Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Chinese fried rice

Every time I make fried rice I cannot help but call it flie' lice. I know it sounds stupid, but I can't shake that inner voice calling it out loud. Now I've lived for a substantial part of my childhood in China. And rice, or noodles, with scrambled eggs has been a recurring digestive theme for my stomach back then. Once I've left Asia, however, not so much anymore...there has been at least a decade-long flie'-lice lull in my life. Well, I've been back at for a few years now. And I must admit, I cannot think of a better way - suggestions are welcome - to use leftover rice than this. It is also one of my favorite quick breakfast fixes.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Baked lemon custard 'au lieu de la tarte'

I intended on posting about a my attempt at classic lemon tart adapted from a recipe in James Martin's book Desserts. Instead this was me after two unsuccessful late-night attempts at sweet shortcrust pastry:

Yes... well, I generally consider myself a good baker. But I always struggle when making my own shortcrust pastry (also known by its posh French name - pâté brisée). And this latest episode of Daniel vs Shortcrust Dough was a clear knockout win for the lifeless-yet-evil edible substance. I was tired, frustrated and above all very upset at the thought of having to toss the filling for the tart (which I've made earlier).

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Hotel breakfast review: Hesperia London Victoria

About twice a month my work requires me to travel abroad for a couple of days. Naturally I get to stay in a variety of hotels. Whatever the official star rating of the hotel, somehow the quality of the breakfast does not seem to factor. But it should. A good breakfast provides a quality start to the day which is vital when you'll be spending the day in meetings or at a trade show. So I've decided to make reviewing of the breakfast offerings at the hotels I'm staying at a regular feature of this blog.

First up is the 4* Hesperia Hotel, just outside Victoria Station in London, where I stayed for one night this last week.

Monday, 5 April 2010

My Easter lamb, Méchoui-style

Just to make something clear right away: this is probably THE best lamb recipe I've ever tried.

Now I was planning on cooking lamb for Easter, but was struggling to settle on the approach and recipe. Grilled lamb chops? Braised lamb shanks? Lamb stew? I was getting a bit disoriented. I wanted a lamb dish that had a similar wow-factor to the Christmas roast rib of beef. Them on a recent business trip to London I bought the Feb/March issue of Jamie Magazine  (Yes! Jamie Oliver has a magazine. And it's not bad)...and found what I was looking for: Méchoui lamb.

The main article in that issue is about Jamie exploring the food markets of Marrakesh and eating Méchoui-style lamb. As 'real' Méchoui calls for the whole lamb to be roasted on a spit in a specially designed oven dug in the ground, Jamie is kind enough to provide a recipe that can easily be cooked in a normal Western kitchen. The outcome is full of spiced flavors and wonderfully tender and moist.