Monday, 26 December 2011

Recipe - Guinness Mustard


The other night I overheard(?) a conversation between some Swedish food bloggers on Twitter where they discussed different mustard versions they were making.

As the discussion went to and fro the memory of seeing Guinness Mustard at some farmers market came to my mind and I chimed in with that suggestion.

Having given them the suggestion I also said that I'd try and chase down a recipe for them. Having applied some Google-Fu I soon had lots of version of the same recipe from various blogs. The source of that particular recipe seems to be one published in Saveur magazine.

Having suggested that they tried this and having taken the time to hunt a recipe down I realised that I might as well make some myself.

I'm not proud so I decided to use the same recipe as everyone else, after all - it's not all that often that I can find major faults with recipes from Saveur.

This mustard will last in the fridge for up to 6 months - but I don't think it will last that long for most people. A most excellent mustard and a good start down the slippery slope of playing with different flavourings for your mustards. I'm sure there's space for more jars and stuff in our cupboards... ;)

One thing I'd like to add to the recipe is that it will take some time in the old food processor before it starts thickening up. Fear not, give it some time and it will thicken up nicely.

Ingredients (makes around 800ml)
350 ml Guinness
375 ml brown mustard seeds
250 ml red wine vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice

Method
Combine all the ingredients in a nonreactive bowl. Cover with cling film and let sit at room temperature for 1 - 2 days so that the flavours mix and the mustard seeds soften.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and mix until the seeds are coarsely ground and the mixture thickens, stopping to scrape down mixture from the sides of the bowl when needed, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a jar and cover.

Refrigerate overnight before first use.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Recipe - Meatloaf à la Lindström


Long time readers of this blog might remember a recipe for classic Swedish dish called Beef à la Lindström that I posted back in 2008? No? To be honest, I couldn't remember if I posted it or not so I had to search for it myself.

The other day I saw this take on Beef à la Lindström combined with meatloaf in some email newsletter from a Swedish supermarket chain that I subscribe to just to get some new ideas. Since both Beef à la Lindström and meatloaf are two of my favourite dishes I thought I'd give it a go.

Being me, I freestyled it a bit - at least enough for them not to sue me. I hope. ;)

This is a bit of a different approach to meatloaf but hopefully it can inspire you to try some new variations. I've made cheeseburger meatloaf in the past, where you layer in some crispy bacon and cheese - worked like a charm. Give freestyling your meatloaf a go, what's the worst that can happen? Hang on, please don't answer that. ;)

As you see from the photo, the beetroot juices seeps out and gives the meatloaf a slightly pink tinge. Maybe you could sell it to your kids as a Barbie-loaf. Or not.

Enough waffling, let's see how this was made.

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
100 ml milk
1 kg beef mince
2 eggs
8 - 10 pickled baby beetroots
1 onion, chopped
100 ml capers, finely chopped
Salt
Pepper

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 200c.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the milk and let that stand for a couple of minutes.

In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumb paste with the other ingredients, minus the beetroots. Season to taste.

Take two 1kg loaf tins, or one 2kg one if you got one, and make a bottom layer of mince mixture in each. Portion out the beetroots and top with the remainder of the mince mixture.

Pop this into the oven for 40 - 45 minutes or until it is cooked through.

Serve with potatoes and some vegetables.

Enjoy!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Recipe - Dill Chicken / Recept - Dillkyckling


This is a recipe that really brings back memories. We used to be served this in school fairly often and I do think that we had it at home regularly too.

I might be mistaken but I believe that there's also a very similar recipe but for lamb instead. Swedish readers might want to pipe up and correct me if I'm wrong?

It is funny, I had not eaten this for over 12 years - I don't think I'd be lying if I said that it was over 15 years - but as soon as I sat down to eat it memories flushed over me. Food is one of the things that memories get the strongest associations with, at least for me.

I might have to revisit some of the old dishes I associate with my childhood. There's already been some posts, like my Flying Jacob / Flygande Jakob recipe but there's lots of others that I think (hope?) that you readers might find interesting? Then there are some that are just innuendo heaven when I translate them, Seaman Stew anyone? :)

After that bombshell, let's talk about this recipe a bit.

You can use any chicken meat really, thighs are to prefer for the flavour and texture but 3 - 4 chicken breasts works too if you're not into your thighs.

The amount of water, 1 liter, might look a tad bit little but fear not, it will be ok. If you want to add some more carrot or leek, go ahead. In the recipe I say to use about 500ml of the stock, use more or less to get the thickness of the sauce you want. Guess what - freestyle it! :)

The classic side dish for this is potatoes but I would just as well serve it with rice.

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 l water
1 carrot, peeled and cut into medallions
1 leek, cut into 2 cm wide pieces
2 bay leafs
5 - 6 white pepper corns
2 tsp salt
600g chicken, cut into bitesize pieces
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
100 ml single cream
1 tbsp distilled malt vinegar
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
1 bunch of dill, chopped
Salt
Pepper

Method
Put the water, bay leafs, pepper corns and salt into a pan and bring to a boil. Add in the carrot, leek and chicken and let this simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes. Remove any foam etc that gets onto the surface of the water.

Drain the stock into a container and keep the rest in a colander or sieve for the time being.

Clean out and dry the pan. Melt the butter and whisk in the flour, trying not to get any lumps. Slowly add stock, whisking all the time, until you've incorporated about 500 ml of it. Stir in the cream.

Heat the vinegar and sugar either in another pan or in the microwave until the sugar is dissolved. Stir this mixture into the pan.

Add the vegetables and chicken back into the pan and let this heat through for another 5 minutes or so.

Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Oh my, that's a big one you got there...


Why, thank you. But enough about that - this is after all, at times, a family friendly blog. ;)

Followers of this blog and my Twitter feed will have noticed that I'm getting into smoking, making my own bacon and so on. The next logical, at least to me, step is to start looking at making my own sausages.

I do have the sausage stuffing attachment for my KitchenAid but to say that one looks flimsy is like saying that Paris Hilton seems to be a bit of a slapper. As I quite often do at times like this I used my Google-Fu to look at what other people recommend as well as good reviews for companies to purchase from.

One company that kept popping up, with good feedback, was Franco's Famous Sausage Making. I had a look at the site and there was lots of options, anything from small sausage stuffers to kits with industrial size stuffers complete with rusk, spice mixes and so on.

Me being me, always forgetting that I'm a happy amateur in a small kitchen and not actually a fully fledged chef in a commercial kitchen, decided after much deliberating to go for the "Deluxe Sausage Making Kit". That one comes with a 5L Pro stuffer, rusk, spice mixes and so on. There are smaller models. Much smaller models, that fit in normal kitchens, for normal people. I'm not normal.

Once the decision had been made it was time to order it. When I tried to access the site it was down. Hang on, what's going on here? After checking through a couple of different paths out of our network I decided that the fault was in the other end.

A quick tweet was sent off to @sausagemaking to check what was up. Shortly after that, the site was back and a reply was received over twitter. After I placed my order I was told that due to the problems there would be some extras in the parcel. Ace!

