Chocolate chip cookies

IMG_1340AThis is the chocolate chips cookie, the eccentric chocolate chips cookie. I used several ingredient to enhance the chocolate flavour and will makes you want it more. How could anyone resist the lovely aroma of the chocolate and it is like felling in love again when you bite into it. Normally I called this biscuit but cookies is the much closer terms to use, because it reminds me most American Mother will have the secret recipe of their own of chocolate chips cookie and passing down to their children, I can imagine the children enjoyed it and fighting for the last piece of cookie in the jar.

I do believe chocolate has the mysterious power. It can make strong men and women weak of gratitude, also good to mopping up tears as well. This recipe combined two loves – chocolatey and chocolate madness. For all the chocoholic this would be your must try list.

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/325ºF. Melt the 125g dark chocolate either in the microwave or in a heatproof dish over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Put the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.
  3. Cream the butter and sugars in another bowl. (I use my freestanding mixer, itself an odd source of comfort to me.) Add the melted chocolate and mix together.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract and cold egg, and then mix in the dry ingredients. Finally stir in the chocolate morsels or chips.
  5. Scoop out 12 equal-sized mounds – an ice cream scoop and a palette knife are the best tools for the job – and place on a lined baking sheet about 6cm apart. Do not flatten them.
  6. Cook for 18 minutes, testing with a cake tester to make sure it comes out semi-clean and not wet with cake batter. If you pierce a chocolate chip, try again.
  7. Leave to cool slightly on the baking sheet for 4-5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to harden as they cool.

You might noticed I used two different sugar, the reason I used light brown sugar is for the extra trickiness, and it will not easily burn in the oven because brown sugar is less sweet compared to white sugar. I remembered the first time I made it, I nearly forgot the cold egg, and I added it last before I bake it in oven. The result is a soft cookie, just like it been leave on a table for several hour. Although it will still become one mixture no matter which way I mix it but in the baking terms you got to follow every step, every ingredient will react to each other before the next ingredient adding into it. That is a science of baking, how wonderful things can be. I hope you will enjoy baking this cookies and share the good thing.

Angel food cake with lemon curd

IMG_1130ALook at this cake, not having a smooth side, imperfection decoration, simply because I don’t have the patient to decorate the cake or making it smooth. It is just beyond me! I think the way this cake looks will tells you it is home made.

Most people will have an answer said this is chiffon cake base, eventually it is not chiffon but angel food cake base. There are three basic cake commonly use as base. Sponge cake, chiffon, angel food cake. Three of them content light airy interior.

Sponge cake, made with butter, sugar, flour, eggs. It contain whole eggs Their leavening comes only from beaten egg whites (no baking powder or soda), and they have little or no butter. Is very common with eggy,  yellowish, crumble texture, light as well. It is a versatile cake that you could add any flavour.

Chiffon cake, made with eggs, sugar, flour, water and vegetable oil but no butter. It is very light, slightly dry if you just eating the cake itself. Chiffon cakes are light like sponge cakes, but the egg whites are not beaten separately. Chiffon cakes also generally contain oil so they are more tender and moist than sponge cake.

Is an obsession throughout South-east Asia, in Japan there are whole bakeries devoted to it. Chinese schoolchildren eat it as a snack. In the Philippines the ability to turn out airy chiffon is the test of a good home cook. Yet few in Britain know about it, despite our collective love of cake. I remembered when I was a kids, I had green pandan (pandanus amaryllifolius or screwpine leave) chiffon cake, it is very soft, spongy, dry. Often it made me choke when I eating it too quickly, simply because it is tasty. Most housewife in Asia would perfecting this chiffon cake recipe and by making them as light as possible, adding flavouring in it.

Angel food cake, made with egg whites, sugar and flour. It is even lighter than chiffon cake, Angel food cakes have no fat or leavening (such as baking powder). They are leavened with beaten egg whites and they have a high proportion of egg white to flour.

