Tag Archives: food

Good Eatin’: Snack Time

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

Snacks. They’re great. In many cases snack foods are probably some of the best ever created. My love of them, however, will probably explain my jeans size… anyway.

For this round-up of foods eaten for this list (as of this post I am am actually over 20 foods behind in the writings-up, once I reach around 100 this will probably start to get a lot harder so there will be less food-based entries… maybe.) I am going to take three items from different times that are united under the word snack.

Food Item: Wasabi

No your eyes are not mistaken, I have a nut bowl in the shape of a squirrel. It was a present to myself from Wilkinsons and it is lovely.

Wasabi is great. Whether is it wasabi paste that you can smear between fish and rice whilst eating sushi or as the coating on peas and peanuts. One thing I was very weary off when actually buying these (both as a general snack food an as a item to tick off the list) was that many cheaper items that claim to be wasabi are not. I actually checked the packet and was shocked to see that it only contained 0.1% wasabi and yet there was a definite nose burn. I shudder to think what would happen if I bit into a piece of wasabi root…

Food Item: Matzo

Okay now this is actually a drawer of mine at work where I figured that the natually low-fat and low-salt matzo crackers would actually make for a good way to stave off the muchies when I get hungry at 11am and 3:30pm (yes my hunger cravings are like clockwork).

I like matzo crackers not because they have enough of a flavour to be enjoyably eaten by themselves and, unlike a regular Jacobs cream cracker, they don’t dry out your mouth if you eat a stack of them. Nor are they cloying if you stuff too many in your mouth at one time… with one hand… I must be a dream to work with.

Food Item: Macadamia Nuts

I first had macadamia nuts when I went to Melbourne and there was a gorgeous chocolate shop called Haigh’s Chocolates that sold chocolate covered nuts. They also did amazing chocolate cashews. Actually a pretty good reason to go back to Australia at some point… anyway.

In reverence to the chocolate shop I decided that rather than just eating these macadamia nuts as they are (which you totally can without the need of salting) I decided to make myself a chocolate macadamia block:Ingredients:

  • 100g macadamia nut halves
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • a pinch of salt

Add the chocolate, butter and syrup to a saucepan and warm over a gentle heat. As it starts to melt keep stirring to make sure the chocolate doesn’t stick and that everything combines well. Take off the heat and mix in the salt and macadamia nuts. Pour into a container lined with greaseproof paper and stick in the fridge until it sets (it’s even better when out of the freezer).

Progress: 47/500

Good Eatin’: After The Dinner Party

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

In order to prepare for the elegant dinner party I needed to pay a visit to Borough Market to get courgette blossoms. I did this with my mum and organised a brunch date the morning afterwards (since I assumed correctly that I would have some of the brioche pudding left over) and as such the morning after was a continuation of the list foods.

Food Item: Cherimoya

First things first, we opened up a piece of new fruit. This was labelled as ‘custard apple’ at the stall and (luckily?) I have been reading the book and this name rang a bell. Lo and behold we had a cherimoya on our hands.

The taste? The best new fruit that I have had for this list. I can see why it was desribed by Mark Twain as the “most delicious fruit known to man”. It was custard like in texture and a sweetness in the ballpark of banana and vanilla. This is the reason why the fruits are my favourite part of the book.

So, what did we have for brunch? Well everything (apart from the saurkraut and potato salad) came from Borough Market…

Food Item: Caraway, Mayonnaise, Bavarian Sweet Mustard, Thuringer Rostbratwurst

It’s actually really lucky that the German Deli do the (oddly) specific type of bratwurst for the list. Is it any nicer than regular German bratwurst? To be honest I could not notice too much of a difference since, in the end, it’s just shades of delicious. My nan would be so proud.

The Bavarian Sweet Mustard and Grandmother’s Bread (a dense rye bread with a heavy dose of caraway) made for the accompaniment for these sausages. It’s always a little odd for me when I have sweet mustard since despite me telling myself it’s sweet… I always have to do a double take. A bit like when you are walking down a broken escalator; you know it won’t move but your body just wants to jolt forward out of habit.

This was a delicious (and expensive) brunch. Although I was full very quickly… I don’t think I had fully digested the gnocchi from the night before.

