31 Mar 2013

SHEPARD'S PIE


WONDERFULLY COMFORTING SHEPARD'S PIE
 
INGREDIENTS
(serves 6)
 
500g lamb mince
500g beef mince
1 onion fine diced
1 chilli
1 celery stick fine diced
1 carrot fine diced
1 glug of ooil
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of baked beans or canellini beans
200ml red wine
200ml lamb stock
2 sprigs of fresh oregano
salt and pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pack of butter for the mashed potato
2kg King Edward potatoes mashed & seasoned
100g grated Parmesan or cheddar to finish off the mashed potato
 
Pan fry the onion, garlic, chilli, carrot & celery in the ooil for ten minutes until soft but not coloured, add the mince and brown off, add the red wine and reduce, add the stock, tomato and puree, beans and seasoning, simmer until you have a medium consistency, I like my shepards pie to be loose so that the sauce bubbles up and oozes out of any gaps in the mashed potato topping which then gets all crispy and caramelises in the oven adding some of the best chewy fluffy bites of potato and cheese.
 
 

30 Mar 2013

HOMEREARED ROASTED PORK LOIN RACK WITH GORGEOUS CRISPY CRACKLING

 
GORGEOUS ROASTED LOIN RACK OF PORK ON THE BONE WITH THE BEST EVER CRACKLING FROM OUR FIRST HOME REARED PIGS
 
INGREDIENTS
 
1 loin rack free range on the bone
King Edward potatoes
50g polenta
salt and pepper
100g home made lard
(or dripping)
1 carrot peeled & halved
2 sticks of celery
1 shallot halves
2 cloves of garlic bashed
1 tbsp. flour
300ml pork or chicken stock
 
Pre-heat your oven to the highest 240 degrees, pat the pork skin dry and sprinkle generously with salt and place in the oven for 30 minutes.  Turn the oven down to 200 degrees and add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic to the roasting pan, this is to add flavour to the roasting juices, cook the pork for 12 minutes per lb or until the centre is 75 degrees.  1 hour before the pork is ready, (inc the resting time), place your part boiled potatoes seasoned with polenta in to a roasting tin with hot fat. When your pork is cooked take out and leave to rest for 15 minutes before serving. 
 
This gives you the time to make your roast gravy, place the roasting tin on the stove, add the flour to the roasting pan and stir in well add your stock and whisk until smooth and slightly thickened, season and serve.
 

27 Mar 2013

LAMB MADRAS BURGER WITH A HOT CURRY TOMATO CHUTNEY

 
TODAY I WAS IN A GUSTO (not gastro!) COOKING MOOD, JUST WANTING FLAVOUR!  SO IT RESULTED IN A SPEEDY FABULOUS JUICY FLAVOURSOME MADRAS CURRIED LAMB BURGER WITH A REDUCED  QUICK TOMATO CURRY CHUTNEY.
 
INGREDIENTS
(makes 8)
FOR THE BURGERS
500g minced lamb
500g minced beef
big pinch salt and white pepper
2 tbsp madras curry powder
1 small onion fine chopped
2 cloves garlic grated
1 red chilli fine chopped
1.5" root ginger grated
TO FINISH
4-8 burger buns toasted
cheese slices (optional)
 
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together, using your hands is more fun and better as you can squish all the ingredients together.  I like to check my seasoning by pan frying a small meatball, once you are happy with the seasoning form into 8 balls and then push down and squash the ball out flat to the thickness of 2 x pound coins. 
 
Heat a griddle or non stick pan and sear your burgers for a couple of minutes each side.  To serve I like to toast my bun and layer with salad, onion and some of the curry chutney, as for the cheese I put this on my burger for the last minute to go all gooey, stuff in your bun and enjoy!
 
FOR THE CURRY TOMATO CHUTNEY
1 small onion fine diced
1 clove garlic fine diced
1 red chilli fine chopped
tbsp of ghee
1 tin of tomato's
1 tbsp madras curry powder
2 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp turmeric powder
100ml chicken stock reduced
 
Pan fry the onion, garlic and chilli in the ghee for 5 minutes or so until soft and not coloured, add the madras curry powder and chicken stock and reduce by half, add the tomato's, tamarind paste and turmeric powder and simmer until nice and thick, season to taste.

26 Mar 2013

COMFORTING GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH AND TOMATO SOUP

 
JUST THE HUG I NEEDED, GOOEY OOZING GRILLED CHEESE WITH A DUNKING BOWL OF CREAMY TOMATO SOUP ONLY DOWNSIDE WAS FENDING OFF MY HUSBAND!
 
