Monthly Archives: September 2010

Fizzy water from a park fountain – only in Paris!

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Water fountains,  given to us by the ancient Romans, are finally having a re-vamp.   As of this morning, Parisians now have access to free fizzy water from a fountain in the Jardin de Reuilly in south-east Paris.

The Guardian reports the story in more detail, but in short it is the first fountain to have carbon dioxide injected into the tap water, and it’s all in aid of trying to reduce the amount of bottled water bought in the French capital.

Sounds like a great idea – I wonder how long it will be before we are sipping bubbles from the fountain in Trafalgar Square – Boris?

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Fish crisis? Guest recipes from James Martin: It’s Tuna Tuesday…

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Despite the well-known tradition for eating fish on a Friday, a whopping 15.4million Brits who used to eat fish on a Friday no longer do so.  According to a poll by John West, confusion around cooking times and techniques, and a fear of choking on bones are contributing factors to this decline.

With this in mind, the tuna brand has kick-started a new initiative dubbed Tuna Tuesday, to encourage Brits to eat more fish, which will be  fronted by Chef James Martin.  “The UK Food Standards Authority suggests we should all be eating two fish meals a week for our health. But with the decline of the Friday fish supper, and fears about how to cook fish correctly, many of us are failing to meet this target”, stated James.

Other reasons cited for the steady decline in Fish Friday are confusion over how to prepare it and fear of injury.  Worryingly, the research revealed some shocking findings:

  • 2.7 million Brits don’t eat fish because they are scared they will choke on the bones
  • 2.4 million don’t eat fish because they don’t like the eyes
  • 1.8 million don’t eat fish because they are worried they won’t cook it properly
  • And incredibly, more than 400,000 don’t eat fish because they or their kids have seen Finding Nemo!

If you are one of the many that is worried about how to prepare fish, then buy it from a fish mongers and ask them to prepare it for you; if you are worried about not cooking your fish properly, just think of sushi –  it’s fine to eat it raw, so as long as your fish is super fresh, you will be fine however you cook it.

If you can’t be sure how fresh your fish is, then you can always try canned fish – John West has in fact just extended its successful range of No Drain Less Mess tuna to include Tuna Chunks and individual portioned snack packs.

To help inspire you to go out and cook more fish, James Martin has devised some great recipes using canned tuna, two of which I have included below – so enjoy.

Potato and Crème Fraiche Rosti with Tuna and Goat’s Cheese

Makes: 4 Rostis

Ingredients:

2 x 130g John West No Drain Tuna Steaks with a little spring water

1 large baking potato (about 400g)

4 tablespoons thick crème fraiche

2 egg yolks

40g Butter

300g goats cheese log sliced into 12 (3 per portion).

Method:

  • Peel, wash and dry the potato and grate into a bowl. Place on a clean tea towel and squeeze out the water.
  • Put into a bowl with the crème fraiche, egg yolks and seasoning and mix well.
  • Melt the butter in a pan, divide the mixture into 4 flat cakes and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
  • Top with the John West Tuna and slices of goat’s cheese and place under the grill to brown.
  • Remove from the grill and serve on its own or with a dressed green salad.

Tuna with watercress, asparagus and crispy onions

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 x 130g John West Tuna Steaks with a little olive oil

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rings

4 medium sized eggs

2 heads baby little gem lettuce, stalk removed

50g fresh watercress

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cooked

For the dressing

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Method

  • Place a sauté pan on a medium heat and add the olive oil and sauté the onion slices until golden brown and crispy. Put onto kitchen paper and allow to cool.
  • To make the dressing, place all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk well, season to taste and set aside.
  • Bring a pan of salted boiling water to the boil, break the egg into a cup, whisk the water to a whirlpool and lower the egg into the middle and poach for 3 to 4 minutes or until cooked. Repeat this process for all the eggs.
  • Separate the leaves of the little gem lettuce, put into a bowl with the watercress and drizzle with half the dressing. Add the John West Tuna and toss lightly together.
  • Place the warm asparagus on the plate. Put the mixed tuna salad on top then add the poached egg.
  • Pile the onion rings on the plate and drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve.

