Rick and Morty fans rejoice, with new release of Szechuan sauce

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So it turns out that the long-heralded McDonalds Szechuan sauce, the sauce which caused a million Rick and Morty fans to go into Meltdown is finally re-released. The sauce craze got saw  bidding wars, riots, and petitions to help bring back the sauce.

On Monday, McDonald locations across the USA began serving them again, however this time the fast-food chain didn’t take any risks, distributing 20 million sauce packs across the USA in order to make sure there wouldn’t be the scenes of riots with Rick and Morty fans fighting each other to get their hands on it.

It’s fair to say that the hype surrounding the sauce was astronomical and to live up to it would be tough, especially considering police had been called previously to stop the fighting along with ludicrously high prices paid at auctions for the sauce- it was reported that the DJ, deadmau5 spent around $15,000 on a jug of Szechuan sauce.  

Along came Mondays launch date and finally the verdict on the taste test was out: It’s good, but not great- think a classic Chinese restaurant-style sweet and sour sauce with some soy and sesame and you get the idea.

So, sadly for the Rick and Morty fans who spent time going crazy over the sauce, it turns out that hyped up sauce is really, “meh”.

For more on the Szechuan sauce check out this article from BI

 

Top 14 things to see & do in Seoul, South Korea

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The capital of South Korea, Seoul, has a fantastic mix of old and new, with great food and amazing sights across the city. The capital has a great many things to do, and today we take a look 14 great places to visit and see in Seoul.

1) Korea Furniture Museum: a bit of an unusual attraction to start, but this museum has over 2000 pieces of traditional furniture, which help you get a real sense of a traditional Korean lifestyle and culture. It’s a great way to spend some time looking at the Korea of old.

2) Insadong: This is a great insight into South Korean culture. The district is home to lots of shops, teahouses and market style booths. Along with this, is many great art galleries and restaurants, a place perfect to eat and drink to your hearts content, and pick up a few souvenirs along the way.

3) Bongeunsa: The temple of Gangnam is a calm place, right in the heart of the city; offering a beautiful and contrasting view between the traditional houses and the modern skyscrapers.

4) Gyeongbokgung Palace (GP): GP is the largest grand palace in Seoul and a must see. It’s a huge complex, and it’s a great idea to leave a few hours to explore the palace properly. Picturesque gardens surround the palace, intricate designs adorn it, and if you wear traditional Korean clothing, you get free entry.

5) Eating in the city: Korean food has seen a recent rise, so in typical fashion, eating in the city is a must do. The best thing to do is to wing it, that means walk around town and eat at wherever takes your fancy. The more locals you see at the restaurant, the better!

6) Jogyesa Temple: Amongst the skyscrapers in the city is this little Buddhist temple. Filled with artwork, statues and figurines, the temple is a spot of quiet amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

7) Myeongdong: This is known as one of the best streets for shopping in Seoul. It’s a great spot for souvenir shopping and it’s a fantastic place to wonder with an open mind and wallet!

8) N Seoul Tower: If you want an aerial view of the city, then the N Seoul tower is where you want to go. Watching the city transform from the day into night is an amazing view, and one we definitely recommend. Book your spot before sunset to capture the transformation of the city!

9) Bukchon Hanok Village: BH Village is a traditional Korean village, and the perfect way to step back in time to a Korea centuries ago. You can look in the houses and pop into tea houses for traditional rice tea. There’s also a lot of cool shops in the area, and taking the time to weave in and out of the stores and houses is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the city.

10) Changdeokgung Palace: The palace is a real must see in Seoul due to its history and heritage; so much so, that it’s been declared a UNESCO world heritage site, with elements dating back from the three kingdoms period (57BC to 668AD). When visiting, be sure to check out Huwon, the secret garden. This can only be seen via a tour that is pre-booked, but do leave plenty of time to explore the beautiful secret gardens after you visit the palace.

11) Hangang Park: Located by the banks of the Hangang River, the park has open pathways for visitors to bike along or simply stroll through. If you want a change of pace, or a spot to relax, Hangang Park is the place to head to.

12) Deoksugung Palace: Here is another one of the five grand palaces, and this was home to the Korean royal family until the colonisation of the country by the Japanese Empire. While a smaller palace than the others, Deoksugung Palace is open later than other palaces, and is worth an evening visit.

13) Hangang River: The River is lovely from its banks, and the best way to experience the river is via a boat cruise.

14) Everland: This is the largest theme park in Korea, it’s also one of the most visited in the world. However, don’t let the crowds deter you as Everland is a great way to spend a day in Seoul.

