Thursday, 31 July 2014

fabulous @CookCarluccio 's Osso Buco in Bianco, with a rather murky risotto milanese..

Why is it when I make risotto milanese recently, no matter how long I infuse the saffron it never goes that lovely yellow colour you get in the photos, eh? I toast my little strands carefully, grind them in my little mortar, and pop them in my nice hot stock. And get a murky ochre colour. I reckon it must by my supermarket saffron. I must invest more money in this most expensive of spices it would seem ;(

But whatever, it tasted fab, topped with a thick veal steak cooked to Antonio Carluccio's classic recipe from  Two Greedy Italians , the book that went with the BBC series with Gennaro Contaldo.  This version cooks the veal in white wine with no tomatoes, which I prefer.

British rose veal is still rather expensive I think, but deliciously tender and flavoursome, and well worth pushing the boat out for a change.  You need one nice steak of veal shin, cut across the bone (the osso buco or hollow bone of the title of the dish) per person.  As ever, my recipe will feed two people, but this can be multiplied up easily.

2 x 5cm-thick slices veal shin
Plain flour, to coat
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, very finely chopped
2 celery stalks, very finely chopped
4 bay leaves
100ml dry white wine + half a glass of marsala (the marsala isn't in Antonio's recipe but I love the slight sweetness it gives)
500ml  stock - Antonio uses beef or chicken stock, but I used Essential Cuisine's delicious veal stock.
4 sage leaves
1 rosemary sprig
Grated zest of 1 small orange

for gremolata: chopped parsley, lemon zest and fresh garlic mixed together.
  1. Coat the meat in flour and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole, add the veal and fry until browned all over. Set aside.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaves to the same pan and fry, stirring, for about 8 minutes or until the onion is softened. Pour in wine and Marsala, allow to reduce slightly, then add the meat, stock, sage, rosemary and orange zest. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook gently for about 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Add a little more stock if it is getting too dry. I like to serve this with a sprinkling of gremolata and the risotto of course. 
My best recipe for risotto milanese is on my Greedy Piglet blog - lovely slumpy syrupy rice. along with a recipe for the tomato version of Osso buco. Apparently mashed potato also goes well with this. But I think I like the classic way better :)

Butterflied Lamb with Cucumber Melon Bulghur Wheat salad - thank you @LondonProduceSh ow and @WestlandsWow

I found this picture of this amazingly delicious dinner tucked away in my photo gallery and realised I hadn't told you about these amazing little fruit/veggies that I found at the London Produce Show recently. I've now seen them at my local farmer's market on the Wild Country Organics stand

Cucamelons... they are each only the size of a cherry tomato. They taste of cucumber with a touch of sourness. Are they cute or what?

and baby cucumbers complete with flowers.... and micro herbs like fennel and red basil. And so many more fabulous things. (Westlands won the award at the London Produce Show for the best stand, lots of amazing pictures on their FB page )

I made this with boned out shoulder of lamb, butterflied out (you make cuts on the inside of the piece of meat so that the heat can penetrate through easily) and rubbed with salt, pepper, oregano, lemon juice and olive oil. The same seasonings that I use on my kebabs, and really my favourites for lamb.

Whilst the seasonings settle onto the meat (about an hour or so) make the salad. This is a simple tabbouleh salad but with extra crunch from various vegetables and herbs. 

Into a bowl, put your cracked bulghur wheat (you can get it in different grades from an International supermarket, or just use the one from the supermarket, it is perfectly fine) and cover with cold water, leave for at least half an hour, more if you have time (even overnight), drain and add the juice of a lemon, salt and pepper to taste.  For a basic tabbouleh you then add chopped onions, tomatoes, parsley and mint.  That makes a delicious accompaniment to any grilled meats. I wanted more crunch in this salad, so I used the cucamelons, some of the little cucumbers, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, red onions, sliced radishes, chopped fennel leaves, mint and parsley.

Heat a ridged grill pan until really hot, and drop the lamb onto it uncut side down first. Let it sit for around 10 minutes and then turn over. Cook it to your taste, some people like their lamb quite rare, some more well cooked. Check it by cutting a little slice into the middle. Once it is your preferred shade of pink (don't cook it until it is really grey, it will carry on cooking as you rest it) move it to a board and let it rest for 5 minutes or so, then slice and serve alongside the tabbouleh.

Eating things with salad.....

