Category Archives: Ingredients

Seasonal eating

If one of your resolutions this year is to eat more seasonally, here’s a handy chart from Leon to help you out.  PDF version here.

– Anna

Enquiring minds want to know!

By far the most exciting feature of our blog stats is seeing what search terms people use to find themselves here on cheezcloth. It’s an extra-special glimpse into the collective psyche.

But often I feel sad for all the questions people have searched for and our blog was not able to answer. I’m sorry sir, I don’t know why there was a cheesecloth on your ham. Did you put it there, perhaps? And as for the foodophile who searched ‘handisnack phallus’, I sure hope you found what you were looking for.

Today we had two (two!) searches for: “does cool whip have condom lubricant in”.

I’m guessing no, but any chemists out there want to do a little analysis and get back to us?


Borough Market

I find it hard to believe that we have yet to blog about Borough Market. Borough is certainly the best known market in London and this fact is reflected by its popularity with tourists and foodies alike – particularly on Saturdays. It’s easy to be spoilt for choice with the selection of prepared foods at the market, some favorites include: raclette, venison burgers, brownies from Flour Power, loads of baked goods, strawberries with Jersey cream (in late summer), hot mulled wine and cider in the winter and greasy-spoon Maria’s – where you can get breakfast sandwiches guaranteed to cure any hangover. With all of this prepared food it’s easy to spend hours wandering around grazing while you pick up some special ingredients for dinner – incredible cheeses, meats, and vegetables. What’s on offer tends to be from the UK and seasonal, although there are several stalls specialising in German, French and Spanish fare.

We went to the market yesterday to buy some cider to mull for American Thanksgiving and picked up a couple of rabbits for some stew (recipe to come). I’ve posted some pictures below – note that they were not from yesterday – most were from October, but the strawberries and Jersey cream were from late July.

If ever you’re in London it’s a must-see.

rabbit, hare, bunnies, borough market, london

Fresh Game

Autumn Goodness

Carrots and Beets


More Veg

Strawberries and Cream!


Autumn comfort food

Ok, when I mean autumn I really mean winter by now. But with the sun setting at 4pm (why god why), I feel inclined to cook warm food. Sounds easy but with my fear of cooking still a challenge. But lo and behold my result- well chuffed I was…


Now this might not look like much (contrast with my usual recipe generator on Good Food website and how pretty it looks there) but it tasted really fantastic. I was a bit suspicious of adding a can of baked beans at the end but it really added a bit more depth to the whole thing. Any recipe with few ingredients is a winner in my book as I simply don’t have an extensive range at home (yes, Jamie Oliver, that means I don’t ever attempt your recipes, nor the people at the River Cafe, sorry, half of the time I don’t even know what you’re talking about..). So wohoo for cold weather hotpot!

– Stef

Grilled leeks


Charred, caramelised goodness

– Anna

Trying new things (inadvertently)


Trout fillets - they look just like salmon fillets

Trout looks just like salmon, so I picked it up by accident at the supermarket this week.  Epicurious gave me inspiration in the form of this recipe for trout poached in Riesling, which I made without either the Riesling or the carrots the recipe called for.  Still tasty though, and nice to try cooking something new.

– Anna

I did not know that: soy sauce

Recipe Redux in the NYTimes takes a look at a classic recipe from the archives each week, gives a little history, and comes up with a modern take on the old favorite. This week: Worcestershire sauce. Read the article for the full story (bottom line, 19th century mistake in an apothecary in Worcester), because I’m here to talk about soy sauce.

Courtesy of Flickr user Fotoosvanrobin under a Creative Commons license

Courtesy of Flickr user Fotoosvanrobin under a Creative Commons license

The original 1876 recipe calls for shallots, allspice, mace, cayenne, nutmeg, salt, anchovies, vinegar – and soy sauce? I was incensed for a few minutes, sure that the Times must have updated the recipe to include only ingredients that could be sourced now (though I don’t know the last time I saw mace in the spice aisle). Surely that’s not the point of this exercise. Surely soy sauce wasn’t commercially available to a Times-reading audience in 1876.

So I looked it up, and lo and behold, soy first made it big in Europe in 1737, when the Dutch East India Company brought 35 barrels of shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) to the Netherlands. However, it had been around even longer than that. According to the no doubt impartial Soy Info Center, the first known European reference to soy was made by none other than John Locke in 1679.

Shoyu was quite expensive, but imports increased across the continent over the next century until it was overtaken by cheaper Chinese soy in the mid-1800s. In 1886 the Kikkoman Corporation sent someone to Europe to look into increasing the market for shoyu, but by then it was too late for Japanese soy sauce. Chinese soy sauce, however, never looked back.

In Britain, soy-based sauces like Worcestershire were all the rage, from as early as the late 18th century.

Who knew?

I’d also like to add that all this talk of Worcestershire sauce has made me desperate for Chex mix. What in the world is the UK equivalent of Chex?


Damsons – the undervalued plum

So, damsons, apparently not many people know them here. Us Swabians of course totally loving the good old damson, only we call it zwetschge (I had to google that, too)- mind you can probably just call it plum. Only it’s much smaller than a plum and more importantly I grew up with a damson tree. I loved that tree, the first one I learned to climb as it was just about the right height and not as sticky as a our cherry tree.

The Pfeil damson tree - ok so I used a ladder, not 12 anymore...

The Pfeil damson tree - ok so I used a ladder, not 12 anymore...

So, on a recent and rather sad trip home (saying good bye to child home and tree) I thought the time is right for one last climb and proper damson harvest. And I was rather proud of the result – probably the first fruits I plucked from anywhere that wasn’t a supermarket shelf in 12 years or so.


And it resulted in this, a stomach flu prevented me tasting it- which was a bit sad, but I was assured it was very yummy.

damson cake result

damson cake result

It’s a dough made of quark (the praises of which I have sung previously on this blog, it makes for a great cake base) and oil, covered with a bit of sugar and almonds and 30min later and easy damson cake. And one that my greataunt Hedy used to make with fruits from that very tree when I was little. A good way to say goodbye I thought.

– Stef

More peanut butter ideas!

The Kitchn was inspired by Mark Bittman’s peanut butter article too, and asked its readers how they use peanut butter.  I have a feeling some of their ideas are going to really turn Stefanie’s stomach.

– Anna

No-cheese pizza

Last Friday, I found myself in a familiar quandary: working from home, unshowered, wearing jimjams, and with an empty fridge.  Lunch was inspired by a conversation I’d had with Eve a few days earlier about cheese-free pizza in Naples, and assembled from the depths of the freezer.  I had pizza dough, caramelised onions, and frozen spinach in there, and the fridge contributed the dregs of a jar of passata.  bagels and lamb 016Hey, I guess it’s healthier than normal pizza (though I did do a Jamie Oliver and drizzle olive oil over it once it came out of the oven).

– Anna