Big Apple BBQ

I recently attended NYC’s 10th Annual “Big Apple BBQ” which was held in Maddison Square Park.

http://bigapplebbq.org

18 of the USA’s best BBQ establishments convene on the park to cook up a bevy of BBQ and smoking hot treats for the general public.  There are also other promotional stalls, beer garden and a music stage.  A friend organised us fast track passes which include credits to purchase goods within the festival.

We made a start on some ribs which were from a stall hailing from Dallas, Texas, I kind of figured they should know how to BBQ them!!  The company was called Bakers Ribs and for me these were the best ribs that I tried of the whole weekend!  I was so excited by them I even bought a big tub of their special recipe dry rub to take home!

They were cooking the marinated ribs over charcoal to give them a distinctive flavour.  The ribs literally fell apart and were so tender!

There were also various other combinations of BBQ, some were in huge smokers and some were smoked and then finished on the charcoal grill.

Another particular favourite came from a local stall from Harlem called  Dinosaur BBQ who were cooking a beef brisket and we were told it had been cooking for 14 hours and again finished on the charcoal.   It melted in the mouth and was just gorgeous!  the guy on the grill was a really cool dude, willing to chat and tell us all about it as well which was really nice.

Whilst stood in the various queues waiting for our meaty treats I couldn’t help but see an ingenious use for the chocolate fountain, so for all you BBQ lovers the sauce fountain!

We then heard that Big Bob Gibson was where it was at so we queued for ages to try what he had to offer…..

It turns out this was the biggest queue around but I think definitely worth the wait for the pulled pork with special cheese and pimento type slaw.

All in all if you love BBQ, take a trip to next years Big Apple BBQ!!!!

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The Queens Jubilee

The United Kingdom is having a fantastic 2012!  Not only do we have the Olympic Games coming to London but it is also the Queens Diamond Jubilee.

We Brits love a party and the Jubilee was a perfect excuse for a get together to celebrate.

I did a lot of thinking about what I would cook if the Queen came round to dinner…..

Starter: Baked eggs with smoked haddock

Main: Chicken breast with a white wine, cream, grape and prawn sauce served with Jersey Royals of course!!

Pudding: Marmalade bread and butter pudding

These choices are all based on my research of some of the Queens favourite foods.

It is well known that the Queen is not a fan of spicy foods but back at her coronation a dish involving curry powder and chicken was invented with the really original name of coronation chicken, although I am not sure whether she liked it or not…

Well anyway the mini buffet I served up on the Jubilee was a mixture of things to honour the Queen and a few things she jolly well may like!

Coronation Chicken sandwiches – I made mine using vindaloo paste for a nice kick, soured cream, mayonnaise, mango chutney, sultanas and a touch of white wine vinegar with salt and pepper to taste.

Home roasted beef and horseradish sandwiches!

Chilli, sweetcorn and cheddar cheese muffins

Traditional Pimms jug with fruit to serve with ice and lemonade.

To finish a trifle made with one of the Queens favourite tipples Dubonnet!

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Jersey Cows

In my opinion the Jersey Cow is the most beautiful cow in the world! They seem to know how pretty they look and stare as you whilst you pass them, fluttering their eyelashes…..

There are many things that are very special about the Jersey Cow and not just that they are pleasing to the eye. They produce a fabulously creamy milk the a very high butterfat content of 6% and it is great for producing amazing, cream, butter and cheese!

20120511-105550.jpg

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Jersey Food Festival

This years Jersey Food Festival took place between Saturday 19th May 2012 and Sunday 27th May 2012.

It is a celebration of our islands food and its heritage.  From food walks to specially organised three course menus this festival was diverse enough to cater for everyone.

I decided to attend a food fair which was being held down at the waterfront in Jersey.

One of the main features of this years food fair was a “Clam Bake” which was organised by Marcus Calvani of La Cantina restaurant.  I am not quite sure how much sand was moved to the waterfront but it looked like a lot.  Unfortunately the demo was on the Sunday so I missed it but I hear it was absolutely delicious.

http://www.lacantina.co.uk

Jersey is fortunate to have people from many nationalities who come to live and work on the island.  There was a particularly good stall producing paella with big pans of steaming rice and seafood the smell was amazing.

One of my favourite stalls was the hog roast, this time provided by Le Marinel Farm.  It was served in a Portuguese roll along with some delicious sage and onion stuffing and homemade apple sauce.  It was absolutely delicious!

http://www.lemarinelfarm.co.uk

Jersey cider was also on sale and a perfect match for my hoggy bap but on this occasion I had to decline due to having to drive home!

There were stalls selling smoothies, Jersey fruit and flowers, pan fried scallops, burgers, moules, jams and chutneys the list was endless!

One of my favourites was a little stall which were selling a local delicacy the “Jersey Wonders”.

The Jersey Wonder is a type of donut, they do not however contain jam and they are not rolled in sugar.  The recipe for these rich delights can be found below:

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ Lb self-raising flour
4 oz Unsalted Jersey butter cut into small pieces
8 oz caster sugar
6 large eggs (Jersey free range)

METHOD

Sieve flour and sugar and rub in the butter. Add your whisked eggs and mix until it forms a dough

Dust your hands with flour and make the dough into golf ball sized shapes. Place these on a lightly floured board and cover with a damp tea towel for approx two hours.

Roll each ball into oblongs.

With a sharp knife slit the centre of each oblong and twist the top end through the slit.

Drop four to six Wonders at a time into a large pan of hot oil or a deep fat fryer, cook for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Drain on kitchen paper.

These wonders can often be found for sale in Jersey at fetes and local parish markets and they are very tasty!

