Monday, 26 September 2011

Confit Salmon Fish Cakes


We've all had Thai crab cakes at some point in our lives. Well, most of us. But I was surprised to learn that what we think of as an "authentic" Thai crab cake, is in fact the Frankenstein of the food world. A mash-up of the American crab cake and the Thai fish cake.

In Britain, crab cakes came about as a result of making crab go further, to feed more people. Here, I've conjured up a similar trick, but with salmon. And, for economical purposes. 


The reason I wanted to confit the salmon, was to cook it while still keeping it moist. I also find it keeps a lot more of its natural flavour. The first thing to do was to cover it in coarse sea salt for half an hour. This draws out the some of the moisture and firms up the fish. Next, I gently washed the salt off and patted the salmon dry with a clean kitchen towel. Then, I heated some olive oil to 40°C, placed the salmon in it and removed it from the heat. Allowing it to gently cook, until it finally reaches room temperature.  


Next, I broke up the salmon and mixed it with cooked, crushed new potatoes. It was then breaded, fried and baked the same way I did this chicken.

Traditionally, British crab cakes were served with a seafood sauce. This is one of the simplest sauces to make. Equally quantities of mayo and ketchup, and season to taste with cayenne pepper.


Relevant links:

How to cook perfect fish cakes
How to make salmon fish cakes (video)
Love Food Hate Waste fish cakes


Favourites List (September 2011)

Bee hives at Rufford Old Hall

I'm back from spending the weekend with @Billy_Swindells and I'm feeling at a bit of a lose. I know there are things to do, but I can't bring myself to do anything. At the top of my mind is what to do about tea tonight. There's lots of food in the freezer but the only thing I think might defrost by tonight is some salmon and new potatoes. I'm thinking of making fish cakes. Or, I've got to go into town later, so do I buy something there? Decisions, decisions. 

Duck pancakes me and Billy made

Also, I've well and truly started my Christmas shopping. I'm one of those people that like to get it all sorted as soon as possible. 

At Batman Live

You may have noticed I've added a Google+ gadget thingy to the side bar. Having deleted my Facebook profile many moons ago, I have been tempted back to the world of social networking (Twitter not withstanding). I simply got fed up of Facebook and, in the end, I just didn't use it. Let's see how long my Google+ account lasts for...


Here's a few things I've come across recently

Want to go here

These crepes 

These walnuts by @101cookbooks



Retro coffee grinder for spices

Quaint icing set

This makes me want a waffle iron by @JoyTheBaker (again)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Macaroni Cheese & Bacon


Recently, I discovered we have the Food Network channel on our television. I have absolutely no idea why I've not realised this before. The American shows are a lot different to our British ones, and I find they take a bit of getting use to. 


I was watching one called Barefoot Contessa and Ina, the host/chef, made a massive "mac 'n' cheese".  I don't quite understand why she called it "mac" (as in macaroni) because she used a different pasta. But, she did use a huge amount of cheese. She managed to fill a food processor (guessing 1.5 - 2 litres) with grated cheese. Not that that's a bad thing. I love cheese.  


So, I endeavoured to make my own. Loosely based on Barefoot Contessa's. I don't know what her measurements where, so I've used my own. And I've added bacon.

P.S.
Does anyone know why the show's called Barefoot Contessa? I thought that 'Barefoot' may relate to a feeling of being natural and 'Contessa' may be her name. But, her name's Ina. I also think 'Contessa' is the female form of 'Count'.

Macaroni Cheese & Bacon

Serves 4-6

4 rashers of bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
400g macaroni cheese, cooked and drained
75g unsalted butter
6tbsp plain flour
750ml milk
1/2tsp ground nutmeg
250g Gouda, grated
50g Cheddar, grated
2 beef tomatoes, sliced
Few handfuls of dried breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven Gas 6 (200°C/400°F)
In a pan, bring the milk up to a gentle simmer. Turn off the heat. In another large pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Allow to gently cook for 2 minutes, stirring to keep it burning to the bottom. (This is called a roux). Gradually, add the milk to the roux, stirring continuously so there are no lumps. (This is called a béchamel). Once all the milk has been integrated, turn off the heat and add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. 
Add the cheese, bacon and pasta. Mix well and pour into a large baking dish. Arrange the tomato slices on top and cover with the breadcrumbs. 
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden-brown.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Potato Crisp with Sour cream and Chive Dip



