Rio Street Food

Acarje With Shrimp And Tomatoes from a street vendor in Rio

Acarje With Shrimp And Tomatoes

I was spellbound by the women behind the busy street stand, hair bound in headscarves and with hooped skirts, pounding a huge paddle into a bucket of batter made from black eyed peas.  The pounding was constant and then suddenly the paddle was lifted and a dollop of  white sticky dough was dropped into the boiling orange Dende oil (palm oil).  The batter floating on the surface turned a beautiful deep golden colour as it crisped and took on the flavour of the oil, then like canoes in white water, they were all flipped over and the transformation began again. Continue reading

Silent Sunday 8th June 2014

Brazilian Chillis
Silent Sunday

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Fish Stew Rio Style (Moqueca)

Fish Stew Rio Style

Fish Stew Rio Style

The spray from the waves crashing onto the sand sweeps a haze across the distant beach.  Lights flicker lazily, on and off in the hills, as the mist shifts, wafting the tang of ozone and salt as it dances across the sand.  A drummer beats out a samba rhythm on a homemade drum as he sways between the restaurant tables, smiling and gently humming as he goes.  The surfers, burnished muscles rippling, come and go, wet suits turned down at the waist, boards nonchalantly slung under one arm.  This is Ipanema!  This is Rio! Continue reading

British Asparagus – Asparagus And Feta Egg Muffins

Asparagus And Feta Egg Muffins

Asparagus And Feta Egg Muffins

It’s asparagus season.  One of my favourite times of year.

When you think of asparagus, is it slathered in melted butter which dribbles down your chin as you eat the spears with your fingers?  Or wrapped in homemade mayonnaise, the sweetness of the asparagus contrasting with the bitterness of the olive oil?  Or nestled in  savoury creme patissiere, the puff pastry base crispy and golden?

One of my favourites is asparagus with egg, either grated yolk, mimosa style with melted butter or as mini muffins, an airy light frittata type mix with a salty hit from the cubes of feta and the asparagus standing to attention in each one and baked to puffy perfection. Continue reading

Silent Sunday 11th May

Fresh Deli made pasta
Silent Sunday

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Discover London From Scratch – Soho Food Tour London

Novelty Custard cakes

Novelty Custard cakes

Taking a food tour through Soho is a fantastic way of discovering the food heritage of the area and appreciating the diversity of the food retailers, some of whom have been part of Soho life for more than a hundred years.  Michelle’s London From Scratch Soho Food Tour takes about three hours whilst it winds in and out of The Soho stalwarts, China Town, the Italian family delis and takes in a couple of newbies. Despite having been to Uni here, I still discovered fabulous places I didn’t know existed. Continue reading

Schwartz Spiced Plums With Cardamom Biscuit And Star Anise Ginger Ice Cream

Spiced Plums With Star Anise And Ginger Ice Cream

Spiced Plums With Star Anise And Ginger Ice Cream

Now that I’ve discovered that spiced ice cream flavours can be even more delicious than conventional scoops, I’ve been experimenting a little more.  So when Schwartz asked me to come up with a recipe using spices I was delighted to have a play around with flavours.  Cardamom is one of my favourite spices and a reminder of my time in Sweden and is perfect for the crumbly biscuit base. Continue reading

A Foodie Paradise – Rue Des Martyrs, Paris

Sacre Coeur Peeking Out

Sacre Coeur Peeking Out

Once you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe and the Louvre.  Had a candy coloured tea of macarons at Laduree and marvelled at the delicious delicacies in Fauchon.  Wander off the beaten track a little, to just south of Pigalle, where bourgeois meets bohemian.  Rue Des Martyrs is a bustling narrow street, much of which is in deep shadow with flashes of sun to warm and illuminate the cafes and restaurants along the way.  Anchored by Notre Dame De Lorette, the road slopes steadily up to Sacre Coeur, which peeks out at the top, its white domes basking in the sunshine. Continue reading

Hot Cross Bun Spiced Ice Cream

Hot Cross Bun Spiced ice Cream

Hot Cross Bun Spiced ice Cream

As a child I never really understood the excitement around hot cross buns.  They weren’t iced, they had currants and if you were really unlucky candied peel in them.  They were really a bit dull and it took so long to chew round all that fruit.

