Weekend recipe: Hot brown

Hot brown – Bloomgist Food recipe
  • YIELD4 servings
  • TIME25 minutes

The Hot Brown was invented in 1926 at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Ky., by the chef Fred Schmidt. The open-faced turkey sandwich, smothered in Mornay sauce and topped with bacon, was served to customers at late-night  dances, while the band was on its break. The dish has become a Louisville staple, one well suited for Derby Day or after Thanksgiving, when roast turkey is plentiful. Thick slices of bread do not get lost under the meat and sauce. Hand-carved turkey is best for the dish; deli turkey slices do not deliver the same Hot Brown experience.



  • 1 (8-inch) sandwich loaf (about 20 ounces), cut evenly into 8 slices, crust removed
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 pound roasted turkey breast, thickly sliced


  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup shredded Pecorino Romano (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  •  Pinch of ground nutmeg
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper


  •  Shredded Pecorino Romano, for sprinkling
  • 8 slices crisp cooked bacon
  •  Chopped parsley, for garnish
  •  Paprika, for garnish


  1. Prepare the sandwich: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 bread slices in half diagonally. Divide the remaining 4 whole slices among four individual 7-by-9-inch (or other similarly sized) baking dishes (see Tip), and place 2 pieces of halved bread on opposite sides of the bread, positioning the longest side of each triangle closest to the whole slice of bread. The formation will look like a two-way arrow. Nestle a piece of tomato on either side of the whole slices of bread, forming a square shape with the bread triangles. Divide the turkey slices among the whole slices of bread. Transfer the casseroles to the oven to toast as you prepare the sauce.
  2. Prepare the Mornay sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until mixture forms a roux. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, 2 minutes. Whisk heavy cream and milk into the roux and cook over medium until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano until the sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Remove the dishes from the oven and pour the Mornay sauce over each, smothering the meat, bread and tomatoes.
  5. Sprinkle additional Pecorino Romano on top of each dish and broil until the cheese begins to brown and bubble, 4 to 5 minutes, working in batches, if necessary.
  6. Remove from the broiler and cross 2 slices of bacon over each dish. Sprinkle with parsley and paprika, and serve immediately.


  • You can also assemble this in a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Do not slice the bread into triangles, and instead overlap bread to fit casserole, dividing turkey among each bread slice, and nestling tomato quarters evenly along the longer sides of the dish. Prepare and broil as described. Top each broiled square with a slice of bacon broken in half and crossed. Garnish.

Prince Charles intervenes in Jollof wars

Prince Charles has spoken about the ongoing dispute over whose Jollof rice is best, only to side step the issue of revealing his own preference.

Jollof is made of rice, tomatoes and spices

Jollof is made of rice, tomatoes and spices

Speaking in Nigeria at the end of his West Africa tour, he said:

Quote Message: Having also visited The Gambia and Ghana over the past week, our visit to Nigeria may perhaps provide an invaluable opportunity to compare – if one ever dares do such a thing! – the relative merits of each country’s Jollof rice… however, for fear of sparking a diplomatic incident, I suspect I shall have to let you draw your own conclusions about which country’s Jollof we found to be the most delicious!”

The last high-profile British person to dare to talk about Jollof rice was the chef, Jamie Oliver, who at least seemed to unite West Africans in condemnation of his own recipe.

We suspect that Prince Charles was briefed about the ongoing rivalry over the traditional dish made with rice, tomatoes and spices because he was so careful not to reveal his favourite.

Weekend recipe: pot roast

At Spoon and Stable, his Minneapolis restaurant, Gavin Kaysen cooks a version of his grandmother Dorothy’s pot roast using paleron (or flat iron roast), the shoulder cut of beef commonly used in pot au feu, as well as housemade sugo finto, a vegetarian version of meat sauce made with puréed tomatoes and minced carrot, celery, onions and herbs. This recipe uses a chuck roast and tomato paste, both easier to find and still delicious.



  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast
  •  Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium red onions, cut into quarters
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into 12 to 16 pieces, about a pound
  • 8 cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 head garlic, top cut off to expose cloves
  • ¾ cup tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 ½ cups red wine, preferably cabernet
  • 4 cups beef broth


  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Season meat generously with salt and pepper. On the stove top, heat oil in a large Dutch oven, or other heavy roasting pan with a lid, over medium-high heat. Sear the meat until a dark crust forms, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove meat to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add butter to the pan. Melt the butter and add the whole head of garlic and vegetables, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot, until the vegetables start to color, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it darkens slightly, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add bay leaves, rosemary and wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a thick gravy consistency, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Return meat to the pot. Add broth, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours 20 minutes.
  6. Let roast sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Remove meat to a cutting board to slice. Discard bay leaves and rosemary stems. Squeeze any garlic cloves remaining in their skins into the stew and discard the skins. Serve slices of meat in shallow bowls along with the vegetables and a generous amount of cooking liquid ladled over top.


