Alan's Cookbooks


Singles, Seperated and Divorced Cookbooks - Tafelberg Publishers Ltd   (SOLD OUT)
This book is aimed at all the singles, separated and divorced. With nearly half the world's population being in one of the aforementioned categories, there are so few cookbooks that deliver delicious dishes to please one.

There's complete easy to follow recipes, using easily obtainable and available ingredients which also takes cost into consideration.

Importantly, it's not just a cookbook, because splattered between the pages is a good dollop of humour for both single males and females to enjoy.
Travel Diary - alan coxon   
I am delighted to say that I write for several magazines and websites ,on "food and travel".These include........

Utopia magazine ( national )
Vale and Cotswold magazine ( regional )
Worcestershire Life magazine ( regional )
Smooth FM Radio website. 


Please have a read of a selection chosen .( these will change or be added to on a monthly basis )

NICE

BANGKOK

LAPLAND

Christmas article 09
Other articles of interest......

Coxon Cooking with Kings

October feature Vale and Cotswolds magazine 09 

 Have you ever dreamt of finding that perfect location for your annual escape , where the average winter temperature  is 75 dgrs and soaring summer temperatures are cooled by the tropical breeze.27 miles of unspoilt white powdery sands are kissed by waves warmer than a hot day in England ( yes we did get one day at 30 dgrs this year !)  where the sunsets are so stunning they lure you into their Kaleidoscope of colour as the blue of  day turns into endless shades of Okra and terracotta ( it sounds more poetic than saying red and orange ! ) .If idyllic untouched beaches are not for you , and feel more culturally inclined , you will require your perfect destination to offer world class museums, theatres, and a decent restaurant scene.For the sporting fraternity then this perfect destination needs to be able to offer diving, maybe a little lazy fishing off a pier or some serious game fishing for the big boys further out to sea, alternatively a spot of canoeing or Kayaking to keep those upper arms in condition as you glide around tropical mangroves  admiring the fish inches beneath you , alternatively  if you prefer to look up rather than down then you’re bound to spot a few gliding eagles , ospreys and Pelicans  .Want to set free into the open waterways then be prepared to share your stretch of fun and get up close to feeding Dolphins or spot a Manatee or twoFeeling lazy , then hire a speed boat and pretend you are in a re-make of Miami vice as you surf the breeze with both sun and spray in your eyes  jettison past multi Million dollar homes with even more expensive yachts moored along the coast lines and waterways.Wanting to stay on terra firma and play ball then try  Baseball , pollo, tennis you name it , there`s enough things here to do every day of the week  every week of the year !.Of course your perfect world needs to have shops and bars, maybe a little piped music played through spotlessly clean streets and of course friendly people to chat with.Good  hotels are vital to relax and lay your weary head and they also need to boast excellent amenities , swimming pool, gymnasium, masseuse as  expected , whilst being located in idyllic locations , such as by the sea with attentive and professional service at hand wherever you go and whenever needed . Throw in free buss shuttle services to get you around, quality fresh seafood knocking at your door ( although the giant prawns in the middle of the night tapping away can be annoying !) ,Fresh local and regional ingredient s kissed by the Florida sun and prepared by talented chefs,  can offer a variety of cuisines , all washed down with some stunning wines , then this is about as good as it can get  !. Whilst many places around the world could in fact tick a few of these quality points ,few could actually tick them all !.Reluctantly I am giving away and releasing the secrets of one of my best finds this decade and can now reveal that the jewel in the crown of destinations and Americas Best kept secret as “Longboat Key” Sarasota , found  on the Gulf Coast of central West Florida.If you think that it could not get any better, then there is the additional bonus for a 20 minute free shuttle service  will  take you out of Longboat key to Anna Marie island, a location that asks nothing more from you than to slip off your shoes , throw away your mobile and chill out .The only things you need to think about  is Rent a Villa by the sea, hire a bike and eat out at Sean Murphy`s excellent Beach Bistro .Longboat key and Anna Marie Island are the world`s best kept secrets awaiting to be discovered and I don`t say this lightly !.  For more information then log onto www.Longboatkeyclub.comwww.sarasotafl.org  or  www.floridasgulfisland.com .Sean Murphy’s restaurant can be seen on www.beachbistro.com  

September  09 Feature

                    "Kentucky "!

