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Wild garlic Kimchi

Normally Kimchi is made several weeks in advance and then left to ferment to develop its flavour. You can make this a few days in advance and then use it straight away if you so wish. The flavours will be quite fresh with a little less of the zing that comes with fermentation. It is however better to let the flavours develop. In this recipe I've substituted the spring onions normally used for wild garlic as it is in season now. 
When making this ensure your hands, preparation area and any bowls used are thoroughly clean. 
You can sterilise the jar you will put the kimchi in, by washing it in hot soapy water, place while still wet in an oven at 160c for 10 minutes. 
For this recipe allow to cool before adding the kimchi mix.

200g Chinese cabbage, main thick stalk removed and roughly sliced
70g table salt
1 litre water
6 cloves garlic finely grated
70g ginger finely grated
70ml rice wine vinegar
50g caster sugar
10ml sesame oil
10ml fish sauce
70g korean chilli paste
20 wild garlic leaves roughly sliced, you still need a couple of inch long pieces
50g carrot sliced into very thin strips

Place the cabbage leaves in a bowl with the water and salt and allow to soak for 3 hours
After the 3 hours have elapsed, remove the leaves and rinse off the excess salt
Mix together the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, chilli paste, sugar and fish sauce, stir well to combine
Place the cabbage, wild garlic and carrot in a bowl and coat with the paste
Transfer to a clean airtight container or sterilised jar with the lid on and place in a cool dark place for 72 hours, you way want to open the lid occasionally to let any gasses escape
It should start to develop a tangy smell, if it starts to smell bad,then discard immediately
Place in the fridge after 72 hours
You can also leave this for up to one month before using for full flavour development

Cheers and have a great weekend peeps - Rum Barrel west Amsterdam

I used to raise a glass to the weekend with a little cocktail on a Friday, This involved a picture of said cocktail posted on social media, some of you might have seen it. I stopped doing it last year but have decided to start again.

I'm resurrecting my "Friday cheers" but with a difference. I'd like to support those in the bar industry that have had to close because of the coronavirus pandemic. I'll also be featuring a link to any voucher scheme that the bar will be running. Please support as we'd like these guys to be around when this is all over!

So Cheers and have a Great weekend peeps!

This week's cheers comes from Rum Barrel West in Amsterdam with their signature cocktail;

Storm in a barrel

50ml Rum Barrel House Blend Rum
1/2 a Squeezed Lime
Fill with Ginger Beer
2 Dashes Angostura bitters

Link to voucher scheme 

If any other bars wish to participate then feel free to contact me via the contact details in my about me page.

Curried parsnip soup

Parsnips are one of the few root vegetables that always seem to be available year round. Many of us will just boil or roast them, but they go so well with aromatic spices. I like to use madras spices for this recipe, but a generic curry powder will do just as well. 

2 parsnips finely chopped
5 small potatoes finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
500ml chicken or veg stock
15g Madras curry powder
5g cumin
5g garam masala
2g chilli powder
10g oil
100ml coconut milk or cream
10ml lemon juice
Salt to taste

Fry off the onions and garlic in the oil until soft
Add the spices and cook for 5 minutes
Throw in all the ingredients bar the lemon juice, coconut milk and salt
Cook for 30 minutes on a medium heat
Once cooked blend until smooth
Add the coconut milk, lemon juice and stir well
Season to taste with salt

Cheese and chive bread

I spotted this recipe on the Odlums flour website and decided to give it a whirl as it looked really tasty. I had to make a few tweaks to the recipe as I was lacking in one or two ingredients. My thyme plants were a little slow in the garden, so I used chives instead as they seem to have grown earlier this year. So this is my take on their cheese and thyme loaf. I like to use wild garlic when in season, but chives will work just as well. 

350g self raising flour
15g dijon mustard
75g salted butter
20g caster sugar
125g strong cheddar grated (if you can't get cheddar, then oude kaas or comte will work just as well)
5g baking powder
1 Egg beaten
150ml buttermilk or whole milk
50g finely chopped chives or wild garlic when in season

Preheat oven to 190c (fan) 200c normal
Put the flour, butter and baking powder into a bowl
Rub together with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
Add the cheese and chives and mix through
Make a well in the centre of the flour mix
Beat the egg, mustard and milk together and add to the bowl, stir well to combine
Line a 500g loaf tin with baking paper
Pour in the bread mix and ensure it is evenly spread out in the tin
Bake for 40 minutes, it should rise slightly and be golden brown
Once cooked, remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly before placing on a wire tray

Easy storecupboard recipes

Many of us will be stuck and home at a loss for easy recipes, something that will make use of everyday store cupboard ingredients 
I've included a few recipes to get you started. Clink on the links in each section for the recipes.

No waste
It's also a good time to look at food waste and what you throw away and what can be re used. Vegetable peelings, mushroom stalks, rinds from parmesan, chicken bones, shrimp or shellfish heads and shells, not to mention bones and heads from non oily fish. These can all be used to make stock which can form the basis for soups, stews and sauces. Make a large batch and freeze for later.

Chicken Stock

Shellfish stock

Items such as broccoli and cauliflower stems and leaves can be used in soups or stir fries. Stale bread can be whizzed up in a food processor and used for breadcrumbs or to bulk up soups. Hard bits of cheese can be used in soups too! Nothing should go to waste.

