Category Archives: Others

Six months in…

…and over 20,000 visitors later and the enjoyment of writing my food blog has not diminished! Over the last three months I have discovered a lot of things about blogging and about myself, I have made more online friends, read many more blogs, commented on plenty as well, cooked recipes I never would have tried and enjoyed blogging about the experiences of cooking them all. I have also learnt many more family recipes, now passed down to my generation, so that I can continue passing them on with this blog.

My posts have become easier to write and put together, with the photos from a small ordinary digital camera – no digital SLR or lighting rig as of yet! I have tried to make my blog more user-friendly too, adding Printable Recipe Links to every post, for readers to print off only what is needed each time.

Over the next six months, I will be moving home, setting up all my planters and tubs in my new garden with fruit and vegetables to last me through the summer and autumn, and trying new things like making my own wines. I’m looking forward to having a go at more recipes from the blogs of my fellow foodies, as well trying to create some more new recipes of my own to share, and getting involved in more blogging events.

I hope all the visitors of my blog enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I have learnt that a blog is more than just a collection of individual posts – it is a collection of posts and comments and pictures and replies on other blogs too, that are a part of my personality shared in this big social media world. As ever, I have to say a big thanks to my girlfriend, family and friends (online and offline) for all their continued support and for helping me out.

I’m already looking forward to the next six months and blogging about my new experiences on here for all to read!

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Three months in…

…and over 10,000 visitors later and I now really know and appreciate, that the effort and enjoyment of writing and running a foodie blog, has been worth it!

I have made a lot of new great foodie friends worldwide and have them all to thank for their continued support and feedback, and hope to share many more recipes in the years to come with them.

The best bit for me is reading all the other amazing recipes on other great blogs and giving me ideas on what to cook next.

I’m already looking forward to 2010, as I hope my personal cooking accomplishments will get bigger and better, and hope to write all about them on here. 🙂

Blackberry and Apple Jam

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Blackberry and Apple jam is a perfect autumn recipe – delicious, straightforward and very satisfying, especially when the fruit comes straight from the garden, making it organic too. I love that this is another of those family recipes handed down from generation to generation. As ever, I asked my mum where she first learnt about it and this is what she told me…

My grandma always said that blackberries should not be picked in October as they must be left for the rest of nature to enjoy and also the witches! I disobeyed her this year as the blackberries were so plentiful and juicy and hoped that there was enough for us all! Her jam recipe is a favourite of mine as I remember having it piled onto hot toast for tea as the evenings drew in. A good Autumn recipe. It is also good on real vanilla ice-cream.

(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:
4lbs (1.8g) Blackberries
1½lbs (680g) Cooking Apples
½pint Water
Juice of ½lemon
Sugar – either jam sugar or granulated

1 Put the blackberries and ¼ pint of water into a pan and simmer until the fruit is soft. They can be left whole or sieved to remove seeds.

2 Peel, core & slice apples, add remaining water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender and cook together until thick.

3 Weigh the pulp and add equal amounts of warmed sugar and simmer until all the sugar is dissolved.

4 * Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached.

5 Leave to cool slightly in the pan, having removed any scum that collects around the edge, and stir.

6 Pour into warm sterilised jars, leave to cool and cover.

Enjoy!

* NB To know if the setting point is reached, put a saucer to get cold in the fridge. Remove the pan from the heat, pour a teaspoonful of the jam onto the cold saucer and if the jam wrinkles when pushed with the finger setting point has been reached. If it doesn’t wrinkle put it back on the heat and cook and test until it does.

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Farewell Floyd Event – A Winning Recipe: Coq au Vin

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Having waited just over a week for the judges, Julia and James, to choose their winning top 3 entries to the Farewell Floyd Food Blogging Event, I received an email from them yesterday morning, letting me know that my blog post Coq au Vin – A Tribute to Keith Floyd had been chosen as one of their Top 3 Winners, therefore winning myself a copy of ‘Floyd’s Food’ from Absolute Press. It was lovely to receive their email and kind words about my dish, first thing on a Monday morning and it made my day!

