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10 Beers

A few years ago I decided to begin writing a book of my adventures in the British Army. Beginning with Day 1. It’s a working progress so any feedback is a great reason to continue ( or not!!).

Indian Influences on Scottish Cooking

Quail & Smoked Haddock Scotch Egg

Quail Scotch Egg ( 6 portions).
6 Quails Eggs ( Soft boiled for 90seconds & chilled then carefully shelled)
300g natural Scottish Smoked Haddock
2 Egg yolks
Pinch of white pepper
Blitz haddock and yolks in a food processor until smooth and season with pepper only.
Divide into 6 balls and flatten in the palm of your hand ( handy tip is to keep hands oiled or wet) wrap each patty carefully around a quails egg and roll into an egg shape and chill.
Take a small dish of plain flour season with a little celery salt and cayenne.
Beat an egg with a little milk
Whizz up some fresh breadcrumbs.
Take each chilled egg and roll in the flour shake off the excess and dip into the egg mix coating well then finally into the breadcrumbs.
Deep fry for 2-3 minutes rolling with a spoon in the oil then drain well and enjoy. Can be served with a light creamy curry sauce and a spring onion risotto.

Obesity, Malnutrition & Dementia in 21st Century Britain

Here is a hypothetical question, if everyone in the U.K. was healthy and ate a well balanced diet would it solve the problems our NHS and Care Sector services are facing ?

My personal simple answer is always going to be no.

The rise in the levels of obesity in Britain is worrying to the point that it is affecting future generations, you can still be overweight and malnourished. Our ever dependent need for processed and readily available junk food is a huge part of the problem. People don’t want to wait anymore they want immediate satisfaction; from messaging a friend and wanting an answer, to their eating and drinking needs. We live in a “I want, I want,” world of  instant gratification.

The studies into Dementia over the last decade have taken clinical leaps and bounds to find not only a cure but how to slow its progress and make it more comfortable to live with for sufferers and families affected.

For me and my alchemist mind I believe with better Food & Hydration we can all help each other. The 1st step is to teach the youngest generation that preparing, cooking and eating the correct foods are beneficial to us. There is a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s if your diet is balanced from an early age, creating your own tastes as you get older, sharing your abilities with friends.

I have devised many recipes with dementia in mind and the associated symptoms. Blending a few simple ingredients and applying the correct cooking process and timings the most insecure amateur can produce beautiful dishes. I mentioned timings, these are critical to retaining as much nutrients, vitamins and hydration in a recipe to complement the flavours.

We are all familiar with the fact that good food can help the healing process if someone is either ill or in hospital. My wish would be for every single person in the UK to have a PPP ( Personal Patient Profile) in this day and age of everyone knowing each other’s business how simple would it be to have people’s food likes and dislikes along with allergens on a profile kept and adjusted all through a persons life that travels with their NHS records.

If we could cut post theatre hospital stays by one day in every major hospital the length and breadth of Britain the savings would be jaw dropping. To achieve this we would have to reinstate chefs into hospital kitchens, preparing fresh food and serving happy patients. Imagine the  scenario, you have just come round from an operation or procedure and after being reassured and made comfortable you are presented a familiar favourite meal ( chosen from your PPP) that initial feeling of comfort and familiarity can help with healing and in the long term saving money. Generating new jobs and careers for generations to come. Hospital food services must be conducted in-house and an internal central purchasing department set up so ensure best procurement.

The Care Sector has already begun to record people’s profiles and even in an area where budgets are tight it is possible to achieve. The secret is to ensure this spreads to hospitals, schools, nurseries and places where meals are supplied. The rise in dementia cases means our approach to diets and feeding has to adapt. We have sufferers who have no interest in food and others who could eat all day long, one could lead to malnutrition and the other to an obese resident. Concentrating on those that don’t want to eat or drink is paramount as food can stimulate certain parts of the brain that may reduce stress, anxiety and help with sleep. Below is a link to an extensive list of foods to help certain symptoms. If you look for what you think is the problem with a resident/patient look at the corresponding list of ingredients to make a nutritious dish, a lot of the ingredients are repeated to cut costs.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/g1i2bunjjt5e6pg/Foods%20to%20Help%20with%20Tension%20%26%20Memory.docx?dl=0

The obesity epidemic in my opinion is down to a few factors, the main one being an access to junk food, packed with sugars ( man made and processed) and trans fats, stir this up with limited exercise and you have a recipe made in hell. The public have been blinded with choice but very rarely are we encouraged to get back to basics. Giving school children basic cooking lessons will hopefully lead to them wanting to expand their library of dishes and take this food journey throughout their lives. If more people shop for ingredients the less they will use fast food outlets and shops will react better to public buying power. We all at some stage copy others and with a healthier regime it could catch on. Already chefs visit schools and businesses to demonstrate their cooking and maybe that influence will be the catalyst for a healthier lifestyle. Take the first of many steps by telling yourself that you can do this, a little self belief and my personal favourite having a smaller plate.

