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!

Saturday, 11 October 2014


This week my Around the World adventure had taken me to the far off land of Mongolia.
And the dish I chose from Mongolia was a fantastic Mongolian Lamb dish served with brown rice and Green Peppers.

Lamb Steaks cut into large chunks
Soy Sauce
Clear Honey
a large thumb of  Ginger
6 Cloves of Garlic
1 Onion
1 Green Pepper
Spring Onions
Ground Cumin
Ground Cinnamon
Olive Oil
Sesame Oil
Brown Rice
Chopped Nuts

If you have the time, it is well worth preparing & marinading the lamb overnight,
First up pour 100ml of Dark Soy Sauce in a large bowl, then add 4 tablespoons of Ground Cinnamon, 5 tablespoons of Ground Cumin, 4 tablespoons of clear runny honey, 3 teaspoons of sesame oil, 4 teaspoons of olive oil & a good grind of pepper. Then finely grate a good 3cm thumb of fresh ginger to the marinade followed by 6 pressed cloves of garlic. Give the whole marinade a thorough mix until all blended together. 

Cut up your lamb into large chunks and add to the marinade. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight or for as long as possible.

When ready to start cooking remove the meat from the marinade and put into a separate bowl saving the leftover marinade.
Preheat the oven to 200C. 
Chop a green pepper and a large onion into chunky slices, and place on a baking tray. Then spoon over 2-3 tablespoons of the saved leftover marinde, a drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkling of salt & pop in the oven for about 35 minutes.

Also when your peppers have gone in, you need to start to cook your brown rice (as per the instructions on the pack) - add salt to taste. In the last few minutes of cooking your rice throw in some chopped up spring onions.

When you are about 10 minutes away from the rice and green peppers being ready then its time to toast some chopped nuts & also to start cooking the marinaded lamb. Heat a large frying pan on a very high heat & add a small amount of oil. Then throw in the lamb so that it sizzles. continue to fry keeping the pan on a high heat & turning the meat constantly. After about 5-7 minutes it should start to get that nice slightly charred edge to it - time to turn off the heat and let rest in the pan for a further 4-5 mins.

The lamb should be slightly charred, cooked through but still slightly pink in the middle. 
Serve with the rice, green peppers & onions, and sprinkle on a teaspoon of the toasted chopped nuts over the top of the lamb and serve to hungry dinner guests!

Countries to go: 72

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

Keep following the Greedy Mancunians to see what country I 'visit' next!  

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


As it gets a bit chilly out, I thought I would mark my return to "Around the World in 80 Dishes" (yes I have been a bit lazy lately) with a visit to Iceland.
A tasty treat in the form of a baked fish dish was the dish I cooked for Iceland:

Fish fillets (Cod or Hallibut)
1 lemon
200g Emmenthal cheese
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 cup of cream
sliced white bread for breadcrumbs
on the vine cherry tomatoes
Rye Bread

Firstly invite some guests and hopefully they will turn up wearing furry winter hats to get into the mood for a good bit of Icelandic cuisine.
Then take a baking dish and butter it before placing the fish fillets in to fill the base. Squeeze the lemon all over it lavishly and season with a little sea salt sprinkled all over & a grinding of pepper.

Then came the slightly confusing part (I wasnt convinced it would go until I tasted it - it did!)...... finely grate the 200g of Emmenthal over the fish.

In a cup of cream mix in a teaspoon of dijon mustard and pour all over the fish, then whiz up some white sliced bread and mix with some chopped chives and sprinkle all over the top to cover.
Pop the dish into a preheated oven (180C) and bake for 40 minutes.

Whilst your fish bakes, make up some smooth mash (I used a potato ricer) add butter, a dash of cream and grate some nutmeg in (or for ease - just use Nutmeg powder) and some finely chopped chives (use fresh).
Also put the on the vine tomatoes on a baking tray - sprinkle with olive oil, sea salt & pepper and bake for 20 mins.

Once ready then plate up the baked fish and serve with the mash and tomatoes and enjoy!
I couldnt find any Icelandic wine, but found a nice Austrian white wine to accompany this dish.

Hopefully your guests have not only brought furry hats with them, but have done as ours did and brought a home made Arctic Roll (Jamie Oliver recipe) for desert with them - a splendid way to round off the Icelandic dinner!

    Thanks Sandra & Howard!

Countries to go: 73

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

Keep following the Greedy Mancunians to see what country I 'visit' next!  

Thursday, 7 August 2014


Well the Two Greedy Mancunians were out again on Thursday the 31st July, We had been invited to a evening at Nandos (Arndale) to sample a new menu.
A new menu I hear you say at Nandos surely not!!!
The evening started with a stroll through the Andale which I must admit I hadn’t ventured in for years, because it always had that pants reputation, but what a shock I had there was many restaurants and clothes stores and i will certainly be going back.
When we arrived the Two Greedy Mancunians seemed to be in a Arndale daze as it took us 10 min to realise we were standing outside Bella Italia, eventually we found Nandos which was next door & we were greeted by a lovely member of staff who guided us upstairs to where we were all to meet.
To my suprise there were many foodies & bloggers invited & there was a good atmosphere (could it have been the offer of free beer and wine that did the trick)
There was one couple who arrived late & sat down for all of 10 minutes then left because they were sat next to the toilets.  I'm sure people do this for the attention, just get over it please you are not at a Michelin starred restaurant, you are at Nandos. Just enjoy the company and the atmosphere (and on  behalf of Nandos the toilets were clean and there were no bad smells)

So the manger gave us a brief introduction of the history of Nandos and it was clear she really did enjoy her job which is great to see.
The food we had was a sample of the new menu we were first given a plate of olives, toasted pitta bread, a red pepper dip & a lovely hummous. Then out came our first lot of chicken, we had bonless chicken thighs which i really enjoyed. The chicken was really moist and very tasty,  there was also sweet potato wedges (nice big chunky wedges too) which again were really very good.
More chicken was piled upon us and being Two Greedy Mancunians we did our best to help eat it all up.  They also did a chicken roullette, different chicken in different strength sauces, you had to pick one, and one could have been extremely hot, it was all fun.
Then all of a sudden a giant cock came out of the back, people seemed to be having their photo taken with the cock and some were touching the cock, then I realised it was the Nandos mascot 'Barci'.
There isn’t much more i can say we both had a really good evening, Nandos put on a really good feast, and some people don’t like Nandos, but I do. I have been a few times and always enjoyed it.
I’m not saying I go all the time but if you want a quick lunch or quick evening meal (and you like chicken) then you really can’t go wrong, the food is good, staff are always pleasant and it is all at a reasonable price. And you know Nandos must be doing something right because the restaurants are always busy, which to me is always a great sign.
The night wasnt just about Nandos, it was also in aid of promoting the Arndale's "Get Your Eat On" campaign. Basically for the whole of August you can download or pick up a booklet of vouchers for most of the food places in the Arndale, so what are you waiting for, go get your eat on!

Visit: for further details and to download the vouchers.
Thank you to Nandos and the Arndale for putting on a great, fun evening.
Greedy Mancuinan (Alex)