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Alan Cooks at two leading restaurants in the Turkish capital of Istanbul for Restaurant week - 17/03/11
 Alan Cooks at two leading restaurants in the Turkish capital of Istanbul for Restaurant week.

To celebrate the Istanbul restaurant week, TV Chef Alan Coxon was invited to travel to the exotic city to work in two leading Turkish restaurants. 
Armed with a set of knives and a translator, Alan set to the task of re-creating some mouth-watering dishes for the local jet set.

Alan says : "Istanbul is a city like no other, a melting pot of history, romanticism, war and glamour.
The Ottoman empire was once a major dominating force, and controled the spice route across the whole of Europe and Asia!.

The Sultan, with his mystical Harem of women, and a royal palace kitchen that once cooked for up to 10.000 people a day, add to the intrigue!
With over 400 chefs to look after desserts alone and a further 500 for savoury, chefs would spend their whole careers refining recipes such as pilaffs and milk puddings, and as a result of this imperial cuisine, the general population had both an expectation and appreciation for excellent fresh food.

Turkey is one of the very few places on earth that is relatively self sustaining, blessed with a climate and a country that straddles Europe and Asia offering a climate that allows everything from Tea cultivation in the cool North to hot pepper and melon planting in the hot south ( and believe me I have tasted some pretty damn hot peppers whilst their, so if visiting please be warned of the little pickled yellow ones! they can blister your mouth before you can say ouch !!).
Possibly why one of their other culinary creations is Yoghurt ! with which they make a cool and refreshing drink out of !.   

Alan`s menu was equally as exotic and circumnavigated a variety of countries ,offering the Turkish dinner a taste with a difference. Consisting of a mix of Old English, (using a recipe dating back to the 15th century), a little French, Spanish, and Oriental added to the occasion.  

Alan said " that working with Turkish chefs had its challenges for both parties, not only with communication, but also styles of work and practices, but at the end of the day, it is this type of integration between two very different nationalities that is so wonderful.

There were plenty of exchanges of ideas and I hope that I made a lasting impression in one way or another, both in and out of the kitchen
.

More details about Alan`s trip to Turkey will be added to this site over the next few days, alternatively should you wish for further details , please do not hesitate to drop him a line.
  
http://www.timeoutistanbul.com/english/7616/a_glimpse_into_the_history_of_food
http://www.e-istanbul.dailysecret.com/secrets/secret-dinner-event/
National Pie Week 7th - 13 th March - 28/02/11
To celebrate “National Pie” week, TV Chef, presenter and food Archaeologist Alan Coxon has released his recipe for “Best Potato recipe of the World“.
Alan won the global chefs competition in Peru, where hundreds of chefs from 56 countries battled it out for the winning title. 

Alan`s recipe will be released in a new book “Las Mejores Recetas de Papa del Mundo” at this year’s Paris book fair. 

Alan`s winning recipe was influenced from two historic recipes that he had researched,one consisting of a Lancastrian “Kat Pie” dating back to the 17th century, where minced lamb pasties were sold and eaten on market days. 
Alan`s love with the history of food and ingredients highlights the importance of our past culinary heritage as well as proves that it has a place in today`s modern kitchen. 

Before scrolling down to the recipe, here is a little historical information on the origination of the humble Pie !.

The first pies were called "coffins" or "coffyns" (the word actually meant a basket or box), they were savoury meat pies often with dried fruits added, with the crusts or pastry being tall, straight-sided with sealed-on base and lids.
Open-crust pastry (not tops or lids) were known as "traps." These pies held assorted meats and sauce components and were baked more like a modern casserole with no pan (the crust itself was the pan, its pastry tough and inedible).These crust were often made several inches thick to withstand many hours of baking. 

A small pie was known as a tartlet and a tart was a large, shallow open pie (this is still the definition in England).
Since pastry was a staple ingredient in medieval menus, pastry making was taken for granted by the majority of early cookbooks.

Historians have recorded that the roots of pie can loosely be traced back to the ancient Egyptians during the Neolithic Period or New Stone Age  around 9500 BC.
The bakers to the pharaohs incorporated nuts, honey, and fruits in bread dough, a primitive form of pastry.
Drawings of this can be found etched on the tomb walls of Ramses II, located in the Valley of the Kings and dates back to around 1304 BC.

