All posts filed under: Cook This

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffles

I wondered about sharing these photos, I really did. I had to rush them before dashing to the airport, and I risked it, and got up at 6am to make them, because I really wanted to share this recipe with you. It is perfect for Christmas. Stress free and it takes a little care but otherwise, just fine, anyone can make these. Of course life and work intervened, and I was too busy in Germany and too tired at the end of every day to do any decent writing. So, here it is now. But then the photos, I can’t help but think they look like I dug up some mushrooms and then coated them in fine soil. I can’t worry about this though, isn’t it much better that you get the recipe? And maybe a little reassuring to see that, yeah, you can make truffles, and they might look a little rough, but hey! They are still delicious. There aren’t enough hours in the day and there is plenty of other bothersome things, I …

Salted Caramel (Perfect as a Sauce, on Toast, or Just Eating With a Spoon)

Christmas is on its way, there is no longer any denying it. I am woefully under prepared, as is my form. I just paid through the nose for my flight home this year for a start, which eats into every other Christmas budget. I guess all of the other ex pats must be very organised this year. After that, there is not a child in the house washed, as we would say at home. (Calm down dear, I haven’t had any children since my last missive, it merely means there is nothing organised and we can’t even see where organised might be, over the horizon). However, I have some recipes to share that will help you be a bit more organised for Xmas, and that will make me feel a lot better. A good place to start is a lovely salted caramel, and it is something that every cook should have in their armoury besides. It is so easy, as long as you watch over it, as it will burn as soon as you stop …

Beef Cheek Chilli

Beef cheek chilli is a gorgeous dish. Tender, robust and sublimely yielding, once you do the initial work, it basically cooks itself. The best bit? It is a relatively cheap cut of meat, and has a wonderful deep flavour and texture. Winner. You will find yourself buying this instead of steak for dishes like this, I promise you. When I first started making chilli, I would make it using minced beef, and yes this is fine, but once I started to experiment with other meat cuts like shin and cheek, I could see that a chilli has much more potential than the one that I was making. Then there are chillies to think about. I used to make beef chilli with whatever chilli I had, then I progressed to smoky punchy chipotle, and then, with an appetite for more and a geeky drive beneath it, I decided to explore different chilli combinations. Then I could see what all the fuss with chilli was about. Layers of chilli playing with the beef, enhancing it, some bringing searing heat, …

Chicken Rendang (In Partnership with Le Creuset)

This post was sponsored by Le Creuset. They asked me to write a one pot recipe and to choose one of their pots to cook it in. I fancied something spiced,  slow cooked and full of character,  so I settled on a rendang inspired by my travels to Malaysia. I chose a shallow pot that would aid evaporation, caramelisation and intensification of the sauce  (a 30cm shallow casserole, in lovely Marseille blue).  I have been to Malaysia twice in the past year, to the tip of it in Langkawi, and the bottom, Sabah, Borneo. I love it there for many reasons. The monkeys (who can resist?), the rainforests and the gorgeous seas, the sandy beaches and the mangrove trees. Best of all is the food, seasoned with punchy aromatics and a little spice. Where India has spices, Malysia has aroma – galangal, lime leaves, lemongrass, lots of fresh turmeric – and slow cooked tender meats, bright fish, with sometimes funky undertones from fermented fish. For this project, I settled on a chicken (ayam) rendang, the perfect food for a …

Roast Pumpkin, Kale, Feta & Pomegranate Salad

Yes, more roast pumpkin. But you probably have some left over from the last recipe, and I bet you are not averse to roasting some more. Or is that just me? In Winter my salads become a little more robust. More kale than lettuce, wilted or crisped, chunks of pumpkin or similar dense veg, roasted into submission. No salad should be heavy, so I lift mine with spritely dressings, this time a pomegranate molasses and lime dressing with no oil, so you know, healthy and lower calorie (I did say I was going to try, right?). Over this, soothing pops of sharp creamy feta, and then to give it some sparkle, a gorgeous sprinkle of juicy pomegranate seeds. It is winter? Who cares, when you have this salad? I quite like winter anyway.

