Friday, 10 February 2012

ahhh soup!

The other night I cooked a really good soup recipe. It was sooo simple and really tasty, also it was actually very filling because of the red lentils! 

Friday, 3 February 2012

Dinner time!

Tonight I wasn't feeling up to cooking much. I was talking to a friend about mackerel the other day, so went out and bought some of the pre-cooked stuff. I chopped some fennel, red pepper, beetroot and onions up, put in a roasting dish with oil and red wine vinegar and cooked for around 20 mins. I'm trying to eat healthy food at the moment, hence the lack of carbs! So mixed with a bit of salad and the mackerel it made for a great quick dinner.

(Sorry for the poor quality, I have an old blackberry, but you get the idea!)


Favourite cuisines

At home, my mum always cooked Mediterranean food, so I've always had a particular love for it. Stuffed peppers, mozzarella salads, olives, bread, cheese.... the list goes on!

I absolutely love Greek and Turkish food. I love eating in a meze style sharing and grazing; like vine leaves, halloumi, stuffed aubergines, calamari, followed by grilled meats and salads.

I also love French style food. So basically anything coated in butter!

Food Hero's

My favourite chef would have to be Jamie Oliver. I just love everything about him. His recipes are always really hearty, full flavoured and pretty simple to follow.

Every Boxing day I always use his gammon recipe. It's really easy to do and doesn't require much attention. Firstly, you need to boil the gammon with orange skins, the juice of the orange, peppercorns, leaks, carrots, thyme, and rosemary. Once you've boiled it for around an hour you cut off most of the skin then criss-cross the remaining fat. Place in the oven for 20 mins so the fat can render (I can't remember the exact temperature, but it's probably around 190 degrees). Then remove the gammon, pepper it generously and cover with marmalade, then place back in the oven for an hour. All you then need to do is baste it occasionally. It really is delicious and can be eaten cold too.

I got Jamie's new book for Christmas. I'm most looking forward to cooking his empire chicken recipe, it looks amazing, a great take on a Sunday roast. Chicken is something I go through stages of loving and not really bothering with, I just hate plain chicken.

Another one of my favourite chefs would be Gordon Ramsey, I guess I love his showmanship the most. Thinking about it, I haven't ever cooked one of his recipes?! But he's great to watch. Recently I have been re-watching his kitchen nightmares series. I forgot just how hilarious they are. Actually, I've eaten in one of the restaurants he helped turn around - Silversmiths, in Sheffield. It was great, perhaps the portions were slightly small for the price, but it had good ideas and has recently made the new addition of the Good Food guide, so they are obviously doing something right!

Delia Smith is also someone I love. I own her 'bible.' Basically if you need to know how to cook ANYTHING you can find it in this book. Her summer collections book is also great. She has a recipe for halloumi with capers, lime and parsley which is so good.

New food loves

Recently, I've fallen in love with fennel.

When I go out for a meal I usually always choose beef, however, this particular time I chose a fish dish. The dish consisted of sea bass (my favourite fish), roasted fennel, mash, and a cockle butter sauce. It was definitely one of the best meals I've had out for a long time - particularly when your not expecting something to be as amazing. Now I can't get enough of the aniseed flavour paired with fish. Recently, I tried to recreate the dish. Instead of using cockles I swapped them for shrimps, which still added the salty flavour needed. I also found a really good potato recipe:

I tend to find most of my recipes from BBC GoodFood as like many people I like to see a picture of what I'm going to make!

This is how mine turned out. I think I over 'crushed' the potatoes so the texture wasn't quite right, you need to consider that once you've crushed the potatoes they will break up more once you add the other ingredients.

So, where did it all begin...?

I guess for as long as I can remember I have always loved food; some of my earliest memories relate to food, when my mind wonders, I'm thinking of food and before I go to sleep I'm thinking of food. I've always had a ridiculously healthy appetite, I still don't know where I store it all, and I love nothing more than seeing people enjoy my food.

I would probably have to credit my parents for my passion. It's funny how as a child you bemoan everything you get given for dinner - when I think back I can't believe I turned my nose up at things like my mums chicken risotto - but it's nice how these things then become nostalgic. My brother is a great cook too, when he became head of the house at 17 I always looked forward to what he was going to create, knowing he was going to experiment away. I would say I was more of a precise cook, I like to read and follow recipes but as I now just cook for myself I find more and more that I just chuck everything in and hope for the best (definitely my mums mentality).

My dream would be to have my own gastro pub one day, or have a career somewhere in food and perhaps win Masterchef...haha, perhaps the latter is a bit far fetched!