The tradition of galettes was carried on by the Greeks. Historians believe that the Greeks actually originated pie pastry.
The pies during this period were made by a flour-water paste wrapped around meat,this served to cook the meat and seal in the juices.

Animated pies or pyes were the most popular banquet entertainment. The nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence . . . four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie," refers to such a pie.
According to the rhyme, "When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing. Wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the King." In all likelihood, those birds not only sang, but flew briskly out at the assembled guests.
Rabbits, frogs, turtles, other small animals, and even small people (dwarfs) were also set into pies, either alone or with birds, to be released when the crust was cut.
The dwarf would emerge and walk down the length of the table, reciting poetry, sketching the guests, or doing tricks.

In the 15th century at the coronation of eight-year old English King Henry VI (1422-1461) , a partridge pie, called "Partryche and Peacock enhackyll," was served. This dish consisted of a cooked peacock mounted in its skin, placed on top of a large pie.
Other birds like partridges, swans, and herons were frequently placed on top of pies for ornament and as a means of identifying the contents.
In 1626 , Jeffrey Hudson the famous 17th century dwarf, was served up in a cold pie as a child.
England's King Charles I and 15-year old Queen Henrietta Maria passed through Rutland and were being entertained at a banquet being given in their honour by the Duke and Duchess of Buckingham.

At the dinner, an enormous crust-covered pie was brought before the royal couple. Before the Queen could cut into the pie, the crust began to rise and from the pie a tiny man, only 18 inches tall named Jeffrey Hudson emerged.
Hudson, seven years old the smallest human being that anyone had ever seen, was dressed in a suit of miniature armour, climbed out of the gilded pastry pie and stood shyly on the table in front of the Queen and bowed low.

Hudson was later dubbed Lord Minimus.Hudson would remain with the queen for the next 18 years, serving as the Queen's Dwarf, where he became a trusted companion and court favourite.
During the reign of Queen Victoria , whenever Emperor William I of Germany visited, his favourite pie was served. It contained a whole turkey stuffed with a chicken, the chicken stuffed with a pheasant, the pheasant stuffed with a woodcock.

Here is my winning pie recipe that should be a little easier to prepare and digest ! 

Lamb, Stilton & Potato Pie ( Alan Coxon copyright  )

by Alan Coxon  (Alan coxon copyright )

Ingredients

  • 450g Short crust Pastry ( I use half fat to flour and a 50- 50 equal split of Butter to Lard )( alternatively readymade jus roll puff pastry works well )
  • 450g Long Clauston`s Blue Stilton cheese, chopped
  • beaten egg, for egg wash

For the potatoes:

  • 700ml full cream milk
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 kg waxy potatoes, peeled , washed and thinly sliced (do not rinse/wash after slicing)

For the lamb :

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 450g minced lamb or mutton
  • 1 tbsp fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 150 ml beef or lamb stock
  • 50 ml Alan Coxon`s  Mediaeval Old English “Ale-Gar
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp red currant jelly

                    Method

1.       Prepare the potatoes by peeling and rinsing .Using a Mandolin slice the potatoes thinly and place into a bowl ( do not rinse or wash after slicing ,as the natural starches within the potato slices will thicken the milk and cream ! )2.        3.     Place the milk, cream, nutmeg and garlic into a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the simmer.

3. Add the sliced potatoes, making sure that they are just covered with the milk and cream.

4. Bring the milk /cream and potatoes to the simmer. Cover and cook for around 12 minutes until just soft soft/cooked  but holding shape and remove from heat and cool completely

 To make the lamb filling,
1 Melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onion, cover and fry gently until softened, around 4 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and fry gently for 2 minutes without browning.

3. Increase the heat and add the minced lamb. Cook for around 10 mins until lightly brown/ caramelised  all over and no liquid remains in the pan
4 Retaining the meat over high heat add the “Ale gar” and stir quickly.( the Ale-gar will bubble and de-glaze the pan from its meat juices , the Ale-gar will then be absorbed by the meat and impart the flavour).

4. Add the rosemary and flour and stir thoroughly, cooking for a further 3-4 minutes.

5. Add the tomato puree, the stock, mint and the redcurrant jelly. Cook for 4-5 minutes then turn off the heat. Allow to cool fully.

