September 20, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 4:27 pm

I don’t often write about things not directly related to food but last night a rather funny thing happened on the way home. I was walking towards Earls Court when I came face to face with…

Canadian Goose

standing on the pavement in front of me. That’s right, a two foot tall Canadian goose. Now  those of you living in more rural areas might not be very suprised at this. However, to a Central Londoner, this really is f*cking bizarre. You NEVER see wild animals outside of Hyde Park (with the exception of pigeons and rats, of course)!

This goose might have broken its wing, because it was quite determined not to fly. It seemed to be much more interested in getting on to the (very large and busy) road. People were shooing it back onto the pavement,  but the goose was adamant that it wanted to play at being a car and eventually started to walk westwards down the middle of the traffic lane. People were shouting, cars were hooting. I tried phoning the RSPCA, who were definitely not interested.

Then the goose decided to have a short sit down in the middle of the Earls Court Junction, where people actually started running out onto the road to ward off the very fast moving vehicles.

Last thing I saw, the goose was waddling towards Hammersmith along a dual carriageway.

It’s a shame really. If only I could have lured it to a butcher. :wink:

I did take a picture of the goose in the middle of the Earl’s Court Junction but I’m not convinced it has come out well. When I’ve charged my phone up I’ll have a look!

As for dinner last night, I tried out this  version of a Sicilian recipe for Pasta with sardines. It was a bit average to be honest. There was nothing wrong with it, but I won’t be making it again in a hurry. It was just kind of  so-so. No doubt any Sicilian cook reading this will be fuming.

 Sicilian style pasta with tomato

And it also looked like generic tomato pasta. There wasn’t much going for this one really.

September 19, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 1:57 pm

It’s all because I made this.

Duck with Orange Sauce

That’s a nice big duck breast (bought from Borough Market) with an orange and thyme sauce, new potatoes and asparagus. When I’d finished making the sauce I thought it looked a little bit yellow. To give the dish more colour I decided to throw in a drop of food colouring. That seemed to work fine but a fair bit of colouring went on my hands. Now it won’t come off!

So I’ll be walking around for a couple of days, looking like I’ve killed someone. Great. It’s a good thing I’m not meeting any new students for a week or two.

I suppose I can at least say the dinner was worth it. The duck skin was nice and crispy, although I scored the skin a little too deeply, making the duck breast cook more quickly than I anticipated. It was still pink in the middle, but was definitely closer to medium than rare.

Slice of Duck

It wasn’t overcooked but I wouldn’t have wanted to push it any further! I’d cooked it for 6 minutes on the skin side and 2 minutes on the other side. I giess next time It’ll have to be 5 and 1:40.

The sauce was the best part of the meal. It was made by frying orange zest with butter and sugar, then adding the juice of an orange, some cointreau and a handful of thyme leaves. The whole lot was simmered together until the flavours became quite intense, then it was thickened and finished off with a squeeze of lemon.

Duck with Orange and Thyme Sauce Recipe

September 18, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 1:55 pm

Yes, I know it’s not like me to be doing quick recipes but I had a couple of really late nights this weekend. The first was after going to the cinema with my Dad to see the “Night Listener”. If any of you were thinking of doing the same, really I wouldn’t bother. 

It was around 11:45pm when I realised I was starving. It was too late even for a decent take-out so I had to resort to pasta. There was half a butternut squash in the fridge, a remnant from a recent attempt at lamb tagine, which had to be used soon, so I decided to make my bacon, feta and squash pasta.

This recipe is adapted from a Waitrose recipe. The Waitrose version wasn’t bad, but just tossing the melted feta with pasta made the dish a bit dry for my liking. So the second time I made it, I blended the feta and a bit of the squash with some chopped rosemary and milk to make a sauce.   This time I added a clove of roasted garlic too. The recipe has been up since I started the blog, but I’ve added more detail to it today along with a slightly dodgy picture.

Pasta with bacon, feta, rosemary and squash

Lightly coloured things are so hard to photograph! Here is the link to the pasta and bacon with a rosemary, squash and feta sauce recipe.

My second quick meal of the weekend was made with some sardines. I hadn’t had sardines in years and I’m pretty sure I’d not come across fresh ones until then. Since I didn’t know what they tasted like, I got on the phone to James for some help with ideas. According to him, Mediterranean flavours would work best.

So I took my sardines and stuffed them with a mixture of black olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, peppadew peppers, crushed garlic, chopped parsley and tomato paste. I drizzled them with sundried tomato flavoured olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and grilled them until they were cooked.

Meanwhile I also made some couscous and tossed it with mint, coriander, more capers and pine nuts. I served the fish and couscous together drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil and a side salad.

It seems James was right, sardines and mediterranean flavours do go well together. The dish would have benefitted from a squeeze of lemon, but I’d run out .

Sardines and couscous

I quite like the flavour of the fish. The bones are a bit of a nuisance but I’d still buy them again. Now I’ve got to think of what to do with my other 3 sardines that are currently sitting in the fridge!

