Monthly Archives: March 2012

Coleslaw AND Potato Salad, You Lucky Things, You

 

Right, so here be the salads served with the afore-posted beef ribs.  The recipes come from the same book.

Coleslaw.  Not ‘slaw.

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Get together:

500g cabbage (I used one white cabbage, was perfectly good)

2 carrots, peeled and grated

1 red onion, finely sliced

parsley (I didn’t use any this time)

salt and pepper

And for the dressing:

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of soft brown sugar (I used light brown)

1 cup thick mayonnaise (I used one small jar of Hellman’s)

1 teaspoon celery seeds (I didn’t use, couldn’t find them anywhere)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used 1 tbsp Dijon and the remainder seeded mustard, with a good squeeze of English as well)

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Finely slice the cabbage.  Finely as above.

Grate the carrot and really finely slice the onions.  Knife skills ahoy.

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Mix them all up in a big serving bowl.

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Melt the sugar and the vinegar together – it’ll take about one minute.  Annoying use of a saucepan.

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Put the vinegar-sugar mix into a bowl, stir it about a bit so it cools, then add the otehr dressing ingredients (including the salt and pepper) and whisk in the mayonnaise.

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Mix the dressing through the veg.  Let it sit for a couple of hours at least, or if you have time then overnight.  We just had some leftovers for lunch and it was better today for sure, than it was yesterday.  Which is astonishing as yesterday it was bloody GREAT.

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This is currently occuring at our house.  Sunbaking dogs and slipper-wearing bike-maintenance-ing men.

OK.  Potato salad.  This was also delicious but more of a faff.

Get together:-

1kg potatoes, good for salads

mint leaves

1/2 cup pickled gherkins, chopped

6 spring onions, sliced

parsley (not used this time)

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

And for the dressing:-

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

sald and pepper

3-4 tablespoons of Dijon

1/3 cup virgin olive oil
At this stage I should say I found the dressing a bit mustardy, and the boyfriend found it a bit vinegar-y.  Next time I’ll use half the mustard and then add to taste.

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Boil the potatoes till just done (ie: if you stick a skewer or knife in them they slide off when lifted) in water with a nice handful of mint leaves added.  The recipe says to do this.  It seems all nice and gourmet but I must be honest and say there wasn’t a whiff of mint available on final tasting.  This may, of course, have something to do with the vast amounts of Dijon involved.

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When they’re warm but cool enough to handle, peel.  This will be a pain to do.  Really, a big pain.  Worth it, though.

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Slice the potatoes into a bowl and add the spring onions and gherkins.

Mix together the dressing ingredients and mix into the veg, in stages – we found there was HEAPS more dressing than needed.  If I’d added it all in one go we’d have been drinking Dijon Potato Cold Soup.

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Ask the dog to quality test the final product.  She won’t.

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This is it without eggs or parsley (not added due to local allergies/dislikes) – we served it with these on the side.  They make it good.  It’s not me who doesn’t eat/like eggs or parsley, I should say.

Anyway, they were good salads.  Make them.

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BBQ Beef – Short Ribs, Long Eating

Morning.

It’s been warm in London this weekend.  I resent feeling grateful for it – it’s Spring, it should be warming up – but I do feel grateful for it.  Those people I mentioned did turn up for lunch, so I had to make them something to eat.  It was warm, the boyfriend had cleaned the hysterically mouldy BBQ and so BBQ it was to be.

Got a good recipe for a spicy marinade for beef from the below cookbook.  The author-dude is Aussie and obviously the book is pretty good.

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Anyway. Get cooking.  This is something you’ll kind of want to do in bits – making the marinade the day before you actually do any cooking.  Pretty easy.  I’m sure you’re capable.

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Get together:-

3 onions, chopped roughly

6 garlic gloves, as above

4 small red chillies (recipe says seeded and chopped but I used our own semi-dried ones, seeds and all, and was fine)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves (didn’t use these this time around)

2 cups red wine

1/4 cup good olive oil

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

AND

2.5-3kg of beef short ribs, cut into lengths of about 10cm or so.

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One of the above machines might be useful to you for the first bit.  I recommend the one on the right, which works, and which was purchased because the one on the left has stopped working. I bought the non-working one at Argos, the working one at John Lewis.  Go figure.

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Mulch up the onions, garlic and chilli in the food processor and get it all pasty.  Chuck in a bowl.

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Add all the other incredients.  Like, all of them.  It’ll take about 5 minutes, and it’ll smell good and if you’re lucky you’ll get a free swig of the wine on its way through.

