Alan's Cookbooks

From Birmingham to Bombay cookbook - Self   (AVAILABLE NOW)
My new cookbook and e-book "From Birmingham to Bombay is now available.
The first of 5 books based around the food and travel TV series looks at 5 regions across India.
The first book concentrates on the history and origination of the Tandoor, the North Indian foods, the Punjab, Amritsar and the Golden temple.
Stunning images and stories from behind the scenes, ingredient history, great recipes and an insight into this regions culture offers a point of difference to that of other cookbooks books available !. 
International Lifestyle magazine - Internatioanl lifestyle magazine   (AVAILABLE NOW)
Lifestyle mag new issue. This month I feature Agra, the Taj Mahal and the Rogan josh curry.
Lifestyle magazine August issue - lifestyle magazine   (AVAILABLE NOW)

August mag article 2012 - warwickshire mag   (AVAILABLE NOW)
  Canada Dry anyone ? , well I wish the UK was, as once again we appear to be suffering the summer blues, or maybe it`s a massive tactical conspiracy and cunning plan to catch all the visiting Olympic athletes off guard as they arrive from locations around the world, countries that actually have warm, dry and sunny summers and may not be used to training on moss !!!.   The reason I started this column with Canada dry, is because it is !.
Having just spent a week filming there, the country was having  a record heat wave and dry spell , marry this with good seafood and I couldn’t be any happier, the only cold thing to send a chill down your spine was the name “snow crab” ! for this crustacean was the very reason I was filming.   Lurking around in the cool deep waters of Nova Scotia are thousands , actually millions, of snow crabs with many being harvested and landed in Louisbourg, and to keep stocks at safe and meaningful level, only the male crabs are caught and used, allowing the female snow crabs to live on to re produce , in fact one female snow crab can lay up between 1200 to 1600 eggs a time, so as I watched thousands of the male species being off loaded on the picturesque Louisbourg quay , I felt more hungry than concerned !.   As all 4,500 different species of crab are by nature relevant to rapid deterioration, the captured live snow crabs are looked after and kept chilled whilst on board the vessel then rapidly off loaded onto crushed ice before travelling no more than 200 yards and straight into the production plant on the quay itself. 

Within the hour the joints are stripped from the body, arranged into trays, cooked , cooled and packaged, so  you simply can`t get better than that , retaining the fresh, clean, sweet and juicy flavour of the meat. 
Needless to say I lived on so much crab whilst there I almost started to walk sideways !,  and whilst I enjoyed it simply cooked with a bowl of warm garlic butter on the side, I myself decided to play and create a few tasty crab recipes for the show I was filming , like a tasty crab cake, some Indian crab fritters with apple and sultana`s and a few light and fluffy crab doughnuts that went down a real treat with the locals!.   The Louisbourg and Mira Bay seafood crabs are multi award winning with a quality second to none so it`s a case of marrying and working with the flavour as opposed to over working and masking it !.

My recipes were cooked at the historic 18th century Fortress of Louisbourg, a location that has seen many a battle between the French and English ( nothing new there I hear you cry !) ,and as the entire Fortress has been recreated and is even home to around 60 re-enactors wandering the streets in period costume and showing visitors how life was back then, it certainly lends for a perfect setting for the show. 

With my Steven Spielberg hat on, shouting “Action” through the historic streets as the camera`s rolled , I had soldiers marching, geese waddling, sheep on their way to market , Mrs Miggins having a gossip and real cannon`s blazing in the distance, such excitement made my crab doughnuts look all rather tame !.

Whilst on the subject of doughnuts and history, then I must mention that I will  be performing in the historic town of Stratford upon Avon on the 22nd and 23rd September, alongside the Fabulous Baker Brothers and Franck Pontais, and I may well be playing with my doughnuts  on stage ! now there`s an offer you can`t refuse ! 

 Until next time, enjoy summer whatever the weather ! 
July article -    
With a memorable June celebrating the Queens Jubilee well and truly  behind us, of which I can`t help but note that it must have been an early Olympics for HRH as she tackled a marathon of feasts and activities and showed the stamina of a true Olympian. 
I for one would have struggled with a diary as full as hers and at a fraction of her age, but with all that said, and as “Queening “ is not an official sport ( more of a life choice for many ) we now head into the official Olympic games.
So with this in mind we continue the culinary theme and all things sporty, despite many around the globe possibly only exerting enough energy to lift the remote control whilst glued to the TV, as the worlds sporting fraternity comes together in a gladiatorial arena to be watched by millions munching the official Olympic sponsors favourite meal ( a burger !).

We mustn’t however forget that lurking in fields and farm shops around us, we have culinary legends and seasonal favourites of our own that await your undivided attention, such as “runner beans” ! yes even the veg have sporty names !. 

Native to the cooler, high-altitude regions of Central America, runner beans have been known as a food crop for well over 2,000 years. They were brought to the British Isles in the seventeenth century by John Tradescant (gardener to King Charles I) and were grown as a decorative plant before being used as a food in Britain. 
Today they are a very popular in the UK, Italy and Mexico, and are grown and eaten in each of the five continents, truly an Olympic champion of veg !.

Runner beans are a good source of vitamin C, folic acid and fibre, power packs of nutritional goodness, just as you would expect from the Usain Bolt of the veg world. 
When buying them , go for pert well-coloured pods that snap easily with a crunch to reveal a fresh and juicy inside, the smaller and younger the better as oversized or withered beans aren't worth bothering with and should be disqualified at the starting block !.

Like all good athletes and thoroughbreds, runner beans should be well treated and kept chilled out ! (usually in the fridge for a couple for days max ) but as with all legumes, the beans sugars start turning to starch after picking so they are best eaten as soon as possible.

Wash the beans, top and tail, and remove the stringy bits running up both sides using a small knife or vegetable peeler.Very small and young beans can be served whole, either raw or briefly cooked.

The majority of runner beans on sale are larger and need to be finely sliced (diagonally) so that the skin cooks relatively quickly, before the seeds have become too soft.
Runner beans are also fit for the triathlon of cooking techniques as they do very well in water activities such as boiling, and occasionally like nothing better than a quick fast work out in a stir fry ! or  after preparation they do enjoy a sauna in the form of steaming and go swimmingly well in a white sauce!.

I`m sure our lads and lassies representing the country have been eating their greens to keep an eye on the gold ! but can I recommend we keep the Queen on standby just in case ! Happy July everyone Alan x
Cooking video, 8 step by step recipes . -    (AVAILABLE NOW)
Punjabi Style Lamb Chops


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For a newspaper review of Ready in Minutes click here