Tomato Soup

Tomato SoupA neighbour is going on holiday and gave us some tomatoes.

So I made soup.

Gently fry an onion and a medium carrot in olive oil for ten minutes, add 1lb of chopped tomatoes and a pint of stock (boullion in my case), a squirt of tomato puree and a small handful of basil leaves. Simmer for ten minutes then blend. Salt and a small amount of sugar to taste. I topped it off with freshly made garlic-y croutons, more basil and a quick grate of parmesan for umami.

It was good!

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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Barbecue chicken

Barbecue chickenChalk this one up as a minor fail. We happened to have some chicken thighs and drumsticks in the fridge and short of deep-frying them, oven roasting with some kind of sauce was the way to go. Googling for barbecue chicken led me to this recipe which ended up not tasting of very much at all. Next time I’ll go with this tried and tested James Martin barbecue sauce recipe. We had the leftovers for lunch.

Whither Nomr?

Sticky spicy beef
Proper Chinese food in Hong Kong!

I’ve been crazy busy, as Americans say, for the last few months but that’s eased right off and it’s time to re-examine where to go with Nomr. Some observations:

  • I’ve not been posting much of my own cooking lately. This will change!
  • Gluten-free seems to be a big thing on twitter. More or less of this?
  • The other two founders have gone off and got themselves intense jobs so it’s all me right now. Anyone care to guest blog?
  • Our Facebook followers are getting active despite Facebook’s stupidly poor reach (I do promote occasionally). Do you like the articles/recipe links being posted?
  • I’ve noticed a MASSIVE difference between British and American cooking. Do you mind a British recipe focus for now? Curse your turkey, cranberries, squash, kosher salt and scant teaspoons.
  • I have a database of 60,000 assorted recipes and an API. This could be a lot more. Would anyone like to use this, or is Google sufficient? I can add recipe rating and comments easily.
  • I’ve come to the conclusion, after my goulash foray last year, that I actually like long-form, curated articles more than recipes. They’re much more informative. Is that what you like? I certainly prefer writing them.
  • Should this be a survey? 馃檪

Feel free to leave a comment here or on the Facebook page. Thanks!

Pi day

beef and ale pieYesterday we celebrated the perverse American pi day with pie. Perverse because Americans do their dates wrong. The real pi day is obviously 31/4/15 9:26:53 etc. Also, in celebration of Weebl and Bob. Never mind. I made a beef and ale pie. Easy enough. For two with leftovers:

  • Fry one medium or two small onions with a clove or two of garlic in olive oil until softening.
  • Dry a pound of diced beef of some sort then dust with flour, add to the onions and fry until browned. (There’s argument as to whether there’s any point to browning beef but I’l let that slide).
  • Add a chopped carrot, half a dozen small mushrooms and maybe some shallots.
  • Add seasonings to taste: salt (which I always forget!), pepper, maybe some paprika, Worcestershire sauce and herbs (I have Greek mountain oregano!). It was missing something until I added about a dessertspoon of soy sauce.
  • Add an ale such as Guinness or a nice bitter until the beef is covered.
  • Simmer VERY gently on the stove for a couple of hours, or put in a casserole in a 170C oven for the same time.
  • When that’s done, put into a pie dish, put 100g grated cheddar on top, throw on an egged covering of pastry and bake at 190C for 40 minutes or so until the pastry is browned.
  • Eat!

Barbecued Spare Ribs – Fail

Spare Ribs

 

Many years ago, back in the dark ages of the 70’s before people in Britain could cook, my mum dutifully collected weekly magazines that eventually became a series of doorstop volumes called “Supercook”. From that, several family staples emerged: chicken casserole, black forest gateau, barbecued spare ribs and so on. Note they all early first letters!

Spare ribs became the main treat: cooked over several stages ending with succulent meat falling off the bone and a flavour rich tomato sauce. Since then, ribs (as well as pork belly) are usually my go-to item on a menu. Now we have an outside space and decent weather, I’ve been barbecuing often, sometimes with a jar of supermarket sauce or James Martin’s excellent sauce. Having bought some ribs and having seen this comprehensive overview pop on Nomr from The Guardian, I decided to have a go.

I tried her recipe with too much mustard and not enough moisture and it was frankly awful. The meat was OK but that was it. Avoid.

I shall however continue the quest!

7 all time favorite films about food, we are cinefoodies!

Screenshot of Tampopo by J没z么 Itami
Screenshot of the “egg scene” from the film Tampopo by director J没z么 Itami

 

Ah Cinema!聽“The Seventh Art” as聽Ricciotto Canudo聽named it, a title that is still current in many languages. What happens then when our love for food is depicted in movies? We love them more!

What do we do about it? A list!聽A list of the most awesome movies that they have story lines which revolve around food. Crazy, sexy, funny mouthwatering and many other wonderful or weird setups!

 

Here is 聽Nomr’s official selection of the best food films ever.

Big Night

Two brothers Primo and Secondo immigrate 聽from Italy to New Jersey in the 50’s with a dream: To have great success offering authentic Italian food in their restaurant which is called “Paradise”. 聽For some strange reason though their customers don’t care much about their dishes, they seem to prefer spaghetti and meatballs and other Americanized versions of Italian food.

