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Mic's Chilli

Mic’s Chilli: Inferno Heaven

I was introduced to Mic’s Chilli last year but only got around to picking up my first bottle last night. I’m not surprised in any way that it says it’s made in a secret dungeon in Wicklow.

This will bring the fire you want in your food.

I may have overdosed slightly, using it as a liberal dip with some fresh grilled chicken last night but my God is it good. Continue Reading

Canon PowerShot SX700

Review: Canon PowerShot SX700 HS (Wi-Fi)

Earlier this year, Canon pushed out the new PowerShot SX700 HS, a full-featured light and compact digital camera that manages to squeeze in a long lens for up to 30x zoom, a 60fps full HD video mode and integrated Wi-Fi for remote firing and browsing.

The suggested retail price for the SX700 is around the €399 which puts it just shy of the entry-level dSLR range. As it happens,you could pick up a Canon EOS 1100D with a basic 18-55mm lens for around the €320, but then you’d need to be comfortable in dealing with the bulk of a dSLR camera. Continue Reading

Vegetable Tempura

Japanese Week Part 1: Vegetable Tempura

It started as an offer to cook for a week, which of course I took as a challenge, relieving Mrs. Any Given Food of kitchen duties for a few days. We’ve been on a fine roll of home cooking for the past few weeks that have largely been driven by herself that I thought it right not to just sit back and take advantage.

Having tried a few dishes from Japanese Soul Cooking recently, I suggested I’d cook Japanese dishes for a week, not paying any attention to the calendar until it got to Sunday evening gone.

The requirements are simple – the dishes need to be Japanese in nature, I’ve got to be able to source the ingredients locally and I’ve got to produce lunch and dinner until Friday, or at the very least, dinner. Having just required a small pro fryer for the kitchen, I decided that Monday’s dinner should be vegetable tempura.

What Is Vegetable Tempura?

To put the Irish slant on it, if you were to walk into a chipper, it would be like asking for battered vegetables. There’s a slight difference in making the tempura batter to making regular batter in that

  1. You keep the wet (water and eggs) and dry (plain flour) parts of your batter separate until you’re ready to fry
  2. You keep the wet part of your batter extra cold by adding ice cubes to keep the temperature down
Sliced Vegetables

Sliced Vegetables

Parsnip, carrot, red peppers, courgette, mushrooms, onions and potato were all sliced in a variety of lengths, angles and bite-size pieces, dredged through flour, dipped into the tempura batter and fried in batches for 2-3 minutes at a time. The result is a lovely light golden batter with crunchy vegetable slice, served up all the better with some soy sauce for dipping.

Vegetable Tempura
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
For the batter
  1. 450ml cold water
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 250g plain flour
For the vegetables
  1. Selection of your favourite vegetables (recommended 450g), sliced at angles. I opted for carrot, parsnip, baby potato, red pepper, mushroom (just stalk removed), courgette (cut lengthways)
  2. Approx 2L vegetable oil (in pan or fryer)
  3. 2 heaped tablespoons of flour in a separate bowl or plate
Heating your oil
  1. Heat your in a pan or a fryer up to 182 degrees celcius, optimal temperature for tempura cooking. Some fryers may regulate heat by automating the thermostat; if cooking in a deep pan, keep a sugar thermometer handy as you may need to regulate heat manually.
For the vegetables
  1. While your oil is heating, slice and prepare your vegetables. Use kitchen paper to wipe or pad down any extra liquid or moisture from your vegetable selection (you want that batter to stick).
For the batter
  1. Pour cold water into a mixing bowl, add 2 eggs and beat
  2. Add 3-4 ice cubes to keep cool
  3. In a separate bowl place your 250g plain flour
  4. Only when you are ready to start frying, you add water & eggs to your flour, mixing loosely with chopsticks for around 30 seconds or so. You're not looking for a fine batter, instead going for a lumpy style.
Putting it all together
  1. Coat your sliced vegetables in the extra flour, dip into the batter and add to the pan / fryer, leaving for 2-3 minutes max.
  2. Remove vegetables from pan / fryer and place on a rack or kitchen paper to drain off excess oil, and serve.
Notes
  1. You could, just before frying, top up your vegetable oil with a little sesame oil just before frying for that extra flavour.
  2. Also, the more you put in the pan / fryer at one time, the more you will reduce the temperature of your oil. To counter this, just cook them off in small batches, either serving straight away or preserve the heat in an oven.
Adapted from Japanese Soul Cooking
Any Given Food http://anygivenfood.com/

The Verdict

The illusion of something healthy and something dirty all at the one time which could satisfy one’s cravings for a takeaway. By itself, a vegetable tempura dish is lovely, but I’d say it’s a must to add a dipping sauce of some description, even if it’s just a pouring of soy sauce to really bring out the flavours.

