Sorted Food

Dear Mike...

Note to Self.

Dear Mike,

This morning you woke up at 6.30am to go to the gym, as usual.

At 6.31am you reset your alarm to 7.00am and went back to sleep. As usual.

You are a worthless puddle of DNA.

Chump.

I also know you’re thinking… “things are busy at Sorted, there’s food everywhere and by the time I get home I’m too busy/tired to exercise.” Grow a pair. You spend about 4 hours a week watching 24. Jack Bauer isn’t too tired to save Los Angeles and Kim Bauer wouldn’t look twice at you with that gut.

It’s counterproductive for me to keep going on about what a procrastinating little tit you are so I’m going to tell how to sort your life out…

  1. Get up at 6.30am tomorrow morning and walk to the gym. Don’t go in. Turn around and come home. Do that 3 days in a row. That’s all. After that you’ll feel like it’s a waste of time just turning up and you’ll go.
  2. Stop eating f****g fried chicken. You know how to cook. Roast some chicken and vegetables. You love that and it takes 20 mins. Make a plan of the stuff you’re going to make for the week and buy it tonight.
  3. Go for a 1 mile run. Then next time make it 2 miles and so on. You know it’s an easy place to start and it won’t kill you. And you do have time, you spend Saturday watching stuff you’ve already seen. The next time you go to watch This is the End or Friends, slap yourself in the face and put your trainers on.
  4. Write back on this blog one month from today with what improvements you’ve made. If it’s not good enough you’re going to look like a right tool and you’ll deserve it. If you’ve done something worthwhile, you may inspire someone. Don’t flake out. Man up.

 

SORT IT OUT.

I actually hate you right now but I’m doing this because you’re better than this,

Regards,

Your wasted potential (A.K.A Michael Huttlestone)

Let's put an end to these rumours... by Ben Ebbrell

TYRONE Ebbrell, Red Shorts, Quiche and Super Geek… I have to blame Mike for all of these. I’m not going to say there isn’t a little truth to some of them (Tyrone being the exception to this rule) but I feel like they’ve been somewhat accentuated by Mr Huttlestone’s editing control in FridgeCam. Not sure what I’m talking about? Take at look…

IS now a good time to put the record straight? I’ve been nagged and nagged to create some ‘Made Personal’ episodes from my place and I reckon we ought to make a start! I wasn’t convinced you guys would be interested in me cooking up some of my personal recipes from my kitchen… I’ve always been more of a fan of creating stuff for other people… I guess that stems from my background in hospitality… “service before self”!  

NOT that you’ll believe me… but it’ll give me a chance to finally squash the rumours that:-

-       all I ever wear in my free time is red shorts…

-       I have a small child running about at home…

Picture from kyhufflepuff

-       … and that, if given the choice I’d happily live off nothing but freshly baked quiche. I mean who doesn’t love a tasty slice of Quiche Lorraine… but come on guys, not even Delia (the original Goddess of cooking) would sacrifice the worldly pleasures and variety of food to limit herself to just one egg-baked item. Oh, and whilst we’re on the topic… I am a fan of Delia… but no I don’t have her posters and calendars all over my bedroom wall! 

A serious challenge though… after writing and developing almost 1000 recipes for Sorted (with the help of James and Gaby of course) how do I pick a couple that are most personal to represent me. Impossible, surely?

REAL rant over… what I’d actually love to highlight and celebrate is how united we all are though as a community. The fact that we have so many “in jokes” is uniquely brilliant. It’s the genuine result of us sharing such an awesome journey for the past few months and years on YouTube. What started as us mucking about with food in our kitchens has exploded online. It’s no longer just a pub table surrounded by a few close mates… but a global table with hundreds of thousands of you sat at it… chatting and throwing banter around. Even if I do get the brunt of that abuse! Ha.

PERSON to person and face to face would always be the best way to share recipes, cooking tips and in jokes… but let’s be practical here… we span over 150 countries together so that’s simply not possible. But Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram allow us to do that… and it’s the buzz that you guys stir up that spurs us on to create more. Talking of more… we have something pretty cool up our sleeves to share with you shortly that we genuinely believe will bring us even closer together. And we can’t wait! 

