Friday 14 December 2012

Playing with your food

Health and food

Received wisdom tells us that playing with your food is best avoided. Somehow it signals a lack of focus in the primary objective that should be eating. I feel ambivalent about writing about food. As though I'm stuck in some sort of perpetual self-reflective syndrome with food bloggers who write about little else but baking and all their accompanying smug, feelgood homeliness. 

TV food programmes which are either so simplistic that they offer little more than food assembly, or the rarefied environs of Michelin star style cookery where the "classically trained" communicate in terms that are never explained linguistically or visually but are more intent on clever editing with on the beat cuts to coincide with the cracking of an egg. 

With the state of the nation's health spiralling downward as fruit and veg spiral in the polar opposite direction. Food has become a stick to beat us with. In Britain the middle classes have hijacked food as a commodity with high cultural capital. Food faddism is another way to raise value but as with all fashions the majority are following rather than creating. 

I'm still cooking but with nobody else in mind except my family and my own appetite. Appetite seems to be glaringly absent from most food discourse. Trying to fathom and fulfil our own individual peccadilloes as well as those of others and prepare food which goes some way to satiate. 

Cooking is for many a real pleasure but also a chore. By denying this and elevating it to the level of an experiential pass time has the potential to alienate those who spend most time doing it. Meal times are often fractious inspite of  carefully delineated places assigned to each individual - usually illustrating alliances or systems of control. 

Children divided by parents, grandparents acting as a buffer. The head of the table with paterfamilias and eldest male sibling at the other, mother positioned to father's right hand and of course with easy access to the kitchen with youngest child (myself) next to her - ready to help, or receive a swift chastising. Younger brother next to me, third in line both in birth and from the patriarch. My sister the second child, at the left hand of my father and next to grandma. Those days are long gone with family meals like these never to be repeated now we each find our position according to which faction of the now extended family is present but consistency remains - the patriarch remains solidly fixed at the head of the table and playing with your food is not tolerated.

Thursday 2 August 2012

Fish Fingers - how fishy are your's?

Home made cod fish fingers

10.5 million - I am quite interested in statistics, in so far as the magnitude of some figures really does make you stop and think. This is the number of Birds Eye Fish Fingers sold each week. Part of my brain cannot even begin to compute what 10.5 million fish fingers looks like but one thing I do know is that whenever I eat them I am always struck by the overwhelming and highly distinctive taste of the coating. Savoury, salty, sweet, a certain umami quality and highly addictive. I wolf them down at a particularly alarming rate and usually pay the consequences an hour or so later. Cheap and quick or a guilty pleasure - highly processed food has its limitations, so as not to deny my loved ones, the desire to find a homemade alternative has resulted in these beauties.

Cod is not cheap, so a price comparison goes out the window with Birds Eye coming in at £6.49 a kilo and fresh sustainably sourced cod loin at £16.99 but as an occasional treat it's worth spending the money and at least you know what really constitutes a Fish Finger when you've made it yourself.

Homemade Fish Fingers

The secret is in the breadcrumbs. The first difficulty in relating this recipe is that it does not have any weights or measures - breadcrumbs come about from turning the odds and ends of the bread bin into a bag of crumbs and any left overs are put in the freezer for a later date. The second difficulty is a herb mixture which my father makes...he describes the making of it in very simple terms but as I've never actually seen him make it I cannot testify that it is as simple as he claims. But in essence, he picks sage, rosemary and mint and then with the addition of salt and pepper grinds it all to a very fine dust - so you are left with a dry herby salty condiment!

Take your breadcrumbs and fry them in a pan where you have already melted a good knob of butter and added smoked paprika and some herby salty condiment - the levels of spice are up to you and can be adjusted according to taste but I'd say go for it as the cod can take it and the ratio of fish far exceeds the crumb. Fry until crispy and drain on some kitchen paper to absorb the excess butter. When they have cooled return to the food processor and give another blitz to make a finer crumb.

Slice your fish into equal size fingers, coat first in seasoned flour, then egg, then the breadcrumbs.
Cover a grill pan with foil, lightly oil and bake remembering to turn over half way through.
Serve with Swedish mustard dill sauce and a large fresh salad.

Monday 18 June 2012

Roasted red peppers - sunshine on a plate

Roasted sweet pepper

Asparagus frittata

Roasted sweet pepper

Asparagus frittata

Picnic in Archbishop's Park

Remember those fantastically glorious hot sunny days we had a few weeks ago - the parks were full almost to capacity. It was as though we all realised that we couldn't miss a moment, we gave ourselves up to that rarefied languid feeling of being hot and lazy - slowing down and letting the warm breeze and sultry sun kiss our skin. Alas, it already feels like a distant memory but sunshine is always available on a plate. 

Roasted sweet peppers are a delight to behold and tantalise the palate and a frittata is perfect picnic fare.

Roasted sweet peppers

Heat oven to 200C.
Halve, deseed and wash three peppers.
Mix together in a bowl 2 mozzarella chopped up, chopped fresh tomatoes - 12 cherry or less if using bigger variety, handful of fresh basil, tablespoon of capers, tablespoon of sultanas, 6 anchovies fillets chopped up. Dowse with olive oil, a little salt and pepper and a good splosh of balsamic vinegar.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a baking dish - lay the pepper halves top to tail so they fit snuggly and divide the mixture between them.

Cook for approx 15-20 mins or until peppers are cooked.

Asparagus frittata

Clean and slice asparagus lengthways - steam lightly.
Slice and fry left over new potatoes until just brown.
Beat 4 eggs, season with salt and pepper and some grated Parmesan.
Pour over potatoes and asparagus. Fry on a medium heat finish under grill.

Friday 8 June 2012

Apricot bastard flan

Apricot, almond, rum puff pastry flan

What do you call a pie that has spawned from three recipes and a dose of your own imagination? Certain chefs would brand it - My Self Satisfied Apricot Tart or Awesome Apricot Aphrodisiac - because superlatives and expedient alliteration are all part of the armoury of food writing. 

I love writing and I love food but I tire of the generic approaches - the fashionable fixations (see I'm doing it too!) of food writing. All has become about lifestyle and as we pile our way through cookbooks, blogs and TV shows we are presented with a highly manicured, manically mediated perfection. 

There are plenty of rough and ready scenes in bucolic surroundings. TV chefs seem to be endlessly on the road in an array of iconic motors, setting up field kitchens with little more than a primus stove or a camp fire to produce eye watering manifestations before our eyes. The film editing is so sophisticated that never for a moment do we feel that we have been duped and that the food stylist has stepped in and retossed that salad or replated that food - no dribbles, no mess - an antiseptic approach. It's like watching the card sharks on Oxford Street - a carefully rehearsed performance and we the unwitting public suck it up. In our desperate desire to make our small and often imperfect lives somehow closer to the primped concoctions offered up.

So I give you another recipe - not as an example of my far from perfect life but as a possibility, an opportunity, a token of conviviality. This is real food made in a modest kitchen but made with imagination, love and care and not a stylist in sight.

Apricot Bastard Flan

Roll out a sheet of puff pastry really thin - 3mm the pastry is there as a carrier for the flan.
Press into a loose bottom baking tin and refrigerate until ready to use.

Cream together 100g of butter and 100g caster sugar until white and fluffy.
Lightly beat 2 eggs in a jug and then add slowly to the butter and sugar.
Stir in 2 tablespoons of dark rum, 100g ground almonds and finally 20g of sifted plain flour.

Take the flan from the fridge and spread apricot jam all over the pastry.
Spoon and spread the almond cream over the jam.
Halve and destone the apricots (I used 11) and the lay cut side sown as close together as you can covering the cream.

Put in a preheated oven at 200 C for about 12 minutes and then turn oven down to 180 C until the top is golden brown approx 15 mins.

Remove from oven and allow to cool a little before removing from baking tin.
The pie was soft and moist with crispy pastry and served with Greek yoghurt.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Sardines - Pasta con le sarde

Fresh sardines from Deal in Kent

Gutted sardines from Deal in Kent

Prepared sardines for Pasta con le sarde
All images: Visual Athletics Club

Fresh sardines are something of a delicacy in central London - rarely available and usually more the size of a mackerel. A visit to the Kent coast yielded these wonderful specimens and all for the princely sum of £2.40. Somehow good ideas seem to become hackneyed stereotypes alarmingly quickly but fresh and local do seem to yield the best produce and often the cheapest.

Authenticity is also another complex issue as every individual seems to have their own take on what constitutes the truly authentic. Can an Italian recipe ever be authentic when it is made outside of Italy? Then there are degrees of Italianess - Sicilian, Palermitan - the classification gets smaller and the authenticity increases. Personally I find it all slightly tiresome and I think cooking is about developing your own taste - how spicy, sweet, salty, you like your food will dictate the finer nuances of your cooking and in turn your own personal style.

So recipes are a guide - adjust, adapt at will - do not be strangulated by the straight jacket of prescriptive ingredients but use them as a guide - try the recipe and then try your own thing. 

This is Franca Colonna Romano's recipe from Sicilia in Bocca, so as regards finding wild mountain fennel - good luck but I have seen wild fennel growing by the roadside in less urban areas - so go forage!

Pasta con le sarde fresche all palermitana by Franca Colonna Romano in Sicilia in Bocca
Palermitan pasta with fresh sardines 

It is a famous Palermitan recipe, known throughout Sicily although with some variations. We shall give the original version.
The indispensable ingredient for this very tasty dish is wild mountain fennel. It can also be prepared with cultivated fennel, but if we said the result is the same it would be a gross untruth.

Ingredients for 6 persons: 600-700 grams maccheroncini, 1 kilo fresh sardines, 1 big onion, 100 grams pine-seeds, 100 grams sultanas, a big bunch of wild fennel, the packet of zaphran [saffron], 1 glass of oil, salt.

Boil the wild fennel, strain well but do not throw away the water. Chop the fennel up on a board with the point of a knife. Fry lightly in a frying-pan a well chopped onion, add the sardines, cleaned and boned, and mix until you get a pulp. Add the wild fennel, the packet of zaphran, salt, pepper, the pine-seeds and sultanas and the sauce to acquire flavour.

In the meantime you will have cooked the maccheroncini in plenty of water diluted with the water of the fennel, taking care not to let them get too soft. Season the pasta with one part of the sauce.

Prepare a large baking-tin, grease with oil and put a layer first of pasta, then sauce, ending with a layer of sauce.

Put the tin in the oven on a moderate heat for a few minutes.
These maccheroni are delicious both hot and cold.

Thursday 24 May 2012

Dark arts and academic publishing

Berg Design and Culture  Danielle Inga May 2012

Berg Design and Culture  Danielle Inga May 2012

Berg Design and Culture  Danielle Inga May 2012

The virtual world dominates.  3D has been seconded into another film format as opposed to how we experience the physical universe. Seeing your work in print is a moment to behold. As the hours, days and months spent writing, editing and re-editing to finally produce an article that fits the requirements of peer review and academia is laid bare before you, a nascent pleasure surfaces. The realisation that this physical artefact exists in a physical world - ensconced in libraries and academic institutions but in time scholars may happen upon it, read it, reference it. Your words and research may be included in the work of another  - in the bibliography, footnotes or endnotes perhaps, justified by the academic accreditation of being published but exist they do in the physical form of the journal.

Design and Culture

Friday 11 May 2012

Spinach Pie - a recipe for success

Spinach, ricotta, feta cheese filo pie

Spinach, ricotta, feta cheese filo pie

A few days in Cornwall is usually preceded by an attempt to consume all random ingredients in our tiny freezer in preparation for the dozen or so Cornish Pasties and various fillets of fish that will hot foot it home with us. Prawns are coerced into a spicy tuna and tomato sauce, a pot of veal ragu, left over from Arancini, makes a quick pasta sauce. But amongst the ingredients in need of consumption was a packet of filo pastry. I have memories of feta, spinach and filo pie and in all honesty they were slightly disappointing. Often too dry or too wet, too under seasoned or over salted. The results were not edifying enough to tempt me. But with a recent diagnosis of an iron deficiency and the desire to free up valuable space it seemed a good time to attempt my own version.

After scanning the net for various interpretations I plumped for with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Spanakopita. As this was an impromptu decision I didn't have the full range of ingredients and adapted it so the bias was with the cheese as opposed to the pastry - using the same quantities of cheese as Hugh but for half the amount spinach and pastry. I added chilli to give it another dimension and sesame seeds on top for added crunch and flavour.

Spinach Pie

700g fresh spinach - washed, wilted in a pan, well drained and cooled
1 bunch of spring onions finely chopped
1 pot of ricotta cheese
1 packet of feta cheese
grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 small dried chillies
1 large egg lightly beaten
6 sheets of filo pastry

Heat the oven to 180C

Put the cooled spinach into a bowl with the spring onions, feta and ricotta.

Add the nutmeg and chilli - season to taste.
Stir gently until well combined, pour in the egg and stir again.

Brush a 30cm x 20cm x 5cm ovenproof dish with olive oil and lay in a sheet of filo lengthways
Brush with more oil and add another layer of pastry crossways. 
Repeat, brushing with oil between the layers. 

