Thursday, December 27, 2007

What to do with all that turkey after Christmas?

Note: I have noted with some horror that people are still coming here looking for cold turkey recipes a good two weeks after Christmas. If that is the case, there is only one answer for what to do with that 2-week cold turkey and that is - THROW IT AWAY!! - before a major health hazard arises!

Lots of cold turkey lying around after Christmas?! Wondering what to do with it?

Well, I have no idea either, but why not type "cold turkey" into the Fridge-Googling search box above and see what comes up? There are bound to be plenty of recipes for using up the turkey left-overs of that Christmas dinner.

Oh, wait, you CAME here via Google..! Well, just a reminder, this is a special custom Google search which only searches on recipe sites, so it should help you narrow down your search.

So if you find a good cold turkey recipe, let us know! (though I had venison myself, and it's all gone!)

P.S. Yes, yes, I know the other meaning of the expression "cold turkey"..!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Origin of the word "fridge"

I get the odd visitor to Fridge-Googling wanting to know what the origins (etymology, for the linguists) of the word fridge are.

Well, I don't want to disappoint you, but there is nothing spectacular about it. Having done some research I can reveal the following about the history of the word fridge, or rather refrigerator, since that is the full form of the word, and the history of the fridge itself:

- the word refrigerator is formed from the Latin roots re- and frigus, and would mean 'to cool again'.
- it is not clear who first used the term to refrigerate but the idea of removing heat from an area to keep things cool is hardly new, and was done by prehistoric peoples using ice.
- the modern technique of refrigeration, i.e. circulating some kind of liquid around which removes heat energy from the space desired, e.g. the inside of your fridge is based on experiments done as early as 1748 by William Cullen. But they couldn't think of anything to use it for at the time!
- others to work on refrigeration included celebrated scientist Michael Faraday, but the first to patent an actual device was one Jacob Perkins in 1834, although it apparently flopped commercially! Well, why would you want to cool things down, for goodness' sakes!?

And what is the origin of the word fridge..? Erm, I would have thought it was blindingly obvious but since you ask, the word fridge is a product of normal linguistic processes whereby a word that we use every single day multiple times gets contracted down and because we can't be bothered to say refrigerator every time, we say fridge. And there you have it, the origins of the word fridge! (just don't quote this in any scientific journals!)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

First-time Fridge-Googling?

If you're Fridge-Googling for the first time, welcome!

In the 6 months or so Fridge-Googling has been operational, we have turned hundreds and hundreds of seemingly useless ingredients into delicious (or at least edible) meals, harnessing the power of the Google search engine!

Google is a wild and unpredictable force, we cannot guarantee that simply searching for certain ingredients will yield results. But we have tried to make things easier for you by limiting the search to recipe sites. You can help by:

  • adding the word recipe to your search
  • spelling words correctly (you wouldn't believe how many wrongly-spelled words we see!)
  • following the did you mean..? suggestion Google sometimes gives, especially if you spell something wrongly, and also by retrying with different combinations of ingredients if the first time doesn't reveal results
The real secret is, you never need come back here to search for recipes using Google, you can go straight to the Google website! But if the truth be know, we'd love you to make Fridge-Googling your first port-of-call whenever you have an empty fridge moment. So why not bookmark with CTRL+D and make our day (or just make dinner, thanks!)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fridge-Googling - a word of reminder

Remember, this site is intended to give you an idea of how Fridge-Googling works, it is not a big database of recipes that you can search by ingredient. Some visitors come hoping that they can key in the names of ingredients and get the results of a nice recipe search containing those ingredients.

Fridge-Googling doesn't work like that, it is a lot more hit-and-miss! In Fridge-Googling you are trying to harness the wild forces of the world's biggest search engine to do what you want, and the results cannot always be guaranteed! When you key in your ingredients, ANYTHING could happen. You could just happen to hit upon someone's shopping list, or the stock list of a supermarket - there is no guarantee that it will turn up a useful recipe!

