timscience: (fondue)
Inspired by Sainsbury's game casserole mix. Ingredients roughly in order of being put in the pot.

1 pack Sainsbury's game casserole mixed mystery meat
2 rashers bacon
2 tsp cumin seed
- coat the meat in flour and lightly fry along with chopped bacon and cumin seed.
1 ltr veg stock
4 tsp sumac stirred into the veg stock
1 small white onion, very coarsely chopped
1/2 dozen new potatoes
1 small handful chantenay carrots
1/2 small butternut squash, cut into 2cm cubes
- this really seemed to make a difference. Up to you with the butternut though I guess. Don't bother to peel it, the peel will go soft enough to eat.
2 cloves smoked garlic
1 tsp smoked garlic powder
1 chipotle chilli, chopped
- the smokey flavours really seem to work although you could probably sub in regular garlic if you must.
1 tsp spice parisienne (mainly paprika and nutmeg with some peppercorns, cloves and thyme)
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tbsp sieved flour, to thicken
1 sprig rosemary

Cook in the oven in a casserole dish for at least 1 1/2 hr at gas 3. Serve with dumplings (parmesan dumplings work fine but I think thyme dumplings would also be good).


26/12/11 21:18
timscience: (candroid)
I have been eating a lot. For those who missed it on Arsebook, that Christmas Fondue:
You make normal fondue (with Gruyere, Emmenthal, white wine and kirsch) then you add STILTON and PORT to it then you dip in little cubes of roast potato and parsnip and stuffing balls and tiny sausages and maybe sprouts roasted with chilli. It is a dish of Christmas genius. And that was just Christmas eve. Recipe by me but fondue made by the lovely [livejournal.com profile] cleanskies who has mad fondue makin skillz (it's all in the muscle memory as far as judging cheese/wine consistency goes, see). Ratio of cheeses that worked best was Gruyere-Emmenthal-Stilton in a ratio of 3:3:2 - any more Stilton makes it stinky without noticeably improving the flavour..

Christmas day itself we went over to [livejournal.com profile] tinyjo's where we ate the biggest goose in the world (in our defence, there were other guests so we didn't eat all of it) and trimmings and christmas pudding and chocolate log and tiny mince pies and now I have type 2 diabetes probably.

For Christmas I got some books and a CD and a tiny synthesiser* and a tea towel that shows how to carve a triceratops. And a tin of unicorn meat. And an excellent Lego model of Fallingwater as detailed here that [livejournal.com profile] cleanskies and I spent the afternoon building. And OTHER THINGS thankyou everybody.

Tomorrow we go down to my mum (her birthday is on 28th) to drop off late pressies with her and my sister and nephew, but now we are going to watch Machete and maybe a couple of episodes of Samurai Jack then go to sleep.

*Geek fact - the tiny synthesiser packs an epic punch as it has the same filter as the legendary Korg MS-20. Route it through a proper speaker and it sounds amazing. It also has an aux in so I can route other sounds through that filter. Muahahahahaha.
timscience: (strange food)
Think of it as kind of a hot chutney stew and it would probably work with mangoes. Serves 2.

2 lamb steaks
2 small or one large nectarine
1 medium onion
1 small green pepper*
1 mild chilli*
a handful of cherry tomatoes*
black onion seeds
Seasoned Pioneers Tunisian 5 spice mix (Ras-Al-Hanout would probably work as well but be sparing - it shouldn't be stupid hot).

* we used garden grown stuff for this, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] cleanskies, and also added some tiny gourds that we've grown.

Cut the lamb into four parts and coat with 2 tsp of spice mix. Fry until it starts to brown and add the onions and green pepper. Fry for 5 more minutes while you slice the nectarines and tomatoes. Add them to the pan with about a teaspoon full of black onion seeds, and add about a dessert spoon full of water.