As you can see, Seoul offers so much to do and yet our list only scratches the surface of this modern, yet ancient city. The capital is a diverse place to visit, where a clash of old and new come together to create a uniquely Korean city, where skyscrapers neighbour Hanoks, and business suits mingle with traditional Hanboks.

To read more on what to do in Seoul, click here!

The Golden Trio: Potatoes, Bacon and Cheese

tartifletteIt’s cold, cloudy and raining (it is London after all), and out of the oven comes a tartiflette, golden on top and cheesy in the middle… A perfect dish to beat away those winter blues. A traditional tartiflette, made with a combination of reblochon cheese, bacon lardons, potatoes and onions. Originally hailing from the French region of Savoy, close to the Alps, it’s a hearty dish first seen in 1705.

The basic combination of cheese, potatoes and bacon makes it a timeless classic and a dish that not only offers a wow factor, but hits the spot in these cold days. You can customise whichever way you want (from vegetarian to even using sweet potatoes), it’s a dish to try.

While you may not be able to take a quick flight down to Savoy, you can bring a taste of the Alpine region home. Try the recipe today 😉

Choose Green for the New Year. 80 different ways to include healthy food in your life

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We make the choice of being healthier everyday, here are 80 fast, easy recipes from breakfast to meals including smoothies that will make your mouth water, and they don’t take much time! Read more here

Best knives in the world – Deutschland

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Possibly no other knife in the world conveys its provenance and the consistency in its artisanry as clearly as the handmade knives from Nesmuk. Around four dozen work steps are involved in the production of a Nesmuk EXKLUSIV knife, from drawing and forging, tempering, annealing and the wet grinding of the hollow ground blade to the mounting of the handle. This is unusual, even in a craft establishment, resulting in maximum precision and perfection.
The Nesmuk EXKLUSIV with cutting edge is a masterpiece that is hand-crafted at our forge by our Nesmuk bladesmiths. It takes focused concentration over a period of many hours and, in some cases, days to produce the very fine black cutting edge in the best carbon steel below the wild Damascus. The Nesmuk EXKLUSIV with cutting edge has a Rockwell hardness of 64–65.

By http://www.nesmuk.de

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AL MERCATO – MILAN

From their kitchen at the restaurant Al Mercato (16, Via Sant’Eufemia – Milan)Beniamino Nespor and Eugenio Roncoroni serve food that is both contemporary and steeped in tradition. It happens to be extremely exciting too. Among their sources of inspiration they mention Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse and Marco Pierre White, and their technique is indeed rigorous, but their flavors draw from contemporary American gastronomy, with dashes of South East Asia. This shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing that the guys – former schoolmates – traveled the world before settling back in their hometown. Both the “Ristorante” and at the more informal “Burger Bar” (two sides of the same establishment) boast a curated selection of sophisticated and not at all obvious ingredients in odd pairings that manage to come together very well. We recommend thepulled pork sandwich (served on an impeccable bun with a homemade bbq sauce that is to die for), the noodle soup(but it’s really a version of Vietnamese “Pho”), the oven baked marrow on toasted bread. Anything with duck tongue and pidgeon, really: they know how to do them justice. Next on their agenda? A noodle bar operating til 3am. We look forward to that, especially seeing how poor the choice is for “night owl gourmands” in Milan.

By Laura Lazzaroni

 

How to cook perfect hash browns

If a potato has any place at all on the breakfast table, surely it must be in the form of butter-golden, crispy yet fluffy, hot hash browns

I’ve spent the last fortnight in the United States. Yellow grits, blueberry pancakes, biscuits and gravy – I managed to tick off most of the breakfast items in the I-Spy book of American cliches, but to my disappointment, not a single one came with hash browns. I’d hoped to return home an expert, but my principal experience of hash browns remains the crunchy orange triangles traditionally served with spaghetti hoops at school. These, however, were certainly preferable to the greasy, floppy rosti-like creations I ate in Chicago a few years ago – and neither, I’d hope, are representative of the true glory of the hash brown.

I lugged three large American cookbooks back in my suitcase, but only one had a recipe for hash browns, and that, in the 75th anniversary edition of the classic Joy of Cooking, sounded remarkably like a rosti. Panicked, I wondered whether they were in fact different names for the same dish, but the Oxford Companion to Food reassured me that hash browns are “small rissole-like cakes of cooked and finely chopped potato” in the fine tradition of American hashes rather than the cakes cooked from raw or parboiled potato favoured in Switzerland.

Hashes, the American equivalent of British bubble and squeak, have always been a favourite way of using up motley leftovers, so this makes sense. Hash, of course, comes from the French verb hacher, to chop up, which suggests the spuds should be cut up and, of course, browned rather than just heated through. But apart from these clues, I’m going into this challenge somewhat blind. According to the various recipes, hash browns can be anything from a loose collection of crunchy fried potato chunks, often labelled as “breakfastpotatoes” on the menus I came across, to crunchy, latke-like potato pancakes – but which fits the breakfast bill best?

