Thursday, 8 January 2015

Rice Krispies Treats

Few other snacks take me back to my childhood as much as Rice Krispies Treats do They were just everywhere. Whether I was at a birthday party, or some after school club, friend's house, field trip, boy scout meeting...wherever, someone was always opening up a tupperware and offering out these huge sticky slabs of marshmallowy goodness. In fact I'm pretty sure it was part of some American soccer mom's agreement, that you always had to have a fresh batch stowed away somewhere in your minivan, waiting and ready for distribution. And, if you forgot your treats, some other soccer mom would just swoop with hers, and then all of the other soccer moms would laugh at you, and call you names. I'm pretty sure that's what it was. Back then things were good.
Start with your mallows. About a bag and a half of the larger ones, which works out to be about 40, give or take the ones you shove in your fat gob. Hey do you remember the game chubby bunny? Where you keep sticking mallows in your mouth and until you can't say 'chubby bunny' any more? That was entertainment back in the 90s. Like, that was all that we needed. I reckon if I tried to get some kids nowadays to play that with me they would think I was straight up mental.
Rice Krispies. Or supermarket own-label version at least. Hey man, we're in a recession. I mixed it up and went half Coco Pops and half Rice Krispies because, you know, diversity and that.
6 cups ought to do you. Layering the different types in a pyrex jug is entirely unnecessary and for weak, contrived, artistic purposes only. But that's what I'm all about.
Weigh out and cut about 50g of butter into small pieces. I pretty much always use salted, in whatever I'm making. Unsalted butter is for losers. There I said it.
Using a bain marie slowly melt your butter and your marshmallows over a low to medium heat. This takes quite a while so have some patience. Keep stirring until the mallows are completely melted - it's still going to be quite viscous but make sure you can move a spatula through the mixture without any difficulty.
Remove the marshmallow mixture from the heat and, working as quickly as possible, pour in the Krispies. Stir as well as you can until everything's evenly coated. It's going to get extremely sticky (that's what she said?) so make sure you've cleared some space, got kitchen towels, etc.
At this point you can probably just grab a spoon and go to town. Go ahead. Nobody would judge you. You're in a safe place here.
If, however, you're committed to seeing the job through to the end, spread the mixture onto a baking tray that's been pre-lined with baking parchment. If you thought what you just did was sticky, this bit's even stickier (that's definitely what she said). Pop it in the fridge for 30 mins.
Splatter with melted chocolate, slice into totally inappropriately sized chunks, and enjoy.


40 large marshmallows
50g butter
6 cups Rice Krispies
white & dark chocolate

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Mars Bar Eggnog

The first time I tried eggnog, I hated it. I was about 8 years old over at some friend's house and I remember being presented with this cup of lukewarm, fluorescent yellow, eggy muck and being fed some BS about it being an American tradition that I would just love. I think I lasted two sips.
But times have changed. I don't know if it's because of my tastebuds developing or simply down to the number of times I've watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation over the course of the past 20 years (anyone want to buy me one of these?) but adult me is certainly a fan of the stuff.
Plus, what 8-year-old me never got to experience was chucking a whole load of booze into the mix and whiling away an afternoon writing Christmas cards and wrapping presents, half cut and giggling to myself - a tradition I can really get on board with. So, when I saw that Solita, one of my favourite places to eat in Manchester, had posted this recipe for a booze-and-sugar-loaded version of the stuff, I knew I had to give it a try. So here's their recipe - with a few of my own personal touches. *Spoiler alert* - I added more alcohol. (Update - thanks as well to @Cereal_Vagabond, who created the recipe!!!)
Start off with a countertop covered with all of the best and least healthy things you can find. Eggs, sugar, cream, butter, chocolate. You're basically making a cake, which you're then going to drink. Fabulous. Get your Christmas tunes on full-blast at this point.
Cut two Mars Bars into smaller pieces and stick in a glass bowl along with 50g unsalted butter. (I defy you to find a recipe anywhere that starts with that first step and doesn't turn out to be AWESOME). Gently melt the lot over a bains-marie, stirring constantly.
Pour in 250ml double cream and whisk together, don't worry about a few little chunks of nougat here and there. Normally I'd be against chewy drinks, but in this case it's not necessarily a bad thing. It all goes down the same way and all that. Set this mixture aside and allow it cool.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 6 eggs until they're all frothy. Stir in about 130g of brown sugar and 130ml of your favourite chocolatey milkshake. Full disclosure: I stink at cracking eggs.
Into your egg mix add about 1/2 teaspoon quality vanilla extract and a healthy grating of nutmeg. Normally I'm not big on nutmeg, but around Christmastime it just seems to go with most things. Coincidentally I read once that nutmeg is a mad hallucinogenic. Apparently eating them whole can send you on one of those lose-yourself-in-the-forest-for-days types of trips. Obviously I would never condone such behaviour but equally so, anyone who can verify this information - please get in touch!
Now for the fun part. The original recipe called for dark rum and brandy whilst I opted for white rum and bourbon, with a dash of Bailey's thrown in for good measure. At this point any whiskey/rum/brandy combo can't be wrong. I went with about 100ml of bourbon, 50ml rum and a solid 'glug' of Baileys, but I'll let you be the boss of how boozy you want to go.
Mix your liquids together and give it a good whisk. Add a fresh grating of nutmeg, cover with film and set in the fridge to cool for a bit. Pour yourself a whiskey whilst you wait - your job is done. Once chilled, ladle into glasses and serve. Merry effing Christmas.

6 eggs
130g brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
grated nutmeg
130ml chocolate milkshake
100ml bourbon
50ml rum
25ml Baileys
2 Mars Bars
50g unsalted butter
250ml double cream

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Vietnamese way

Hey there, remember me? I'm the guy who used to post all of the food. Remember, the really healthy stuff like Battered Mars Bars and Homemade Pork Scratchings? Well, I've been away for a while, doing really important stuff like going on a honeymoon, watching my friends get married, moving my life from one end of the country to the other...real grown-up stuff, you get me? And it's not that I haven't had time for you all, it's just that, you know...I'm easily distracted.

So let's try to rebuild that old friendship, and I'm going to try the only way I know how - by posting photos of food. And lots of it. Starting with a whole load from our honeymoon in Vietnam this past summer. Incredible country full of beautiful people, jaw-dropping landscapes, and - most importantly - stunningly good food everywhere you looked. Here's a selection of some of the food we encountered on our travels - hope to see you around here again sometime soon.