Almond Crusted Tuna with Chilli Roast Pumpkin, Wilted Lettuce, Tomato & Curry Leaves

Almond crusted tuna frequently pops up my idea periscope when my mind wanders. I first had it in Sicily a few years ago in San Vito Lo Capo, when I was a judge for the International Cous Cous Festival (yes, I really was, and it was bonkers, and a lot of delicious fun). There are many almonds in Sicily, pistachios too, and they appear a lot in the cuisine. Almond crusted tuna was one of my favourite dishes that I tried, a fabulous alternative to breaded fish, the tuna remains crisp and is – obviously – nutty.

Rice Soup with Chorizo, Pumpkin, Kale & a Poached Egg

I don’t like telling you what to do, but on this occasion, I must. It is almost the weekend, and it is very much Autumn, so what I need you to do, is to go out and buy a couple of raw chicken carcasses (most butchers will have them, and failing that 500g chicken wings), some ham bones, if you can get them, or a ham hock. You see with these, and some veg, you can make a sublime broth which will keep you in gorgeous soups for the week, as I have done. I just needed soup and lots of it. A home made broth is wonderful, far surpassing any commercial pretenders. Even those home made ones you see in shop fridges will not have been made with the love and care that yours can be made with at home. Love and care brings flavour, and health, and joy. I am insisting that you give this a go. A good home made stock will have clear strong flavours, but it is gentle too, and …

Taste Portugal: A Day on the Algarve Clam Digging & Cooking with Heinz Beck [Part 2: Heinz Beck’s Recipe for Green Tortelloni with Frutti di Mare]

Making Heinz Beck’s Green Tortellini with Fruitti di Mare  So,  you have just been out foraging for clams with a 3* chef. You have fallen over on the boat (just a few scratches), and you have a wicker basket full of clams. What do you do next? Head to the kitchen, of course. Getting a chance to cook with Heinz Beck in his kitchen at Gusto at The Conrad, Algarve was a treat. He is (obviously) talented, but he is also very thoughtful, helpful and open to food writers blundering around his kitchen. We cooked 2 dishes, Bacalhau with Herbs, Pepper sauce and Fennel and Green Tortellini con Frutti di Mare, both flavourful, light and healthy, and just what my body is screeching for at the moment. I am on a bit of a fresh pasta kick – you will have noticed – so I will share the pasta recipe with you now. It seems complex, but it is all achievable, and it is a perfect lunch for friends. Just give it time, perhaps get your …

Paul Winch-Furness / Photographer

A Big Brunch and a Recipe for Louisiana Crab Cakes with Poached Eggs & Tabasco Hollandaise (In Partnership with Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce)

Brunch! Boiled Eggs and Tabasco butter soldiers; Feta, Corn & Tabasco Cakes; Tabasco Crab Devilled Eggs; Louisiana Crab Cakes with Poached Eggs & Tabasco Hollandaise Brunch is my thing. I have brunch everyday when I am at home. I am a sleepy morning creature and my body is not ready for anything except coffee for the first few hours. I have always been like this. My body likes evenings and night time, and while early morning is beautiful and, increasingly, I do wish I was a morning person, it is not when I am at my best. I am great at brunch though. I love it. My body is awake and hungry and eager to eat. Often eggs. Almost always with some chilli. I love a brunch dish that packs some heat (as you will have seen regularly on my instagram). Eggs never cease to amaze me with the amount you can do with them. Fried, poached, boiled, gooey, oozy, spread on toast soldiers. Eggs are brilliant when you force fat into them, as you do when …

Malay Chicken Curry

Kapitan Chicken (Malay Chicken Curry)

I know how annoying it is when I say: please go out of your way to find this impossible ingredient, I promise it is worth it. But it is! In this journey we have taken together over seven and a half years of blogging, we are all now toasting and grinding our own spices, right? And doesn’t it make a big difference? Well, trust me when I tell you that getting your paws on some fresh turmeric makes a huge difference here too. It is also fairly straightforward. I always used to peel it, but the chef that I cooked with in Malaysia (at The Meritus Pelangi Hotel) made a paste with it unpeeled and it made no difference. I now consider myself educated. I was fussing unnecessarily, which is really not how I like to roll. Fresh turmeric is having a bit of a hipster moment, but some of us (cough) have been using it for a long time. The hipsters are on to a good thing with their turmeric tea though. It is …

