Thursday, 20 November 2008

Lots of posts in the pipeline...

I got lots of posts in the pipeline. Or rather, I got lots of photos ready and I just need to get the texts/recipes together for them.

I'll try to be a good boy tonight and get it all sorted so there will be a long list of new posts waiting to get published.

In the meantime I'll leave you with a book recommendation. I won't say too much about it, I'll let you form your own opinion. The author is Cory Doctorow and the title is Little Brother. UK Amazon Link and US Amazon Link.

Buy it. Read it. Reflect on it.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Quick review - Thai Orchid in Abingdon

You know how it is, you decide to go out for dinner and you haven't really planned where you want to go or what you want to eat.

Normally you spend some time walking around and looking at the menus for some different places, gazing in to see how much people there are, if it looks nice and so on.

Quite often you tend to go for something familiar, a chain of some sort or some place you've been to before.

But then there's the other times. Those rare times when you say damn those torpedoes, full spead ahead! You throw caution to the wind and go for it.

This time we decided to try the Thai Orchid here in Abingdon. It has a very subdued entrance, just a narrow staircase up to first floor. But as you walk up those stairs you notice that the walls have been covered in expensive exotic wood.

Once you've reached the restaurant itself you realise that the entire place is wood panelled and the furnishings is very authentic.

I hadn't planned on blogging this little visit so I didn't bring my camera and I didn't note down the name of the dishes. Bad Mikey :(

We did share the mixed starter and that was spot on. The spring rolls for example was nice and crisp. Not soggy and boring as you get them at most places.

You can't really fail with sticky rice, which they didn't and my main dish was nice and spicy.

I'll go back soon to make a proper review for the blog. Hoping that this wasn't a one off performance from their side.

If you are in or around Abingdon and in the need of a good Thai Meal - go and check out the Thai Orchid. I wasn't disappointed and I dare say that I don't think you will be either.

Oh yeah, their Singha was nice and cold. Another big bonus!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Quick emergency lunch


Wasabi salmon doesn't really taste good the day after so I didn't have any leftovers to reheat for lunch.

The option of eating in our canteen here at work is about as appealing as having my eyes pierced with needles at the same time as my ballsack is being lowered into a vat of battery acid.

You doubt me? Let's just say that the guys in our canteen are so ignorant that they put garlic bread in the column for 'Vegetable of the day' on the menu. I shit thee not!

Enough ranting about them and back to the improvised lunch....

I had some boiled new potatoes left over from the salmon meal so I sliced those up. After making a quick inventory of the fridge I found some hotdogs which I also sliced up and then I chopped an onion. All of that went into a frying pan together with some seasoning until nicely cooked.

I transferred that to a plate and then quickly fried a couple of eggs which I popped on top of it all.

Easy, filling and best of all - I didn't have to give away my hard earned cash to the catering company that runs our canteen. ;)

The post today will be a bit delayed...

Got tired yesterday and at work now. Will post later. ;)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Recipe - Wasabi Salmon


After yesterdays failure I needed to get back to safe ground again. Something that I possibly couldn't screw up. Time to hit a safe card, Wasabi Salmon.

This works as a simple weeknight dinner but you could serve it at a dinner party too.

As always, freestyle the proportions of wasabi and mayo to suit you and your preferences.

Ingredients
Salmon fillets, skin on
Mayonnaise
Wasabi paste
Salt
Pepper

Method
Heat the oven to 225c.

In the meantime mix wasabi and mayonnaise until you got the right amount of kick. Season the salmon. Spread a thick layer of the mix on each salmon fillet.

Put the fillets in the oven until the wasabi/mayo mix starts to change colour with some brown/black spots. This normally takes about 10 minutes.

Serve with new potatoes, rice, noodles or whatever takes your fancy.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Mondays suck and all I wanted was some easy food...


Mondays normally aren't very good and today has been one of the bad ones. I think that holidays in my team should be needs based from now on. Based on my needs and not the needs of my minions. ;)

For once I couldn't even think of anything to cook, all I could think of was to get home and spend the better part of the evening in my World Domination Chair.

As always I needed something to eat, but what? Thankfully the Chinese restaurant downstairs is closed on Mondays so I couldn't fall for that easy temptation. Since I don't have a doorbell it's too much peering out of the balcony doors involved if I want to order from Domino's.

In the end I came up with a sort of a compromise. Something to eat that didn't take too much effort. I figured that a baked Camembert with some vegetables to dip in it would be ace.

As you can see from the picture things didn't go to plan. The bloody box decided to burst and the cheesy goodness leaked out instead of staying nicely inside the rind.

The rest of the evening was spent in my World Domination Chair plotting revenge on the stupid cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys that make Lanquetot Camembert. Well, not really. But I wasn't happy.

Mr Waitrose, can I have my money back for that cheese in a crap box please?

Monday, 10 November 2008

Recipe - Sausage Chilli


Another cold and rainy Sunday here in the UK...

I couldn't really decide what to cook today. My choice being a bit limited by the fact that I was on call today and the local Waitrose has severe problems with the GSM coverage. Something that means that I can't really go shopping for food. :(

In the end I ended up with something spicy but comforting. You can make this as spicy as you want. If you have wussy guests you can always have a tub of creme fraiche for them to stir into the chilli to calm it down a bit.

Ingredients (serves 4 or so)
2 packets of good quality pork sausages (about 800 - 1000g)
Olive oil
1 small can of pineapple rings, cut the rings into eights and preserve the juice
2 cans chopped tomatoes
2 onions, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 sticks of celery, sliced
2 dried chipotles, rehydratred and chopped
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chili powder
1 - 2 tsp smoked paprika
2 - 3 good handfuls of fresh coriander, chopped

To serve
Grated cheese
1 onion, diced
Boiled rice
Creme fraiche (optional)
Method
Heat the oil in a high walled frying pan on medium heat. Fry the sausages in batches until golden. Take them off the heat and put to the side.

Add the pineapple, onion, peppers and the celery to the frying pan and fry for about 5 minutes. In the meantime cut each sausage into three pieces and pour in water with the pineapple juice to make up 500ml. Add the tomatoes, pineapple juice, chipotles, sugar and spices and give it all a good stir.

Add in the sausage pieces and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let it simmer for 50 - 60 minutes.

Stir in the chopped coriander, keeping some back for serving.

Serve with rice, chopped onion, grated cheese and chopped coriander.

Enjoy!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Recipe - Cabbage-arole


I have no idea what this is supposed to be called in English so I invented the name Cabbage-arole, and you'll have to live with that ;)

This is a dish I ate quite often whilst growing up in Sweden. It's called kålpudding in Swedish but I don't think that makes a very catchy name for my non-Swedish speaking readers. ;)

It might sound a bit odd and strange but it's a really nice dish. Give it a go.

It's traditional to serve it with lingonberry jam and mashed potatoes. I didn't have any lingonberry jam and have been having quite a bit of mash recently. I went for Raspberry Chipotle Sauce and spicy potato wedges instead. Something that worked well too.

Oh yeah, one minor point. This dish has been known to generate a certain amount of, ahem, wind...

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 head of white cabbage (about 1kg should do it)
500g mince
1 egg
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil
Butter

Method
Heat the oven to 225c.

Remove the outer leafs from the cabbage. Core and cut the cabbage into about 2cm x 2cm pieces.

