Sunday, 16 November 2014

30 Days of Autumn



“All the leaves are brown… and the sky is grey”…. Words which were written about dark days in the USA dreaming of the warmer climes of California, but somehow to me, they seem most fitting this November in the UK as we coddle ourselves in scarves and take our warm coats out of their Summer hibernation. 

I find the food of Autumn comforting central heating for the soul, since I find the climate and conditions something of a challenge! 

What is in season right now? 

For starters and main courses, great building block ingredients would be mussels, autumn lamb, venison, mackerel, guinea fowl, duck, goose, grouse and crab. 

Butternut Squash and pumpkins (it’s just been Halloween, so you probably sensed there were about a million uses for pumpkin flesh for after you carved your Jack O’Lantern!). So versatile, they are perfect for roast veg, risotto, pasta, soups and salads.

A very happy gourd, Selcuk market, Turkey
 Broccoli, celery and mushrooms are always great ingredients to throw into new season starters and mains.
Lots of wonderful root vegetables; potato, sweet potato, celeriac, leek, onion, turnip, swede, beetroot, parsnip, carrot. 

Summer is never a good time for making your own chips. The potatoes of Summer are too waxy and don’t make fluffy and pleasant chips. So now we have out more floury chips back, it’s chip season again. This is both good and bad news for people like me!

Winter leaf; savoy cabbage, white cabbage, purple cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts. Healthy, mineral rich and full of dietary fibre. 

Hardy herbs and new season aromatics; thyme, rosemary, sage, bay leaves, garlic
.
New season mushrooms, Selcuk, Turkey
Fruits which come into their own are; apples, blackberries, plums, cranberries, quince, pears, 
elderberries, chestnuts, dates. Perfect for something simple, hot and a childhood throwback; crumble! 

My home cooking goes into casserole and stew mode as the temperature drops. 

Many people swear by slow cookers as a simple way of getting dinner done while-you-work with the commitment of getting ingredients and browning done in the morning paying you back with a perfectly cooked dinner when you get home. If you are a slow cooker newbie, you might find my guide on slow cookers helpful: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/slow-cooker-101-aka-crock-pot-101-or.html


One dish I love to make in my trusty (ancient and much loved slow cooker) is Cocido, the lunchtime favourite dish in Spain: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/spanish-cocido-la-snig-spanish-chickpea.html

Another Spanish style slow cooker stew is this recipe of mine:  http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/spanish-chorizo-stew-with-butter-beans.html

Turkish Cypriot food is a particular favourite of mine, and a great cuisine for finding flavoursome ways of cooking Autumn lamb. This stew is simple and hits the spot: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/turkish-cypriot-style-lamb-stew.html

A stovetop stew which can be rustled up even on a weeknight is my French lentil stew, using either lentilles vert or puy lentils, depending on your access to the authentic ingredient or your budget: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/french-lentil-stew-la-snigdha.html

Tabletop stew, as served up in Sirince, Turkey

The oozy, boozy apres-ski classic, Tartiflette has got to be another winner for chilly days: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/tartiflette-by-franck-raymond-of.html

And comfort food classics never go out of style in these short days and long nights. Who doesn’t love Macaroni cheese? Well this twist puts the veg back into the old school favourite: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/remixing-classics-maccaflower-cheese.html

I hope these ideas and thoughts will help put you in mind of Autumn cooking, because it seems to me that the light salads and suppers of Summer just don’t seem sustaining enough. I have written this post as part of a blogger project called “30 Days of Autumn” where bloggers specialising in many different things have come together to celebrate the season. The project has been started by Forest Holidays who provide forest camping and chalet options for people who love the outdoors and nature. 

A real campfire.... Sirince, Turkey

Outdoors freaks, photographers, family and children bloggers, arts and craft bloggers and of course, food bloggers have come together to contribute. You can find a great summary of all of their articles and posts here: http://www.forestholidays.co.uk/forestipedia/30-days-of-autumn-things-to-do-in-autumn

I found some other great Autumnal recipe ideas as a result of other bloggers getting involved in the 30 Days of Autumn challenge. 

