Welcome to my LA World

Food Anthropologist and Personal Chef

Uncle Rolf’s tribute to my Dad, to be read on April 19th at his funeral

Uncle Rolf, Aunty Brenda, Mum and Dad with Lyn and I

My Dad’s brother lives in Australia and will not be around for my Dad’s funeral tomorrow. He has written a tribute to his older brother that I want to share here with you all.

The Lanes in Brighton

My Brother, Alan Michael Short was born at Olney Buckinghamshire on the 28th December 1928. He had the same birthday as his father, Albert Short. Our mother Doris also had a daughter Eileen who is here today. Eileen was born earlier at Bedford, and was an early mentor to Mike. This is what family and friends called him.

The wonderful care and love the family gave Mike in these early and later years, helped shaped his genuine caring, compassionate and unselfish nature. He always helped others without reward. This was apparent to those who were in close contact with him. I am very proud and humbled to have been his younger brother. Mike was so much more than an icon to look up to. I will always remember him fondly as a wonderful, helpful, caring and generous human being.

In the early 1930’s, our family moved to New Bradwell in Buckinghamshire. I was fortunate to join them in 1935. MIKE, along with my sister Eileen were the paragons of virtue who looked after me. He had a country upbringing, and was active in most things, including the local Church choir. His education was at the local primary and secondary schools. His intelligence earned him a place at Wolverton Grammar School, where his kind demeanor and enthusiasm for knowledge gained him the respect of many of his Grammar school staff. THESE were his HALCYON days, with many friends in all walks of life. After his Grammar school education, Mike applied to and was accepted by Oxford University to read English, but fortune would not smile on him. Our parents couldn’t financially afford the fees and living expenses. They both worked long hours, seven days a week, just to look after their family.

Mike took this in his stride. Instead, at eighteen he enlisted to do his two years of national service. He didn’t shirk this duty. He did an intensive basic training as an officer cadet. These were rough times for him; the HALCYON DAYS were finished forever. He was posted in Germany to work on the ‘BERLIN AIRLIFT”. After these experiences he decided that life as a commissioned officer was not for him

After Germany, Our family was surprised by Mike’s decision to join the Metropolitan Police. He was posted at the well-known Bow Street Station. He stayed in the Met for two years. He then took and passed exams to enter the Colonial Police and went to Kenya. At that time the Mau Mau troubles were affecting the area’s tranquility.

Once there he met and married his wife Beryl, who many here know. They have two wonderful, clever and genuine daughters called Lynn and Hillary. Hillary is reading this on my behalf. Mike often told me how proud he was of his family. After Kenya, the family went to live and work in Tanzania. Mike spent around 17 years in the East African police forces.

Mike was the last colonial policeman to leave Tanzania because of his hard work and the respect he had gained for his kindness to the locals. They loved him as one of their own. Mike came back to England. The family settled in Worthing. He embarked on a new career in Brighton as a financial advisor for the family owned company of RT Williams. He loved his new profession and enjoyed the staff and clients that he worked with. Several of his clients would often drop by his office for a cup of tea and a chat. Once again he was expected to pass examinations to practice in his new field. In later years the financial institutions tightened their regulations. Mike had to take and pass more complex exams. In his latter years at a time when many people his age were retiring he achieved this task with ease. He gained respect within the firm because he treated all members of staff with kindness and compassion.

