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Foodisgood



Food, glorious food... done my way. Pretence of perfection



Updated: 2014-10-05T04:22:45.575+01:00

 



Breads

2008-10-05T15:41:44.867+01:00

Nice quick batch of breads. Foccacia style, mini loaf, flat bread and oven bottom rolls. The last two were "baked" in a dry frying pan; I was feeling adventurous :-) All from the same initial dough, which was a basic white bread recipe with a few oats and stuff. And some gran padano cheese grated in. Probably why the crusts came out so brown.

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The flat bread and little roll above it were done in a dry frying pan. Took just a few minutes on a medium heat...
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(image) Mmm salty
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(image) Few grilled courgettes with garlic, served with the foccacia style bread.



A good day

2008-07-27T23:44:42.405+01:00

I've been putting a lot more focus on riding and running as of late. After going for a bit of a loosener yesterday (40km?), I went for a nice 50k ride along a canal today to a place called Dunham Massey Hall:
(image) All that riding left me a little peckish so I made this:

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Hand made dough topped with hand made ragu, tomatoes, mushrooms, ham, mozzerella and cheddar... and fresh basil.

Not bad for one of the hottest days this year... it's a few hours later and I'm still burning up!



Stones

2008-06-12T23:47:11.637+01:00

Some of you have been enquiring about my absence - fear not I'm still here, just a lot thinner and able to run 10 kilometres... who'd have thunk it?!

This was all due to being away from the cakes for quite some time. Well, that and lots of running and mountain biking - but mainly the staying away from the cakes and chocolate... the running and cycling were the easy parts!

I'll be back soon, though the Daring Bakers seem to have vacated their old premises and my key doesn't work any more... I think they escaped while they could!

see you soon!

Mark



American Pie

2008-01-28T19:40:51.923+00:00

Well it is isn't?! But don't worry all political comments on America have been surgically removed!

(image) Now I didn't have much time this month, I like to do by baking at the weekends and I had several things on. Therefore I only got one chance to pull this off, and no time to prepare. Rushed it the keyword.

As a Daring Baker I have every right to make every recipe as hard as it possibly could. So I don't own any nice tart dishes or loose bottom thingamabobs. Or measuring cups for that matter.

I assembled the dough. Guessing that a cup of solid butter was a certain weight. Why would you measure a solid in mls? baffling! Once it'd been made to work and chilled I put the dough into a square steep sided dish, stuffed in the (mainly guestimated amounts of) filling and topped it with meringue. I know what you're thinking "that'd never work for me, he must be a genius!".

But I'm a skilled eater and I'll eat anything (see the battered haggis, and battered Mars I had up in Scotland this weekend!). So when mine eventually was sliced (dug out) the runny lemon filling is no problem at all ;-)

You might be able to tell I'm not a big fan of this American mainstay; I think it lacks depth and just doesn't sit on the tongue nicely. Maybe it tastes better when done properly...

But I bet it doesn't.