INGREDIENTS
(for one as this is personal)
 
FOR THE SOUP
1 can chopped tomatoes
100ml reduced chicken stock
1 small pinch of sugar
150ml double cream
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
 
FOR THE GRILLED CHEESE
2 thick slices of white bread
4 slices of Monetary Jack cheese
2 tbsp cream cheese
2 slices of cheddar cheese
3 slices of burger cheese
3 tbsp butter
 
First start off making the soup, place the tomato's and chicken stock in a pan and bring to a gentle simmer, add the sugar and cook for a few minutes, add the cream and butter and season to taste, using a hand blender, blend until smooth and leave to tick over gently while you make the grilled cheese.
 
Take the bread slices and toast one side, then take the toasted side and layer with all the cheeses on both sides, place back under the grill until the cheese has gone all gooey and melted, place the other slice of bread on top to make the sandwich, now melt the butter in a non stick pan or on a plancher and pan fry both sides of the sandwich until nicely toasted and golden with the butter.  Cut in half and serve on a plate with a bowl of hot dunking tomato soup.
 
This is one of those comforting dishes that you just need, seriously it is a warm gooey hug of love.

FABULOUS TORTELLINI STUFFED WITH SPINACH AND RICOTTA CHEESE AND SERVED IN A RICH SUMPTIOUS TOMATO AND MARSCAPONE SAUCE

 
A BEAUTIFUL RICH TOMATO AND CREAMY MARSCAPONE SAUCE WITH GORGEOUS RICOTTA AND SPINACH STUFFED TORTELLINI
 
INGREDIENTS
(serves 4)
 
FOR THE PASTA
400g 00 pasta flour
 4 large free range eggs beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ooil
semolina for dusting
 
Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and then pour out on to your work top, make a mountain with a well in the centre, mix the ooil with the beaten egg and pour two thirds into the centre and start flicking the flour in from the outside into the beaten egg and slowly incorporate all the flour, add a little more beaten egg if you need to until you have a ball of dough.  Knead for five minutes until smooth and elastic then wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for an hour to relax.
 
Dust your work top with some semolina and cut the dough ball into three, using a rolling pin just flatten each 1/3 in to a oblong shape and roll through your pasta machine.  Put your pasta machine on the widest setting and run the pasta through, keep repeating each time turning the setting down thinner until you have a lovely long thin length of pasta, dusting with semolina as needed.  Repeat with the other two sections of dough.  Cover with a damp tea towel or paper roll to prevent the pasta drying out and cracking when you try to fold the tortellini
 
MEANWHILE MAKE THE FILLING
400g fresh spinach
200g ricotta cheese
pinch of nutmeg
100g grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
ooil
 
Place the spinach in a colander and pour over a cup of boiling water, drain and then squeeze dry, rough chop and add to a bowl, add the ricotta, nutmeg, Parmesan and seasoning, mix well.
 
TO MAKE THE TORTELLINI
Take a length of the pasta and lay out flat in a long line brush with some of the remaining left over beaten egg, with a large scone cutter cut out as many circles the you can in the pasta.  Place a spoon full of the ricotta filling just off the centre of each pasta circle.  Fold the top of the pasta over the filling so you have a half circle, pressing the edges down firmly.
 
To make the tortellini shape take the two edges and just simply bring them backwards to meet each other and press them sealing them together, some people find this easier to do by wrapping the two corners around a finger and pinching them together, this creates that little ear like trough that captures extra sauce making these little parcels of flavour even more gorgeous.
 
FOR THE SAUCE
1 shallot fine diced
1 small clove garlic grated
dash of ooil & tsp butter
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
100ml chicken stock
150g marscapone
few fresh basil leaves torn
salt and black pepper
 
Gently pan fry the onion and garlic in the ooil and butter for five minutes until softened but not coloured, add the tomatoes and chicken stock and simmer for five minutes, then reduce the heat very slightly and add the marscapone, stir in well, let the sauce only just simmer for a few minutes, season to taste.  Hold the sauce at this level ready to receive the cooked tortellini  once cooked.
 
TO COOK THE TORTELLINI
 
Bring a pan of salted water to a rolling boil and drop in the tortellini pasta, these will only take 2-3 minutes to cook, drain and place on your serving plates, pour over your hot tomato sauce and drizzle with a dash of ooil and sprinkle over the torn basil, a dusting of fresh Parmesan and season with fresh ground black pepper.
 
 
 

25 Mar 2013

LAMB SHANK MADRAS CURRY THE BEST I HAVE EVER MADE


FINALLY YES! A GOLD MEDAL WINNING CURRY RECIPE THAT LOVES ME AND MY COOKING METHODS, THIS IS SO AWESOME I WANT TO COOK IT AGAIN IMMEDIATELY AND THEN START TO PRACTISE MAKING THIS A BASE RECIPE FOR MY OTHER FAVOURITE CURRIES, ROGAN JOSH AND DANSAK

INGREDIENTS
(serves 4)

FOR THE MADRAS SPICE CURRY POWDER
(you can buy this powder already ground but I urge you to make the powder as it is more fragrant)

2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
5 whole cloves


Place all the whole spices in a coffee grinder if you have one, the coffee grinder gives a finer powder but I don't have one yet so I used a pestle and mortar and my husband's muscles!!!  Most the spices ground easily to a powder but the fenugreek seeds only ground down a little no matter how hard my big muscle man tried.  The fenugreek seeds did cook down in the sauce so it turned out not to be a issue after all.  (I don't think I am going to tell him that after 20 minute of constant spice grinding!!!)  All for the love of cooking !

