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  • The Baaa-madillo

    helengraves.co.uk | Tue, 18 Sep 2018 11:58:50 +0000

    Recipes are very rarely ‘original’ these days unless you’re the man on Come Dine with Me who served a viscous, beige stew inside a castle made of toast, or Rachel from Friends attempting a trifle. Even if you think you’re the first to come up with a particular arrangement of ingredients, someone else has probably had the same inspiration. Recipes are constantly tweaked, adapted, repackaged and resold in different ways. The idea of covering things in scalloped potatoes is nothing new (stewed meat for example, or a fish pie) but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it over a joint before, like cucumber ‘scales’ on a whole salmon. I say that as someone who hasn’t embarked on even the laziest of Googles. Still, someone somewhere will have done it. Get in touch, fellow genius, for this is one of the greatest potato and lamb combos ever conceived, and I can say that with full enthusiasm because it was not my idea. Having acknowledged how incredible this was I have to say that we both thought it was destined to fail. How would the potato slices stick to the lamb and not slide off during cooking? Answer: sprinkle with potato flour. […]

    The post The Baaa-madillo appeared first on Food Stories - Helen Graves.

  • Crab, Corn and Caviar Tacos

    helengraves.co.uk | Fri, 24 Aug 2018 10:04:29 +0000

      I remember reading some ‘dieting advice’ once, probably during the ’90’s when I was an impressionable teenager and therefore likely to have been seeking out that kind of drivel. The author – who I imagine now writes articles about baking eggs into the centre of avocados, or runs a ‘cartwheels on the beach’ Instagram account – advised readers ‘never reward your success with food.’ Are. You. Actually. Freakin’. Kidding. Woman, did ya not know that rewarding oneself with food is one of life’s greatest pleasures? I feel sad that you were not able to get a new job, pass a test or (let’s face it) do something very routine and dull like pay a bill or go to the dentist without promising yourself a fat sandwich afterwards, or a share-size bar of Dairy Milk. How did you reward yourself, exactly? Perhaps a stern rap on the knuckles (good for staying ‘in the moment’) followed by two hours of step aerobics? Buzz off. When I want to reward myself with food like a normal person I know how to do it properly, which brings me to these crab tacos. We’ve recently enjoyed various successes in this house and wanted to celebrate […]

    The post Crab, Corn and Caviar Tacos appeared first on Food Stories - Helen Graves.

  • Cold Soba Noodles with Salmon, Avocado and Furikake

    helengraves.co.uk | Sun, 12 Aug 2018 08:39:14 +0000

    I should’ve posted this when the weather was bonkers-hot and the idea of cooking *anything* was repellent but I think we all know I am not that organised. It’s still a perfect noodle salad for summer and the effort is minimal, so hear me out. Soba noodles take but two minutes in boiling water and I’ll let you into a secret – hardly military base level stuff this – I often use those ready-cooked salmon fillets from the supermarket. I know. This is where someone jumps in to tell me they’re cooked in arsenic steam or vapours of Piers Morgan. Chop chop now, head right down to the comments before the urge gets cold. They’re really handy for a working lunch because you just flake them into whatever you’ve made and it feels pretty luxurious. You didn’t even look at a steamer basket! No burns for you. Pretty much any vegetables will work here, but I like to use a combo of avocado and cucumber if it’s really hot because: no cook. I’ve also enjoyed those little baby courgettes that are around now though — sliced thickly, they take just a minute to soften to optimum level and you can cook […]

    The post Cold Soba Noodles with Salmon, Avocado and Furikake appeared first on Food Stories - Helen Graves.