Sausage and Mash

2007-11-26T19:17:25.566+00:00

It's Daring Baker time again!This month the amount of sugar (in tonnes) used was... oh. Savoury? Cooool!Now I make bread all the time... *waits for applause to die down* ...please... ...no, you're too kind! Anyway, I was happy to have a go at this new challenge in flour and yeast meddling, though I wouldn't have much time. I knew I could only do it on the last weekend of the month, since I only try each DB recipe once anyway I wasn't too concerned ( I just can't afford the professional cleaners and laundry bills!) so I dived into the shops after work on a Friday to grab everything I needed for the Saturday. 30 minutes later I had everything I needed and was... cr*p, I forgot to get potatoes. I hoped the smaller store nearby would have roasting potatoes. They didn't, they had floury normal ones. Do I buy them and save hassle now or go back and get roasting potatoes and save the recipe...Sticky moment I think you'll agree, hey? WELL THAT'S NOTHING! NOTHING! ...compared to what this recipe doles out! I've never seen "dough" that sticky in my life. Of course, I'd bitten off more than I could "chew" (chew in quotes to highlight how unchewable 16oz of mashed potato, several cups of cooking water and some flour is). The recipe says need for 10 minutes. Knead? How do you knead superglue? I'm going out and buying a dough scraper first thing Monday! The adrenaline was pumping; I think at this point all DBers smile if not on the outside then on the inside. Cooking is fun after all, and new recipes are even funner.I wasn't counting the cups of flour I added to make it pliable, I just kept going til it wasn't a complete joke. Still, after 30 minutes I reckon I had a cross between wallpaper paste and a normal bread dough.Ahh time to relax, it's in the bowl proving. Then Marce starts giving me helpful hints about what to use at flavourings to make it more palatable. I hadn't thought that far ahead. I was still in survival mode. She told me what she was using and said I could use that too. So I did. -n't. In fact I was told in no uncertain terms that she'd hunt me down and batter me with her rolling pin if I did. What ever happened to All For One DBer and One For All DBers, that's what I want to know?!Anyway, after it had been allowed to prove a little it was far more manageable. Thanks be to goddess Nigella. So a quick need and some of it was off into the slightly too small loaf tin and the rest into a flat tray.As you might be able to tell the loaf kinda over-flowed a little. It was still quite sticky pre-baking. Still with a little pepperonata, a few cherry tomatoes and a couple of venison sausages all was well with the world.Sausage and mash, get it?! Honestly, I should get awards for this material. The bread goes well with Marmite too. In case you wondered :-)Very late lunch on Sunday:Last time I made focaccia I pre-fried all the toppings and lovingly applied the toppings to the lovely doughy top. But this time I was busy watching a DVD so I just whacked it all on there. Fresh rosemary (from the back gar... shop) and thinly sliced onions. And a dredging of olive oil and a little sea salt.Came out pretty darn good.Dinner on Saturday: Thanks to Tanna for choosing the bread. I generally find the stickier the dough the better the bread, and this was no exception. It's wonderfully fluffy and soft, there's no focaccia left, I just packed the last of it as lunch tomorrow. I'll make them watch me eat it all!Don't forget to check out my, probably less sticky, buddies here.[...]



Comida Es Buena

2007-11-04T23:14:35.698+00:00

Mi hermanita es... *AHEM* Sorry about that, my lil' sis is a chip off the old block. Or is that a son/father thing? Anyway, my sister and her friends have started to bake together, which is strange since they are students so you'd think beans on toast would be the order of the day...

First up is a chocolate cake. ClowiWowi eats tons of the stuff. Mountains of it. She skips proper meals just so she can go back to licking the wrappers... I feel safe saying this because she lives a few aeroplane rides away.

(image) Looks warm and comforting don't it. No, they didn't offer me any. Meanies :-P

Sadly good genes doesn't always mean good taste. Look at the swirls on this plate. Disgusting. Just get it in your mouth!

(image) I bought ClowiWowi Shrek for her birthday, her favourite character is not the gingerbread man. So, I don't really know why I brought it up.

(image) Impressive effort no? I'm not sure why his/her arm is coming from it's head but... who wants a "normal" one anyway! ;-)

(image) We're gonna be meeting soon, she's gonna bake me something tasty every day. She just doesn't know it yet :-D



Fish Dinner

2007-10-11T00:11:43.487+01:00

Mmm cod. Battered and deep fried. With onion rings and chips... Ok, the health nazis won't like it, but on the plus side the health nazis won't like it :-)

The batter is made with Fursty Ferret bitter and flour. Nothing else, well, bit of salt and pepper. Just enough to make the batter easy to use (I think the term "cover the back of the spoon" is often used).

I was using a small saucepan so I chopped up the cod fillet into similar sized pieces, and cooked the fillet in two batches. It was perfectly cooked with 4-5 mins, the steam pocket created by the batter around the fish steamed the fish wonderfully.

I had a bit left over so I sliced an onion and threw it in. I put the left-over batter in the fridge for tomorrow, I have another fillet to use up. Nice and healthy after footy :-)


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Say hello to my cinnamon friends

2007-09-30T12:06:41.468+01:00

Another month, another Daring Baker challenge, this time from my overly decorated buddy Marce.

I've always wanted to know how to make dough like this, kind of soft but able to keep it's airy shape. I assmue that's the egg doing it's work. I was initially quite scared it was going all wrong, I had to keep adding more and more flour to get it out of sticky and into tacky.

I used a different method in my kneading this time (I love to experiment, and by this time I thought it was going all wrong :-)), instead of using my palm to push and stretch the dough, I just flattened it out and folded it in on itself (bit like when you make puff pastry). It worked, look at the size of these puppies:

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Yes, that was my biggest baking tray :-) The eagle eyes amoung you might spot small bits of hazelnut in the cinnamon swirl. I forgot I had them and the mixing dough stage.

