Now THAT is what I call a sandwich! #food #milanosalami #littleitaliandeli http://ift.tt/1hfg0Xz
Tea and burger cake for breakfast. Nice!
#food #burger #cake http://ift.tt/1fZoXFs
#stonebaked #homemade #pizza #sundaytreat #food http://bit.ly/1eCBWb5
American-style pancakes with toasted banana, Greek yoghurt and maple syrup.
#food #breakfast http://bit.ly/164AGy1
Whisky, I love the stuff, never used to, but I do now — in moderation of course.
But Whisky is a topic that brings about much debate. Blended or Malt for starters, and if a malt, where in Scotland is it made. Yes Scotland, I know the Irish make a tipple or two and so does everyone else these days, but the good stuff — like, say Champagne — is just that little bit better for its heritage.
Now I’m not a great expert on whisky, I know what I like and what I don’t. I have spent a fair few years serving a variety of good whiskys in bars across the Northern Hemisphere, I have a little bit of Scottish heritage and I’m sitting next to seven bottles of the stuff, so I’d hope my opinion makes sense.
Before my better half started working with Johnnie Walker and introduced me to JW Double Black, you wouldn’t catch me anywhere near a bottle of blended whisky. It was Talisker all the way for me, with my love of smokey, peaty Islay whiskys blinding me from everything else.
Now Talisker, which happens to be in JW, remains my favourite tipple and a good Arlberg always goes down well too, but as I write this it’s the Double Black which is often where I’ll turn for a cheeky snifter when relaxing.
Many whisky drinkers in the UK, especially any Scots, plastic-Scots or anyone living in Scotland will tell you that it’s all about a single malt. In many ways they are right, as a good single malt is just fantastic and the varieties — much like wine — offer completely different tastes. As mentioned a Islay and is peaty and smokey, an Speyside is much softer, almost vanilla-like at times and a highland whisky is smokey and smooth.
When it comes to blended whisky there is a conception that it’s not as good. If you are comparing JW Red Label, J&B or even Bells — though even mentioning Bells makes me feel dirty — to 12 year old single malt, then you’d be right. But if you compared JW’s latest whisky, which I am looking forward to getting hold of, JW Platinum to a bottle of 12 yr old Glenfiddich you’d quickly realise how wrong you were.
Drinking blended whisky is the same as malt, you need to spend £30+ on a decent bottle of the stuff and to find one you like. When Double Black was blended by Jim Beveridge it was almost as if he was making something just for me, it is so Islay like it’s untrue and includes my favourite malt in the blend. I expect Platinum to be a smoother whisky and JW Black Label is the mixer whisky we have in the house, great for making a sours or whisky and ginger.
If I’m celebrating, then an 18 year old single malt is what you will most likely find me drinking, relaxing at the weekend will usually be my Three Wood or 12 yr old Auchentoshen, and for those occasions where I just fancy a whisky, or need a night cap my Double Black hits the nail on the head.
Just remember, whisky is in many ways like wine, spend as much as you can afford and find the distillery and region you like and you’ll be laughing. AND don’t be scared to try a blend, as long as it’s not attached to an optic you’re probably heading in the right direction.
With my love of cooking really developing while working as a chalet chef, it only seemed fitting that my first post on food should be about my favourite mountain food — Tartiflette. Tartiflette involves four main components, which on their own or in this dish as tasty, so putting them together it pure cheese-covered bliss. Reblochon cheese, bacon, cream and potatoes, the only thing that could possible go wrong here is your colesterol levels!
