A number of years ago, finding myself on the road and staying in soulless hotels around the country I struck upon the idea of seeing what I could cook using the non-kitchen equipment in my room. I made some pretty good food, and I filmed some of my exploits and uploaded the footage to YouTube. The film I made went viral and has been watched to-date by some 129,096 people. All over the world. As a result I made a radio appearance on ‘The Splendid Table’ in the USA, I was asked (and rejected the advance) to have the footage broadcast on Channel 4 (it was only a clip on ‘Rude Tube’ and I thought it would ‘use up’ the idea for which I had other plans), and I did a ten minute live version of cooking with irons at Robin Ince’s ‘Nine Lessons & Carols for Godless People’ show last Christmas at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London.
Acting on the momentum from the success of the Christmas show I decided to develop the idea and to create a show to perform at the Brighton Fringe, and now I’ve exactly one week before the show’s first outing.
In the show I will (attempt to) cook three plates of food (a starter, a main course and a desert) using only the equipment you find in the average hotel room, namely a kettle, iron, trouser-press, hair dryer, mini-bar fridge and so on. If you want to come and see it, and I hope you do, you’ll find me at Upstairs at the Three and Ten in Steine Street at 9:30pm on the 12th, 14th and 15th of May. The tickets are selling quite well (although I hope we get a few more for the last night, so if you ARE thinking of coming and Thursday 15th May is free, come then!), and if you sit near the front you’ll get to taste some of the food. Food which is, I promise, really rather good. Considering the circumstances.
Here’s a link. Now click it and get yourself some tickets!
Oh and here’s the poster too, which was designed by my very talented son Jem (here’s his Instagram if you’re interested)…
And I thought it might be fun to present this week the recipes that I’m going to cook at the show, but then I realised that if you do come, the surprise will have been spoilt. So I will blog about the recipes, but you’ll have to wait until my next one. In the meantime, here’s something else.
Presented with four egg yolks this weekend (having made an egg-white omelette!) I decided to make some fresh pasta. Ordinarily I’d use 100g of flour to one whole egg, but made with mostly egg yolks you’ll end up with the most amazing rich bouncy and deep yellow pasta. And I did. And with a pasta-rolling machine it really is SO easy, and so worth it too – a completely different product to the dried stuff.
I did it with the simplest sauce. Little more than garlic, chilli, raw tomatoes and herbs it really is one of my favourites.
Fresh Pasta (enough for 3)
160g ‘OO’ flour *
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
a pinch of salt
Combine the ingredients together and knead until smooth. It’s hard work and it might seem to dry. If it does seem to dry, it probably isn’t, just give it time, but if it REALLY feels too dry then add a tiny splash of water, but barely any. Then wrap it in cling-film and put it in the fridge for 30 mins before rolling it out in your pasta machine.
Divide it into quarters and roll out each quarter on the thickest setting, folding and re-rolling about eight times. Don’t add any flour save for the smallest amount just to stop it sticking. Lots of flour worked into the dough will result in slimy pasta. Not nice.
Once you’ve done that and got four nice smooth rectangles you can dust them with a bit more flour (because you’re just going to roll them out now, not fold anything into them) and put them through the rollers, reducing the thickness until pretty thin. I don’t like it too thin myself, not for tagliatelle, but I’d go thinner if it was for filled pasta.
Finally, fold the pasta in half and in half again, and again (lightly, not pressing to hard) and cut it across into 1/4 inch pieces so that when they’re tossed and jostled between the fingers you have a nice pile of tagliatelle ribbons, which you can flour a bit more and leave to dry a little while you get on with the sauce.
Raw Tomato Sauce
lots of olive oil
4 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
1 red chilli (sliced)
12-14 cherry tomatoes (roughly chopped)
soft herbs, I used parsley and mint, (chopped)
First, get a big pan of salted water onto a rolling boil.
Then, pour a really generous few gluts (about 2 tablespoons, maybe more) of olive oil into a shallow pan, add the garlic and the chilli, and then put it onto a really low heat. It will take a while to heat through but watch it carefully as you don’t want to garlic to burn at all. When it starts to sizzle watch until the garlic just starts to change colour and then add the tomatoes and herbs, give it a quick mix and take it off the heat.
Put the pasta into the water, bring it back up to the boil and time it for 1 minute before draining it quickly and immediately adding it (along with the water that’s clung to it) to the sauce. Stir, add some black pepper, and then put it onto the plates. Shave over some parmesan, more pepper, maybe more herbs. That’s it. The whole thing takes about five minutes.
Now, go and book those tickets!
*if you live in Brighton the Arkwrights Deli on Beaconsfield Road is the best place for ’00’ pasta flour. It’s top quality stuff and is much cheaper than all the supermarkets.