The next day the parcels arrived and I started to realise just how big a 5L sausage stuffer really are. On the plus side, I won't have to refill it as often as I would a wee one. ;)

There was definitely some extras thrown in, very generously indeed.

So now I have my sausage stuffer, casings, spice mixes, rusk and all the other stuff. Coming up on this blog you will follow my trials and tribulations as I try to teach myself how to make different types of sausages. I can foresee quite a lot of swearing, tantrums and chucking of things in the near future. So if you're a fan of car-crash television you might want to check in here every now and then.

Now where can I keep this monster of a sausage stuffer...

488W9XYD7F9T

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Recipe - Dan Lepard's Alehouse Rolls




As I mentioned in the last post I made some rolls to go with my home made bacon. I can quite happily freestyle 'normal' cooking but when it comes to baking I'm fairly useless.

Working with dough etc. is definitely outside of my comfort zone, although I'm working on it.

The reason I'm mentioning this? This recipe is stolen straight off from Dan Lepard's excellent book Short and Sweet (Amazon UK / US ).  I will try and review it properly at some stage but let me just say that I think it is a must in the collection of anyone who likes to bake.

Getting back to track...

If you read the Making Bacon - Part II post you'll know that the bacon took a bit longer in the smoker than what I had anticipated.

The next day the idea was to have bacon rolls for breakfast. Well, there was bacon rolls. Just not for breakfast.

This recipe takes some time and I think that if you don't want to be in the shooting line for some lethal staring due to the time frames being a bit askew - have a read of what Dan Lepard himself says:

"To make my life a bit more relaxed I make these ahead but only lightly bake them, perhaps 20 minutes in the oven. Then I leave them on the tray to cool and freeze them in a ziplock bag. Then just before dinner, or whenever I need them, they get baked once more from frozen in a preheated oven at 200C/180C fan/390F/gas 6 for 10 - 12 minutes."

It might have been better for the happiness of everyone if I had followed that advice. ;)

If you bake them by the 235g size recommendation you'll get some quite big rolls - just be aware if you got people who don't eat much.

Other than that - awesome rolls made from an recipe from a great book. Best of all - they made the bacon taste that bit extra good.

At the time, eating my home made bacon on home made rolls, I was feeling so smug that I almost wanted to punch myself in the face. ;)

Enough of that, over to Dan's recipe.

[RECIPE REMOVED AS PER REQUEST IN COMMENTS BELOW]

Enjoy!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Making Bacon - Part II

Followers of this blog know that I recently got myself a smoker and set out on the path of curing and smoking my own bacon.

This is part two of that story, for those of you that didn't read part one - have a look here to get in the mood for this riveting and fascinating story. Or something like that.

Where the last part left of was with the belly of pork curing in the fridge. This being my first attempt I was worrying quite a bit about the progress etc. Some more knowledgeable and experienced bacon makers over at the Bradley Smoker Forum soon calmed me and the experiment continued on.

Due to some external circumstances that I couldn't do much about, apparently friends weddings are more important than my homemade bacon, I left the bacon curing for 10 days.

Once I was back from the wedding the bacon was rinsed and air-dried in the fridge over night.

Belly of pork, complete with temperature probe, ready to go into the smoker

The next day the smoker was heated up to 49C/120F and the maple smoke started rolling.
My lovely smoker

Moody smoke picture

I kept it as this temperature with smoke rolling for two hours. Once the time was up I increased the temperature to 71C/160F and started waiting for the internal temperature of the bacon to reach 65C/150F. And I waited. And waited. And waited.
An hour or so into the smoking process

The fact that is was really cold out probably didn't help but the wait was quite long and certain interested parties lost interest and stamina long before the remote temperature monitor gave up the releasing beep that indicated that we'd reached the correct temperature.

I removed the bacon from the smoker and let it cool down before cling filming it and leaving it in the fridge over night to firm up a bit.

Finally finished, about to go into the fridge over night

The next day I got it out of the fridge and headed out in the garage to try my meat slicer for the first time.

You have no idea how wide my smile was when the first slice hit the plate. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my adventures in cooking.

Sliced bacon

I sliced and vacuum packed the majority of the belly and diced the last bit into lardons that also got vacuum packed and frozen for future use.

Vacuum packed lardons ready to go into the freezer
At the same time as the slicing was going on I was making rolls for the bacon butties I thought we had deserved. The recipe for those will have to wait another couple of days though.

So, some questions that I guess some of you might have.

Was it worth it? - Hell yeah!
Would you do it again? - Hell yeah, already thinking of other cures that might work.
Did it taste ok? - Hell yeah, really nice and sweet flavour.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Review - Le Charcutier Anglais by Marc Frederic

As followers of this blog and my Twitter feed might have noticed I've recently taken quite a large interest in the arts of smoking, Charcuterie, sausage making and so on.

Pair that with my cookbook collecting mania and you'll find that there's been quite a large number of books about these subjects shipped from Amazon to me.

I had actually followed and talked with Marc Frederic on Twitter before my new found interest, just purely out of him being quite an interesting character.

Having followed his feed I knew that he was in the process of publishing a book about these matters so it felt quite natural to pop in an order for it with Amazon.

Having patiently waited the book finally arrived today (the 9th of Dec) and I have already read it from start to finish. From that I think you can deduct two things - 1: I read quickly and 2: the book is very interesting.

I mentioned that I have bought quite a lot of books on this subject matter so I got some comparison material to go by.

This is by no means the most technical of these books, there's not table over table of curing times and how to make every percentage level available of brining liquid.

It's also not the one of these books with the most perfect layout or regimented structure.

What it do have though is lots of things that I feel goes missing in quite a lot of those other books. They feel more like manuals whilst this one feels like a book created out of a love of the subject matter.

The pictures are generally of a very high quality and adds value, there's even some cartoons and drawings thrown in for the fun of it.

His text shows the deep love and interest he has for this although at times I must admit that I had to re-read parts of instructions etc just to get the full understanding. However, since that's not overpowering I think it adds to the charm.

There's also lots of little tip boxes that add value to the book as well as some anecdotes thrown in as a little bonus.

There are chapters on Utensils, Butchery, Fat, Pork, Sausage Making, Smoking and so on. All of these have their own value but also link in with each other and gives you ideas on how you can combine techniques and ingredients.

You also get top quotes like "DRY CURING - my favourite method because it is so therapeutic". This is a man who clearly loves what he writes about.

The recipes are all well written and easy to understand for anyone who regularly reads recipes.

Mikey's verdict: This is a very well written book that conveys a love for a subject that makes you want to test the recipes and techniques that it describes. It might not be the one and only book you'd want on the subject. Some of the other books on the marked describe some of the underlying chemistry more in depth as well as gives you some more formulas etc to get brines correct.


However, this is a very worthy addition to your cookbook library and will teach you quite a lot about these subjects at the same time as it inspires you to no end.

I also want to point out that I bought my own copy for my own money and wrote this review on my own accord without Marc's prior knowledge of me planning to do so. To be honest - I haven't even asked Marc if I could use the picture above. I sure hope he doesn't mind. ;)

I bought my copy at Amazon and here's a link to Marc's blog with info about other places where you can buy your own copy.