Now I was quite busy this month, I made these on the 29th, at the last stage. I didn't have enough milk to make the glaze so I had to go out to get some while the buns proved... 2 1/2 hours later, a one nil victory, 1 Guinness and a John Smiths later they had risen. Probably more than double their original size.

(image) I only made the cinnamon version of the recipe; the quantity of icing sugar used for the fondant was nerve jingling! After winning a hamper of biscuits and general yumminess on Friday my kitchen is 100% proof on the sugar content! Luckily I have the self-control to only have one and leave the rest. Ok, two, but's that's the end of it. Well, I suppose the box is open now I might as well finish them off, no point letting get soft.

*spits crumbs* fee, 'elf-'ontrol!!!

Now, if self-control is what you want, you need to go here, you'll find some of the best buns this side of Jessica Alba...! I hear Cream Puff's are a wonder to behold.


Where was I...? Oh yeah, a big thanks to Marce for her choice, and I mirror other DBer's comments about making this recipe again some time. I'm just off to take the retarded ones out of the fridge... happy salivating!



Milk Chocolate and (runny) Caramel Tart

2007-08-29T19:50:59.012+01:00

Now obviously you can spend hours making a cake look good and make it turn out properly.

But that's just boring, I've used this excuse said this before: I need something more! If you want cake perfection you're frankly in the wrong place (try here).

How I measure cakes:
Was it all eaten: Check.
Number of proposals: One.
Number of people who laugh at my efforts: 1,824 and counting (I was number 2, after God butted in with a few wise cracks!)

(image) Obviously, this being mid "summer" in England the temperature was an unbelievable tepid 14C. So you can understand why the caramel was running.

And another thing, I think people who decorate their cakes are insecure. Seriously! I mean covering it in half moons of icing sugar... what are you looking for? Marriage proposals or something??!!

Yep, that is yet more milk chocolate bits in the mousse. I know how to please an audience.

(image) So there it is. No need to pretend to be polite and inquire about the recipe.

Yes, I have spoons... oi! Put the spatula down, there enough for everyone!
Form a QUEUE!

tut... animals...



Mushroom and Beef Pie

2007-08-28T00:23:28.201+01:00

You gotta love a good pie. There's a nice bar near us that serves pie with beers from across the globe. the beer was nice, my pies are better :-)

This one is chestnut mushrooms and porcini mushrooms, fried together and then added to the minced, organic beef. I think there's some dried chilli and garlic in there too. No onions since I didn't have any :-) The topping is puff pastry. As you can see the base/gravy came over the top at one point; it all adds to the whole thing in my biased opinion!

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It's Cheescake O'Clock

2007-08-01T23:48:29.238+01:00

I was given my first dessert cookbook for my birthday recently, all the recipe have chocolate in them!

It's the first weekend and I made two things from it. Shortbread, which takes minutes and is well easy. Anyone could do it...

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And this double chocolate cheesecake. Again, easy if you have a spare two hours... and you melt the chocolate for the filling before you let the gelatin in the cream base start to set!!!

Thus the top got a little messy as I tried to even it all out...



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There are crushed hazelnuts in the bottom which really added a whole new dimension to the cake. It was supposed to be an toasted oat bottom but I substituted digestive biscuits... and should have used more butter (which was measured in tablespoons in the book??) and of course a little chocolate to help it all bind nicely :-)

The filling was comprised of yoghurt, whipped double cream, a bit of gelatin and some cream cheese. It was split and 175g of white chocolate was added to one half and 175g of dark chocolate to the other half...

Which give a wall of creamy chocolatey goodness at the end!

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Daring Bakers - July: Strawberry Mirror Cake

