Category Archives: Food Miles

Food Miles: Cornwall

Ok, so only 300 miles travelled this time! In fact, we travel them a fair amount since we have family in Padstow. The to-do list when we visit is always the same:

– Pasty
– Ice Cream
– Rick Stein Fish and Chips
– Paul Ainsworth Number 6

We never fail to complete our to-do list… probably because we are quite dedicated to it! Within hours of arriving we were down at The Chough in Padstow for an award-winning traditional steak pasty hot from the oven. A complete meal in your hands.

We then completed our second self-assigned task of fish and chips from Rick Stein’s relatively new chippy. You may have to queue, but it’s really worth it. The calamari (if in season) is my favourite though you’ll find all the traditional cod and plaice in fluffy Steins batter (which you can buy and take home). Side orders of mushy peas, garlic mayo and bread and butter are a must. You can also down an Oyster while you wait. There are cheaper chippys in town, but I think this is worth the extra.

Just 24 hours later we had our table at Number 6 – which has been made even more popular since Paul Ainsworth’s appearances on The Great British Menu in the South West category for the past couple of years. The food always amazes, for both its taste and its fun presentation. We ordered a duck ragu starter (Paul told us it only took a week to make the ragu!), melt-in-your mouth pork belly and ‘A Taste of the Fairground’ for dessert – the winning Great British Menu dish from Paul’s first year in the competition. Plus we ordered his dessert from this year’s competition too – a chocolate cake with a golden caramac sauce and pistachio cake. Yummy doesn’t even cut it.

Other great places to eat in and around Padstow include Rojano’s – an Italian restaurant recently acquired by Paul Ainsworth, with a well-thought out menu and well-flavoured food. The Basement Café is a fab place for a huge doorstep bread sandwich at lunch and is just a waddle away from the Bin2 wine shop were you can sup on a glass of wine on the patio. Just a 20 minute drive down the coast from Padstow takes you to Watergate Bay, home to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall. With a beach view, it’s best to visit at lunchtime and enjoy some of the best Italian food I’ve had outside of Italy. We had starters of deep-fried courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta, mint and pea shoots along with an unusual but delicious risotto of peach, prosecco, mint and mozzarella. Followed by mains of pork ragu pasta and gnocchi we failed to make it to dessert :-(

Before leaving there was just enough time to squeeze in a Cornish cream tea (cream first and then the jam) and buy 12 pasties for our freezer. I think it’s safe to say that the cream tea has now earned its place on the ‘to-do list’ for our next visit. Dribble.

Banana and Nutella Cornish Pasty
Makes 2

A sweet Cornish Pasty using one of my favourites – Nutella!

Ingredients
– Plain flour for dusting
– 250g sheet puff pastry
– 2 bananas
– 2 tablespoons of Nutella
– 2 teaspoons demerara sugar
– 1 egg
To serve:
– Icing sugar
– Vanilla ice cream

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 180°/Gas Mark 4. Flour a work surface and your rolling pin. Divide the 250g sheet of puff pasty into two. Roll out each portion fairly thinly until you have a pastry which you can cut an 8″/20cm circle out of it. Find something to use as a template and cut a circle and then discard the extra pastry.

2. Fold the pastry circles in two to make a crease in the middle and lay back out. You only want to fill the top half of the circle so you can use this line as a guide. Dollop the Nutella equally between the top halves of the two circles of pastry. Spread it a little but it is important to leave a good border around the edge of the pastry to seal it later.

3. Cut the bananas into rounds and place on top of the Nutella. Be careful not to overfill – you may not be able to fit the whole banana into the pastry. Finish with a sprinkling of sugar.

4. Beat the egg into a small dish and using a pastry brush lightly brush it around the edge of the circle of pastry. Now fold the bottom half up and seal the edges well with your fingers.

5. Next comes the crimping of the pasty! It’s not easy but thankfully YouTube is here to help! Check out this clip or freestyle something to seal the pasty! You could always use a fork and press it along the semi circle.


6. Egg wash the top of the pasty and place into the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden. Allow to cook slightly before dusting with some icing sugar and serving with vanilla ice cream. Sticky, gooey and delicious!

