something/anything to keep your interest

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Garlic Naan

As you may recall I said in an earlier post that I was going to try something new each week in 2012 and whilst garlic naan is not a new concept for me I had never made them myself before so I thought I’d give them a shot to go with a really simple chicken curry I knocked up.

Ingredients:

Self raising flour                                                                                                           Warm water                                                                                                               Minced garlic                                                                                                             Spices, I used turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika and fennel seeds but use whatever you feel like.                                                                                                                                Eggy wash (I’d skip this next time)                                                                                 Grated cheddar                                                                                                               Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

I’ll begin this method by saying that I’ll describe what I did and then what I’d do differently next time as they were not perfect.

I’m afraid there are no measurements as I did this all by guess-work and feel.

Into a mixing bowl, I added a couple of handfuls of self-raising flour, minced garlic, a teaspoon each of ground turmeric and cumin and mixed with enough warm water to form a dough that wasn’t too sticky. Next time I think I’d also add half a teaspoon of baking powder.

I split this dough into two and roughly formed naan shapes on a baking tray, I sprinkled the top with fennel seeds, coarse salt and black pepper, I then added the eggy wash which next time I’ll be leaving off and a decorative sprinkling of smoked paprika and baked in a 200°C or 400°F preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Next time I’ll be cranking the heat much higher and cooking for less time.

pre-baking

The came out looking good but being a little dense and the eggy wash had formed a crust which I topped with a little grated cheddar for decadence sake.

The curry recipe might make up a later post if I ever get around to it

Please let me know how you get on if you give this one a try.

 
TTFN
 
Mr Bunny Chow
 

Disaster Averted flirtations with beer

A slight break from the norm for me today but I wanted to talk about a different culinary experience.

Mrs Bunny Chow very kindly bought beer tasting tickets for my mate Chuckles and I as a Christmas present.

The event was run by Tasty Beer and scheduled to take place in a central london pub (The Distillers, Smithfield) Chuckles and I are both fairly hopeless when it comes to finding our war around central London and after abandoning the directions for a bus given to us by The Kiwi we caught a rat infested sewer train or tube from London Bridge to Moorgate and followed the directions of our respective smartphones, my iPhone having gotten us mildly lost we tried to use the prettier map on Chuckles Android phone which struggled with GPS signal amongst the tall buildings but once they were both locked on they both succeeded in getting us too our destination. Very thirsty and excited we were too.

The pub was packed to the rafters but we quickly located the ladies running the event which appeared to be running alongside a wine tasting they were also running. We made ourselves obvious and in the way but even so it took over twenty minutes for us to be greeted hand over our vouchers and be told to find a seat anywhere.

We were given a sheet with tasting notes and a list of the beers we were to be tasting and managed to find a table on the ground floor close to the section the event was supposed to be being run from. After about fifteen minutes Chuckles and I had both disseminated the tasting notes and were very very thirsty but just in the nick of time we had two glasses plonked in front of us with taster size servings sloshed into the glasses. The pouring was shocking, there was more than twice as much head as there was beer but none the less the beer was excellent, Adnams Ghost Ship it was fresh, zingy, easy drinking, light and lovely. Beer one down but thirst unquenched.

Thirty five minutes later beer two (Fraoch a Heather Ale from Scotland) arrived this time it was slopped into the same unrinsed glass as we’d used previously, again with massive head to beer ratio. By this stage both Chuckles and I were getting a little antsy with the way things were being run and wondering why we hadn’t been provided with any snacks or any tutelage on the beers as advertised.

Forty minutes then passed before we managed to snag the attention of a different member of event staff from the one who’d been failing to look after us thus far. She promised us beer three and snacks. She then disappeared for a further forty minutes or so. By this stage we’d had enough. Chuckles had tried to contact Tasty Beer through their website and discovered that they were registered as private non trading individuals with no contact information other than the name of the business owner.

We again snagged event lady number two and complained heavily about the waiting times, the lack of contact info on their site, the quality of the beer pouring, whether they were running a scam etc. etc. etc. We established that the lady we had snagged was indeed the business owner and she was obviously not happy. She was distressed and obviously not prepared to deal with our complaint, she did apologise half heartedly and suggest that we take the complaint up on Monday as there was little we could do. She also explained that she could not offer us (Mrs BC) a refund and that she’d have to take that request up with the daily deals site she’d purchased our tickets from.

We left to drown our sorrows elsewhere fully expecting that to be the end of the story with no follow-up from tasty beer.

Shock horror come Monday morning Tasty Beer have been in touch, and they could not have been more apologetic or thorough in their response.

