GREAT BRITISH FOOD FAYRE
SPRING GOURMET EDITION April 2019
by Perry Estelle
THE 7 HUMAN SENSES AND HOW TO BECOME A FOOD GOURMET GENIE
1. SIGHT (PRESENTATION?)
2. SMELL (AROMA?)
3. TOUCH (FEELING THE QUALITY?)
4. SOUND (BOIL, SIMMER OR SIZZLE?)
5. TASTE (UNDER & OVER FLAVOURING?)
6. EXTRA SENSORY PERCEPTION (GUT INSTINCT)
7. COMMON SENSE (THINK BEFORE YOU COOK)
I want say a loud and hearty ‘Cheers!’ to all our followers and subscribers who wish to journey through our taste trail this Spring.
I propose a Spring Toast to usher in GBFF 2019 Foodie Features!
With spring in full swing, there are plenty of occasions to celebrate even more opportunity to dig into nature’s bountiful harvest.
When thinking about which dishes to serve-at a picnic, family meal or other social occasion it may be helpful to consider simple, delicious food & drink pairings, that are full of flavour.
Adding fruit to any dish is an easy way to tickle the taste buds and add lively colour.
Currently, in season, fresh avocados are both delicious and versatile. They can be added to dozens of springtime dishes, from omelettes and crêpes to salads and sandwiches.
Avocados are grown in an ideal climate and their creamy taste and velvety texture, are simply sublime, for springtime meals.
Also, don’t be afraid to try new food that play well together, like this quick and easy Avocado Crêpe-Wrap, that twins, the slightly sweet flavor of Frieda’s® French-Style Crêpes with delicious avocados.
Using ready-made crêpes, cuts your kitchen time in half, making this tasty combination great for any holiday celebration, or for an everyday brunch, lunch, snack or dinner.
Fresh Avocado Crêpe-Wrap
1/2 cups diced Fresh Avocados
1/2 cup diced cherry or grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon diced red onion
1/2 cup ranch-style dressing
4 to 6 Frieda’s® French-Style Crêpes
1 cup shredded, smoked, cooked chicken or crabmeat (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup prepared salsa (for garnish)
Gently toss avocados, tomatoes and onion in a medium bowl. Pour salad dressing over vegetables, and toss gently to combine.
Add chicken, tuna/mackerel or crab, if desired.
To assemble, place approximately two tablespoons of the avocado mixture onto the center of a crêpe.
Fold crêpe in half, bottom to top, with fold at bottom, and slightly uneven edge at top.
Roll left to right, starting from bottom left corner, to create a cone shape with opening at top.
Repeat, with each crêpe. Place wraps on a serving plate. If desired, place a small dish of fresh salsa in the centre of the serving dish, for dipping.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Avocados can be a lively way to add colour and flavor to a variety of light springtime dishes.
Appetizers are a great way to dress up any meal. Some favorite romantic additions, include asparagus, artichokes, oysters, black beans, strawberries, and chocolate.
The presentation of your meal is more important, than the foods you serve. Keep things simple, and mix flavors and textures, giving the meal contrast and different shapes.
That brings me neatly on to a new feature that qualifies as ‘A Real Spring Gift’ that will keep on giving!
We (oh yea) decided that you guys would want to meet Chefs from all over the world! So, I have this idea that there are so many talented chefs out there, why not ‘meet and greet’ them on here!
This feature will be called ‘Foodie Genie US’
So lets go meet our 1st Chef Genie
It is my culinary privilege, to introduce a fine human being, in the world of good food.
Calling himself a ‘ghost’ of cuisine and food art.
So, without further adieu please welcome..
Chef & Food Health Practitioner. Garnish Artiste. Foodie Imagineer & Canape Extraordinaire.
“Hello, my name is Donzell Verdun, and my remit in life is to perform as a “Healthy Alternative Choice” chef.
I specialize in meal garnishing, by using various ingredients, to create satisfying dishes, as an alternative for those on a healthy eating journey.”