New Cooking Classes: Handmade Pasta Class & Feast Available to Book Now

So you know all of that fresh hand made and hand rolled pasta that I have been obsessing over? And the new classes that I promised? Well, here they are! I am scheduling 3 (small) classes only, and they are longer than normal too, running for a full day so that we can cover a lot of pasta ground. They are in Lambeth in central London this time, in a lovely kitchen that has a great prep area and dining area. As with all my classes, this is very sociable, and the price includes wine and a proper pasta feast. Handmade pasta is such a joy, and once you get the hang of it, very easy and speedy. It tastes much better than most you have had too. I am very excited to share everything I have learned and to feast with you. The class incorporates lots of my Italian travels, and some classic pasta dishes that you know (Tagliatelle with Ragu from Emilia Romagna) and some you might not (Malloreddus with Sausage Ragu from …

Home Fried Potato Hoops with Parmesan, Cumin and Chilli, Nominated for the Red Woman of the Year & Kate Bush, Before the Dawn

Well, this week has been pretty good. I was nominated for the Red Woman of the Year yesterday. It was my second time being nominated, and I was really honoured to be included among such brilliant and inspiring women. It was awarded last night to a very deserving Deliciously Ella in the blogger category. Ella has achieved so much at the tender age of 23, and all in an effort to manage a debilitating illness. The result? Success (she no longer requires her medication as the result of her very healthy diet), a beautiful health food blog, a recipe app and a book on the way. She is self taught too. Thomasina Miers, food writer and restaurateur (Wahaca) and Laura Bates of Everyday Sexism, two women that I hugely admire, were recognised too. Good on Red for recognising these women, and also for illustrating their achievements so that they can inspire those coming behind them. You can see all of the winners on the Red website, and in the magazine soon too, I am sure. …

Caramelised Onion, Egg & Coconut Curry

Caramelised Onion, Coconut & Egg Curry

Shall we talk again about another much maligned dish? And more than that, a breakfast concept that some love and others think is bonkers. Even though over a billion people eat it! I am talking about Egg Curry and curry for breakfast (or any manner of spiced breakfast at that). People, you are really missing out if you have not tried both of these things. It is my mission to open your eyes to it. Why is egg in curry even a funny thing? Eggs in curry are rich, light & gorgeous and curry makes the perfect breakfast (curry being a general term for over a thousand diverse dishes). I often use leftover curry or make a simple curry fresh to poach eggs in (a la huevos rancheros, but Indian style). I love spice for breakfast when I am in Asia, and often at home too. A meaty congee (chicken or pork) pepped with chilli oil, nuts and tofu is a perfect start (would you like a congee recipe too?). One of my favourites was …

Pasta e Fagioli

You know that food you love? The one that is so everyday, common place, so simple, but so very good. You make it all the time, and eat it joyfully. It rescues you from every grey day, every brain cloud. It is perfect and it knows how to tackle your mood. It totally gets you. But, that amazing dish itself is misunderstood. Often because it is not made right, not faithfully, or with love and care. Pasta e Fagioli is one of those dishes. Carbs and beans? CARBS AND BEANS?! Why is everyone so harsh about the carbs these days? They are delicious, and soothing, and yes, I do eat too much of them, but how can I not? They are pasta, sourdough bread, udon noodles. All of the most delicious things that soothe my week. I eat well, I don’t eat processed food (except for occasional crisp and haribo based lapses), I feel no guilt. Why should I? Carbs are ok folks. Just relax and enjoy your dinner. Life is hard enough without removing …

Peach, Almond & Bourbon Pie, an Update on Sponsored Content & Project Bacon

Well, hello folks. Greetings from the Tyrrhenian Sea. I am on a short cruise checking out the offerings of Indian chef Atul Kochar on the P&O Ventura cruise ship. I was in two minds about cruises. In hindsight, for someone who loves boats, ferries and slow travel, this seems a little daft. You know when you sometimes just get an idea in your head? Anyway, while not actually on holiday (I have freelance work to do, and I am finishing Project Bacon), I am loving the lull of it all, punctuated with the pop of activity when we dock at a port. It suits my binary speed setting. I love to be busy buzzing around checking out new things and new eats, but when I am not, and when I can, I love to relax, read, watch films, and drink wine. It comes at the end of a crazy week. I spoke at a great new blogging festival Blogstock, which I really enjoyed. It was on Food Blogging 101, and when I get time, I will …

Homemade Malloreddus (Gnocchetti Sardi) with Bacon, Peas, Chilli, Courgette & Parmesan