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Food Miles: Amalfi Coast

I was super excited to be visiting Italy again this summer after a gluttonous weekend in Milan in February.  This time we packed our bags for the Amalfi Coast where the food, people and scenery are completely different from that of Northern Italy. We had already been to Sorrento a whole 7 years ago – eugh getting old – and eaten our weight in Neopolitan pizza, downed with shots of limoncello. This time we stayed in the smaller town of Positano, a little further down the coast.

Soon after arriving we went in search of a lemon granita to cool us down. Amalfi lemons grow all over the coastline and up to the size of footballs. As well as making their way into granita and limoncello there’s also a tasty local dish of grilled mozzarella with lemon leaves where the gooey cheese is perfumed with the lemon from the leaves. Absolutely delicious. After our granita (we liked the stall at the top of the pedestrianised part of town), it was time for a light lunch at La Pergola – a little restaurant on the seafront. We had a great insalata caprese and some arancini filled with a Milanese risotto and served with a rich tomato sauce. Not a bad start to a week away!

The best restaurants are slightly out of town in the hillside village of Montepertuso. Don’t let the out-of-town location put you off though because the restaurants will come and collect you in a minibus and drop you back… for free! You do have to endure the slightly hair-raising ride up the winding mountain roads, swerving Vespas, but it’s worth it for the food at the top. By far the best place we went to was La Tagliata. There’s no menu, just a set price of 35 Euros for an absolute feast. Everything is home grown and so the menu is adapted to what’s in season and to what Mamma and Nonna feel like cooking! After we were seated we were served a welcome bruschetta topped with home grown tomatoes, basil and olive oil. Such a simple dish but with Italian grown tomatoes and basil and local extra virgin olive oil, it’s raised to new delicious heights. Next came an antipasti platter filled with more goodies from the garden – a dish of fagioli beans, chickpeas and peas covered in herbs and oil along with some melanzane parmigiana, a dish of spinach, potatoes and rapa and a plate of homemade ricotta and mozzarella with parma ham. And then comes the obligatory pasta course! We were treated to an assortment of “Nonna’s special pasta”, porcini fusilli, ricotta ravioli and gnocchi. All delicious though naturally very filling and we hadn’t even got to our main course. Eeeek!

The name La Tagliata means ‘cut of meat’ so it’s no surprise that the main course is a full-on meat feast which would probably feed 4, not 2 people! Accompanied by crispy fries and a lovely dressed salad the meat platter overflowed with grilled pork, rabbit, steak, chicken and spicy sausage. It’s a serious case of the meat sweats by the time you’ve finished. The dessert was squeezed in just before we burst – another selection of homemade goodies – an almond cake, profiteer rolls and “Mamma’s cake”. With just enough space for a complimentary limoncello shot, we waddled out and bundled back onto the now very heavy minibus back down to Positano.

Melanzane Parmigiana
Serves 2

Sorry that this is fast becoming an aubergine blog but I can’t help being crazy-obsessed with them. But so are the Italians, so I’m in good company. The Amalfi coast is home to melanzane parmigiana, a layered dish of fried aubergines, passata and cheese which is baked until gooey. Tasty hot or cold, I can’t get enough of it.

Ingredients
– 4 aubergines
– Salt
– 2 tbsps good olive oil or extra virgin olive oil
– 1 clove of garlic, crushed
– 1 anchovy fillet, chopped
– 3 cans peeled plum tomatoes
– Handful of fresh basil
– 12-16 tbsps olive oil
– 150g Parmesan, finely grated
– 1 ball of Mozzarella, chopped thinly
– Small handful of soft breadcrumbs

Method
1. Trim the aubergines and slice them lengthways into 1cm slices.

2. Sprinkle the slices of aubergine fairly generously with table salt on both sides. Place into a colander and leave for 1 hour. This should take the bitterness out of the aubergines and will help them not to absorb too much olive oil when fried later on. After an hour, rinse the aubergines well so they won’t taste salty and pat dry with kitchen towel. Cover and leave to one side.

3. Now it’s time to make the tomato sauce for the Parmigiana. Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on a medium to high heat. When warm, add in the chopped garlic. Fry for a minute or so which will allow the garlic to give off an aroma but won’t be enough to burn it (which tastes gross). Add in the chopped anchovy along with the tomatoes. Break the tomatoes up best you can with a wooden spoon. When the sauce starts to bubble, turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook like this for 30 minutes. A few minutes before the end of the cooking time, season with pepper (the anchovy will make the sauce salty enough) and tear in most of the basil leaves.