Mostly we have still been having  cold meat, grilled meat or fish with salad. I can't bring myself to bore you with recipes for these. You know how to make it. You put fish or meat on a plate, and you put salad next to it...

You can have a couple of pictures though just to keep you comfy until I eat something more interesting... (which I did recently, but you have to wait until I write it up.)

Salami, mortadella and cold sausages:

Grilled cod with mixed herbs:

Cheats cod and chips.... all from the freezer cabinet (except the salad and the coleslaw of course)

Lasagne (and a whole tomato...what?? )

Thursday, 17 July 2014

15 minute cod....

It's not just Jamie Oliver that can make a meal in 15 mins...this was only around 10 minutes from when the water boiled for the potatoes.

The main cooking time is for the potatoes.  As new potatoes can go into salted boiling water, (old ones should be put into cold water) boil the water in the kettle a la Jamie, then they need about 10 minutes, drain and dress with a little butter.  Meanwhile, chop up your tomatoes and cucumbers (lovely ridge cucumbers are fresher and crisper than long cucumbers, but they need peeling) slice some radishes, mix them up and season with a little salt. Put the grill on to heat up.

The cod fillets I brushed with melted butter, and sprinkled with salt, pepper and mixed Italian herbs. Under the grill for 5 minutes, or until the flakes show opaque right through when you lift them with the blade of a knife, so put them under when the potatoes have had about 5 minutes.

Onto a plate... Dinner!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Portuguese Roast Pork with bulghur wheat pilaff

We have had a lot of very simple salads with grilled meat recently, nothing very exciting to tell you about at all.  However, last week, I made this, and it is really very tasty indeed.

I make Portuguese style roast pork using a loin of pork with this marinade, and it worked brilliantly with a midweek pork chop. It is simple to do but somehow the flavour is quite different to anything else.

Take your pork chops and put them in a small roasting dish, just big enough to hold them. Over the top squeeze a fresh orange and a fresh lemon, and scatter a crushed clove of garlic over. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a glass of white wine (or sherry is fine) and a couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar.  Cover with clingfilm and marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours, anything up to overnight is fine.

When you are ready to cook them, top with an ounce or two of butter and a chopped fresh tomato, and cook for around 35 minutes at a moderate temperature, basting occasionally. Do not cover the pan.

In the meantime, you can make a bulghur pilaff using the same cracked wheat that makes perfect tabouleh salad.  Fry a finely chopped onion until soft and golden in olive oil, then add one cup of bulghur wheat, half a teaspoonful of stock powder, and a sprinkling of your favourite herb (I like thyme) and 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil with a lid on, then turn the heat down and cook for around 10-15 mins until nearly all the stock is absorbed.  Turn the heat off and allow the wheat to sit until all the liquid has gone, and the wheat is fluffy.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Pasta with Tenderstem® broccoli, garlic and anchovies

It has suddenly turned hot. Long, slow-cooked meaty dinners don't seem right at the moment, so this plate really hits the spot. It is quick, light and very very tasty. So long as you like anchovies :)

First put the pasta on, any you like, penne is good, but I prefer spaghetti for this.  Roughly 250 g for two people.

Whilst the pasta is cooking, about 5 minutes before it will be finishied, put a thin layer of olive oil in a frying pan, and gently soften a couple of finely chopped cloves of garlic (or the cheat's way, one of those little frozen icecube sizes ready chopped garlic you can get. Or a teaspoon of one of the bottled chopped garlics. All are fine) and then mash in 4 or 5 anchovy fillets. You want the anchovies to start to melt down into the oil. 

Flake or grate some parmesan and put it to one side.

Chop up a pack of Tenderstem® broccoli ( or ordinary calabrese if you prefer, but I do like the long stems - they keep more of a bite), keeping the stems separate from the florets. Add the chopped stems to the pan, and add half a coffee cup of water from the pasta. Let that simmer for a couple more minutes, and then add the florets - by now it should be about 2 or 3 minutes before the pasta should be cooked, when most of the liquid will have been absorbed.

Before you drain the pasta, add about a coffee cup of the pasta water to your broccoli frying pan, and shake the pan to mix with the oil to make a sauce. Check for salt, but with the salty water from the pasta, and the salty anchovies I doubt you will need any.

Drain the pasta, and add to the frying pan. Toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce.  Split into two dishes and sprinkle the parmesan over the top.

Nice with a rocket and romaine lettuce salad on the side.