Weekend recipe: we have lasagna

In 2001, Regina Schrambling went on a week long odyssey in search of the ultimate lasagna recipe. She tested several, and finally found her ideal in a mash-up of recipes from Giuliano Bugialli and Elodia Rigante, both Italian cookbook authors.

Lasagna recipe

“If there were central casting for casseroles, this one deserved the leading role. But its beauty was more than cheese deep. This was the best lasagna I had ever eaten. The sauce was intensely flavored, the cheeses melted into creaminess as if they were bechamel, the meat was just chunky enough, and the noodles put up no resistance to the fork. Most important, the balance of pasta and sauce was positively Italian. At last I could understand why my neighbor Geoff had told me, as I dragged home more bags in our elevator, that all-day lasagna is the only kind worth making.”



  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, finely diced
  • 2 large cloves minced garlic
  • 8 ounces pancetta, diced
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups good red wine, preferably Italian
  • 2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¾ pound ground sirloin
  • ¼ cup freshly grated pecorino Romano
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves only, washed and dried
  • 2 large whole cloves garlic
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, a mix of hot and sweet


  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups freshly grated pecorino Romano
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 pound mozzarella, grated
  • 16 sheets fresh lasagna noodles, preferably Antica Pasteria


  1. For the sauce, heat 1/2 cup oil in a large heavy Dutch oven or kettle over low heat. Add the onions, minced garlic and pancetta, and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until the onions are wilted. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Raise heat slightly, add the wine and cook until it is mostly reduced, about 20 minutes. Crush the tomatoes into the pan, and add their juice. Add the tomato paste and 2 cups lukewarm water. Simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Combine the sirloin, cheese and eggs in a large bowl. Chop the parsley with the whole garlic until fine, then stir into the beef mixture. Season lavishly with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until all the ingredients are well blended. Shape into meatballs and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dust the meatballs lightly with flour, shaking off excess, and lay into the hot oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides (do not cook through) and transfer to the sauce.
  4. In a clean skillet, brown the sausages over medium-high heat. Transfer to the sauce. Simmer 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pecorino Romano, parsley and all but 1 cup of the mozzarella. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Remove the meatballs and sausage from the sauce, and set aside to cool slightly, then chop coarsely. Spoon a thick layer of sauce into the bottom of a 9-by-12-inch lasagna pan. Cover with a layer of noodles. Spoon more sauce on top, then add a third of the meat and a third of the cheese mixture. Repeat for 2 more layers, using all the meat and cheese. Top with a layer of noodles, and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle reserved mozzarella evenly over the top. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Your Independence Day food is shrimp curry sauce

As the country celebrate its 58 years of freedom from their colonial masters, a lot of activities which we have been following have been going on, and we have been publishing couple of things to do today to enjoy the holidays, from movies to watch, to places to visit, now here is a special meal to relax at home with.


  • 20-25 shrimps (peeled, devined and cleaned)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (more as needed)
  • 1 can (400ml) Coconut milk (Thai brand is my favorite)
  • 1-2 maggi cubes
  • Salt – to taste

Food 1

  1. Place a skillet on medium high heat. Add in the oil. Stir in minced onion. Stir fry until the onion is wilted but not brown. Add in curry powder and turmeric. Stir fry for another minute.
  2. Add in coconut milk. Season with maggi and salt. Stir well.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add in shrimps. Simmer for another 2 minutes.

Today’s recipe: Instant custard creme brulee

This storecupboard essential forms the base for a no-fuss – and nearly instant – version of this classic pudding.

Powder room: Ruby Tandoh’s Bird’s custard creme brulee. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

Powder room: Ruby Tandoh’s Bird’s custard creme brulee. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

It’s not uncommon for me to step out into the world dressed up like a tin of Bird’s custard powder, decked out in primary red, yellow and blue. Of all the icons I could copy, of all the causes I could espouse, I’ve forged myself in the image of Britain’s most beloved eggless cornflour custard mix. I love this stuff: I love that if you have a tub of it in the cupboard, you have the makings of a midweek pudding – bananas and custard, a makeshift apple crumble or this back-to-basics creme brulee – no baking, no split custard, no water bath.

Bird’s custard creme brulee

If you don’t have a blowtorch for the crust, you can get quite similar results under a grill. You won’t get quite the same deep, mottled brown as you would with a blowtorch, but you’ll still get a pleasing, brittle crust.

Prep 10 min
Set 2 hr 30 min
Makes 4

1 tbsp custard powder
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml whole milk
200ml double cream
2-3 tbsp caster sugar, to top

Stir together the custard powder, caster sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract, then briskly whisk in two tablespoons of the milk to make a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining milk and the cream in a small pan until they are just starting to simmer, then pour the hot mixture slowly into the golden custard base, whisking as you go. Decant the custard back into the pan and stir constantly as you bring it to a simmer. Once it is bubbling and thickened, divide between four ceramic ramekins. Refrigerate for at least two hours to cool and set.

Heat the grill as hot as it will go. Sprinkle the caster sugar in a smooth, even layer over each custard. Place carefully under the grill, as close to the heat source as you can, and keep a close eye on them as the sugar begins to liquefy, bubble and brown. (If you do have a blowtorch, just sweep it over the sugared surface until it begins to caramelise, taking care not to let it blacken and burn.)

