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

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.


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

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.


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
Cheese slices (optional)

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.


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
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

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.


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
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

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.


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)
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

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

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.


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

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.