Ben

How to cook anything: pt.1

Back in culinary school one of the first things Ben and I (James) were taught was every basic method of cooking. There are a lot of different things you can do to an ingredient to create a range of different tastes, textures and even colours and knowing the absolute basics of each method is one of the best weapons you can have in the kitchen, whether you’re just starting out or are looking to improve. 


Knowing these, even if you rarely or never use some of them, allows you to jump in and cook pretty much anything. It means that you can look in the fridge or cupboard and know that you’re going to have a good dinner. It even means that quite often you can figure out how to cook an ingredient you’ve never seen before. 


We’ve put together a list of cooking methods, along with a little info on each of them so that you can refer to them whenever you need to! 

 
Dry heat 

Sauteing 

Creamy Mushroom Polenta

Sauteing is a real go-to method for most cooks. Sautéing is usually done in a frying pan and you only use a little oil over a high heat in order to brown an ingredient whilst keeping the texture. To avoid burning, you’ve got to move the ingredients around in the pan (that’s where the name comes from). It’s usually used to cook small ingredients like mushrooms. 


Pan Frying / Shallow frying

Lemon and Dill Breaded Goujons

This technique is slightly different to sauteing in that it uses a little more oil at a lower temperature, so that some of an ingredient is submerged in fat. This technique is great for browning meat, as it gets an even colour and you can cook it all the way through without any burning (although we’ll often finish it off in the oven)! 


Deep Frying

Pineapple Fritters

With deep frying, the ingredient is totally submerged in fat (it’s still ‘dry’ heat though, because there is definitely no water involved). It’s perfect for cooking stuff that’s been battered or breadcrumbed, as well as anything you want to have a nice even colour, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
If you’re doing it right, deep fried ingredients shouldn’t be too oily. People can get nervous deep frying at home, but it’s not a problem so long as you get the temperature right (use a probe or a deep-fryer) and always always keep an eye on it. 

Roasting

Roast Beef Trencher

Roasting is another go-to cooking method for a lot of people. It’s cooking ingredients in an oven (or on an open fire) at a fairly high temperature to caramelise and cook it through. It’s great for veg that you want to get crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, or big cuts of meat that get really brown whilst staying nice and juicy on the inside.
You can also lower the temp and slow-roast, which is awesome for certain types of meat like pork belly and ribs. Yum! 


Grilling

Deep Pan Pizza 

OK, let’s clear something up! Over here in the UK we use this word for direct heat from both below AND above the ingredient! Over in the US direct heat from above is called broiling. Are there any other names for it?
Grilling is great for cooking small bits of meat or veg quickly, at high temperatures. Because the heat is really direct you’ll get plenty of charring on the outside before the inside is cooked, so it’s a balancing act but you’ll get some awesome flavour whilst keeping everything nice and juicy.

Baking

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Brownies

Baking is pretty similar to roasting. It’s often done at lower temperatures than roasting, although it can use higher temperatures (particularly when baking bread) and generally the only difference is that baking is usually referring to an ingredient that doesn’t already have a solid structure, like bread, cakes, sponges etc. 


Microwaving

Floating Islands

Does microwaving deserve a place on this list? I think so… It’s a legit cooking method, as doesn’t need to be used only for heating up your ready meals!
Microwaves can be used effectively for cooking a whole load of ingredients! It’s the perfect way to cook something like cauliflower rice, great for reheating leftovers when you’re in a hurry, you can even temper chocolate using a microwave. One of our absolute favourite tricks is floating islands in the microwave and of course, who could leave out cake in a mug!! 


Next time, moist heat. Get ready to boil, braise and blanch! What’s your favourite way to cook? Anything we’ve missed out?

6 Essential Potato Basics pt.2

If you haven’t checked out part 1, then take a look here. We covered the simplest of boiled potatoes, crispy, fluffy baked jackets and creamy, buttery mash. Or if you’re into fries and roasties and nothing else then by all means keep on reading! :D Do you have a favourite type of potato to use for any of these dishes? 