4. While the sauce is cooking, you can start frying the aubergine slices. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Fry the aubergine slices in batches until soft and golden on both sides. Although salted, the slices will soak up a lot of the oil so you’ll need to add a splash when the pan gets dry and another couple of tablespoons at the start of each batch you are frying. When cooked, set aside on some kitchen towel to drain.

5. Now comes the big build! First, preheat your oven to 190°/Gas Mark 5/375°F. Take an ovenproof dish and place a couple of big spoonfuls of sauce at the bottom. Give a generous scatter of Parmesan on top followed by a layer of aubergines. Keep repeating until the sauce, aubergines and cheese are finished. Arrange the Mozzarella slices on the top of the dish with some remaining basil leaves. Finally scatter over the breadcrumbs and then bake for 30 minutes.

6. If you can, leave it to rest for 15 minutes before serving. I managed to wait for just 5.

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Food Miles: Iceland

I knew we were likely to eat a fair amount of seafood in Iceland. Cod and Prawns often have “Icelandic” on the packet! But aside from that, I wasn’t sure what would be on the menu. I’d heard lots of stories about the putrefied shark – buried for 6 months and dug up ready for your “enjoyment”. So when the Rough Guide arrived in the post, I flicked straight to the FOOD section! I read that a popular snack is wind-dried fish. Hmmm. In some places they serve whale and seal meat. Really?! And the only common vegetable is a type of tasteless lichen. Time to pack some snacks.

We were pleasantly surprised. 8 hours in Iceland and we were tucking into a breakfast of scrambled eggs and a mound of tea-smoked salmon. I can’t see any rotten shark anywhere?!

Breakfast set the tone. Lunch that day was in Iceland’s only fish and chip restaurant in Reykjavík. We had battered Pollock and locally caught langoustines with herby potatoes and a choice of dip (including white truffle mayo, garlic & herb & Taramosalata). So good – Iceland should open more chippys! But with a total population of 318k, 1 will probably do.

We stayed at Hotel Ranga in Hella, which has a fantastic restaurant. We enjoyed lots of delicious, top-notch cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. Highlights included reindeer carpaccio with truffle oil, smoked puffin, lobster soup with local langoustine tails and local wild salmon served with white chocolate puree, Champagne foam and local strawberries! Skyr featured heavily on the dessert menu… it’s Icelandic yoghurt… which is technically cheese… though it tastes just like yoghurt!

Winding around the “Golden Circle” route we also found a friendly little restaurant called Café Lindin. Mr B. devoured a mean looking reindeer burger while the rest of us took comfort in a warming bowl of very good lobster bisque served with a savoury muffin. It was a lovely pit stop and on a clear day you can get a good panorama of some of Iceland’s biggest volcanoes.

So (thankfully!) there’s more to Icelandic cuisine than tasteless lichen! With the Northern Lights ticked off the bucket list, I’d love to revisit and sample more of the restaurants in Reykjavík. Until then, I’m going to make my way through the bottle of Duty Free Reyka vodka. I’m sure it won’t taste as good as it does in a hot tub though!

Blueberry Yogurt Pot
Serves 1

I tried to get Skyr all over London and failed. I was still determined to recreate a dessert I’d had at our hotel and so settled for set yogurt. Skyr tastes like yogurt but has a moose like texture. If you do manage to find it, substitute it for the yogurt I’ve used here. I’m tempted to make this again using moose instead of yogurt for a firmer texture.

Ingredients
– 150g blueberries
– 2 tbsp caster sugar
– 1 capful of vanilla extract
– 250g natural set yogurt
– Sprinkling of flaked almonds

Method
1. Heat a saucepan on a medium heat and add the blueberries, sugar and vanilla extract. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the sugar foams up and you and a thick sauce. Leave to cool.

2. Discard the whey from the top of the yogurt before putting a dollop into a tumbler. Level off.

3. Add the blueberry mix, level off and then add another load of the blueberry sauce. Do this again if necessary depending on how much yogurt and blueberry sauce you have left.