Now I think I'll go away and work on an email to Marc to ask him if he thinks that my idea of adding some cold smoking to his recipe for 'Carpaccio of Cured Venison" would work. The fact that he got a book published on the subject doesn't mean that I can't find ways of freestyling his recipes! ;)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Recipe - Stilton Soup with Chili and Rosemary Croutons


This recipe is very good for you. Disregard all the cheese and the cream. It does contain the rind from a lime and some rosemary. That is bound to count as two of your five a day - something that should more than negate the cheese and cream. I'm of course applying the same logic here as those people who order a Big McFatfucker and then goes for the diet Coke in order to stay healthy. Hey, if it works for them - it should work for you and me - right? ;)

What could be bad for my health is that I have messed a bit with what is in essence a traditional recipe from the T*****e family. There are some things you probably shouldn't mess with, this recipe might be one of them. Let's see what happens when this is published, this could be my last post ever.

This is a quite versatile soup that can be adapted to the occasion. You could have it for dinner as a winter warmer with some nice rolls or you could serve it in dainty little bowls as a posh-ish starter.

By adjusting the amount of stock you can make it more or less creamy to fit the occasion and your personal taste. When I cooked this I used about 560ml (1 pint or so) of stock which kept it very creamy. I've adjusted the recipe below to use 750ml for a slightly less creamy texture - but please feel free to freestyle it to your hearts content.


As for the croutons... Yes, I know that you can buy them but let's face it - it is not really rocket surgery to make them yourself. It's quickly done and is a good way of using up some stale left over bread. As you can see from the recipe I used rosemary and chili infused oil. As always, freestyle it. Don't like rosemary, use thyme. Bit of a wuss, skip the chili oil and use a good quality normal olive oil.

You still with me? Good. Let's look at the recipe now then.

Ingredients (makes enough for 3 - 4 normal portions or quite a number of starter portions)
30g butter
15g plain flour
The grated rind from 1 lime
750 ml chicken stock
340g good quality Stilton cheese, crumbled
150 ml single cream

Method
Melt the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat. Once it start bubbling and fizzing a bit, stir in the flour and keep stirring as to try and not get any lumps.

Let this cook away for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the lime rind and keep stirring for another couple of minutes.

Pour in the stock and keep stirring whilst bringing it to a boil. Keep at a simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add in the cheese, and let it melt on a slightly lower heat whilst still stirring quite frequently.

Once properly melted, sieve into another bowl or pan. Rinse and dry the first pan and then pop the sieved soup back into it.

Put the pan back on a medium heat. Pour in the cream and keep stirring whilst you heat it through.

Enjoy!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Recipe - Murgh Kari-esque Chicken Curry



When I first moved to England I had not encountered Indian food at all before. I guess Sweden, at least not where I come from, wasn't all that culinary adventorous and we didn't have that many 'foreign' restaurants. Growing up I think there was two Chinese restaurants and one Pizzeria in my hometown.

Not knowing anything about Indian food made me feel a bit uncertain when we went for meals with work and so on. Quite often I'd rather not go than sit there not knowing what to go for due to my lack of knowledge.

Thankfully that all quickly changed through the years and I'm more than happy to join you for a curry if you invite me. Besides, these days I got a foolproof way of ordering just the right thing in Indian restaurants. I just say "please bring me the spiciest dish you have" to the waiter. That way I always get what I want.

Still, even though I like Indian food quite a bit it is still rare that I try my hand at emulating any of the dishes at home. That is something I should change in order to broaden my kitchen repertoire, so here you go. This is my attempt of creating a Murgh Kari-esque chicken curry.

Play a bit with the seasoning to fit your own likings, remove some of the cayenne and use a milder curry if you are of a wussy disposition. Add some fresh chilies if you are of that disposition. As always, just freestyle it.

Oh, and as you can see from the photo - I didn't get around to adding the coriander this time. Do as I say, not as I do. It will lift the dish even more, trust me.

Ingredients (serves 4)

A couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil
4 skinless chicken breasts, diced (or equal amount thighs)
Salt
Pepper
2 - 3 onions, diced
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (or to taste)
4 -5 cm knob of fresh root ginger, finely chopped (or to taste)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon water
2 tbsp tablespoon chopped fresh coriander, divided
400g passata
200g Greek yogurt
100ml water
1 - 2 tbsp of brown sugar (optional)
Method
Heat the oil in a frying pan with lid on a medium heat.

Add in the chicken pieces and some salt and let them seal without starting to brown. Remove the chicken pieces onto a plate with a slotted spoon.

Lower the the heat a tad bit and add in the onions. Let them fry for about 8 - 10 minutes, stirring every now and then, and try not to let them start to brown too much.

Add in the spices, 1 tbsp of coriander and a tablespoon of water. Stir well to combine with the onions and oil. Increase the heat a bit again and let this cook together. Make sure to stir well and often.

After 3 - 5 minutes, once the spices have been toasted a bit, add in the yogurt, passata and 100ml of water. Stir well and let it come to a simmer. Simmer for a couple of minutes and then add in the chicken pieces - complete with any juices from the plate. At this stage - taste it and if you feel that is too tart due to the tomatoes - add some brown sugar to taste.

Pop the lid on the pan and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so - make sure that the chicken is cooked through.

Before serving it, stir in the other tablespoon of coriander and adjust the seasoning to taste if needed.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Recipe - Pierogies stuffed with mince, gherkin and onion


I know that I quite often get accused of being a food snob but there are some really nasty skeletons in my culinary wardrobe.

One of the nastier skeletons is some mass produced pierogies that went under the name of Gorby's. I guess the tenous link behind that name was that pierogies have a Russian connection and Gorbachev was in the limelight back then.

These little abominations against what I now know as decent food was sold frozen (they might just had been chilled - can't really remember) and you either nuked them or heated them in the oven if you had the extra time. I'm sad to say that due to what only can be described as financial circumstances and lack of sense I ate more than one of these back in the day.

I live in the hope that these things have disappeared from the shops but I honestly don't know if they have or not. If you want to see what one looks like, have a look at a picture of a Gorby's here.

Having gotten that off my chest I can now move on to a slightly more proper version of a pierogie. This one is made from scratch and even if I say so myself, it plays in a completely different league than the Gorby's. I'm not sure how authentic it is, there might be an angry Russian outside my door one day but this is my version of it.

Regular readers know that I actively encourage freestyling of my recipes and this one is no exception to that. Don't like pickled gherkins? Replace with some diced pickled beetroot for example. Don't feel like replacing, add the beetroot as well. Add in the fact that you can spice the mince to your hearts content and the possibilities are almost endless.

I know that it might seem a tad bit faffy to have to make the pastry the day before, but give it a go. The effort is well worth it. The quantity of ingredients in this recipe is enough for four large-ish ones but if you want to you could always make them a bit daintier and serve them as nibbles.

Let's head over to the recipe before I admit to more crimes against the culinary gods. ;)

Ingredients (makes 4 large-ish ones or more smaller ones)
Pastry
500ml plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
115g cold butter, cut into pieces
115g cream cheese

Filling
300g minced beef, cooked - spice it your own way
1 pickled gherkin, very finely diced or minced - to taste (about 2 tbsp or so)
1/2 onion, very finely diced or minced - to taste
1 tbsp ketchup
Salt
Pepper

50g butter, melted

Method
Pastry
Pop the flour, salt, butter and cream cheese into a food processor. Process until a firm dough is formed. Pat into a ball, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge over night.

