“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Friday, July 29, 2011

Down Mexico Way


is Pico De Gallo.
What is it?

How very good of you to ask, dear readers.

Pico de Gallo (literally, rooster's beak), also called salsa fresca, is a fresh, uncooked condiment made from chopped tomato, white onion, and chiles (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as lime juice and/or apple cider vinegar, fresh cilantro (coriander leaf), cucumber, radish or firm fruit such as mango.
Pico de gallo can be used in much the same way as other Mexican salsas, Kenyan Kachumbari or Indian chutneys, but since it contains less liquid, it can also be used as a main ingredient in dishes such as tacos and fajitas.
In some regions of Mexico, a fruit salad (watermelon, orange, jícama, cucumber and sometimes melon and papaya) tossed in lime juice and hot sauce or chamoy and sprinkled with a salty chili powder is also known as pico de gallo; it is a popular snack and usually sold outside schools, while the tomato-based condiment is better known as salsa picada, which means minced or chopped sauce, salsa bandera or salsa mexicana, because the colors red (tomato), white (onion), and green (chili) are the colors of the Mexican flag.

And let me tell you what - it's awesome! I love it. I just eat it by the spoonful. Never mind about chips or soft tortillas or whatnot. Just a big ol' spoonful is good enough for me. Yeah, that's right - I'm a classy guy.

So you want a recipe so you can make it for yourself? Happy to oblige.

Pico de gallo

2 cups ripe red tomatoes diced (about 4 medium tomatoes)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 small diced onion 
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 jalapenos (stems and seeds removed) diced
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients and let it sit for half an hour or more in the fridge to let the flavours get happy.
2. Serve immediately.
Will last a day in the refrigerator, though it may get extra juicy. You can drain some of the juice if you like.
Makes 2 cups

However, you can use it as an ingredient in some recipes - add a couple of teaspoonsful to burritos when filling them or throw some in tacos. Add it as a topping to a salad. A big spoonful stirred into chilli while cooking can really lift the flavour. Add some to a vegetable or tomato soup for a kick. Get creative. Plop some on to a baked potato. Go nuts.

Anyhoo... what's the new food?

Name This Food!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crop Swap

At last night's Transition Town Tenterden meeting Lizzie Power, owner of Number 75 restaurant (where the meeting was held) unveiled her new 'Crop Swap' scheme, which we are proud to be helping to launch and publicise. This morning's Kentish Express contained the following article. Please read and enjoy, dear viewer (reader?).

Click to enlarge!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Random Tuesday

Some points to ponder:

  • Aren't the 'good things that come to those who wait' just the leftovers from the people that got there first?
  • Why does the last piece of ice always stick to the bottom of the cup?
  • Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here and drink what comes out"?
  • Who was the first person to say, "See that chicken over there ... I'm gonna eat the first thing that comes out if its butt"?
  • Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet soup?
  • Why is it that if something says, "do not eat" on the packaging it becomes extra tempting to eat?
  • Wouldn't it be smart to make the sticky stuff on envelopes taste like chocolate?
  • What happens if you put 'this side up' face down while popping microwave popcorn?
  • Why isn't chocolate considered a vegetable? Chocolate comes from cocoa beans, and all beans are considered vegetables.
  • Why does shaped macaroni taste better than the normal kind?
  • Why is vanilla ice cream white when vanilla extract is brown?
  • Why is a square meal served on round plates?
  • Why do people say, "You can't have your cake and eat it too"? Why would someone get cake if they can't eat it?
  • What would happen if you were to feed a pig some bacon?
  • Since bread is square, then why is sandwich meat round?
  • Why do they call the small candy bars the "fun sizes"? Wouldn't it be more fun to eat a big one?
  • Does Hawaiian Punch actually come from Hawaii?
  • If your name is Mr. Crunch, and you joined the Navy, would you eventually be Captain Crunch?
  • 364 days of the year, parents tell their kids not to take candy from strangers, yet on Halloween, it's encouraged! Why is that ? 
  • What do vegetarians feed their dogs?
  • Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
  • What did cured ham actually have?
  • If people say if you eat dessert before dinner it will ruin your appetite, won’t eating dinner before dessert ruin your appetite for dessert?
  • If you drink Pepsi at work in the Coke factory, will they fire you?
  • Why do they put Canadian bacon on Hawaiian Pizza?
  • If you eat regular Rice Krispies with chocolate milk, will it taste the same as eating Coco crispies with regular milk?
  • On a hamburger bun, why is the top bun always bigger than the bottom one?
  • Can angels eat devils food cake?
  • Why do black olives come in cans and green olives come in jars?
  • Why do they call them "Animal Crackers" when they're not even crackers...they're cookies?
  • How fast do hotcakes sell?
  • Why does Grape-Nuts cereal contain neither grapes nor nuts?
  • If you accidentally ate your own tongue, what would it taste like?
  • If Pringles are so good that "once you pop, you can't stop" why do they come with a resealable lid?
  • What came first, the fruit or the color orange?
  • Where in the nursery rhyme does it say Humpty Dumpty is an egg?
  • If white wine goes with fish, do white grapes go with sushi?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dining Out

