Saturday, November 5, 2011

Roast Duck

Friday, 4th November
This time of year German supermarkets have lots of Duck and Goose in stock, for St Martin's Day feasts and I was able to get a nicely sized Duck for 2 people, about 4 lbs.
I salted the skin overnight and wrapped it loosely in paper to let it dry as much as possible. I made a stuffing of bread, onion, the flesh of an orange and some finely chopped smoked sausage. For trimmings there was the duck liver quickly fried with a little onion and server on a crouton, and little sausages wrapped in bacon. For veggies roast potatoes and roast pumpkin with coriander seeds and a little chili pepper.
The duck was pricked all over and then roasted for about an hour and a half first breast up then breast down, then finally up again and painted with a glaze made from sugar syrup, honey, soy sauce, fresh orange juice and a dash of hot pepper sauce.
The skin did not come out as crispy as I hoped but was still totally delicious. The meat was succulent and very favourful. The potatoes were unfortunately over-boiled and under-browned, but still good. The pumpkin needed less roasting time and a more even distribution of chilli(!), but was also good. Overall very successful.

Baked Red Snapper fillet

Monday, 31st October
No work on Monday, because Tuesday was a public holiday, so we had a nice long 4-day weekend.
Got two huge red snapper fillets and marinated them in wine, oil, onions, garlic and bay leaves for a couple of hours. Topped each with a slice of pancetta and baked them in the oven for 20 minutes or so. Served with saffron rice.
The rice was a little overcooked and sticky, but I like it that way. The smell of garlic from the fish was very powerful, but the flavour was not too strong. The fish was extremely meaty in texture. Although cooked through, maybe a but more cooking time would have been better.

Linguine Bolognese

Thursday, 27th October
Not really a proper Bolognese sauce, but I guess any mince and tomato sauce counts these days.
Browned the meat, onions and garlic, added some red wine, then chopped tomatoes, a squirt of puree and herbs. Cooked gently for a good while then added mushrooms.
I often find meals made with mince have a rather disappointing flavour, but this came out lovely and meaty. Although, I must say, despite the good quality beef and the longish cooking it still could have been more tender.

Sausage Sandwich

Monday, 24th October
Left over salsiccia, fried with some onions, in crusty bread with a good dollop of mustard. Yum Yum!

Pasta with Salsiccia

Thursday, 20th October
Left it too long after make this to post the journal entry, so I can't really remember much about how this was done. I think it was fairly simple though. I cut up fresh salsiccia from the Italian deli into chunks, browned them and then removed them from the pan. Softened onions and garlic in the same pan, then added a jar of tomato sauce from the same deli, some fresh basil. Lastly put the sausage back and heat through. Served with more fresh basil and parmesan.
The sauce from the jar was tasty and certainly very tomato-y, but I think I still prefer the taste of just chopped fresh tomatoes.

Pumpkin Soup

Friday, 30th September
Can't take credit for this one. My lovely girlfriend Monika made this totally delicious pumpkin soup.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chili con carne

Tuesday, 27th September
Haven't cooked this for ages, although I can't think why, as it is an old favourite. This week I have a cold and I was hoping this would burn some of it away.
I have my own way of making chili, which is a hybrid of other recipes I have read over the years. I like it spicy but not too hot, because I think that just kills the other flavours.
Brown onions and garlic and then add beef mince and cook until it is well browned. Then drain off all the fat from the pan (very important!)
Then add paprika and cook for another couple of minutes, so the paprika toasts a little. Then add cumin, red chili (in my case, from the balcony!), salt and pepper, chopped tomatoes and tomato puree and a little water. Cook for as long as possible on a low heat, adding a little more water if necessary. I favour at least an hour's cooking time.
Meanwhile drain and rinse kidney beans of that horrible muck in the tin, and let them soak in worcester sauce. About 30 minutes before serving bung in the beans with the worcester. Right before serving add 1 small knob of good, dark chocolate and let it melt in. Serve with rice and sour cream.
Delicious! But sadly it didn't help my cold.

Fillet steak

Monday, 26th September
Bit of a treat for myself. Did the steaks as I have come to, quickly on each side then finished in the over for a couple of minutes... and they were still overdone! Delicious flavour though.
Sauteed potatoes, fried onions and a juices from the pan deglazed with a little red wine and sliced jalapeno (from the balcony!).

