The Great Celebration Debate
Halloween is here, let's crack open the selection boxes, the countdown to Christmas has begun.
I was recently asked to rank celebrations in order of preference...opening up a can of worms, I know.
I'm not sure if I was more concerned about how much thought I put into this, or some of my friends' answers...
From best to worst I decided on: Malteaser, Galaxy, Twix, Milky Way, Galaxy Caramel, Snickers, Bounty
*Cue sudden influx of disagreeing emails*
This Week's Recommendation: TASTE: My Life Through Food
By Stanley Tucci
In this book, the self-proclaimed foodie, shares anecdotes about growing up in New York, filming Julie & Julia, falling in love over dinner, and cooking with his wife and children.
Tucci, went viral last year after he created that Negroni on Instagram and has since been known for his good 'taste' when is comes to food and drink. So expect a decent cocktail recipe as well!
I love this extract...
"Though many of my friends brought their lunches, the contents of my lunch box differed significantly from those of my peers. A prime example of my portable childhood lunch, lovingly packed into a pop image-themed metal container (a.k.a. a Partridge Family or Batman lunch box), would be something akin to the following:
A scrambled egg, fried potato, and sautéed sweet green pepper sandwich on two slices of Italian bread or in a “wedge” or a “hero,” which is a long loaf of Italian bread sliced horizontally and filled with whatever you choose to fill it with. In Philadelphia they are called “hoagies.”"
Chef Tip: Making a Great Gravy
By Thomas Frake, 2020's MasterChef campion
Time and effort are my key pointers when it comes to any good meat based sauce..
Begin by roasting the meat bones and veg until everything has coloured nicely and the veg is completely tender and sweet. Browning the meat is really important as this caramelisation is going to add so much flavour. For the veg, I like using a mix of carrot, celery, onion and perhaps a bay leaf.
You then want to add water so your veg and bones are just covered. Allow to simmer down for as long as possible, this way all the goodness from the bones will leach out into the liquid.
Simmering will allow the liquid to evaporate and create a rich and reduced sauce base. The longer, the better!
Adding alcohol is normally always a good thing at this point. I often opt for red wines with red meats and whites with poultry. Maybe even a Port with beef or game and perhaps a Madeira when cooking, say duck or goose.
And it goes without saying, taste, season and taste again!
This week's recipe: Curried Pumpkin Soup
There really is no better food than a hearty soup when you need some comfort.
Like butternut squash, pumpkin is an amazing vehicle for curry spices and creamy coconut.
And, in my opinion, every good soup comes with something crunchy on top and these crispy pumpkin seeds are the perfect garnish. This seasonal recipe ticks all the boxes.
Recipe adapted from Soup, Broth, Bread by Rachel Allen
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
For the soup:
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- Approx. 600g seasonal pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1cm cubes
- 1 large clove of garlic, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 450ml vegetable or chicken stock
For the garnish:
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- A pinch of curry powder
- Put the coconut oil into a saucepan over a medium heat.
- Add the chopped onions, butternut squash and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and stir to mix.
- Turn the heat down to low, cover the vegetables with a piece of parchment paper and the saucepan lid, and allow to cook slowly for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until they are tender.
- Meanwhile, pour the coconut milk into a bowl and whisk to remove any lumps.
- Remove the paper cover and lid from the pan and stir in the curry powder. Turn the heat up to high and cook, stirring, for a minute, until the curry powder is wonderfully fragrant.
- Now add the coconut milk and the stock and bring to a rolling boil, then blend the soup until gorgeously smooth.
- To make the toasted pumpkin seeds, place a frying pan over a high heat and add the coconut oil. Allow to melt and heat up, then add the pumpkin seeds and curry powder.
- Toss over the heat for 1–2 minutes, until the seeds have toasted and darkened slightly, then place on a plate lined with kitchen paper and sprinkle with the sea salt flakes.
- Serve the soup steaming hot, with the toasted pumpkin seeds scattered over the top.