The following recipe was adopted from Mary Berry that made it at Master class of the Great British Baked-Off. I think this cake make a good center piece on your dinner party. You will need a special mould for this cake 25cm angel food cake pan or chiffon pan

Cake ingredients

  • 125g plain flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 10 large free-range egg whites
  • 2 large lemon, grated zest only
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp salt

Lemon curd ingredients (this makes more lemon curd than you need for this cake)

  • 10 large free-range egg yolks
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 4 large lemons, juice only (±200ml)
  • 2 large lemons, grated zest only
  • 175g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 passion fruit

Topping

  • 300ml whipping cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 (fan 160C) and arrange an oven shelf in the bottom third of the oven. Sift the flour and 100g/3½oz of the caster sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk or mixer on a high speed for one minute until frothy. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Increase the speed and add the remaining 200g/7oz of caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time to form firm, but not stiff peaks.
  3. Sprinkle over one-third of the flour mixture and fold gently to combine. Repeat with the remaining two-thirds of the flour mixture folding gently to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
  4. Transfer the batter to a 25cm/10in angel food cake pan. Gently run a knife through the centre of the batter to remove any pockets of air. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and immediately turn upside down onto the tin’s cooling legs, or place over the neck of a wine bottle. Leave to cool for at least one hour.
  6. Run a knife around the inner and outer edges of cake to remove it from the pan. Invert onto a plate. Carefully use a palette knife to separate the cake from the base of the pan. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  7. For the lemon curd, mix the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest together in a large pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir the sides and base of the pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Pass through a sieve into a large jug. Fill two 350g/12oz glass jars with the lemon curd and seal with lids. Cover the remaining curd with cling film and leave to cool.
  8. For the topping, whisk the cream and vanilla extract in a bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Spoon the topping over the angel food cake and, using a palette knife, coat the top and sides of the cake, smoothing as you go.
  9. Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the seeds. Stir the passion fruit into the reserved, cooled lemon curd and drizzle over the angel food cake before serving. You may want to use just one of the jars of lemon curd to serve with the cake and save the other to eat separately.

Note: Do not be tempted to grease the tin – it will prevent the cake from rising properly. If you want to cut back on fat or have a dairy intolerance, this is a great cake to make. The cake itself doesn’t contain any butter and you can easily swap the toppings for a fruit syrup or jam if you want to make it completely dairy-free. The egg yolks are used up in a job lot of lemon curd, but you could always buy in a good jar lemon curd and save your yolks for another use.

 

 

 

 

Fresh Egg Pasta

 

IMG_0916I got a very good article to share with you, it is from the great Italian food writer – Anna Del Conte. Pasta is the generic word for any kind of dough, such as bread and pastry. ‘Pasta’ is also a paste, such as pasta di Acciughe (anchovies), Pasta Di Mandorle (almond). When used by itself the word usually means pasta in its best-known sense, which, to be correct, in Italian is called Pasta alimentare. And what is this food that in the last half a century has conquered the Western world? It i simply a mixture of flour or Semola and water and/ or eggs.

Pasta, as a mixture of some sort of ground cereal and liquid, was obviously made in ancient times. If the first pasta maker were the Greeks or the Etruscans it does not matter. Pasta was not brought back to Venice by Marco Polo in 1295, because there are references to it before that date. Personally I think that pasta was yet another Arab import into Sicily. In the past the Sicilian were recognized as the authority on pasta and Sicilian food was greatly influenced by the Arabs.

By the Renaissance, pasta – at that time called vermicelli – was enjoyed only by wealthy people. It became popular at the end of the 18th century, but only in southern Italy. Naples was the scene of the eruption of pasta as the food of the people; along with Vesuvius it became the symbol of Naples. In 1700 there were 280. On most street corners there was a maccheronaro selling Maccheroni from his stall – maccheroni being the general local name for pasta. The first pasta factories were established around the Gulf of Naples and it is from there that pasta, and spaghetti in particular, reached the United States when the Italians began to emigrate there at the beginning of the 20th century.

But there was an American who fell in love with pasta much earlier. It was Thomas Jefferson, third president of the US, who, having no doubt enjoyed eating pasta on one of his visit to Italy, ordered a pasta-making machine to be sent to Monticello, his house in Virginia.

Up until World War II it was only in southern Italy that pasta was eaten daily, usually as a first course at lunch. But in the second half of the 20th century pasta has become the most popular starter to a meal also in northern Italy, where it has ousted the local Risotto. A dish of pasta is now often served as a Piatto Unico (one-course meal) but never with salad. It is the typical meal of southern Italians, and it provides a healthy and well-balanced diet based on pasta plus a sauce consisting either of small amount of meat, or some vegetables, pulses, cheese or eggs.

In Italy, pasta usually means dried pasta. Fresh pasta is eaten far less frequently and is by no means considered superior, but rather a different kind of food which can be better or worse, depending on its quality.

