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COOKING NEWSLETTER - AUGUST 2012

Welcome to the Hub-UK Newsletter. If you have ideas that you think might work we would love to hear from you and by the same token if you think something is rubbish let us know . . . but do it nicely! newsletter@hub-uk.com

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AROUND THE SUPERMARKET  

There is always something happening in supermarkets - new products, product demonstrations, shelves reorganised so you can't find anything. Not always interesting, quite often boring and sometimes a chore but just occasionally something catches your eye, something is interesting . . .

Turkey in a Salad?

Looking around the supermarket at this time of year you can't help but be struck by all the wonderful fresh produce that is on the shelves. These days there is “fresh” produce all the year round because of the wonders of modern transport and refrigeration but it just does not taste quite the same as the fresh produce that does not have far to travel.

Now is the time to take advantage of all the British produce that is available as the seasons will soon change. It does not take too much imagination as to what you can do with fresh veg to enjoy it, often simple dishes and simple cooking being the best. With this in mind, rather than say any more, a Phil Vickery video might inspire you to enjoy some of the fresh British produce that is available . . . and watch out for the tip about mustard!

Simple and easy to prepare is the key to this recipe, so everyone can feel good about preparing and serving this dish.

Ever fancied a cooking holiday? Ever fancied learning
to make bread - www.cookingholidays.co.uk

 

AMERICAN STYLE CHOPPED TURKEY SALAD

Ingredients

American Style Chopped Turkey Salad2 British turkey breast steaks or breast fillets
1 Iceberg lettuce
4 tbsp honey roast peanuts, finely chopped
4 small, ripe tomatoes, diced
½ large cucumber, deseeded with a teaspoon, diced
4 hardboiled eggs, diced
4 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
2 large carrots, peeled, diced
4 tbsp chives, chopped

Dressing:
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp safflower or sunflower oil
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 pinch caster sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Gently fry the turkey breast steaks or sliced breast fillet in a little oil for about 3 minutes on each side and lightly browned. Set aside to rest.

  • Finely chop the Iceberg lettuce and put into a serving bowl.

  • Add the peanuts, tomatoes and cucumber, along with the diced eggs, shallots, carrots and chives. Mix well.

  • Chop the cooked and cooled turkey, add to the bowl and chill in the fridge.

  • Meanwhile make the dressing by placing all the ingredients into a bowl and whisking together. After a couple of minutes, the mustard will emulsify the oil and vinegar and you will end up with a thickish dressing.

  • Pour over the chilled salad and toss well.

  • Check the seasoning and allow the flavours to infuse for 5 minutes before eating.

  • If you are going to eat at a later time then add the dressing at the last moment.

Tip:

You can use leftover meat from a roast instead of cooking fresh turkey. You will need about 250g of chopped turkey breast and/or leg meat for this recipe.

Serves 4

Editorial note: This site is not paid to promote any of the products or places featured in this newsletter.

LIVING THE GOOD LIFE IN SPAIN  

SPANISH TOSTADA

Spanish TostadaThe Spanish tostada is one of Spain’s most famous breakfasts. It may get overtaken in the popularity stakes especially during the winter months by ‘churros con chocolate’ (deep fried pancake mix dipped in thick hot chocolate) but for the rest of the year the humble tostada is favoured by most Spaniards as their preferred quick breakfast in the mornings.

Walk into any Spanish tapas bar before lunchtime and you can order "tostada de tomate", this is the most popular version consisting of a French stick cut in half then half again lengthways, toasted then spread with tomato frito. The traditional and most satisfying way to enjoy a tostada is to drizzle a healthy amount of the customary olive oil over the toast before sprinkling with salt. For the braver and for those enjoy a generous amount of garlic you can request a tostada de tomate "con ajo", this puts a whole different (and very potent) twist on your toast with the addition of raw garlic cloves being rubbed to within an inch of their life over the toast before the tomato salsa is spread on top, a nice combination but maybe not if your on your way to the next board meeting!

Tostada, similar to pizza is open to all kinds of ideas and toppings so it is always a tasty experience to deviate from the normal version to experiment with something different or perhaps a little more bold in the flavour department. Plain old vine ripened tomatoes, sliced and sprinkled with crushed black peppercorns work a treat as does thinly sliced Serrano ham or you could try devilled mushrooms, sherried kidneys, spinach, Manchego cheese, sobrasada, chorizo or lightly fried pancetta. The key is variation and with tostada's being so versatile you can choose almost any topping you like which, made either hot or cold makes for a hearty, not to mention healthy Spanish breakfast.

For tapas and if you are going to serve tostada as a starter immediately, cut the French stick into cross sections to make "mini tostadas" with a selection of contrasting ingredients and toppings you can create a display of real Spanish flavour and present something both colourful and delicious for the whole family or the guests at your next tapas party.

Tostada Essentials:

French baguette – French stick for toasting
Tomatoes – Frito for spreading or rub fresh tomato over toast
Fresh garlic – For rubbing over the toast (according to taste)
Salt – To enhance flavour (sea salt/Maldon salt works best)
Extra virgin olive oil – The vital Spanish ingredient!

