**Warning… the following blog post gets super geeky with food science and biology**
Now THIS is fascinating (in my eyes). It’s far too easy to forget how incredible and complex the human body actually is…
For example, I’m off on my hols in a month’s time (which yes, does probably mean I won’t stop banging on about the delicious delicacies I discover there) but the reason I mention this is that last week I went to get my vaccinations. It’s impressive to think that for a while my body was fighting off 5 diseases that it thought I had by producing specific antibodies to fight the bad stuff… all in preparation for if I fall victim to the real thing whilst away. Super clever and intelligent biology!
Similarly, but on a far lesser scale (not convinced the food examples that follow will ever result in life or death) our bodies do react to certain foods differently… and not just from food to food, but from person to person.
How many of you have really smelly wee after eating asparagus? It can be almost instantaneous. After eating a few spears of asparagus the aroma given off from your pee is really quite potent. It certainly affects me… but incredibly it doesn’t have the same impact on everybody.
The odour is down to an acid given off when asparagus is digested. It’s called asparagusic acid and, well the clue is in the name, but it’s pretty exclusive to asparagus… one of the only foods that contain the acid. As your body attacks the food stuff to get the good bits out it also leaves behind some pretty nasty smelling sulphurs which get into your pee pretty damn quick… sometimes as quickly as 15 minutes after eating the veg.
It’s been known for centuries, in fact a guy in the 1700’s said that asparagus transformed his ‘chamber-pot into a flask of perfume’. But only recently have we discovered why the smell is caused and, more importantly, why about 30% of people don’t seem to be affected. In reality…. their urine smells just the same but that 30% or so of people have a genetic mutation which results in a difference on the coding of the olfactory receptors. Again this sounds very technical but it basically alters your sense of taste and smell. So at the end of the day, it smells the same, they just don’t have the ability to smell it… lucky them!
Coriander leaf / Cilantro
You either love it or hate it! And apparently, according to research undertaken by a consumer genetics company, it’s only 10% of humans who have a severe distaste for it. For some people it can be as extreme as to revoke a nasty reaction and bout of illness. It turns out that the reason for this is that some of us suffer a ‘genetic variant buried inside a cluster of smell-influencing genes’. In a nutshell, this variant can seriously enhance the smell of it to become something unbearable.
For the most part (90% of the population), people can’t get their heads around what’s so bad about the beautifully fragrant herb that adds value to curries, tacos, burritos, guac, pho or stir-frys. It’s the blindness to this that angers those who suffer… so much so… they have set up their own Facebook group!
So there we go… do you fall in the coriander haters and smelly urinators or not?
Food, cooking and taste is all so subjective and personal. Our experience of it differs from person to person… but that’s not to say you can’t share your experiences with others for them to make up their mind. That’s all we encourage… dish out your food ideas, interactions and opinions and see what others make of it!Comments
Let’s talk about herbs! Herbs are the leafy green parts of a plant (whereas spices are another part of the plant). They’re used in just about every dish you can think of in some form or another and they can transform a dish, but most of the time they’re not the star player. That’s why we need to be celebrating herbs, because where would us foodies be without them?!
Ask people to name a herb and I’m sure basil would come first a lot of the time! It’s best known for being central to many Italian dishes, but it’s also used a lot in South East Asian food too… In fact it was originally native to India, China and South East Asia! One of the best uses has to be pesto… Just check this out -
Parsley is the go-to garnish for a lot of dishes. It’s got a fresh taste, but it’s also really strong. You don’t want too much. One great use is in stocks. It’s a key part of the ‘bouquet garni’ herbs that you use to add subtle flavours to a good stock. It’s also used in the salsa verde that we made for this dish!
Coriander (or cilantro) is a bit of a love / hate thing. It’s pretty strong, but hard to describe the very distinct taste (can anyone help?). It’s used a lot in Asian cooking and is often added to the dish and cooked down, as well as used as a garnish to freshen dishes up.
Curries are a fantastic way to use coriander, Thai Green Curries in particular!
Dill is another strong herb that people tend to love or hate. This one is the perfect flavour for fish, but you don’t have to stick to the ‘rules’. We used used it in our Lemon and Dill Chicken Goujons, it’s used to flavour dill pickles (obviously?!) and relishes.
Tarragon has the most amazing anise flavour to it. That’s the flavour of liquorice, and it works really well with chicken, or in some countries it’s even used to flavour fizzy drinks! It’s also a key ingredient in béarnaise sauce, so it’s pretty good with steak too!
