Saturday, 4 July 2015


Recently I took a trip to France to travel on the Canal du Midi on board the Anjodi with my family. Fans of Rick Stein may recognise this as the boat he used for part his French Oddessy TV series, however I certainly don't want to talk about Mr Stein today, but I would like to let you know about the boat's current chef - Todd Ogden.

Todd is an English chef who is cooking in the south of France and is more than competent in the tough cramped cooking conditions in the small hot kitchen onboard the boat (in the summer the tiny kitchen often gets to temperatures above 40 degrees).

So, you may ask, what's an Englishman doing trying to compete with the French on their own ground (or waterways in this case) - well.... who cares when his cooking is this good.  I dont know how long Todd will remain chef on the Anjodi - he is big asset to the boat and to European Waterways who run it - but certainly keep an eye on this young talented chef and his future career. Also one thing that impressed me was that he has only been cooking professionally for a few years after giving up the 9-5 office job to pursue his dreams.

Throughout our week on board - Todd gave us plate after plate of consistently excellent food - well presented, and always cooked spot on! The French lamb in particular was exceptional - perfectly cooked and so beautifully tender it just melted in the mouth - I dont believe I have ever had lamb as good!!! The dishes he served were a splendid mix of modern French cuisine (complete with fancy lines/drizzels of sauce or jus), with some of his English roots thrown in - he did promise us roast potatoes and he delivered us some along with a juicy wonderful piece of beef towards the end of our week on board.

I will leave you with some pictures of Todd's meals to showcase some of the delicious food he served - even if you are reading this 5 years from now - I urge you to seek out Todd Ogden and go try his food wherever he is cooking!

Saturday, 4 April 2015


On the website for Reds True Barbecue, it reads "Step through the imposing wooden doors of the former Shipping Agent’s Building and be transported into a twisted fairground of worship". This house of worship is for those with a belief in meat & quality barbecueing!

The first thing that strikes you upon entering is the glorious smell of the grill! That chargrill heavenly BBQ odor making you salivate and wanting to get stuck in to a mighty feast.
The ambiance is warm, lively, with a hint of junkyard-chic & neon, and a cracking soundtrack (some quality rockin tunes are playing whilst the grill sizzles away.

The food we ate was really enjoyable (but don't go here if you are a health-nut). I went for the Donut Burger - a couple of juicy flame grilled steak patties, with bacon, cheese & onions served between 2 sweet glazed donuts! Oh gosh - the salt and the sweet really worked and was tasty as hell. I had this with sweet potato fries and homemade slaw. It was everything I expected and some more and left me a very satisfied customer.

My fellow Greedy Mancunian opted for the rack of ribs (KC-Wet Baby Backs) - its gotta be done in a BBQ joint! Again they were superb, with an unholy BBQ sauce & sides of barbecue greens & cornbread. We washed down our meals with a couple of Red's own brew - Idle Hands Craft Lager. 
All in all a tasty feast that left us stuffed and satisfied (and a reasonable price for the amount and quality of the food). I now have a faith in Reds True Barbecue - I believe!

Details of the Manchester Reds True Barbecue (and its other branches - Headingly, Leeds & Nottingham) along with its menus can be found here:


Wednesday, 1 April 2015


Woooooosh - i'm now in Malaysia enjoying Kari Ayam Dan Ubi Kentang (Chicken & Potato Curry) served with the rather exciting Roti Jala & Malaysian rice.

This episode of Around the World in 80 Dishes I will split into the 3 parts that make up this dish...... Pt.1 The Rice...... Pt.2 Roti Jala...... & the main event Pt.3 Kari Ayam Dan Ubi Kentang,


Pt.1 - The Rice

Thai Jasmine Rice
Coconut Milk
1/4 tsp of ground ginger
small chunk of fresh root ginger

Pt.2 - Roti Jala

300g Plain Flour
3oz Coconut Milk
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp Tumeric

Pt.3 - Kari Ayam Dan Ubi Kentang

8 small boneless/skinless chicken thighs
Green Beans
1 large red onion
1 chicken stock cube
3 garlic cloves
1 tin of coconut milk
1 tbsp mild curry powder
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red chilli
1 stick of Lemongrass
1/2 tsp tumeric

If you follow the below instructions then you can learn how all these ingredients combine to make a very tasty dish! So...... here we go:

Pt.1 - the Rice:

Just put some rice in a pan and boil in water?...... No??? this is Malaysian style rice. Using some Thai Jasmine Rice (yes Thai - you might stuggle to find Malaysian rice in Tescos!) rinse it and then soak in half a tin on coconut milk. Chuck in a good pinch of salt and some finely chopped fresh root Ginger & 1/4 tsp of Ground ginger. Top up with enough water to boil the rice in - when ready to cook - boil on a low heat for 20-30 mins and serve in a serving ring for maximun presentation! I added some cucumber around the base and some thinly peeled strings of carrot.