There can be a lot of effort that goes into making a Sunday dinner. I usually find the hardest thing is deciding what meat to have. (This time it was pork belly). Anyway, as I was peeling the potatoes, to make roasties, I got to thinking about a chef I use to work with that made a tasty leek and potato soup out of the peelings. I didn't fancy making soup but a quick Google and I found this recipe for potato crisps and chive sour cream dip. Perfect. 

Photo from @amruth92
I shared what I had planned with Twitter and within minutes @amruth92 had been inspired and made some of his own. (Got to love the power of Twitter). Later, he told me he'd seasoned his with salt and chili powder and, as he told me this, I immediately wished I had fried mine with chili flakes. 


It must be said that I love the way this recipe makes great use of something that would otherwise just be thrown into our green recycling bin. Even the oil that I fried them into was reused for the roasties I was making. And I used the left over rind of some Pecorino I had in the fridge.




Potato Crisps 
with Sour cream and Chive Dip
Adapted from Food & Wine

Alternatively to shallow frying the potato peelings, you could use a deep-fat fryer.

1kg thick potato peelings
700ml vegetable oil
Flaked salt
2tbsp grated Pecorino

Preheat oven Gas 6 (200°C/400°F).
In a large pan, heat the oil to 180°C/350°F (or until a crumb of bread fries golden-brown).Fry the potato peelings in batches, so as to not overcrowd the pan, for 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate with some kitchen paper. 
Once they are all done, transfer them to a baking tray and sprinkle over the Pecorino. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Season with the flaked salt. 



Related articles:

Love Food, Hate Waste - "Every year in the UK we throw away £12 billion worth of food which could have been eaten. The Love Food Hate Waste programme from WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and has lots of tasty recipes and top tips to help us make the most of the food we buy."

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala


Chicken Tikka Masala. Our nations favourite dish. Which says a lot about our cultural diversity as country. To say I'm fond of curry would be an understatement. When Billy stayed with me, for two weeks, we worked our way through nine curries. There was baked chicken curry and baked beef curry from Madhur Jaffery's Easy Curry book, chicken korma at Liverpool Food & Drinks Festival, a beef massaman at a local village pub. This list goes on.


As much as I like a bit of chili in my food, I don't like those curries that have so much it's all you can taste. Too much chili and I'm too concerned about my tongue burning to enjoy it. I suppose that might make me more of an aromatic curry lover.






A selection of spices
The origins of chicken tikka masala are a little vague. Some think it was created by a chef from the north of India, who made improvisations. Others think it was created by an Indian chef in Glasgow to please a customer who complained his meal was too dry. Whatever the true origins of this dish, it's safe to say it's not a traditional Indian meal, but is a combination of tikka (baked in a Tandoor oven) and masala (a spiced sauce).








Chicken Tikka Masala
Adapted from Delicious

There is no definitive recipe for making this curry. The main alteration I've made here is to substitute yoghurt for coconut milk. I've also used dried versions of some of the spices. 

Serves 4

4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless and cut into chunks

For the marinade
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp chili flakes
150ml coconut milk

For the sauce
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp brown sugar
300ml chicken stock
150ml coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Place the chicken in large dish and pour the marinade over. Make sure all the chicken is coated, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (the longer, the better).
Make the sauce by blending the onion in a food processor, until it's a paste. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, ginger, garam masala and turmeric. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Blend the tomatoes in the food processor and add them to the onion and spices, along with the brown sugar, chicken stock and coconut milk. Allow to gently simmer.
Next, heat another pan and add the chicken pieces. Cook for 10 minutes, until cooked through. Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with rice and naan bread.




