Sunday, 28 February 2010

Ok.... Im obsessed.....

Ok asides from my love of cooking i have a dirty little secret which i usually keep under wraps... but sometimes i let it slip... And that is the fact that i am a huge anime nerd....

There... IVE SAID IT!!! And im not even ashamed... Ive always loved Anime, and the first one i ever saw was a film called "Tenko no shiro Rapyuta" which translates (I think) to "Laputa: Castle in the sky"... Drawn and Directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki the film is set in a mythical land where a boy who works in a mine is one day the saviour of a ysterious girl who floats down from the sky with the aid of her pendant. Add some pirates and a few robots in there and it truly is one of the most beautiful films ive ever seen. IF your not too busy deffinatly check it out, even if your not into anime.

Ok... you may be wondering where im going with this, but FEAR NOT FOODIES... i do have a point lol.

One of my favourite pass times is combining my favourite pass times! So a combination of anime and food is ideal, luckily there is awhole genre devoted to anime fans who love food.

There are so many good shows out there which are not only fun to watch but also pretty inspirational. Today i wont be cooking any, but whilst looking for some anime inspired recipes i came accros a japanese website with the most beautiful cakes and treats and i felt it was my DUTY to share with you guys.... dont ask me what each thing is, as i sadly cannot answer you lol.. i wish i knew myself, but they do all look deliscious!

I dont even know what these are but just look at how beautiful they are... pretty flawless stuff.

Im almost certain that this one isnt even real!!! it looks perfect.

Chocolate elegance...

Amazing.... Just amazing, i want whoever made these to put thier hand against the screen of thier computer so that they can recieve my virtual highfive!

I can only hope that one day i can make stuff as amazing as this! I really dont want to pretend that these pics are in any way my own but i cant really figure out who the artist is who made them... I THINK the name of the patissier is Hidemo Sugino.... but that could be the name of the pattiserie. Either way, hats off to these guys. so so inspiring. Hope you guys are just as inspired!

Till next time! Enjoy!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Toooo long!

Hey Guys! im sorry it took so long for me to come back you lot with antyhign that even looked and tasted remotely good... btu my daytime job has actually gotten pretty hectic as of late.

And whilst i havent actually made this dish myself for a while,it is still a personal favourite! So the following pictures are not creditted to me but they do show you how to present the meal in a variety of delicate and artistic ways!....... OK! PANNA COTTA!

I first fell in love with this dessert when i was about 13 and i was watching blue peter (for you americans its like a DIY show for kids, cooking, animals, arts and crafts etc.. :D). They had a local chef come on and after a long talk about how she had began cookign and how much she loved it and blah blah blah.... they then had her prepare her favourite dish which was the Panna Cotta.... I WAS IN LOVE! To me it looked like jelly + ice cream.... and what kid doesnt liek that combination! so i tried it and tried it and tried it over the years and after a while i could make it pretty perfectly. So now that i could make it well, i began experimenting with flavours! Mango.... Apple.... rosemary..... But out of all of them my favourite was the stangest combination.


and Honey

(Just noticed that i use honey an awful lot.... maybe i should look into it in a bit more detail for my next blog :P)

The basics of a Panna cotta recipe are incredibly simple. you will probably reasd this and think "why havent i made this before?!". The only thing that i doubt you will have just lying around the pantry will be gelatin, or gelatin powder.


(This is a generic recipe which you can use as the base of any panna cotta... just tweak it to your liking by adding flavours and garnishes)

For the Panna Cotta

3 gelatine leaves
250ml/9fl oz milk
250ml/9fl oz double cream
6 spriggs of thyme
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped out
25g/1oz sugar

For the sauce

1.5 tsp lemon juice
75g/6oz honey
175ml/6fl oz water
50 ml Drambuie (honey and spice based whiskey)


1. For the panna cotta, soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water until soft.
2. Place the milk, cream, thyme spriggs, vanilla pod and seeds and sugar into a pan and bring to a simmer. Remove the vanilla/thyme spriggs and discard.
3. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves, then add to the pan and take off the heat. Stir until the gelatine has dissolved.
4. Divide the mixture among four ramekins and leave to cool. Place into the fridge for at least an hour, until set.
5. For the sauce, place the honey, lemon juice, water and Drambuie into a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is smooth and clear.