Leave the custards to cool for a while before putting back in the fridge for half an hour. Serve with a little fruit – the tartness of raspberries is a perfect foil to the sweet, velvet custard.

  • Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay 

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Your favourite ‘Kuku Porno’ may take you to an early grave

The chicken served at some popular fast food cafes in Nairobi could be laced with a toxic cocktail of bacteria and in some cases, chemicals that could cause cancer.


Fried chicken and chips. Photo: Mickey/Flickr

Tests commissioned by the Nation show that the ready-to-eat chicken is contaminated with bacteria such as E.coli, salmonella, staphylococcus, enterobacteriaceae and coliforms.

It also tested positive for sodium metabisulphite, a preservative that scientists have said causes cancer if consumed in large amounts.

While proper cooking and handling should eliminate most of these bacteria, these cases point to shocking laxity in public health standards at the sampled fast food cafes.

“The presence of these bacteria points a direct finger to bad cooking and hygiene practices, because they indicate that the meat has been in contact with fecal matter.


“The person handling this food is either not cooking it properly or is not washing hands after visiting the toilet,” Dr Joseph Wahome, a toxicologist at Meru Level Five Hospital, said.

He added that heat, however, has no effect on the sodium metabisulphite, which should not be present at all in fresh food.

“Sodium metabisulphite should only be in processed food and in small quantities. Its presence in fresh meat shows that suppliers are using it to prolong shelf life, without knowing the correct quantities to apply.

“This could be particularly dangerous for those allergic to sulphur as it could give them skin eruptions or send them into anaphylactic shock,” he said.

Raw chicken from a supermarket was also found to be contaminated with the same bacteria.


Dr Wahome said that chicken should be washed before cooking to reduce bacterial contamination, although he warned that washing had limited effect on chemical contaminants.

“There have been incidents of meat, especially beef, being preserved with formalin, the chemical used to preserve bodies in the mortuary.

“Washing would not eliminate this or the sodium metabisulphite as the chemical usually penetrates into the very fibre of the meat.

“Be wary of butcheries that seem to be completely free of houseflies since flies avoid meat that has been chemically preserved with formalin,” he said.

Milk, fruits and vegetables are also compromised, leaving Kenyans with limited options for safe foods and contributing to a growing disease-burden that continues to clog health facilities and derail economic development.

A health craze has taken over the world by storm. As more diseases are linked to lifestyle and nutrition, people are beginning to grow more conscious of their food.

SOURCE: Nairobi News

Chew it over: a guide to eating slowly

People who savour their food are apparently far less likely to be overweight or obese than fast eaters. So if you are the latter, how do you break the habit?


Go slow: studies show that it takes up to 20 minutes for us to register that we’re full. Photo: Granger Wootz/Getty Images/Blend Images

Chew your deep-dish filled-crust pizza slowly. Slurp your thickshake with care. Do not pour cooking oil down your neck to act as a slide for your next Cinnabon.

Eat slowly. Get thin. This is the promise underlined by researchers at Japan’s Kyushu University, who pored over the data of 60,000 Japanese health insurance claimants. Slow eaters were 42% less likely to be overweight or obese than fast eaters. Even normal-speed eaters had a 29% lower risk of being overweight.

“It’s all to do with the signal to the brain,” explains performance nutritionist Elly Rees. “Studies show that it takes up to 20 minutes for us to register that we’re full. So people who overeat tend to eat too quickly.”

That 20-minute gap can be vast. If people eat more slowly they “find that they’re actually full,” Rees says.

While many of us might think that we have evolved to guzzle food as fast as we can, there are a range of ways to break the habit. Many nutritionists recommend putting down your utensils between bites. Others suggest drinking a glass of water before a meal – “a lot of hunger is mistaken thirst”, Rees suggests. Talking works, too. The best advice for most of us is simply not to eat in front of screens. Simply looking at our food helps the brain feel full.

Chewing is the point at which scientific advice and “not looking weird” clash. Many dietitians suggest that hard foods – meats and vegetables – should be chewed 20 to 30 times. Others have it pegged at the curiously precise 32.

Finally, while chewing hard, replacing your utensils, and mindfully venerating what’s on your fork go some of the way, it’s also a good idea to eat foods that are tricky to swallow.

2011 study suggested that pistachio eaters who ate unshelled nuts consumed 41% less than those who ate shelled ones, but felt just as full. Basically, eat anything with a shell or an exoskeleton, or anything that is still clawing at you as you gnaw it down.


When did it become fashionable to eat with a fork in the right hand?

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific concepts.

When did it become fashionable to eat with a fork in the right hand?

Fork only required? Photo: Alamy

When did it become fashionable to eat with a fork in the right hand (for right-handers) and no knife? I am forever raging at the TV when watching period dramas and the actors are eating with one hand.

Denise Ambery

Post your answers – and new questions – below or email them to infobloomgist@gmail.com