Archive for April, 2011

Birmingham Halls Cook Off

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

We all know the rivalry that simmers between the halls at Birmingham, but what happened when we put a group of Hall Reps in the kitchens of staff house and tossed in a culinary grenade?

Well…a lot of cooking really! We saw our teams create 8 fabulous meals that showed off their skills (and lack of them) to a panel of esteemed judges. Some of the dishes were fantastic, especially Mason’s tuna steak, and FOCSOC’s Carbonara – others were down right weird (Maid on the Vale – delicious but weird). I have got to say the quality was very high, and Jon (from FOCSOC) made the day very entertaining with his encyclopedic knowledge of expletives!

The judges were all very impressed, especially Kevin Herbert of the University catering management team. A big well done to all the teams, fantastic food and a fantastic film!

Россия питания (Russian food)

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Artem and Ilana are both from Russia, and in the Photo Finish video we got them cooking to classic British dishes. So I think it’s only fair we take a moment to learn a bit about some classic Russian dishes!

Borshch is beet soup, and one of the most famous Russian traditional foods. Beets seem a strange base for soup to many Westerners, but there are plenty of reasons that this hearty soup is one of Russia’s most famous dishes. Full of vegetables and meat, the layered flavors in this soup are especially nice with a dollop of fresh sour cream.

Pelmeni are pastry dumplings filled typically with meatballs. They can be served alone, slathered in butter and topped with sour cream, or in a soup broth. Definitely a favorite in Russia and abroad!

These little pastries can be packed full of potatoes, meat, cabbage, or cheese.

Blini are also served rolled with a variety of fillings: jam, cheese, onions, or even chocolate syrup. At any restaurant where you aren’t sure of any of the other dishes, blini are always a safe bet.

Energy Efficiency In The Kitchen

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Here are some of our own tips to help you save pennies and electricity!

  • Use a microwave instead of the oven as much as possible.
  • Use a pressure cooker, which saves loads of heat.
  • Simmer instead of boiling – less steam means less need to ventilate the room.
  • Cut food into smaller pieces in order to speed up cooking time.
  • Make one-pot meals, stir fries and stews save energy on cooking and washing up.
  • Always use the right size of pan for your cooking ring.
  • Take any shelves you don’t use out of the oven, and don’t keep opening the oven door while you’re cooking.
  • Use a kettle to boil water for cooking instead of boiling water on the hob.
  • Turn the oven off ten minutes before you serve the meal – it will retain plenty of heat for that time.
  • If you’re saving food in the fridge or freezer, let it cool down to room temperature first to save energy cooling it.
  • Cook plenty at once and freeze what you don’t need that day.
  • Cooking to Conserve

    Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

    We all make an effort to minimise our carbon footprint, be it re-using bags, flying less or turning off every plug known to man; however we use considerable amounts of energy in cooking alone without realising. With this in mind, our good friends at the University of Bath set us a challenge to create 3 meals all using limited/no energy. Initially we thought this would be quite difficult as everyone knows microwave food is for weirdos, but we were in for a bit of a surprise.

    As Rachel discovered, there are lots of ways in which we can save electricity in the kitchen without compromising the taste of our food. Chris cooked us up 3 fantastic dishes using a few simple ingredients that required little to no energy. I personally never knew you could create such amazing foods in the microwave as Chris managed to knock up. The Tagine tasted absolutely fantastic and barely used any energy, while Chris’s microwave Sponge Pudding was out of this world. I think my absolute favourite, however, was the salsa Chris made using a few simple ingredients, orange juice and absolutely no energy at all.

    The University of Bath is something of a beacon uni when it comes to leading the way on energy efficiency. The Switch-Off Challenge, which takes place every year, gives students a fantastic opportunity to take a good look at their energy usage and how they can minimise their carbon footprint. Cooking with care is one way we can look after the environment – check out the video and our top tips for making sure you keep your energy emissions down.

    Loughborough International Cook Off 2011

    Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

    This year, as always, the standard was very high – but the dish that wowed the judges the most was Japan’s – with a medley of 3 Japanese classics it wasn’t a surprise they did so well!

    If you want to try Chicken Katsu we’ve already got a handy video with Rob and Sadie which you can watch here!

    Another Japanese favourite is Teriyaki Chicken – very simple and very tasty, try it for yourself!

    • 3/4 lb chicken breasts or thighs
    • 2 tbsp sake
    • 4 tbsp soy sauce
    • 4 tbsp mirin
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • Grated ginger

    1. Mix ingredients in a bowl – marinate the chicken in the mixture for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
    2. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan. First, fry the skin side of the chicken on medium heat until the skin is browned. Turn the chicken over to fry the other side on low heat.
    3. Pour the sauce used to marinate chicken in the pan. Cover the pan and steam cook the chicken on low heat until done (about 20 mins).
    4. Remove the lid and simmer until the sauce becomes thick. Turn off the heat. Slice the chicken and serve on a plate.
    5. Pour thickened sauce over the teriyaki chicken. Garnish with grated ginger if you like!