Posts Tagged food

May 26 2013

Fantasy Dinner Party

Dinner party time – Who would you invite? What music is playing? What are you eating? Is there entertainment? Let your imagination go wild!

Oh my lord – where do I start? My only relief in thinking about this is that my friend Emily is probably going crazy because she loves this sort of thing, and kind of does it for work, so she’ll probably have a million ideas.

So, I guess I should start with the guest list. Which is quite difficult really, as there are so many options. To start with, I’m not limiting myself to living people – there are simply too many people who are no longer alive that I would want to have there. I’m in no way able to pull together a complete list, but off the top of my head these are the first few that come to mind.

  • Richard Feynman
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Stephen Fry
  • Commander Chris Hadfield
  • Julia Child
  • Michael Ruhlman
  • Anthony Bourdain
  • Terry Pratchett

Reading down that list, it’s clearly got two main themes – science and food. Which makes sense because those are two topics very close to my heart.

In terms of food – god knows. If I could, I would hire Thomas Keller to do the catering, a man I admire greatly. Possibly Tom Kitchin helping out 😉

Music? Nothing in particular really, I’m not really into music as a background – I prefer actually listening to it, paying attention, so probably some good jazz or classical – cello music always sounds good to me.

Overall it’s about the people. My dinner party would be about the conversation and the food. All the rest is peripheral.

May 24 2013

What’s in your fridge?

Describe and/or photograph what is in your fridge right now. Be honest!

I did take a photo, but it didn’t come out very well, so I’ll just go with the description. I suspect I won’t come out of this very well, but I am going to be honest.

Main section – working from the top down.

Yoghurt and butter
We eat quite a lot of yoghurt (it’s one of the few things I actually like eating for breakfast) and have both butter (for cooking) and Lurpak (for eating)

General Stuff
This is the main shelf, and currently contains butternut sqaush, chorizo, bacon, and more yoghurt

This is Mrs Worm’s least favourite shelf (she is always complaining that we have loads of jars) and one of my favourite shelves – mustard, olives, cornichons, chillis, piccalilli – it’s all here.

Beer, fruit juice, cider, plus some large jars – roasted peppers and jalapenos mainly.

We have two large drawers for veg and I’m sorry to say that this is where most of our wastage comes. We’re getting better, and Mrs Worm is very good and using up veg to make soup for her lunch at work, but we still throw away far too much.

Then we move on to the door

It’s cheese innit. Cheese rocks. Usually some cheddar (for cooking and eating) mozarella (Mrs Worm’s favourite) and some blue (for me)

We still get milk delivered, but in plastic cartons. Plus some lemon juice, mustard jars etc.

More bottles, some wine, coke (Mrs Worm) limoncello, lemon squash etc.

More jars, condiments, general – you know, stuff.

I’m sure that’s not very exciting, and I’m just glad you didn’t ask what is in our freezer 😉

May 14 2013

Food Glorious Food

Share your favourite recipe. Talk about the best cocktail you’ve ever tasted. Or maybe share you fave restaurant experience. Lets talking about food!

This is going to be a tricky one simply because there is so much to say. I suspect I might actually struggle to get this down in a clear and coherent fashion because I simply have so many thoughts and they all race to get to the front.

So where do I start? From the beginning. I have no particularly strong memories of food from my childhood. I’m certainly not one of those people who can claim to have been passed a great legacy of family cooking. That’s not to say my family are not good cooks – far from it, but it was never an aspect of life that really impacted on me as a child. There are a few excepetions however – little gems of memory that stick out for me and come to the surface every now and then.

