Tomatillo Time

August has brought the first crop of Tomatillos to the UK. Rarely grown here, I eagerly await their arrival and celebrate the short season with the ultimate green salsa that elevates barbecue to ridiculously insane heights of deliciousness.

Repeat after me: [toh-muhtee-oh].

Physalis philadelphica

Physalis philadelphica and Physalis ixocarpa are part of the nightshade family – similar to the more common Cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana) found in most supermarkets here, but larger, and green. Think green tomato with a papery husk.

Fresh, zingy and packed with complexity, this classic salsa is like nothing else. If you make your own from scratch, it blows any shop-bought version out of the water. The magic happens when you char the ingredients over fire before blending it all together. If you see tomatillos, buy them. Buy them all.

Ingredients:

  • 400g fresh tomatillos
  • 2 green jalapeños
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • ½ onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Remove the husks from the tomatillos – give them a little wash as you’ll find that the flesh is a little sticky underneath. Pop the fruits on the bbq along with the onion and Jalapeños to blister the skins. (You could or grill them in the oven or colour them in a pan if you don’t have access to a bbq).
  2. Chuck everything in a food processor and blitz it up into a rough salsa. How easy is that!

blistering tomatillo and jalapeno fruits

 

tomatillo salsa

 

Best. Salsa. Ever.

The Great Get Together

I’m starting to think that the best barbecues are the impromptu, last minute variety. Is this true?

Plans were in place for a Great Get Together in support of Jo Cox and the ‘more in common’ movement last weekend, but as happens all too frequently in our household, plans change.

However… right on cue, some dear friends invited us round to their house for a last-minute Sunday-night barbecue. Perfect little get-together me thinks. Now, living in an apartment with no garden, I can’t begin to explain how delightful it is to receive such an invitation.

So, what’s in the fridge? Some, I expect, might feel a little daunted by this prospect, however I absolutely love the freedom that an open fire brings – take what you have, and make what you can. Expectations can’t be too high can they? Moreover, you have before you the most devilishly ideal creator of flavour known to mankind, the humble fire.

weber coal starter

I’m fairly certain that a planned barbecue merely leads to anxious over-purchasing in the search of perfection, and ultimately greater food wastage.

Anything goes – as long as you cook everything sufficiently, it’s all good. Think about the garnishes, embellishments and rifts that will transform the ordinary into the extroadinary with a kiss of smokey char.

Classic new potatoes with rosemary from their garden, smashed garlic cloves, olive oil, unwaxed lemon peel, salt and pepper.. I even parboiled them before walking over. Wrap them up in foil and chuck them on the heat for a while to get gnarly.

bbq potatoes

Got a pineapple to hand? A splash of olive oil and a twist of black pepper takes it to a different level once it’s had a few minutes over the waning white coals.

Felix cooking up a storm

Good job little man.

BBQ Pineapple

Get outside and get together folks – make the most of everything you have and celebrate friendship. Jo was right.

Sunday BBQ

The Great Get Together is a campaign of the Jo Cox Foundation and partners, supported by Jamie Oliver and the Food Revolution. The Jo Cox Foundation is a registered charity in England and Wales (no. 1170836). Registered address: 40 Bowling Green Lane, London, EC1R 0NE

Saluting you, Judy Joo

I’m loving the new ‘Korean Food Made Simple’ series with Judy Joo.

Judy Joo

Glass noodles made from sweet potato.. !!!  #amazing

I’m going to be making myself some Japchae at the first opportunity.

We can draw so much inspiration from experiencing diverse gastronomy from disparate cultures.  A visit to Honey Pig Korean BBQ on a recent trip to the US got me hankering for a trip to South Korea.

Duck at Honey Pig

Korean BBQ Duck

The world is becoming a smaller place as technology advances. I’m predicting big things for international food – I can’t wait to see more ‘unusual’ ingredients being stocked in our UK supermarkets. Exposure to the world via satellite TV, great shows and social media is a good thing in my eyes.

Diversify, get excited about food and try something different!

Check out the Food Network channel in the UK (http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/tv-shows/korean-food-made-simple.html)

or the Cooking Channel in the US (http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/korean-food-made-simple.html)

JOFR August Challenge #1

Outdoor dining!

The sun is finally shining, and what better way to celebrate the glorious rays than an impromptu BBQ with friends.  Sunday afternoon, 4pm, shops closing, raid the fridge…

Somewhat tricky when there’s nothing obviously ‘barbecue-able’ in there.  Think man, think.  Nobody wants to let friends down, even if it’s short notice.  Relax, we can do this.  If there’s one thing that I have learnt to embrace in the last year, it’s that I need to chill-out more in the kitchen and have faith that I can take simple ingredients and make them sing.

Watching a documentary about Noma in Copenhagen changed my world.  Isn’t it amazing that it takes a two Michelin star restaurant to make us realise what we have all around us, just waiting to be elevated into tasty treats.

A few Leeks to hand…  Let’s go with it and see what happens.

a_few_leeks

Leeks

A quick blanch, a spell over the flames with rosemary twigs, a speedy oil/vinegar dressing with mustard and fennel tops, finishing it all off with pangrattato for texture.  Happy, sunny days.