  • Peach Iced Tea

    helengraves.co.uk | Thu, 26 Jul 2018 14:02:57 +0000

    Just a quick hello and a recipe for peach iced tea, which you absolutely need in your life if you’re missing your regular brew during this heat wave. I am dedicated to tea drinking but there’s no way I’m sipping a hot cup of char (as we used to say in The Shire) when it’s 33C outside. And please, don’t give me any of that ‘it’s better to drink hot drinks because it makes you sweat and cools you down’ malarky because I am NOT INTERESTED. Are you honestly telling me you’d rather do that than drink an iced beverage? Lies. Make this. Peach Iced Tea Recipe 2 ripe peaches 250ml water 125g sugar Tea Ice A squeeze of lemon is nice, if you have it Put peaches, water and sugar into a saucepan. Simmer until sugar is dissolved. Mash peaches with a potato masher. Turn off the heat, put a lid on and leave to infuse for half an hour. Strain through a sieve into a bowl. Well done, you have a peach syrup. Chill it. Brew up some tea and chill it. Add to a glass with ice, with peach syrup to taste. Add some lemon if you’re […]

    The post Peach Iced Tea appeared first on Food Stories - Helen Graves.

  • Roasted Cherry and Pomegranate Molasses Sorbet

    helengraves.co.uk | Wed, 06 Jun 2018 10:14:57 +0000

    The cherries have started creeping into shops and will be around now until the end of July. While I think they’re best, generally, eaten as they come (who can resist that snap of taut skin?) there are ways to enhance their flavour when using them in desserts, to maximise cherry flavour. Roasting is one such method and I think it works particularly well for ice creams and sorbets. I was reading this recipe and loved the idea of roasting the cherries with the sugar in the oven first, which also sidesteps making a separate simple syrup (that’s just sugar dissolved in water, FYI). What you end up with, then, is a load of collapsed fruit bubbling in sweet juice, ready for blending and churning. It’s always tempting to romanticise inspiration for recipes but I’d feel disingenuous doing that here. Basically, I was pitting the cherries* with no particular plan for them, when my gaze fell upon a bottle of pomegranate molasses sitting right there on the kitchen counter. Ta da! I’m still giving myself a pat on the back though because this is a stunner: it has a deep cherry flavour (thanks, roasting) and a whisper of perfumed pom molasses which […]

    The post Roasted Cherry and Pomegranate Molasses Sorbet appeared first on Food Stories - Helen Graves.

  • Thai-style Pollock Grilled in Banana Leaves

    helengraves.co.uk | Tue, 29 May 2018 11:08:34 +0000

    This recipe was created as part of a paid partnership with Wild Alaska Seafood UK.  Regular readers will know that I adore seafood. I go particularly crazy for crab, be it straight up with mayo, mixed into a dip or even layered in a lasagna. When you eat as much seafood as I do, experimenting becomes a necessity. I jerk my octopus; serve my prawn toast with scrambled eggs and have strong opinions on fish finger sandwiches. I feel like lots of people are wary of experimenting with different ways of cooking seafood, perhaps because they’re not sure how to cook it, or perhaps they’re worried about undercooking and as a result take things too far. If this sounds like you then I want to encourage you to try something different next time you cook seafood, which brings us, unsurprisingly, to this recipe I’ve written for Wild Alaska Seafood UK. They asked me to use pollock, a fish known for its firm texture and pearlescent white flakes. This means that it holds up very well on the barbecue. Now, pollock doesn’t have the strength of flavour of, say, cod or haddock but you can turn this to your advantage by throwing […]

    The post Thai-style Pollock Grilled in Banana Leaves appeared first on Food Stories - Helen Graves.

  • A Very Good BBQ Courgette Meze

    helengraves.co.uk | Wed, 23 May 2018 15:43:23 +0000

    Hello! Yes, I know, it’s been ages. I’ve had a change of job and I’m back in the kitchen developing recipes full-time, doing the odd bit of food writing on the side and of course, working on Pit. I couldn’t be happier because it just feels so right, plus I’ll have much more time to share recipes here. Here’s something I made off the cuff last night which turned out really well, particularly considering it began with a lonely (albeit sunshine-yellow) courgette. With a potentially watery, flavourless vegetables like this the success of a recipe depends pretty much entirely on the cooking technique; treat it poorly and you will be punished. We’ve all had pallid courgette in an insipid ratatouille or squeaky aubergine in a hastily layered Melanzane Alla Parmigiana. One of my favourite ways to cook courgettes in the summer is to sling them right into the coals, or as we call it in the BBQ game: cooking ‘dirty’. This technique can be applied to lots of different vegetables (as with these tacos) or to steaks (where the direct heat and charcoal help to form a mega-crust). You just lob the courgette in there whole once the coals are at regular cooking […]

    The post A Very Good BBQ Courgette Meze appeared first on Food Stories - Helen Graves.