Later in life, I immigrated to Australia with Brenda and my daughters Jane and Wendy. Brenda and I briefly moved back to London before returning to Australia. During this time Mike moved to Brighton. I would regularly meet up with Mike. I couldn’t get enough of his company. As we walked the lanes of Brighton he would talk on a large range of subjects, never derogatory always positive, these were my “HALCYON DAYS”. I have been blessed to have wonderful Parents, Sister and Brother. If I can only be half the man Mike was I would be very happy. His passing has left the world worse off, however he has left a wonderful family who will cherish his memory, as I will. Allen Michael Short heaven is for you, your unselfish life is a beacon to all; may your ‘HALCYON DAYS” now commence for ever. God Bless you Mike, your ever loving brother Rolf xxxx

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The Red Lion Inn & Rambling in Betchworth, Steak and Guiness Pie followed by Sticky Toffee Pudding

The Red Lion Inn and Toby the dog enjoying a pint

It is a difficult time for me. I am watching my Father die and he now needs feeding. My strength comes from my family, rambling (British equivalent of hiking) and foods that are reminiscent of my happy, family childhood.
Yesterday we took a break from the lunch time feed and went to visit an old childhood friend who now owns a wonderful 18th century Inn. It is located in the picturesque village of Betchworth in Surrey. The Red Lion is a family affair because Paul, his wife Cindy and their two youngest children share all the responsibilities with special warmth and attention. Whenever I visit the Inn, I know that I am guaranteed a wonderful home-made meal cooked by their talented chef. Yesterday was no exception – steak and guiness pie, served with new potatoes, vegetables and a delicious gravy. The pastry melts in your mouth and I love the fact that the beef has been braised and shredded. With barely any room left in my stomach, I manage to devour my favorite desert – sticky toffee pudding with hot custard. The Red Lion makes the best one I have tasted in England.

Rambling in Betchworth

Another reason why I go to Betchworth and visit the Red Lion Inn is the famous rambling that the area provides. From the pub there is a 4 hour ramble that is worth a visit. However, please respect the Inn and don’t park in their parking lot. There is plenty of space on the road. Unless you plan to enjoy a hearty meal after your long hike. The photo above was taken on one of my rambles, taken on New Year’s Day 2009.

Beef Pie and a pint of Guinness stolen from the website

Gordon Ramsay’s Beef and Guiness Pie Recipe:

Serves 4

The filling for this pie is cooked long and slow, tenderising the beef and allowing the flavour of the Guinness to permeate it. You could prepare the filling a day in advance. For this pie I use a traditional shortcrust pastry, but you could use a puff pastry as an alternative.

750g lean braising steak, eg, skirt of beef
4 tbsp plain flour
Freshly ground salt and pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato purée
500ml Guinness
350g shallots, peeled
Few sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled
500g shortcrust pastry
1 free-range egg yolk mixed with
1 tbsp water

1 Dice the beef into 2.5cm cubes. Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Roll the beef in the flour to coat.
2 Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the beef until golden brown in colour. Add the tomato purée and cook for 1 minute, stirring well. Then pour in the Guinness and add the shallot, thyme, bay leaf and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 1½ hours. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
3 Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.
4 Transfer the meat to a 20cm pie dish 5-7cm deep.
5 Roll out the pastry and cover the pie. Scrunch the pastry to the edge of the dish and trim around the edge, leaving 1-2cm overhanging. Brush the top with the egg.
6 Transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes and serve immediately

Jamie Oliver's Sticky Toffee Pudding

Jamie Oliver’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe:

Serves 8

• 225g fresh dates, stoned
• 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
• 85g unsalted softened butter
• 170g caster sugar
• 2 large free-range eggs
• 170g self-raising flour
• ¼ teaspoon ground mixed spice
• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons Ovaltine
• 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt

for the toffee sauce
• 115g unsalted butter
• 115g light muscovado sugar
• 140ml double cream

“dessert recipes | serves 8
You are going to love this pudding – it has a rich, fantastic flavour and the sauce is amazing. Fresh Medjool dates are best to use, but dried ones work well too.

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Put the dates in a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and cover with 200ml/7fl oz of boiling water. Leave to stand for a couple of minutes to soften, then drain. Whiz the dates in a food processor until you have a purée. Meanwhile, cream your butter and sugar until pale using a wooden spoon, and add the eggs, flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and Ovaltine. Mix together well, then fold in the yoghurt and your puréed dates. Pour into a buttered, ovenproof dish and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

While the pudding is cooking, make the toffee sauce by putting the butter, sugar and cream in a pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has thickened and darkened in colour. To serve, spoon out the pudding at the table and pour over the toffee sauce”.