Put the cabbage into a pan and cover with water, add liberal amounts of salt. Bring this to the boil and let it boil for a minute or so. Reserve about 100 ml of the cooking fluid. Drain the cabbage.

Heat some olive oil and a good knob of butter in a frying pan. Fry the cabbage for about three minutes. Remove from the heat. Put about 300ml of cabbage to the side.

Stir in the mince (yes, you don't have to pre-cook it), the reserved cooking fluid, egg and some more salt and quite a bit of pepper. Mix properly. Pour the mixture into a 2l oven safe casserole dish.

Pop into the oven for about 25 - 30 minutes.

Once it's done to your liking remove from the oven and spread with the cabbage you put to the side earlier.

Serve with a side of your liking, mashed potatoes for example.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Taco / Chilli Bowl


This is just an idea of how you can serve your spicy mince or chilli.

Just heat your oven to about 200c. Drape corn (I've found them to work better than flour) tortillas over upside down bowls. Just make sure that the bowls can stand the heat. Put it all on a baking tray and chuck it all into the oven. Let them stay in there until the tortillas start to colour up and turn stiff.

You can actually serve quite 'wet' chillies in these but I wouldn't recommend serving soup in them.

As I said, just an idea that you might want to try...

Friday, 7 November 2008

Recipe - Lamb Curry


To be honest, I'm not sure whether this should be called a curry or a tagine. Use whatever description you want it tasted damned good and I'm sure it doesn't really care what you call it.

Some people might be scared by the term curry and will be expecting something that will blow your socks off and clear your sinuses in one fell swoop. Not this curry, it's very mild but has lots of flavour.

I served it with couscous but you could just as well serve it with rice.

Ingredients (serves 4)
400g lamb leg steaks, diced
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced (or more if you like your garlic)
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
A pinch or two of cinnamon
1can/400g chopped tomatoes
200 ml chicken stock
100g pitted prunes, chopped
1 tbsp ground almond
A good handful or two of chopped fresh coriander
Olive oil

Method
Brown the lamb in a frying pan on a medium heat. Once nicely browned, put to the side. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes.

Add the coriander (not the fresh one), cumin, ginger and cinnamon and stir properly. Let this fry for another couple of minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock and prunes.

Bring to the boil and simmer for at least 40 - 45 minutes.

Stir in the fresh coriander and the ground almonds.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Hotdogs and sweet potato fries


I was dead tired when I got home so I really couldn't be bothered with anything special.

Hotdogs, topped with cheese, chopped onion and Frank's RedHot Sauce served with oven baked sweet potato fries. Simple and filling, although not necessarily haute cuisine ;)

You will hopefully know how to cook hotdogs, the sweet potato fries is almost as easy... Heat the oven to 220c. Wash the sweet potatoes and remove any blemishes you don't want to eat. Slice them into chunky fries. Pop them into a big bowl, pour over some olive oil and chuck on some flaky salt and mixed dried herbs. Mix well.

Put them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until done to your liking. Rotate the baking sheet with even intervals to make sure they cook evenly.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Recipe - Sweet Potato and Red Pepper soup


The weather here is dreary, I'm still waiting for my new toy to be delivered and I've been told that I'm not allowed to open my Christmas presents until it's actually Christmas. The situation is bad.

So what to do? A nice and hearty soup is something that is quite good at cheering me up. It's even better if it's quick and easy to cook.

This one did the job very well. As you can see I served it with some bread rolls but you could serve it with some garlic bread if you rather want to have some extra crunch.

Ingredients (makes about 2 - 3 servings)
Olive oil
A decently sized knob of butter
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into slices
1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 tsp cumin seeds
700 ml vegetable stock
110 ml double cream
Salt
Pepper

Method
Heat the oil and butter in a pan on medium heat. Add the potato, pepper and onion. Let this sweat for about 4 - 6 minutes, until it starts to soften. Stir in the cumin seeds and let them fry for a minute or so.

Add the stock and bring it to the boil. Once it's boiling turn the heat down and keep it simmering for about 10 minutes.

Either pour it into a blender or use a stick blender and blitz until smooth. Add the cream and give it another good blitz. Put back onto heat and let it warm through, season to taste.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Lazy Sunday Brunch Hash


This is yet another one of my really lazy recipes. You take what you have, fry for a bit and then you eat. Simple, filling and tasty. Just what you want for a lazy Sunday brunch.

In this case take some sliced potatoes, you can use leftover boiled or roasted ones, and parboil them quickly. Pop them into a pan with some oil on medium heat. If you want the potatoes to be a bit crunchy you can always add some bread crumbs. Chuck in some sliced onion and diced chorizo. Season to your liking. Fry until it's all golden, crispy and tasty.

Enjoy!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Problems uploading pictures...

I'm having problems uploading pictures at the moment. Once I've figured out where there problem lies I'll post the next update.

// Mike

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Recipe - Cottage-ish pie


I must get it out straight away, there's no hiding it. This is one of the best dishes I've cooked and eaten for quite some time. I know it's considered bad form to brag about your own accomplishments but in this case I don't give a flying f... It was just awesome. ;)

If you just try one of my recipes ever, make this one it. It's a perfect winter warmer and such comfort food that you'll be able to take the hard knocks of life with a smile on your face for quite some time.

I call it cottage-ish pie since I did freestyle it a bit as per my usual way. The baked beans adds a bit of a different texture while the grated carrot adds some crunchiness as well as some extra liquid so it doesn't get too dry. Dry cottage pie is just not very nice.

As you notice from the ingredients I added Dijon mustard to the mash. It gives it a nice bite and changes the colour a little bit. If you don't like Dijon, why not try adding some horseradish sauce? Hey, go the extra distance and score extra kinkyness points by using Wasabi!

Enough waffling, over to the recipe...

Ingredients (serves about 4)
For the topping
A large batch of creamy mash, use about 800g potatoes to make it
Dijon mustard (optional)
Salt
Pepper

For the filling
500g beef mince
1 onion, diced
Garlic, finely diced - to taste
Frozen peas, one to two good handfuls
1 large carrot, grated
1 can of Heinz baked beans
Tabasco (optional)
Worcestershire Sauce
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil

Method
Preheat the oven to 200c.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan on a medium heat. Add the mince and let it fry for a little bit. Once the mince starts to colour add in the onion and garlic.

Let this fry for a while until the mince is cooked and most of the liquid has cooked away. Add salt, pepper, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce to taste. Stir in the frozen peas and let them warm through for a minute or two.

In the meantime prepare the mash, don't forget to stir in two to three teaspoons of a good size worth of Dijon mustard. Make sure to make the mash nice and creamy. Season well.

When the mince starts to look ready, add in the baked beans and the carrot. Stir through and turn off the heat.

Pour the mince into a 2 liter oven safe casserole dish. Spoon the mash on top and make sure to get an even layer. If you feel like it, use a fork to make some nice patterns.

Put the casserole dish in the oven until the mash starts to get a nice brown colour as well as turning a bit crispy. This should take about 25 - 30 minutes, but keep it there until you feel happy with the look of it all.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Recipe - Chicken in a tomato and chipotle sauce


Well, I'm back...

After having had a busy weekend with a bonfire party and the NFL game in London I now feel like I'm getting a cold.

