My Food Heroes and Altered States

My Favorite Food Heroes!
My Favorite Food Heroes!

Firstly – welcome to the new look! I’ve made some changes to liven the blog up a bit. Secondly – I’ve also made some decisions about the way I’m going with cooking – trying to be less complicated and more conscious about the ingredients. The naughties were creeping in, like sugar, carbs and salt! I don’t want to pull back to the point of just eating rabbit food – but I need to stop worrying about my meals being boring and focus on simplicity – as well as variety. I kept up with my exercising and still feeling better for it.

Thirdly – I’m kicking off this week’s post with a little piece about my favorite food heroes. There are others who I enjoy watching, but these are my top seven. You might think they’re a motley bunch but I’ve found them the most interesting, informative and entertaining. I was interested to note that the majority were British – and male! I tried hard to find more women, but then I realized that it would be contrived – just to be more balanced and fair.

Starting with Ainsley Harriott. 

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Fun, exciting, passionate – and he loves spicy food! He’s traveled all over to bring wonderful flavors to our tables – doing it all with the enthusiasm of a child. Here’s a link to his website:

http://www.ainsley-harriott.com/home

Here’s a video of Ainsley making Veggie Burgers!

Next – are the Two Fat Ladies! 

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Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson. They have both passed away but they were hilariously delightful with their cooking – which was a mixture of the old and the new. They were known for loving lard and other naughties – but they were thoroughly entertaining and endearing!

Here they are talking about vegetarians and nasty lentils!

The only non-British (although descended from the French) – Anthony Bourdain!

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I love his series “No Reservations” as well as the other shows – and his book, “Kitchen Confidential” – which I have as an audiobook, narrated by the snarky one himself. Brilliant insights into the “underbelly” of the culinary world.

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Although his shows featured other’s cooking – and only rarely himself cooking, he traveled the world and taught us about other cultures as well as their cuisines. Even though there were some things I wouldn’t dream of eating – like intestines and other awful offal – I learned a great deal about cooking and fascinating countries and the people who live there.

Here are two interesting links:

http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/anthony-bourdain

http://anthonybourdain.tumblr.com/

The wonderful Rick Stein!

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He has several DVD’s out – including my favorite – “Food Heroes of Britain” – where he travels around Britain, meeting the food heroes and their local produce. Then he cooks wonderful meals using the ingredients he comes across. I love his easy-going style and old-fashioned sensibilities. He has his own restaurants, books and tv shows – and a burgeoning cottage industry – selling his own concoctions and many other things related to cooking.

Here’s a link to his website:

http://www.rickstein.com/

Here is Rick Stein making Turkish Spicy Lamb Flat bread:

The Lovely Nigella Lawson:

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Scandals aside – I love her simple approach to cooking. She can switch from an easy snack to a complex dinner party without making it seem too difficult. I also love her descriptions of food and how it makes her feel. Delightful.

Here’s a link to her website:

http://www.nigella.com/

Here’s a video of Nigella making Crustless Pizza:

Last – but not least – Jamie Oliver!

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When I first heard about the “Naked Chef” – I thought he’d be cooking in the nude! After my initial disappointment, I found his simplicity refreshing – using whole foods with exuberant passion. He went on to create the Food Revolution, which was an attempt to reform school lunch programs and educate the young about eating healthily. He also started the Fifteen Apprentice Programme, to inspire and support new Chefs coming up through the ranks.

Here are some links:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/

http://www.jamieoliverfoodfoundation.org.uk/

http://www.foodrevolutionday.com/#Q8Rf5bxumYr7uwct.97

Here’s Part one of Jamie Cooks Summer – Brisket and Smoked Fish!

Now – on with some of the food I cooked for the week!

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Chocolate Energy Bites! I was trying to make something to have on hand when my sweet tooth reared its ugly head – as I’m trying to get away from ice-cream and other desserts. This recipe used Flax seed meal – which took a bit of getting used to – but they were enjoyable. 2 – 3 was enough to shut me up. The whole plate lasted us a week! (I doubled the recipe.)

Chocolate Energy Bites

Ingredients:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp honey (I used raw, unfiltered Wildflower – local)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Up to 4 tsp warm water, as needed

1 cup old fashioned oats (raw)

3/4 cup unsweetened raw coconut

1/2 cup flaxseed meal

6 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:

In a large bowl, stir together peanut butter, honey, vanilla and cocoa powder. Add oats, coconut, flaxseed meal and chocolate chips and stir until evenly coated. At this point if mixture still doesn’t stick well, stir in up to 2 tsp water as needed. Transfer mixture to refrigerator and chill until nearly set and easier to handle.

Remove from refrigerator and shape into 1-inch balls. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup
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Chorizo Sausage with onions, garlic and peppers

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Spanikopita

Ingredients:

10oz. baby spinach – roughly chopped (6 cups)
8 oz. cottage cheese – drained
12 oz. feta
5 eggs, beaten

1 box filo dough, thawed (9×14 – 16oz – 40 sheets)

1 1/2 sticks butter – melted

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

1. Place spinach in a large bowl.

2. Add cottage cheese, crumbled feta cheese and eggs. Mix together and season if desired.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

4. Cover unused filo with glad wrap.

5. Place one sheet of filo on your work surface. Brush roughly with melted butter (doesn’t need to be completely covered with butter.) Repeat with 2 more sheets.

6. Scoop out 1/2-cup of the filling and place on filo in the middle and wrap to make a parcel. Place this parcel seam side down on your baking sheet. Brush top with butter. Repeat with remaining filo and filling.

7. Bake strudels for 30 to 45 minutes or until nice and golden brown on top. Cool briefly and serve. 

*I sprinkled mine with some sesame seeds before baking.

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Singapore Noodles

Here’s my menu plan for next week:

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Until then, stay healthy and happy!

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