26 April 2012

Double Dip!

"...And now I've done my time in the kitchen at parties, I've done my time in the kitchen at  parties..." 
Jona Lewie 1980

Well folks it's official we are now in recession again, the so called double dip! So what to do? Have a few people around and throw a party! Here is the Incredibly Fed version of the double dip! Two fabulous vegetarian party or picnic nibbles that are absolutely delicious and guaranteed to take no more than a few minutes to prepare. Like Jona Lewie you will not spend your time in the kitchen at parties and your guests will really appreciate the authentic home made taste. We also think you might consider serving the wonderful Pimientos de Padron (See the blog below).  

Guacamole, a dip made from avocados, is originally from Mexico. The name is derived from two Aztec Nahuatl words - ahuacatl (avocado) and molli (sauce). The trick to perfect guacamole is using good, ripe avocados. Check for ripeness by gently pressing the outside of the avocado. If there is no give, the avocado is not ripe yet and will not taste good. If there is a little give, the avocado is ripe. If there is a lot of give, the avocado may be past ripe and not good. In this case, taste test first before using.

3 or 4 Ripe avocados
3 spring onions chopped finely
1 Garlic glove chopped finely
1 chilli finely chopped 
1 large tomato seeds removed and finely chopped
Small bunch coriander chopped
2 tbsp olive oil 

Mash avocado flesh in a bowl mix in the other ingredients with oil and mix until desired consistency. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve with tortilla chips. 

Cannellini Bean Dip

I can cannellini beans
2 tbsp pesto 
Half clove garlic
Juice of half lemon

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz until creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Put in a party serving bowl

We always find a stale baguette is good for making bite size crostini. Use bread which is three or four days old. Cut the baguette into thin rounds and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle with a little olive oil and seasoning. Place in the oven at 180 C for about 15 minutes or until a light golden golden colour. Crostini will keep for ages in an airtight container.

20 April 2012

Out and proud!

"Once I had a secret love that lived within the heart of me..."
Doris Day 1953

"I think of you and lick my lips, You've got the taste I can't resist
Can't resist - can't resist"

Fast Food Rockers 2004 

We felt more than a ripple of intense pleasure recently when we read an interview with none other than the ultimate Catalan foodie guru Ferran Adria. A deity in the culinary world if ever there was one. When asked about junk food in general and that ubiquitous Scottish named hamburger chain in particular far from condemning it he admitted that one of his guilty pleasures was an occasional visit to his local branch! He was honest, relaxed and secure in his position. Well if he can be so can we. Yes we admit it we enjoy the very same burgers... and there is more we also enjoy the meatballs on offer at that well known Swedish hyper store and more still.... we love licking our fingers after scoffing the Confederate Colonels secret recipe for spice coated chicken pieces. Oh yes.... there are times when nothing else will do! Junk is great!

There..... we've come out, that wasn't so difficult was it? and we feel absolutely terrific. We've blown the doors clean off the closet or should I say the larder or the pantry and we're liberated from the tyranny of foodieism!  Better to admit our guilty pleasures than to be outed or worse still blackmailed by the local foodie police, that is those tut tutting so called friends and associates!! We adore the full cuisine panoply all the way from junk to haut. One cannot be fully appreciated without the other. It's a cornucopia and all part of life's rich tapestry as they say. Life is too short for food snobbery and its associated insecurities. Don't forget some of the best dishes in the world originated from lowly street stalls and it is still where the most vibrant and innovative cooking can be found and where today's Michelin stars go to seek inspiration! Furthermore foodie fashion has proved to be as fickle as any other. Up market restaurant menus are strewn with good illustrations of this. Oysters, salmon, pork belly, black pudding, pilchards rebranded as sardines, pigs trotters, oxtails and not to mention tongue 'n' cheek (gettit?) were all the junk food of their day. Now look at them. They are just a few of the ingredients which have endured a roller coaster career and dramatic transformations in popular perception and acceptability. So what next...? Chicken nuggets, pizzas, hot dogs??? 

12 April 2012

Incredibly Fed Prawn and Mango Salad

At the Incredibly Fed kitchen we often make Vietnamese summer rolls as a canape for parties or as a starter. They are a delicious and fresh alternative to the more commonly seen spring rolls which are heavier and usually deep fat fried. The rice paper wrappings are bought dried and are prepared by just dipping them in tepid water for a moment or two. They then become pliable and easy to manoeuvre around the shredded goodie fillings. We generally produce a cigar shaped roll and slice it in half for presentation purposes. This also helps the absorption of the accompanying dip which is essential to the canape! As long as they are kept moist they can be made in advance requiring just the minimum of presentation at the party venue or any other point of delivery. They are a favourite with both the chefs and guests alike. We vary the filling from time to time sometimes including vermicelli noodles bean sprouts shredded mange touts and peppers. Currently our favoured ingredients are mango and prawns.

In this recipe we have dispensed with the rice paper to make a fresh summer salad which is healthy and delicious and with the omission of the prawns can be a wonderful vegetarian dish in the "Raw Food" manner!

Salad Ingredients (4 - 6 people)

2 or 3 carrots shredded
1 Cucumber sliced with a peeler into strips
2 Spring onions
1 Mango (not too ripe) cut into batons
Handful Mint leaves
Handful Coriander leaves
Handful Roasted peanuts or Cashew nuts crushed
Handful cooked king prawns (if desired)
1 deseeded chilli sliced thinly

Simple Dressing Ingredients

4 tbsp Rice vinegar
4 tbsp Fish sauce
4 tbsp warm water
1 clove garlic finely sliced
2 cm ginger cut into thin matchsticks
6 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
Juice of 1 Lime

Combine all dip ingredients in a saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved and allow to cool down. Adjust flavour balance to taste. Combine salad ingredients in a bowl and toss with dressing just before serving. Garnish with prawns and crushed nuts.

5 April 2012

Easter Sunday Salmon Pasta Brunch

Why not make something a little special this Easter? If you are having a late lunch this hearty breakfast is sure to keep you going until the roast is done! Sunday mornings, smoked salmon and eggs are made for each other. Eggs Benedict and Eggs florentine on muffins are heavenly classics.  Scrambled egg on toast topped with smoked salmon delightful. Kedgeree reminiscent of brunch in the Raj is a delicious self service brunch dish with smoked haddock curry spices boiled eggs and rice. Recently we tried a brunch dish inspired by a mix of all these classics but rather than muffins toast or rice we used pasta. In a large help yourself serving dish reminiscent of Kedgeree we put linguini topped with smoked salmon boiled eggs lemon wedges and crushed walnuts. It was very easy and quick to prepare requiring no cooking apart from the pasta and eggs and went down very well indeed.

Easter Sunday Morning on a plate! 

1 pack linguini
150g cream cheese
150g creme fraiche
1 tbsp capers chopped
2 tbsps sweet French mustard
Handfull Mange touts
300 g smoked salmon
3 eggs boiled quartered
50 g chopped walnuts
1 lemon cut into wedges
3 tbsps olive oil


Boil the pasta as normal until just slightly "al dente",  add the mange touts for about 30 seconds and drain. Meanwhile mix the creme fraiche, cream cheese, mustard and chopped capers in a bowl until well blended. Let down the mixture with a little of the liquid from the capers and pour into the pasta saucepan. Pour the pasta and mange touts on top and toss until the pasta and sauce is well mixed season generously and put in a serving dish. Tear the smoked salmon slices and arrange with the egg quarters and lemon wedges on top. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with a tongs. Happy Easter!!