Guest recipe Levi Roots: reggae reggae mango nut bread

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Not content with the success of his reggae reggae sauce, Dragons den chef and entrepreneur, Levi Roots has recently launched a new range of snacks.  Reggae reggae peanuts and cashews are now available to buy nationwide in Tesco and ASDA, priced at £1.29 for a 90g bag and in Holland & Barrett stores priced at £1.39.

Highlighting that nuts are not only great for snacking but can also be used as an ingredient in Caribbean Cuisine, Levi Roots has created a mango nut bread recipe using the reggae reggae nuts and has donated the recipe to Goodwins Gastro Gossip, so please let me know what you think if you try it!

Levi Roots Mango Nut Bread

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients

  • 1/2 can margarine, melted
  • 6 oz sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 16 oz all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 oz mango, cubed
  • 4 oz Reggae Reggae Peanuts & Cashews, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F/190°C.
  2. Mix margarine, sugar, eggs and lime juice. Combine thoroughly with dry ingredients.
  3. Stir in mango and peanuts.
  4. Scrape batter into a 20cm x 10cm x 7cm / 8″ x 4″ x 3″ loaf pan.
  5. Bake until done or when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean

The Levi Roots product range includes his famous Reggae Reggae sauce, ketchup, cooking sauces, flavoured chicken and cookery books including ‘Caribbean Cuisine Made Easy’.  Levi also recently presented a BBC TV series on Caribbean Cooking.

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Galvin’s Bistrot de Luxe celebrates 5 years with a special bday menu

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It’s great to make year one as a new restaurant, but it’s really impressive to make five. Against the odds of the economic climate, Bistrot de Luxe celebrates its 5th birthday this month, at the same time as being voted second favorite restaurant in Hardens London Restaurants 2011.

Oozing with a passion for French food, michelin starred brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin’s mission for their first solo venture was to bring French bistrot style cooking, interesting wine, a vibrant atmosphere and excellent value for money to Baker Street locals. Well, I’d say mission accomplished.

Chris Galvin

It is one of the only restaurants in the area to stay open seven days a week and is rammed most nights, especially on Sunday evenings when it does 60-100 covers. The food is simple yet delicious and very French, probably more French than any Brit-owned restaurant I have ever been to.

The 5th Birthday menu starts with a French 75; a punchy, yet celebratory aperitif Maison, consisting of champagne, calvados, cognac and lemon juice. This is then followed by an ample portion of ham hock and foie gras terrine with onion confit. If you have not managed to fill yourself on the starter, the main course is definitely worth waiting for. Lashings of wood pigeon and quail with girolles and glazed carrots, rich in flavour and texture, encased within a light puff pastry pithivier. The red wine jus infused with pigeon bones finishes the dish off perfectly, as a beautifully balanced plat prinicpal. The pudding of roast figs with lavender ice cream was simply sublime, and while I thought I had no room left, somehow I managed to finish it in a matter of seconds.

The sommelier’s recommendation of a Reisling, followed by a Corbieres complemented the food perfectly.

At under £20 for the menu prix fixe, Galvin really does offer excellent value for money – highly recommended!

Menu Prix Fixe
£17.50 Lunch: Monday – Saturday 12.00pm – 2.30pm / Sunday 3pm
£19.50 Dinner: Monday – Sunday 6.00pm – 7.00pm

It’s proving an extraordinary year for the rest of the group too: Windows won its first (and long-deserved) Michelin star, La Chapelle received no less than five awards in its first year (including being named Tatler Best New Restaurant 2010), and Café a Vin enjoyed a successful relaunch – the team is now blazing ahead with a new focus on organic and biodynamic wines.

www.galvinrestaurants.com
Galvin Bistrot de Luxe on Urbanspoon
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Urban jungleites seek ‘the good life’, says Buxton Water

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In a recent poll, Buxton Natural Mineral Water revealed a third of Brits would happily take a pay cut to move from the city to the countryside, with 8 out of 10 (81 per cent) citing soothing sounds of birdsong and running water as the most appealing aspect of rural life.

While the ability to grow your own fruit and vegetables received 65 and 54 per cent of the vote respectively, almost a quarter thought that rearing their own animals was particularly appealing.  Just three per cent were keen to follow in Kate Moss’ footsteps by making their own jam.

Interestingly, Buxton uses a natural filtration system for its water.  According to the British Geological Survey, this water actually fell as rain over 5,000 years ago, long before the atmosphere was polluted by any industrial activity, which ensures a much purer and fresher taste.