Saturday, 9 May 2015

8 course tasting menu dinner at Gidleigh Park.

Gidleigh Park Hotel

Duck with orange, red wine, star anise sauce

Mini starters
I always like to have a meal at Gidleigh Park Hotel in Devon , created and cooked by head chef, Michael Cains who got only one hand due to traffic accident while he was working as a chef.
As a chef it must have been a heart breaking moment, but all credit to him he made one of best restaurant in England (with single hand!)
a few years back.
It is too far just go for a meal from our house, it has to be a long weekend trip.

It was a such  pleasant surprise to receive the gift coupon at Gidleigh park restaurant 8 course tasting menu dinner as a 2014 Christmas present  from my children, John and Catherine.
I bet it must had cost  them a bomb, As we are a foodie  family it is the most delicious gift for us!!
How lucky we are !

Driving early Friday to the West Country was quite an uneventful journey ( not much traffic but nice warm sunny say) , Driving through winding narrow road with pretty  grey stoned cottages , it was beautiful  and relaxing .
As Gidleigh hotel is so expensive to stay, my son  booked nice B&B for us near by village.

Taxi took us Gidleigh, a long road , Tudor style hotel has an old charm. Like old big country manor house, vast hall and wine cellar was impressive.

I can not help thinking who do come this expensive and remote hotel?
But unlike us, so many rich people are visiting for their well earned rest , I was told.

I liked there were a few dinning rooms joined by tasteful wall and imposing door but not completely closed, we could see a part of next dinning room , not too big, 6 tables in ours.

 This kind of cosy room makes dinners can have some atmosphere, hate quiet and empty big restaurant. ( we once dined at 3 Michelin star Restaurant with 4 rich Japanese with a lots of empty tables, it was truly awful, even the foods were so good)
 Dark furniture huge window looking at garden, more like feel sitting in the library or lounge of the manor house than restaurant.

Scallops were excellent, perfectly browned outside and soft in the middle.
Slow cooked salted cod was like a feather, more like scallops then fish.
Our high light was Duck dish.
Crispy skin, pink in the middle, sauce was die for. a kind of French, Asian taste ( red wine, orange, star-aniseed , fennel )  best sauce I've tasted, so far. it was, a bit sour, sweet with Asian flavour in the back ground, very good indeed.
As a keen cook, this kind of sauce is very difficult to master, tried a few times but not quite made like this yet.

The head waiter tried selling us their 2ways beef dish, slow cooked, ox cheek in red wine and low temperature , slow cooked ( in water bath) fillet of beef steak with nice root vegetable. they were perfect in every culinary sense , tender ox cheek in rich, velvety sauce, medium rare pink fillet , but somehow, they did not have wow factor like duck dish for us.
Perhaps, I thought this is the kind of dish, I can make at home (?).

2 green apple dessert was refreshing, but final dessert was pretty to look, orange shaped chocolate moose and other chocolate dish , this one is Chef's signature and the most famous dish, we were told.
But for us too sweet to finish, even I did not eat quarter of it. Looks like an art but not for us.
Being a bitter chocolate lover, they were a wrong dessert for me.
All dinners seemed just love this, all kind of complements to the chef, I can hear. Waiters so disappointed we did not even finish this.
Finally cheese, loved local blue cheese.

Had coffee at  official  library, dark book case with big chairs and tables every corner.
It was some dining experience !
We won't be able to pop in next week for lunch or dinner but  I really enjoyed  this rare dinning opportunity, thanks to our children.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Robinson College ( Cambridge university) Korean Food Event, 22. 4. 2015

River Cam

Robinson College

Roasted pork shoulder for Bossam

Spicy grilled butternut squash( vegetarian dish) 

Chef, Stuart, Sam and me

Marinated short rib on the grill

Gutjuri ( new kimchi)

chef , Stuart making seafood pancake

Guest at the table

I was so surprised by the email from Dr Shin regarding the Korean food Event 2015 . I thought, the Korean Ambassador had offered help from the Embassy to organize this year's Korean food event of  Robinson College at Cambridge University.
 But I was delighted by this request. I love working with Dr Shin and College head chef, Gary.
I quickly agreed to do it, it is my 3rd Event with Dr shin.