Someone a couple of Twiglets short of a full bag had decided that it was a good idea to have the pre-match tailgating party outdoors. In London. In October. Great. I wonder what the odds was for rain?

Not even the medicinal beers I prescribed myself seems to have helped to keep the cold away. Must remember to have more beers next time in order to avoid the cold.

I've always found that spicy food helps when you got a cold, at worst it all it does it clear your sinuses.

I used three dried chipotles which gave it quite a good kick. As always, freestyle it to suit you and your tastebuds. If you want to tone down the heat you can always try and remove all or most of the seeds.

You can serve this with rice, or why not in tortillas or over some nacho chips?

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bitesized chunks
2 onions, halved and sliced fairly thinly
Dried chipotle chilies, to taste
Garlic, finely chopped - to taste
1 green pepper
1 can of sweet corn
1 can of crushed tomates
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil
Cooked rice

Method
Start by rehydrating the chilies as per the instruction on the package. Once rehydrated, slice the chilies in a fashion to suit you. Preserve the liquid you rehydrated them in.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat and add the onions. Once the onions have started to brown you can add the chicken pieces. Add the garlic and some seasoning.

Fry the chicken until it starts to colour nicely. Then add the chilies and the pepper. Let this fry for a minute or two and then add the tomatoes, sweet corn and about 200 ml of the preserved liquid. Stir well.

Cover the pan with a lid. Once it's boiling turn down the heat and let it simmer until the sauce thickens nicely.

Serve with rice, or whatever you fancy really.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Cheese and Bacon Pasta Salad


This is another posting that I don't really want to call a recipe. This is more meant to be a sort of inspiration.

The reason behind this dish is that I needed to clear the fridge of some stuff that is about to expire. I'm invited to a big bonfire party on Saturday and Sunday will be spent at Wembley watching Chargers v Saints. That's American Football for those of you who aren't interested in sport. ;)

Well, back to the fridge clearing. I had a rummage around in both the fridge and the cupboards and came up with this, a simple pasta salad. I prefer cold pasta salads, so this was served cold.

The ingredients this time was as follows: Cooked pasta, crispy smoked bacon cut into small pieces, diced Emmenthal cheese, a can of sweetcorn, diced red onion and finally some diced red pepper. Finish off with some freshly cracked black pepper and you're there. Serve with some kind of dressing you like.

Easy to make and even easier to freestyle...

Enjoy!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Recipe - Honey and balsamic vinegar marinated chicken stirfry


Stirfries are awesome if you're a little bit short on time. It's quick to prepare and cook and it's quite hard to fail with them to be honest.

The only thing that takes some time with this recipe is marinating the chicken and that really doesn't need you for anything. Just put it all into a freezer bag, pop it into the fridge and then take it out a little while before it is time to cook. Sorted.

I served this with rice, but you could just as well serve it with noodles for example. Have some soy sauce or sweet thai chili sauce on the side.

Ingredients
Boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks and/or strips
Runny honey
Balsamic vinegar
Carrot, cut into sticks
Bambo shoots
Peppers, sliced
Spring onions, sliced - both white and green parts
Lime juice
Sesame seeds
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil
Cooked rice

Method
Put the chicken pieces in a freezer bag together with honey, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well to make sure it coats all of the chicken. Put in the fridge for at least an hour, or even better -over night.

Heat the olive oil in a non stick frying pan or wok. Once really hot pour in the chicken, together with all of the marinade. Let this fry until the chicken starts to caramelize a bit. Add the carrot and bambo shoots, keep frying and stirring. After a minute or two add in the peppers and spring onion as well as some lime juice to taste. Taste and add salt, pepper and more lime juice if needed. Fry and stir for a minute or two more, add the sesame seeds and let them cook with the rest until they start to pop.

Serve with rice or noodles.
Enjoy!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Recipe - Scottish Casserole | Recept - Skottegryta


Talk about a trip down memory lane. This was a attempt to recreate a dish they used to serve for lunch at school when I was a kid. Yes, they did actually have things like kitchens and stuff when I was a kid. ;)

This is called Scottish Casserole, Skottegryta in Swedish, and I guess it was a reference to the notion that the Scots are known for being a bit tight on the money as this is a very frugal dish. These days we all know that it is just a national stereotype that the Scottish are tight bastards. *Nods towards Mr Lynch, a very nice and generous manager of Scottish descent* :)

I searched for a recipe for this dish on Google but all I could find was people posting that they couldn't find a recipe for it. Helpful, really helpful. So I had to try and remember what it tasted like and then figure out how to cook it.

So, this is what I came up with. Use it as a base and then work from there. I could almost say, freestyle it.

Ingredients (serves 2 -4)
400ml beef stock
500g beef mince
1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 3mm slices
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
Olive oil
Butter
Salt
Pepper
Pickled gherkins, sliced

Method
Preheat the oven to 200c.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the seasoned mince until nicely browned.

Grease an ovenproof dish with butter.

Layer the potato slices,onion and mince in the buttered dish - finishing with a layer of potatoes. Pour the beef stock over it all.

Place the tray in the middle of the oven and cook for 60 - 75 minutes or until the potatoes are nice and soft and cooked to your liking.

Serve with sliced gherkins.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Recipe - Tropical Sunshine Pork Burgers


When I woke up this morning the rain was whipped against my windows by the strong winds. Not the best start to a week to tell the truth.

The autumn is here now and it's dark when I go to work and almost dark by the time I leave work to go home. Time for a little bit of tropical sunshine to lift the spirits...

As always there's loads of room for you to freestyle things. Add coconut milk, onions, rum or whatever takes your fancy in the marinade. Anything that makes you to feel happy really.

Ingredients
Boneless pork chops, pork loins or similar
Bread rolls
1 can of pineapple rings
Lime or lemon juice
1 - 2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt
Pepper
Paprika
Pepper, thinly sliced
Mayonnaise

Method
Make the marinade by pouring the juice from the can of pineapple rings into a freezer bag, add lemon or lime juice, the garlic, salt, pepper and paprika. Pop in the pork chops and make sure to mix it up properly. Leave the bag in the fridge for up to 24 hours, the longer the better.

Heat the grill in the oven (or use barbecue alternatively a ridged frying pan). In the meantime remove and drain the pork chops. Put the pork chops on a grill pan and put in under the grill until nicely browned, turn over and finish off the other side.

Once cooked remove from the grill pan and trim off the fat etc. While you are trimming the pork chops, grill the pineapple rings until they start to brown.

Split the bread rolls. Spread the lower half with some mayonnaise, put a pork chop on top of that. Finish off with a pineapple ring, a pepper slice and the top half of the bread roll.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Recipe - Twice cooked racks of loin ribs


My favourite way of cooking ribs is on the barbecue where I can slowcook/smoke them until they are falling of the bone and full of smoky flavour.

Since I moved I had to go through a very emotional divorce from my beloved gas barbecue, forcing me to find out a new way of cooking a couple of racks of ribs. Just putting them under the grill would just result in them being hard and nasty to bite in to. What I figured out would make it possible to have the fall-off-bone-goodness combined with a nice crispy surface.

You should really make your own barbecue sauce for this but I had a bottle of Jardine's Texas Smoky Mesquite Cooking & BBQ Sauce that was begging to be involved. Who am I to say no to that offer...