Pasta with Salmon

Thursday, 22nd September
We had hand-made pasta from the italian deli again, this time a mix of some with ricotta and spinach filling and some with salmon filling. As a topping I thinly sliced some salmon and cooked it lightly in an onion and cream sauce.
Those pasta parcels are deceptively large and we did not manage to eat them all.
The prosecco we had with it was excellent!

Chicken casserole with chorizo

Sunday, 18th September
I did this in the slow cooker, because we were out in the afternoon, and it was a bit overdone to be honest. Should have had the heat on low instead of medium.
Diced some chorizo and fried it off until the fat ran, then removed it from the pan. Jointed and browned the chicken in the chorizo fat the removed that as well and browned some tiny onions and a bit of garlic. Deglazed the pan with wine and transfered everything to the slow cooker. An hour or so before serving I added the zest of an orange and some black olives.
Served with roast potatoes and caramelised fennel with figs. Cooked the fennel in stock for about 10 minutes, then fried it in butter and sugar for about 5 minutes on each side, until it was nicely browned, then transfered it to a dish with a bit of liquid and topped with sliced fig (from the balcony!) and baked it in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Linguine with tomato and ham sauce

Thursday, 8th September
Catching up with posts I should have made weeks ago. Apart from the fact that is was good, I remember almost nothing about making this. I had to use supermarket ham because that was all I could get, and the basil from the balcony was a bit wilted. But it came out fine.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lamb shoulder

Saturday, 3rd September
Bit of an emergency meal as we had not done any shopping. Fortunately the piece of lamb shoulder was in the freezer. This really needed 4 hours of slow cooking, but I left it too late so it only got two hours in a casserole with some wine, herbs, garlic and shallots. As a result not quite as tender as it could have been, but still good.
The shallots and sauce made quite a nice gravy.
To go with it aubergine and potatoes grown on my balcony! I put one small, sprouting spud in a plastic carrier bag of dirt in the spring, and it did nothing for months. Then suddenly lots of leaves and shoots came out and, when they had gone, I found enough little potatoes in there for about 3 of 4 portions. Not exactly self-sufficiency, but fun and delicious.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Veal Cutlet and Lemon Linguine

Thursday, 1st September
Once again simply fried the meat for 2 minutes on each side then finished it for 5 minutes or so in the oven, and it came out tender and juicy.
To go with it I was looking for a simple lemony pasta recipe and found this one from Jamie Oliver. I did not manage (or even try) to find sicilian lemons (I don't believe Jamie and his mates shop at the same places the rest of us do), but with a perfectly normal lemon it was delicious.

Sardine Bruschetta, Pasta with Parma Rosa sauce, Apple Fool

Saturday, 27th August
I fancied doing something with sardines and found this recipe for Lime Marinated Sardine Bruschetta. These came out very tasty indeed, even though it really only is fancy sardines on toast. (The cherry tomatoes are from my balcony.)
The pappardella were cooked with a creamy. tomato Parma Rosa sauce with added bacon and parma ham. The picture looks a bit strange (very pink) but pasta tasted very good, if a little heavy on the garlic.
With some apples from my partner's garden I made a simple apple puree with a lovely silky texture, mixed in some whipped cream and sprinkled with brown sugar to make the fool. Also very good, but less cream and sugar would have been even better.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Iberico pork loin and rösti

Thursday, 25th August
Got this nice piece of Iberico Lomo pork and simply fried it on all sides and finished it in the oven for a few minutes. Meanwhile cooked the rösti by just grating potato, squeezing out excess juice and frying gently in a little duck fat. Turning it over the first time didn't go so well, but I was able to recover. The sauce is caramelised onion and blackberry.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Green Dragon Walnut Meatballs

Monday, 22nd August
I have to give the honours for cooking the meatballs to my lovely girlfriend. Delicious.
I had the recipe in a Sainsbury's cookbook called "Marvellous Meals with Mince", which I can no longer find. But google came to the rescue.
At the weekend we had these with pasta and the dark chinese-y sauce of soy and sugar mentioned in the recipe. I had the left overs today with a sauce of roasted red pepper, garlic and fried onion, with a little balsamic added. Very good indeed, but a bit heavy on the garlic. Also, sauteed potatoes with rosemary.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mahi Mahi and Vegetable stew

Sunday, 14th August
Japanese style stew with no particular recipe. I fried some shallots and ginger and added potato cut into small pieces, then sake, mirin, water and a little soy sauce. Then, at various points, diced pumpkin, tiny aubergines halfed, yellow courgette sliced, spring onions, bok choi, the mahi mahi and shitake mushrooms.
When the fish was done I finished it off with a little more soy, ponzu sauce and sansho pepper. I used a wide shallow pan and kept the veggies separate, so the various colours and shapes looked fantastic when it was done. But I messed up the photo, so you'll have to take my word for it.
Tasted good too, although the spring onions and aubergines should have gone in later.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Roast Guinea Fowl

