Saturday, 1 October 2011

2 Blogs about English Breakfast traditions

Egg Bacon Chips and Beans
Canny Breakfasts

For an American, having french fries or "chips" at breakfast time is an awesome experience. Chip breakfast I miss you.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Piece Zone 3.1

back to the zone:

in collaboration with CHRom : 

mozzarella, onion, crimini mushroom, and basil

in collaboration with hungry hungovers: 

The Breakfast Pizza 
(pizza dough, bacon, tomatoes, scrambled egg and parmesan)

by hjerta restaraunt in Stockholm: 

pickled fennel, thick bacon, fresh goat cheese, onion and herbs... 

Gooseberry Salsa Verde

Hello there. Sorry for the lack of recipes in the last 6 months. 

This recipe is a tribute to London. Its an incidental and pragmatic fusion of Mexican cuisine with English ingredients that came about mainly due to the lack of fresh tomatillos in England. One day my lovely flatmate had brought home a carton of fresh gooseberries. As she placed them on the kitchen counter they looked almost like tomatillos from across the room where I was sitting.

"Oh sorry. What is that produce?"
"Oh! Gooseberries!"
"Hmm... uhhh... whats a gooseberry?"

She was kind enough to introduce me to the gooseberry. I immediately saw them as smaller, sweeter and juicier tomatillos. Later that night she was wondering what to eat for dinner, and I had been clockin' those berries all afternoon... that combined with the fact that I had been having Mexican food dreams since I moved to the UK almost two years before lead me down the non-existant Anglo/Latino fusion funnel.

Gooseberry Salsa Verde 

-225 - 250 grams of gooseberries - trimmed of stems or husk
-2 cloves garlic - UNpeeled
-1 1/2" thick slice of onion
-2 jalapeno chiles (or serranos if you prefer)
-1/2 cup chopped cilantro/coriander (less or more depending on your tastes)
-salt to taste


Start by spreading out your gooseberries on to a aluminum foil lined baking sheet and then heating up the broiler. Poke a small hole or make a tiny incision on each of the gooseberries. Place the gooseberries on the high rack under the broiler (the grill). Keep a close eye on the gooseberries: once the tops start to blacken take them out. If the tops are blackened and the berries all seem thoroughly cooked then they are done. If they are just blackened and still fairly firm then turn the berries blackened-side-down and put them back under the grill until they are soft and cooked. Set cooked berries and any liquid in the baking sheet aside in a bowl.

Set a small pan over medium heat and place the unpeeled garlic, onion slice and jalapenos in it. You want to blacken as much surface as you can on the garlic, onion, and chiles. So continue to dry-heat until the chiles are blackened all over, the onion is carmelizing, and the garlic skins are burned and the cloves feel soft. Take off heat, let cool. Chop the onion roughly, chop the chiles and either leave the inside of the chiles in or discard (if you leave em the salsa will be much spicier).

Place the garlic, chiles, and onion into a food processor with a large pinch of salt and about 1/8 cup of water. Blend until almost smooth then add in the berries and just lightly pulse once or twice to incorporate the ingredients. YOU DONT WANT A SMOOTH PUREE - just a nice, slightly chunky and textured mixture. If it appears dry add a bit of water. Pour out into a bowl. Add in salt to taste, chopped cilantro and a bit of lime juice if so desired.

- - - - - - - - - -

The salsa is now ready to serve.... with what? Well I would say the Gooseberry Salsa Verde probably is great for grilled fish, chicken or even a steak. But I am always fiend-ing for Huevos Rancheros (especially was fiending hard while I was in London).

Like this:

Huevos Rancheros Inglese 
Warm corn tortillas + Gooseberry Salsa Verde + chopped onion and cilantro + side of refried beans w/cheese.

Comfort food for anyone. I promise.

(BTW - this recipe is sort of conjured from memory so let me know if anything is off balance)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Some Old Tarts

Maple Bacon Pop Tarts
Pizza Time Pop Tart 


So me and Michelle get these cravings for junk food from back home every once in a while here in the Bloody Ole. Michelle is a fan of the Smitten Kitchen website (cant hate, its great) and flipped out when she saw their homemade version of Pop Tarts. Upon seeing it myself I was craving the original junkie, awful-for-your-health original. But I had yet to find anywhere in London that sold Pop Tarts (until about a week ago). (Updated: A friend of mine has let me know that Pop Tarts were in fact sold in UK supermarkets but that now she doesnt see them anymore.)

But why would I crave so hard for such junkie food stuffs? Most likely it has to do with the fact that I was raised by an alternative leaning health-food crazied mother who spent a good portion of her life munching on veggie burritos and granola in the parking lots at Grateful Dead shows across the USA. So I ate Kashi instead of anything close to Fruit Loops or Coco Puffs, and was only allowed Soy Milk. I hated Soy milk, still do kind of. Pop Tarts were only available to me after sleeping over at certain friends' houses as a youngster. My mother would have snatched them from me if she ever saw me eating one. Back then McDonalds was a real treat as well. Hell... actual milk was a rarity! I drank more kambucha as a kid than most college students do in their 4 year terms. 

Another factor leading towards us making some filled pastry item is undoubtably our daily experiences or non-experiences with British cuisine which almost revolves around baked and filled/stuffed goods. Plus we had just gotten back from a beautiful weekend in Cornwall and had had our first encounters with Cornish Pasties. Those Pasties blew us away in a... umm... undesirable way. Eating something that doughy, greasy, and meat chocked whilst riding around curving country roads underneath the omnipotent English sun made for a wholesomely queasy experience. Im sure Cornish Pasties are amazing if you eat one after some hard outdoor manual labor. Our British hosts handled their Pasties a-ok. On a tourist American stomach they wreck havoc apparently. 