Got your own tips or tricks on cooking vegetable tempura? Let me know below or tweet @anygivenfood with your own suggestions.

This is part one of a five part planned blog series on cooking Japanese dishes for the week.

Blessed Are The Cheesemakers

Reminder: Meet The Cheesemakers

A wee reminder that the second Biabeag: Meet The Makers event, this time with a focus on cheese, takes place this coming Saturday from 6pm at Highbank Orchards in Kilkenny. Tickets, available online in advance are only a fiver and if the first event was anything to go by, this should be a cracker.*

On the night you’ll hear from Kilkenny’s Helen Finnegan of Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese along with Siobhan Ni Ghairbhith of St. Tola, who produces an Irish Organic Goat Cheese in Co. Clare. They’ll be joined by Tom Burgess of Coolattin Cheddar, Tom producing a raw milk cheddar in Co. Wicklow.

Stories, samples and real artisan insights await. Book here and have tickets sent to your phone.

*cheese, crackers, get it? I’m here all week…

Foodspotting in March 2014

Foodspotting: Dishes Spotted In March

March was a relatively Kilkenny-focused month for food visits though the bulk cooking to took off at the start of the month meant less of trips out for lunch and dinner. You can follow me on my Foodspotting adventures over here.

Here’s a look at some of the dishes spotted locally last month.

Nut Loaf at Chapter House Tea Rooms

Nut Loaf at Chapter House Tea Rooms

There was the nutloaf at the Chapter House Tea Rooms; a really tasty (and gluten free) lunch option. Continue Reading

Sunday Reads: 30 March 2014

Sunday Reads: 30 March 2014

March has all but come and gone, we’re a quarter the way through the year, and summer time (at least in terms of how the clocks go anyway) has officially started.

Late in the day and all as it is – let’s just call this the late edition – here’s a selection of reads you may have missed this past week from other Irish and international food bloggers and writers.

Got something to share? Drop me a line or introduce yourself via email by popping a note to hello@anygivenfood.com. You can also find more stories during the week over at facebook.com/anygivenfood or follow @anygivenfood on Twitter.

Katy Perry popchips

Competition: Win a month’s supply of popchips

Yes, that is Katy Perry holding a bag of popchips. While she didn’t arrive with the box that was sent my way last week, six absolutely tasty bags of popchips did and they weren’t long in lasting.

Relative newcomers to the Irish market, popchips (an American crisp) are neither fried or baked, instead popped with heat and pressure to form a crisp. For the health conscious amongst you, they’ve got a pledge which reads ‘no fake colours, no fake flavours, no preservatives, no fluorescent orange fingertips, and no wiping your greasy chip hand on your jeans’. Continue Reading

Japanese Soul Cooking

Book Review: Japanese Soul Cooking

Japanese Soul Cooking

Japanese Soul Cooking

Of all the things I enjoy getting in the post, I love books the most. Food will come and go, but something I’ve inherited from generations before me is that books are forever. A few weeks ago, Japanese Soul Cooking landed on my desk, the first Japanese-specific cookbook I’ve got on the shelf. It also gave me a fine excuse to visit Asia Market in Dublin midweek and stock up on ingredients. Continue Reading

Sunday Reads 23 March

Any Given Food’s Sunday Reads: 23 March 2014

The Sunday morning coffee has been had, there’s a few miles done on the bike, the sun is out splitting the stones (for the moment anyway) and breakfast is working away on the oven is done and dusted. It also means there’s another week over and a new one about to begin. If you’re looking for something to read over your own Sunday breakfast, get the kettle on and take in these ten posts from other Irish and international food bloggers with a smattering of food media in the mix.

Got your own story to share? Drop me an email to say hello – ken@anygivenfood.com or say ‘hi’ on Twitter over at @anygivenfood.

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Sushi, from a single grain of rice

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Hironori Ikeno takes pleasure in creating some of the world’s smallest sushi servings from his restaurant in the old Tokyo district of Nohachi. Each piece seemingly packs quite a distinct taste.

Hit play on the video link above or check it out here.