You cannot beat a good roast potato, and we’ll be eating a lot of them over thanksgiving and Christmas! 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT POTATOES:-

1) You want an older potato for this… one that can be peeled and then end up with a crisp golden skin and fluffy middle. Types like Desirée, Maris Piper or King Edward.

2) Bigger the better to save time on peeling.

3) You need at least one big potato per person - but everybody loves them, so a couple of extras won’t harm!


PREPARING THE POTATOES:-

1) Peel the spuds and cut into big, but roughly even chunks, about the size of golfballs.


PAR-BOILING THEM:-

1) Submerge in a pan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil.

2) Simmer for 5-6 minutes, then drain and leave in the colander for a minute or so. Note:- they will not be cooked right through yet.

ROASTING THEM:-

1) Shake the colander to fluff up some of the edges, then transfer to a non-stick roasting tray.

2) drizzle generously with olive oil, salt, pepper, a few crushed cloves of garlic and a couple of sprigs of thyme and rosemary.

3) Toss all the spuds together to share the seasoning.

4) Roast in a preheated oven at 200°C for 40 minutes, turning the potatoes and shaking the pan every so often.


SERVE:-

1) Immediately with your roast dinner or just about any meal you like!


These are pretty similar to roast potatoes… Almost halfway between a roastie and fries, but the skin is left on and they’re baked until really crisp on the outside.

PICK THE RIGHT POTATO:-

1) You want wedges that are crispy on the outside, but fluffy on the inside so use old potatoes.

2) Varieties like King Edward, Maris Piper or Rooster are the best. You’ll need 1 potato per portion and aim for a fairly large size that is slightly elongated in shape.

CUTTING THE WEDGES:-

1) Wash and scrub your potato, but leave the skin on. Then cut in half through the longest side.

2) Lay each half flat on the chopping board and cut down through the potato, in towards the board, at a slight angle so that you create a wedge that is about 4cm thick at its fattest part.

3) Remove the knife and repeat cutting wedges so that they are all of a similar size. You should get 6 or 8 wedges per potato.

TOSS YOUR WEDGES IN OIL:-

1) Grab either a bowl or your roasting tray and put all the wedges in. Drizzle with olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and cracked black pepper.

2) You can add additional flavours at this stage… like chilli flakes, cajun spice or dried herbs. Toss them all together so the wedges are evenly coated.

LAY THE WEDGES OUT:- 

1) Arrange the wedges on a non-stick baking or roasting tray so that they are in a single layer, one flat side of the wedge on the tray and none of the pieces are touching each other.

BAKE:-

1) Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 40 minutes, turning the wedges over after 25 minutes. Then serve immediately. 
 

And finally… The ultimate side to a burger! The fry! 

PICK THE RIGHT POTATO:-

1) You want chips that are crispy on the outside, but fluffy on the inside so use old potatoes.

2) Varieties likeKing EdwardMaris Piper or Rooster are the best. You’ll need 1 large potato per portion.


CUTTING THE FRIES:-

1) Keeping the skin on (optional) cut the potatoes into slices about 1cm thick. Lay the slices on their flat surface and cut equal fries shape from them, again 1cm wide.

2) Discard any irregular or rounded end pieces… these can be saved for mash or to thicken soups and stews, especially if you did peel the potatoes.


FIRST FRY:-

1) Heat a pan or fryer of oil to 150°C. Use vegetable oil and only half fill the pan because when you put the fries into the pan the oil will be displaced and bubble up.

2) Lower some of the fries into the oil and fry for 4-5 minutes. If you are cooking several portions then you will probably need to do this in batches.

DRAIN:-

1) Scoop the cooked fries out and drain on kitchen paper whilst you fry the rest in the same way. The fries should now be cooked, but not too golden or coloured.

2) To test a chip, break it in half and, when it is cool enough, taste it to check. It should be fluffy.

SECOND FRY:-

1) Turn the temperature of the oil up to 180°C. Carefully lower the cooked but soggy fries into the oil and fry for 1-2 minutes until golden and crispy.

SERVE:-

1) Scoop the finished fries back out of the oil and drain again on fresh kitchen paper. Sprinkle with salt whilst still piping hot and serve immediately.