Now because im obsessed with my new ramikins and shot glass set that i found at a bargain price (of £4 for 16 ramakins, and £2 for 10 nice glass shot glasses! so awesome!) I usually put my pannacotta into one of these moulds and put in the fridge until needed. Then place them on a square or oblonged dish for serving and decorate in whatever way you think is best.

Enjoy! and i promise ill update things more often... \(^_^)/

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Mind Block = Time for alcohol!

Ok that makes me sound like an alcoholic, WHICH ISNT TRUE, but I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of another weird and interesting super food to give you guys the three that I promised. So far I keep just coming up with blueberries and salmon and turkey… all stuff that people have heard of and know what to do with, so it’s a bit boring. One fruit I found which was interesting and apparently has diabetes reducing properties, called the Mangosteen, would have been ideal to do a piece on, but I couldn’t find it to buy anywhere, which means that I couldn’t test anything out with it and give you guys a recipe… total fail :(

So instead… whilst I figure out where I can get it from, I decided to look at the respectable collection of alcohol that has been accumulated in the family home. Now, funnily enough, no one in my family drinks asides from my brother, and me but out of respect neither of us drink at home or within eyesight of my parents. However, people always seem to give us alcohol as last minute Christmas or birthday or new year’s presents…. Lol we collected so much over the years that eventually mum and dad bought a small drinks bar, which is now well stocked enough to satisfy a student social! This is awesome for me as you can imagine, as alcohol (the good stuff) is expensive, but if its there then its really cool to experiment with. Conveniently I am not only a trained chef, but also a trained cocktail waiter (needed to make some money whilst at uni)

There were also some lychee kicking around the fruit bowls so set to work.

Lychees have a weird flavour and I would argue that along with pomegranates are the most filddly and awkward of all the fruits.

A hard, rough and spikey shell that covers a very watery white flesh…. Which is again hiding a giant seed lol… very annoying, however, the taste is unique enough to make all this effort worth it!

I have a terrible sweet tooth so I wanted something to match, but not be overtly sugary, and after 3 attempts I came up with this deliscious recipe for what I have aptly dubbed;

“The Charm”


5 Lychee flesh (without seeds, also fresh will taste better than tinned)
3 drops of Angostura bitters
12.5ml Midori (Melon Liqueur. From Japan I think)
25ml Vodka
25ml Mango juice
100ml Lychee Juice
¼ Lime


Take the Lychee and the ¼ Lime and add them to a strong glass(If you are lucky enough to have a professional cocktail set then add these to your boston glass) and then using a muddler (or the end of a rolling pin if you don’t have a muddler) crush the ingredients to release as much juice from them as possible.

Once you have done this, you will need to add the alcohol (excluding the Angostura bitters and some ice.

Place about half way up the glass full of ice, and then add the alcohol (excluding the Angostura bitters), add a secure lid to the glass, and Shake it like a combination of Shakira and Beyonce in a tumble dryer lol!

After shaking with the ice (this releases more juice from the fruits, as well as cooling down the alcohol, which smoothens the taste of vodka and sharpens the sweet midori) add the mango and the lychee juice and stir about 30 times.

Pour the contents through a sieve into whichever glass you will serve the drink in, and decorate as you see fit. Then put 3 drops of Angostura bitters ontop of the finnished drink. I did not decorate mine because I was on my own…. With alcohol…. Late at night… maybe I am becoming an alcoholic… haha bad times.


Saturday, 6 February 2010

Super food 2.... the smallest of the bunch!

In Keeping the with “super food” theme, I want to introduce you guys (if u don’t already know about them) to an awesome little powerhouse capsule! Flaxseeds!

