1. Win Tickets to BBC Good Food Show

    Great British Chefs and BBC Good Food Show London have teamed up to offer you the chance to win pairs of tickets (worth £34) to this autumn’s foodie event! Expert chefs from your favourite BBC TV food series will be bringing their cookery shows to life on stage at London’s Olympia from the 9th - 11th November.  Find out how to win one of five pairs of tickets ….

    For three days, your favourite cooks & chefs from shows such as MasterChef: The Professionals and Saturday Kitchen will be cooking delicious seasonal recipes live on stage. Also for the first time The Great British Bake Off will be taking to the stage on Friday 9th November, giving you the opportunity to meet Mary Berry & Paul Hollywood as they recreate dishes from the show in a culinary SuperTheatre.

    Tom Aikens, Theo Randall, Vineet Bhatia and Pierre Koffmann from Great British Chefs will also be appearing at the show.  Discover the secrets of their success at an intimate interactive stage. 

    Baked Alaska by Tom Aikens

    On Sunday you can also see Tom & Vineet “battle” it out in a Michelin Star Challenge hosted by Olly Smith.

    Grilled Peaches & Cardamom Panna Cotta by Vineet Bhatia

    When you’re not rubbing shoulders with the chefs, you can visit the Producers’ Village. Here you’ll find the very best artisan producers and speciality food retailers. Discover new flavours, meet the makers of your favourite produce, indulge in delicious hand-made delicacies and stock up on gifts, ingredients and goodies.

    We have five pairs of entry tickets for BBC Good Food Show for either Friday 9th or Sunday 11th November.

    For your chance to win, simply tell uswho’s your favourite TV chef and why.Enter in the comments here no later than 11.59pm on Monday 5th November 2012.  Entry into the competition is for UK residents only & does not include transport to the event.

    We will randomly select the prize winners from the comments made by the entry deadline.  The lucky winners be selected & informed on Tuesday 6th November 2012 & your tickets will be sent by registered post that day.

    We look forward to seeing your entries.

  2. Making Vineet Bhatia’s Grilled Peaches with Cardamom Panna Cotta

    It’s the last day of National Barbecue Week, and the second day of the Jubilee Weekend. True to form, the weather’s gone grim in many parts of the country for the occasion, so Great British Chefs blogger Monica Shaw  wanted to cheer herself up and at least pretend it’s summer.  Discover how she did this Vineet Bhatia's dish

    Blog post & photography by Monica Shaw

    Enter Vineet Bhatia’s recipe for Grilled Peaches with Cardamom Panna Cotta. I’d been eying this recipe for a while and it seemed like the perfect way to brighten up this Jubilee / Barbecue Week double whammy. Plus, it would be a great way to break in my new barbecue, bought last week in the spirit of the now absent sunshine.

    Grilling peaches

    I’m not usually one for desserts - I’m not into cakes or pastry or anything overly sweet. But I do like fruit, especially peaches, and I was insanely curious about how they’d be on the grill. And the panna cotta sounded like a nice, light creamy finish to offset the tang of the peaches. So I dove right in.

    Grilling peaches

    In Vineet’s recipe, the pears get “grilled” in a wok, to which he adds butter, brown sugar, crushed fennel, cardamom and lemon juice. To adapt this to the outdoor barbecue, I melted the butter with the other ingredients and let it bubble until the sugar melted. I then cut the peaches in half and put them on the hot, oiled barbecue cut-side down. After a few minutes, I turned them over, basted the tops with the sugary butter, and grilled bottom-side down until the tops were bubbling and the peaches were soft.

    Grilled peaches

    I followed the panna cotta recipe to the letter, using silicone muffin moulds to set them in. This was my first time making panna cotta and it was relatively painless. I did have to do a little external research to figure out how to get them OUT of the silicone moulds. The answer: put some boiling water in a roasting pan, then set the moulds in them for a minute or two and the panna cotta slips out easily. It’s a bit tricky to handle, though - I found it easiest to plate them with my hands.

    Grilled Peaches with Cardamom Panna Cotta

    I didn’t make the white chocolate rabdi because I’m not a massive fan of white chocolate and I wanted this to be more about the peaches than anything else. I plated the panna cotta and the peaches and added a few almonds for garnish. And then it was time for a taste.

    Grilled Peaches with Cardamom Panna Cotta

    The peaches alone are outstanding. I couldn’t resist popping a peach half into my mouth straight off the grill, despite the risk of burning my mouth. I couldn’t help it: they looked so appealing bubbling away on the barbecue. And the aroma from the cardamom and fennel was intoxicating. I can already tell these will become a regular part of my grilling repertoire - a great solution for an easy pudding, to go with a bit of ice cream, or in this case, panna cotta, which was fun to make and a fairly easy way to make a very special dessert. And together, the panna cotta and grilled peaches certainly banished the rainy day Sunday blues.

