Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

A Return?

This is interesting, really. I’m kinda returning to the blogsphere,  sort of. You see, I just cooked up a Spiced Pumpkin Soup, and a few things have been playing on my minds recently. Even though I lost heart with cooking, I never gave up, though I did go back to eating a lot more processed shit, but recently, every time I eat processed shit, I feel rotten. Not always in a way where I feel sick, but sometimes, it’s just depressing, and I feel miserable eating it. I guess it’s because processed shit only comes in two colours. Grey and golden brown.

Grey food : Sausage, cheap bacon, pie fillings, etc

Golden brown food : Chips, beans, anything coated in batter or breadcrumbs.


So yeah, amidst the dreary cheap crap, I’ve been cooking nice things, and also, my friend Asher (remember the chap who wrote the guest blog about Jamaican patties) has asked if he could take over the blog with his friend. This seemed a good idea to me, and I agreed to it, yet, I didn’t want to completely give up ownership of the blog, as it still has a special place in my heart. I’ve written posts on here that have generated masses of interest, and people thanking me for a recipe. I’ve had TV producers ask me to come audition for their shows through this blog, and yeah, I may not have gotten through the auditions, but it was nice to be asked (even though I didn’t really feel that way at the time).

So here is what I propose (I haven’t even asked Asher about this yet, haha!). I can’t actually change the title of the blog, but I reckon it should no longer be just this one Punkchef, but three Punkchefs, Asher, myself and Asher’s friend (who I apologise, I cannot remember his name).

Tomorrow, I shall post the recipe for the soup I made today.

Kris (A Punkchef)


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“This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note, stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany. … It is evil things that we will be fighting against—brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution—and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.”

Neville Chamberlain – September 3rd, 1939

On September 3rd, 1939, it was announced, that Great Britain was at war with Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and life for the British was to change drastically. I am sure you are all aware of the tragedies of WWII, but I want to focus on the one part of life during wartime Britain that I have a keen interest in. Food.

During the First World War, Britain had a food crisis, in that two years into the war, we were left with only six weeks food and from therein, food had to be rationed. There was no strict plan in force, and unfortunately many measures taken towards rationing failed. During the Second World War, rationing was re-introduced just months after war was declared, in an effort to make sure that Britain had food. Infact, during the war, Britons were at their healthiest than ever, nobody ate too much fatty foods, too many carbohydrates, etc. Rationing provided everyone with a healthy, balanced diet.

Anyway, that’s enough fact regurgitating for now, I’ve got a few more blogs planned for this week, where I can share some more!

If I were to ask most people now, what they would expect ration based meals to be like, I would expect them to be suspicious of them, expecting them to be dull, and bland meals, however, I know this not to be true. Sure, life during the war was hard for everyone, but food brought people together, and when you’re limited in the kitchen, and as they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, and some great dishes were made during this time of austerity!

I’m going to share with you, a three course feast, all based on rations, and to start off with, a dish that people would have enjoyed, until 1942, when onions were rationed for two years, until 1944….

Onion Soup

Ingredients :

  • 6 onions, very thinly sliced
  • 30g butter (ration per week ranged from 227g to 57g), or margerine (ration per week ranged from 340g to 113g)
  • tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tsp sugar (ration per week ranged from 454g to 227g)
  • tbsp vinegar
  • 1 litre of beef “tea”, made from Oxo or Bovril, for authenticity
  • salt
  • pepper
  • bread (bread wasn’t rationed until after the war, but you would have been limited to “national loaf”)

Method :

  1. Place your pan on the stove, and bring to a high head, add the butter and oil.
  2. When very hot, add the thinly sliced onions and sugar, and stir for 5 minutes, until they start to take on colour.
  3. When the onions have taken on colour, reduce heat to a minimum, and leave to sweat for around 30 minutes.
  4. Return to a high heat, and then add the vinegar to the pan.
  5. Add the beef tea, and reduce to a simmer for an hour without a lid on.
  6. Adjust the seasoning with a little salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with some bread to dunk in.

So there is your starter for your three course, wartime feast! It’s brilliant how so few ingredients, so simple, can make something both tasty, nutritious, and on a cold night during the war, warming, which would have been a welcome treat for any air raid wardens working throughout the night, in their trusty Thermos flask!

As I said, food was something that brought people together during WWII, but one other, was music. It was important to keep morale high, and the BBC, gave big band and jazz, dance music, better slots in their radio scheduling. Also, artists like George Formby (and no, I still won’t play any Fromby numbers on my ukulele!) were played. Upbeat, jaunty music kept morale high.

The reason I’m now talking about music, is that my good friend, Lorraine “Swingaroo”, is putting on a monthly event in Preston, the “Swingaroo Vintage Dancehall“, where music from the 1920’s, to the 1950’s will be played. There will be a good mix of music, from vocal harmony groups, to big bands, to rock’n’roll, and each night begins with a dance lesson, to teach you how to do The Lindy Hop, I’ll be the one flat on his face. I’m a terrible dancer.

So yeah, this is the reason for my rationing era themed week, I want to help get you “In The Mood” for the Swingaroo Vintage Dancehall, and remember… “We’ll eat again, don’t know where, don’t know when”

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FAQ for Punkchef

Hullo… I thought I’d kick my blog off with a little foodie FAQ. Hooray!

  • What are your earliest food memories?

