All posts filed under: Other Foodie Stuff

Worm Noodles and Roast Crickets – Eating Insects.

A few weeks ago I was offered the chance to nip to London for BBC East Midlands’ Inside Out for the Great Food Club magazine. The offer was entomophagy (which, to you and I, is eating insects). How could I resist? Actually, I was intrigued, sounded like a blast, (I’m easy pleased…) so I didn’t need asking twice and this Sunday I headed down for tea. On the serious side, the programme is considering whether or not we should increase our consumption of insects in an effort to feed the growing world population and reduce the negative environmental impacts of farming animals. Insects are highly nutritious, low in fat and high in protein and are, in fact, already eaten in many parts of the world, and have been for Millennia. The extent to which their value can be captured on an industrial scale to provide a protein source either on their own or as part of animal feed or human food production is not yet clear, but in the West, and Europe in particular, probably the single …

Dry Ice and Petit Fours – a culinary “masterclass” at Ye Olde Bell

I was delighted to be invited to a “culinary masterclass” recently at Ye Olde Bell in the rural village of Barnby Moor on the border of Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The ‘Bell is a 59 room hotel which dates back to the 17th century. It  has a fascinating history, rising to prominence as a stopping place between Edinburgh and London for the new postal service established in 1635. It has also served as stables, a chapel and the HQ of the 1st Cavalry Division during WW2. Its a bit of a hike out from my side of the county, but I didn’t know this venue at all so my curiosity was piqued. The hotel has been fully renovated by the current owners, Paul and Hilary Levack, combining modern and traditional features and now also has a multi-million pound Spa attached. Unfortunately, as I had an excruciatingly early morning the next day, an option to stay over and try out the spa wasn’t possible. Maybe next time. It is clearly a popular venue for a wedding, banquet or …

Chicken Gyros, my version

I love a good gyro, they put me in mind of the so many wonderful, heady Greek and Cypriot holidays of my youth. I’m always at the front of the queue at the gyros stand at food markets and fairs (chuntering about the entry price usually). So, here’s my simple recipe (well if you buy the flatbreads or pitta rather than make your own, its simple) for a chicken version, as requested via my Twitterfam. No photo of the finished delight as we ate them and forgot to photograph them (blogging schoolboy error, there). All the amounts are only guides as I basically just threw the spices in. This works really well on the bbq as well. Ingredients: – 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (sliced lengthways into thirds) For the marinade:- 4 tablespoons olive oil then according to taste, (roughly twice the amount as the other spices though) dried oregano, then ground cumin, coriander (dried or fresh), sweet paprika, small bunch of chopped fresh mint, zest and juice 1 lemon, 4 crushed garlic cloves, pinch of cayenne, generous seasoning with …

Kimchi, Sauerkraut & Pickled Lemons – a day of pickling at the School of Artisan Food

I love the School of Artisan Food in North Nottinghamshire. It is an absolute gem. It is set on the wonderful Welbeck Abbey Estate, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Portland in the heart of the ancient Dukeries. The Estate remains private but is now also home to a number of thriving artisan food businesses (of which more in a later blog) and the superb School. On this occasion I attended for the Great Food Club. Below is a version of the article, which can be found at greatfoodclub.co.uk “Fermentation is, let’s face it, a staging post on the road to rot” so said our tutor for the day, food writer and cook Lindy Wildsmith, as we began a day of Pickling and Fermenting at the fabulous School of Artisan Food. If you don’t know the School, it is situated on the beautiful Welbeck Estate at the heart of Sherwood Forest and is surely is one of the jewels in Nottinghamshire’s culinary crown. Established in 2006, the School is housed in the former Victorian …

Can cook, but didn’t cook. A venture into (rather lovely) pre-prepared meals.