Pt.2 - Roti Jala:

Roti Jala got me all excited - it looks really complex with its netting style look, but was suprisingly easy to make. Firstly you need to make up your batter. Sift 300g of flour into a mixing bowl and add 1 tsp of salt & 1/4 tsp of tumeric & stir together. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in 3oz of Coconut Milk mixed with 3 large eggs & 1 cuo of water, Slowly add in another cup of water whilst stirring to make as smooth a batter as possible. Then sieve the batter to remove any remaining lumps.

Pout this into a squeezy bottle - i used an old tomato sauce bottle (tomato sauce removed and washed)

Brush a nonstick frying pan with vegetable oil and steadily squeese your batter into the pan - firstly into a spiral then criss-cross like so:

After it starts to set (normally between 1-2 mins) fold the netted crepe in half then fold twice more to form a triangle. These can be set aside & are ready to serve with the main dish. Not only do these look great, but they taste great too! 

Pt.3 - Kari Ayam Dan Ubi Kentang:

Now for the Chicken and Potato curry.....
Crumble half a chicken stock cube into a bowl and add 1 tbsp of mild curry powder & 1/2 a tsp of tumeric & pour in 4 tbsp of vegetable oil - mix into a paste and add the chicken thighs, turning them until fully coated with the paste.

its chopping time - chop up all your veg (red onion, okra, green beans, mushrooms) finely slice 3 cloves of garlic and a chunk of ginger. Also take a stick of lemongrass and give it a bashing.

In a large pan on a medium-high heat brown off the chicken thighs and remove from the pan. In the same pan throw in all the veg and stir around with a sprinkling of water to loosen all the browned spices from the chicken.

Also chop some baby potatoes in half (or quarters if on the big side) - chuck these in with a tin of coconut milk + any left over from the previous tin used for the rice & roti jala. Add the chicken back and cook on a low heat for 45 mins.

Add a sprinkling of finely chopped deseeded red chili. Once the curry is cooked and all your other components are ready then remove the stick of lemongrass and serve like so and enjoy:

Our dinner guests said they would bring pudding with them and found an authentic Malaysian desert for us to enjoy. This was various fruits (pear, papaya, kiwi & cucumber) served with a sauce for dipping them in. The Sauce was an interesting combination made from Tamarind paste, chili & crushed peanuts. A most delightful & refreshing end to our Malaysian adventure.

See you all soon for another Greedy Mancunian Around the World in 80 Dishes adventure!

Countries to go: 71

Countries done:
#1 Peru
#2 Oman
#3 Malta
#4 Sweden
#5 Botswana
#6 Germany
#7 Iceland
#8 Mongolia
#9 Malaysia

Wednesday, 11 March 2015


It is the evening of Sunday the 8th of March & I make my way to Trof bar in the Northern Quarter to meet my fellow Greedy Mancunian Alex. He awaits there with a pint of Camden Pale Ale ready for me. A swift couple of these and a catch up and we are ready for our latest adventure.... an evening of chocolate tasting at Hotel Chocolat in Manchester's Arndale store.

We are rudely "welcomed" by one of the Arndale's security staff, and after a brief "do you know who we are?" exchange - he lets us pass & Hotel Chocolat open their shutters upon our arrival.

We are given a glass of prossecco & have time to mingle (a chili mad friendly fellow and his healthly eating good lady make for pleasant conversation) and a quick browse of the store - chocolate gin, chocolate perfume, chocolate this that and the other are all on sale here! It may not actually be a Hotel made of Chocolate, but Hotel Chocolat surely have everything a chocolate fan could ever wish for!

We take our seats and are ready for the chocolate tasting adventure to begin.  We are given an overview of the company and how they are one of the few chocolate companies who can see their product from "bean to bar" as they own their own plantation and control the whole process right through to the finished product.

The chocolatier (she even has a degree in chocolate - impressive!) is very knowledgeable and gives us plenty of interesting information about all the chocolate that we taste throughout the evening.  We taste all kinds of different chocolate from different kinds of cocoa beans, different strengths (even a 100% bar - which seems to blow everybody's tastebuds to a whole other dimension), and even a selection of filled chocolates. In our info pack there is even a tasting card detailing all the different flavours, textures, aromas etc that we might come across tonight (off the back of these tasting notes quite often words like "raisins", "black pepper", "mothballs" & "petrol" get shouted out as people come across different chocolate tastes.

We listen to the chocolate:

We smell the chocolate:

We even talk about Bruce Forsyth:

But most importantly we have had a splendid evening filled with some of the finest chocolate about and a little more knowledgeable about it!

Hotel Chocolat have also just launched a chocolate cookbook called "a new way of cooking with chocolate" for all you chocolate lovers & foodies out there! Info on this and the chocolate tasting evenings can be found on the Hotel Chocolat website:

Until the next culinary adventure, adios from John & Alex (AKA the Two Greedy Mancunians).
Stay Greedy everyone!