Category: Food

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Give Peas A Chance

On a mission to cut down the meat and try more vegetarian meals we’ve created this pea-based dish in homage to the tasty British staple.  Perfect at this time of year too!

Pea Fritters with Parmentier potatoes, Parmesan Crisp, Pea puree, Basil emulsion, Horseradish creme fraiche, china rose and rambo radish sprouts.

This is a great summer dish, light and colourful.  Use vegetarian versions of Parmesan cheese and edible flowers instead of the sprouts to decorate.

 

Pea Fritters (inspired by healthylittlefoodies.com)

400g frozen petit pois

3 free range organic eggs

200g self raising flour

75g feta cheese crumbled

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Pinch of salt

 

  • Boil peas for 3-4 minutes and drain
  • Mix flour, eggs, and half the peas in a food processor to make a batter (add a splash of water if the mix is too dry)
  • Fold through the remaining peas, feta and parsley
  • Fry batter mixture in a splash of oil for a couple of minutes on each side until golden
  • For presentation, cut out a circle using a cookie cutter

 

Parmesan Crisp (inspired by myrecipes.com)

50g Veggie equivalent of Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon paprika

Black pepper to taste

 

  • Finely grate the vegetarian hard cheese and mix with thyme, black pepper, and paprika.
  • Sprinkle a fine layer of the mix onto a baking sheet or silicone sheet and grill for 3-4 minutes until golden.
  • Remove and leave for 30 seconds before cutting discs from the mixture – or break into shards when cool.

 

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Parmentier potatoes (inspired by bbcgoodfood.com)

3-6 Maris Piper potatoes (or your favourite variety) cut into 1cm cubes

2-3 sprigs of rosemary finely chopped

Sunflower oil

1 tablespoon melted butter

2 tsp dried parsley

Salt and pepper

 

  • Cook the cubed potatoes in a frying pan in a tablespoon of sunflower oil stirring to prevent sticking.
  • Melt the butter and mix with the parsley
  • Transfer the potatoes to a baking tray and combine with the melted butter/parsley mix and sprinkle with the chopped rosemary and seasoning.
  • Roast in a hot oven for approximately 30 minutes shaking half-way through.

 

Horseradish Creme Fraiche (inspired by greatbritishchefs.com)

2 tbsp creme fraiche

1 tsp horseradish (or more to taste)

Squeeze of lemon

½ tsp paprika

 

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and chill for 10 minutes

 

Basil Emulsion (inspired by gabekennedy.com)

Bunch of fresh basil

3-4 ice cubes

½ cup olive oil

Juice of ½ a lemon

Pinch of salt

Bowl of iced water

 

  • Blanch basil for 30 seconds in boiling water
  • Drop into a bowl of iced water to stop further cooking and retain the colour
  • Squeeze out the water from the basil and put in a blender with the ice cubes and oil
  • Squeeze in the lemon juice and pinch of salt if required and blend well
  • Store in a presentation bottle in the fridge
  • The emulsion will separate so shake before use.
  • Nutri bullets are great for blending this up.

 

Pea and Mint Puree (inspired by greatbritishchefs.com)

400g frozen petit pois

Handful of mint leaves

Knob of butter

  • Blanch peas for 2 minutes in salted water
  • Add mint leaves and leave for 2 more minutes
  • Drain (but reserve the water) and put in a blender
  • Add 100ml of the cooking water and blend
  • Add more water if required and blend to the desired consistency
  • Pass puree through a fine sieve (push through with the back of a ladle) to create a smoother puree
  • Add in a knob of butter and blitz in the blender
  • Put in the fridge to cool

 

We paired this meal with a Pinot (Pea-no) Grigio from Sainsburys.

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Craft Beer Revolution

We caught up with a select group of brewers and pubs who rose to the challenge of answering some beer-related questions to give you an insight into the craft beer movement, tips for home-brewers, and what food you should be co-ordinating with your drinking session. The Kernel Brewery, Redemption and CRATE are all based in London, while Sixpoint and Pacific Standard call Brooklyn home.

What do you think is behind the recent rise of microbreweries and is it here to stay or just a trend?
KERNEL: It is here to stay. And will grow.

