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Showing posts from November, 2010

Glynn Purnell Interview - Backstage with Birmingham's Michelin Star Chef

Glynn Purnell is known to many as the pride of culinary Birmingham. The Michelin-starred chef owns the restaurant Purnell's, and last month he opened a second restaurant called The Asquith, on the site of the former Jessica's where he earned his first Michelin star.

He's also been one of my favourite chefs on the Great British Menu, due to his creativity and charm. I was lucky enough to talk to him backstage at Saturday Kitchen Live at this weekend's BBC Good Food Show (my very first interview conducted in person).

Listen to the first five minutes of our conversation here - the transcript follows:




You’ve been called the “Finest chef to hail from Chelmsley Wood” (by the Birmingham Post) as well as a “Yummy Brummie” (by Olive Magazine) – which title do you prefer?

I love people to know where I’m from because I’m proud of where I’m from, but to be called a Yummie Brummie is very flattering and also [gives me] the chance to fly the flag for Birmingham, so the second one probab…

Japanese Pasta Recipe + WIN the New Green & Black's Ultimate Cookbook [COMPETITION CLOSED]

So for the Green & Black's 15:15 Challenge ("use a budget of £15 to make a dish in 15 minutes"), I decided on an old faithful - Japanese aka Wafu Pasuta.

As I said this was for two reasons - it's easy as pie to throw together, and it captures all five of the tastes Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Umami aka Savoury.

I had no set recipe in mind, and just wanted to find ingredients that complement and contrast each other - so before turning up to the challenge, I went to the Japan Centre on Lower Regent Street to see what appealed. I considered umeboshi, a type of pickled Japanese apricot, for the sour element; katsuobushi hanakatsuo, the flakes of bonito that dance about madly on top of okonimyaki pancakes, for the savoury; and strips of nori seaweed for the salt.

Eventually, I went for buna-shimeji mushrooms, dashi, mirin wine, soy, ikura, shiso leaves and negi onion, and handed over my £15 (ikura particularly is a pricey treat, though worth every penny.




Green & Bl…

Green and Black's - The 15:15 Challenge

It's the year 2000. Tandoori Palace on Histon Road. We've just had a rather nice curry, when my boyfriend turns to me and says, "These chocolate mints taste a bit odd". I try one and grimace, and I say to him, "They're orange, you idiot" ...

Green & Black's are looking for an Assistant for their Head of Taste, Micah Carr-Hill.

That's right - they're hiring a Chocolate Taster, possibly the BEST. JOB. IN. THE. WORLD.



The recruitment site says the following:

"Do you plan what you are going to cook and eat several meals in advance? Does the science and technology of food excite you? Can you discern between acceptable tastes and excellent ones? Do you love chocolate? Do you want the opportunity to build a career doing what you love? Green & Black's is looking for an assistant to the Head of Taste".

Successful applicants will be asked to undertake a series of tests, and some of us blogging folk have been invited to take part in a…

NOMA - Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine - Rene Redzepi Talk

I first heard of Rene Redzepi and his restaurant Noma early last year, as the gentleman who had won MasterChef in 2009 had undertaken one of his final challenges at Noma in Denmark.

At the time, I thought Redzepi seemed a breath of fresh air, simply because he seemed kind and understated, yet at the same time joyful about food (and his looked incredible).



What was even more incredible was that Noma uses only food from Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland, and employs a network of foragers to achieve as comprehensive a culinary canvas as possible.

Right then, I decided that at the earliest opportunity I would save some pennies and visit Denmark to see for myself.



And then Redzepi's Noma was awarded first place in the World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards this year, toppling Ferran Adria's El Bulli, and I wistfully thought, "Oh, I'm never going to get to eat there now - it'll be booked up for ever".

But both Noma and Rene Redzepi became a little bit more acc…

MasterChef The Professionals Final 2010 (TV Review)

Claire, David, John
FACT – I watched about 4 episodes of MasterChef the Professionals this year (including the one with "39 Year Old Lee" and the one where cocky Kevin threw a wobbly).

FACT – That means I’m probably not qualified to review it.

FACT – That’s not going to stop me.

Our three finalists are Claire Lara, a tutor at Liverpool Community College; John Calton, chef at the Duke of Wellington pub, in Newton, Northumberland and Dave Coulson, chef at the Eden Castle Inn in Hartlepool. They’re all Northern. One of them will win.



Backstory time! Some kind of MOR dross (Keane?) plays as we find ourselves in Liverpool to discover that Clare grew up on a beach with a postman who fed her on oven chips. Suddenly Air plays, filling me with intense deja vu, but it all makes sense, as next she did a YTS which sent her to Paris for five years (long freaking youth training scheme), and fell for a French chef called Marc who thought her an oddball, but married her anyway. She now teaches k…