Pierogies

Pre-heat the oven to 200c.

To make the pierogies take out the dough from the fridge and remove the cling film. Split it into four equal pieces.

Mix together all the ingredients for the filling and season to taste.

Roll each bit out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 3mm thick. Spoon equal amounts of the filling onto each one and fold together.

Put the pierogies on a baking tray that you have lined with parchment paper.

Brush each pierogie with melted butter, sprinkle with some flaky sea salt and pop the baking tray into the oven.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until nicely golden to your taste.

Enjoy!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Recipe - Pimped up Brussels Sprouts


Brussels sprouts will probably never win any popularity contests but if you like them, they are good.

I know people who'll only eat one sprout a year, and that is just as to please their mother on Christmas. (Hi Mark! ;) )

Personally I quite like them but this is a recipe that is tried and tested to make non-believers at least try them. Some of them have survived and lived to tell the tale of sprouts that were at least tolerable.

The seasonal box I received from Knorr recently didn't just contain that mahoosive turkey, it also contained some (Christmas) seasonal vegetables as well. Brussels sprouts were of course part of this so I cooked them up in this way.

Maybe this could be something to try on the sprout haters in your circle of friends and family? Because let's face it - everything gets better with a bit of bacon added.

With all that having been said, let's move on over to the recipe.

Ingredients
Brussels Sprouts
Salt
Pepper
Lardons
Balsamic vinegar

Method
Bring some well salted water to a rolling boil. Chuck in the brussels sprouts and let them boil for 4 minutes or so. Drain and dump them into some ice cold water to refresh. Let them sit there for a minute or two and drain again. Slice them in half and put to the side.

Heat a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Once heated add in the lardons and let them fry for a bit. If they don't release all that much fat - add in a splash of olive oil too.

Once the lardons start to crispen up - add in the brussel sprouts and a dash or five of balsamic vinegar.

Let this fry away until the lardons have crisped up nicely and the sprouts have started to caramelise. Season to taste.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Recipe - Peppadew Chicken

This is a quick and easy recipe that I picked up when I was attending a South African cookery course at the WI.

Yep - you read that right. I went for a course at the WI. As a matter of fact, I've attended a number of courses there over the last couple of years - cat among the pigeons anyone? ;) The kitchens you use and all the equipment are all top class. The tutors I've had so far have all been really good as well.

I know that the WI have a bit of a reputation, but I've always enjoyed myself there and have come home with a fair amount of new skills and knowledge. Ok, I do get stared at a bit but that's just something you'll have to live with as a bloke on one of their courses. ;)

For a look at what courses they currently offer, have a look at the Denman College website.

Enough about my lovely ladies at the WI, let's talk a bit about this recipe. The recipe just states 'chutney' but for the authentic touch, try and chase down some of Mrs H.S. Balls Original Recipe Chutney.

Also - there's no need to adjust your television sets - the rice is supposed to be yellow. I chucked in some turmeric with the rice and water in the rice cooker to get the (allegedly) proper colour for this dish.

Moving swiftly on....

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 chicken breasts
Salt
Pepper
1 small onion, roughly chopped
6 peppadews, or to taste
120 ml yoghurt
60 ml chutney

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 190c.

Put the chicken breasts in a oven-proof dish that is large enough to house them all without being crowded. Season.

Put all the other ingredients in a food processor (or use a hand-held mixer) and blend together.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and pop the dish into the oven. Cook for 20 - 30 minutes or until cooked.

Enjoy!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Making Bacon - Part I

Like most people I know I really enjoy bacon. For example, there's few things that are easier to make and nicer to eat than a bacon buttie, with some ketchup.

Being me I need to push the envelope a bit and this time I'm trying to make my own bacon. After lurking around on the Bradley Smoker Forum I found enough evangelistic posts to realise that this is something that could turn out very nice indeed.

The only thing that might stop normal people is the part where you smoke it for a couple of hours during the cooking. However, as I've been told far too many times - I'm not normal. Since a little while back I'm the proud owner of a six-rack digital Bradley smoker ( UK / US ).

Making my own bacon seems to be a good way of getting some mileage into the smoker.

For my first try I've decided to follow this recipe, found on another Bradley smoker forum.

This morning I picked up my 5lb/2.3kg pork belly that my local butcher, R G Park Butchers, kindly had ready and waiting for me.

Pork belly, before anything happened to it.

Once home I prepared the cure as follows:

The ingredients for the cure.
  • 2 oz. Kosher salt (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tsp. Cure #1 (aka pink salt, InstaCure #1, Prague Powder #1)
  • 1/4 C. Maple sugar or packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 C. Maple syrup

The finished cure.

When the cure was properly mixed it was massaged into the pork belly and then it was all transferred into a very large ziploc bag and it is now doing its magic in our fridge.

The pork belly again, now with cure massaged into it.

The curing should take 5 - 7 days and it will be flipped over once a day. I will post updates as I (and the pork belly) progress....

In the bag, just before going into the fridge.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Recipe - MPW's Christmas Turkey Curry


This post is quite unusual for this blog. To start with it's a recipe aimed at Christmas and the recipe I post is not written by me. A bit of an explanation is probably in place.

As readers of this blog probably haven't missed I was invited up to London quite some time ago for some cooking, and lunch, with Marco Pierre White. This was all arranged by the nice people at Knorr.

Since then they've kept in touch and I have been provided with a couple of real nice goodie boxes with meat, vegetables and other produce together with some recipe ideas create by MPW.

Since we're getting close to the dreaded lovely time of Christmas the box contained, among lots of other good stuff, one mahoosive turkey from Forman & Field. The recipe that follows will show one way of using up some of your leftover turkey.

I must admit that I'm not the biggest friend of turkey meat. I think it stems from some rather awful Christmas dinners at my paternal grandmothers place. All I can say is that you had to be careful eating those turkeys. I'm not exactly saying that the meat was dry, however - if you manage to rub two pieces of meat together you would not be surprised if you had managed to make fire.

If you're like me and a bit less than turkey happy - why not use chicken or even go a bit freaky and go for a vegetable curry?

As I mentioned in the beginning, this recipe is written by Marco Pierre White and for once I've just copied the recipe straight across. You might notice that there are some steps that I normally would not do, much less even think of, but I quite enjoyed these 'cheffy' steps.

It is not every day that I brown flour in the oven or sieve my curries but I guess that's what separates the happy amateurs thinking from that of someone who managed to gain 3 Michelin stars. ;)

If you have you made it this far you are either a masochist or you might actually enjoy my ramblings. Before I head over to the recipe I just wanted to say that I'm now well settled in the new house and that the blog posts will hopefully start to come in more and more regularly from now on. Hopefully some posts in relation to my latest kitchen toy, a six-rack digital Bradley smoker.

Well, I think I've rambled enough - let's have a look at what Marco Pierre White thinks that you can do with some leftover Turkey.