4. Top with flaked almonds (I only had ground to hand) and chill before serving.

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Food Miles: Milan

I ate so much on my weekend in Italy that I was half expecting Easyjet to charge extra for increased weight on the return journey. I couldn’t help it! The food was too good!

As soon as we arrived our kind friends were plying us with prosciutto, formaggio, salami and prosecco. It’s rude to refuse hosts so we ate as much as we could just to show our appreciation (this was after having had dinner at Heathrow!). This also happened 12 hours later when it was time for breakfast. How can you say no to freshly squeezed Sicilian oranges and locally produced bread and honey? That’s right, you can’t!

Next stop was Como for lunch and a truffle binge at a little restaurant called Hosterietta. We picked a white truffle risotto and a dish of polenta with a cheese sauce, topped with dark truffles. So delicious – you just couldn’t get this in the UK without re mortgaging your home! We happened to walk past a Gelateria on our way back to the car. Everyone knows that Italian ice cream is the best so we had to squeeze one in, head freeze and all!

Back in the car, we were now on our way to Milan and grateful for the time to digest! First stop was Café Cova for an Espresso Macchiato. We downed them at the bar in true Italian style. Later our classy friends took us to two very classy drinking holes – the new Armani hotel bar and the Bulgari hotel bar. Although drinks aren’t cheap in these hotels, they ply you with tons of free food. And good free food, not just peanuts. Well there were peanuts but nice Italian ones, buffalo mozzarella, olives the size of tennis balls, Parmesan biscuits, pearl barley risotto and canapés. One can eat very well by just purchasing a couple of drinks. Despite eating really well, we still devoured some sushi at Armani/Nobu before some more much needed digestion time in the car!

Aubergine and Tomato Pearl Barley Risotto
Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a starter

This is inspired by a dish we were served at the Armani bar in Milan. I make a lot of risottos but have never made one with pearl barley. As this is heavier than a rice risotto it would work well as a starter for 6 people using the quantities given here.

Ingredients
– 2 tablespoons of olive oil
– 2 aubergines
– 2 teaspoons of Bouillon vegetable stock
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 250g pearl barley
– 100ml white wine
– 50g slow roasted tomatoes (Merchant Gormet ones are good)
– 1 clove garlic, crushed
– 20g butter
– A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
– 40g rocket
– Freshly ground pepper

To serve:
– Freshly grated Parmesan
– Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200°/Gas Mark 6. Pierce the aubergines well and brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. I say this from experience as I once had one explode in my face upon opening the oven. Put on a roasting tray and roast for 35-40 minutes until tender.

2. Add the 2 teaspoons of stock to a litre of water and put on a high heat.

3. In another saucepan, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil on a medium to high heat before adding the onion. Fry for 5 minutes or so until soft.

4. Add the pearl barley to the onion and mix for a minute so it gets coated with oil. Now add the wine and give the pan a stir. When the wine has cooked off you can now start adding the stock a ladleful at a time. Do not add more stock until the last ladleful has been absorbed.

5. Take the aubergines out of the oven, cut into quarters lengthways and allow to cool before scooping out the flesh. Chop up the flesh along with the slow roasted tomatoes.

6. When you have finished all of your stock add the aubergines, tomatoes, thyme, butter, garlic and rocket to the pan and give it a good mix to combine. Add a good grind of pepper to the saucepan. Dish out onto plates before topping with some freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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Food Miles: Las Vegas

Las Vegas is mostly about gambling and drinking and then you eat when you have the time! When you are eventually  peeled off of the Blackjack table, there are a ton of restaurants to choose from no matter how much you have to play with.

Las Vegas caters for every taste too – the themed hotels have similarly themed restaurants and scattered along the strip you’ll find steakhouses, burger joints, Mexican and Oriental restaurants. As far as I know, there’s no typically Nevadan cuisine… Nevada is simply better known for gambling, drive-thru nuptials and quickie divorces (usually in that order!)

Eating in Las Vegas
There are plenty of world-renowned chefs with restaurants in Las Vegas, but for me Vegas is all about THE BUFFET. A tactical meal out, the trick is to try a bit of everything before deciding what you actually want to eat. Do not eat any bread and do not drink too much liquid – these are rookie errors! It’s great value for money too, so your drinking and gambling fund remains untouched :-). Most hotels on the strip have a buffet, though The Bellagio and The Wynn are considered the best. Lunch is generally better value; some hotels will offer a higher priced gourmet buffet at the weekends as well as a brunch buffet too. Expect to queue for a while at peak times, but it’s so worth it!

