Slow Food Week and Wild Garlic

Escargot and Wild Garlic Pesto

The 1st of June sees the start of Slow Food Week here in the UK to find out more visit Slow Food UK website.

Meanwhile, very much in the theme of slow food I have been exploring the various uses of wild garlic. Wild garlic, the latin name for which is Allium ursinum, has a variety of other names including ramsons, buckrams, ramp, bear leek or bear’s garlic and it is native to Europe and Asia, typically growing in damp shady deciduous woods where it will form extensive stands. The plant typically is at its best during April and May, this year with the hard winter and spring in this part of Scotland it is appearing about a month later than usual. At its peak the fresh green leaves are accompanied by delicate white star like flowers and even without actually walking through the woods you can smell the characteristic garlic smell from some distance! All parts of the plant are edible but most usually it is the leaves that are used while the flowers make an attractive garnish.

Allium ursinum

To show you just how versatile this wonderful plant is here are just a few of the wild garlic  recipes published by other WordPress bloggers:

Grab the Garlic (pesto recipe)

Beech and Wild Garlic Canapés

Herby Wild Garlic Tagliatelle

A Daring Cooks Challenge: Wild Garlic Stuffed Trout en Croute

Mashed Potatoes with Fresh Wild Garlic

Spring Salad: Wild Garlic and Dried Cranberries

Goat Cheese and Wild Garlic Muffin

Wild Garlic Season (uses and storage ideas)

Spring Butter

Wild Garlic Soup

I was a Ramp Virgin until last Sunday

Mussels with Wild Garlic, Grape Tomatoes, and Guanciale

The Stink of Spring: Creamy Wild Garlic Baked Eggs

Wild Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

and my personal favourite given the opening shot to this blog:

 A delicious way of keeping vampires at bay – Escargot with Wild Garlic

Give them a try they taste great!

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013 All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Advertisements

It’s all a matter of taste: part II

In my previous post I said that one of my pictures had been commended in the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition but I was not allowed to publish it until it appeared on the competition web site on the 24th of April, well the 24th has come and gone and in fact it is now the 24th of May so it’s high time I posted “the Picture”
The photo was taken at the Scotland Street School Museum in Glasgow and was submitted in the “An Apple a Day” category and is therefore called:

An Apple for Teacher

KG130122008Web1The other pictures which I submitted are shown below.

Arbroath Smokies

Arbroath SmokiesThis picture was taken last August in Edinburgh at the “Foodies Festival” where Iain Spink was doing a brisk trade in selling freshly smoked Arbroath Smokies. The fish, locally caught haddock, are filleted, dry salted and tied in pairs over a wooden baton before being smoked in a half whiskey barrel covered with hessian. After 30 to 40 minutes the fish are ready to eat, warm, smoky, moist and sweet – truly mouth-watering experience.

Partick Fishwife

Partick Fish Wife I have been visiting the biweekly Farmers Market at Partick in Glasgow’s West End for many years and for all that time Macmillan’s have been there come rain or shine but always with a smile and the best of Scottish seafood.

Voluptuous Red Peppers

Voluputous Red PeppersFood is not just a matter of taste it engages all the senses, smell, touch, even occasionally sound and of course always  sight! These bright rounded peppers look good in their own right but also hint at all the other things that they can contribute to from crisp salads to roasted and stuffed peppers.

Man Cooks Breakfast!

Man Cooks Breakfast!This picture is really just a bit of fun but there is also some truth in it as anyone who has seen me at work in the kitchen will attest with every pot, pan and utensil being used and every surface covered with the fallout from my cooking!

The Voluptuous Red Peppers shot is my personal favourite picture and when it was posted on Flickr it had an amazing 6800+ views, most of which occurred on just one day! However, different audiences react in very different ways to the same image. Clearly it’s all a matter of taste, if you have the time I would love to hear which picture you like best!

It’s all a matter of taste

Last year Pink Lady, the apple brand, launched an annual international food photography competition with the winner not only being awarded the prestigious title of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year but also walking away with a cool £5000 in prize money. With such an incentive it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that entries in its second year have increased by 70% with some 5500 images submitted. As the competition becomes better known around the world this number will no doubt continue to grow, after all 5500 images is small beer compared to the 49000 entries submitted to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Anyway 5 of the entries to the Pink Lady competition were from me. Sadly 4 of them failed to get even an honourable mention but one was “commended” and it will appear in the competition’s on-line gallery on the 24th of April until then I can’t even tell you the title of the work let alone let you see it! However, here are my remaining entries at least two of which I think were far better than the picture that ended up being selected. I would love to hear what you think:

Arbroath Smokies

Arbroath Smokies

This picture was taken last August in Edinburgh at the “Foodies Festival” where Iain Spink was doing a brisk trade in selling freshly smoked Arbroath Smokies. The fish, locally caught haddock, are filleted, dry salted and tied in pairs over a wooden baton before being smoked in a half whisky barrel covered with hessian. After 30 to 40 minutes the fish are ready to eat, warm, smoky, moist and sweet – truly mouth-watering experience.