Ingredients (serves 10)
25g plain flour
2 Knorr Chicken Stock Pots
25g unsalted butter
1/2 a large pineapple, peeled and chopped into chunks (including core)
2 Cox apples (approx 250g), unpeeled, roughly chopped
1 banana
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tbsps mild or medium curry powder
25g unsweetened desiccated coconut
75ml double cream (optional)
1kg leftover cold roast turkey, taken off the bone and chopped into chunks (you can also add in chunks of cooked ham or leftover veg like roast potatoes, parsnips or carrots, chopped into chunks)

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 220˚C/ 425˚F/ Gas Mark 7. Sprinkle the flour in an even layer in an ovenproof frying pan and place it in the oven for 12–15 minutes until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, as the flour browns, begin cooking the curry. First, take the 2 Knorr Chicken Stock Pots and mix them with a litre of boiling water, stirring until thoroughly dissolved. Set aside.

Now, heat a large, heavy-based casserole dish on the hob. Add in the butter. Once melted, add in the pineapple and sliced apple. Peel and slice in the banana. Add in the chopped onion.

Fry stirring with a spatula over a low heat for around 10 minutes until the fruit begins to break down.

Add in the curry powder, mixing it in well. Cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes over a low heat. Add in the desiccated coconut and mix in.

Remove the lightly browned flour from the oven and add it into the curry paste mixture, mixing it in thoroughly.

Pour in 250ml of the Knorr Chicken Stock, stirring it so that the paste dissolves into the stock.

Gradually add in the remaining stock, 250ml at a time, stirring in thoroughly after each addition to make sure the sauce is free from any lumps.

Bring to the boil, simmer for 8–10 minutes, stir in the double cream if using.

Using the back of a ladle to press it down, pass the curry sauce through a fine sieve if you wish or liquidise until smooth.

Return the sieved or liquidised curry sauce to the casserole dish. Add in the cooked turkey chunks, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the turkey is heated through.

Garnish with toasted flaked almonds and fresh coriander leaves and serve at once.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Recipe - Tagliatelle with Pork Fillet in a creamy Dolcelatte sauce

I think we've been here before my friends. The place where I don't give you exact measurements and times in the recipe, allowing you to freestyle it to your hearts content - making it yours. Just see this is a guideline.

There are a couple of reasons behind this approach this time.

Firstly, this recipe isn't exactly rocket surgery so you should be ok with just some general guidance.

Secondly, I'm about to move at the end of this week so my place is in even more of a state than usual and I'm desperately short of time. Packing is not fun and I seem to be fighting a losing battle against time.

Enough moaning - let's get back to the food.

This is just something I threw together with some ingredients I had lying around. I wish I had some fresh herbs to add to it, but it worked quite ok as it was.

When you season this, don't forget that the Dolcelatte can be quite salty so taste it before seasoning.

Enough chit-chat, those boxes won't fill themselves, as the Madam said.

Ingredients
Tagliatelle
Pork fillet, trimmed of the silverskin and excess fat - sliced into medallions
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil
Shallot, finely chopped/minced
Single cream
Dolcelatte cheese

Method
Boil the tagliatelle as per the instructions on the package.

In the meantime, heat a frying pan on a medium heat and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Fry the seasoned pork medallions until cooked and nicely golden. Remove and keep warm.

Pop the shallot into the frying pan, add some oil if it's too dry, and make sure to scrape the bottom well to release the goodness from the pork. Fry until the shallot starts to soften a bit, don't let it start to colour up.

Add the cream and stir well, crumble in Dolcelatte and let it melt whilst stirring. Season to taste.

Drain the pasta and serve together with the pork and sauce.

Enjoy!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Recipe - Quick Lamb Stew

The nice people from Knorr have just sent me another box of goodies.

This time it contained goodies from Forman & Field and Allens of Mayfair.

Not only that, there was also two new varieties of the Knorr Stockpots. The newcomers are the Herb Infusion and Fish Stockpots. You should be able to find these in the shops any day soon.

With the parcel I also received a recipe written by Marco Pierre White that makes use of the lamb neck, vegetables and Herb Infusion stockpots that were in the box.

Me being me, I actually freestyled the recipe a bit. After all, all he got was 3 Michelin stars so what does he know? ;) I will pop a link here to the 'proper' recipe once it is posted on Knorr's site. In the meantime you'll have to make do with my recipe.

As you (hopefully) can read from the recipe and should be able to see from the picture I kept the carrots and spring onions in one piece. If you don't like that, just cut them into smaller pieces.

I'm also working on a recipe or two with the smoked salmon and trout that was in the box, but you'll have to wait a bit for that. I'm just about to move so things are a bit upside down here at the moment, even more than usual.

Enough chit-chat, let's look at the recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4)
1 Knorr Herb Infusion Pot
2 tbsp Olive oil
800g neck of lamb, cut into about 16 pieces
8 - 10 spring onions, trimmed
8 - 10 small carrots, trimmed
200 g peas

Method
Mix the Knorr Herb Infusion pot with 600ml of boiling water and stir until it is properly dissolved. Add the carrots and spring onions and boil for about 2 - 3 minutes (if you want them a bit less al dente - go for a couple of minutes longer), add the peas and boil for another minute or so. Remove the vegetables from the stock, preserving the stock, and keep them warm.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Fry the lamb pieces for about 2 - 3 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. Add the stock and deglaze the pan properly. Bring to a boil and let boil for a couple of minutes so it reduces a bit.

Divide the lamb pieces and stock between four deep plates and add in the vegetables.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Recipe - Cherry Glazed Pork Fillet

I better admit this from the outset - this recipe is stolen from a cookbook. The cookbook in question is Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book (Amazon UK / US) by Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson's fame.

The book itself is ace and I thoroughly recommend that you have a look at it - I think you'd like a copy yourself. And no - nothing sponsored here, I bought it for my own money.

As you might understand from the title of the cookbook this is a dish that is supposed to be cooked outdoors in a smoker or barbecue. However, I'm still a couple of weeks away from moving in to the new place so I had to convert it to oven cooking. If you got a smoker or barbecue - just convert it right back.

I can't wait to move in, get my smoker and give this a good test. I think it will be even better cooked that way. Once I'm moved and got the smoker installed - boy am I going to bore you with cue recipes ;)

I served this with a simple vinegar based coleslaw, the tangyness of that worked beautifully with the sweetness of the pork.

As a note, the marinade and glaze should be enough for two pork fillets but I only cooked one.

Ok, ready to look at the recipe? Here we go then...

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
Marinade
60 ml soy sauce
60 ml dark brown sugar
60 ml Cherry Coke
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp minced onion
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 pork fillet (about 450g or so), cleaned of the 'silverskin' and extra fat

Glaze
180ml black cherry preserve
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp distilled malt vinegar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp water

Method
Mix the marinade ingredients well, pour into a plastic bag and add the pork. Marinade in the fridge for anything between 4 and 12 hours.

Once marinated properly, remove from the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you heat the oven to 120c.

Cook for 1hr 15min, turn once halfway through.

Combine the glaze ingredients in a bowl.

Once the time is up, remove the pork fillet from the oven and glaze all over the top. Return to the oven for about 15 minutes.

Remove again, let the pork rest for 10 minutes under a foil tent before slicing it.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Recipe - Tri-Pepper Pork Salad


I hope that you liked the baguette recipe, here's another use for the Tri-Pepper pork fillet I cooked.

This time I made a quick and easy salad. Yet again I used the pork cold, it works beautifully that way. Guess what - freestyle this to suit what you have at home and what you like to eat.

Like the last time, no need to waffle. This is a salad and this is how I threw it together...

Ingredients
Baby watercress leaves
Pea-shoots and baby leaves
Cucumber, cut into quarters and sliced
Red onion, thinly sliced
French breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
Tri-Pepper pork fillet, sliced
Balsamic vinegar or dressing of your choice

Method
Assemble it all on a plate, making it as purdy as you can/want. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and/or dressing.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Recipe - Tri-Pepper Pork Baguette


Here it is, the first recipe showing how I used the Tri-Pepper pork I cooked.

I'm using it cold here, but you could just as well use it warm. The same goes for the vegetables I put on the baguette - freestyle it to suit what you have at home and what you like to eat.

There's not much more to say about it, it's a pork fillet baguette. Let's look at how I assembled it.

Ingredients (serves 1)
Baguette, sliced in half lengthwise
Mayonnaise
Baby watercress leaves
Pea-shoots and baby leaves
Tomato, sliced
Red onion, sliced
Tri-Pepper Pork fillet, sliced

Method
Spread the baguette with mayo. Top with the leaves, tomato and red onion. Finish off with the fillet slices. Pop the baguette 'lid' on top to 'close' it off.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Recipe - Tri-Pepper Pork Fillet


I know that some people expect pork fillets to be dry and boring. To them I'd like to say - try this recipe and we'll continue the discussion, m'kay? ;)

Another way of keeping the fillet nice and moist during cooking is to brine it, but I'll save that for another recipe.

This should be seen as a base recipe, that you can use for lots of different dishes. This can be used both warm, straight from the oven (after a little resting) or cold. I'll post two different recipes the coming days that will show how I used it cold - so don't you come here and say that I don't treat you guys. ;)

Ahh, tri-pepper - what's that? It's just that I mixed black, green and white cracked peppercorns for the coating. Having said that, you could use most spices for the coating. Freestyle it to suit your cupboard and taste.

Enough chit-chat, let's see how this bad-boy was cooked...

Ingredients (enough for 2 - 4 portions)
1 pork fillet, about 400 - 450 grams
Dijon mustard
Cracked pepper (I used black, green and white peppercorns)
Salt

Method
Trim the pork fillet, removing the "silver" skin and any unnecessary fat. Spread the pork fillet liberally with Dijon mustard all over. Put it in a plastic bag and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 250c.

While the oven heats up remove the pork fillet from the fridge and let it come towards room temperature.

Crack the peppercorns and mix with salt.

Cover a chopping board with clingfilm and pour the pepper and salt mixture onto it. Roll the pork fillet in the mixture, making sure that you cover it evenly. Move the pork fillet onto a tin foil covered baking sheet.

When the oven hits the temperature, pop the pork into the oven and lower the heat to 200c.

Let it cook for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the fillet rest for 10 minutes before cutting it.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Recipe - Swedish Style Prawn Sandwiches


I have had to defend open style sandwiches more than once and I will continue to do so until I am too old to eat any sandwiches at all.

Foodwise there are certain things that you bring with you from your childhood and that you probably never will get rid of or lose - depending on how you view it.

 One of those things for me is open sandwiches. Most of the time I actually prefer to make open sandwiches, no matter what topping I'm going for.

I give you that open sandwiches sucks hose in the sandwich grill but hey - I can adapt myself for the odd time that the open sandwich is a tad bit unsuitable.

One of the best open sandwiches I can think of is meatball sandwiches with beetroot salad and pressed cucumber.

However, I think that the king of the open sandwiches - at least for a Swede - is the prawn, egg and mayo sandwich. Don't forget the dill or it won't be as good as it should be.

You can have it on white or brown bread, my personal favourite is to make it on pumpernickel bread. I'm sure the healthy bread negates the unhealthy mayo.

Getting tired of my waffling? Ok, let's head over to the recipe...

Ingredients (mileage may vary so just freestyle it)
Sliced bread
Mayo
Fresh dill
Hard boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and sliced
Cooked and peeled prawns
Lemon, 1/2 thinly sliced and 1/2 left in one piece for juicing
Salt
Ground white pepper
Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce (optional)

Method
Spread the bread liberally with the mayo. Season with salt and pepper. This is when you can add the Tabasco Chipotle sauce if you want to kick it a bit. Add some dill. Pop the sliced egg on top and top that with the prawns. Squeeze some lemon over the sandwich. Add some more dill and a slice of lemon.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Recipe - Pasta bake with Calabrian 'Nduja, smoked ham, Dijon mustard and Cheddar cheese


As I was having a look for some ham my eye was caught by something called Calabrian 'Nduja.

The blurb on the packaging said: "A spicy spreadable cured pork sausage. - A spreadable spicy sausage? We haven't made this up; 'Nduja is a traditional product unique to Calabria in Southern Italy. Our 'Nduja is ready to eat so you can simply spread it, but we think it comes in to its own as a cooking ingredient. Try with pasta and fresh ricotta."

Me being me - there was no doubt, I had to buy some. When I got home I tried a pinch and to me it is pretty much like a very soft chorizo. Nice.

This is what I cooked with it. Could be worth trying. Just sayin'... ;)

Ingredients (serves 4 or so)
300g pasta (I used penne)
100g smoked ham, cut or torn into smaller pieces
90g Calabrian 'Nduja, cut or torn into smaller pieces
300 ml grated cheese (I used Cheddar)
3 eggs
300ml milk
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
A good handful or two of flat parsley, semi-finely chopped
Salt
Pepper

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 225c.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging. Drain well.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, parsley, salt and pepper.

Mix the cooked pasta, ham, cheese and 'Nduja in a oven-safe casserole dish. Pour over the egg and milk mix.

Cover the dish with some tin foil and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Remove the tin foil and pop back in the oven until the egg mix have set and it has coloured up nicely. This should take about 10 - 15 minutes or so.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Friday, 22 July 2011

Recipe - Fat Barsteward Burger


Firstly: The idea for this recipe is blatantly ripped off something I watched on telly. The guys from Grill 'em All was part of a TV show called The Great Food Truck Race.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this show and something that stuck in my memory was the burger they call the Behemoth. Their version is even more out there than what I managed to cobble together, have a look at their menu here for more details.

Although I stole the entire idea of them I didn't want to steal the name as well, that's why I'm calling this monster the Fat Barsteward Burger.

Secondly: Yes, this is well excessive. Yes, this is more unhealthy than what is healthy for you. However, it tasted great and I enjoyed eating it. Give it a go - you might even enjoy it too. As always, this is just how I cooked it. Chop and change according to your own taste and preference - freestyle it to your hearts (or heart attacks) content...

After these two disclaimers, let's just head over to the recipe...

Ingredients (makes one Fat Barsteward Burger)
Buns
4 slices of white bread
Cheese
Diced onion
Ketchup
Sliced tomato
Sliced pickled gherkin

Burger
300g beef mince
Smoked chili flakes
1 egg, beaten
Breadcrumbs
Salt

Method
Prepare the burgers by mixing all the ingredients together and make a patty that's about the size of a slice of bread. Let this sit in the fridge for a while.

Spread some ketchup onto two of the slices of bread. Top with the cheese, onion, tomato and gherkins. Finish off with some more cheese and pop the third and fourth slice of bread on top of the first two.

Grill in a sandwich grill until the cheese are melted and the bread have caught a nice colour.

In the meantime, fry the burger to your preferred doneness.

Put the burger on one of the sandwiches and top with the other. Press down to compact the tower a bit.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Recipe - Braised Pork Sausages and Sauerkraut


This is the first recipe where I've used some of the goodies from the produce box that the kind people at Knorr sent me.

In the box there was some pork sausages from the Well Hung Meat Company. Normally I want a bit more adventurous sausages than 'just normal pork'. These bad boys packed some serious flavour though.

The onion I used was from Rod and Ben's and they were, yeah - onions I guess. It didn't look as streamlined and perfect as the ones from the supermarket but on the other hand it had lots of flavour so it was all good.

Sauerkraut? Yup, I know. Not to everyones taste but I like it. So I cook it and I eat it. You'll have to accept that and live with it because I sure as hell aren't going to change. ;)

Enough posturing, over to the recipe..

Ingredients (serves 4-ish)
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 - 8 good quality pork sausages
1 jar sauerkraut, well drained (should be about 700g drained)
125 ml white wine
125 ml vegetable stock
Butter
Salt
Pepper

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 325c.

Melt the butter in a oven-safe casserole, frying pan or similar (make sure it has a tight-fitting lid that's oven-safe too) on medium heat.

Fry the onions until nicely golden, about 10 minutes or so, remove from the pan.

Add the sausages and fry until browned on all sides, another 5 minutes or so. Remove.

Return the onions to the pan, stir in the sauerkraut - making sure to mix well. Pour on the liquids and season to taste. Finally put the sausages on top, put the lid on and pop the entire circus into the oven.

Cook for an hour.

Serve with some good wholegrain mustard.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Birthday and a great haul...


My blog is currently not speaking to me. The reason? Apparently it was its fourth birthday yesterday and I managed to forget about it. Or rather, I didn't make a birthday post on the right day.

I think it's a bit sensitive but I better not push the issue too much, you never know what a spurned and pissed-off blog can come up with.

So, four years of blogging? Looking back at the start I think and hope that both me and the blog have improved over the years. Hopefully you as readers have also enjoyed the ride and might even be looking forward to some more?

Either way - Happy Fourth to you little blog! :)

As for the 'great haul'...As I might have milked a tad bit, Knorr invited me along to meet Marco Pierre White some time ago. A following on to that is that I will get early access to new recipes from MPW during the year. I am also lucky enough to receive a couple of produce boxes through the year so I can try out these recipes and blog them for you.

In the first box I had some stock cubes, funnily enough ;), some (mostly) great organic meat from the Well Hung Meat Company as well as some excellent organic veg from Rod and Ben's.

In the coming weeks I will be posting recipes where I've used ingredients from this box so please hang in there.

Until next time...

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A great afternoon out at Millets Farms 'Pick Your Own'

The entrance to the Pick Your Own

I was lucky enough to be invited to an event at Millets Farm Centre to see and sample what their Pick Your Own can offer.

I must admit that I quite often head over to Millets farm shop for some shopping but I've never tried their Pick Your Own section. Probably because I'm very lazy and most of the time I don't mind paying a little extra to get someone else to pick the stuff for me and bring it to the shop.

The farm shop

Actually, they do offer that service as well - whatever they grow themselves is on offer in the farm shop but I guess the kilo price goes up a bit if you go for that option. However, there isn't much food mileage from field to shop.

Enough waffling - lets talk a bit more about the afternoon I spent there.

After our little group of various people had gathered we were given a guided tour around the PYO fields. Given the time of year not all produce was available but we were lucky enough that the cherries was just ready and we were the first ones to bet loose amongst them. Cue fresh cherry munching.

Fresh cherries


Besides the cherries we could also pilfer some redcurrants, carrots, rhubarb, gooseberries and so on. The biggest hit must have been the strawberries and raspberries though.

Les with some fresh carrots

I had forgotten how nice berries warm from the sun and fresh from the bush tastes. It brought me back to my childhood and just told me how lazy and spoiled I am to just buy berries from the shops.

A long row of strawberry goodness

Mmm.. Raspberries

The pure size, 50 acres, and variety, 30 different types of fruits and vegetables, of the place was a surprise to me. I've seen how busy it can get in the summer and now I understand why.

I can only say that I'm seriously considering going back on my own accord and that's about a good an recommendation I can give. Give it a go - I don't think you'll be disappointed. Although there's a fairly short season, June to September, there's still lots of time to head over there.

Alternative idea - send in the family and treat yourself to some stress free shopping in the Farm Shop and some coffee in the nice restaurant. Everyone's a winner! ;)
 

A handful of raspberries for Mikey, none for the basket.

A basket full of loot from the day.

I'd like to extend a big thank you to the nice people at Millets and Energy Pr for inviting me along.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Recipe - Chicken, Vegetable and Hungarian Paprika Sausage Soup


I think that if someone was crazy enough to commission me to write a cookbook I'd have to call it something along the lines of "How to freestyle quick and easy dishes with sh*t you got at home". ;)

This is just a mix of stuff that I had at home that seemed to work together and it doesn't take all that long to cook either.

You can feed somewhere between two and four people with the proportions in this recipe. Add some crusty white bread and it is instantly a bit more filling.

As always - freestyle the recipe to your hearts content. Add and subtract ingredients as you feel fit and what suits what you have at home.

Ok, let's have a look at how I cooked this.

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4)
2 - 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
2 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2 cm cubes
200g Hungarian Paprika Sausage, cut into 2 cm cubes
4 salad onions, thinly sliced
450 ml chicken stock
250 ml water
A handful of parsley, finely chopped

Method
Bring the stock and water to a boil. Add the potatoes, put a lid on the pot and let it boil for about 8 minutes.

Add chicken, carrot and sausage. Give it a good stir, bring it back to the boil and let it boil for another 5 minutes or so.

Stir in the spring onion and when it has boiled for another minute - stir in the parsley and remove from the heat.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Recipe - Beef Burger Sandwiches with Sriracha Onions


This time I think the title of the recipe is fairly accurate. These burgers contains beef. Nothing more - nothing less.

They are actually inspired by a documentary about burgers I watched a couple of years ago. Yes, I watch documentaries about burgers - so sue me. ;)

Getting back to the documentary, it talked about how some of the first burger restaurants served their burgers on toasted white bread and how they just added some seasoning to the burgers as they fried.

These burgers were my attempt to try and recreate the work of these pioneers.

The real star of this particular show though - the Sriracha onions. The few hardy souls who have followed this blog for some time know that I simply adore Sriracha chili sauce. This was just another attempt to get some more Sriracha into my diet.