Here are some which I would love to give a try…

Helen of the brilliant Fuss Free Flavours has featured her spicy butternut squash gnocchi with sticky harissa spiced onions:  http://fussfreeflavours.com/recipe-butternut-squash-gnocchi/

Karen of Lavender and Lovage has created a full Autumnal menu which can be cooked in your cabin at any of the Forest Holidays sites, including Michaelmas Dumplings with Blackberries and Apples Mussel, Onion and Parsley Chowder and Rhubarb Crumble Tray-Bake Cake: http://www.forestholidays.co.uk/forestipedia/autumn-recipes-to-cook-up-in-the-cabin

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Win tickets to the Christmas Foodies Festival with Snig's Kitchen

I love good food and going out, so I find many of the food themed events which come to the capital a great way of trying new things and enjoying myself. I have been to previous Foodies Festival fairs, one of which I reviewed back in 2011. The events are fun, with lots of food and drink available to scoff on the spot, to take home and with plenty scope to learn something new from the various tastings and cooking demonstrations on offer. 

This year, the Foodies Festival people are putting on their very first Christmas event. Held over 3 days (28th, 29th and 30th November) in Spitalfields at the Old Truman Brewery, the event will incorporate a number of brilliant attractions:


- A Christmas Bumper Quiz will take place at 5pm daily, you will need to register your team in advance. 
- Be part of a "Christmas jumper gang" and have a group Crimbo Jumper picture taken in the Festival photo booth.
- Sing Christmas songs and carols. Get yourself into the Christmas spirit!
Katy Bescow, or "Little Miss Meat Free" winner of winner of The Great Vegan Bake Off 2014

- Learn how to dance the "Gay Gordon" with ceilidh dancing and live music from the Entertainment Stage.
-The "Producers Grotto" where you can discover lovely artisan product which you can try, buy and take home (or give away as Christmas presents!).

- Craft Beer Market with pop-up breweries and small producers.

- The Pudding Hall chock full with p√Ętisseries and expert chocolatiers selling eggnog tarts, marzipan bonbons and macaron and a breathtaking life-size Gingerbread House serving ginger beer and roasted marshmallows.

- A stage for live music (artists and timetable have yet to be announced).

- The "Elf Cookery School" for children under 12, where kids can learn to bake snowballs and decorate gingerbread men, cookies and cupcakes to leave out for Santa (or just scoff immediately!).
- Cake and Bake workshops for grown up Bake Off fans.

Ernesto Paiva of Bubbledogs
- Demonstrations from stellar talent: John Whaite (Great British Bake Off Winner) and Adam Handling (MasterChef: The Professionals Finalist), of Adam Handling at Caxton. Michelin starred Chef Robert Ortiz from LIMA, Ernesto Paiva Michelin starred Bubbledogs, Scott Hallsworth of Kurobuta, Anna Haugh from Gordon Ramsay’s London House, Kim Woodward of Gordon Ramsay’s York & Albany, Garry Hollihead from The Corinthia, Bluebird’s Matt Robinson, Jesse Dunford Wood from PARLOUR, Glenn Cosby (Great British Bake Off) and Katy B (AKA "Little Miss Meat Free" and winner of Great Vegan Bake Off 2014).
The organisers of the event have been kind enough to give me 3 pairs of tickets for the festival to 3 lucky winners! It's simple and free to enter!

Adam Handling, Finalist of MasterChef: The Professionals and chef at Adam Handling at Caxton

All you have to do is...

1. Tweet about the competition, using the hashtag #snigfoodiefest. Please note, I cannot enter you into the draw unless you use the hashtag and it is spelt correctly.

2. You leave a comment under link for the post on the Snig's Kitchen Facebook page, which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/snigskitchen

The competition will be open from the time this post goes live to 5pm on 16th November 2014. 

Tickets will either be posted to you, or left for you to collect at the venue, but I will be in touch with you to let you know what has been arranged. 

If you are thinking about going to the Foodies Festival, here are the vital statistics.....
 
Where?

The Old Truman Brewery - 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL

When?

Friday 28th November 11am – 9pm
Saturday 29th November 11am – 9pm
Sunday 30th August 11am – 8pm

How can I get in?


What will it cost me?

Advance tickets:

Friday day ticket £18.00/£16.00 concession
Saturday or Sunday day ticket £20.00/£18.00 concession
Three day pass – £28.00/£25.00 concession
1-day VIP ticket £48.00 (£38.00 Friday) – Includes a glass of bubbly on arrival, access to the VIP area, goody bag, priority entry to theatre and masterclass sessions and refreshments.
All children aged 12 and under go free to all Foodies Festivals when accompanied by an adult.

