Posts Tagged ‘food blogs’

Review Of Food Blogs For October 2010 (continued)

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Continuing from the first part of my review of blogs, at Not Without Salt Ashley has been making Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter, which sounds so easy and is something I would never have thought of making, like making Homemade Nutella, which seem to be just timeless purchasing items.  How terrible and consumerist we have all become.  And her Pumpkin Rice Pudding recipe is perfect and will solve the pumpkin problem next autumn, plus also (as you will find out over next week) I have been going through a rice pudding phase myself and need to write up my efforts.

While at Orangette, Molly Wizenberg made a gorgeous sounding Rustic Plum Tart with a so simple pastry; I like plum tarts and cakes but only ever seem to buy them and never get round to making them myself, which seems strange, perhaps one day soon, perhaps?  And Gazpacho is another thing I have never made, so you never just never know.  The use of heirloom tomatoes and the bite of the sherry vinegar sound like a lovely combination – sweet and sour.

Ree at The Pioneer Woman Cooks has come up with an amazing twist on sweet potatoes, which I like to add into mash to give an extra dimension, but she has made a soulful pudding with them by making the sweet potato into a custard style filling and then covering them with a full on pecan crumble crust.  Now that’s different and I am truly intrigued by it.  I love the rich umami depth of Beef With Snow Peas which is a classic stir fried beef recipe that anyone can make at home; I like this sort of dish with some soy sauce infused with Birds Eye Chillis close to hand to dip the beef into.  Then there is Creamy Cheese Grits With Chili which are a real American piece of cuisine and are a great alternative to potatoes, like pap in South Africa or polenta in Italy, and what better to finish off with that Ree’s classic Skillet Cornbread recipe.  Well, there is one thing, she provides a link to an older recipe called Tres Leches Cake, which sounds a must – rich, moist and sweet…what more do you need in a home made cake.

While Luisa Weiss at The Wednesday Chef makes an intriguing sounding Soft Zucchini, Harissa, Feta and Olive recipe.  At Wild Yeast, Susan has been making soudough recipes with two catching my eye – Bread Crumb Sourdough and Soft Semolina Sourdough.

Elsewhere In The Blogosphere – July 2010 (Part 1)

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

With the summer fruit rolling in, Raspberry Jam is being made at A Slice of Cherry Pie, while at Cannelle et Vanille Aran is inspired by a simple bowl of frozen raspberries and bakes delicious Gluten Free Raspberry Scones and a fancy Heirloom Tomato, Rice and Almond Tart – I am a sucker for these types of simple tarts that use beautiful in-season vegetables and I like the idea of trying the unusual base for this tart.  And what could be simpler and more inspiring than the Purple Corn Muffins and Poached Salmon Salad which are gorgeously colourful, full of bright harvest-time colours.

It’s been a weird summer here in North Yorkshire, with temperatures never really rising above 15C, so I have not really felt inspired by classic summertime foods like salads and cold fish etc, sticking more to warm salads and barbecued chicken and other meats.  But Aran’s salad and the Tomato and Einkorn Wheat (or Spelt) Salad at Chocolate & Zucchini makes me feel as though I am missing something important this year.  I have already mentioned the recipe for Almond Cake With Blueberry Coulis which seems a great alternative to my own Almond Cake recipe that took inspiration from many sources, but mainly David Lebovitz.

David Lebovitz’s recipe for Caramelized White Chocolate Cakes are my kind of pudding and would go down a storm with any guests, especially amongst children.  Or returning to the summer fruits theme, Vegan Strawberry Ice cream looks and sounds to die for and on the salads line, a recipe for Classic Salad Nicoise, which is something I have always loved being a sucker for anchovies and their deep, umami and salty taste.  Then David Lebovitz has an intriguing recipe for Cornmeal Cookies that has a photo of the dough being chopped with an evil looking slice that reminds me that I must try some of the sablé recipes that I keep seeing posted on various sites; they’re just something I have never baked and I feel left out and a rural country bumpkin and so “1980s” as my daughter keeps on telling me – her current insult of choice for us out-of-date adults.