I used jerk seasoning but as always, freestyle it. Use fresh herbs, lemon or whatever takes your fancy.

Don't forget the kitchen towels and the bowls of lemon water, this is finger food at its stickiest. Awesome... ;)

Ingredients
2 racks of loin ribs
Olive oil
Salt
Garlic, crushed or thinly sliced
Jerk seasoning
Barbecue sauce

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 250c.

Put some kitchen foil - enough to wrap a rack of ribs in, shiny side up, on your chopping board. Place a rack of ribs on the foil. Drizzle with olive oil, scatter with salt, put on the garlic, apply spices/herbs etc. Seal the foil parcel tightly and place on a baking tray. Repeat for the amount of racks you are cooking.

Put the tray into the oven. After 30 minutes, turn down the oven to 125c and keep the racks in there for another 90 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and open the foil parcels carefully to allow the racks to cool down. Turn off the oven.

Once they've cooled down sufficiently, 15 - 20 minutes, brush the meaty side of the ribs liberally with barbecue sauce. Heat up the grill in the oven and once it's hot put the racks under the grill. Let them grill until the sauce caramelizes, about 2 - 3 minutes.

Slice and serve with for example some more barbecue sauce to dip in, coleslaw and freshly baked bread rolls.

Enjoy!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Recipe - Creole Cordon Bleu


This is an old favourite of mine, one that I haven't revisited for a fair few years. Something that needed rectifying.

It's a very rich dish and I'm sure that your doctor would have a stroke himself if he looked at the ingredients. But hey, sometimes you need to treat yourself a bit. You can't eat things like this every day, but every now and then do cook somehting like this just to keep yourself happy.

Ingredients (serves 6)
6 skinless chicken breasts
Creole/Cajun seasoning
Olive oil
275g freshly grated parmesan
100g finely diced smoked bacon, fried
75 finely chopped spring onion
500 ml double cream
1 tsp black pepper
100g cold butter
Cooked white rice

Method
Preheat the oven to 180c.

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with the seasoning. Heat the oil in a pan on high heat and cock for 6 - 7 minutes, turning once. Transfer the chicken breasts to a baking tray and put into the oven for about 5 minutes.

When the time is up, turn on the grill and sprinkle the chicken breasts with a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese and put them under the grill until the cheese has melted.

In the meantime put the bacon, onion, cream and pepper in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Keep it simmering for 5 - 6 minutes to reduce, then stir in the butter on tablespoon at a time. Once the butter has melted, stir in the remaining parmesan cheese.

Put the rice and chicken on a plate and cover with the sauce.

Enjoy!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Credit Crunch Eggs


With the current economic crisis we all have to be more frugal. We cannot use our Beluga just to feed our chihuahuas, we need to make sure to find more uses for it than that.

Jokes aside, this is a classic nibble from when I grew up. I'd say that most Swedes in my age have eaten these little goodies. They're a really nice little starter or hors d'oeuvre and they're dead easy to make.

Cook some eggs until hardboiled, and let them cool down fully. Once cool, slice them in half. Put a dollop of mayonnaise on each half and finish off with a spoonful or so of caviar. I used lumpfish caviar, but heck - use some expensive stuff if you can afford it. If you want to be extra fancy you can make some with black caviar and some with red caviar.

Keep them in the fridge under some clingfilm until it's time to serve. Make sure to take them out a little bit beforehand so that they aren't too cold.

If you are serving them at a party or want to impress - use a icing piper to apply the mayo in a nicer way than I did with these. To be honest, I made them as a snack for my self at 22:15 in the evening so I didn't really care much about the looks of them. ;)

Enjoy!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Recipe - Quick carrot soup


This is a recipe I found online on a Swedish food site. I thought it looked quite appealing. I was totally beat tonight and couldn't really be bothered with any lengthy cooking session.

It tasted really nice but at least I think that it needs quite a bit of seasoning since carrot isn't the most flavourful vegetable out there.

Ingredients
0,5l peeled and grated carrot (about three - four carrots)
1 leek, thinly sliced
1l water
2 chicken stock cubes
200g (1 tub) Philadelphia with herbs and garlic
Pepper

Method
Put the water, crumbled stock cubes, carrots and leek in a pot and bring this to a boil. Let this boil for 5 minutes. Stir in the Philadelphia and keep boiling until the cheese has melted.

Season to taste and serve with some breaded rolls on the side.

Enjoy!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Recipe - Pan fried pork medallions with apple and ginger sauce and creamy pototo gratin


This was my first try with making an apple sauce and I must say that it was much easier than I thought it would be. I had a look at various recipes to get an idea as to how to make the sauce.

The only thing I really freestyled was the addition of the grated ginger. It made the kitchen smell really nice and it did enhance the flavour of the sauce - well worth a try next time you make apple sauce to go with your pork.

Ingredients
Pork medallions
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil

For the potato gratin (serves 4 - 6)
30g butter
400ml milk
200ml double cream
3 - 4 cloves crushed garlic (less if you don't want that much garlic kick)
1.5kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 3mm slices
1 - 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
Salt
Pepper
Gruyère cheese, grated

For the apple sauce (serves 2 - 4)
1 Bramley cooking apple, cored, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 - 2 cm piece of root ginger, peeled and finely grated
3 - 4 tbsp water
A good squeeze of lemon juice
1 - 2 tsp brown sugar (more if needed)

Method

Potato gratin
Preheat the oven to 190c.

Grease an ovenproof dish with butter.

Put the milk, cream, garlic and seasoning in a pan. Bring to a simmer on a medium heat, check for seasoning.

Lay the potatoes and onion slices in the buttered dish and pour the milk over.

Place the tray in the middle of the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the tray and scatter the grated cheese on top. Put the tray back in for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the cheese nicely melted.

Apple sauce
Put the apples in a saucepan with the ginger, lemon juice and water. Cover and cook over a low heat until they are soft and mushy.

Take off the heat and add sugar to taste.

Serve warm or cool depending on your own taste.

Pork medallions
Heat oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Season the pork, put it into the pan and fry until nicely coloured on both sides. To achieve this, don't forget to flip the medallions half way through the cooking process.

If you time all three items correctly you should be able to serve it together nice and hot.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Recipe - Roast Beef with Puy Lentils


I found a nice Mikey-sized piece of topside beef in my local supermarket and thought that a roast was in order.

There's always recommended cooking times on the packaging but I never trust them. It depends so much on the size/shape of the roast that you can't really go on time. I use my meat thermometer to get it my way.

I like it rare so I normally go for a internal temperature of 49c- 52c, medium rare would be around 55c - 60c, medium 63c - 66c and cremated, sorry, well done would be 68c - 74c.

Ingredients
Topside beef
Mustard powder
Salt
Pepper
Yellow pepper, sliced and fried in some olive oil
Puy lentils, cooked as per the instruction on the packet
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Horseradish sauce (optional)

Method
Heat the oven to 160c.

Make sure that the beef is brought to room temperature. Rub the roast with mustard powder, salt and pepper.

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat and seal the roast on all sides. This will take a couple of minutes.

Insert the meat thermometer into the roast and put the roast in the oven. Roast until done to you liking (see above for recommnedations). Once that temperature is reached, remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 5 - 10 minutes.