We chose the menu,

Starter; Pajeon (seafood pancake) ( Spring onion with shitake mushroom for vegetarians))
Main;  Galbi gui ( grilled short rib of beef),  slow roasted pork for bossam  ( grilled spicy squash and double cooked tofu with spices ; for vegetarians)
            Kimchi ( slightly fermented and new kimchi ( gutjuri), rice
            Mooli, red cabbage and green apple salad. lettuce and ssamjang ( sauce) for Bossam.
Dessert: Lemon tart and fruits salad

I had a problem with short rib, the most popular Korean BBQ dish, because catering team has no slot to discuss prior of the event. 
I had to sent photos how to butcher traditional galbi ( short rib). 
Choose middle and meaty short rib part and cut through bone and open up like a book without detaching with bone , make long strip of beef with bone in the end.
I could not show to the butcher I sent photos and hope for the best.
Luckily head chef send me a photo that butcher made Galbi cut in Korean style, I was surprised they look good, needed only they should be a little thinner but we can manage  .

 This is an unusual cut for western butcher, regard as a cheap and chewy meat , but as a Korean dish this is the most popular and very clever way to use short rib in my opnion.
Generally we, love texture in any dishes specially meat dishes.

Short rib of beef needs slow, long cooking to be tender like stew  but Korean grilled rib needs special marinating sauce  and keep marinade  for at least 6 hours, then grill. meat will be tender and sweet and moist, and biting texture with good flavour with sweetness in the back. I think this is most clever way to cook.  We all love grilled on the charcoal fire, which gives smoky flavour.

When I arrived at Robinson college around 11 am on 21st April. as soon as I entered familiar Robinson's kitchen, I can see 2 chefs waving hands, they both work with me in the past, so glad they are both work with me for this event.

I had to start work strait away , looking at short ribs ( 100 of them) they are much thicker and not very neat I expected. I have decided marinate first thing in the morning and cook like rib steak, possibly medium to medium rare.
Made marinating galbi sauce, needs a lots of everything,
Soy sauce, conference pear, garlic, ginger, toasted sesame oil, grated black pepper, sugar and chopped
spring onion, mirin.

Made sauce and ready for use tomorrow morning , as for trial, I put 1 rib in the marinating sauce with vegetarian , grilled butternut squash as well. 6 pm I grilled with another chef, medium, pink inside , it was tasty as it should be, just need more soy sauce and pear for making meat tender and juicy.

All preparation has to be done today, for seafood pancake, I do not know how many box of spring onion has to thinly cut by Stuart along with baby squids, prawns, and mussels.

For bossam, ( wrapped pork in lettuce with spicy sauce)  2 big shoulder pork ( 8 kg each) ready to roast , made ssamjang. ( spicy sauce for bossam)
I love this way of Bossam rather than Korean classic way ( boiled with spices and press) because roast pork ( low temp. 120c for 8 hours) is tender , moist, easy to pull, most of all pork cracking goes so well with Bossam, give another texture to the dish.
English meets Korea kind of a dish,

Cooking for near 100 invited guests needs a good planning and good helpers who do work hard .
I had excellent chefs, Sam & Stuart who love Asian food and very keen, most of all they respect me.
They are so helpful, in every stage of cooking they always ask me  which is very important,
 after all it is my recipe !!

Next day I had to arrive at the kitchen 7:15 am , and prepare for the beef rib. Never cooked this huge quantity but it will be Ok , add more mirin and dark Korean soy, it has to be ok for mine and Dr Shin's sake.
Marinade beef at 7:30 am and put pork in the oven around 9 :00 am,
I was standing all day , very tiring, being a chef was not an easy job, let me tell you!

Finally made new Kimchi  , ready for Mooli salad for dressing for last minutes.
Had 30 minutes power nap in my room and ready for face the music.

We all ready by 6:00 pm, 8 hours roast pork and crackling was excellent, all kitchen chefs tasted and loved it , so tender and crackling was light and crunch, so tasty , like eating thin crisps.
It was historic! late Michael Winner ( food critic) would have said.

Grilled rib as medium , was so tender and flavoursome, I was more than satisfied.

Served at 7;00 Pajeon , follow my main.

I made 3 minutes speech of food. I am so glad to be finished and relived .

