Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Steamed Treacle Pudding

Quicker than your normal Christmas pudding

Lola and Me and our housemate Sarah decided to have an Christmas dinner before we all go our separate ways for the break. We took a course each and I got pudding - I'd been wanting to make this for a while now - so any excuse and a pudding is a pudding at Christmas time

Serves 10

6oz unsalted butter - room temperature

4 tablespoons of golden syrup

1 orange - zest and juice

6 oz soft brown sugar

3 eggs - beaten together
1 tsp black black treacle

6 oz self raising flour

Butter your pudding basin - I got a 3 litre one - but it would fit into a two litre one. Combine the golden syrup and orange juice and zest - add it to the greased basin.

In a bowl beat together sugar and butter. Then slowly add the beaten eggs and combine well together. Next add in the black treacle - and combine well. Sieve in your flour , mixing all the time.
Spoon the mixture gently into the basin.

Cover the basin with the fitted lid - or cover with greaseproof paper and then cover with tin foil - with a crease down the centre - secure with some string.
Place in a large saucepan - with boiling water halfway up the sides of the basin. Cover and simmer for two hours. Check regularly to make sure it doesn't boil dry.

When ready - remove lid - place a clean plate on top and then gently turnover - as there will be a nice amount of treacly orange syrup flying around - Lola's phone loved it - sorry honey!
Serve with custard - or pouring/whipped cream - which ever you like. I quite like cold custard to contrast with the hot sweat steamy pudding. It looks pretty impressive on the plate too! Serve with custard or cream - enjoy!

This dessert really went down a treat.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Guest Chef No. 3

The multi talented Ms. Doris K!

Roast Rack of Lamb with a Mustard and Herb Crumb Crust

I am visiting my Dad and his partner Doris in Kerry. Doris is originally from Germany and is a great and a very instinctive cook and has an amazing way of improvising and throwing things together to make something really tasty. A lot of her dishes have a slight German twist, and this one is no exception. She explained that its quite a German thing to coat meat with a stuffing type crumb mixture as this seals in moisture as well as giving a lovely crunchy texture.

This meal was absolutely delicious! Doris also made my favorite gratin potatoes which were the perfect accompaniment. Harley the greyhound was almost as happy as me due to all the bones that he got to eat afterwards!

1 rack of Lamb (enough for 4 people, about 3 chops per person on each side)
4 tbsps whole grain or dijon mustard
a few sprigs rosemary & thyme
about 4 slices wholemeal bread
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper

Sear the rack of lamb in a hot pan in olive oil to seal it, then coat the outside skin with the mustard and leave to rest for about 10 mins. In the meantime, put the bread into a food processor, add a few glugs of olive oil, the garlic, rosemary, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whizz this into a kind of crumbly paste.

When the lamb is cooled, press the mixture onto the lamb, over where you have already spread the mustard.

Roast in the oven at 220c for about 40 mins, for pink meat, or 50 if you prefer it well done

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Roast Loin of Pork with apple stuffing and roasted winter vegetables

We had 10 for a pre christmas Monday night dinner. Lu, Sarah & I ( all three residents of number 7) decided we would each cook a course and really wanted to do a big roast, so I asked if I could do the main event. Sucker for punishment, me.

Thinking we were going to be feeding 12, I bought two MASSIVE pieces of pork loin and asked the butcher to open them out so that I could stuff them. In the end we had 10 people but two were veggies. So between 8 of us we still managed to polish off almost all of the pork, which is a testament to how well it turned out!

We dressed up the table with green napkins, my green goblets from Habitat and some gorgeous green and pink woven fabric that Sarah had spare as she works as a textile designer. Then Pamela arrived with a big poinsettia which we used as a centrepiece. The whole thing was very christmassy indeed!

I made the stuffing the night before heres the recipe for it, first of all

Apple and rosemary stuffing:
4 oz butter
4 tbsps olive oil
1 bag breadcrumbs
1 white onion,
1 red onion
4 cloves garlic
1 handful sage
3 or 4 stalks rosemary
1 eating apple, diced.

Melt the butter with the oil in a large pot. Dice the onion and garlic finely and saute in the butter and oil. When almost soft add the diced peeled apple. Cook for 2 minutes or so but don't let the apple get too soft. add the chopped sage and rosemary and stir in for a few seconds, then add the breadcrumbs and stir well so that they absorb all the butter and oil. Season to taste. Leave to cool.

Roast stuffed loin of pork with roasted winter vegetables.
Loin of pork
olive oil
1 quantity stuffing
5 rashers of streaky bacon
8 cloves of garlic
parsnips & carrots peeled & cut into quarters or eighths.
Salt & Pepper

Open out the loin of pork where the butcher has cut or 'butterflied' it. using a rolling pin bash the meat to flatten it out a bit, then make a 'sausage' shape out of the stuffing and place in the centre of the cut. Bring the sides of the meat back together. Cover the join with the rashers and use string (not plastic string or it will melt!) to tie the whole thing together. You will need to ties 4 -6 lengths of string around the joint.

