Sunday, October 31, 2010

Name: Rutabaga
Genre: Root Vegetable
Nickname: Swede, Swedish Turnip

Rutabagas! Fall's unsung root vegetable hero! Although it has a quite mangled appearance, the rutabaga (or swede, as it is called in the UK) is a rather tasty root vegetable with a sweet and slightly nutty taste, like a squash. It is thought to be a cross between a cabbage and a turnip and its skin is a peculiar, deep-violet color, resembling that of the Adirondack blue potato. Its flesh is a vibrant yellow or orange color. In spite of their distinctive taste, rutabagas remain subtle, which makes them a wonderful addition to stews and other hearty dishes.

Homemade Beef Stew & Buttery Sage Crust

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beef Stew with Buttery Sage Crust

If you know anything at all about me, you know that I have a penchant for Fall & falling leaves & those wonderful rich colors & all sorts of autumnal glee. Nothing to me says the emergence of a new season like seasonal ingredients and dishes. As soon as the weather starts to change, my internal clock begins to tick in tune with the accents of dishes that will bring out the best of the season.

Review: Manchester Food and Drink Festival

Sunday, October 17, 2010

After attending last year's fantastical events, I had my heart & hopes set on a fantastic time with some of the finest Mancunian restaurants showing up in force & commanding the charming Albert Square in front of Manchester's Town Hall.

Instead, I waltzed upon a rather scarce display: two beer & ale tents, a Holland's pie tent set up opposite an adult-style ice cream truck called Ginger's Emporium, two picnic tents (beautifully decorated) and four food stalls and a tea stall.

Elsewhere on the grounds, a chef did various cooking technique displays in a spacious tent and representatives from an anti food waste group urged attendees to think about the amount of food they throw away and find new and exciting ways to reuse it.

Seeming out of place, a tent was set up by the Wildlife Trust Fund ... .
Since I had gone to the festival with the intention to eat (I had pigged out on some authentic paella the previous year and wanted another taste of this) I loosed myself of my stubborn streak and weighed up my options: Tampopo, Grado, Harvey Nichols... . Harvey Nicks won with their promise of an authentically American dish: New York style chili dogs with Coke floats. How could I resist?

Outside Manchester's Town Hall on a surprisingly blustery October day, I munched a rather red (unfortunately) hot dog with lashings of chili and onions and washed it all down with a freshly made Coke float. For those of you not in the know, a Coke float is Coke topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and normally served under a hat of whipped cream, with a cherry on top.

Although the Harvey Nicks floats were free of whipped cream and cherries, they were still yummy and the slurping required to suck up the thick ice cream meant I could drown out the noise of the event.

Overall, I was quite disappointed by the lack of effort that seems to have gone into this year's festival. Things have been spread out more than last year (which is both good and bad) but only having a handful of options and not having the demonstrations that were at last year's festival, the kitchen knives, the tent full of chocolatey treats et cetera, I was very much let down. Here's to hoping that the next festival to grace Albert Square (the Christmas market) is just as good as its previous year!

Dill Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Vegetable Tagliatelle and Italian Green Sauce Reduction

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mmmm. There are no other words to say for this dish other than that.
This is a perfect mix of flavors--bold and slightly sweet coming from the dill, creamy and smooth from the cream cheese. You get the smoky bacon flavor and that lovely clean taste that only chicken can offer.

Then there's the pasta. The bite of al dente tagliatelle is met with the crunch of roasted bell peppers and the sweetly charred, earthy taste of roasted red onions.

And of course, the reduction. A wonderful blend of olive oil, spring onions and parsley. Stirred into the pasta with a bit of the cream cheese and some parmesan and you have a perfect accompaniment to juicy chicken parcels oozing with sweet cream cheese, hugged by crunchy bacon. Really guys, it's perfection.

Gluten Free Pork and Noodle Broth with Prawns

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pork and Noodle Broth with Prawns

Mmm. How I wish I had invented this recipe! Alas, it is swiped from the gold-tipped pages of the Soup Bible. It is so good and warming and subtly Asian. :)

12oz pork chops or pork filets
8oz raw or cooked prawns (shrimp)
5oz gluten free egg noodles
tbsp. vegetable oil (I boycott veg oil & use sunflower)
2tsp. sesame oil (I doubled this because I love sesame oil)
1 medium sliced (I used a red onion because I like them better)
tbsp freshly sliced root ginger
garlic clove
tsp. sugar
6 1/4 cups chicken stock
2 kaffir lime leaves
3tbsp fish sauce
juice of a lime
2 spring onions, chopped to garnish

Go ahead & prep everything. :) Remove any fat from your pork & allow cut it into even sizes using kitchen scissors. If using raw shrimp, peel and de-vein. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and simmer the egg noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Set aside.

Pre-heat your wok & add the veg/sunflower oil & sesame oils. Heath through & when the oil is hot, add your onions and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until evenly browned. If you use red onions, they do't really go brown (unless they're charred) so just cook until they're soft. Remove them from the wok and set aside.

Add your ginger, garlic, sugar and chicken stock to the wok & bring to a simmer. Add the lime leaves, fish sauce and lime juice then ad the pork and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the onions, shrimp and cooked noodles and simmer for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. (You will need to simmer longer if you use raw shrimp.)
Enjoy :)