More wild garlic action! The wild garlic I picked the other night got processed and stored in the

More wild garlic action! The wild garlic I picked the other night got processed and stored in the fridge in olive oil. First up, a wild garlic tart. A very short short-crust pastry (3 parts butter to 5 parts flour) is blind-baked and then lightly brushed with Dijon mustard (Sarah Raven’s idea). A filling of 2 eggs plus 2 more yolks, single cream, salt, pepper and wild garlic, with goats cheese crumbled on the top. Next up, wild garlic mash. Make your mash as usual and add the wild garlic. Thirdly, slow-braised lamb shoulder (add some water, wine or stock, onions and some kombu to a pot and cook at 150c for about 4 hours). Serve with wild garlic mash and top with wild garlic pesto. Yeah bwoy!

Samsung RF510 Mini-Review

Got a new laptop. Samsung RF510. 8Gb RAM, 640Gb HDD and dual-core 2.5Ghz i5. Good ports: 4 USB of which 2 are USB3, HDMI, card reader, DVD writer etc. so the specs are good. Screen is nice. But it feels flimsy, light-weight. I particularly don’t like the design of the power cord which goes in the left side rather than the back and thus gets pulled round, and also doesn’t lock tightly into position. It also has that nasty Mac separated keyboard design, plus the tilde key is in a totally retarded place, both will take a while to get used to. They wouldn’t take this thing into space. Still, not terrible for £650 (less than half my Thinkpad T60 cost me). First things I installed were:

  1. Chrome
  2. Microsoft Security Essentials (remember to remove Norton and all the other crapware)
  3. Thunderbird
  4. Cygwin (vim, subversion, wget)
  5. Picasa
  6. Office
  7. iTunes :(((

Update: 4th July 2011 – Well the USB3 ports have not worked properly since I got this laptop. I finally dug into the problem and found Samsung are distributing very old versions of the USB3 drivers -2 .0.4.0. I have upgraded to the latest version I could find which is ( and hope this fixed the problem.

Salmon Pastrami!

In response to some polite (and not so polite) requests for NON-MEAT options at Popstrami, we’ve put a couple new dishes on the menu for Sunday’s Popstrami.

Salmon pastrami filled bialy, with cream cheese, capers and red onion.

Smoked shiitake Reuben “Wise Sons”, with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing.

Holy moly!

I had to call the last dish “Wise Sons” because it was so wholesale ripped off from the Wise Sons Deli – thanks Leo & Evan (and sorry). I’m smoking the shiitakes myself and then will marinate them in soy sauce and mirin. OK, it’s not exactly kosher but you’d have to be meshuga to not eat brisket.

A bialy is just a low-rent bagel, in case you were wondering. Stuffed with poppy seeds and onions they are very delicious.

So, salmon pastrami, what the hell is that? It’s basically smoked salmon with a pastrami crust. But not any smoked salmon, a home-cured, home-smoked creation of my own.

The salmon is from Loch Fyne Oysters, who in turn get theirs from Wester Ross (they also use Loch Duart), an independent producer in Scotland. This is RSPCA Freedom Food-approved salmon so you don’t have to feel too guilty about it. They will post you a whole salmon and it will arrive in a cool box the next day. I did try and get some from Birmingham wholesale market but all that was available was Norweigan stuff. One trader when asked about Loch Duart fish said “that organic stuff tastes like f**king rubber”. But he’s clearly an idiot.

My reward for being slightly inept at filleting is to eat the offcuts sashimi style, beautifully fresh and tasting just of the sea (or Loch, or whatever).


I digress – salmon gets an overnight cure in a sea salt and molasses sugar cure (around 70:30 ratio).

Tomorrow it will get a pastrami-style crust (black pepper and coriander) and the cold-smoking of its little life.

See you Sunday yeah? It’s going to be busy.