Walking by the frozen meat at my local Wing Yip, the radar pinged as I scanned over the usual offerings of frozen duck and mystery meat. French squab pigeons were available for the first time. There wasn’t really any hesitation I knew exactly what I wanted to cook. Tea smoked pigeon is one of my favourite dishes, a must eat whenever I go back to Hong Kong. A dish I pine for whenever I think about the food of Asia, which is often, in fact most of my waking hours.
Grilled cheese tacos with BBQ wagyu brisket and pico de gallo
Brits get Mexican food wrong all the time. It’s often confounded with Tex-Mex. Anybody proclaiming nachos or burritos as their favourite Mexican food needs to check their chicken fajitas at the door. Tacos is Mexico’s favourite food. So it’s great that the UK is finally catching on and you can find tacos on every other streetfood slingers repertoire. Tacos are infinitely customisable, pork, beef, chicken, cheese, salsa, heck even kimchi. Anything goes! It’s a blank canvas for cooks to express themselves. So why then have I never eaten a good taco in this country? Continue reading
If you know me then you know I love sausage. To me it is perfect food. Maybe sausages are the oldest food processed by humans. You take all those spare animal bits, smash it up (saves you having to chew it) then stuff it into those other tubey bits to keep it altogether. Not much has changed from prehistoric times. Simple and perfect. Continue reading
Homemade duck egg noodles
Ramen, at the moment it’s everybody’s favourite noodle. And why not? Cheap and delicious. An everyday Japanese dish with so much variation and endless refinement there’s something for every taste. For me, a bowl of Hakata style tonkotsu is my favourite ramen. Rich pork stock, marinated egg, sweetly soft slithers of chashu and of course those firm ramen noodles. You can get good tonkotsu in London now so I don’t have to go back to Kyushu for them. Though sadly Birmingham is still sorely lacking any, let alone good, ramen joints.
A lorra duck
Tea smoked duck is a cold dish. A cheeky appetiser to go alongside other nibbley things at the start of a meal, maybe smacked cucumbers and marinated peanuts. Or to be stuffed inside fluffy gua bao. Here’s my recipe for them. I’ve gone proper Chinese and not given exact quantities, relax, it all depends on the size of duck breasts anyway. Continue reading
Black cuttlefish risotto, should try it on a black plate next time
Before I even tried this dish I loved the idea of it. Look at it, it’s black, really black! The only thing blacker is the horrible one in a packet of liquorice allsorts. It’s a Venetian classic that’s also very popular across the Adriatic in Croatia. It should be more popular here too, cuttlefish is a delicious cross between squid and octopus. Sweet, tender and meaty. Unlike squid and octopus it’s also cheap. Any cheaper and fish markets would be giving it away. So why aren’t we eating it? I suppose it’s because it looks so unpromising in it’s raw ink soaked freakishness.
My crispy fish sauce chicken wings
A spate of, ok two, new Thai restaurant openings in London has the capital’s food elite frothing with excitement. The chefs behind Som Saa in Hackney and Smoking Goat in Soho come from the same Northern Thai stable The Begging Bowl in Peckham. I had no expectations from either as I’ve never been to Peckham or Thailand for that matter. But I do love cooking Thai food and I’m sure Peckham is lovely this time of year. Som Saa is by all accounts authentic Northern Thai whereas Smoking Goat is better described as Thai influenced smoky bbq. You’d think that being a foodist I would prefer Som Saa but it was the smack-in-the-face sweet and sticky deliciousness of Smoking Goat that won me over. The standout dish of the dozen or so that we tried in the two restaurants was the Smoking Goat’s Fish Sauce Chicken Wings, and it’s not even Thai!
It’s not my first time food blogging, my buddy Nick at smokeandumami.com let me loose on his blog a couple of years ago. We started the mighty Birmingham and West Midlands Food Map that highlighted places to eat and shop for food in our conurbation. Although obsolescent since Feb 2014 it’s still quite relevant which may be an indictment of our dining scene. Nevermind, I’ve always thought home cooking was more fun anyway! Here are the recipes and other home-cooking blogs that I’ve posted on smokeandumami: