Hipster garlic

Garlic is a most important ingredient. It’s rare in our house we don’t use it. Whether it’s starting a tomato sauce by frying an onion or crushing into teryaki sauce it’s unthinkable to cook without it. You shouldn’t taste it in the dish, but it rounds out the finished product nicely.

The example above was acquired at the food festival in cardiff bay for a whopping £2.50. It’s from the Pyrenées and I’m sure it’ll be worth at as soon as we’ve eaten the garlic I got from the Italian deli. I blame the TV chefs of the ’80s who woke British cuisine up and stole everyone elses. Food in the UK is not streets ahead of where it used to be.

We also had Keralan fried chicken from Purple Poppadom for lunch which is always good.

Modern Preserver – Kylee Newton

Modern PreserverToday was a good book day. My first acquisition was by Kylee Newton on preserving. Back when I lived in London, I used to make the regular trek to the badlands of Hackney and Broadway Market to acquire one of her amazing Newton and Pott chutneys or jams, always classics with a twist.

Very happy now to have the book!

It’s easy to acquire from Amazon.


The quest for BBQ spare ribs

BBC Barbecue spare ribsSaturday was a win again at the farmer’s market. As well as scoring some excellent broad beans and lovely Crafty Devil beer, Charcutier Ltd again had an offer on their spare ribs so the quest was on to cook them even better! This time, I went for this recipe from the BBC:

I’m now a big fan of poaching ribs before cooking. It makes the meat so tender!

The sauce in the recipe was fine, ketchup and soy sauce being the base of most of this kind of sauce, however, I spruced it up with:

  • 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder

And probably some other bits (cumin?) that I forget. The result was a sauce with a slightly more complex flavour and more depth.

Will definitely use this recipe as a base again!




Dusty Knuckle Dessert Calzone

Peach, Strawberry and White ChocolateI normally don’t write about the wonderful street food we have in Cardiff, after all, it’s not London. I’m going to make an exception this time. One of the vendors we go out of our way to visit wherever they are, within reason, is Dusty Knuckle. And this time is was their amazing calzone which blew us away.

Their pizzas are beyond anything I’d expect anywhere up to and including in posh London restaurants. The portable ovens are wood-fired clay igloos providing enough heat to blacken the hand-kneaded dough nicely at the edges, heat the ingredients through nicely and melt the mozzarella into lovely strings.

Today’s for us was proscuitto and mushroom, simple but delicious. He often supports the other vendors at Riverside Farmer’s Market on the Taff, for example using Charcutier Ltd’s wonderful hand-cured piggy goodness.

Standing there passing the time about markets, what they’re up to soon and so forth, they forced upon us one of their dessert calzones, in this case Strawberry, Peach and White Chocolate. I was hoping for the Nutella one. All I can say is “wow!”. This is not something that would have been on my radar, especially already being pretty stuffed from a savoury pizza, but it was sublime.

Will nom again!

BBC Barbecued Spare Ribs

Marinading Spare Ribs

We were at the @RCMAmarkets today stocking up on essentials like fresh broad beans, eggs and so on, when, getting my bacon roll from Charcutier I happened to spy that he had half price spare ribs.

Thinking that’s tonight’s barbecue sorted (it’s not raining in Cardiff today, oddly), my next task was a recipe. Eschewing American cuisine and web sites, the BBC came up with this by Antony Worrall Thompson:

Nothing particularly mystical about this recipe, it’s the usual ketchup, soy, honey and other bits, but as it’s sitting there marinading right now, the smells are just right. The recipe also says to boil for an hour or so in the marinade and water so I’m hopeful that the meat will be tender. Fingers crossed!

Wild Garlic Pesto

Wild Garlic PestoFor some reason, I bought some wild garlic from the farmer’s market on Sunday. At a loss to know what to do with it, I made pesto.

  • Bunch wild garlic
  • Similar bunch of parsley
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 60g parmesan
  • 150ml olive oil

This is a minimalist version of the Great British Chefs recipe.

As an addendum, with some local input, I’ve found a vast area of wild garlic locally and now have a small carrier bagful to do things with. The BBC seems quite light on recipe suggestions. Got any?

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Chatsworth Road Market

IMG_0740Within central London, this is one of the few “real” markets I know of. There are plenty of nice coffee shops around, notably 46b Espresso Hut and L’épicierie from where I get my olive oil from the barrel. I tend to go there to visit The Dark Knights of Cholestorol purveyors of fine cheeses, today’s booty being a firm, creamy Italian mountain cheese whose name immediately left my head. Good though! Today also produced some lovely chutney from Urban Preserves, some kedgeree for lunch and could have given us local breads or fine olive oil from Spain, farm meats and some lovely art from Fur, Feather and Tails.

Contrast this with Broadway Market which is just enough inside the hipster catchment to sport even more coffee, gastropubs, designery clothing and so on. Oh, and the wonderful London Fields Brewery close by. Nice in the summer, and a nice stroll on the canal from Haggerston but Chatsworth Road just seems more real.

Got any unsung markets near you?