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.

Roast saddle of Lamb

Friday, 23rd March 2012
I roasted this fairly simply with salt and lots of rosemary, for about 30 minutes, not too hot. As you can see there was a huge amount of fat. I like lamb fat, but there was too much even for me. As you can also see, I like my lamb rare. Served with a potato gratin, and sliced fried courgette.
I looked at several gratin recipes and did something which had a lot of cream in with the potatoes, but cheese (parmesan) only on the top.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Friday, 2nd March 2012
Tried to do a more authentic Ragu than the standard mince and tomato sauce that most often passes for Bolognese. Brown some bacon and add chopped onions, garlic, celery and carrot and let them soften. Add mince (I used a mix of beef and pork) and stir it around until it is browned. Add stock with some tomato concentrate mixed in. Season and cook for 40 minutes. Pour over pasta and serve with grated parmesan.
Came out very nicely indeed. Thinking about buying a mincer to make my own mince though, so I can use a decent quality piece of meat.

Pan fried fish.

Tuesday 28th February, 2012
Very simply dusted a piece of white fish with seasoned flour and sauteed it for just long enough to cook through. Served with boiled rice spiced up with grated lemon zest and black pepper. Quick and delicious.