Category Archives: Cooking

Tummy fulfilled: New York style

We have recently been travelling about in the US: Eating in New York.

As is my wont, when I have been away I try and blog about my experiences. I confess, freely, that I haven’t finished where I went last year, but I am trying to get to this year a bit quicker! So here is something about eating in New York. I have specifically chosen this subject as we found some very interesting and different places to eat.

Ricetoriches

Yes, we can have porridge cafes, they can have rice pudding outlets! they have a website so you can check them out for yourself but we did think they were a trifle expensive for a small bowl of rice pudding. That said, they had some amazing flavours and do seasonal flavours too. Their standard range is 18 flavours with 5 per season and 12 different toppings. Sweet? Very!

Pinkberry

Frozen yoghurt with a difference – the pink berries! They have a yummy taste… they have come to the UK now and can be found in Stratford – Westfield – and Selfridges.

 BubbaGump

We ate in their Times Square outlet and were served excellently despite the loud noises from their celebrating a customer’s birthday!

Everything had calories attached so beware the desserts! We had a variety of shrimps of course, but very large shrimps too – and mahi mahi with a cajun shrimp starter and garlic  bread. spicy and nicy.Bubba Gump interior

PS they are now in London!

Eataly

Amazing – a supermarket with a difference – you can buy your Italian food here or you can eat it fresh from the counter. The longest queues being for the ice-cream of course! there are 2 places where you sit and are served – Fish and Vegetarian; otherwise you can perch at stools and eat what you have bought. We tried the Verdura eating area and ate our veggies. Just beware the risotto is made with wheat berries and is very heavy as a result. Aperitivo-Picnic_homepage-hero_V1

Also now in London I believe.

Hangawi

This is a Korean place in the traditional style – so beware if you have disabilities. You sit on the floor with your feet in a pit. The table is fixed at waist high and thus can’t be removed for you to climb out of easily. I managed to thump down but getting out and getting back on my feet defeated me. In the end, I managed to get my feet up on the floor and then did a very ungainly bum shuffle over to where there were some steps so I could climb back up onto my feet. Good job I was wearing leggings under my skirt! You take your shoes off so make sure your feet don’t smell and you have matching socks on.

They have a very sensible ban on mobile phones. Turn them off completely. The food is all vegan and excellent. Stone rice pots as are especially good as the rice ends up sticky and crisp as it continues to cook in the residual heat. When they ask, do you like it spicy? beware. They add a spice paste to your dish at the table and mix it in for you. hgw_ani_01

Booking essential.

What do words taste of?

Had a stunning lunch out at the Westbourne Grove Food Incubator.

It was part of a series of educational and multi-sensory dining events and was called Synaesthesia and was run by Kitchen Theory.

It was a 3 course lunch with Amuse Bouche although a seven course dinner is also available.

Now Synaesthesia is an interesting trait that some 4% of the human population have. It involves people associating sounds with flavours or colours or…the definition is:

the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body.

 Now we all do this to some extent in that we talk of a ‘warm’ colour or a ‘cool’ colour and also we associate certain colours with particular tastes. So a green drink could be expected to be bitter eg a lime flavour (no sugar!) or a red drink could be expected to be sweet. However, for some people it is rather more extreme-for them certain words could be a taste.

James Wannerton, President of the UK Synaesthesia Association, has visited every tube, DLR and Overground stop on the network and described what the station name tastes like to him.

tube map

 

The dining experience we had incorporated sensory audio-visual aids and the collaboration of knowledge from academic experts. We were shown a number of videos explaining what we were doing and what to expect. We were also given a block to play with – each side of the block was a different texture and it seems that touching one side of the block can impact your taste. Personally, I used the block to feel what the food tasted like. For instance the soup course was a velvety felt with several layers of touch available as the tastes were very complex yet soft even though it seems that there was some umami tastes and some chilli oil included too.

Kitchen Theory has worked with Professor Charles Spence and his team at the Cross Modal department of Oxford University, Sean Day, President of American Synesthesia Association, and Richard E. Cytowic, MD MFA, Neurologist and author of ‘Wednesday is Indigo Blue’ to understand this phenomenon and deliver an informative and interactive dining event of sensory discovery.

The founder and Chef Patron, Jozef Youssef, has combined his experience of working at some of London’s top restaurants such as Helene Darroze at the Connaught, The Dorchester Hotel and the Fat Duck together with incorporating modernist cooking methods from his book ‘Molecular Gastronomy at Home.’

So did we enjoy this experience? Answer simply – very much indeed! And would do it again with one of our children – possibly our psychologist daughter who would love the exploration of taste and food and its links to the cognitive senses.

Use the ‘packet pastry’ pie!

Puff pastry is one pastry not even Delia smith admits to making herself very often – nor Jamie Oliver – so I feel very justified in going to the supermarket and buying sheets of puff pastry that are already round and don’t even need to be cut!

The issue then comes as to what do I put under the puff pastry. Note that this recipe for a pie is being published as part of a blogtour by Jenny Oliver, the author of Cherry Pie Island – see the pdf attached to this post and also my book review on the 11th March:

Cherry Pie Island

Well for me it has to be fruit. Usually pears or rhubarb. I do love a rhubarb pie especially if it come from our garden.

A very simple pie to make of course as rhubarb cooks very quickly.

Take your sticks of rhubarb – as many as you can buy – usually a kilo works best for the standard pie dish.

Place in the dish with a tablespoonful of sugar scattered over. Raw cane sugar is best as it gives an extra flavour. Add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth but the fruit juice adds some sweetness too.

Add some orange juice (or mixed fruit juice if you don’t have orange) until it is about a quarter full. Bake in the oven at around 180 for 15 mins to start the rhubarb softening.

Remove from the oven and cool for around 15  mins and then add the pastry topping. By now the rhubarb juice will have started coming out and if the dish looks a little wet you can pour some liquid off. It should stay less than 1/3 full of liquid.

Egg wash the pastry. Make small holes with a fork and crimp the edges of the pastry around the pie dish. Don’t seal too hard as the liquid needs room to bubble up.

Scatter some caster sugar – again raw is best and bake in a hot oven (according to the pastry packet but usually around 220 or 200 for a fan oven and bake around 20 mins until the sugar is browning and the pastry looks golden and ‘puffy’!

Serve with clotted cream or vanilla ice-cream

I have included a picture of what it could look like – not mine as I haven’t made one yet this year!

rhubarb2

Nb  adding strawberries to rhubarb pie is scrummy.

 

 

 

 

 

THE GRAND REOPENING OF THE DANDELION CAFÉ is available now.

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Not forgetting:

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