Progress: 41/500

Good Eatin’: Lamb with Sweet Potatoes

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

One thing I love about having my own place is the ability to have friends round to stay and cook for them. The fact that I made this dish with about 36 hours notice is all the better to be honest. That afternoon, however, I found myself a food list item in Pret-A-Manger (thanks to a tip from a co-worker).Food Item: Florentine

I knew this would be easy to find since a few years ago I managed to snag a florentine in a Starbucks in York. The great thing about florentines (aside from the mix of dark chocolate, fruit and almonds which is gorgeous) is how many variations on this. It’s a bit of a fancy rocky road biscuit in that way. This version has raisins but my previous one had (if I recall correctly) glacé cherries as part of the mix. Still, nice to get something from the bakery section eaten.

Anyway, so I decided to make a nice dinner for our very good friend who was coming down at short notice for an interview. So I thought I would make something a bit more homey than my usual pastas and Asian food so opted for a recipe for lamb with sweet potatoes which turned out rather nicely.

Food Items: Rosemary and Sweet Potato

Ingredients (serves 3):

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 lamb leg steaks
  • 3 sweet potatoes, finely sliced
  • 1 red onion, halved & sliced
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Heat oven to 220°C. Heat half the oil in a dish that can handle direct heat from the hob and still go into the over. Brown the lamb steaks on both sides and set aside (making sure to leave behind any of the fat). Toss the potato, onion, remaining oil and half the rosemary into the dish and mix it with any of the left over fat and lay the lamb steaks on top.

Spread the mustard evenly with the mustard and then crush and sprinkle over the remaining rosemary. Cook until the potatoes have softened… so 20+ minutes but a lot will depend upon your oven.

The recipe is very simple but benefits from VERY thinly sliced sweet potato since that way they crisp up better.

So what was there for pudding? Well I managed to get an awesome deal in the local Tescos and got two list fruit out of it.

Food Items: Clementines and Jaffa Orange

Now the clementines were a bit out of season which you could tell from the taste since they just were not as sweet as normal and had a tartness more akin to a mandarin. The oranges, on the other hand, were quite possibly the best oranges I have ever had… so maybe the book was right that if you want to have an orange it is a good idea to shell out for a Jaffa. If you need more convincing these are the oranges that inspired Jaffa Cakes.

Progress: 36/500

An Elegant Dinner Party: Part Two

Okay, so today, I’m continuing the theme of my  ‘elegant dinner party‘ with a few more recipes and ticking off a number of items from the food list.

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

~~MAIN COURSE~~

Gnocchi in a Gorgonzola SauceFood Items: Chives and Gorgonzola

I have never been able to make gnocchi and on an evening where I am making five different things I really did not want to risk it. So I used about a kilo of ready-made gnocchi and topped it with a lot of fresh chives I chopped with my mezzaluna. I love blue cheese and my best friend has a real thing for cheese so this went down a treat. The sauce was a little bit watery… at first but then as it cooled down it just got thicker and thicker and thicker.


Palm Heart and Lemon Salad

Food Items: Palm Heart, Celery Heart, Lambs Lettuce and Wild Rocket

I took a few liberties with this recipe. I used a large celery heart in the place of celery sticks, I used spring onions instead of red onion (I don’t like raw red onion) and I used equal parts lambs lettuce and wild rocket. With this salad I was able to find an amazing new ingredient that I would never have tried if it wasn’t for the book; palm heart.

Now this both tasted and had the consistency of something somewhere between white asparagus and artichoke. The five of us ended up scouring the bowl looking for extra pieces of palm heart. I think I might have to try making a palm heart fritatta. I have a feeling that might work.

~~DESSERT~~

Seville Orange Marmalade and Brioche Pudding

Food Items: Seville Orange Marmalade and Brioche

By the end of the evening we were all stuffed so after out initial portion enough of this was left over for brunch the next day. At this time conversation turned to those who were unable to make it (since they were in Spain) and the many animals that certain gay cliques identify with. The topic of ‘chickenhawks’ (the gay version of a cougar) was something we meditated a little too long on.

So after another round of Girths and a Virgin Girth for the driver it was time to finish the dinner part and start on the washing up. I look forward to seeing what the next person has in store for me.

Progress: 31/500

An Elegant Dinner Party: Part One

List Item: Hold a dinner party
Progress: Completed

It’s a common thing to happen after university ends. You and your friends no longer life within walking distance, you all get jobs and suddenly you don’t see each other all the time. It sucks. This is why me and some of my university friends have decided we would go down the Come Dine With Me route and do a cycle of cooking for each other. Of course, I was the first to host which meant I had to try and set the standard.

