Tag Archives: eggs

This week’s food news | 8th Oct 2010

Controversy in British egg week
While the Co-op is patting itself on the back for its egg-based animal welfare award, Sky news has unearthed a less savoury side to ‘free range’ farming. An investigation into Noble Foods suggests the farm – or is that firm? – is playing fast and loose with the term ‘free range’, with birds kept indoors until laying, and parasites nibbling at the hens.

Inflation continues
Shoppers are being hit the hardest as the cost of food and clothing continues to climb. Rising prices in wheat and oil have had a knock on effect on the price of bread and meat, say the British Retail Consortium, leading to last month’s rise of 0.2% from August. Tesco’s big cheese Terry Leahy played down fears, saying inflation was unlikely to reach the heights of 2007.

Three-course meal in a stick of gum
You couldn’t make it up. Well, I say that, judge for yourself. According to the Daily Mail, scientists are working on a Willy Wonka-style sweet that can give the sensation of eating three separate courses. Click on the above link for the science mumbo jumbo, but it all seems like an extravagant waste of time and resources.

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Other food news this week:
* ‘Healthy’ purple potato goes on sale in UK.
* Frog finds woman in bottle of wine. Or something.
* Biodegradable crisp packets deemed ‘too noisy’.
* Hundreds of bad pubs blacklisted.
* Johnny Depp doesn’t like British food. Prefers Wagamama instead. Ouch.

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Piece of the week:
* Simon Majumdar discusses children in restaurants on the Guardian Word of Mouth blog.

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Recipe of the week:
* Crispy fried lamb tongues from Lemon Basil. Drool.

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Video of the week:
This is the weirdest advert I’ve seen in a long time:

Competition!
And don’t forget, you could win an frigging great ostrich egg and a bottle of champagne. Send me your best egg recipe before Sunday night.

 

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THE FOOD DEBATE

At 8.30pm on Friday, 5 food writers and bloggers took to the stage in The Westbridge Draft House to argue the toss for the most indispensable ingredient. The tension was palpable as they mounted the podium, preceded by 3 formidable judges in the shape of Katy Salter (her off Waitrose Food Illustrated and A Pinch Of Salt), Rejina Sabur (her off Gastro Geek and Fire & Knives), and Henry Harris (him off Racine in South Kensington).

The contestants were themselves forces to be reckoned with. Feisty Rachel McCormack was there to promote olive oil, Kavey Favelle was fighting for cheese, Charlie Nelson was the egg man, and Oliver Thring was seasoning the whole event with salt. Disaster had struck the day before when pork jouster Tim Hayward pulled out due to unforeseen circumstances. All was not lost however! In an act of heroic selflessness and, well, Frenchness, Mathilde Delville, with not half an hour to go before kick off, put herself forward to battle in the name of that most Gallic of ingredients – the onion.

ROUND ONE – 3 minutes to introduce your ingredient

Charlie kicked off the evening with a rousing, if slightly rambling (the pressures of going first), eulogy to the egg. Demonstrating its resilience and shapely perfection, it was a strong start.

Next up, Rachel entertained the throng with tales of classical mythology and oily lustfulness.

Kavey was next, with an impassioned and convincing performance in the name of cheese. “Cheese is the only ingredient that gets its own course” she argued.

Ollie followed her, his measured, honest and knowledgeable paean to the preserving qualities of salt seemingly impressing everyone.

Finally Mathilde put forth her witty, tender and almost seductive argument for the onion.

The two weakest arguments were selected by the judges to battle it out to keep their place in the competition. Charlie and Rachel were chosen, due to the fact that they hadn’t concentrated on food enough in their opening speeches. After a filthy barrage between the two, the judges asked them one final question. “What would you cook with your opponent’s ingredient?” Both were shrewd enough to incorporate their own choice into the answer (it’s indispensable, remember?), Rachel offering scrambled eggs drizzled with olive oil, and Charlie circuitously suggesting mayonnaise. It was this that swung it for the judges, and Rachel was dumped out.