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This is the beef I used.  It’s kind of meaty.

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Lay out the meat in a big tray and pour over the marinade, making sure you turn it all about so it’s all nicely covered.  Cover it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge – at least overnight but you can leave it there for two days or so.

Forget about it.

Go about your business.

Go to bed.

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Or try to.  When you go to bed you may find these two informing you, less than politely, that your bed is no longer your bed, but is, rather, their bed.  Bitches.

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The next day, a couple of hours or so before you actually want to eat, transfer the meat into another big baking tray.  Preheat the oven to 160C, or gas mark 5-ish.  Cover the meat with aluminium foil and chuck in the oven.  Every ten minutes, for 40 mins (or 50 for ribs the thickness of the ones I used) get them out and baste them with the marinade.  Turn them over if you like.

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They’ll kind of look a bit like this when you’re done with the oven cooking bit.

Take them out, let them cool.

Heat up your BBQ and get the grill nice and hot.  Chuck on the ribs – they take around 3 mins each side, make sure they’re warmed through and get nice and sticky.  Sticky ribs.  Baste all the time with the marinade, making sure to cook it off so you avoid dodgy guts.

I meant to take a photo of these cooking on the BBQ but I didn’t – I was occupied with being all Australian and cooking outside and drinking at the same time.

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This is Ros.  She is displaying the finished meats.  She’s a natural at meat handling.

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Yum.  I found these a bit hard to eat, really, with some hardcore sinew around the bone but the meat inside was well good.  Reckon the marinade would work for any meat.

We ate this with potato salad and coleslaw, both of which I made from scratch.  I am a hero.  Will post those later.

I Curd You Like Lemons

Hello again.

I think I’ve mentioned before I like lemon. Or, rather, as a member of my particular family it was like lemon or be excommunicated. Lemon curd is good stuff. It can be used as toppings on scones or crumpets, or fillings in pies or just for spooning into an already sour-looking face. Whatever you like.

I made some today cause we’ve friends coming over tomorrow and their sour faces will be eating this lemon curd via deliberately untidy puff-pastry (ready made, obviously) tartlet thingies I cooked on an upside down muffin tin. I’ve not included that bit in this post as it’s incredibly elementary and I don’t want to insult you. Much.

Anyway.

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You want:-

125g cold unsalted butter, cut into quite small pieces – do this and put the pieces in the fridge till you need them

two good eggs

two more egg yolks

125g caster sugar

125ml fresh lemon juice

pinch salt

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Juice your lemons. If you have a juicer like the one I was gifted, above, then this should take you about 3 minutes. That juicer is BRILLIANT.

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In a bowl (sometimes recipes say you should use metal, but I’ve never had a problem using Pyrex), whisk together the eggs and sugar and salt, then add the lemon juice and mix it up nicely.

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Put it over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water isn’t actually touching the bowl’s bottom. Seriously.

Make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes. You’ll be standing in this spot for about 5-10mins.

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Get stirring with a wooden spoon. DO NOT STOP. The mix will gradually begin to thicken, as I’ve attempted to demonstrate with the above photo. It’s a bit thickish there.

Once it noticeably starts to thicken, I cook for about 5 mins longer, turning off the heat at about 4 mins.

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You’ll know it’s done cause if you swipe your (no doubt utterly hygienic) finger across the back of your wooden spoon it’ll leave a line. Do it lots of time, the curd tastes aces and you of course want to make sure it’s at the right stage. But mostly caues it tastes aces.

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Take the bowl off the heat and throw in your chilled butter, whisking quickly so it all melts into the mixture. It’ll make it all glossy and creamy.

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Voila. Welcome to lemon curd. You can now do with this as you wish. I recommend letting it chill for a bit (although it is nice served warmish) and make sure you put some clingfilm over the bowl so it doesn’t develop a skin.

This whole thing works with a van-load of other fruits, too. Lime is good, blood orange can be nice and if you can be bothered to get a nice smooth raspberry coulis sorted then that is brilliant too. Lemon is best, of course.

Look. Curd pies.

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The Return

Hi.

I’m sorry to say we came back from Gozo.  I liked Gozo.  It had places like this:

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I sat there for a while.

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So did my toes.

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I ate delicious seafood.  This was an octopus, once.

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I drank yummy Maltese beer.  This happened to be an Australian-level chilled (ie: properly cold) proper can of beer drunk by the sea at sunset.  It was deeply satisfactory.

