June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

  • The six rules of barbecuing

    28 April, 2016 The six rules of barbecuing

    Even the best cooks can be stumped when it comes to cooking to perfection over coals. We ask Ben Tish to tell us the six most important rules of barbecuing so we can grill with confidence over the long weekend.
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November, 2015

October, 2015

September, 2015

August, 2015

July, 2015

  • Eat like an Italian

    20 July, 2015 Eat like an Italian

    If you’ve ever been on holiday to Italy, like us, you’ve probably eaten classic pizzas, pastas and risottos until you’re fit to burst. While sticking with what you know isn’t always a bad thing, delve a little deeper and you’ll find the true heart of the region; eating cotoletta in Milan, beans in Florence and artichokes in Campania will open up a whole new world of Italian cooking. We spoke to three Air B’n’B hosts about the food of their region, must-eats while you’re there, and asked about the best-kept secrets when it comes to eating out.
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  • Michelin Stars in Your Eyes

    06 July, 2015 Michelin Stars in Your Eyes

    With so many Michelin-starred chefs on the site, we challenged Cooked writer Imogen Corke to test her mettle on some of the trickier recipes. This week, she cooks Atul Kochhar’s cod in nilgiri korma gravy from his latest cookbook, Benares.
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May, 2015

  • Q&A with Rosie Birkett

    22 May, 2015 Q&A with Rosie Birkett

    We ask our authors ten questions about their life long love of food. This week, we speak to Rosie Birkett, author of A Lot on her Plate, about roast dinners, tuna tacos, and why you should never run your finger through hot caramel.
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  • The Lunchbox Edit: Spring Greens

    01 May, 2015 The Lunchbox Edit: Spring Greens

    Each week, we take some of our favourite recipes and give them a little tweak to make perfect packed lunches.
    Read more…

Celebrate Chinese New Year with the Cooked team

By
Helen Barker-Benfield
Added
27 January, 2017

Chinese New Year is the first day in the lunar calendar, and it’s also known as Lunar New Year, which includes the celebrations of Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and Korea. To mark the occasion, in true Cooked style, writers Callum Kenny and Jack Birch have picked two special dishes to cook from scratch for the first time.

Callum’s crispy duck

 

Duck pancakes are a family favourite. Ideal for sharing with friends and fun to put together, it had never occurred to me to make my own. But in the spirit of the New Year (and a special one to me, as I was born in the year of the rooster) I thought it worth challenging myself so I chose Jeremy Pang’s recipe for Crispy duck breast with pancakes and cucumber pickle.

I haven’t used duck before and I was a little worried about the double cooking required in this recipe, lest I should overcook the meat. But the combination of blanching, frying and finally roasting – each for a short period of time – actually created a crispy skin while keeping the duck tender and succulent. As long as you don’t get sidetracked (and I have a very short attention span) this is easy enough. However, leaving the meat in the oven for an additional couple of minutes is the difference between very rare and well done, so I made sure to set alarms on my phone instead of lackadaisically guessing times.

I must admit that I am a fan of shredded duck in pancakes, and was concerned that I wouldn’t enjoy sliced breast as much, but this is actually a delicious variant on the more typical takeaway recipe. It was also a slightly different meal because of the accompanying sides. Jeremy Pang recommends a cucumber pickle and spicy plum dipping sauce as an alternative to the classic hoisin. Both are an absolute doddle to put together; it took me about five minutes to make these and they had a really nice, gently aromatic flavour. 

Callum’s verdict

I would absolutely make these crispy duck pancakes again. I was pleased to learn some new techniques, blanching amongst them, and it was a really simple recipe. These pancakes are an ideal treat to celebrate the New Year and the perfect introduction to cooking Chinese cuisine. 


Jack's takeaway chicken

To celebrate the Lunar New Year, I decided to make the, err, American takeaway classic General Tso’s Chicken. But, as Fushia Dunlop writes in Every Grain of Rice, the dish was originally created by a Hunanese chef in exile in Taiwan. That’s good enough for me.

It’s the Chinese year of the fire rooster – so what better way to celebrate with a chicken dish infused with a firework of bird’s eye chillies. One of the best things about the dish is that it utilises lots of storecupboard items, so once you have the ingredients you’ll easily be able to make it again (and trust me, you’ll want to.) It’s a relatively simple recipe to follow, and there are lots of elements that you can prepare in advance making it an ideal dish to make for a large party.

I had never deep-fried chicken in a wok before, and after watching countless episodes of Casualty in which oil fires cause unspeakable damage, I was wary of this cooking method. So arming myself with a moistened tea towel and rigorously checking my exit routes, I began. Honestly, I couldn’t have been more delighted with the results: the chicken was cooked to a perfect golden crisp, while sealing in the marinade flavours. I had to fry in two batches, but the speed of the cooking meant that this wasn’t a problem.

After cooking the chicken, I added the chillies, but couldn’t believe how quickly they burnt – Dunlop notes this in her recipe, and I should have taken heed. General Tso would have disappointed by my lack of military precision. My second attempt was much better though and the sauce quickly became deliciously thick and sticky.


Jack’s verdict

This was good! As someone whose experience of Chinese meals mainly comes from takeaways, I was surprised at how fresh the dish tasted. The flavours were cleaner and more harmonious than the usual Chinese food that I’ve eaten. I was also amazed how quick and simple the recipe was to follow – it is definitely a meal that I’ll be making again.


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