Archive | June, 2015

Some Kitchen Inspiration

Some Kitchen Inspiration

Posted on 24 June 2015 by Chris Ford

Last week we were invited to a day showcasing the Unilever family of products, now while that may not sound super exciting I assure you if you like your food like I do it was amazing!

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Marco Pierre White

Unilever have partnered with different restaurants and chefs to come up with recipes to showcase their products in the chefs own unique style, we had a blast trying all the food and discovering the immense range of for example Teas PG Tips do, we counted seven different fruit or herbal teas on offer! A particular favourite of mine currently is the Aromatic Spices and Mint Tea, which I really find relaxing after a hard day.

The best part of the day though was trying the food, there were several cooking demonstrations on offer during the day but I thought I would share the recipes from two of our favorites

Campervan Cuisine – recipe from Lucy Bradley of Anglesey

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Honey-glazed peachy salad with vinaigrette
Serves : 4
Prep Time : 10 Mins
Cooking Time: 10 Mins
Ingredients :
1 tbsp Maille Honey Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Juice of ½ Lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 ripe peaches or nectarines, pitted and sliced
2 tsp clear honey
1x 75g bag of watercress
2 tsp olive oil
250g pack of halloumi cheese, thinly sliced
100g walnut halves

Method:
1. To make the vinaigrette dressing, mix together the Maille Honey Dijon mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil in a jug. Season with a little salt and pepper.
2. Put the peach or nectarine slices into a bowl and add 2 teaspoons of honey. Mix together.
3. Pre- heat a chargrill pan or barbecue. Griddle the peaches or nectarines or cook on the barbecue for 2-3 minutes.
4. Share the watercress between 4 serving plates or bowls. Arrange the peaches or nectarines on top.
5. Brush the halloumi with olive oil, then char-grill or barbecue for about 1 minute per side. Alternatively heat the oilive oil in a large frying pan and fry halloumi until golden on each side.
6. Add the halloumi to the salads, sprinkle with the walnuts and drizzle with the vinaigrette dressing and serve.
Lucy Says : “You might not think BBQ peaches work well in a summer salad, but these are my favourite. They are sweet,rich and delious and I gurantee the children will love them. Alongside salty BBQ haloumi, this is a gorgeous and simple combination”
TIP: This salad works really well served with the PG Tips Juicy Red Berries Tea.

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Marco Pierre White -Autumnal Chicken Casserole

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I stood a few feet away from Marco watching him cook this which was an amazing experience but also conveyed to me how simple and quick the dish was to prepare

Serves : 4
PreparationTime : 5 Mins
Cooking Time: 25 Minutes
Ingredients:
60g chicken breast (diced)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
½ tsp mace
Pinch of nutmeg
50ml madeira wine (optional)
30g clarified butter
25g flour
550ml water
1 Knorr Chicken Stock Pot
200g wild mushrooms
50ml double cream
10g micro parsley

Method:

1. Marinade the chicken in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
2. Heat a large pan, add the chicken, fry for 5 minutes to colour add the Madeira wine and reduce. Take the chicken out and reserve.
3. Add the butter and flour to the pan to make a roux, stirring the ingredients together and cooking for a further 2 minutes.
4. Gradually add the cold water whisking to make a smooth sauce. Once all the water is added, add the Knorr stock pot and add chicken back into the sauce, and simmer for 5-10mintues until the chicken ia cooker and tender.
5. Meanwhile drizzle the mushrooms with the rest of the oil, season and grill until cooked.
6. Finish the chicken with cream, check the seasoning, add mushrooms and top with micro parsley.

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One thing I found out also worth mentioning is if you go to www.knorr.co.uk there are a tonne of free easy to follow recipes from Marco using the Knorr range, also if you go on you tube there are many Knorr videos featuring Marco cooking those dishes.

 

 

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American Heist – Behind the Scenes

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American Heist – Behind the Scenes

Posted on 24 June 2015 by Chris Ford

Set in New Orleans, Louisiana, AMERICAN HEIST follows the build-up to a bank robbery that transforms from ‘a little business’ to what would become one of the most dramatic and bloody attacks in American History.

