DO YOU LIKE THE LAST TOUCH UP ON MY FOOD BLOG?

Hi guys,

A quick improvement has been made to the appearance of my blog food. Most of the posts were being squashed and mixed without any purpose.

Now, every post is detailed with a picture and by clicking the “Read More” link, you can get more information about the posts and if you wish, you can collect the recipe at the end of each post.

On the homepage, I have chosen some of my favourite recipes to share with you. The other recipes can be found on the “Recipes” tab and I have included them like PDFs for you to download.

My Social Media links can be found on the bottom of the page and I finally add my YouTube Channel which has been created to help you to make the recipes presented. I will update them regularly.

That’s all, dear readers. If you like it, please press on the like button, if you would like to see more improvements in your journey, let me know and I will try my best to add a few more twists to make it looking even better!

Merci!!

Fab

BARBECUED HAND DIVED SCALLOPS

Scotland can be proud to have some of the best produce in the world. One of the most famous Scottish seafoods is Shellfish. Shellfish includes various species of molluscs (e.g. oysters and squid), crustaceans (e.g. lobsters, crabs), echinoderms (e.g. sea urchins, sea cucumbers)

Today, the star of the show is the hand-dived scallop. Hand-dived scallops from Scotland are some of the worlds most delicious and luxurious seafood. Rich in protein and low in calories, hand-dived scallops are a delicacy well appreciated by chefs across the world.

What else do you need when you are prepping a fresh Scottish scallop which has been hand dived just a few hours before being served? Nothing except maybe a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of Maldon salt.

The pictures presented above are from a pop-up that I did in collaboration with Andy, from Mac and Wild, last August, at one of his restaurants, located in the Highlands, Falls of Shin.

COOKING IN THE WILDERNESS – VENISON CHATEAUBRIAND

A stunning view from “My Kitchen”

Last year, I have been lucky enough to enjoy my first experience of wild cooking with my friend Andy, who is born and bred in the Highlands, and the rest of the Falls of Shin‘s crew.

Enjoying this special moment has been a fundamental part of my love for foraging, gardening, picking and cooking wild foods.

I have learnt that simple things are the best and that some primordial steps are needed before cooking in the wilderness. Some of the most crucial steps are the following:

. Plan your menu but be prepare to be flexible as you never know what you are going to forage!!

. Bring the right equipment, actually, you will need a frying pan, a sauce pan, a chopping board, a few metal spoons and two knives including a Swiss Knife , it might be useful to open your bottles of wine!!!

. Build a fire (after checking for any restrictions and Leave No Trace recommendations).

. Experiment and be inventif!

After cooking Scottish Girolles in the wild, today, I am going to present you, how to cook this sumptuous cut of meat, a venison chateaubriand, courtesy of Andy and Mac and Wild.

No words could described what you are going to see below, except: STUNNING!

The ideal spot for cooking
A fire
The Perfect Garnish, Scottish Girolles

First, season the chateaubriand. Then, in a hot-smoking pan, seared the venison heavenly. Add a knob of butter, 1 crushed garlic clove and baste the meat for a few minutes. Leave it rest for 5 minutes. Curve the chateaubriand and put the sliced venison back in the cooking juice, season with Maldon salt and pepper. To appreciate the tenderness of the cut and the earthy flavour of the venison, I would suggest to cook it medium rare. The quality of the venison is stunning, Juicy, smooth and tender, the quality of the venison is stunning.

Slàinte Mhath!

BEEF DRIPPING CANDLES

Beef Dripping Candle

Would you like to taste these stunning edible candles at home? Are you wondering where to buy real beef dripping? Go to your local butcher and ask for some aged beef bones, a better flavour will enhance your beef dripping candles. I usually get mine from Mac and Wild Butcher. Mac and Wild deliver the finest meats form the Scottish Highlands direct to your door. The excellent quality bones are high in flavoured natural fat.

As you must know by now, my recipes posted on this blog, Fab Cuisine, have been designed to minimise food waste and use sustainable ingredients.

Today’s recipe is the perfect example of what I am aiming for. From this gorgeous beef bones supplied by my friend, Andy, who runs Mac and Wild, I am able to concoct several dishes like a French Onion Soup, Beef Stock, Roast Potatoes.

But today, I focus on these beef dripping candles. So, while the beef bones are being roasted, collect the melted fat every 5-10 minutes, it will prevent the fat from burning. Collect the fat by using a ladle or a big kitchen spoon. Do it every 5-10 minutes until the bones have reached a brown and caramelised colour.

