Month: March 2013

One Heartbreaking Failure (maybe 6) and a Cracking Caramel Recipe (Candied Bacon Salted Caramel to be precise)

What exactly is that? A slightly odd looking chocolate egg in the foreground with just a touch of bling (to cover its issues), some really odd looking hens eggs covered in chocolate behind, and a jar of goo? That, dear readers, is one day of my life, the next morning very early, and a ridiculous eggy photoshoot before I journeyed to Heathrow to get my morning flight yesterday am. My annoyance is conveyed perfectly through the crap photo, I think. I know. I need to get a grip sometimes. Worth it though, these are like a pimped and slightly filthy version of Paul A Youngs amazing salted caramel filled chocolate egg, which I had for Easter last year. I have been playing around with bacon A LOT. You know this. This was one of the recipes that I had fun with, then hated, then abandoned, and then gave in. Being a perfectionist leads to a path littered with imperfection as you strive to reach your final goal. It is painful and tortuous, but when you …

Recipe: Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Truffles

I have been withholding most of my bacon recipes from you, and for a very good reason which will be revealed in a bit. I am sharing one today though, it was published on Stylist recently for Bacon Connoisseurs Week, and I am sharing it here now so that you can do something delicious for Easter. Here you go: Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Truffles. What madness is this? What deliciousness lies within? Let me tell you people, these little truffles, balls of intense flavourful delight, will win you friends and appease your enemies. When thinking of bacon in sweets, remember how you first felt when you heard about salted caramel. Right? This is just as good, I say even better. Bacon and sugar love each other and so they should. Combined in an oven and candied, bacon becomes arnished with a sugar toffee that will snap, and that is the secret ingredient in these truffles. Bourbon has to be invited to the party, mainly because it will be upset if not, its rumbly alcoholic tones complete …

Flavour Bombs: Garlic Confit [Recipe]

So, here goes a new mini series, with recipes or tips on how to add some ooomph to your food with flavour bombs. I always have lots on hand, basically umami rich jars of goodness that will give a tired or quick dish a new life. It is the path to eating very well on very little time, and often little money. I will add to it here and there when I can. I have been thinking about this for a bit but started it accidentally on Sunday night. I had bought 8 extra bulbs of garlic for bacon masterclass and was looking at them wondering what I would do with them. I wasn’t short of ideas, it was basically a fight between whether I had the energy to trot to the butchers to make Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (I didn’t but will soon and will blog it) or whether I would confit the lot of them. On a sleepy snowy Sunday, confit won. Confit is basically cooking in fat as a way …

A Postcard from Berlin & Amsterdam

I have been back in London for a few days now, but have been silent here, as it was Bacon Connoisseurs Week. I was teaching two of my bacon masterclasses, which are great fun to teach but they zap all of my time and energy with prep, organisation and the actual teaching. Worth it, but for this reason, I will be holding them less frequently from now on. Another busy week lies ahead full of recipe testing, writing, checking out some London restaurants and reviewing. Before it begins, I thought I would steal a few minutes to share some photos from my trips to Berlin & Amsterdam.

Recipe: Tagliatelle with Squash, Spinach, Goat’s Cheese & Pul Biber

It is St Patrick’s Day and I know I should be blogging something *Irish* but here you go, there is some green in here at least. I really should be showing you a proper Irish stew, bacon and cabbage or crubeens (Irish for trotters) but when I arrived in Amsterdam, I was shattered, covered in mosquito bites and craving comfort. So, I made this. Pasta is one of my favourite quick fixes. Once you buy a good one, or take the time to make some yourself, the rest is easy, and soon after you can find yourself eating something soothing and delicious. This is a mixture of the random ingredients that I have been collecting on my trips: some speck from Berlin, some pul biber from Istanbul (a fantastic firey, rich and deep flaked pepper) and the rest from the local shop in Amsterdam, around the corner from my apartment. The result was perfect, almost medicinal. The soft goat’s cheese with some pasta cooking water serves as the soothing part of the sauce, the sweet …

A Postcard from Istanbul

The keen eyed, the twitter followers and the instagram followers, and those waiting for my posts on Berlin will no doubt go – HEY – what happened to Berlin? Well, here is the deal, I can’t write about Berlin while in Istanbul? Why? Because I am so absorbed in this right now that it is all that I can think of, and because Berlin was so (and in its own wonderful way) different. It will make more sense to write about Berlin when I am back in northern Europe (Amsterdam), at the weekend. (If you are curious though, you can take a peek at instagram where I post everything as it happens, it is best used as an app on your phone, I love it). I am working on a 6 city commission for Housetrip, writing recipes and content for their site, and some content for here too. It is wonderful hopping from city to city and exploring vastly different cultures back to back. I have had to split the trip in three to accommodate …

