food

10 things to taste in Moscow



The top Russian foods you have to try

Beef Stroganoff
Supposedly named after count Alexander Grigorievich Stroganoff, this Russian dish dates from the mid 19th century and consists of sautéed pieces of beef served in a sauce with smetana (sour cream).

Blini
Blini are Russia's version of the thin French crêpe and a staple on most Moscovian menus, typically made with buckwheat for savoury fillings or white flour for sweet toppings. Accompaniments can include smoked salmon and sour cream but for the ultimate indulgence opt for red black sturgeon caviar.

Borscht
This beet and cabbage soup is served with or without meat, potato, herbs (usually dill) and a dollop of smetana (Russian sour cream) and is sure to warm you up during a Moscow winter.  A staple of Russian cuisine, it would criminal to leave Moscow without sampling this soup at least once.

Caviar
Muscovites go crazy for Caviar (or ikra as it is also known) which is offers served on dark, crusty bread or with blini. Caviar can be red (obtained from salmon fishes) or black (obtained from sturgeon fishes). Black caviar, the roe of the female sturgeon fish, is one of the world's most prized and expensive food items.

Medovik
Medovik is Russia's popular honey cake: super sweet, rich in taste and with an interesting story about its historical origins. Legend has it that the first medovik honey cake was created in the 1820s by a personal chef for Empress Elizabeth, the wife of Tzar Alexander I. Try it and you’ll soon see why the Empress was mad about Medovik.

Mushroom Julienne
With a similar taste to stroganoff, but without meat, this creamy mushroom dish is found on almost every menu as a hot appetiser. It’s made with thinly sliced mushrooms, cheese, sour cream and cream and broiled/grilled for a crusty top before being, served in a dainty metal dish. 

Olivier Salad
Known as Russian salad around the world, Olivier is a variation of potato salad invented in the 1860s by Lucien Olivier, a Belgian chef plying his trade at a popular Moscow restaurant. The ultimate comfort food, the Olivier features boiled potatoes, carrots, eggs, peas, pickles, and boiled chicken or beef.

Pelmeni
What makes Russian dumplings (pelmeni) so special? That would be the tasty herbs that are added to the meat packed pastry.  Pelmeni can be served several ways: alone, slathered in butter, topped with sour cream, or served in a broth.

Solyanka soup
A hearty soup made from thick chunks of beef and/or pork, cooked for hours over a low flame with garlic, tomatoes, peppers and carrots.

Tula Gingerbread
Tula Gingerbread is a very Russian take on the classic gingerbread recipe. Expect spicy gingerbread made from honey and filled with jam or condensed milk. It is customary to imprint the bread with intricate designs and engravings.

Say hello to Hawaiian Foods Week

This week it's Hawaiian Foods Week in America. U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, along with Republican senators from Georgia, co-sponsored a bi-partisan resolution to designate the week of June 12 to honour Hawaii’s contributions to the culinary heritage of the United States and raise awareness of Hawaiian foods.

And here at JAT, we're only to happy to help! Best known for its idyllic scenery and laidback lifestyle, Hawai‘i is also a culinary mecca with plenty of hidden gems for eager foodies to unearth. If there is one thing you should know about Hawaii and its food…it’s that Hawaii locals love to eat and the islands boast a huge variety of restaurants, cuisines, experiences and produce.

 

First things first…learn the all-important lingo!

Plate lunch
Consisting of two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and everything from kalua pork, Korean barbecue, chicken katsu, beef teriyaki, or mahimahi, the plate lunch is a staple of local food.

Pupu
Pupu is the Hawaiian term for appetiser, and every local restaurant in Hawaii offers a wide range of creative pupu platters to dine on, from poke dishes to sushi.

Loco moco

 



For big appetites, try a loco moco which is a hamburger steak and egg over rice, covered in gravy. You can find loco mocos throughout the islands, but Café 100 in Hilo on Hawai‘i’s Big Island is said to have originated the name.