The first food memory I have, is when I was four years old, in a crappy static caravan in Cornwall, and I had “Lucky Charms” cereal for the first and last time! (until earlier this year when a friend brought some back from an overpriced shop in Manchester) When I had them again this year, the taste was exactly the same, and I can see why they’re not on general sale over here, you could see the sugar content on them a mile off (bloody gorgeous though!) On the topic of proper food, and not crappy sugary cereals, one of my earliest food memories is probably the salads I used to have at my grandparents house, the table would be full of pork pies, sausage rolls, sliced boiled eggs, cooked meats, picked beetroot, pickled cabbage, buttered Warburtons baps/rolls/buns/barmcakes/whatever your region chooses to call them, just an array of food. Those were some good times and I miss my grandparents dearly 🙂

Wow, that was a long winded answer!

  • What sorts of things did your parents or grandparents cook?

Well, I pretty much covered the grandparent situation on the above question, but that was just the grandparents on my Dad’s side… My grandparents on my Mum’s side (who are still with us, albeit I hardly see them since they now live in Ireland)… well, bloody hell… let me talk you through a typical day when I go see them in Ireland, I’m going to use bullet points, it just makes it a whole lot easier…

  • 8.00am : Wake up, brew
  • 8.30am : Bowl of cereal (usually Crunchy Nut Cornflakes), brew
  • 8.45am : Full Irish Breakfast, consisting of : 3 thin Irish recipe sausages (usually Galtee brand), 2 rashers of bacon, 1 whole grilled tomato, 1 gallon of baked beans, 2 fried eggs, black pudding, white pudding, fried bread, toast, brew
  • 10.00am : Plate of biscuits, consisting of digestives, rich tea (an underrated biscuit if ever there was one), Penguin, Kit Kat, Kimberly Biscuit (an Irish delicacy, two soft ginger biscuits, with a sugar coated marshmallow centre, delicious!!), custard creams (ew) and bourbon creams. A brew to wash it all down
  • 12.00pm : Sandwiches, usually cheese and ham. In Ireland, they have a strange type cheese, called Galtee, or it’s sister product, Calvita. The only way to describe it would be “imagine if you condensed 100 cheese slices that you put on a burger”. It’s processed cheese and is absolutely fucking disgusting. Thankfully the sandwiches were usually swimming in coleslaw, so that masked the flavour of the inedible and undigestable cheese… oh, and who could forget, a brew.
  • 2.00.pm : Plate of biscuits, as above and a brew.
  • 5.00pm : The traditional Irish, meat and vegetable dish. This would usually be potatoes, which are floury as hell, and have no flavour and coat your mouth so you can’t taste anything else, a joint of meat cooked to within an inch of it’s life (usually gammon so rubbery you could sell it to Goodyear for research purposes, or a joint of beef which has been cremated), some more potatoes, carrots, again, boiled in water, without any salt for about 5 hours until they’ve all but evaporated, some more fucking potatoes and cabbage that has been in a pressure cooker for somewhere near the 7 day mark. Shock horror, weak orange juice to wash it down with.
  • 7.00pm : Plate of biscuits, and another brew.
  • 9.00pm : Supper, usually another cheese and bastard ham sandwich, although I usually just said I was full, but that didn’t mean I escaped eating something, and usually had a drink of red lemonade… or just another fucking brew.
  • Wake up in the morning and repeat

So as you can see, whenever I went over to Ireland, I came back about 20stone heavier.

My parents aren’t the best cooks either, my dad’s ok, but the only thing he ever seems to cook is a Sunday Roast, which is nothing special in all honesty, and it’s usually just chicken, and it’s usually a load of frozen veg and frozen Yorkshire Puddens… my mum, well, she’s not great either, don’t get me wrong, they can both cook to an edible standard, they’re  not like some of the atrocities you can see on programmes like Come Dine With Me or Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook!, just not too hot on understanding complex flavours and seasoning food!! I’ll save bitching about my parents cooking for another time though!

  • When did you start to cook and what did you make?

I started to cook in Year 7 at school, so I would have been 12 years old, I remember the first thing we ever made in Food Technology… a sandwich… a bloody sandwich… fucking hell… and then the teacher (who coincidentally was our boss eyed maths teacher who seemed to sweat from every pore of his body) leant over, and had a good look at them… I got an A+, I saw drops of his sweat fall on my sandwich, I went hungry that lunchtime.

  • How and what do you cook now?

There’s three main types of cuisine I enjoy cooking the most (although I’m not limiting myself to them!), and they are : traditional British hearty grub, such as toad in the hole, winter warmer soups and stews, big generous salads, etc., Mexican food like my awesome Chille Con Carne (which will be one of the first recipes I share with you), chimichangas and tortillas with guacamole, and finally Caribbean cuisine, if you don’t love a big plate of spicy jerk chicken with rice and peas, you are a nutter!

  • Do you follow any special diets–low-fat, sugar-free, gluten-free, no red meat, vegetarian, vegan, and so on?

I’m currently following the seafood diet, I see food, I eat it.

  • Where do you like to eat out?

There’s nowhere in particular I like to eat out at again and again, what could be more boring than going to the same restaurant again and again, it’s more fun to go to different places, experience a new great place to eat, learn of a place to avoid, laugh at how poorly cooked the food is, send the food back, get a refund and drop in at KFC on the way home.

  • Do you explore food on your travels?

I’ve never been abroad (well, other than Republic of Ireland, but it’s The British Isles, so it doesn’t count if you ask me), but I have a strong philosopy of “I will try anything once”, and I stick to it. I am excited by the idea of going to a restaurant in a foreign country, pointing randomly at something on the menu and being presented with an animal of unknown origins on my plate, to later find out I just ate a loin of badger, or something equally unexpected!!

And that’s it for now, it’s 2.15 in the morning, and sleep would be a great idea! Night night!


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