Partick Fishwife

Partick Fish Wife

I have been visiting the biweekly Farmers Market at Partick in Glasgow’s West End for many years and for all that time Macmillan’s have been there come rain or shine but always with a smile and the best of Scottish seafood.

Voluptuous Red Peppers

Voluputous Red Peppers

Food is not just a matter of taste it engages all the senses, smell, touch, even occasionally sound and of course always  sight! These bright rounded peppers look good in their own right but also hint at all the other things that they can contribute to from crisp salads to roasted and stuffed peppers.

Man Cooks Breakfast!

Man Cooks Breakfast!

This picture is really just a bit of fun but there is also some truth in it as anyone who has seen me at work in the kitchen will attest with every pot, pan and utensil being used and every surface covered with the fallout from my cooking!

Commended

Image 5

Sorry but I can’t show you this image or even tell you it’s title until it is published on the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the 2013 on-line gallery on the 24th of April!

I posted the Voluptuous Red Peppers picture on Flickr a week ago and  since then it has had an amazing 6800+ views, most of which occurred on just one day! This picture has been a personal favourite ever since I first took it but it is often difficult as a photographer to be really objective about your own work, there are just too many associations with the image to allow a really unbiased view. But even different audiences will react in very different ways to the same image. Clearly it’s all a matter of taste, if you have the time I would love to hear which picture you like best, just use the voting form below and of course any comments are very welcome!

Pasta With Love

Tagliatelle by “Pasta With Love”

Given that tomorrow is Valentines’ Day the title of this post my be regarded as a little contrived, however, the title has made itself in that it is the name of a small startup company which has been making a big impact on the farmers market scene in both Glasgow and Edinburgh ever since they first started business a little under a year ago. “Pasta With Love” is the work of a young couple, Duncan and Ness Fildes, who are clearly on a meteoric trajectory after winning a Great Taste Gold Taste Award for their linguine only three weeks after they started to trade!

“Pasta With Love” are to be found at the Mansfield Park Market in Glasgow every second and fourth Saturday each month and they also attend the markets at Queens Park, again in Glasgow as well as at Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Market. For more information visit their FaceBook page and see also Caroline von Schmalensee’s excellent article about “Pasta With Love” in her blog the “Edinburgh Foody”

KG130211007Web1

KG130211004aWeb3

Tagliatelle with cheese sauce, tomato, mushrooms and bacon

This is a simple and quick dish packed with wonderful flavours and makes a perfect meal. For an even easier version use smoked Bavarian ham (Lidl) instead of bacon, a great taste and no need to cook it, though it is fantastic on pizzas!

KG130211030a1Web3

Serves 2 ready in 15 minutes.

Switch on the oven and set to 190oC, put a large pan of water, half full, on to boil, adding a glug of olive oil to the water; extra virgin (Is there any other? This will help stop the pasta sticking together once it has cooked). Wash a dozen or so freshly plucked basil leaves and 4 to 8 ripe tomatoes, depending on size, before slicing the tomatoes; crossways is best and leave to one side. Place 4 or 6 rashers of smoked bacon (pancetta or streaky bacon is fine too) in a baking tray lightly coated with olive oil and put in to the oven. Take 6 or so chestnut mushrooms, brush off any dirt and cut off the base of the stems before slicing vertically and placing in a frying pan with a good glug of oil and sauté. By this time the water for the pasta should be boiling, remove the saucepan lid and add the pasta, approximately 300g will be ample and boil for 3 to 4 minutes (4 to 5 minutes if cooking from frozen). While the pasta is cooking finish off the mushrooms by adding a dash of dark soya sauce and stir well. As soon as the pasta is ready tip it into a colander and allow to drain, covering with the saucepan lid. Return the pan to the stove and tip in 250ml of four cheese sauce (widely available from most supermarkets, alternatively make your own but we are keeping things simple!), reduce the heat to medium, tip in the pasta and mix thoroughly with the sauce. Put the plates in the oven to warm, (pasta hates cold plates!) while removing the bacon. Cut the bacon into stamp sized pieces and together with the mushrooms add to the pasta – cheese sauce mix and stir in. Take the plate from the oven and plate-up not forgetting to add the sliced tomato and basil! Season to taste and enjoy!

