pickling

Getting Pickled

So it’s bye-bye to kale, sayonara to quinoa and ta-ta to gluten-free in 2015 as we shove them unceremoniously in the proverbial dustbin we like to call “Rubbish Foodie Trends started by someone American” and a warm welcome to Eastern-style ferments. Pickles. Sour things. Things that make you go “mwah”.

Before you start, it’s not that weird. Think the sauerkraut on your hot dog, the now-ubiquitous kimchi, sourdough bread, (proper) yoghurt, the fresh tang of dill pickles with your burger, but also look out for tempeh (a fermented soybean burger), kefir (a fermented milk drink) or kombucha tea. But beware: not all pickles are fermented and not all ferments are pickles. Pickles are just veg preserved in an acidic medium, most usually vinegar. They’re great and tasty and better for you than a cookie. But the real gold is in the ferments, where a starter culture, salt and filtered water create an acidic liquid that does pickle but also essentially ferments just like alcohol. The process allows the highly beneficial lactobacillli bacteria that live on the surface of EVERYTHING to create lactic acid and that’s what our bodies really want. Apparently (We’re not sure if this applies equally to wine but we’re including it anyway…). Read full post

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Seasonal Recipes – January Jerusalem Artichokes

Last month we welcomed Head Chef Jon Los from the four-star The Bishopstrow to share with you his favourite seasonal ingredients to work with in his kitchen. Following on from last month’s recipe  honouring the brussel sprout at Christmas, this month Jon showcases how to bring out the best flavours from the traditional January ingredient – the Jerusalem artichoke.
When asked why the this unusual ingredient he said “Being January I thought a nice, easy soup for the cold afternoons, Jerusalem artichokes are not so commonly used, once peeled they need to be kept In lemon water to stop them did colouring. You can even add a dash of truffle oil at the end, if it’s to your taste.”

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Do You Really Need to Detox this January?

January is the darkest, coldest, longest month. How do you spend it? Do you hunker down with good claret, hot chocolate, the book you got for Christmas, some sudoku and a fascinating documentary on the Incas whilst nourishing body and soul with chunky soups, pies and buttery mash with more mash on the side? Do you, hell. No, what we like to do is give up everything that comforts, nourishes, sustains, indeed, gives us any tingle of enjoyment in a mad attempt to prove to the world we are STRONG, we have WILLPOWER and, most importantly, food and drink are NOT THE BOSS OF US. Read full post

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Seasonal Recipes – December

Last month we welcomed Head Chef Jon Los from the four-star The Bishopstrow to share with you his favourite seasonal ingredients to work with in his kitchen. Following on from last month’s recipe incorporating beetroot into a trout dish, this month Jon showcases how to bring out the best flavours from the traditional December ingredient – the humble Brussel sprout. When asked why the sprout he said, “I have chosen Brussel Sprouts this month as — love them or hate them — what vegetable better represents Christmas and that is what to me December represents. They are an easy vegetable to use and require very little preparation. This month’s dish is more of an accompaniment to your Christmas Lunch.”

The Vegetable Calendar showcases the ingredients Jon will be incorporating in his fine dining recipes.

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Double Standards

There’s an odd dichotomy in the word “kitchen”. When we think of a domestic kitchen, there’s still very much an assumption that a woman is at the heart of it, making the food with little fuss or bother as it requires no “real” skills – whether it’s still true or not, it’s a prevailing view, one we like to shine up from time to time and bathe in its nostalgic glow. Yet when we think of a professional kitchen, we suspect the immediate image is one of big shouty men in white, flames a-leaping and waiters a-dancing, all fire and metal and noise. That’s the only way our food – the food we pay someone else to prepare and clear away – can be cooked, with maximum strength and bombast. There’s no acknowledgment that both of them contain just… cooking. That’s it, just someone making a meal using exactly the same skills – time-management, people management, multi-tasking and so on. Read full post

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