Try Serrano ham with your next Spanish breakfast >>>

EASY TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING CORNERS  

 Apple and Salanova Salad This recipe from Natoora for Discovery Apple and Salanova Salad is a refreshing summer salad, full of vitamins - take advantage while you can as Autumn is on the way.

DISCOVERY APPLE AND SALANOVA SALAD

Ingredients:

1 salanova lettuce
3 discovery apples
1/2 red onion
1 fennel
100g feta
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt

How to make:

  • First of all, wash the salad, fennel and apples and peel the onion.

  • Separate the salanova leaves and put in a salad bowl.

  • Thinly slice the fennel, roughly chop the apples and dice the red onion before adding to the bowl.

  • Chunk over the feta cheese.

  • Drizzle with the oil and salt.

  • Mix and enjoy!

Serves 2

www.natoora.co.uk

SOUP OF THE MONTH  

MILANESE ONION SOUP

This recipe was sent to me (along with hundreds of others) by a lady called Shirley Cline, who lived in San Francisco. Shirley was passionate about cooking and food and it was a great pleasure to have communicated with her for a few years. Sadly she passed away in 2004 and there were no more emails with her wonderful and varied recipes. If you search the site for her name you will find a wonderful selection of recipes.

Ingredients

3 1/3 pounds onions
1/4 lb Taleggo (a soft, mild creamy cheese that in some ways resembles Brie)**
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 quarts beef broth
Sufficient slices of toasted day old bread to make up two layers in your soup pot
Freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano

Method

  • Peel the onions and slice them, though not too finely.

  • Heat the butter in a casserole and sauté the onions for about an hour, letting them wilt and then adding a bit of boiling broth to keep them from browning as they cook. By the end of an hour the onions should have fallen apart, at this point add the remaining broth.

  • Let the soup sit for an hour and put it through a strainer (or blend it).

  • Spread the cheese evenly over the slices of toasted bread and heat them gently in the oven to melt the cheese.

  • Line your soup pot with a first layer of bread, pour half the soup over it, put down the second layer of bread and the remaining soup, and dust the surface with a goodly layer of freshly grated Grana Padana or Parmigiano.

  • Increase the heat of the oven to about 300F° and heat the soup through for 15 minutes before serving it.

**If you cannot find the cheese above, you can use Brie or Gruyere (or Swiss). They are all good.

Serves 6

WHEN SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE  

CHOCOLATE CRUNCH CAKE

Digestive biscuitsIngredients 

8 ozs Digestive biscuits
2 ozs Raisins
3 ozs Butter
2 tbsps Syrup
1 tbsp Cocoa (heaped and not drinking chocolate)
5 ozs Chocolate (at least 75 % cocoa solids)

Method

  • Line an eight inch sponge tine with foil and slightly grease it.

  • Crush biscuits and place in a bowl.

  • Add the raisins.

  • In a saucepan melt together the butter, syrup and cocoa.

  • Pour on to the biscuit crumbs and mix thoroughly.

  • Spread the mixture into the tin.

  • Melt the chocolate in a basin over a pan of hot water (not boiling), adding a small knob of butter.

  • Use the melted chocolate to coat the mixture.

  • Leave to cool and then turn out and cut into squares or triangles.
THE MIXING BOWL . . . RANDOM BITS AND PIECES  

Basic Food Hygiene

Most food poisoning cases occur from harmful bacteria in the foods we eat. To understand how to control bacteria we must first understand what bacteria require for growth or to multiply.

Bacteria are asexual and multiply by a process called 'binary division'. This means that under the right conditions they will split into two. For this process to take place they require:

  • Moisture
  • Food
  • Warmth: 37C (98.6F) which is our body temperature
  • Time : if all of the above is in place, bacteria will multiply every 20 minutes.

Note that they do not require oxygen to survive, in fact many pathogens thrive in air tight conditions, i.e. clostridium botulinum, so if not properly sterilised, bottled vegetables, canned goods etc can also be source of pathogens. Great care must be taken when producing home made bottled goods, preserves etc. In ideal conditions, a single bacteria can multiply in 24 hours to:

9,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

and remember we are never talking about a single bacteria, but millions! With 3 million of them fitting on a pinhead!

Which should make you think twice about eating that food you left standing on the stove overnight !

Now by understanding their requirements to multiply, we can look at how to control or destroy them. Basically if we remove one of their requirements we are on our way to control them, if we remove more than one we are on our way to destroying them. Lets look at this in detail . . .

The most important of the bacteria requirements is the warmth or temperature they require. If we control our temperatures in the kitchen we can control the bacteria growth or destroy them.