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Staring Star War’s Hayden Christensen American Heist at first glace seems like your typical bank robbery movie but I found it had a lot more to it that than, we find Hayden’s character trying to go on the straight path but being forced to take part in the heist which adds a really interesting element to the plot.

We have been lucky enough to been given this behind the scenes clip with Hayden himself talking about the role

American Heist is  available now on demand on all major platforms

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BIRRA MORETTI GRAN TOUR Is Back!

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BIRRA MORETTI GRAN TOUR Is Back!

Posted on 23 June 2015 by Chris Ford

Italian food just got even more exciting as the Birra Moretti Gran Tour returns for a second summer of great food, beer and company. You may remember we wrote about the Gran Tour last year (Here) and had a total blast so everyone here in the office is very excited its coming back again.

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Kicking off at the Summerhall in Edinburgh on the 9th July, the tour will then move to London and end in Leeds in August.
Arancina, Paste E Basta, Cooking Cooks, The Arencini Bros and Gelupo will be returning as well as 12 new vendors serving specialty cuisine from all over Italy, alongside live music and the opportunity to enjoy Birra Moretti.
Each vendor will showcase authentic cooking methods and share signature regional dishes they are representing, such as a pizza from Naples, arancini balls from Sicily and Panino Teca with famous truffles from Norcia, plus a host of others.

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Advanced tickets are priced at £10 plus a £1 booking fee. This allows includes two Birra Moretti, two dishes from any vendor on-site and a gelato. Tickets can be booked at www.designmynight.com.

Moretti Gran Tour
Edinburgh Summer Hall
9th July – 12th July
London Space Studios in Hackney
15th July – 19th July
Leeds Town Hall
30th July – 2nd August

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Acer Live Blog Weekend in Dublin

Acer Live Blog Weekend in Dublin

Posted on 19 June 2015 by Chris Ford

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This weekend Acer have invited a bunch of bloggers including me to Dublin for a hands on experience using some of their tech in real life scenarios with some challenges set  throughout the weekend designed to show off what their devices have to offer, in fact Im currently sitting in my hotel room in Dublin typing this on the Acer Aspire Switch 10E.

Heres my first look video on the Acer Aspire Switch 10E

Day 1

We spent the evening in Dublins Cooks Academy learning how to make Sundried tomato stuffed chicken at potato’s, I’m shocked how well it turned out! although the expert guidance from the Cooks Academy staff made things very easy to follow.

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Day 2

 

As I write this again on the Aspire Switch 10E I realise what a handy device it is, if you are traveling like me its ideal, the versatility of a fully functioning Windows computer with the portability and ease of use of a tablet,  in fact while in bed this morning I used the Switch in tablet mode to catch up on the latest news with ease using the touch screen.

This morning we went to the Na Fianna GAA Club in Dublin to experience a bit of Irish culture, first we learnt to play the traditional Irish drum, then we went onto the sports field to try our hand at some Irish sports.

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Our Bodhran teacher sang us a song while playing the drum, this was filmed on the Acer Liquid Jade Z

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Is Tweed Back?

Is Tweed Back?

Posted on 16 June 2015 by Chris Ford

unnamedTweed seems to be having something of a resurgance of late with the likes of  Model David Gandy and rapper Tinie Tempah favouring the fabric. In fact Mr Tempah ( or do we call him Tinie?)  has  paired up with Patrick Grant for the design of his London Collections: Men outfit.

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“It looks urban, it’s got a hint of the double yellow line about it, and the grey of the London skyline on a dreary day.” Says Patrick Grant.

This shows tweeds versatility and ability to be adapted to suit any style.

So Tweed is shaking off its stuffy image? certainly seems so!

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If you think like Tinie can pull off the Tweed look I suggest popping over to A.Hume who have a wide range of lightweight tweeds perfect for the summer season.