Unless you’re a cattle rancher they may not fit the bill on a Thursday morning before work, but crisp, buttery hash browns are well worth the effort on a lazy Saturday morning. Serve with a poached egg, and then go out for a long walk before lunch.

Serves 2-3

500g floury potatoes, scrubbed and cut into large chunks
35g butter or 25g bacon drippings
½ onion, thinly sliced

1. Put the potatoes in a large pan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer until tender, then drain well and set aside to cool and dry out completely.

2. If using butter, clarify it by putting it in a small pan over a medium heat and skimming off the foam that rises to the top. When it stops bubbling, pour it through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to strain off any solids, then set aside until ready to use.

3. Heat a small heavy-based frying pan on a medium heat, and add half the butter or dripping. Cook the onion until soft and golden. Meanwhile, finely chop the cooked and cooled potatoes and season well.

4. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the potatoes to the pan in one layer, stirring to incorporate the onions. Push down to make a cake, then cook for about 15 minutes until crisp and well browned on the bottom, then tip on to a plate and add the rest of the butter or dripping to the pan. Slide the hash brown back into the pan, browned side up, and cook for about another 10 minutes, then cut in half and serve.

Are hash browns the best kind of breakfast potato, or do you prefer tattie scones or country fries – indeed, does a potato have any place on the breakfast table at all? Do you yearn for the crunchy, orange cafeteria variety, and if so, does anyone have any suggestions about how to recreate those guilty pleasures from scratch?

By Felicity Cloake

YUNNAN KITCHEN – NY

Yunnan Kitchen on the Lower East Side

SOME dream of the redistribution of wealth. For eaters in search of fresh adventures, a more pressing agenda might be the redistribution of excellent ingredients.

So routine have fresh produce and heritage meats become at restaurants serving Italian, French or modern American cooking that I’ll understand if you fall asleep before finishing this sentence. Yet the revolution has not reached all quarters. Along Lexington Avenue, great Indian cooks are currying nondescript chicken; Thai chefs in Queens are making do with spongy pork; and in Brooklyn, Nigerian kitchens are stewing farmed fish that bears only a slight resemblance to the original article.

Of course, it’s impossible to fault restaurants run by recent immigrants for buying cheaper ingredients. Those Thai chefs can’t buy Berkshire pork if it means tripling prices and alienating core customers. But think of all the memorable meals we’d be eating if they could.

Before you file this complaint under what is referred to these days as White People Problems, consider that the kind of chicken, pork and fish I long to taste in these restaurants was the only kind anyone knew a century ago. Traditional recipes need traditional flavors.

Change may be on the way, but it’s coming slowly, limited mostly to a few Manhattan restaurants that have the financing and the cultural wherewithal to bring in customers who will pay for premium ingredients. The latest to try is Yunnan Kitchen, a sleek package of glass and exposed brick that opened in May on an unreconstructed block of the Lower East Side across from MZ Wang Discount Variety Store (“99¢ and Up”).

The restaurant takes a farmers’ market approach to the cuisine of Yunnan Province in China. Few New Yorkers know much about this food, which allows Travis Post, the chef, and Erika Chou, the owner, to take liberties without being pulled over by the authenticity police.

In late summer, a frequent special chalked on the blackboard wall next to the open kitchen was a salad of locally grown green tomatoes dressed with coriander leaves, golden flecks of garlic and crushed poppy and coriander seeds. Has any Yunnanese cook ever treated a crunchy, unripe tomato this way? I don’t know and I don’t care. It’s a very refreshing salad, wherever it’s from.

Neither can I vouch for the precise origins of the small pile of “Yunnan spices” alongside fatty pork belly given a gentle cure and then fried until it blistered. I just know that I fell silent as I swiped this house-made bacon into the rust-colored powder again and again, trying to name all the spices. There was cumin, Sichuan pepper and hot chiles for sure, and maybe some star anise as well.

Whatever is in it, the blend is hard to resist, and the kitchen doesn’t try. The same powder is sprinkled over all the grilled skewers on the menu’s shao kao section, and if you order too many of these you may start to lose interest. The best are the little balls of ground lamb, spring onions, fresh ginger and pickled chive buds; the least compelling are chicken skewers, which received what flavor they had from those spices.

Yunnan Province borders Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar, and its cooks have the light Southeast Asian touch with fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits and edible flowers, seen at Yunnan Kitchen in a plate of scrambled eggs with a fistful of jasmine blossoms. I appreciated the rich, soft eggs more than the jasmine, which began to cloy after a few forkfuls, though people whose hearts flutter for its romance-novel fragrance might disagree.

