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).
timscience: (rings)
Oh God our anniversary trip was amazing. Wednesday, To Queen Elizabeth Hall (South Bank) for Planningtorock and Light Asylum. Have I mentioned how much I like Light Asylum?

Thursday, back to the Queen Elizabeth hall, for this:










A Room For London is astonishing and beautiful and wonderfully detailed and full of books (Conrad, Ballard, books on architecture and sailing and colonialism and post apocalyptic). Anyway it turns out it is TOTALLY OK to get hammered on champagne and go out on the lookout (the high roof at the top) at midnight.

Friday we took a wander round the South Bank (after staying in the room for as long as feasible, because really we loved every second we were there)and went to Animal Inside Out at the Natural History Museum (which now (the museum, not Animal Inside Out) seems to include an escalator ride through the Earth's bumhole) and the Heatherwick Studios exhibition at the V+A. They built the Olympic cauldron, and also this:



It was the most amazing time.
timscience: (strange food)
Last night J and I decided to try the new shish place that's replaced Joe's cafe. It's called Oxford's grill and looks a bit shit from the outside. This is deceptive as it's actually very good.

It seemed totally deserted, which we figured might be a bad sign, until we realised it was Ramadan and before sundown so a lot of the clientele might not be eating just yet. Generally speaking delicious, with generous portions. Fans of the old Cafe du Liban will know the style although the food is Turkish not Lebanese. I reckon you could do a proper mezze meal from teh starters if you wanted which is half the point of this kind of place.

I had Liver fried in spices as a start and Iskander, a mix of meats on top of a pile of cubes of bread soaked in spicy tomatoes,as a main - both were excellent. We also tried Cankaya, a spicy dry Turkish white, which was well tasty, and finished on a good Turkish coffee. You can get a two course set meal and a free glass of wine for £9.95 which is pretty good - otherwise reckon on about 20 -25 quid per person including wine.

Anyone who misses the Euphrates might want to give it a try - the style is different but it kind of fills the same space on Cowley Road.
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.
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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

Squid
- 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.

Stuffing
- 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.
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