21 December 2012

Christmas Crackers... Clouds in my (Irish) Coffee

"I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee and...." 

Carly Simon 1972 

Cumulus, Nimbus, Cirrus, Stratus, sadly Carly's lyrics don't elaborate further ( not the only conundrum associated with that song ) but from the undoubtedly cloudy island of Ireland where all of them are frequently in evidence, come not one but two world famous beverages celebrated for their iconic, milky cloud cover. One is a well poured pint of Guinness and the other is of course an equally well dispensed and expertly crafted stemmed glass of Irish Coffee.

Irish whiskey can be distilled nowhere else in the world except in Ireland. It is a heavenly golden spirit which has conquered the world and helped put that Emerald Isle on the tourist map. Irish Whiskey - in Irish uisce beatha or "water of life" is smokier and some would say a less smooth version than its closest rivals. An acquired taste undoubtedly, it's the whiskey drinkers' whiskey, a whiskey connoisseur's first choice but for those of us not so lucky to be so well acquainted the best introduction is probably via another quintessential Irish classic - Irish Coffee. The combination of excellent coffee and Irish whiskey topped with rich cream with its classic monochrome good looks makes a uniquely elegant and delicious drink.

How to make one...If there's one skill you perfect this seasonal holiday let it be this one! Prepare all your ingredients in advance as time is of the essence. There is nothing worse than a luke warm drink. Make strong black coffee a long shot of espresso is ideal and keep hot. Lightly whip double cream with a half tsp castor sugar added. Hold in the fridge. Heat a stemmed goblet by dipping it in hot water. Dry and put a teaspoon of brown sugar in the glass followed by a measure of Irish Whiskey. Ideally the whiskey should be warmed so the sugar will dissolve easily. Pour in the hot coffee and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Now for the slightly tricky bit. Pour the cream over the back of a desert spoon so that it falls gently onto the coffee mixture. Under no circumstances should the cream mix with the coffee. Black and white, hot and cold......clouds in my coffee! 

20 December 2012

Christmas Crackers...!

" I pull my aubergines on..." 
David Dundas (misheard) 1976

Aubergine biscuits with parmesan.

Slice aubergine. 
Coat first in flour, then beaten egg and finally grated parmesan.
Bake on a tray at 180 C until golden (about 20 mins) 
Serve with your favourite dip. 

19 December 2012

Christmas Crackers...

What could be more refreshing than ripe sweet and chilled fresh pineapple slices? When looking for some ideas to post over Christmas this one "Acar Timun Nenas" popped out! On our last visit to Malaysia we had it a lot and thought it would be a great recipe to serve at home particularly during this season as it would be a fantastic condiment for all those Christmas cold meats or indeed that turkey curry!

Its an easy but unusual  pineapple and cucumber salad which removes pineapple from its usual fruit companions and launches it into the world of savoury dishes - a kind of "trompe l'oeil" for the palate!

Acar (pronounced Achar) Timun Nanas is such a popular sweet sour salad it is served as an accompaniment to almost everything. It is a terrific counter balance that cuts through the heat and spices of the many Malaysian curry dishes or the Malay national dish of beef rendang and adds a uniquely fresh and tangy note which would also be ideal with grilled or roast meats or barbecues.


1 small cucumber un-peeled
halved and deseeded cut into batons
Half small sweet pineapple cut into chunks
Handful coriander leaves coarsely torn
1 fresh red chilli thinly sliced (deseeded)
2 tsp sugar
i tsp salt
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Tbsp crushed roasted peanuts (garnish)


Dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar and add cucumber pineapple chilli and coriander. Toss to mix. Re-fridgerate until ready to serve. Just before serving garnish with a sprinkling of crushed roasted peanuts.

17 December 2012

Christmas Crackers...

Hand cut crisps... Why not liven up your fajitas or slices of cold meats and game with this classic accompaniment?
Thinly slice potatoes or root vegetables such as parsnip, beetroot, sweet potatoes or celeriac. A food processor or mandolin (mind your fingers) is probably best for this. Pat dry and gently drop into hot oil. Once lightly coloured remove and allow to cool on kitchen paper. To finish off repeat the process until a pleasing colour. Don't forget to season. The crisps will crispen nicely when allowed to dry on kitchen paper. Alternatively serve with your favourite dip. See posts below for suggestions

Posted by incredibly fed

15 December 2012

Christmas Crackers!

Fajitas...Try this tasty way to finish off any of those left over Christmas cold meats. Slices of turkey, ham or game, with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado seasoning and chopped coriander or mint all wrapped in warmed flat breads.

For more relaxed fun why not put out the ingredients and just let your guests assemble their own and for an extra twist smother in Coronation dip - Mix together yoghurt, mayonnaise, teaspoon curry powder, mango chutney, lime juice and seasoning. Adjust to taste! Simples!!

Posted by incredibly fed

7 December 2012


"Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan, if you can't make boxty you'll never get a man"
Old Irish rhyme

Many cultures have recipes for potato cakes and Ireland of course being one of the great potato eating nations of Europe is no exception. Boxty is a traditional Irish pancake made of potatoes but it's slightly unusual in that it calls for both cooked and raw potatoes. Aran bocht ti shortened to bacstai literally means poor house bread or poor house in the Irish language giving a strong clue as to the dish's humble origins. Humble though they may be they must be the most literate potato cakes in the world. As well as the ditty above they appear in the writings of Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Kate O'Brien and Somerville and Ross among others.


250g cold mashed potato
250g raw potato
250g plain flour
The other bits and pieces are store cupboard/fridge staples:
1 teaspoon baking powder
Up to 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 large knob of butter (or bacon fat)
Some milk (about 120 ml) – buttermilk if you have it

The potatoes, also known as the spuds, should by rights be floury, not waxy. Try Record, or even Kerr’s Pinks. 
Put the mashed potato into a large mixing bowl and leave it to one side. Next, grate the raw potatoes into another basin lined with a teacloth or napkin. Wring them very tightly in the cloth over the basin, to squeeze out  as much starchy liquid as possible. Put the grated potato in with the mashed potato. Melt the butter in your frying pan, very gently so that it doesn’t burn. Pour it into the potato mix. Add the flour and the baking powder, and salt. Then add some milk in small amounts until there’s just enough to form a soft dough. Spread the dough ball out onto a floured work surface. Knead the mixture lightly or, better still, mix it well with a knife and do a minimum of kneading at the end. Finally cut the ball up into about four smaller balls and shape them into flat round cakes, then gently cut each one into quarters.Pop them into your frying pan and fry them in a small amount of oil. 