At Cooksister, there’s a posted version of South African Milktart that uses cardamom, as well as cinnamon, infused into the milk, which must be one of my favourite combinations of sweet spices.  I love cardamom and for me it is one of those misunderstood and unloved spices that should be used much more in British sweet foods, rather than being consigned to the savoury, curry-style end of cuisine.  She also cooks a whole leg of lamb on a braai with an intriguing rub all over the lamb before cooking, which is similar-but-different in concept to my less sophisticated recipe for Barbecued Lamb at Steenbergs web site.  But I do love the idea of her Coconut Tart as I am always struggling with how to imaginatively use coconut, so this sounds great with flavours that hint back to the almond cake recipes in this round up.

Now at Helen’s wonderful blog – Fuss Free Flavours – I have been inspired by her recipe and photos for Whole Wheat Walnut Bread and Matcha Muffins, which are exquisitely green in colour.  I am inspired not only to think about using matcha in sweet bakery – perhaps fudge or sablé biscuits – but I will look to adding organic matcha tea to our tea range at Steenbergs.  I know where to get it, just have been cautious about buying it as it is damn expensive.  While never having been a fan of tofu, finding the texture just too weird to take, I am inspired by Helen’s rendition of Ottolenghi’s Black pepper Tofu recipe.

There seems a lot to write about this month, so this will follow on in next couple of days…

June 2010 Food Blog Round Up

Monday, July 5th, 2010

At Chocolate & Zucchini, there is a delicious sounding recipe for sablés from Yves Camdeborde’s book Dimanche et Famille.  Clotilde Dusolier’s blog then sent me around various links on her site to several other biscuit recipes that sound fantastical, with amazing flavour combinations like Matcha Shortbread Cookies (which remind me I must do something about launching my green tea salt blend) and sablés croquants poivre et noisette (crisp hazelnut and pepper sablés), which has a wondrous flavour combination of pepper, rose water and hazelnuts that must be skirting fairly close to flavour and textural overload for the senses.  Finally, catching the end of the them of my update from last month, there is a recipe for a Rhubarb Tart With Lemon Verbena, combining another intriguing version of sweet pastry dough, plus my favourite early fruit – rhubarb – and then lemon verbena, which sounds great as a variant on lemon peel which is what I would usually use as the tart flavour for stewing the rhubarb.

At Cook Sister, there is a variation on the standard summer veg tarts that I have always cooked, called a Zucchini, Tomato Pesto Tart, which fits neatly alongside the French Tomato Tart that I found at David Lebovitz’s blog last month.  I will have a go and see if it will fit into my repertoire, even though I am not a fan of pesto, which I find tends to add an unnecessary hint of bitterness to food.  She also played with pesto for an Asparagus Salad With Pesto, which sounds an intriguing variation on the simple way we normally eat asparagus, sprinkled with a bit of salt and some butter.

At David Lebovitz’s blog, who seems to be suffering from the heat in Paris (my body temperature gauge falls apart when the temperature gets above 10oC, which is one of the reasons I failed to like living in London), he has a delicious and easy sounding Almond Cake recipe.  We like the words “easy” and phrase “hard to mess up”, but I’ll give that statement a run for its money.

Helen at Fuss Free Flavours is a women with my style of cooking, with a different way of preparing asparagus that I will definitely try next asparagus season.  A year, however, sounds a long wait for it, so I will try and rootle out some asparagus that’s still just about in season here in the north.  I think the mix of the slightly charred taste will go well with the bitter-sweet flavour of asparagus.  And she serves plain and simple with salt and butter; perfection.  And I love the idea of making your Elderflower Cordial on Midsummer Night like some sort of new age pagan ritual, plus it is basically free food that earths you to the soil.  And while never a fan of tofu, I am a fan of Ottolenghi so I will try the Black Pepper Tofu recipe although I might reduce the chile and increase the black pepper a bit as our kids will never survive that intensity of heat.