Sunday, 17th July
Forgot to post this one, so it is out of order.
Roasted the guinea fowl fairly simply, stuffed with a half-lemon and some herbs and with bacon over the breast for the first 30 minutes. Roast potatoes and a sort of cross between a ratatouille and a stir fry of peppers, courgette, aubergine, onion and tomato. I usually find ratatouille disappointing but this was much nicer, with the veggies being less stewed to death. I had something similar in a restaurant recently (a scandinavian one I think), which inspired this attempt.
The bird came out very well, juicy and tender, and there was a nice lemony gravy from the pan juices.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tuna with Spring Onions

Monday, 25th July
Not a very good photo, which is a shame as this is the signature dish of this blog. Even the weather helped out with the rain on the window. As expected, delicious and very easy to prepare, Fry everything in a little oil and the mix of soy, sake and mirin, for less time than you might think, and serve with plain rice.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bucatini all'Amatriciana

Wednesday, 20th July
Not really authentic but very tasty. I used bacon instead of pancetta, because that is what I had.
Other than that I stuck pretty much to the standard recipe. Fry the meat until almost crispy, remove and cook onions and hot pepper in the same pan for a while, then add tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes or so, then return the meat and heat through.
The half a dried chilli I put in was almost too much, and left the lips tingly and the forehead sweaty. But in a good way!

Parmesan Crusted Salmon Steaks

Friday, 15th July
Covered the salmon steaks with a mixture of breadcrumbs, parmesan and herbs and baked them in the oven for 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile I cooked a sauce of chanterelles, bacon and cream to serve over the tagliatelle.
The salmon was perfectly cooked and juicy, although there were a few too many bones lurking. The combination of juicy salmon, crunchy topping and creamy pasta sauce was excellent.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Roast Pigeon

Monday, 27th June
Rubbed the pigeon with olive oil, roasted it simply and had it with roast potatoes with bacon and creamy leeks.
The pigeon looks very bony in this picture but there was a good portion of breast meat too. The flavour was quite strong, but good. Maybe a little dry though.
The cream sauce for the leeks curdled. No idea why though.


Sunday, 26th June
Marinated the swordfish steak in sake, soy and mirin for a while, fried it with the marinade for 2 mins each side then put it in the oven for 5 minutes with the spring onions. Served with boiled rice, wakame and lightly sauteed shitake with lemon juice and ponzu sauce.
The steak looks well seared but inside it was perfectly cooked, juicy and tender. I don't think I have ever cooked a swordfish steak better. The trick with finishing in the oven seems to work for everything!
Belgian beer to accompany the japanese-y meal.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Merguez and potato fry up

Thursday, 23rd June
Fried the merguez for a few minutes only, then took them out and gently fried onion and boiled potato in butter for a few minutes. Sliced the merguez and put them back in, poured over two eggs beaten with parsley and topped with a chopped green chili (from the balcony!).
I don't usually eat eggs, but this as a meal made from whatever I could find in the kitchen. I made sure not to overcook the sausage or to fry everything for too long, so the flavours were still quite fresh and nothing was dried out or burnt. The spiciness of the sausage and the chili made for a lip-tingling dish that went down very nicely with a beer.

Chicken with Red Peppers

Friday, 17th June
Sainsbury's Cooking of Spain, p67. Served with mashed potatoes and aubergine fritters, ibid. p48. Very tasty, especially the fritters, but the chicken I used was an older, larger bird and it came out very dry, despite long cooking. The fritters are just sliced aubergines dipped in milk and a little egg, and then floured and fried. Lovely contrast in texture to the chicken sauce. I don't usually do mash, but this came out nice and creamy, with plenty of chives, butter and cream mashed in.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sardines on Toast

Wednesday, 15th June
Does this even count as cooking? Very nostalgic though. Haven't had this for years.