In the meantime mix the fried pepper with the lentils and put on a plate. Drizzle with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Slice the meat and put on the plate. If you like it, put a dollop of horseradish sauce on the side.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Pasta bake


I didn't really want to label this posting as a recipe, see it more as a gentle guideline and some inspiration ;)

The other day when I was making empanadas I realised that I had made far too much of the filling. Throwing it out was never a question so I froze it. However, I needed to regain that freezer space so I had to come up with something to do with it. Empanadas again? Naah, too soon since the last time.

What I came up with was to make a pasta bake. What I did was to defrost the mince, add some sliced mushrooms, finely chopped garlic and fry that off for a minute or two. Then in with a can of chopped tomatoes and some spices like oregano etc.

In the meantime I cooked some conchligiette pasta until al dente. Once the pasta was drained I mixed it with the 'sort of bolognese sauce' I just had created. That went into a oven safe casserole dish. On top of the mixture I put some grated cheese that was mixed with breadcrumbs. Since I like oregano I chucked some of that on top to finish it off.

The cassserole dish went into a 200c oven until the cheese had melted and started to turn brown. Until it looked right, if you know what I mean.

Easy, frugal and tasty. What more can you really ask for after a long Monday at work? Well, I could have asked for a glass of Ravenswood Vintners Blend, a nice Californian Zinfandel from 2005. Which I did. Since I can't say no to myself I poured myself a glass of this excellent wine to enjoy together with my pasta. Result!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Recipe - Crispy Duck Breast


To duck or not to duck is not really a question. Duck, cooked correctly, is a very nice dish. It could be simple duck breast like this or some out of this world French version that takes hours, if not days, to prepare and cook.

I still haven't cooked a whole duck, but that day is coming. In the meantime you'll have to do with my way of cooking duck breasts.

I served this with some pan fried potatoes and lardons, creamy leek and some balsamic glaze. Some days, when I can be bothered, I use the pan juices to make something like a cherry and red wine reduction to go with the breasts. You can freestyle your way of serving duck breasts quite a lot. Serve it with potato mash, noodles or why not in a soup?

Ingredients (serves 1)
1 duck breast, skin on
Chinese five spice
Salt
Pepper

Method
Heat the oven to 200c.

Score the skin of the duck breasts in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife. Season with the Chinese five spice, salt and pepper. Rub the spices into the skin and make sure to get some into the scores.

Heat up a ovenproof frying pan (or a roasting tray) on a low-medium heat. Pop in the duck breast, skin side down, and let it slowly fry for 10 - 12 minutes. Make sure to be patient and don't rush things at this stage, this is where you lay the ground for the crispy skin.

When the time is up, pour off the excess fat from the pan. Turn the breast skin side up and put the pan into the oven for about 6 - 8 minutes. Leave it longer for a more cooked result or if the breasts are of the thicker variety.

Take the pan out of the oven and let the breast rest for about 5 minutes. This is very important when you cook duck breasts since they leak quite a lot of fluid after coming out of the oven and most people don't like the look of that. Even worse, it destroys the look of your plating efforts! ;)

Serve with your choice of accompaniments.

Enjoy!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches

You've seen the banners for Foodbuzz on my blog for quite some time.

Today is the official launch so why don't you click on either the banners or this link and have a look at what it's all about?

Lazy Sunday Brunch - Grated potato cakes with fried eggs


Sometimes simple is best...

Grate a couple of potatoes, squeeze out as much of the fluids as possible. Put into a bowl, mix in an egg and salt and pepper. Make into small patties. Fry in a medium hot frying pan until nicely golden. Flip. Fry until golden on the other side too. Serve with fried eggs.

Enjoy!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Recipe - Fried Smoked Salmon Salad


Frying smoked salmon is quite an interesting way of using smoked salmon. A way of cooking it that I picked up from a blind, one-legged, Chinese fellow I met whilst I was serving a 10 year prison sentence in Ecuador for gun-running on the Amazon. Or it might have been off a recipe card from Sainsbury's a couple of years ago. I can't really remember, my memory is a bit hazy when it comes to the details on this... ;)

What you need is some thinly sliced smoked salmon and a good non-stick frying pan. Those two items are the only ones I'd say you really need for this, the rest you can just freestyle out of what you got at home. Add and subtract ingredients as you see fit and make it suit your cupboards and needs.

This can be served as a quite kinky starter or as a fully blown dish. The choice is yours, mon ami!

Ingredients
Smoked salmon, sliced into strips
Mixed lettuce
Radishes, thinly sliced
Cucumber, de-seeded and thinly sliced
Raspberry Vinegar

Method
Mix the lettuce, radishes and cucumber slices.

Heat a non-stick frying pan on a medium to high heat. Fry the salmon slices until they start changing colour, turn over and fry for a little bit longer.

Mix the fried salmon with the vegetables and plate it. Drizzle with raspberry vinegar.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

May the pisstake commence... ;)


What you see in this picture is what I refer to as my 'foodboard'. This is what I use to plan my cooking a week or more ahead. What's probably worse, I also use it to plan my blog posts.

I'm sure that I'll hear lots about my borderline OCD behaviour when it comes to my cooking and blogging but I don't really care. It sure helps me plan my purchases and makes me waste less vegetables etc. In the end it also helps me save money by not wasting too much.

Hopefully I'm not alone with some kind of forward planning when it comes to cooking.

By the way, this picture is a couple of days old - just so I didn't give away my blog schedule. So come on, hit me with your best comments ;)

Friday, 10 October 2008

Recipe - Grated Gratin


This is a bit off an odd one, but it's really nice. I had it as main dinner, the leftovers will be lunch, but it could work as a side dish too.

If you have friends who are weird, or as they might prefer it; vegetarians, you can leave out the ham and make sure to use veggie cheese and hey presto you got a vegetarian dish. ;)

For once I didn't go for the so-strong-that-it-blows-your-socks-off cheese, mainly because I didn't want it to overpower the ham. However, if you were to go for Black Forest Ham you could go for industrial strength cheese without a problem.

As always, freestyle it. Add and subtract ingredients according to what you have at home and what you like.

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
600g potatoes, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
1 courgette, washed
100g air dried or smoked ham, cut into strips
150g cheese, grated
100ml double cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt
Pepper

Method
Heat the oven to 225c.

In the meantime grate the vegetables on the coarsest side of your box grater. Squeeze as much of the fluid as possible out of the vegetables. Squeeze a bit more, just to be on the safe side.

Mix the vegetables, ham, cheese, cream and thyme in a bowl and then transfer it into a Pyrex casserole dish or similar. Season very thoroughly.

Pop it into the oven for about 35 - 40 minutes.

Serve with a crisp salad.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Recipe - Mini Empanadas


I'm never comfortable working with pastry, as you probably can see from the photo, but I have told myself that I need to get better with it. It really doesn't agree with me but I won't be the one of us two who budges first.

These mini empanadas works nice for dinner, or why not use them as a nibble for a party or as a starter? You can make the filling quite tame and then let your guests adjust the heat by providing different types of dips and sauces.

I cheated and used Jus-Rol ready rolled shortcrust pastry sheets but there's lots of recipes around for the proper dough. It's not that hard to make, even I have managed in the past, but I just couldn't be bothered tonight.

Ingredients (makes about 12)
250 g mince
1 onion, chopped
1 small can of sweet corn
1 - 2 tablespoons tomato paste/puree
2 packs of Jus-Rol ready rolled shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Spice mix, for example cajun
Water, if needed

Method
Heat the oven to 200c.

Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the mince and let it fry until it starts to brown. Add the onion and the tomato paste and let this fry for a little while. Season to taste and add a little water if it's getting too dry. Stir in the sweet corn and let it heat through. Let this mixture cool down.

Put the pastry sheets on your chopping board and use a 10cm/4in cutter to make circles. Put about one tablespoon of the mince mixture onto each circle and fold double. Use a fork to seal the edge and baste with the egg mixture.

Put onto a non stick oven tray or similar and put into the oven for about 20 minutes or until nicely crisp and coloured.

Serve with hot/dipping sauces and a crisp salad.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Recipe - Sausages with tomatoes and baked beans


Some days all you want is a comforting meal without having to make too much of an effort. Being able to use just one pan and thus save on the washing up is just an added bonus.

Try to use as good quality sausages as you can get. I used pork and garlic ones but I could see pork and leek work nicely for example.

As you can see from the ingredients I used a Jerk seasoning mix but use what you have/like. Cajun mix could work a charm methinks. If you want more of a kick, add some Tabasco or any kind of hotsauce really.

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
1 pack of pork sausages, about 450g
1 large red onion, sliced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes, about 400g
1 tin of baked beans, about 400g
1 tablespoon Jerk seasoning
Olive oil

Method
Heat the oil on medium heat and add the sausages. Cook the sausages until they start to brown properly. Add the onion and fry for another couple of minutes so it starts to brown too.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and let it all simmer for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Recipe - Miso Soup with Honey Glazed Chicken and Noodles


It's getting quite cold in the evenings here now so I thought it could be time for a nice and warming soup.

As always with my recipes, freestyle it. Add and subtract ingredients as you like. Make it to suit you. That way we all stay happy. ;)

The egg noodles I used for this came in small 'nests' and they needed to simmer for three minutes. Adjust the cooking time to the type of noodles you use.

If you don't want it to be too spicy leave out the chillies, or try and get rid of all the seeds.

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
1l - 1.2l miso soup
1 large or 2 small chicken breasts, cut into bite sized chunks
A handful or two of frozen peas
1/2 - 1 red onion, sliced
1 - 2 chillies, sliced
1 small tin of sweet corn
1 - 2 nests of medium egg noodles
Worcestershire sauce
Runny honey
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil

Method
Start by frying the seasoned chicken pieces in the olive oil on a medium heat. When they start to gain colour, add a good glug or two of Worcestershire sauce. Keep frying and this should bubble and caramelize quite nicely. Coming close to be being fully cooked, pour in a good tablespoon or two of the honey and stir well. Once the honey has caramelized put the pan to the side and keep the chicken pieces warm.

Add the peas, sweet corn, onion and chillies to the miso soup and bring it to a boil. Once boiling add the noodles and cook according to the instructions on the package. Toward the end of the boiling time, add the chicken and give it all a good stir.

Pour into serving bowls.

Enjoy!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Saturday's little pick-me-up - Steak Sandwich


This Friday gone I went down the pub with some colleagues for a couple of beverages. Needless to say there wasn't much food involved, or rather none at all.

Waking up on Saturday I felt a little bit brittle and very hungry so I decided that a steak sandwich was what was needed.

I spread the bottom half of a freshly baked (purchased, not home baked) roll with some mayonnaise. On top of that I put some rocket (arugula) and a couple of slices of juicy tomato. I caramelized sliced onions with olive oil and balsamic vinegar that went on top of the tomatoes, followed by the steak. To finish it all off I crumbled some gorgonzola on top off the steak and let that melt.

Exactly what I needed....

Sunday, 5 October 2008

The best chilli sauce. In the world. Ever.


I've always been a fan of hot and spicy food. This has lead me down some nice food avenues, and some not so nice.

I can't help myself if I find a new hot sauce when I'm out shopping. My place is literally crawling with various hot sauces, jellies, salsas and so on.

However, this is probably the best chilli sauce I've ever tried. It's called Sriracha Hot Sauce and I buy it from Chinese/Oriental supermarkets here in the UK. It creeps up on you, it starts out quite nice and mild. Then you taste the garlic - lots of it - seconds before the sledgehammer hits you.

It's absolutely not unbearably hot, but it does pack a punch.

If you haven't tried it yet, go for a trip to your friendly local Oriental supermarket. I can almost guarantee that you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Recipe - Chicken breasts baked in a tomato sauce


This is another one of my 'fallback' recipes. Something I come back to time after time and each time it's a little bit different. It can easily be freestyled to suit what you got in your cupboards/fridge.

The avid reader will spot that I used leeks, again, but you can use normal onions instead. I'm all leeked out for the moment now though, finally. ;)

If you want to you could chuck in some peas, sweet corn or whatever takes your fancy really.

This time I choose to serve it with rice but it goes just as well with mash or pasta for example. I didn't have any bread at home but this dish goes very well with some nice and crispy garlic bread.

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
2 chicken breasts, sliced in half to speed up the frying
2 leeks, sliced
2 - 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400 g chopped tomatoes
1 ball of Mozzarella, sliced and torn
Mixed herbs
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil

Method
Heat the oven to 220c.

Season the chicken breasts and fry them in a pan with some olive oil on a medium heat until nicely coloured and cooked through. Put them to the side in small-ish oven safe casserole dish.

Lower the heat a notch and if needed add some more olive oil before you start frying the leeks and the garlic. Let the leeks sweat until they start to soften. Once you're there pour the contents of the pan into the casserole dish.

Add the tomatoes and mixed herbs to the casserole dish and give it all a good stir. Put in the mozzarella, making sure to distribute it evenly. Season a bit more and then it's time for some quality oven time.

Let it stay in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the Mozzarella has melted nicely and are turning golden.

Enjoy!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Recipe - Creamy Pork, Leek and Lardon pasta sauce


Having noticed that pork and leek recipes are very welcome with my readers I now shamelessly play on this with another recipe containing those ingredients. Bad Mikey... ;)

I couldn't really decide what to cook the other day and it wasn't until I was walking around the supermarket that I decided on this. I had two leeks at home that were close to getting past it I grabbed the other stuff and got home to get down to some cooking.

Oh yeah, this photo is the first one where I have used my new light. Not really there yet, but some more experimentation and I think it will really help me getting some better photos for you guys.

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
2 leeks, fairly thinly sliced
100g smoked lardons
500g pork mince
300 ml creme fraiche
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Salt
Pepper
Pasta, cooked by the instructions on the package

Method
Heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the leek slices and let it cook until the leeks start to soften.

Add the lardons and fry for another couple of minutes before adding the pork mince. Season generously. Let all this fry away until the mince is cooked through.

Pour in the creme fraiche and let it all bubble away for a couple of minutes. Add lemon juice and seasoning according to taste.

Serve with pasta.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

A new light in my life...

Whoever designed my kitchen clearly didn't have food photography in his/hers mind. Getting good lighting in there is really hard. Pair that with the winter coming up with even worse natural lighting and you have a problem.

Problems are there to be solved so I google'd around a bit and found some really good help and ideas on a couple of other food blogs. Two of them being Steamy Kitchen and VeganYumYum.

Both those sites mentioned or recommended the Lowel EGOLight's.