Spread the filling evenly over the filo, fold over the crossways layers, then any edges from the lengthways layers.  Brush the top with oil and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until until golden. 


Monday 30 April 2012

Pearl barley with minced pork and spinach

I've had a bad experience recently. One that nearly resulted in domestic strife with a refusal on my part to eat any supper. I was taken in, lead astray and stupidly fell for enticing images and the seemingly simple preparation of a recipe I had not tried before. The perpetrators will remain nameless, except to say that there are two of them, they characterise themselves as greedy and they're Italian! The recipe in question was for pearl barley with minced pork and spinach. Now don't get me wrong I don't fall for the hackneyed TV scenario of two minutes cooking followed by a miraculous table ready meal - the hey presto approach to food does not seduce me. But a recipe that uses minimal ingredients and especially one that includes favourites such a spinach and barley could not be passed over. 

Alarm bells should have rung when I printed out the recipe which did not correspond to logic or the demonstration I had witnessed on TV. The barley was meant to be cooked in the same fashion as one would cook risotto - gradually adding stock until it evaporates - DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS. I stood over the cooker for ONE AND A HALF HOURS and still the barley was not cooked - the flat was steamed up, with condensation pouring down the windows but my barley was still skinny as opposed to plump.

In the end my husband restrained me from pouring the whole lot down the loo in a fit of pique. And the barley was left to stew in its own juice - exactly what it needed. So do not take recipes at face value - the desire to promote quick meals in bite size chunks on TV may sometimes lead to an over optimistic estimate of how long a meal takes to cook. So until I have re-attempted the recipe I will not repeat it here but I will say when it was finally cooked it was delicious.

Monday 9 April 2012

Simnel Peace Cake

Marzipan dressed simnel peace cakeUndressed simnel cake

Here is our take on a traditional Simnel Cake. For us the peace sign has a universal resonance - but we might have overdone the marzipan! Happy Peace-ster!

Friday 9 March 2012

Fast food - pastina in brodo

Raw ingredients - carrot, courgette, celery, leek, shallot for patina in brodo

Food is rarely fast. From the time it takes to physically get to the shops, purchase your provisions, take them home, pack them away, decide what you are going to eat, clean, chop and prepare - to the moment you put it in the pan and start cooking and not forgetting the washing and clearing up - all involves, time, organisation and a certain dedication. The drudgery never makes it onto our TV screens fantasy features of 30 minutes dinners, or Simple Suppers. Its no wonder that food technology has developed the myriad of fast convenience foods to beguile and coerce us into taking a quicker route to food satisfaction.

Food is really about priorities. Do you prioritise time in the kitchen over time in front of the TV? Get rid of the TV - no really, save the TV license fee and invest it in a couple of good stainless steel saucepans and a sharp knife. Watch TV on your computer when you want to - rather than follow the dictates of multinational organisations that control the schedule of programming for maximum returns on their invested advertising revenue.

Time spent listening to the radio, or talking with a loved one as you commune over the scraping, peeling and scrubbing and fight over who gets to do the sexy cooking bits as opposed to being the kitchen hand. Cooking, like gardening or any artisan labour gives your mind an opportunity to wonder - so productive time cooking is also productive time thinking. What started out as a drudgery becomes a liberation.

When I was little and on rare occasions poorly and had the good fortune to have a day off school, my mother would offer me pastina in brodo for lunch. The broth was often nothing more complicated than a vegetable stock cube but with the addition of some freshly grated Parmesan the soup became a salty comforting balm for a fevered brow. This is my take on that and requires a little more time but the stock cube is more than fine if you prefer.

Pastina in Borodo - serves 2
1 shallot finely chopped and 3 sticks of celery grated - slowly softened in some olive oil.
Add in turn 1 leek finely sliced, 1 carrot grated and allow to sweat in the pan -  add a good splosh of white wine, if you have it, or plain water - enough to create a strong broth. When the carrots has begun to soften add 1 courgette grated. Meanwhile put another small pan of water on to boil - when water is boiling add salt and approx 40g of Stellete pasta per person. When the pasta is cooked drain but reserve some of the water in a jug, add the pasta to the cooked vegetables - which should still be bright with a bit of bite, add a little olive oil to taste. Serve in warmed bowls and add as much liquid as you like and a grate of Parmesan.

Wednesday 22 February 2012


Cabbage frittata

I love leftovers - greedy people who try and wolf up anything on the table evoke unholy thoughts. One solution is to serve up in the kitchen - the effort of getting up from the dining table to replenish their plate is often too much for the glutton. I always cook extra potatoes and never scrimp with half a cabbage - bubble and squeak - how delicious is that? Add a couple of beaten eggs and some streaky bacon with a good dollop of Tiptree Brown Sauce on the side for a comforting quick, hot lunch.

