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The best of November on Great British Chefs

The best of November on Great British Chefs

by Great British Chefs Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A monthly roundup of what we have been up to here at Great British Chefs during November, including recipes, features and brand new tips and techniques.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Kitchen confidential

After talking to us about his big screen antics with Bradley Cooper last month, November saw Marcus Wareing back where we like him – that's right, MasterChef: The Professionals returned! Flanking fellow expert Monica Galetti, Marcus Wareing has been eyeing up the efforts of hopeful chefs across the country (which often seem to fall more into the amateur category than professional . . .) and every step of the action has been captured by Danny Kingston, our very own 'seasoned viewer', in his astute episode catch ups.

We have published a number of spectacular new recipes this month, from lobster and lamb dishes by Galton Blackiston to exquisitely elegant plates from Nigel Haworth and Lisa Allen's tasting menu at Northcote – think tender Mutton loin, Guinea fowl with pickled mushroom and an Apple and elderflower fool with a refreshing sorrel granita.

More cookbooks were reviewed, too, with a handful of tempting recipes shared from each one. Camilla Stoddart deemed Sophie Thompson's My Family Kitchen a success, full of insight and ideas including an easy Laksa recipe and much-loved Banana bread. Katie Smith devoured NOPI by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully, a beautifully photographed book aimed at offering the more adventurous home cook the opportunity to recreate authentic Ottolenghi favourites, such as his spicy fish stew recipe.

Home and away

As lovers of autumnal produce we've been giddy with the produce November has brought us, both here in the UK and further afield. As the month began Sally Abé took us through the seasonal delights we could expect with her look at November's ingredients. Russell Bateman showcased one of these to perfection in his Jacob's ladder with Jerusalem artichokes dish, while Will Holland's Wood pigeon with black pudding beignets reminded us that game season is still going strong. Katie Smith has been discovering more about mushroom foraging in Britain while Nancy Harbord discovers the almost-but-not-quite lost art of truffle hunting in the UK. With St Andrew's Day falling on the last day of the month we turned to Graeme Taylor for a fitting Scottish celebration menu, warming us up for the upcoming Hogmanay and Burn's Night in the new year.

We've produced what we think is the definitive guide to protected food classifications in Europe (wading through EU legislation documents so you don't have to!), focusing in particular on the UK, Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. Speaking of the latter, Nancy Harbord has been over in Parma learning more about one of the region's most famous examples of protected produce, Parmigiano Reggiano, and meeting the skilled Italian housewives who prepare exquisite regional dishes on a daily basis. Giulia Scarpaleggia has guided us through the very best food markets to be found in Florence, while bon viveur Simon Wilder shares his tips for dining in Paris.

Hopping across an ocean or two, Leyla Kazim traveled to Vietnam to uncover some of the nation's lesser known noodle soups (perfect for when the winter flu does the rounds) while over in North America we took a closer look at Tabasco with Chris Osburn and ate our way vicariously round Toronto with Isaac Parham's culinary guide.

 
 

Cheers

November was a rather alcohol-heavy month here on Great British Chefs, as if preparing our minds (and livers) for the festivities of December. We took a closer look at the transformation of London's gin scene, and Ella Timney spoke to the ever-affable Valentine Warner about his new gin, Hepple, which is the result of an exciting collaboration between scientists, chefs and craft gin experts.

An interview with beer sommelier Ed Hughes from Sharp's brewery uncovered his thoughts on the nation's current 'beer renaissance', while Jacopo Mazzeo revealed that Italy's beer scene is equally as exciting.

Our Prosecco cocktail collection will be one worth consulting for the influx of winter parties, and our guides on how to make sloe gin and damson vodka hopefully kept a few cocktail cabinets stocked with some delicious autumnal spirits.

Nancy Harbord shared tips from the experts on how to pair drinks with cheddar. From sake to Champagne (by way of beer, cider and punchy Scotch whisky), this is worth swotting up on ahead of any festive cheeseboard preparations. If you'd rather start at the drink and work backwards – after all, we all have our own priorities – our quick guide to beer is worth revisiting, exploring the best dishes to match with stout, sours and several other varieties.

 
 

Tricks and techniques

From drink pairing to food combining, Bernard Lahousse took us through the science behind matching complementary ingredients and Jozef Youssef explored the significance of texture in the enjoyment of a finished dish.

November saw lots more how to cook guides being published, particularly focused on the culinary technique of sous vide cooking. Covering the very basics of using the bar and chamber sealers to create a vacuum along with more comprehensive instructions for cooking a variety of fish, fruit and vegetables sous vide, these were all included in our brand new sous vide cooking app – the perfect tool for the ambitious home cook. Tom Shingler also explored the history of sous vide and shared his tips on getting the best from this method in his essential guide to sous vide cooking.

Segueing seamlessly from water baths to winter spices, we published the first of many festive guides this month and shared advice on making Christmas pudding to coincide with Stir-up Sunday. Baking can be thirsty work, so luckily we followed this up with tips on making mulled wine and a delicious mulled cider recipe from Sally Abé.

 
 

Speaking of Christmas . . .

Yes, we mentioned Christmas, and while we might've succumbed before November was out (we're only human) we had held out as long as possible before getting caught up in the festive fervour – after all, there are some people who like to hang up their fairy lights as soon as the last lot of treat or treaters have sidled off their doorstep. When we fell we fell hard, though, dreaming up plans for the perfect Christmas menu from festive baking and turkey with all the trimmings to vegetarian Christmas dinner ideas. Resident culinary guru Sally Abé has been in the kitchen whipping up all sorts of of edible accoutrements, including mincemeat, Christmas biscuits and Danish apple pancakes.

Coming up in December

As we glide effortlessly into December (loosening our belts as we go) there's plenty to look forward to. Keep an eye on our Christmas page for new recipes and gift guides going up daily, along with more ideas for drinks and nibbles to perfect your menus this party season. We'll be launching some new chefs on both Great British Chefs and Great Italian Chefs – including Claude Bosi and Norbert Niederkofler – with recipes and restaurant details for each, sharing more travel features and keeping your cooking at its best with more how to cook guides and videos.

 
 
 

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