2007-07-30T18:52:06.271+01:00

I had mixed feelings about this cake. After my last contact with gelatine, Bavarian cream and the Daring Bakers I knew I had to make this work. And try to follow the recipe exactly (or risk incurring the [justified] Cream Puff Rough Justice(TM)) . So this is why, this time, I did my best to omit the booze from the cake.The various shops/liquor stores/distilleries I visited trying to find the kirsch were all out. I knew I'd regret that strawberry liqueur bender I went on around the last days of June... who knew it would be so easy to dry up all the sources within 50 miles... and what chronic bad timing!Anyway, as you can see the recipe was followed precisely. Apart from the big flat rectangular sponge bit. And the measuring the dimensions of cake tins bit. And American cup sizes bit... oh and the powdered gelatine bit... hmm precisely... what's baking without a little edge of your seat re-jigging of things hey? Hey?!?!?!A few DBs had there birthdays this month, I decided to take my cake into work. bet none used plates like this!:Yes, I bet my bosses were very impressed... :-)I don't even like Pooh et al but it's a birthday cake, novelty plates were called for!The smart (or picky) people reading this would notice that there was a slight darkening of the sponge along the bottom. Any chef worth her/his weight in salt would have removed these. But I thought, no, it's up to me to show people what happens when you make basic errors. Consider yourselves taught, I won't be showing you again... The recipe called for a large flat sponge. I didn't have a baking sheet like that so I improvised. I put it in a cake time and made it twice (plus) as tall and sliced it in half...Also, measure how high your sponges are before putting them into your cake mould. Otherwise you'll look like a right Muppet when you can see a halo of cake under your mirror... ha ha... *cue much nervous laughter*The cake was a right pain getting to work (it's tradition to buy everyone cakes at our office). I took pics of the mirror top before I wrapped it to take to work. It was perfect when straight from the fridge, in it's little cocoon... The top got a little smudged on the way to work, I think it hadn't set properly... it was super concentrated strawberry syrup it was made from, maybe that didn't help...The concentrated topping was needed since I'm not a big sponge fan... bit bland for me. I'm not a big cream fan either to be honest... still, how many people had one of these for their birthdays!Would I make it again? No. Was it fun to make? I certainly wasn't bored! It was different. I'm usually a stickler for perfection, but I don't feel the need to perfect this cake like I do the Gateau St Honore...Anyway, thanks to Peabody for choosing this challenge. It was certainly something I've never seen before, and I guess I enjoyed making it too. :-)Check out the other Darers here![...]



Recipes are for the... well, prepared...

2007-07-29T23:59:41.248+01:00

Looks like a veggie feast doest it?!

Well apart from the chunks of black pudding sausages it is! :-D Those are the purple looking things. There's also goats cheese, onions, garlic, shredded cucumber in there too. The "filler" is just eggs and a dash of double cream (with salt and pepper). I used store-bought shortcrust pasty because I have a life; blind baked it using greaseproof paper and dried beans to keep the base from rising.

The onions were cooked under the sausages under a hot grill; Then put into a frying pan with crushed garlic and, right at the end, the shredded cucumber (that's the healthy bit kids ;-)).

I cooked it for about 20 mins at 190C, or until the goats cheese had bronzed and the centre had solidified somewhat. I didn't want it rock hard though.

A drizzle of EV olive oil would have been lovely, but I used Worcestershire sauce instead :-)

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I made this bread a week before the quiche, but it would have been nice together I guess. It's your basic loaf of bread, but I added some poppy seeds and some saffron to the mix. Interesting... gives it a nice colour, and the poppy seeds work really well with cheese...

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Poppy Explosion

2007-07-01T23:38:06.972+01:00

(image) Yes, the long thin one was the perfect size for a hot dog. If I ate such rubbish... *ahem* I experimented more with this batch of bread. I wanted some nice airy rolls to soak up the sauce for my dinner... (lamb in an anchovy, rosemary and red wine sauce since you ask, but no, no pics, maybe tomorrow).

As well as trying different sizes and forms, I added more yeast then the recipe called for. And a little bicarbonate of soda. They were definitely more fluffy than usual, maybe a push it a little more next time though.

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PS some people say that cockroaches will outlast a nuclear bombardment... I will still be finding poppy seeds in my kitchen until the last star in the universe puffs out it's last light particle!

PPS that's a long time from now.

PPPS there are no cockroaches in MY kitchen!



Worlds Best Tasting Chicken

2007-06-27T00:32:15.945+01:00

Farmhouse Direct's chicken is just simply wonderful. It has such a rich chicken flavour that I just couldn't bear to hide it. It was good enough to just eat on its own... but I was (eternally) hungry so... PS it costs quite a bit, but you're paying for quality so... beans on toast for me for the rest of the week!

(image) Look how juicy that is! Oh, yeah... I quickly pan fried the chicken with just a little seasoning, then just finished it off in the oven for 10-15 mins (around 200C ish) til the juices are clear and the skewer is hot to the touch (of your lip). Leave to rest.