KG130211012a1Web4

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Seared scallops, sautéed mushrooms & salad

Seared scallops, sautéed mushrooms & salad

Scallops are one of my all time favourite things to eat, or at least they are when they are cooked well and until recently that has been a rather hit and miss affair when it came  to my own cooking; all too often they ended up being boiled and not seared, which is something that should never be done to these wonderful delicacies. However, I have always taken comfort in that even professional chefs can sometimes also fail in cooking them, I especially remember some rather mean sized scallops being served to us in Rye but it was not so much their small size that we took issue with but the fact that they had been seriously overcooked on both sides giving a whole new meaning to the word seared, perhaps burnt would have been a better description! On another occasion we went to one of the restaurants on the edge of London’s Borough Market and while the scallops were perfectly cooked they were stone cold. On the first occasion we crunched our way through the scallops rationalising that as it was only one of a number of starter dishes that we had ordered it simply wasn’t worth the fuss and the inevitable delay if we complained. On the latter occasion we did complain only to be told that the dish was cold because we were sitting at the entrance to the restaurant and it was cold there! However, we persisted with our complaint and eventually we were grudgingly presented with a fresh serving on red-hot plates – all of which shows that professional cooks are fallible too but it does seriously beg the question how can dishes which are so obviously wrong ever be let out of the kitchen? I would love to hear about your experiences when you complain about a dish in a restaurant. And of course for all the “bad” dishes there have been many good ones and occasionally some really excellent ones: such as the small plates of scallops that you can buy as a take away from one of the fish stalls in Borough Market or here in Glasgow where Crabshakk serves bowls of sizzling scallops which are so fabulous that I have problems in ever ordering anything else when I visit the restaurant!

So what is the secret to cooking scallops? Well it’s two-fold, the scallops need to be fresh and as dry as possible and the pan needs to be really hot before you add the oil immediately followed by the scallops and they only take a couple of minutes to cook on each side. There are many ways to cook and enjoy scallops but as is so often the case with seafood the simpler it is the better it tastes and this dish is simplicity itself.

Seared scallops, sautéed mushrooms with a green leaf salad and a side dish of french fries

Total time 20 minutes, serves 2.

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 large king scallops with coral (there is an increasing tendency to sell scallops without their coral which I think is a great shame given the contrast in colour, taste and texture that they give) On this occasion I used vacuum packed scallops from MacMillan’s at the Partick Farmer’s Market which have the advantage of having a longer shelf life, up to one week (though I always use them within 2 days), compared to lose fresh scallops.
  • 6 to 8 chestnut mushrooms
  • green leaf salad (in this case a ready-made Florette “Duo” Lambs Lettuce & Ruby Chard)
  • oven french fries (McCain Crispy French Fries)
  • olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing
  • olive oil
  • dark soya sauce
  • salt (Maldon)
  • freshly ground pepper (try grinding some pepper corns in a pestle and mortar for a real pungent blast of pepper. Don’t over grind or you will end up with dust and a totally different taste experience!)

Chestnut mushrooms ready to  sauté

Method.

  1. Switch on the oven and turn it up to 190 degrees Centigrade and place a shallow sided baking / roasting tray in the oven and leave to warm up
  2. Meanwhile  rinse the scallops under cold running water, cut off the hard piece of muscle that you will find on one edge of the scallop and discard. If the scallops are especially large you may want to cut them in half but don’t try to cut the coral in half, leave it attached to one of the two discs that you have just created and pat the scallops dry with kitchen towel and leave to one side.
  3. Place the salad in a colander and rinse under the cold tap (I know that the salad is supposed to be ready to eat straight from the pack but old habits die-hard!) shake off any remaining water and set to one side.
  4. Prepare the mushrooms, cutting off the end of the stalk and brushing off any dirt from the cap, then slice using a sharp knife and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Once the oven has got to temperature remove the baking tray from oven and tip the fries into the tray ensuring that they are evenly distributed over the tray and place in the oven.
  6. Place a frying pan on the hob over a medium heat, add a glug of olive oil and once the pan is a hot tip in the sliced mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms moving them around the pan with a wooden spatula, ensuring that they are cooked on both sides. If required add more olive oil but don’t over do it we are not trying to deep fat fry them!
  7. While the mushrooms ar cooking place another non stick frying pan on the hob over a high heat and take the opportunity to give the fries a shake.
  8. Once the mushrooms are nearly cooked add a dash of dark soya sauce and work the mushrooms around the pan to make sure that they are all uniformly coated with soya sauce which will not only give them a lovely brown colour but will also give them an extra rich, meaty taste.Sautéed chestnut mushrooms
  9. Once the pan for the scallops is hot add a glug of olive oil (not too much!) to the pan followed by the scallops and season with salt and pepper. Shiggle the pan occasionally to ensure that the scallops don’t stick (I have yet to find a pan which is truly non-stick!). Once the scallops have been cooking for a couple of minutes they will be nicely browned on the lower side and they should be turned over, seasoned and cooked for a further 2 minutes (you may need to turn the heat down during the course of the cooking to make sure that the scallops are browned and not burnt!KG121209017aWeb1
  10. As the scallops finish cooking place the salad on the plates, drizzle with the oil and vinegar dressing and add the mushrooms and finally the scallops while placing the fries in a bowl as a side dish.

Serve and enjoy!

KG121209023bWeb1

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2012. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.