Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Jak & Eddie's Scottish Kitchen on STV Glasgow

There's no shortage of cookery programmes on TV. In fact as the nation's love of food keeps growing, there seems to be no end to the number of celebrity chefs who pop on our TV screen, all hoping to feed our ever growing appetite.
One of the big drawback of these programmes is that they often serve up amazing looking dishes that are far too complex for the average home cook to try, or they contain ingredients that you just don't find on the average supermarket shelf.
However, with the launch of Jak & Eddie's Scottish Kitchen which starts tonight on digital channel STV Glasgow at 8:30pm, we might actually have a cookery programme that demonstrates simply yet tasty food that everyone can try at home.
The show is hosted by Jacqueline O'Donnell, co-owner of The Sisters restaurant in Glasgow, and Eddie Boyle who is the head baker at Whole Foods Market in Giffnock. Some of you may recognise Jak from her appearances on Great British Menu last summer.
Last night myself and Nicola were kindly invited along to a pre-screening of the show at STV's Pacific Quay Studios, where we were able to check out the format of the new show as well as having the chance to meet Chef Jak who gave a little talk about the show. Unfortunately, Eddie wasn't in attendance - apparently on holiday topping up his tan before the filming of the next series!
The format of the show is simple with Jak demonstrating a dish in the first have of the show and Eddie showing off his baking skills in the second half. All of the recipes will be readily available on the STV website.
As the season rolls on, they will look to showcase some of the wonderful products that can easily be sourced across Scotland. We were privy to some very seasonal Easter recipes on the episode that we shown and it won't be long before I'll be trying the one-pot lamb dish in my own kitchen.
So if you're tired of the usual run of the mill cookery shows that require you having the skills of a Michelin starred chef in order to get the recipe to the table, why not tune in tonight from 8:30pm on Sky 117, Virgin 159 or Freeview 23 and see just how easy it can be to serve up easy yet delicious food.
Don't forget to get in on the action on Twitter by following STV Glasgow and by using the hashtag #jakandeddie

Sunday, 1 March 2015

5 Questions - Luke Owen, Masterchef 2014 Runner-Up

Most people who enter Masterchef do so because they want to show off their cooking skills and hopefully turn their dreams of working within the food industry into reality. However last year's runner-up, Luke Owen, filled in his application for the show as a bit of a drunken dare!
Who would have thought that the robotics engineer from Chorlton would have made it all the way to the final, via Barcelona where he cooked for the great Ferran Adrià and Christian Escribà before losing out to eventual winner Ping Coombes.
I've been lucky enough to have had Ping take time out to answer 5 Questions for Gerry's Kitchen but Luke and fellow runner up Jack Lucas had also promised to answer their own questions too. Since the show ended back in May, the boys have been busy trying to carve out their new lives on the back of their Masterchef experiences, however Luke managed to find time recently to get his answers back to me.
Here's Luke's Story;
What do you hope to do with your career now that you have completed the Masterchef 2014 process?
Well I definitely don’t want to open a restaurant, far to risky and unsociable! I’ve set up my own private dining business (www.lukeowencooks.com) and I'm really enjoying it. I really like the guest interaction and the complete artistic control!
What was your favourite challenge on the show?
Cooking with Tom Kerridge for the Chefs table was amazing, Tom and his team were brilliant and getting to cook for the best chefs in the UK is something only a handful of people ever get to do.
What is the biggest thing that you learnt about yourself over the process?
I’m a much bigger risk taker than I ever realised, I honestly believed I was a rational and sensible person.
If you could only cook one of the recipes that you cooked over the Masterchef process again, what would it be & why?
Probably the black pudding and chorizo scotch eggs. Mainly because everybody always asks/tells me to cook that for them.
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
I would invite Marcus Wareing. I'm not sure about the starter and main, but I’d really like to show him that I can cook profiteroles. I messed them up big time when I made them for him on the show!

I'd like to thank Luke for answering 5 Questions and wish him every success in the future with his private dining business. So if you're feeling adventurous, why not give Luke a call and get him to prepare the menu and wow your guests at your next dinner party.
You can keep up to date with everything that Luke gets up to on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Recipe - African Chicken, Sweet Potato & Peanut Curry

I'm always looking for quick and easy recipes to cook after a long day at work and recently I found this wonderful easy cook curry thanks to Olive Magazine. The original recipe calls for a paste to be made from the onions, ginger and spices but I wanted something that could be prepared quickly without having to get the blender out of the cupboard on a school night. With a little adaptation and some nifty knife skills, I finely chopped the onion and ginger then simply fried off with the spices. The end results were truly awesome and immediately granted this curry a spot in my top five midweek dinners.
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 75g peanut butter
  • 1 onions, finely chopped
  • 25g ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1/2 chicken stock cube
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped
  • 250g sweet potato, cubed
  • Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  1. Put the peanut butter into a bowl, add 200ml boiling water and mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a large pan and a little olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and ginger and fry until soft. Once the onion is soft, add the spices and fry for a few minutes but take care not to burn the spice mix. Add the coconut milk and peanut water, followed by the chicken stock cube and cubed chicken breast. Make sure that the liquid covers the chicken then put the lid on and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom.
  3. Add the sweet potato and, leaving the lid off the pan, cook for a further 15-20 minutes If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water to thin the sauce. Stir in most of the chopped coriander and remove from the heat.
Serve with fluffy rice and a few lime wedges before scattering the rest of the coriander over the top. If you want to add a further dimension to the dish, you can also scatter over some toasted peanuts and sliced red chilli.
With the winter weather still hanging around, why not try this fantastic curry and let the spices warm you through? Let me know how you get on and post your pics on Gerry's Kitchen Facebook Page.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

