Mr Roots was there himself handing out his new range of crisps and fizzy drinks at Notting Hill Carnival. I can say I tasted both and they were really good, but he really wanted me to tell you about his new cd.
Apparently famous in Australia my Australian friend Jess said I needed to try one. Sadly they are not the best biscuit in the world!
Cameron ate a hot dog with a knife and fork, there was that famous bacon sandwich incident and now we are coming out of Europe what can we look forward to in the food-meets-politics scene? I'm off to Lidl before they run out of stock...
I was late and rushing for the 2pm train. I had had nothing to eat so after I found a seat and had put it off for as long as possible I bought a sausage roll. It was worse than the last one I had ten years ago. I don't need to describe it because you can see its flabby, rusky, microwaved self, for yourselves. Abelio Greater Anglia - your crisps have improved, your drinks have improved, now try serving a nice sausage roll?
Pork pies are much easier to make than you might imagine. Just a little time needed to prepare the filling and the pastry and some patience required with the crimping and sealing of the pies.
750g of very good sausage meat
750g of pork shoulder (finely diced or quickly chopped in a food processor)
100g smoked streaky bacon (finely diced)
a handful of chopped fresh herbs. I used sage, parsely and oregano
two large pinches salt and a very generous few grinds of black pepper
Mix all this together very well in a mixing bowl and set aside.
1kg plain flour
1 tsp salt
4 medium eggs
1 beaten egg for glazing and sealing the pies.
Heat the water in a saucepan with the lard and butter until melted, gently, it needn't boil. Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. I used my Kenwood mixer with dough hook and making a well in the middle add the beaten eggs. Start mixing and slowly add the water and fat mixture until you have a smooth and soft dough. Add more flour or warm water to get smooth soft dough. Cover and chill for about 1 hr.
Using a deep muffin tray grease well and line with rolled out pastry with some good overlap which you will need to crimp with. Fill with the pork and make a lid and crimp shut, using the egg wash to stick together. I had to lift the pie out of the tin to crimp and then set back into the tin. Make a hole in the middle to let the steam escape.
Bake in the oven 170C/Gas 4 for 1 hour, until golden brown.
Jelly or not? It does keep the meat moist and soaks in so you won't get a huge amount of jelly unless you keep adding more stock which is time consuming. I used 1 pint of pork stock with the equivalent amount of gelatine to set and poured it into the warm pies, no jelly layer but succulent meat.
Tonight I made Pakora with a bag of out of date spinach which was just begining to wilt. Use any vegetables that you have shrivelling in the bottom of the fridge. Just cut the vegetables into slices, or shred according to their density. Remember that courgettes will cook a lot quicker than chunks of carrot. I have yet to find anyone who doesn't wolf down a plate of these delicious Indian snacks. Gram or Chickpea flour is easy to find, usually with gluten free products on the supermarket shelf, from wholefood shops or anywhere 'ethnic'.
Delicious Indian snacks which are vegan/vegetarian and gluten free.
6 tbs cold water
- large pinch ground cumin
- large pinch of ground coriander
- 1 small onion finely sliced
- 4 handfuls of spinach leaves roughly chopped
- 1 handful fresh coriander chopped (optional)
- 1 tsp chopped green chilli ( optional)
- good pinch salt
- vegetable oil for frying
- Prepare all of the vegetables. Substitute any vegetables that you don't have with an alternative of your choice. Just about all types of vegetable work.
- Starting at the top of the list of ingredients add all to a large mixing bowl, everything except the oil which is required for frying.
- Mix very well making sure that the vegetables are all coated with a thin layer of batter.
Heat oil in a wok or use a deep fat fryer and drop spoonfools of the vegetables (coated in batter)into the hot oil.
- Cook until browned and the pakora holds its' shape.
- Turn to cook the other side.
- Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
A perfect way to use up all those leftover pieces of cheese in your fridge. All types of cheese can be used. It will keep for a week in the fridge and is a good vegetarian recipe.
225g grated cheese ( chop up cheeses that are hard to grate i.e Brie/Camembert
170g (small tin) evaporated milk
1 very small onion or 3 spring onions finely diced
1 tsp chopped chives
pinch of mustard powder
a little oil or butter for fying the onion
Heat a small knob of butter or splash of oil in a saucepan and soften the chopped onion
Pour in the evaporated milk
Add the grated cheese, mustard powder and a little ground pepper
Stir well until the cheese has melted
Stir in the chopped chives
Pour into ramekins and leave to set in the fridge
Eat spread on toast or with a baked potato
Started in Italy after the war when there wasn't much money about - yes, its an old idea - promoted in seventeen countries in the world and recently hi-jacked by Starbucks, here's how it is intended to work.
Choose a nice local independent cafe that has a discreet 'suspended coffee' sign in the window to buy your lunch, buy yourself a sandwich and a coffee. At the same time, pay for an extra coffee, asking for it to be suspended.