30 November 2012


Some time ago we posted an item on cassava and this one on kohlrabi was set to follow in the 'series" on somewhat unusual and underused vegetables. We were also drafting a separate item on saag aloo, one of our favourite Indian vegetable dishes but when looking for a recipe which would make use of kohlrabi we had a brain wave - why not combine the two? So here goes...

Baby sputniks
Definitely not a looker in the beauty steaks and sometimes nicknamed the sputnik of the plant world which perhaps accounts for the fact that this wonderful and versatile little autumn vegetable is so overlooked in this country. Although very popular in Central Europe and Asia for years kohlrabi was thought good enough only for cattle fodder here. Happily things are changing though. It has been making it's appearance in the markets for some time now and will be with us for the next few months. Although strictly speaking it is a cultivar of cabbage and not a root vegetable it can do everything a root vegetable can do and more. It is delicious eaten hot or cold, think carrot, parsnip and celeriac. It is terrific shredded in a remoulade with carrot and a mustard dressing. Sliced finely carpaccio of kohlrabi served with anchovies is delicious, alternatively it can be peeled and cut into batons and steamed for about 8 minutes and served with butter and seasoning or pan fried with your favourite herbs or spices.

Equally aesthetically challenged Saag is a spinach or mustard leaf dish from south Asia. It is combined with various ingredients to create classic Indian dishes. Saag gosht pairs the vegetable with meat whilst saag paneer makes use of cheese and in the dish Saag aloo spinach and potatoes are coupled! We are suggesting saag kohlrabi. The purists may protest but we find tinned spinach the easiest and best as it is just the right consistancy to form a creamy spinach sauce.


1 kohlrabi peeled and diced into 1 cm cubes
1 Can spinach puree
1 Onion (finely chopped)
Garlic paste
Cumin seeds
Cumin powder
Mustard seeds


Sweat off the onion, garlic and spices in a pan for a few minutes. Add the kohlrabi and sautee for 7 to 8 minutes or until soft but still "al dente". Add spinach and cook for a further 2 minutes until all ingredients are warmed and combined. Season to taste.

Posted by incredibly fed

26 November 2012

Brazilian Night

Last weekend IF catered for it's greatest challenge yet a Brazilian themed 21st Birthday party for 100 guests in a spectacular marquee.... Rio's Mardi Gras comes to north London in November...

Chris lines up with the other dancers for his IF supper between performances, then gives it all on the dance floor...

Fresh Tropical Fruit Kebabs with rich Dark and White chocolate dips mirror the Latin American mood...

Colour and spectacle created by feathered head dresses and wings... Notting Hill was never like this!

More Tropicana... Merengue drops topped with whipped Elderflower cream Kiwi and Pomegranate!

Meanwhile backstage with the dancers....

.....Ghaz becomes VERY popular with the ladies when they catch a glimpse of his chocolate brownies!!

Posted by incredibly fed

16 November 2012

Filo Spinach and Feta Tart

"You were made for me, (you were made for me)
everybody tells me so...."

Freddie and the Dreamers 1964

This is a great one, made for me and for you and for everybody and all sorts of occasions. It's light but substantial, delicious served hot or cold and will travel relatively well so prepared in advance in summer it's a terrific picnic hamper filler whilst conversely in the cold months it can be a warming apres ski tummy filler! Alternatively it makes a terrific vegetarian Sunday brunch dish or dinner party starter. This dish is adapted from a filo tart chef Jamie Oliver did on his TV programme "30 Minute Meals" in which he cooks several dishes inside half an hour, so as you can imagine from the title it's easy and quick. We generally serve it with a refreshing salad such as radish and cherry tomato with coriander and parsley.


1 Packet All Butter Filo pastry
1 large packet of spinach
250g Feta cheese crumbled
4 Eggs (Beaten)
Cayenne Pepper
Pine nuts (optional)
Sultanas (optional)

Melt butter and brush the inside of a medium sized frying pan. Line with baking paper so that the paper is well above the sides of the pan and brush again with butter. Meanwhile sweat down the spinach in a little butter or olive oil until wilted. Drain, being sure to squeeze as much water out as possible. Separate and mix with eggs, feta, nutmeg, spices, pine nuts and sultanas (if using) and season to taste. Take the filo from the fridge and cover with a damp cloth. (Note: Some brands are best worked on at room temperature so check the instructions) Take one sheet at a time and place in the pan so that the edge overlaps the side and brush with butter. Repeat until most of the sheets are used up. Now add the filling and fold over the sheets to form a top. Crumple the last few sheets and use to form the top. Brush with butter to achive a nice golden colour. Heat the frying pan on the hob to start cooking the base then place in the oven for about 25 minutes or until nicely coloured. Remove from pan by holding the baking paper and slide the tart onto a serving dish. Serve hot or cold.

Posted by incredibly fed

9 November 2012

(Minced) Beef Wellington

"My my,
At Waterloo Napoleon did surrender,
Oh Yeah..."

Abba - Winner 1974 Eurovision Song Contest

This week we were experimenting and taste testing various hamburger patties which Incredibly Fed has been asked to make for a big 21st party shortly. Having tried several and decided on the winning formula we still had some minced beef left over. Looking for an alternative use we hit upon this one....

Beef Wellington is an 'en crute' dish which may or may not be named after the heroic and definitely upper crust 1st Duke of Wellington (winner at Waterloo). It's a winning winter classic calling for the best quality centre cut of beef fillet making it a pricey dish to prepare to say the least. But we managed to come up with a much more economical version no less triumphant and definately something of a treat which you do not have to be an aristocrat to enjoy whenever you like. The luxurious element is provided by the melting unctuous Gruyere oozing from the middle as you cut through. Wellington meets Kiev so to say!