                For the Pie
6. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

7. Roll out the pastry . Use the pastry to line  lightly buttered pie tins, reserving some of the pastry to make a lid.

8.Place a layer of the cooled potato mixture on to the base of the pastry , until it reaches quarter way up the pastry case. Press down lightly to level off.

9. Layer the lamb mixture over the potato and level it off then  Layer the remaining potato on top and press the mixture down gently but firmly.

11. Sprinkle over the Stilton cheese.

12. Moisten the sides of the pastry lid with egg wash and place on top of the pie .

13. Join the lid and the pastry sides together, cutting off any excess and crimp the sides . Brush the lid with a little egg wash and make a small insertion in the top of the pastry lid .

14. Place the pies in the oven and bake it for approx 25  minutes ( depending on size, height and thickness ) . Lower the oven temperature to 170°C/gas 3 and bake for a further 20 minutes until golden brown.

15. Remove from the oven and serve.
 Alan Coxonwww.alancoxon.com
 
Awarded  “The Maitrise Escoffier award 2010”Winner of the iTQi Superior Taste Award (Brussels)2010
Winner of the Anuga Taste Innovation award 2009 ( Germany )
Winner of the coveted Gold Award ,Excellence in food and drink Award (UK)
Winner of the Innovative product of the year award (UK)

Winner of the best potato recipe of the world (Peru)
Winner of the Midlands Innovation award of the year 2009 (UK)
Finalist for Britain`s Development chef of the year (UK)
Finalist for Midlands Business person of the year award 2010 (UK)
finalist for exporter of the year award 2011Member of the Academy of culinary arts, Member of  Guild of Food Writers, Member of the Association culinaire, Master chef of Great Britain, Winner of 5 gold awards for Fat sculpture ,Voted within the top 10 favourite BBC TV Chef presenters in a worldwide poll .Member of the International Travel Writers Alliance, Worcestershire Ambassador, Kentucky Colonel .Judge of the iTQi ( international Taste and Quality institute awards) (Brussels) 2010, Judge of the international hotel awards (USA )2009 .Judge of the “Legacy of Taste” “Best Chinese restaurant of the year 2010 award”.     
A Voice for Worcestershire - 25/02/11
A 'Voice' for Worcestershire  Destination Worcestershire, and English Tourism Partnership is pleased to announce its sponsorship of 'Cooking with Coxon' on Internet Voices Radio http://www.internetvoicesradio.com/

 Simon Tipple, Destination Worcestershire Manager stated, "Worcestershire is a stunning county with a strong food & drink offer.  The county is known all over the world for Worcestershire Sauce, Malvern Water, and many other great products,it is also home of Alan Coxon, a superb ambassador for the region.

Local food and drink produce is a highlight for visitors in Worcestershire with the mineral-rich flood plains of the rivers Severn, Avon and Teme making Worcestershire the 'Fruit Bowl' of England! 

This unique location makes it perfect for growing luscious apples, plums, asparagus, pears, strawberries, raspberries and scores of other types of fruit and vegetables.
You can imagine the delights on offer including jams, chutneys, beers, ciders and award winning English wines as well as a great selection of farmhouse cheeses, poultry ,organic meats and of course Alan`s own multi award winning and unique historic food range.

You can sample so much of this produce in local pubs, restaurants, tea rooms as well farm shops and delicatessen's making a stay in Worcestershire that something special. Alan Coxon knows all too well that this is a beautiful part of the world with rolling countryside, meandering rivers and enchanted forests ensuring you will never be disappointed with a visit to Worcestershire. 
A walk up The Malvern Hills promises not to disappoint with exceptional views across the Severn Valley and much further a field. 

The inspirational Malvern Hills has helped to create C.S Lewis's world of Narnia with the gas lamps that feature in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe still in place today.  J.R.R Tolkien used to explore the Clent, Lickey and Malvern Hills which would later inspire scenes in his books – could Worcestershire be the original 'Shire' featured in his books. 

 Worcestershire is steeped in history from the Civil War to Royal extravagant parties in manor houses, home to Sir Edward Elgar and the UK's premier steam railway. 

Historic towers are dotted throughout the Vale of Evesham making the home of British asparagus a magical place to visit.