Broccoli and blue cheese soup

Tinned Tomatoes
Many of you will have bought tinned tomatoes, and these will serve all manner of dishes from Italian to Indian. You can use this for the basis of sauces, soups and stews.


Italian ragu

Chilli con carne

Many of you will also have bought rice such as long grain, basmati, risotto or paella. Leftover long grain or basmati rice is great for stir fries. A basic risotto or paella can go a long way, it's just a matter of adding ingredients for flavour and a great way of using items like frozen peas, prawns, dried mushrooms, leftover roast meat, bacon lardons, tinned sweetcorn. 


Porcini Risotto

Egg fried rice with prawns

Dried Pasta
Pasta is another great store cupboard essential. While it is pretty easy to make your own, the dried ones are always handy to have. I always have penne, macaroni, linguine and tagliatelle to hand, but use whatever you like with these recipes. 

Tomato and mascarpone bake



Fettucine with tomato and pancetta sauce

Tinned Sweetcorn
Many of us will have tinned sweetcorn in our cupboards. I'm a big fan as it goes so well with many things. Great for bulking up dishes but also great for breads, soups and as a side. 

Sweetcorn and bacon chowder

Creamed sweetcorn

Quick and Easy Bread recipes
We're not all expert bread makers, I certainly don't count myself as one and tend to stick to breads such as soda bread or corn bread which are quick and easy to make and do not require kneading or proving. 

Soda Bread

Southern style cornbread

Potatoes will also go a long way; baked, mashed, fried, they are the ultimate versatile side or main dish. They can also be used for bulking out soups or casseroles. 

Dauphinoise potatoes

Cottage Pie

Potato Cakes

Loaded potato skins

Eggs form the basis of a lot of dishes, but can be easily utilised to make a host of recipes quite cheaply. It doesn't have to in in a recipe, nothing beats a good old boiled or fried egg with some toast or buttered bread. 

Spinach and Feta Frittata

Spanish style tortilla


In these interesting times, stay safe and keep healthy. 

Smoked herring

I could call this recipe kippers, but the way they fillet the herring over here in the Netherlands is completely different to traditional kipper style. Traditional kipper is split butterfly style and often the head and tail is left on. Dutch herring is filleted with the head removed and the tail is left on, so that it can be eaten Dutch style, which is holding it by the tail and dangling it over your mouth as you eat it, normally raw.
If you are intending to smoke fish then you will need some preparation time ahead of the actual smoke itself. You'll need to salt or brine the fish to cure it and add flavour and then once cured you'll need to wash the cure off and then allow to dry so that it forms a pellicule (a dry film which helps the smoking process and gives a more even smoke). When smoking the time will vary depending on how big the piece of fish is, so keep checking as you are smoking to see how the flavour is developing.

Once smoked the fish will keep for up to 14 days in the fridge or freezes quite nicely for later use.

1 herring per person
20g salt
A cold smoking kit or table top smoker
Your choice of wood smoking dust (not wood chips), I used maple for this recipe, beech, apple or oak are also good. Be careful with oak as it will give a pretty strong flavour.

Sprinkle the herring with salt and place in a dish in the fridge for 2 hours
After 2 hours wash the salt off the fish and pat dry, place back in the fridge for another 2-3 hours to air dry and form a pellicule

Now you are ready to smoke
Light the wood dust in your cold smoke generator, give it a while until it starts smoking, you do not want it burning and place in your smoker
I smoked my fish for 2 hours and got a nice subtle smoky hit without it being too overpowering, you can keep going longer if you prefer a stronger smoky flavour

I like to pan fry the herring fillets for a couple of minutes each side in butter with lemon juice
It makes a nice brunch dish

Wild garlic, feta and scallion pie

This is my take on one of my favourite Turkish dishes spinach and feta borek. Traditionally made with Turkish cheese, I've substituted feta which is easier to find. Since wild garlic and spring onions are bang in season it's a great way of celebrating spring, so I'm using them instead of the spinach. Often these are shaped into triangles but I've gone for a rounded pie shape instead, easier to make, as filo pastry can be very fiddly to work with. 

100g wild garlic leaves finely chopped
6 scallions finely chopped
1 egg beaten
150g feta cheese
5g cumin seeds toasted and roughly ground
1g nutmeg freshly grated
A few twists of freshly ground black pepper
10 sheets filo pastry
100g butter for brushing the pastry with

To make the filling
Place the scallions, cumin  and wild garlic into a bowl
Crumble in the feta ensuring there are no large lumps
Add the pepper and nutmeg and stir to mix
Stir through the beaten egg and place in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the flavours to develop

To assemble the pie
Brush the sheets of filo with butter to stop them from drying out and cover with a damp cloth afterwards
In a shallow pie dish start to layer the filo so it covers the bottom of the dish and overlaps over the side, this will take four sheets 
Add the cheese mix to the pie dish and ensure that it is layered evenly
Fold over the overlapping filo ensuring it covers the top
If the top is not quite covered add another 2 sheets of buttered filo
Place in the oven at 190c (fan) 200c (normal) for 40 minutes until the pastry is nice and brown
For those of you cooking on the BBQ, set the BBQ up for indirect cooking at 200c and cook as instructed above