Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tagliatelle Toscana with Parma ham

Friday, 14th December 2012
Based on Delia Smith's One is Fun, p 126. Fry onion and aubergine then add tomatoes, garlic, basil and tomato puree. Let this cook down to a sauce. Add some chopped olives.
Cook the pasta then mix in butter, Mozzarella and Parmesan.
Put the pasta in a dish, cover with a layer of Parma ham cut up into bite size squares, top with the sauce and then more Parmesan. Bake for 10 minutes.
Delia's recipe was for 1 so I doubled the ingredients, and ended up with enough food for 3 at least. A very substantial and filling dish but also very good.

Fennel Risotto

Monday, 10th December 2012
Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food page 204. I make this risotto often for myself and its always a winner, although this was the first time I tried it with fresh fennel. I also added some fennel salami at the end, because I had it. I have a tendency to overdo the parmesan, but not this time. Delicious.

Veal shoulder with red wine, bacon and onion sauce

Saturday, 1st December 2012
This wasn't the right cut of meat for quick cooking in the pan and it turned out pretty chewy. The pasta with cream and a selection of mushrooms included some dried mushrooms, which I hoped would beef up the flavour, but they came out chewy too. Ah well.

Roast chicken and red cabbage

Sunday, 25th November 2012
I've had some lovely roast chicken recently but, sadly, this wasn't it. It came out rather dry and greasy. The cabbage was just stir-fried with onion, and could probably have done with more cooking time.

Chicken and peppers in rice.

Friday, 23rd November 2012
Brown the chicken and quickly fry the slice peppers then set aside. Fry the rice with onion and then add wine, stock and tomatoes, bring to the boil and return the chicken a peppers. Simmer until the liquid has mostly gone.
I server this with a salad of leeks, sliced red pepper and olives, and anchovy stuffed mushrooms. The salad was delicious and definitely the best part.

Stir-fry chicken and red peppers

Thursday 15th November
OK for a TV dinner, but not very memorable.

"Loukaniko" greek lamb burger

Saturday, 10th November
This is actually a sausage recipe from the Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook website. But since I don't have the means to stuff sausages I just did them as little burgers. My mincer produces a very fine mince, so the burgers come out quite solid, but the mix of lamb, pork, spices and orange zest made a lovely flavour. I cooked double-fry chips and made some fresh tzatziki to go with them.

Feast of ham, salami and cheese

Friday, 2nd November 2012
This is what we have if we want to stay in but can't be bothered to cook. Plus wine naturally!

Grilled lamb steak and kidneys

Thursday, 1st November 2012

Veal shoulder in red wine sauce

Friday, 26th October 2012
To start, smoked brown trout and goats cheese on black bread. Pan fried veal with a simple red wine reduction, roast potatoes and sauteed mixed peppers and onions.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Slow-braised Goat Shoulder

Friday, 19th October 2012
At an Apple Fair in England the previous weekend, we picked up all kinds of interesting food, including this piece of goat shoulder, weighing about 750g.
One day before I browned the meat and set it aside, then softened celery onion carrot and garlic. I added with veal stock and a little sherry vinegar to the veg and then put it all in the slow cooker to braise for about 3 or 4 hours. I let it cool overnight and skimmed off most of the fat from the top.
When we were ready to eat, I warmed it again for an hour or two, careful not to let it boil. Meanwhile I cooked roast potatoes and leeks, roasted in the reserved fat, and bok-choy quickly braised in a little soy and Maderia. I strained the veg from the braising liquid and reduced it for gravy.
The meat was perfect - falling off the bone and with a delicious rich flavour. It was quite a bit for two, but so good it was impossible to leave any. The vegetables were also delicious and an ideal combination. The Louis Roederer champagne was pretty good too!

Spicy Goat Sausages

Thursday, 18th October 2012
With saute potatoes and bok-choy. Not much to say about this except yum!

Teriyaki-style Swordfish

Monday, 8th October 2012
I was surprised to find swordfish in my local supermarket, for whom tuna is a bit adventurous. But happy to take advantage of it.
This is a recipe I do all the time. Marinade the fish in a homemade teriyaki-style sauce for a while, then fry it quickly to blacken on both sides. For the sauce, boil mirin, soy and sake until it thickens. Keep it in the freezer.
Rice with toasted sesame. On the side, spring onions, shitake mushrooms and peppers (from the balcony!) fried quickly and garnished with ponzu sauce.