FOR THE LAMB MADRAS SAUCE
4 lamb shanks or 6 lamb shoulder shanks
2-3 tbsp ghee
1 stick of cinnamon or bark
4 cloves garlic peeled
1 hot red chilli de-seeded
2" ginger peeled
2 onions peeled
12 curry leaves (fresh if your lucky enough to find them)
5 cardamom pods slightly crushed
2 bay leaves fresh if you can
300g beef stock
2 tsp tamarind paste
1 tin chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 tbsp chopped coriander to garnish

Heat the2 tbsp of ghee in a deep pan and sear the lamb shanks until golden browned all over, remove and leave to rest on a plate.  In a blender pulse the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger until very finely chopped, add to the pan, if you need a little more ghee add now and cook for 5 minutes or so until the onions are softened but not coloured, add 2 heaped tbsp of your curry powder along with the curry leaves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom, tamarind, salt, pepper, beef stock and tomatoes, bring to a simmer and add the lamb shanks and any resting juices, place on the lid and pop in the oven 150 degrees for approx. 2-3 hours until the lamb is so tender if wants to fall off the bone and the gorgeous sauce has reduced and is now has a beautiful bouquet of flavour that is making you want to just dive in there and then!  Serve with some home made chapatis breads and gorgeous fluffy rice.

PERFECT FLUFFY EASY COOK RICE
For the easiest most gorgeous fluffy rice, for two portions take 1 coffee mug of rice and two of the same mug of water, place in a pan with a lid and bring to a simmer, cook for eight minutes without touching or stirring, take off the lid and add a knob of butter, remove from the heat and do not stir of touch, leave to rest for ten minutes and now you will have perfect fluffy rice ready to serve, fluff up with a fork and serve.


FOR THE CHAPATIS
(makes 6)
This is a really quick and simple 30 assembly second recipe well worth doing.

INGREDIENTS
165g chapati flour
(wholemeal if you cant find this)
3/4 tsp salt
115ml water
1 tsp oil

Mix all the ingredients together to a loose ball and leave to rest for 10 minutes, then take the dough ball, pull off golf ball sizes of dough and roll out to a very thin disk, in a dry non stick pan, dry fry the chapati for approx one minute until it puffs up and chars a little turn and repeat.


Serve this most wonderful bone stock slow cooked gorgeous madras curry with some simple plain fluffy rice and the gorgeous chapatis to fold this curry in and mop up the sauce, just brilliant.


PAN FRIED PORK CHOP & KIDNEY WITH APPLE CALVADOS BRANDY CREAM SAUCE

 
OUR FIRST HOME REARED PORK CHOP & KIDNEY CARAMELISED AND FINISHED OFF WITH A APPLE CALVADOS BRANDY STOCK CREAM SAUCE
 
INGREDIENTS
(serves 2)
 
2 large pork chops bone in, skin on & kidney attached (optional)
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp butter
1 glug ooil
1 shallot fine diced
1 clove garlic fine diced
1 tbsp reduced chicken stock or jelly pot
100ml calvados apple brandy
100ml double cream
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and black pepper
 
 Heat the oil and butter in a non stick frying pan and caramelise the pork chop skin side down first, then both sides, as this is a thick pork chop once sealed and caramelised you will need to pop in the oven for approx 7 minutes at 180 degrees to cook all the way through.  This now gives you the chance to make your sauce. 
 
 Take the pan and add the shallot and garlic and fry until soft but not coloured, then add the calvados and reduce by 1/3 then add the double cream and simmer for a few minutes, add the chicken stock, seasoning and parsley and taste, adjust seasoning if needed.  Remove the pork from the oven and any resting juices add to the sauce and then serve the sauce over the pork chop.  This dish goes well with roasted vegetables or a creamy buttery mashed potato.

24 Mar 2013

SOUTHERN FRIED PORK CHOP WITH COUNTRY GRAVY

 
SUCCULENT JUICY PAN FRIED PORK CHOP WITH COUNTRY GRAVY MADE FROM THE JUICES IN THE PAN
 
INGREDIENTS
(makes 4)
 
4 pork chops (no bone)
1 lrg food bag
200g plain flour
1 lrg pinch salt
1 lrg white pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 lrg pinch onion powder
1 lrg pinch garlic powder
pinch oregano
1 pint butter milk or (substitute)
To substitute add 1/2 juice of a lemon to your milk
2 eggs beaten
125 g lard or veg oil for pan frying
 
FOR THE COUNTRY GRAVY
1 tbsp plain flour
200ml - 250 ml milk
1/2 tsp knorr jelly chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
 
 
First set up your breading station, you will need two large shallow bowls, place the beaten egg in one and the flour and all the dry ingredients in the other bowl.
 