Related articles:



Related blog posts:

Friday, 16 September 2011

Italian Stew


This is a cheap, easy and healthy dish that holds a lot of flavour from a simple combination of ingredients. The main ingredients are cannellini beans, pasta, tomatoes and chicken stock. Any pasta can be used. What I do is to save the scrappy bits that are left at the bottom of packets, mixing different types of pasta together. The chicken stock really needs to be the best you can get. Usually, I find this is best done by making your own. Here, I've also shredded the remaining chicken from the carcass, from when I made the stock. Why let it go to waste? I served it with large slices of homemade bread, charred on a griddle. 


Italian Stew
Adapted from Delicious

Serves 4
200ml good quality chicken stock
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
200g dried cannellini beans, cooked 
  (or 400g tin cannellini beans, rinsed and drained)
250g pasta

In a pan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the tomatoes, sage, rosemary and cannellini beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the pasta is done. 

Told you it was easy.


Food Labelling - Use-by, Best-before, Display-until, Sell-by

This week, I've read a few online articles about the confusion different food labelling can cause among shoppers. But, this time, it's not about RDA's (recommended daily allowance) or fat content or salt levels. It's about dates. Do shoppers know the difference between use-by, best-before, display-until and sell-by? Apparently not. It's reported £12bn worth of edible food is thrown away every year. And food labeling is part of the problem.

Just for clarification:

  • Use-by - the date by which it is SAFE to eat.
  • Best-before - the day by which it is BEST to eat, but is usually NOT unsafe to do so after.
  • Display-until and Sell-by - dates used by shops to keep track of and rotate stock.

The Government has advised that sell-by and display-until dates by removed from packaging, and rightly so. But, there is also some concern over whether the use-by and best-before dates used are accurate enough. I think it's understandable that companies will air on the side of caution when it comes to producing these dates. They would otherwise be at risk of being sued if anyone did get ill from out-of-date foods. However, it's claimed that such products as eggs and yoghurt could last well beyond the stated date.

Apart from reading labels correctly, there are other ways of reducing food waste. 

Firstly, shop in the reduced sections. Supermarkets count towards a large percentage of food waste, but if you buy it they can't bin it. Just make sure you don't forget about the food and bin it yourself. 

Secondly, buy ugly. Supermarkets ask their producers to supply perfect products. Any knobbly bits or irregular shapes, and it's thrown away. 

Lastly, at home, use everything you can. Make a stock out of the roast chicken carcass and vegetable peelings. Turn stale bits of bread into breadcrumbs. And plan your meals. 


Related articles:


Related posts:

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Lamb Chop Shepherds Pie


I'm a big enthusiast for cooking economically and being environmentally aware. One of the best ways to combine both is to shop at the 'reduced section' in supermarkets. Usually, I'll buy food stuffs that can be frozen. On my last trip it was sausages, houmous and, my mum's favourite, lamb chops. Normally, I'd just grill lamb chops but, as fortune would have it, there was a recipe for lamb chop shepherd's pie in the October issue of Delicious. Perfect.

Also involving my mum this week, we went to Liverpool for a bit of a shopping spree. Among other things, I was keen to get some new kitchen equipment. I'd had some accidents over the past few weeks, a broken frying pan and a smashed Pyrex ceramic dish. I didn't manage to replace the dish, but I got a great new frying pan. I also got, by far the best thing I've ever bought for the kitchen,  four mini-casserole dishes. Le Creuset dishes. All different colours. The best thing.



Lamb Chop Shepherd's Pie
Adapted from Delicous October 2011 Issue

Serves 4
8 lamb chops
150g unsalted butter, cubed
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
300ml chicken stock
500g floury potatoes (such as Maris Piper or King Edward), peeled and cut into chunks
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven Gas 1 (140°C/275°F)
Melt 25g butter in an ovenproof frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the lamb chops on both sides until they are browned, in batches if necessary. Remove from the pan and set aside.


In the same pan, add the carrot, celery, onion, sage and rosemary and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes. 
Add the Worcestershire sauce and stock and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, with a lid or tin foil, and place in the oven for 1 hour.