Lamb and Aubergine Makhani

Friday, 5th October 2012
Hamlyn, 200 Curries p52. Another curry triumph. Marinade cubed lamb in a blended mix of garlic, ginger, vinegar, tomato puree and yoghurt, for up to 24 hours. I only managed about 1 hour. Gently fry some cardamon pods, onion and cinnamon in ghee or butter, until the onion is softened add the lamb mix and cook for 10 minutes. Add diced aubergine and chilli powder and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes to thicken the sauce. Add a little cream and simmer for 5 more minutes. Garnish with a little more cream and chopped coriander.
Very nicely creamy with just the right edge or spice. It was a little too tomatoey for me, although my partner liked it that way. Went down very well with saffron rice and the turkish breads again.

Lamb Kidney Curry

Thursday, 13th September 2012
India Cookbook p490. One of the great things about curry is that you can make it with anything. I once made a fantastic curry with a tin of tuna.
In this case a few lamb's kidneys, onions and a good quantity of fresh coriander.
Heat ground fennel seeds, chili powder, asafoetida, cloves and yoghurt over a low heat, until the moisture has gone, add the kidneys and fry until browned. The recipe calls for adding lambs testes at this point but, strangely, my local butcher was all out of them, so I added some chopped onions with the kidneys instead! :)
Add some water and simmer for a bit, then add ground coriander, garam masala, ginger paste, and chopped coriander. Simmer until the sauce is thick and serve with more coriander.
The bread is actually Turkish, but makes a very good substitute for paratha.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pichones a la Toledana

Sunday, 28th August 2012
Aromatic Pigeons - Sainsbury's Cooking of Spain p72.
Luckily the butcher had exactly 2 pigeons left, because this would have been much less exciting with chicken!
The birds are halved, browned all over in oil and then braised with onions, herbs and whole garlic cloves, in dry sherry with a dash of sherry vinegar. The recipe says cook for an hour and to allow the liquid to evaporate at the end, but these were cooked for at least 90 minutes without any problem, and I kept a lot of the liquid because we like our posh gravy.
I served them with proper, double-fried chips, and sliced baked aubergine.
Absolutely delicious!

Pasta and salsiccia

Thusday, 23rd August 2012
Another variation on pasta and chopped up salsiccia. Fresh varieties of both makes all the difference.
The pasta was filled with chanterelle mushrooms and the sauce for the salsiccia is just wine, onions and a few cherry tomatoes.


Tuesday, 21st August 2012
I was not very happy with the quality of the spare-ribs. Neither meaty nor flavoursome.
I'll have to check out some other butchers.

Salsiccia and risotto

Friday, 10th August 2012
Got these salsiccia frozen at the Kaufhof food-hall. They are OK, but I'd rather have fresh. I had no white wine, so I made the risotto with some marsala. An interesting alternative!

Iberico Pork Cutlets

Thursday, 9th August 2012
Nice to find some iberico pork at the local supermarket.
Simply pan-fried these cutlets and served with potatoes cut into tiny cubes and sauteed with onions.

Pork filet in serrano ham

Saturday, 4th August 2012
Sometimes the right ingredients are hard to come by, so almost nothing in this recipe was the way it was supposed to be! The meat was supposed to be pork loin in pancetta, but I used to pork filets and serrano ham. The plum chutney should be made with red or black plums, but we only had green. It's supposed to be cooked on the barbecue, but I used a pan and the oven.
The meat was a bit dry, but on the whole it was quite a nice meal.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Grilled Tuna and Rice

Wednesday, 1st August 2012
An old favourite for a quick evening meal.
In this case, I had prepared some Japanese grill sauce by reducing a mix or soya, sake, mirin and sugar to a thickish black sauce. This was used to coat the tuna before frying it hot for a few minutes on each side, so it was still a little pink in the middle.
The spring onions are just fried in sesame oil and served with a little ponzu sauce and some pickles. Delicious.