Take your pork chop and place into a food bag, with a meat mallet or rolling pin bash out to twice the size, repeat with the other chops.  Keep the chops in the food bag and add all of the buttermilk, place in the fridge to rest, if you can do this a few hours in advance this helps tenderise the meat more.
 
When ready to cook, heat the lard or oil in a non stick frying pan to a moderate heat.  Take out each pork chop, one at a time and dip in the seasoned flour, then into the egg and then into the flour again, coating well, then straight into the hot fat to pan fry, repeat with each pork chop.  Gently pan fry the southern fried chops for a few minutes on each side and place in a warm oven 160 degrees for a couple of minutes to keep warm just while you make the country gravy.
 
Take the frying pan and spoon of almost all of the fat except for approx 2-3 tbsp, keeping all the cooking flavour from the pork chops in the pan, add the flour to make a roux and stir well cooking out the flour for a couple of minutes, now add your half your milk and stir until smooth, add the rest of the milk slowly until you have a spoon coating consistency, then add the chicken stock and seasoning, simmer for a few minutes, if your gravy becomes to thick just loosen with a little more milk.  Serve over the pork chop and enjoy with some collard greens or buttery mashed potato.
 

22 Mar 2013

HOMEMADE TACOS WITH PAN FRIED CHORIZO AND GARLIC POTATOES

 
MY HUSBANDS MOST FAVOURITE TACO FILLING PAN FRIED POTATO'S WITH CHORIZO, RE-FRIED BEANS, HINT OF CHEESE AND TOPPED OFF WITH SOUR CREAM, SALSA AND CORIANDER
 
INGREDIENTS
(MAKES 12 TACOS) 
8 rooster potatoes diced
1 clove garlic diced
2 cooking chorizo's diced
dash ooil
 fresh coriander chopped
2 tbsp re-fried beans
sour cream
150ml salsa (recipe below)
 

Heat the ooil in a pan and gently pan fry the potatoes for 10 minutes add the garlic & chorizo and cook for a further 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft in the centre and gloriously crispy on the outside and all the flavour from the chorizo and garlic have infused with them, season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Leave in the pan to keep warm while you make the salsa and tacos.
 
SPEEDY SALSA RECIPE
1 tin tomatoes
1 small onion
small bunch coriander
1 hot chilli
1 tsp salt
1 lemon juiced
2 tbsp tom puree
 
FOR THE SALSA
Place all the ingredients, keeping back half the lemon juice into your blender, and blend to a sauce, taste and add more lemon juice or salt if needed.
 
FOR HOMEMADE TACOS
400g masa harina
2 tbsp ooil
large pinch of salt
550ml warm water
 
 
 
HOMEMADE TACOS
The very best tacos are fresh handmade to order and as they are quick and easy to make you can make them while cooking the filling.
Place all the ingredients together in a bowl and because we are using masa harina leave the water to soak in for 5 minutes before bring together to form a dough ball, gently knead for 5 minutes in the bowl, roll out into a courgette size sausage.  cut into large golf ball sizes.  To roll out the tacos place a sheet of cling film on your work top or tortilla press and top the dough ball with another sheet of cling film and press or roll out to approx 6" disc, not to thin as harder to eat with however too thick is not a joy either.
 
Heat a cast iron comel or non stick frying pan and cook the taco until slightly charred approx 1 minute, I like the flavour this adds to the taco, turn over and cook the other side, keep warm wrapped in a tea towel.
 
 
To stuff your taco first spread  a tsp of re-fried beans and a pinch of cheese, top with lots of the gorgeous chorizo and potato filling and finish off with sour cream, salsa & a sprinkling of corinader.
 


21 Mar 2013

FANTASTIC SPEEDY SUMPTIOUS HICKORY SMOKED BBQ CHICKEN BURRITO

 
FANTASTIC GORGEOUS SUMPTIOUS HICKORY SMOKED BBQ CHICKEN BURRITO
 
INGREDIENTS
(makes 4)
 
FOR THE FILLING
dash ooil
3 chicken breasts diced
1 onion fine diced
1 clove garlic fine diced
1 green pepper diced
100ml tomato ketchup
3 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
1 lrg tsp chipotle paste
1 tsp chili flakes
Salt and Pepper
 
4 flour tortillas
1 tin re-fried beans (1/2 for this)
200g grated cheese
4 tbsp sour cream
200ml salsa
1 tbsp fresh coriander
 
ACCOMPANIMENTS
1 cup of rice
2 cups of water
1/2 tin re-fried beans
 
Heat the ooil and gently soften the onions and garlic, add the diced chicken and peppers and when almost cooked add the sugar, tomato ketchup and chipotle paste, cook for approx 5 minutes and then season to taste and add the chili flakes.
 