Controlling bacteria in food

  • -18C (0F):
    The temperature that freezers should be running at. Freezing does not destroy bacteria, pathogens or their toxins and spores. In a freezer bacteria are merely in a state of suspended animation or a hibernation state. They will not multiply, but nor will they die.
  • 0C to 4C (32 to 39F):
    The temperature that refrigerators/chillers should be running at. Chilling food does not destroy bacteria, pathogens or their toxins and spores. In a chiller bacteria merely slow down their rate of reproduction to a virtual stop, they will however continue to multiply, all be it very slowly
  • 65C (149F):
    Most bacteria will start to die at this temperature
  • 75C (158F):
    The internal temperature of foods should reach this to ensure any bacteria has been destroyed. To achieve this solid foods such as roast meats and steaks need to be thoroughly cooked until the juices run clear (no signs of blood). Liquid style foods such as sauces, soups and stews etc should be brought to a boil (while stirring) and simmered for a minimum of three minutes.

NEVER reheat foods more than once or the bacteria in the food will not only multiply as the food is cooled down and stored, but they will also become heat resistant. Bacteria are capable of producing spores; this heat resistant shell will resist the most ardent cooking temperatures and food poisoning is inevitable.

The danger zone

This is the temperature zone at which bacteria will multiply: 5C to 65C (32F to 149F). When food is held within this zone, bacteria will multiply and could end up being a problem and cause food poisoning. To ensure this doesn't happen:

  • Take a chilly bin with you when shopping to place ant chilled or frozen foods in to transport home.
  • Plan your shopping so that any other chores are completed first: checking your mail box, clothes shopping, coffee or lunch, visiting friends etc . . . always go straight home after grocery shopping.
  • Place chilled and frozen foods away as soon as you arrive home.
  • Leave fresh meats or fish in the refrigerator until just before you need it and ensure it is covered (to stop flies etc landing on it)
  • When you go on a picnic or have a bbq, ensure the food is kept in a chilly bin with ice to keep it chilled.

Defrosting foods

Defrost foods in a sealed covered container, slowly in the refrigerator, DO NOT leave defrosting on the kitchen bench overnight.

Storing foods in the refrigerator

  • Store all raw meats below cooked foods (preferably on the bottom shelf)
  • Store all raw meats in sealed containers (both of these points will prevent any blood dripping onto foods below
  • Store all raw meats and fish separately; do not mix poultry and beef for example in the same container.
  • Keep all fruit and vegetables, dairy products and foods that require no further cooking away from all raw meats and fish
  • Thoroughly clean your refrigerator as needed (at least once a week)

Controlling bacteria on work surfaces (benches, knives etc)

Tea towels are PUBLIC ENEMY No. 1!! The moment a tea-towel is used for drying dishes etc it is 'unclean'. Further use of it will only help spread bacteria.

Application of heat: the best method to control and destroy bacteria is the application of heat, however the following points must be considered:

  • Wet heat is far more effective than dry heat; it destroys the pathogens far quicker
  • Temperatures in excess of 70C must be used; however above 80C is preferred and will be safer
  • Washing, disinfecting and sanitising with hot water is far more effective and quicker than using chemicals (and cheaper!)

Using chemical agents

There are many commercial and retail chemicals available to banish bacteria from your work surfaces. They all no doubt do what they claim they will, but using water at the correct temperature will do the job not only better, but also quicker and cheaper. Common chemicals used for cleaning are:

  • Detergents: unless they have an anti-bacterial agent are used to remove grease and dirt, by forming an emulsion between them and the water.
  • Disinfectants: used to reduce the levels of bacteria to a safe level
  • Sanitisers: will eliminate most bacteria

If you do decide to use chemicals remember these points:

  • Use only in the manufacturer's recommended amounts
  • Use only in the manufacturer's recommended water temperature (too cold or too hot can render the chemical useless)
  • Use only as per the manufacturer's instructions: most require being left on the surface for an hour or so to be effective
  • Most will require being rinsed off after being left on the surface for required amount of time or they will contaminate your foods

Using hot water

By far the most effective method of destroying bacteria is cleaning with water at the correct temperature, especially as it will clean and disinfect or sanitise at the same time. Cancelling the need for purchasing and using chemicals.

Water temperature must be as hot as possible

  • 80C (176F) for disinfecting
  • 100C (212F) for sanitising

Therefore by washing work benches, etc with soap and water (at boiling point) will not only remove all dirt and grease but will destroy any bacteria.

QUICK, EFFICIENT, CHEAP AND GOOD FOR THE ENVIROMENT Which has got to be good for all of us!!

Washing your hands

Frequent hand washing is an important step in eliminating food poisoning cases. Hands should be washed in as hot as water as the hands can stand, with soap and a nail brush. They should be dried with paper towels, roller towels or hot air blower.

When should you wash your hands?

  • After touching your hair
  • After touching any part of your face
  • After blowing your nose
  • After visiting the bathroom
  • After handling raw meats and fish
  • After handling chemicals (cleaning agents etc)
  • After handling garbage
  • In between changing tasks: between handling raw meats and cutting cooked meats, between handling raw fish and cutting fruits and veg etc

    All equipment for these tasks should also be thoroughly cleaned.

Controlling cross contamination

Cross contamination: "The contamination of safe foods from unsafe foods via a vehicle". By following all of the above should eliminate the possibility of contaminating your nice fresh, clean foods with bacteria from unsafe foods and minimise your chances of getting food poisoning.

Tallyrand

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