Seriously, we were never going to leave this one out were we?! Aside from being Ben’s favourite garnish, mint has a bunch of uses and goes with plenty of dishes; Sweet and savoury. It’s found everywhere, it grows like crazy all year round and is great in everything from tea to toothpaste. It’s even got a tonne of health benefits. Fair play Ben, it really is a superherb! :D
Chives are part of the onion family, and although they’re slightly weaker, you still probably want to freshen your breath with a bit of mint after eating! Chives are often used in French food, and are great in things that carry flavour, like potatoes or scrambled eggs.
Over here in the UK this is often used dried rather than fresh, although if you can get your hands on the fresh stuff then go for it… It’s awesome. This is another herb that’s associated with Mediterranean cooking and it is amazing in bolognese or with lamb. It’s part of the mint family, and apparently, if it’s good quality stuff then it can numb your tongue too!
Rosemary is a herb that we use in British cooking quite a lot. It’s incredible in a leg of lamb, or a roast beef. Potatoes too, are ridiculously good with this herb. Rosemary is a little hardier than other herbs and it can keep for a while, plus it’s easy to grow, so there’s no reason you can’t have a constant supply!
Thyme is rosemary’s perfect partner! Stick this over roast potatoes alongside rosemary and crushed garlic and you’re onto a winner! It’s slightly more subtle than rosemary, so is great for flavouring stocks and tomatoey sauces. While fresh is almost always best, dried thyme is actually pretty good compared to a lot of dried herbs, so it’s a good one for the cupboard!
Probably the most subtle of flavours in the list, but that means that this awesome herb is used in loads of sauces and stocks as a flavour enhancer. It’s kind of earthy and herbal (for lack of a better word!).
Last but not least! Sage is always associated with winter here in the UK. It’s perfect in stuffing, or with the turkey. You could even throw it into those roast potatoes that we’re working on with the rosemary and thyme. The perfect culinary partner for sage, however, has to be pumpkin or squash. There is nothing quite like it, especially as it begins to get colder. Sage is a reason to look forward to winter!
This is a pretty long list, but it’s far from complete. Which herbs have we missed out, and which are your favourites? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter!
We don’t often feature blogs that talk about things alongside food. We love a place that is focused on great grub. BUT food and life always intertwine, and we love this blog a lot. We can look at beautiful photography all day and what Tiffany does definitely fits that description, whether it’s food or not! Her blog started as a photo journal of food and life, but it’s also full of great recipes.
I found Tiff on Instagram through #eyeCandySorted and have been following her foodie photos since, but I only recently had a look around the blog. Like I said, it’s a mix of food, family and life. Sometimes it’s a recipe, or just a food based post, and often a photo that we can take some inspiration from (even the non-food ones can inspire a dish!). It’s actually kind like how we’d love people to use the new and improved Sorted Food! Talking about food, posting your foodie photos, and every so often posting a recipe that you’re really proud of!
Recipes we’re loving right now are Okonomiyaki and Cold Ramen, followed by a few sweet treats - Mango Paradise Ice Pops and Pumpkin Cuppies. Of course you’ve gotta wash these things down with some incredible drinks - Honeydew Green Tea Smoothie and Tropical Sangria, both with boba!
Something that I love is that in separate posts to the recipes are loads more photos and some kind of longer post . They don’t interfere with the recipe like a lot of blogs, but if you like to read a little bit of extra background and look at SERIOUSLY yummy food then it’s great!
Take a look at a few here -
I Heard There’d Be Recipes (Cold Ramen)
How to Trick Your Tastebuds Into Thinking You’re on a Tropical Holiday (Mango Paradise Ice Pops)
6 Things I’m thankful for (Pumpkin Cuppies)
Boba Loca Adventures (Both boba smoothies)!
Go check out the blog, and make sure you follow tiffanybee on the app!
Our favourite recipe: We love Tiff’s drinks. Adult Coffee and Mango Black Tea Smoothie both sounds amazing.
Top reason to follow Tiff: Great recipes, inspirational photography with a slice of life in between!
Other stuff to check out: Instagram is where we discovered Tiffany, so we’ve gotta point you over there!
Last night a whole host of internet celebs gathered in LA to celebrate the best of online of the last year at the Streamy Awards.
Unbelievably, their esteemed set of judges nominated SORTEDfood for the Show of the Year and you guys voted in your thousands for us to win it!
When it came to the crunch, we lost out to some incredibly worthy winners, EnchufeTV, who are ridiculously popular and doing some great stuff in the Spanish-speaking world.