To cook the rice rinse under running cold water until clear and place in a deep pan with the water, place the lid on and bring to simmer and time for 5 minutes, then do not remove the lid but take off the heat and leave to one side, this will finish cooking the rice to a perfect fluffy consistnecy.
 
To make the burrito, take the flour tortillas and paint the centre with re-fried beans and sprinkle on a little cheese, place a quarter of your burrito filling in the centre and then to fold the burrito take the side in front of you and fold over the filling away from you, then bring the other side up over that, now turn the whole burrito over and bring the left and right sides up into the centre making a parcel.  Turn over and place on your plate.
 
Now to plate up sprinkle some cheese on top of your burrito and place some salsa on top of that, place some re-fried beans on the plate, top with a pinch of cheese and pop the plate under the grill to melt the cheese and salsa, this also will heat the re-fried beans, once the salsa and cheese are bubbling remove from the grill, top the burrito with sour cream and coriander and serve with rice and enjoy a wonderful sumptious burrito.
 
 
 
 


18 Mar 2013

SWEET SOY & LEMONGRASS GINGER STICKY SLOW BRAISED PORK BELLY

 
SLOW ROASTED BELLY PORK MARINATED IN CRABBIES GINGER BEER WITH SOY SAUCE, SUGAR, STAR ANISE, LEMONGRASS AND FIVE SPICE.
 
 
WoW !  What a fantastic mouth melting sweet sticky aromatic pork dish and well worthy of the 24hr marinating time.  What makes this even more special is that it is our first tasting of our home reared pork belly and it did not disappoint.
 
INGREDIENTS
1 large whole piece of bell pork skin on or off
(skin on more fatty but a bit of crackling too!)
 
THE MARINADE
1 lrg bottle crabbies ginger beer
200g soft dark brown sugar
2 sticks of bashed lemongrass
3 whole star anise
1 tsp five spice powder
150ml dark soy sauce
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 lrg spring onion bashed
 
 
Place your belly pork in a deep roasting tin, add all the marinade ingredients and stir well, cover with tin foil and place in your fridge for a minimum of 24hrs, less will be ok and if you only have a few hours (min 2) that is perfectly ok and probably only makes a 30% difference overall, it is just the longer you leave the marinated meat the deeper the flavour penetrates into the belly pork.
Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees and place your marinated pork in, leave to cook for approx 3 hours, if your belly pork has skin on and you want crackling, remove the foil after 2 hrs of cooking, pat dry the skin with paper roll and sprinkle over some sea salt, place back in the oven for the last hour un-covered to allow the skin to become gorgeous crackling, the marinade sauce will also reduce to a lovely glaze for the finished dish.

15 Mar 2013

OUR FIRST GLAZED CIDER CURED HAM FROM OUR PIGS

 
SO EXCITIED OUR FIRST CIDER GLAZED HAM FROM OUR PIGS
 
I have had to be very patient, which I can do but did find a hint frustrating as I just wanted to get to the finished ham...12 days in the brine and then 24hrs soaking followed by 5 hours gentle simmering and 1 hr setting the glaze and Ta Da here she is in all her beautiful glory...
 
THE CIDER BRINE
 
 
INGREDIENTS FOR THE BRINE
 
1 ltr cider
4 ltrs apple juice
1kg dark brown sugar
700g black treacle
30g black peppercorns crushed
 30 juniper berries crushed
10 cloves whole
10g salt petre
2kg salt
8 bay leaves
2ltr water
 
Bring all the brine ingredients to a rolling simmer and stir well, cook for approx 20 minutes until almost all the salt has been absorbed into the liquid, leave to cool and place in a plastic tub in the fridge preferably overnight to chill before placing you chilled leg of pork in to cure. 
 
Leave your leg of pork to brine for 3.5 days per kilo.  Remove and place in a large plastic tub and cover with cold water to soak for 24hrs.  Take your cured leg out and place in a deep stock pot cover with water and throw in a couple of whole carrots, 3 sticks of celery, 10 black peppercorns, couple of bay leaves, 1 onion just halved and a crushed clove of garlic, bring to a gently just simmer and cook for 4-5 hours.
 
THE GLAZE
 
300g brown sugar
1 tbsp English mustard
10 cloves
100ml water
 
Remove from the stock pot and place on a shallow roasting tray, peel off the skin, it will just peel away easily, and then score the fat into a diamond pattern, paint over the mustard and then pat on the sugar, randomly stud the ham with the cloves.  Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees, add the water to the pan and bake your ham for 30-40 minutes, towards the end of the cooking time I like to baste the ham with some of the glaze that has collected in the bottom of the pan.
 