They are individual parcels which can be prepared in advance, kept in the fridge and  popped in he oven just when the crucial moment arrives. The ultimate easy entertaining dish! We suggest this portion size, one of which would make a wonderful eat in the hand snack (in the heat of pitched battle perhaps??), whilst two would constitute a hearty dinner main course fit for a blue blooded appetite!

As with all types of Wellington and 'en croute' dishes it is essential to keep the contents from leaking out of the pastry parcel in the final bake. We have seen all sorts of solutions to this problem including pancakes, mushroom duxelle or pate.  In this version the damp proof course is provided by a simple pepper which is perfect for keeping the pastry base dry.

(Makes 10 parcels)

500g lean minced beef
3 Tbsp Bread crumbs
1 Red onion finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves chopped and chrushed
1 Egg beaten
Dash Worcestershire Sauce
50g Gruyere cheese
2 Red Peppers


Slice the pepper in wide slices, remove seeds and lay flat on a baking tray skin side down. Drizzle olive oil over and place in an oven at 180 C for about 20 minutes or until flesh is soft and pliable. Place on kitchen paper to remove moisture, oil etc. Meanwhile heat a skillet gently and sweat down the onion and garlic until soft and translucent. (About 6 to 8 minutes). Allow to cool. In a large bowl mix together the beef, breadcrumbs, Worcester sauce, about 3/4 of the beaten egg and the onion and garlic. Season to taste and gently knead mix. Scoop out balls of approx 50g - 60g, pierce each with a sharp pointed kitchen knife and insert a cube of cheese making sure it is completely surrounded by meat. Flatten the balls slightly and place on a hot pan for 2 - 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan, place on kitchen paper and allow to cool. Roll out the pastry and cut into squares large enough to cover the meat. Wrap the meat in a slice of pepper (skin side out) making sure most of the pepper ends up at the bottom of the pastry parcel to prevent leakage causing sogginess. Bring up the corners of the pastry squares and crimp together to seal using milk or the beaten egg as adhesive. Brush with the remaining egg. Place in an oven until golden brown (about 25 minutes).

Posted by incredibly fed

2 November 2012

Gratin Dauphinoise / Tartiflette

The Church at Salardu near Baqueira 
"Love on a mountain top,
(love on a mountain top),
so high that we won't ever stop....." 
Robert Knight 1973 

The ski season is almost with us again and it's nearly time to head for the mountain tops. Believe it or not one enthusiastic friend is already proudly posting pictures of high altitude snowfalls and even his already purchased 2012/13 season ski pass on Facebook!  Naturally we at Incredibly Fed are thinking of suitable menus and recipes to combat mountain weather and sustain those long winter days on the piste! Something you'll love on a mountain top!

Gratin from the French verb gratter, to grate or to scrape is a widespread culinary technique and is used to prepare a broad spectrum of ingredients including meat, fish and vegetables. The characteristic of the dish is a brown or golden crust usually consisting of grated cheese or breadcrumbs. Potatoes prepared in this way are a classic and are rich, unctuous and always popular. Although known as Potatoes au Gratin in North America this recipe originates from the Dauphine region in South-east France whose ancient capital was Grenoble. Not surprising then it is a terrific fortification against the Alpine winter similar to its close relation the Haute Savoie dish Tartiflette created in the 1980's to promote the use of reblochon.

Panxut, our loyal ski buddy! 
Typically Gratin Dauphinoise consists of layers of finely sliced potatoes and cream baked or grilled in a shallow dish rubbed with butter and garlic. The version we suggest below is basic but for variety you can add chopped cooked ham, bacon, chorizo, chicken or prawns. Leeks and onions are also good. For a richer effect use Gruyere rather than cheddar. Introducing sauteed onion, bacon lardons (or smoked salmon) and reblochon cheese will transform your Dauphinoise into a Tartiflette. Served with say a charcuterie of local sausages and meats both are perfect winter warmers for hungry skiers. We frequently serve both when chalet catering for our ski buddies.


Half kilo red skin potatoes or other waxy varieties peeled and thinly sliced
150g Cheddar or Gruyere cheese grated
30g Parmesan cheese grated
Cream (enough to reach the top of the dish)
Chopped Garlic clove
3-4 sprigs Thyme
Butter to line dish
30g Bread crumbs


Heat the oven to 180 C and line a pyrex or ceramic baking tray with butter. Spread a layer of  potato slices on the bottom and cover with grated cheddar or Gruyere. Continue layering several times with cheese, seasoning and thyme. Finally on top sprinkle parmesan and bread crumbs and a few knobs of butter. Add the garlic to the cream and pour into the potato. The cream should be enough to come to the top. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes. If further browning is needed place under a hot grill for a few minutes.

Posted by incredibly fed

26 October 2012

Spiced Orange, Carrot and Coconut Soup with Carrot Crisps

"He did the mash,
He did the monster mash,
The monster mash,
It was a graveyard smash
He did the mash..."

Bobby "Boris" Pickett 1993

Ah... Alas the last vestiges of summer are fading. Autumn is here. The sun weakens and the once abundant and luxuriant foliage of the last few months dons its last cloak of spectacular orange, yellow and brown colours before drying to a crisp and disappearing altogether. This weekend the clocks go back and while we get an extra hour in bed the price is six months of extra darkness. Time for monsters, ghosts, ghouls and spirits to make their annual appearance... It's Hallowe'en!

Never mind, this time of year does have its compensations not the least of which is the excuse to put away the salad spinner and pull out the stock pot and start making hearty and warming potages. We love cooking soups as they are so versatile and forgiving. There are no strict rules and you can keep adding, adjusting and seasoning until you are happy with the result. Needless to say soups can be made well ahead of requirements, in fact they are better made in advance and the flavour will improve notably if left at least over night. The big trick is to start off with a good stock. Nothing is so important and this season of game yields the most wonderful stock possibilities. Guinea fowl, partridge, grouse, pheasant and of course the humble chicken all make wonderful stock. Please do not throw out carcasses or bones just put them on to simmer for about an hour and then drain and freeze the liquid. You will have a wonderful asset in your freezer ready to be pressed into service at any time.