I am 35 years old and I grew up in Chicago, I moved to Indiana when I was 17, I began watching cooking shows about ten years ago, and I thought that the concepts were neat. I also sketch. So, I would draw specifically on ideal food presentation. I was a big fan of how they created the food into beautiful dishes. I wanted to give it a shot, and there were a lot of meals, that I, either, couldn’t afford, or, that I respectively, did not want to particularly eat, as they were being served! You know, servings with lack lustre, or made with little imagination, when it was so obvious that the highlighted the beauty of the ingredients and taste potential was somehow, just plain ignored!!!”
“One day, while cooking, I thought to myself, ‘what if’ someone could create beautiful dishes for my food lover followers, on a budget, but very much on par, with expensive menus, but, for a fraction of the cost?”
Fun, yet affordable! Maybe, with a new brand of Superfood quality and added touches, for appetising appeal?
There was a moment while experimenting after a cooking show episode, I began to position the food on the plate, and tried different, aesthetic positions, until I felt as though it looked visually tasty, you know, ‘more pleasing to the eye’, then took a picture of it!
“I was excited, that the recipe presentation seemed to work better and ‘come alive’.”
The skill, at least to me it seemed, was is to make the food look like the presentation, is almost ‘accidentally artistic’, unlike some variations, of nouveau presentation. Do you understand? I think, sometimes, such food, looks a little too, ‘overworked, or contrived’.
After all, we want to eat it, not display it on the mantelpiece! I wanted a new and unique look to plated food. A more exciting or refreshing approach, to cooking delicacies that are really good for you, that literally that you were given ‘everything on a plate’ if you pardon the cliché!”
“I was nervous to post my creation, at first!”
Prior to this, I joined many Facebook Food Groups to get an idea of what people’s likes were, and gather feedback from members posts.
I got over my fear of posting, and decided to go for it, and before you know it, I am proud to say I have received numerous comments, on my presentation, and positive feedback.
I am proud to have won contests here in the US, and Australia and Japan, and have also won, numerous media covers, online.
“I reminded myself to keep it fun, colourful, and interesting, and never approach it with a competitive energy. I want the viewers to see it, as a work of art, and more than a ‘dish on a dish”.
I feel this is my nemesis, and that I am presenting something, I believe that makes ‘Mother Natures’ Garden’, look and feel, BUT most importantly find unique taste, that’s somehow ‘in the zone’ and much more special.”
“I began changing my style of cooking back in 2013 as a way to assist me during my weight loss regimen.”
“I’ve been cooking since a young child, and always marvelled at the many ways to approach food, visually and taste-wise. I like the element of surprise, I approach every dish with a clear mind, and steer more towards comfort meals, that you can enjoy from the at home, and to spice things up on the visual side, for family gatherings etc.”
“I like to use day-fresh, pure organic vegetables for that more intense, clean, crisp taste! When I prepare and cook meat, I do so with Pure Extra Virgin (1st Pressing) Olive oil. I lean more towards baking varieties of free range meat, instead of frying it, as flavour is diminished, whereas a light searing and baking, chicken, lamb, beef or chicken, preserves the flavour to savour.”
“For visual appeal, I consider what is attractive to the eye, such as colours etc. As far as taste, I try to not get too specific on recipes, so that way what I make can be a starting point for other cooks, and you add your own personal touch to it of meals I’ve created.”
Thank you Donzell! Hope to see more of your fabulous food-fresh accompaniment ideas, next time!
Donzell’s advice on Gourmet Cooking?
What Kind of “Food Connection” Do You Need to Be a Special Niche Gourmet Chef, like Donzell?
Perhaps you thought that gourmet cooking is not for you, or that you do not cook that well? Then it’s time to totally change your mind-set from today.
Anyone, and everyone, can easily pick up cooking skills, and it doesn’t matter what your skill level is today; you can do much better and make great dishes like the chefs, at your favourite restaurants.
And what’s more, the meals you cook will be done to perfection – your kind of perfection! And you know what the best part, is? You already have the most important ingredient . . . PASSION!!
Change your mind-set on cooking, and open up a whole new dimension of creativity, you never knew you already had within yourself.