I have reproduced it below.

Domain names
I will need to check as I gave instructions to an admin helper to register various domain names for me. If there is an error, I will ensure it is rectified this week.

Other reviews
The two reviews that came in were for when we first started to do the daily deal promotions. Please appreciate there was a huge learning curve in relation to working with these sorts of promotional activities. We have addressed many of the issues that came up in the reviews. We have also changed the nature of our events so the review that you read is no longer relevant in the sense that I decided it was best not to run events in that structure. For an example, we no longer run tutored wine tastings for more than 25 people. The main problem we had on Saturday is that two people didn’t show up to work. This caused a ripple effect of problems as we were very under-staffed. So no matter how much I had implemented new and improved processes, they were effectively useless on Saturday as we didn’t have enough staff to deal with the number of guests we had. (I’d looked up both tasty beer and their sister company best be hush on Google) 

Time to be greeted
Normally, there is one person greeting guests at the start. However, as this person called in sick, we didn’t have this role covered as well as it should have been.

Snacks
This was unacceptable and I sincerely apologise that you were missed on this initially. I don’t know why this happened, but it shouldn’t have done. When I ‘disappeared’, I had gone to ask the bar for more snacks to be made up and deal with a couple of things. In that time, unfortunately, there was an issue with a cask of ale which meant I was ‘distracted’ from returning to you with the snacks. It seems that I then forgot about your snacks. I am very sorry and embarrassed about this.

Tutored beer tasting
The event was not advertised as being tutored – please see the website. There has never been any intention to have an educator there and we have never stated as such. Please let me know where you have seen it advertised as a tutored session so that I can investigate it. It should not be promoted in this way. (We’re following this one up further but believe them and think it was just poor wording on the advert)

Glasses
We don’t replace the glasses, but in terms of the rinsing, I think we will implement something for this. We could have a spittoon type object at the table for people to pour water in their glasses to ‘rinse’. In the tutored wine tastings we ran, we did give people the opportunity to do this, though the format was slightly different to the beer tasting, I will ensure that this is in some way changed.

Time between tastings
This was again because of being short-staffed which was compounded by the problems with the casks that I had to attend to.

Beer Pouring

I will be going over this with all the helpers to ensure they pour so that head can be presented properly. I didn’t realise it was an issue – and no one has ever commented on it before. I hadn’t thought to train them on that aspect as all of them have worked in bars and pubs before. However, thank you for the feedback as I will make sure they receive this training.

Final complaint
I am sorry if you found my manner was “abrupt”. That was certainly not my intention. The reason I wanted to refer this until today was because my colleague and I were under a lot of pressure and I thought I would be able to handle this in a more effective way today. The only thing I would have been able to do on Saturday was to continue to serve you. I wasn’t able to compensate you in any way that I felt would be appropriate or satisfactory as I didn’t have the tools to do so at the time. I do apologise again, it was a very difficult day – this is of course not your fault and I am sorry if you thought I was being rude.

In all, I am also very disappointed with how Saturday went. We have learnt lessons from the wine tastings we did last year and we have many very happy customers. However, there is always room for improvement for anyone.
Dealing with daily deal websites does bring up challenges that you can’t predict for – but we have implemented new processes.

What was most frustrating for me was being let down by two helpers – this completely threw me. As a result, I have already advertised for more helpers so if this happens again, I have back up that I can call on. And just to show how much I really don’t want to be in that situation again (it is stressful  – why would I do this if I don’t enjoy it?) I already have increased the number of people working at this week’s events (3 people for an event with 25 guests and five people for an event with 60 guests – there were 75 at your event).

Again I do appreciate your time on this. I hope you will attend a wine tasting. As I explained, it is quite different. It’s in a shop, it is tutored and there is a maximum of 25 people. If you decide you really don’t want to do this then along with your refund, please let me know and I will see what I can do.

Please know, I am genuinely disappointed in our performance on Saturday and can only offer my sincere apologies for the way in which you felt from attending the event. I have taken on board all your points, and I really would like to make it up to you – if you will let me.

Thanks,

Tasty Beer

 As you can see whilst Tasty Beer did fail us on our big boys day out, they have offered us appropriate compensation, they have held their hands up and admitted their faults and hopefully learned from them, I was have mentioned in these pages time and again that customer service isn’t about not making mistakes it’s about fixing mistakes and I honestly believe that tasty beer have gone above and beyond. I’d certainly recommend that they are definitely worth being given another chance.

Has anyone else out there had any experiences with Tasty Beer or Best Be Hush?

Would any of you give them a second chance?