A Postcard from Hong Kong

This is like the postcard that you find in the bottom of your handbag, when you have already been back for a bit and your memories have faded. You want to send it anyway, but never do. Sometimes you may even find some in your storage unit. I found some letters that I wrote on a ferry in Corsica when I was 19 last week. Well, this is the internet, and so I can send it, and I really want to. The letters, well they were actually lovely to read and will remain mine, never seeing a post box or another pair of eyes. Even if they were written in silver pen. Hong Kong buzzes. Like one of those joke buzzers that kids use, it catches you by surprise, sometimes you are not sure, but it always makes you smile. Hong Kong has a brilliant energy, people seem very positive and everyone is very busy doing lots of stuff, all the time. It never seems to stop. There is fantastic food too, from super cheap and …

Recipe: The Perfect Egg and Chilli Chorizo and Pork Sauce

Why sous vide an egg? Is it really worth it? Yes, yes it is. Sous videing them? Isn’t that just ridiculous? (Is that even a word?). Maybe, but ponder this. You can make a yolk that is custard rich and spreads like mayonnaise – my favourite way, or that is elastic enough to roll to fill something else. You can also create your ideal breakfast egg bringing the yolk to the texture you desire and never beyond, a perfect egg. Delicious, no,and a perfect egg? Yes, but also consider this, you never have to eat an undercooked bit of egg white again. Now call me precious, and wonder how exactly I write about food, and eat duck webs in Beijing and all of the other randomness that I do, yet bawk at an egg white. Well, I do. So much so that my mother brought me to the doctor when I refused to eat egg whites as a child. In my head I was thinking, there is no way they can make me eat them, I …

monjayaki

Eating Tokyo: Monjayaki on Monja Street, Nishinaka Dori, Tsukishima

Let’s talk about monjayaki. What is it? It is often compared to okonomiyaki, I thought this too the first time that I had it in Tokyo 6 years ago, but it quickly became clear as it was cooked that it was a different beast. Monjayaki, I was told, translates as snack cooking, and okonomiyaki, favourite style of cooking. Japanese readers, please feel free to correct if I am wrong. I tried to make myself understood but the language barrier can be brutal. They are separated by geography too. Monjayaki comes from the Kantō region (greater Tokyo and around it) and okonomiyaki from Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka etc.). That is not to to say that okonomiyaki from Kyoto or Osaka are the same, they have their own styles, which can be very different (Hiroshima is most famous for okonomiyaki incidentally, but I didn’t get there on this trip). The centre of monjayaki activity in Tokyo is Tsukishima. There is one particular street, Nishinaka Dori, with 75 monjayaki restaurants on it and the alleys off of it. There …

New Zealand: A Day in Wanaka Cooking with Annabel Langbein

One of the problems with doing what you love and writing about it – and believe me there are a few – is that sometimes you are so consumed doing things, it is difficult to find the time to write about it. Take my trip to New Zealand this time last year. Only 8 days, too brief, but packed with brilliant and inspiring things. So many, that while I was there, I was so busy *doing* that there was very little time to write. I did manage two postcards, here and here, before moving on to Hong Kong (and doing so much doing there too, that I have yet to write about that also, which is ridiculous, as I booked a stopover in Hong Kong so that I could relax and slow down for a bit). I was watching Saturday Kitchen this morning through jet lag goggles, when I spied lovely Annabel Langbein cooking, and was immediately transported to cooking with her in her kitchen in Wanaka, New Zealand, last year. Annabel Langbein is a …

Tickets Now on Sale: Bacon Masterclasses on Wednesday 20th & Friday 22nd March

I am woefully late announcing these, but here you go! New bacon masterclasses on Wednesday 20th and Friday 22nd March, in just over two weeks time. These are a new format and in association with Bacon Connoisseurs Week. They will be held at Food at 53,  gorgeous cookery school between Old St and Islington. As always, they will be really fun, and very sociable. Come on your own, or with friends, I promise you will be comfortable. We will kick off with a Bacon Bloody Mary, then get into the cooking three recipes. Chipotle Bacon Jam – better than any you have tasted with only the best ingredients. Chipotle fuelled, smoky and sticky. Bacon Jam Fudge – it takes time but it is fantastic, and it is amazing with a single malt Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Truffles – smoky, rich and fabulous Then we will finish with a bacon curry. You will go home with a goody bag of everything you have made with all of the recipes. I have kept the prices as they were, £75 for 3.5 …