Leave to cool if you can before trying, this is a bit to tempting for me as it has been 14 days in the making and I just don't want to wait for a taste!!!
 

 

13 Mar 2013

CHORIZO AND PANCETTA MACARONI CHEESE

 
A MOUTHFUL OF COMFORT, HAPPINESS AND LOVE IN EVERY BITE
 
I know it has only been a few weeks since I did mac n cheese but we had a really craving for this today and what with a fridge full of home cured pancetta, chorizo and cheese so it felt a natural choice to va va voom the mac n cheese, not that this is va va voomed, if I was to do that I think it would be with a hint of cream, posh cheese and lobster!
 
INGREDIENTS
(serves 6-8)
 
100g pancetta
200g sliced chorizo sausage
50g butter
2 cloves garlic sliced
60g plain flour
1 ltr whole milk
pinch grated nutmeg
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme
350g mature cheddar
100g Parmesan grated
fresh ground black pepper
500g cooked macaroni pasta
 
Pan fry the chorizo, pancetta and garlic in a heavy bottomed pan, (one you can pop in the oven) until crispy and the garlic has that nutty brown chewy texture, add the butter, as soon as it is melted add the flour and stir to make your roux, cook out for a few minutes to help remove the raw flavour of the flour.  Now start to add your milk approx 150ml at a time to start, and stir well into the roux until it is smooth again, once half of the milk has been added and smoothly incorporated you can add the rest of the milk and stir in well, add the bay leaves and thyme. 
 
 Bring to almost a simmer and cook for 10 minutes of so, stirring most of the time, add the cheeses, pepper and nutmeg, taste and adjust seasoning if needed, I dont feel the need for salt (What! No don't panic the salt police did not get to me!), I feel the pancetta and chorizo season the dish enough.  The sauce is now ready to pour over your cooked macaroni, stir well and return back to the sauce pan, sprinkle with more grated Parmesan and place in the oven 190 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbling over and all browned off adding that extra flavour mmmmm...  I want more now !!!
 


HAND RAISED HOT WATER CRUST SCOTCH PIES

Christmas Holiday Food
These Gorgeous flaky hot water crust pastry pies stuffed with juicy lamb are just perfect for friends and family over the Christmas Holidays, make plenty as they go fast!  This is an old fashioned recipe with one modern ingredient that elevates the sumptuous lamb filling.  I am lucky enough to raise our own pork which means my home rendered crackling lard adds a whole other level of flavour to my pastry.  You can do this too by asking your butcher for some pork back fat and skin, then to make your own lard, roast the fat and skin for a hour or so until all the fat has rendered down, drain off and leave to cool then refrigerate until needed.


Ingredients
(makes 10 small pies)
(2-3 per person)

Pie Filling
500g organic lean minced lamb
1 onion fine fine diced
Good pinch of  Himalayan sea salt
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
15ml worcestershire sauce or 1/2 tsp of umami paste
100ml lamb stock
1 beaten egg for pastry egg wash

Hot Water Crust Pastry
450g plain flour
110g lard
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
180ml water

 Place the flour and salt in a large bowl, bring the water to a gentle simmer, add the lard, once melted pour the hot lard over the flour and mix evenly with a spoon to start with and as soon as you can handle the heat finish mixing with your hands.

When making your pastry have your jam jar or pie dolly ready as you will need to work with the hot pastry.  If the pastry cools to much it can crack while working with it and even though I love a rustic pie you want to keep all the meat cooking juices in. 

Hand Raising The Pie Crust


You don't need a special bit of kit (pie dolly) to do this, a small tin or upside down jam jar will do the job just fine.  To hand raise the pastry take a small tennis ball size of the pastry and place the mould on top of the centre of the pastry ball, push down which will squeeze the pastry out, using both hands in a cupping method squeeze the pastry up the sides of your mould using a twisting action.  You can also push this pastry on the base and up the insides of a standard pie tin, if fact you can even roll out the pastry with a rolling pin, it will affect the light crispy melt in your mouth texture the more you work the pastry.

For the lid take a gold ball size of pastry and press out with the heal of your hand until thin, cut to size, repeat as many times as pies you want to make, this recipe makes 10 small just more than one mouthful pies, now your ready to make the filling.

Place the minced lamb, onion, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and lamb stock in a large bowl and combine evenly, divide the lamb mixture equally between the pie cases, egg wash the rim's of the pie cases, place the pastry lid on top and crimp or press the edges together, then in the centre of each pie form a hole to allow the steam to escape, finish off with a egg wash over the top, sides and bake at 190 degrees for approx 35 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.  I like my pies to ooze their gorgeous self made gravy out of the top of the pies and caramelise on top of the pastry while baking I feel it makes the pies more comforting and gives you a expectation of the flavour that awaits your first bite.


