If you go to your local park and pick elderflowers it isn't foraging. If you go to your back garden and pick up some windfall apples, it isn't foraging. If you have a basil plant on your balcony, that isn't foraging either. Foraging for edible wild plants and all the new names for what we used to call weeds is OVER - time to stop.
There's been a huge increase recently in the number of people who claim to be coeliac or have a dietary intolerance. One of my best friends is a diagnosed coeliac and she has my full understanding and empathy for the difficulties she often has to face when eating out. I'm always more than happy to cook something for her using potato, buckwheat, maize flour or other gluten free ingredient, and she never moans, complains, or gives restaurants a hard time when she goes out, despite being very ill if she does consume gluten in any recognisable amount. So when I recently heard at a local cafe, a customer asking if the soup, which was gluten free and had run out, had only been served to gluten free customers and another who was happy to eat bread pudding for dessert after asking for gluten free options throughout the starter and main courses I was very annoyed.
So while we are told to avoid burnt toast, charcoal remains the trendy detox, teeth whitening hangover cure. Popular in the good old U.S of A is the black coconut ash ice cream from Morgenstern. Noo Yawk.
A saucepan of meat bones boiled up to make a tasty stock and suddenly we have bone broth, the latest nutritional elixir to hit the high street. Well here is a recipe from my 1921 Edition of The Daily Mail Cookery Book or you may prefer the gruesome twosome Hemsley and Hemsley who tag their recipe under 'gut and psychology syndrome'.
Look out for the latest food trend of Poke (po-keh, rhymes with OK) which means to cut into pieces and comes from Hawaii. Usually made with marinated, raw fish and similar to Ceviche, with Japanese influenced seasonings of soy and spring onions. They serve it at Pond in Dalston. Hipster Sushi then?
I am so excited! I made my own sugar today from a whole, raw sugar beet. Now I need to know if this passes the 'clean' eating test. Everywhere I seem to look at the moment in my foodie world I am surrounded by clean eating. Blogs, newspapers, Newsnight, social media - it's the buzz word. Gluten free, sugar free, natural, unrefined, superfoods, bad bad food processing, dreadful dairy ingredients, killing you softly with your grains...wheat. We need to be very careful that this current trend does not lead to a dysfunctional relationship with food. Mind you, it is actually nothing new. In 1982 when I was 23 yrs old, about the age of many of these beautiful, mainly thin, young, clean eating women, I wrote my first recipe book. That's me in the picture. About as much publicity as I got at the time was the second page of the Bury Free Press. But I love the Bury Free Press, so that's great. My books, the First and Second Chalice Recipe Books (never managed a third!) were vegetarian and vegan recipe books. I owned and ran the Chalice Vegetarian Restaurant in Bury St Edmunds at that time and we made our own Tofu, sprouted our own beanshoots, ate every grain under the sun, including quinoa, buckwheat and linseed, grew our own veg, used unrefined sugar in everything, put honey in our Barleycup, and as for the deadly nightshade vegetables and leather shoes.....no way! So with some fond memories of my formative cooking years and a nod to healthy eating I bring you my Sugar Free Lemon, Cinnamon and Sugar Beet Tart.
It looks exactly the same as AirBnb - it has the same format on it's website, but it's about food this time. Hooray! Now everyone can be a chef. I'm booking something tonight - this is what you can have in Barcelona - 'Pueees..., desde la tortilla de patata, pasando por el cus-cús, el cochinillo, un pescado con leche de coco y gengibre, gambas a la plancha, guacamole, musaka, rabo de toro, sushi...'
We met Henry at the Urban food Fest where his business partner Rob made delicious ice cream and froyo rolls right in front of us. This fast and furious ice cream involves a process which originated in Thailand; cream or yoghurt with various favourings and additional ingredients (meringue...fruit...) is put on a -30 degree plate and everything is mixed together very fast. After approximately two minutes the initial milk or yogurt freezes and is ready to be scraped off the cold plate into rolls. Quick Bite food magazine have already interviewed Henry and Rob and this is what they said. 'When we were back-packing around Thailand at the tender age of 20, we discovered a new way of making ice cream. ‘Stir fried Ice cream’ is the official terminology for it, and because we hadn’t ever seen it in the UK before, we decided to create Pan-n-Ice and bring it back.' Thanks guys!
Oh yes they can! This was one of the nicest things at Meatopia with larger portions and a beautiful hot-sauce pineapple relish and so we had more than one. But of course we are biased - we are half Caribbean!