Put the lamb to one side and pour the lot into a small casserole. We have a Nigellaware Marmitout that we got half price in a sale with J's birthday money. We didn't realise it was Nigella branded at the time but no regrets because it is the most amazing thing, made of some astonishingly light ceramic, it retains heat like cast iron and keeps everything beautifully moist. But, you know, a small casserole. Place the lamb on top and put the lid on. Put in the oven at gas 3 for an hour. I found the gravy needed thickening with about a heaped tablespoon of flour whisked in about halfway through the cooking process so maybe next time I'll do that at the start. We had it with rosemary, feta and almond couscous.

It was amazingly tasty.
timscience: (strange food)
Serves 2. Cooking time about 15-20 minutes but some prep time. Will involve linguine.

I got both the scallops and the linguine at a last minute shop at Tesco. For 2, if you are using large fresh scallops, I'd use about 4 each, but there weren't any so we had a pack of the small ones. Tesco are currently doing a fresh linguine pack that is half normal half spinach which is very nice.

1 pack scallops (or 8 fresh scallops as above, cut in half)
3 rashers streaky bacon
1 small onion
1/2 red pepper
1 large open cup mushroom
1 handful curly kale
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1 clove garlic

1/2 pack fresh egg/spinach linguine
1/2 tub ricotta cheese
2 healthy dollops pesto
pecorino cheese to grate.

If you think this sounds like something I did with leftovers, you're right.

- Put a pot on to boil with a pinch of salt. While it is heating, chop the bacon into a large frying pan or saute pan and fry to your desired level of crispiness, then take the bacon out and put it aside. You want the other bits to fry in bacon lard, but you don't want the bacon overcooked.
- Chop up the red pepper and mushrooms and put in the frying pan at medium high heat.
- Wait 5 minutes and add the onion.
- Put the kale in a steamer and put over the now boiling water. You'll want to steam it for 5 minutes or so.
- Crush the garlic and add to the frying pan.
- When the kale is done, add it to the frying pan
- Tip in the scallops and add chilli flakes.
- At this point you'll need to add the linguine to the boiling water. I used fresh linguine which takes about 3 minutes. For dried linguine add it to the pot before you put the kale on.
- When the linguine is done, turn the frying pan off as well. Add the chopped bacon to the frying pan. Drain the linguine and stir through the ricotta.
- Serve the linguine onto plates and put the mix of scallops, bacon, kale, peppers etc on top.
- Grate pecorino on top to taste and finish with a healthy dollop of pesto.
- Grind on black pepper if you like.

Tasty enough to be immortalised on my LJ. You can probably add pine nuts but I totally forgot their existence until after we'd eaten.
timscience: (strange food)
I have hated sprouts all my life - horrible, sulphurous things - but there are clearly people who like them. Apparently there's a gene, and if you have it you have a taste receptor for a particular chemical that makes sprouts taste rotten (don't ask me for a link for this, by the way, I read it in the days before the internet and can't remember where).

So, anyway, a couple of days ago there was an article in the Guardian about Heston Blumethal Christmas food and along with the meat fruit (put the eggs and alcohol reduction in a sous vide bag for 20 minutes in a water bath....blend in a thermomix at 50 degrees etc etc) was this gem: "Brussel sprouts? The stalks are revolting, so steam the leaves and serve with smoked bacon and garlic. That should see you through."

So. According to Heston it's the stalks that are the source of the vileness.

Now I can reveal that I have done as Heston suggests and found his words to be true. Who'd have thought it? Sprout leaves are nice. Delicate and sweet. Is this what people who like sprouts have been tasting all these years?

I have to say though that J and I, as long time sprout haters, are a little weirded out.

Edit We are also considering the possibility that, like the Aubergine which seems to have been worked on by plant breeders until it is no longer horribly bitter, the sprout has changed over the last 20 years. We still have half a packet left so next time we will try a couple of whole sprouts as well. I'll let you know how it goes. /edit Well, we tried that and the badness is back. So Heston was right.
timscience: (strange food)
This one's for you, [livejournal.com profile] motodraconis!