After having read up on them I decided that one of those could be what I needed. After a bit more googling I found a place here in the UK who sells them, ProKit. After locating the product on their pages I ordered a kit.

Being what seems like really good people they delivered the next day. What I got was a flat pack with some parts to assemble. The assembly was quick and easy and I had the light kit up and running in no time at all.

I think it will take some time to get used to and get the best out of these but I'll get back with reviews and tips later on as I stumble forward.

The contents of the box, pre-assembly.

After assembly, reflector to the left and the light itself to the right.

Same stuff, just viewing the back of the light.

The light turned on, still in the same lighting conditions as the earlier pictures. I guess it really freaked out the cameras sensors. ;)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Johnny Rotten in his first tv ad ever. For butter?!?

Yes it's true. True genius if you ask me.

Have a look here on the Guardian.

Recipe - Homemade Steak and Gorgonzola Pizza


I think this serves more as inspiration than a recipe. Use this as a start and make a pizza that suits you and your taste. I won't bother with measurements etc, just use the force Luke! Go with your gut feeling and add what you like in proportions you think will work. What's the worst that can happen? It's not like the pizza council will come and drag your sorry ass in front of the pizza court or something.

Why make your own pizza? Why not? You save money, get it exactly as you want and you know that it is made with love using fresh ingredients. Another bonus is that you'll avoid potentially awkward situations. Like last time I called Domino's to get a pizza delivered. I ordered a thin crusty Supreme. When the doorbell rang Diana Ross stood outside...

If you can't be bothered to make your own sauce, use ready made pasta sauce for example. You could even mix some tomato paste and ketchup if you're in that mood. However - whatever you do, please don't use one of those pre-made pizza bases. They are pure evil, sprung directly from the loins of the devil!

Something that made this pizza taste even better was to eat it whilst watching the mighty Arsenal crush Porto in Champions League. ;)

Ingredients (serves 1)
1 batch of pizza dough
Steak, cut into thin strips
Gorgonzola, crumbled
Mozzarella, torn
Marinara sauce
Garlic, cut into paper thin slices
Red pepper, cut into strips
Red onion, halved and then sliced
Salt
Pepper

Method
Start by frying the seasoned steak strips until they start to get some colour. Put them to the side.

Heat the oven to about 220c - 240c.

In the meantime prepare the pizza dough as per the instructions in your recipe/on the package.

When the dough is ready and is rolled into a circle and placed on a baking tray or similar it's time for the fun stuff.

Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the pizza base. Scatter the garlic, followed by the mozzarella and some ground pepper. Place out the red pepper, onion and steak slices. Finish off with the crumbled gorgonzola.

Chuck it all into the oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and gained a healthy golden brown colour. Remove from the oven, cut into slices and...

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Recipe - Pan fried pork escalopes with rice and a creamy mustard sauce


I was checking the contents of my freezer when I found some pork escalopes that was hiding in there. One night of defrosting in the fridge and this is what happened to them...

This time I served it with rice but you could as well serve it with potato mash. The recipe multiplies easily.

Ingredients (serves 1 - 2)
2 pork escalopes
1 leek, washed and sliced
125 ml white wine
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
50 ml chicken stock
1 tbsp double cream
Fresh basil, sliced
Salt
Pepper
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Boiled rice

Method
Season and fry the pork escalopes in a pan over medium heat until nicely golden and cooked through. Put to the side and keep warm.

Put the leek slices into the pan and fry for 5 - 6 minutes. Add the wine and reduce by two thirds. Stir in the mustard, stock and cream. Season to taste. Let this bubble away for a couple of minutes. Add the basil and a good squeeze of lemon juice.

Serve the pork and sauce with rice.

Enjoy!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Recipe - Meatballs cooked with honey and Garam Masala


Adding some honey at the end of the cooking glazes the meatballs nicely. That combined with the Garam Masala gives it a slightly 'Middle Eastern' taste, something that's accentuated by the couscous.

As I see it, this is a simple way of transforming your normal run-of-the-mill meatballs to something a little bit more exotic.

As you can see from the picture I also oven roasted some homegrown tomatoes, taken from Solo's tomato plantation. If you want to jazz up the couscous a bit you can add some dried fruit to it.

Tell you what, if you don't have the energy to make the meatballs from the ground up - why not grab a pack of ready-made ones from the supermarket? Frying them like this is going to make them taste much better.

Ingredients
1 batch of meatballs (one recipe here)
1 - 2 tablespoons of honey
1 - 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 - 2 teaspoons of Garam Masala
10 - 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
Couscous, cooked to the instructions on the package

Method
Make the meatballs according to the recipe.

Fry the meatballs in butter with the Garam Masala for a couple of minutes. Pour on the honey and lemon juice. Finally stir in the torn basil leaves. Keep frying and stirring on a medium heat until nicely coloured.

Serve with the couscous.

Enjoy!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Recipe - Lazy Saturday Omelet


I was on call yesterday so I couldn't really head down to the super market to pick stuff up for my lunch. That meant having to try and use what I had in the cupboards and the fridge.

Well, this is what I came up with. It turned out to be tasty and filling. What more could I ask for?

Don't forget to heat the grill (broiler) so that it's ready towards the end of the cooking.

Ingredients (serves 1 - 2)
4 - 6 mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Spicy sausage (pepperoni for example), sliced
Salt
Pepper
3 - 4 eggs, beaten
Grated cheese, strong cheddar preferably.
Olive oil
Fresh parsley

Method
Heat the oil in a frying pan on low to medium heat. Once heated, add the mushrooms, onions and garlic and let this cook slowly. Season well.

Once the mushrooms and onion are nice and soft, add the sausage. Let this cook until the sausage starts to crisp.

Pour in the eggs and give it all a good stir. Let this cook away until the eggs starts to set properly.

Scatter the cheese on top of the omelet and shove the pan under your grill until the cheese starts to go nice and golden.

Plate, scatter some fresh parsley on top.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Recipe - Puff Pastry Tart with vegetables and spicy sausage


This is what I cooked yesterday evening, Friday night, after a long week at work.

I wasn't really in the mood for a lengthy session with lots of involvement in the kitchen so this worked quite nicely. A bit of cutting, slicing and grating. Then off into the oven. From the oven onto the plate. Doesn't get much better or easier than that at times.

Oh yeah, don't forget the chef oil either. This time I decided to use a nice bottle of 2006 Madiran Reserve Des Tuguets to keep myself lubricated. A wine and vintage I can thoroughly recommend.

Don't forget to give yourself about an hour and a halfs time to let the puff pastry defrost if you are using the frozen variety. I used Jus-Rol puff pastry this time, which worked really fine.

Ingredients (serves 1 - 2)
1 sheet Puff Pastry
2 - 3 tbsp tomato puree (or pasta sauce)
1 red pepper, sliced
1 red onion, halved and sliced
50 - 75 g mushrooms, sliced
50 - 75 g spicy sausage (pepperoni or similar), sliced
50 g cheese (strong cheddar for example), grated
1 egg, beaten

Method
Preheat your oven to 220c/425f/Gas mark 7.

Unroll the pastry onto a baking tray. Spread with the tomato puree, leaving a 2.5 cm border around all edges. Use a sharp knife to score the pastry just outside the edge of the tomato puree, making sure not to cut all the way through. Glaze the border using the beaten egg.

