Are YOU a foodie?!
I don't know about you, but I'm starting to think that the term 'foodie' has been overused. So much so, that I'm almost offended when referred to as one...
"Are you a foodie?"
"Karen isn't a REAL foodie because she don't make her own hummus"
When researching what the top characteristics that of a foodie, I came across the following:
- You choose a holiday destination based on the local cuisine or the restaurants nearby
- You consider yourself to have well-honed taste buds
- When eating out, you know what's been pre-made
- You own a pestle and mortar
This Week's Recommendation: Mademoiselle Macaron
This team of Mademoiselles and Messieurs are creating Ladurée quality bites of indulgence (without the massive queue of confused tourists on the Champs Elysées).
It was in Paris 2010 where founder, Rachel, learned the art of Macarons from the world-renowned, 3-Michelin starred, Alain Ducasse. Rachel then returned to Edinburgh, ready to spread some Paris-magic and make delicious French macarons.
Mademoiselle Macaron offer a delicious range of classic and seasonal flavour gift boxes, as well as bespoke macaron towers for events.
We're big fans of the Pistachio and Tiramisu... or maybe even a double chocolate peanut butter if it's been a tricky week!
Chef Tip: Fat is Flavour (don't you dare waste it!)
By Jamie Oliver, THE Naked Chef
This is such an easy way of reducing waste and packing flavour into your cooking.
After cooking something that gives off a lot of fat (goose, duck, pork and etc.) simply pour the fat from your pan or tray into a jar with some herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano and the more robust herbs are best). Store with a lid on in the fridge until needed.
It may just be the best addition to roast potatoes EVER...
Our good friend Nigel Slater is also on the goose-fat wagon, so much so, what he's written a whole article on it.
Nigel... those pork and onion pies with goose fat pastry have got us DROOLING.
Your Questions Answered: Drinks and Nibbles
By Banquist Head Chef, Hope Pointing
"I'm hosting a drinks party and am in desperate need of some nibble inspiration!" Andrew, North London
Oh Andrew, we've all been there. You want something that's minimal effort, but equally a spread that says 'i've got my shit together and I'm a great host'.
Dips are ALWAYS a good idea. Buy some pre-made dips, I'm talking red pepper hummus, baba ganoush, chunky salsa. Aim for a mixture of colours and textures. Then just zhuzh! Fresh herbs, toasted nuts, sesame seeds, crispy chickpeas, GO WILD. And for goodness' sake, at least put them in a nice bowl or elaborately smear on a plate.
Next up: fancy crackers. Charcoal, beetroot or sourdough crackers really do make all the difference. Pop on a platter, dollop on sour cream, top with smoked salmon and a crack of black pepper - et voila!
Everyone loves sausages. Get some cocktail sausages from the butcher, drizzle liberally with honey and wholegrain mustard, stir and roast. Sticky, sweet and VERY delicious.
Thank me later, Andrew.
This week's recipe: Warming Lentil Dahl with Crispy Kale
Recipe by Gill Meller, River Cottage Chef and Award-winning Food Writer
In the words of Gill: "A well-made dhal is a complete treasure; it is a bowl of soft gold. A dahl can warm us like a fire, with its spice; and it can soothe and comfort us, like a favourite blanket might have done in the past."
Couldn't have said it better, Gill!
This is firmly on my list of things to cook at the weekend...
- 1 bunch of curly kale, stalks removed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 tablespoon cumin seeds, coarsely crushed
- 1⁄2 tablespoon coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
- 2 cardamom pods, bashed
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons black onion seeds
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 250g red lentils
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- Soft-boiled eggs, natural yoghurt, toasted seeds and fresh chilli, to serve
- Heat the oven to 110°C. First, make the crispy kale. Wash and dry the kale leaves. Place the leaves in a bowl with olive oil and a pinch of salt, mix well.
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment, then arrange the kale in an even layer on the tray and place it in the oven. Bake for 25–30 minutes, turning the leaves once or twice, until they are crisp. Remove from the oven and cool.
- Heat a large, heavy-based pan over a low–medium heat. Add the coconut oil and, when hot, add the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, cumin, coriander, cardamom, black mustard and onion seeds, and curry powder. Cook, stirring regularly, for 8–10 minutes, until the onion is soft but not coloured.
- Place the lentils in a sieve and give them a quick rinse, then add them to the pan with the onion mixture and fry them for a few moments. Add the stock, bring the liquid to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring regularly, for 35–40 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the dhal has thickened. If things look a little dry at any time, add a splash more stock or water. Season the dhal well with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and bring to the table.
- To serve, spoon the dhal into warm bowls and top with the kale. I love this with a soft boiled egg, a spoonful of natural yoghurt, and some toasted seeds sprinkled over.