My wife showed me some pictures my youngest sister posted on Facebook last night. She and her husband (check that; her husband – my youngest sister is married. How old am I?) treated themselves to a trip to The Fat Duck, home of the food wizard-cum-scientist Heston Blooming-utter-nutter-thal or whatever his name is.
She noted that the menu took about three hours to get through, which it should do given it’s £200-a-head. The pictures of the food items looked very familiar – and they are to many foodies of course because you see them on TV – whisky jellies, snail porridge (which looked alarmingly green – I mean like fluorescent green), various foams, foggy mist-like creations and so on.
Heston Blumenthal is an interesting character – well known over here in Blightly; elsewhere I don’t know. He is the antithesis of the better known Gordon Ramsay. Where ‘G’ is a shouty, sweary cartoon-like creation, Hessie is more menacing – shaven-headed, thick rimmed spectacles, piercing stare.
But my personal preference in the celebrity cook stakes is Tom Kerridge. A man mountain, Kerridge cooks things that I can relate to – food you can find in a gastropub. Things like bacon joints braised in maple syrup, carrots cooked in loads of salt, butter and sugar…you get the idea.
But just because it’s food that you understand, and looks like something you recognise, doesn’t make it any easier to cook. Oh no. Try pork belly.
This is the perfect answer to those family gathering event type things where you want to take something along but know not what. This is a no-bake, no-fuss, no-messing cheesecake, made with that most wholesome of breakfast ingredients; Nutella.
Now, you might think Nutella is just a gooey mess of chocolate and nuts. But according to the marketing it’s a healthy breakfast ingredient. Come on people, its chocolate.
And also I might be over-egging the no-mess, no-fuss line. It is messy – making things with chocolate always is. And you have to wait 24 hours before you can mash it into your face. But it’s all worth it!
There was one steak I hadn’t tried. The Porterhouse.
Making homemade versions of ‘fast’, or ‘junk’, food (which term you use depends largely upon your personal viewpoint – but I suspect those who use the word ‘junk’ protest too much; they decry a big fat burger as the food of the devil when actually they secretly yearn to slaver over a large piece of meat stuck between two buns). I digress.
And so I will start again. Making homemade versions of ‘fast’, or ‘junk’, food is something of a hobby for me. An infrequent hobby, but a hobby none-the-less. I’ve made sweet and sour pork balls, fish and chips, Wendy Burgers, Chinese Chicken Curry, pizza (of course).
Of all these the Chinese Chicken Curry was the best – it actually was just like you’d get from a Chinese Take-away.
Anyway I thought I would play safe for my next fast food recreation and try recreating McDonald’s Hash Browns.
Not a McDonald’s Hash Brown…
As regular readers of this increasingly irregular blog might be aware, one of the vague (and I do mean vague) drivers of the content (sorry I am getting my business-speak mixed up with my normal-speak) is that the creations that are blogged should be original, if possible.
That is to say, I try not to post one-hundred ways to cook a steak (which BTW I fail at miserably – how many times have I cooked and photographed a half-cooked fillet steak…more times than grandma. Which was none, she didn’t have a camera).
Thus I am always on the lookout for something new and different. The internet is generally rubbish for new and different recipes – many of the food related sites you can find never really get updated, often regurgitating the same thing over again (BBC Good Food – you know who you are). In fact blogs are about the best source of food innovation and inspiration, but who wants to copy another blogger unless it’s absolutely essential (reference my Angry Bird’s Cake).
So when the wife (always the wife) suggested gnocchi, I jumped, nay limped, at the chance.