Shave ice
 


No matter what island you’re on, grab a shave ice to cool off. These finely shaved snow cones are served with colourful flavours on the top with a choice of ice cream or azuki beans on the bottom.

Malasadas
Treat your sweet tooth to a hot malasada (a Portuguese doughnut). Although Leonard's Bakery in Kapahulu is popular on Oahu, ask any local and they can tell you their favourite bakeries on each island to find these fresh and tasty treats.

And secondly…a few places worth visiting! (There’s plenty more but we all have to start somewhere…)

 

Koko Head Café (Oahu)
In the heart of Honolulu’s Kaimukī district is this modest little Hawaiian haunt by Chef Lee Ann Wong. Fans of brunch need not look any further than this Asian/Hawaiian fusion, as it serves up a number of classic brunch dishes with a twist. Personal favourite: Hawaiian style pancakes (US$12)
www.kokoheadcafe.com

Moon & Turtle (Hawaii Island)
This place is so cool it doesn’t even need a website. Located in downtown Hilo, the menu changes daily to reflect the seasonality of locally sourced ingredients, meaning visitors will get a unique experience of Hawaiian cuisine, every time they go back. A favourite amongst locals and it is easy to see why www.facebook.com/moonandturtle

Mama’s Fish House (Maui)
Searching for dinner with a view? Mama’s Fish House sits prominently on the shore front of Pāʻia, on the road to Hana. Considered one of the top fine dining restaurants in the US, this exemplary restaurant sources its fish from local fisherman every day, to ensure every dish is as fresh as the moment it was caught. A notable entrée is the Traditional Hawaiian – ‘grilled mahimahi with Big Island wild boar slow cooked in a ti leaf, and octopus luau, ahi poke and sweet potato’ (US$52)
www.mamasfishhouse.com

Side Street Inn on Da Strip (Oahu)
It sounds like a 90s street dance movie, but Side Street Inn on Da Strip is the home of Hawaiian comfort food. Resting in Kapahulu Ave, Waikīkī, Side Street Inn provides cheap, but quality local fried food to fill those empty stomachs after a morning of frolicking on Waikīkī beach. Personal favourite: everything (meals from US$11) www.sidestreetinn.com/locations/side-street-inn-on-da-strip

Merriman’s Restaurant (Hawaii Island)
Chef Peter Merriman’s flagship restaurant has been a local favourite for over 20 years, as the esteemed chef was one of the first to establish Hawai‘i regional cuisine. Much like Moon & Turtle and Mama’s Fish House, Merriman’s prides itself on sourcing its ingredients from local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen; endeavouring to feature only the freshest locally-grown produce. The Kahua Ranch Lamb is to die for (US$40+)
www.merrimanshawaii.com/waimea

Fleetwood’s (Maui)
Owned by Mick Fleetwood of the legendary British band, Fleetwood Mac, this swanky joint is the perfect place to grab a couple of hand crafted cocktails and a Fleetwood signature beef wellington (US$65), and even possibly meet the man himself. Mick is known to frequent the restaurant and on occasion perform for diners with his blues band. If you are a fan, or you’re just looking for a little dinner and entertainment, head down to Fleetwood’s…but you don’t have to listen to us, ‘you can go your own way’...
www.fleetwoodsonfrontst.com

Kauai Grill (Kaua‘i)
An elegant haven offering spectacular views of Hanalei Bay and Bali Hai, creating an extravagant atmosphere only matched by the restaurant’s stupendous menu, crafted by the talented Noelani Planas, Chef de Cuisine. Kauai Grill is definitely on the indulgent side of things, but the dishes are truly exquisite. Try the charred chicken with coconut, caramel, spiced pineapple and lime (US$45) www.kauaigrill.com

Alan Wong's Honolulu (Oahu)
Situated on the third floor of an office building, this restaurant might not sound like the perfect environment to spend an evening chowing down on some regional Hawaiian food, but the flagship restaurant is a culinary studio known for experimenting with new flavours, leaving patrons salivating at the innovative creations. If you’re in the mood to experience a unique twist on regional food, and an uncommon local environment – visit Alan Wong's Honolulu. www.alanwongs.com