Serves 2 as a vegetable side dish. Bacon is, of course, a vegetable.

1/2 cup Puy lentils (I use the Merchant Gourmet ones as they don't need any of the soaking malarkey)
1 cup water
1/2 dozen cherry tomatoes or 3 or 4 normal sized.
2 cloves garlic
2 rashers back bacon
1 good squeeze tomato puree
1 small green chilli
1 tsp annatto seeds (optional but good for extra redness)
Last but very important, 2 tsp Seasoned Pioneers Pimienton Dulce. This is basically the paprika of the gods and instantly turns all goulashes, bologneses and tomato based dishes into things of joy. It towers over supermarket paprika like a rich red powdery colossus. It costs £1.95 and cheap at the price.

Finely chop the chilli and garlic into a heavy based pan (my mum's old Le Creusets are ideal for this kind of thing). Heat with olive oil until bubbling and slightly brown. Chop and add the tomatoes and continue to heat until they have broken down a little.

Add the lentils then quickly add the water. Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer.
Add the annatto seeds and tomato puree and a pinch of salt.

Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, then add the pimienton dulce.

Alow to simmer for another 15 minutes. While you are doing this, chop and fry the bacon in a little olive oil and add to the lentils. Keep an eye on it as you may need to add more water if it dries out. It should be a bit gloopy.

Serve with meat.
timscience: (fondue)
Little sausages, with a dab of mustard, wrapped in a tiny slice of bread, spiked with a cocktail stick and DEEP FRIED


As seen/eaten at Ruth and Ian's wedding.
timscience: (orangeshark)
Modded from a Spanish cookbook. It's a nice alternative to the usual chilli and garlic. Not that I object to chilli and garlic, mind.

Serves 2

- We had 6 squid tubes (3 each) about 5-6" long. Each of these was a little less than a sausage. As soon as I started thinking of volumes in terms of sausages, it all came together. The original recipe called for baby squid about 3" long, in which case you'll need about 6 each, I guess. Cut off the tentacles and pull off the fins if present - the fins should just pull away.

- About a sausage and a half's worth of pork mince, half a dozen soaked dried apricots. Or you could do what I did and use 2 Tesco spicy apricot sausages. This has the advantage that you can substitute other sausage flavours (sundried tomato anyone?) should you so desire.

- Two small onions finely chopped.

- A reasonable sized slice of white bread, about a sausage worth in volume, no crust.

Break open the sausages and put the meat in a pan with the onions and roughly crumbled bread. Fry in olive oil until the onions are golden. Put it all in a food processor but do not blend yet.

Briefly fry the tentacles and fins off the squid. A minute should do it. Give a rosette of tentacles to Jeremy because Jeremy loves tentacles. Put the rest in the food processor with the rest of the stuffing mix. Add 2 tsp La Kama Spice or similar. Blend until goopy.

Stuff the squid tubes. This is both fiddly and time consuming and to be honest slightly annoying. A good tip is to cut a tiny slit in the tail of the squid, this will make it a lot easier to get the stuffing into it as it provides an escape for trapped air. Another tip is to not worry about getting your hands dirty - your fingers are a lot better at squid stuffing than teaspoons or whatever. Make sure you have everything you need out the cupboard before you start stuffing as your hands will be basically covered in goop until you're done.

Put in a baking dish. Ceramic is good.

Chop 8 or 10 cherry tomatoes into slices and scatter over the squid, as well as any spare stuffing bits.

Sprinkle fresh basil over the lot. The small leaved Greek basil you can get in pots from Sainsbury's is particularly nice I feel.

Grind pepper over it.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Cover with foil and bake in the middle of the oven at gas 4 for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10. You will worry that the squid will be overcooked. It won't.

