Excuse the Picture, The Pasta was STUNNING!

I’m watching Heston Blumenthal stuff a Cod’s head with Veal Mince at the moment, a recipe from Charles Elmé Francatelli a famous chef from the 1800’s and Queen Victoria’s favourite dish apparently!

Whilst in New York recently a number of meals had been organised to ‘feed the troops’, along with some Rooftop Bars to enjoy the Manhattan Skyline and soak in the atmosphere of the city that never sleeps, it was an amazing experience.P1030939New York has strong ties to Italy (amongst other countries) and that was very evident from some of the restaurants we ate in, although one of the stand out dishes came from Tao, a Pan Asian establishment with attached Night Club.LKwmP6YITLOkh4Bk00BFCQThe menu seemed endless, Hot Endamame, Chefs’ Sushi, Chicken Gyozas, Pan Roasted Halibut, Dry Aged Sirloin and Broccoli Drunken Vegetable Pad Thai the flow of food just didn’t seem to stop. It was all beautifully presented and very tasty indeed. The restaurant was huge, and floor walkers with radio communications kept in contact with the Chef’s to ensure the food was cooked at the right time and that no table was left waiting for the next course.Photo 30-05-2018, 10 47 36All the food was good but one dish was just amazing, the ‘Satay of Chilean Sea Bass with Miso Dressing’. It does not look much but the texture and flavour was sublime, perfectly cooked fish (to the point as Rick Stein might say), it was silky, moist and packed with flavour, my favourite of the whole evening and in the top three of the trip.428rK9AOS42cIKw99DmkdwThe following night we were at Cecconi’s in DUMBO! That’s Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass, a restaurant that looks over at Manhattan from Brooklyn, the other side of the river, we were to follow dinner with another rooftop bar but it was raining so it was not quite rooftop!VIW0Zgo0Q8ev5ObyMwBsGQThis was Saturday evening and I had spent the day eating on the Brooklyn Culture and Food Tour, the location of Cecconi’s was our last stop on the tour and over the road was the Chocolate Shop I had been in a few hours earlier with my foodie chum!

I was going to face a new challenge over the next couple of days, I had run out of my Metformin, used to help the Insulin I inject every morning get absorbed by the body so less carbs was the order of the day, and hopefully I had enough in me to get home (I did)!G2%X5mLsR52W5TGXioTk9ACecconi’s was a typical Italian restaurant, homely, cosy and carb heavy with Risotto and Gnocchetti but luckily there was Chicken on the menu so I was sorted, the starters included Calamari Fritti with Lemon Aioli and Chilli which was very tasty.

The stand out dish for me is in the previous picture, Burrata, Heirloom Beetroot and Aged Balsamic Vinegar, simple but the flavours just sung.fullsizeoutput_78e.jpegNow onto Il Cortile situated in Little Italy, right next to Chinatown! Over 11 dishes on the menu for our group at this 40 year old traditional restaurant which has a reputation for amazing Italian food cooked exceptionally well. Everyone commented on the Antipasti, the Baked Clams and Fried Prawns were really good, the Roasted Italian Loaf was something new, never heard of that before!ulhzrx1oqpmsuckipidgg.jpgI went for the Veal Scaloppini for mains, it was very tasty but I think the Veal could have been cooked less, it was a bit to over for my liking but still nice.poritib1rwmlwbaypql6bq1.jpgThe stand out dish was definitely the Capellini with Peas and Prosciutto, it was amazing, absolutely stunning and the picture is the featured image of this post, you have to visit just for this dish, its that good.s8BgBI3TTf6U0737ZOQfVAI did gain a few ounces over the 4 or so days and had the chance to taste some great food. New York is mad, manic and full-on, but you do slowly get used to it, the range of cuisine is enormous and you can get fed for not a lot if you know where to look.


………………………………….Until next time……………………L8ers………………….