Pueo’s Osteria (Hawai‘i Island)
Chef Jim Babian’s Osteria combines the freshest ingredients from local farmers and fishermen, with flavours of Italia. A step away from traditional Hawaiian food, this eatery offers an elegant alternative to local tastes, presenting visitors a little Mediterranean charm. (Meals range from US$13)
www.pueososteria.com

The Dolphin (Kaua‘i)
A favourite among locals and visitors alike, The Dolphin is renowned for its fresh fish and unparalleled Sushi lounge. Situated on the banks of the idyllic Hanalei River, The Dolphin is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery whilst tucking into some freshly caught lobster and shrimp, or if you’re craving the meat sweats; a finely cut filet mignon.
www.hanaleidolphin.com/index.htm

 

For more information about Hawaii, visit www.gohawaii.com/UK.

Saturday Kitchen: Coffee eclairs

Celebrity chef, James Martin, reveals how to make Coffee eclairs
 

Éclairs are a great thing to have in your repertoire – and with my recipe in the Basics chapter, they couldn’t be easier. When the times comes to fill them with cream, the trick is that rather than slicing the éclairs open or putting holes in the base, you fill them from the top. This way, the coffee icing seals in the filling, so that when you bite into an éclair, the cream doesn’t shoot out of the other end.

COFFEE ÉCLAIRS
Serves 12–14

1 quantity choux pastry éclairs (see page 20)
butter, for greasing

For the vanilla cream
1.2 litres double cream
2 vanilla pods, split and seeds removed 

For the coffee icing
350g fondant icing sugar
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp Camp coffee essence
Prepare and bake the choux éclairs as described on page 20.

Method
* Turn the oven up to 220°C/425°F/Gas mark 7 and grease a baking tray.

* For the vanilla cream, pour the cream into a large bowl, add the vanilla seeds and whip to soft peaks.

* To make the coffee icing, sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, add the water and coffee essence and whisk together.

* Using the tip of a sharp knife, pierce a hole in the rounded end of each éclair. Place the éclairs on their sides and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes so that they become dry and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

* To serve, transfer the vanilla cream to a piping bag fitted with a 6mm plain nozzle. Pipe the cream into the éclairs through the hole. Dip them into the icing to cover the top evenly. Leave on the wire rack until the icing is set.

CHOUX PASTRY ÉCLAIRS
Choux pastry is one of my favourite things to cook. I picked up this recipe whilst working as a pastry chef in a three-star Michelin restaurant in the south of France, and I’ve used it ever since. Make sure the butter, sugar, salt and water are brought slowly to the boil. If you do this too quickly, the butter will not melt and the water will evaporate. The butter should be diced small so that it melts before you add the flour. To get a really crisp texture, add half a cup of cold water to a preheated tray in the oven before cooking, and then after 20 minutes, open the door for a few seconds to let out the steam.

Makes 12–14 medium éclairs

Ingredients
250ml water
100g cold butter, diced small
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch of salt
150g strong flour
4 eggs

Method
* Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 and line a baking sheet with silicone paper.

* Pour the water into a pan and add the butter, sugar and pinch of salt. Bring to the boil slowly and boil for 1 minute. Add the flour in one go.

* Cook for a few minutes, beating all the time, until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan cleanly and is smooth. Tip out onto a silicone-lined tray and leave to cool for 5 minutes.

* Transfer the cooled mixture to a kitchen mixer or large bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time, then continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and shiny, about 2 more minutes.

* Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large, plain nozzle, then pipe 10cm-long éclair shapes onto the prepared baking sheet. Smooth out any bumps with the tip of a wet finger. (See also page 38.)

* Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

* Remove from the oven and transfer the éclairs from the baking tray to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe extracted from Sweet by James Martin (Quadrille, £20). Photography: Peter Cassidy
James will be appearing live at the BBC Good Food Show Winter at the NEC Birmingham, 26-29 November.