  • Easy Everyday Spiced Flatbreads

    helengraves.co.uk | Tue, 24 Apr 2018 15:42:03 +0000

    I’m sure most of us will agree that the word ‘authentic’ means barely anything when it comes to food. Recipes change as they move from person to person, ingredients move around the world and people move between countries fusing the various parts of their lives together through cooking; a stitch of spice here, a thread of herbs there. The more you cook, the less you care about remaining true to recipes and their origins. There may have been a time, for example, when I wouldn’t have added, say, Turkish chilli to a pasta dish because no, that’s the wrong kind of chilli; surely there are stories about someone’s nonna getting upset you amended a family recipe that stretches back generations. I realised over the years, of course, that this is pointless. While I wouldn’t necessarily cook something as steeped in tradition as a ragu, change it and try and then call it a ragu, I would have no problems adding extra bits and calling it ‘the lovely thing that Helen made.’ A snappy name, I think you’ll agree. The best cooks have no worries about boundaries and yet they still respect the original starting point of a recipe, although good […]

    The post Easy Everyday Spiced Flatbreads appeared first on Food Stories - Helen Graves.

  • Wild Garlic Soda Bread

    helengraves.co.uk | Sun, 08 Apr 2018 07:45:43 +0000

    It’s that time of year again folks: people are going bonkers for wild garlic. Us Londoners are making fools of ourselves scouring the tiniest patches of woodland, picking through sodden newspapers and train tickets, or having fivers wrestled out of our hands at farmers’ markets. Those of you in the sticks are laughing your jolly, garlic-scented heads off while tapping out pitying tweets about having a patch the size of a rugby pitch at the bottom of the garden. What is ‘garden’? I’ve often wondered why wild garlic is so appealing. It’s not like we can’t get the same flavour – more or less – from standard issue, widely available garlic bulbs. I think it’s the colour, the greenness, the signal that this, finally, is spring. This year more than ever we need to grab fistfuls of pungent leaves and blend them into soups and pesto. We need to feel healthy and refreshed while still being comforted by that deeply satisfying flavour. That familiar allium honk. Wild garlic comes before asparagus, broad beans and peas and it’s like a viridescent balm for chapped lips, windburned cheeks and pale skin. Plus, putting wild garlic in something instantly makes it more impressive, amirite? […]

    The post Wild Garlic Soda Bread appeared first on Food Stories - Helen Graves.

  • Why I Loved Ready Steady Cook

    helengraves.co.uk | Tue, 13 Mar 2018 19:32:57 +0000

    A friend sent a challenge to a Whatsapp group I’m part of the other day that read: ‘top 3 cooking programmes – go.’ Some of us went for Two Fat Ladies and Far Flung Floyd, others Come Dine With Me and The Trip. I felt I had to include Ready Steady Cook… let me explain why. RSC was pretty ridiculous but oh, I was obsessed. Every afternoon after school in the early ’90’s I’d be curled into my dad’s armchair glued to Fern Britton asking the audience if it would be Green Peppers or Red Tomatoes. The triumphant, trumpeting theme tune would start and I would always have a snack in hand. For those with hazy memories the show pit two chefs against each other – one in the Green Pepper kitchen and the other the Red Tomato. Two ‘contestants’ would each bring a carrier bag full of ingredients they’d bought adding up to the value of £5 and the chefs would cook several dishes using them – all in 20 minutes. The ‘reveal’ of ingredients produced some great TV moments and would say a lot about contestants. Would they have chosen ingredients that go together? ‘I’ve brought along tofu, […]

    The post Why I Loved Ready Steady Cook appeared first on Food Stories - Helen Graves.

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