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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Police have confirmed that cook John Burton Race, who runs the New Angel restaurant in Dartmouth, Devon has been charged with drink-driving after a roadside check. He has also been charged with resisting a police officer in the lawful execution of his duty. Police officers were carrying out routine stops near Dartmouth, when the 52-year-old was arrested in the early hours of Friday morring. He has been bailed to appear before South Devon magistrates in Newton Abbot on November 17 to answer the charges. Devon and Cornwall police confirmed that the he is facing the two charges and has been released on unconditional bail. Burton Race starred in the TV shows French Leave and Return of the Chef, as well as Britain’s Best Dish and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Staff at the New Angel have refused to comment on the incident.



A very traditional English lemonade enjoyed since the Victorian age has caused a major row in the US. The drink contains small traces of alcohol, a fact which caused a school principle in the north eastern state of Maine to contact the Aroostock Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, when he spotted a teenage pupil drinking from a bottle of Fentimans Victorian Lemonade. The Maine Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse were also contacted as a result of the incident. Concerns were raised regarding the drinks alcohol content as well as the products branding, which resembles many traditional American style liquor bottles. Although the drink contains only 0.5 percent alcohol meaning you would have to consume 28 275ml bottles to reach the amount of alcohol found in an average pint of beer, it may still fall foul of strict US alcohol laws designed to prevent sales to under 21s. The US states Attorney General has yet to rule on the case, but is expected to define who may sell and consume the beverage sometime soon. Fentimans Victorian Lemonade is legally classed as a soft drink in the US, with the trace amounts of alcohol occurring naturally as part of the botanical fermentation process. It has also been pointed out that many commercial products on general sale across America contain alcohol, including mouthwash, cough medicine and gum.

A UK branch of food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken is being prosecuted after environmental health inspectors found cockroaches, mice and flies at one of the companies British restaurants. Environmental Health Officers observed a cockroach scurrying across a service counter while visiting the fast food outlet in Leicester Square, central London. A mouse was also seen running across the floor as flies buzzed around their heads at the premises. Black sticky grease was found caking bread roll containers and trays which were being used to store raw chicken. Dirty cloths were used to wipe food preparation surfaces, chicken racks were covered in congealed fat and food warming units were dirty. A metre wide pool of dried blood was found on the floor and engrained grime covered walls and shelves. Mould and general dirt was found on the floors of the food preparation areas as well as on walls, doors and ceilings. The company is being prosecuted by City of Westminster Council. Details of the visit were outlined in documents presented to a London Magistrates Court. Charges related to improper food storage and a lack of hygienic facilities and also being brought. KFC face a total of 13 charges brought under food hygiene regulations following the inspection on August 15 th 2008. A spokesman for KFC said: "As soon as we were made aware of the results of the inspection we took immediate action to bring the restaurant back up to our strict hygiene standards. The restaurant is being closely monitored to ensure that they are maintained."

The feast of La Vigilla Napoletana is an Italian culinary banquet rich in history and tradition, originating in the Italian city of Naples and centring on Christmas Eve and continuing throughout Christmas. La Vigilla Napoletana will always begin with a dish of ‘spicy broccoli rabe’ which is then followed by a main course of eel or occasionally lobster. The feast usually ends with a lasagne followed by struffoli. Broccoli Rabe is a leafy green vegetable popular throughout Southern Italy and more recently in North America. Sometimes referred to as ‘rapini’ it is a brassica with a slightly bitter taste and a flower head similar in appearance to broccoli florets. It is usually steamed or lightly sautéed in olive oil. Spicy broccoli rabe is produced by sautéing the prepared green leaves in olive oil together with garlic, anchovies, red chilli peppers, salt and black pepper. Struffoli is a classic Neapolitan Christmas dish consisting of deep fried dough balls, usually about the size of marbles, coated with warm honey and served together with candied orange peel and assorted chopped nuts.

The current recession has spawned an increase in the underground restaurant phenomenon. These supper clubs have been established by foodies disillusioned with their over priced and over hyped high street counterparts. They are fighting the recession. Using their skills and knowledge to open their own kitchens to paying customers. Converting living rooms, conservatories and the like into intimate dinning areas, often serving the best of local produce. Many indeed offer the ultimate dining experience as they transform their own homes into a functioning restaurant. Intimate and attentive service, exceptional product knowledge and quality ingredients prepared to order are always the aim. These alternative venues could indeed be the best way to sample some of the worlds lesser served cuisines such as Moroccan, Slovakian or Vietnamese. Local produce is abundant. Cheeses, herbs, meats seafood and in season vegetables are always preferred with local farmers markets frequently used. Supporting this new trend Virgin1 has recently launched a free user friendly map, so allowing foodies and producers to become directly involved with this recent and growing restaurant revolution. This practical and interactive map offers a quick and simple way for existing or prospective restaurateurs, diners, producers and retailers to contact each other. You can easily discover what is available in your own area. Allotment owners, jam and pickle makers, beekeepers, small farmers, service providers, etc are all able to promote themselves. As is the increasing army of amateur chefs. As part of the foodie trend Virgin 1 have also launched its own user map, where online food lovers and produce sellers can actually get involved with the ‘pop-up’ restaurant trend themselves.