However the lunch box has different demands and frittata is a portable, happy addition. Made today with last night's leftovers by tomorrow all the flavours would have melded in perfect reciprocity. Boiled Cornish new potatoes sliced and fried in olive oil with savoy cabbage - let me tell you about the cabbage, this is seriously tasty and a delicious accompaniment to some fantastically fishy mackerel - butterflied and cooked in the oven and then topped off with chopped parsley, garlic and sweet paprika.  But let's talk cabbage - take 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds and crush with a clove of garlic and 15g of butter in a pestle and mortar. Gently blanch the shredded cabbage until just tender. Drain well, return to pan, grate in some nutmeg, salt and pepper and then add the butter mix - sweet, garlicky, aromatic cabbage - yes it is possible. 

Back to the frittata - lay the cabbage evenly over the potatoes, warm through and then pour over 4 lightly beaten, seasoned eggs - cook gently and either invert onto a plate or pop under a hot grill to brown the top.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Green vegetable soup

Green vegetable soup
Green vegetable soup - the words themselves lift my spirits, tasty, delicious, simple, and so satisfying in a comfortingly salty way. This soup is waiting for you at the bottom of your fridge - forgotten random vegetables and an old crust of parmesan cheese. The trick is to chop the vegetables quite small so they don't need a lot of cooking - and so keep their fresh greeness whilst the potatoes make the soup wonderfully creamy.

Finely chop a shallot, 3 sticks of celery and a clove of garlic.
Cook gently in some olive oil until soft and sweet.
Add two small potatoes - sliced and diced, cook until they start to go soft, add a splash of white wine if you've got it or some plain water to stop it catching.
Chuck in the crust of a piece of parmesan - this will give the soup an umami kick.
Add 2 courgettes - sliced and diced and a handful of chopped green beans.
Barely cover with water or vegetable stock if you prefer - taste for seasoning.
Simmer until the green veg is just cooked - remove a few ladles of soup and blitz in a food processor - so making the soup thick and creamy, or just leave as a clear broth if you prefer.
Add some chopped parsley and a swirl of olive oil to serve and fight over who gets the chewy surprise at the bottom of the bowl.

Monday 6 February 2012

Bakewell Pudding

Bakewell pudding - almonds, raspberry jam, egg custard and puff pastry

Bakewell pudding - almonds, raspberry jam, egg custard and puff pastry

I have a distant memory of visiting Bakewell many moons ago - long walks in the mist and rain through eye poppingly beautiful scenery. A landscape in harmony with its weather - a palette of brown, green and grey.  Mysterious and distant, the smell of wet earth and damp vegetation stirring a primal sensibility. But the memory is further hightened by the experience of eating a Bakewell Pudding.

As a lover of all things almond, Bakewell Pudding touched me. Warm, eggy, almondy  served with custard it was nothing like the sweets that masquerade under the same sobriquet. So the memory has haunted me...until 2008, when deep in the rare books section of the British Library, researching an eighteenth century apple scoop, I came across a recipe in a snappily titled book called 'English Recipes, and others from Scotland, Wales and Ireland as they appeared in eighteenth and nineteenth century cookery books and now devised for modern use', by Sheila Hutchins, published in 1967.

Well I'm pretty sure this is where the recipe came from, as I scrawled it down in pencil in my tatty notebook. As ever I have altered the quantities stated in the recipe - I prefer mine to be more almondy than buttery but will put both versions here - the original quantities are in brackets.

Bakewell Pudding
Grease a cake tin, line with very thinly rolled puff pastry, cover and refrigerate overnight
Next day, cover the pastry with raspberry jam - including up the sides
Gently melt 3oz (8oz) butter in a pan 
Whisk 4 (8) eggs with 4oz (8oz) caster sugar until pale and runny
Slowly run in the melted butter - keep whisking all together
Finally stir in 4oz (4oz) of ground almonds
Pour into the tin and bake at 180 Celsius until set and the pastry is cooked.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Puffed up

Puff pastry, jam

It's got nothing to do with austerity just the opportunity to enjoy those scraps of puff pastry transformed with a dollop of mixed fruit jam into a tasty treat.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Fennel - pale and interesting

Fresh fennel

I love fennel. Fennel with orange and rocket. Fennel with beetroot and a squeeze of lemon juice to tart up the sweetness. Fennel with fennel. But all fennels are not equal and some can be a little on the tough side, so salad is not always the best option.