The Red Lion's garden in the summer

Robert May’s “The Accomplisht Cook”, Cowdray Palace’s Tudor Kitchen and Lumber Pie

In 1660, the chef Robert May, who was 72 at the time, wrote and published a cookbook called “The Accomplisht Cook”. His book provided many recipes that were read by the upper classes and used at court for social occasions. He also shared experiences and secrets in his profession. Most cookbooks at that time were published by housewives and featured fruit, conserves and confectionary. May’s dishes were vast and varied.

May was a catholic and came from a family of chefs. He was sent to Paris at the age of 10, for 5 years, to train as a chef. This was probably due to the fact that he was catholic and his parents wanted to protect him from the unrest in England at the time. Upon his return, he worked in for many aristocratic, catholic families. One of his positions was at Cowdray Palace.

Cowdray's Tudor Kitchen today

Cowdray Palace is a 20 minute drive from my home in West Sussex. The actual palace was mainly burned down in the mid 18th century, but the kitchen remains intact. There are 3 open fires and a large hot plate. The kitchen is hexagonal, stone floor and has a 26′ diameter. There are large windows to provide light. This tudor kitchen would have provided food for approximately 200 people twice daily. The food would be carried to Buck Hall, which was considered a magnificent dinning hall at that time. King Henry VIII was a guest. Robert May was a chef at the Palace. The kitchen would have 40 fit, hard working men preparing and cooking the meals. Here is a list of foods that would have been prepared:
Fresh meat – cooked on the spit or braised in a cauldron
Seasonal game
Fish boiled or wrapped in pastry
Pottage (soup)
Fruit, herbs and vegetable from the gardens
Spices from the Orient or Europe
Sugar, limited to Henry VIII because it was too expensive for anyone else. Fruit and honey was used as an alternative
Pies, pastries, open tarts and salads.

Inside a lumber pie


Lumber pie with it's crust

Note: Images Made by Ivan Day of historic food.com

Robert May’s Lumber Pie recipe:

“Take some grated bread, and beef-suet cut into bits like great dice, and some cloves and mace, then some veal or capon minced small with beef suet, sweet herbs, fair sugar, the yolks of six eggs boil’d hard and cut in quarters, put them to the other ingredients, with some barberries, some yolks of raw eggs, and a little cream, work up all together and put it in the caul of veal like little sausages; then bake them in a dish, and being half baked have a pie made and dried in the oven ; put these puddings into it with some butter, verjuyce sugar, some dates on them, large mace, grapes, or barberries, and marrow – being baked, serve it with a cut cover on it, and scrape sugar on it”.

Jamie Fortune, Pap meal, Chakalaka and Soghum beer

Jamie Fortune in UK

Lynn’s (my sister) son Jamie arrived from South Africa on Tuesday. I have been quizzing him about national dishes eaten in Johannesburg, his home town. His immediate response is a braii with chakalaka and pap. The children and women wash their spicy chakalaka relish down with amasi, whilst the men enjoy sorghum beer.

cooking pap in a township

How to Cook Sadza | Krummelpap

Sadza, Isitshwala or Pap Ingredients
To make traditional Zimbabwean Sadza (isitshwala) you will need:

2 – 4 cups white mielie meal / cornmeal / maze meal.
water
To make the Sadza (isitshwala):
First boil about 4 cups of the water in a pot.

Set aside about 1/4 of your mielie meal and mix the rest with about 3 or 4 cups of water to make a thick paste – make sure you have a strong arm and wooden spoon!

Then slowly add this paste to the boiling water, stirring all the time, this will prevent lumps from forming and bring to the boil again, don’t talk too much with your friends around the braai or it will stick and burn the bottom of the pot! Keep cooking and stirring for a few more minutes.