Well, it's been a bit hectic recently what with one thing and another so I have not been blogging as frequently as I could have been. However, whenever I've been out to eat I've been taking pics, so now I need to sort through what I have and publish a few, along with some recommendations. Here goes!

On Father's Day we had a cracking lunch at a pub in Great Chart called The Hoodener's Horse.
A 'hoodener', by the way, is sort of like a Morris Dancer, but also a tad like a Mummer. In Hoodening the plot of the play-acting-musical-thingy always involves a horse, usually portrayed as a tired old nag exhausted by the farm labour. For more insight, see http://www.dealhoodeners.org.uk/

Chris had fajitas! Ay caramba!

My spicy Mexican omelette which had peppers and onions and mushrooms.

Roast beef and all the trimmings.

Individual Banoffee Pie

Spotted Dick and custard!

A few days later we had occasion to stop in at The Bull in Rolvenden, which is under new management. The decor was great, the food was pretty tasty, but the atmosphere I found a little stilted, which was a pity.

Another omelette, mushrooms again.

Big cheese and pickle baguette!

Matt had a burger.

Loved the loo!

At Tentertainment I was given a couple of Cafe Rouge vouchers, and so a few days later Laura and I stopped by there for a bite of lunch...
Laura had the Chicken Caesar Salad...

Mine was the baguette with hummus, rocket and raosted red peppers. Yum.

We have also eaten (again) at The William Caxton (twice). Can't help it, it's just so good...

Fish and chips!

Spicy 3-bean chili, with rice. They are not kidding. Whoo it's spicy, but delicious.

And again...

Laura's ginormous Caxton Club Sandwich, which I had to help her with, being eyed up by Tikki the Malamute.

I had the amazing Fish Finger Buttie. Two doorsteps of granary bread and homemede fish goujons inside with tartare sauce. Wow.

Well folks, that's got you all caught up. Kooshti Sante!

Broader Than Broadway

So last time I asked the question... what the heck are these?

Both Patricia Wilson of Passionate Food (who should know, really) and my sister Carolyn correctly answered

"Broad Beans!"

Now, I can hear some of you saying hang on a minute Jeff - whaddya mean Broad Beans? Well, the broad bean, or Vicia Faba to give it its Latin name, is also known as the Field Bean, Fava Bean, Bell Bean or Tic Bean.  As it happens, the word 'fava' is Italian for 'broad', so there you go. 

What can one do with a jolly old broad bean? Well, I suppose I could do a Hannibal Lecter and give you a recipe for Fava Beans with Liver. (As you may or may not recall, Lecter told FBI Agent Clarice Starling in 1991's The Silence Of The Lambs that he had once eaten the liver of a census taker with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Well, why wouldn't he? He was a nut job. He was also a psychiatrist, and a very clever one at that, because he knew that fava beans, liver and Chianti are three of the 'forbidden foods' for patients taking MAO inhibitors. Clever clever.)

But I will do no such thing. Let's do something altogether more exciting, eh?

Broad beans gravitate towards pork, and are often found mingling with bacon and luxurious hams like pancetta. Vegetarian beans like a bit of wine and butter, and maybe a sprinkling of parsley or mint. Baby beans are boiled for 5 minutes and eaten with the skin on, but older ones like to cook more, then have skins peeled. Try this: toss cooked broad beans, boiled potatoes and pasta, and some green pesto in a pan, then drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with some hard cheese.

How about a bit of seafood?

Broad Bean and Tiger Prawn Pilau

225 g shelled and cooked tiger prawns
280 g shelled organic broad beans
225 g long grain rice
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 large organic onion, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Lightly fry the onion and garlic in the oil in a large pan. Add the spices and cook gently until the onion has become tender. Stir in the rice and cook for another minute. Add 600 ml of water, season with salt and pepper to taste and bring to the boil. Next add the broad beans and reduce the pan to a simmer. Cover and leave for 10 minutes. After this time add the prawns and then leave for another 5–10 minutes, or until the rice has become tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Add more hot water to the pot during cooking if necessary. Stir in the coriander and adjust the seasoning.

Okay folks, what's the new food?

Name This Food!


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