Whilst the word “Kentucky” is so often followed by two others usually in the shape of “fried” and “chicken” , made famous by that  “bearded Colonel” , a recent visit to the land of crispy poultry revealed far more than chicken to get your teeth stuck into !. In fact I didn`t see one KFC on the whole of my Kentucky tour.A state that is around the same size as England and Scotland, with a population in the region of  5.5 million ( By comparison the UK  is home to around 61 million ! )  . The comparative lack of beings clogging up the towns, cities and countryside allows you to park , dine and travel in relaxed unhurried style, open plains, fresh air and an infinite sky lends to a sense of freedom without the feeling of being miles away from a decent cappuccino ! .   Whilst I had seen a few pictures of Kentucky over the years  and in particular the world famous Kentucky Derby, I didn`t realise the expanse of the undulating manicured  green pastures  famously divided by  brilliantly white painted fences  separating  the Studs, Stallions  mares and foals  grazing and frolicking  adding  to the perfect picture postcard. Lexington is the Horse capitol of the world and also known as Bluegrass state  after a variety of grass  that produces a small blue  flower in early spring . For any horse fanatic a trip to Lexington Kentucky is a must, for it is home to a stunning International museum of the horse, beautifully laid out and extremely informative .Then there`s the thoroughbred centre and the thoroughbred park where trainers put the horses through their paces  developing the skills they need to become winners.The complex includes 1,100 stalls, two training tracks, and a 940 seat pavilion.  You probably didn`t realise that horses , either racing or riding rocked my boat, in fact until I visited Kentucky, they didn`t !.If horses are not for you , then maybe   the Bourbon trail will be .Whilst having lived in Scotland for several years, I felt that I had been distilleried out !, but a trip around some of these wonderful sites certainly makes for a pleasurable outing. I visited three in total out of a possible 8 missing off  one of the most well known of them all “Jim Bean “, instead I dropped by the oldest and smallest of them all “ Woodford Reserve “ the official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby and the only copper pot still and triple distillation process used today.Makers Mark was my second,  situated in the peaceful countryside before dropping by Heaven Hill distilleries ,Americas largest independent family owned producer of Bourbon and their brilliant visitors centre  just outside Bardstown.   Continuing my tour I spent a very pleasurable couple of days in Frankfort, opting to rest my head at the “Meeting house”  B&B, .This fascinating place is a far cry our British B& B s, in fact it was a living museum, each room being individually decorating and housing historic artefacts of every sort. I felt ghost like stepping back in time several hundred years and entering someone`s private bedroom ,their antique hairbrush and old spectacles  rested by the bedside table, a bowler hat and waistcoat hung bedside the door whilst an old suitcases or two sat at the end of the bed.Antique furniture and an old magazine set the scene.Fortunate I didn`t have to wash in a well or from a bucket, but had all the comfort of modern facilities with all the charm of a bygone era. Frankfort is capitol of Kentucky and home to the Governor s mansion as well as the resting place of Daniel Boon.This beautiful little city had a quaintness that I had not come across before , stunning queen Ann style and Georgian  properties blend with  Greek style architecture, small quaint and the impressive live  side by side.It is in Frankfort that I was made an Honorary Colonel , signed and granted by the Governor of Kentucky himself, fellow colonels other than Colonel Sanders include the likes of Winston Churchill, Whoopi Goldberg and Tiger woods to name but a few. Alas it was time to land at my final destination and that of Louisville , home of the Louisville Slugger Museum  and the Mohamed Ali museum. I originally had only 45 minutes to squeeze the Mohamed Ali museum into my busy schedule of eating  and drinking , assuming that it would be just a selection of old boxing gloves and oversized shorts ! alas I had to be prized out of there by security as I clung  on to the ropes ! asking for a little more time ! This is a museum with a difference an insight into the mind and life of the world`s greatest boxer, it is thought provoking at every corner, it challenges your own views and aims to encourage and empower everyone that “floats like a butterfly” around this three story purpose built building. Like most of America, food is a big deal, and so are the portions ! so  for your daily fill then a trip to Lynn`s Paradise Cafe for breakfast is a must , for Brits visiting this place for the first time, be warned and ask for quarter size portions ! my Muesli ( yes I was trying to be good ! ) was the size of a mole hill, whilst the pancakes and muffins  forced upon me by Lynn herself had me wondering if I had to eat them or climb them !! If Kentucky as a  destination has never crossed your mind, then the only thing I have to say is , it should ! and if you are into horses then book now for September 2010 as it gears up to hosts the largest equestrian games in the world  ! Have a great September Colonel Coxon signing off !   ( has quite a ring don`t you think ?) Places worth checking out  !

www.keeneland.com
For airport parking visit Airport Parking and Hotels  www.aph.com

Christmas Edition Vale Magazine The festive season is with us once again. Luring us to over indulge with extra culinary treats.Warm crumbling pastry that envelops the sweet confection of dried fruits, lovingly referred to as “mince pies” await us around virtually every corner  .

