go vegan shouts the sign

go vegan shouts the sign (1)

“Go Vegan” shouts the sign
“I’m TRYING” I scream back.

I grabbed those baby brioches from yesterday, you remember the ones – full of butter, milk and a load of eggs, so there’s my vegan adventure halfway down the drain, will have to remember to use pita next time. This is important!
Make a cut. deep. sharp. serrated, but not all the way through.
Then, like a squirrel, or nimble dinosaur, I discreetly ‘borrow’ from the kitchen some carrot, celery, sundried toms, fresh cherry toms, ‘green stuff’, fresh peppers, beet leaves, chillies, spinach, cauliflower
(fresh cauliflower is crunchily amazing in this, let me tell you!)

Go vegan shouts the sign, smiling with pride: “I’m TRYING” I keep shouting back, with a spoonful of olive oil and some sea salt and black pepper.

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gorgonzola and roast fennel

gorgonzola and roast fennel

Happy new year to everyone. There have been quite a fe people getting in touch asking what I’ve been up to and where I’m going next. I think it’s going to be a year of gorgonzola and roast fennel, that’s for sure, and what I mean by that, I suppose, is that I’m going to have more of an opportunity to develop, create and play around with more ideas, and generally have a lot more fun!

Back to the gorgonzola and roast fennel thing, it’s not just about flying in, handing over a couple of recipes, baking a few cakes and then flying back out again to the next job. It doesn’t work that way, almost never does. I wish it could be that simple!

Lots of techniques and systems need to be put into place, building motivation and enthusiasm for a project until a team are ready to take things by themselves. Fledgling students learning to fly high with confidence, skill and speed. That’s where the real satisfaction comes from.

And my work here is done!

Thanks to everyone for your continued support, happy new year 2014!

Vegetarian in Russia

vegetarian in Russia

Keep your oven temperatures under control!
A lot of people keep TELLING me how hard it must be to eat as a vegetarian in Russia.

Give me some roast vegetables, milk, butter, cream, eggs and flour and I’ll survive.
Maybe some sea salt, black pepper and fresh lemon, too…

It’s very easy to be a vegetarian in Russia.

As I said, keep you oven temperatures under control and, as always, measure your ingredients carefully.
roast plumpkin quiche…

coconut porridge while waiting for a bus

coconut porridge while waiting for a bus

 

An old friend had come to visit and cook with me for a few days.

We were planning to make some porridge for an early breakfast, before heading to market, only we’d run out of milk – why did that always seem to happen first thing in the morning?

In a moment of inspiration, I thought about adding coconut milk for flavour and texture.  (Inspiration, and also a lonely can forgotten at the back of the cupboard)

Who knows, it could work, it might not – but just in case, I added a teaspoon of freshly grated coconut. (Inspiration plus desperation?)

“Do you know, that in some islands they use coconuts while waiting for a bus?”  I’m not entirely sure why I asked that question, almost rhetorical. Maybe I felt there was a need, in my ‘role’ as a travelling chef, to offer tales and adventures from around the world, as if to prove I was who I said I was.

 

There was a blank stare and raised eyebrows, as if to say ‘huh?’ “You mean they sit on coconuts while waiting for a bus? Or do they use them as payment for the bus ride?” she asked. “And anyway, where exactly are people doing this kind of coconut bus waiting?”

I added a little boiling water to the oats, let it soak for a couple of minutes, then added a can of coconut milk. So far so good

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winter cake and sandwiches

closed for winter

I was busy that morning, so I couldn’t talk too long when she called.

There was a new menu item that no one had even SEEN before, let alone ever tasted, so I really need to get it prepared immediately. After that, served to all the staff and managers and make sure they knew exactly what it was they were trying to sell!

I remember one waitress telling a customer that Eton Mess was “just like strawberries, cream and meringues that had fallen on the floor and you’d scooped them back up onto the plate before anyone saw you”. No, actually that was a real story, not something I’d heard from a friend of a friend…

“So, what time are you free?” she asked. We arranged to meet at that little French place ‘Le Pul’ or something, it was called. They served cake and sandwiches – good coffee, too. Pretty central and not too far from my place. I didn’t really feel like going to a restaurant that evening, I was probably going to be  preparing and eating new dishes most of the day so wouldn’t be hungry at all anyway.

I’d been there a couple of times. First of all, the visa place was right across the street so I’d waited here while they went through to make sure all my paperwork was in order. One time I had spent the morning in the museum and was starving and found a tasty sandwich that was made well. Continue Reading

not all who wander are lost

logoIf you take a quick look at the logo at the top of the page with the tag line ‘cook your way round the world’, you’ll notice straightaway how it differs from the one in the picture at the top of this post (look lower! Yes there! That’s better!)

It took me a while to think of the original idea, the logo, the colours and the ‘tag line’ which was rather adventurous-sounding:’not all who wander are lost’ – I am master of my destiny! Took me half the night to put together the logo itself on a unknown photo editing programme, because I’d never done anything like that before. It had a hint of travel, adventure, explorer and a generally enviable lifestyle in exotic locations but all with a greater purpose. Continue Reading