These tiny little seeds are native to hot countries like those in the Mediterranean and India. Although they look incredibly boring these small seeds have the highest content of omega 3 for any plant in the world (so far anyways… they are always finding something new! Lol). If you don’t know, omega 3 is a fatty acid commonly found in the oils in many fish. Although the composition of omega 3 in fish is slightly different than that in flax seeds (because there is an extra boost from the algae that the fish eat which the flax seed plant obviously isn’t eating) this seed is the single biggest culinary support against a number of blood related problems!

Omega 3 is beneficial in so many areas of the body that its hard to start at any single point. It has the ability to ward against cancerous cells. It can thin blood to reduce clotting which would lead to cardiovascular problems as well as high blood pressure. It has also been found to bolster and maintain a healthy immune system…. LESS FLU!

From a culinary point of view Flax seeds aren’t actually that great haha….. They are physically non distinct and pretty flavourless (aside from a slightly nutty taste, but nothing strong enough to overpower even the mildest of flavours). Whilst this sounds terrible its actually a pretty good trait. The benefits of them not tasting of anything in particular means that they can pretty much be added to any meal or drink without affecting the flavour. You can use them to top cakes, mix them into curries, sprinkle them into sandwiches or even have them ground and dust them over smoothies!

My favourite use for them personally is using them to top off delicious muffins!

Honey, Walnut and Flaxseed muffins (12 approx):


49.5g whole wheat flour
49.5g oat bran
40.5g oatmeal
30g chopped walnuts
1.5 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp milled flax seeds
1 Tsp cinnamon
½ Tsp salt
30g caster sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
25g honey
1 Tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup milk
2Tbsp oil


Combine the dry ingredients first, sieving the baking powder, baking soda, flour, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl.

Then in a separate bowl beat together the egg, vanilla essence, honey, milk and oil.

Mix the wet into the dry slowly a small amount at a time and combine thoroughly.

After combining completely dispense evenly into 12 muffin tins.

Bake at 200 degrees (C) for 15-20 minutes.

When complete and baked all the way through, remove from oven and let cool.

Drizzly with honey and sprinkle with any remaining flax seeds or chopped walnuts.


Thursday, 4 February 2010

Super Foodology!!..... wait... is that even a word?

The word “Superfood” seems to be bounced around fairly often nowadays in the media. I find it slightly worrying that there is no actual scientific definition of this popular term… Nethertheless, it is a useful term for describing ingredients that have a particularly high level of good nutritional traits in them. Proteins, Pectin, Anti oxidants etc… Amongst these billions of ingredients that are now making their way out of the woodwork of awesome foods there are some particularly interesting ones, which I have found to not only be particularly good for you, but also have tastes, which will truly liven up any meal or beverage you guys decide to make!

To kick it off we have Matcha!

This is one of the oldest forms of instant tea that the world has ever known. The leaves that make up this tea are though to of originally been cultivated in china and then slowly made their way across to Japan where the tea leaves were eventually refined and crushed into a powder like form which all you needed to do was add hot water too.

Tea itself has long been known for its high concentration of anti-oxidants, cancer-fighting nutrients. However, of all of the teas Matcha is by far the most potent when it comes to health. This is due to the tea being powdered and not just brewed. You ingest all of the leaves nutrients when you drink it and therefore get all of the nutrients.

To put the benefits of this “super food” into perspective for you, one cup of matcha contains 70 times the antioxidants of a cup of orange juice and nine times the beta carotene of a serving of spinach.

It has a slightly bitter but fragrant taste and is very versatile. You can find it flavouring Lattes, Ice creams, savoury dishes and in some cases, I have seen it accompanied with truffles in order to obtain a fragrant but earth taste atop sweet dishes.

I am addicted to Matcha lattes personally… They are awesome, and if you ever get the chance then you should definitely make your own.

Matcha Latte:

3 Level tablespoons of Matcha Powder

350ml of semi skimmed milk (I wouldn’t suggest full fat milk, if you’re trying to be healthy with matcha, you do not need to ruin it lol)

25ml of vanilla syrup (this is just my personal addition, i've got an incurable sweet tooth)



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