(image) I made this dish two days running, and just varied the cream sauce. The sauce is made in the same frying-pan that the chicken was started in (which was transferred to a roasting tray for its stint in the oven), to which was added a little butter and lots of field mushrooms (sliced). Then I added a touch of chicken stock before the recipes diverges...

1) a drizzle of white wine vinegar, a little wholegrain mustard and the pan juices from the resting chicken.

2) sliced garlic, little bit more butter and again the pan juices.

The final ingredient was Jersey double cream (almost clotted!).

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This is tonight's version (2).

I served the juicy, succulent, aromatic chicken sliced and by itself, so I could choose how much mushroom/sauce I wanted with the chicken. The sticky rice helped to soak up the sauce.

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Rosemary and Cremé de Cassis II

2007-06-17T23:10:33.887+01:00

This is my second try in recent days. The first attempt bugged me... so this time I tied it in a pie crust. I tried the icing a different way too and it seems to have set and not run all over the place!

Oh, the orange bit on the pastry at the bottom of the pic is orange marmalade... the crust broke on me so I tried to glue it together. It worked as far as I can tell.

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Rosemary and Creme de Cassis fun

2007-06-17T11:44:08.637+01:00

My colleague "Stuie" had invited a few work colleagues around to his for lunch at his nice little place in Old Trafford, Manchester. The food was delightful, home made stuffed breads and "zucchini" bakes etc... but he had also challenged me to make a dessert using two things you wouldn't usually associate with each other.

His white chocolate and basil base with strawberries and balsamic vinegar dressing looked great and was divine to eat. Now it was my turn. The below picture shows how my first and only attempt looked the night before. Last minute as usual! No recipe either, but it felt right... silly boy.
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Lovely looking isn't it? It is a rosemary chocolate base with a cremé de cassis icing. ...the not too sweet topping really helped the not sweet at all base and together they tasted divine. All you nee to do is warm some double cream with some crushed rosemary, then after removing the rosemary just dump in some dark chocolate. At this point saner people than I would be thinking this would make a great pie filling... too easy I lament!

The topping is made from golden icing sugar (regular readers would know how much the golden sugar has messed me about in the past!) with a few tablespoons 0f water and cremé de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur).

This is where it all goes wrong! Because the golden sugar made the icing a dirty cream colour I had to put more blackcurrent liqueur in to turn it pink/blackcurranty. This meant it was never going to bl**dy set properly, and would mean it spread out on-top on the choccy (see pic). In The next morning it had separated a bit too. No worries, I'll just roll it, to make it a) easier to roll , and b) easier to eat.

I could b1tch about why it went wrong, but suffice to say it took me longer than planned to get to said lunch and consequently my dessert had melted into each other. The rescue plan was then to be able to spread it onto digestive biscuits, but since I'd tried to rescue it by putting it into the fridge it was too cool to spread... so (if this were a film Leslie Nielsen would be playing me) to soften it I put it in a oven that was cooling down after being used... it only needed a few seconds...

The chocolate fondue was nice ( :'-( ) but was blown out of the water by the strawberries and white choc... oh well, live and learn!!!



Ganache bites

2007-05-28T14:27:15.358+01:00

(image) So what to do when you buy 100% cocoa solids chocolate? It's a bit bitter to eat on its own, so I went back to my favourite gooey recipe and tried that.

I emptied the chunks of choc (about 73g after I snacked on a few pieces to see what it was like - It made my pint of bitter taste sweet!) into a ban-marie with a little double cream (equal measures -ish). The simmering water melts the chocolate at a slow pace, so it doesn't split. At least in theory, the 100% stuff isn't half delicate! You're not to work it too much otherwise it can get quite bitty, but I did stir it to get the cocoa butter back in the with solids.

I added a fair bit of sugar too to sweeten it a little, and added a little drab of whisky. A 10 year old Talisker to be exact, one of the finest whiskies.

(image) I put the concoction on a silicon mat and left it in the fridge to firm up. About 10 mins later I came back with a spoon, scooped up a little and rolled it in cocoa. Back in the fridge (minus one).

