It’s Thanksgiving week. Some of you will be celebrating “Friendsgiving” while others fly across country or ocean to join family. I have done my fair share of both. Some will be the family others fly to. It’s all about getting together.
I remember my first Thanksgiving here in London seven years ago. I was living as a lodger so had no kitchen, but I was utterly homesick so I had to do something. I asked my English cousin if I could cook at her flat and was grateful she said yes. The kitchen was tiny and we didn’t eat until 10pm as I remember, but it was wonderful. There were only six of us around the table but we still cooked a whole turkey. Three Americans and three Brits. I made the cranberry sauce last minute while my husband, then boyfriend, tried to explain cricket to our American guests.
One of the Americans that year was a dear friend of mine from the University of Oregon. She was doing her MA at the LSE. Just yesterday she wrote to ask for my cranberry sauce recipe from that year. This made me so happy. The memory of that day is not just mine. It’s a shared memory. A feast is special because it has to be shared. Who cares if it’s not perfect, it brings us together! It’s Thanksgiving, not “Perfect Food Day”.
Happy New Year 2014!!! 2013 was busy and exciting for me and the final 3 months were the busiest of all! My greatest accomplishments of 2013 was to finally start cooking school in September. My life-long desire to put my passion for food into action has finally come to life and I couldn’t be happier.
Eight weeks at Leith’s School of Food and Wine has showed me I am doing exactly what I should do but I am here to report that I have been dog tired, as in can’t even lift my head up off the floor to scratch at the flee behind my ear dog tired. But who cares?! I have never been so happy as I am in chef’s whites merrily cooking or learning techniques and theory involving food. I have learned a million new skills and to do almost everything I have ever done in the kitchen the right way instead of the sloppy way. Just to give you an idea, here are a few examples:
I have learned to fillet a fish, joint a chicken, scramble, bake, fry, poach, scramble, and boil eggs, whip meringues, pipe icing, brown meat, congeal custard, make a million kinds of pie pastry, whip cream, aerate flour, make choux into eclairs, gougers and profiteroles, whip, fold and cream cakes, render fat, temper chocolate, froth mousse, deep fry goujons, wield a pastry, filleting, boning, santoku, office and fruit knife, bake fruit, roast everything, split curds and whey, baton, chop, dice, concasse, julienne and slice every vegetable imaginable (including my fingers) and bake simple breads.
I will admit though that as my standards sky rocket in the kitchen at school, my standards at home have slipped into an abyss of quick noodles and scrambled eggs, hence the lack of posts! Not to mention an endless house hunt which has finally come to a moving date – now! But never mind that, let’s start the new year off right and as we mean to go on! Back to regular posts courtesy of more time on my greedy little hands. Yippee!
I have been on and off obsessed with sweet potatoes and now I’m on again. Sweet potatoes are versatile and interesting although often over looked. Let’s start with a dauphinoise shall we?
Sweet Potatoes Dauphinoise
Preheat oven to 200c/400f/gas mark 6
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 500g)
1/2 large white onion
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
handful of fresh or dried thyme, stripped from the stalks
400 ml whole milk (can be alternated with double cream but not single cream)
Peel and thinly slice onions
and put into a saucepan with milk. The milk should be enough to just cover the onions when they are laying flat as they can in the pan. Crush garlic and add to the pan.
Kale, kale, kale – it’s everywhere. I say for good reason. Rich in colour and packed with vitamins, kale has an earthy, slightly bitter taste that goes very well with rich food. For example, mac and cheese! I came across this idea while trolling the net for ways to use kale. I have added a serious kick to it with some cayenne pepper. Talk about a winter warmer…