Saluting you, Judy Joo

I’m loving the new ‘Korean Food Made Simple’ series with Judy Joo.

Judy Joo

Glass noodles made from sweet potato.. !!!  #amazing

I’m going to be making myself some Japchae at the first opportunity.

We can draw so much inspiration from experiencing diverse gastronomy from disparate cultures.  A visit to Honey Pig Korean BBQ on a recent trip to the US got me hankering for a trip to South Korea.

Duck at Honey Pig

Korean BBQ Duck

The world is becoming a smaller place as technology advances. I’m predicting big things for international food – I can’t wait to see more ‘unusual’ ingredients being stocked in our UK supermarkets. Exposure to the world via satellite TV, great shows and social media is a good thing in my eyes.

Diversify, get excited about food and try something different!

Check out the Food Network channel in the UK (http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/tv-shows/korean-food-made-simple.html)

or the Cooking Channel in the US (http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/korean-food-made-simple.html)

YOU

Here’s the latest offering from Jamie Oliver – a neat social media app called ‘YOU-app’.

Its USP?  Mindfulness.

The concept is an application that provides you with ‘micro-actions’ to complete each day.  They’re straightforward and easy to complete, and above all, make you feel better about yourself.  They may be small, but the effects are cumulative and empowering; guaranteed to leave you feeling virtuous.  It’s all backed up with science!

You app image

Pinterest, 2 Facebook pages, Twitter, WordPress blog… I can’t even find the time to open an Instagram account.  Am I really going to post more pictures on yet another platform?  Initially I was thinking “I’d really like to hope so, but I’ll take some convincing”…  it’s been a week, and now I’m all over it.  I write a diary every day, and I can assure you that taking a snap, adding a sentence and posting it, is far quicker.

As a technologist, futurology tells me that my list of ‘daily technologies’ is only going to grow – so I wonder which of these will be the first MySpace, and cease to exist?  I predict mergers and takeovers as the public decide with their feet and the big players become increasingly ubiquitous.

Anyway.

Everyone requires a little encouragement, and the social aspect of this app genuinely motivates.  Imagine Pinterest, but with everyone posting under a common theme, sharing beautiful images, ideas and thoughts.

In summary, do I like it?  Yes.  Has it got legs?  It has, but I suspect that mass-uptake might be slow.  Did it need to be its own standalone application?  Maybe not..  I think I’d have been on-board simply subscribing to a Facebook page, but of course, not everyone uses Facebook (yet).  If anything, it’s a shame it’s limited to mobile platforms.

Give it a go and see how you feel (remembering that change rarely just happens overnight).  The overhead on your daily life is certainly worth the gamble.

Check out you-app.com.   The application is currently available for iOS, with an Android version due for release.

Food Revolution Day 2015

With great excitement and anticipation, it’s time to start planning for the big day…

The date for this year’s Food Revolution Day has now officially been set: Friday 15th May 2015

Last year was epic.  It’s mind-blowing to think that over 10,400 events took place across 121 countries during that single day. The global media campaign reached at least a billion people, spreading the word of food education and getting back to basics in the kitchen for a happier and healthier lifestyle.  Last year’s gathering of hearts and minds also culminated in the breaking of a world record: “largest cookery event (single venue)”, with 2,150 school children learning how to make Jamie’s rainbow salad wrap.

Check out the site – www.foodrevolutionday.com for information and ideas on how to get involved and make a difference.

Follow across social media with #foodrevolutionday 

More to follow…

Food Revolution Day 2015

Mulled Wine Jelly Sweets

As Christmas culinary activities were somewhat postponed for me, I’m finally getting round to making festive treats for friends and family.  On a positive note, this is a good January, as the house is still full of nice ingredients and treats.  You could say that the ‘Christmas Cupboard’ is well stocked.

During my pre-Christmas planning which started back in, well, October probably, I came across the concept of making wine-based jellies to accompany cheese – much like the concept of Membrillo.