Sardine recipe will be here shortly.

September 16, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 3:42 pm


You might have noticed that recently I’ve been trying to increase the numbers of curries in my cooking repetoire.

I find Indian cuisine the hardest to experiment with. Maybe it’s because I don’t have an intuition for the spice flavours, but I find that I need the guidance of a cookbook. It’s a little bit frustrating because this cuisine is one of my favourites.

Hopefully, if I keep on trying, I’ll get better at this. I’ve already discovered that my book at home, ‘Indian Home Cookery,’ is a little bit lacking. You often need to treble, or in some cases, quadruple the spice quantities. Either that or I’m losing all my tastebuds.

For example, the vindaloo recipe in this book gave me a good idea of which spices to use but needed a lot of changes. For a start, it didn’t have any potatoes. Now, maybe someone will correct me, but I’m quite sure vindaloo means “with vinegar and potato”. :roll: Also the recipe needed  a minor adjustment for the fact that I didn’t want to cook my sirloin steak for an hour.  Then of course there was the obligatory quadrupling of the spices.

Honestly, the person with the blandest palate in the world would find the book’s curries underspiced! Fortunately I’ve learned how to scale up the quantities successfully!

I had my beef vindaloo with some garlic lentils and spinach. Don’t worry about the rice in the background. It was a bit of a presentation experiment gone wrong. All you need to know is that it was flavoured with caraway seed and turmeric. Here is the full beef vindaloo recipe

September 15, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 4:50 pm

 Ostrich with black pepper and honey sauce, noodles

Ostrich is a difficult meat to think up recipes for. There are loads of dedicated websites  but most of them seem to be re-hashing old beef recipes. You’ll find ostrich stroganoff, ostrich bolognese, ostrich kleftiko, the list goes on. While it’s true that ostrich will work as a beef substitute, it seems a bit of a waste to only use it like this.

The flavour of ostrich is much more gamey than beef and so it can take strong fruit flavours. If you look through my recipes, you’ll see this is how I’ll usually approach cooking this meat. I’ve done an apple-honey sauce and a cranberry and orange one. I was thinking about flambeeing it in apricot brandy for a while too.

But last night I had to use my ostrich steak up and I really wasn’t in the mood for a steak and sauce with mash type affair, most probably because I’d just had that a couple of days ago. I was having a bit of a carb craving and once I’d figured out that I really fancied some noodles, I thought I’d make my ostrich into a chinese dish.

So I made a sauce of honey, black pepper, soy and five spice. It was delicious- I’m very proud of this one. :grin:  The sauce was fairly sweet which worked well with the gaminess of the ostrich. The pepper gave the sauce a good flavour but didn’t make it hot. I made a vegetable stir fry too, to get rid of the aging veg in my fridge and served everything with some fine egg noodles tossed in sesame oil.

I tried out a method of cooking the ostrich which had worked well with beef before. I cut it into inch thick slices, seared it on high heat for 30 seconds per side and then stirred into the saue, which I’d just taken off the heat. The idea is the residual heat of the sauce cooks the steak a little more The result was this.

rare ostrich slice

Rare meat that melts in your mouth. Lovely!

The recipe for this is certainly worth posting, so check back and I’ll have it up soon. I apologise for the state of the recipes now. The website crash has destroyed some of the links but I’ll recover any that I can as soon as possible.

16/09 Update: And now we havea recipe for Ostrich with Black Pepper and Honey Sauce

September 14, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 2:50 pm

For various strange reasons, I got to meet one of my heroes (briefly) this morning, helping out in a TV recording for his new series. I’m probably not allowed to say who it is until the show goes out, but anyone who knows me well will be able to guess who I’m talking about.

As a result of this appointment I had decided to actually make an effort with my appearance for a change. The problem was, as this was completely last minute I had already asked Andy round for dinner. How could I fit it all into one evening? Andy came up with an interesting solution. He would cook for me at my flat allowing me to paint toenails, pluck eyebrows and choose what I was going to wear.

Now, Andy has several nicknames. The one he likes best is Sir Millar. The one that’s being used  more and more often now and is most appropriate to his cooking style is “The Goon” after that character from Popeye.  This is because Andy does goonish things, like picking people up, dropping them, walking into things…. you get the idea.

By all acounts Andy’s previous attempts at cooking were more than a little bit goonish. He survived for several months in his first year by eating tuna and microwaved rice everyday. When he got bored of that he moved onto noodles with chicken stock. I gave him my recipe for carbonara once. It might have worked if he could tell the difference between cream and milk. Remembering the eggs would havehelped too! :roll:

But goon was determined to cook for me last night, providing I could tell him exactly what to do. I thought I’d play it safe and let him make the simplest nice thing I could think of. Linguine with mussels and other bits and pieces. The amount of cooking is minimal but the flavours are great.  

So I gave Andy detailed instructions of what to do. Then I was told to go sit down and let the goon cook. I found this very difficult indeed. In fact, I found it impossible, I had to check what was going on.