Place the parsnips, carrots and garlic cloves (unpeeled!) in a large oven tray and toss in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the Pork, bacon side up on top of the vegetables. Rub salt, pepper and olive oil all over the joint. The meat will need to cook for 20 mins per pound so weigh it and place it in an oven at about 230c for however long you need. Mine took 2 hours and 20 mins!! so that tells you how ridiculously big it was! Have a peek at it every now and then and if you think its getting burned or dry on the top just put a bit of tin foil over it.

This makes the best gravy as roasting it on top of the veggies will produce delicious juices. When you are almost ready to serve, transfer the meat to a chopping board and let it rest in a warm place with some tin foil over it. Put the vegetables in a dish and put them back in the oven to keep warm. Take the roasting dish and place it on a low heat on your stove. remove any large bits of burned material, and take the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash the roasted garlic cloves into the juices. Add 1 or 2 tbsps of flour, depending on how thick you like your gravy and stir. Then add some stock & white or red wine. you will need about 1 pint of liquid altogether if you are cooking for 10 people. Stir the liquid in to the pan juices. Season to taste. I also like to add a bit of apple sauce when making pork. Stir until thickened and pour into a jug or gravy boat.

Serve with roast potatoes and apple sauce, which you can make by cutting up 4 or 5 apples and throwing the pieces in a pot with about 3 oz of butter. Stew this for about 10 mins, stirring all the time and add some salt to taste.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pie Off!!

Food blogging friends
We got invited by Aoife from I Can Has Cook to enter a pie into the first annual pie-off, so I gladly accepted. I have been reading Aoifes blog for a good while now, by entering this competition I would be meeting her face to face - ha ha! Then we realised we’d already met a few years ago anyway, but that’s another story.

Lola and I thought long and hard over our pie choices, many pies were discussed at length, so thanks guys for indulging our endless food talk. We weighed up our options carefully, considered some bad and good pie puns.

We did make a great Beef and Guinness pie back in July, but we thought we’d need to push the boat out and go a little extra special for this one.

As I undertook the shopping I imagined a master chef style judging -’now this is a big disappointment guys.... hmm awfully bland....’ The pressure was on.
We chose a classic game pie, which we named

Granny Speed on the Game Pie
Now the story behind this was I borrowed a ceramic blackbird from my mum - which you ‘ bake in the middle of the pie’ and it holds the pastry above the filling preventing sogginess and also housing the vent to let out the steam.

This little birdy belonged to my great grandmother whose surname was Speed - get it!
Anyways the ingredients for the pie were sourced from Moore Street and also from Fallon and Byrne. We decided to cook the filing the night before so that the flavours could rest over night and develop properly.

So I wobbled home on Friday after a few Friday pints of Guinness and Rayne prob did most of the work - but I assisted. She even filleted two saddles of rabbit - hats off!Less rambling - More recipe


1/2lb of rabbit - filleted and chopped into 2/3 cm cubes
1/2 lb of pheasant, chopped into 2/3 cm cubes
1/2 pound of venison flank cubed
4 oz of streaky bacon - de-rinded and diced
2 red onions
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1/2 pint of wine
1 oz of plain flour4oz of shitake mushrooms
4oz of button mushrooms
1 bay leaf
a tablespoon of red currant jelly
1/2 pint of chicken stock
Zest and juice of one orange
Puff pastry (bought not homemade - sorry!)

With a little oil - fry off the pheasant and rabbit in batches in your pan to brown on each side. Dont brown your venison as apparently this makes it very tough. Set aside.

Cook your onion for a minute then add in the garlic and bacon - after about 2/3 mins add in the mushrooms. Fry until the onion is transparent and the bacon getting nicely cooked - but not too brown. Stir in the flour and cook for a few seconds before adding in the browned meat, unbrowned venison, wine, stock, bay leaf, orange juice, zest and jelly.

Mix well, bring to the boil and then lower to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for about an hour and twenty mins. Allow to cool, before refrigerating overnight.

Next day - pop your mixture into a high sided pie dish, around your little birdy. Then cut your pastry to be a lot wider than your dish, as it will puff and shrink. Drape t over your pie dish - and cut a hole for the steam to escape. Brush with some beaten egg. Cook at Gas Mark 6 for 2o mins and then turn down to gas mark 5 for a further 30 mins or so - till golden and delicious on top and bubbly underneath.

The mixture when heated in the oven gets a lot more liquidy so don’t worry if your cold mixture appears a little thick.

The pie-off was a great idea for a fun night. All pies were marked on taste - creativity and presentation. The total scores were added together to determine the winner. We cooked the pies in rotation and then everyone had a little taste then - then a little taste of the next pie - - so nobody got stuffed but everybody was well fed.