Mr. Post cooked at Franny’s in Brooklyn before heading off in January with Ms. Chou on a two-week tour of Yunnanese restaurants in Shanghai and Beijing. This was not exactly an immersion course in the cuisine, which Mr. Post interprets with a Western accent.

Yunnan Kitchen is no immersion course, either. A first meeting with an unfamiliar cuisine that combines strange new flavors in ways you’d never imagined can stop you in your tracks. Apart from the overworked spice blend, I never had that sensation at Yunnan Kitchen. I came to trust the kitchen, but I agreed with a dining companion who said the next day, “I’m still in search of the Yunnan part of it.”

I continued my search across town in TriBeCa, where, in one of those odd happenstances that New York likes to toss down as if it were no big thing, another Yunnanese-inspired restaurant opened earlier this year.

The menu of Lotus Blue, at 110 Reade Street, promised novel tastes, with candied plums, pickled Yunnan turnips and banana blossoms. But in two meals, there was only one dish I wanted to finish: crunchy and meaty tiger prawns stir-fried in their shells with sugary bits of candied olives. I abandoned everything else after a few bites, including flavorless noodles in weak, oily broth; pork meatballs in a gooey, indistinct brown sauce; and a few other things I can barely recall.

After that unsatisfactory dalliance, I returned to Yunnan Kitchen with a fresh appreciation for its charms. Yes, I had liked the shrimp I’d met when I went astray. But the shrimp at Yunnan Kitchen were far better, deep fried with lime leaves, the crunchy shells seasoned with tart and fragrant lime salt, the flavors refreshingly direct and to the point.

And while there were no unmined veins of Yunnanese flavor lurking in stir-fried king mushrooms flavored with Allan Benton’s country ham, or in floppy, membranous wood ears with lengths of Chinese celery, both showed a firm understanding of how mushrooms should be treated. My favorite mushroom dish, though, was the mushroom rice cake with nicely crunchy bitter greens and fermented chiles. The whole thing is slicked with a sweet soy glaze and is surprisingly easy to finish before you realize it.

Mr. Post’s fresh, locavore sensibility leads to straightforward and uncomplicated cooking. In one key way this is a liability: nothing at Yunnan Kitchen builds to a pitch of flavor that makes you dream about your next visit. That may change as Mr. Post explores more deeply.

In the meantime, there are enough lovely tastes to build a good meal, and to suggest what we have to gain if restaurants start to spread the wealth around.

Yunnan Kitchen

 

Şark Kahvesi – Istanbul

Şark Kahvesi (The Orient Coffee House) is one of my must stops in the Grand Bazaar Complex. It’s a traditional Turkish Coffee / tea house that is used by the Grand Bazaar population. It had been a part of the narrow streets of the bazaar until the owner walled up several sides to convert it to its formerly architectural status.

The nicotine colored walls is a reference to the times when smoking was allowed in the coffee house. It’s a popular tea and coffee spot for the locals and also for the visitors. It’s a breather spot during the hassle of the crowd in the Grand Bazaar.

The coffee nor the tea is anything special, I can even comment that it’s lame in taste as there are much better spots in the city but the atmosphere is a gem. The spot where the coffee house is located is in the junctions of at least three bazaar streets where you can sit back and watch the human traffic.

Order your self a Turkish Coffee without sugar called “sade” (meaning basis without anything) and sit back while you sip the sour coffee along with a cold glass of water. This is the most relaxing spot possible for anyone.

Details about this spot
Şark Kahvesi | Coffee & tea, Relaxing, Shopping | 3 for Tea / 5 for Coffee TL 6
Yaglikcilar Cad. 134 | Eminonu | +902125121144
Mon – Sat 09:00 -19:30

Liquiglide – MIT

It’s just ketchup and mayonnaise, besides the frustration of getting it out what’s the big deal?

With condiment bottles there’s still a bunch of food left in the bottle when you throw it out. By our calculations, about 1 million pounds of food gets thrown out each year worldwide. Also, those squeeze bottles need a big cap. By eliminating the need for such a big cap, we’d save 25,000 tons of petroleum-based plastics each year.

Won’t people buy fewer bottles if they’re able to get every last bit of food? Isn’t this bad for food companies?

How long has that almost-empty bottle been sitting in the side door of your fridge because it doesn’t look empty? Some condiments are so sticky that the sides are completely covered, even though the bottle is nearly empty. A LiquiGlide coating will let you see exactly how much food is left in the bottle!

http://www.liqui-glide.com