Then slowly add the remaining mielie meal to the pot. The sadza should be very thick and smooth, it should then begin to pull away from the sides of the pot and form a large ball. Cook for a few minutes more.

That’s it, then transfer it to a bowl and serve your sadza (isitshwala or pap) with relish or meat (nyama)

Chakalaka

Chakalaka Recipe:

SERVES 8
Ingredients
50 ml canola oil
30 g chopped fresh ginger
30 g chopped fresh garlic
20 g chopped chili peppers
200 g chopped onions
500 g tomatoes, roughly chopped
100 g green peppers, roughly chopped
100 g red peppers, roughly chopped
50 g leaves masala
200 g grated carrots
450 g vegetarian baked beans, in tomato sauce
10 g fresh coriander
Directions
1Fry ginger, garlic, chillis, onions in the oil.
2Add the leaf masala or curry powder of your choice.
3Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
4Add peppers and carrots and cook for 10 minutes. Add baked beans and cook for 5 minutes.
5Remove from heat and add coriander. Check seasoning. Serve with whatever you want, hot or cold.

Traditional African beer making

A Soghum beer recipe found on someone’s blog:

“Gluten-free beer recipe

7.5 lbs. sorghum extract
2 cups lightly toasted buckwheat groats (crack with rolling pin)
3 oz. Cascade hops (60-15-10-5 schedule)
1 packet Danstar Windsor brewing yeast
I cooked 6 gallons in 32 quart stainless steel brew pot over propane burner. Soaked buckwheat groats in a grain bag in water and brought it up to 180 degrees. Squeezed out and removed grain bags and then added sorghum extract as it was coming to a boil. Added first batch of hops, then added successive batches as the boil progressed. I saved ½ oz. for dry hopping in secondary but this is optional.

I had to remove the pot a couple of times to keep it from foaming over. I remembered to add an extra gallon of water to compensate for evaporation during boil. I might actually go with 6.5 gallons next time as it still came up a little short. Set brew pot into large plastic tub with water and 2 large bags of ice. Had to add ice several times but it did bring the temp down to 80F pretty quickly. Poured hot wort through strainer into 6 gallon ale pail and took it into the house. Pitched 1 packet of yeast at 80 degrees F and sealed with an airlock. Starting specific gravity was 1.044.

The beer turned out much better than expected and my dad loves it. I’ve drunk a few bottles as well and, although it has a distinctive taste – it is very drinkable and great for quenching your thirst on a hot summer day.”

Worthing, Herring Seagulls, Dad and Welsh Rarebit

A view from Worthing Pier

I am still in Worthing. The town that I couldn’t wait to leave when I was a child. I have many happy memories here. Worthing is a seaside town on the South Coast, it is situated approximately 10 miles West of Brighton. It is known as a town where old people come to retire. Santa Barbara always reminds me of Worthing. Most of these memories include my Father. This week has been a time of reflection as I watch him struggle to breathe, even with his oxygen. The water retention due to his heart failure and his inability to get out of bed because of his sores on his heels. I know there is nothing I can say or do at this point to make a difference. I listen to the doctors comment on how they cannot find where his infection is coming from, even though they have him on two strong anti biotics. I listen to Dad complain he is cold even though the room has no air and is like a furnace and he has a fever. I see the jaundice and dark pee in his catheter bag that resembles coca cola. We don’t comment. Stay positive Mum and Paddy say.

A family of Herring Seagulls

The small, private room where my Dad now lies, dependant upon others for his comfort, feels stifling. I sit in the chair by the window. I love to watch the herring seagulls flying outside his window. Free from the confines of life. One of grander, bolder herring seagulls loves to sit on the window ledge and look in at my Dad. He doesn’t take an interest in the seagull. The only concerns are his cleanliness, moisturiser on his legs, hot and cold sweet foods.