Food…..A Trip to New York

I’ve been very fortunate over the past 8 – 9 months, with lots of hard work achieved a couple of paid ‘reward’ trips through work. The first was Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi Island, the flights were hard work but the effort was worth it, time to visit sites of personal interest in-between organised entertainment, including a Police Bike Escorted Tour across the City on the back of Harley Davidson Motorbikes as well as high end restaurants and a personalised tour of the Petronas Twin Towers!!Photo 31-12-2017, 15 43 14More recently, just a week ago, the destination was a few days in New York, a place our family was due to visit last Christmas but due our son being ill we had to cancel, so the trip was on again, but the family was going to be staying at home this time.IMG_1563It was by sheer chance that the trip coincided with the 9Th Avenue International Food Festival, a two day event that was started many years ago by Lili Fable that attracts THOUSANDS of visitors over the 2 days it is held, she is still active at the 3rd generation family run Greek ‘Poseidon’ pastry shop, they still make Phyllo Pastry by hand, and I had the pleasure of meeting her and her retired husband on this trip, a true honour.IMG_1560We were fortunate to have a ‘free day’ which provided the opportunity to look at other food options and I was lucky enough to discover ‘The Brooklyn Culture and Food Tour’, a 4 1/2 hour excursion across the river to see another borough of New York, and experience the imigrant food culture that had developed over the years, this trip was working out really well and I discovered a fellow foodie in our group who was keen to join in, perfect.+2z3EgKqRVC3TTdF%6MsNAThe morning of the Brooklyn food tour was wet, very wet, in fact it rained almost the whole day. Luckily for me and my new foodie chum our tour was in a very comfortable mini-coach, which took us over the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn where we started things off with BALLs, Meat Balls!26C3A472-D883-4EFA-BC9A-A10EFCBE3832This establishment had pedigree, being owned by chefs with Michelin star experience, and the Balls were GREAT. The restaurant concept was explained by the Manager, we were to bump into the ‘BALL’ brand again during the Food Festival the following day! You pick your preferred ‘BALL” add sauce and away you go, but there are more options including Balls Benedict, all available until after 2:30 a.m. in the morning!soTVAM6cRvOhFx1KHNNmWgJust around the corner was another ‘Ball’ establishment, this time Middle Eastern and Falafel were the order of the day at OASIS in Williamsburg. They were delicious and just cooked, if Falafel are older than 20 minutes then bin them Rick explained, as he pointed out the closeness of both the restaurants to the Metro and constant footfall. Great food and passing traffic enables both these restaurants to do a roaring trade. I have NEVER seen Labneh for sale, another first!creaxbC1T4W6JtgWqaNflAThe next stop took us to Poland, another first and we ploughed through locally made Sausage and mashed Potato, Pierogi and various other delicacies at Krolewskie Jadlo (King’s Feast), which were really tasty. The sausage was nicely spiced and had a firm texture the mash smooth and silky.mzJ1MLkbSkit4R2bxomZtAPierogi is something I have always wanted to try and luckily it was on the menu, stuffed with Potato and Cheese they were absolutely yummy, crispy cases and soft fluffy insides.7Xm%QBV%RxO2Xg4wt8tTCgAmerica seems to like Pizza, it’s probably a staple of the diet and there were lots of small Pizza stores all over the city selling flabby looking cardboard bases, coated with not particularly nice looking toppings!N8Go9i6uQSeNvY1tySxYMATable 87 was a ‘proper’ Pizza Restaurant, we watched the artisans stretch, spin and coax the freshly hand made bases before adding a San Marzano Tomato Sauce, and Fresh Mozzarella before putting into a 500Deg coal fired oven! They skilfully watched the Pizza  cook and turned to ensure an even cook, removing when ready and finishing with fresh Basil and Olive Oil.Koe6DDdTTxejMfykwoSR%AThe result was outstanding, very crisp base, full of flavour, a beautiful Tomato Sauce, chewy Mozzarella Cheese and the waft of