Eat your tasty quid. We had ours with french beans and broccoli flash fried with a bit of balsamic (which is a good way to use up old balsamic). You will want some bread for the juice left in the dish as well.
timscience: (strange food)
So, we had some breast of lamb, enough for two. This was a strip about 5 inches across and maybe a foot long or slightly over, after boning.

- Breadcrumbs (a slice of wholemeal with the crust cut off should do it)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 decent sized sprigs of rosemary
- a couple of glugs of olive oil.
- 1 tsp Khmeli Suneli spice mix. This probably isn't essential but we really like it.
Whizz the stuffing mix in a blender and spread over the lamb. Roll the lamb and stuffing up into a swiss roll. Tie with string unless you want splodey lamb (which works OK but looks a bit odd)

There is an alternative stuffing mix involving apricots and/or dates, flaked almonds and pine nuts that you may want to try as well.

Now, J and I had a discussion about roasting lamb breast - she favours wrapping it in foil, I tend to favour trimming fat off it and putting it on top to self baste. We compromised on putting it in a tagine to keep it moist. This was, it turned out, a good idea. Since it's in a tagine you should probably put a bed of pulses under it - we had half a tin of leftover chickpeas, as it turned out.

For the bed:
- 1/2 tin of chickpeas. Napolitana seem to be noticeably nicer than own brand chickpeas, by the way.
- 1 squirt tomato puree
- One small onion, roughly chopped.

Mix the chickpeas, onion and tomato puree together in the tagine base. You don't need any of the chickpea liquid, there'll be quite enough from the meat.
Quarter and deseed a chilli, lay on top of the chickpeas.
Put the lamb on top of the chilli, put a few salt flakes on top of the lamb, put the lid on the tagine, put in the oven at gas mark 2 for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
When it is done, serve onto plates, then put 2 tsp of flour into the liquid in the tagine. Mix up and use as gravy.

This was well tasty and the lamb came out beautifully moist and meltingly tender. We had it with roast parsnips and carrots, and baby spinach leaves.
timscience: (fondue)
Recipe ganked off here, but we tweaked the times etc because the first time I tried it (with pork belly) it didn't quite come out right.

This time round we used Bath chaps which are basically pig's cheeks. HA, PIG, WE EAT YOUR FACE!!!

Get a Bath chap, we got ours from Feller Son and Daughter in the covered market, but apparently Waitrose do them. They are a very fatty cut. Pork shoulder, which is slightly leaner, is traditional for slow roasting but we reckon all that fat kept it moist.
To be honest I reckon you can use pretty much any cut as long as it has TASTY CRACKLING. You may wish to tie it up with string if the butcher has not already done so. Score for crackling.

Get a big bit of silver foil. Smear it with a little olive oil. Put 4 cloves garlic, a small coarse cut shallot, a de-seeded chilli sliced into sizeable pieces, 2 sprigs rosemary in the foil. Put the Bath chap on top.

Form the foil into a nest round the tasty pig bit, but make sure - and this is important - that the skin is exposed in order to make TASTY CRACKLING. Rub in some salt and herbs to taste.

Put in the the bottom of the oven at gas mark 7, then immediately turn down to gas mark 1. The initial blast of heat is to help crisp the skin.

Leave in the oven all afternoon. Go and visit friends. Really, don't worry about it. We put ours in at 1.30 and it was delicious by 8.

About 3/4 of an hour before you want to eat it, put in parboiled potatoes in a tray at the top of the oven. Drain some pork fat out of the foil nest and baste the potatoes with it. The potatoes will taste of garlic, rosemary and a little chilli. This is a good thing. Go and have a bath or something.

5 minutes before you want to eat it, take the pork out to rest and whack the oven up to gas 7 again to crisp the potatoes.

Serve, don't forget the delicious roast garlicy bits at the bottom.

Eat nom nom nom. Now you will not starve this winter.
timscience: (orangeshark)
Number whatever in an occasional series.