Welsh Rarebit

Mum said that his favorite food in the last few months has been Welsh rarebit. Here is a Delia Smith recipe:

Welsh Rabbit (Rarebit) with Sage and Onions
Rarebit or rabbit? I like the latter, which (so the story goes) is what the hunter had for his supper when the rabbits had escaped his gun.

Serves 4 for lunch or as a starter or 2 as a main course
Ingredients
1 level dessertspoon chopped fresh sage
1 rounded dessertspoon grated onion
8 oz (225 g) mature Cheddar, grated
1 rounded teaspoon mustard powder
4 tablespoons brown ale
1 large egg, beaten
4 large, thick slices from a good-quality white sandwich loaf
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
a pinch cayenne pepper

You will also need a grill pan or baking tray lined with foil.
This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Two.

Method

Begin by mixing all the ingredients together, apart from the bread and cayenne pepper. Now place the bread under the grill and toast it on both sides till crisp and golden, then remove it to a toast rack for 3 minutes to get really crisp.

After that, divide the cheesemixture into 4, spread it over the toast – right to the edges so they don’t get burnt – then sprinkle each one with a light dusting of cayenne pepper. Then back they go under the grill, 3 inches (7.5 cm) from the heat, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling, which will take 4-5 minutes. Serve it just as it is or with some salad leaves and a sharp vinaigrette dressing.

Today is Thursday. I return to America on Sunday. All has been said and done. It will be painful to leave knowing that I will probably never see my Dad again. The memories and love will last forever. I remember the Saturday chores I would share with my Dad. We would polish the silver, wash the car and polish the shoes. I remember our trips to stay with his parents and trips to the pub with my grandpa and uncle Rolf. I remember our road trip up to Carmel. Most of all I remember Dad always being kind and generous and never raising his voice to me. I feel the love.

Dad, me (baby) and Lynn

One of my favorite poems:

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Dark Night” by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Worthing Hospital, My Father & Pork Pie

My father and Uncle Paddy in brighter days

I am in Worthing, a seaside town in England. My parents live here and I spent the majority of my childhood here. My visit was sudden because my Father is gravelly ill in Worthing hospital. Americans have this fear that by nationalizing their medical system they will left to die without proper care. I can report, first hand that this isn’t so. My Father is in the High Dependency unit and has his own personal nurse on full monitors 24 hours a day. When we visit they are friendly, knowledgeable and kind.

The highlights of the day are food time. Every day I get a full report on every meal that he has eaten. God help the nurses if they forget his soup!! The food looks wholesome and smells good. Yesterday he had tomato soup, roast turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes and green beans and for desert he ate lemon mouse and ice cream. He inhales the food. I will follow up with a photo on another blog.

A pork pie

One of my favorite things to eat when I arrive in the UK is a pork pie. The pork is mashed with spices and is the fatty parts of the pig. It is covered with jelly and a thick pastry crust. Baked and supplied by all stores. A very popular item to have on the table for lunch, to be eaten cold with salad. As it is quite dry I like to eat chutney with mine. Not in the mood for a full report today. I will cover more on another day.

