somewhere in Polynesia and started with a bright and fresh sunshine salad. The main course was a bobotie, a classic South African dish and a twist on shepherd’s pie (I only now realise why I have been working on a keema shepherd’s pie recipe this week!). This was superb, and was served with vegetable sosaties (kebabs) from the braai, herb salad and sultana puree.
We finished with a selection of lovely puddings, malva pudding, granadilla curd and melktert cream. I am starting to wonder if I am developing a sweet tooth as I age. I really liked these, none were too intense and all were light. I cleared my plate, which at dessert, for me, is unusual.
There was live music after the main course from provided by Lanré, a Nigerian singer-songwriter and The Venus Bushfires who sang accompanied by a beautiful and very unusual metal drum.
So, for the ticketless, like me, there is an Olympic experience you can indulge in near the games. It runs for 20 nights from Wednesday 25th July – Monday 13th August. Full details are on the Global Feast site. Tickets are £45 incl drinks, £55 at the weekend.
Excuse me while I head back and repeatedly hit refresh on the frustrating and annoying Olympics ticketing site. Wish me luck!