Sweet potato fishcakes. Makes 4 fishcakes.
It's basically a normal fishcake recipe but with sweet potato swapped in and chilli and basil instead of parsley. You could go the whole hog with breadcrumbs but I think this variant probably works better without.

300g fish fillet – I used haddock but a more strongly flavoured fish might work*. I reckon it would be good with smoked mackerel.
300g sweet potato.
A handful of basil, finely chopped
Two small shallots, finely chopped
A small mild red chilli, finely chopped
Plain flour

Chop the sweet potato and boil for about 10 minutes, it needs to be soft but not soggy.

Break up the fish fillet, remove any skin and bones, and gently heat the bits in a large pot with a splash of milk and a little olive oil. Try not to boil the milk. You are effectively poaching the fish. Cook for 8 minutes. Add the shallots and chilli about halfway through so they go soft. If you're using smoked mackerel you can skip this stage but you still want to soften the shallots.

Drain the sweet potato thoroughly and add to the pot, add the basil, a knob of butter, a little salt to taste, and a tablespoon of plain flour. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. The mixture should form into cakes which hold together when you lift them – if not, add a little more flour.

Form into cakes and chill for 20 minutes under clingfilm.

Coat both sides of the cake in flour. Shallow fry over a medium heat for about 4 minutes per side.

We had this with broad beans, roast tomatoes and garlic bread. There are plenty of carbs in the fishcake so it probably doesn’t need mash but it might go well with pulses, bulgar wheat or some such.

*You might also be able to finally find a use for the Vietnamese river cobbler that seems to be cropping up in supermarkets - I assume this is some kind of weird bottom feeder whose presence on our shelves indicates that we have basically eaten all the tasty fish and will now be consuming things that can survive on toxic waste and algal blooms. But it doesn't matter here because it's going to be mashed until unrecognisable anyway.
timscience: (croppedsausage)
This one worked well enough that I feel the need to share it.

Spicy winter stew. Serves 2. Prep time 15 minutes, cooking time 1/2 hr.

4 sausages of your choice (although the Tescos mad apricot sausage works especially well).
1 large shallot or 2 small ones (by large, I mean the onion sized torpedo shallots)
1 red pepper
1 medium sized medium strength green chilli
4 medium tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
2 cloves garlic
1 heaped tsp ground sumac (from Maroc in Cowley Rd if you live in Oxford)
Black pepper
Aaaand.....a small aubergine.

Rouille (optional)
1 tsp flour
1 knob butter

2 heaped tablespoons beef suet
4 heaped tablespoons self raising flour
A bunch of lemon thyme.

Put some olive oil in a big pot. Put on a low heat.
Cut the sausages into chunks and put in the pot. While they are browning, smash and roughly chop the garlic and finely chop the chilli, then add, with the fennel seeds, to the pan. Let it all brown while you chop the aubergine, shallot and red pepper into big chunks.
Continue until the sausages are brown, then take off the heat, add the vegetables (except the tomatoes) and sumac, stir and cover while you.....

Make the rouille in another pan by melting the butter and adding the flour, then stirring till done. Add a little of the stock and stir to a smooth consistency.

Finely chop up about a fistful of lemon thyme.
Make the dumpling mix by stirring the suet, flour, and thyme together and slowly adding water until it forms a sticky mess. It should be gooey rather than firm or the dumplings will be too stodgy.

Blitz the tomatoes until blitzed.

Put the heat back on, add the blitzed tomatoes, then the rest of the stock, and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Stir in the rouille if you feel the stew needs thickening.
The stock will look a bit bleh at this stage, but don't worry.
Season with salt if you feel the need. You can put some lemon thyme in the stew if you like as well.
Scoop up tablespoon sized blobs of dumpling mix (you should get 4 dumplings out of this amount) and drop into the stew.
Grind black pepper over it.
Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
Put on plates and eat.

What does it taste like? Like North African stews combined with English winter warmer food. In a very good way. Could probably be improved by bacon, but then what couldn't?