[The trouble with tartiflette is you never remember to take a photo until after you’ve started eating, oops] Ingredients (feeds four):
- Reblochon cheese, 1 wheel
- Lardons, around 500grams
- Potatoes, around 1.5kg (Maris Piper work well)
- Shallots, 4
- Garlic, 2/3 cloves
- White wine, 1 glass
- Double cream, 1 pot (I often use Elmlea)
- Salt & Pepper to season
You may have noticed the ingredients are all a little vague in portions, but that’s because tartiflette is a rustic dish of chucking things together, so if you have a little more — or little less — of any ingrediants, don’t worry. Reblochon is the key here, so make you have enough to cover a deep dish with 0.5cm think slices. If you don’t have a deli nearby both Waitrose and — forgive me for saying this — Tescos stock it. You can use sliced bacon or pancetta instead of lardons, and most types of potato, but you really need reblochon to make this dish work. Method: Cut the potatoes into around 1 cm cubes, they can be a little bigger or smaller, but 1 cm is a good guide. Put them into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil, once boiling simmer for about 5 mins or until the potatoes are tender. While the potatoes are cooking put the lardons into a pan and cook until crisp, you will only need a small drop of oil if any at all. Once the lardons are golden add the shallots and garlic, both finely chopped and cook until soft. Once the potatoes are done, drain and put to one side, add the wine to the bacon followed by the potatoes and reduce until half the liquid is gone. Add the cream and season with plenty of pepper and a small amount of salt — thanks to the lardons you wont need much. Pour into a dish at least 5cm deep. Sliced the reblochon lengthways, around half a centimetre thick and layer onto the potatoey, baconey goodness. Put into a pre-heated oven, around 160°c/gas mark 4, for around 20/25 mins — until the cheese looks golden and good. Serve with torn up pieces of french bread and a green salad for the ultimate meal, we usually go for a bottle of Tempranillo at home, but when skiing nothing beats a bottle of Savoie Gamay!
I love pizza, especially on a Saturday night sat in front of TV with the other half, and this is my favourite pizza of all. There’s something a little more satisfying and a lot more tasty about eating home cooked pizza over takeaway. There’s less grease, you can use good quality ingredients and, well, they just taste so much better. Ingredients (makes two):
- Strong plain flour, 300 grams
- Dried yeast, 3.5 grams (half a packet)
- 180ml warm water
- 20ml milk
- Olive oil, splash
- Salt, pinch
- Parma Ham, 5/6 slices
- Rocket, two handfuls
- Mozzarella, 2 balls
- Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
- Tomato puree
- Balsamic vinegar
- Black pepper
Method: First thing to do is make the dough, as it needs a good half an hour to rise. But the flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl, make a hole in the middle. Put the warm water, milk and a splash of olive oil together. Add half the liquid and mix together, then slowly add the rest of the liquid until you get a good, not too sticky, dough — you may not need all the liquid. Sprinkle some flour onto a work surface and kneed the dough. This will take a good ten minutes and the dough will make a smooth ball when done. To test, lightly prod with a finger and it should bounce back into shape when ready. Put into a large clean bowl, cover with cling film, and put somewhere warm to proof. A chair next to a warm oven, near a radiator or even in the airing cupboard — that was always my Dad’s favourite. Pre-heat the oven to 250°c/gas mark 5. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven now. Once the dough has risen, split into two and roll out on a floured surface. The diameter should be about the same as the height of a bottle of wine. Once the bases are rolled out, put them in the oven for around five mins — either on a pizza stone or straight onto the oven shelf. By cooking the bases first, you get a nice, crispy pizza and — as Merry Berry would say — no soggy bottom. Once the bases are done, spread around two heaped tablespoons of tomato puree over them, and sprinkle over a good helping of black pepper. Pull the parma ham and mozzarella into strips and intersperse over the pizza. Add a small handful of parmesan shavings and chuck in the oven. Don’t buy the parmesan shavings as they are tasteless, get your vegetable peeler and run it across the shortest length of the cheese — much tastier to use fresh cheese. The pizzas will take about 10-15 mins depending on your oven, but the crust should be crispy and the cheese slightly golden when they are done. Cover with a handful of washes rocket then drizzle over with some good quality balsamic vinegar. Sit on the sofa, find some suitably bad TV (insert X-Factor here), relax and indulge.