Worcestershire is also home to Britain's finest Baroque Church with Antonio Bellucci ceilings, Gadfield Elm Chapel, the oldest Mormom chapel in the world as well as Croome Park and Court (National Trust) which is 'Capability' Brown's first complete landscape design.  For further information on the beautiful county of Worcestershire, including where to visit and stay see:
www.visitworcestershire.org.

 For information on Worcestershire's food & drink see:
www.tastes.org.uk
TV Chef and food Archaeologist Alan Coxon flies the flag for British producers in Prague ! - 17/02/11

TV Chef and food Archaeologist Alan Coxon flies the flag for British producers in Prague !

Last week an exhibition of British food producers was held in  the capitol city of the Czech Republic, raising awareness and export opportunities for  UK companies .

The 2 day exhibition, in association with the British Chamber of Commerce and the UK Trade and Industry climaxed with a gala dinner created and presented by Chef  Alan Coxon.Alan, created a 6 course dinner incorporating products and ingredients from all the companies  that had participated at the exhibition, helping to raise even greater awareness and usage of the products within a restaurant environment.

Alan worked with the chefs at the 5 star Rocco Forte “St Augustine hotel” to produce an eclectic array of dishes, representing the diversity of British food producers .

97 guest attended the event including a variety of food buyers from Eastern Europe, guests from the British Embassy as well as  media from the Czech Republic.

Alan said “This type of event highlights what can be achieved when there is a willingness to make an effort, work together, and think outside the box. During these globally challenging times we need to show greater strength and team work to move us forward into global exports and to create greater opportunities.

 I felt it so important for potential food buyers to sample our British fare in a relaxed and convivial restaurant setting, to sample our food in the manner to which it should be enjoyed and to present British food, not as individual divided companies, but as one .
 
Whilst tasting ingredients at a Fair or exhibition is important, there is however no better way of sampling than in a controlled environment where we can really look after  all aspects of a guests sensory experience.It was my first time working in the Czech Republic and only the Executive chef Richard Fuchs, from the St Augustine hotel could speak English, and, as I could speak no Czech, it is a prime example of what can be achieved through the expression and passion of food and cooking “.

Alan`s menu managed to incorporate 29 different British food producers, with influences from Japan and his “Yutaka tempura battered wild caught loligo squid”, to his  “Indian Punjabi Eblex lamb cutlets” served with Chambers caramelised onion chutney and Sarveshwar Basmati sweet and sour rice.

 Modern British also got a look in with his “English Rarebit with Geetas famous mango chutney” as well as Alan`s 15th century recipe for Eblex British shin of beef marinated in his own Old English “Ale Gar”.
 
Within the duet of desserts Alan even managed to create and incorporate the drink "Irn Bru" turning it into cracknel !  All the dishes were married perfectly with a stunning selection of wines, that no doubt also helped to stimulate greater understanding and relationship building with buyers. 

For more information about the St Augustine Hotel please see
www.roccofortecollection.com
Happy Chinese New Year to you all - 02/02/11
The Chinese zodiac follows a twelve year cycle, each of the years being named after an animal. The Chinese believe that people born in a particular year take on the characteristics of the animal associated with that year.

2011 Year of the Rabbit

Affectionate, gentle with strong family ties. Caring and hates conflict. Peace-makers with lots of friends. Dislike being the centre of attention and enjoy the good things of life.
Midlands Exporter of the year - 18/01/11
TV Chef and food Archaeologist Alan Coxon ,is delighted to announce that he has been shortlisted for the Midlands business “ Exporter of the year 2011”  award  . 

Alan created a range of unique ingredients that took him more than 10 years of research and development .For the past  three years  Alan has been heavily involved in their launch  , developing and opening new export trade and market opportunities  in more than 11 countries around the world .
Leading top gourmet food stores in countries such the USA, Sweden, Germany , Hong Kong , Spain, Austria ,Switzerland, Portugal , South Africa and Hungary  now stock  the unique Ale-Gar, Roman and Ancient Greek vinaigres, whilst leading Michelin star restaurants and hotels in France and Denmark are incorporating the products within their Menu`s . 

Discussions and opportunities are now also developing  within the Japanese and Eastern European countries ,so a positive start with new growth  continues into 20011 . 