Alas, seeing homemade Pop Tarts triggered a longing for the secret hide-from-yer-mom treat of my youth. That lead to other sloppy American food items I miss, like pancakes and bacon with maple syrup. Being bored at the time lead to me and Michelle spending the greater portion of our evening concocting these versions of Smitten's tarts.

Home made Pop Tarts
(makes 9 - 3x5inch)
(dough recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Maple Bacon Version:


6 crispy cooked bacon slices - finely chopped
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
1 teaspoon maple syrup
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour


2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk (more if needed to achieve the right consistency)

Pizza Time Version:


1 cup of leftover Tomato sauce for spaghetti
1 ball fresh mozzarella (torn into strips)
Basil leaf for each tart

grated parmesan for dusting tops of tarts

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on.

Assemble the Maple Bacon filling by mixing all ingredients together until well incorporated. Place a heaping tablespoon of Maple Bacon filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. For Pizza Time Tarts place one small spoonful of your tomato sauce down on the dough, then top with piece of mozzarella (dont use too much or the filling will be too big for the tart to hold together), then one leaf of basil.

Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Remove tarts from fridge. Sprinkle your Pizza Time Tarts with grated Parmesan before baking (350°F or 175c). Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Glaze for Maple Bacon Tarts:

Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add maple syrup and slowly mix to incorporate. Add the tablespoon of milk and mix until smooth. Add more milk if needed. You want the consistency to be thin enough to pour but not so runny that it won't stay on top of the tarts.

Once the tarts are cooled, spoon the glaze over each one and let sit for 30min until it had set. Enjoy at room temp or gently reheat in the oven.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Cupboard Shots

MARCH 12th 2011 
Ingredients (clockwise from top left) 
Avocado Leaves
Koeze Cream Nut Peanut Butter
Flamin Hot Cheetohs
Biona Coconut Oil
Bim's Kitchen BBQ Sauce sampler
Mexican Oregano
Saffron Rock Sugar Sticks (for tea)
Jar of Sumac
Hoja Santa Leaves
Venere Nero Risotto
London Bee HoneyComb
(bottom shelf - starting from right)  
San Marcos Chipotles en Adobo (behind: Nopales rajas canned)
Carey Tinned Tomatillos
Honey with nuts
De La Rosa Mazapan de Cacahuate (peanut marzapan candy)
Grey Poupon Whole Grain Mustard
Mc Vittles Rich Tea Biscuits
Harrods Scottish Honey
some Mexican chocolate in the back
Tinned chickpeas
Rowse honey
Dried Mangos
Package of Nairns Oat Cakes
Nam Jai Palm Sugar
Bulgar, fine grain
Rose Petal Jam
Faella Spaghetti
Martelli Spaghetti


APRIL 21st 2011 
Ingredients (clockwise from top left) 
Duck Gizzards
Duck Confit
Fois Gras
Koeze Cream Nut Peanut Butter
Cascabel Chiles
Empire Made Peanut Pate
Biona Coconut Oil
Hoja Santa Leaves
Avocado Leaves
London Bee Honeycomb
(bottom shelf from right) 
San Marzano tinned Tomatoes
Harrods Scottish Honey
Whole Foods Refried Pinto Beans
Carey tinned Tomatillos
Brindisa Tortilla de aciete olivo w/anise seed
Carey rajas de poblano
Frijoles Charros
TRS Rose Water
Dittys Oat Cakes
Cajeta dolce
Jar of Sumac
Nairns Oat Cakes
Pine Nuts
Palm Sugar
Mexican Tamarind candy
Rose Petal Jam
M&S Rich Tea Biscuits
San Marcos Chipotles en Adobo
Faella Spaghetti

...send me a shot of yours? no arranging!


I prefer tea over coffee. Guess thats not a bad thing when you find yourself living in the UK. I was a little let down expecting to find loads of Chai being served up all over London dude to the large Indian community. Besides one experience in Southall (a particularly large and concentrated Hindu community on the western edge of London) I still find that my homemade Chai is still the most satisfying. Perhaps thats how its meant to be though....

-about 20 green cardamom pods
-1 black cardamom pod
-about 1/2 inch of canela cinnamon (use whatever whole cinnamon you have, i just prefer mexican canela)
-10 black peppercorns
-2 cloves
- 1 cup or 1 and a half cups milk (whole milk is tastiest obviously but suit yourself)
- 4 bags of assam black tea (dont waste money on a super fancy grade here)
- sugar (optional I guess... but its always sweetened in India I hear...)

Using a mortar and pestle, smash up the green and black cardamom until the pods break and the seeds escape. Put the milk in a small pot over medium heat. Add all the listed spices and the broken up cardamom. Cook milk and spice mixture until slightly reduced and be sure to stir occasionally.
Meanwhile brew the tea. I prefer really strong Chai, so I use 4 bags of tea brewed (for about 3 mins) in 3 1/2 cups of boiling water.
Strain the tea bags and remove from tea. Combine the milk and tea into a vessel (most likely a tea pot but  whatever - sometimes I add the tea to the milk in the pot). Add sugar to taste, pour through a strainer into cups (to catch whole spices and pieces) and serve.

I also like not straining it and just having a couple bits of spice floating about in my cup but I guess im dirty like that.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011