Fresh pasta is such a faff, right? You always want to do it but the stuff you get in the shop is just as good, right? I mean, who has that much time? All of the above assumptions are incorrect. Fresh pasta is really quite straightforward and it is so much better (unless you are spending a lot of money on your dried pasta). It takes time but a lot of that time the dough is just resting and waiting for you. You make the dough – which depends on the pasta type, generally dough in the North is made with 00 pasta flour and eggs, and with water and semolina flour (a coarser grind of durum wheat) in the South – this usually takes 5 – 10 minutes. You let it rest as you have just beaten it about the place and it needs to unwind. Then you roll and shape it. Even hand rolling tagliatelle does not take that long, but some of the smaller shapes are super speedy, with practice.  Of course …

Grilled Peaches with Cardamom Cream, Bourbon Caramel and Brioche Hazelnut Crumb

I started out making a peach pie. Shortcrust pastry, homemade with butter, some bourbon, lots of lovely ripe peaches. No, that is not entirely true, I started out working on BBQ recipes, and I was diverted by peaches towards a pie. Then I thought of the BBQ and the peach, and how they should combine. Those peaches looked so good, so juicy, so ripe. My mind started to wander, no, sprint, to grilled peaches with bourbon caramel. YES, I had to do that. But something was needed in between that succulent peach and rich caramel. Cardamom cream? I love spice and a little cardamom is gorgeous with a peach, and also good with bourbon. I had just bought brioche buns at the bakers, so I was now starting to cement the recipe with the idea of brioche bread crumbs and coarse chopped hazelnuts crisped in butter, just on top. That bourbon could join some sugar in a caramel. And there we have a gorgeous succulent juicy grown up dessert. I abandoned the pie. Briefly. Caramel is very easy. …

Four Beef Recipes for BBQs in All Weathers (In Partnership with Grasstronomy / Irish Beef)

In the photos: Stout, Bacon & Beef Burger, Firey Beef Koftes, Low & Slow Spiced Ribs with Bourbon and Coffee Glaze, Miso Steak – recipes after the jump. Irish Beef commissioned me to come up with 4 beef recipes, any that I liked, I just had to use the BBQ. The BBQ that I used is a fairly basic one, so these recipes should be good for all of you too. The grill can be moved up and down but that is all the heat control that I have. Growing up in Ireland, the concept of free range was alien to me. Everything just was free range, and there was no need to declare it. There were cows in the field in front of and behind my house. Bullocks, too. Lots of dairy and beef farming, and also lots of potatoes.  Grass fed cattle work for their food, resulting in a leaner meat too. All of that lovely rain which we moan about but tourists love (for the first few days anyway) gives us terrific pasture. Our soil is …

Kimchee, Kale & Cheddar Curd Quesadilla

I started to write this morning, but it was so moany and so dull, I had to stop myself. I mean, who wants to read that? I had fallen into a little pit of self pity. Woe is me, I couldn’t sleep last night, my tum was so poorly, I still have some of my book to do (panic! stress!) and so much work to finish. I am SO-VERY-TIRED. And then I thought, pull yourself together, life is very short, and it isn’t much fun down this tiny shallow pit of not even proper despair, now is it? Especially when you are despairing because you are busy doing what you love to do? I don’t understand myself sometimes. Right. So I dragged my carcass to the kitchen and made myself a banana, raw honey and bee pollen smoothie (all whizzed with milk & a little yogurt, simple as that). Very worthy and I hoped, redeeming. I sipped away and thought, right! Lets get on with it. I have an extensive cookbook collection – nay, huge – …

Corn with Lime & Chilli Butter and Feta

This morning something joyful, simple and full of flavour. I was thinking about corn, how wonderful it is and quick, and remembering how I had had corn in some Mexican restaurants. With a fresh tangy crumbled cheese on top, and of course, a kick. I am working on a whole slew of BBQ recipes this week, and some sides are warranted, so let us start here. Working with what we have, instead of a Mexican cotija cheese, I use feta. Feta, a Greek cheese, is protected, and can only be called feta if it is the traditional cheese produced in specific areas of Greece from sheep’s milk, or sheep and goat’s. You, of course, know it, and it is widely available in supermarkets. The real stuff is aged for a minimum of 3 months resulting in a salty firm & crumbly cheese with a bit of a tang. Imitators pale by comparison and sometimes taste odd, but there are some fantastic British & Irish sheep’s cheese you can use too. Like Irish Knockalara (from my …