The London Tea Exchange is just a wet tea bags throw away from Liverpool Street if you are in London for the day or need an excuse to go there. Close to Spitalfields Market entrance where you could spend the whole day just wandering around, we were attracted by the tea samples being offered on the street to entice us into this beautiful shop. Faysal Ahmed described his tea tasting workshops and we bought some China White Monkey and a Hibiscus tea for later. In some parts of the world they do use specially trained monkeys to pick the tea but I think ours was picked by a human.
Toast is getting big and very posh. It's moved across from San Francisco and been spotted at the London based Brickhouse Bakery who have been creating limited edition flavours. If you want to look like Gwyneth Paltrow, then eat Avocado Toast. Gwyneth has a recipe for vegan avocado toast in her recipe book, 'It's All Good' - she compares it to 'a favourite pair of jeans'. Here at SuffolkFoodie, we don't look like Gwyneth but are bang on trend; we're eating Hot Cromer Crab on Toast.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
1 dressed Cromer crab
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons readymade English mustard
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely grated Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped chervil
juice of 1/2 of a lemon and a teaspoon of the finely grated rind
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a little oil, for greasing
4 slices of thickly cut bread (sourdough is perfect)
Preheat the oven to 180C / gas 4 and lightly oil a baking tray.
In a bowl mix together the crabmeat, mayonnaise, mustard, half the chopped herbs, lemon rind and lemon juice, and season well.
Preheat the grill, or heat a griddle pan, and lightly toast the bread on one side only. Arrange on the prepared baking tray, toasted side down, then generously spread each slice with the crab mixture and sprinkle with a little of each cheese. Put into the preheated oven for about 8 minutes, until the cheese melts and turns golden brown. Take out of the oven, sprinkle with the remaining chopped herbs. Serve with the salad leaves, tossed with the dressing, and a wedge of lemon.
...my control freakery about coffee is well known. I went to the restaurant show one year and decided to ask the experts there what my kind of coffee is called - an espresso with the same amount of hot milk - and a barista said 'a bloody awkward'. I don't like froth, it has to be hot milk, I hate too much milk, I want it strong... I thought I had it when the Flat White arrived but they are still just too big and milky in most places. I had it in Cuba in a Cafe con leche - you don't have to ask for hot milk there.
Coffee has a long history - longer, perhaps, than most of us originally realised. Rumour has it that the first person to understand the effects of the coffee bean was a goat herder in Ethiopia in the ninth century. Apparently he noticed the effect of coffee beans on the goats in his care which consumed them. However, others argue that the real beginning of coffee drinking began in the middle of the 1400s in the Yemen by monks in a Sufi monastery. These monks are said to have recognised the properties of caffeine which they found useful to keep themselves awake during nocturnal devotions.
The consumption of the drink spread to the northern African countries and by the 1500s, the practice of drinking coffee had spread throughout the Middle East and also travelled to Turkey and Persia. The first coffee house was said to have opened in Istanbul in 1554. At first, there was some suspicion about the effects of caffeine but the popularity of the bean eventually overcame these objections. From here, it was not long before the beverage was consumed in Italy. This was probably because of the strong trade at the time between Venice in Italy and the North African countries. As in the Arabic world, there was initially some concern about the stimulating effects of the drink within the Catholic church, but also as with the Arabic world, these objections were overcome.From Italy, coffee spread across Europe. One of the first coffee houses opened in Venice in the mid-seventeenth century. Franco Anglo, an Italian farmer, is said to be responsible for discovering many coffee beans in far flung countries. Thanks to the British East India Company and also the Dutch East India Company, England was introduced to the drink around the 1500s and the first English coffee house was said to be opened in the Cornhill. The word `coffee` probably comes from the Dutch word `koffie` which came from the Turkish `kahve` which comes from an Arabic phrase which translates as `wine of the bean`. Certainly it was said to be the Dutch who were responsible for taking the coffee drink out of Europe and across to America and the East Indies.
Of course, the modern day coffee industry is huge. There are many many varieties of coffee, blend of coffee and ways to serve the drink. Many countries in the world are being seduced by the caffeine elixir and markets are growing quickly in countries such as India and China (both traditionally associated with tea). There is also a celebration in the art of coffee preparation. Many nations now take part in the World Barista Championships and many competitions have already been held to try to find the national representatives for this years` global competition to find the world champion. Each barista will have to do his or her best to impress the judges about their skills in transforming humble coffee beans into a delicious and creative drink that is worthy of the title.