Basil which had been wilted by the heat of the Pizza and nothing else, Wowzer!JlTjrQbCSLu4AciMXHO4og What do the Italians excel at? Cakes. The next stop was an artisan bakery which had shelves of amazing looking cakes, pastries and Marzipan crafted fruit, our next taster was Cannoli and my they were really very good indeed, freshly made and filled with slightly sweetened Ricotta Cheese.18E0566F-6B9F-484D-9C9B-674C46E62A9CThis establishment had been the in the neighbourhood for years, in fact as we had driven round Brooklyn Rick was explaining the importance of each area and how they had developed over time, it was really fascinating.pxP2Jl1iSjSGRFd46BvosAThe last stop was DUMBO! Down Under The Manhattan Bridge Overpass, and we were all well fed and educated on all things Brooklyn, a borough I personally think has a lot to offer and would be missed by many visitors to New York as most will go for the more ‘famous’ sites.P1040002Jacques Torres is also known as Mr Chocolate and we were to try a couple of his ‘specials’, very tasty they were too. We had the option of walking back over Brooklyn Bridge but the weather was still pretty poor so any photographic opportunities would not have produced any where near decent results as you can see from the couple of touristy pictures I took whilst the opportunity arose.P1040003The food tour can be found HERE and it was worth every $, Rick our guide was very knowledgeable and made the 4 1/2 hours really interesting both from a food and culture perspective so if you ever find yourself looking for something different to do whilst in the Big Apple, give it it a go, its great fun.W42_419th_ave_food_fest_FP.13642321_stdOMG! Argentinian, Brazilian, Cajun, Cuban, Spanish, Dominican, Ethiopian, Greek, Haitian, Irish, Moroccan, Ukrainian, and many other kinds of cuisine are being cooked during the annual two-day festival on 9th Avenue in New York during May! Apart from the nights out on rooftops bars and fantastic restaurants I had managed to squeeze in Dr Laser (holographic studios) and the Brooklyn Food Tour already and it was the last full day in New York.DSCF3453The morning had taken us to Grand Central Station for a tour, followed by a tasty brunch at Cipriani Dolci and I did have breakfast that morning, something I was to later regret! Our tour guide helped me find some Graham Crackers, a present for our son to make some ‘proper s’mores’ and during the conversation I remembered the Food Festival, which happened to start just around the corner from he lived so he walked me to the start and introduced me to the founders of the event, owners of the Greek Restaurant Poseidon, it was great hearing of their enthusiasm to get visitors to come to Hells Kitchen and taste the world!DSCF3483It was VERY busy, I remembered my foodie friend and dropped him a text message, he was on his way within minutes and on arrival made similar comments to me, OMG, what a MASSIVE festival, there were thousands of people walking up and down 9th Avenue smelling and tasting food from all over the world.DSCF3475Unlike the previous day it was hot and sunny, with a threat of a thunder storm we hoped the rain would stay away and it did, we wandered up and up and up looking at all the different cuisines on the way. Unfortunately I was stuffed from breakfast and brunch so it was smelling and drinking water for me as we were out again that evening!DSCF3457We had never seen so much food from so many different countries, it was overwhelming but in a positive way, it was sheer chance that the even coincided with the trip and we were both so glad it did.DSCF3468As we were walking back my friend was tempted at one particular stand selling ‘Fried” Ice-Cream, yep you read that correctly, tennis ball sized and covered in breadcrumbs before before frying and crispy brown and icing sugar added!DSCF3488I declined the opportunity but it was apparently absolutely delicious, they certainly smelled very good indeed. we had walked what seemed miles in the heat but had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, on neither of us will every forget so it ever you find yourself in New York around the week after Mothers Days, check your dates and try and get to this awesome event, and maybe do the Brooklyn Tour as well.