Lovely and firm at first, then they just melt on the tongue... mmmmm

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Gateau Saint Honoré... ish

2007-05-27T12:50:44.270+01:00

Well that was fun! Saint Honoré is the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. But even someone with his immense powers could not help me... No doubt if you're checking other posts on this gateau and you'll notice mine looks rather different... I'm such a good chef I let the recipe take me, rather than forcing it into something it shouldn't be... *ahem*For those of you not in the know (I'm still not) this cake has three main parts: 1. Puff pastry, 2. Choux pastry and 3. St. Honoré Cream.1. The puff pastry is tough, tough work; mine took hours of labourous attent... ok, £1.59 from the local shop, but I walked there so that should count, no?!2. Pate a Choux – Cream Puffs Dough 4 ¾ oz. all purpose flour (135 gr)1 cup water ( 240 ml)2 oz unsalted butter (58 gr)¼ tsp. salt (1 gr)1 cup eggs (240 ml)Sift the flour and set aside. Heat the water, butter and salt to a full rolling boil, so that the fat is not just floating on the top but is dispersed throughout the liquid (mine still had some butter on the top, don't fret). Stir the flour into the liquid with a heavy wooden spoon, adding it as fast as it can be absorbed. Avoid adding it all at once or it will form clumps. Cook, stirring constantly and breaking up the lumps if necessary, by pressing them against the side of the pan with the back of the spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan, about 2-3 minutes (mine happened much quicker, it's like making a white sauce). Transfer the dough to a mixer bowl. Let the paste cool slightly so that the eggs will not cook when they are added. You can add and stir the eggs by hand but it requires some serious elbow grease (elbows were thoroughly greased, but it wasn't too much work). Mix in the eggs, one at a time, using the paddle attachment on low or medium speed. Do not add all the eggs at once. Check after a few, the dough should have the consistency of thick mayonnaise. Transfer the dough to a piping bag and use as desired (go mad! I did :-D).Seriously easy considering the results, even mine turned out (too) well. Sooooo much fun!3. Saint Honore Cream (Rapid Chiboust or Diplomat Cream)1 envelope unflavored gelatin (7 gr.) *warning 1*1/4 cup cold water (60 ml)1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar (130 gr)½ cup all-purpose flour (70 gr)1/4 teaspoon salt5 egg yolks2 cups whole milk (500ml)1 Tb. rum *warning 2*¼ cup whipping cream (57 gr)3 egg whites dash of salt 1/2 cup sugar (105 gr)Vanilla pod (I used essence to hilarious out comes!) *warning 3*Soak the gelatin in the 1/4 cup of cold water. Put the sugar, flour, and salt into a saucepan and stir together with a whisk. Add the yolks and enough milk to make a paste. Whisk in the remainder of the milk. Place over low heat and stirring constantly, cook until thick. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in the whipping cream.Set the mixing bowl in cold water and stir until the cream is cool. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and using clean beaters, whip them with the dash of salt. As soon as the whites begin to stiffen, gradually add the 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until they are very stiff. Fold the egg whites into the cooled cream.So now you have all the main ingredients."Warning 1" refers to reading packet instructions. I didn't because of "Warning 2"... I found that the rum had the affect of making me forget to read the packet instructions on the gelatin. Well maybe not forget but you get the inference ;-) "Warning 3" refers to the fact I used essence and because of "Warning 2" I might have used too much... [...]



Four Cheese Pizza

2007-05-20T00:32:16.465+01:00

(image) Mozzarella di buffalo, crumbly goats cheese, dolcelatte and parmesiano.

Mmm mmm.

The dough was made from several different flours but it still came out quite well. I used Giorgio Locatelli's recipe, so a little milk and olive oil was added to the blend. Plus I put died oregano and basil into the hot water before mixing it into the flour mix.
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It was also cooked on a pizza stone so it have a nice crisp bottom to it...



Luckily for me the pizza was soooo good it nearly made up for the loss of the FA Cup to Chavski... still, it can't take away the moment when... no, must put it behind me... &(&^%& %$$$£$ £%&^(#*)@(!!!!!!



Boring Chicken?

2007-04-16T00:09:36.566+01:00

You have to be creative. Sometimes things may go wrong. Well, for you amateurs maybe... ;-)

(image) The slightly over caramelised parts in the pic is (curly) parsley - maybe I should have covered it for a bit while it roasted... I didn't bother with the duck I did last week... (yes it was gorgeous ;-)) but that was covered with orange slices so it had protection... not that the caramelised parsley wasn't interesting to taste :-)

I thought to myself: 'Chicken with a nice caramel crust would be nice. Oh, and maybe some smoked paprika. I have lots of parsley too...'. At this point readers of Terry Pratchett would realise that I got hit by a random Thought particle which inspired me to combine all of these things! Amazing hey?