Click here to join the ‘pop-up’ restaurant revolution


Restaurant In Our Living Room is a new foodie series broadcast on Virgin 1, each week we will see couples going head-to-head to create the ultimate dining experience in their own homes. They have a strict budget and only three days to transform their home into a fully-functioning restaurant. This is dining out with a difference. Guests will pay only what they think the meal is worth, with the winning couple being decided by the income generated. This new series is inspired by the growing trend for underground restaurants and supper clubs, venues where disillusioned foodies fed up with over-priced and over-hyped restaurants, are fighting the recession by opening their kitchens to paying customers. Even celebrities are tucking in. Viewers will see everything from themed nights to seven course gastronomy. Everthing is at stake as guests take account of service, entertainment and restaurant design when paying their bill. Was the food more greasy spoon than Michelin star? The service closer to Fawlty Towers than Oxo Tower? The diners to decide. When service closes the two couples meet to share their experiences. Once the takings have been counted the winning restaurant and ultimate foodie prize is revealed – a meal anywhere in the world at one of the globe’s finest restaurants.

 Click here to watch a preview of Restaurant In Our Living Room


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A parody of all television chefs, the Swedish Chef was one of the few Muppets to employ an actual puppeteer’s hands visible to the audience through his sleeves, facilitating the handling of food and utensils. All Swedish Chef sketches begin with him in a kitchen, waving some utensils while singing his signature song in a trademark mock Swedish. After this introduction the Chef begins to prepare a recipe while giving a gibberish explanation of what he is doing. His commentary is spiced with the occasional English word to clue in the viewer to what he is attempting; for example, "Aweenda shmure da froog’s legs". The Chef is referred to by name in one episode, in which Danny Kaye plays his uncle. Kaye reels off a very long name but adds, "But we call him Tom", much to the Chef’s amusement.

Date marking helps stock rotation, warns if products are dangerously old, and helps customers buy the freshest products. Open date coding is the labelling of food with a shelf life of less than eighteen months. Long life products have closed date coding. The rules for date coding are found in The Food Labelling Regulations 1995. Best before dates mention the day and month before which the product should be at its peak quality. High risk foods must be marked with a use by date. This is the last date on which a product can be safely used. The date mark must also indicate storage conditions. Many foods are double dated, with a display until date and a use by date. The display date indicates when the product should be taken off the shelf. It is an offence to sell a product after its use by date, even at a discount. The ‘best before date’ on a food label indicates the date after which the quality of the item will begin to deteriorate so impairing appearance, flavour and texture. It is not illegal to sell or consume foods after a best before date, and such items would not be a risk to health. Usually abbreviated to ‘BBD’. A ‘use-by date’ however is a date appearing on perishable food items such as fresh chicken, this indicates the date by which the item must be used and consumed. It is illegal to sell or serve food after its use by date. It could be unsafe and result in food poisoning. Some foods now also include a ‘time of production’ as part of the use-by date labelling, for example 1715 or 0515pm, this allows a more accurate control of potential food hygiene risks. For example, a hens egg may well have been produced on a Wednesday however, this could have been at a minute past midnight 0001 hours, or a minute to midnight 2359 hours. Almost a full days difference.

This a garnish or flavouring consisting of butter blended with other ingredients, so producing an assortment of flavours and textures. The finished butter is used in a variety of ways: 1) As a simple accompaniment, parsley butter for example. These simple butters help keep foods moist and enhance presentation and flavour. 2) As a filling, salmon butter for example. These are often piped into a pastry case, decorated and served as cocktail canapé. 3) As a liaison, used to enhance flavour, colour and texture. The majority of compound butters are prepared well in advance and stored in a fridge until required. They are sliced before service and stored in iced water prior to use, this helps keep the pieces separate. Or they are piped using a star nozzle, onto a tray and again refrigerated prior to use. Due to the high fat content of butter strong seasoning is often required to bring out the desired flavours. Common examples of compound butters include anchovy, black, garlic, lobster, nut, parsley, salmon, and shrimp. These flavoured butters are simple to produce. For example ‘Beurre Maitre D’Hotel’ is a parsley butter made by blending a few drops of lemon juice together with chopped parsley and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Rub into softened butter, mould into a cylindrical shape using greaseproof paper and keep refrigerated until required. Cut into ½ cm slices with a warm knife and serve on crushed ice, or place onto the dish being served at the last moment. For a shrimp butter blend of cooked shrimps, butter and paprika. The shrimps are first passed through a fine sieve before being creamed with the butter and seasoning. The mix is then rolled into a cylinder and wrapped in greaseproof paper, refrigerated and cut into slices when required. The prepared slices can be kept in iced water prior to use. Also known as ‘beurre de Crevettes’. Lobster butter is seasoned lobster trimmings blended with butter. The trimmings are pounded in a mortar to a fine paste, then blended with an equal quantity of butter. The mixture is allowed to melt slowly in a bain marie until the flavours and colours have infused. It is then passed through a fine cloth into a bowl, and allowed to set over ice. Used to enrich various fish and shellfish soups and sauces.