Aoife created a shepherds pie with minced venison and juniper berries, which was the tastiest shepherd pie I’ve ever eaten.Darragh created a sumptuous Moroccan lamb pie with toasted cumin seeds rolled into the pastry - a fantastic idea! Nice big lumps of carrot in there too. He added in some 'ras al-hanout' which I've never heard of, so I bet this was the secret ingredient.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sausage and Lentil Supper

Oh, Nigel!

Nigel Slater, I think I love you. Seriously, I love Nigel. Hes better than all of them, Jamie, Anthony, obviously, Hugh Fernley Whathisface, and even though it pains me to say it, he is better than Delia and even my idol Nigella. Everything he does is so amazingly simple and delicious, and he has an uncanny way of matching flavours and textures in the most basic ingredients so that his recipes sometimes look boring on paper but always work out spectacularly. His food is clean and frugal, but somehow at the same time luxurious and he uses way less fat and cream than Nigella, who, as fabulous as she is can go a bit over the top sometimes.

So I try and cook something from Nigel's Observer food column as often as possible, we've done his super delicious Lemon Posset before. A few weeks ago, Lu and I made this. True to form, it was amazing. AMAZING. You have to cook it. We stuck religiously to the recipe so I have just copied and pasted it from the observer website below. The pic is ours though.
Sausage and Lentil Supper
I make bean and sausage hotpots for winter weekends, leaving them to putter away in a slow oven until everyone comes in, freezing and begging to be fed. During the week I'd like to come back to that sort of thing, too, so I use this quick version. The parsley is crucial, as is a good meaty sausage. Serves 4.
2 tbsp olive oil
120g streaky bacon, diced
1 onion
1 large carrot
a rib of celery
300g green lentils
1 litre chicken stock
2 bay leaves
8 plump pork sausages
chopped parsley
Warm the oil in a deep, heavy casserole. Put the bacon in and let it cook over a medium heat so it colours lightly. Meanwhile, peel the onion, chop it finely and add to the bacon. Cut the carrot and celery into rough dice, and stir them in, letting them soften a little. Don't let them colour. Tip in the lentils, pour in the chicken stock, then tuck in the bay leaves and sausages, cut into short lengths if you prefer, and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat so the liquid simmers gently, season, then leave it for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. Check the seasoning (I like it peppery), and stir in a handful of chopped parsley.

Isn't he lovely?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spaghetti and Meatballs

After the Party....

so it was Sarah's birthday and we had a party, there's was enough mess and chaos to lead me to believe we were all 16 again, raiding your parents drinks cabinet, and drinking the concoction of 6 different spirits mixed into a coke bottle.

Let's just say some of my plants were quite the worse for wear afterwards, including the basil and chili plant, so based on this unplanned harvest I made this nice meal, and fed it to my brother who was visiting before returning to his home in the snowy French alps.

Ingredients -
1 white onion - finely diced
12 tomatoes - skinned if you prefer and then diced

nice bunch of home-grown basil

1 home grown chili

2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 pound of minced beef

1 large potato - mashed

1 egg

marjoram and thyme (fresh or dried)

Grated Parmesan - a grand old lump - grated

a cup of breadcrumbs
Spaghetti cooked to your liking - my secret confession is I like mini squishy - very non-foodie I know!

I made the sauce first and let that cook away while I made the meatballs and then spaghetti while I cooked the meatballs. Fry the onion up in some olive oil for a minute or two before adding the garlic and sliced chili - cook it all until, it's softened nicely - then add in your tomatoes. Season. Bring to a gentle simmer and cover.

Cook for about 30-40 mins until it's thickened up nicely, it's perfectly ok to use tinned tomatoes here, I just had lots of tomatoes that day. I always add in a small teaspoon of sugar to sauces made using tinned tomatoes.

In a clean bowl - mix together the meat, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, herbs and mashed potato. Season. Then bind it all together with the egg. This made about 16 meatballs, and three is a big serving, so have some for tomorrow - make your own Meatball subs if you fancy.

Roll each bit of mixture into golf ball sized balls, then coat them in the breadcrumbs.
Heat some oil in a pan and cook your meatballs in batches of around 5 or so. Turn gently and brown evenly on as many sides as you can. Serve them on top of a bowl of spaghetti and topped with some of your tomato sauce. These were just super and perfect for a Sunday night in by the fire.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Food Related Graffitti

I happened across this on the road behind the Eye and Ear hospital - it nearly changed the name of our blog - me and Lola were so taken with it. Though sadly the name is already in use by a food blog in the US! More exciting news to come next early next week, me and Lola were invited to participate in a Pie-off, hosted by the lovely Aoife from I Can Has Cook I can't see what will top our pie, but we'll wait and see.......