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Monthly Archives: August 2009

The secret to carving any bird is a combination of confidence and an understanding of how birds such as, duck, chicken, turkey, etc are constructed. Practise makes perfect however, so cook a bird a week and soon you will be an expert. Firstly imagine the bird split in half. A half bird will have from back to front a wing and wing joint, the breast, a leg and a thigh. Some prefer the brown meat from the leg, thigh and wing, while others would rather take the white breast meat. The breast meat is the only part of the bird that needs to be sliced, so using a long sharp knife, make a cut in between the thigh and the pointy end of the breast. Using the flat surface of the blade, push the leg away and let the skin. The leg should pop out, leaving a good amount of skin on the breast. Turn the bird around and cut between the wing and the fat end of the breast. Chop these any way you like. Some separate the thigh from the leg and serve them apart, some also separate the fat wing section from the pinions, these are the end bits that have lots of bones and the delicious brown meat. Do that on both sides of the bird. You will be left with the crown. Take long, thin slices of breast using a long, thin, sharp knife. Cut with confidence. Remove and any remaining meat from the carcass, fingers are good for this job. Enjoy.

              

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The Caesar salad is a restaurant classic that takes its name from Mexican restaurateur Caesar Gardini. With many interpretations and variations it traditionally consists of crisp lettuce, garlic flavoured croutons, anchovies, shavings of Parmesan cheese and a rich egg based dressing. This dressing has become a mainstay of many a menu, and can be used on almost any salad combination. To produce this essential component of the Caesar salad take a medium egg, a medium egg yolk, a tbsp of Dijon mustard, a tbsp of shallot vinegar, 2 anchovy fillets, a clove of garlic, a good helping of grated parmesan cheese, 200ml of olive oil and 200ml of a quality vegetable oil. Whisk the whole egg and the egg yolk together. Finely slice the anchovies and add to the egg. Crush the garlic and add to the egg. Add the mustard and vinegar. Whisk until thickened. Combine the olive and vegetable oil. Slowly pour into the egg mixture, whisking continuously, until completely combined. Fold in the parmesan. Use as required.

Cheese A solid product made from milk. Produced by coagulating the protein casein so that it forms curds by the addition of rennet. Vegetarian cheese is produced by the use of an extraction derived from fungi. Cheeses fall into one of ten categories: a) Semi Soft and Hard Cheese. These are made by removing an amount of whey from the curd. This involves the curds and whey being heated then textured and milled. The curds are then cut into blocks and piled repeatedly until the correct acidity is reached. This is done by a process known as cheddaring; the cutting, piling and turning causes the whey to drain from the curds to achieve a texture of curd not unlike chicken breast. The blocks are then pressed, salted and moulded before being ripened. This process, as the name implies, is used to make cheddar cheese. The name has been adopted for the process of making all cheeses manufactured in a similar way. Not all cheeses are cheddared, it is the variation of the recipe that gives the cheese its different texture and consistency. Hard cheeses often undergo a further heating and shrinking process to remove more whey, and are then left to mature for longer than semi hard cheeses. Examples of semi hard are Cheddar and Edam, examples of hard are Parmesan and Gruyere. b) Fresh and Soft Cheese. True soft cheese is made by coagulating unpasteurized milk with a bacteria or culture known as a “starter”, and then later by the addition of rennet. It is the bacteria that gives the cheese its clean acid flavour. The cheese is not textured, milled or pressed and the whey is allowed to drain naturally from the curd. The majority of soft cheeses are continental in origin. Either sold fresh, known as unripe, or fully mature when the flavour is strongest. Some soft cheeses are made from semi skimmed milk to give a low calorie , low fat product. These cheeses have a smooth, yoghurt like texture and are bland with a slightly acid taste. Examples are Camembert and Brie. c) Cream Cheese. Cream cheese can also be classified as a soft cheese, but is best regarded separately due to its particular nature. Produced in a similar way to soft cheese, but from cream instead of milk. The typical cream cheese is a soft bodied, rich flavoured and with a mildly acidic flavour. Sometimes with a granular texture, but always with a buttery consistency and creamy appearance. Often moulded into small shapes of varying sizes. Commonly coated in herbs or nuts and flavoured with liquor or garlic. Examples include Caboc and Boursin. d) Acid Curd Cheese. Sometimes classed as a soft cheese, but produced using a quite different method. Acid curdling is brought about by the addition of lactic acid, which acts upon the protein in the milk. This action yields a curd of high acidity, with quick drainage properties and a granular texture. The resulting cheese has a clean acidic flavour and a soft spreading quality. After processing, seasonings, nuts or fruits may be added to alleviate the otherwise bland taste. Cottage Cheese is a good example of this type of cheese. e) Low Fat Cheese. Produced using skimmed milk to traditional methods, low fat cheeses are popular as desert or cooking cheese. Often made with vegetable rennet. They tend to be mild in taste, and are best eaten with pickles or mustard to add flavour. f) Processed Cheese. These are cheeses produced by combining cheese with a number of other ingredients such as flavourings, herbs, spices, and cream. Manufactured using using a melting process, and usually sold in individual portions. Useful for making sandwiches, or as an addition to a packed meal. g) Blue Cheese. Blue cheeses are quite different from other cheeses, as they develop veining during the ripening process. This veining is caused by a bacteria within the cheese, which may occur naturally or be artificially introduced. The mould induced to the process is a spices of Penicillin Roqueforti and is added to either the milk or curd. The curd is soft and velvety with a distinctive flavour and character. Conditions throughout production are maintained to encourage mould growth. All blue cheeses are pierced with stainless steel needles, at least once, during the maturing period, this allows air to penetrate the body of the cheese and mould growth to develop more quickly. h) Stilton. Perhaps one of the best known of the blue cheeses, it is the only generic variety of traditional English cheese, and is made only from whole British milk in the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Stilton is handmade and takes four months or more to mature. Other blue cheeses include: Dolcelatte, Lymeswold and Roquefort. i) Farmhouse Cheese. Cheeses made on the farm rather than in a factory, particularly popular due to their distinctive qualities and flavours. In many cases only small amounts are produced, and are often sought after for their special qualities or rarity. Tend to be only available in specialist cheese shops, delicatessens or local farmers’ markets. j) Blended and Additive Cheeses. These are cheeses blended from two or more cheese varieties, or cheeses that contain an additional ingredient other than cheese. Produced to meet the demand for greater cheese variety, they allow producers to expand markets. Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, niacin, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin B12.