Neela Paniz, Bombay Cafe and Madhur Jaffrey’s Chicken Vindaloo recipe

Neela Paniz

I was born in East Africa in the early 1960s. My Mother is a colonial Brit because she was born and raised in Kenya. The Brits in East Africa were interwoven culturally with the Brits in India. My mother had several indian friends in Kenya and they taught her how to cook their authentic cuisine. Most British ex pats from Africa or Asia generally have a good knowledge about Indian cuisine. I have early childhood memories of going to the ‘club’ with my parents and eating indian food on a regular basis. Also it was a meal that was much appreciated in our home. Whenever my Mother prepared an indian buffet, there would be pilau rice, lamb vindaloo, chicken curry, a dahl, poppadoms, mango chutney and an array of ‘toppings’. These would include raisins, dessicated coconut, chopped bananas and chopped unsalted peanuts. A special colonial treat. My favorite indian chef in England is Madhur Jaffrey. I don’t live there and most probably most Americans aren’t familiar with her recipes, therefore I will feature Neela Paniz.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1987 and as is my custom I sought out tasty indian cuisine in this town. There weren’t many indian restaurants that I wanted to expose my palate to. Driving along Olympic Boulevard one day I noticed ‘Chutneys’, a small take out in a strip mall at Barrington Drive. Hungry for a new experience, I went in and was pleasantly surprised. I ate there regularly. This was Neela Paniz’s first restaurant in West Los Angeles. Eventually she opened a full service restaurant called ‘The Bombay Cafe’, she was quickly discovered by food critic Ruth Reichl and was put on the map of stardom. Here are a couple of dishes from the Bombay Cafe:


Neela single handedly transformed indian food into californian cuisine.

Madhur Jaffrey

Madhur Jaffrey is the indian equivalent to Delia Smith. Whenever I need a helping hand with a curry recipe I look through Madhur Jaffrey’s recipes. Here is my favorite recipe of hers that I make. I don’t use as much cayenne because I like a milder curry.

Chicken Vindaloo

Ingredients

2 teaspoon cumin seeds, whole
1 teaspoon peppercorns, black
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 cinnamon (3 in stick)
1 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds, whole
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, whole
5 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar, light
10 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into; half-rings
6 tablespoon water
1 ginger, fresh (1-inch cube), peeled; and coarsely chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely; chopped (or less)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
2 lb chicken breast (boneless), cut into; bite-sized pieces
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 lb new potatoes, peeled and quartered

Directions: How to Cook Chicken Vindaloo

Grind cumin seeds, black pepper, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, black mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds together in a spice grinder. In a small bowl, combine ground spices, vinegar, salt, cayenne pepper and brown sugar. Set aside.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Fry onions, stirring frequently, until they are a rich, dark brown. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and put them in a blender. Turn off the heat, but do not discard the oil. Add about 3 T water (or more if necessary) to the onions and blend until you have a smooth paste. Add this onion paste to the spices in the bowl. This mixture is the vindaloo paste.

Put the ginger and garlic in a blender. Add about 3 T water and blend until you have a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining oil in the saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the ginger, garlic paste. Stir until the paste browns slightly. Add the coriander and turmeric. Stir a few seconds. Add the chicken, a little at a time, and brown lightly.

Add the vindaloo paste, tomato sauce and potatoes to the chicken in the saucepan. Stir and bring to a slight boil. Cover the saucepan, reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour, or until potatoes are tender. Serve over rice.

A beef vindaloo

Ye Olde Kings Head in Santa Monica, Gordon Ramsay and his Shepherd’s Pie recipe

Ye Olde Kings Head

The most popular British restaurant in Los Angeles is ‘Ye Olde Kings Head’ in Santa Monica. Whenever I feel nostalgic for home, a quick visit to the restaurant for a chicken and mushroom pie with extra gravy on the side, makes me feel content and satisfied. The restaurant is divided into several rooms that are covered with British artwork and a history of photos containing photos of the famous people who have come through their doors over the years. I have lived in Los Angeles for 21 years and the restaurant has always been a part of my life.

Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay is popular on British and American television. I watch his british show ‘The F Word’ on You Tube. Not only does he create interesting dishes for the customers, made by non cooks, he also rears his own sheep, cows and pigs etc for eating. The show is informative because he goes to different regions where a certain food is farmed and shows himself catching the food and how to prepare it. I love the show. I also appreciate the fact that I can watch the whole season on You Tube because I don’t have BBC America.