To make it more interesting all, bar one, of these recipes were things I had never actually cooked before. They also formed a nice link to me quest to get halfway on the 1001 food list (this obsession will die down soon… I expect). So in the next two posts I’ll share the food that made this evening great.

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

~~STARTERS~~

Courgette Blossoms stuffed with Ricotta and Breadcrumbs
Home-made Garlic Bread

Foods:  Ciabatta and Aioli

Okay so I may have forgotten to take pictures for this course… which doesn’t matter for one since I already took pictures when I made it a little while ago. The home-made garlic bread is a little unfortunate since it was delicious, easy and covers two additional food items:

Ingredients (serves 4-5 as a starter):

  • 2 half-baked ciabatta loaves (the type you warm in the oven for 10 minutes)
  • 1 pack Chovi Allioli dip
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil

I’m not even going to make this scientific. Spread aioli on the halved ciabatta, sprinkle generously with the dried basil and oregano. Cut the ciabatta into smaller pieces, put on a baking tray and bake in an oven pre-heated to 200°C for about 10 minutes so it’s nice and crispy.

Progress: 23/500

~~OFFICIAL DRINK~~

Okay, so I made up a cocktail in honour of one of my friends who was there… but it got awkward when people wanted a non-alcoholic version and called it the Virgin [Friend’s Name] and it got a little bit awkward. So I let her rename it… and we have the drink henceforth known as The Girth.

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts guava juice (because she’s exotic)
  • 2 parts ginger ale (because he’s part redhead)
  • 1 part vodka (because it needed alcohol)
  • 2 dashes of lime juice (because… you know… flavour)
  • ice

Apparently it was nice, I don’t drink alcohol. But you don’t need to shake this drink, just give it a quick stir with the straw and serve.

List Item: Invent a cocktail
Progress: Completed

Good Eatin’: Jersey Royal’s Ain’t What They Used To Be

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

Someone like me should not be allowed anywhere lists, I get too obsessed. Today on my way home from work I was looking around for a place to get kimchi since the office is apparently near a bunch of Korean restaurants.

Anyway, today’s food list items were all consumed on the same day. Part of some blog-related meal planning that doing a weekly ASDA shop allows for.

Food Items: Jersey Royal Potatoes and French Beans

The title of my post was a not so subtle link to a realisation I had when eating Jersey Royals. They don’t taste as good as when I was a child. True they still had that nuttiness I remembered with the paper-thin skin that would be sacrilege to peel off… but they didn’t taste as good. I looked around online to see if I just didn’t cook them properly but this appears to be a common thought.

Apparently long gone are the days of the brief season of delicious Jersey Royals in the mid-late Spring in favour of a bi-annual crop that doesn’t receive the same care and attention. Probably goes a long way to explain why they don’t taste as good. At least the French beans tasted good, for once I cooked them within the Goldilocks zone so they weren’t too squeaky.

Food: Bagel

Bagels are a common Sunday-night dinner for myself and the partner. My personal preference is for onion bagels since not only do they taste good but the kitchen smells great after they’ve come out of the sandwich press. However, when eating them with garlic and herb Philidephia and smoked salmon an onion bagel is a tad overkill. So yes, I prefer my bagel the traditional way, with ‘lox’ (just let me have this one) and ‘schmear’.

Food: Milk Chocolate

What can one say about milk chocolate? It’s delicious, it releases a lot of endorphins and when you have a Lindt Easter egg in your cupboard sometimes it just makes sense to dive in head-first.

Progress: 21/500

Good Eatin’: Korean Beef

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

I call this Korean Beef because that is what the BBC refers to it as. I know that this probably has no connection to Korean food apart from maybe a few shared flavours but this is something I seem to make at least once a month and it accidentally got me a few items closer to achieving my bucket list goal.

Food Items: Sesame Oil and Spring Onions

 A benefit of living away from home is that I can use sesame oil whenever I want. It’s an ingredient that can make plain noodles feel like an exotic treat when added with some soy sauce. However, it is a bit strong and if you don’t like a strong taste of sesame seeds this is not for you. The book likens the taste of dark sesame oil (which I used) to a nuttiness with hints of burnt chocolate. I get the nuttiness but not the chocolate.

Spring onions (or salad onions or scallions) are one of those things that I use in a lot of food with the whites being used more than the greens. As someone who does not like the taste of raw onion in salads or even onion on pizza I love the sharp taste that the last minute addition of spring onions delivers to a dish.