At just the food blog, there is a great and wholesome Cold Multigrain Salad that will make you a lifetime of food for lunches during the week.  And it has  next to no calories to boot.  It mixes three grains – pearl barley, wild rice and quinoa – and in the dressing melds together the umami kick of soy, with the uber sweetness of agave and cider with the heat from some chile flakes.  I reckon you could do a neat variation switching pearl barley for bulgur wheat.

Mahanandi’s recipe for Bean Sprout and Peppers makes great use of the bean sprouts that we have been growing over the last few weeks, and does something more exciting than chomping on them raw or in a salad.  I reckon that I would put a few different types of bean sprout into the mix, for example sprouted fenugreek seeds and chickpea seeds to give it more variation in texture.  And I love the colours and taste of aubergine (a.k.a. eggplant or brinjal) and the recipe for Brinjal Cilantro will get on the list for our next full on Indian meal as we are always struggling with inspiration for new flavours, rather than being unadventurous and sticking to the familiar.  When our tomatoes come out, I will have a crack at the simple Green Tomato Chutney recipe.

At Not Without Salt, there is a great Perfect Pizza At Home recipe, which is great fun family food.  I usually start by making the pizza dough and tomato base, then let the kids finish it off, so you get a random flavour, but one also that the children cannot complain about as it was their creation in first place!  I would be tempted to use a 50:50 mix of durum and bread flour rather than 100% all-purpose flour (plain flour in UK).  At Dana Treat, there’s a perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that’s worth noting as it was created with Ashley of Not Without Salt.

The theme for summer seems to be coming through as galettes and tarts, so at Smitten Kitchen there’s a gorgeous sounding Zucchini and Ricotta Galette plus some great links through to earlier galettes with the Wild Mushroom And Blue Silton one from 2006 winning a place in my dream for a new take on my classic summer tart recipes.  Her Lamb Chops With Pistachio Tapenade caught my hungry eyes and is tempting me to cook some up next weekend, yet I might be tempted to try a version with toasted pine nuts – maybe 50:50.

At The Pioneer Woman Cooks, I love the sound of Spinach With Garlic Chips as a variant on our stock in trades of Spinach With Nutmeg or Spinach With Toasted Cumin.  And The Best Coffee Cake Ever reminds me that I started trying to find the best coffee cake ever and stopped after one average attempt…laziness crept in and I must get back to it, although I was looking for a coffee flavoured cake not a cake for afternoon tea or coffee time, although the Mystery Mocha pud gets closer to the flavours I am after for my dream coffee cake.

Another great recipe from Ottolenghi was posted at The Wednesday Chef of a variation on potato salad – Potato Salad With Yoghurt And Horseradish.  Yotam Ottolenghi is certainly on message for recipes with everyone at the moment, and I love the idea of adding some tartness to potato salad which can get a bit samey.  We often use a mayonnaise-yoghurt-horseradish mix for smoked fish and crab salads and this sort of fits into that vein. 

As I wonder through [sic – I spelled this incorrectly first time round and I like the metaphor] the food blogosphere I am constantly surprised at the new ways of tweaking some of my old favourites in our kitchen, reinspiring me to recreate and revisit things like the summer vegetable tarts that I have make for years now, as well as to try and improve on the trusty old pastry recipes that I have made since my mum taught me how to bake oh-too-long-ago. 

But I am in awe at how beautiful everyone else’s creations look and how great their photography is, while my food looks like a dog’s dinner and the photos like some amateur hack from a one horse dorp (which I suppose I am).  We’ll get better at it, but I can never expect to reach the dizzy heights of the wonderful photos on blogs like Cannelle et Vanille, Mahanandi,  or The Pioneer Woman Cooks and The Wednesday Chef.