SIXPOINT: People have simply realized that there’s more to beer than “fizzy yellow water”, and they’ve been active (and inspired) participants in the craft beer movement. The craft beer world will continue to evolve as it always has; tastes will continue to change, new formulations will be embraced, and the finest liquids will prevail.

REDEMPTION: I think a lot of it is about localism and consumers wanting independent products where they feel more of a connection with the producers. I think there has also been a willingness for beer drinkers to be more adventurous and the quality of beer being produced by microbreweries has improved immeasurably over the past decade. Breweries like Thornbridge, Darkstar and Brewdog have also been instrumental in leading the way and exposing people to great beer with good modern branding helping to attract people who otherwise may not have thought about drinking beers produced by microbreweries.

PACIFIC: Craft beer is definitely not a trend. It’s an example of a larger movement towards better and more socially responsible food and drink. Local, sustainable, and small-scale agriculture, including beer, is something that people are going to be continually interested in because it simply tastes better and has the added benefit of helping the environment as well as environmentally conscious producers.

CRATE: The catalyst for the rise of microbreweries can be attributed to people rediscovering that beer can be hearty and flavourful, and that it comes in so many differing varieties. The variety of beers offered by microbreweries offsets the stock standard bulk brewing of the larger breweries. Now that people have sampled craft beer, I believe a lot of them would struggle to return to the larger, blander, labels.


crate-2What’s the key to brewing a good beer and what tips can you give to keen home brewers?
SIXPOINT: The first step is to learn to understand what you like to drink, develop your palate and be adventurous. For home brewers, time on task (our founder had compiled 1000+ homebrew recipes before starting Sixpoint) and attention to every part of the process – and of course the outcome – is absolutely crucial. It is, after all, Mad Science.

REDEMPTION: Cleaning and attention to detail. If you get the basics right you can produce good beer. The science will get you a long way to a drinkable pint but the art of brewing will be developed through experience and have a good palate so you can refine your beers and really bring out the flavours and aromas you are after. Tips to home brewers – clean well have patience.

CRATE: For us, the key to brewing good beer is a combination of using nothing but the best ingredients, and putting a lot of love, care, and passion into it. For the home brewing crowd, I think the best tip is to do what they want to do, and experiment.

KERNEL: I can’t say that I’ve identified any constants across the good beers that I have drunk, apart from the obvious ones of attention to detail, and carrying the right attitude towards what you do.

How do you decide what to call your beers?
REDEMPTION: Depends on the style of beer and our mood whilst brewing them! KERNEL: They are named after their style. And the hops involved, if appropriate; nothing more.

SIXPOINT: We find ideas along many parts of the formulation process; everything from the flavor to the appearance to the moment the idea was conceived. We’ve named beers while on clandestine photo shoots, in deep caverns of ancient breweries, and even during video game battles. Inspiration strikes at unlikely times!

CRATE: The style across our business is to not over complicate things. This can be seen in our hand built bar, on our labels, and in the names of our beers. We like to keep things simple and obvious, while also creative.

What’s the best food to accompany a beer session?
PACIFIC: In my opinion, there’s nothing better than savory Indian food to offset the bitterness of a hoppy beer. But if you want something for a snack at our bar, I’d recommend either our handmade San Luis Obispo beef jerky, which puts East Coast “liquid smoke” jerkies to shame, or our San Francisco “It’s-It” ice cream sandwiches, which go very well with darker beers.

SIXPOINT: Unless you eat the same meal every day, your beer / food pairing should probably be a constant conversation. That said, a good curry with an IPA has always struck our fancy.

REDEMPTION: The obvious one is an IPA with a curry, but I’m a big fan of fish and chips and a good ‘sessionable’ pale ale.

CRATE: CRATE is not only a brewery, we’re also a pizzeria. Pizza is a perfect complement to beer. A sage and truffle pizza is the perfect companion to our IPA.