Chuck on the vegetables and the sausage. Finish off with the cheese. Pop it all into the oven.

Let it bake for about 20 minutes, until the pastry is risen and as a nice deeply golden colour.

Enjoy!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Recipe - Tuna fishcakes


This actually started as salmon fishcakes but I gave up on that idea. Why? Well, I had two tins of canned pink salmon that I didn't really know what to do with. After a bit of thinking I decided to make them into fishcakes.

I'd never used canned salmon before so I had no idea just how fiddly it was with all the small bones still there. To make an irritated story short, I canned the can (see what I did there) and went for tuna instead.

I still got a can of salmon left if anyone want to come over and pick it up. I sure as hell ain't going to use it.

Back to the dish though... You can prepare the potatoes the day before since it's easier if they are really cold. Also, make sure to chill the prepared cakes properly, otherwise they are more likely to fall apart when you handle/fry them.

Ingredients
(makes 4 - 6 cakes)
2 cans (185g/each) of tuna chunks in brine
About 175g - 250g of potatoes
Coriander (cilantro), cut
2 eggs
Corn flour
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil
Salad
Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce

Method

Peel and boil the potatoes as you would if you were preparing mash. Once nice and soft drain them and mash them. Even better is using a ricer. Put the potatoes to the side and let them cool down properly, you can even put them in the fridge over night.

When the potatoes have cooled down sufficiently crack one of the eggs into them and mix with the drained and flaked tuna as well as the coriander (cilantro). Season to taste.

Make cakes out of the mix and put them on a plate/roasting tray and cover with cling film. Put them into the fridge until nice and cool.

Crack the other egg into a deep plate and beat it, put corn flour onto another plate. Dip each cake into the egg and then into the corn flour - making sure to get an even coating.

Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat and fry until the cakes are nicely golden on all sides.

Serve with a crisp salad and a Thai Sweet Chilli sauce to dip in.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Dineathon.com - A meal together saves lives

dineatohon.com - A meal together saves lives

I just saw a post about this on Guardians blog. It looks like a good idea, you invite people over for dinner and they donate money to this cause as payment for their dinner.

I'd probably not be able to ask anyone to pay for a dinner at mine, I'd end up donating the money myself. Still a good and worthy cause.

Have a look at their site and see if you can't get some event together.

Recipe - Ovenbaked falukorv with creamy mustard mash


This is about as close to pure comfort food you can come with Swedish food. For me this is the perfect little 'food blanket' that I can wrap myself in. The creaminess of the mash paired with the bite of the onion, ketchup and mustard is just divine. But that's just my opinion, why not cook this yourself to see what you think?

I've posted some falukorv recipes before and you can find it in the Swedish food court at IKEA shops worldwide.

I need to thank my 'not-really-all-that-old landlady' for thinking of me and picking up a falukorv and some other nice stuff the last time she went to IKEA. Hmm, that last sentence might earn me another angry comment. ;)

It's getting late and I'm feeling a bit tired so I won't post any detailed description of how to make the mash. Just make your normal creamy mash and add wholegrain mustard to your own liking.

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
1 falukorv
1 onion, finely diced
1 part yellow mustard (Slotts preferably)
1 part ketchup
Butter

Method
Heat the oven to 225c.

Mix the onions, mustard and ketchup thoroughly in a bowl.

While the oven is heating make cuts down about three quarters of the falukorv. Space the slices to about 1 - 2 cm apart. Spread the onion/mustard/ketchup mixture evenly between the slices. If you like, save some to spread on top of the falukorv.

Put the falukorv into a buttered ovensafe dish and into the oven once it's heated.

Let the falukorv stay in the oven for about 25 - 30 minutes or until it has changed colour to a nice dark brown and the top is crispy.

Serve with some creamy mustard mash and a fresh salad.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Recipe - Spaghetti Carbonara


I was watching Saturday Kitchen the other day, well last Saturday to be honest. One of the things they showed was an episode of Rick Stein in Sardinia. He cooked Carbonara and since I had some lardons at home I thought I'd give it a go too.

According to Rick and his show you should never use Parmesan in Carbonara. Apparently you should use Pecorino cheese instead. I normally respect Rick but since all I had was Parmesan I decided to disregard him and his advice ;)

As you might, or might not, see in the background of the photo there's some garlic bread that I made as well. It's always nice with some garlic bread with your pasta and I had some leftover bread that needed using up.

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
Spaghetti, about 400g
200g lardons
3 - 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil
3 - 4 medium eggs, beaten
50 g parmesan, grated
Fresh parsley, chopped
Salt
Pepper

Method
Boil the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package.

While the spaghetti is boiling away heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Once heated, add the lardons and let them fry away.

When the lardons start getting some colour, add in the garlic. Let this fry until the lardons start turning a little bit crispy. Put the frying pan to the side.

Make sure not to overcook the spaghetti, al dente is good. Drain the spaghetti.

Put the frying pan back on the stove on a low heat and mix in the spaghetti with the lardons and the garlic. Add most of the parmesan and give it all a good stir.

After that, turn off the heat and stir in the eggs. Keep stirring to make sure that they coat all of the spaghetti.

Season to taste, remember that the lardons already have added quite a bit of saltyness to the dish.

Finally mix in the chopped parsley. Plate up and add the last of the parmesan to each plate.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

How do you milk innocent kids?


I know that supermarkets try and corner different target groups but this might be a tad bit wrong. ;)

I guess they'll be reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves in that department at Sainsbury's now. A game of spot the missing apostrophe could be in order.

I wonder how they milk these innocent kids for their juices anyway?

Tomorrows post will be more in the line of a proper food posting, I promise ;)

Monday, 22 September 2008

Recipe - Pan fried Hake with creamy Garlic Potato Puree


This is another attempt at cooking some fish to try and vary my diet. Simply pan frying the fish is a very easy way of cooking it and if you season the fish properly it also tastes very nicely.

This was the first time I've tried to cook the potatoes for mash in stock. Trust me, this won't be the last time. I shouldn't be banging my own drum too much, but this was probably the best mash I've ever made. Nothing for vampires though, it had one hell of a garlic kick to it.

If you wonder what the 'brown blobs' that are circling the plate is, they're button mushrooms that's been fried in butter.

And yes, I know that I served quite a lot of mash given the size of the hake fillets. It would have made a better photo with less mash. However, that mash was so divine that I just had to get lots on to the plate from the start ;)

Ingredients (serves 2)
Two hake fillets, skin on
1 liter chicken stock
500g potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1 - 2 cm cubes
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
Olive oil
125 ml Milk
1 - 2 tablespoons Double cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Fresh parsley, chopped or torn
Salt
Pepper

Method
Bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the potatoes and garlic cloves. Let this boil away until soft, 10 - 15 minutes. Drain. Push the potatoes and garlic through a food mill or a potato ricer back into the pan.

Season the hake liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan on a medium to high heat. Add the hake fillets skin side up. Fry for about a minute and then flip them skin side down. Cook for 6 - 7 minutes more on a medium heat, until the fish flakes easily.

While the fish is cooking, heat the milk and cream until it simmers. Slowly stir this into the potato and garlic mixture until it's a smooth puree. Cook very gently for 3 - 5 minutes, making sure to stir the whole time. Beat the butter and parsley into the puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the fish on top of the puree.

Enjoy!