Leave to cool slightly if you can wait that long, these pies are best eaten straight from the oven or within four hours at room temperature, after four hours these must be refrigerated, they will keep in the fridge but you loose a bit of the flavour and pastry texture once chilled.

11 Mar 2013

THE FIRST BACON SANDWICH ...

 
HERE IT IS, THE LONG AWAITED FIRST BACON SANDWICH FROM OUR FIRST PIGS.
 
The best ever bacon sandwich, it has been two weeks in the making and boy it was worth the wait, succulent crispy sweetcured bacon nestled between thick creamy buttered warm fresh bread, one of my most favourite ever meals.
 
 
OUR BACON

10 Mar 2013

MOTHER'S DAY FOR MY MUM HER FAVORITE DIABLITO'S WITH DIABLO SAUCE

 
MUMS FAVOURITE DIABLITO'S WITH DIABLO SAUCE
 
INGREDIENTS
 
(makes 12)
FOR THE DIABLITOS
500g Organic ground beef
400g belly pork minced
1 shallot fine diced
1 clove garlic fine diced
2 chilli's fine diced
1 tsp dried chillies
1 tsp Cayenne hot pepper
Salt & pepper
 
Place all the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well, form into small 2oz patties and cook for approx 10 minutes on a plancher or frying pan.
 
THE BREAD FOR THE DIABLITO BUN'S
 
 
This dough recipe is my most favourite, I have had many attempts and failed in producing a beautiful light airy roll I so often produce a chunky door stop of a roll that really could harm if I threw it! But this lovely simple recipe and old fashioned method have delivered time after time for me.
 
10g fresh yeast or dried
650g strong plain flour
10g salt
350g warm water
 
 
Mix the salt, yeast and flour together in a large bowl, add the water and bring to a sort of loose dough, turn out onto your surface, no flour is needed!  The dough will be a sticky mess, that is perfect, lift up the front of the dough and flop forward in a rolling crest of a wave movement, imagine trapping all the air in that rolling wave, keep repeating this for approx five minutes until the dough stops being so sticky and lifts itself  from the work top and the dough has a soft light elastic feel to  it, now form into a ball and place in a floured bowl to prove for one hour in a warm place.
 
Take your risen dough and make your mini rolls, leave to prove again for 45 minutes, dust the rolls with flour and then bake for approx 15 minutes at 200 degrees.  Your work is  not over, slice in half and toast the insides before serving with the diablitos...
 
MY MUM'S DIABLO SAUCE
 
4 tbsp mayo
2 tsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp hot cayenne pepper
 
Mix all the ingredients together and serve on top of the diablito burgers in the toasted mini buns with the fabulous mini burgers, this is a mini mouthful of fabulousness...
 
 
 

ALBONDIGAS LAMB MEATBALLS IN TIO PEPE TOMATO SAUCE

 
ALBONDIGAS MEAT BALLS IN TIO PEPE SAUCE

 
INGREDIENTS
 
(makes 30)
FOR THE MEATBALLS
500g minced lamb
1 shallot fine diced
2 cloves garlic grated
1 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp hot paprika
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
40g breadcrumbs
3 tbsp milk
125g jammon serrano fine diced
3 tbsp chopped parsley
glug of ooil for frying
 
Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk, then add to a large bowl along with all the other ingredients and mix well, form into small one bite meatballs and then heat the ooil and brown off the meatballs in batches and reserve to one side, and use the pan with all the cooking juices in for the sauce.
 
FOR THE SAUCE
3 shallots fine chopped
2 cloves garlic fine chopped
1 red chilli fine chopped
1 tsp dried chillies
1 glug of ooil
200ml Tio Pepe sherry
300ml chicken stock
2 tins of top quality chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
Black pepper
Salt
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cayenne pepper hot
 
In the same pan you have browned off the meatballs, add a glug of ooil and gently soften the onions, garlic and chillies for approx 5 minutes then add the Tio Pepe, chicken stock, tomatoes, sugar, bay leaves, chilli's, salt, pepper and cayenne and simmer for approx 30 minutes until thickened, add the meatballs and cook for a further 10 minutes, serve with fresh warm ciabatta for mopping up all the glorious sauce.
 

8 Mar 2013

OUR FIRST HOME SWEET CURED BACON

 
HOME GROWN CURED HICKORY SMOKED BACON
 
 
REALLY PLEASED OUR FIRST HOME SWEETCURED BACON

 
I have been practising on the local farm shops sides of belly with different cures and saltiness so that I would be ready for actually curing our own raised belly pork to our favourite cure to ensure our own bacon will be just what we want, I found river cottage's cure with a hint of Kristi to be the best.
 