I had such great fun creating my tribute to Keith Floyd, for me and my family, and several glasses were consumed on his behalf during the cooking and eating, true Floyd style!

I was astounded by the lovely dishes the other winners and entrants had made and realised that there are other big Floyd fans out there that will miss him.

The other 2 winners were:
Going With My Gut: Kenyan Goat Feast — For Farewell Floyd: Food Blogging Event
Foodycat: Farewell Floyd – Jambalaya
both of which are fantastic recipes.

I cant wait to cook up my first dish from Floyds first publication and blog about too.

For the announcements and round-up from the judges please read the following posts:

Farewell Floyd: The Round-up
Farewell Floyd: Round-up and Winners Announced

FloydsFood

FoodCandy Featured Blog Post – Coq Au Vin

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Having had a busy week at work, I have been playing catch up on all my emails, tweets and blog posts. One nice email to receive was from the new Food Social Network – FoodCandy.

They featured my blog post “Coq au Vin – A Tribute to Keith Floyd” on the front page of their site with the following note – ‘Enjoy the celebrity!’

Garlic Croutons (Gluten Free)

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I had to learn how to make these gluten free garlic croutons for my entry to the Farewell Floyd Food Blogging Event but you can use ordinary bread too.

(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:
1oz (25g) Butter
1 Garlic Clove crushed
1 Slice of Bread (any kind) cut into cubes

1 Melt the butter in a pan and add the crushed garlic clove on a very low heat, allowing time for the garlic to infuse the butter.

2 Remove the garlic clove, turn up the heat and add the bread cubes and cooke until lightly golden and crisp.

3 Drain on some kitchen paper.

Enjoy!

Beurre Manié

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I had to learn how to make this thickener for my entry to the Farewell Floyd Food Blogging Event. It is usually made with ordinary flour and butter rather than the cornflour that I am using for my gluten free recipe. It can also be used to thicken hot soups, sauces and gravies.

Adjust the following amounts to suit your own needs.

(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:
1oz (25g) Butter
3/4oz (20g) Cornflour

1 Blend the cornflour and butter together in a small dish.

2 Add the Beurre Manié in very small lumps to the sauce that you wish to thicken, a few at a time.

3 A good way to stop the sauce going lumpy is to add a few lumps on the tip of a knife, scraped down the side of the pan. This melts slowly, ensuring no lumps.

4 Stir into the hot liquid until completely blended.

5 Return pan to the heat and slowly bring to the boil, stiring all the time until the sauce is thickened.

This is suitable for 1 pint of liquid.

Enjoy!

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Green & Red Tomato Chutney

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It’s halfway through October and with a lack of sunshine I still had approx. 30 green tomatoes on my plant outside. Now with the first frosts at the tail end of the year about to happen, I didnt want them to go to waste so decided to have a go at another chutney after making my Spicy Green Tomato Chutney last month.

I found another great recipe that looked delicious as well perfect for my needs, as I wanted something less spicy this time.

I only had 8ozs of green tomatoes from my plant, so added 8ozs of red tomatoes to make up the pound in weight.

As with my last chutney, this didnt require any finesse to make, but was great fun and the smells around the kitchen were amazing. While it was cooling, we were already tucking into it with some cheese as it looked so good. The best bit is that it tastes as good as it looks.

This is definately one recipe I will be making again if I am left with a glut of green tomatoes next year!

(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:
1 lb Tomatoes - green, red - or a mix of either
1 lb Cooking Apples - peeled and cored
1 lb Demerara Sugar
1/2 lb Onions - peeled
1/2 lb Sultanas
1 pt Malt Vinegar
1 level tbsp Salt
2 tbsp Flour
1/2 tbsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Mustard Powder

1 Roughly dice and chop the tomatoes, apples and onions and put them all in a good heavy based pan, mixing it well.

2 Add 3/4 pint of vinegar, the sultanas and the salt, bring to the boil and simmer until it turns into a pulp, stirring frequently – Approx 20-30 mins.

3 Add the demerara sugar, stirring in to dissolve, then bring it all gently back to the boil and then continue simmering gently for a few minutes.