Gordon Ramsay has entered the pre packed meals business, serving assorted ready-to-go lunches and dinners from his restaurant within London Heathrow’s Terminal 5. These three-course picnics cost £11.95 and contain some of the restaurants signature dishes including a Ceaser salad with pancetta, smoked salmon croque monsieur and a chocolate brownie with pecan nuts and Chantilly. Sales have recently increased due to British Airways decision to remove food services on all short-haul flights.

 

Falsely describing, advertising or presenting food is an offence, and there are a number of laws that help protect consumers against dishonest labelling and misdescription. These are: 1) The food labelling regulations 1996. 2) The food compositional legislation. 3) European marketing standards. Consumers should be able to be confident with their choice of foods and be able to buy according to their particular requirements, be it for diet and health, personal taste and preferences, or cost. They want to be able to make comparisons with similar products, knowing the information on the label is correct. They have a right to expect that the food bought matches the description given on the label and that they get what they pay for. Part of the Food Standards Agency’s role is to help prevent mislabelling or misdescription of foods. Mislabelling does not normally give rise to safety issues; nevertheless, when done deliberately it constitutes the crime of fraud. In some cases, the names of foods we buy are protected by law, and must comply with certain compositional regulations. In other cases, such as fish fingers, there may be no such standards, but the food still needs to be described accurately and should not be misleading. Food authenticity is all about whether a food matches its description. If food is misdescribed, not only is the consumer being deceived, but it can also create unfair competition with the honest manufacturer or trader. The description of food refers to the information given as to its name, its ingredients, its origin or processes undergone. Misdescription in itself is nothing new. Food fraud has been around for a very long time, probably as long as food itself has been sold. In the past, basic foods such as flour, spices and beer were adulterated with cheaper ingredients. Nowadays misdescription can take many forms: Not having the necessary composition for a legal name: In order to be called ‘chocolate’, for example, the food must have a certain amount of cocoa solids. Similarly, in order to be called a ‘sausage’, it must have certain amount of meat in it. Substitution with cheaper ingredients: Adding low cost ingredients to a more expensive product, such as diluting olive oil with vegetables oils. Extending a food: Perhaps with water or other fillers, such as adding water to orange juice, or offal to meat products and not declaring it. Incorrect origin: Incorrectly labelling the true origin of the food or ingredients in terms of: 1) Animal species. Misdescribing the meat species in a product or not declaring other meat present. 2) Plant variety. Adding cheaper varieties to a premium rice such as Basmati. 3) Geographical origin or country. For example giving the incorrect country or floral origin of a honey or region for a wine. 4) Incorrect or failure to describe a process or treatment. For example not declaring if food has been irradiated or previously frozen, or the use of mechanically recovered meat (MRM). 5) Incorrect quantitative declaration. Giving the wrong amount of an ingredient for example declaring the wrong quantity of meat in burger. It also a requirement for food manufactures and processors to list certain food stuffs which commonly cause ‘food intolerance’. These ingredients are: 1) Peanuts. 2) Tree nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts. 3) Eggs. 4) Milk. 5) Crustaceans, including prawns, crab and lobster. 6) Fish. 7) Sesame seeds. 8) Cereals containing gluten, including wheat, rye, barley and oats. 9) Soya. 10) Celery. 11) Lupin. 12) Molluscs, including oysters, mussels and snails. 13) Mustard. 14) Sulphites and sulphur dioxide (preservatives used in some foods and drinks) at levels above 10mg per kg or per litre.

