Archive | September, 2015

Chocolate Fruit And Nut Slice Recipes

29 Sep

The sweetness of the rose petals and crystallised fruits means a dark chocolate is more appropriate here than a sweet, creamy milk version. It is, of course, up to you.

hazelnuts 100g, skinned
dark chocolate 400g, 70%
mixed crystallised fruits pears, citrons, clementines 400g in total
sugared rose petals a few
sea salt flakes 1 tsp

Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Put the hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer, then bake for 15-20 minutes, removing them when they are thoroughly brown. Put a pan of water on to boil, with a heatproof glass bowl resting snugly on top. The bottom of the pan shouldn’t quite touch the water. Break the chocolate into pieces and let it melt in the bowl. It will melt more smoothly if you don’t stir it, just leave it to melt, occasionally pushing any unmelted pieces under the surface.

Line a 22x32cm tray with baking parchment. Pour the melted chocolate into the tray, and shake firmly to spread over the surface. Chop the crystallised fruits into small wedges or dice. I think a mixture of sizes looks best. Scatter the fruits over the chocolate. Break the rose petals into small pieces and distribute them between the fruits. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and scatter them over the chocolate. Lastly, add the sea salt flakes and leave in a cool place to set. The fridge is ideal for a short time, but don’t leave the chocolate in there longer than an hour. Snap into jagged pieces. Serves 10.

Rowley Leigh’s final meal: ‘I never cook just for myself’

12 Sep

ratatouille-chicken-french-meal1I love cooking: it keeps me from doing the washing up. For that reason, I’d cook this meal myself, with my family, and my son-in-law in particular – he’s a very good cook. I love how much pleasure cooking brings people. That’s why I do it. I never cook for myself – I’m not interested. When I’m by myself I just stick to cheese on bread.

We’d be at a farmhouse that we rent quite often in Umbria, and this would be a late summer lunch. We first went to Umbria about 15 years ago, it’s a completely unspoilt, untouristy part of Italy. Unbelievably quiet, green and lush, even in August, with lovely flowers in the meadows. The house suits us, because it’s not overly done up, it has a barn opposite the kitchen across the lawn; which is open on one side, you can seat 16 and there’s a fireplace where I usually cook. There’s also a wood oven.

It’s so different from our life in London, and that’s what we love about going there. No internet, no noise … The first few days, the younger members of the party rebel, but then they open things like books. We don’t take much with us apart from books and a few DVDs. Once I get up to speed, I’m reading a book a day.

My children would be with us, and one or two friends – we usually have friends staying. It’s part of what makes the holidays special.

For starters, we’d have braised octopus with borlotti beans – gently stewed with a little chilli. Then hot roast grouse with bread sauce and not much else: I love game birds and grouse is my favourite. I’d wrap it in lardo and roast it over the spit, with a sprig of rosemary under the thigh.

To drink we’d have a really lovely Brunello di Montalcino – a generous, rich, ripe red, open and fresh.

I love cheese: British, French, Northern Italian … Montgomery’s cheddar, cheshire and particularly brie, which I think is terribly underrated… I might have to smuggle some into Italy. If that didn’t work, we’d just have to nibble on a bit of parmesan.

In August, there are some lovely little plums, although for dessert I’d probably just have a very large cigar.

After the meal I would hide away and have a snooze. One of the nice things about this house is that there are lots of places to hide.

I’m a terrible dancer; nevertheless, there’d be dancing. My wife, Katy, won’t dance with me – but I love it. We quarrel all the time over the music; I’d put on some country or soul, and then the kids would try to get a hold of the player to put on something modern.

Stinky Tofu in Seattle: Why You Should Try This Strange Snack

1 Sep

Learn more about stinky tofu, a smelly yet beloved staple of Taiwanese cuisine.

Stinky tofu, also known as chou dofu, is fermented tofu. As its name suggests, stinky tofu, well, stinks. Some say it smells like dirty socks, while others say its stench is akin to that of rotting cheese, dirty garbage, or manure. Despite its strong and foul odor, stinky tofu is a popular snack in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China, where it is typically sold at night markets or roadside stands. Stinky tofu is also served as a side dish at lunch bars. If you want to try stinky tofu in Seattle, it’s best to eat it a restaurant, unless you don’t mind stinking up your house and feeling the wrath of your neighbors.

Stinky Tofu

Stinky Tofu

Stinky tofu is popular among tourists and locals alike in Taiwan. There are often long lines of people waiting at stinky tofu stalls. All you have to do to find stinky tofu when visiting Taiwan is follow your nose. Although stinky tofu smells bad, it has a delicious taste. Stinky tofu fans claim that the more stinky the tofu, the tastier it is. Many stinky tofu vendors build their reputation by offering the smelliest tofu on the block. The taste of stinky tofu is a lot less pungent than its smell. Biting into stinky tofu is a lot like biting into soft cheese.

Stinky tofu can be steamed, barbecued, deep-fried, or stewed with spices. The most popular way to eat stinky tofu is deep fried with pickled cabbage and chili sauce. The vendor makes a hole at the top of each cube of stinky tofu with chopsticks or tongs in order to let the toppings penetrate. Deep-fried stinky tofu is typically dripping with grease. It is crispy on the outside and soft and extremely hot on the inside. Deep-fried stinky tofu doesn’t have as strong of a smell as other varieties. Most tourists prefer to eat their stinky tofu with a generous squirt of sauce for flavor.

How Stinky Tofu Is Made

Stinky tofu is produced in a variety of ways. Traditionally, stinky tofu is prepared in brine made of vegetables, meat, and fermented milk in an earthenware jar. It can take up to several months for the brine to ferment. Sometimes, the brine may include cabbage, Chinese herbs, bamboo shoots, mustard greens, dried shrimp, or amaranth greens. Stinky tofu vendors tend to be very protective of their brine recipes. Stinky tofu is said to contain beneficial bacteria, similar to that of yogurt.

Today, modern factories use quick methods to mass-produce stinky tofu. They marinate fresh tofu in fermented brine for just one to two days so that it develops the signature stinky tofu odor without fermenting completely. This short fermentation process leads to a blander flavor.

Although some people are initially appalled at the smell of stinky tofu, they often find that they can’t get enough of it after tasting it. Stinky tofu is said to have its roots in the southeastern maritime areas of China. According to legend, a tofu vendor named Wang Zhi He invented stinky tofu during the Qing dynasty. He had a lot of unsold tofu, so he cut it into small cubes and put it in a jar for several days. The tofu fermented and turned a greenish color. He tried the smelly tofu and found that it tasted delicious, so he decided to start selling it at his store.

Try Stinky Tofu in Seattle at Henry’s Taiwan Kitchen

Henry’s Taiwan Kitchen is a leading Taiwanese restaurant with locations in Seattle, Washington and Tempe, Arizona. Get your stinky tofu fix and sample other authentic Taiwanese dishes at Henry’s Taiwan Kitchen!