Sunday, 12th June
What a great steak!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pesto Glazed Chicken Breast

Monday, 23rd May
Found this Pesto Glazed Chicken Breast with Pasta recipe on-line when looking for inspiration. This is probably the best thing I have cooked this year so far.
The freshly made pesto was fantastic, the chicken juicy and tender and the overall combination of flavours just perfect. I added a few sliced mushrooms to the pasta, because I had some, and they were good too. And it was easy! Even making the pesto was a doddle, as I used a hand-held blender and not a mortar and pestle. Sauteing the chicken quickly and then moving the whole pan to the oven for a few minutes seems to be a great way to get it cooked perfectly.  Highly recommended!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pork cutlets with pasta

Thursday, 19th May
Pan fried the pork cutlets for a couple of minutes and finished them in the oven. While the meat rested I quickly cooked onion and mushrooms in the pan juices, added a splash of white wine, two small tomatoes quartered and then some cream. I let that reduce a little while draining the pasta and mixing in some lemon juice, olive oil and black pepper, which worked very well. All in all very good for a quick mid-week meal, although probably a bit more wine and a bit less cream in the sauce would have been better.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ibérico Pork

Wednesday, 11th May
Got this lovely, fat-marbled piece of pork and cooked it very simply with a crusting of crushed black pepper corns and fennel, first by searing the outside and then finishing in the oven for 6 or 7 minutes. Might have been a bit pink for many people, but for me it was just right, especially given the quality of the meat. To go with it, garlicky chips done in the oven, quickly stir fried fennel with mini orange pepper, and a fresh tomato, onion and chilli salsa. Very nice!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Entrecôte steak

Sunday, 8th May
It has been some time since I managed to cook a steak properly, but tonight was the night. A perfect juicy, flavourful medium entrecôte. The trick being to quickly sear it then finish it in a hot oven, but only for a 3 minutes or so. Even the red wine and onion sauce that deglazed the pan was good, although a touch more liquid would have been welcome. And pretty damn good saute potatoes as well. Yum yum.

Steak and Kidney Pie

Saturday, 7th May
A classic and something I haven't had for far too long. I love kidney, so I make it half and half with the steak. The gravy has onions, some red wine and stock with a dash of Worcester sauce. No vegetables needed. I only made a small pie and this was half of it. Naturally I ate the other half as well. Bliss on a plate.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Buta no Kakuni

Sunday, 1st May
Japanese Braised Pork, Traditional Japanese Recipe Book p94.
Another recipe I have made several attempts at but have yet to get right. The pork should cook slowly for a long time and come out juicy and very tender.  Mine cooks slowly for a long time and comes out tough and dry. The sauce tasted good although, again, it was much too dark.
As a side vegetable I sliced yellow courgette and stir fried it in sunflower oil with a dash of sesame oil and finished with a little ponzu shoyu (a citrus and soy sauce) and toasted sesame seeds (too many).

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Veal Escalope with Boccatini

Friday, 29th April
Another attempt at veal escalope, which worked much better. Flattened the veal and dusted it with flour, then gently pan fried it in butter with sage, for about 2 minutes each side. Added some lemon juice after turning the escalopes. Sauce for the pasta is very simply gently sauteed onions and garlic, with diced tomato and chopped basil added shortly before serving.
The tomato sauce was very good, but the pasta needed more of a coating, so we poured on extra olive oil at the table. The meat came out pretty well, although still not as tender as I would like. Veal with lemon and sage is a great combination.
A very nice caprese salad as a starter and a good bottle of Prosecco, made for a delicious meal.

Chicken and Shitake on rice

Wednesday, 27th April
This should be Oyakodon (Chicken and Egg Rice - literally "parent and child rice bowl"), but I didn't have any eggs, and I don't really like egg anyway. So I improvised with mushroom, but used the basic recipe from Traditional Japanese Recipe Book, p22. Gently sautee onion, add chicken that had been previously quickly blanched in boiling water, add stock, mirin, and soy. Cook through, add shitake and cook for a couple of minutes, top with sliced spring onion and serve over rice. I wonder if the Japanese use a much paler sort of soy sauce than we get here, because my sauces always turn out much darker than the ones shown in the pictures with the recipes.
Anyway this was very good and the chicken and mushroom combination was excellent.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lamb braised in White Wine

Friday, 22nd April (evening)
Done in the slow cooker while I was out. Braised the lamb in white wine with bacon, onions, garlic and rosemary. Served with sauteed potatoes.
The lamb came out wonderfully tender, but still with a nice meaty texture and flavour. The slow cooking helped the sweetness of the onions to come through, and cooked them perfectly without reducing them to mush. A hearty Turkey Flats Shiraz washed it down well.