We revisited The Bellagio Buffet and I was pleased to see that they are still serving up their spider crab claws. I helped myself to 4 or 5 though some diners had mountains of them. With a little salt and lemon, they got my appetite going for my sushi course :-). The Bellagio sushi bar serves sashimi, nigiri and California rolls so I helped myself to everything that didn’t contain avocado (see the about me section). And when I was finished with that, I was well and truly ready for my starter. This sounds bad, but this is how to do a buffet! And frankly, if it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right!

Starter options are different prepared salads, a DIY salad bar, Mediterranean vegetables, and ceviche. My lifelong love of grilled Mediterranean vegetables is still going strong so I went for aubergines, “zucchini” and peppers along with some of the ceviche and a tomato, mozzarella and pesto salad.

Whilst still able to breathe and talk, it’s time for the main course just as an impatient Mr. B. was finishing his (don’t worry, he had another). I skipped the Beef Wellington and Pizza and loaded up on some Italian-American Manicotti and Tortellini along with a dollop of creamed spinach, a couple of lamb cutlets and some spicy sausage and paella for good measure. Whew. I think I need new jeans.

The dessert bar looks like a work of art and as such cannot be ignored!! At this point, I managed an amazing mini crème brûlée loaded with vanilla seeds, a chocolate macaroon and a mini custard tart. Oh my.

This buffet will basically be all you need during a weekend stay! But if you do need something else here are a couple of suggestions.

Mon Ami Gabi – http://www.monamigabi.com/ charming French themed bistro in Paris with good steak and accompanying sauces. Try the mussels for a tasty starter too.

Roy’s – http://www.roysrestaurant.com/locations/NV/las_vegas.asp excellent service and great fusion food for when you fancy a break from the strip.

Finally, a bit of advice from our flight departure board (of all places)…

Luxury Mac and Cheese
Serves 2

Inspired by the menu at The Fix, Bellagio, I thought I’d try my take at a decadent mac ‘n’ cheese. Perfect for big wins but not too much of a belly buster :-).

Ingredients
– 200g macaroni
– 15g salted butter
– 15g plain flour
– 350ml whole milk
– Pinch of English mustard powder
– 40g extra mature Cheddar
– 20g Gruyere cheese
– 20g Parmesan cheese
– Drizzle of olive oil
– 100g pancetta cubes
– A couple of drops of truffle oil
– A couple of thyme sprigs, leaves picked
– A knob of butter (for greasing an oven proof dish)
– 15g breadcrumbs

Method
1. Start cooking the pasta according to the pack instructions and preheat your oven to 200°/Gas Mark 6.

2. Whilst the pasta is boiling, make a roux by melting the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat. Once it’s melted, stir in the flour using a wooden spoon and cook until its turned to a biscuit colour. Now whisk in half of the milk and once incorporated, you can add the other half with the mustard powder. Continue to heat this white sauce for 5 minutes or so until it’s smooth. Now take off of the heat and add all of your cheddar and half of the Gruyere and half of the Parmesan and then season well.

3. Fry the pancetta cubes in a drizzle of oil until crispy.

4. Drain your pasta and run it under some cold water before adding it to the sauce. When your pancetta is ready, drain it on some kitchen towel and add to the sauce as well. Give it a good mix and add a couple of drops of truffle oil along with some thyme leaves.

5. Grease your oven proof dish and transfer the macaroni cheese into it. Top with the breadcrumbs and the leftover cheeses before baking for 35-40 minutes. When it’s browned on top and looking delicious, take it out and serve soon as!

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Food Miles: San Francisco

I swear the Prius to people ratio in San Francisco is 3:1. This is the greenest city I’ve ever visited. Recycling bins are everywhere, the gym equipment is hybrid and bottled water is frowned upon.

To match the green lifestyle, San Franciscan food is sustainable, healthy and locally sourced where possible. It’s also produced to a very high standard and influenced by Asia – just across the Pacific Pond – and neighbouring Mexico. There’s pretty much something for everyone here since you can also pick up a quintessentially American burger and fries too!