 

Brewery Profiles

Crate

CRATE Brewery came into being when Tom and Jess, local restaurateurs with the Counter Café, combined forces with Neil, a specialist brewer, and was opened in July, 2012, just before the Olympics kicked off. In keeping with the artistic and creative ethos of Hackney Wick, the largest community of independent artists and art studios in Europe, CRATE Brewery’s converted industrial interior is one of a kind and has been crafted by local designers who reused reclaimed materials from around the Wick. To accompany its range of drinks, CRATE serves up seven different delicious types of stone baked pizzas, including Sage & Truffle Potato, Middle Eastern Lamb, Sweet Potato, Gorgonzola & Walnut and Lemon Chicken Tajine They are online at www.cratebrewery.com or Twitter @cratebrewery
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Sixpoint

Sixpoint was established in 2004 when the Brew Crew resurrected the Sixpoint Brewers’ Star, as they set up a patchwork of brewing equipment in an 800 square foot garage in a then-dilapidated neighborhood of Brooklyn, NYC called Red Hook. It’s a grassroots upstart brewery founded by a dedicated home brewer. Sixpoint secured a distribution deal throughout Wetherspoons pubs in the UK this year and have three canned varieties available, The Crisp, Sweet Action, and Bengali Tigerand all three pack quite a punch. Find out more at www.sixpoint.com or on Twitter @sixpoint and they also have a beer finder app that you can download from www. sixpoint.com/app sixpoint-1

 

The Kernel

Set up in 2009 The Kernel Brewery in London was established with, according to Evin O’Riordain; ‘hard work, lots of love, and belief that it was worth doing – with lots of help from friends.’ They say their beer ‘forces you to confront and consider what you are drinking’ and you can try it for yourself from the brewery in London every Saturday between 9am and 2pm or they’ll be at the Independent Manchester Beer Convention www. indymanbeercon.co.uk in October 2014. Look the brewery up at www.thekernelbrewery.com kernel-1

 

Redemption

Redemption was started in September 2009 and the first brew was ready in January 2010. The brewery was started by Director Andy Moffat at a time when there were very few breweries still left in London. Andy wanted a brewery in North London as there had not been any brewing in North London since Pitfield had moved out many years previous. With a ‘green’ approach to business, their water comes from the local reservoirs in North London’s Lea Valley, an area of natural beauty and tranquillity, and the brewery’s spent grain and hops are donated to local allotments to be used as compost and horse feed You can find the award winning beers in dozens of pubs across London and the South East or buy online at www.redemptionbrewing.co.uk Twitter: @redemptionbrew redemption-1

 

Pacific Standard

Opening for business on 5th September 2007, Pacific Standard was a ‘West Coast transplant’ to New York. The owners, Jon Stan and John Rauschenberg, wanted to replicate the feel of a Northern California bar in New York City, complete with West Coast microbrews, West Coast sports, a library, and other touches to make it feel like a laid-back graduate student bar. It was something that, at that time, they say was sorely lacking in the New York City bar scene. Located on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn the microbrew pub opens until 4am every night with a range of events and even a frequent drinker program! Have a look at www.pacificstandardbrooklyn.com or follow on Twitter @pacificstandard

This article was originally printed in August 2014 and all information was correct at the time of printing.



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Earning an Honest Crust

“Attention to detail, the quality of the flour, the length of time it takes that dough to ferment as well is really important.”

“Attention to detail, the quality of the flour, the length of time it takes that dough to ferment as well is really important.” According to Richard Caver chef and bread enthusiast, and co-founder of Honest Crust; home of what is quite simply the best pizza in Manchester.

“The angle we’ve come at it is that the dough, the crust has to be spot on before you add anything else. Once you’ve got the crust as you want it then you start adding top quality ingredients from wherever you can get your hands on them.” Honest Crust leave no stone unturned in their quest for the ultimate pizza ingredients.

“We’re looking for the best we can find.” Richard explains. “So the mozzarella comes from a dairy down in Somerset made fresh for us every week while the award-winning charcuterie comes from Trealy Farm in Monmouthshire.” Having sampled the crusty goodness of their pizzas on several occasions, they come with an artmuso recommendation.

Richard’s pizza obsession began around 2010 with a trip to San Francisco where he encountered the kind of quality pizza that just did not exist in Manchester at the time. The unique wood burning oven used to lovingly bake the food in little more than 2 or 3 minutes has been built to a bespoke specification by Stefano Ferrara and imported from Naples.

