Archive for the ‘Cooks and cookery’ Category

Try your hand at cooking with Keith Floyd

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Here’s something that you don’t get the chance to try every day – cooking with Keith Floyd at the Novelli Academy.

Admittedly it will set you back £300 – but that does buy you a rare chance to spend the day with the renowned TV chef and prolific writer. And you’ll get more from the experience than just the food – you’ll be able to share the insights he’s gained while travelling extensively around the world fulfilling his love of cooking local dishes.

Virgin Experience Days is the company offering this treat – click here for more information on how you can take part.

Celebrate Persian New Year in style

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Did you know that the Persian New Year (or Nowruz) falls around the spring equinox? It’s a time of new starts – so what better time to sample some food from the region and find out a little about Iranian cookery?

So, what should you expect? As in all Middle Eastern cookery, you can expect to find generous helpings of lamb and yoghurt, as well as familiar items such as kebabs, koftas and koresht. Chicken is a favourite, almost always accompanied by rice dishes which are delicately seasoned and enlivened with additions like onions, raisins and dates. And sweet foods certainly get a look-in with pastries and dishes featuring nuts like pistachios and walnuts.

Here are some links that will help you read around the subject and find great recipes:

  • IranMania: Persian recipes – a chance to get an insight into the kind of food that is served in Iranian homes.
  • FarhangSara: Iranian food culture – learn about everything from the use of meat and vegetables to sweets and side dishes and meal etiquette and customs – and get recipes too from this Iranian cultural website.
  • New Food of Life – Najmieh Batmanglij’s book of this title features 250 classical and regional Iranian recipes, sumptuous photographs and extensive cultural insights. Sample a little of it on the Asia Food website….
  • RecipeSource: Persian recipes – including soups, stews, relishes and sweet dishes.
  • Google Directory: Persian cookery – find your way to a host of links on the subject.

Seasonal eating for March

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

In like a lion and out like a lamb – and at the moment we’re somewhere in the middle! The beginning of March can still feel like the worst of winter but by the end of the month we will hopefully be seeing the first signs of spring.

And it’s time to introduce some new flavours and cheer up the warming but by now somewhat routine fare that we’ve been eating all winter. So, while root vegetables and brassicas will no doubt still feature, we can now aspire to some slightly more exotic flavours.

So what seasonal foods are on offer in March? This BBC Food article on the subject suggests keeping an eye out for early rhubarb. And its delicious sweet-yet-sharp flavour shouldn’t just be making an appearance in desserts. You can use it to flavour soups, hotpots and roasts as well.

If you’re crying out for some fresh green stuff on your plate then now’s the time to shop for flatleaf parsley which is a great ingredient in stir-fries and sautés. On the root veg front there’s plenty of carrots, leeks and beetroot about and purple sprouting broccoli is a wonderful seasonal treat.

Check out some recipes by following the links here – and if you’ve got some sure-fire March food secrets then be sure to leave a comment and share!

Seasonal eating for February

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Short days, fog and frost, and little sunshine. No wonder most of us are longing for March to begin. Still, we can help cheer ourselves up and stay healthy with the help of a little seasonal eating – check out this BBC Food article on the subject for some ideas.

It suggests that winter vegetables are still very much in season, so check out your local market or greengrocer or rummage through your veg box in search of leeks, cabbage and chicory. Parsnips and celeriac may well be in there too!

If you’re a fish eater then halibut, lobster and mussels could well be on the menu while meat-eaters can also take the chance to sample goose or guinea-fowl.

Also seasonal at the moment are shallots, which will certainly add a bit of flavour to your comfort food, especially if sautéd in butter, and squash is always a great source of sweetness and colour.

Check out some recipes by following the links here – and if you’ve got some sure-fire February food then be sure to leave a comment and share it.

The Gift of Oil: buy one, get one free in February

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

The Gift of Oil has been in touch to let us know that it will be running a new offer during February – buy an Estate Olive Oil and get another free.

Check out the full range here >>

Here are the details: buy one bottle of Catalan, Cretan, Puglian or Sicilian Olive Oils and the company will will send a second bottle of the same size free with your delivery.

No need to enter any code at the checkout, it will automatically send out your free olive oil with the order.