I cannot wait for next years Jersey Food Festival!

http://www.jersey.com/English/eatingout/foodies/Pages/JerseyFoodFestival.aspx 

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The Jersey Royal Potato

Honesty boxes, St Ouen

Honesty boxes in St Ouen

The origins of the Jersey Royal Potato can be found in 1878 when a Jersey farmer called Hugh de la Haye bought a large potato which had many “eyes” to it where new plants can be sprouted from.  This was divided up and he and some friends planted a small field or “Côtil” at the top of Bellozane valley.  This sloped field, facing the south and the sea produced an early and bountiful crop of these potatoes.  One plant in particular turned out to be very different from anything they had seen before and the small gathering of potatoes around the roots of the plant were kidney shaped.  This special crop of potatoes was a fluke and was thus named the Jersey Fluke and were the beginning of the Jersey Royal as we know it today.

The main characteristics of the Jersey Royal is the small kidney shape, papery thin skins that merely require a quick wash and their sweet, slightly nutty flavour.

Today production of the Jersey Royal is big business, with many of Jersey’s fields giving themselves up to the crop for the very short season.  Some farmers still use traditional methods for growing, preferring to use the sloped sea facing fields and using the traditional seaweed fertiliser or vraic as it is known locally.  I did a blind taste test a couple of years ago on the Royals which had seaweed fertiliser and those that didn’t and must admit the difference was quite remarkable, I and many others preferred the traditional method!

This well loved crop is now internationally recognised and has been given a Protected Designation of Origin or PDO by the European Union.  This means that only Jersey Royals grown in Jersey on Jersey soil may be marked and sold as a Jersey Royal which is fantastic news for our farmers and their teams who work very hard over the season.  It is a common sight to see teams of workers hand planting the crop, usually this is done in cold weather and is back breaking work!!

If anyone has flown into Jersey around March time you will think there is snow on the ground but it is merely plastic covering over the tiny potato plants in the fields helping them on their way to harvest. Come early April the covers are off and rich green dense plants can be seen.  Weather permitting, mid April the fields are starting to be harvested and the honesty boxes around the island fill up with our golden nuggets of yummy Royals.

I am a big believer in the outdoor grown potatos, you can get the early indoor grown variety but they are not quite as good as the outdoor for me.  Many people in the UK report that the Jersey Royals they buy in their supermarkets are ok but not special.  For me crops of any kind are always best eaten as quickly from field to fork as you can…..so if you want the best Jersey Royals, visit the island end of April and come and try them for yourself!

Finally, how to serve them?  The general view is boil them and serve them with a big knob of Jersey salted butter!  This is my favourite although I did find a french butter which had seaweed in it which went very well – perhaps this year I will have a go at making my own blend using Jersey Butter!

http://www.genuinejersey.com/products/?type=vegetables&x=50&y=2

Above is the list of genuine Jersey vegetable growers on the island, many of whom have honesty boxes for locals or sell through farm shops.

For all my local readers, check out this years Jersey Food Festival (more to come on this subject as I will be blogging my festival experiences) you can get up close to the producers of these wonderful potatoes whilst taking in a fabulous walk of the gorgeous parish of St Lawrence.  Lets not forget our local restaurants who will all be serving these delicious nuggets whilst we are in the season!

http://www.jersey.com/english/eatingout/jerseyfoodfestival/pages/wednesday23may.aspx

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Jam Doughnut Muffins

Found this yummy recipe in a book by Catherine Atkinson who has worked in the Roux brothers patisseries, I have slightly amended it to suit me…..

Staying true to myself I tried to used Jersey ingredients in the recipe, including my own homemade Jersey raspberry jam which you can find the recipe for here on the blog.  These fabulous muffins I think are best eaten whilst they are still warm!!

Ingredients (makes 12 standard muffins)

250g Self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

50g Jersey butter (unsalted)

80g caster sugar

2 eggs (large Jersey free range preferably), lightly beaten

225ml milk (I used Jersey blue)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 teaspoons of jam (I used my homemade raspberry jam)

and to top it off:

25g melted butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

25g golden granulated sugar

Method

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F/gas mark 6. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cases.

Mix the flour with the baking powder in a large bowl.  Add the butter in tiny pieces and rub the mixture together with your fingers until the mixture is like breadcrumbs.  Add the sugar and mix.

In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract, then pour the milk mixture into the dry mix and mix with one hand until all is just combined.

Put a small spoon of mixture into each case.  Add approx 1/2 teaspoon of jam onto the muffin mix and top with another spoonful of mix.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch.  Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack.

To finish the muffins off, brush with the melted butter, combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over there melted butter.

Enjoy!


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Easy homemade coleslaw

Summer is approaching rapidly and once the sun starts to shine the BBQ is unleashed. Our local pub has a meat draw on a Friday which is great fun, £1.00 for a strip of 5 raffle tickets gets you well on the way to a meaty prize.

The men in the household like nothing more than a swift beer on a Friday whilst enjoying a chance to bag some sausages or chicken drumsticks.  A bumper win for us means a BBQ is a sure thing so I set about helping to make something to go with our treat.

We enjoy eating coleslaw but sometimes find it too claggy and creamy so I have developed my own “lighter” alternative that has a good “bite” to it.  It is really quick and easy to make as well, using mainly locally sourced ingredients!

Ingredients

1 small Jersey white cabbage

4 medium sized Jersey grown carrots

1 medium onion

100ml white wine vinegar

1 1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

3 heaped tablespoons of sour cream

Method


Grate the vegetables or put through a food processor to achieve the desired texture of a course grater.  In a separate jug or bowl put the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Add to the vegetables and stir until the vegetables are well covered.

The coleslaw will keep if covered and placed in the fridge for up to 3 days.

I like to serve with a pulled BBQ pork roll!

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