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Showing posts from October, 2012

Phil Howard of the Square - Chef MasterClass

The Square in London has been around since 1991 and, during that time, it has built a reputation for understated excellence, earning two Michelin stars along the way. 

This is in no small part down to its chef and co-owner Philip Howard - one of the few "named" chefs who can still be found in the kitchen.

Howard was recently voted Chef's Chef of the Year at the National Restaurant Awards, and I was pleased to play a small role in The Kitchen Foundation from the Square - his Masterclass series where he shares culinary tips, tricks and secrets which he has gleaned and developed over the years.

These videos are to celebrate the Square's 21st Birthday and also to promote Howard's new cookbook The Square Cookbook - Volume 1 - Savoury - a real labour of love, documenting over 100 savoury recipes from the Square. 

I have just been given a copy and it's been a while since I've seen such a stunning (and hefty) tome. 

Volume 2 - Sweet comes out from Absolute Press in Ju…

EAT. and the Rise of the Culinary Travesty

I work in the City. Lunch options are scanty - throw a stone and you'll hit an identikit franchise serving variations on the same inedible theme - Pret, EAT., Chop'd, Tossed, Crussh.

Bitter experience should have taught me that whenever one of these places launches a new dish, it won't be any good, yet foolish hope springs eternal and on occasion I will return.

More recently I've come across instances of what might even be called cultural insensitivity.

EAT. are by far the worst culprit - here are just three examples of how their R & D department are completely rubbish.



Exhibit 1: Their "Udon Ramen". Udon Ramen. UDON RAMEN.

Udon is one type of Japanese noodle. Ramen is an entirely different type of Japanese noodle. This dish of theirs actually comprises a vague stock plus udon noodles. So it's udon. Not ramen.

It's the equivalent of a restaurant serving a dish called Rice Pasta, or Spring Roll Cannelloni.

IT MAKES NO SENSE.




Exhibit 2: Their "L…

Easy Kimchi Recipe

Kimchi. Practically the national dish of Korea, this potent pickle is pungent, sour, spicy and unnecessarily delicious.

It works well as a condiment or side dish, in stews and curries, with rice and noodles, and even in a sandwich or bun - in fact, a kimchi hotdog seems to be de rigueur these days.

Till recently, I've been lazy and got packets or tubs of the stuff from Oriental supermarkets, but I discovered that it's both cheap and easy to make yourself. This is a good thing as I recently had to make a shed-load for my Momofuku tribute dinner Lunchy Peach.

The recipe looks long but I wanted to show you all the steps - it's really straightforward.



And you can tweak the flavours (saltier, sweeter, sourer) so it tastes even better than shop-bought.

(Burmese) shrimp paste, similar to belacan, is my secret ingredient for extra umami - other recipes add chopped-up oysters, dried shrimp or squid, but you could do without and just ramp up the fish sauce.

I've gone for tradit…