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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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...


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.



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

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.


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)
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)
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.