…………………………Until next time……………..L8ers………………






Quick & Dirty, because I had too – North West Carolina Pork Shoulder My Way

WP_20140803_19_03_14_ProMy Wife (of 25 years this August), had to go into hospital recently for a minor operation, just before last weekend in fact. My weekends are typically spent watching, reading relaxing and cooking in between playing with my 8 year old and trips out. I had been ordered by the Romanian nurse that that weekend had to be spent making sure the boss did nothing whilst recovering, so no time in the kitchen was to be!

On the Saturday evening we decided to have Roast Chicken on Sunday, but forgot to take it out the freezer! DOH. Sunday morning came and after some inspiration from Sunday Bruch care of Rebecca Seal, we headed off to Waitrose as my mind started to construct a dish, this had to be a speedy one as I was not allowed to leave the Boss for too Long.

WP_20140803_20_04_03_ProAs I wander around, I am mentally constructing a dish, getting inspiration from ingredients such as  North West Carolina Pork Shoulder (only needed to be shoved in the oven as it was already marinated etc.). Chicory, Coleslaw, Chilli Bacon Jam! Wait a minute Chilli Bacon Jam, never had that before so in the basket it went.

All the ingredients are in the above two pictures (White Sweet Onions have just appeared on the shelves as have Heirloom Tomatoes which you will need), the result was absolutely awesome, even though it was merely a construction job. The Coleslaw had added ingredients, Lime Zest and Juice, and some chopped Coriander and additional Black Pepper. The Chicory was partnered with a Dressing, 3 Parts Oil (Rapeseed) 1 part Vinegar (2 1/3d’s Moscatel to 1 1/3d Aged Balsamic). a Teaspoon of Dijon Mustard, Maldon Sea Salt and Pepper and well mixed and chilled.


Dress the Chicory at the very last minute, I bought some Italian Flat Breads, they are much nicer than wraps, enriched with Olive Oil and a bit more robust. Place some leaves of Dressed Chicory as a bed for the next ingredients. The Carolina Pork only needs 30 minutes in the Oven, which gives you plenty of time to quickly prepare everything, this is a really quick dish to make.


Next, spread a thin layer of the Bacon Chilli Jam alongside the Chicory, and add some thinly sliced White Onion and Tomato on top of the Chicory as above.


Finally, add the pork, then layer some of the Zesty Lime Coleslaw and finish with a decent drizzle of Sriracha sauce which is available in supermarkets or online at Ottolenghi’s.

I had achieved a couple of objectives, spending as much time with the boss as possible, but also creating another tasty meal, but really quickly. The Chicory with Dijon Mustard Dressing was awesome, and could be a meal In its own right as part of an unusual Tapas, it was really delish..

So if you loved one has to go into hospital, you can still create really tasty food in no time at all.

Until next time.   L8ers…………..

Tutts Clump Ribs & Asian Slaw – Heaven on a plate!

Another manic week over and things are looking good for the remainder of the year, a holiday in Djerba is on the cards and work is going really well.

With a change in the weather and some fantastic looking pork ribs on sale at the fave farm shop, thoughts turned to America and Jamie Oliver’s book of the same title, which features a plethora of great recipes. This is my slightly modified version of 5* Pork Ribs with Epic BBQ Sauce.


Tutts Clump is both a small village near Reading and the name of a fantastic Cider Producer. Tim Wale the genius behind the Cider was born in the village and started commercial production around 2008. The Cider replaces the apple juice used in the Rib cooking process, more about that later.

Its takes 24 hours to make this menu but the results are absolutely worth it, the result are the best ribs I have ever tasted, the boss also commented in a similar vein, please give them a try.

MARINADE – For this you need Fennel Seeds, Smoked Paprika, Orange Zest, Garlic, Dried Thyme, Brown Sugar Sea Salt & Pepper.


All the ingredients for the marinade need pounding in a pestle and mortar to make a smoothish paste. Steenbergs herbs and spices feature in most of my cooking these days, fresh, vibrant and from known sources which are at minimum Organic and many Fairtrade, they are difficult to beat.


