Christmas Cooking in the Festive Season

The 4Cs of Christmas Cooking

When it comes to Christmas cooking, each person has their own family traditions.  Cooking a bird is a tradition in many countries with turkey and goose being favorites on the menu. Often preparations for Christmas Day catering start well in advance.  In Britain, the traditional day to make a Christmas Pudding is Stir-Up Sunday, the last Sunday before the Advent Season.  It’s a good opportunity to teach children how to weigh out ingredients and in many households, each person gets to stir the mix and make a wish. It would be easy to think of the 4Cs of Christmas cooking as: Christmas Cake Christmas Pudding Crackers Chilled Champagne Christmas is one of the peak times of the year for catering establishments and in homes as the Party Season gets into fully swing.  It’s a time of parties and celebrations with … Read more

3 Food Safety Tips for your Halloween Party

Halloween is observed in a number of countries on the 31 October. Otherwise known as All Saints’ Eve it marks part of the three-day observance of Hallowtide which runs from 31 October to 2 November annually. Modern Halloween celebrations include dressing up for costume parties, decorating with pumpkins carved into jack-o-lanterns, spooky decorations and games such as apple bobbing. It’s a good excuse for friends, family and community groups to hold a party.  Children visit homes in their playing ‘trick or treat’. If you are catering for a crowd, follow these food safety tips for your Halloween Party. Refrigerate If serving foods like salads or dips at your party, bear in mind that they are particularly at risk of spreading food-borne illness.  Don’t leave foods like this standing at room temperature for too long before being served.  It’s best to … Read more

Tom Cook - Executive Head Chef, Smith & Wollensky

Temperature Measurement, Travel and the Perfect Steak!

We talk to Smith & Wollensky’s Executive Head Chef, Tom Cook about temperature measurement, travel and the perfect steak. In June 2015 Smith & Wollensky opened their first restaurant outside of the US – located in the landmark Adelphi Building in London. Their steaks are USDA Prime, dry-aged and butchered on-site, making them the only steakhouse in London which offers a cut of meat that combines all three. Tom Cook has been a chef for over 22 years, working alongside some greats such as Gary Rhodes, Michel Roux Jr, Eric Chavot, Daniel Clifford and Tom Aikens. Cook is now Executive Head Chef at Smith & Wollensky. We caught up with Tom to talk about how important the right cooking temperature is when producing the perfect steak every time …     What’s your earliest food memory? I’d say cooking with my … Read more

Campylobacter and Handling Raw Chicken

Safe handling of chicken to minimize campylobacter contamination

Handling raw chicken requires attention to some basic food hygiene principals to reduce the chances of eating food contaminated with campylobacter. The Food Standards Agency quote that about four in five cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry, especially chicken and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 1.3 million illnesses in the United States each year caused by campylobacter. Campylobacter has a low infective dose, meaning it takes very few germs (fewer than 500) to make someone ill (source). That means a single drop of juice from raw chicken can have enough Campylobacter in it to infect someone. How to reduce the risk from campylobacter when handling chicken Clean Make sure your hands are washed and that the kitchen worksurfaces, cutting boards and utensils are thoroughly clean.  Immediately after being … Read more

Acrylamide in Food

Reduce Acrylamide by Going for Gold

Acrylamide is a chemical substance formed by a reaction between amino acids and sugars.  It is found in a wide variety of foods such as chips, roast potatoes, crisps, toast, cakes, biscuits, cereals and coffee. Concern regarding the carcinogenic potential of acrylamide has eventually led to new legislation that comes into force in April 2018.  Commission Regulation (EU) No 2017/2158 requires that food business operators apply the acrylamide mitigation measures set in the Annexes in this Regulation. When foods with a high starch content are fried, roasted or baked at high temperatures over 120°C acrylamide is formed. The recommendation for cooking food with a high starch level is to “go for gold” as generally, the darker the appearance of a starchy product, the higher the acrylamide level is found to be. It is advised that the temperature of cooking oil … Read more

Plaited White Loaf Recipe

Plaited White Loaf Recipe for Real Bread Week 2018

Now in its 10th year, Real Bread Week runs from 24 February to 4 March 2018 and is the international celebration of supporting your local, independent Real Bread bakery and baking your own bread. One of the two main aims of Real Bread Week has always been to encourage more people to bake additive-free loaves at home and here at Comark Instruments, our amateur bakers have joined in with a plaited white loaf. There can’t be a much better smell than that of freshly baked bread. Baking bread at home is easy if you are patient.  It requires ten minutes or so to mix and knead the dough then an hour or two between stages to prove the bread and allow it to rise. Why not follow these instructions and make a loaf of your own? Recipe for plaited white … Read more