Lamb chops

Sunday, 29th July 2012
The lamb is simply seasoned and grilled, hot, with rosemary for a few minutes each side.
The red cabbage is a special kind with a pointed shape, that you don't seem to get in England. It's called Spitzkohl in Germany, and is quite tender when you remove the core. I cooked it with onion in butter for 10 or 15 minutes and added some beer vinegar and sugar after it has started to soften.
The pseudo-chips are actually boiled for a few minutes and then roasted in the oven in a mix of oil and butter. I've tried to do them this way before and the problem is they need more time than I expect. These were better than the last lot, but could still have done with another 5 or 10 minutes of cooking to brown properly.

Veal escalope

Monday, 23rd July 2012
Pan fried the veal escalope and served with pasta with a simple tomato and onion sauce.
Although the veal is quite thin, I almost didn't cook it long enough.

Leg of Veal

Sunday, 22nd July 2012
Got a thick slice of veal leg with the bone in from the local deli.
After searing the veal on both sides I added some marsala and let it mostly boil away. Then I casseroled it with small onions, tomatoes and sage, for about two and a half hours.
Pretty simple, but the flavours were fantastic and the meat tender and juicy.
Served with small roast potatoes and (not enough) bread to mop up the sauce.

Chicken and rice

Thursday, 19th July 2012
I don't really remember cooking this! I think the chicken was stir-fried in some thai grill sauce. Note to self - blog more promptly!


Tuesday, 17th July 2012
Lots of simple meals this month.
You can't really tell, but there is a burger made with 250g of beef under there. I mixed the meat with onion, some breadcrumbs and some japanese umami.
A little unhealthy with all the trimmings but it went down well with a beer.

Fish and rice

Thursday, 12th July 2012
A chunk of white fish pan fried in some soy, mirin and sake, with rice, spring onions and sesame. TV Dinner.


Saturday, 7th July 2012
First barbecue of the year. Just the two of us, so this was plenty.
The lamb was very good and the white grill-wurst are excellent on the barbecue.


Thursday, 5th July 2012
Simply grilled saucisse with rice, caprese salad and home-made tomato chutney.
The saucisse were frozen and not nearly as good as fresh ones, but still good. For a meal on the balcony this was pretty good.

Lemon chicken casserole

Sunday, 1st July 2012
I casseroled the chicken pieces in a lemon and white wine sauce.
The flavour was nice and lemony, but should have been richer.
Pasta with tomato and basil was nice in itself, but not a good accompaniment to the chicken.

Slow Cooked Lamb

Sunday, 24th June 2012
Lamb shoulder cooked in the slow cooker, with onions and tomatoes, and pasta.
This was only OK. The slow cooking didn't do much for the flavour of the lamb and the sauce was far too liquid and without sufficient intensity of flavour.
Pasta was the wrong choice to accompany it.

Gooseberry Pastries

Sunday, 24th June 2012
Oh dear! More than a month since last posting - a bit of catching up to do. Hope I can remember enough details.
This one is simple. Fresh gooseberries on squares of puff pastry, with a little melted gooseberry jam and icing sugar.  Very nice with a cup of tea.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Thursday, 21st June 2012
In celebration of the longest day, I decided to have another crack at Gyuudon (beef bowl) this time following the Cooking with Dog recipe as closely as I could.
Didn't manage to get the beef thin enough of course, but it was a nice quality piece of meat, to it came out flavoursome and tender.
The white in my egg was maybe a little softer than it should have been but the waterfall effect across the beef looks cool!
I'm not usually a fan of eggs, but the flavours here combined really well. And I did manage to get a good balance of sweet and spicy. Very tasty indeed!

BBQ Fish and Rice

Tuesday, 19th June 2012
Nothing fancy, I just coated a piece of fish in some Koeran BBQ sauce and fried it quick and hot with ginger and spring onions. Turns out the sauce was much spicier than I expected, but great with a beer.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pesto Glazed Chicken Breast

Friday, 15th June 2102
A repeat of something from last year that we really liked. This time without the mushrooms.
I don't repeat very often, but I was feeling a bit under the weather, and this is simple and delicious.
Equally good as before, I thought, but my partner felt the chicken could have been more tender. Maybe just the quality of the meat.

