Flavours and taste

14 Jun

What is the difference between taste and flavour? This is something I have been asked many times by young chefs.

OK let’s start with taste. Very simply taste is; SWEET, SOUR, SALTY, BITTER and UMAMI


Salt is a mineral, and is fairly easy yo detect.

Sweet taste is a good taste, it makes us think high energy: bananas, honey, etc, we need some of that too.

When it come to sour tasting foods we tend to take it a little easy. Most people don’t eat too much sour food, like lemons

Bitter taste as you know is not nice and lets us know not to eat that food, or to eat very little of it.

Umami, known as the fifth taste, is described as meaty and savoury, and I say a little earthy, like mushrooms. Someone told me the best way to understand Umami is to a cheeseburger with tomato ketchup – which apparently brings out the Umami meaty, fully flavour.

So to be brief – flavour is a combination of taste plus many other sensations and factors such as aroma, texture, juiciness, sensation or ‘feel’ of the food on the tongue and even colour.

Can we improve our sense of taste and flavour? Yes we certainly can! It’s all about knowledge and remembering all the different factors that make up flavour. In the kitchen we spend so much time around ingredients, taking in their smells, textures and colours. So much so that they become imprinted in our brains and can be used to come up with different flavour combinations to make great food.


Tonights Service @westking in @theVincentrooms Escoffier #CityWestminster

15 Feb

Good level of skill – and still learning ! Are gels & purees only a passing fad though?

Winter Asian pork stew

24 Nov

love this pork dish – a really good winter warmer with a kick! hot pork chilli , lime & coriander a fab combo


Pork stew

When it’s cold outside there is nothing better to warm your belly than a nice bowl of stew. And this pork stew with Asian accents will do just that. I was searching for something other than the traditional beef stew and stumbled upon this one, which came from Fine Cooking. I tested it out and made a minor adjustment. Now, IMO it’s perfect. 😉
It is relatively inexpensive to make as it utilizes pork shoulder or pork butt (same thing). You may ask your butcher to trim off the excess fat, and there will be quite a bit. Don’t fret about removing all of it. Some will add flavour and the excess can be removed after the cooking process.

You will need a heavy bottom pot, or Dutch oven.


3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed and cut into 1-1/2 to 2 inch pieces
3 tbsp olive oil, more…

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My Rustic Pig

15 Nov

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to go into ‘partnership’ in rearing a pig. This would be exciting I thought, as most chefs dream of being farmers one day!(unless that is just me?). The pig was a weaner  , and looked after on a free range farm, where it was lovely taken care of by some fab people at – All Seasons Rare Breed Pigs. It had some happy months ahead of it and would need to grow up to 65Kgs before its final day would come. Anyway the pig eventually grew to 79Kgs and was taken off to a friendly Butcher to be portioned(detail not required!). Once the ‘Cutting list’ was agreed I got this huge box of various cuts /joint of pork dropped off (thanks Roy!)

One of the dishes that popped into my head was a belly pork dish id done in the past

Rubbed Belly pork

belly getting ready

I marinated the pork belly with bay leaf , garlic & fennel seeds – chopping them all fine , then adding 2 tbsp of tomato paste , sugar & seasoning. I rubbed this into the belly and popped it in to the fridge for a few hours.

I slow roasted it for 4 hours until the belly was soft & the skin was crispy.

belly with slaw & Mizuna  I finished the pork with some fresh Mizuna from the salad I had left under my cold frame , and made up a crunchy apple slaw to go with it.

all the left over pork I ‘forked’ down and we had the next day in a pulled meat bun Hmm..

Chocolate Truffle Balls

13 Oct

Real Food Pledge

Chocolate Truffle Balls
I use to make these every Christmas & Easter, however I used biscuits, sugar and butter. This version of chocolate balls is so much yummier than the processed version I use to make. They make the perfect healthy lunch box snack that the kids will love or an after dinner treat that you can enjoy.


1 1/2 cup dates
1 cup almonds
1 cup cashew nuts
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons of cacao powder
2 tablespoons of coconut oil (or you can use juice or water)
Shredded coconut for coating the balls

In the food processor place all of the dry ingredients. Whiz on high until the mixture is fine. You will notice that the mixture is very dry and will not hold together at this point. Add the liquid to the mixture and whiz again, the mixture will start to clump together. I like to use coconut…

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Chocolate Salted Caramel Pie with Strawberries

28 Sep

Like your recipe – salted caramel & chocolate are great combinations , salted peanut caramel with caramelised peanuts would have worked really well – then you can drop some peanut into the pastry too!

Edibles and Travels

I love Edibles and Travels, and I love all of you, my readers (in a non-creepy ‘we’ve-never-even-met-how-can-I-love-you’ kind of way).

I wish I could update E&T and post more often, but alas, a busy life of multiple jobs and Uni gets in the way.  None-the-less, I suppose it makes getting into the kitchen and baking that much more enjoyable when I don’t have time to do it so often.

Yesterday I had the day off work in the afternoon, so I had a little Ally-time. I went to the gym and then came home and proceeded to undo all the hard work I put in, as you do. I did a little bit of magazine reading, had a bath and just generally took the time out to do the things I enjoy.

Life is so busy and if we could, we’d constantly be doing work because there is always something…

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Plentry of eggs to use..?

24 Sep

Maybe you don’t get that problem?  , an excess of eggs. Although this time of year the chucks are slowing down their egg production ,  still I seem to have an abundance at the end of each week. The father in law does help out by whipping some away on a sunday for his yorkie pudds & Margret’s fairy cakes! , but still there is only so many cupcakes I can make in the week and the kids pretty much have fallen out of love with them, as we always seem to have a cake tin overflowing with them. So this week I thought I’d woo the wife with a custard tart – no not like Paul Hollywood (from GBBoff) – but much better!

we are bored!!

we are bored!!

free range egg yolks

It is important to make a good pastry for your tart:

Sweet Paste recipe

200g Plain flour  ,100g butter, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla , 60g icing sugar

combine all together roll & refrigerate.