When the fat has been collected, strain it through a muslin cloth.

Add some Maldon salt and infuse a couple of juniper berries.

Keep the beef dripping in the fridge until it starts to set, which means when the fat is starting to get hard. When the beef dripping fat begins to have a hard-soft texture, pour the beef dripping fat into Steel Cooking Rings. At the same time, insert in each steel cooking ring, in the centre if possible, one (or as many as you like) Edible Candle Wick. Make sure that you are going to be able to light the wick, I would suggest you leave a couple of centimeters out of the steel cooking rings.

Decorate the candles with a couple of juniper berries and a piece of pine, it will bring a touch of wildness!

Keep the candles in the fridge for a couple of days, to make sure that the beef dripping is set. Now, you can enjoy your own edible candles with a piece of toasted sourdough.

French Onion Soup

SOWING AND REGROWING YOUR SCRAPS – published on Spook London’s Journal.

I am really delighted to see one of my posts – Sowing and Regrowing Your Scraps  – published on Spook London’s Journal. Click on the link to read about my recent adventures growing veg at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPRINGTIME DIET, HEALTH AND NUTRITION

Spring time is on full steam and dishes are flying out of the kitchen. Easy to make and for a really good value, these delicacies will contribute to your good nutrition and well-being over Spring time and the Summer.

It will not take you long to realise that by keeping everything simple, your lifestyle is going to change and you’ll notice the benefits. The lockdown has been one of the starting point of these changes. Not to be able to go to the shops whenever you want and to make store cupboard ingredients last longer has led me be more flexible on how to cook and what to eat. Welcome back to seasonal and diverse foods and some home cooking creativity!

Below, you will see how amazing was this journey was, so far 9 weeks confined at home. Getting ingredients from our local farm or from a vegetable supplier, Smith & Brock,  based in London, as well as some infrequent trips to the supermarket.

Simple, tasty and sustainable were the motto at home. We were keeping the budget tight but without compromising the quality of the ingredients. Local veg has been my most favourite surprise this lockdown.

Blanched, raw, pickled, seasoned, the options are multiple but the final result is always the same, delicious. You don’t need to pretend to be the best chef on Earth to please your family and yourself with a good plate of food. Authenticity and flair will guide you along  your Spring vegetable journey.

Everything has started from our local farm in week 1 where we bought a few eggs, a bunch of asparagus, a cauliflower, a swede and a hispi cabbage.

Then, when I have been introduce to Smith & Brock, a second wave of amazing fruits and fresh vegetables were delivered on my doorstep.

And finally, the best way to get everything fresh – foraging. (My favourite!)

A series of dishes have been cooked at home with love and care. They are a joy for us all who need to eat more veg in their diet, most of them are vegetarian or vegan option recipes. Using a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, nothing else has been used to feed us and to keep our budget under a pound per portion.

Colourful, fresh, crunchy, original, healthy, these plates of food are affordable and easy to make. Fives minutes are more than enough to plate them and to be enjoyed by the whole family, as a side or a main course or as snacking and sharing dishes. Now, it’s your turn to take your apron and to be inspired. Bon Apétit!

SOWING AND REGROWING YOUR SCRAPS

Spring has always been my favourite time of the year. Winter is over, daylight is getting longer and after being patient for almost 4 months, I can, finally, take the tools out of the shed! Autumn is always a crucial time to clear the garden of dead leaves, to prep the soil for the next season, to scarify the lawn and to give the edge a trim. I recommend to read this article, “Gardening jobs for Autumn” it will help you to organise your garden with 10 tips before the hibernation season starts.

It’s always a personal satisfaction to see everything growing slowly, where you left it and to see that actually with some care and maintenance gardening is fun!

Last year, we planted strawberry, raspberry, mint and nasturtium and I am so pleased to see them again this year. This year, they are looking stronger, bigger and finally, we are going to be able to taste the first fruits soon!

With Peter, we have been working on beetroots, radishes, shallots, garlic and tomatoes. We sowed in different flower pots, garlic, shallots and tomatoes. Not the seeds but the  actual vegetables. At room temperature, a bulb of garlic will start to germinate and to develop a sprout after a couple of weeks. Same will happen with the shallots and onions. They are still in the soil and they are growing nicely. We saved a couple of cherry tomatoes and we squeezed them to release the seeds in a flower pot. After 3 weeks in the greenhouse where the temperature is almost constant and warm the seeds gave birth to a plant. Don’t buy tomatoes seeds!