How can you possibly say No! as a third one is thrust into your hands with the words of gentle persuasion “go on, it’s Christmas”. As you gradually prepare your stomach for the full festive onslaught, the Daddy of all desserts awaits patiently in our cupboards. Like a rock it stubbornly sits in the dark maturing slowly, awaiting its glorious moment to crown the festive meal.This pudding also likes to be pampered, demanding hours of steam treatment, followed by a good glug of brandy and to show itself off to its full glory, likes to arrive at the table as a leading light in full flame. It is of course known today as Christmas pudding. Whilst this pudding comes without an official health warning, it does guarantee to anchor you securely to the armchair for most of the afternoon, rendering you helpless and forcing you to watch another James Bond or repeated Willy Wonka movie whilst balancing a festive tipple on your new Christmas belly.The latter of course, is optional. Whilst this description is far from the attractive chocolate box image of festive fare, I would like to travel back in time, in the days of old when the Bullring shopping centre was a mere twinkle in the eye of an heifer! I would like to take you over the cobble stones, that are lightly sprinkled with glistening fluffy flakes of crisp white snow and expose some of those ancient ingredients and dishes that have formed, what most believe today to be the real meaning of Christmas.And whilst you may be diving head first into one of the 250 million pints of beer (or more now that the licensing rules have been extended) or into the 35 million bottles of wine that Britain now consumes over Christmas, what better way to start this historic culinary journey than   with a mug of steaming mulled wine known as Glogs in Scandinavia and Gluewein in Germany, (you may be having a tipple as you collect this paper, past the Christmas market) but what was it all about? Apparently the mulling of wine was created to use up wines that were off or at least on their way.It was one way of rendering un-palatable liquid into an acceptable beverage.The use of spices helped to overpower the poor quality, whilst the honey helped to sweeten and counteract the acidity, rendering the drink more palatable even enjoyable. The history of mulled wine dates back to the mediaeval period where these wines were named after the physician Hippocrates, and known as Ypocras.At this period of time, they were believed to be very healthy but then again, so were a daily leech sucking and one bath a year! When you think of Christmas, high on that shopping list is of course the humble brussel sprout.These little cabbages have a love-hate relationship with many – the problem often caused by childhood memories where Granny would place on to cook at least the night before rendering them tasteless, soft and smelly, the spouts that is not Granny. It is thought that they were developed as far back as the 13th century in Flanders with the reference we have in Britain arriving at the end of the 18th century.Its name was developed in Belgium, hence the Brussels part of the nameThe Sprout part refers to the small bud like appearance.For most Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the big bird itself, with over 10 million turkeys being consumed in the UK alone. Turkeys were domesticated some 4000-year ago in what is now known as Mexico.This bird was mainly used by the Aztecs for religious sacrifices and the feathers used for decoration. King Henry VIII, a man with an eye for a bird or two, possibly more so than Bernard Mathews, apparently enjoyed turkey in the 16th century and ensuring its popularity amongst the rich nobility. The big bird was extremely expensive, fetching the equivalent cost comparable to two cows or a whole flock of sheep.The birds remained expensive right up to the 20th century and were still classed as a luxury food up to the 1950’s. The Christmas pudding, as I mentioned earlier is the traditional nail in the coffin, with over 25 million of them being consumed. The forerunner of this pudding dates back once again to the mediaeval times and were then known as “Frumenty”.Frumenty was a spiced porridge that was enjoyed by the rich and poor alike.Its’ origins in a Celtic legend was of the harvest God, “Dogda” who stirred a porridge made of all good things on the earth.This pudding was usually used to describe a type of sausage hence, black pudding, but gradually came to mean anything cooked in cloth or casing. As time moved on and recipes developed, the fruit pudding became associated with Christmas when it was introduced and enjoyed by Prince Albert around the Royal Christmas table.Not wishing to show my age, can you remember finding a coin or a trinket in the pudding?A practice that stopped many years ago in fear of choking upon the hidden surprise, (Or the court actions that started to become popular)This hidden surprise derived from Rome, where the concealing of a particular object in food during the Roman festival of Saturnalia was often in the form of a dried bean. The finder of the bean would be perceived as being lucky (unless they choked and died of course)Whilst on this slightly morbid side of festivities, it leads me to drag in a few sprigs of holly that today is so often used in decorating the Christmas pudding. This tradition has no culinary representation whatsoever, but the holly is believed to hold magical powers that can drive demons away. In medieval times, people would tie the holly to their beds to help guard them against ghosts or devils.The general population at that time was immensely afraid of the supernatural, especially at Christmas when the powers of the underworld were more active than usual. Whilst the list of festive ingredients can go on an on, I will finish as I have started with the mince pies. A descendent from a huge pie from the medieval period that was baked on Christmas Eve containing chopped beef suet, fat, nuts, spiced and dried fruits, whole dried plums were also an important part of the pie. The pie was originally baked open but as time wore on, a crust was added on top on which a pastry effigy of the infant baby Jesus was laid to represent him laying in his cradle. It was this lid that nearly buried the mince pie forever as Oliver Cromwell banned them in the 17th century. In 1647 the English Parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal and all holidays and festivities banned.The ban was eventually lifted when Cromwell lost power in 1660; the humble mince pie was reborn On that note and happy ending I would like to wish you all, whatever your festive plans, a very happy, healthy and safe Christmas.              
           


 









For a in-depth introduction to Ready in Minutes click here

For a newspaper review of Ready in Minutes click here