Eating in San Francisco
It’s a case of so many places and so little time here. If you go to one place, go to Frascati – the food is AMAZING! A cute little bistro with big flavours. This has to be one of my favourite restaurants of all time. I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered, but it was better. Seriously, stop reading this and go now! http://www.frascatisf.com/

Second to Frascati, there’s The Slanted Door. Located in the Ferry Building, this trendy Asian Fusion restaurant oozes Californian coolness. Try the Shaking Beef and the Scallops – both cooked to perfection. During the day you can also pick up lunch from their Out of The Door café to the side of the restaurant. http://www.slanteddoor.com/

For a good Mexican meal, try Tropisueno http://www.tropisueno.com/ where you can get a punchy tequila cocktail and mountain of food! If you have a clean plate at the end, then let me know! You deserve a medal.

You’re going to probably need lunch too, so head over to Swan Oyster Depot and be prepared to queue. It’s worth the wait to experience this friendly, family-run Oyster Bar, with its original tiled walls and seating. http://swanoysterdepotsf.com/

Alternatively, just head down to the Ferry Building and choose from the many outlets there. Pick up a meaty sandwich or a pie from The Golden Gate Meat Company http://www.goldengatemeatcompany.com/, a cheesy toasty from The Cowgirl Creamery http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/ or a chowder from one of the seafood restaurants. The Ferry Building is also home to the local farmer’s market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Make sure you get yourself a Porchetta sandwich from the Roli Roti stall at the front of the market on Thursdays and Saturdays! So soooo good!

Finally for funky bread, chowder in a sour dough bun and foodie gifts, check out Boudin on the Embarcadero.

Oh and I forgot to mention, all of that ought to be washed down with some good Napa wine! Local and sustainable you’ll be doing your bit for the environment :-) … just remember to recycle the bottle!

San Francisco Burrito
Makes 3 Burritos

San Francisco is famous for its Mission District Taquerias serving oversized burritos wrapped in foil which helps keep them warm but also acts as structural support! Here’s how to have a go at making your own. You should really add some guacamole or slices of avocado but I’m allergic which is probably just as well as it would have been a struggle to squeeze it in!

Ingredients
For the Spanish Rice:

– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 onion, diced
– 100g short grain rice (paella or risotto rice is good)
– 300g of canned chopped tomatoes
– 150ml chicken or vegetable stock, made up according to pack instructions
– 1 clove of garlic, crushed

For the Salsa:
– 100g of canned chopped tomatoes
– 1/2 red onion finely chopped
– Juice of 1/2 lime
– Salt to taste
– Few sprigs of coriander, chopped
– 1/2 – 1 whole chopped red chilli depending on your taste

You’ll also need:
– 3 flour tortillas (the largest you can find)
– 2 chicken breasts
– Small can of refried beans
– 3 slices of mild cheddar (or a goof handful of grated mild cheddar)

Method
1. Make the rice first. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a pan on a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until nice and soft. Then add your rice and cook, stirring from time to time, for 5 minutes. It will go a bit brown which is fine but don’t let it burn. After 5 minutes add your tomatoes, stock and garlic and then cook according to the pack instructions or 20-25 minutes ought to do it. You want the rice to be quite dry so just give it enough time to absorb all of the sauce.

2. While the rice is on, cook your chicken. I used my George Foreman but you can just put it under the grill.

3. Now you have the chicken and the rice cooking, you can get on and make your salsa. Simples – just combine all of the salsa ingredients in a bowl and give it a taste adding more lime or salt if you want.

4. When your chicken and rice are ready just heat up your refried beans and tortillas in the microwave. Take your rice off of the heat and put your chicken on a board ready to cut up. Cut it on the diagonal and now you’re ready to build your burrito!

5. Lay some foil out andplace your tortilla onto it and now add the ingredients in this order – Rice, Beans, Chicken, Cheese, Salsa and Sour Cream… don’t overload the burrito! To roll your burrito, fold the sides in first (at either ends of your filling) and then while you’re pinching them in, fold the side of the burrito facing you up towards the middle, tuck in back into the filling before rolling the whole burrito upwards. Then wrap tightly in the foil and give them a couple of minutes the oven if you like so the cheese is gooey and melts through all of the burrito ingredients.

