Monthly Archives: June 2012

Lunch

Evening.

No cooking today but, instead, a rather excellent example of what to eat when hungover.  We were at a wedding last night.  It was a good wedding.  Good because it was a marriage between two good friends, populated by guests who were also good.  Finally, there was a good amount of boozes to be had.

We stayed overnight at the venue, rather cleverly, and so on the drive home today we stopped in at the supermarket for supplies.

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This is what your hangover face should look like.  Ideally you’ll be wearing a pair of fashion sunglasses inside.

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Purchase:-

Bagels ( I prefer sesame seed ones, they deliver endless added value as you pick the seeds from your teeth for several weeks afterwards)

A roast chicken (not a happy chicken, I’m afraid, as they don’t tend to offer those, but still, desperate times call for desperate chickens)

Rocket, or some other green leaf of your choosing.

From your cupboard or fridge you’ll need:-

Butter, or equivalent

Smoked paprika

Calve, the last tube from your last visit to Italy.  Get some Calve.  IT’S AMAZING.  I don’t know what will happen when we run out, there’ll be wailing for sure.

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Give the Calve a kiss, for you love it so.

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Slice your bagels in half.  You will undoubtedly end up with two slices that fit together like halves of a rollercoaster.  It’s scientifically impossibe to cut bagels straight.

Butter and then add a squeeze of Calve, then sprinkle over the smoked paprika.

Add the chicken, torn up.  I had a photo of this bit but it has disappeared and I really can’t be bothered to go find it.  Imagine a nice tower of chicken pieces laying happily upon the Calve, like oiled tourists on a package holiday to Greece.

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Throw on a large handful of rocket, add a drumstick and serve with a sugary beverage of some sort.  Today I went for the rarely-imbibed and possibly cancer-causing global virus of crap drinks you see pictured above.  I am still ashamed, but I also feel a lot better for having drunk it.  For now.

The dog will, as below, inevitably and unsuccessfully beg for the leftover chicken bones.  Do not give them to her.

This is a delicious sandwich.  I have just eaten the exact same thing again (minus the C*** C***) for supper.

I shall be in bed by approximately 8pm this evening, I wager.

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Slightly Posh Macaroni & Cheese

Look, I know that saying Mac and Cheese is posh, even slightly so, seems wrong but this is due to the inclusion of middle class ingredients of pancetta, parmesan and leeks.

It’s delicious, too.  And easy.  And quite cheap.  Also, it’s an Angela Harnett recipe from the Guardian Weekend magazine of some months ago so we’ve tested it several times now.  Never fails to carb load and increase thigh circumference.

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400g uncooked macaroni  (this is very annoying as the packs come in 500g lots so the remaining 100g will sit in your pantry for a few months getting stale before you throw it out.  Obv you musn’t just throw it out straight away).

100g or so of finely chopped (but not minced) pancetta

500ml milk

salt and pepper

2 leeks, sliced sideways and then diced a bit

200g cheddar, grated (we used about 250g, reserving some to mix with the parmesan to go on top)

100g parmesan, grated

parsley (not used though if you can use, definitely do)

butter, 2 x 25g

25g plain flour

Slice your leeks, chop your pancetta, put a big pot of water on to boil (salted, of course), set the oven to hottish, around Gas Mark 6.

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Water on to boil.

Melt the butter and fry off the leeks and pancetta in a fry pan.

Melt the other bit of butter over a lowish heat in a saucepan.  This’ll be the start of your white sauce.

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Add the flour to the melted butter and mix through, cooking off for a good minute at least.  Slowly add the milk, whisking in, and stir over the heat till it warms through and thickens a bit.  I don’t go mad on the flour as I don’t want a big thick sauce (makes the final dish a bit glunky) – just make the sauce a silky liquid kind of runny custard in texture.

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Grate a lot of cheese.  Parmesan on the left, cheddar on the right.

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Upset the dog by not offering her any cheese. She will go bury her head in the sofa cushions.  Quite understandably.

Mix the cheddar into the white sauce and season generously.  Drain and lightly oil the macaroni.

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You should end up with the above.

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Mix the sauce and the macaroni in the saucepan, then add the leeks and pancetta.  Taste for seasoning.

Taste some more.  You need to be thorough and you are quite hungry, despite having eaten a brownie-blondie thing only half an hour earlier.  And despite having done no exercise today other than a slow 5k stroll around Gunnersbury Park with a dog who travelled at least thrice that distance in an unrestrained display of athleticism that you and your personal trainer can only dream of.

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Pour into a casserole baking type dish and cover with the mixed up leftover cheddar and parmesan.  Chuck into the hot oven for ten minutes.  I then take it out when it’s all bubbling and stick it under the grill for another 5-8 minutes to get it all brown and crackling.

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Have a beer while you wait.  Guess which belongs to me, the Australian.

(btw Wagoe Beach is ace.  Far away in time…)

 

See below for finished product.  Boyfriend had two serves.  To be fair, he probably would do that anyway but it’s his dish, this, as he usually cooks it, so I figure if he has two serves of my version then I win.  I win everything.

