Mii&U brings genuine Chinese Café food to North West Milton Keynes with a new Café based at Central Oriental Cash and Carry Thirty five years ago, I was a runner in Trident Recording studios in London’s Soho district, at the time a run down, tacky area with more porn than prawn crackers and seedy Rolls… Continue reading →
Pasta al Forno is one of those dishes that is undeniably Italian Family and is eaten up and down Italy with a huge amount of joy. When we had an Italian exchange student stay with us years ago and I asked her what she wanted for dinner, she said jokingly, “Pasta al Forno.” When I… Continue reading →
I really don’t buy gammon enough, though to be fair, it can be very expensive, especially if from a very good pork source. Having said that, the unsmoked gammon I bought the other day was a Tesco finest – so fairly average quality but not too bad on price (it was at a discount too!)… Continue reading →
Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef who has campaigned long and hard for better, more healthy food in society, has been named in a lawsuit in the US. Bruce Smith was laid off by Beef Products Inc, who produce ghastly, processed beef generously labelled Pink Slime by Oliver. Also named in the case is US food… Continue reading →
A charity called Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH), have released a report which they say reveals the scandalous amounts of salt “hidden” in cheese. Salt in our diets has the potential to be a problem. Human beings are adept at using salt within our systems which is a good thing as it naturally… Continue reading →
Wandering around Morrisons, who appear to be taking food more seriously than their competitors at the moment, I came across a couple of nice packets of Ox Kidneys. What with the weather getting colder, it seemed about the right time for Steak and Kidney Pudding. I have cooked my pud more or less the same [...]
I must immediately apologise that this is not a food posting, and probably does not belong here, but this is an exception. I have been pondering all day about writing this. I can be a furious name dropper in private (normally to wind people up) but I have never talked about my old job on a public blog before, [...]
Dumplings are very easy to make – you know the wonderfully sticky things made from suet and flour that adorn the best of country stews? But lovely though they are, it is all too easy to forget old fashioned dough balls – thick, luscious bread that is steamed above the stock. This is a dead easy recipe! [...]
With September curling up and dozing off and October breezing in round the corner, the allotment is still surprisingly lively. Many of the plants are dying off, like the vine, tomatoes, pumpkins and cucumbers. But there is still fruit ripening and my newer courgette plants are only just getting going. Dwarf French beans are nearly [...]
Couscous doesn’t half cause some debate! Most chefs shove it in the pasta group where as others like to call it a grain. In reality couscous is made from the same semolina base as pasta and is a mixture of very course ground semolina and fine semolina four, rolled together (sometimes by hand – yes [...]
Kevin McCloud’s Man Made Home – Channel 4 Moving away from food for the moment, the dream of many a food lover is the idyllic countryside retreat where one can take in the proximity of nature while appreciating the delights of freshly picked produce. Kevin McCloud, he of Grand Design fame, was taken in completely and delightfully [...]
Harvest brings, one hopes, a plethora of crops from the garden or allotment into the kitchen; often almost too much. If you cannot cook and eat everything at once, you can suffer from wasting some of that hard won product and all those days of back ache and watering. Certain things like beans are easy [...]
Mid September and it is both harvest time and end of season for many plants. The cucumbers and gherkins are desperately trying to push out the last bit of fuit, the grape has done its bit and many other veggies have already come to an end. I have now dug up all the strawberries and replanted the [...]
Coming to the end of August now and we can really begin to see how the long rains of the early summer have affected the harvests. Some crops have been fine with it all, positively loving all that water, others have been devestated. Fruit, and fruit trees in particular, have been hard hit. The long [...]
Way back in 1996, some mad young Italians in the town Giovinazzo, created the “Sagra del Panino della Nonna a Giovinazzo,” the Festicval of Grandmother’s Sandwiches as a joke. Sixteen years later, the festival is going strong and has grown into not just a fantastic celebration of traditional Italian breads and meats but raises money [...]
Actually, this is a courgette, if rather a plump one! It is an Italian variety that I have been growing up at the allotment which produces fruit which are far closer to marrows than courgettes to be honest, so that is how I use them! This is a simple recipe cooked for a friend who [...]