A couple of weeks ago we featured watercress soup and we hope to continue to feature a few of our favourite soups over the next few winter months but as an homage to autumn's spectacular spectrum of hues - think of the firey flame colours of this season, bonfires and pumpkin lamps, the bright oranges, yellows and reds of butternuts, marrows and beetroots we'll post with this one. Please note these ingredients are a suggestion. Do not be afraid to experiment with your favourite herbs and spices. As ever presentation is everything so please also give a little thought to aesthetics, it only takes a minute. Remember you eat with your eyes!


800g Carrots roughly chopped
1 Large onion chopped
4 cms Ginger sliced
3 Cloves Garlic crushed
2 Tbsps Curry powder
1 Orange Zest and juice
2 Bay leaves
1 Tbsp Chilli powder
750 mls Chicken or vegetable stock
1 Can Coconut milk

5 or 6 Large carrots washed and peeled
2 Tbsps light vegetable oil
Sea salt


Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Slice carrots lengthwise with a vegetable peeler and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with vegetable oil. Place in a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes turning every few minutes. Remove from the tray with a spatula and place on a wire rack. As the slices cool they will become crisp. Sprinkle with sea salt and arrange as a garnish on the soup.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion until translucent (about 3 or 4 Minutes). Add ginger, garlic, bay leaves and curry powder and fry for a further few minutes until powder is cooked out then pour in the stock and carrots and simmer. Once carrots are tender remove bay leaves and blend with a hand blender or in a liquidizer. Return to the saucepan and add the coconut milk and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes. Season to taste. For a more chunkier version remove a few of the carrots before blending and return to the smooth soup.

Posted by incredibly fed

19 October 2012

Tamarind and Honey Chicken wings

"Take these broken wings..."
Mr. Mister 1985 

Sunset, Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia.

On a trip to Malaysia last year we wound up in Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo where we stayed for a few nights at the Shangri La, undoubtedly one of the island's best and most luxurious hotels. It served very nicely as our 5 star base camp for an expedition  to Mount Kinabalu National Park and boasted a choice of numerous restaurants, cafes and eateries all offering a dazzling array of international cuisine. But after a day or two of all that the novelty wore off  and we craved some more authentic and colourful local cooking.

Luckily for us just outside the gates at the end of the hotel's long drive, wedged between the KK Yacht and Golf club and a beautiful sandy beach there was a local family resort with large authentic open food courts Malaysian style. So one night we planned our escape.  At dusk we made our way to the main entrance and bravely refusing offers of the hotel cars, we calmly strolled past the curious gatekeeper. After the reserved atmosphere of the hotel our little jaunt really did seem like a release!

Petai beans waiting to be cooked ! 
A short distance away, along a dimly lit path lined with Tamarind trees laden with bursting pods, life bustled  in huge semi-outdoor spaces surrounded by little shops and stalls running down to the beach. Long refectory style tables and benches meant large families of several generations could sit together devouring local favourites; grilled locally caught seafood and shell fish, chicken wings, lamb curries, beef rendang, gado gado, noodle dishes, corn on the cob, petai beans and roasted nuts with freshly squeezed juices. Needless to say the food was a fraction of the hotel prices and we tucked right in.

The dish we post below was inspired by that visit. Many people fight for the chicken breast personally we like the wings which are much sweeter, moister and tastier especially when cooked in this Malaysian style. The marinade includes Kecap (pronounced ketchup, where we get the English word!) Manis often referred to as Indonesian soy sauce, if unavailable just use soy.


24 Chicken Wings (2 kg) Most skin + tips removed
I Golf ball size fresh tamarind
2 tbsp Kecap Manis
2 tbsp Light soy sauce
2 tbsp Cooking oil
2 tbsp Honey
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp chilli powder
1 Tbsp Muscovado sugar
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp five spice powder
Ground Black pepper
4 Cloves of Garlic (paste)
I 1/2 tbsp ginger paste


In a big bowl mix all ingredients then massage marinade into chicken. Leave for several hours or overnight if possible. Pre-heat the oven to 200C, drain the wings saving the marinade and place on a baking tray for about 15 minutes then turn over the wings and brush on remainder of marinade. Bake for another 15 minutes or until golden and well cooked.

Posted by incredibly fed

12 October 2012

Watercress at New House

"Look at me I'm a train on a track
I'm a train, I'm a chook-a train yeah...."
Albert Hammond  1974

Staying in France with our "copains" this summer always reminds us of the time when the very same friends had a huge house in Hampshire. Well, when I say "had" I really mean to say the house belonged to parents of one of them but since they spent most of the year in South Africa mater and pater were only too pleased to have some one look after the place on a semi-regular basis. In return for a few menial tasks such as mowing the lawns and dead heading the climbing roses in the walled garden we were fortunate to have access to it more or less whenever we wanted. Locked into the London rat race at the time however, meant trips were generally confined to weekends only but still escape from the city to a rather imposing Hampshire hideaway was extremely welcome and very much appreciated.