 Goon Cooks

Apart from the pasta sticking a little and some very limp-wristed stirring, things seemed to be going quite well. For some reason, goon doesn’t like doing things in parallel. Fine, but it did mean the meal took roughly 2 hours to make. Eventually, with relatively little supervision, this was produced.

Linguine a la goon

The linguine was tossed in chilli oil and sundried tomato oil. Goon added basil, parsley, chopped olives and sundried tomatoes, mussels, peppers, mushroom and crushed garlic. Not bad going! It tasted pretty good too! Maybe I’ll get the goon to cook more often.

September 13, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 5:03 pm

Well, I recovered all the posts but it seems like loads of the comments have gone for good. Ditto several recipes. Some I can do again, like the bolognese, but some I just don’t remember. This is all very sad. :cry:  

I know it is a long shot but if anyone has saved the recent recipes please let me know. It would be so good to have them back!

The good news is that this will never happen again. The site will be moved onto Andy’s server which will have three backups made daily.

I still have a lot of work to do to make the site look right. The template needs rewriting and a lot of photos are missing. I also still havea small backlog of posts to put up and recipes to copy and paste accross. For now I’ll leave you with what I had for dinner last night….

stilton stuffed steak

stilton stuffed sirloin with port and cranberry sauce and mashed potato. If you look very carefully you can see the stuffing. This worked well as cooking and resting the steak provided just enough heat for the stilton to soften but not melt completely. So it was warm and gooey but didn’t leak out everywhere.  I may not bother with a recipe for this, it all depends how long it takes to recover everything else.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 7:16 am

As previous visitors to this site will know, ‘Living to Eat’ does not normally look like this. About 10 days ago there was a hideous hard drive crash which wiped everything. The guy that owns the server the site was on last backed up the data on August 4th. Hence a lot of stuff is missing. Right now I’m trying to recover it.

Most of the posts are up but I haven’t had time to upload all the photos again. However I kept writing while the site was down so there are a few posts up and ready just below this one.

Right now, I’m recovering all the nice comments people left me from Google cache. Sometime soon, Andy should recreate my template and then all the reviews, recipes etc should be visible.

The good news is the site will be moved to a new server in a day or two and then I can finally have my template looking the way I want!

So for now, wish me luck and enjoy the recent posts!

UPDATE: I’ve got most of the posts now. Some recipe links don’t work. If you find any you can let me know by posting in the comments box. This’ll help to sort them out.

September 11, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 8:17 am

 Poussin with cheese stuffed skin, creamed savoy cabbage

Yet another article I'm writing without having my blog online . This is really starting to annoy me now! It's been a week and a half for fk's sake!

Anyway, I only heard of potatoes boulangere a few weeks ago. As I'm always on the lookout for new carbs or ways to prepare them I thought I'd give it a go.

Now, I've been told that my blog needs more photos of food in progress. Well, fair enough, I'll do my best. Sometimes it's a little difficult when you're on your own and up to your elbows in food though!

The potatoes Boulanger were easy enough to photograph in the middle of preparation. It is made by thinly slicing floury potatoes and layering them with thinly sliced onion and seasonings. I used 4 medium sized white potatoes, which was enough for two people as an accompaniment. In a 30cmx15cmx10cm  pyrex dish, I put down a layer of potato, topped it with onion, garlic , pepper  and crushed bay leaves, like this.

Making Potato boulangere

Then I put down another layer of potato and repeated until the dish was full. Next I poured over chicken stock until it just reached the top layer of potatoes, topped the entire thing with some chopped thyme and baked it for about 20 minutes on gas mark 6.

Oven Ready potato boulangere

The result was surprisingly good. I honestly expected it to be a bit bland but it was delicious. The poussin was great too. I stuffed the skin with garlic and herb cream cheese, stuffed it with lemon wedges and  roasted it stuffed with lemon. The flesh was lemony and garlicky from the cheese. I was very proud indeed. I served it on a bed of creamed savoy cabbage with bacon and had the potatoes on the side.


September 8, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 6:57 pm

 King prawn dhansak

 Dhansak has got to be my favourite take-out curry. I love it so much that it was the first real curry I learned to make myself. By real, I mean not a  generic, tomatoey, throw in curry powder type thing. A fair bit of thought went into the flavours here.

A dhansak is a Persian curry that is  sweet and sour  and has both meat(or fish ) and lentils in it. My trick to get a good dhansak flavour, is to add a good sized dollop of mango chutney at the end. And use loads of lentils, of course.Since my dad had recently brought me round a nice piece of lotus root, I decided to use it to  make an accompaniment to my curry. Those of you who haven't tried lotus root, you really should. It has a fab crunchy texture. I stir fried mine with garlic, ginger, coconut and coriander.

Lotus Roots

I recommend cooking the lentils separately from the curry, while you're doing the preparation. They take ather a long time to cook and if you try to cook them in the curry sauce they seem to take even longer. Here is the King Prawn Dhansak recipe.

dhansak, rice and roots



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