5 Questions - Tim Anderson, Masterchef Winner 2011

Masterchef has come a long way since the days when Loyd Grossman presented the show back in 1990. In fact, the current format that we see on our TV screens has been running for ten years now and since then the public have been glued to their screens watching the contestants being put through their paces by hosts John Torode & Gregg Wallace. Each series has seen amateur chef and home cooks step up to the hotplate to in the hope that they can turn their cooking dreams into reality.

Over the years the show has seen a number of winners go onto achieve great things on the back of their success including Mat Follas, Dhruv Baker, James Nathan and Natalie Coleman. Between them, they have worked in some of the top restaurants in the UK, written a fair number of cook books, given numerous cookery demonstrations at events like the BBC Good Food Show and even launch their own restaurants. Perhaps one of the most successful winners to date is Thomasina Miers, the winner of Masterchef 2005, successfully launched the Mexican restaurant Wahaca which has since grown to eleven branches and two street kitchens.

Last year I was lucky enough to meet the most recent winner, Ping Coombes, when she was in Glasgow touring the country with Malaysian Kitchen. What made meeting Ping even better was getting the chance to thank her for taking the time out to answer 5 Questions for Gerry's Kitchen.

Recently I got chatting with Tim Anderson on Twitter. Tim won Masterchef 2011 when he became the youngest competitor to lift the Masterchef trophy. American born Tim spent two years living in Japan and his knowledge of all things Japanese wowed the judges when he served up his adventurous final menu which included monkfish liver served with umeboshi ketchup, jellied ponzu and matcha mayonnaise; Kyushu-style pork ramen with truffled lobster; and a cheddar cheesecake with whisky jelly.

Since winning the competition, Tim has had stints at Le Gavroche and The Fat Duck and has been an ambassador for Malaysian food. He's opened his own pop-up restaurant called Nanban, specialising in southern Japanese food, and is just about to launch his first cook book in the coming months.

Here's Tim's story;

How has your life changed since winning Masterchef?

For me, the best and most important change has been that I am now cooking for a living, in all sorts of ways I didn’t necessarily expect. Since MasterChef I have been able to work in restaurants, run pop-ups, cook street food, develop recipes, do some consulting, do cooking demos and classes, write a cookbook, and even brew a few beers. There have been a lot of odd jobs over the past four years and I have really loved the variety.

What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?

I don’t really consider myself much of a businessman, so I’m not sure how helpful any of my advice could be. But I think one thing to always keep in mind is that you really need to take pride in what you do and be happy doing it. A lack of enthusiasm will always be reflected in your end product – you can’t expect customers to be excited about what you’re doing if you yourself aren’t.

Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?

Ideally? I would like to have somehow accrued enough money to own homes in Tokyo, Los Angeles, London, and Hawaii. I would spend most of my time in Oahu selling simple seafood dishes from a beachside shack along with perfectly made Mai Tais and cold beer, without having to worry about actually turning a profit. Again: not much of a businessman.

If you could only cook one of your own recipes, what would it be & why?

Fried rice. It is simple to cook, always satisfying, and highly permutable. It is also an excellent vessel for hot sauce.

You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?

Well, I’d be a bit of a bastard if I didn’t invite my wife Laura, and I like her the best anyway, so I’ll say her. I’d have lobster mac and cheese to start – I love the versions they do at Hawksmoor and Bob Bob Ricard, so something like those. Then tonkotsu ramen with marinated egg, double chashu, pickled ginger, burnt garlic oil, spicy pickled mustard greens, and at least one kaedama. To finish I’d have cheese – good West Country Cheddar and something from the Alps or from Wisconsin. And good beer throughout – Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale, Camden Brewery IHL, Wild Beer Shnoodlepip, and North Coast Old Rasputin should do it. Possibly a good whisky or shochu at the very end, but in general I’m pretty satisfied with beer.

Tim's love of Japanese cuisine is obvious and following on from the success of Nanban pop-up restaurant in London's trendy Shoreditch, April sees the launch of Tim's first cook book which is also called Nanban. If you fancy turning your hand to the wonders of Japanese cooking then you'll be please to know that the book is now available for pre-order from Amazon.
I'd like to thank Tim for taking time out to answer 5 Questions and wish him every success in the future. Why not keep up to date with everything that Tim is up to on Facebook and Twitter?