Monthly Archives: October 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies. Instant Obesity.

Guess who’s back?  Monday’s back.

My day started with a visit to the office by a friendly and very relaxed engineer who was here as he had to, ‘poke around your water systems a bit to check for Legionnaire’s’.  Sounds more fun than it was.  He says we’re safe.  I suppose I should trust him.

Anyway I’m here alone all day in the office, and true to current form have blasted through work emails before launching a new blog post upon the world.  Yesterday me and the boyfriend were relatively efficient in getting all our ‘jobs’ done by about 1pm.  This consisted of sitting in bed, with the dogs of course, reading the papers and eating Crunchy Nut Cornflakes till about 930am.  Then we hit up the big pet shop for supplies for said dogs, then we took them for a long walk around a big previously-posh house and gardens.  Then a drive-by hitup of Waitrose, then home.

I got bored about 2 hours later.  Sometimes an afternoon of doing nothing sounds like utter bliss, until it actually happens.  I had, a couple of weeks ago, been over-excited by a Sainsburys offer of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for only 32p.  I bought about 6 packets.  Way too many.  They’ve been sitting in the cupboard since, requiring use.  I was thinking of melting them down and using in a banana bread.  Might still do that. In the meantime I did some googling, got trapped on Pinterest for a bit (don’t really get that place, is not my thing – what the hell is the point of plastering photos of stuff you like up on an internet wall?) and then happened upon http://www.the-baker-chick.com/2012/08/soft-peanut-butter-cup-cookies.html – an altogether more professional and NICE baking blog than this one.

I made the cookies. They smelt great.  I’ve only eaten one, actually.  SUCH RESTRAINT.  The rest have gone with the boyfriend to his place of work.

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Obviously I adapted the recipe a little bit – I didn’t bother with extra choc chips and I used cold butter but just grated it.

I also reckon you could do without the extra sugar – the brown sugar will do.  Either way, here’s the original recipe:-

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature   – As I said, I used cold, about 115g

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar – you absolutely don’t need to add this unless you like your sweet stuff tooth-rotteningly preserved
1 egg
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter – I don’t know what creamy PB is.  Isn’t all PB creamy? I used smooth but I would be equally happy to use crunchy
1 tsp vanilla extract – I used 2 teaspoons
1/2 tsp baking soda – Bicarb soda, in my case
1/4 tsp salt – didn’t bother with this
1 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour – plain flour, I believe.  Is what I used, anyway
1/2 cup mini peanut butter cups (OR fun size or regular size peanut butter cups, chopped) – I used 9 normal-sized Peanut Butter Cups, chopped up
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips – didn’t bother with these

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Lo! Grated butter.  It grates nicely out of the fridge, gets to room temperature in about a minute.  Excellent cheat, this.

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Cream the butter and sugar(s) till light and fluffy. You can do that if you want, or you can get it to the above stage, as I did, and it’ll be just fine.  Add the vanilla and the egg and beat in well.

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Incidentally, if you don’t have one of these measuring cup things, might I heartily recommend them?  They do weights and measures so you don’t need to bother with scales most of the time.

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This is what 9 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups looks like when chopped up.  You can appreciate why I felt the extra choc chips were unnecessary.

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Add the flour and bicarb to the mix and just combine, adding the choc cup thingies and then mixing till properly combined.  It’s a nice dry dough, should look like the above.

Stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes.  It’s a faff but worth it.

After about 20 mins put your oven on to pre-heat at Gas Mark 4, or about 160-180C depending on how good/fan-forced yours is.

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Roll out into balls the size of the testicles recently removed from the foster dog.  Keep them nice and smooth and round – it’ll help that the dough is a bit cool for this.  Place on a lined baking tray and put in the oven for 8-9 mins.

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This is my main baking cupboard.  It’s a fucking mess and I have no idea what is at the back anymore.  Some good stuff, probably, and maybe Gollum.

Anyway, these bikkies won’t take any more than the stated time – get them out and place on a cooling rack – they’ll start out soft but the outsides will quickly firm up.  They stay rather moist inside.

They’re so sweet.  Actually they taste really American.  Makes sense, I guess.  We Australians like our biscuits a little more prosaic (ANZACS) or utterly OTT (Iced Vovos).

Enjoy, with milk.

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Linguine with Wild Mushrooms

Good morning.

I’m doing this post on the iPad so god knows how messed up it’ll be. Be warned.

Last night I made mushroom linguine. It is easily one of the most simple and nicest things I’ve made in ages. For these reasons, you should make it too.

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Get yourself some mushrooms – I was lucky enough to get my hands on some fresh porcini, so added some portobello and chestnut. No girolles/chanterelles were to be found, although if they had been would’ve used those instead of the chestnuts.

