Category Archives: food

You are what you eat

I am a bit of a foodie. A quick trawl through this website shows that on occasion I go nuts in the kitchen with a dodgy recipe or two. I find it therapeutic to cook. I do not know why, but I just do I know many people feel scare, even lost in the kitchen. I tell them, do not worry, to calm down.

Cooking, can be easy or hard, but it is up to the mentality of the person doing the cooking.

If the chef approaches cooking with a fun attitude, then no matter the result, the journey, rather than the destination will be enjoyed. And with practice, success will be found on the palette too. However, if the cook is stressed, not bothered or just plain panics while seeing lots of pots and pans and decides to clean the cooker top rather than observe the frying of the onions, then disaster ensues.

And there is a reason why I love cooking, it is simple. I love to eat. Well.

While I could live off junk food, for me it is an empty existence. And I do know all the best places to go in the world to get good street food. My holidays abroad abound with tales on he cheapest eateries that serve wholesome local fare. Why can’t every restaurant or street stall do this simple task, I do not know.

Yes, I love to eat. And I love to ea the food I like. If I cannot cook, them I am dependent on someone else. Plus, if I cannot cook, how can I be fussy (which is rare) about the food I eat? I would be hypocritical.

And there is another reason why I like to eat, well. I like to be strong.

I am in relatively good health for a man of my age. No infirmities, I can cycle regularly, I still have what may be termed a virile existence and I can go without sleep for long periods of time. I rarely get sick. I put this down to two things. One, my own aptitude. I do believe that a healthy mind is a healthy body. Not that my thoughts are healthy, quite the opposite, but I have an outlook which is get up and go.

The second is also what I eat. Everyday I will plough a huge amount of fruits and vegetables into me. I can safely say that I eat over 300 oranges, pears and apples every year. I probably eat close to 1,500 tomatoes every year and my banana, plum, berry, cucumber and carrot intake are also stratospherically high.

And yes, while I do like the occasional pig out and gorge on junk food days, the bulk of the time, I do steer towards more wholesome options. I do not diet, I do not believe in it. I do eat well, and often over the calorific intake that is recommended. But I make sure that my activities throughout the day balance that out. After all, why starve yourself the pleasure of endorphins and food?

And at this moment in time, I am grateful that I do eat well. It helps the body far more than I realised…

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Doughnuts!

Scrumptious, tasty and my own recipe, these almost ovaloid pastry titbits are my own sugary creation.

Let me start. You see, the other day I went on a motorbike ride with my friend. But as I had a great curry that night I did not feel like heading to the douhgnut shop. So instead my sugary need was left longing for something…more…

So the ingredients. Lots of flour, a fair whack of Caster Sugar, some Butter (salted), sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla essence (which I forgot). Soften with milk or water and mix thoroughly. I should really give you some measurements, but I do not use them, so how can I give them.

But anyway, when the pastry is nice and doughy (like play-dough) whack a good handful onto a board and roll it out. To prevent the dough sticking to the board, use plenty of flour to make sure you get a nice even roll out. I used a cutter to get a roundish shape and just prized a hole in the middle myself.

Next, take the dough, bung it into a frying pan or a wok with (hot) vegetable oil and fry until brown. Remember, the gas cannot be too high as you have to cook the dough all the way through.

Afterwards, once the doughnuts are nice and brown, stick them into a plate filled with caster sugar and sprinkled cinnamon. Mix it around and voila! Home made doughnuts.

Okay, this can spectacularly screw up. The dough is the way it can get screwed. If the dough is too doughy and liquid like, then add some more flour and bung it in the fridge for an hour or so to cool down. It then becomes a lot more manageable.

Oh, did I enjoy this! I normally don’t cook puddings, and I have a schizophrenic sweet tooth. I differ from longing of sweeties to no interest whatsoever. Usually it depends on what I ate the night before. But these doughnuts are useful, and cheap. All the ingredients (including a decadent pot of ground cinnamon) cost within a fiver. And I easily got 3 dozen doughnuts from my mixture, with bits and bobs to spare…

Mmm, doughnuts…

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The Fruit (and Vegetables) of my Labour

I am no gardener. More of an accidental gatherer. I see things growing in my mother’s garden and I pluck them from the trees and bushes. My late father was a great gardener when he was alive, and I did the great father-son bonding of planting trees. Today two trees in the garden were planted by my dad and me. A plum tree and a pear tree. And yes, that pear you see is from that very pear tree that I planted with dad.

This year has been particularly bountiful in the garden. The Apples (four trees) have been particularly good. Both to eat raw and stewed. Fantastic. The pears have been better than before. Not that sweet, but cooked they are fantastic. The plums (not pictured) are now sour which means in about a month’s time, they are going to be divine.

We have had herbs galore earlier in the year. Our own fennel plant has been sprouting and I have flavoured many omelettes and fish! Mint has been in abundance and even chives are there to be utilised.

But the big surprise of the year has been marrows. Earlier this year, we chucked a rotten marrow into the garden to help fertilise the pear tree. And lo and behold a few weeks ago, this sprouting weed turned out to be a marrow plant. Fantastic. Already two have been nibbled and another two plucked yesterday. Mmm, I love marrows, courgettes and the like. But fresh ones, organic, no fertiliser and happily accidental marrows. Mmm…the ones yesterday tasted like butter. So soft to the texture, and a wonderful sweet, nutty taste…

I am particularly lucky. To have access to this much fresh fruit and vegetables. A symptom of summer, a happy accident, but one that leaves me very satisfied indeed!

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Charlie’s Holiday to Poland (15) – Kremowka or the Pope’s Cakes…

I may have agreed on the former Pope on a few things. I may have disagreed on a few things. I think there are many people in the world who share the same opinion.

But religious or not, one thing that many of us can agree with Pope John Paul II is this. His love of Kremowka (pronounced crem-Ooof-kah).

Basically the story goes like this. As a youth, the young Karol Wojtyła was part of a group of abstinence. Considering this is Poland, and the culture (at least today) pretty much revolves around booze, this was something pretty impressive. Then he qualified from school and went to the local Krewmowka shop. Now back in those days, you had to be an adult before you could go into one of these shops. And so his entering of this shop showed the world that he, Karol Wojtyła was finally come of age and able to enjoy Kremowki (pl. of Krwmowka) without any parental restrictions:

But why did the crowd laugh in the video when he mentioned Kremowka? Well, these delicious little cakes are made with a smattering of alcohol to help the cream settle. And so, the young Pope broke his abstinence vows…

And so it was this speech that set in motion a whole industry in the town of Wadowice. That of making Kremowka, known in English as the Pope’s Cakes.

Now, I am not one to normally follow Ecclesiastical trends, but when it comes to eating, who am I to go against such a Holy recommendation?

Mmm, Kremowka…

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Fruity!

It’s summer, and that means one thing, and one thing only – Fruits!

Here in the UK, we do not really grow much. But come summer, we are blessed with all the berries that you can gorge. Plus due to the fact that we have half a dozen airports serving London, fresh fruit from around the world is air freighted into the country all the time and sold in such delightful places, such as Tooting.

So excuse me if I get distracted, but I feel like something sweet and juicy this morning…

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Midnight Snacking

I’ve just arrived home.

On the bike

After ten miles.

I am famished.

But I am also off to bed.

As it is 3am.

Not the best time to nibble.

So what to do?

Dry roasted chilli chick peas?

A piece of bread?

Fruit?

Or maybe a cup of warm milk…

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It’s a wonderful day for Plov…

I will be in the kitchen today, recalling some of my most evocative travels in the shape of a Kazaan!

Results to be announced soon…

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