Tickets on the door:

Friday – £20.00/£18 concession
Saturday and Sunday – £22.00/£20.00 concession

Saturday, 25 October 2014

October 2014 Favourites List

What happened to Summer! Almost as soon as the September calendar page came off to reveal October, the season changed here in the UK! The temperature has dropped... and so has the rain!

Time for me to dig out the socks, boots and scarves, that's for sure!

Last October's Favourites List included some spooky bakes and cakes from Konditor & Cook and the fun I had going to see one of my favourite musicians, Johnny Marr. It therefore seems fitting that this month I have been fortunate enough to see the man play live twice; at Maida Vale and at Southend Cliffs Pavilion. Johnny has been touring his new second solo album Playland this month around the UK with European dates, a US tour and an Australian tour to follow.

I have written previously here about how Jimi Hendrix is still my all time ultimate guitarist. But he is no longer with us, and people need living heroes. 

Johnny Marr is a tremendous guitar hero of mine. His style is utterly unique, melding techniques, chords and sounds from funk, folk, and rock. He invented the sound of indie guitar music back in the 1980s by refusing to use distortion, solos, blues scales or blues chord progressions. His "clean" guitar sound, mixed with arpeggio melody picking and intricate sparkling riffs became the sound so many bands and guitar players have sought to emulate. His guitar parts sound simple, but are deceptively complex, often with strong melodic elements creating a song within a song. 

They say "never meet your heroes". I couldn't disgree more. But then, when your hero is a consummate musician, down to earth living legend and all round gentleman, I guess disappointment was highly unlikely. I can honestly say that meeting Johnny was one of the most memorable and exciting experiences of my life. Thank you very much, Mr Marr!
 

I hope you enjoy this selection of things which have kept me occupied during the month of October. 

Enjoy!

Recipes:

Mmmmmm.... Moussaka! Skillet moussaka by Simon Majumdar: http://www.simonmajumdar.com/recipes/skillet-moussaka/

A thick and rustic vegetarian soup with a little dash of luxury; mushroom barley soup with truffle oil:
http://www.bloggingoverthyme.com/2014/01/08/mushroom-barley-soup-white-truffle-oil/

Jo Romero's speedy weekday pasta supper, can be gluten free or regular pasta: www.comfortbites.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/10-minute-buttery-garlic-mushroom-pasta.html
Johnny rocking out at Southend Cliffs Pavilion

For the beginning of the new academic year - budget conscious student recipes for low carb meals: http://www.foodie.com/3143565/collections/student-budget-low-carb-dinners

Uzbek Plov is a dish that apparently Nixon would not leave Uzbekistan without the recipe for... curious? Here it is: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016811-bukharan-plov-with-beef-carrots-and-cumin-seeds

The last of the sweetcorn is still available! Grilled sweetcorn with a twist, by Nigel Slater: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jul/22/grilled-corn-with-pancette-recipe-nigel-slater
A bibimbap and bulgogi to use up your leftover veg: http://franglaiskitchen.com/bibimbap-beef-bulgogi/



A Cuban classic minced beef stew, Picadilo, with chopped tomatoes and chorizo: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016814-picadillo
Johnny Marr at Southend Cliffs Pavilion

Articles/Know How:


Interesting thoughts on how to cook more creatively and become less dependent on recipes: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/dining/how-to-plan-a-meal-from-supermarket-to-table.html

Want to know where Indian foodies go to get their spice fix? Read this (by the brilliant Zoe, AKA The Spice Scribe): http://culinaryadventuresofthespicescribe.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/where_indian_foodies_eat_restaurants_london_guide_pakistani_gujarati/

Guide to UK seasonal ingredients: http://thomasvinicombe.co.uk/what-is-in-season/

As the first term continues, here are some ideas for packed lunches which are an alternative to boring, soggy sandwiches: http://inspiration.sainsburys-live-well-for-less.co.uk/14-simple-alternatives-to-sandwiches/

Film:

The Social Network

TV:

Later With Jools Holland

BBC Radio 6 Music Live From Maida Vale (sessions from Johnny Marr, James, La Roux, First Aid Kit and Underworld)

Johnny and the band at Maida Vale
Music:

Johnny Marr - Playland (of course!)

Jon Hopkins - Immunity

The Rumour Said Fire - Dead Ends

Childhood - Lacuna


Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.