THE BACON SWEETCURE
1 whole belly of pork
(5-10 day cure)
4kg salt
500g soft dark brown sugar
30 juniper berries crushed
50g black pepper corns crushed
6 bay leaves torn
3 tsp salt petre (optional)
 
Take your belly's of pork and thoroughly rub all over with the cure, you will have some cure left over, reserve as you will use this.  In a plastic tub, not metallic place a bed of the salt cure and stack your rubbed bellies on top.  Cover and place in the fridge for 5-10 days.  If you want to cure your bacon and use it immediately and keep for approx a month fresh or so then 5 days is perfect, the longer you cure the bacon the longer the bacon will keep, but it will be a lot more salty, therefore you will need to soak the bacon for a few hours just to lessen the saltiness before slicing.
 
 

7 Mar 2013

CHELSEA CINNAMON BUNS WITH ORANGE ICING


 
INGREDIENTS
(makes 12)
FOR BUN DOUGH
500g strong white flour
1 tsp salt
7g dried yeast
2 tsp ground cinnamon
300g warm milk
50g butter softened
1 egg
dash veg oil
FOR THE GORGEOUS FILLING
100g raisins
200g sultanas
100g dried apricots fine diced
200g dried cranberries
2 hot cups of tea with 2 sugars
orange zested
50g butter soft
100g soft dark brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
FOR THE ORANGE DRIZZLE ICING
3 tbsp marmalade warmed
1 orange squeezed
 200g (ish) icing sugar
1 orange zested for dusting
 
 
METHOD
 
First make a cup of strong tea with two sugars and pour over the dried fruit leaving to one side for half an hour or longer for the fruit to plump up.  Next to make the cinnamon dough, put the flour, salt and yeast in bowl, make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the beaten egg into the centre, warm the milk and add the butter so it just melts then add to the flour mixture and stir in well until the  contents come together as a soft dough.
 
Tip out the dough onto a floured worktop, knead for five minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, place in a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel and leave in a warm place for approx 1 hr to double in size.
 
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down and turn out onto your worktop, roll the dough out to a rectangle approx 5mm thick, brush all over generously with some melted butter, sprinkle with the brown sugar, cinnamon, fruit and orange zest.  I learnt from the great bake off to take one side down which did really help with the rolling.  Take the far side of the dough and start to roll up tight and keep going until you have a giant roll.  Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest and rise in your warm kitchen for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees.
 
Once you have rested the roll for approx 30 minutes with a sharp knife cut into 10 sections approx 4cm wide, place then cut side up on your greased baking tray, leaving a tiny hint of  space around each slice, once again rest for another 30 minutes covered with a tea towel, this really is worth the effort and if well timed you can be getting on with other house hold or garden chores!
 
Bake the tray of buns for 20-25 minutes until all are risen and have a lovely light golden brown even colour.  Leave to cool on the tray and then brush with the warm melted marmalade and finish off with the squeezed orange juice over the icing sugar, mixed well to make a gorgeous orange icing sugar drizzle to finish off the buns.

4 Mar 2013

HICKORY SMOKEY CRUST FIRED PIT BEEF ROASTED SIRLOIN

 
I JUST LOVE COOKING A SIDE OF SIRLOIN OVER COALS ON MY LITTLE JAMAICAN COLE POT, THIS FOR ME IS ONE OF THE TASTIEST WAYS TO ROAST BEEF !
 
I have learnt so much from America on how to bbq, I now have some shells that I collected from the beach, then I bashed with a rolling pin in to a course gravel, I soaked these in water and then while cooking this pit beef if I started to worry that I am not control of the heat I now know to throw a handful of the wet shells on the coals as it tempers down the heat for a bit giving me back a degree of control.  I love learning methods.
 
Very simple to do, approx 3kg (because you want left overs!!!) thick end of the centre cut sirloin steak, I don't season this as the charcoal and flames will do all the seasoning for you in making the burnt end crust, this is sooo unbelievably full of fantastic flavour.  The first time I did this I was flapping around panicking that I had just set fire to a expensive piece of meat! (love my memories).  When cooking it is the skin side of the sirloin that will catch fire due to the fat rendering down, so don't panic like I did just turn the meet regularly, which will keep an even cooking temp and burnt end crust all over and still produced a rare cut.  Phew !!!
 
 
For 3kg side of sirloin I roast over white coals for approx 45 minutes and then wrap in tin foil and rest for 20 minutes, this is for rare to very rare.  If you want medium I would cook for another 20 minutes and then rest the same time. 
 
I want to express how gorgeous the melting flavours that this cooking methods gives you, the thin crispy smokey burnt ring on the outside of your slice of juicy steak that has been basted by it's own rendered fat, this flavour is divine, I like to have three or four thin slices of steak instead of one 10 oz piece of steak, with some fresh horseradish creme fraiche and simple butter new potatoes.
 
 
SIMPLICITY AT ITS BEST
 
 
 Super fantastic gorgeous dinner.