Chef Tom’s Secret Ingredient, and some Brilliant Music Discovery

Here’s a ‘secret ingredient” that can save many a boring meal. It’s a simple thing, but can truly elevate whatever you’re cooking. Steaks, chops, fish, veggies. You slice off a chunk and voila! You have a savory (or sweet), luscious sauce.  Basically, you’re blending aromatics into softened butter, rolling it all in a log shape in plastic wrap or parchment, and popping it into the fridge to solidify for use immediately, or in the freezer to use whenever you need it. Feel free to invent your own flavor combinations. Your imagination is your only limit.

Compound Butter

Here are some recipes to give you a taste, so to speak, of what’s possible, and below is a video to give you a clear idea of the method.

Hasselback Potatoes

Wanna show off? A simple technique will give you yet another way to exalt your meal. Hasselback usually refers to a way to cook baking potatoes, but it’s a cooking technique you can apply to carrots, parsnips, eggplant, etc. The video below is long, but worth the watch. Chef claims to be “the original Naked Chef” which I find annoying being as one of my all-time favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver, branded that term over a decade ago. But, his method is one of the better ones I found.

Imma throw in Jamie Oliver’s vid as well because he does a version perfect for the holidays, although your could do it any time. Switch out the type of bread (whole grain, cranberry-walnut, etc.) and the nut (almond, cashew, etc.) and cheese.





Kitty, Daisy & Lewis

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis 

Stumbled across this amazing little band with a big sound. Siblings, Kitty, Daisy, and Lewis Durham from North London. They’ve set the British roots rock scene on its ear with their infectious energy and authentic approach to rockabilly, vintage country, and first-generation rhythm & blues — not to mention the fact that the youngest member of the trio hadn’t yet reached her teens when they released their first single in 2005.

One Sister From Another Mother had to have been Amy Winehouse.

Their cover of Canned Heat’s Going Up The Country features mom Ingrid (on stand-up) and dad Graeme (on rhythm guitar).

From Wikipedia:
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis are a British five-piece band fronted by the siblings of the Durham family. Their music is influenced heavily by R&B, Blues, Soul, Punk, Rock and Roll and West-Indian music. They are all multi-instrumentalists playing guitar, piano, bass, drums, harmonica, banjo, lap-steel guitar, ukulele, xylophone, accordion and more between them. Kitty, Daisy & Lewis have sold over a quarter of a million records worldwide.

Kitty Durham is the youngest of the group and primarily sings and plays drums, guitar, harmonica, ukulele and banjo. Daisy Durham, the eldest, primarily sings and plays drums, piano, accordion and xylophone. Lewis Durham sings and plays guitar, piano, banjo, lap-steel and drums.

The band is renowned for building their own recording studio, which consists of mostly vintage analogue equipment and custom in-house built equipment. Their first two albums were recorded in the back room of their mother’s house.

Going Up The Country (Canned Heat cover) 


Polly Put The Kettle On (Live @Pickathon 2012)

Down On My Knees Official Music Video

And, if you care to take the time….

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis (multiple tracks)

BONUS TRACK (cuz I like their name, but this song….)

Pokey LaFarge – “Fuck Me Up” [Official Video]


Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

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