  • Gravy
    I have the impression that this was instigated by my dad, but I have no real evidence for that, it’s just a feeling. We always had ‘proper’ gravy with a roast, not made from cubes etc. The reason I know this to be the case it that I always got the job of standing at the stove stirring the gravy until it thickened. I have very strong memories of the cream roasting tin we had, with a ridged bottom that made getting all the sticky bit s off a bit tricky and you had to stir very carefully to stop the gravy sticking.
  • Coconut Macaroons
    About the only thing I really remember making, either with the rest of the family, or sometimes on my own – probably with supervision. Always shaped using an egg cup.
  • Dripping
    This is, I think, largely a northern thing. I always looked forward to visiting my paternal grandmother in Yorkshire. For many reasons, but one of the key ones was that she always had a supply of dripping, and a teacake with dripping and salt was a treat that would drive me giddy with pleasure. I recently went to a funeral in Yorkshire and the buffet included bread with dripping. It was like being 10 all over again.
  • Andy’s House
    When I was growing up I spent an inordinate amount of time at my best mate’s house. Days, even weeks on end. They really were like a second family for me, and in fact for a short period while we were ‘between houses’ I lived in a caravan in their garden. Andy’s mum was (and is) a very good cook, with a great talent for those big family meals where you have a dozen people sat around a table, 8 different dishes and second and third helpings for everyone. I loved that house, that family, and their food. We never really had a big garden, but they had a huge garden and would grow their own fruit and veg which was a real treat. I suspect I rather took advantage of their hospitality, but I certainly never got that impression from them. They were incredibly welcoming and kind to me.

While I never had a strong sense of cooking, I was perfectly able to feed myself, and when I went to university I didn’t really struggle. Although let’s be honest, like most students I largely lived on a diet of toast, baked potatoes and takeaways.

The real revelation for me came as a result of a chance change at work. I was working in a pub, doing a minor management role, largely the back office admin – stock taking, ordering, that sort of thing. Our chef left for another job, and the manager asked around for anyone who would take on the role temporarily while they sorted out a permanent replacement. Somehow I ended up volunteering, and had the job for about a year. I absolutely loved it. In culinary terms it was nothing fancy, fairly standard pub grub – pies, burgers, steaks and so on. There was a slight Mexican slant to the menu, so we did burritos and chimichangas and so on. The key thing is that is was all ‘home cooked’, we didn’t buy in any pre-prepared dishes and made everything from scratch. While we didn’t make anything very complicated, it really did give me the confidence to cook and really inspired me in my love for cooking, and everything connected with it.

I only did that job for a year, but the passion I felt there has never left me. I am always trying new ideas, new recipes and new ingredients. I love getting recipe books and going through them to get ideas, even if only for a single ingredient or treatment. I’m not really the most adventurous cook, but I do try to push my boundaries and try new things. Particularly if I’m eating out. I will always try and have something that I wouldn’t or can’t cook myself. Offal is a particular favourite. We don’t eat out that often, but we always try and find somewhere particularly nice when we do. Most recently this was a trip to ‘The Scran and Scallie’, the new gastropub opened by Tom Kitchin, who has been responsible for the two best meals I have ever had. The previous one was at his first restaurant, The Kitchin. A well executed dish can amaze me, and the simple liver dish I had on my visit to The Kitchin took my breath away, it was simply perfect.

I am well aware that I can’t cook at the level that professional chefs can, but that doesn’t stop me from being fascinated by what they do, why they do it, and how they do it. I love reading biographies of chefs and stories based in the trade. Even more general writing about the catering industry has me hooked – I also worked part time as a waiter for several years which may explain that interest.

I have also done a short cookery course at night school for Italian cooking, and am hatching a plan for a week long course in Glasgow for my fortieth birthday.

I could never work as a full time chef. It is incredibly hard, stressful and often monotonous work. I do understand why some people love it, and are constantly inspired by their work, but that’s not for me. I like to relax with my cooking. I spend hours dotting around the kitchen doing various things and will quite happily while away a few hours making a bolognese sauce. It doesn’t feel like a chore to me, it’s how I relax and spend my time.

If anyone has any recommendations for good food writing I would love to hear them. I have, of course, read most of the big names, but that doesn’t mean I will have read them all so I’m always eager to find new writers with passion. Anthony Bourdain, Jay Rayner, Michael Ruhlman, that sort of thing. I just love anything about cooking.

I almost forgot to link to my own food page, where I have documented various recipes that I have tried. I have kind of got out of the habit, so I need to get back to it, but you might find it interesting.


May 6 2013

Bank Holiday Fun

I often have trouble identifying with Bank Holidays because my work doesn’t really work that way. They roll all the Bank Holidays into the general Annual Leave entitlement, and it all works out. But May Day is one of the few Bank Holidays that we get (the other being St Andrews Day) so I suppose it’s worthy of note.

