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Love cooking: Cooking as entertainment?

19 Oct
Love Cooking Show - Ainsley Harriott

Love Cooking Show - Ainsley Harriott

The Playhouse Theatre was the rather unlikely location for a day of cookery demonstrations by TV chefs this week. In such a large theatre, could an audience do the chefs justice?  After rather cringing at the Tiggerish personality of Olly the “wine guy” from Saturday kitchen (did he have to do the same Mexican wave ‘thing’ at each demonstration?), we settled in for an entertaining evening.

I’m often frustrated by not being able to see what the chef is preparing  – here this was overcome by a roving camera woman taking close-ups. These were alternated with fix camera shots. What a great idea, so simple and really effective.

I am not really sure why the words Ainsley Harriott invoke  a forceful response – I guess he is rather like Marmite, either you love it or you don’t.  I’ve been a fan since trying to find an interesting cookery book for a beginner chef. She  found that his recipes were easy to follow, tasty and effective.

We were entertained with charming stories about Ainsley’s family – one of his aunties would smuggle mangoes into the country in her underwear in the sixties – and plenty of useful cookery tips. The recipes were colourful and vibrant (and tasted pretty good too). And the sight of Ainsley limboing across the stage? Well, that won’t be forgotten soon.  His philosophy – learn to cook so you can enjoy eating with friends – who can argue with that? So were we entertained? Yes, and we learnt a few things too.

Recipe

(from the Love Cooking Recipe Book)

Caroline and I sneaked up on the stage to taste this cooking – delicious. I just had to have a go at the cornbread muffins. I’ll certainly make them again. These are best eaten warm. They’re really easy to freeze and reheat.

Ainsley Harriott's Chilli Cornbreak Muffins

Ainsley Harriott's Chilli Cornbread Muffins

Ingredients

50 gr butter
150 gr self-raising flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tsp salt
2 teaspoons baking powder (EF: yes you do need this as well!)
1/2 tsp black pepper
150 gr yellow cornmeal (or polenta)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
300 ml of buttermilk or milk with juice of half a lemon
1 chili, de-seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs (whatever you have to hand) or 3 teaspoons of dried herbs

Paper or silicon muffin cases and tin.

Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C.

Method

1. Melt butter in pan or microwave and use some to grease your muffin cases. (EF :If you have silicon cases you do not need to do this)

2. Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl, then tip in the pepper and cornmeal. Stir to combine.

3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and quickly stir in the eggs, buttermilk (or milk mixture) and butter and mix until smooth. Fold in chilli and herbs until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the paper or silicon cases.

4.  Cook for about 20 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. (EF I found you need less time with a fan oven).

Love Cooking – James Martin and Guests

19 Oct
James Martin on Love Cooking, Edinburgh

James Martin on Love Cooking, Edinburgh

 I don’t watch Saturday Kitchen and chances are I’m not going to start after this experience. Although the food looked decent enough, the personality of the cook rather put me off eating it. Saying that, James’ guests, entertaining Oz Clarke and demure local hero Tom Kitchin, made the hour and a half  quite pleasant. Two skilled chefs, a three-course cookery demonstration and wine advice to boot – what’s not to love? Let me tell you.

Festival Foodies – Food and Drink pt1

16 Aug

Part 1 – Food and Drink

A simply glorious day today, the weather could not have been better. A perfect day to go along to Foodies at the Festival, taking place this year in Holyrood Park.

I must confess to being rather ambivalent about festivals such as Taste of Edinburgh, Foodies at the Festival, what are they actually for? To taste the food, just a pleasant day out, to drink? Certainly today, you could have got absolutely plastered very easily! It actually proved a great opportunity to discover some new suppliers, rediscover some old favourites, get a sampling from restaurants that I’d not yet been to, and to watch cookery demonstrations (more about the last two in Part 2). Continue reading

Food Lovers’ Festival Guide (Pt 2)

9 Jul

Ever with food on my mind, I started thinking about foody things to see and do at the Edinburgh festivals and I am pleased to provide tasty offerings that might tempt your palate.  I am going to have to be very brave to dine at 100 feet up though ..

If you know of any must see foody shows, events, happenings, let me know!  @edinburghfoody. Do read  Part 1, in which I suggest great places to eating during the festival.

Edinburgh Festival City

Edinburgh Festival City

Book Festival

Astonishingly, there are still tickets available for Anthony Bourdain – 28th August (remember Kitchen Confidential),  Prue Leith 24th August and Mary Contini – 15th August.

Festival in the Sky

Dare you dine 100 feet up? Join 21 other people and menus that have been created to suit the Festival in the Sky experience by the Cook School Scotland prices from £32.50 per person depending on meal you choose.

Foodies at the Festival

Scant details as yet, but this takes place on 13th and 14th August in Inverleith Park. Cookery demonstrations and tastings are promised. Tickets £10

Events

Taste Whisky and Taste Ale at Leslie’s Bar

Tutored tasting events throughout August with Stewarts Brewing (beer) and ten or so whisky distilleries at this bar which dates back to the 1890s. 45 Ratcliffe Terrace, Edinburgh £10

Whisky at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

28 Queen’s Street and The Vaults, Leith. Usually for members only, discover the delights of single cask whisky. £17, 6 dates only at each venue.

Wine in the City

Edinburgh Wine School on the Royal Mile for beginners and those more experienced.

Wine School at the Fringe

Wine tasting on a barge at Edinburgh Quay, Fountainbridge.

Festival Shows

Each year Mr EF and choose a random show to go to, so I’m including some shows chosen purely and simply on their write up in the Fringe programme – could be interesting!

Faulty Towers

The Dining Experience,
Best Restaurant, 16 Drummond Street – do  you dare?

Chat Masala

Hardeep Singh Kohli cooks curry and talks shop with festival guests. Guilded Balloon

Magic Porridge Pot (for Kids)

Interactive porridge anyone?