Here’s a recipe from Jamie Oliver for his Mulled Wine Jelly Sweets:

Ingredients:

  • 600g apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 300g pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 700g golden granulated sugar
  • 200g white caster sugar, for dusting
  • 500ml red wine
  • 200ml orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 40ml liquid pectin

Method:

1. Lightly grease a 20x20cm tin with oil and line with cling film, leaving some excess to come over the sides.

2. Place the apples and pears in a heavy-based saucepan with the wine, orange juice, half of the lemon juice and the spices. Cook over a high heat for 30 minutes, until the fruit has broken down, the liquid has evaporated and you’re left with a dark red purée.

apples, pears and spices

3. Push the mixture through a fine sieve, discarding any pulp. Pour the liquid back into the saucepan, add the golden granulated sugar and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has completely dissolved.

sugar for mulled wine jelly sweets

4. Pop a sugar thermometer in the saucepan and let the mixture slowly cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 107°C. Then add the rest of the lemon juice along with the pectin and bring it up to 115°C.

5. You can check if your mixture is done by dropping ½ teaspoon of it into a bowl of cold water; if it forms a ball, it’s ready; if not, give it a few more minutes.

6. Pour into your prepared tin and set aside to cool.

7. Once cooled, cover the top of the mixture with cling film and leave to set at room temperature for at least 12 hours.

8. Pour the white caster sugar onto a tray. Using a hot or lightly greased knife, cut the set jelly into 2cm squares. Roll the jellies in the sugar and place them in the fridge until you’re ready to bag or box them up.

Sweets for Cheese

Whilst making these, I recall thinking “never again”.  In hindsight, I think that I will probably give them ago next year but pay more attention to testing how the mixture is setting.  The flavour is fantastic, but the jelly can be terribly sticky and hard to work with if it isn’t quite set enough (hence the ‘rustic’ shapes).

Salmon Tartare

With everyone keenly penning their New Year resolutions, it’s inevitable that healthy eating is right up there in the top five. As ‘eating more fish’ always seems to feature, here’s a slightly less obvious recipe for packing in the omega-3 fatty acids.

Salmon Fillet

There are a couple of variations on this dish; one is to take the natural, raw sashimi-style approach, and the other, akin to ceviche,  is to include citrus juice to ‘cook’ the fish as per below.

Ingredients:

(serves 2)

  • 400g Salmon, skinned and boned, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 2 tsp Shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Capers, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Gherkin, finely chopped
  • Sprig of Dill
  • Dash of Tobasco
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Juice of 1 Lemon

Method:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Leave it to stand for 10 minutes.

Garnish with Dill fronds and serve with triangles of granary toast.

Healthy Salmon Tartare

You can also serve it as an elegant canapé  in these lovely little croustardes.

Canapé

Little Salmon bites

You could also try it with Trout or other oily fish.

Happy New Year.  Give it a go.

Spiced Apple Relish

The festive season inevitably brings us cheese.  Lots, and lots of cheese.  This is a good thing.

In preparation, I like to make a few accompaniments to enhance the experience.  Membrillo (Quince Paste/Cheese), Pickled Onions, Piccalilli, Chutney and glorious Relishes.

I happened to have a glut of apples and a requirement for some lovely gifts for friends and family.

Job #1: Sterilise a few jars.  It’s worth checking roughly how much you’re going to make to avoid cleaning too many jars.

There are a couple of methods for this.  The easiest is to run them through a dishwasher on a relatively high heat.  The traditional method is to give them a good wash and rinse and them lower them into a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can pop them into an oven at 130°C for 20 minutes, but both of these methods involve juggling with hot glass.  Don’t forget the lids.

Clean jarsOnce sterilised, I use a filling funnel to avoid sticky splashes on the outside of the jars.

Cooking Apple Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kg apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 450g sultanas
  • 700ml cider vinegar
  • 750g muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt

Method:

Combine all of the ingredients in a preserving pan or suitably large pot.

Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 30­ to 40 minutes, whilst stirring frequently. Remove from the heat once it’s nice and thick.  Fill and cap your sterilised jars.  Easy.

If you can resist, store your relish for at least a month before devouring, as the flavour will develop over time.

Apple Chutney