I had been standing at the kitchen all day but feeling elated by students and lecturer, professor's verdict.  had a chat with students, they all seemed enjoying the foods. Vegetarians were impressed my twice cooked tofu and grilled spicy butternut squash.

 9 pm I had much deserved a glass of white wine at Red brick bar with Dr Shin.
Perhaps I might do it again next year! If I will be invited by Dr Shin again!

ready for cook ( short rib)

Opening rib of beef

Chef , Sam

River Cam

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Visit IFE London ( Intenational Food Exhibition)


kimchi chip

Kimchi chip

Bamboo roasted Korean sea salt

Olive Ascolana

Air dried hummus chips

Selection of fruit crisps

Korean Pavilion

Healthy sea weed snack

9times roasted Korean sea salt

kimchi flavoured seaweed  snack

Chilli paste( gochujang) with blueberry
and Korean plum

Sugar free hazel nut and chocolate spread

Spreadable Nduja
This year's IFE was held at Excel London from 22nd of March to 25th. I was at 22nd and 25th.
It was very nice to see huge presence Korean foods and Italian ,they are my favourite food along with British.

This year IFE  trend was definitely Healthy Food (snack?), a lots of fruits sugar free non fried, low temperature oven dried crisps,  from all over the world.
Loved a few from here and Turkey but my favourite was from Korea, Hephzibah.
CEO, Kim ( also founder) got it right, thin and right bite size, not too thick and clumsy shape and not too crunch like others, slightly chewy and original fruit's flavour was not lost with low temperature  oven drying.
Unfortunately they are not available in U K yet. they would be an ideal snack for the children's lunch box.

Kim's new product, kimchi chip. what an idea!, tasted but it may too spicy for some. Not fermented, just freshly made and dried in the oven. I bet they are very popular in Korean specially with Muguli and beer drinkers.

Found another kimchi flavoured snack, seaweed with kimchi powder coated onto the seaweeds, but too spicy my liking. I can see they are selling as a healthy snack , combination with seaweed and kimchi, who can argue among Asians, but to the Westerners ? Perhaps they have to use less chilli for the Western market . Still I loved wrapped with rice.

Having seen all kind of healthy crisps I do wonder potato crisps are end of life in our food culture, but certainly in many Asian countries seemed so, as they do not have  the potato food culture as such as Western world.

Chocolate, hazel nut spread from Turkey ( Sarelle) was very good, no sugar version and bitter chocolate are very good, less sweet than Nutella.

Vegan foods are big at IFE but difficult find  tasty one for me , but bean pastas from Sweden ( a la eco) caught my eyes, specially black bean pasta,  just looked like squid ink pasta which I love , sadly I could not get any sample or buy to cook at home, they would be ideal for my daughter, 20 something generation.
Recent years all young lady seemed eating spiral courgette pasta, I think these bean pasta would be a good substitute .

Young Korean company called Woomtree made chilli paste ( gochujang) with blueberry and Korean green plum. they are so good adding fruits makes vitamin C rich Korean condiments, what a good idea. They will be must have items for poor students or singles.

Korean has a kind of obsession about Korean mineral rich sea salt, the company called Korean sea salt made roasted in bamboo case , 3time and 9times roasted bamboo salt.
Founder & CEO, Si-Woo Park told me 9 times roast salt has medicinal quality and drinks salt solution ( water) like daily medicine.
Very expensive,  $70 for 100g, no wonder it used as medicine.
I tried with steak , 9 times salt bring out beef flavour and got very clean salty taste but would I pay for it, No way!
Rich Koreans may use for the cooking, it may attract rich Chinese or Russians but I can not help thinking, all these minerals I can have through other food from sea ,like sea weeds, sea lettuce, kelp so on.

Sea lettuce powder was here too from Israel, China but for me sea lettuce powder is too small packet to use as I am a sea lettuce soup ( Korean) lover, sure it will be good with salad or just in the sauce.
I will think something better than just adding to the salad.

Loved organic  cultured milk drink , from grass fed cow's milk from Devon, tasty to drink and packed with live culture ( beneficial microorganism, you know this is good for your body) by Biotiful Dairy.