The house, ironically named "New House" was actually one of the oldest in the village and on the hillside just behind it Hampshire's famous heritage railway named the "Watercress Line" chugged along at regular intervals belching steam and blowing it's whistle. Opened in 1865 the line was used to transport the crop from nearby Arlesford to London where it was sold from street stalls and eaten much as you would eat an ice cream today. It's unique nutritional values being recognised even then and arguably made Arlesford the watercress capital of the world. It was and still is the original "superfood"

"New House" itself was a large red bricked double fronted pile, the main part of which dated from the early eighteenth century and boasted grand entertaining rooms which were made full use of. Other friends would join us at various stages over the weekend so there was always an eclectic and lively mix of people. No matter who was there though these weekend affairs inevitably centred around the wonderful dining room. With it's beautiful fireplace, enormous mahogany table, silver candelabras and exposed floor boards it was undoubtedly the nicest and most elegant room in the house. Many great dishes were devoured there, we particularly remember our introduction to game such as rabbit, partridge, pheasant and guinea fowl. Surprisingly though one constant was watercress soup. At some stage over the weekend we would wander down the narrow lane leading to the deserted farm for our fix of cress and pay by depositing a few bob in the honesty box hanging on the entrance gate. The nearest thing to a tropical padi field as you are like to come across in the home counties, the crop is cultivated in large flooded terraces and requires a constant strong flow of fresh water. The source here comes from chalky bedrock springs and bubbles and gurgles down the hill. Conditions ideally suited to cress. It was a lovely experience and in winter time particularly once back home we could hardly wait to make a large terrine of unctuous green "potage" which could be drunk as a warming beverage at any time during the day and would invariably find it's way to place of honour as first course under the flickering candles on that wonderful table in the dining room!

Watercress Soup

3 or 4 Bunches of Cress
1 Red onion or several shallots peeled or 1 leek
1 Clove garlic finely chopped
20g Salted butter
2 or 3 tbsps olive oil
I litre of chicken or vegetable stock
250 mls of single cream or creme fraiche (for creamier soup)
1 stock cube (optional)
Dash Worcestershire Sauce (Optional)
Croutons, cream and/or cress leaves for garnish


Soak and wash the watercress and remove any rough or dead stalks. Place the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and melt with the onion or chopped leek and garlic. (Add crumbled stock cube if using) When translucent (about 10 minutes) add the watercress and wilt the leaves for a few minutes. Remove and blend in a liquidizer or food processor. Return to the saucepan, add the stock and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes. The less cooking the better to retain nutrients and the vibrant green colour and do not allow the soup to boil. Season to taste, add cream (if using) and pour into serving bowls. Place a few croutons in the centre of each serving and place a few baby cress leaves on top. For presentation drizzle cream in circles and grate a little black pepper over.

Posted by incredibly fed

5 October 2012

Cup Cakes

Wedding Cup Cakes! 

"Cut the cake. Gimme a little piece, let me lick up the cream
Cut the cake. Well, just a little piece, baby you know what I mean.....
....Gimme gimme gimme gimme
gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme that cake
Well it tastes so good don't pass it all around
Gimme gimme gimme......"

Average White Band 1975

For grown-ups: Dark chocolate and expresso coffee cup cakes
A few days ago I was invited to my little cousin's first birthday bash, actually technically speaking she's my first cousin twice removed but let's not dwell on that one. It was refreshing to be invited to such a tender aged celebration as it has not escaped my notice that  parties invitations these days are getting progressively more... shall we say... advanced. Initially they were twenty-firsts then thirtieths, fortieths and so on. I've even been to a seventieth in the last year or so, oh dear!

But I digress, this was a lovely afternoon tea affair with all the trimmings and not to disappoint, jelly and ice cream were on offer for the adults. But the undoubted stars of the show that all the guests oooing and ahhing in admiration had to be the beautifully iced in two tone cup cakes.

Well what can we say about cup cakes? Rivalled only by macaroon biscuits they are surely the 21st century's prime marketing triumph. Having been thoroughly re-invented from the days of my childhood where they sat modestly along side the aforementioned jelly and ice cream and rice crispies dipped in chocolate to become in recent times the must have adult accessory for every occasion. We catered for a wedding earlier in the summer where the "Wedding Cake" was a specially made wire stand covered in, you guessed it, cup cakes!! Unbelievable, and it doesn't end there, they have even spawned hundreds of specialist emporia which in this neighbourhood at least have constant queues outside.

'Light' carrot and walnut cup cakes! 
At Incredibly Fed we have started to suggest savoury parmesan and pancetta mini cup cakes with blue cheese icing on our party canape menus and have tried to create dessert cup cakes to our taste. Above is our chocolate and bitter expresso coffee cup cake definately one for the grown ups but our favourite is this one adapted from a carrot cake recipe but which reduces the amount of sugar and substitutes vegetable oil for butter.

175g Light Muscovado Sugar
175ml Vegetable oil
3 Eggs Beaten
3 Medium Carrots Grated
100g Raisins
100g Walnuts Chopped
Zest of an Orange
175g Self raising flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 Tsp ground Cinnamon
Half Tsp freshly ground Nutmeg
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence

Pre heat the oven to 180 C. Place the cake paper cups in a muffin tray. Place the sugar, oil, vanilla essence and eggs in a bowl and mix then add the carrots, walnuts and raisins. In a separate bowl mix the flour bicarbonate of soda, zest, cinnamon and nutmeg and add to the wet ingredients. Pour into the cups filling each about two thirds. Place in the oven and bake for 10 - 15 minutes.

Mix together 175g icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 50g of soft cream cheese and tbl spoon of orange or lemon juice. Adjust quantities to taste and until suitable consistency is achieved. Spoon or pipe onto cup cakes when cooled. Top with chopped walnuts.

Posted by incredibly fed

28 September 2012

Monday Asian Noodle Supper

"I don't like Mondays....." 

Boomtown Rats 1979

Let's hope this one will make Mondays a little more passable for Bob Geldof and his eponymous vermin from Boomtown. What to do with the left over cold meat? This is a conundrum we all face from time to time usually on a Monday when the sad and weary bones of the Sunday roast are still peeking out at us forlornly from under a blanket of tin foil on the middle shelf of the fridge. Too much to just throw in the bin without pangs of guilt but not quite enough to make up the number of portions required without appearing parsimonious. Well here's a suggestion that's fun, tasty, economical, healthy and will magically stretch a small amount of cooked meat to almost infinite quantities to feed all. Almost any cold meat would be good but chicken, turkey, pork, duck and beef are ideal. Cooked prawns also work well in this dish. (By the way if you are using roast chicken or duck don't forget to boil the bones for stock once you've scavenged the carcass for all usable shreds of meat.)