It can be hugely difficult to work out what is good for you, which is bad for you and which is okay as long as you don’t eat too much too often. Manufacturers enjoy the confusion in the market place. It is not out of some malicious vindictiveness, but because the less people question products, [...]
With the allotment kicking out veg at this time of year, finding the best way to show off the produce is paramount. It is pretty pointless to spend ages growing something, cutting it fresh and rushing it home if you are going to cook it to death or smother it with sauce. As a child, [...]
After some very mixed weather, the allotment has really got going at last. Everything is still rather late and some plants, like my outdoor tomatoes are suffering. There is a lesson to be learned here – I had some left over plants which I eventually planted out two weeks later than the rest and they [...]
It is wonderful to see science eventually start to catch up with what us fat people in the population have known for years – we are not fat because we exercise too little, we are fat because we eat too much.
New research has been studying a tribe of hunter gatherers, the Hadza Tribe of Tanzania, who use [...]
Down at the allotment it is positively baking! Today is the first time in several weeks I have been able to really get to grips with the growing list of chores at the allotment, so I have been digging up potatoes, watering plants, weeding like mad, cutting the grass and I will go up later to do [...]
Sometimes it is great to have a nice chunky, chewy rib to get your teeth into, but at other times, ultra tender, falling apart, rich ribs are exactly what you want.
These ribs are cooked for hours in stock and spices before being finished off in the oven (or BBQ if you are brave) to give [...]
Dairy Farming in the United Kingdom is in trouble as farmers face a reduction in the price of milk.
The food supply chain in much of the world is one of the few industries that uses a completely bottom up approach. The price of most goods in the world is dictated by how much it cost [...]
This was the question Jacques Peretti put to Public Health Minister Anne Milton (Conservative MP for Guilford) in the concluding interview of his stunning three part documentary The Men Who Mad Us Fat on BBC2.
This episode looked at how the large retailers have reacted to the changing food world as public concern over healthy food [...]
Summer is here! Well, I am working on the idea, though the rain and the cold keep defeating me. Despite the poor weather, I have managed to pick a few sodden strawberries to grace a quintessential summer desert – strawberry ice cream.
Strawberry Ice Cream is about the easiest of all ice-creams to make. It does [...]
Sublime to the ridiculous; or at least from long dry winters to short wet summers. I am fairly sure that it used not to be like this!
The good news is, possibly, that I do not have to spend an hour or more watering the allotment everyday (though that means I am exercising less, of course.) The bad news [...]
BBC Newsnight ran an interesting piece on Monday night questioning the sponsorship of the Olympics by McDonalds, Coke and others. With one in three children set to be overweight or obese, it asked the question of whether the message given by such sponsorship is inline with the healthy ideal that is meant to be presented [...]
It has not been a very happy month. The temperatures have been down and rain has left the soil sodden and the plants flattened.
Not everything is gloom and doom. My carrots are doing well as are spinach and radishes. The potatoes are nicely up, though the pumpkins look near death. Today, with the warmth, they [...]
“Obesity is a highly contagious disease spread by stunningly good marketing and a hunt for profit”
BBC2 have been airing an important three part documentary by Jacques Peretti, studying how the food industry has changed our eating habits for their own profits and are the main cause for the huge increase in obesity rates in the [...]
Martha Payne, a nine year old from Argyll, has been regularly blogging about her school meals, with the permission of her school. She has been taking photos of them, then rating them for health and taste, all in a gentle amusing way – so far her blog, Never Seconds, has had over 2 million visits [...]
Much to my surprise, I have won the Runners Up prize for Members Plot in our annual allotment judging!
I really hadn’t considered that my efforts would even come close, to be honest, as I though the amount of grass and raised beds would count against me. But it seems the chap from the council liked [...]
Coming to the end of May now, so the allotment has become a frantic mix of planting out and watering! (Yep, despite all that rain early in the month, it is all a bit dry at the moment)
Have made the descision to grow the pumpkins on a large trellis, so have built one from poles [...]
My mother has written a most wonderful memoir which we have just released on Amazon on the Kindle Format.
She was born in Burma, in Rangoon in the early twenties and lived there until the Japanese invasion in 1942. Her family first went out to India in the 1840s and the book covers those first years, [...]
As Vic, one of the more experienced residents at our allotment put it this morning, “a few weeks ago we were all ahead of ourselves; now, with all the rain we are all running behind!”