This is a small brown songbird native to Asia and Europe, traditionally eaten as a delicacy in France. The wild bird is caught using a large net, its eyes are then poked out before being placed into a small cadge. They are forced fed with millet and oats until four times the natural size, killed by being drowned in Armagnac and then roasted. Eaten whole, its bones lacerating the gums so allowing blood to blend with the birds fat and bitter tasting guts. The eating of Ortolan is regarded as offensive, so traditionally it is consumed with a cloth napkin placed over the head covering the face and mouth. This is said to heighten the gastronomic experience.
 
 

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is planning to launch 30 Italian family-style restaurants in Asia, with the first one set to open its doors to his gastronomic followers in Hong Kong early next year. The move marks the first step in taking his chain Jamie’s Italian — which now has five eateries in England — outside his hometown, to a region which takes pride in its rich diversity of international cuisine and where the economy is picking up faster than anywhere else in the world."Why Asia? Of all the markets, it has by far the fastest-growing economy," said Edward Pinshow, president of Tranic Franchising, which formed a venture with Jamie’s Italian International for the Asia expansion."The Chinese have become extremely fond of Italian food. In Japan, Jamie’s become a household name," he said Tuesday.Pinshow told AFP that they are now raising funds for the expansion, which will start with the opening of six restaurants in Hong Kong and Singapore.They plan to roll out another 24 eateries in other parts of the region over the next five years, with China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea among the most likely candidates for location.Pinshow said they are now working hard to get their first restaurant — a 5,000 square foot, 180-seat venue in Hong Kong — ready for opening in the second quarter of next year.He said the menu would offer a full-course meal with antipasti, main dish, dessert, plus a glass of Italian wine, for an average of 300 Hong Kong dollars (38.5 US) per head."At Jamie’s restaurants, you will often find a blue-collar worker, a student, and the chairman of a blue-chip company side by side having a meal," he said, while stressing that everything they served would be "natural and organic."Hong Kong will also be established as the development hub, providing all regional support in licensing, real estate, training and logistics for the project.Meanwhile, Pinshow said Oliver also had his eyes set on Europe for his chain’s international expansion.Oliver, 34, shot to fame in 1999 with his cooking series "The Naked Chef". He has since featured in numerous television series, and sold millions of copies of his cookbooks worldwide. His 2005 television documentary "Jamie’s School Dinners" sparked a national debate on nutritional issues, and is credited with persuading some people to change their eating habits. His latest series sees him trooping across America dressed as the various members of 70’s gay band The Village People. Classic.

 

Born on 28 December 1933 in Somerset and educated at Wellington School. In a varied career he has been an army officer, journalist, dishwasher, bartender, chef and restaurateur. He has at some point in his life operated restaurants in France, Spain, Britain and currently Thailand. He began his working life as a journalist in Bristol, but soon decided to join the British army after watching the historical war film Zulu, reaching the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Royal Tank Regiment. On leaving the army, he worked as a dishwasher and vegetable peeler in order to make a living. After several differing jobs he ended up as radio chief for the independent commercial radio station, Radio West, in Bristol. Then the opportunity to become a presenter on BBC television arose, he was well received by audiences and soon became known as one of the original breed of modern TV chefs. He presented various cookery shows including Floyd on Fish, Far Flung Floyd, Best Of Floyd, Floyd Around the Med and the award-winning one man show Floyd Uncorked. He has written some 25 books, the first being Floyd’s Food, in 1981. His other titles include Floyd on Fish, Floyd on France: Learn to Cook the Keith Floyd Way, Far Flung Floyd: Keith Floyd’s Guide to Southeast-Asia Cooking, Floyd’s India, and 100 Great Curries. His 20 television series are still being broadcast worldwide. He opened his first restaurant in Bristol in 1971, eventually owning three in the city. He has travelled extensively, learning how to cook local dishes entertaining people in the process. In April 2008 he ventured to Singapore and Thailand in order to expand his restaurant business into Southeast Asia, opening his first Asian restaurant, Floyd’s Brasserie, in Burasari Resort, Phuket, Thailand. His restaurants are often visited by fans who have watched his many programmes or read his cookery books. He has also appeared in several episodes of the children’s television series Balamory. In 1994 I had the opportunity to cook a meal for Mr. Floyd. He was visiting Newcastle Quayside researching his latest project. He explored the kitchen, pondered the menu, consumed several bottles of red wine at the restaurant owners expense and then ordered and ate a chicken satay with chunky chips. Bless. In 2005 he toured the UK with his award winning one man live show ‘Floyd Uncorked’. Keith announced in July 2009 that he was battling bowel cancer. He died of a heart attack on September 15th 2009 at his partners home in Dorset. He had spent the last few years of his life living in the Provence region of France, near Avignon.
 
 
A sweet little application is available that allows you to add your blog directly onto Facebook. Friends are then able to follow you plus existing blog followers can become friends. Other foodies within Facebook are also able search and follow you or your blog. It’s simple to set up, just click on the link bellow…