Photography: Peter Cassidy

Saturday Kitchen: Baked double chocolate pudding

Celebrity chef James Martin has brought out a new dessert cookbook called Sweet. Here North Yorkshire's finest shares his recipe for a Baked double chocolate pudding with TNT.

This is a great pudding to place in the centre of the table for everyone to help themselves. Just wait for the reaction when the first spoon hits the bottom of the dish, revealing the rich chocolate sauce that forms as the pudding bakes. Serve with cream or ice cream.

BAKED DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PUDDING
Serves 6

Ingredients
100g melted butter, plus extra for greasing
3 eggs
175ml milk
250g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
150g light brown soft sugar
100g dark chocolate drops (70% cocoa solids), or dark chocolate, finely chopped into approx. 5mm dice
100g milk chocolate drops, or milk chocolate, finely chopped into approx. 5mm dice

For the sauce
300ml water
200g light brown soft sugar
40g cocoa powder

Method
*Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4 and butter a 2-litre ovenproof dish.

*Whisk the melted butter, eggs and milk together in a jug until smooth. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl then stir in the sugar.

* Pour the butter mixture onto the flour and mix well to a smooth batter. Stir in the dark and milk chocolate and spoon into the prepared baking dish.

* To make the sauce, bring the water and sugar to the boil in a saucepan, then add the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Pour evenly over the top of the batter then place the dish in the oven to bake for 25–30 minutes. The top of the sponge will be just firm to the touch, but underneath there will be a runny chocolate sauce. Serve hot with double cream or ice cream.

Recipe extracted from Sweet by James Martin (Quadrille, £20). Photography: Peter Cassidy
James will be appearing live at the BBC Good Food Show Winter at the NEC Birmingham, 26-29 November.

Photography: Pete Cassidy
 

The foodie club

Once upon a time, tourism boards wanted to tell us that their destination was fantastic for live music.  Then the tagline was art, followed by fashion. Fast forward to 2014 and it’s all about food.

Make no mistake: food has never been more fashionable. Without fail every tourism board I talk to tells me that their city/country/region (delete as appropriate) is a foodie’s paradise brimming with farm to table (aka locally sourced food) dining venues et al. And more often that not, they’re right: ‘It’ restaurants are everywhere and travellers and locals alike are scrambling for seats.

Of course 10 years ago it was a totally different story: most travellers - myself included - tended to spend as little as possible on what we ate. Our dosh was for drinking. Not so anymore: we’re reading reviews for restaurants all around the world - from Bristol to Budapest and Bali - adding them to our bucket list and saving up for a big blow out if, or rather when, we find ourselves in the relevant destinations.

In essence eating out has never been so hot all of which means, in London at least, you’ll need to be prepared to queue around the block for a bite at BalthazarDabbous or The Palomar in Piccadilly Circus.

Much like fashion, food has now become part of popular culture: we get more kudos for Instagramming a shot of a street food festival or an off the beaten track food truck than we do from tweeting about a fashion purchase (let’s leave that to the Kardashians).

Wondering why food has acquired the cool factor? It’s partly thanks to the popularity of TV cookery shows: my generation was raised on a diet of Jamie Oliver and James Martin - something that has no doubt helped fuel our interest in food. But it’s also because today’s twenty and thirty somethings are all about experiences. We’d rather splash our cash on a meal at fashionable Chiltern Firehouse than on Fendi furniture, for few of us have the space for materialistic possessions. Having moved 12 times in 10 years, I know that I certainly shy away from owning stuff– the fear of having to pack up possessions and cart/ship them to whichever London post code/part of the world I find myself bound for next -  is the stuff of nightmares. But mostly I’d argue that it’s down to the fact that food provides instant pleasure: the memory of a good meal- be it tacos or Thai food - will always put a smile on your face and crucially, unlike fashion, music and art, never dates.

Consider that next time you find yourself forking out £15 for a cocktail in a hip bar or £6 on a loaf of artisan bread - it might make your meal taste even sweeter.