Category Archives: Food & Drink

Some Like it hot! … Mirch Masala Curry House in Tooting

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Curries tend to be a personal thing, especially the next day! (Only joking …), seriously though everybody has their favourite and seeming blind defiance to listen to anybody else’s suggestions!

I’m completely guilty of this trait.

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New Post, for New Site … Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli …

A beautiful recipe to introduce my new site … to read the whole post click here…

Just to polish off the fresh egg pasta thread, here’s the recipe for the ravioli filling.

When something works, why change it!? This recipe is a timeless combination of baby spinach, creamy ricotta and fresh herbs, all cradled in a springy homemade pasta and anointed with the majestic flavour of sage.

To read the full post click here…

As the credit-crunch bites, so do my posts … Fresh Egg Pasta recipe

The Food Flunky Blog is now hosted here (thefoodflunky.com) click here to see the new site and read all your favourite posts!! Tom aka The Food Flunky

With reference to my last post on thrift here’s the Egg Pasta recipe and a rather cringe-worthy ditty. All things taken into consideration, it is actually cheaper to buy fresh pasta but I haven’t come across any that are suitable for Ravioli. Once again, the ‘value’ of making your own pasta far outweighs the cost.

Ode al dente

My 3 free-range creamy yolks of embryo gone,
break forth unto ‘double-0’ and spill your song.

Enrich, elasticate and empower these humble milled means,
and let me fill your slippery skin with my wilted greens.

Apologies guys … definitely ‘barred’, rather than ‘The Bard’ …

… anyway that’s the ingredients in a nut-shell (egg-shell?).

This recipe makes about 250g of fresh egg pasta, enough for 12 large Ravioli and 1 large Lasagna (3 layers of pasta).

Equipment:
Pasta machine
Damp tea towels
Workspace

Ingredients:
250g ’00’ flour, plus extra for dusting
3 large free-range eggs (2 whole eggs and the yolk only of the third)
Pinch of salt
Water to keep your hands moist

Method:
Tip the flour onto a large clean work surface. Make a well in the middle and add the whole eggs and yolk into the middle making sure all the yolks are broken. Add a pinch of salt.

Using your finger tips, work the ingredients together by pulling the flour into the eggs in a circular motion. Start building up the mixture until completely combined.

Work the flour and eggs much like you would bread dough. Keep your hands moist to avoid the dough drying-out.

After about 5 minutes of work you should have a stiff yellowy ball of dough. Wrap the dough in a damp tea-towel and leave to rest for about an hour.

Once rested, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roughly flatten to about 2 cm thick with a rolling pin.

Set the pasta machine to it’s highest (or lowest?) setting. Basically the setting with the widest gap between the rollers. Run the dough through the machine a couple of times, and then knock the setting down (or up?) and repeat.

Work the ever lengthening pasta sheet all the way through the machine to it’s lowest (or highest?) setting until you have 1 long sheet about 1.5 mm thick.

Fold the sheet over on itself to the approximate width of the pasta machine and repeat the above steps but feed the pasta through width ways. This will help to strengthen the pasta.

Cut the pasta sheet into more manageable lengths if preferred. Dust each layer with a little flour and cover with a damp tea-towel. I would recommend using immediately however to avoid drying-out.

When the cost of thrift becomes more enriching …

The Food Flunky Blog is now hosted here (thefoodflunky.com) click here to see the new site and read all your favourite posts!! Tom aka The Food Flunky

I made fresh egg pasta the other day and subsequently Spinach, Ricotta and Parmesan Stuffed Ravioli with Pine Nut and Sage Butter (recipe to follow) and it got me thinking about the notion of thrift

The basket spend for the ingredients far outweighed the cost of buying ready made tortellini, for instance, but in the pursuit of making an affordable, memorable meal and enriching my culinary skills, the end result was far better value.

discuss …

Sushi Roll of Honour …

The Food Flunky Blog is now hosted here (thefoodflunky.com) click here to see the new site and read all your favourite posts!! Tom aka The Food Flunky

True to form I was steaming … this time however it wasn’t the application of a sedate cooking method!

The combination of ‘free’ and ‘bar’ to a northerner is an oxymoron, because my god have I paid a high price for my alcohol gluttony.

Anyway, enough about my pickled liver recipe. This is simply a heads-up for Alan and Cameron at Mika Events, who against all adversity (namely drunken rambling fools) produced a spectacular range of sushi for the freeloaders at ShortList Magazine’s recent 1st birthday bash.

On an average night-out I try to steer away from folks brandishing sharp knives, but being the curious bumbling idiot that I am after one-too-many sherbets, I quizzed Alan as to the amber jeweled roe he was using …

‘Tobiko Flying fish roe’ was the response … and before my brain had the chance to digest these words, Alan had chopped, spooned, squeezed and rolled the most delectable Tobiko Temaki-zushi (hand rolled flying fish roe cone with rice and Japanese mayonnaise).