shepherds pie

Bill MacDonald is my friend Louisa Spring’s husband. He is American and she is British. I cooked bangers and mash for them on Thursday. This set in a craving for British cuisine. I jokingly demanded that Bill make a Shepherds pie if he wanted to be certain of a place in his wife’s good books. He has never had Shepherds Pie, so I emailed him a Gordon Ramsay recipe. The end result he produced on Sunday night was delicious. One of the best Shepherds Pies I have ever tasted. New Zealand lamb is currently in season and abundant in Whole Foods. Here is Ramsay’s recipe, served with pan roasted carrots:

Serves 4

Ingredients

Shepherd’s pie
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g minced lean lamb
1 large onion, finely grated
1 large carrot, finely grated
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato puree
Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves picked
1 sprig of rosemary, needles chopped
250ml red wine
300ml chicken stock
1kg Desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
50g butter
2 egg yolks
Parmesan, for grating
Olive oil
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Pan-roasted carrots
2 sprigs of rosemary
Small handful of thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove
500g medium sized carrots, peeled and trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Few knobs of butter

Method: How to make shepherd’s pie
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas 4 -and get prepped by watching Gordon prepare this shepherd’s pie.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan until hot. Season the mince and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir the onions and carrot into the mince then grate the garlic in as well. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and herbs and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the red wine and reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened
3. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain then return to the hot pan over low heat to dry out briefly. Pass them through a potato ricer then beat in the egg yolks, followed by about 2 tbsp grated Parmesan. Check for seasoning
4. Spoon the mince into the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. Using a large spoon, layer the mashed potato generously on top of the mince, starting from the outside and working your way into the middle. Grate some extra Parmesan over and season. Fluff up the mash potato with a fork to make rough peaks. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown
5. For the carrots bring a pan of water to the boil with the rosemary, thyme and garlic. Boil the carrots in the water for 3 minutes to soften slightly, then drain and pat dry. Heat the oil in a large non-stick sauté pan then add the carrots and some seasoning. Brown the carrots all over until just tender, adding the butter towards the end of cooking

Euphoria loves rawvolution, Matt Amsden and his raw onion bread recipe

My lunch today at Euphoria loves Rawvolution

I am really trying to ‘Eat Right America’, this is not as easy as I had anticipated. I guiltily indulged in cakes, curry and shepherd’s pie over the weekend. With this in mind at lunch time today I went to ‘Euphoria loves Rawvolution’ on Main Street in Santa Monica. It is my favorite place to eat on that street. I love the raw food and always feel energetic afterwards, but unfortunately still hungry!! Today I ate the wrap photographed above. It was filled with green veggies and cashews. The wrap was delicious and made from coconut. The dipping sauce had a sate flavor to it. With that I had an electrolyte lemonade drink and an almond and lemon cake. All delicious with plenty of flavors.

Matt Amsden with his weekly box to go

Matt Amsden creates these delicious raw foods. He also provides a weekly service for $120 of a box of raw food. The box is so popular in Los Angeles, he has to ship all over America. The demand for boxes is so large in New York, he has had to set up a service there too. I am so tempted to commit to a weekly purchase.

Raw onion bread

Matt Amsden has written a raw recipe book “Gourmet Living Cuisine”. I searched online for a recipe from the book to add to today’s blog. He obviously has dedicated fans that adhere to the copyright laws. However I did manage to find this recipe:

“Onion Bread

Servings: 9 (2 pieces each serving)
This is an easy, flavorful bread than can be used to make sandwiches, to dip or to eat alone. This is an easy recipe for variations! Pictured with hummus and tomatoes and a side of spinach caesar salad (photo above).

Based on a recipe by Matt Amsden in RAWVolution. I’ve made a few changes: the paste to onion ratio has been boosted for a thicker consistency and the Nama Shoyu percentage is down for taste.