Their main competitor Pascal, who they have no respect for, is doing 聽really well serving Americanized 聽“Italian style food”. In his desperation Secondo goes to Pascal for help….

A really heartbreaking but also funny movie with 聽great performances by Isabella Rossellini, 聽Allison Janney, Stanley Tucci聽 and Tony Shalhoub聽.

Jiro Dreams Of Sushi

Jiro Ono is considered the best Sushi chef in the world, this is his story. Japan his 聽country has declared him a national treasure and he is awarded with three Michelin stars. Be a witness of 聽how disciplined and hard working his staff is but also feel the weight on his first son’s shoulders who is gonna take over the business one day.

See him say that after all these years he hadn’t achieved perfection. Amazing documentary about an amazing sushi chef.

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

A cinematic masterpiece written and directed by聽Peter Greenaway. Features great performances by (Sexy as hell) Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon聽and Tim Roth.

A bookseller in a romantic relationship with the wife of a barbaric/sadistic mobster, 聽engage in all sort of sexual activities 聽in a restaurant’s hideouts 聽with the silent permission of the cook.

The story revolves around sex, food, sadistic urges, long tracking scenes and it takes a dark turn it the end..

Eat Drink Man Woman

This movie hails from Taiwan and it’s about a chef Mr Chu and his three unmarried daughters. New meets old and everything revolves around the Sunday dinner…

Ridiculous trailer follows 馃檪

Sideways

This is about wine apparently but what’s good food without good wine right? Two friends embark on a road trip to the Californian wine country.

They will meet two women and will connect romantically with them, did I forget to mention that one of the guys is getting married in a week? Oh dear.

A movie about, wine, love, aspirations, depression and many other things. Paul Giamatti delivers a brilliant perfomance as always in this one.

Julie and Julia

Based on two real life stories and two women. One is Julia Child the famous American chef and TV persona, and the other is Julie Powell who took a challenge to cook 524 of Julia Child’s recipes in 365 days…

Tampopo

You have heard of spaghetti westerns right? This is a noodle western.聽聽Gor艒 聽a lorry driver and his sidekick gun stop at a roadside noodle shop and after they rescue the owners son from getting beat up, they rescue Tampopo herself (The noodle shop owner ) by some ill mannered customer.

Tampopo proves to be not a very great chef and聽Gor艒 decides to help her. As their story evolves we are treated with other strange stories about food…

 

 

Do you have any favorite movies that we’ve missed? Share them in the comments bellow!

From Asparagus to Jersey Royals! Spring food in England.

English asparagusAutumn is like lady bountiful, great food every where. But for me, spring is the one, when we’re emerging from an impossibly long winter, blinking into nice light evenings, sitting outside the pub or cafe, maybe, and enjoying the coming of the summer. Oh, and the seeds for autumnal bounty are sprouting. For me, the joy of spring was reflected partly in the bounty from this week’s farmers market and partly from the greengrocer:

  • English asparagus. Early in the season, costing maybe 拢3.50 from the farmers market, later on, 拢1 from the supermarket for a bunch
  • Jersey Royal potatoes. Those creamy, earthy nuggets slathered in butter
  • Rhubarb. Preferably the slim, forced type, cook to a compote and then put in a crumble

Then, the usual farmer’s market bounty:

  • A chicken!
  • Cavolo Nero, kale, purple sprouting broccoli
  • Carrots
  • 3-seed brown bread like a brick
  • Eggs. Always better than anything you can get from a supermarket
  • Sausages and bacon, the same
  • The butter was disappointing!

So, 2-3 days locavore-ish eating, for not much more than we’d pay in the supermarket. Score!

Do you use a farmer’s market? What do you like to get? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Goulash London style and a heresy

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A friend said he was cooking this which immediately gave me a yearning.

First thing was that my paprika was supermarket and stale, so I ventured to the Spice Shop in Brighton, purveyor of all things herby, spicy and tasty.

Then it starts getting religious: is it a soup or a stew? Sour cream or not? Served with potatoes, rice, pasta, dumpling or some form of bread? Whose grandmother is the one true queen of goulash?

Ultimately, it seems to me at least, it boils down to distinguishing it from any other beef stew and that means NO WINE and NO tomatoes, however tempting that may be. The guardian recipe recommends faffing with green peppers, I didn’t and they were fine. Use lots of onions, they cook right down to the volume doesn’t matter. For a pound of meat, at least three, fried gently. IMG_1332

Hungarian joke: “what do you want for dinner tonight to go with your sour cream?”

Having stocked up on shiny new paprika it was disappointing to find that my caraway was dead. The end result was good enough but we both thought “needed mushrooms”.

Last night I did it again my way:

  • Put in a bunch of quartered button mushrooms
  • Used most of a bottle of red wine (Hungarian! Undrinkable!)
  • Use a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Threw in a handful of pearl barley just because
  • Bought fresh caraway seeds
  • Scored beef shin from Morrisons which was fatty, marbled and so tender.
  • I threw in some garlic at the onion frying stage
  • I put a tablespoon of flour in with three of the paprika when coating before frying. Threw the unused in anyway
  • I made herby (with Greek oregano!) dumplings

I liked mine better.