Blackened Salmon

Tuesday, 12th June 2012
I hunted around the internet for recipes for blackened salmon and found a dozen different ones. In the end I made this up based on the herbs and spices I had to hand.
The salmon was dipped in butter and then coated with a mix of salt, paprika, black pepper, thyme, nutmeg and a little chilli powder. Then cooked on the teppanyaki for two minutes face down and then 7 or 8 minutes on the skin side.
To accompany I made a salsa of mango and pineapple with red onion, green chilli and coriander and sauteed new potatoes. The combination of flavours was excellent, but the fish was a little pink and cool in the middle. Maybe slightly longer, less hot cooking would have been better.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Veal Escalope

Thursday, 10th May 2012
I did manage to pound this escalope a bit flatter than it looks in this picture. Then I was stuck for a pan big enough to cook it, until I remembered the electric teppanyaki. Perfect for the job.
Got it nice and hot and did the lightly floured escalope for just 90 seconds on each side. It came off as stiff as a piece of board but, after resting for a few minutes, it was actually quite tender and juicy.
Simple pasta with a sauce of garlic, onion, tomato and a lot of oil.

Spaghetti with Salsiccia

Friday, 4th May 2012
A variation on something that was quite successful last year.
Roast cherry tomatoes in the over with a garlic clove and plenty of oil for 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile chop up fresh salsiccia into bite sized pieces and fry them quickly until browned, then add them to the tomatoes.
While the pasta cooks chop and fry a shallot and add spinach to the pan to wilt. Add the salsiccia and tomatoes to the spinach, mash up the roasted garlic, which will be soft by now, and mix that all together briefly and season. I ground in some red chilli for extra spice.
Drain the pasta and top with the sauce.
Really very good. A lovely combination of flavours with a good balance of spice, sweet tomatoes, spinach, garlic and oil, with the tasty salsiccia.
This should work very well as a veggie dish I imagine, with something else instead of sausage (button mushrooms maybe?).

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fruit Scones

Sunday, 22nd April 2012
After making a few of these for myself a couple of weeks ago, I made a slightly larger batch today for myself and my partner. The dough was a bit too soft and sticky, hence the rather irregular shapes, but they tasted lovely. We even managed to get clotted cream, although this was flavoured with brandy, which would have been fine for christmas pudding, but was a bit odd with scones. The strawberry and rhubarb jam was the best.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Chicken Kofta Meatballs

Friday, 20th April 2012
I bought a mincer the other day, and this was my first use of it. I minced up two good sized chicken breasts and mixed them with nutmeg, cumin, chilli and fresh coriander, left them to chill for an hour or so and then fried them gently all over. Then fried some onions and garlic, mixed in various spices some creamy curry paste, coriander paste and a little water. The meatballs went back in and simmered for about 45 minutes. Just before serving I stirred in some cream, and served sprinkled with chops cashews. The creamy spicy combination was just right. For the side dish I sauteed some shallots, then added some potatoes cut into chips, ground cumin and coriander, a chopped tomato and a little water, and let those boil for about 20 minutes. Unfortunately this wasn't long enough and they were a bit underdone. The chutney is just chopped up figs, mixed with some hot chilli sauce and tamarind (I used too much). The whole point of this meal was an excuse to try cooking chapatis again. But, despite watching a half-dozen youtube videos on how to make them, I still can't get them to come out right. They hardly puff up at all and they go quite dry. Today's dough was better than usual I think, but my current theory is I am cooking them too long. Overall, despite slightly crunchy potatoes, a very nice meal.

Japanese style shrimps and salmon

Thursday, 19th April 2012
Not really an authentic Japanese meal by any means, but still very good. This was a piece of lightly smoked salmon, sliced and with a little sesame oil. The prawns were quickly stir-fried with soy, sake and mirin. With them some sliced ginger, spring onions and mushrooms also quickly cooked with some sake. Rice with freshly ground sanshou pepper. Really quite easy to do, but looks pretty and tasted great.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Monday, 9th April 2012
It can't always be fancy. Simple grilled bratwurst with sauteed potatoes and a spicy tomato sauce of onions, garlic, tomatoes, chilli flakes and seasoning. Very nice with a glass of wine and a film.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Saffron meatballs