However, there are steps to Success.
INGREDIENTS are the key, for you to build on your knowledge of how to put good food together, as they are the basic building blocks for a good meal. You already know of many ingredients, now go, and take a closer look; experience each ingredient, individually, and experiment with it.
Everything edible, can be an ingredient in your creation, so you need to know and understand each ingredient; from how it looks and tastes, to its texture, to how it behaves when cooked in different ways? To which other ingredients it may be compatible with? To what happens, if you add more, or less of it to your food, etc.
So, if you want good taste in a food creation
Shop, for the ingredients with the same attention to detail, as say, buying a fine wine. It must look, smell and taste wonderful, or, folks will just spit it out, and think you have no taste and leave for a KFC!
There are endless combinations, so keep experimenting with them. You will discover many ‘winners’ to surprise your guests. Have fun building up your own database of ingredients.
QUALITY – When you begin with great quality ingredients, you are certain to produce top quality meals; if you start with poor quality ingredients, it won’t come as a surprise that the results will naturally be disappointing.
Quality can easily be determined when you use all your senses . . . Use your sense of Sight to look carefully at the ingredients.
Check the colour to see if it is bright or dull, consistent, or, has blemishes? Is the shape evenly symmetrical, or distorted? Look also at the texture of the items. Your sense of ‘Sight’ is the first sense that you will usually use, when checking anything; and it is a powerful tool in determining the quality of any ingredient.
Practice, and see if you can tell what the Quality of an item is, just by looking at it. You will quickly be able to use your ‘Sight’ to initially screen ingredients, to determine if they are worth a closer inspection or to move on.
HEARING- Use your sense of Hearing to listen to the tone, when gently tapping or shaking an item. Peppers, to melon. Even, coconuts! Does it sound hollow or solid? Is there…. a creepy, rattling sound?
Hearing, is not frequently used, but can be helpful in a closer inspection, of certain fruits, nuts and vegetables.
SMELL– Use your sense of Smell to sniff out fragrant fruits and the aroma of fresh herbs. You can also detect items to avoid when they emit off smell. You know .. ‘aroma versus odour’. What’s smells past its best, for instance?
Train up your nose and your sense of smell when you search for quality foods.
Taste- If you have the opportunity, sample the items before making your decision. Besides checking that the taste is what it should be, also observe the texture or feel it has in your mouth, when you chew on it, and when it slides down your throat.
This is also your chance to confirm that you really like the taste of the ingredient before buying. Your sense of taste is your most important tool, when it comes to blending ingredients. With a well-developed, sense of taste, you will be able to determine what ingredients, and in what quantities, will go well together.
Finally! Your sense of ‘Touch’. Go ahead, pick up and handle the ingredients, you are inspecting. How does it feel in your hands? Is it heavy, or light, hard or soft, firm or supple, smooth or rough, dry or moist? You can tell a good deal about the quality of an ingredient by how it feels; you just need a little practice to fine tune and “get the feel” of things.
Practice ,using all your senses to fully examine ingredients and learn how to pick top quality items for your specific needs. It is now the time for you to exercise your senses whenever you go shopping for food. Have a good time tuning up your skills, in search of quality, at the markets and stores.
Like searching for gold you will have to go prospecting with a keen eye to create the greatest dishes!
For instance, you won’t want to buy a firm conference pear for a dessert that evening, but you might want to buy a firm Bramley apple for that pie you want to bake!
DESIGNING – This is where things get CRAZY! Now comes the fun part of designing your meals. The first consideration is who you are cooking for and what are their likes and dislikes. Do take some time to ask your family, friends, or guests about their eating preferences, especially if they require special diets for health reasons, or are allergic to certain foods. From this mini survey, you can plan a meal that will delight everyone.
You can now begin to narrow down your choices; consider if you want to do appetizers and/or soup, what are the best choice for your main courses, and if you wish to make desert? Design a simple meal or an elaborate feast: it’s all up to you. Use your knowledge of ingredients to decide on what blend of ingredients will achieve the unique flavours you want.