Fresh pasta: In Emilia-Romagna fresh pasta is made using only eggs and 00 flour. The classic recipe is given here. In order regions one or two of the eggs may be replaced by water, which produces a softer and less tasty pasta. In the south the mixture is of durum wheat Semolino, flour and water, a type of dough that is hard to knead and shape. All these mixtures, once the dough is rolled out, are called sfoglia. Rolling pasta totally by hand is difficult job, but there are many machines for making fresh pasta at home. The Macchina per la pasta will roll and cut the pasta, too.

Dried pasta: This is commercially made pasta, the composition of which is tightly controlled by law. It is made only with durum wheat semola and water. For pasta integrale (wholemeal pasta) the durum wheat is less refined. Equally important is the drying process, which must be gradual and lengthy. The best pasta is dried over 48 hours, as opposed to 32 for the more mass-produced type. The dies through which the mixture is extruded also play an important part: for the best pasta bronze dies are used, giving a rough surface that is ideal for retaining the dressing. Dried pasta comes in many shapes and sizes, most of which are best suited to a particular type of sauce. Generally speaking, long pasta, such as spaghetti, is best with a sauce based on olive oil, as this keeps the strands slippery and separate. Thicker long shapes are dressed with sauces that may also be based on butter, cream and cheese, which also go well with medium-seized tubular pasta. These shapes are also perfect dressed with vegetables or pulses, while the large rigatoni and penne are used for baked dishes.

Cooking pasta: Pasta may be everyday food, but it should be cooked with great care. It must be cooked in a large saucepan in plenty of salted water: there should be 1 litre of water to every 100g of pasta, to which 10g of salt is added and immediately stirred. The cooking time varies according to the shape and quality of pasta, and whether it is fresh or dried.

When the pasta is al dente it is drained through a colander or, for long pasta, by lifting it out with a long wooden fork or a spaghetti server. Some of the cooking water is sometimes reserved to add at the end, should the finished dish seem too dry. This is always done when cooking fresh pasta, since it absorbs more liquid. Once drained, the pasta is transferred to the frying pan containing the sauce or to a warmed bowl and immediately dressed; it should never be left to sit in the colander or bowl without any dressing. Pasta shouldn’t be dressed with too much sauce, nor should the sauce be watery.

Pasta can also be cooked using a totally different method, which is called ‘the Agnesi method’, since it is from the late Vincenzo Agnesi, the founder of the Pasta Agnesi company. And here it is: bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the usual amount of salt and then add the pasta and stir vigorously. When the water has come back to the boil, cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes and then turn the heat off, put a clean towel over the pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Leave for the length of time suggested on the packet instructions. When the time is up, drain the pasta and dress as usual. Pasta cooked in this way will retain more of the characteristic flavout of the semolina. The other advantage is that it does not overcook if left a minutes longer.

Pastasciutta is a term meaning pasta that, once cooked, has been drained and served with a sauce. Pasta in brodo (‘pasta in soup’) on the other hand, is pasta served in the liquid in which it has cooked, which is the brodo, or stock.

Pasta colorata or aromatizzata (coloured or flavoured pasta) – pasta that is yellow (saffron), brown (fungi), red (tomato) or black (cuttlefish ink) – has now become as widely available as the traditional green (spinach) pasta from Emilia. Pasta ripiena (stuffed pasta) includes the large range of different types of ravioli. The wrapping is made of egg pasta and the stuffing is different for each type of raviolo.

In Italy, pasta is made in different ways in many regions, but the most popular fresh pasta is the pasta all’uovo made in Emilia, for which this is the traditional recipe.

  • 300g Italian 00 flour, plus extra for dusting (Double “O” is finely milled, it is easy to built the elasticity of the dough, you could use normal plain flour)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Put the flour on the work surface and make a well in the middle. Add the salt and the eggs. Using a fork or your fingers, mix the eggs and draw in the flour gradually. Work quickly until it forms a mass. Scrape the work surface clean and wash your hands. Alternatively, you can use a food processor. Put in the flour and salt, switch on the machine and drop in the eggs through the funnel. Process until a ball of dough is formed. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.
  2. Knead the dough for about 5 – 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes – or up to 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Unwrap the dough and knead on a lightly floured work surface for 2 – 3 minutes, then divide into 4 equal parts. Take one piece of dough and keep the remainder wrapped in clingfilm or cover with a damp tea towel. Roll out the dough using a rolling pin, or by machine following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. If you making lasagne, or any type of stuffed pasta, proceed immediately to cutting and stuffing. If you are making long pasta, before you cut it, leave the dough to dry until it is no longer sticky. Then feed each strip of dough through the broad cutter of the machine for tagliatelle or fettuccine, or through the narrow cutters for tagliolini. For tonnarelli, roll the dough out only to the fourth setting of the machine. Whe dry, feed the sheet through the narrow cutter to achieve a sort of square spaghetti.