Delighted to see my favourite Italian foods were big here, cured ham, and ready made snacks for the drinks, like mini ravioli, olive Ascolana ( I was longing for tasting this since I saw BBC 2, food and art , Italy ) , take out olive seed and stuffed with meat and bread crumbed, fried. So dainty and so tasty.
Hope these are in our shops in Britain soon.

Finally Nduja ( Spicy, fermented pork and chilli kind of  huge sausage) now new Nduja is spreadable.
Loved it. I often make pasta with Nduja, onion and olive oil but this slightly runny Nduya on the thinly cut, toasted bread or bisquit was good for the drinks.

This year's IFE was full of small company with  good ideas and health minded products. I had a quite inspired by all these. looking forward to cook with  these new products.
Already a few ideas in my head when I left IFE with a few samples .

Friday, 27 March 2015

Good home made Kimchi for sale

Baby white radish kimchi

White radish cube kimchi ( kkakdugi)

Good Kimchi cabbage

Sallting cabbage

Stuffing for the cabbage kimchi
winter water radish kimchi
Korean Mustard leave water kimchi

Stuffed & wrapped Baechu kimchi ( newly made)

Instant easy kimchi
I am so pleased by the popularity of kimchi in London chefs and young 30something generation but they do know cabbage kimchi ( baechu kimchi) mostly, sometimes white radish cube kimchi ( kkakdugi). But how many of them know about other kind of kimchi or tasted perfectly fermented kimchi which has health benefit. If you have not fermented kimchi, it is tasty spicy cabbage salad but do not get any good bacteria from them.

Often I am disappointed by non fermented kimchi is servered at the Korean restaurants, because of certain taste or they do not have time to ferment and storage problem.
A good kimchi needs a lots of attention and care.
So many seasonal kimchi you can have, and spicy and non spicy, watery, just easy ready cut( bite size) , folded traditional cabbage, stuffed mini cucumber for the spring and Summer kimchi, so on.

I have decided sell my kimchi as make from scratch when order is made.
But sadly only people from London or South Buckinghamshire where I live.

If anyone interested, do send me a note by email:
We can discuss .


Saturday, 7 March 2015

My comfort food, Kimchi Jjigae

Kimchi Jjigae ( kimchi stew)

Kimchi stew ( kimchi Jjigae) is another dish using old fermented kimchi dish specially during cold winter. This is one of my favourite my winter, heart warming comfort food.
As same as Kimchi pancake this needs well fermented kimchi,  a clever way using,  too fermented kimchi in every Korean household.
However kimchi jjigae become very popular tasty dish its own merit. Often I ferment kimchi quickly to make kimchi jjigae not only winter, also spring as well.

Kimchi stew and hot steamed rice , Winter watery radish kimchi are perfect match, hot and cold spicy, mild , they are very modern way of enjoying the taste buds, but they are very old Korean way of eating habit. I may say our ancestors are rather adventurous, it is all based on our ying yang philosophy in life.

Best one is made with pork bone ( Knee bone) but they are difficult to get in UK , I often use pork rib, cut 2-3cm or just with dry anchovy this makes very clean taste.

Ingredients:  fermented kimchi ( 1/4 cabbage kimchi), 1 pork rib, 1 onion, garlic ( grated) 2 tsp, ginger 1tsp,  tofu, spring onion ( chopped),  Korean chilli flake ( gochugaru),  1tsp Korean bean paste. ( doengang). oil ( sun flower or rape seed oil), water,
1 red and green chilli ( chopped thinly)

1. Take out kimchi stuffing and chopped as bite size ( 2cm) , ask butcher cut pork rib 3cm small. get rid of excessive fat and set aside. Slice onion thinly .
2. Heat oil in a pan, fry onion add pork , kimchi and cook 2-3 minutes add water about 750ml. boil first and reduce heat. add bean paste and garlic and ginger.
3. when stew is simmer, add chilli flake as much you like ( about 1tbsp) season light soy sauce ( 1 tbsp) . Stew taste just a little saltier than soup , because stew is eaten with rice.
4. Add cut tofu simmer another 20minutes,  add spring onion and chopped chilli on the top.
Serve with rice , other side dishes ( banchan).