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

 

Slow Cooked Roast Chicken

Over Christmas one of our dearest friends broker her leg, thankfully we’d already bought her a slow cooker or crock pot and I was able to roast her a chicken for her Christmas dinner.

The rather shoddy pictures are from our own Christmas dinner but the recipe was the same for both.

It’s incredibly easy and infinitely adjustable to suit your own tastes whilst still delivering incredibly moist and juicy roast chicken every time.

Ingredients:

Sage or other soft herb you like

Butter

A roasting bird (remember to remove the giblets if included)

An onion

A lemon

Garlic (lots)

Seasoning, go wild or go with just salt and pepper I used a little sweet smoked paprika, black pepper and coarse salt.

Corn flour/starch for the gravy

Method:

First off chop the sage stalks and all as finely as you can be bothered

this was plenty fine enough

and smush (yes that’s a technical term) it together with chopped garlic and softened butter.

smushed sage, garlic and butter

Then using what is commonly known as the Jamie Oliver method slowly and gently as possible insert your hand between the skin and the breast meat. I made a mess of this and split the skin which is not ideal but not the end of the world either as you can hold it all together with cocktail sticks.

cocktail stick surgical stitching

Once you can get most of your hand under the skin push in as much of your herby garlicky butter as will fit, (for the health conscious I’ve skipped this step before and just rubbed the bird with olive oil before seasoning and it still works but come on it’s Christmas)

Season the bird as desired, fill the cavity with half an onion and half a lemon and add it to the slow cooker (my slow cooker  book says always cook poultry on high so I always have) cover and leave alone for four or more hours, I’ve done eight and it was fine.

Once you can bear it no more remove the lid, savour the aroma and stick the bird with a knife to ensure the juices run clear (I’d do the thick bits like the thigh and breast) or use a meat thermometer if you have one. If it’s not cooked pop the lid back on and leave it alone for more time.

The bird won’t brown in the slow cooker so you will need to place it in a very hot oven 220°C or 440°F for 15 to 20 minutes to crisp up the skin.

Allow the bird to rest while you make your gravy.

Gravy? Well do you remember all that butter well it’s now sitting in the bottom of your slow cooker and full of chickeny goodness, add it to a pan and whisk in some corn flour to thicken you can do more but it’s very good just like that. (the health concious from earlier will miss out on the gravy, you make your bed you have to lie in it I’m afraid)

serve with roasted veg and enjoy the adulation of your family.

roasted butternut and potato's

I’ve not tried it with other poultry but don’t see why it won’t work if it fits then give it a try, and of course do let me know how you get on.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

2012 Food Challenge Week 1

Good Morning All,

Yesterday I achieved my first weekly culinary new experience of 2012 kohlrabi.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures but what I did was lightly peel the kohlrabi and roast it alongside some celeriac in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

To go with this we had some simply roasted chicken thighs, spuds and butternut and a surprisingly good shop bought Tesco Finest Chicken Gravy which was a last-minute addition as I was worried I’d overcooked the chicken (I hadn’t but it was close).

Kohlrabi is a very odd alien looking vegetable and I’d have been quite scared of it in the past, I believe you can eat them raw but otherwise treat them as you would a turnip or beet. In flavour I’d say it was very similar to broccoli stalks, sweet and crunchy and very refreshing.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for them in the future.

Kohlrabi

 TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

 

 

My food challenge for 2012

Happy New Year to you all.

I’m sure that like may of you I’m not unique in setting myself a few goals at the start of a new year and although I’ve already laid out the basics of my food goals in my post on www.mrbunnychow.com I thought I’d add a few more words here for those of you who may have missed them.

My stated intention is to try something new every week in 2012 whether that is a new invented recipe, new recipe poached from someone else or some fantastic new ingredient I’ve not had prior opportunity to try. Wherever possible I will share my successes and failures in this project with all of you via these pages.

Please do keep in touch with your ideas, comments and thoughts.

Take care and TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

an explanation

Good Morning to my patient followers, you may have noticed that things have slowed down on Mr Bunny Chow cooks and there is a very simple reason for this, our dishwasher is broken and rather than risk divorce by continuing to use every kitchen utensil, pot and pan in the house as all male chefs do I have taken a back seat to the wonderful Mrs BC as she cooks simple healthy meals with minimal mess.

picture courtesy of google image search please shout at me if you own the copyright

We have now ordered a new dishwasher courtesy of the overly generous Great Uncle Bunny Chow and with any luck it will be delivered tomorrow otherwise it will be toasted sandwiches for Christmas and normal service resuming sometime the week after.

I thank you all for you patience.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow