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Friday, December 18, 2009

Beef, Guinness And Garlic Stew

I put some whole cloves of garlic in this dish without the
strong garlic taste using this method: Peel the garlic cloves
and poach them in water until tender. Strain the cloves and
wrap them in some muslin cloth. Add this to your dish and
when the whole thing is cooked remove the muslin and return
the cloves to the dish after the sauce has been strained.

Recipe anon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nuttin' Like A Good Gumbo

1 pound medium shrimp
2 boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
Bay leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces smoked sausage, such as andouille or Polish sausage, 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes in juice
4 bay leaves and some fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 cups long-grain rice
4 cups of chicken stock or water.
Sauté the chicken and shrimp with the sausage in a little oil and remove from pan. Add all the vegetables to the same pan and allow to cook on a medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and the bay leaves and salt and pepper. Add the tomato. Add the rice. Allow the flavors to merge for a few minutes. Then add the liquid and allow to cook on a medium to low heat.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Curried Prawns On Basmati Rice

This started off as a simple Prawn Curry and developed into this dish which is almost good enough to be on a menu in a restaurant. It consists of a curry sauce made with the shells of the shrimp and a few chopped up vegetables then passed through a fine strainer over the prawns, rice and spinach.

Chicken And Mushroom Crepes.

You can do this with seafood, vegetables or anything you like. This is a savory crepe so if you have a crepe recipe just take the sugar out and add some parsley or chives.
Firs you make your crepes, you can make them the day before if you like.
For the mix and the sauce: You need a breast of chicken per person and about four mushrooms.
Here we go: chop a shallot very finely (an onion will do but a shallot is better) /cut the chicken breast in largish chunks/ cut the mushrooms into fairly large pieces. Have some white wine, some chicken stock and some heavy whipping cream at the ready.
Add a little olive oil to a casserole and sauté the chicken. When it is half cooked add the shallots and cook until the shallots are translucent. Add white wine and start to reduce. Take out the chicken and let the wine reduce till almost dry. Add a little chopped garlic at this point. Add heavy cream and reduce to a sauce like consistency. Return the chicken to the sauce and add the mushrooms allow to rest for a couple of minutes until the flavors are combined.
Remove from heat and add a little chopped parsley or chives. Let cool and correct the seasoning.
With a slotted spoon remove the chicken and mushrooms and keep your sauce warm but not hot.
Fill the crepes and line them up on a flat oven proof dish. Whip up a little heavy cream very stiffly and fold it in to the sauce. Add some more fresh herbs and coat crepes.
Pass them under the broiler until you get a nice gratin effect and serve with rice.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bananes Flambee

Cathy and I used to have these in a little restaurant at the beach in Africa. They are very easy to make and delicious to eat. I didn't have any rum so I used Cachasa and I didn't have any ice cream so I whipped some cream and added some Cashaca and sugar. It is better with vanilla ice cream.
Just follow the instructions and don 't burn anything. In the United States this dish is called bananas foster.
I almost caught the flames with my camera but ...... too late.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Make Some Soup!

This is a thirteen bean soup and it is great for this time of the year .

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Scotch Eggs, Roasted Tomatoes, Mash And Onion Gravy

This is the true pub grub from England. This would also be served in the cafeterias and middle of the road cafes. It is usually served as an accompaniment to a good pint but rarely as a main meal from what I remember. This started off as a bit of fun but ended up as being a tasty treat.
Nothing could be easier than to make this. All you need is a couple of eggs, some sausage meat, egg wash and breadcrumbs.
1/ place the egg on the sausage meat. 2/ envelope the egg in the sausage. 3/ roll the egg in egg and breadcrumbs. 4/ Place the finished product on a tray with a little olive oil and bake in the oven. The rest is up to your own imagination.
This is normally done with a plain breakfast sausage mix. I used Italian sausage meat for this and I baked them with rosemary and some thyme. They went great with the creamy mash and of course the long simmered onion gravy went with it very well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lancashire Hotpot

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 ounces chopped onion
1 1/2 pounds cubed leg of lamb or beef
2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Carrots and Celery cut into large pieces
Tomato paste
Crushed garlic
Any root vegetable that will hold up to a couple of hours of cooking.
Bay leaf
1 ounce butter
2 cups chicken or lamb stock or just plain water.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté onion until soft and deep golden in color. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add lamb to skillet and fry (in batches if necessary) until rich chestnut brown in color, 12 to 15 minutes. Then add all the vegetables cut into large pieces. Cook until all flavors are combined then add the garlic , bay leaf and thyme.
Add a couple of spoons of tomato paste and cook until the meat and veggies have a deep chestnut color. Add a little flour to thicken and then add the stock. Cook this for a half hour or so to get the dish started and the add the potatoes sliced nice and thick in a layer over the whole thing. Brush with some melted butter and finish in the oven.
It’s important to make your sauce a little shorter than usual. In other words just make enough to cover the meat so that the potatoes don’t get lost. You can get a golden brown potato by brushing them from time to time with a little melted butter.

If it is going too fast turn the heat down and cover with foil. If you keep your eye on it , it will be fine.
I added a little ale to this before adding the potatoes. Let sit for a half hour before serving. This is a great dish.

Friday, November 27, 2009


This may not look like much but it was really good. A fish cake, a shrimp and two fried oysters on a bed of peppers, mushrooms, tomato and garlic.

The tomato and peppers and mushrooms were stewed for a while and then I added some of the tomato I made a couple of months ago and let it cook. To finish it off I added chopped parsley and lemon squeeze.

The fish is sauteed in a pan and then place on top and over that is brown butter, capers and parsley. Served with a parsnip mash.

As I said. It may not look like much but.....

Peppered Rib Eye Steak

More anon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shrimp And Oyster Fry, Twice Baked Potatoes With Blue Cheese And Tossed Bitter Greens

These greens are bitter because of the radicchio. It is not everyones cup of tea but I like it. It has a great bite to it and goes well with all of the stronger dressings. I mixed it with some regular greens to cut the bitterness.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Choucroute Garnie

Choucroute garnie is another staple in brasserie and bistro cooking. It is the French version of sauerkraut from Alsace Lorraine and it is cooked with wine and juniper berries. The German version is usually, but not always, cooked in beer. You can use any sausages or smoked meats you want; I used a good frankfurter, a bockwurst, smoked bacon and smoked ham hock as well as a couple of potatoes. Recipes abound for this on the internet. This is the way I make it.
Cut a slice or two of bacon into strips and chop a little onion. Render the fat of the bacon in a pot that will hold the amount of sauerkraut you want to cook. Then add the chopped onion and cook on a medium heat. Then add the sauerkraut which has been drained and washed slightly, or not, I don’t wash it as a general rule. Let the grease of the bacon heat the sauerkraut until it is uniformly warm and the strands are separated. Then add white wine to the top but not over the top. Add a bay leaf and some juniper berries and season. Cook on a slow heat in the oven or in a slow cooker.
In a separate pan, add the bacon and other smoked meats and let them heat while rendering a little fat. Add a coarsely chopped onion to this and allow to cook on a medium heat for a few minutes. Finally, add a bay leaf and some thyme, cover the meats with water and let them simmer until cooked.
Have your sausages ready so that when the meat and kraut is cooked you can add your sausages to the pot and heat them. They are usually precooked. It is always a good idea to prick them a little with a fork so they don’t burst. Whatever you do, don’t let them boil.
When everything is ready, assemble the kraut and the meats tastefully on a plate and serve with some boiled potatoes and hot mustard.
It is a good idea to wrap the juniper berries in a little muslin and tie it with a piece of string so that they can be easily recovered after the sauerkraut is cooked. Leave a little length on the string and hang it over the edge of the pot so you can find the berries easily and retrieve them.

Fish 'n' Chips

Cod fillet with homemade tartar and coleslaw.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Turkey Breast Stuffed And Rolled In Bacon, Squished Potatoes And Sprouts

Double click on thumbnails to bring text into focus.

Although not traditional, this is the best way to cook turkey because it stays moist and the meat really picks up the flavor of the stuffing. If you want to do an oyster stuffing you can just line the oysters up on top of this savory stuffing and they won’t get broken up. The slices are also more uniform and everyone gets a bit of everything. Given that the carcass is in the roasting process the flavor of the turkey jus or gravy is much more concentrated and intense. This breast was $3.50 and there was enough for two so it also turns out a little cheaper if you don’t have a big crowd.
For the potatoes: I found these on a food blog last night and thought the idea to be very original. The result is also very tasty.
You boil two regular sized potatoes in their jackets. I used white potatoes here. Let them cool a little bit and then squish the middle down with the back of a spoon. You then add whatever you would like to add drizzle with olive oil and put them back in the oven. Then serve them with some salsa or sour cream in the middle. Great idea.
Here is the recipe for the potatoes taken from a blog called a wee bit of cooking:
Crash Hot Potatoes
(Serves 4)
16 small, round potatoes (skin left on)
Olive oil
Add the potatoes to a large pan of salted water. Bring to the boil. Simmer briskly for 15 minutes or until potatoes are almost cooked.
Remove potatoes from the pan and place on a baking tray. Using a masher or the back of a big spoon, gently squish each potato until they are half intact, half broken up.
Sprinkle with rosemary and seasoning then brush or spray generously with olive oil.
Roast in a very hot (225oC) oven for 15-20 minutes