Sunday, 8th April 2012
[100th post!] Looking for an interesting meatball recipe on-line, I found this one. Although the introduction is in English, the recipe itself is in Urdu, which I speak fluently... NOT. According to Google Translate the ingredients include "half find fraud", "customisation dnya", "slightly fragrant screw pine" and "saffron snap of the fingers around".
In the recipe, "meatballs" is translated as "kicking furniture", as in "Kicking furniture out of fuel now in red." However, between what I could make out and a general idea of how to make meatballs, I was able to concoct something that tastes pretty good!
I made up a paste of ground toasted sesame, ginger, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, green chili, paprika and saffron (canarian saffron, which is not the real stuff, but much cheaper). Then, instead of mixing this into the meat, I made the meatballs by wrapping a blob of mince around a small amount of the paste. Rolled them in a little flour and fried them gently all over.
Removed the meatballs from the oil and fried chopped onion, ginger, garlic, a little of the spice paste that was left over, then added chopped tomatoes. Cooked that all for a bit, then put the meatballs back in, reduced the heat and let it simmer. After 30 minutes added some greek yoghurt.
Meanwhile I cooked some plain rice and chapatis (flour and water dough, rolled out very thin and cooked on a hot flat pan). I served the meatballs in the sauce, topped with toasted almond flakes and a little more of the saffron.
The flavours came out very well, with just the right amount of heat and the richness of the spicy, tomato sauce. Even the chapatis worked for a change!

Southern-Style Duck

Saturday, 7th April 2012
I've made this several times before with varying degrees of success. This time it was pretty good. Slice through the skin of a duck breast lengthwise in parallel cuts a few millimetres apart. Fry the duck breast skin side down for a few minutes until the skin is browned, then flip it and fry on the other side. Remove it from the pan (the centre will still be raw). In the duck fat fry some spring onions sliced into 1 inch pieces. Remove those too. Mix soup stock, soy and mirin and bring to a simmer. Slice the duck breast across into thin slices and then add it and the onions to the stock. Let it heat through for a minute or two only, enough to change the colour of the meat.
Cook some noodles (the recipe says Soba, but I like the fatter Udon noodles), drain and put the meat and onions of top, with some of the stock and top with sanshou pepper.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sake Steak and Fried Rice

Friday, 6th April 2012
Based on a Nigella recipe, but with this style of fried rice. I also did some Kräuter-Seitling mushrooms very similar to the recipe shown in the video, only with bärlauch instead of parsley.
Amazingly good. My steak was tender and juicy, and the flavours of the meat in its spicy, dark sauce went very well with the lighter flavours of the fried rice. Definitely worth repeating.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fruit scones

Friday, 6th April 2012
Easter Friday and I have no hot-cross buns! So I baked scones instead. Wow, it's ages since I baked anything and I'm not sure I have ever done scones.
These were according to my Mother's recipe, which is basically just a list of ingredients. 10 oz flour, 2 oz butter, 1oz lard, sugar, 1 egg, milk, water. I did a half quantity, added sultanas and used cream instead of milk (because that is what I had). The tops look glossy because I had a half an egg left over to glaze then with.
Delicious! Really light and fluffy. Just like Mum makes!

Pasta with Fegato di Vitello

Thursday, 5th April 2012
That's calves liver to you and me. I normally have calves liver fried with sauteed potatoes, but I wanted to try something different. I sauteed some onions and garlic, and then quickly fried the floured liver, cut into small slices. Took it all out to a plate, then added red wine to quickly deglaze the pan, and returned the meat and onions and some chopped wild garlic leaves. Including the pasta the whole thing took about 15 minutes to cook.
The liver and the oniony, winey sauce were great, but the little pasta shells got cold too quickly. Maybe a bowl would be better.

Rabbit Stew with Dumplings

Sunday, 25th March 2012
I had about half a rabbit, basically the back legs. Dusted them with seasoned flour, browned them is a casserole and removed them to a plate. Added bacon, onions and garlic to the casserole and cooked until the onion was starting to brown, then removed those too. Added a good quantity of red wine and let it bubble while scraping up the bits from the bottom. Put everything back in, added some chopped fresh tomatoes and rosemary and shoved it in the oven with a lid on, medium heat, for a couple of hours. Then added some chunks of leek and dumplings, and turned the heat up a bit for a half an hour. Served with simple roast potatoes.
The rabbit was tender and flavourful and the sauce was really delicious. My dumplings are getting a bit better, I'm paying more attention to getting the amount of flour and fat right (2:1), but these were still not as light as I've had recently at a friend's house. More practise needed.