Sirius XM Radio Welcomes Jamie Oliver To

And it is not just him, apparently! It seems that the British public is becoming increasingly bothered by how much the F-word is being used on the telly. Oh, and I am not talking about “F” as in “fowl” but “F” as in the other foul word. The National has a write up of this today:

A backlash has emerged in Britain against the amount of swearing now common on television and radio.

For years, there has been a progressive increase in the use of bad language in popular programmes, particularly among comedians, talk show hosts and, for no apparent reason, celebrity chefs.

There were a lot of personalities mentioned in the article, including the recently infamous duo of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross. There were no other celebrity chefs mentioned except for Jamie Oliver, who was said to have used the F-word 23 times in a 50-minute episode.

To be honest, I never really noticed this! Perhaps the episodes that I have seen were “clean?” Or maybe they were edited. Another possibility – I have become so immune to hearing that word that I do not even take note when it is mentioned on TV.

It does not matter – the fact is that for once, I agree with the critics. There is no reason for celebrity chefs to be using the F-word in their cooking shows. Although I have to admit that I have probably used it on several occasions while working in the kitchen. Poor Jamie Oliver, always in the middle of these controversies…

For many people – and that includes yours truly – the best time to make a really good meal is on the weekend. This is because you have enough time to spend in taking care to prepare an elaborate meal. During the week, you normally only have less than an hour to make a quick meal. I suppose that is the beauty of Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunch cookbook, which helps you come up with some of the best weekend meals you can ever make.

Gordon Ramsay is no stranger to good meals and he shares his expertise in a simple manner. The cookbook is described by Amazon as:

Gordon Ramsay’s aim is to get us all cooking up a storm and sitting down at the table with friends and family to share lunch on Sundays and at other leisure times. In the second series of “The F Word”, his highly acclaimed topical food programme, he visits people all over the UK of all ages, backgrounds and ethnic origins to help them cook up a meal for family and/or friends. These range from traditional Sunday roasts to lighter summer fare, from easy 30-minute meals to Italian, Indian and Moroccan influenced family feasts. As always, Gordon is there to help the home cook at every stage – buying the right ingredients, preparation and serving and helping to co-ordinate the cooking of several dishes to arrive on the table simultaneously.

I do not have my own copy of the cookbook but from what I have seen in previews, the recipes are quite simple, especially if you have at least the tiniest experience in the kitchen. Who knows, Santa might bring me one tonight?

cornish crabsAre you up for some seafood this Christmas? Well here is something for you to try, straight out of British celebrity chef Delia Smith. She is a legend in her own right and this dish is quite simple but has enough kick to make you a star on Christmas Day. Recipe courtesy of The Telegraph.

Ingredients:
• 1 pack of six savoury pastry cases (M&S)
• 2 x 100g packs hand-picked white Cornish crab (Seafood & Eat It, Waitrose)
• 1 x 110g pack hand-picked brown Cornish crab (Seafood & Eat It, Waitrose)
• 3 level tbsp half-fat crème fraîche
• 1½ tbsp dry sherry
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• a pinch of ground mace
• a good grating of nutmeg
• 40g grated Parmesan
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
• salt to garnish
• 2 cartons of mustard and cress, or salad cress

Procedure:
You will need a small baking tray. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.

All you do here is put the tart cases on to the baking tray, then place the white and brown crabmeats, the crème fraîche, sherry, lemon juice, mace, nutmeg and a little salt in a medium-size bowl. Mix it all together with a large fork, and taste to check the seasoning.

Now divide the crab mixture evenly among the pastry cases and even it out using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the Parmesan all over the crab and finish off with a dusting of cayenne.

Bake the tarts for 25 minutes until puffed and golden, and serve them from the oven with a mustard and cress garnish.

Gordon Ramsay - Book Signing

Who is the sexiest chef on TV today? If you were to ask the women in UK, they would probably say Gordon Ramsay. At least, that’s what the polls have shown. One Poll carried out the research last month and announced the results late in November. In The News has this report:

The F Word host and richest chef in the world topped a poll of TVcooks voted for by more than 4,000 women.

Though tabloid reports recently emerged claiming Ramsay has been cheating on his wife for seven years, his alleged infidelity seems not to have dented his sex appeal among female fans.