Meanwhile, make the mash potatoes. Place the potatoes into a pan of salted water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, until soft. Drain, return to the pan with the remaining 125g butter and mash them. Season then set aside until needed. 
After 1 hour, remove the chops from the oven and divide them and the cooking liquor between four mini-casserole dishes. Top each with the mash potatoes. Place them in the oven and increase the temperature to Gas 3 (170°C/325°F). Bake for 45 minutes then serve.



Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Traditional Recipes: Carbonara


Similarly to it's cousin, spaghetti Bolognese, pasta alla carbonara has been morphed by tweaks here and there that threaten the original dish to be forgotten. Most commonly, mushrooms will be added. There are also versions that include cream, chicken, onion, chili and peas. I've even made one with ribbons of courgettes. I've said what I think off changes to traditional recipes in the Bolognese Ragu post, so I want go on. But, suffice to say, I don't think these changes are necessarily a bad thing.

So, what is in a traditional carbonara recipe? Pasta (usually spaghetti, linguine or rigatoni), eggs, cheese (pecorino or parmesan), bacon (pancetta or bacon), olive oil and black pepper. Simple. The pasta is usually spaghetti, but tagliatelle and linguine are also used.


Linguine with bacon and eggs - 'Carbonara'

Serves 4

400g linguine
3 rashers of bacon, cooked and chopped
3 eggs, beaten
50g pecorino, grated
(plus extra to serve)
Black pepper, to taste

Cook the linguine per packet instructions. Drain, then return to the pan and stir in the eggs so that they cook in the residual heat of the pasta. Add the bacon and cheese. Season with black pepper to taste and serve with extra pecorino.


Related posts:


Monday, 12 September 2011

Rich Pork Loin Casserole

If you've read my last few posts, you'll know I've had a bit of a (mini) drama involving pig trotters. Essentially, I was left with a rich pork stock that I wanted to do justice for all the time I put into it. The culmination of which is this pork loin casserole. Inspired by Roastporkwithcrackling's suggestion of making a ragu

The dish is very rich, and I'm tempted to use half-stock, half-water next time, instead of all stock as the liquid.  Though, considering we seem to have entered Autumn and these high winds, a rich supper may be in order. It is also a fairly cheap dish. The pig trotters where 50p and the pork loin was £2 (reduced), plus a few pennies for the vegetables.




Rich Pork Loin Casserole

Serves 4

For the pork stock
2 pig trotters
1/2 leek, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
6 cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp dried thyme
2 litres water

For the casserole

1 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried sage
2 tsp tomato puree
1 pork loin, cut into inch-thick pieces
1 portion pork stock (or equal amount chicken stock)

Pork Stock:
Place all the ingredients into a stock pot, bring to boil and simmer for 4-6 hours. Strain through a fine sieve into another pan and simmer until liquid has reduced by half.

Casserole:
Preheat oven Gas 5 (190°C/375°F)
In an ovenproof pan, gently fry the carrot, leek, celery and garlic for 5 minutes then add the fennel seeds, sage and tomato puree and cook for another 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the pan. 
In the same pan, add the pork loin and fry on all sides for 2-3 minutes. Return the vegetables to the pan along with the stock. Bring to the boil, cover with lid or foil and place in the oven Cook for 60-90 minutes. Serve with rice.


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Trotter-gate and more


Yesterday, me and Billy had a lot planned. We started the day off by going to a car boot sale and, as always, came back with books and DVDs, plus a couple of dishes for my prop collection. The purchase I'm most pleased with, though, is The Pooh Cook Book, a bargain at 50p. It contains some great sounding recipes, (chocolate peanut squares, anyone?) along with lots of recipes involving honey (obviously). 

On the way home, we stopped off at Rufford Old Hall. There's a cafe there that cooks with local, organic ingredients and is fairly reasonably priced. Back in June, we had afternoon tea which costs £6.40 per person, we shared one and there was plenty. But, this time, we just wanted to stroll around the gardens. We both had our sketch books with us to do some drawing (if you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen mine). 

There's also an allotment, apple orchard and bee hives. Sadly, the allotment looked slightly neglected. I was tempted to pull up a couple of beetroots that looked eager to be harvested. The orchard had several varieties of apple trees, but unfortunately I don't know enough to name them. 
When we got home, I did some more cooking and excitedly awaited seeing Batman Live! in the evening. 








