Monday, 21 October 2013

oink oink... Pork Belly for Sunday - October 2013

There is nothing as delicious as a little bit of pork belly.. and this was a VERY little bit. A mini roast from my precious cheaps counter, just 200g of porkiness.  Now that small a joint can dry out easily, so I popped this in a deepish pan with quartered onions and turnips, drizzled with a little oil and half a bottle of cider (that had been in the fridge since cooking the rabbit.) , and a sprinkle of paprika and thyme.  The liquid keeps the meat from drying out, but lets me cook it for a good couple of hours to make certain it is good and tender.

Little chunky roast potatoes on the side.  Brussels. Gravy. Apple Sauce.

Porky goodness.. oink oink.

Iberican Style Hake with potatoes - October 2013

I love a piece of hake. Very soft and unappealing when it is raw, it stiffens when it cooks but always stays light and tender.

The Spanish love it too, and cook it in several ways. As do the Portuguese. This recipe is a blend of the two styles, hence the generic Iberican in the name rather than Spanish or Portuguese.  The coating in semolina and frying is Portuguese style, the potatoes and leeks cooked in fish stock (I used Essential Fish Stock) , and the topping with garlic and smoked paprika in hot oil is Galician - but there they usually poach the fish rather than fry it.

Add it together and it is simply delicious

Friday, 18 October 2013

Salt and Pepper Squid, the recipe - October 2013

Lots of requests for the recipe for Salt and Pepper Squid, so here you are.

Firstly, do not be put off by the frying. I don't have a deep fat fryer, and just used about an inch and a half (couple of centimetres) in a saucepan. No problem.

I used English squid, just a couple of them as a starter for two people. These were pre-prepared ones, so no tentacles. Shame as I like the tentacles. If you have them, then use them, there are lots of instructions for cleaning squid if you get them whole with the tentacles, like this one here 

Cut the hood down the side and then cut into rectangles about the size of a matchbox. (If you are using the tentacles, just make sure you have cut out the little mouth parts from the very centre, then leave them whole.) Score the inside of the flesh in a diamond pattern, give them a rinse and then pop into a mixture of milk and yoghurt to soak for 10 minutes or so.

Whilst the squid is soaking, make the dipping sauce by mixing equal quantities of mayonnaise and Greek Yoghurt (I like Total best, and use 0% for just about everything)  If you like you can add chopped dill, or chopped spring onions, maybe a little chili, what ever takes your fancy. I just had it plain!

In a small bowl mix one tablespoon of potato flour and one of cornflour (you can use all cornflour if you don't have any potato flour but it is good and crispy), and season with plenty of black pepper and salt.

Start heating some light vegetable oil (I use organic rape seed oil - not a cold pressed one, but I think the organic one is nicer in flavour than the ordinary rape seed/vegetable oil. And I dislike sunflower oil intensely as it lacquers my pans and is really hard to get off) in a saucepan until it shimmers. Don't let it smoke. I usually test with a little flour, if the flour just sinks to the bottom it isn't hot enough, if the flour fizzes it is about right.

When the oil is hot enough, scoop the squid out of the milk (discard the milk) and throw it into the seasoned flours, mix round until it forms a sort of batter on the outside of the squid and then pop each piece of squid into the oil, one by one. Don't throw them all in together they will lower the temperature of the oil too much and will stick together in one lump.

Squid takes hardly any time to cook so once it is golden brown in patches, lift it out and drain on some kitchen paper, then serve quickly with the dip.

I hope you enjoy this, let me know!

Thai Red Chicken Curry... October 2013

My very favourite Thai curry, chicken with red and green peppers.  Truly easy to make, and quick as anything.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Wild Rabbit with Cider and Prunes - October 2013

Delicious wild rabbit is perfect for autumn eating.  I am still playing with Californian Prunes, and decided to put a handful into this braise, with more baby onions, celery and turnips.  Dry Cider and some Essential Cuisine Veal Stock, and softly cooked for about 2 hours.


Saturday, 12 October 2013

Salt & Pepper Squid to kick off, and Venison Sausages with prunes to finish off...October 2013

I love the days that Bob comes home with disparate packages from the cheaps counters for me to make dinner we have a small pack of squid and half a dozen venison sausages...

So, to start Squid in Salt and Pepper coating, with a dip of mayonnaise and Total 0% yoghurt and lemon wedges to squeeze over.

Then finishing off with braised venison sausages with Californian prunes (a re-discovery that I should never have left in the past) and baby onions.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Pear and Dolcelatte to start, with Roasted Veggies and Quinoa to follow ;) Sept 2013

We actually had some pears from our tree in the garden this year, not many, we never have many, which is sad as they are very nice flavoured Williams. Williams pears are tricky to bring to ripeness, they leap from being unripe, hard, unflavoured lumps to fluffy, nasty, slushy, unflavoured lumps in the space of a day at room temperature.

Usually I poach them in their unripe state, as then they are delicious.  But I had a few too many this year, and put the rest in the fridge. Well, what do you know! they ripened perfectly in there, and I managed to have a handful in their prime at the finest juicy non-fluffy ripe stage.

Some got cut up into my morning fruit salad, but I had two left and decided to make a starter of sliced pears, dolcelatte cheese, toasted walnuts and pine nuts, drizzled with Crush lemon dressing.


I followed this with a vegetarian main course, of quinoa, puy lentils and roasted vegetables, garnished with radishes and pomegranate seeds left from my Try Total Challenge harissa chicken the other day.

I used a pack of ready cooked  white and red quinoa from Quinola Mothergrain. I hadn't come across this company before seeing them at Speciality & Fine Food exhibition recently, when they kindly gave me a pack of Express Quinoa to try. It was so easy! I simply put it in a bowl with a drained tin of puy lentils and gave it 2 mins in the microwave. All done and ready to eat!

I mixed in some roasted peppers, courgettes and onions, together with some confit garlic and a little garlic oil, and garnished with sliced radishes and pomegranate seeds. Then sprinkled a little basil infused oil from Scarlett and Mustard - another fabulous find at Speciality & Fine Food - over the top together with a sprinkle of my famous blackberry vinegar, which lifted it all beautifully.

A really good, light yet filling dinner. I should eat like this more often!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

#TryTotal Harissa Roast Chicken - October 2013

This was really delicious and I can't recommend it enough! I was invited to join in the #TryTotal challenge with Total Greek Yoghurt, and chose to make the Harissa Chicken. Total Greek Yoghurt generously provided all the ingredients, and I followed the instructions here ALMOST to the letter (you know how hard that is for me..).  I added a teaspoon of oil onto the peppers, and some salt and pepper as there is no seasoning anyway. I can't cope with that level of blandness, but if salt isn't a bother to you, or you are trying to follow a low salt diet, then make it as per the original recipe.

Bob doesn't like fennel, so his was made with celery instead, which he said was very good too.

Look, isn't it beautiful! Thanks so much Total, this is definitely something to make again.