How about fishing out the chopsticks and venturing eastwards for an egg noodle supper? Why egg noodles in particular? Well no reason really apart from convenience - rice or "glass" noodles would do just as well - but in recent years egg noodles have become easily available with most supermarkets selling the vacuum packed ready to use variety. If you can't get these however try the de-hydrated types which just require either soaking for a short length in hot water or boiling and straining prior to adding them to the rest of the ingredients. The directions will be on the pack. The beauty of the ready to use brands is precisely that! They are ready to use. The down side is they have a limited fridge life whereas dried noodles will last almost indefinately. In 2002 Chinese archaeologists discovered an earthenware pot full of identifiable noodles over 4000 years old!! We don't recommend keeping them that long however. Probably best to observe the best before date!

Ingredients (Serves 4)
500 g egg noodles
2 carrots (Julienned)
Roughly torn coriander or mint
4 Spring onions (chopped)
250 g Mange touts
Half cucumber  deseeded and (sliced to batons)
300 g Cold cooked meat (chopped into strips)
Crushed Peanuts

1 tbsp Sesame oil
3 tbsps Rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp Fish sauce
1 tbsp castor sugar
1 Chopped chilli (deseeded)
2 cms ginger cut to matchsticks
1 tbsp soy sauce

Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl ensuring the sugar is dissolved and set aside to blend. Taste and adjust if necessary. You are looking for a balance of sweet, sour and fragrance.
Prepare the noodles as per pack instructions and put in large mixing bowl. Meanwhile blanch all vegetables apart from the spring onions. Drain and add to noodles with the meat.  Add  the Asian dressing and toss well. Turn into a serving bowl and sprinkle  coriander and crushed peanuts over and serve.

21 September 2012


You've probably eaten cassava many times in the form of tapioca without realising it. Known also as yucca, manioc, mandioca, kamoting kahoy and mogo Cassava has it's origins in South America and was first domesticated there over 10,000 years ago. Brought to the African continent in the 16th Century by Portuguese traders it is now a major food crop with Nigeria being the world's largest producer, Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam are also major exporters which now far outstrip Brazil and it's other Latin American countries of origin.

Although low in proteins and toxic if eaten raw it is high in starch, thrives on marginal soils and is drought resistant. An area the size of a football pitch will yield 14 tonnes of cassava per year whilst the equivalent yields for rice and wheat are 3.1 and 1.8 tonnes respectively. So it's not difficult to understand why it's been called the bread of the tropics.

Here in London we've often seen it on sale at the market and the Middle Eastern shops which line North End Road but have never tried to cook it before until, that is, we recently came across a delicious version at the famous Regency Club which prompted us to try it at home and post this suggestion.

The Regency Club is a north London institution which defies description. Formerly a private members club located on the green near Queensbury tube station it is now a wonderful Indian gastro pub style restaurant. It's in the heart of North London's Gujarati community and has a unique ambiance and is extremely popular, their version of garlic mogo being an undoubted signature dish - along with chicken wings and tandoori lamb chops. But that is another story, let's go back to mogo!

The Regency Club's Garlic Mogo is basically deep fried chips in spices and the version we came up with at home is simple to prepare.

First cut the cassava into 4 centimetre lengths and peel off the rough brown skin. Cut each piece lengthways into chips, removing any discoloured or stringy fibres which sometimes appear in the older roots and boil in salted water for a few minutes until the chips can be pierced easily with a kitchen knife. (Ghaz says he remembers his mother serving the boiled cassava with curry when he was a kid and it was delicious!!)

Drain and allow to dry on a kitchen cloth. Meanwhile heat vegetable oil to a depth of 5 or 6 cms until slightly smoking or approximately 190 C. Gently place the chips in the hot oil and leave to cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the chips begin to turn golden. They should be crisp on the outside with a soft interior. Once you are happy they are ready tip onto a paper towel to drain any excess oil. Sprinkle with your favourite seasonings. We suggest a mix of salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, celery salt paprika and chilli!!

Delicious with ketchup or aioli or dips such as guacamole!

Posted by incredibly fed

14 September 2012

We Heart Artichoke Hearts!

We love artichokes and always try to make up a couple of jars whenever we are in Barcelona as a useful standby. They are a great accompaniment to the meatier tapas dishes. Artichokes are much cheaper and more available there as after Italy Spain is the biggest European producer so you can also rest assured they have not clocked up too many food miles. Originally thought to be from North Africa where they are found in the wild they take their name from the Arabic Al-khurchuf. Used in Southern  Europe since Greek and Roman times when their medicinal qualities were recognised they are nowadays a strong contender for the acolade "super food". They are great antioxidants, strengthen liver, bile and gall bladder functions, reduce cholesterol levels and aid beneficial gut bacteria.

Here in London artichokes made their debut on the market stalls a few weeks ago and will continue their run for some time yet. Preparation takes a few minutes but is straight forward enough so it is probably worth doing a few at the same time and storing them. Before you start have a bowl of water with a few drops of either lemon juice or vinegar added to stop oxidation and a large waste bag for the discarded leaves and stalks.

We generally begin by cutting off the the top (Probably about 1 - 2 cms from the stem, you may find a serrated knife best for this) and removing the woody leaves until the softer greener leaves are revealed. Quarter the artichoke, then scoop out the central hairy "choke" with a teaspoon. Depending on the age and size we generally leave about a half centimetre of the stalk attached. Place in the acid water as quickly as possible. When you have them all prepared blanch them in salted boiling water for about 3 to 4 minutes then place on a baking tray with a little olive oil and seasoning and put in a hot oven for a further 7 or 8 minutes or until soft when prodded with a knife. Allow to cool and place in a preserving jar and cover with olive oil. They will keep for several days. Alternatively you can brush the raw artichoke pieces with oil and place on a hot grill until slightly charred.
This method is best for young to middle sized artichokes but for larger artichokes where the leaves have become woody remove the stem entirely and boil whole in salted water for about 15 - 20 minutes. Then serve standing in a soup bowl with a melted butter or vinaigrette dip. Diners can remove each leaf and scrape out the flesh with their teeth before removing the hairy choke with a knife and eating the fleshy base.