So, all you’ll need to do is to find some delicious ways to enjoy your oil. Read the company’s tips on enjoying extra virgin olive oil here, or check out some recipes here.

Check out some seasonal eating tips from the BBC

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Keen to cut down on food miles and improve your diet by eating with the seasons and avoiding expensive imports that may have travelled across the world to reach your nearest supermarket?

Then take a look at this BBC article on seasonal food for January – its suggestions include scallops, pears, parsnips, carrots and leeks.

And there’s a great page of parsnip recipes, including parsnip crisps, parsnip and Jerusalem artichoke soup with onion compote, parsnip fondants and parsnip and carrot mash.

Sounds just what we all need to while away these long winter evenings!

Discount code for olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

The Gift of Oil: flavoured infusions

The Gift of Oil describes itself as a dedicated team of enthusiasts committed to helping as many people as possible enjoy truly excellent oil and vinegar.

The company imports and supplies estate olive oils and genuinely-matured balsamic vinegars in bulk and then bottles and labels them in the UK.

According to its website, this means it can offer superb products at very reasonable prices compared to those commanded by estate or acetaia branded alternatives, allowing you to buy the best-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

It also regards the families who supply it as “true family friends, who ensure that we are able to continue to offer only the very finest product to our many customers here in the UK.”

If this sounds appealing, you may be interested to know that The Gift of Oil is offering MyKitchenFinder readers the chance to save five per cent on purchases until the end of March this year. It is also offering free delivery to anywhere in the UK on orders over £35.

So, what’s on offer? Well, you can shop from its range of extra virgin olive oils, browse through some mouthwatering infused oils including basil, lemon and mandarin flavours, matured balsamic vinegar and flavoured balsamic glazes that are produced from reduced young balsamic vinegar, are thick and flavoursome and come in squeezable bottles for food and plate decoration. You can choose from: cherry, fig, chocolate and truffle flavours. You can also create custom gift sets.

To find out more about The Gift of Oil, click here – or take a peek at some of its recipes

Ah yes, about that discount code. Type in giftoil-05 at the checkout to claim your five per cent discount.

Half-price cookware at Woolworths

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Discount alert! This high-street favourite has got some neat kitchenware offers available at the moment:

View more Woolworths cookware bargains here >>

Get an insiders' glimpse of Le Manoir

Monday, January 14th, 2008

What happened when a group of readers of Country Homes & Interiors magazine visited top restaurant Le Manoir in Oxford for a day of cookery ideas and advice from top experts?

Watch this YouTube clip to find out…

The event was held just before Christmas in the Raymond Blanc Cookery School at Le Manoir. In the morning their expert chef demonstrated how to cook a four-course meal – tuna with shaved fennel salad and soy lime glaze, watercress soup, roast venison and plum sauce and sticky coconut rice with mango and passion fruit.

Editor Sara Bird said: “This day was such a success, I couldn’t believe how many great ideas and handy tips everyone got – and the lunch was such a treat!”

Are we getting enough veg? Can we get enough veg?

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Here’s a very interesting story from today’s Independent about the problems in some areas of the UK in actually getting hold of enough fresh fruit and veg.

An academic has been researching the problem, and has come up with some alarming results:

‘Food deserts’ depriving towns of fresh fruit and vegetables

Dr Shaw began his research in 2000, plotting the location of residential areas and shops on 500sq m grids. Since then he has checked around 6,000sq km, covering the whole of Birmingham, much of Hampshire, Somerset, Shrewsbury and parts of north London and Stevenage. In each area, he has visited shops to see if they sold 10 or more items of fresh produce.

He found that around 20 per cent of rural areas and 25 per cent of urban areas were “food deserts” where people have to walk more than 500 metres to reach a shop selling a good amount of fruit and vegetables.

In 1997, Tessa Jowell, then a health minister, defined a food desert as an area “where people do not have easy access to healthy, fresh foods particularly if they are poor and have limited mobility” and said, ideally, there would be a supply of fresh food within 500 metres of every home. Read full story here…

Of course, there’s always the veg box option (here’s the one we use and one we’ve used successfully in the past) – if you can access such a service and feel happy doing so. Otherwise it could be a pretty bleak outlook.