Once the marinade is ready rub it well into the Ribs, you should find the marinade starts to soften after a time, this is exactly what should happen as it reacts with the meat. Cover with cling film and stick in the fridge for 24 hours.

EPIC BBQ Sauce – For this you need Onions, Chilli’s (I changed from the recipe here as I had Chipotle Chilli’s which add a depth and smokiness to the sauce), Garlic (lots), fresh Thyme, fresh Rosemary, fresh Coriander, Bay leaves, Cumin seed, Fennel seed, Paprika and Cloves, Oranges (zest & juice), brown Sugar, Balsamic Vinegar, English Mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, Tomato Ketchup, Apple Juice, Salt & Pepper…………Phew!  Believe me, its worth making this with or without the Ribs, its outstanding.

With a food processor, mince the Onion Garlic & Chilli’s to a smooth paste and fry gently (if you are using dried Chilli’s like me, they need soaking in warm water for at least 20 minutes to soften).

The Herbs & Spices get the processor treatment next, along with the peel of the Orange, and add to the Onion mixture along with the Brown Sugar.

Lastly, Water, the Apple Juice and Orange juice and other ‘wet’ ingredients and simmer gently for 10 mins or so.

Once the sauce is cooked you pass it through a sieve, it should look something like this.


Glossy, silky and delish.  If you sterilise a jar, you can keep the sauce for several months but once you taste it, my bet is it won’t last that long.

Next stage is for the following day so put your feet up and enjoy the evening………………………..

The Ribs go though 3 stages of cooking, all ‘low ‘n slow’. Firstly set the oven to 130 deg, the Ribs are cooked for 1 hour 30 mins with the frown face down, so the meat side is facing the baking tray and the bone, sinew side is in the air. When done, you need to create foil parcels (I lined mine with greaseproof to make sure the foil was not pierced by the bone edges), this time the ribs are turned over and smiley side is up. At this stage I used the Tutts Clump Cider instead of the apple juice, it brings something more to the dish and you need about 1/4 bottle for each rack. The foil is then sealed, and back in the oven for another 1 hour 30 mins, they will look something like this.


The next stage is to put the Ribs back in the oven having drained off the liquid to dry them a little bit, the final stage is to coat the Ribs in the sticky unctuous sauce and give them another 30 mins before they are ready to devour.


Asian Slaw With a Touch of Levant

To accompany the Ribs I planned both texture and further layers of flavour. Simple SweetCorn smothered in Red pepper Butter, Potato wedges, marinated and cooked in Ras Al Hanut and a touch of Cayenne Pepper, and the other star is Asian Slaw with a touch of Levant.


 The Asian Slaw is a taste as you go experience, you can see the Ingredients I used in the picture above. The extra flavours were provided by Pomegranate Molasses, Sumach, Yuzu Juice, Lemon Zest, Rice Wine Vinegar, Jaggery (Indian Sugar you can even get in the well known supermarket that I don’t like going too!), Ground Persian Black Lime and Rapeseed Oil.

Just finely chop equal quantities of Apple, Carrot, Onion, Cabbage and Cucumber (cut in half and remove the centre with a spoon). The dressing should follow a 3:1 ratio of Oil to Vinegar, remember that the Lemon and Yuzu Juice is also acidic so an allowance should be made for this.

Aim for a slightly sweet, slightly sharp flavour, everyones taste buds are slightly different so just experiment and see what happens, remembering its easier to add than remove.


So after another mammoth event, and quite a few ingredients a really delicious (and quite healthy) meal.  The Ribs really are awesome and work well with the slightly tart slaw.  I added some slide baby plum tomatoes to go with the corn and wedges and the main even was great.

It may seem a lot to do but in reality its a few simple stage spread over  a couple of days, try them and you won’t be disappointed.

Till next time bon appetit.