7 September 2012


At the North End Road Market we recently spotted scallops on the fishmongers stall. They looked so fresh and inviting we decided to treat ourselves to these delicious fruits of the sea. They are an extremely versatile shell fish but can be a little bland therefore it is probably best to combine them with a relatively strong flavour such as mild curry paprika or chorizo and smoked bacon. When we got them home we decided to have a little fun coming up with alternative treatments. Ghaz decided to steam his and came up with  a delicious Asian based jus whilst I looked towards the Emerald homeland for my inspiration and pan fried mine with pea puree and boudin noir (black pudding).

Scallop shells are an iconic shape so we always like to use them for presentation and serving. To open the scallop gently prise open the shell near the "hinge" the shell should open relatively easily, then gently remove the fleshy parts with the back of a dessert spoon. Always use a dish cloth to protect your fingers when opening shellfish. The edible parts are the large white muscle and the orange coral although many people prefer to eat only the muscle. The remaining intestines etc should be washed off and discarded.

Asian Steamed  Scallops


4 Scallops
2 tsp mirin
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine
pinch salt
ground black pepper
Sesame oil
Clove garlic
1 inch ginger cut into thin matchsticks
1 red chilli deseeded and cut into cubes


Shell the scallops as described above, place on some crumpled tin foil or a small dish in a steamer and pour over the jus. Cover and steam for about 8 to 10 minutes or until flesh turns white and firm. Put a few drops of sesame oil into  pan and warm. Thinly slice the garlic add to oil and gently sautee. Remove, arrange on the shells and pour over the jus and garlic sesame oil. Garnish with chopped chive and a little sliced chilli and ginger.

Pan fried Scallops with Pea Puree and Boudin Noir.


4 Scallops
Boudin noir/Black pudding (12 slices)
Peas cooked with mint, seasoned and pureed.


Prepare pea puree in advance by boiling peas and blending with a little fresh mint and butter. Heat a pan and fry slices of black pudding for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Rub each scallop in olive oil place on the pan and leave for about 2 minutes then turn over and repeat. The flesh should be lightly caramelised. Arrange the black pudding scallops and pea puree as per the photograph. Garnish with a little red chilli and/or fresh mint leaves.

31 August 2012

Hey.....Pesto !!

"Oh oh oh it’s magic you know
Never believe it’s not so ….."

Pilot 1974

There are a few things we always like to have in the fridge which can be lifesavers when you are caught on the hop and have to prepare something to eat unexpectedly. Pesto is one of those. It is a wonder ingredient which is sure to inject flavour magic and zing to many recipes. When made, as long as the Pesto is covered with olive oil to prevent oxidation and kept is the fridge it will keep for ages and is an excellent way of turning left over fresh herbs into a flavoursome and useful paste.

At the very least a spoonful of pesto can transform bland pasta or mash potato and when added towards the end of cooking to a casserole or stew will lift the dish to a new dimension. Mixed with a little breadcrumb pesto will make an excellent crust to cover and flavour grilled salmon or sea bass. It is also fantastic for presentation and interest when let down with a little more olive and used as a garnish drizzled around dishes.  

Most people associate pesto with the soft herb Basil and this is indeed a lovely one but in reality it can be made with any single soft herb or combination. You can even use a strongly flavoured leaves such as spinach, wild garlic or rocket. We suggest you try to make your own personal version which will help stamp your own personality on each dish you prepare. Traditionally toasted pine nuts are used as an ingredient but these days we find them quite expensive and tend to use them in dishes only where they can be seen. Roasted peanuts, cashews or walnuts are a reasonable substitute.  Just blitz the ingredients and store in a jar, covered with olive oil. 

Any mix of the herbs below...

I bunch coriander
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 bunch mint
1 bunch basil
1 bunch dill
1 bunch rocket

Small bunch spring onions
Small can anchovies
1 clove garlic
Juice of one lemon or lime
3 or 4 tbsp olive oil
Handful of capers
2 or 3 tbsp white Wine vinegar
Handfull grated parmesean
Handfull roasted nuts


Whizz together and test. Adjust and season to taste.

Picture (Right)
Rigatoni with pesto, yogurt, spinach, crumbled feta, edamame beans, chopped walnuts and sun blushed tomatoes.

24 August 2012

Me Me on Broadway!

"They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway,
they say there's always magic in the air..."
The Drifters 1963 and George Benson 1978

Goi Duck (Duck Salad) and Bun Xa (Noodle soup) 
For years we had a house at the end of the King's Road in London where our nearest tube  stop and village "hub" was Fulham Broadway. To call it a "hub" is probably a misnomer as although only a stone's throw from the world famous Chelsea football Stadium it could only be described as a cultural and culinary desert. There was absolutely nothing there except the underground and the extortionately expensive Blue Elephant Thai restaurant (now defunct) accompanied by a motley collection of run down, cheap and nasty pizza and kebab joints and charity shops. Pretty dismal to say the least!

Well wouldn't you know it the moment we moved away all that changed. After years of neglect Hammersmith and Fulham Council finally got their act together and thanks to a panoply of urban improvement policies a number of key sites were redeveloped, streets repaved, buildings cleaned up and given new uses, smart apartments built and there is now even an uber trendy Conran restaurant. To cap it all off continental style pavement cafes suddenly appeared to complete the transformation. The station entrance was reconfigured and a brand spanking new shopping centre and multiplex cinema was built accommodating a food court (all chains admittedly) on the first floor. The old station building became a wonderful organic food emporium, sadly since closed down, but in short it's fair to say the Broadway has blossomed and is now achingly trendy!