Mrs Worm is at work, so it’s very much a play day for me, which I have chosen to illustrate through the medium of photographs.

I got up and had coffee, then got down to the hard work of defeating Skyrim
I do have some responsibilities, and one of them is getting in my car
And getting the food, which enables me to start the process of getting the beef ready for burritos this evening.
In the meantime, I play Rock Band 3 either drums
20130506-182730.jpgor guitars
And generally just chill out, until I go to work tomorrow.

May 28 2009

Involtini di Pollo alla Salvia

I decided to move away from Jamie Oliver for once, and went back to ‘The Silver Spoon’, which is still one of my favourite recipe books. Inspired by ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ (long story) I settled on Involtini di Pollo alla Salvia, which is ‘Chicken Roulades with Sage’, but it sounds a lot more impressive in Italian.

It’s actually a pretty simple recipe. A quick web search actually found someone who is as much of a geek as me, and blogs their recipe attempts as well – so thanks to Sara for giving a good description of the process.

I decided that just having sage in the middle might be a bit ‘ordinary’, so I decided to ad some mozzarella as well. So here we go.

Pictures : click to show

I really liked this, especially as it was so simple to make. Lisa thought the sage was quite strong, but I didn’t get that at all. You could clearly do all sorts of different things in the middle of the chicken – maybe something spicy with chilli or peppers. I’ll definitely try a variation on this again.

May 26 2009

Fillet Steak Poached in Red Wine

A bit of a change of direction for this one. I was really just reading through my recipe books trying to get inspired, when I came across this recipe in Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie’s Kitchen’.

We don’t normally eat fillet steak, as we prefer ribeye – more taste basically, and poaching steak just sounds wrong somehow. A point Jamie addresses in the book 🙂 Still, I decided to give it a go as it sounded quite nice. I did change one aspect and did normal potato mash rather than celeriac as Lisa isn’t keen.

Pictures : click to show

This was very nice. Not quite what I expected maybe. The steak didn’t take on as much of the liquid taste as I might have expected, but it certainly had more taste then fillet usually does (in my experience) and too much would probably have ruined it. I did cook this for a bit longer than I might have done normally, but Lisa really doesn’t like steak anything other than ‘well done’ so I had to make sure. This is actually one of the easiest recipes I’ve followed, and while it’s not going to replace ribeye in my favourites list, it’s a different take that I will definitely use in the future.

Dec 16 2008

Chicken with prosciutto

I’m trying to take part in Jamie Oliver’s ‘Pass It On’ movement, as seen on his new TV series – the Ministry of Food. I’m hoping to pass on the recipes to people at work, so I thought I’d better check that I could cook them myself 😉

So, first of all, I decided to try one of the main recipes that featured on the TV programme.

Pictures: show

This was very nice. The thyme was a bit strong which makes me think I used a bit much. Lisa also did’t like the lemon juice squeezed on at the end, so I’ll skip that next time. This was very easy to make though, and I can see why Jamie used it as an example.

May 28 2008

Updates done

Well almost. I’ve done some fiddling with the layout and it’s pretty much how I want it. I’ve almost caught up with the food diary posts. I had more than I thought to catch up with, and I’ve got at least one more to do once I’ve uploaded the photos. Because I post them with the actual date I did the cooking, they have appeared down the page a bit, but here is a list so you can go straight to them :

May 17 2008

Roasted chicken breast

This is from ‘Cook with Jamie’. I’ve come across the recipe a few times but never quite got round to using it. Then Lisa asked if I could do something with butternut squash because she really likes it, and this gave me the opportunity to try it out…

Pictures : show

This was easy to do, very tasty indeed, and combined some really nice flavours. I will definitely be doing this one again.

Apr 12 2008

Chicken stuffed with mozzarella

An Aldo Zilli recipe that I have made a couple of times. As he describes it, it is based on the old favourite of Chicken Kiev, and I can see what he means, but it is far nicer, and quite satisfying to present.

Pictures : show

Quite an easy recipe, and one you can prepare in advance and keep in the fridge to cook later – a good one for dinner parties etc.