I have tried to help you by partially limiting the search results to recipe sites, and you can also improve the results by adding the word "recipe" to your search terms. But at the end of the day, you are at the mercy of the whims of Google, and one day you will have to go it alone, to strike out by yourself into the harsh world of search-engine recipe-searching. I wish you luck!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Potato spelt without an E - it's official!

Just a quick word to the Fridge-Googlers out there. I've been following your search habits, and I hope you have been able to Google some culinary delights based on the meagre contents of your fridge. They are sometimes VERY meagre indeed!

I've just got one thing to say to you, though, and I will keep this short!:

'potato' is spelt WITHOUT AN E, i.e. NOT potatoe. 'tomato' does not have an E on the end, either :)

You are probably getting it confused with the plural, which DOES have an E - tomatoes, potatoes.

Hope that little tip helps you find what you were looking for!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Grilled mackerel with parsley, lemon and garlic

OK, here's a quickie to make the most of that mackerel. By the way, mackerel is one of the cheapest fish but also supposed to be very good for you.

All those Omega-3 fatty acids and what-not. So you can't beat it, even if it is maybe not the most refined fish around.

Here's what I do with mackerel - I didn't fridge-Google this by the way, but perhaps you found this recipe by fridge-Googling!

Gut and clean the mackerel (the worst bit by far). Most normal people can manage 1 large or two small mackerels at most, so here I have prepared 5 for myself and Mrs. D!

Next, prepare the following ingredients:

  • lemon
  • parsley
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • rosemary
  • bay leaves

The pepper and rosemary are basically for on top of the mackerel, the rest are for stuffing. I stuff the inside of the mackerel with parsley, garlic, bay leaves and lemon in that order, using the lemon to "plug" the whole and cocktail sticks to hold it all in.

Then I ground the pepper and sprinkle the rosemary on top (DON'T leave out the rosemary, whatever you do, it is awesome with mackerel) and pour olive oil over, too.

There's really no science to it, the point is that the stuffing will spread a lovely flavour all over the inside of the fish.

Pop all this in the oven at a medium to high temperature. I cover it with aluminium foil for the first 15 minutes, just to get it cooked properly. Then uncover and grill until it's all lovely and brown.

The end result is this.

Mmmm... Serve with white wine and a nice potato salad, I think (see pic at the top). By the way, it is OK to remove all that stuffing once you come to eat it, it's done its job! If you have any tips on how to easily remove the bones from mackerel, now THAT would be worth fridge-Googling for!

Epilogue: I must just add that after completing this meal and serving it up for myself and Mrs. D, I got some more lemon to squeeze onto the mackerel and gave the slice an almighty squeeze. A massive squirt of lemon juice shot out, straight into my right eye, causing not a little discomfort for the ensuing few minutes before I washed it out. So the moral is, watch where you point that lemon!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Scared to fridge-Google!

A little research into the behavior of visitors to the Fridge-Googling blog has revealed that only around 50% of our guests actually make use of the special Fridge-Googling search engine.

Those that do are rewarded with an amazing array of recipes, tailored to the ingredients they have keyed in, and no doubt many a pork chop has been saved! But what of the others? My theories run as follows:

1) they are for some reason apprehensive about trying the radical new fridge-Googling technology :)
2) they are not hungry (that always does it)
3) their refrigerator is so tragically empty that not even Fridge-Googling can help
4) there is so much other interesting stuff to read on this site that they never get round to actually searching! (this last possibility I find the least likely!)

But I would like to encourage all the Fridge-non-Googlers that it is perfectly safe! Just type a list of ingredients (try to spell them right! You wouldn't believe how many people can't spell "tomato"!), add the word "recipe" for good measure, and click search. Your culinary sixth-sense should do the rest! Happy Fridge-Googling!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Pork-chops saved by fridge-Googling!

OK, so food supplies are running low. You look in your freezer (OK, so this would be freezer-Googling) and find a set of pork chops, like so.

Now you could just stick them in the oven for half an hour and eat the mediocre results with some mashed potato. Or you COULD fridge-Google for your dinner, and turn these humble pork chops into a veritable feast!