“They are the best of the best, generations of oven builders, all the bricks and cement comes from a particular region near Naples; volcanic ash and all that.”

Honest Crust are moving into a permanent new home in Altrincham Market after an invite from Nick Johnson who took over the running of the market in 2013 and has already established a very chilled vibe there with independent food producers, crafts and vintage goods backed by live music with an open mic stand.

Open every day except Monday and from 12 noon until 10pm, later on weekends, Honest Crust will serve pizza and panuzzo – wood fired Italian sandwiches, plus plates of antipasti with their characteristic quality ingredients. Apart from a permanent base in Altrincham, their mobile pizza oven means they are available for catering at parties, events and pretty much anywhere in the North West. Make mine a pepperoni!

www.honestcrustpizza.co.uk

This article was first published in artmuso August 2014 and all information was correct at the time of publishing.  Honest Crust are now based permanently in the Altrincham Market (Market House) http://www.altrinchammarket.co.uk/ – check for the latest opening times.



The secret to a healthy life

I was definitely one of those first year university students strumming an invisible guitar, mime roaring one of Queen’s greatest hits, one vision. I was full of beans, idealism and conviction, and I really wanted to be part of the world as a solution. Of course real life takes over and soon I began to realise that change is a very, very long, slow process and life is…well, complicated.

More recently, a friend of mine told me about a man called Jason Vale. Frankly I was a quite tickled by her enthusiasm. To begin with his motto of one life-one disease-one cure sounded as ridiculous as Queen’s song especially if like me you’re already half way down the slippery slope of cynicism and middle-age. I mean how can anybody boldly state that there is only one disease and one cure in the world? All you have to do is glance at the shelves at your local pharmacy, or simply google the A-Z list of diseases and medicines to think that perhaps Jason Vale is a lunatic whose ideas would have been more suited to the 60’s.

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Image copyright: Sahua D https://www.flickr.com/photos/sahua/

And then there he was on my screen on Ted Talks, strumming something in me that I hadn’t felt in quite a while. I didn’t have to look too far to find his website and his recent documentary, Super Juice me – Jason Vale’s big juice experiment. I have to say it was both touching and illuminating to watch an experiment that took 8 people with 22 diseases on a 28 day journey that brought them both physical and mental healing in ways that they had not been able to achieve through their prescribed medications. You name it, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, food addiction, pulmonary sarcoidosis, asthma, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, sleep apnoea…I could go on.

My mind-sense about disease shifted significantly. Excuse the analogy, but of course it is far easier, cheaper and more efficient to service your car and feed it with petrol than to get it towed everywhere instead. In the same way, Jason argues that the most powerful cure for our bodies is to remove the toxins and address the deficiencies, rather than lean on drugs to treat the symptoms for the rest of our lives. In other words, drugs should assume their original place as the short term remedy and not the way of life.

And so every year thousands of people flock to Jason’s juicing retreats in Portugal and Turkey to renew themselves with the world’s densest form of liquid nutritional fuel, a.k.a vegetables and fruit.

Now apart from badly wanting to go to Portugal, I have begun to relive a kind of excitement, a kind of heart spilling over that I had stopped feeling about any world issue for a long time. That feeling of I’ve got to tell them, THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS, followed by thoughts of ‘amazon.co.uk, find juicer, live life of abundant radiant health’. Jason Vale will be hosting the world’s biggest detox 13th-17th January 2015.

To find out more about the juice revolution visit Jason’s website http://www.juicemaster.com/

 



Punk Afternoon Tea at the Baltic Social Liverpool

This hidden gem proves that #phoneeatsfirst can do wonders for the reputation of an eatery, despite the annoyance of many chefs! I first discovered the ‘punk afternoon tea’ on Instagram and decided there and then, through the Hefe filter that I would have to try it.

