Archives for category: Savouries

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So we’re just over halfway through lent now, thank goodness. I’ve given up cake and biscuits, after the now infamous eight pieces of cake in one day episode a few weeks ago. It’s going relatively well, especially as I’m basically just replacing cake with chocolate, but I miss baking. It got to the point where I made cakes that I couldn’t eat, which was very upsetting. But today I turned to savouries, and made these delicious chorizo savoury muffins, to keep me going for a while.

I got this from here, a good recipe but intensely annoying use of cups. I did one and a half cups of self raising to one cup of wholemeal, because that’s just how I roll.

Chorizo and spinach savoury muffins

Half a chorizo ring, finely chopped
1 red chili, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups thinly sliced spinach
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup grated cheddar (or manchego if your local sainsbury’s stocks it)
1 egg
1 cup milk
125g melted butter, cooled

Fry the chili and chorizo together, then remove from the pan and wilt the spinach. Put the flours and baking powder in a bowl and add the spinach, cheese and chorizo, mix well. Beat together the butter, egg and milk and add to the mixture. Put into muffin/cupcake cases and bake for 25 minutes at 200 degrees c. Try not to eat too many of them at once.

 

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Another good recipe for a cold morning when you’ve got a glut of vegetables from the weekly veg box. I’m currently working my way through three bags of potatoes, and the more I cook, the less keen I become. But a sticky savoury cake like thing that tastes amazing covered in butter, and I’m sold. Especially in a room where the radiator only works if you’re sitting on it and the olive oil has gone cloudy because it’s too cold.

Potato bread

500g potatoes, peeled and cubed1 cup of flour (by which I mean mug, not your crazy American cup)
Pinch of salt

Boil the potatoes and then mash them with some butter. Gradually add the flour with the salt in it until you have a dough that isn’t too sticky, then roll it out onto a floured surface, adding more flour as you roll. Cut into vaguely potato bread shaped objects, and cook over a high heat in a dry frying pan. They are done when browned on both sides. Put a little bit of butter on them as you take them off the heat to keep them moist, then add lots more butter when you eat them. You’re aiming for melted butter running down your hand, fyi.

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Oh bitter irony that I have only got time to put up my Christmas recipes long after the festival is over, and the pile of discarded Christmas trees outside on the streets grows ever larger. Of course, Christmas isn’t actually over until the 6th when I’ll be making gallette des rois again, but most people don’t seem as keen as I am to keep the festive season going. Even if some people are lucky enough not to be back to work until the 7th. At any rate, if you’re as nostalgic as I am, then you’ll enjoy my Christmas ham recipe at least.

It was a big responsibility, and my choice to experiment with Nigella’s infamous ham in coke recipe might have been a bit risky. But Nigella is a trusty sort of person and the ham turned out amazing, although about half the size it was when it went in for 4 hours of boiling in coke. I tweaked it a little by adding molasses sugar, bought for the cake, instead of Demerara, to the glaze.

Ham in coca cola

5kg gammon
2l coca cola
2 onions

Glaze:a few cloves
2 tablespoons black treacle
4tspns mustard powder
4 tbspns molasses sugar

Put the ham skin side down into the pot, then add the onion and all the coke. Bring to the boil, then put a lid on and simmer for four hours – 1 hour per kilo, but a bit less if you run out of time and are keen to go to bed didn’t do any harm. Preheat the oven to gas 9, 240 degreesWhen it’s done, let it cool a little, then strip off the skin leaving the fat behind. Score the fat into diamonds and put a clove into the heart of each. Drizzle over the treacle and add the mustard and sugar over the top to make a sticky glaze. Then bake for 15 minutes until the glaze looks bubbly. Nigella instructs to not throw away the cooking liquid, but to use it to make black bean soup. I haven’t quite got round to it yet but perhaps I will.

I’ve been awol for a while – apologies to regular readers (hi Dad). I’ve been moving house and new jobbing, but this month I’m doing NaNoWriMo, which as anyone who knows it knows, is an excellent excuse for procrastination – and therefore updating the blog. I’ve still got 1660 words to go today, and so far I’ve rung the bank, done my laundry, made fridge cake and watched the whole of Obama’s victory speech, even though the webpage only updated every 30 seconds so I just got stills of his face with words over the top. Totally worth it. Still at least today I can write in bed with a cup of tea, rather than slaving over a desk which my legs don’t fit behind.

So! Rye and honey soda bread. Easiest thing ever, laughably easy, just involving putting the wet ingredients into the dry ones and baking.

Rye and honey soda bread (adapted from Hugh’s recipe in the weekend’s Guardian)

250g rye flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
100ml plain yoghurt
100ml whole milk
50g runny honey
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Mix the dry ingredients together. Then whisk the yog, honey, milk and oil together until no longer lumpy. Pour into the dry ingredients. It will be very sticky – but here’s the best bit, you don’t have to knead it! So it doesn’t matter. Turn out onto an oiled baking sheet and cut a cross in it, then dust with flour. Bake for 40 minutes at gas mark 6.