But first, surely that can't be ALL we have in the house! Another rummage around reveals:

  • an onion
  • a glass of some cheap red wine (from a carton, eugh!)
... as well as various spices (if you haven't got a good selection of those then not even fridge-Googling is going to help you!) Now I think we might be in business, even with this modest set of ingredients!

The next thing you do is enter these into the fridge-Googling search box (should be one round here somewhere!) - just type pork chops onion red wine and press enter or search.

Hey presto! A list of recipes (mostly!) with these ingredients in should appear! I found an interesting one with just these ingredients on! To be honest, I can't even remember where the link was, but it doesn't matter, because I am sure you can fridge-Google for it yourself!

It goes like this:

Season the pork chops with red paprika, salt and pepper (you do have those, right?!) so they look like the picture on the left! Now that is looking more appetizing already!

I used freshly-ground pepper - it tastes about a million times better.

Next, you need to fry these until they are brown on the outside. You are not frying them to death here, just making sure the taste of the spices gets activated, and the cooking process is begun.

Getting a bit more excited about those boring pork chops now?!

Now you just need to lay the pork chops in a suitable dish, add sliced onion, pour the glass of wine over, and add a couple of bay leaves for good measure. I added those, daring huh!?

That's the great thing about cooking, you are actually allowed to deviate from the recipe, it's not set in stone (except sometimes, when it is really important - knowing when you can improvise is the trick! :)

Doesn't that look awesome! And in case you are thinking I am some kind of genius gourmet chef, well, you are very wrong!

The last step is putting the whole lot in the oven at some medium temperature. You know, not too hot so it burns, not too cool so it takes forever and dries everything out. The exact temperature really isn't that important. Also, I think I covered the dish, so all the wine wouldn't completely evaporate, but get soaked up by all the ingredients.

And that is it! I took it out when I thought it was ready, and this was how it looked at the end!

As for how it tasted, well... my wife is still mentioning it more than a week later! Thanks to fridge-Googling, these pork chops were saved from a frying worse than death!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fridge-Googling = Google cooking?

There seems to be a rekindling of interest in the subject of fridge-Googling! Number of hits seem to have gone up here, with people searching for recipes with all kinds of ingredients! At some point I would love to include a little box which shows recent searches were - you would be amazed what ingredients people have in their fridges!

Maybe it is unrelated, but could be something to do with a Macmillan Dictionary article from around 5 days ago on our favourite topic!

The article points out that fridge-Googling was earlier known as Google cooking. I kind of prefer the former (i.e. newer) expression - it's more idiomatic, less descriptive, leaves you thinking about the subtle meaning! Strangely, the fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia (and Wiktionary) have only limited reference to both expressions, so any help there would be appreciated!

Anyway, I am planning to start posting links here to recipes that I, or readers have successfully fridge-Googled, but it would be cool if:

a) the ingredients were a little unusual (e.g. carrot, peaches and cinnamon)
b) you actually (successfully) tried cooking the recipe!

Look forward to tasting some of the results!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tips for fridge-Googling (or any other Googling!)

Smaller number of ingredients

I have noticed that a lot of people are keying long lists of ingredients into the Fridge-Googling recipe search engine. When you are using a search engine, it IS always better to be precise - you are more likely to find exactly what you are looking for.

But this example of a recent search:

2 eggs lettuce cucumbers avacado shredded cheese tortillas cauliflower oranges bananas miracle whip salad dressings pickles relish milk bell peppers probably a little TOO detailed! (by the way, it's avOcado) You may end up with NO recipe results with that one (especially if you spell something wrongly) - and when did you last cook anything with that many ingredients, anyway?!

Try a smaller selection of ingredients initially - I am envious you have that much food in your refrigerator! Then you can narrow it down by adding extra ingredients once you see you are on the right track.