Sea Bass and Mango 
We're very pleased to see too that this new life has spilt out to the surrounding area and also spawned several interesting new independent ethnic eateries. Our favourite is "Me Me" a Vietnamese restaurant directly opposite the old station entrance. Roughly translated as Mama's, Me Me is presided over by  the charming and friendly Marie (she told us her real name but prefers her adopted one!) the cooking is wonderful and we find ourselves returning again and again for inspiration and to try something we haven't ordered before. This time round it was Goi Duck and Bun Xa for starters followed by Bun Thit Nuong (Sizzling pork and noodles) and whole sea bass with mango.

We stayed there chatting to Marie as she sat at the next table de-husking an enormous bag of bean sprouts and we have to say it is not without a deep sense of irony that we find ourselves enjoying the atmosphere and the food and remembering how the Broadway used to be so different when we actually lived nearby.

17 August 2012

Summer Sweetmess!

"Like the summer sunshine pour your sweetness over me
(Pour your sweetness over me)
Sugar, pour a little sugar on it honey,
Pour a little sugar on it baby
I'm gonna make your life so sweet, yeah yeah yeah...." 

The Archies 1969

Summer Sweetness
 If like the Archies you are in the mood to pour a little summer sweetness over some one you love try this... Based on the classic Eaton Mess this is a version adapted for high summer with seasonal berries but many fruits can be used, for example at a party recently we served a baby version in shot glasses with pineapple and passion fruit to wrap up the evening. Needless to say they went down very well! Whichever fruit you prefer it is an easy dessert guaranteed to impress the nearest and dearest and make their life so sweet! We have to admit we use the much maligned shop bought meringues. Although on the dry and crisp side we think they are acceptable once well combined with the other soft ingredients. A word of caution though this desert cannot be made too far in advance as even the crispiest meringues will soften and loose that all important crunch factor!


4 to 5 Meringues (broken into medium sized pieces)
250 mls Cream whipped until it forms soft peaks
Selection of summer berries
eg Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries

Pineapple and passion fruit 

Wash the fruit. Make a little simple syrup ( 1 part water to 2 parts sugar, boil until reduced to a syrupy consistency and allow to cool . Crush the raspberries and mix with the syrup to make a colourful compote. Keep some whole fruits back to use as a garnish. Gently fold the meringue, cream and fruit together. Pick suitable serving glasses such as tall cocktail glasses or sundae dishes. Spoon in the cream mix interspersed with some of the compote to create a marbled effect. Top with cream and fruit. Keep cool until ready to serve.

Posted by incredibly fed

10 August 2012

Simple Sea Bass

Our Afghan fishmonger friends on the North End Road frequently have delicious sea bass on special offer. It comes in various sizes, the smaller and medium ones can be stuffed and served whole. Portion wise it's one fish per person. We usually wrap them "en papillote" with a little lime, ginger, chilli, soy and mirin and steam in the bamboo steamer for about 20 mins.

With the larger fish we can get two portions from each. The fishmonger will fillet it and save me the head and bones with which I make a quick stock* The two fillets are very easy and quick to cook and the quality of fish is so good the golden rule "Simplest is Best" always applies here. Simply smear a little olive oil over the fish, sprinkle salt over the skin and place skin side down on a reasonably hot pan. If the fish buckles sightly keep it pressed down with a fish slice. Cooking it on the skin side protects the flesh from burning so about 85 - 90% of the cooking should be done on this side. After about three mins turn the fillet over and finish off on the flesh side. Remove from the heat and hold in a warm oven if necessary. The residual heat will cook the fish through. To garnish cut a lemon in thick slices, rub some olive oil on the cut sides and place on a hot pan for 2 mins. The lemon will caramelise slightly giving an attractive appearance and extra flavour. This can be done in advance as they will keep for several days. The fish looks best if served on a little nest of wilted and drained spinach leaves or for something a little different try using laver seaweed. We buy the dried variety in China Town which just requires re-hydration with a little hot water. It can be salty so do not add any. We find a little cracked blacked pepper and sesame oil are best good additions. To serve lay the fillet over the spinach or seaweed, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with crushed black pepper.

* To make fish stock wash the head and bones clean under running water. This helps prevent any scum forming on the surface of the stock. Cover the fish bones with hot water and simmer for about 15 minutes. Then drain and save the stock for future use. We put our stocks in freezer containers, label them and freeze for future use. Always handy!

3 August 2012

Simple Asian Carrot Salad

Gold, silver bronze....!! Is watching all these super fit Olympic athletes making you feel slightly sluggish and out of shape? Well here's the perfect summer dish which might help. Crunchy raw carrots are a wonderful and healthy accompaniment to many dishes both hot and cold. Coleslaw is popular but for a change we thought you might like to try this simple Asian version which drops the mayonnaise. Here we suggest using just carrots but white cabbage, celeriac and mooli (daikon) are delicious mixed in too. This carrot salad which is best made a little in advance is incredibly versatile and great as a side to grilled chicken, red meat and fish or even pasta dishes such as lasagne and chilli con carne where the hot/cold contrast plays with the taste buds and lends interest. The quantities below are a guide. You are looking for a pleasant balance between the acidic ingredients the salt and the sweet and you'll only really achieve that by tasting. The recipe calls for a little mirin widely used in Japanese cooking. It's sweet and may contain a little alcohol but once you have it in the cupboard you will start finding many uses for it. Rice wine vinegar also called rice vinegar is one step more in the process which creates rice wine. It is also far more acidic. By the way sultanas or chopped dates or apricots will add a fruity note for variety. The mix will keep in the fridge for several days but the acids will "cook" the carrots slowly softening them.

Bright cheerful and healthy crunchiness


2 tbsps mirin
2 tbsps rice wine vinegar
1 1tbsp honey
1 tsp castor sugar
1 tsp salt
handful chopped walnuts
1 tsp black sesame seeds
4 to 5 carrots peeled and grated


Mix the first seven ingredients in a small bowl and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Grate the carrots in a food processor (we find the julienne attachment gives the best results) and place in a mixing bowl. Pour in the marinade and mix well. Leave for a few minutes for the flavours to blend and the walnuts to soften slightly and loose their bitterness. The salt will draw a little moisture out of the carrots but don't worry this is normal. Either drain off or mix back into the grated carrot. Serve slightly chilled with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.