Friday, January 20, 2012

Roast Poussin with Pasta

Thursday, 19th January 2012
Very simply roasted poussin served with pasta and a sauce made with onions, basil and cherry tomatoes. Very good, but needing more liquid in the sauce to coat the pasta.

Chili con carne

Tuesday, 17th January 2012
I think this might be the first repeat since I started this blog! Self indulgence for a weekday evening, even with home made guacamole and tomato salsa. Quite good but something was not right with the chillies and the flavours were not rich enough but rather just hot with a strange metallic edge.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lamb cutlets

Sunday, 15th January 2012
I had a rack of lamb in the freezer that needed eating, but no time or inclination to roast it, so I sliced it up into cutlets, grilled them hot and fast with some rosemary and served with pasta and tomato sauce. The meat was tender, juicy and very flavourful.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rabbit Stew with Prunes

Friday, 13th January 2012
We've had whole rabbits available in the supermarket lately, so I got one for this stew (The Cook Book p251), although I put in more things than the basic recipe calls for.
Flour the rabbit pieces and brown them in butter, remove from the pot and brown bacon and onions, then put the rabbit back. Add a good deal of red wine, some chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Simmer for 90 minutes and add mushrooms, prunes and leeks after an hour or so. Then raise the heat a little, add dumplings and cook covered for another 20 minutes.
I served sauteed potatoes cut like thick chips, but I burnt the butter before they went in, so I had to use duck fat instead, which turned out rather well!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chicken Alexa

Thursday 12th January 2012
This is something I haven't cooked for ages. The chicken is roasted and then served with a creamy sauce with mild spices. Fry onions in butter and then added flour and garam masala and cook for a minute or two. Gradually add half a pint of chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes, then add lemon juice, cream and honey and heat through. In this case served with basmati rice and a spoon of bulgar wheat salad.

Roast Chicken

Monday 9th, January 2012
Simple roast chicken with home made sage and onion stuffing and bacon wrapped figs (because I had two figs that needed eating). No vegetables because this was just to eat with bread in front of the TV.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Iberico pork cutlets

Sunday, 1st January 2012
After finishing the old year on a bit of a culinary low-note, I managed to salvage some self-respect on the first evening of the new one.
The pork cutlets were simply pan-fried and finished in the oven for 5 minutes, then left to rest for 10 and served with a port wine sauce. For the sauce cook herbs and onion in a mix of red wine and port, reduce, add stock, reduce again. Then sieve out anything solid and gradually stir in some butter to make it glossy.
With the meat we had tiny roast potatoes balls and a mix of cabbage and leeks. I stewed the veggies in wine and then, just before serving, I added cream and mustard and heated through. The veg was very good but almost too rich and creamy for me. The mustard was just right, flavoursome but not overpowering.
For dessert we had the orange sorbet that should have been with yesterday's dinner. This was simple to make. Melt sugar in some water while heating it, then boil for a minute or two. Mix in the juice of 4 oranges and 1 lemon and freeze for a couple of hours until it goes mushy. Blend it in a chilled bowl and add some cointreau, then freeze again. It took longer to freeze to a useable consistency than I expected but turned out very good indeed.

New Year's Eve Dinner

Saturday, 31st December 2011
We decided to stay in and have our own private celebration this year, with a nice home cooked meal. I picked out four courses that should have been fairly quick to prepare. But, as the Bard says - The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, gang oft agley.
First course was to be a simple japanese style soup of rice and fish, with a broth made from green tea. The fish was meant to be raw, but I didn't trust it to be fresh enough, so I poached it lightly. It fell to bits. The rice was overcooked. The green-tea broth was insipid. What should have been delicate and subtle was watery and tasteless. With a good deal of soya sauce and pepper added it was edible, but my partner was so unimpressed she could not finish it.
The main course was rack of lamb with a herb crust, served with cabbage stewed in wine, leeks baked with tomatoes and glazed fanned potatoes.
After the requisite cooking time the lamb came out so bloody I had to slice ("hack") it up and stick it back in the oven for a few minutes. The leeks were too watery for my taste and the potatoes had surprisingly little flavour or texture. The cabbage was OK. The twice-cooked lamb was actually very nice in the end, despite my ham-fisted attempts to slice it. The biggest problem was that the cooking took much longer than I expected, so we didn't eat the main course until after 10.
Between the starters and the main should have been an orange sorbet, but it wouldn't freeze, so we had to skip it.
The dessert worked! Hurrah! Chocolate roulade, made with only eggs, sugar and chocolate, no flour, filled with whipped cream. Delicious.
So 1 1/2 out of 4.

Bratwurst with Creamy Mustard Sauce

Thursday, 8th December 2011
We were looking for something relatively simple and my partner suggested fresh bratwurst. Then I went and complicated it all by making a mustard sauce, potato and onion cakes and a salad with parmesan and bacon.
For the potato cakes I par-boiled some potatoes, then chopped them up with some onions, formed them into thick cakes and fried them very gently in butter for 20 or 30 minutes.
The sauce was just softened onions and garlic, cooked in a little wine for a while, with mustard and cream added at the end and heated through.
This was a very nice meal - I particularly liked the potato cakes.

Fish Fingers!

Wednesday, 7th December 2011
Oh dear, oh dear. First steak and oven chips and now fish fingers and oven chips - with baked beans no less! Not exactly a culinary masterpiece.
Actually, with a cool beer, it was just what I was in the mood for. :)

Steak and onions

Tuesday, 6th December 2011
Not much to say about this, especially when served with oven chips! After my recent successes with cooking steaks this one was not so great.

Crostini - Pasta

Sunday, 27th November 2011
I made these little crostini, topped with paremesan, ham and chorizo, in order to take a photograph of the olive. "Olive" was one item of 26 is a photography scavenger hunt in which I took part.
Didn't win any prizes but the crostini were delicious.
The pasta shells were made with a simple tomato and onion sauce, and topped with parmesan. Sauce a bit too liquid really. Should have used fresh tomatoes or sieved the ones from the carton.

Rolled and stuffed veal escalopes

Thursday, 24th November 2011
Home Book of Italian Cookery p120. Served with spaghetti and sliced, sautéed "Kräuterseitling".
The escalopes are flattened, stuffed with a mix of bacon, herbs and parmesan and rolled. Then browned on all sides and cooked for 30 minutes in wine and stock.
No matter how hard I tried to flatten the veal escalopes they just kept pulling themselves back to their original size and thickness, so they were difficult to roll. Also, I didn't have any suitable string so I had to try and secure the rolls with cocktail sticks, which was less than successful. And they came out tough and dry after cooking.
The flavours were good but, unfortunately, the meat was barely chewable. Nice pasta and mushrooms though.