Custard filling recipe:

8 x egg yolks , 400ml F/Fat milk , 100ml double cream , 50g castor sugar , ground mixed spice (nutmeg , cinnamon , caraway)

Whisk the egg yolks & sugar together until thick. Heat milk & cream – then gradually pour over the egg yolk mix , whisking as you do so.

Roll out the sweet paste as think as you dare! lightly grease your tart ring! then line the ring with the pastry. Lightly bake the ring blind in a hot oven, 180 degrees should do. Don’t allow the tart to colour (10 minutes in oven max).

Pour the filling into the tart by passing through a sieve then sprinkle over the ground mixed spice, once the mix has settled.

Thick & fluffy egg yolks

Yum nearly there

Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until the centre has stopped wobbling – remove once cooked and allow to cool at room temperature.

what can I say ....

what can I say ….

Butternut Tortellini all the way

14 Jan

As Christmas is over and everyone has had their fill of meat I thought i’d tell you what I’ve been making today. A quick and easy pasta tortellini dish , simple to make the tortellini’s, sauce is straight forward, filling a little bit fiddly! – taste is fantastic!

Butternut ,sage & peccorino tortellini’s with tomato , anchovy & black olive. 


ingredient’s for the pasta:

8 Free range Med egg yolks ,1 x tablespoon of olive oil , 300 gs of triple zero flour or a good pasta flour. Mix the ingredients together in a food processor until it forms a paste or crumbles together, then remove and kneed together until a soft dough is formed – clingfilm & chill until filling ready.

Butternut filling:

1 Medium butternut squash (skinned /de-seeded). Roast this in a pan with 2 cloves of garlic(not chopped) and a little olive oil. Cover with tin foil to stop in catching. Once cooked mash to a puree with the roasted garlic , season lightly – add 40 g grated peccorino sado (this is a salty cheese so be careful not to add too much) add 20g chopped sage. Once the mix is cool – roll out your pasta(pasta machine may be required) as thin as you can get (so you can see your hand through it)  aim to cut out 6x rounds (4-5  inch). spoon the mix into the centre(teaspoon), rub the rim of the round with a little egg yolk , dip your finger tips in flour and fold the round in half then turn each point into the centre under the middle(filled area).

To make the sauce – seat shallot & garlic in a pan with chopped anchovy and a drop of olive oil, add tomato juice , 1 teaspoon of sugar and 5 black olives(pitted), simmer for 10 minutes until shallots cooked, add dice of chopped tomato flesh(not seeds or skin) season, black pepper – remove from heat.         Image

To put the dish together – place the tortellinis in boiling water with a little oil seasoning – cook for 4 minutes. Remove and lightly toss with 1/2 the sauce , place in bowl , add remaining sauce , black pepper , garnish with deep fried sage leaves. Simple! Any feedback most welcome 🙂

Highland foray

21 Sep

A bit of a late post, I’d forgotten to post this when travelling up to Gairloch last month. We travelled up via the Trossachs through the central highlands up to the west coast – where we camped on the Gairloch coast just south of Ullapool.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather, with a good pitch in the dunes less than 10 metres from the beach. The isle of Skye just across the water and some of the highest walks/climbs in Scotland on our door step!

After a few memorable days around Gairloch we headed down to apple cross and apple cross bay, where we hunted for razor clams and soft-shelled crabs to take back – and eat (to the girl’s surprise)

visiting ‘montys’ croft house – a place where monty lived the life of a crofter (living of the land & sea). Weather throughout was fab – warm currents , you can really see why this area has such good sea life/ seafood.

After a week of traveling and visiting areas of the highlands we headed south to the borders to sample some ECO hospitality. We packed the tent for the last time – as going to be staying in a Mongolian Yurt.. Very exciting!!

Lots of fun in the eco yurt – with its own ‘mod cons’ of an eco ‘peat/saw dust’ toilet and a rainwater collector shower…. which both the girls and Tricia secretly loved!

Check out the site – http://www.harelawhill.co.uk/about-us.php

owners also do B&B for those that want to be waited on.

I prefer to cook my own, on a lovely morning nothing better than a hearty Scottish breakfast


Hearty scottish breakfast ingredients:

2 x very free-range eggs, Scottish black pudding,  thyme & black pepper Cumberland  sausage, haggis farce and pork meat rosti, chestnut mushrooms and ½ a vine tomato

all can be fried – I used two pans one for the meat , one for the eggs & mushrooms. The tomatoes I grilled.

5 Apr

slow roast lamb cooked in red wine and caramelised onions a god combination – i’ve made this but added about 10oz of 100% chocolate (which thickens and adds a gloss / different flavour) 🙂


We had some friends round for a delicious Sunday roast dinner. It took me almost 6 hours to make, but it was so nice to have people round for weekend food.

Serves 8

1.9kg leg lamb
2-3 onions (thinly sliced)
Thyme Sprigs
Salt & Pepper
500ml red wine



Heat the oven to gas mark 3 / 160C. Wipe the meat and season.

Put 3tbsp of Olive Oil into a frying pan and seal the lamb, cooking for  8mins and turning throughout. Remove the lamb and set aside.

On the hob in a heavy casserole dish (suitable for hob and oven) fry the onions in the olive oil/juices from the lamb, add a few sprigs of thyme and season well. Cook until softened.

Sit the lamb on top of the onion mix and pour the wine over the top. Cover the pan and cook for 4-5hrs, until…

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Adventures in the UK!

Chronicles of a Texan's study abroad and internship experience in London

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