Hint;   kimchi stew served in brown earth ware ( you can buy at Korean shop)

NOTE: Korean cookery in March. 14th, 21st,28th.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Dinner at Moro

Our table

Baked quail with garlic & rosemary

Chopped calf's liver with pine nuts

Sea bass with sea vegetable and black beans

Roast Lamb
Always a such pleasure to dine at Moro, in London, we as a family made a kind of tradition to celebrate our (mine and my son's) birthday together at Moro, as we are only a week apart.
It is rather noisy, busy restaurant with long bar and open kitchen, I do love the smell of cooking and efficient, friendly service with super tasty foods.
I love this kind of controlled chaotic ( If I can put it like that) restaurant, it is more difficult to get it right, I think.

Sourdough bread is best in London in my opinion. soft and chewy but not doughy at all.

Menu is good as usual.
Had roast quail with garlic and rosemary, so good, tender meat with garlic with rosemary flavour.
Chopped calf's liver with pine nuts was delicious, what a good idea chopped as bite size liver,  I might use this idea with my devilled lamb's kidney at home.
My sea bass was good too it was half size, as a fish lover I prefer one whole fish with head on. for me whole fish is more visually attractive. Even I love charred burnt skin ,black bean was rather odd choice but they were a good match, after all  this is Spanish Moorish foods.

Lamb was tender and deliciously pink as my husband prefer.

I love occasional family dinner at restaurants , not only food , also chance to have family talk, the best way to talk each other as a family with good food. We can talk anything everything through 3 course meal, appreciating foods lead to a lots of stuff.

I think my interest in Spanish food was began a long time ago, whenever I travel Spain, each region has such  a special character, love to explore more, of course wine region too.
How lucky !!  they got a big space, weather and foods, and art !

My Korean Cookery ; 28th, Feb.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Kimchi Bindaetteok,Kimchi Jeon ( Kimchi pancake)

Main ingredients

Mixed main ingredients

Pancake batter

On the hot oiled pan

Cooked, crispy pan-cake

On the serving dish with sauce
Kimchi Pan-cake is one of my Korean comfort food, this dish were originated by accident using well fermented old kimchi as a side dish ( banchan)  as getting use of old kimchi but it became much popular dish , I love with drinks or just a light snack. Specially with Korean rice wine ( makguli) can be a perfect match.
This is a very clever way to use left over or too fermented  spicy cabbage  kimchi.

This recipe needs  fermented kimchi, not newly made kimchi because when kimchi is fermented gives special taste, not only sour but more complex taste with depth.
If you have Korean ready made ( bought from shop)kimchi, leave in the fridge for 3-5 days to get mature and slowly ferment.
This is very important, if you use newly made kimchi for the pan cake, it does not give any special tangy , deep taste, just spicy, garlicky cabbage pan cake.

Ingredient: well fermented cabbage kimchi, 1/4 of whole cabbage . 100g of minced lean pork, 3tbsp thinly cut spring onion ,
1 tsp grated garlic. 4 cups of mung bean flour  or strong flour and rice flour. 2tsp Korean chilli flake , 2-3 chopped green chiili (not bird eye chilli, prefer long Turkish green chilli)
Rape seed oil or any vegetable oil for frying.

Dipping sauce: 3 tbsp dark soy, 1tbsp rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, 2tsp sugar, 1tbsp chopped spring onion, 1tsp Korean chilli flake or chopped red chilli.

If you have mung bean flour you can use, can be substitute with 2/3 strong bread flour mix with 1/3 rice flour.
Open the kimchi and get rid of all the stuffing and cut very thinly , add minced pork, spring onion, garlic and mix well.
Add flour to the mix and pour water little by little , make thick pancake mixture, add chilli flake and green chilli, mix well season with salt( taste first), Leave in the fridge 30 minutes.

Heat small non stick frying pan with oil, when oil is hot pour a ladle of pancake mixture, spread out with spoon, when oil is sizzle reduce heat slightly leave until brown and crisp and cooked, turn over
add more oil and cook .

It is important do not turn over until bottom part is nicely light brown and cooked.

Make dipping sauce: mix all ingredients in the bowl and taste, you can add more vinegar if you like but not too much.

Cut pan cake 1.5cm square, serve with dipping sauce.

Hint: use mung flour batter is traditional , original recipe, but mung flour is not widely available, I often make with strong flour.
Made kimchi pancake with mung bean flour batter mix is called  kimchi bindaetteok.