Friday, 13 September 2013

lucky food writers

Lucky food writers - and I am one of them - have what seems to be an inexhaustible supply of new products to try, new restaurants to visit, new cookbooks with which to experiment. Most of it (barring the restaurants, of course) turns up on the doorstep; not all of it can fit into the column I write each week. But, it seemed to me, my daily quota of stuff that arrives in the post (and what we do with it) might be of interest to a wider audience keen to find out what's currently  new/ successful/ plain ridiculous in the world of food. 
Friday 13 seemed as good a day as any to start: it's wet, we've got builders in (who don't build in wet weather but are here anyway. Why?) and the doorbell has been ringing, causing the dog to have hysterics each time it happens, all day long

Friday September  13, 2013
In the kitchen my daughter is cooking lunch,  a litter of pans building up beside the sink. ‘The thing you always say when I make something out of Gwyneth Paltrow’s book’ notes my daughter, ‘is the trouble with Gwynnie is the number of pans she uses… it’s because she’s got staff …’ 
On this occasion, however, the number of pans has doubled as my daughter has taken GP’s healthy recipe for brown rice with greens and turned it into something less healthy but doubly delicious

Fried brown rice with kale, pak choi, egg, ginger and prawns (with a nod to It's All Good by GP, Sphere) using 4 pans and a wok and  chopping board that won't go into the dishwasher
feeds 3
8oz brown rice
5 stems of tenderstem broccoli, finely chopped
small bunch of kale, shredded
half a leek, shredded
2 eggs, whisked
10 king pawns
soy sauce
sesame oil
1 pak choi, chopped
2 clove of garlic, crushed
1 piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped

Boil the rice until just done, according to packet instructions. Steam the broccoli, kale and leek over a pan of boiling water for about 7 mins. Heat some sesame oil in a wok and add the rice. Stir to coat. Stir in the beaten egg and prawns, for 2-3mins, add the steamed vegetables. Leave to stand while you fry the pak choi in sesame oil with the garlic and ginger (2mins). Serve the rice in a bowl adorned with the pak choi and sprinkled with soy sauce

Last night I picked loads of plums off the tree in the garden. Saved the best looking ones to eat raw and made jam out of the rest
2lbs of plums, halved, stones, maggots and so on removed
2 lbs of sugar
kernels from half the plum stones

I left the plums in the sugar overnight (don’t use a metal pan).  This morning, I  put the plums plus sugar over a low heat, brought to the boil and boiled for 20mins. When setting point was reached, I added the kernels and rested for 10mins. Bottled the result in sterilized, pre-warmed jars

New books that came in the post today

Simon Hopkinson Cooks, Ebury Press £25 (out 19 Sept)
Accompanies the More 4 programme. Restaurant food cooked at home. Recipes notable for their straightforward style

The Illustrated Country year by Celia Lewis Bloomsbury  £20
Illustrated (by the artist author) guide to the months – wild life, nature notes, folklore, foraging opportunities, craft projects (how to make a driftwood lamp eg) and recipes 

Saturday Kitchen Cooking Bible, Weidenfeld & Nicolson £20 (out 26 Sept)
200 recipes from the weekend food programme provided by the guest chefs (eg Nathan Outlaw, Rick Stein, Richard Bertinet) divided into 30-minute meals, weekend lunch, salads, family feasts and so on

food that came in the post today

Butchers box of meat from Smithfields, including venison, steak, duck breasts, sausages (Keevil & Keevil Butcher’s Boxes,
Le Parfait starter preserving kit: 3 kilner jars, an empty box (fill one of the kilner jars, put it in box and give to someone as a present), labels and recipes (£15.99,
Tiana organic coconut water in a tin, plus jar of  organic omega 3 coconut oil butter - newest superfood (

News from the food front

Marco Cuervo, chef at Lupita East, and supporter of authentic food supplier, shares with us his family recipe of Chiles en Nogada, the dish to eat for Mexican Independence Day celebrations.

Crystal Head Vodka, £67.95, from
Don’t be tricked by poorly-carved pumpkins and threadbare broomsticks this Halloween. Instead indulge in the ultimate treat – Crystal Head Vodka from

Rutland-based baker, Julian Carter, has taken the top "Baker of the Year" award at the Bakery Industry Awards – the industry’s equivalent of the Oscars.
 The last 12 months have been exciting for Julian.  Hambleton Bakery, of which he is co-founder and head baker, was voted "Britain's best Bakery" in the ITV show of that name screened last December.

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