Batman Live! was not disappointing in way, shape or form. We were so close to the action, sat right next to the stage, on the second row. I'm not well versed in giving reviews of concert productions, but suffice to say I would recommend it to everyone. 

So, finally, I'm left with talking about the pig's trotters in the last post. (For the following, please bare in mind I've never cooked with them before). I boiled them with mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, fennel seeds and leek. I left them in the liquid overnight.  Today, I fished the trotters out of their, now jellied, liquid. And, well... I knew there was never going to be loads of meat on them. But, nothing? I hadn't expected that. At least it's not a complete failure. I've reduced the stock, which I have been informed can be added to sauces. And, we're having a Chinese takeaway for  tea tonight. Win.

I know a few of you wanted me to update you on the pig trotter subject, and I will let you know what I do with the stock. In the meantime, let me know if you have any suggestions on what to do with it.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Pig's Feet & Tarts

Banoffe Tart we had at The Boathouse Brasserie today.
Scott & Sons - local butchers.


So, pig trotters anyone? I popped into the local butchers shop last week and enquired about them. They've gotten use to me asking for the more unusual cuts of meat - pig cheeks, ox cheeks, sweetbreads. Anyway, they ordered four trotters in and I picked them up today. £1 seems like pretty decent value. I'm intending to treat them like a ham hock - boiled with spices, then flaked into a salad or terrine. That's what I'll be doing tomorrow, as well as going to a car boot sale (weather permitting), visiting Rufford Old Hall, making beef curry, baking bread and butter pudding and seeing Batman Live. (Busier than I thought I was).


Rufford Old Hall

I've also been approved by UK Food Bloggers Association, which makes me immensely happy. 

Anyway, here's a quick list of interesting links I've found over the last few days. Enjoy.

I love curry and I love meatballs - Kofta Curry

Another blogger's  post on Liverpool Food & Drink Festival 2011 - mine are here and here

Perfect pizza - besides the fact that me and my partner are obsessed with pizza (and curry, have I mentioned that?), this is how I'd love to write a blog post. Historical, cultural and personal.

Who needs cookbooks? - I'm addicted to buying cookbooks, my most recent purchase being The Great British Bakeoff: How To Bake.

My cookbook collection is tiny compared to this one.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Chicken Enchiladas


Some meals I have at home are fairly regular. Curry being the (favourite and) most frequent. But, having had cravings for spicy foods lately, I wanted to make something we don't have that often. And enchiladas it was. 

I didn't want to just buy an Old El Paso enchilada kit, instead I wanted to feel like I had a bit more control over the cooking. There was also some Nando's Lime and Coriander sauce floating around in the cupboard that I used. It complimented the spicy 'Mexican' seasoning well.


At the moment, I've also got this thing for buying whole chickens and portioning them myself. Basically, this involved cutting the chicken into eight portions: 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings. (Though I keep the thighs and drumsticks attached). There is also the carcass for making chicken stock. This is a more economical way of buying chicken.

Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 2
2 chicken breast
1 tablespoon Mexican seasoning
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red pepper, sliced
3 spring onions, sliced
4 tortilla wraps
Nando's Lime and Coriander sauce, 
   to taste (optional)
300g Mexican mild salsa
100g cheese, grated 
   (such as Monterey Jack, Red Leicester or Double Gloucester)

Preheat oven Gas 4 (180°C/350°F)

Cut the chicken into thin strips. Place into a bowl and coat with the Mexican seasoning. Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the oil into a frying pan and stir-fry the red pepper and spring onion for 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, fry the chicken on a medium-high heat for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove form pan and set aside.
Place the tortillas on to a clean work surface and line the chicken, red pepper, spring onion and lime and coriander sauce, if using, down the middle of each. Then roll the tortillas up, folding the ends inwards to encase them. 
Place into an ovenproof dish. Cover with the salsa, followed by the cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.