Rhubarb Crumble

Friday, 22nd April (morning)
I put a rhubarb plant in a pot on the balcony last year and this year is seems to be doing very well. A nice little crop already, just enough for an individual crumble. Yummy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Barbecue chicken and chips

Wednesday, 20th April
Easy food for a lazy, sunny evening. Not actually barbecued but cooked in the oven in a Stubbs Original BBQ sauce, which is always tasty. Accompanied by the right beer in the wrong glass. A delicious 12° Barley Wine called Geisha, from an italian brew-pub called Birrificio Troll. In a Kölsch glass. :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Poussin in white wine, sage and lemon

Sunday, 17th April
I braised the poussin in a casserole on top of the stove, with white wine, grated lemon peel, shallots and sage (from the balcony!) and served it with sauteed potatoes.
The wine was a little old and, after adding it, I thought the sauce smelled as though it was going to come out rather sour. So I chopped up a few prunes and added those, which worked a treat. The sauce came out just right and nicely balanced between the zesty lemon and the sweet, rich prunes.  The meat of the poussin was delicious, especially the breast. Definitely worth a repeat.
No photo with this one. The photos I took turned out awful and made the meal look surprisingly unappetising, given how good it was.

Stilton and Fig tart - Creamy Morel Crostini

Saturday, 16th April
Party food! Stilton and Fig Tart (Tea at Fortnum and Mason, p51) and Creamy Morel Crostini.
The fig and stilton tart appealed to me from the first moment I saw the recipe. The filling is onions topped with beaten eggs and cream, then sliced figs and crumbled stilton.
It was pretty good but actually, the flavours didn't come out as strongly as I had hoped and I wish now that I had used more stilton.
The tart was also supposed to have a dressing made from walnut and olive oils, wine vinegar and chopped toasted walnuts. But after making it and tasting it, I decided against using it. I was worried that adding another strong flavour was going to mask the tastes of the fruit and cheese, which was a good decision as it turned out.  I did drizzle some walnut oil over at the last minute though.
While buying the figs and cheese I saw morels in the shop and wanted to make something with those as well. Hunting on the internet turned up a few ideas that sounded way too complicated, so I went for a nice simple option.  I chopped shallots and bärlauch and halved the morels, and then softened these together for a few minuted, then added a small tub of cream and reduced it to a thick sauce. Sliced french bread coated with olive oil and a little salt and toasted in the oven served as the base.  Very good although, again, the flavour of the morels didn't come through as strongly as I would have liked.
This was also, by chance, a vegetarian combination!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Braised Leg of Goat with Wild Garlic

Friday, 15th April
Leg of kid braised in white wine with shallots and wild garlic, caramelized sweet potato, asparagus with a tomato sauce. Essentially a made up recipe, based on a few ideas gleaned from the internet.
I bought the small leg of goat thinking to make an indian meal but, since Monika isn't such a big fan of Indian food, when it came to it I decided to cook something different. The meat was marinaded over night, in a mixture of rosemary, mustard seeds, garlic, oil and balsamic vinegar, then braised in white wine, in the oven under foil, with shallots and wild garlic (ramsons / bärlauch) for about 3 hours.
The asparagus was very fresh and needed less than 10 minutes to boil, and the sauce was made from onions, tomatoes, toasted almonds and a spoonful or red-pepper jam, fried together for a while and then pureed.
I diced the sweet potato and then started it with butter and a little sugar in the oven, but after 10 minutes it was only looking dry and some pieces had gone black from the inside and didn't look good at all. So I discarded the blackened pieces, moved the rest into small frying pan with a tight fitting lid and sauteed it instead. The undersides of some pieces got a little burned, but that didn't spoil the taste.
Overall very good. The meat was tended and moist and the vegetables nicely cooked and with a good combination of flavours. The asparagus and tomato sauce was especially good.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Red Brat-

Thursday, 14th April
Fresh bratwurst with herbs, red bratkartoffeln (red potatoes and red onions) and tomato/chili/basil chutney. Nothing complicated, just right for a TV dinner. Very tasty, but a little dry. Something with a bit more "gravy" than just chutney would have been good.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Veal Escalope with Pasta

Wednesday, 13th April
Pan fried veal escalopes, pasta in a tomato and basil sauce and sauteed mushrooms with bärlauch (from the balcony!).  The meat was flavourful and juicy, but not tender.  I still have not worked out the trick for getting pan-fried meat to come out tender.  Nice simple pasta sauce with tomato, onion and basil. I had intended to include the mushrooms in the sauce but decided to do them separately with the wild garlic from a pot on the balcony, that needed picking.