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Raspberry/Macadamia/Chocolate Brownie-Blondie Slice Type Thing

I totally just did something wrong and wiped all the stuff I’d written.

It was fabulous stuff, too, taking you through last weekend’s surprisingly hangover-free sunday, and making mention of such things as multiple daytime naps and bacon.

It was due to those things that there were no posts last weekend.  Today you get one, though.  You kind of get one twice.  The one I wrote before this one (WHERE IS IT, INTERNET, WHERE?), and now this one.  Again.

Baking.  Set your oven to preheat at moderate.

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This is a recipe from an Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook, always trustworthy.  They call it a blondie cause it’s got white chocolate in it instead of brown.  Ours ended up with brown chocolate in it, for reasons that shall soon become clear.

Ingredients above.  S’got fruit in it and so that makes it healthy.  Click on the photo to make it big, and then you can read it properly.

The macadamias we got were from South Africa which, as a proud Australia, I was offended by.

We haven’t bothered with the icing sugar, either.  We’re plain people.

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Melt the butter and 200g of the white chocolate in a saucepan, over a low heat.  Keep stirring.  Seriously.  And keep the heat low.  Keep your eyes on it.

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I didn’t take my own advice and instead took fun pictures of the boyfriend greasing and lining the slice pan.  Wahey!

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Then when I returned to the hob, this had happened.  It’s the wrong thing.  You don’t want this to happen.  It kind of looked like the regurgitated sickness of a newborn baby.  Ungood.  Chuck it out.

Luckily the boyfriend had purchased a metric shitload of chocolate on the Sainsburys run this morning so we could reboot this stage.

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Rebooted.  It should look like the above, ideally, when all melted.

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Pour it from the saucepan into a bowl, and the act of doing this will cool the mix enough for you to work with.  Alternatively you could do what the recipe says and melt the stuff in a bigger saucepan and do all the mixing in said saucepan but that’d just be boringly obedient.

We’d recommend annointing your fingers with a raspberry, and then the raspberry with some of the mix.  Looks rude, tastes good.

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Now add in your carefully measured flours and sugar.  It’ll start to look like baby sick again, but arguably the sick of a slightly older baby.  Maybe 9 months or so.

Don’t worry.

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Mix through the chopped chocolate (dark for us as we ran out of white after FOUR PACKETS had to be used, two sacrificed to ineptitude).

Then add the raspberries.  We went for fresh.

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Tip out onto your greased and lined tray.

The use of fresh raspberries, as opposed to frozen, will result in a slightly bloodbath-y look.  I didn’t mind it, personally.

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Smooth it all out to the edges, even it out and stick it in the oven.  I went for the lower shelf due to ShitOven, and despite that manouevre still had to cover the thing with foil halfway through.  Should take about 40 mins to cook, or until firm.

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Let it cool in the pan and then take out and slice up as you wish.

It’s bloody delicious.

Below is the dog admiring the cupboard full of doggy treats and food items.  This morning we all took a trip to Pets at Home, as we do every couple of months.  It’s small moments of togetherness such as this which keep our love strong.  We get to use the joint account to pay for it all.

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Aunty Debra’s Scones

Scones.  Very Britisher.
The below recipe is my Aunty Debra’s, and it seems to work, for me at least, and I didn’t make scones for the first time till fairly recently as they scared the living hell out of me.

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Aunty Deb’s recipe, written indeed by  her own fair and very distinctive hand.

FYI, 1 oz of butter is about 28g.  Go for 30g, I did. Also, make sure the butter is cold.  Also, your hands should be cold too, ideally, so frigid them up nicely in your freezer or on the immovable iceblock that is an old relative’s heart.  Not any of my relatives, I should say.

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You definitely need to sift the flour and salt twice.  Even I bother with this and you know that usually I consider sifting a major waste of time.  Chuck out any yucky bits that appear.  Then add the teaspoon of sugar.

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Then rub in the butter.  Cut it up into small bits first, it’ll make your life easier.

Keep rubbing the butter in till you can’t feel any greasy little bits hanging about anymore, and it looks a bit breadcrumby, as above.

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Add about half the milk. Use a knife to cut through the mix with the milk in it. I am not sure why other than Aunty Debra decrees it and therefore it must be so.  It probably helps to not knock the air out of the dough or something.

Anyway don’t ask awkward questions, just do as you’re told.

It’ll start to look like the above.

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Keep adding tiny bits of milk. It’ll all start coming together, like a good outfit.  Keep adding till it just about comes together.  Don’t touch it with your hands, your filthy hands, at all.

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Turn it out onto a floured surface. I’m going with my trusty piece of green plastic.  It’ll be a very sad day when that green plastic thing dies.  Very carefully and with as little man(or lady-) handling as possible, shape the dough together, keep it quite high.

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Like thus.  You’re ready to cut the scones.  If you have a cookie cutter type thing then yay for you.  If not use a glass or something of a size that pleases you.  Cut away, cut those scones, set them free.  Place them quite close to one another on a baking-paper lined baking tray.  Of course you’ll have preheated your oven to hot.

