In the last few months I've been experimenting with different ingredients and in particular, different sugars and syrups. Although fuel is the main purpose, flavour is equally as critical. My cycling buddies have been enthusiastic candidates for my flapjack taste-test trials, and in the last few weeks, I think I'm getting close to the perfect recipe.
The Japanese understand seasoning better than anyone. People talk about 'umami' as the 5th sense of taste, elevating savoury flavours to a new level. Umami literally translates as 'yummy' and was first discussed in Tokyo in the early 20th century.
The idea of making sushi can be a little intimidating, particularly when you hear stories of 15-year sushi chef apprenticeships. The truth is, it's pretty straightforward. You can experiment with loads of different fillings - they are not hard to find in your local shop, and if you're not a fan of handling raw fish, then use smoked fish or just vegetables instead. You could also try different meat fillings like hoisin duck or char sui pork if you're feeling adventurous.
A few years ago I was lucky enough to go on a cycling tour with a few mates where we followed the Ebro River in Spain, from its source, down into the famous Rioja wine region. As this was a self-guided tour we were given two pieces of advice when it came to lunch stops.
Christmas in my family is all about traditions, I think we all like to recreate a little bit of our own childhood memories. Here's a good old recipe given to me by my mother who makes these every year. They taste of Christmas and are so delicious they rarely make it through to Boxing day. I've given them a little twist by substituting golden syrup for agave syrup which gives the florentines a slightly chewy texture.
Gyozas are little, half moon shaped dumplings made out of a hot water, wheat flour pastry and stuffed with pork, duck, chicken and vegetables. They are generally steamed before being crisped up in a pan and served with a dipping sauce. We think of Gyozas as being Japanese, in fact they actually originated in China but were adopted by the Japanese as they are soooooo good.
Just the other day, I was very lucky to be given a box of the most amazing king prawns by a foodie friend (thank you Caroline). Determined to do them justice, I used one of our brilliant Alejandro spicy chorizos, our Spanish saffron and smoked paprika and a box of Riso Torro Arborio Rice. Ok, ok I know that Arborio rice is not classic, but paella rice and Arborio rice are pretty close. We've recently listed a great quality Spanish Saffron, it comes in a 1g container and is half the price of the saffron you find in the supermarkets - I love it's earthy flavour and it's great in so many other dishes.
There is something primal about making your own pasta, a bit like making your own bread. I don’t always have time to do this (or the organisational ability), but when I do, it's deeply rewarding and tastes just SO GOOD. You need just two ingredients for this recipe...00 Pasta flour and fresh eggs.
There are so many good reasons to eat porridge for breakfast and whilst my Scottish Grandmother would possibly turn in her grave at this collection of recipes, I think porridge makes such a great base to indulge in different flavour combinations.
It’s widely said that at least three-quarters of Mexican’s will eat on the Streets at least once or twice a week. And why not? Here, vendors sell everything from snacks and beverages to massive sandwiches and full platters of food.
Tacos are one of the most popular street snacks. They are commonly filled with pork, beef or chicken but can also contain beans, cheese, cactus, potato or fish. Salsas are always on offer and every taco stand will have one red and one green salsa and often salsas made from avocado, roasted chillies plus a mixture of chopped onions and sour cream.
Both my kids love Wagamama, for a multi-site restaurant group, they do a really great job. Chicken Katsu is an absolute favourite on their menu, it's pure comfort food. Crispy breaded chicken breast slathered in a luscious, silky curry sauce served with rice and salad, yes please.
This recipe is really simple to make and is a total joy to eat, our Katsu Curry paste does all the hard work for you. Panko breadcrumbs are used extensively in restaurants but often over looked in the home. The way they're made gives you a much lighter, crisper crumb than just blitzing up fresh bread - try it and you'll never go back.
Orecchiette is a pasta shape that hails from the Southern Italian region of Apulia and is perfect for this beautiful pasta dish. Pangratatto is effectively just fried breadcrumbs but it's a great addition to this dish as it adds a brilliant texture. There are lots of different squashes now widely available from good green grocers. We got ours from a fantastic local organisation called Root Connections www.rootconnections.co.uk - a charity that helps homeless people. They have a small farm where volunteers and residents grow fabulous produce to supply homes and restaurants with the fruits of their labour, check it out, it's amazing.
Apricots aren't always the easiest fruit to work with, but few can resist the delights of a beautiful apricot tart. We invited our friend Lucy from the Pockeredge Pantry to show us her recipe for this stunning tart. Using her glorious Apricot Jam, full of big chunks of fruit, our Matthews flour and ground almonds we make a tart befitting the best French patisseries.
You could easily be mistaken for thinking that a Poke bowl is a Japanese invention, but actually it's one of the national dishes of Hawaii. Slap bang in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaiian cuisine has lots of influences from the Orient.
A biryani, in principal, is a fairly simple concept – bake rice in stock with spices, meat or vegetables until the rice is fluffy and tender. However, you will completely live or die by the quality of the rice you use. If you end up with rice that sticks together, you'll need to go back to biryani school or get hold of better quality rice - the supermarkets are certainly not the place to look for that.