A lemon is also needed along with some red chilli (I used fresh, I think next time I’ll used dried), parsley, about 25g of butter (lovely, lovely butter), requisite oil and linguine.

Oh, and garlic. I used 3 small cloves.

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As I’m doing this on the iPad, the edit page doesn’t tell me what photo I’m commenting on. Most unhelpful. As far as I know I’m doing this in the right order but I think I’m doing things right a lot and never am.

Finely chop or mince the garlic, finely chop the chilli and throw into a frypan along with a good splash of olive oil and the butter.

Whilst this is all occurring you have of course put the salted pasta water on to boil.

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When the pasta water is boiling, put the pasta in to cook.

Slice up the mushrooms, rather coarsely. I believe that somewhere here I’ve inserted a photo of the inside of a porcini. It’s aces.

Don’t wash or peel the mushies – just brush any dirt off them.

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Sliced mushrooms! Throw them into the frypan too. Hopefully your pasta should be on its way by now. You only want to turn on the heat under the frypan when the pasta is about 4 mins away from al dente.

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So do that. Turn on the heat under the frypan, mid-range gentle. Start turning the mushies through the butter, garlic and chilli.

Chop some parsley, halve the lemon and using a veg peeler get some nice shavings of Parmesan.

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Yesterday was not a great day for the foster dog. He had his knackers out. He was a sleepy, stoned, knackerless lump when I got him home, poor chap. Still, he had apparently been romancing the vet who is now quite interested in adopting him, so fingers crossed.

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Mushies will start to look like the above a couple of minutes in.

Add a good half lemon’s worth of juice and most of the parsley. Season and stir through.

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It’ll look like this when done. Drain the linguine and add to the frypan, toss through. Check for lemon/seasoning, then eat with a sprinkle more parsley and the parmesan.

Took us an undignified 3 mins to scoff this, hunched over the coffee table in front of Modern Family. It really deserves a little more respect, this meal.

Must try harder.

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Recipe Test : Nigel Slater’s Steak, Tomato & Onion Supper Thingy

Hullo.

Last night I decided to try something I’d seen in the weekend’s Observer Food magazine.  A Nigel Slater thing.  Obviously I’d do it with a bit less of the strangely intimate fondling he undertakes when preparing food.

Picture below, of how it was represented in the magazine.  Quite nice, yes?

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Obviously I didn’t stick religiously to the recipe but as the main ingredients were steak, tomatoes and onions it was hard to go too wrong.

I decided to add croutons and some vinaigrette.  Bit of sting, you know?  Bit of texture, yes?

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Cook the steaks – Nigel recommends using some lovely butter for this, so I did.
Butter’s the shit.  I love it.  I used olive oil and butter.  Good to guarantee the heart attack, so you can plan a bit.

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While the steaks are cooking to a doneness of your choosing, chop up some tomatoes.

Also chop up some onions.  Nige recommends giant spring onions or salad onions.  Whatever.  I used a nice boring brown onion.

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Take the steaks out, let them rest a bit.  I then chopped up some croutons, from an old rapidly stale-ing loaf of ciabatte we’d bought on the weekend but failed to eat.  Fry them till crunchy in the buttery oily mix left by the now-cooked steaks.  When done, put on some kitchen towel to drain.

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Throw in your onions and tomatoes.  Nige then recommends putting a lid on and cooking for ten minutes.

I did this, for I am occasionally obedient.

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I made a Very Mustardy vinaigrette from the above ingredients, whilst the aforementioned cooking was going on.

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I sliced the steak.

Pretty complex so far, eh?  I’m impressed.

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The dogs will enjoy helping you to clean the steak plate.  The foster dog will, particularly, whilst your own dog is a bit cannier and will be scoping out the actual steak on the benchtop, unguarded.

Add the steak to the tomato and onion mix, and the vinaigrette.

Basically it’ll look nothing like Nige’s because ten minutes in a pan is too much for any tomato.  Am idiot.  Should’ve figured that out.  Add the croutons.

Essentially the mushed up tomatoes and vinaigrette will turn themselves into an almost unbearably umami gravy type thing.  The croutons will soak it all up.  Your lips will smack as you eat it.

It’ll look like the below.  It’s very tasty, totally lacks in crunch or green.  Next time I’ll save half the tomatoes and all the croutons for the last 2 mins of cooking.  Might make it look less of a car crash.

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Stewed Plums with Vanilla

Good morning.  Monday, eh.  Bloody well arrives without fail every week.  Why is it the awful things are always the most reliable?

