Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plenty Here to Give You Food for Thought; Want to Know How to Concoct the Ultimate Hangover Cure, Eat Healthily in Space or Drink Toast? Marion McMullen Discovers the Answers in New Book the Foodie Profile

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plenty Here to Give You Food for Thought; Want to Know How to Concoct the Ultimate Hangover Cure, Eat Healthily in Space or Drink Toast? Marion McMullen Discovers the Answers in New Book the Foodie Profile

Article excerpt

Byline: Marion McMullen

THERE'S a feast of quirky facts and delicious tips from the culinary world in James Steen's book.

It begins with words of wisdom from Miss Piggy herself who advises: "Never eat more than you can lift" and is followed by pages packed with information on everything from haggis and plague cures to how to cook the perfect poached egg and the best cheese gifts.

Award-winning writer Steen says: "My own food of love is ham and eggs, which my mother made for me when I was a child. One thick, sweet, slice of honey-roasted ham beneath a fried egg, and there you have it: the contrast of runny, yellow yolk and firm, pink meat; the mix on the palate of hot egg and cold ham.

"Give me that humble dish for breakfast and my wife's shepherd's pie for lunch and the day is heading towards perfect."

When it comes to finding the best hangover cure Steen says you need to go where the hangovers are the worst - the Caribbean, the West Indies and any island where cheap rum is drunk in vast quantities.

"The hangovers there are horrendous," he writes, "or rather, they would be. How do the inhabitants avoid illness the morning after? They smile. But think of the diet, which includes bananas and coconuts - the inspiration for the Foodie's hangover cure.

"Coconut water is rich in potassium and rehydrates the body, while banana raises blood sugar levels. Both ingredients boost the spirits."

Steen says you need to gather a banana, 200ml of coconut water, 100ml of whole milk, 50ml double cream and the juice of one lime.

He then advices: "Insert earplugs. In a blender or using a stick blender, blitz all ingredients to a smooth liquid and drink."

Between the pages you can also discover that Russia's Frederick the Great liked to drink his coffee made with champagne instead of water; legendary cook Mrs Beeton was just 28 when she passed away, and the last meal of Lou Costello - of comedy duo Abbot and Costello fame - was strawberry ice-cream.

Many American tourists visiting Scotland apparently believe haggis is a small animal and one even described it as "a wild beast of the Highlands which only comes out at night".

Steen writes: "Scotland can be cold, cloudy and windswept, but it produces the finest raspberries Britain has to offer.

"In fact, it is precisely because of the weather that the raspberries are superior. Raspberries ripen too quickly in extreme heat. They need time for their flavour to become superb.

"In raspberry-growing areas like Blairgowrie, temperatures rarely go above 22degC, which is perfect for the raspberry."

Steen also writes about the traditional English dish of jellied eels, which, he writes, "were once the staple diet of the working classes.

"Back in the 18th century there were hundreds of pie makers who wandered the streets of London selling their pies. …

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