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Once on the tray, brush with some milk.  I guess these were about a good 2cm or more high at this stage.  See how close they’re placed?  Not touching but definitely inside personal space boundaries, like well-behaved teenagers at a baptist youth group.

Stick them in the oven.  Rotate 180 degrees half way if you need do.  I obviously did.  They’ll take 10-12 mins or so.

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And lo, the scones were born.  A bit like bread they should sound hollow when you knock on the base.  They rise up a bit in the oven, too.  I’ve obviously got slightly browner (ie: blacker) tops than I’d like due to ShitOven.

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Sorry for the crappy photo.  This is an attempt to show you what the insides of a scone should look like.

From this you’ll deduct that they look out of focus, mostly.

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Eat, with jam and cream. IN THAT ORDER AND THAT ORDER ONLY.

It’s actually illegal to eat scones if you put the cream on first, and then the jam on top.  Illegal and offensive.

Below are the dogs.  From their expressions you can see that they have been really enjoying the BBC coverage of the jubilee.  Really.

PS: My french friands of the previous post won 3rd place in another street’s incredibly competitive street party cake-off.  So that’s an Aussie winning a British comp with a french cake.  I approve entirely.

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Raspberry Friands. Sound Posh, Probably Are

Hullo.

Happy Jubilee.  I trust you’re enjoying the British-est weather ever, if you’re lucky enough to live on this grey isle. If you’re reading from Australia or some other sun-blessed country, we don’t need to know about your high winter temperatures.  It’s summer here, so we’re sitting outside in the pissing rain and blasting wind regardless.  IT’S A CELEBRATION.

Of a lady lots of us actually don’t and will never know but hey, any excuse for cake.

There is a street party next street over, to which I’ve been invited. There’s a cake competition, a tug of war and a dog show.  I will win all three, of course, being Australian and, thus, genetically predistined for success.

I made friands. They’re fast and easy and delicious.  I used Nigel Slater’s recipe for blackberry friands.  Scandalously, I used raspberries instead.  Probably treason.

Recipe out of the Guardian magazine some weekends ago.  Maybe even longer.

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Now the ingredients are set out below – you can use almond or hazelnuts here – rather unsatisfactorily Nigel recommends hazelnuts in the magazine receipe but almonds in the online version. Very unhelpful, Nige.  Despite this, you can rely on me.  I used hazelnuts.  Almonds would also be nice.  I didn’t use the lemon zest, mostly because there are presently no actual lemons in the house.

butter 180g
plain flour 50g
icing sugar 180g
ground almonds 100g
lemon zest 1 tsp
egg whites 5
blackberries 60g

Set the oven to warm at Gas Mark 5/180C or so.

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This is what I looked like when cooking.  It’s my nod to the Queen’s various tiaras.  Bet she’s not got one like this.

Wonder if she’s ever used a gentle clay exfoliating mask. She probably hasn’t.

I couldn’t find ground hazelnuts in the shops so I bought some whole ones and whizzed them up, as below.

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Prob slightly less fine that you’d want but actually quite nice.  Make sure you take out any nuts with brown skin still on them, otherwise you’ll get freckly grinds.  Not a good look.  I went so far as to exactly replace the brown nuts with clean ones exactly.  I had 10 dirty ones, I put back 10 clean ones.  Very precise.

Whisk/sift the plain flour and icing sugar into a bowl.  Add most of the hazelnuts, but not quite all.

Next you need to melt the butter.  I melted the butter first, actually.  So you do that too.  I had a photo of the melted butter to show you, as Nigel is very specific about it going a nutty golden brown (his words) but WordPress is being a shit so you aren’t going to see it.  Basically melt the butter over a medium or so heat, then turn down when melted and watch it spit and swear, keeping a very close eye on it till it goes that golden brown.  Do not let it burn.  If it burns you need to start again.

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Whisk the egg whites to white foamy consistency, nothing resembling meringues at all please.  The whites should not in any way be self-standing or anything – I guess I whisked vigorously for a good minute or so, that was it.

I am sure there is something amazing I should’ve done with the egg yolks but I didn’t. I gave them to the dogs instead. They inhaled them but did I get a thank you?  Mutts.

Fold the whites gently into the dry ingredients, having made a well in the middle. Then pour in the butter, stirring well but gently.  When combined pour into little pie-ish moulds as below.  They are not as deep as muffin moulds – more like what you’d make yorkshire puddings in.  You’ll have buttered them previous to pouring in the mix, of course.

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Cut up your fruit – I quartered raspberries, not very scientifically or accurately – and drop them in.  Sprinkle on the leftover bits of ground hazelnut and put in the oven for 15-20 minutes or so.  If you have ShitOven then be sure to rotate the tray 180 degrees halfway through.

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These are nice warm or cooled.  I bet they’d be good with some clotted cream.  On their own they should have a slightly chewy edge and be all soft and nutty in the middle.