At least you try this recipe by hand during the mixing process, I think it is very important for you to feel the ingredient when you working on it. The first attempt I made fresh pasta before I found this recipe, I didn’t use machine but by hand, it was very exciting when I mixed the flour with eggs, using heel of my hand to roll it as is using my body heat to gently working with the gluten of the flour rolling it and giving my attention and love toward the mixture. This is a good collaboration between me and the food; I called this the good relationship. Then when I rolling out into a sheet I cut them into several piece and floured each of them and piled them together and then rolled it like a swiss roll then used a sharp knife to sliced it. Unfortunately it doesn’t came out as I expected because it was stuck together badly. The second time I made it I didn’t dry them much it cooked too quickly and it fall apart. The third time I made it by machine and it is great!

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Clarissa Dickson Wright, remembered

IMG_0268AAs the title does sounds very tense, indeed I cooked this dish to honor and remembrance of a great food writer and television cook – Clarissa Dickson Wright has died in Edinburgh aged 66 on 15 March 2014. Today will be exactly one month of remembrance of her.

I adored her writing, she is the most eccentric, classic British lady. Her book named A History of English Food is one of the magnificent guide of British cuisine, a book that content from the medieval feast to a modern-day farmers’ market, revisiting the Tudor working man’s table and a Georgian kitchen along the way. How could any person writing this historical topic of food back to Medieval? A lot of research and study will needed for her great work. Now we understand how our modern cookery evolved, thanks to our ancestor that recorded the detail for the new generation. I enjoyed reading her book because she have great sense of humour in her writing. I almost can hear she speak to me while reading it. I remembered there is a TV journalist asking her a question about being a “chef”. She nearly bite his head off, informing him that she was a Cook, and most definitely not a chef. Very humble person too!

Obviously I can’t paid tribute to her, as my honor and tribute I made one dish from her recipe that she wrote in one of her joined publishing Great British Food Revival. She named it as Medieval chicken because she used garlic as a revival ingredient. BBC was responded that garlic wasn’t British, then she pointed out the word of Anglo-Saxon origin and meant spear-leek. The Roman introduced garlic to Britain and now other types grow in Britain very successfully as illustrated by Colin Boswell’s work on The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight. She also promised that one of her recipe would be medieval and this is taken from The Forme of Cury (Cookerya book complied by the cooks to the Court of King Richard II in the late fourteen century. Saffron was popular in the Middle Ages, a time when colour in food was a culinary obsession.

When you think again, indeed British is good with their roasting skill; have you ever wonder how the medieval kitchen works, and the ingredient they used for their daily consumption. Cooking in modern day can be very stress-free and relaxing, but definitely not the Medieval.

  • small packet saffron threads
  • 400ml white wine
  • 1 roasting chicken
  • 1 tsp each pepper and cinnamon
  • 5 smallish bulbs of garlic
  • 5cm piece of root ginger, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 230ºC/ 450ºF/ Gas 8. Soak the saffron in a little wine to soften.
  2. Rub the chicken all over with the pepper and cinnamon and place the chicken in an ovenproof dish.
  3. Cut the top off the garlic bulbs until you can see the cloves and arrange the bulbs and chopped ginger around the chicken.
  4. Pour the oil into the garlic bulbs and pour the saffron and wine around the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and then place in the oven.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 170ºC/ 325ºF/ Gas 3 and cook for another 40 minutes, or until the juice run clear when you insert a skewer and the chicken is cooked. Regularly baste whist cooking, paying special attention to basting the garlic.

Clarissa will be remembered by all of us of her great book, recipe, the great ingredient was your humour, laughter and great attitude. R.I.P.

 

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Egg in sunset

IMG_0003AInspired from Nigella‘s recipe of Eggs in Purgatory, I should probably have to rename it. I think is a bit sad to say the sun is in hell. The egg in the middle is burning from the fiery red of the tomatoes.