Monday, 5 September 2011

Liverpool Food & Drink Festival: Day Two

Delifonseca's marketplace stall

Pulled BBQ pork
The weather, on the second day of the Liverpool Food & Drink Festival, was a marked improvement on Day One. Sunny and hot. And it definitely had an impact on the number of visitors. The atmosphere was much more like a festival.
Yesterday, we had tried plenty of samples that were being handed out by the exhibitors. So, today, we wanted to try some of the meals. We already had our eyes on certain dishes we had spied on Day One. First up, pulled BBQ pork from Delifonseca. The chips that came with this were massive. They were like roasties in chip form. And they were fantastic. Really crispy on the outside with a light, fluffy interior. The pork itself was a little cold for my liking, but the flavours were certainly there.

Aiden Byrne's cookery demonstration
After having our mid-morning snack, we ventured over to the celebrity cookery demonstration area to see Aiden Byrne. The festival guide stated that the demo was rib of beef with Bourguignon garnish, instead he cooked scallops (scheduled for his second demo), which was still interesting. Amidst the talk of cookery, Aiden discussed the "moralistic values" of using hand-dived scallops. He also revealed his forthcoming appearance on next year's Great British Menu


Scallops
Spicy Chicken Chilli Noodle and Wok It marketplace stall
Second up for food was a noodle box from Wok It. We had the choice of Teriyaki with spring onion, garlic and ginger or spicy chicken chilli. We opted for the latter and they were certainly spicy. Whilst Billy used a fork to eat them with, I opted to try my hand at chop sticks. They're something I had never been too good at, but a couple of Chinese students at university had shown me how to use them. I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did.

Paul Askew's cookery demonstration
Having enjoyed the noodles, we headed over to the Masterclass Marquee to see, once again, Aiden Byrne do a talk on meat. However, I had wanted to watch Paul Askew in the Culinary Talent Demonstration Area so we left the masterclass a little early. And a good job it was that we did, too. Visitors had flocked over to see Paul cook a Mediterranean hake dish. He was very interactive with the audience and the smells wafting over the crowd were fresh and very appetizing.

Chicken korma

Before we decided to call it a day, we wanted to try a curry and, amongst the abundance of Indian-cuisine marketplace stalls, we had spotted a British Army stall selling chicken korma. Although it followed the typically mild route of korma's, it was still very tasty. 

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Liverpool Food & Drink Festival: Day One

Liverpool Food & Drink Festival

Rain. That's what me and Billy woke up to on the first day of the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival. But, hey, it's a festival, maybe rain was appropriate. Not wanting to risk not finding a car park space, we set off early which resulted in having to wait over an hour to get into the festival area. Luckily, it's held in the 200 acre Sefton Park, so there was plenty to walk around. When we got into the festival area some stalls were still setting up, but soon enough they were all ready and bustling with people.

Sefton Park
Spicy pepperoni pizza from TriBeCa.
So, it's 11am. What's the first thing that comes to mind? If you guessed 'pizza', you'd be right. It must have been all that walking we did before. That's my excuse, anyway. We were debating whether to get a steak burger or pulled pork. But when we saw a chef tossing the freshly made pizza dough, at the TriBeCa stall, it was just too tempting. So we gathered our Spicy Pepperoni and headed for cover from the rain. The best thing was the thin and crispy base. Not like the ones you get from the supermarket, but properly done.

Iberica ham, left; Serrano ham, right.
Besides the market place, there was plenty to do; celebrity cookery demonstrations, a masterclass marquee, a cookery demonstration area and other activities. The first such activity that we went to was a Spanish Ham masterclass with Lunya's Peter Kinsella. It was very informative and Peter was fun to watch and very friendly. He led us through the history and culture surrounding Ibérico and Serrano hams, demonstrated how to carve the hefty sized jamóns. 

Liverpool Community College's Garry Hindley.
The second masterclass we went to was focused on artisan breads, led by Garry Hindley, a tutor at Liverpool Community College. This talk particularly piqued my interest due to my recent fondness of baking bread at home. So far, I've concentrated on baking a regular, white tin loaf, but this has inspired me too try different shapes the next chance I get.