 

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Michelin-starred pop-up opens in London

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Michelin-starred pop-up opens in London

Posted on 16 June 2015 by Chris Ford

This summer,  S.Pellegrino is partnering with two Michelin Starred Chefs – Theo Randall of Theo Randall at The Intercontinental and Phil Howard of The Square – bringing a taste of Italy to the banks of the River Thames in an exclusive, fine dining pop-up experience where you can truly Live in Italian, Live from London.

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S.Pellegrino will bring a culinary fusion of Italy-meets-Britain to the capital as Theo and Phil each create a bespoke three-course menu for the Live In Italian, Live from London restaurant.  Served across two separate evenings in July, each menu will bring the legendary art and finesse of Italian cuisine to life, using ingredients associated with the British Isles that are characteristic of traditional British fare.

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Following a sparkling reception, paying guests will feast their eyes on culinary masters Phil and Theo as they give live demonstrations of each sumptuous course within an intimate candlelit setting.  Guests will be encouraged to ask cooking questions whilst they are treated to a three-course meal, perfectly paired with fine Italian wines.

 

Double Michelin-starred chef and owner of renowned fine dining establishment The Square, Phil Howard, will host the first of two evening events on Friday 3rd July, before award winning Italian chef Theo Randall, of Theo Randall at the Intercontinental, takes over on Saturday 4th July.

 

For those looking for a more casual fine dining experience, up and coming British Chef Chris Denney, will headline a lunchtime service across both days. Denney has worked in Michelin restaurants across the globe, and with some of the world’s greatest chefs; he is currently Head Chef of contemporary Italian restaurant, Four to Eight, in Covent Garden.  Denney will be creating an exclusive lunchtime menu of Italian style tapas fused with British ingredients, which guests can enjoy within a convivial Italian designed alfresco space.

 

What’s more, Denney will also take to the stage to show off his creations, demonstrating alongside the S.Pellegrino UK & Ireland Young Chef of the Year 2015 winner, Mark Moriarty, as well as runner-up Jamie Coleman.

 

Tickets to the evening events can be purchased from www.billetto.co.uk/live-in-italian-live-from-london-phil-howard (Friday 3rd July service) or www.billetto.co.uk/live-in-italian-live-from-london-theo-randall (Saturday 4th July service) for £60 per person and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

 

Daytime events require no bookings, with a full lunch place costing £7 per person, including a bottle of either S.Pellegrino 50 ccl PET sparkling mineral water, Acqua Panna 50cl PET or Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverage can, and will be served from 12pm each day.

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Where to start when brewing your own beer

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Where to start when brewing your own beer

Posted on 15 June 2015 by Chris Ford

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Today we have the pleasure of  featuring a guest post by Andy Hamilton, author of ‘Brewing Britain’ and winner of the Gourmand International Cookbook Award and Beer Reviews ‘Golden Pint’

Where to start when brewing your own beer

Photo courtesy Martin Langford @Flickr

For beginners, brewing your own beer can seem akin to building your own house or designing a space craft. In truth, though, making beer can be ridiculously easy and you can’t beat the feeling of sitting back after (or during) work with a pint of your own hand-crafted beer.
The easiest way to make beer for the first time is to use a kit, but with so many on the market choosing the right one can be a minefield. I’d suggest approaching it in the same way most of us approach anything these days, by reading some online reviews before you buy. Web forums such as jimsbeerkit.co.uk and thehomebrewforum.co.uk are good places to start. My personal favourites include most of the range by Festival, Coopers Stout and Heart of England Black Country Mild. Alternatively, and particularly if you’re a bit of a hop head, you might want to check out the range of kits from BrewDog. Even gluten free beer lovers are catered for with Gone with the Wheat kits, although I can’t say I’ve tried enough of these to give an opinion on their quality.
You will also need a bit of kit from your local homebrew shop. These tend to be better than online stores as the equipment often comes with heaps of advice… even if you didn’t ask for it.

You may already have some of the equipment in your well-stocked kitchen but just in case, here is a check list.

