Archive for the 'Foodie Tips' Category

Borough Markets – why is there not one in Scotland!!!!!

June 23, 2010


I have heard about Borough Markets and surprisingly had never been until last Friday. And may I say I was not disappointed. Not good but great!!

Beautiful fruit and veg, fabulous cheeses, breads, meats, fish and also olives, spices, vinegar, oils and the list goes on.

Borough markets is right beside the London Bridge tube stop, very easy to get to. It is lovely, set in an old market place with inside and outside areas, cobbled streets, wrought iron work and generally a real foodie feel (but most importantly not pretentious!)

There are lovely food stalls that you can get ready to eat meals for example I had fresh pasta, mushroom filled ravioli, with a tomato sugo. They had been imported from Italy the previous day. They also sold fresh pesto from Genoa which was fantastic!

Other things on offer included huge Paellas brimming with wonderful seafood, roasted meats on lovely bread, fresh oysters shucked in front of you, vegan and vegetarian meals, organic food, fresh juices/smoothies, seafood, burgers, pies, pasties, mexican empanadas. There are also lots of lovely restaurants, bars and cafes in the streets surrounding the markets. I could have been there for hours but I only had 2 hrs!!

I bought wonderful bread – real bread – and great cheese from Neil’s Yard.

I will definitely be going back and recommend it to anyone visiting London.

Here are some photos:


Wet lettuce!! (how rude!!)

May 3, 2010

There is one thing I HATE is wet lettuce in a salad.

I am a BIG fan of a salad spinner. Often the trusty old salad spinners are left rejected in the back of the cupboard (yes I am talking about you Lisa Clay!!). If you don’t use your salad spinner – why not!! Only joking.

If you do have one, dust it off and give it a go.

Now if you are unlucky enough to be caught in a situation where you don’t have a salad spinner (no need to PANIC!!!) I have a tip for you. My friend Ida (you are a legend) opened my eyes to this little gem of a tip.

Wash your leaves and pop them into a colander to drain. Take a clean tea towel and lie it out on the kitchen bench. Take some of the leaves and distribute evenly lengthwise down the middle of the towel. Fold over the sides to cover the leaves – like a tube. Hold the ends and pull the tea towel quickly like pulling a cracker – do this a few times and voila dry lettuce!!!

Be careful not to put too many leaves in or to be a little too vigorous with the “cracker pulling” or you will end up with lettuce all over your kitchen floor (this is from first hand experience!!)

Wild Garlic update!! (and stir frying tips)

April 22, 2010

I am still very excited about Wild Garlic!!

After a few more trips down to the “veggie patch” I have collected a lot more of the fabulous stuff to play with.

I have now used it in 2 dishes.

Firstly I used it in some smoked haddock fish cakes – and a veggie “fish” cake with no fish for my dad.

Both were fab.

I also cooked a cheeky wee veg stir fry and chucked in a handful of finely sliced wild garlic at the end – winner.

Just a few wee hints for all those out there that have disappointing stir fries on a regular basis:

1. Keep it simple – stick to 2 or 3 main ingredients e.g. Snow pea, tofu and Bok choy

2. DO NOT use scary supermarket “Stir fry sauces” – YUCK!!

3. Take a trip to your local Chinese supermarket and buy some light soy, Shoaxing wine (Chinese rice wine for cooking), Oyster sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, fish sauce and Hoisin sauce. In my opinion the essentials are the light soy and Shoaxing wine.

4. Get the best quality sauces – they will last for ages and they are relatively cheap anyway. Lee Kum Kee is great,

5. A good base for a stir fry is a couple of fresh garlic cloves cut into match sticks, a thumb size piece of fresh ginger cut into match sticks (don’t use the wrinkly old piece of ginger from the bottom of the fruit bowl!).

Add a good glug of peanut oil to your wok, heat it up until it is almost smoking. If you don’t have peanut oil you can use sunflower or vegetable – do not use olive oil it will burn.

Pop in the garlic and ginger and quickly fry for about a minute (it should be starting to colour but not burn). Add a teaspoon of white sugar and fry for 30 seconds to a minute making sure the garlic/ginger is not getting to scorched. Add a good splash of Shaoxing wine (about 3 table spoons).

Cook down for a minute or two then add your chosen ingredients.

After 2 or 3 minutes add light soy (add to taste).

Easy – these flavours enhance you ingredients and do not overpower them. That is the key to stir frying.

6. Do not over cook your veg

7. Make sure your rice or noodles are ready to rock and roll – stir fry must be cooked and served immediately

8. Tofu and meet should be cooked removed from wok, then veg stir fried, then add meat or tofu back in to warm though. Do not cook altogether – it will not work.

9. Some veg cooks quicker than other veg, what I do is I add the veg which will take longer first and then add in stages taking into consideration the cooking time. Additionally think about how long the ingredient will take to cook when you cut it e.g. cut carrots very finely and add them at the last-minute. I use a speed peeler and peel strips then pile the strips on top of each other and cut into thin match sticks. Carrots cut into discs will take forever to cook.

That was a wee bit of a tangent from Wild Garlic – I think I will update the heading to include stir fry tips….