Sunday, 18 December 2011

Very hot easy chilli sauce


Thanks to the South Devon Chilli Farm for this recipe! I went there whilst on holiday in Devon over the summer and bought some of their chilli mash, which was a nice little sauce to add to just about anything for a bit of extra heat. Just a little bit is all that's needed. I also bought a few chilli plants from there which I have just finished harvesting from and really wanted to make some of the chilli mash for the store cupboard, so I emailed them for the recipe and they kindly shared it. It is so simple to make.

Needless to say, this is very hot! You'll need to be really careful handling it, best to wear some gloves and don't rub your eyes. And don't breathe in the fumes!


Ingredients

  • Chillies
  • Salt - 2% by weight
  • Cider vinegar

Remove the stalks from the chillies.

Place in a food processor with the salt.

Add a little bit of vinegar to loosen things up.

Blitz in the food processor until really smooth, just adding vinegar to get the desired consistency.

Place in a sauce pan with a lid on and bring to the boil to sterilize. Cool slightly then transfer to a sterilized jar.

Serve with anything for a bit of extra spice, or use in cooking. 

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Sunday, 11 December 2011

Milky pork loin fillet

This is a recipe for pork loin fillet braised in milk and lemon. It doesn't sound like it would be nice from the title, but actually it is! It's based on a traditional Italian recipe from Northern Italy, near to Vienna I believe. The pork loin is quite a lean cut so is not as moist as other bits of pork so I wouldn't normally go for this, but  it was on special offer and I am not one to miss out on a special offer. The milk cooking method seems to keep the pork nice and succulent throughout the cooking and the creamy lemony sauce works really well.

Ingredients
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon rind
  • Garlic
  • Pork loin fillet (this one was about 500 g, enough for two people)
  • Milk - enough to cover
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour
Start by softening the onion in some melted butter and oil, with the finely chopped rosemary. 



Next, take some lemon rind - I found it was easy to use a vegetable peeler to peel off a strip.Cut it into thin slices. Cut the garlic into thin slivers.


Cut slits into the pork all the way along and insert a sliver of garlic and a slice of lemon rind into each slit. About 4-5 slits on each side.


When the onions are softened, brown the pork all over. 



Now pour over the milk - enough to just about cover the pork - and add the bay leaves and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer very gently for around 2 hours. The lemon might make the milk curdle a little bit but don't worry about it! Stir occasionally throughout the cooking and turn the pork over a few times. 


When the pork is done remove it from the milk and leave in a warm place. Add a tablespoon of flour to the milk and then whisk well, and bring up to a very gentle boil to thicken the sauce up. If you want a smooth sauce (which is what I did) just whizz it for a few seconds in a blender. Don't forget to remove the bay leaves if you do blend the sauce!

Slice the pork into thick slices and serve with the sauce poured over and serve with some green vegetables and potatoes.


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Monday, 5 December 2011

Christmas cake - well decorated!

My wife went for another cake decorating course with www.jackandgillcrafts.co.uk about |decorating Christmas cakes.  A fruit cake was provided and she learnt how to cover  the cake and the board with white fondant icing.  After covering the cake, she learnt how to make some Christmas-themed decorations... 



A penguin with a Christmas hat:

A snowman:

And finally a Christmas tree:

I was really impressed and can't wait to eat it too.

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Saturday, 3 December 2011

Slow baked rosemary and garlic potatoes

This is a nice little side dish. The potatoes end up really soft but with a slightly crispy edge. Just take some potatoes (I used Blue Belles which have purple spots on, not blue), chop into small-ish chunks and place in a roasting tin.

Add some olive oil, a few sprigs of rosemary, a couple of cloves of garlic and some salt and pepper.

Mix up well then cover the roasting tin tightly with foil.

Bake in the oven for about 1.5-2 hrs at 150C until the potatoes are soft and tender.

Serve as a side dish to your favourite meal.


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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Onion gravy - good for sausages!

I am sitting watching a bit of Masterchef: The Professionals and feeling in a rather foody mood! That is despite the rather annoying judge Gregg Wallace who I am not convinced knows anything about food. His favourite comments are "That is full of flavour", "I really like that" or as a default, to just copy whatever Michel Roux Jr has just said but in a slightly different order. If you are going to be a food judge, at least come up with a bit more substantial vocabulary. As a food blogger, who no-one really reads, I have an excuse to be repetitive. But not on television, please!

On the subject of Roux, I am also slightly jealous of my parents-in-law who went for a fancy meal at Le Gavroche this week (which is run by Michel Roux Jr).

Anyway, I thought that it was about time I wrote up some nice onion gravy I recently made. It is from Nigel Slater's Real Food book which I really like. It is not a new book (first published in 1998 I think), but, as the title indicates, is about real, good, simple and tasty food. I would say that most of the stuff in there is comfort food and the book itself is divided up into straightforward chapters:
  • Potatoes
  • Chicken
  • Garlic
  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Ice-cream 
  • Chocolate
This onion gravy comes from the sausage chapter and really needs to go with a big, fat, slow roasted sausage which, as Slater puts it, should be "sticky outside and juicy within" with "tight, glossy and deep golden brown skin".

I modified his recipe slightly but stuck to the general idea, swapping Madeira wine for a bit of white wine as we had some open already, and one of the onions for  a leek.

Ingredients
  • 75 g butter
  • Large onion
  • Tablespoon flour
  • 75 ml white wine
  • 250 ml vegetable stock
  • Worcestershire sauce (a generous splash)
Melt the butter in a heavy pan and then fry the onions gently till they go light brown and soft, then put on a lid and carry on cooking until the onions are a darker brown.

Add in the flour and brown it. Poor in the stock and wine, then season and add the Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil then simmer for quarter of an hour. Serve with sausages.



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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Back to it!

Once upon a time I did used to write on this blog and (I hope) a few people used to read it too. For any of those who did read it and who are wondering what has happened, well the cake picture below is a bit of a clue (although that only explains the last year and not the one before's absence).

So, the main reason is down to a lack of time. I got a new job, had to commute a lot further and ran out of time for cooking and writing about it. I was still cooking, but not writing! Then our beautiful daughter arrived a year ago and there most certainly wasn't any free time (that's not a complaint at all, just a happy fact). 

Now, a year on, our little one has turned one. My wife's maternity leave has sadly ended and she is going back to work tomorrow. I am very fortunate though in that I am going to be working just two days a week (at home thanks boss) and spending the rest of the time as a "stay at home dad"/house husband! So although I do feel very sad and slightly guilty that my wife has to go back to work, we have both agreed that for financial, practical and emotional reasons, it's the best thing. We ruled nursery out early on as we both think that if you have children, it's not right (in our view) to give them to someone else to bring up. That and we would also never see our daughter!

Enough history and family information - how about some food? Here is the fabulous cake my wife prepared for the first birthday party! Camilla's room is themed around The Very Hungry Caterpillar and so it was only right that the cake followed the same theme. With some help from a recent training course done at www.jackandgillcrafts.co.uk/ (amazing prices and clearly the courses deliver) and a lot of creativity and flair, this lovely cake was the result:



I am not quite sure how the cake was made, apart from that there was lots of fondant icing, gum balls round the edge and a sponge cake in the middle. It was delicious though and went very quickly.

The blog will be updated a bit more frequently now that I'm going to be spending lots of time at home. There will almost certainly be some baby food, purees and such like, but also some of the things that I've been trying out in the kitchen too. I hope that you will continue reading!

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