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Saucepan or kettle
Fermentation vessel (aka brew bucket or FV)
Hydrometer (optional but useful)
Measuring jug
Sanitizer
Thermometer
Bottles or keg
Crown caps and capper (if using bottle)
Large spoon
Airlock
Measuring spoons
A bottling bucket is also advisable

Now you are ready to get a brew on. Just follow these steps and you’ll be supping your own beer in a few weeks! Most kits will come with one or two cans of malt extract and below is a step by step guide to making these kits.

1. Pour boiling water into a cup, allow it to cool to below 35°C (95°F), then sprinkle in the yeast.

2. Remove the label from the can(s) and submerge them in warm (not boiling) water for 10 minutes. This softens the sticky extract, making it easier to pour.

3. Sanitize your fermentation vessel.

4. Boil 3.5 litres (6 pints) of water and open the can(s).

5. Pour the extract straight into the fermentation vessel.

6. Pour the boiling water over the extract.

7. If a recipe calls for sugar it is an excellent idea to use an equal amount spray malt/ dried malt extract instead as this will add body to your beer.

8. Top up to 19 litres (33½ pints). Adding less water will make for a fuller-bodied beer – it’s up to you if you wish to experiment here.

9. Take a hydrometer reading (ensuring that your hydrometer has been sterilized) and make a note of it. (If you don’t have a hydrometer don’t worry too much, but they are pretty cheap.) Then wait until your beer has cooled down to 19°C–22°C (66.2–72°F) and pitch (add) the yeast.

10. Cover with the lid, add a nip of vodka to the airlock and leave to ferment in a room that keeps a steady temperature of around 19–22°C (66.2–72°F) for an Ale which is around room temp and 7–13°C (45–55°F) for Lager for a week to ten days which is the temp of a larder or cold store.

11. After a week keep checking your hydrometer. For a normal Ale, if it reads around 1.010 (+/- .004) for three days then your beer should be done. It could still be worth moving it to a slightly warmer place for a day, especially during our many colder months, just to see if any extra fermentation occurs. A general rule is that consecutive readings indicate that the beer is has fermented and is now ready for bottling,.

12. For a standard 23-litre (40-pint) kit, boil 500ml (17 fl. oz) of water and stir in 100g (3½oz) of sugar until it has fully dissolved. The amount of priming sugar needed differs according to the type of beer and the temperature, but to save getting too technical at this point 100g (3½oz) should keep you explosion-free and give you just the right amount.

13. Let the sugar and water solution cool down to 21°C (70°F), then pour it into your fermentation vessel.

14. Siphon the beer from your fermentation vessel into bottles (or better still, into a bottling bucket first and then into bottles). Ensure that you don’t disturb the sediment (trub) at the bottom of the vessel.

15. Seal the bottles.

16. Leave for at least two weeks – or even longer if you can manage it. Beers with a high ABV will need up to six weeks.

 

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Andy Hamilton’s book ‘Brewing Britian – A Quest for the perfect pint and how to make it’ is published on the 18th June and to celebrate the release we have three copies to give away, to win a copy either email us at

enterthecomp@gmail.com  or tweet us at @GentlemensGoods  letting us know your favourite British beer.

Three of our favourite answers will be drawn on June 30th and notified of their win, good luck!

or buy direct from Amazon here

For more info on Andy and his beer based insights including some excellent videos head over to his website :

www.theotherandyhamilton.com

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A Unique Father’s Day gift from Jack Daniels

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A Unique Father’s Day gift from Jack Daniels

Posted on 11 June 2015 by Chris Ford

Last year I had the chance to try all the varieties of Jack Daniels side by side while the differences were explained by Jack Daniels master distiller Jeff Arnett, through that amazing experience I came to the conclusion that Jack Daniels Single Barrel was my Jack of choice.

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With that in mind if you are thinking of buoying your dad a drop of whiskey for fathers day why not go for Jack Daniels Single barrel? Well its amazing but there is another reason, each bottle of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel can be engraved with a personalised message when purchased from The Whisky Shop, making it all the more special to the father receiving it. What’s more, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel is also offering complimentary tickets to in-store masterclasses this July in the London Piccadilly and Manchester stores, perfect to share with your father to explore the craft of American whiskey together.