Ingredients (serves 3):

  • 450g steak, trimmed of fat and thinly sliced
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 heaped tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 6 spring onions, sliced

Add the beef to a bowl with the sugar, soy sauce, mirin, garlic and sesame oil. Mix everything together and pour into wok that has been sprayed with oil and heated over a medium flame.

Sear the meat for a few minutes on each side and then add the spring onions. Stir-fry for an extra minute then serve with rice. If you serve with noodles a teaspoon of cornflour in cold water can be added to thicken up the sauce.

Progress: 17/500

Good Eatin’: Feta and Edamame

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

These two don’t actually go together in the recipe but it was a case of eating them on the same day so I figured it would be good to post them together. Shockingly, this is the first item from the ‘dairy’ list that I have covered (shocking as I love cheese) which now leaves me with fish, grains and aromatics as things yet to have been tasted since starting the challenge.

Food: Edamame

I remember when Birds Eye had packets of soy beans for sale in the supermarket. It made me so happy since these are my favourite side dishes when I go somewhere Japanese (or just go to Itsu). Edamame are basically just immature soy beans which are delicious in stir-fries or just lightly salted and eaten cold. So… I usually go for the salted option since if you leave them long enough they make a delicious bean-flavoured brine at the bottom.

Food: Feta

Truly one of my favourite cheeses. It can be used to make stuffed peppers, courgette fritters and even delicious Greek-inspired turkey burgers. For this edition I chose to adapt a recipe I have had for a while which is for meatballs and orzo:

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 cups cooked orzo (that’s 1 cup dried)
  • 1/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 450g minced pork
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups jarred tomato and red wine sauce
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 190oC and cook the orzo according to the package instructions then, drain, cover and keep warm.

Combine the breadcrumbs, oregano, black pepper, garlic, pork, and cinnamon with your hands in a bowl then add the egg whites. Mix this until everything is well combined and then form these into 12 meatballs.

Heat the oil in an ovenproof pan and fry the meatballs for 8 minutes so that they are browned all over. When this is finished remove the meatballs from the pan and wipe it clean. Then reintroduce the meatballs to the pan, pour over the sauce, scatter the cheese and then stick in the oven for 12 minutes. Serve with the orzo.

My partner did a great job shaping the meatballs and the salty (and slightly melty) feta really worked well to a counter-point to the richness of the red wine in the sauce.

Progress: 15/500

Good Eatin’: A Posh Fruit Salad

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

So, a number of foods on the 1001 Foods list are actually rather easy to get in your local supermarket. I figured that I could easily tick a few off by making a posh fruit salad…so that is what I did.

Food: Pomegranate

Okay, so I don’t have a picture of the whole pomegranate but this is what it looked like after I had finished removing all the seeds (thanks to wikiHow). My main problem with this fruit is how long it take to prepare and that there is no real way that I can take a whole pomegranate to work with me (I pass a place that sells them every morning) and eat it because it’s messy and very fiddly. The best way is really to do it underwater… but after my bottle exploded in my hand and the cap went AWOL (to this day I have no idea where it went) I think I’m going to stick with easier fruit. A pity because pomegranate seeds are juicy and refreshing.

Foods: Nectarines and Passion Fruit

I don’t know if this is just me but I prefer nectarines to peaches. The smooth skin is so much more palatable to me than the velvety skin. I know they are the same species but nectarines are just a more pleasant experience to eat. Especially when they are in season when they are a hard fruit to beat for a salad. Then there is the passion fruit which is the typical tropical fruit taste. Not too fulling but makes for a good base flavour for a salad, I didn’t have the best tasting one (a bit tart), the secret for ripe ones is wrinkly skin and I made have forgotten to check when I bought them.

Progress: 13/500

Good Eatin’: Jelly Beans

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress:
2/500

I love Jelly Beans. Correction. I LOVE Jelly Belly brand Jelly Beans. I’ve had a number of others but you really can not beat them when it comes to the best jelly beans. Sadly they can be a bit on the pricey  side but, like Hotel Chocolat, they are a bit of an indulgence.

Enter a trip to the 99p store in one town over to wait for a group of young kids to move on (yes I am aware that I am turning into Liz Lemon):

Anyway, some cursory browsing later and lo and behold I found a true rarity: Jelly Belly Belly Flops! Just like finding a pair of Timbaland boots in a pile of shoes as an outlet mall this was something very special. I, of course, had to buy a few bags and consume then I got home. Why? Because they are ruddy delicious!

Do I have a favourite flavour? Yes, I love Peach and Strawberry Jam flavour. I don’t like Watermelon flavour though, it’s gross.