4 Then mix the flour, mustard and ground ginger with the rest of the vinegar together in a small bowl.

5 Add in the above mixture, stirring it well to stop it from sticking to the pan.

6 Bring it all gently to the boil again, and stir until it starts to thicken (for about 5-10 mins).

7 Spoon into sterilised jars and enjoy either after standing for a while to let the flavours develop or immediately if you are impatient like me.

Enjoy with anything savoury!

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Green Tomato on Foodista

Tomato on Foodista

One month in…

…and over a thousand visitors later and I now know the effort of trying something so new for the first time in years has been worth it!

I didnt know how I was going to get on with this attempt at ‘food blog writing’ but with help from my family I can say I absolutely love it. I wouldnt say I have a natural flair for online story writing being a Software Engineer by day but I like to think I have put passion, fun and care in most of the posts! My sister being an online journalist has even commented she likes my writing style which is a bonus.

It has been very scary writing recipes at times and a huge learning curve for me as well, especially trying out new things and new techniques – gaining confidence with each one. I keep thinking back to where it all started, when I was 16 working as a kitchen-hand in a local 3* Hotel learning the ropes, as well as learning from my mum’s wonderful home cooking over the years, to where I am now, sharing mine and my family’s favourite recipes with the rest of the world.

The picture taking has been fun as well as stressful – trying to get the correct lighting to make it look good. I will have to study lots and lots of other pictures to make mine look better moving forward.

Working in the digital media arena in different jobs over the years, I have been able to use what I know about search engines, optimisation and directories, to make the most of publisising my blog! At the start, most of my visitors came from family and friends and from joining excellent associations like the UK Food Bloggers Association (UKFBA) but now most come from Google searches, which means others out there must enjoy the same things I like to write about!

Blog writing has had a lot of other bonuses too, especially with social networking, making new friends, being invitied to meet other bloggers and digital darlings as well as local food producers and getting to visit lots of other local excellent food haunts and restaurants, which my girlfriend really loves.

It seems like I have spent many hours sat infront of my laptop writing these posts but I can say it has been totally worth it and I would recommend it to anyone. I have rekindled my passion for cooking and now have a medium to share it with others.

Finally, I want to say thanks to my girlfriend and family for all their help and also to everyone that has visited “Anyone for Seconds?” and left comments and especially to all the other excellent food bloggers that have helped me along the way! I have so many more recipes, reviews and posts that I want to do (that I already have in Draft mode or that I have scribbled down all over the place), that I hope everyone enjoys reading them as much as I enjoy creating them, now and in the future!

Spicy Green Tomato Chutney

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Now, having nearly given up with my small tomato plant ever ending up bearing me red fruit before the first frosts of the year (which will be upon us soon), I decided to pick about half of the large green tomatoes (1lb worth) to make a recipe that was suggested to me on the UK Food Bloggers site – Green Tomato Chutney.

I found so many that were so overly complicated and some that required soaking things in vinegar for days at a time. Being too impatient, I wanted to find a recipe that would allow me to prepare it all from my cupboard in next to no time and allow me to get cooking straight away!

The following recipe was perfect – it didnt require the finesse of a Michelin Starred Chef to make and the addition of the spices sounded great.

An hour later after starting to cook and I was already trying some on a cracker with some cheese while it was cooling and it tasted great.

I’m glad I didnt let my tomatoes go to ruin and now know I can make this excellent chutney any year again when we dont have a sunny summer!!

See also: Green & Red Tomato Chutney

1 lb Green Tomatoes
1 lb Red Onions
1/2 lb Sultanas
1/2 lb Brown Sugar
2 tbsp Salt
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Ground Green Cardamom
500ml Malt Vinegar

1 Chop everything up – there is no need for a perfection, and put it in a good heavy based pan, mixing it well.

2 Bring it to the boil and then turn down the heat , simmer for about an hour until it is all reduced to a thick pulp.

3 Spoon into sterilised jars and enjoy either after standing for a while to let the flavours develop or immediately if you are impatient like me.

Enjoy with anything savoury!

If you make this recipe, please come back and let me know!

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Green Tomato on Foodista