A couple of months ago, Radio Times set Sous Chef a challenge – to create new recipes using television programmes as inspiration.
And we gladly accepted. Because the days of being restricted to strict cookbook recipes are long gone. Chefs are using all sorts of inspiration, from Dinah Fried’s ‘fictitious dishes’ inspired by literature, to the latest episode of Great British Bake Off taking inspiration from Buckingham Palace to the Colosseum.
So we kicked off the challenge with a ‘size zero, zero calorie’ shiritaki noodle recipe inspired by the limber beauties on Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model. Next, we celebrated the start of X-Factor 2012 with a Chico-ry salad, inspired by the Sous Chef team’s all-time favourite crooner from the show, Moroccan shepherd, Chico Slimani.
The next big date on the TV calendar was the new season of Doctor Who. So we thought back to the very first time the eleventh doctor was regenerated, and arrived at Amy Pond’s house for his chosen meal of fish fingers and custard. But we put our own twist on this unusual tea time treat, and traded the Birdseye egg custard for a more conventional hollandaise-’custard’ to accompany the fish fingers.
Soon after, the latest season of Strictly Come Dancing hit the screens, which was the perfect opportunity to indulge in the elegant biscuit that is the Viennese Whirl.
Then Downton Abbey returned for a new season. The action has moved forward to the golden interwar years, and (much to the Dowager’s shock), the concept of cocktails has washed up this side of the Atlantic. So we thought this was as good an excuse as any for Sunday night cocktails, and mixed some delicious marmalade cocktails using sugar syrup flavoured with bergamot essential oil.
Last night, the new series of Homeland kicked off. And we’re back on tenterhooks about Sergeant Brody’s next move, as the ex-US marine turned political candidate re-establishes contact with terrorist Abu Nazir. In a nod to the American suburban backdrop to this political thriller, we made the classic US dish of chilli dogs – with a real habanero kick.
Have you ever found culinary inspiration from unusual places and made a TV, film, literature or historical-themed dish?