Until recently I'd always shied away from cooking fennel - loving it in salad as I do but my mum was the happy recipient of a case of fennel which had piggy backed onto a shipment of oranges from Sicily. The fennels were abundant and had begun to look a little tired so braising was their liberation. When the crunch of a delicious tender fennel has gone gently blanching and roasting replaces the missing element with a subtle sweetness and warm aniseed tone.
A delicious alternative to salad on cold winter days.

Braised Fennel

Quarter and slice the fennel and blanch in boiling salted water with a squeeze of lemon juice (to stop the fennel from browning) until just tender.
Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a baking dish. 
Dress with olive oil, ground black pepper, approx 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and the same amount of bread crumbs - gently mix up and pop in a hot oven (200 Celsius) for about 10 minutes or until heated through and just browned.

You can cook chicory in the same way - just quarter no need to slice.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Fish pie surprise

Fish pie - haddock, prawns, leeks, porcini and chestnut mushrooms, mash potatoes
My tummy is rumbling already - the anticipation of my piping hot fish pie. It is delicious and I'm not just saying that. I'm so tired of watching chefs on TV tuck into their own food, gaze deep into the camera lens and orgasmically utter their own absolute approval of the (always) exceptional quality and perfection of their particular creation. Cooking isn't like that unless you're Heston Blumenthal or some other Michelin starred chef with a) the staff, b) the fear of losing your star studded status or c) the science/technology/time to assure that every plate reaches the necessary level of perfection. The domestic kitchen suffers the vagaries not only of the person cooking but is also subject to unforeseen issues such as misreading the recipe because you can't be bothered to find your glasses.

So this fish pie is a winner and the empty plates and satisfied slurps of your appreciative audience will be the best recognition you can get - and without a camera crew in sight!

Fish Pie

A piece of undyed smoked haddock (approx 400g)
Cooked prawns (approx 200g)
2 small leeks - thoroughly washed and finely sliced
10 chestnut mushrooms - finely sliced
Dried porcini mushrooms - soaked in boiled water for 10 minutes then roughly chopped
Potatoes for mash - 2 big ones/4 small ones

Peel, boil and mash the potatoes
Fry the leeks and mushrooms in some olive oil put into the pie dish with the soaked porcini mushrooms                                                                                                 
Poach the haddock in plain water - be careful not to overcook as the fish will go rubbery
Flake cooked fish into the pie dish - add the cooked prawns

Bechamel Sauce
250ml milk
2 bay leaves
1 small onion sliced
parsley stalks
4 peppercorns
Put all the above ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes
Strain the milk then take
25g butter
15g flour
Half a glass of dry white wine
Melt butter in the pan - add flour and cook gently for a moment then gradually stir in the milk and keep stirring until the sauce thickens. Lastly add the wine and stir in. Taste for seasoning but remember the haddock is smoked so is quite salty.
Carefully  stir the bechemal sauce through the fish and veg - do not mush up!
Cover with mash, smooth flat, then score with a fork for a nice crispy finish.
Bake in a hot oven - 200 Celsius, on a baking tray for about 20 mins until hot and bubbling, brown off under grill.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

A Clarion Call…

Feeding the Eye is a clarion call to designers - recognise the impact of your work and embrace your potential. Do not simply pay lip service to the ethical, the environmental, the sustainable. Believe in the capacity of effective design to inform choice and effect change. Believe that design has a power beyond the neomania of capitalism and consumption. This is not a myopic utopian vision but a call to be proactive as opposed to reactive.

Feeding the Eye questions orthodoxy. It takes a position and maintains it. Food, politics and economics form an unholy ménage a trois – a heady and seductive cocktail of appetite, power and greed. The government peddles information with a double handedness – the nannying voice of the healthy eating mantra but all the while allowing the most economically profitable – the food manufacturing industries, with their £80 billion a year, to dictate and control our insatiable appetites. Berating the economically challenged to adopt healthy eating practices but all the while pushing the highly addictive narcotics of sugar, salt, and fat. 

It is the free market economy model that has dictated food policy, as opposed to a more integrated social, environmental, and health orientated one. With a growing global population and an inequity of resources, the imperatives of future food security are at the fore of economic, political, environmental and ethical debates. Feeding the Eye is a clarion call to a new generation of designers to challenge this orthodoxy and locate design within this polemic as a force for good, healthy, sustainable eating practices.