Beetroots and radishes have been my favourite to see growing. After 3 weeks in the soil, you can start enjoying some of the first radishes with salt and butter, that’s how we do in France! Tasty, crunchy and colourful, it’s always a joy to have them in place during spring time. With the beetroots, when the first plants start to appear, move them from the pot to the soil. They need space and water, so water them quiet often.

The lavender is getting ready, and we will have a few bags in the wardrobe soon. Smelling Lavender is like being in Provence but we are in England. A fresh fragrance of happiness in your home.

Finally, I have discovered that mint can actually grow back from a stalk left in water. What happened? As usual, when you pick fresh mint in the garden, you always cut a stalk or two to compliment a salad or even to make a mint tea. Anyway, to keep the mint alive, you generally put it in a glass of water. After a few days without taking any mint from the stalk I realised that roots were appearing at the bottom of the glass (see picture). After looking on the web, I have found that you can actually regrow some of your favourite scraps like leeks, spring onions, cabbage, little gem, bok choy, mint, coriander and basil. So, with a bit of patience and green fingers, you can grow your own favourite crops.

CAN COOKING HAVE A POSITIVE EFFECT ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?

Home cooking food challenges are booming on social media and it’s GREAT! One upside of lockdown is that people that perhaps wouldn’t usually have the time or the need to cook at home now do. All of us, us ‘normal people’, or as we like to say in France “Monsieut et Madame Tout-Le-Monde”. In addition to it being good for our bank balance, our health and nutrition, there is evidence that it is also having a positive effect on our mental health.

From a personal point of view, I am enjoying re-discovering spending time outdoors and spending more time cook at home – healthy, nutritious and sustainable meals for my family. When I was young still living in France I used to spend most of my free time outdoors – hiking and cycling, but also foraging, gardening, growing veg and then learning how to cook and eat what was grown! This is a something I have missed for 12 years living in London. Being self-sufficient and proud of what I can grow and cook is immensely rewarding and there is a joy in doing this that I don’t get in other activities.

“People who love to eat are always the best people” said the American TV chef, Julia Child. Through the lock-down a kind of reality is showing us that in many households the well being of some of us were at risk.

Let’s talk about fact, in recent weeks the British media has been sharing news and statistics that a large part of our community is suffering from anxiety or stress. Understandable. Some of the contributing factors to this being lack of exercise and activities, missing friends and family, being unable to visit green spaces and poor nutrition.

For me, balancing work and my mental health has always been important as I had an intense job in a fast-paced kitchen. I used to cycle to and from work 5 days a week, go for a 5k run at least once a week, do self defence classes 2 evenings a week and visit the pub or restaurant with friends once a week, as well as visit family, plan a holiday, take a weekend break… Lockdown meant my whole routine was turned upside down as it was for us all. Other than a 1 outside walk or run a day, as per the government advice, I had no work and no activities to occupy me and my mind.

Lockdown led me back to cooking at home for fun! Like most chefs, I was cooking more at work that at home, but I LOVE to cook. For the past 8 weeks I have been cooking at home for my fiancée and parents-in-law to keep myself busy and to feel well. When I say to ‘feel well‘ I refer to my mental health and the benefits I get from the activity of cooking; reading, experimenting and learning recipes; the success and feeling of pride of a dish gone well; the knowledge I am eating healthy food and teaching those around me about nutrition. It all aids our well-being. A good diet makes me feel more active and energetic; being more active makes me want to eat nutritious homemade food.  I have posted three articles that I think will be helpful and will show why we can all be more aware cautious about diet, exercise and mental health.

What is the best diet for mental health ?

This article from the Medical News Today explains why having a right diet can be one of the reason to feel better. The article gives a list of what nutritionists recommend to eat.

More Reason To Give Up Fast Food: Cooking Can Benefit Your Mental Health

“Culinary therapy involves everything from cultivating a garden and planning grocery list to preparing meals, and the process been shown relieve stress, improve focus, advance social skills, and aide in sensory awareness.”

10 Positive Ways To Manage Your Mental Health During Covid-19

Probably, one of the most representative article that I have been reading. This article might help to organise a kind of routine which sometimes is necessary to keep the balance stable.

This year, the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK is “kindness” and like everybody knows, “Sharing is Caring”! Who will you share a meal or a recipe with this week?

I am not saying that cooking will solve all our problems, but you could just learn a new skill for life! So Happy Cooking and enjoy the recipes posted on this blog.