Saturday, June 26, 2010

DIY Crystallised Ginger UPDATED 8/7/10*

8/7/10 I've added something to the end of this post - read on...
Tired of watching fat cat supermarket owners flying around in Lear jets, paid for by the money you spent on over-priced baking products? Fight the power and stick it to 'the man' by making your own crystallised ginger! Yeah! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Koura / Freshwater Crayfish

Despite being two totally separate species, there are a surprising number of
similarities between the small spindly aquatic animal and the gigantic biped holding it (above). Both species enjoy swimming and are often to be found frolicking amongst rocks. Both are capable of prolific levels of breeding; both too, can become quite fiesty when backed into a corner. There however, the differences end. One of these creatures tastes delicious dipped in pesto or melted butter; the other would require an evening of extensive wining and dining before the idea could even be broached.

Let's examine the smaller of the two: say hello to Paranephrops planifrons, more commonly known as koura, or the freshwater crayfish.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'd Travel Through Time & Space For Good Coffee


How cool is this! It's an old police phone box, converted into a micro coffee bar! My sister and brother-in-law have recently moved to Edinburgh and found this (one of several dotted around the city) dispensing great coffee, juices, snacks and treats. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Once You've Had Black...

Black butter is a delicious fruit spread made from slow-cooked apples, cider, sugar, spices and liquorice. Over time, the ingredients combine to colour the spread a dark black-brown hue. It has its origins on the island of Jersey, where communities used to gather and make large batches using windfall apples from its cider orchards; the event became an excuse for full-scale merrymaking too, with dancing, singing and feasting taking place alongside the cooking.

Its use of liquorice distinguishes it from standard British fruit spreads, a reflection perhaps of Jersey's proximity to France and its culinary influences. Vive la difference, I say - any country* which gives us tasty cows & repeats on telly of Bergerac hurtling around the island in a grunty old Triumph can't be all that bad...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Tincturing is the age-old practice of using high-proof alcohol to extract key ingredients from herbs and spices for medicinal use. This method also served as a very effective means of preserving the extraction. Today, the practice has largely been sidelined due to the widespread availability of pharmaceutical product. Despite this, the practice enjoys a considerable following, particularly among medical herbalists. There is however, new found interest from a most unexpected quarter: bartenders and mixologists.