I think I can pretty much say we never eat “ready meals”. I am not averse to a good steak pie from a farm-shop or similar but ready-meals generally, nope. That is not because I am a food snob necessarily, (although I am, natch) we just generally don’t like the taste and my own food always tastes better. However, I made an exception this weekend, with a complicated Sunday of taxiing and trying to provide food, I decided extreme measures were called for to ensure we all got something decent for Sunday lunch. So I ventured over to “Cook” in West Bridgford. Cook is a frozen food specialist that claims they make “remarkable food for your freezer, made like you would at home” . I know, what you’re thinking  – posh “Iceland”. But you’d be wrong. Cook has a huge range of meals, mains, puddings, party food, even your entire Christmas lunch if you really wanted to push the boat out. The shop in West Bridgford is tidy, friendly and well designed, there is 2 …

Living on the edge, and at my age as well – Raw Milk

Just when you think there is nothing much new under the sun, you discover there is. Well, not new exactly, but you get my drift. I grew up in rural Lincolnshire but, unlike just about everyone who has since contacted me about this, I don’t think I ever drank raw (unpasteurised) milk. I can recall an old fella that used to cycle to the dairy farm every morning with a small metal churn hanging from his handlebars – I now realise what he was up to. I had of course had sterilised milk – which still makes me think nostalgically of early package holidays – you’re still hard pushed to get fresh pasteurised milk in most of southern Europe, but it has taken a fair few years ( I won’t say how many) for the moment to arrive when I finally got to try raw milk. Raw milk is not, of course, without controversy. It cannot be sold in shops or supermarkets, but only at the “farmgate” direct to the consumer by the dairy that …

Food, Farming & Brexit, back to a diet of Spam and Powdered Egg?

“The UK has voted to leave the European Union” Time to take Stock Last week BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme began to investigate the potential impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU on our food industry. It is, in fact, quite astonishing to me that food and farming formed so little of the national debate in the run-up to the Referendum. Even if such issues do not capture the popular imagination in the way that the economy and immigration might, it is still pretty odd that the subject did not appear more widely in the intellectual, academic and specialist debates that ran alongside the mainstream messages. When I was younger, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was a big news item, with stories of French farmers benefiting disproportionately and the cultural and economic history of mainland European farming, frequently rooted in largely pre-war agricultural and rural economies, (that seemed so archaic compared to our move to factory and industrial scale farming – if we only knew) – we shook our heads in dismay …

Backyard Pizza Oven – finally!

I have dreamt of a pizza oven in our back garden for years. I placed it on the husband’s “to do” list about 10 years ago. Every time, here or abroad, I spotted a traditional wood-burning pizza oven I would drop unsubtle hints and be promised one for the following summer. In the end, with no sign of the pizza oven materialising, I changed tack and put the Finnish-designed Uuni 2 wood-fired oven on my Christmas list. Yep, my Christmas list. That’ll throw him, I thought. So finally this weekend was warm enough to get my pizza oven out and learn how to drive it. It isn’t the home-made traditional oven I had originally envisaged, but this is nonetheless a thing of beauty and, finally, I have a pizza oven in the back garden. My first attempts were simple – home-made pizza dough with a tomato base, mozzarella, few chillies, Italian salami and fresh basil, some with a few peppers. It took a bit of mastering to get the flames inside large enough to ensure …

Sunday morning coffee…maybe!

I was, once upon a time, a confirmed coffee drinker, I rarely touched tea, except possibly a mug of Builder’s with a fish supper but after a reaction to some medicine I was on a year ago, I lost my taste for coffee and now go weeks or months without touching a drop, incidently saving a small fortune on Nespresso capsules. Well, following this admission, the lovely people at PerkuLatte, offered to try to persuade me to revisit coffee. PerkuLatte deliver Artisan coffees by mail order, and when this arrived the aroma was wonderful even before I opened the pack. Beautifully packaged in a robust, reseable, packet with a little widget inside to keep the coffee fresh & dry and lots of information about the bean, blend and origins. The smell was wonderful and the flavour smooth & comforting, and brought back memories of coffees lost. I enjoyed my first cafetière of coffee in months  (retrieved from the dusty recesses of the kitchen cupboard) and it made a proper Sunday. I think this may become …