Finally the rise in malnutrition throughout the UK has seen a significant increase, whether this is because of a lack of money, bad diet or just not knowing how to cook a simple meal. The time it takes to drive to your favourite fast food joint you could shop for fresh ingredients and make the equivalent at home, enjoying yourself, having family time and even saving a few quid into the bargain. Malnutrition doesn’t just mean someone is skinny it means they are mal nourished, not getting the correct share of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and nutrients to lead a healthy life, so someone that is seriously overweight can still be malnourished.

We all have a responsibility, whether it’s to yourself or others are reliant on your assistance. Put the boot on the other foot, if you were poorly and in need of help how would you want to be treated. It’s a simple answer……..

Smoked Bacon & Jalapeño Fouetté Souffle

Smoked Bacon & Jalapeño Fouetté Souffle

Ingredients for 4 servings.50g unsalted butter with an extra knob to grease ramekins.

25g breadcrumbs

50g plain flour

300ml semi skimmed milk

4 medium eggs separated

100g Jalapeño Fouetté

4 Rashers of dry cured streaky bacon.

Method:-

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and place a baking sheet on the middle shelf. Butter 4 x 10cm ramekins generously, lime the sides of each ramekin with a rasher of the bacon and sprinkle a little of the breadcrumbs into the base of each.

In a pan, melt the butter over a medium heat; stir in the flour . Cook, stirring, for 1 min. Take off the heat and gradually stir in the milk, mixing it in thoroughly before adding more. Return to the heat and stir continuously until very thick (around 10 mins). Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Crack the eggs, placing the whites into a clean bowl and stirring the yolks into the sauce. Stir in Fouetté and season.

Use a clean whisk to beat the egg whites until peaks form that just hold their shape (electric is best as it will make the job much quicker). Then take a metal spoon and gently fold in the whipped whites into the white sauce.

Spoon the mixture into each ramekin then run the edge of your thumb around the edge to create a clean edge, this ensures the soufflé rises above the rim and doesn’t stick. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 8-10 mins until the top is golden and risen and has a slight wobble. Serve immediately.

Haggis Scotch Pie

Ingredients for the Hot Water Pastry:
500g plain flour
175g bacon fat or good quality lard
6fl Oz approximately of water
Pinch of salt

A little milk for glazing

For the filling:-

400g MacSweens Haggis divided into 8

100g finely chopped shallots sweated off in a little butter until soft.

To make the pastry add the water and lard to a pan and warm gently until the lard has melted then set aside. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add a pinch of salt

Add the warm liquid and work quickly into a dough then divide into 8, take a quarter from each eighth for the lid.

Roll out the large pieces of pastry and line into cutters

Break the haggis up into a crumble texture and add the onions, divide into 8 and place into the pastry evenly And press down lightly.

Roll out the lids into a circle slightly larger than the pie and place on top, brush with a little milk and make a hole in the centre.

Bake in a hot oven 190oC for 20-25mins until golden. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy.

Top with a creamy mustard mash using whole grain Isle of Skye mustard

Kedgeree Scotch Egg

Kedgeree Scotch Egg

The idea for a Kedgeree Scotch Egg has been rattling about inside my head for ages. So a couple of months ago I put the idea on paper and then the menu where I was working. The uptake was amazing with people who expected a piece of poached haddock with rice a boiled egg and some sort of curry sauce and got my creation.

Ingredients:- 6 portions

6 Soft boiled Quails eggs ( into boiling salted water for just over a minute then removed and plunged into iced water till completely cold)

500g skinless natural smoked haddock. Chop roughly and place in food processor and blend for 20 seconds, add a whole egg and a little white pepper and blend some more, add about 50-70ml double cream and blend again for 5 seconds. Chill for 1 hour in a fridge.

3 separate bowls containing the following. Bowl 1:- 150g fresh white breadcrumbs. Bowl 2:- 1 beaten egg with the same amount of milk beaten into it. Bowl 3:- 100g plain flour.

Method:- 

1. Taking great care, tap each each egg then gently roll and peel off the shell ( give a gentle wash to remove any bits of shell and dry on kitchen paper).

2. Divide the fish mousse into 6 and with slightly wet hands place a ball in the middle of your hand and flatten, place an egg in the middle and bring up all the edges completely sealing the egg. Roll gently until you get a smooth ball.

3. Roll each egg into the flour and gently shake off any excess, now dip into the egg mix ensuring an even cover then into the breadcrumbs, giving a gentle squeeze to make sure they adhere. Chill in fridge.

4. In a small saucepan add 50g butter with 30g finely chopped shallots and cook over a gentle heat without colouring. Add 2 teaspoons of mild curry powder and cook for a couple of minutes slowly add 150ml of either chicken or vegetable stock, cook for 15mins over a gentle rolling heat add 50ml of double cream and strain through a fine sieve.

To serve:-

Heat a deep fat fryer to 180oC.

Place the eggs in the basket and fry for 3-4 minutes occasionally gently shaking the basket to ensure an even colour. Drain and allow to rest on kitchen paper.

You can use a multitude of bases ( I used an onion risotto) or wilted spinach.

Take a warm bowl or plate and pace either a large spoonful of risotto or seasoned spinach in the middle, place the egg on top. With the warm curry sauce gently whisk in a few knobs of butter then drizzle around the egg. Garnish with some finely chopped chives.

Enjoy.