ROUND TWO – The perfect dish for your ingredient

Charlie, as if spurred on by his victory in the sudden death, came out all guns blazing to propose ile flottante as the dish in which egg is in its element.

Mathilde then raised few eyebrows in revealing French onion soup to be her interpretation of onion at its most perfect.

Kavey would have made a certain Ms. Beckett very happy, as she flew the flag for macaroni cheese.

Ollie finally plumped for the Alsatian (the region, not the dog) staple choucroute garnie, eloquently explaining how without salt there would be no bacon, no sausages, and no choucroute.

Sadly the Tricolore was pulled down at the end of this round, after Mathilde failed to emphasise the importance of the quality of the beef stock in a French onion soup. You won’t catch Henry Harris out when it comes to French cookery.

ROUND THREE – Audience questions

The audience were then encouraged to put questions to the three remaining contestants. The round was somewhat blighted by the friend/contestant ratio, and so it was again up to the judges to decide who was to get the boot. At this point it was determined that Charlie’s luck had run out, and it was to a chorus of boos and hisses (I assume aimed at the judges) that he left the stage.

THE FINAL – Destroy your opponent

The finalists, Kavey ‘the Cracker’ Favelle and Ollie ‘the Sage’ Thring, had 2 minutes each to destroy their opponent’s ingredient. Ollie’s argument was simple and compelling. “Without salt, there would be no cheese”. This blow seemed to have knocked Kavey sideways, who found it difficult to take down salt in an effective way. She was a boxer against the ropes, Thring a raging bull. The competition seemed over, but the judges wanted to ask one final question:

“How would you destroy your opponent with your ingredient?”

Ollie seemed to have been watching far too much Saw films, as he brutally and conclusively said he would force feed Kavey salt until she expired.

Kavey’s inspiration came from Asterix, as she vowed to brew up a giant fondue before drowning her opponent in it.

It was up to our very own Simon, Cheryl, and Danii to come to their final decision. Nails were shredded, hair torn out. The compere gobbled two more of the Westbridge’s magnificent ox tongue fritters he was so nervous.

Rejina went first. “My vote is for Kavey – her love of cheese is so total, so persuasive, that I can’t help but be convinced that cheese is the ingredient I couldn’t live without”

Katy followed: “My vote goes to Ollie. It’s pretty impossible, in my opinion, to argue that we could get by without salt.”

In true X Factor style it was down to Henry to cast the deciding vote. “Kavey – your passion for cheese is overwhelming, and your first speech in particular pretty much paved your way to the final. However, I must also say that Ollie’s case for salt has been utterly compelling. Its ability to preserve, enhance, and give life is considerable, and Ollie debated very well. Having said that, Ollie, you opted to destroy Kavey by force-feeding her salt, and as you will concede, you didn’t kill her – you preserved her. So, the winner of The Food Debate, is Kavey.”

What more needs saying? It was a great evening; enlightening, amusing, exciting, and, after sampling the selection of beers, pretty incoherent. Thank you so much to Charlie McVeigh and everyone at the Draft House for their generosity, to the judges for their time, attention and impartiality, to the contestants for all being so interesting, impassioned, and brave, and of course to everyone who came down to support. Well done Kavey, you were superb. Until next time.

What would have been your ingredient? What do you think the next debate should be about?

If anybody has any photographs from Friday night I’d be eternally grateful if you could fire them my way. Thank ye.

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Recipe | Kedgeree

Well it’s 2010, and between broken laptops and trips into a snowy, northern wilderness, it has taken me 10 days to sit down and write my first post of the new decade. No fireworks or pomp to herald its arrival, the stagnant cliches of annual renaissance having been hauled out with wreaths and baubles on the 6th. No, just a hearty and heartfelt bestowal of love and peace to all. I think this year is going to be great.