I made a butter paste with the parsley and paprika. This was inserted into the area between the skin and meat on the breasts (after a while in the fridge to cool down). You make a pocket using your hand, just work it in gently (the skin should be quite tough to break, but don't push it).

I smeared some on the outside of the bird and sprinkled on a ground mix of salt, vanilla flavoured sugar, sage and oregano.

I halved an onion and put it in the cavity before putting it in the onion, skin still on. After the roasting, I put it into the gravy (made from the pan juices, white wine and a little chicken stock).

I was pretty boring from then on, I roasted potatoes in duck fat and served it with the chicken, gravy and sprouts.



Sun Dried Tomato and Olive Bread

2007-03-25T23:57:01.749+01:00

(image) This is just a normal loaf of bread recipe. Made with organic flour no less.

Ok, and a couple of additions, I chopped up some sun dried tomatoes (that came in olive oil) and some black olives (that were in brine, how ironic...).

Plus, on top of the basic recipe I added a little sugar and some baking powder; just to see what happened really.








(image) Looks quite nice no? It tastes great. It won't last for ling though... weird that...



Curry night

2007-03-12T23:11:16.379+00:00

Marinade:
Lemon grass
Turmeric
Dried Chili
Paprika
Can of tomatoes (without the can)
Onion
Garlic cloves
Ground Fenugreek
Cumin
All whizzed up until it formed a nice paste.

Chunky pork chops, cut into... well, chunks.

(image) There might be more in the marinade, I made it yesterday and marinaded the meat over night. I got a pizza to keep the wolves at the door... :-) Those two things combine to wipe my memory.

I removed the meat from the marinade, and took off all the marinade I could. In a sauce pan I fried a few mustard seeds until they popped and then added the meat. Once that had time to fry a little I added the marinade and then a couple of Kaffir lime leaves.

(image) A little mound of rice and some coriander and all's well :-D



Bacon and Cabbage

2007-03-04T21:45:01.685+00:00

(image) This is another impulse thing. I was walking around the supermarket and picked up the things I felt like, no recipe really in my mind. In the back of my head I knew I had some pancetta lardons that were coming to the end of their time. I'd had a very average Thai the night before, but paid very un-average prices! Sadly I don't mean the good side of average :-(
(image)
Then a cabbage lunged at me! A savoy no less. You'd think they'd be more dignified... So I have pork and cabbage, what brilliantly intricate meal could I create...? I fried the bacon bits, and added a red onion and fried it some more (adding a little olive oil now). When they were bronzed I added the cabbage. Stirred it, popped on a lid... 7-10 mins later I added a splash of balsamic to deglaze and then served. S&P of course... and a little toasted sour dough bread drizzled with EVOO. Simple



Lamb and Basil Meat Balls

2007-02-26T23:12:08.071+00:00

As usual my decisions for what to have for dinner were ruled by necessity. I had lots of basil slowly loosing their turgidity (not just a food blog, a lesson too :-)). So having lots of ragu too, I thought having meat balls would be fun.

I finely diced a small onion (and probably only used half) and added it to the organic lamb mince (400g). From this I could tell how much onion to add, I wanted the meat by itself to "hold" the onion i.e. after a brief mix with a hand there was no onion left in the bowl when I lifted the meat. To this I added a couple of cloves of finely diced/crushed garlic, salt & pepper, and as much basil as you can realistically fit in. I could have added a little cumin here, but my Lazy gene kicked in and I could be bothered to... blah blah blah... I then added an eggs and got stuck in with my hand until the egg was completely incorporated. Keeping my hands moist with a bit of water roll bits of the mix on the palm of your hand. The water should stop them sticking to you.

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This is the little fellows who went into the fridge for tomorrow's consumption, they're about the size of large button mushrooms. They've also been lightly dusted with flour; That is, dunked in flour and gently thrown from hand to hand to get rid of the excess. this is supposed to protect them from getting too dry. It also helps brown them.

Pan fried quickly to brown, then pour off the fat [or transfer the balls to another pan with the ragu] add the ragu (this way you get the little flavoured caramelised bits) and leave for about 10 minutes or so? Basically the balls are nearly cooked through through the browning process (depending on the size of your balls). You could leave them slightly longer to help marry the flavours... I kept some back for lunch the next day instead :-)

(image) I served these with bread. Me = Lazy