Johny Cakes - a man who has lost his job (it happened) is facing being homeless (not quite) and is looking for work, will see the sign that the cafe has out the front, saying they are taking part in suspended coffee, and asks if there are any suspended coffees available. Within five minutes he has a warm drink in his hands, thanks to the anonymous act of kindness of yourself and the cafe. Some places have extended it to food - I would like liver and bacon with mashed potatoes and runner beans please.
A late arrival got us both in for a fiver (you have to pay for this one...) but most of the food people were still there. What a proliferation of pickles! Lots of the same thing (of the chili jelly/home-made tomato ketchup variety) with one or two interesting exceptions - home made drinks and hot food, and lots of suppliers from Essex. But we love Abroad, and of course Essex gave us Jamie Oliver. We tried ice-cream, crisps, chocolate, strawberry and raspberry vodkas (although they weren't keen on Inspector X's horseradish vodka suggestion...) rhubarb and ginger cordial, fresh lemonade (so easy, so nice) and a shark kebab (very close to my Caribbean heart...shark kebabs...)
Oh the choice? Where to go first? With so many foodie things on one day we did an extensive expensive dash around the county - first to Orford where we knew we were going to find treats because they have the Pump Street Bakery and Pinneys and then to the Greene King Beer Festival (they may have had food but it was more about the beer...)
At Orford I spent £80 in as many yards, starting with a fab strawberry tart (well, half of one, because even Inspector X and I can only eat so much in one day...) followed by (half) a pulled pork wrap with coleslaw, the best salami we have tried in a while, an oyster, a Bloody Awkward (which regular followers of suffolkfoodie will know is an espresso with hot milk on the side - ie a SMALL coffee not a GIANT coffee, in fact I think it's called a cafe con leche Abroad, but is still to catch on here...) Where was I... a chocolate mousse and a dessert wine. What we couldn't eat we bought home - two bottles of Hill Farm oil, two Hill Farm mayo, a pheasant scotch egg, a fennel salami, honey-salted caramels, peanut brittle; doughnuts, a bears paw (more later on that one...) portuguese tarts and some other little tarts with almond and plum whose name I've forgotten, hot mint jelly, three crabs and two huge skate wings. The only thing missing at Orford was hot food and a home-made drinks.
In the next few days we will tell you what we bought in BSE and show you ALL the sumptuous pictures of the food we found.
A delicious treat and the perfect way to use up those unripe tomatoes. Vegetarian too!
- 4 to 6 green tomatoes
- salt and pepper
- beaten egg
- vegetable oil for frying
Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 - 1/2-inch slices. Salt and pepper them to taste. Dip in the beaten egg and then the corn meal. Fry in hot oil for about 3 minutes or until golden on bottom. Gently turn and fry the other side. Serve as a side dish - delicious with breakfast!
What to do on a weekend as miserable as this except cook? Last Sunday I went to Brick Lane and only had a fiver, although you can get a good meal for that I wanted to try more than one, so I was looking for the best bargains. I had two crispy filo pastry 'cigars' stuffed with feta and spinach for a £1 from one stall, and a box of four Vietnamese spring rolls for £3 from another. That left £1 for a juice. As I was watching the lady make the spring rolls to order - they soak the paper in water, fill them with salad and satay sauce and roll up - I decided to try it myself, so have been to buy a pack of the papers.This is the quickest, easiest, cheapest, healthiest snack I have had in a long time. I used peanut butter with soy, honey and lime to make the satay sauce, and the sweet chili sauce that most of us have now for dipping. My spring rolls were not as good looking as hers, but tasted the same! if you can't get the papers let me know and i'll send you some.
The French lady in our village has started a frog patrol. She goes out in the evening to rescue frogs from the traffic. We are not quite so sure of her intentions.
This three hour tour takes you through the foodie paradise of Bethnal Green in East London - from the famous and beautiful Columbia Rd flower market for fresh morning coffee and pastries from Italy, to Brick Lane, the home of curry, with foodie stops all the way. Jamie Oliver comes here to buy his Vietnamese street food and even the kebab vans are good. So we can try fresh oysters; beigels stuffed with salt beef or smoked salmon, traditional Cockney pie, mash and eels and home made baklava - from the traditional shops that have been here for years, and from the fabulous new street food vendors that cook here at the weekend.
The tour is £10 per person, runs most Saturdays and Sundays and meets at Hoxton station. You buy your own food throughout but don't worry, it's mostly under a fiver and you'll easily walk it off! It starts at 11.00am going for coffee, and ends at 2.00pm with whatever you liked best...and there is even a Cockney cashpoint to get your money out in rhyming slang!
Send me a message for details of the next tour dates and how to book.
If you can get salt fish try these, the fish needs soaking overnight and smells horrible but the flavour afterwards is worth it. Just make a thicker batter than usual, add the shredded salt fish, some chopped spring onions and chili, and fry until crisp. Mmmmm...
I found another good lunch stop in Southwold. You can't miss the Blyth Hotel as you arrive in the town. It's not on the seafront, just a short walk away. The bar and dining area has a rustic look and some great dishes on the blackboard. I had a roast beef and horseradish sandwich which arrived with some chips and a little pot of homemade coleslaw.