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Came home to the lovely foster-dog too.  She is looking Well.  The other dog is still here, I should mention, just not featuring in this post.  She’s presently farting her way through a mid-evening nap.

I think I might make something beef-ribby this weekend for some friends who are coming to lunch.  If I do, I’ll try to post it, this blog was of course supposed to be about food.

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But just to leave you with one last view of the waters of Gozo.  There’s food in those waters, so it probably counts as ok.

Unbaked

Hi.
It’s not that I don’t love  you all.  It’s also not that I’ve been languishing ill, unable to cook.  Stuff has been happening, lots of it.
Had people around for lunch last Sunday.  I cooked the below.

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It was delicious.  I swear I hardly even needed to cook it.

Today the boyfriend’s parents came over for lunch so we made the pork and chorizo goulashy thing previously featured, as well as that non-baked cheesecake.  Nothing new to blog there.

Then on Tuesday we got a new pup – well, one we’re fostering till she gets better and can go to a permanent home.  I won’t burden you with the horror of her life so far but suffice to say it includes being dumped from a van on a dual carriageway and  being hit by and then trapped under a bus for an hour.

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This was her on the way home in the car.  Scaredy sad fass.  We called her Boo.

Also I’ve still been doing that no-sugar (therefore no carbs, no fruit, nothing much but eggs and meat and cabbage – I smell GREAT) diet thing.

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Bought these from Boots.  The coconut is the only non-retch one.  In case you were wondering.

Been doing lots of teaching-Boo-how-to-be-a-dog.  This has included Taking the Stairs 101 and Walking on a Lead 101.

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With her tutor.

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As you can see, she is fattening up nicely.  I hope to do the same soon, as we are off on a short vacation.  Back on the 18 March.  Chat then.

PS: if anyone has any tips about ace stuff to do on Gozo then please, do share.

Big Asian Mussels

If you’re me, you’re five days into a NO CARBS EVER NOTHING DELICIOUS PASSES YOUR LIPS UNLESS IT’S MEAT-BASED kind of diet.  It’s pre-holiday, making room for massive holiday gorging.  Totally foolish and I’m well into it.  Anyway the boyfriend started the diet with me but lasted exactly 1.5 days so I was looking for something we could both eat tonight, as last night we shared a roast chicken (no veg) and it was nice, but a bit confronting.

Mussels.  Get the vaguely rude things into you, they’re quite nice and excitingly dangerous.  You never know if you’re poisoned till after.

This is a kind of asian version, crossing the Viet/Thai/Japanese borders, impossible in real life.

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Mussels

Lime

Ginger

Garlic

Spring Onions

White wine

Fish Sauce (Nam Pla – not shown here)

Chilli (semi dried, home grown in this instance, not really hot enough)

Coriander

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Chop up the chilli, garlic and ginger really finely, slice the spring onions and arrange your citrus in a pleasing manner.

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This is a mussel with its beard on.  Rip the beard upwards, away from the hinge/joint, in a sharply dominant way.

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One clean mussel, one beard.  Discard the beard.

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In your bag of mussels you may find cracked or open mussels.  They are Bad and Must Not Be Eaten.  Chuck’em at this stage.  Do not contemplate cooking them, not even if you’ve been in a plane crash high up in the Andes and are a pescatarian and cannot bring yourself to eat the tasty butt-flesh of a former passenger.

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In a big pot, and in some warmed peanut or vegetable oil, cook the garlic, ginger and chilli.  Do not burn.

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At this point I had a blast of inspiration and asked the boyfriend for some sake.  He, hopefully, thought I might break my killer-meat-diet to drink some.  Nay!  It is replacing the white wine.  Slosh a good amount into the pot to join the aromatic goodness already there.

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Add a splash (about a dessert spoonful) of nam pla.  Stir through till it’s bubbling.  I’ve added the coriander now as in our house it needs cooking before eating due to allergies, but ideally you’d leave it out till the end.

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Throw in the mussels, stir through and stick on the lid.

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Leave the lid on.  Shake the pot about occasionally.  Cook some bok choi and soy while you’re waiting.

You’ll be waiting around 4-5 mins.

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When they’re open and displaying their rather rude-looking insides, they’re done.  Obviously any not-open ones are not to be eaten either.

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Delicious.  Eat the mussels, and as you do push the veg into the sauce you’ve spooned over it all, along with the chopped spring onions.  Veg dipped in the sauce is lush.

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Eat like thus.  No person should be using metal utensils when eating this.  Fools.