He is not joking. I have second early spuds to go out and main crop chomping on their heels, but the [...]
Just taken delivery of a sack of well and truly concentrated fertiliser from Marshalls Seeds.
Sadly, the spreading of the delicious (well, for the plants, not me) food has been interupted by winds and a thousand buckets of rain that has landed on my patch.
A little bit of flooding as been most unwelcome, but the biggest [...]
I noticed last year that there were very few bees kicking around our allotment and I don’t remember seeing any butterflies at all. This seems to be in keeping with other’s experiences and certainly the apparent fall in both populations have been well reported.
These two pollinating insects are vital not just to gardeners but to the environment [...]
I did promise to get some images up of the allotment this month, so here are a small collection just to keep the record up to date.
As you can see I have finished the first cold frame, sort of; the top is being held on with bricks at the moment but will be hinged. There [...]
Okay, lack of photos here, but I will try and remember to take my camera up in the next few days. I have remembered to take the dog, some seeds and even some wood, but the camera seems to slip out of my mind.
What have I been up to? Well, I have been fiddling with [...]
Peta, (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) has been heavily criticised by the National Obesity Forum for a billboard put up in Gloucester that shows a meat pie in the shape of a coffin – the message is supposed to say that going vegan is a cure for obesity.
The tasteless advert adds nothing to the obesity debate [...]
Many years ago I used to frequent a sandwich shop on Great Titchfield Street in London’s West End district. Run by two completely mad Italians, it was basically a tatty delicatessen where they realised that if they stuffed the content of the deli counter into large slabs of fresh bread then the result would be wonderful – [...]
Bret Thorn of Nation’s Restaurant News in the US has written an interesting article about the forthcoming ban of pâté de Foie Gras in California in July.
Foie Gras, produced by force feeding geese, has become more and more controversal over the last decade as the internet has allowed for faster and more effective campaigning, though many [...]
Okay, so you are hungry, you want something delightful, spicy, clever and fast? We have the technology, or in this case, a small tin of Pilchards in tomato sauce. These little, inexpensive offerings are often overlooked by the serious foody and this is simply despicable! The only sadness is that most of the best Pilchards [...]
When the media talk about junk food and obesity, pizza is frequently given the big thumbs down. This should be unfair since pizza at its heart is basically good bread dough, fresh tomatoes and a light covering of fresh mozzarella cheese; it have these sorts of issues. Except, proper pizza, the one thrown skillfully into furnace like [...]
I love rich stews and the tradition of steak and kidney rarely disappoints. Sometimes it is nice to do something that is richer still, and this recipe should do the trick by adding oxtails to the mix. Normally, with my standard steak and kidney pudding, I use lambs kidneys as I love the gravy they [...]
Spring has sprung and with it a ton of work to do.
I have already dug in the manure from last year into the main beds and tomorrow will be taking the tiller up there to really mince it in – a little like making a Christmas pudding, though less appetising unless you are a plant, [...]
Please, please, please, resist the temptation to buy any sort of instant pancake mixture from the supermarkets for pancake day today. They are a complete waste of time and making proper, fresh mixture is SO EASY!
Eggs, milk, water, plain flour. That is it, ingredients that you probably have at home, to be honest – you [...]
Well, a great big bag of seeds turned up today marking the beginning of the 2012 allotment season. I really am starting from scratch this year with new batches of seeds rather than the growing pile of old stuff that I have kicking around in the shed. This batch comes from Seeds of Italy, which we have [...]
Being winter, the allotment is not really overflowing with things to do, but I am still visiting regularly just for the walk. My winter experiment in the greenhouse is going well and now we have passed the Winter Solstice and the days start getting longer again, I hope to see a bit more activity.
The mild winter [...]
Some years ago I wrote a list of sayings that might be the sort of things that your average bear might say if they were not too busy being a bear. Digging through some old articles, I found some ones I had written about Christmas which I had completely forgotten. There are a couple about [...]
Well, the UK, and Scotland in particular, have seen temperatures fall and winds rise this last week; enough so that even I have a touch of sympathy for those who thinks salad should only be eaten when it is 25º or so. So, for those who are feeling chilly, I have put together a very [...]