Incredible! Thousands of little sea water bursts, spiked with iodine and balanced with a tiny bit of acidity and richness from the mayonnaise.

This is not yet another shameless plug in the slightest, I just genuinely appreciate the passionate people in the industry. Those people who learn and subsequently share their skills and experiences with the masses. Alan and Cameron are of this creed and if you’re having a corporate event or party, then I cannot recommend Mika Events enough.

Not a pretty picture … Turner Prize Contending Tartar Sauce

The Food Flunky Blog is now hosted here (thefoodflunky.com) click here to see the new site and read all your favourite posts!! Tom aka The Food Flunky

For this expo and warts-and-all showcase of my culinary flunking I’ve enclosed the images regardless. Contemporary? Only in aesthetics and probably a Turner prize contender given the going rate!

This tartar sauce definitely requires timley contemplation to understand the true inner beauty of the condiment, but served fresh with the fish and chips recipe, and stored in the fridge for no longer than 2-4 days should more than suffice.

Ingredients (makes about 350ml):

For the mayonnaise:
1 level tsp salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 large free range egg yolks
250ml ground-nut oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon

Tartar additions (halve the quantities below and combine with half the mayonnaise if you prefer?):
2 tbsp capers, finely chopped
1 tbsp cornichons (small gherkins), finely chopped
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp tarragon, finely chopped
lemon juice to taste

Method:
In a large mixing bowl add the salt, garlic and egg yolks and combine with a electric whisk. Set the whisk speed to medium, and in a slow yet steady stream, pour in the oil making sure all the ingredients combine.

Once the mixture starts to thicken and turn glossy, stir in the Dijon mustard and lemon juice. Give one final blast with the whisk to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

To the mayonnaise add the additional tartar ingredients and mix thoroughly, adding lemon juice to taste.

Serve with the fish and chips or any other sustainable fish dish that takes your fancy!

Jackson Pollock and Chips … (Beer Battered Fish and Chips Recipe)

The Food Flunky Blog is now hosted here (thefoodflunky.com) click here to see the new site and read all your favourite posts!! Tom aka The Food Flunky

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

As much as I’m keen on homegrown organic goodness, I’m not keen on eating goldfish. I’ve never tried goldfish I might add, and once again happy to be proven wrong.

(All goldfish recipes should be sent to the usual address: info@tomdowson.com.)

So for this piece it’s more a post on sustainability rather than unattainability.

Now we all know that ‘fish and chips’ constitutes all that that is good in this country.
Essentially … humble ingredients of good stock! But the boney truth of depleted fish stocks can leave a rather bitter taste in ones mouth, therefore in the interest of the Gadus genus at large I decided upon the much hyped pollock instead.

(A quick google search reveals that Jackson Pollock is still more talked about than his aquatic counterpart. I’d love to think this ironic but it’s not really is it!?)

I scrapped a Fish and Chips recipe hunt and reverted back to basics with a simple beer batter for the pollock, twice cooked maris piper chips and served the tag-team with a deliciously creamy, yet tart, tartar. All washed down with a pseudo-posh bottle of Cava in true Friday night style.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Ingredients (more than enough for 2 as a main):

For the fish:
2 x 200g pollock fillets, boned but with the skin left on
200g self-raising flour plus extra for dusting
250ml of cold English beer (I used Bombardier)
pinch of smoked paprika
freshly ground salt and pepper

For the chips:
5-6 medium sized maris piper potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chips
Maldon sea-salt or rock-salt

oil (sunflower or vegetable) for deep-frying

To serve:
salt and malt vinegar
homemade tartar sauce (recipe below)
newspaper
artistic license

Additional serving suggestions:
bread and butter
tomato ketchup
mushy peas

Method:
2/3 fill a large, high sided, heavy based pan with the oil and place over a high heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the beer and self-rasing flour into a batter with the consistency of thick double cream, making sure there are no lumps. Place the batter mix in the fridge.

Rinse the chips and throughly in cold water and dry on a kitchen towel. Toss the dried chips in a few pinches of salt.

When the oil has reached a sufficient temperature (a cube of bread should brown and crisp in approximately 5-7 seconds) add the chips to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes or until soft but still pale in colour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chips and place on absorbed kitchen roll.

Remove the batter mix from the fridge.
Sift the reserved flour, season with freshly ground salt and pepper and add the pinch of smoked paprika. Turn the pollock fillets in the seasoned flour to thoroughly coat.

When the oil has once again reached the desired temperature, dip the pollock fillets in the batter mix and ensure there’s an even coating. Carefully place the fillets into the hot oil and cook until the batter crisps and turns a deep golden colour. Once cooked, remove the fillets and place on a wire wrack to rest.

Increase the heat on the oil and return the par-cooked chips to the pan. Once golden and crisp, remove the chips and immediately shovel onto yesterdays news.

Sprinkle liberally with salt and malt vinegar and top with the fish fillets. Ladle lashings of tartar sauce on the side and destroy while hot.