 Alan said that “it is wonderful to be recognised by the panel of judges and by my peers within the midlands business communities and to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award  . Developing export markets and moving the historic range forward during these  negative and economically difficult times coupled with  the cost factors needed to achieve global expansion can be very challenging , such recognition for this work is greatly appreciated “.  

http://www.midlandsbusinessawards.com/index.php
My weekly Global web radio show ! - 06/01/11
Every Wednesday between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm (GMT) I host a food chat radio show that can be heard around the world .
I discuss all things food and beverage and have weekly gusts on the show.
My eclectic array of guests all come from world of food and include  food producers, manufacturers, farmers, wine producers,restauranteurs, chefs book authors, food and travel feature writers, you name it we will have it !I also have a regular voice from the world of Restaurant Critics !  Chrissie Walker .  

To listen please link below , interested in being part of the show, then do not hesitate to drop me a line !


http://www.internetvoicesradio.com/
A New Year, A New Launch,A New Global opportunity ! - 04/01/11
A  New Year,  A New Launch, A New Global Opportunity !

I am delighted to announce that British TV Celebrity Chef, presenter, author , broadcaster and food Archaeologist Alan Coxon is launching a new service that offers an opportunity to all companies involved in the food, beverage and culinary product related industries.

As new marketing trends for product and consumer brand awareness  moves rapidly into downloads , Alan has teamed up with a Video production and editing company  enabling  him to deliver short product specific cookery demonstrations.

The Cookery demo`s last approx 2 minutes and will feature a recipe solely and specifically using your individual brand / product.

The demos will be filmed in Alan`s own home kitchen and offer a relaxed and consumer friendly approach.

The recipes used with the 2 min features can be written and created by Alan or alternatively using your companies own existing tried and tested recipe.

All the demonstrations and final download(s) will also contain your company brand graphics, company contact details, and also incorporate music top and tail.

The aim and objective is to deliver a professional presentation that represents your company, and to maximise the brand and product awareness to the full.

The download not only exposes your brand and product  in a professional light , but offers your target audience an achievable and interesting recipe delivered by a recognised professional and TV Celebrity chef , resulting  in increased brand awareness and potential sales opportunities.

The completed presentation ,delivered to you, may be used for not only the likes of  i-phone ,i-pod, i-pad , u tube downloads etc but may be added to your own website, or used for trade / consumer shows, as you control and own all rights to your download and material created and produced for and on your behalf.

An equally important factor in this day and age, is the fact that we are also proud to be able to offer cost effective, affordable and achievable product without cutting back on quality. 
should you wish to discuss this further please do not hesitate to call UK + 44 (0) 1386 830299There are no limitations or restrictions as to these short productions and can be produced for any destination or company around the world.

Our first batch of filming took place on Monday 10th January 2011.

NEW: Delighted to announce that I have been awarded  “The Maitrise Escoffier award 2010”Winner of the iTQi Superior Taste Award (Brussels)2010
Winner of the Anuga Taste Innovation award 2009 ( Germany )
Winner of the coveted Gold Award ,Excellence in food and drink Award (UK)
Winner of the Innovative product of the year award (UK)
Winner of the best potato recipe of the world (Peru)
Winner of the Midlands Innovation award of the year 2009 (UK)
Finalist for Britain`s Development chef of the year (UK)
Finalist for Midlands Business person of the year award 2010 (UK)NEW : Finalist for exporter of the year award 2011Member of the Academy of culinary arts, Member of  Guild of Food Writers, Member of the Association culinaire, Master chef of Great Britain, Winner of 5 gold awards for Fat sculpture ,Voted within the top 10 favourite BBC TV Chef presenters in a worldwide poll .Member of the International Travel Writers Alliance, Worcestershire Ambassador, Kentucky Colonel .Judge of the iTQi ( international Taste and Quality institute awards) (Brussels) 2010, Judge of the international hotel awards (USA )2009 .Judge of the “Legacy of Taste” “Best Chinese restaurant of the year 2010 award”.  
Winner of the Ale-gar comp announced - 02/12/10
The winner of the Christmas Ale-Gar competition has been announced.
Congratulations to Terry Finn from Herts.
Hope you enjoy
Foods to try before you die feature ! - 02/11/10
http://www.skyscanner.net/news/articles/2010/11/008713-ask-the-expert-5-gourmet-foods-to-try-before-you-die.html