I should warn those of you that are afraid of heat and flavour in your food - stay well clear of these onions. Just walk away. Don't even think of it. Shooo - off you go.

Ok, that should leave the more hardened readers and adventurous eaters. Let's head over to the recipe.

Ingredients (made two Mikey-sized burgers)
1 Yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
Sriracha sauce, to taste
Olive oil
2 slices of white bread
Mayonnaise (optional)
300g beef mince
Salt
Pepper
Cheese slices (optional)

Method
Mix the onion slices with some Sriracha sauce to taste in a bowl. Add a little bit of olive oil and give it a good stir. Cover and pop in the fridge to marinade - preferably over night.

When it's time to start cooking add the onion mixture to a frying pan on a low-medium heat and let it cook for at least 25 minutes. Stir frequently.

Toast or grill the bread. Put to the side.

Make two patties out of the mince. Be careful and don't work the mince too much.

Season the patties with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add the patties, seasoned side down.

Fry for a couple of minutes. Season and flip.

Fry for another couple of minutes until done to your liking.

If you want to, spread some mayonnaise on the bread. Flop on the burger patties and portion out the onions on top.

If you feel like it - add a slice of cheese or two and let them melt under the grill.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Recipe - Creamy Fried Beef with Dijon and Shiitake Mushrooms



You'll have this on the table in no time at all and it is more or less fail proof.


As always it leans itself to freestyling. Just add and subtract as to what you have in the fridge and the cupboard and you can make this your own dish.

I used frying steak but you could just as well use pork for example. If you don't have access to shiitake you can use any other mushroom you like, or ditch the mushrooms all together - the choice is yours.

This time I served it with rice but you could just as well serve it with pasta, potatoes or why not some 'polenta fries'.

Time to look at the recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4)
400g frying steak, thinly sliced
Butter
1 leek, cut into 1 - 2 cm rounds
150g shiitake mushrooms, cut into chunks
3 tbsp Dijon mustard (or more or less to taste)
150 ml white wine
1 tbsp Knorr Touch of Taste concentrated beef stock
200 ml Creme Fraiche
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
Salt
Pepper


Method
Fry the beef in butter at a medium-high heat until well browned. Add the leek and mushroom and let fry for a minute or two.

Add mustard, wine and beef stock. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer away covered for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the creme fraiche and soy sauce and let it simmer for another couple of minutes or so. Season to taste.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Recipe - Potato, Vegetable and Beef Burger Bake


Some days you just hit gold in the kitchen, even if I say so myself. This was something I threw together based on several ideas and recipes I had stumbled across recently.

To be honest, this is something I'll definitely be cooking more times. It might be better suited to winter time since it sure did help heat up my flat, but it was worth it.

As most times, this is something you can freestyle to your hearts content. Mix and match vegetables as you feel fit. Next time I'll probably add some garlic for example.

The burgers did cook just fine but might still be just on the limit for the 'burn my burger to charcoal'-brigade. If you're one of those, please accept my commiserations and then adjust the cooking time a bit. ;)

After winding up some readers, time to head on to the recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4)
100ml breadcrumbs
200ml water
500g beef mince
1tbsp concentrated beef stock
Salt
Pepper
3 large-ish potates (600g or so), peeled and thinly sliced
Olive oil
2 courgettes, quartered and sliced
1 red onion, halved then each half quartered
1 pepper (I used 1/2 yellow and 1/2 orange)
1 - 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
100g sundried tomatoes in olive oil, fairly finely chopped
200g feta cheese, crumbled


Method
Pre-heat the oven to 225c.

Mix the breadcrumbs and water in a bowl. Let this stand for a couple of minutes
to swell and combine. Mix in the mince and beef stock. Season well.

Pop the courgettes, onion and pepper into a bowl. Pour on some olive oil and mix well.

Lightly oil a large, and fairly deep, baking tray. Put the potatoes in a thin layer on the bottom of the baking tray. Season well. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Make 8 burgers out of the mince and place them on top of the warm potatoes. Brush some olive oil on top of the burgers. Spread the vegetable mix around the burgers. Scatter the rosemary all over. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Scatter the tomatoes and feta cheese all over the baking tray. Bake for another 5 - 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Recipe - Tsatziki Chicken with Lime Couscous


Here we go again - another recipe that's fairly quick to prepare, although it needs some time to marinade, and cook. Prepare it the day before, let it sit in the fridge over night and you're sorted very quickly the next day.

Cooking the couscous is really just a matter of pouring on some water, the lime juice and the lime zest so that's not really a chore either.

I'd say that this works just as well as a weekend dish as a normal weekday dinner. But that's just me so I better get on with the recipe...

One last thing first though, the only reason I called this tsatziki chicken is that the marinade remind me of tsatziki. Simple as that...

Ingredients (serves 4)
Marinade
200g Greek yoghurt
Mint leaves (10 - 20, according to taste), sliced and/or chopped
2 garlic cloves (or more or less to taste), pressed or finely diced
Salt
Pepper

Couscous
4 portions of couscous, as per the packet
Water, as per the instructions on the paper
Juice of 1 - 2 limes, to taste
Zest from 1 - 2 limes, to taste

4 skinless chicken breasts

Method
Mix all the ingredients for the marinade well in a large bowl.

One by one put the chicken breasts between sheets of cling film and bash them with a mallet or similar until about 5 mm thick.

Pop the chicken into the bowl with the marinade and make sure to stir well so they're all well covered. Cover the bowl with some cling film and put it into the fridge for a minimum of two hours or up to a day.

When you are getting ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the fridge to bring it to room temperature.

Prepare the couscous as per the packaging - adding the lime juice and zest.

In the meantime, heat the oven to 160c.

Put the chicken breasts on parchment paper on a oven tray.

Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes or until cooked. If you think the chicken looks a bit anaemic you can always finish it off under the grill for a bit.

Serve with the couscous and a green salad if you are in the mood.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Recipe - Lemon and Oregano Ribeye Steak


This is the last recipe coming out of the Marco Pierre White masterclass all those weeks ago.

There isn't much to it, that's probably why it tasted quite excellent, even if I do say so myself. There's few things that beats a nice steak and the added flavour on this one really did the trick for me.

With the risk of sound like a evangelist - this Knorr stockcube paste malarkey is actually very versatile and does really add flavour to what you cook. I quite like the way I can freestyle it and mix and match flavours and spices the way I like.

Ok - as I said in the beginning - this is the last recipe to come out of the masterclass. However, I can't promise that it is the last recipe with a stockcube paste. ;)

Ingredients (serves 1)
1 ribeye steak
1 Knorr Chicken stockcube
Olive oil
The zest of one lemon
Fresh oregano, finely chopped

Method
Make a paste out of the stockcube and the olive oil. Add the lemon zest and oregano and stir well.

Spread the paste on one side of the steak and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Heat a griddle pan until you think it's far too hot, let it heat for another couple of minutes.

Pop the steak into the griddle pan with the paste side down. Spread paste onto the other side and cook for your normal time. Flip and finish to your liking.

Remove the steak and let it rest before serving.

Enjoy!