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Food Miles: New York


I would put good money on there being traces of Red Bull in the “New Yawk” water supply. Everyone seems to be going a million miles an hour; I don’t know how they do it. After a long flight and jet lag this can feel intimidating. But the pace of NYC grabs you quickly and after a couple of days I was pounding down the “sidewalk” yelling, “I’m walking here” and then I found myself ordering “a cawfee to go”.

It’s not all fast food though. Granted this is still not a place to come to if you don’t eat red meat or are on a diet (even the vegetables arrive creamed!). This is a place to indulge – it’s a breakfast bagel, a deli sandwich lunch and a steak dinner kinda place. So don your trousers with the elasticated waistband and pop across the pond.

Eating in New York
As a multicultural melting pot, you’ll find every cuisine represented in NYC along with the latest in foodie trends. First though, you must must must get yourself to “the classics” (as I call them) – a trip wouldn’t be complete without these. Head directly to Katz Deli http://katzsdelicatessen.com/ and whatever you do don’t eat beforehand. Whether it’s their Rueben or Pastrami on Rye it’ll be THE best sandwich of your life not to mention the biggest but not to fear – you’ll find a poster on the wall which tells you how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver and another that tells you there is a CPR kit behind the register.

Number 2 is The Magnolia Bakery http://www.magnoliabakery.com. A must visit for any Sex and the City or just general cupcake fan. If you’re stupid (or greedy) like us, you can go after Katz Deli and demolish a red velvet cupcake washed down with some homemade lemonade.

Number 3 will definitely have to be sought out on your next day when you might just be able to face food again. The Grand Central Oyster Bar http://www.oysterbarny.com/ is a New York institution. Enjoy a chowder, a colossal salad or every type of Oyster there is!


With the classics done, it’s time to enjoy some funky and quirky places. If you like the secret bars in New York, you’ll also like the hidden burger joint at Le Meridian hotel http://www.parkermeridien.com. The real secret to this place is to walk in from 56th street and look like you know where you’re going! Walk through the bar and turn right – there’s just a red curtain but go down the left hand side of it and you’ll find a hidden burger joint. Mind you, the queue might have given it away already! Inside the walls have been graffitied by the likes of Leona Lewis (who doesn’t even eat meat?!) and Britney Spears. There’s only one thing on the menu – a tasty burger – but cooked how you like with a choice of toppings or THE FULL MONTY.

Next is The Meatball Shop http://www.themeatballshop.com for some “naked balls” and sliders. Choose your ball – beef, pork, chicken or veggie then your sauce and then your sides. You can have your balls “naked” with a tomatoey or cheesy sauce or served as a slider. Hands down, the best value meal in NYC.

There are plenty of options for finer dining too. The best we tried was Buddakan http://www.buddakannyc.com/ – an achingly cool Asian fusion restaurant in the Meatpacking District serving delicious dishes cooked to perfection. Try the Hoisin Glazed Pork Belly, the Tuna Tartare Spring Roll and Charred Fillet of Beef.

Finally, another finer stop off is DBGB Kitchen http://www.danielnyc.com/dbgb.html in the East Village where we went for our Thanksgiving Dinner – and I was thankful!! Well-flavoured and wholesome food in funky surroundings with great service. Yum!


While you’re walking off all this food, Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District is a must-visit for any food lover. A large indoor food hall that gives Borough Market a run for its money. Some really rare food finds can be found – sea urchins, truffles imported from Italy and Wagu beef, though should you need some, you’ll find Red Bull widely available too!

Rachel Sandwich
Serves 1

To fix your Katz Deli withdrawal symptoms back home you can try this Rachel Sandwich – a Rueben with pastrami instead of beef brisket and coleslaw instead of the sauerkraut. Miniscule in comparison but tasty nonetheless.

Ingredients
– 4 slices of light rye bread, buttered
– A pack of pastrami (or 8 slices)
– A couple of dollops of good coleslaw
– 6 slices of Emmental cheese

Method
1. Stack your pastrami onto the bread and top with a dollop of coleslaw

2. Layer the cheese onto the slice of bread for the top of your sandwich and melt it under the grill until just soft

3. Put your sandwich together and serve with a gherkin.

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