Exclude certain ingredients

If some of the recipes that are coming up in the results include ingredients that you do not have in your fridge, you can add them to the search box too, but put a minus (-) before the name of that food item and this food will be excluded from the results.

eggs tomato cheese -ham

will give you all those recipes which contain eggs, tomato, cheese, but not ham! Because you don't have that in your fridge!

Clever huh! Happy fridge-Googling and happy cooking!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

History of the term "fridge-Googling"

You would think it is fairly easy to find the first occurrence of the phrase "fridge-Googling" in reference to the activity of finding recipes using a search engine, more specifically, using Google, by keying in the ingredients you have in your fridge. The name "Google" has only been around since 1998, according to their corporate history page:

People were no doubt search-engine-cooking before then, only it was fridge-Lycosing, or fridge-Altavista-ing. The term Fridge-Googling is cited by the Guardian in October 2004 in a little snippet about the phenomenon.

However, this Nov. 2005 blog entry talks about the phenomenon, but interestingly does not use the term "fridge-Googling".

Word-Spy cites the use of the word, apart from in the 2004 Guardian text, in a couple of sources from 2006, which is way too late! Can anyone find an early quote than the Guardian one? Who invented the term fridge-Googling? Someone must know!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Simply Recipes added

Just added another great site, or blog rather, to the Fridge-Googling Search Engine:

A great site - why do I get the feeling these great-looking recipes were not just "Googled" out of thin air!

I must admit, when I am Fridge-Googling, I am usually also looking for keywords like "quick" "easy" and "for idiots"...

Recipe sources

By the way, the Fridge-Googling Search Engine gets its results primarily from some of the major recipe database sites. I do not have any affiliation with them, they have just come up in my fridge-Googling results time and time again, and I am happy to include them.

If you feel your site is a good source of recipes (and it is well indexed by Google, or it won't be much use!) then drop me a line and I will be happy to include your site! It would be nice to get a link back, of course.

The Fridge-Googling Search Engine currently searches the following sites:

Must be off, I think dinner is ready... Wonder what Mrs. D has Fridge-Googled up for us tonight!

Are you ready for fridge-Googling?

Well, this is something I have been planning to do for ages. With the help of modern Google technology, it has finally become a reality!

  • Is your fridge suffering from "end of the month" syndrome?
  • Is dinner-time fast-looming and you are stuck for recipes?
  • Wondering how to combine that pathetic assortment of ingredients into a cordon bleu gastronomic extravangaza?

Fridge-Googling is here to help! The top of the page will tell you all about what fridge-Googling is, but suffice it say that I have practically lived from the recipes gleaned using this radical new culinary technique for the last few years!

Watch this space for recipes, cooking successes and failures, and general food-related ramblings, as we discover together the wonderful world of... fridge-Googling!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

What is fridge-Googling?

Fridge-Googling is what you do when you need to cook something for dinner and it's been 3 weeks since the last trip to the supermarket. Your refrigerator contains:

- two eggs

- an onion that has started sprouting!

- half an eggplant (that's aubergine my side of the Pond)

Using the internet's favorite search engine (see disclaimer below!), you find an amazing recipe for a tasty meal, using the pathetic array of ingredients you have at your disposal!

How do I Fridge-Google?

It's a piece of cake!

1) Open up that fridge or freezer. Brace yourself.

2) Take a good honest look inside

3) Make a shortlist of the still-edible items. Take the rest to a local toxic waste depot.

4) Type your shortlist into the Fridge-Google Search Box above (spaces between words), e.g. onion eggs eggplant (or aubergine to use the proper term!). Adding the word recipe may help too. Press Enter or the Search button.

5) You will be taken to a page full of search results containing tasty recipes with the very ingredients you typed!

6) Get cooking!

Who invented Fridge-Googling?

No-one knows for sure! Starving students? Hard-up housewives? Culinary daredevils in search of a new rush?

I have been doing it for a number of years, certainly before the term was invented! Many's the time a seemingly desperate dinner-situation has been salvaged by the use of Fridge-Googling!

Why not give it a try now? Here's that fridge-Googling search box again!
Oh, and if you fridge-Google up a tasty meal, be sure and let us know!