The Baltic Social is a little off the beaten track, close enough to walk from the city centre (around 15 minutes) but it may be worth hopping in a taxi for those who aren’t too familiar with the area. The restaurant space is on the ground floor of a warehouse conversion on Parliament Street which holds an eclectic mix of businesses including a bike shop. The shabby chic vibe definitely lends itself to the location which has been emphasised through mismatched Goldilocks style dining furniture, worn leather couches and lighting reminiscent of a cosy lounge. The menus are attached to a selection of LP sleeves with the records still enclosed and the toilets are also tiled with floor to ceiling rows of vinyl to add to the quirky atmosphere.

So what makes the afternoon tea punk, you ask? Well that would be the unique way that the Social have flouted the traditional expectations of afternoon tea; dainty silverware, small, elegant give-me-more portions and a hefty price tag are not to be found under their roof. The savoury portion of the meal (and trust me it is a meal, not a snack!) is made up of beef sliders, a miniature hotdog complete with ketchup and mustard and a classic warm BLT on a dinky roll. The sweet section is headlined by a rich, generous slab of a brownie and on my particular visit, a vivid pink and blue iced sponge cake.

A smattering of your favourite childhood treats decorate the tower of goodies, think of Refreshers and Drumsticks as a palate cleanser. If all this wasn’t enough, the maverick of a meal includes side orders of herb seasoned fries, warm pretzels and peanut butter bites. You also have the usual option of tea or coffee, which can be swapped for a bottle of house wine, a pitcher of beer or a jug of the cocktail of your choice for no extra cost. All of the above is priced at a reasonable £16.50.

The Baltic Social combines both style and substance, with the friendly staff a welcome change from other alienating ‘hipster’ spots. If you’re after a fresh take on a festive gathering, I highly recommend the punk afternoon tea, just make sure you book in advance!

For more information visit the website: http://www.thebalticsocial.com or call 0151 7071137.  There is also a sister restaurant at http://www.theoniondeli.com



Give Peas a Chance

After 24 years of vegetarianism I was this year persuaded by Animal Aid’s campaign; The Great Vegan Challenge to give veganism a go for the month of November. Here’s what I’ve discovered so far….

It doesn’t take that much effort

I imagined it would be difficult if not impossible to think of meal ideas that didn’t include the same boring options. What I have actually found is that I can have a great variety of meals, very little brainpower needed!

Many of the vegetarian meals I would normally eat were actually already vegan or easily ‘veganised’ through the omission or replacement of a couple of ingredients. For example Indian and Chinese dishes are often already vegan along with soups, salads, hummus, falafel, chips, I could go on. Other meals can be made vegan by leaving the dairy out – for example pasta dishes, bean chilli and pizza are all still pretty good without the cheese. And for the times where you are craving something non-vegan there are so many vegan alternatives around that you’re never really stuck. What’s also great is that many everyday brands make products that just so happen to be vegan. Did you know Bisto, Oreos, Wheat Crunchies and Jammie Dodgers are all vegan!? Easy!

Not all vegan food has to be healthy

To be honest I should have figured this one out beforehand. Lot s of people presume that the vegetarian option is the healthy/low fat choice but being overweight myself I know it’s not that straightforward. However I’d always thought if I’d just cut cheese and cream out of my diet I’d be a size 8. Three weeks in, I’m not so sure. Since turning vegan I’ve eaten just as much lovely indulgent food as ever, try searching #veganjunkfood on Instagram…14,421 edgy photos of burgers, cakes, nachos and pizzas last time I checked.

I suppose you could see this as a negative point (especially when hoping to drop a couple of dress sizes) but actually I think if people realised it was just as easy to treat themselves on a vegan diet than an omnivorous one maybe more people would make the switch.

Not all vegans are scary or weird

Ok, so there are definitely some militant vegans out there whose Facebook pages are filled with graphic videos of slaughter houses and who are willing to shun anyone who so much as sits in the same room as a Babybel.

But by being part of a number of vegan groups online I have found that in the main everyone is supportive and understanding. In particular the group set up specifically for The Great Vegan Challenge has been fab. People often post about their slip-ups or difficulties and everyone on there is pretty chilled about it all. In my opinion that’s how it should be. If people are making an effort to change their lifestyle for the better that should be celebrated rather than scrutinised!

For more information about veganism go to the Vegan Society’s website or visit http://www.govegan.org.uk/ for more info on The Great Vegan Challenge.