Ingredients:
3 yellow onions, large
1 cup flax seeds (golden, brown or a combo), ground
1 cup raw sunflower seeds, ground in a food processor
½ cup Braggs Liquid Aminos or Nama Shoyu
¼ cup cold pressed olive oil

Preparation:
Peel and half the onions. Slice in a food processor (with slicing disc).
Place onions in large bowl and mix with rest of ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Spread mix over a Teflex sheet and repeat until all of mixture is used (I usually end up using 2 sheets).
Dehydrate at 100°F for 24 hours. Flip and return to dehydrator for 12 hours.
Cut into 9 equal pieces (2 cuts horizontally, 2 cuts vertically). Usually makes 18 pieces.

Thyme Cafe and Market, Maire Byrne, Triple Berry Shortcake and Crepe Suzette recipe

Breakfast at Thyme Cafe

I live in the Sunset Park area of Santa Monica. The neighborhood is what I would call middle class families. Until late last year, we didn’t have a restaurant or cafe in our area that served fresh, organic produce. That has changed with the arrival of Thyme Cafe and Market place. The decor is similar to ‘Jones on Third’ and the atmosphere is mostly the ladies doing lunch crowd, except for at lunchtimes when all the offices in the area descend on our jewel. Also on a Saturday, Thyme is packed with families enjoying the wholesome food.

Maire Byrne

Maire Byrne is Thyme’s chef. She trained at CIA, which is the top culinary training ground in America. She went on to work at Chez Panisse under the fabulous Alice Waters. Obviously this explains her fresh produce. Maire grew up locally in the Brentwood area and we are very excited that she decided to settle on our side of town.

Triple Berry Shortcake

Sweet Lady Jane's baker prepping some Triple Berry cakes

Yesterday I went to a baby shower tea. There were cakes. This inspired me to write about my favorite cake in Los Angeles. Triple Berry Shortcake from ‘Sweet Lady Jane’. It is absolutely divine and and must for any Angeleno. The frosting and inside are filled with fresh cream. It is an explosion from paradise. I would love to include the recipe, but it isn’t available online. I will include Gordon Ramsay’s Crepe Suzette recipe, a 1970’s british desert favorite

Gordon Ramsay's Crepes Suzettes

Serves 4
Ingredients:
For the crêpes:
125g plain flour
¼ tsp fine sea salt
2 medium eggs, beaten
1 tbsp melted butter
300ml milk
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges (see below)
For the sauce:
3 large oranges – for zest, segmenting and juice
50g caster sugar
100ml Grand Marnier or Cointreau

To cook the crêpes:
Few knobs of unsalted butter
Method: How to make crêpes suzette
1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Tip in the beaten eggs, butter, milk and orange zest. Whisk the ingredients just enough to combine into a smooth batter but try not to overwork the batter. Leave to rest while you prepare the oranges.
2. To segment the oranges use a small sharp knife to slice off the top and bottom of the fruit. Stand the orange firmly on the chopping board, cut along the curved sides of the fruit to remove the remaining peel and pith. Holding the orange with one hand over a sieve set on top of a bowl, cut along each side of the membranes to release the segments. Let each segment fall into the sieve as you continue segmenting. Remove any membrane or pips left on the segments. Reserve the orange juice.
Gordon video: The perfect caramel
3. Slowly heat the sugar in a heavy-based pan, stirring a little to help the sugar dissolve. Simmer until the syrup forms a light caramel. Carefully add the Grand Marnier and stand back as it will spit. Tip the pan slightly to flambé the alcohol, if you wish. Pour in the orange juice and boil until reduced by half. Remove from heat, tip in the orange segments and keep warm.
4. Heat a non-stick crêpe pan with a knob of butter over medium heat. Swirl the butter to evenly coat the pan, then add a small ladleful of batter and swirl again to evenly coat the base of the pan with a thin layer of batter. Cook for about 1½ minutes until the batter is set and golden brown underneath. Flip over to cook the other side for a minute. Transfer to a warm plate, keep wrapped in a tea towel and repeat with the rest of the batter.
5. For each individual serving, fold two crêpes into quarters. Spoon over a little of the orange sauce making sure to include some segments. Serve immediately.