Then I had it for lunch with cavalo nero pesto. Sometimes I think I’m becoming a parody of myself

Another GBBO inspired recipe, I’m afraid, although I didn’t go the whole hog and do the 8 plaits, it looked much too much like maths for my liking. I’m not that great at bread usually, it always turns out a bit too claggy and dense, mainly because I’m lazy with the kneading, and something to do with my kitchen being too cold for dough to rise properly. This morning though, my boyf left for work at 7:10, leaving me unnaturally awake and keen for something to do that would fill the house with the smell of baking. My parents were confused to say the least when an hour later they came down to find me roasting garlic.

Maybe I’m more patient with kneading in the early morning, but this bread turned out really delicious, light in the middle, crispy on top, and the combination of garlic and rosemary works really well. Something about creating something so delicious and that looks so great is extremely satisfying. I used a recipe from Cook Eat Live Vegetarian, but adapted it slightly, using strong white flour instead of spelt.

Garlic and rosemary loaf

1 head of garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
450 gr (3 cups) strong white bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 sachet of quick action yeast
1 tsp salt
75 ml milk
75 ml water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

Cut the head off the garlic and roast at gas 7 for 35 minutes, with a sprinkling of rosemary. Then mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt together. Heat the milk and water and olive oil together until warm, then add to the flour mixture. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins, and mash with a drop of water. Then beat in an egg until it’s all well mixed together.

Add the garlic into the flour and milk mixture. You’ll end up with a very sticky dough, but that’s ok. Knead for 10 minutes on a very floury surface (DO IT!). Then set aside for 10 minutes. Divide into three balls, then roll out to make three ropes of dough. Plait them, tucking the ends in to make it look neater. Leave for an hour to double in size. Bake for 15 minutes at gas 4. Brush with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary, then put back for another 12 or so minutes. Extract and leave to cool.

Photo taken without the magical SLR

A caveat. I am not a food blogger who pretends that everything has always turned out perfectly. I’m pretty lucky, but sometimes things don’t pan out quite the way I wanted. Chicken kiev, one of the most delicious dishes in the history of the world, is also one quite difficult to get right. So, alas, I failed to get that satisfying spurt of garlic butter when cutting in to this kiev, instead getting a sort of garlicky crust, which was nice, but not as good as hoped. However, I think I’ve figured out where I went wrong, so this recipe is an improved version from the photographed one.

Chicken kiev (serves 2)

2 chicken breasts (choose large ones if possible)
6 cloves of garlic, smushed
100 g room temp butter
1 slice worth of breadcrumbs
eggwash

Make the garlic butter by mashing the garlic into the butter at length. Then, and this is the crucial bit, chill the butter back into solidity for half an hour. Butterfly the chicken breasts. Put a good dollop of butter in the middle, then fold the chicken back over it. Coat in the egg wash, then in the breadcrumbs. Chill again for about 15 mins. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, gas 5. They should be golden brown and hot all the way through. Keep your fingers crossed, then cut in to!

On my travels last year I ate a lot of different and exciting food, fruit I’d never seen before, rice paper in dozens of different incarnations, peanut sauces, secret recipes and food from barrels in the street. Amok was one of my favourite dishes, a mild Cambodian curry with coconut milk steamed in a banana leaf. I decided to see what would happen if I tried to make my own back in rainy North London, and it turned out pretty well. I’m not sure it was quite as good as eating it sitting outside under the Cambodian stars in Siem Reap, but it came a pretty good second.

I didn’t have time to locate banana leaves, so I used cabbage leaves, held together with cocktail sticks and hope.

Amok (MiMi Aye’s, also used by Gordon Ramsay)

Amok curry paste

2 tbspn dried chilli  flakes
6 cloves garlic
1 red onion, diced
1 tsp turmeric powder
4 sticks of lemongrass
2 inch piece of galangal, peeled (they sell it at Morrisons)
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
6 kaffir lime leaves or the zest of a lime
1 tbsp shrimp paste

Amok

400g of hake/sustainable white fish
Can of coconut milk
1 tbsp palm or brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 eggs
2 large banana leaves, or cabbage leaves

Blend the curry paste ingredients together. Fry for 1 minute in some vegetable oil or groundnut oil. Add the coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce. Simmer for a few minutes, then leave to cool.

Remove the fish skin from the fish and set aside. Cut the fish into small pieces. Add the eggs to the coconut milk mixture and beat slightly so the yolks are dispersed. Add the fish pieces.

Now for the challenge. Put the cabbage bowls into your steamer (I used a colander over a pan of boiling water). Ladle in the amok mixture as high as it’ll take. Steam for 25-30 minutes, or until the mixture has just set.

Flour and salt the fish skin bits and fry for a few minutes until brown. Use as a garnish. Serve the amok with rice.