Are we disappointed? Well, yeah… Sure! But to be honest, it would be hard to tell through the massive smiles on all our faces.
SORTED started as a group of mates chatting about food, and nothing’s changed, even though that group has got a hell of a lot bigger - we see all of you as our friends and you’ve helped to shape SORTED into what it is today… Without you we couldn’t be here, let alone nominated for an award!!
So from the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you so much for all the work you put into making SORTED possible. The fact that a team of experts could look at our little corner of the internet and deem it to be on a level with shows such as VGHS/Sourcefed/Nerdy Nummies/Kids React etc etc is just unbelievable and testament to how amazing you guys are.
We’re approaching a million of us now and that means we can start to do some really interesting things on a big scale, so keep your eyes peeled as we’ll be announcing some awesome projects that you can get involved with very very soon!
And once again, thank you… now enough with the soppiness and back to what we do best… WHAT IS UP WITH BEN’S FACE?!
Jamie & the guys xxxComments
A few weeks ago we did 3 things with eggs and let me tell you, it’s hard coming up with just three recipes using eggs. They really are the ultimate tool in a chef’s repertoire! There is so much you can use them for for sweet things, savoury dishes, breakfasts or snacks. It can transform other ingredients, making things lighter or creamier or silky smooth.
Plain and Simple
You really don’t need to do anything to eggs aside from add a bit of seasoning. Even then, you can create completely different things through poaching, baking, frying, scrambling.
Tortilla / Frittata
This is really the next most simple thing you could do, but it can take a bit of time to really master. Traditionally it’s just eggs, onions and potatoes, well seasoned and so tasty. You can add our own twists too. More endless variations! :)
This totally transforms the eggs into something light, and gooey but crumbly at the same time. Once again, depending on the techniques you use they can be totally different things too! You can flavour them, or bake them or blow torch them. So many possibilities!
Classic! You’ve got to love a bit of custard, and once again you can flavour it, make it thicker or thinner to change it drastically, or even bake it!
Probably the biggest transformation… Eggs are a staple ingredient in cakes, they help create the fluffy texture, but they’re unrecognisable once everything is baked. From the ultimate chocolate cake, to carrot cake and even red velvet cake!
Sauces and Mayo
What is a sandwich without mayo, or a steak without béarnaise?! Eggs are used in loads of incredible creamy sauces that are proven to increase happiness of tastebuds by 239% (that fact might have been made up on the spot).
Just use it as glue! Coat pretty much any veg, croquette, scotch egg, chicken legs or fish in flour and egg, then coat it with crisp breadcrumbs for something that you are DEFINITELY going to enjoy!
While you can probably tell that we love eggs, we know not everyone eats them! If you’re baking, there are actually loads of clever egg alternatives too. Try these next time you’re cooking:
This goes so smooth and creamy, it’s perfect for puddings or pies (we’ve also read that you can do quiche too… True?!)
Apple sauce, Bananas, Pumpkin Puree
All of these are perfect for breads, muffins and pancakes! Just make sure they’re well mashed up or pureed and add them to your batter. They can also give a great bit of extra flavour!
Flax / Chia seeds
Add a bit of water and you’ve got a substitute that work in a lot of places where you’d otherwise need eggs! We’ve never tried this one, but have you?
That’s it from us… Now over to you. What are you favourite egg based recipes? If you’re not an egg lover, what do you reckon the best substitute is?
This is a bit of a special spotlight, because it’s a Sorted community member that really went all out to challenge themselves and improve their cooking over the course of a month, using only Sorted recipes!
Anne started the project to celebrate the launch of the Sorted Food app a few months ago, as well as to improve her skills in the kitchen. We loved seeing her work her way through the recipes, and the way Anne did it was genius! The posts are to the point and very honest, with a nice little rating system so that you end up knowing just what you’re going to get (We like the snacking rating… A very important part of any recipe!).
So here’s what we’re thinking… This could be a thing! With Bakkerij Anne as inspiration, start a 30 day challenge to cook something (anything!) every day. Eat well and improve your skills. Invite your mates to cook with you too, just like Anne did.
Hashtag anything to do with your challenge on Twitter and Instagram with #sortedfood and let us know all about it!
Our favourite recipe: Well this is tough, because they’re all ours! We’ll go on Anne’s rating and say Beef Wellington from the final day of the challenge :)
Top reason to follow Anne: Inspiration for everyone who wants to get into the kitchen and start cooking!
Other stuff to check out: Check out @aebosman on Twitter, where all the 30 day challenge updates were posted!