    Blog post & photography by Monica Shaw

    Have you ever tried grilling fruit?  What did you grill & what did you serve with it? What are some of your favourite desserts to cheer up a rainy day? Let us know over on Great British Chefs Facebook Page

  3. A Very Vegetarian Christmas

    It’s just one day before Christmas, and some of us are still trying to solve that timeless question: what do you serve the vegetarians in your life at Christmas? Great British Chefs,  blogger Monica Shaw has some great suggestions so that non meat eaters don’t feel that they’ve been left out of the celebrations.

    Lifafa mushrooms, braised spinach roasted tomato-sesame chutney by Vineet Bhatia on Great British Chefs website

    Ideas abound, from savoury mushroom pies to festive filo ritolos to the timeless classic nut roast. The quest: a vegetarian main dish that vies for the attention of the Christmas turkey. Whether that quest ends in success or a lot of leftover nut roast, getting there is half the fun.

    Photo by Monica Shaw

    This Christmas I’ll be tackling two vegetarian main dishes. On Christmas eve, I celebrate with my immediate family, three of four of whom are vegetarians and well-adapted to a meat-free Christmas meal. I’ve never been one for nut roast, but the recipe for Demuths Christmas Roast caught my eye, made with lentils, cashews, seeds and lots of spices. To go with it, I’m making a port and shallot gravy, while dad makes mashed potato, sis makes roasted veg and mom makes brussels sprouts and cranberries. It’s hard to imagine any of these things being bad when there’s good gravy going around.

    Christmas day is a bit more of an adventure: here is where the turkey steps up to steal the show and my family and I take great pleasure in trying to devise a vegetarian main dish that competes. We’ve had success in the past with moussaka, but this year we really want to win on presentation.

    Photo by Monica Shaw

    Our solution: winter squash stuffed with a sourdough and tempeh stuffing, topped with gruyere cheese and/or pine nuts (we haven’t decided).  The hope is to create something that can be universally appreciated by everyone at the table, without throwing off any traditionalists with our weird vegetarian hippy meal (in which case, we might keep the inclusion of tempeh a chef’s secret).

    Photo by Monica Shaw

    What are you making for the vegetarians in your life this Christmas?   We’re discussing this over on the Great British Chefs Facebook page.

    Blog post for Great British Chefs by Monica Shaw

  4. Happy Vegetarian Thanksgiving?

    Great British Chefs, guest blogger Monica Shaw  is on a mission.  Her mission is to see whether, as a vegetarian, she can celebrate Thanksgiving with the autumnal comfort that the event represents.  Read how she gets on and help her on her mission.

    Can you have a Happy Vegetarian Thanksgiving?

    Photo by Monica Shaw

    Vegetarians often get the short end of the drumstick on Thanksgiving, a day synonymous with big turkey dinners where nearly every dish is either meat-based or destined for a generous dollop of meaty gravy.

    But why should we vegetarians miss out on the joyous gluttony of Thanksgiving?  I’m done scrounging on side dishes and enduring year after year of nut roasts. Don’t get me wrong: I love green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet yams (even when they come with marshmallows on top), but the sum of their parts do not make a main event.

    My mission: to find a vegetarian main dish that embodies the kind of autumnal comfort and celebration that Thanksgiving dinner is all about. An ideal veggie main should be spectacular to look at, utterly moreish and bursting with autumn veg.

    The best option I’ve found so far is the stuffed squash. For example, acorn squash stuffed with a savoury wild rice and cranberry stuffing is exquisite and proves that stuffing needn’t be crammed into a turkey to be gorgeous and delicious. 


    Photo by Monica Shaw

    Mushrooms present another option, gloriously autumnal and packed with that statisfying umami punch that Thanksgiving demands. Try serving them on cheesy squash polenta.  Or stuff your mushrooms in a pastry as in Vineet Bhatia’s recipe for Lafifa Mushrooms, Braised Spinach and Roasted Tomato Chutney.

    From Great British Chefs website - Vineet Bhatia

    The other matter for vegetarians is gravy. Yes, you can make a simple vegan gravy out of mushrooms or onions, but the ultimate gravy recipe in my world is a shallot and port gravy, the perfect accoutrement for mashed potatoes and roasted veg.

    Some vegetarians opt for something altogether different for their veggie main: lasagna, moussaka, savoury tarts and quiches. But these dishes don’t really say “Thanksgiving” to me. And they certainly don’t go with gravy.

    Hit me with some inspiration: What are you serving the vegetarians in your life this Thanksgiving?  We’re discussing this over on the Great British Chefs Facebook page.

    Blog post for Great British Chefs by Monica Shaw