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Sticking with the egg theme for one more blog, this post is the realisation of a long held dream.  I first tried out real scotch eggs in a gastro pub in Archway, North London, and it was a revelation of deliciousness.  The egg yolk still liquid, the pork carefully seasoned, the breadcrumbs wholemeal, it’s basically gentrification in a nutshell.  Or a pork shell.  But if you don’t mind your working class snacks poshed up, Scotch eggs are an easy thing to do, and won’t fail to impress the lucky people you share them with.

Scotch eggs (makes 6)

450 g sausagemeat
6 eggs
seasoning
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of mixed dried herbs
1 tspn cornflour
About 2 slices worth of breadcrumbs
1 eggwash
A hell of a lot of groundnut oil

Boil the eggs.  Now, I don’t know if you’re one of these mislead people who think this is easy, but if so, you’re about to learn it’s not.  The eggs continue to cook when deep frying later, so if you want a soft yolk you have to be careful.  I cooked them for too long, about 6 minutes, so I’d suggest 4-5 minutes is optimal.

Cool and peel the eggs.  Mix the herbs, mustard and cornflour into the sausagemeat and give it a good seasoning.  Cover the boiled egg in the sausagemeat, making sure there aren’t any holes – and remember sausage shrinks when cooked so you need to cover it pretty thickly to make sure you don’t get patchy scotch eggs.

Dip your sausage coated egg in the eggwash and then into the bowl of breadcrumbs, making sure it’s well covered.  Refrigderate for 15 minutes.

Unless you’ve got a deep fat frier, fill a saucepan with groundnut oil – I used the best part of two bottles.  Vegetable oil will do.  Heat until bubbling round the edges, then in go the eggs.  Make sure you turn them a few times to make sure they are cooked all over and crispy.  Fry for about 10 minutes.

Half of my family are vegetarian.  It can get quite tiresome at times cooking two meals, but overall it means we all eat meat less, which is good for health and for the environment.   Cornish pasties have taken off over the last five years, with Cornish pasty shops gracing nearly every street corner, and they are brilliant instead of a kebab when coming home after too many drinks.  Although I don’t advise whipping up one of these late at night, it turns out Cornish pasty making is relatively easy, so give it a go.

Cornish pasty (vegetarian)

Pastry
Half fat to flour –
4 oz butter
8 oz flour
salt to season
cold water

egg wash

Pasty filling
Butternut squash, cubed
Potato, cut into small discs
Dried herbs – whatever takes your fancy, rosemary is nice
1 small onion

Make the pasty by rubbing the fat into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs.  Season, then slowly add water until you have a dough.  Leave in the fridge to rest.

Fry the butternut squash, potato, herbs and onion together in a frying pan until the butternut squash and potato is soft (this will probably take about 30 mins).  You can add stock if you want, but add sparingly and make sure it boils off, because you need the filling to be dry when it goes in the pasty.

Roll out the pastry, then cut it into a circle about plate sized – you can use a plate as a template.  Put the filling slightly off centre, then fold over to get an oval shape.  Press down the edges with a fork or whatever you have to hand.  Brush the top of the pasty with an egg, beaten.  Bake for about 25 mins at gas 4, or until golden brown.

The good thing about this recipe is that it’s endlessly variable, so try out different fillings.  Adding cheese would be nice and give a bit of moisture to the proceedings.

Happy New Year!

Let’s hope 2012 bucks dreary economic expectations and ends up exceeding our wildest dreams.

Today I started a new tradition, to make a big batch of chutney at the beginning of the year which will last throughout it (vinegar being an excellent preservative); something new for the new year which could use up any odds and ends of dried fruit left over from the festive baking, or that would go well smeared ontop of some leftover posh cheese.  Chutney is another easy thing, put all the ingredients in a pan and simmer for a bit is basically what every recipe comes down to.

Apricot Chutney, from the Jams, Preserves and Chutneys Handbook by Marguerite Patten

22g/8oz dried apricots
600 ml/1pt white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 lemon
2 tsps mixed pickling spices
450g/1lb cooking apples
450g/1lb light brown sugar
75g raisins
150g sultana
salt and pepper to taste

Pickling spices are a mixture of whatever spices you fancy or like best, I used chili flakes, coriander, peppercorns, cardamons, cloves and mustard seeds.  Wrap them up in a spot of butter muslin along with the rind of the lemon and the garlic cloves.

Cut up the apricots and put in a pan with the vinegar and pickling spice bundle and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Then peel and chop (or grate) the apples, and add to the apricots with the lemon juice and sugar.  Stir while the sugar dissolves and then add the raisins and sultanas (note, I used currants, because I don’t know the difference) and a good twist of salt and pepper.  Simmer steadily for a while, and if you find, as I did, that you’ve got too much wet, then boil it off for a bit at the end.  At this stage I always worry that the chutney is a failure, especially when the fumes from the vinegar come up and hit you in the throat, but I promise it settles down after it’s stopped cooking, and usually turns out fine.  Remember to remove the pickling spices before putting it in jars!

Yes I know it looks like mincemeat, but don’t put it in a pie