This is going to be a week of trying new things in the kitchen and challenging yourself to become a better cook. This post is inspired by another similar one over at Food52, looking for the recipes for the overachiever in all of us :)
Now we’re all about simplifying food and making it as easy as possible to get yourselves into the kitchen. That means that anyone can jump straight in to 99% of our recipes, but every so often we go all out and try to demystify something a little tougher! Here’s a list of sorted recipes that you should definitely be attempting this week if you fancy a bit of a challenge.
We just posted a whole bunch of tips for croissants, but they do need a lot of love and attention! They’re totally worth it though. Make this your weekend project and you won’t regret it.
These are not the easiest things to make! It’s all about the hot pastry. You need to shape them around the bottom of a glass (or grab yourself a dolly) whilst they’re still warm, then firm them up in the fridge before sliding them back off and filling up! The skill is getting the pastry an even thickness. Make these on Sunday and enjoy them for Monday’s lunch!
Sandwiches are art. Fact. A lot of people don’t understand why you would go to so much trouble to make a sandwich, but we know you understand. Fresh sun dried tomato bread, made specially for the BLT, basil mayo to compliment everything perfectly and to protect your all important bread, and of course the best bacon, lettuce and tomato arranged with precision. Sandwiches are art.
We actually simplified this process to make it a lot easier for everyone, but it’s still a bit of a challenge to get the perfect shape and texture. Plus, that sugar cage is the thing that will really make it impress your guests, and it can take a bit of practice to get perfect! Next time you have your mates round… This is your project.
We’ve done a couple of brioche recipes. Bread can be so simple, yet infuriatingly tough to perfect. Brioche is a little more difficult than a simple white loaf, but not something that you should be afraid to try. In fact, we’ve had loads of photos of our Chocolate Orange Twist through Instagram and they look awesome. Challenge yourself to make this one!
We’ve done a lot of sushi too. We love it, you guys love it, but mastering it takes some doing! Sushi is one of those things that you may never quite master, but if you give it a go then you’ll definitely get better every time. The trick is not to be afraid of trying. While it might not be perfect, or authentic, you’ll definitely get something that tastes good, and after a few goes it’ll look good too.
Chocolate Truffle Cake
And finally! For our ultimate series we certainly went all out on the recipes, but this one was probably the best of the bunch! Getting the layers of sponge, praline and truffle takes time, but like all these recipes it’s worth the effort.
Those are some of our more complicated recipes, but they’re not too scary right? So… What are you going to have a go at this week? Make sure you upload your efforts to Sorted Food and share them with us!
We made croissants a few weeks ago and wow, you guys loved ‘em! We’ve been seeing load of photos coming in of your croissants, along with lots of questions. We thought it would be good to answer them all in one place! :)
What type of butter is best?
There was a whole conversation on butter under the YouTube video… That’s what we love to see! We’d recommend using standard, high fat butter rather than an alternative like margarine, although we’ve been told that it would work either way! Whether you use salted or unsalted butter really doesn’t matter too much. Unsalted is usually used in baking so that you can add your own salt rather than risk it being too salty!
Croissants vs puff pastry
They’re pretty similar! The big difference is the yeast in croissant dough. It means you get a more bready rather than crispy result. Usually you can cheat puff pastry in the freezer when laminating, but it’s harder with croissants, as the time in the fridge is also proving the dough.
It takes so long!
But it’s so worth it! The time in the fridge is proving the dough really slowly, which gives the best results. It’s a long wait, but most of the time you can be doing other things, and you can make a big batch a keep them for another time!
Can you freeze them and when is best?
This was the most asked question, and the answer is… YES! A few people tried it a got great results. The best point to freeze them is after rolling and shaping, but before the final prove. Just cover and freeze them, then stick them in plastic bags together. When you want to bake them it still takes a bit of time. Take them out to let them thaw evenly, then allow them to prove for that final hour!
Laminating 6 times - one block of butter folded 6 times, or 6 blocks of butter?!
Wow! This is one you don’t want to get wrong :) One block of butter is enough. We roll it out, then fold it into the dough, and fold again and again.
My dough is a big sticky buttery mess!! What’s wrong?
Chances are you’re working in a warm place. Try to keep it as cool as possible and work quickly when it’s out of the fridge. The butter needs to stay fairly solid to create all those layers!
What is flour in French?
Lots of people helped us out here! It’s ‘farine’!
Bonus points: In German it’s ‘Mehl’, in Swedish it’s ‘mjöl’ and in Malaysia it’s ‘tepung’!
Hope that helps you out! Any other burning foodie questions that we should be answering? Let us know!