Also consider how the ingredients will look together, and how you can make your dishes visually appealing. At the beginning, you may feel more comfortable sticking to traditional flavours and cooking tried and tested recipes. But as you gain confidence after experimenting with traditional foods by altering their taste to suit your preferences better, then it may be time to be bold and creative; try to design something totally new once in a while.
It is also fairly easy for you to design meals to take into account differing preferences among your guests; simply separate your ingredients and add or withhold them into individual portions of your dishes.
In the Design phase, you may wish to consider the cooking style as well, since the way food is cooked will make a difference in the outcome in terms of taste and texture.
COOKING STYLES – Mastering many Cooking Styles is another way to increase the diversity of your meals. Brush up on your cooking skills by not only practicing the various styles of Cooking, but also by paying close attention to the details of the cooking process, what each Cooking Style does to your food and the resulting appearance, taste & texture.
Experiment with variations to the standard method (different temperature, time, sequence, combinations, etc.) and observe the results. Learn new Styles as you come across them, and also try your hand at inventing new ways to cook. There are many methods of cooking your food; some more conventional like Baking, Barbecuing, Braising, Roasting, Stewing and Steaming. Some are more exotic like cooking meat on a slab of hot stone.
So do try out the various cooking styles on your favourite foods and discover which are to your liking. Also experiment with combinations; for example you can first steam a lobster, then cut it open and put some cheese in before grilling for a short while to melt and brown the cheese sauce.
Think of new ways to cook, after all its just applying heat to food. You can also broaden your knowledge and skills by observing how people of various lands cook their meals in special ways when you travel.
PRESENTATION – The final element is how you serve up the feast that you have prepared. Food Presentation is the art of making your meals visually appealing. Since the objective is to serve up something that will look good, experiment with what you think will look nice when assembled together.
If you want to keep it simple, just focus on the dish and what is to be put on it. If you want to pull out all the stops, then go with a theme of your choice and dress up everything, including the dining room. Let’s run through some ideas to move you along .
On the simple end of the scale, all you need to do is select a suitable bowl or plate and arrange your food on it, then add something to garnish.
The easiest is to place all your food onto serving plates for your guest to help themselves. Select large enough bowls and plates, matching if desired, that can hold the amount of food you have prepared.
You can fill a serving bowl with soup and sprinkle some chopped Spring onions on top to garnish.
Fish can be served on an oval plate, or one of those fish shaped dishes, and you can arrange some lettuce and round slices of lemon to decorate.
For prawns, try arranging them in a circle on a round plate, and put sauce for dipping right in the centre. You can be more creative when you do individual servings.
For the main course, you can simply lay out the meat, potatoes and vegetables on different sectors of the plate in a traditional manner; just remember to include ingredients with nice colours and arrange them in your chosen pattern.
Simply using carrots or tomatoes to add bright orange or red to your dish.
Use corn, pasta or potatoes for a dose of yellow.
How’s this for ‘Starters’?
Appetizers are my favourites as you can really let your imagination go . . . and come up with really delightful creations!
Your shrimp/prawn or crayfish salad sits in a bed of lambs lettuce festooned with grated Parmesan and black pepper coarsely milled and topped off with thinly sliced Pak Choi.
Babyleaf spinach and tender stem broccoli, doused in extra virgin and Wild Balsamic, with pomegranate seeds and courgette spaghetti, ending up on one side dish!
A garnish extravaganza for a lovely presentation of this favourite appetizer.
Now go forth and create visual masterpieces to serve your guests; who will surely be astonished at your work of art.
Let’s Get Started Cooking Up a storm today!
There is no reward like it.
But what shall I cook? I hear cry!!
All you need to do is to start cooking; after all, as the saying goes . . . “Practice Makes Perfect”.
But if your food ideas are unhealthy or useless through lack of nutrition, then, naturally, this not good for your gourmet reputation.
The greatest skill you possess is honed, by making mistakes. Even a surgeon fails to be better. YOU can preserve good health if your infusion of healthy ingredients, in your delicacies real to combine as a powerful fabulous recipe.
It will serve you well, so you can serve others well! GUARANTEED!!