A spokesman for www.OnePoll.com, which carried out the research, said: “We weren’t surprised that Gordon came out on top.

“Women go for bad boys all the time. The fact he’s rumoured to be cheating on his wife for years only adds to his appeal.

“It makes him more obtainable for everyday women on the street.”

Hell’s Kitchen’s Jean-Christophe Novelli, 47, was voted second while Marco-Pierre White, Ramsay’s former mentor, came in third.

Saturday Kitchen host James Martin came fourth while Jamie Oliver rounded off the top five.

A spokesman for www.OnePoll.com added: “Most of the men in this poll aren’t purely chefs. Most of them are highly successful restaurateurs, broadcasters and TV personalities.

I do not agree with the results – I think that Jamie Olivier has more sex appeal than Gordon Ramsay but then that is just me talking. Who is the sexiest chef for you?

Foie Gras Ban To Take Effect In Chicago

Michael Caines, a Michelin-star awardee, has been given a petition urging him to take off one of the best dishes on his menu. Foie gras, translated literally into fat liver, is a French delicacy that is well loved by many foodies around the world. The process of making foie gras is what the activists are against.

According to Sharon Howe of the organisation Exeter Friends for Animals, “It’s quite ironic. Michael Caines promotes local produce, which we think is a very praiseworthy. But at the same time he is importing a product, which, were it produced in this country, would be banned because it contravenes animal welfare legislation. It’s a very cruel product.

Foie gras is made by overfeeding geese and duck, in order to achieve that unique texture. Animal activists assert that this is bad and cruel for the animals in question. This issue is nothing new, really. In fact, production of foie gras is already banned in some areas, including the UK. This has not deterred foodies from indulging in this wonderful food, though.

Seriously, I understand where these people are coming from. They want to look after those who cannot look after themselves. At the risk of being deemed cruel, inhumane, or selfish, I would like to say that I think they are taking it too far. In the larger scheme of things, everything has its place.

Anyhow, celebrity chef Caines has not released any comment. For now, perhaps, foie gras will remain to be part of his menu. I am not one to complain.

He may be at the top in the reality TV show Top Chef but Tom Colicchio does not seem to be on top of his game when it comes to real life. Colicchio opened his restaurant Craft in New York in 2001 and has since then widened his horizons by opening other branches in different parts of the States.

On Friday of this week, however, a former employee of Calicchio file a lawsuit against him. The complaint? It seems that the Top Chef star has been remiss in giving his workers their due. Included in the complaint are violations such as not paying minimum wage, overtime, and tips from customers.

The complainant is a certain Nessa Rapone, who worked at the Craftbar in New York last year. In her statement, she declared that she is filing the lawsuit on behalf of the other workers of Calicchio who were paid on an hourly basis. Reuters has this report:

A former employee sued “Top Chef” TV show judge Tom Colicchio in federal court on Friday for allegedly not paying some of his restaurant workers minimum wages, overtime and tips from customers.

Nessa Rapone, who worked at Craftbar in New York in 2007, filed suit in Manhattan federal court on behalf of other hourly paid workers seeking to recover “minimum wages, overtime compensation and misappropriated tips” from Colicchio.

So what does the Top Chef celebrity has to say about the lawsuit? That camp has been silent on the matter so far

Christmas is definitely in the air, so what better time to start baking cookies? If you have children, this simple action can turn into a wonderful holiday tradition! These Linzer cookies from Ina Garten are festive and elegant enough to also serve at holiday get-togethers, and also make fabulous presents to give away.

Linzer Cookies

3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup good raspberry preserves
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut 2 3/4-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter. With 1/2 of the rounds, cut a hole from the middle of each round with a heart or spade shaped cutter. Place all the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread raspberry preserves on the flat side of each solid cookie. Dust the top of the cut-out cookies with confectioners’ sugar and press the flat sides together, with the raspberry preserves in the middle and the confectioners’ sugar on the top.

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With Thanksgiving barely over and leftovers still smouldering in the fridge, theres no better time to start thinking and planning for the next big day ahead – Christmas!!

Ok, call me a bit of a sadist, but unlike Thanksgiving which really only involves a singular meal (maybe you were even lucky this year and played guest and not chef) , Christmas is so much more, especially so if you have a family with little children.

