My partner shared this (n.b. that is where all the flour went) with me today, and I have to admit, I’m surprised The Guardian hasn’t pushed out an article like this sooner! It’s about time someone did an opinion piece showcasing the reality of most kitchens during lockdown. All we see on Instagram are people baking sourdough for the first time, with their #newstarter, and somehow #winning with #firstsourdough and #foodporn. None of these things go together. Like #justmoved and #iknowwhereipackedmykettle. I don’t care who you are, you’re lying. It really made me think about all those people who, for the past 3 months, have been made to feel grossly inadequate in a whole new way. It’s one thing failing at a badly written un-tested recipe (you’d be AMAZED how many cookbooks are comprised of untested recipes…or perhaps, given your experience, you wouldn’t be…) privately in your own secret dark place. It’s a whole other thing when you feel like you’re under some weird imagined spotlight where everyone is suddenly an artisanal baker, and you’re the only one not getting it. Genuinely, don’t panic. You’re not the only one not getting it. We’ve all been there. It’s not even your […]
Today, Airbnb unveils a new curated collection of Online Cooking Experiences hosted by Michelin-starred and world-renowned chefs. This new collection of Cooking Experiences provides a peek behind the counter at the unique recipes and techniques of top-rated chefs—and guidance to whip-up a gastronomic storm in your very own kitchen. I’ve been invited to be part of this, with 29 others, out of literally thousands of chefs all over the world doing this on Airbnb—I couldn’t be more thrilled! It allows me so much more time to focus on developing the experiences, rather than spending 90% of the time managing Eventbrite and writing emails! It’s impossible to express how enthusiastic I am at the prospect of eliminating swathes of admin!! Incidentally, if anyone LOVES admin, get in touch…. Airbnb hasn’t quite worked out the logistics of how I will change my dishes yet…but in the meantime, I’ve gone for a dish that I love inspired by Anna Del Conte. Super simple, pretty classy, delicious…a dish which really hammers home the importance of seasonality and good produce. My Airbnb Online Experience page is here, keep checking back for developments!
Risotto round 2! This time a pea, asparagus mint and pancetta number (keeping it seasonal! It’s finally time for greeeeen!)…and, more importantly, cooking live with my fellow WeCooks in their kitchens! I sent out the ingredients and equipment list beforehand so everyone had time to get to the shops without rushing, and could have everything set up. 2pm rolled around: mise en place ready, laptop and camera set up, I was ready as I’d ever be! After a brief chat about what the plan for the session was, we began. I have to say, I was wildly apprehensive about how this would go. But actually, it worked really well! Everyone kept pace, and we all made it work with the variety of ingredients we were able to find. A few technical details to iron out to make it truly awesome, but all in all, it was a success. The group were, as always, heroes, and made some beautiful plates of food and learned about the intricacies of executing the perfect risotto. One mother and daughter duo really stole the show for me because: love this. But everyone was simply great. A few people just watching and taking notes, others in […]
I’m sure when I announced that the upcoming session last night was focused around the humble courgette, a few people’s brains glazed over. It’s not usually a vegetable which gets the heart rate up (is there one? Except artichokes for everyone now, obviously, as detailed below…). Extolling the virtues of this glorious vegetable wasn’t actually that difficult because most of us love a courgette. We tend to do one and the same thing with it though: spiralize it (I’m now guilty of this too…raw with pesto!! Yes!), stir fry it, slice it for a salad, grate it into cakes, use to top pizzas, marinade/pickle it, grate it into pasta sauces, boil it and marinade it in herbs and olive oil, cut it up and add it to risottos, scoop it out and stuff it, batter and deep fry it as chips/part of a plated of deep fried battered mixed veg and or fish…wait, this is more than you probably do with it, right? Humm.. Anyway, I then shared the joy of the risotto. Why your sofrito (and what that is) is so important and how to nail it, what does the wine do anyway, does it really matter how much […]
Last night we had a strict deadline as we were all taking part in Clap for Carers at 8pm. This was actually great since it actually encouraged me to wrap up in good time and not get tempted to let the social festivities overrun! Keeping with the egg-white theme I appear to have started, I braved showing the group how to make soufflés… a sometimes tricky enough task on its own, without navigating the dynamic of a video call and executing everything in one tiny corner the of the kitchen! I also admitted to being guilty of doing just what I criticise contestants on Come Dine With Me of doing: “oh well I’ve never made this dish before, but I figured I’d give it a go tonight, on national television, for a competition – what could go wrong?” Now I’ve made plenty of soufflés so that wasn’t the challenge, but I decided to try a very much off-the-cuff recipe for twice baked red pepper, courgette and basil soufflés with a cheese and wine sauce…very much hoping for the best! The multiple cameras worked really well again, though still waiting on a better set-up to be delivered (pegged at end of […]
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone so excited about artichokes…” This was what my Mother said shortly after I finished last night’s call. Probably fair. I love an artichoke! There was a great group online with me and I was trying a new method of using multiple cameras for different things: close ups, shots inside the pan whilst the magic of cooking occurred…etc. Worked really well! Genuinely felt like I was on some sort of Saturday morning cooking show! All had seen an artichoke (one had even grown one!), and eaten them either as hearts in oil, on pizza or retro style of boiled whole with dip for the leaves, but none had ever prepared or cooked one. Love that as a jumping-off dynamic! So much to share! I had spiky artichokes and tema artichokes from Italy, and globe artichokes from the UK. From how to choose them, the delight of prepping them, through to finishing them 3 different ways: Tema artichoke hearts pickled with Moscatel vinegar, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, thyme and garlic Globe artichoke hearts braised in wine, thyme, parsley and stuffed and baked with herby breadcrumbs Spiky artichoke hearts, raw, as a deliciously simple salad of […]
Last night we trialled demonstrating a skill for the first time, I chose meringue because…who doesn’t love meringue!? I got to give my Mother’s 40 year old Kenwood food-mixer (I swear this thing will outlive us all) a good run, and starting from the basics demonstrated all the way through to assembling little meringues. Had loads of fun debunking all those myths and empowering the group to fearlessly tackle meringues head-first, without even a recipe. I showed the group how to make rustic little melt-in-the-mouth pavlova style bites sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts (tip, sprinkle the nuts over the meringue before baking…yum!) because they were a HUGE hit as Christmas gifts last year. (Recipe to follow soon!) Great success and everyone loved it, so I’ll now be working a dem into each session 🙂
The Launch of the Online Video Socials! I’m actually finding the prioritising of those panic-buying amongst us fascinating. We, as a nation, don’t bake. Only 1/3 of us have baked a cake in the last year…..and actually, 1/3 of us haven’t baked in the past year….at all! So the lack of flour on all supermarket shelves tells me something about us and all the food-related media we’ve been increasingly consuming: we’re ready to do something with it. Not the flour…but all this ‘inspiration’ we’ve been getting from the cooking shows and Instagram. But we don’t know what. **drum roll** Cue: Online Video Cooking Socials!! **puff of smoke, jazz hands** So this idea has really started from the fact we’re all home now, cooking more, many of us with big ideas about what we’re going to have time to do, but the reality is quite different. Endlessly browsing the internet for recipes which 1) actually work and 2) you have the ingredients for is as demoralising as it is boring. Also, we’re just not going to suddenly start baking, most of us (except for banana bread….everyone is baking banana bread). But sharing over/around/about food is something we’ve been doing for centuries. […]