The week before Easter the bakers window would be bursting with buns and my sister and mother would plan the shopping around being sure to have bought them, as fresh as possible, for Good Friday.  They’d be sliced and carefully toasted, with my sister taking charge of the eye level grill.  Just as well, it was way above my head, literally.  The smell was so tempting, sweet and spicy, then once toasted, spread thickly with butter.  I was still on my not liking butter stage so, I’d take my dry bun and lick the sweet glaze off the top.  A treat that didn’t last long, I’d sit at the table, swinging my legs and trying to understand my mother and sister Oohing and Aahing over their Easter treat.

Easter Spiced Ice Cream And Tiny Chocolate Eggs

Easter Spiced Ice Cream And Tiny Chocolate Eggs

Hot cross buns are available for several months before Easter now and are somehow less of a treat for that.  I now love dried fruit, butter and all things spicy; of course, I now understand all that oohing and aahing too, over a really good mix of saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  A perfect spicing with a wonderful aroma, all of which I have combined into my Hot Cross Bun Spiced Ice Cream.  A spice infused milk and cream mixture which churns into a beautifully aromatic, soft ice cream.

RECIPE

Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream With Tiny Chocolate Eggs

Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream With Tiny Chocolate Eggs

Hot Cross Bun Spiced Ice Cream

Serves 6

  • 300ml Full fat milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick about 4cm (2 inches)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 70g currants
  • 30g candies peel

Method

  • Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan, add all of the spices and bring the mixture just to a boil over a medium heat.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool, to infuse the spices into the milk and cream, set aside
  • Mix together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl, until light in colour and fluffy
  • Reheat the cream and milk mix to just boiling point, sieve into a jug.  Discard the spices
  • Whisking continually, add the cream and milk mixture to the eggs
  • Pour back into a clean saucepan and heat over a moderate heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon
  • Pour into a bowl sitting on a bed of ice and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the top of the custard to stop a skin forming.
  • Once cooled add the currants and peel, place in a churner and churn until thickened and frozen.
  • Place in a sealed container in the freezer to store.

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Beer-Can Chicken With Ginger Wine And Garlic

Chicken On A Beer-can

Chicken On A Beer-can

The smell of the charcoal intensifies and a waft of warm smoke circles into the air as the lid is lifted; it’s time to put on the Beer-Can chicken. A fabulous way to BBQ a whole chicken, with the body of the bird seasoned and then upturned onto a full can of beer. The can then stands on the bars of the BBQ and as the beer comes to the boil and steams, it keeps the chicken moist with a flavour of hops and barley as it gently smokes and cooks to a golden brown. This is one of my favourite summer dishes. Despite the fact that you can cook a chicken this way in an oven, getting it to and from the cooker barely balanced on it’s tin, has always made me reticent to try.

Hand Made Chicken Roaster

Hand Made Chicken Roaster

Mr Glam and I were sharing a glass of the good stuff in the bar of The Hand And Flowers, when we got into conversation with a Geordie couple. We’d seen them chatting to Tom Kerridge earlier and it transpired that they were the Muddy Fingers potters, designing some tableware for one of the restaurant’s dishes.  Never one to miss a kitchenware opportunity, I fell upon their samples.  I pulled out the weirdest looking dish with a funnel in the middle, glazed in a delicious soft green and with the swirling rings of a hand thrown pot, I loved it. A beer can cooker for the home oven. The centre can be filled with the aromatics (garlic, herbs or spices) and liquid of your choice and the dish with a little water to catch the fat and juices. It was the perfect perch for a succulent chicken.

Chicken On The Roaster

Chicken On The Roaster

With an exchange of Twitter handles and a few emails later, I was the proud owner of one of these gems. I am delighted with my purchase. It arrived with the suggestion of ginger wine and garlic for my first chicken try out.

RECIPE

You can try this recipe using an empty beer can, placing the garlic and ginger wine in the can, more precarious but still tasty.

Crispy Fragrant Chicken

Crispy Fragrant Chicken

Muddy Finger’s Garlic And Ginger Wine Chicken

  • 1 chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to season
  • 150 mls ginger wine
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 200 mls water

Method

  • Heat the oven to 200c, 180c fan, 400f
  • Rub the chicken all over with the oil and generously season with the salt and pepper
  • Place the ginger wine and garlic in the centre funnel of the dish
  • Place the chicken over the funnel as in the photo and fill the rim off the dish with the water
Chicken On The Roaster In The oven

Chicken On The Roaster In The oven

  • Place in the oven, cooking for 20 minutes per 450g or 20 minutes per pound weight.  Pierce the thigh to check the juices run clear to ensure the bird is cooked
  • Remove from the dish and carve in the normal way, spoon over the juices from the dish