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Posts tagged ‘Can Men Cook?’

More recipe ideas?

Well, far be it from me to be such a rampant self promotionalist, but you could do no worse than to purchase a copy of “Can Men Cook?” as a Valentine’s pressie!

Go to the web-site and order via the button…

The Advert!

The Advert!

Birthday Dinner – Royal Oak, Marlow

The Royal Oak, Marlow.  Quite a common name for a pub – I think maybe The Red Lion and The Kings Head beat it with  numbers – but not with food at this place!

Yes – been before (including for my 50th birthday).  Management has changed over the years, but the passion and style haven’t.

This is another place that does that small plate thing.  I’m all for that at lunch times – we do have the three plates between two quite often.  Thus was a blow out evening though.  7.45 to 11.  Always a bad sign when the drinkers order a taxi before they imbibe the first sip.  They were on a mission to make the most of the car keys being left at home.

Chris had his drinking head on – and an old-fashioned one at that.  “It’s traditional for the men to take the birthday boy to the bar for pre-prandials”.  I think the tradition had only just been invented, really! A swift half, then the food started.

We shared 3 starters and some home cooked breads with a whole roasted and smoked garlic globe.  Vampires were nowhere to be seen.  Liver pate, grilled haloumi and deep-fried whitebait gave us all a little taster.

3 had medium grilled Rib Eye steaks – all different (two with the garlic butter, one with fat chips).  I know it’s easy really, but it still impresses me when the waiters and chefs get it right.  One had slow cooked pork below (described with silence – and coo-ing noises: always a good sign), Jane had baked hake , and I had Duck Breast.  The meals are always a well thought out plate of complementary items.  You don’t really need more.  The pork came with polenta and tiny mixed veg, my duck with wilted spinach and potato cake, and the fish with real mashed spud.  All the sauces are well reduced too.  OK – none of this is rocket science, but the attention to getting the plate right and well thought out does make a big difference to the outcome.  And the enjoyment.

The Italian Merlot was excellent.  especially the fourth bottle.  As was the cheese board and the one pudding (for greedy birthday boy) – baked custard tart with poached rhubarb and clotted cream.  What’s not to love?  Brandies, coffees and taxis – the favoured finishing trio.


You can see why The Royal Oak has been awarded Buckinghamshire Dining Pub of the year by the Good Pub Guide for 2012.  Book now, or forever wonder.  01628 48 86 11.  Enjoy – we did (again).

Just Cook

I’m involved in a very exciting project – Just Cook!  It is designed to help people with Ostomies – people who have had to have surgery to remove some of their gut or even their bladder, and have a Colostomy ileostomy or urostomy fitted to take it’s place.

Naturally, there are a few rules that have to be adhered to if this happens.  But a lot of the time, people can carry on with their normal diet that they had before their operation.  Sometimes there are consequences – like green leafy veg and salads can cause a very fast and watery flow.  Sometimes people will live with this, or avoid that food.  Everyone is different , I am finding.

There are some good points – you have to eat more salt, because you excrete more than if you didn’t have a bag fitted!

I am having to learn a lot from my nutritionist friends and colleagues and the nurses who do a sterling job looking after and advising their patients.  The first session is in mid April, and I am really looking forward to it.  Yes, a learning curve for me too – but there are ways around most things.  Apart from everyone wanting vegetarian options (and I never know what gas mark to cook a vegetarian on!!) – so suddenly Tofu is top of my shopping list – and the need to have no tomato seeds in anything (so have discovered strained tomatoes – called pasata – in all supermarkets…but never noticed it before).

Fun exciting and potentially very helpful to the audience – what could be nicer?  Just

Cook – that’s what it’s all about.  Keep it simple, and do it from scratch. That’s our philosophy, and I know it will catch on! This is the set we are using for the event.

Can Men Cook?

Ok.  I’ve recently published “Can Men Cook?” on Amazon (link below)

Can Men Cook

One of the side effects from doing this had never entered my mind.  What happens now when you go to friends who have bought the book, and you are going to a dinner party at their house?  Now, I had thought of the obvious one – that we may get less invites because people might be intimidated.  Once they have read the book, they realise that is not the case – it really is a cook book to work from scratch if you want to, and not a chef style complication to be seen.  It is also designed to make you laugh at the same time.  One (woman) purchaser said “It reads like a cookery version of Top gear!”.  Fine with me!

But there is another side effect.  Part of the email invite to Pete and Pam’s was “And Pete’s going to do one of your recipes”.  Gee whiz – suddenly I feel the pressure!  What if it doesn’t work for him?  What if it tastes crap?  What if he ruined the kitchen and I am to blame?

When we arrived, I decided the only sensible option was to drink copiously.  Pam had done some brilliant grilled steaks (she is a fine cook, and her flapjacks are legendary!  Many a young football friend of their son, Tom, still remember them as a full time treat from 10 years before!).  Mixed veg, including asparagus, and lovely small potatoes, in their skins, finished off in hot oil in the oven,

So Pete decides to take the piss.  And said -“You know you said cheating good in your book – wel here it is!”  Tinned apricot, with a glace cherry on top, and condensed milk.  Silence.  Then huge guffaws of laughter.  (Those who know Pete Curtis will know that this is the hugest of guffaws).

What he actually made was a Lemon Syllabub.  And it was pretty damn good.  Buy the book if you want the recipe! There were a few disasters on the way.  Pete had followed instructions about covering the mixing bowl with a kitchen towel, but had used the mixer on fast and at an angle.  Pam followed the swearing, and saw Pete’s face completely covered in the mixture (and a lot of the kitchen was covered too).  So, out for more double cream, and finally success.

Cheese was great.  The fourth bottle probably a mistake.  Drinking and chatting with Jo-Jo, daughter who arrived home from college at 9, was great fun too.

And here’s the dish:  Splendid!  Well done Pete – and thanks to you both. Can men Cook?  Certainly!

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