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A little more about Jack Daniels Single Barrel…..

Not just any Jack Daniel’s barrel is granted the status of Single Barrel. Only one out of every 100 barrels is set aside by the Jack Daniel’s Master Tasting Panel to mature in the highest reaches of its barrelhouses. These areas of the barrelhouses present dramatic temperature changes, creating a truly unique whiskey.

This one-of-a-kind whiskey has a rich, robust flavour, accompanied with notes of toasted oak, vanilla and caramel. Each bottle is hand-bottled and labelled with a unique rick number and bottling date. With no two barrels the same combined with a personalised engraved bottle Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel to me is the perfect gift for Father’s Day.

Share this special whiskey on Father’s Day and gift a truly unique experience. Tickets can be claimed following purchase of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel at The Whisky Shop online, priced £55.00

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Holiday Like a Hero

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Holiday Like a Hero

Posted on 10 June 2015 by Chris Ford

Have you ever dreamed of experiencing life as a superhero without all the hassle of having to fight bad guys? Wouldn’t it be great to wield great power so long as you didn’t have to contend with great responsibility?

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While great power may still be hard to come by, you do now at least have the chance to live like a superhero, albeit without the superhuman abilities. For a limited time only, the folks over at Ibiza Summer Villas are offering holidaymakers the opportunity to book a stay in the Iron Man Mansion, located atop the cliffs of Es Vedrà.

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Boasting panoramic sea-views, an infinity pool and a dedicated helipad, the property can only be reached by air or by sea, meaning it might not be the most convenient option if you intend on checking out the famous nightspots of San Antonio and Playa d’en Bossa. That being said, the villa is fully equipped with all mod cons, and the letting company is happy to arrange for private catering to be delivered straight to your door. On top of that, if you’re staying in the home of a superhero, why would you ever be inclined to leave?

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As you might expect, none of this comes cheap. Prices are not quoted on the Ibiza Summer Villas website, and you have to submit an email enquiry in order to receive additional information about the property. On the other hand, if you can find a group of like-minded friends who are willing to split the cost, the short-term expense may be worth the investment in exchange for the long-term bragging rights.

For more information and a wider selection of photographs, head over to the Ibiza Summer Villas website.

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Martin Kemp talks to us about Age of Kill

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Martin Kemp talks to us about Age of Kill

Posted on 08 June 2015 by Chris Ford

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Recently I had the opportunity to talk to Martin Kemp about his latest project Age of Kill.
In theatres from Friday, the action-packed film sees Martin Kemp play disgraced special ops sniper Sam Blake who is plunged into a world of darkness when his daughter (Dani Dyer) is taken hostage by a mysterious terrorist. Out of options and with no one to turn to, Blake is forced to carry out their evil bidding and must assassinate six seemingly random targets within six hours on the streets of London.

Speaking to Martin, it was clear that he’s passionate about the role, and we also had the chance to touch on his musical career and what it’s like being back on stage with Spandau Ballet. Here are some snippets I enjoyed.

 

On playing a leading role in a action film
“I was surprised as it’s an action film how much emotion you can take into that”

On handling guns on set
“It’s an interesting thing when the guns come out on a film set, and all the men kinda bristle with testosterone saying I’ll have the Berretta! It’s a funny thing watching that happen”

On being back on stage again with Spandau Ballet
“In the 80s when we played the shows it was a celebration of rock n roll, we would drink till we dropped. Now we go on stage the night is about the show much more and doing your job”

And finally here’s the video of my interview. Thanks to Martin Kemp for taking the time to speak to us and I hope you all enjoy the interview

AGE OF KILL will be released in cinemas and Digital/VOD on 12th June 2015
and on DVD/Blu-ray on 15th June 2015.

Follow Age of Kill on social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ageofkill @AgeofKill
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Age-of-Kill/288794954607729

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