You know what I’m talking about – stockings, tree, decorations, outfits, parties, pantomimes and presents – to a list which seems to get longer every year! So yes, early preparations for this particular holiday does make good sense.

And since this blog is about chefs and therefore food, I’ll be posting about some of my favourite celeb chefs’ Christmas menus. Depending on your mood, gathering and needs this year, you can decide early on what tickles your fancy most. After all, Christmas is the season for celebration, joy, and splashing out indulgently – as Nigella so rightly reminds us in her Christmas Menu below.

I think the mistake people make most when entertaining is to get too fancy with the food. No one is ever too sophisticated for the basic pleasures of home cooking, and there is something about those old favorites that makes everyone feel a little leap of joy in the heart………The whole point of a feast is that it is unnecessarily abundant
Nigella Lawson

Nigella’s Rustic Christmas Menu

Crab Cocktail
Seasonal Breeze
Perfect Roast Potatoes
Petits Pois � la Fran�aise
Green Bean and Lemon Casserole
Standing Rib Roast
Chestnut Cheesecake

For recipes, start HERE.

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Born on March 29, 1964, Ming Tsai was never a stranger to great food. His family owned a restaurant called the Mandarin Kitchen in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Ming Tsai worked alongside his parents gaining valuable experience.

Ming Tsai has a degree in mechanical engineering from Yale. He also holds a masters degree from Cornell University where he studied Hotel Administration and Hospitality Marketing. He studied under renowned Pastry Chef Pierre Herme in Paris and he later studied with Sushi Master Kobayashi in Osaka between earning his two degrees.

Ming Tsai had been exposed to East West cooking when he was in Paris. He gained more exposure to it when he worked at Silks, the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco’s east west restaurant, as a sous chef. Later he moved to Palo Alto, California where he served as the executive chef of the Ginger Club before moving again. This time he moved to Santa Fe to serve as executive chef of the Santacafe where he was honored as best chef.

Ming Tsai and his wife Polly now own their own restaurant, the Blue Ginger in Wellesley Massachusetts. It has earned many awards including three stars from the Boston Globe and Ming Tsai was honored 2002 Best Chef Northeast by the James Beard Foundation.

Ming Tsai has written three cookbooks. Blue Ginger East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai made it to the Food and Wine Magazine top 25 best cookbooks of 1999. His second book Simply Ming was published in 2003 and his third book Ming’s Master Recipes was released in 2004.

Ming Tsai first appeared on TV via the Food Network where he hosted the show East Meets West. The show won him an Emmy in 1998. Currently he hosts and produces the TV cooking show Simply Ming which was awarded the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle Award in 2005. You can also watch him on his other show, Ming’s Quest.

Ming Tsai is also a founding member of Chefs for Humanity, a charity organization created in response to the needs of those devastated by the tsunami in 2005. They organize fund raising and relief activities for those in need around the world.

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Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a time of gathering and renewing family ties. It is about giving and sharing our blessings. It’s also about sitting in front of the fire and talking all night, sharing stories of christmases past and the visits of Santa.

Of course if you are going to be awake all night and talking all night long, while hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa, you can’t do it with a dry throat. This calls for a drink that is meant to be savored with friends while gathered around the tree watching the kids play. It is one of the best nights of the year.

Try Emeril Lagasse’s Chocolatey Christmas Cafe Au Lait. Though cafe au lait is normally a breakfast drink, this drink is perfect even if you drink this before your first meal of the day.

Have a merry christmas everyone!

Emeril’s Chocolate-y Christmas Cafe Au Lait

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 ( 2-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 strip orange peel, about 1/2 inch by 3 inches
10 whole cloves
2 to 2 1/2 cups hot brewed strong coffee

1/4 cup cold heavy cream
Ground cinnamon, for garnish
Cocoa, for garnish

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, 2/3 cup of the sugar, and cocoa until smooth. Add the cinnamon sticks, orange peel and cloves and bring to a simmer, stirring, to dissolve the sugar and prevent the cocoa from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whip the cream with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar until thick and frothy, and peaks form. Set aside.

Strain the milk mixture into a coffee pot or carafe and add 2 cups of the hot coffee (2 1/2 cups for stronger coffee flavor, to taste). Pour into cups or small mugs and top each with a dollop of the sweetened whipped cream.

Serve immediately.