It reminds me about the sun set at home when I was on holiday. The scene has the velvet red with golden yellow sun that smear out to the redness. Wonderful sunset I had seen. Just like this dish exactly the same colour obviously in different approach. My sun in this dish was not show is simply because it had dive into the gorgeously red tomato.

The key ingredient is egg and tomato, first, heat up some garlic oil in small pan (or you could use olive oil and grating a clove of garlic into it) then add a bit of chili flakes if you like some heat as I do; or you could just add some herbs such as a spring rosemary anything you like. Don’t let the garlic and herbs burn, what you need is to infused the flavour into the oil.

Now here is the sunset you about going to create it on your own. Open a can of chopped tomato and pour it in then let it cook and reduce the liquid a bit (you don’t want it too runny) about 2-3 minutes. I added some freshly grated Parmesan about 2 tablespoon, What the Parmesan did is simply replacing the salt and adding more flavour to the tomato. Here comes the sun crack one egg in the middle of the pan, don’t let the egg yolk sunk into the sauce (that is the reason you need to reduce the liquid), clam on the lid and let the egg pouch until the egg white is just cooked, yolk is still bit runny. Then remove it from the heat. Et voilà!

The moment of truth, you can choose to diving in with bread, it will helps you to wipe and clean the pan, definitely good choice to save up your elbow grease later for the washing up. There are something about this dish, it is truly satisfied, rewarding when you feeling like hell!

 

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Sambuca baci

P1170077I tried it from Nigella’s recipe, as she said almost as light as butterfly kissed on flower. These almost like doughnuts but made of scented, sweet air. Italian called it kisses (baci)

Believed me your first bite of these will definitely wanting more. Beside it is easy to make too. I don’t think you can resist to eat them once is come out from the frying pan.

Here is how I started, you will need one egg, 100g of ricotta mix both in a large bowl, beat it together until smooth. Then you adding in 40g plain flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 2 teaspoons sambuca liqueur if you don’t have sambuca, you could used lemon or orange juice, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon grated orange zest. Beat the mixture again to make a smooth batter.

Pour about 2cm vegetable oil or any flavourless oil into a frying pan, and heat until a small piece of bread sizzles when you drop it into the pan and browns in about 40 seconds (the temperature should be at about 180ºC). And keep your eye on the pan at all times.

Oil a teaspoon measure and gently drop rounded teaspoons of the ricotta batter into the pan; about 4 at a time is much manageable.

The little baci will puff up slightly and turn golden underneath, if you lucky enough you will see the baci will turn itself around to get the sun tan. Otherwise you could flip them over carefully with an implement of your choice, to colour the other side as well. Watch out that the oil doesn’t get too hot: turn the heat down if they are browning too quickly.

Once they are golden all over, lift them out with a slotted spoon and place them over plate lined with 2 sheets of kitchen paper, to get rid of any exceed oil. Carry on cooking until all the mixture is used up, then turn off the heat under the oil. Once the  baci have cooled a bit, push the icing sugar through a small sieve to dust them thickly.

If you are not eating them straightaway, pop the pre-sugared, cooked baci on the wire rack over a tin in 150ºC oven and keep them warm for up to 1 hour.

If so inclined, serve with a shot of sambuca or an espresso. I might make another batch for teatime. Yum!

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Classic Lamb Shank Pot Roast

photo(1)AThis is a very quickly prepared, and easy dish to make for a special occasion, the only drawback is it does require a long time in the oven, but it’s well worth the wait. The Lamb will be incredibly succulent and tender, and full of rich deep flavour. The recipe is for one portion suitable for a main course, and you’ll need a heavy roasting pot with a lid. That is what I call it minimum of fuss and maximum of eating pleasure. It required no work, the oven does it all for you. By the time you had your bath the dinner is ready.

  • 1 Lamb Shank
  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped into small 1cm pieces
  •  ¾ bottle of red wine
  • 200ml water
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 or 3 10cm sprigs of fresh Rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsps of vegetable oil
  • Freshly milled black pepper and salt to taste.
  • 1 knob of butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 140°C
  2. Heat your pot with the oil, then add the Lamb shank and let it brown a little on all sides by turning it in the pot.
  3. While the lamb is browning, add the Bacon, then the Onion and the black pepper.
  4. When the bacon starts to brown, add the Garlic and Rosemary.
  5. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes to let the flavours develop.
  6. Add the ¾ bottle of red wine, and stir. (keep the ¼ bottle to enjoy with your meal.
  7. Let the wine boil for 5 minutes to remove the alcohol. Then add water after that the salt; and Bringing back to the boil.
  8. Cover with the lid and put into the oven for a total of at least 2 to 2½  hours depending on the size of your piece of lamb.
  9. When the lamb is cooked, remove the meat to a warm plate and cover with a piece of foil to keep warm and rest.
  10. While the Lamb rests, add the butter to the sauce then reduce the sauce by boiling, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick enough and glossy.
  11. Serve with any fresh steamed vegetables and some roasted sliced potatoes, or crusty bread which is delicious dipped into the sauce.