The northern wilderness of which I speak is a house in Nottinghamshire where I have spent several stints cooking this winter. The family that I cook for have recently opened the trailblazing School of Artisan Food, a remarkable and unique place where you can learn bread making (I’ve been promised a cut of their sourdough starter), cheese making, butchery (with the great Ray Smith of River Cottage fame), curing, preserving and brewing. Scandilicious Sig is going up there to lecture about terroirs, and they have bravely asked me to do a skills and techniques course. So if you fancy learning how to chop your fingers off then details will be on the website soon.

Anyhoo, inspired by Hollow Legs’ recent kedgeree piece I decided to feed my own version to the hungry guests for breakfast. The success of the dish was down, in part, to the green coriander seeds. They added a fresh, citrus edge to the kedgeree. If you grow your own coriander, let it go to seed and then harvest the minuscule emeralds when still young. Otherwise they can be bought online. Should you not manage to get hold of them, fear not – brown coriander seeds work perfectly well.

Serves 8

8 eggs

2 large fillets of undyed smoked haddock

400ml whole milk

1 tsp crushed (preferably green) coriander seeds

½ tsp mild chilli powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ tsp turmeric

350g basmati rice

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

50g butter

100 ml double cream

A handful of parsley, chopped

Method:

–       Soak the basmati rice in cold water for 30 minutes, drain and rinse.

–       Meanwhile boil the eggs for 5 minutes before running under cold water.

–       Poach the fish in the milk and spices for 5 minutes until flaky. Drain, reserving the milk.

–       Fry the onion and celery in a little oil until soft and translucent. Stir in the rice, season and add the milk and a little water if necessary (there should be twice liquid to rice in volume). Stir, bring to a boil, cover and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes.

–       Meanwhile, flake the fish (discarding the skin), and peel the eggs.

–       Once the rice is cooked, add the fish, chopped parsley, cream and butter. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

–       Check for seasoning and serve with your (hopefully soft boiled) eggs.

From next week there will be guest writers on this blog, kicking off with The Student Gourmet’s recipe for cider rarebit. If you would like to contribute recipes, articles, reviews, or just ramblings, then please send me an email: thelarderlout@hotmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Potato and chorizo omelette

Things tend to collect at the back of the fridge and next to the toaster. Bay leaves, now brown at the edge and lusterless (though still perfectly adequate for a stew); lone rashers of bacon, deemed too greedy to prod into a sandwich but now dried out and wasted; pots of yoghurt, half-used for a raita and forgotten about, and endless jars of mustard, as good as empty but saved for some future sausage-related crisis (ah, the joys of sending a porky depth charge into a moribund jar of Colman’s).

Eggs are the worst. I’ll use a couple for mayonnaise and forget the rest (I’m not, in truth, a big egg eater), only to realise that the same 4 have been collecting dust and spattered oil for a month. Supermarkets should really start selling things like yoghurt and eggs by weight and number – you can buy one spud, why shouldn’t you be able to buy just the one egg?

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Today a few odds and ends were turned into one of the best omelettes that I have made in a while.

Serves 1

1 potato

1/2 small red onion

A few chunks of spicy chorizo

3 eggs

A few slices of pickled green jalapenos

Cheddar cheese, grated

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Chop the potato into chunks and boil in salted water until soft. Drain and allow to dry.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the potato until crisp. Slice the onion and add to the pan. Cook until the onion has softened a little (though I still like a little crunch in a red onion) and add the chunks of chorizo. Season with salt and pepper and fry for another minute, again until the chorizo is just thinking about crisping up. Crack in the three eggs and stir to break them up. Add the jalapenos and cheese, cook for 1 minute, fold and serve.

The fridge will be a little emptier, your belly a little fuller.

What are the covert ingredients that hide like ninjas in the nooks of your fridge? Do you think supermarkets should make it possible to buy more ingredients by item or weight?

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