photo(2)Ahttp://jovinacooksitalian.com/2014/01/30/what-can-you-do-with-budget-friendly-lamb-shanks/

Croûton

P1160607ACroûton, choice of my snack. although my croûton not evenly brown on the side. I do like a bit of white but normally you will have all side brown. I used up some leftover stale bread about 4 days old. I like it less salt and more herbs. Is worth a moment to rustle up this and it is useful to have it in kitchen whenever you feel like having a salad and you have some croûton to garnish.

First, cut off the crusts of 4 slices of stale white bread, then cut into crouton sized cubes. Next, they need coating in the oil mixture, and I find this easiest to do with a freezer bag. Pour into the bag 4 table spoons of sunflower or olive oil, half a teaspoon of sea salt, a dried herbs of your choice, I used two chopped sprigs of rosemary. Then tip in the cubed bread, seal the bag and give it a good shake around to make sure all of the bread is well coated with oil.

Place a non-stick saute pan in medium heat. When is hot tip in bread, strring, until golden all over. When is place it on a baking tray to cool before storing into air tight jar.

Believe me, once you done it once you may keep topping up all the time. Then you will have handy croûton whenever youu need one.

Garlic infused oil

P1160368ANo fuss garlic oil, one of my favourite cooking oil the reason is sometime I can be a bit lazy to chop garlic or mince the garlic with garlic press. I rather have this on my kitchen table and can use it at when I feel like to have some garlic flavour in meals.

I am making this 500ml of ordinary garlic oil with 1 whole garlic bulb separated into cloves, no need to peel the skin, just rub off any loose pieces of the skin. Make sure the bottle of olive oil got some room for the garlic cloves, give it a shake every now and then; leave it to infuse for at least one month before using them.

New arrival – History of English food

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I’m never sure how many people enjoy to read about the subject of food history, but I find it very interesting, although I can’t ever see myself making gelatine from a calf’s foot, there’s always an easier way these days! But I do like and enjoy researching and thinking about the history of cooking, and if if I can manage to find the ingredients, some of which are as old as the history itself now, I’ll attempt an to make the authentic recipe, but that can take a lot of research and effort sometimes. It’s often easier to buy a modern alternative from the supermarket.

So these two books were a new arrival to my obsessive book collection, now cookery books are occupying more than any other collection. Though I still use Mrs Beeton‘s books as my bible.

I don’t think I should say this, but I’m going to anyway. I think I have a similarity with  Jane Grigson. When she began to spend three months of each year in France, she became really interested in food. The first time I visited Paris, it stuck with me ever since. Both of us were inspired by French food. I would love to be a food writer as well, there is still a lot to do, but I intend to keep striving, and sharing my exploits with everyone that reads my blog. Jane also reveals the richness and surprising diversity of English culinary heritage, which is so useful for anyone wishing to learn about the wide history and heritage of British food, as modern British food has elements from many different countries and continents. After all, the most popular dish in the UK is now the ambiguous and untraceable Chicken Tikka Masala, an Indian inspired dish concocted by immigrant chefs to the UK, specifically for the UK palate.

Clarissa Dickson Wright… what a character! She’s a typical blue-blooded aristocratic English lady, though she’d probably hate to read that description. She’s famous in the U.K. but that’s not why I’m so interested in her. The thing I most admire about Clarissa is she brought the history back to our ears, as many people tend to forget about where our favourite dishes came from, or how it evolved to modern cookery, such as why we eat turkey during Christmas. I am very interested to know all of that, it’s even become a bit of an obsession of mine, but it’s a good subject to talk about. Beside that, it’s great to pass facts and history on to the next generation about food and it’s history. Most people just turn away when they hear the word of “history”. I am really thankful to Clarissa to lighten up the history of food. I just can’t wait to dig further into her book.

OK it’s time to put my feet up and pour a glass of wine, and one of these books will be open and ready. I hope you can find a copy of either of these books. Happy reading!