Rightyo – so I don’t know about you but I quite like fruit.  Actually I like it a lot, but that’s probably due in part to my Mama who was a brisk and efficient mother but also one who didn’t suffer foolish treats such as lollies or cordial or juice and we were children who snacked on fruit (not Mama’s fruit, obviously, which was of a much higher quality and lived on top of the fridge, out of our reach) and supped on water.  At the time it made staying with friends whose homes held such glories as chips (or crisps, if you’re UK) and yoghurt muesli bars and red cordial really, really exciting.  Now I’m glad of Mama’s asceticism and frown heavily at babies drinking Ribena from bottles.

Hi Mum.

Winter’s fruits are shit.  Bananas, apples and oranges.  All nice but a bit repetitive and also a bit air-miles unfriendly.  Well, maybe not apples.  Either way I have very fond memories of my Nana (fond especially as she’s still with us AND WILL BE FOREVER) having stewed great vats of plums, nectarines, peaches and pears, stored in ice-cream tubs in the deep-freeze.  In winter we’d have a constant roll-call of stewed summer fruit.  It was ACES.  I bought a couple of punnets of plums pretty cheaply recently and was going to make a plum and apple crumble.  I didn’t, though.  I ended up making stewed plums.

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Above are some of the fruit-based ingredients for apple and plum crumble.  By the way, Bramley apples are SHIT.  They go all gritty and fall to mush faster than ladies with bad taste do at Tom Jones.  What the hell is wrong with a good Granny Smith, English supermarkets, eh?

Anyway, get some fruit of your choice together.  Two punnets of plums was mine.  Those apples are still on the bench, sulkily waiting for their time in the bin.

You’ll also want some brown sugar, soft if you can manage it.  The amount of sugar you add will be entirely to your taste.  I don’t like much as I like my fruit, stewed anyway, a bit tart.

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Peel, stone and chop your fruit as required.  See above.

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You’ll also want a bit of lemon, actually (specially if you’re stewing pears and/or apples – in fact as you prepare them make sure they’re coated in lemon juice otherwise they’ll go a nasty brown).  I also remembered I had some maple syrup in the fridge and thought maybe I’d try a bit of that in lieu of sugar.  I’m well experimental.  I didn’t use more than a dessertspoon in the end, as I went in  another flavour direction entirely, so it was not noticeable in the final result and I thus wasted some nice maple syrup.

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In your saucepan throw all the fruit, a good but not too liberal splash of water and the juice of about half a lemon.  Start to warm through over a lowish heat.

Add the sugar in amounts of your choosing – I used a modest tablespoon.

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I also remembered how much I love vanilla (which is a lot) so I added a good 3 teaspoons of this stuff too.  Probably slightly more than needed but it was near the end of the bottle so I chucked it all in.   Risk-taker, me.

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The fruit will start to break down.  It’ll start smelling nice.  Keep it going.

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Has anyone had this coconut water stuff?  It’s all over the place, with the Paleo diet and all that jazz.  I thought I’d try some.  I hated it.  Sweet.  I love coconut, but coconut water can do one.  That’s £3.50 we’ll not get back.  The boyfriend has said to keep it and he’ll think of what alcohol he can combine it with to best effect, but my money’s on this stuff living in the fridge till approximately December, then being unceremoniously dumped.

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The plums will continue to break down and what might start happening is the skins free themselves from the pulp.  You can pick these out if you want.  I did, a bit, but it’s totally not essential and the skin adds a quite nice texture, the stuff you leave in anyway.  Taste it for sweetness and add more sugar at this stage if you want it – to give time for it to dissolve.

Once you’ve brought it to a simmer and kept it there for a good ten minutes it should be done.  See below.  It’ll go the most amazing colour, the flavour of the plums will be quite intense.  Serve with ice cream or custard, or just on its own.  It’s freaking delish.  It freezes beautifully, so freeze some.

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Lazy Bones Beef & Ale Stew

Hullo.  I know, another post already.  It’s all I’ve got in the bag for now so god knows when the next one will potter along.

Another stew, so soon after the lamb shanks as well.  It’s probably breaking some core rule of food blogging but I don’t really consider myself a food blogger and I also don’t give a shit.  It’s blatantly stew weather here in the UK, Autumn means all the leaves are dropping from the trees like groupies deserting a failing boyband.  I hate those bloody leaves, they turn into death-slides at the merest hint of moisture in the air.

I’m quite grumpy today.  Maybe I need more stew.  I think it’s probably because I’m about out of Promite at home and it’s stressing me out.

Anyway here is some stew.  Brilliantly easy, one pot, delicious.  Everyone I know has a beef stew recipe – this is my version of a Jamie Oliver one, although to be honest they’re all the bloody same.  His is good because there’s no faffing about browning flour-covered meat.

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You want to gather:-
About 500g or so of stewing beef

500ml ale or guinness (I used a fancy one for the photo but actually used Speckled Hen for the dish)

some celery, 2-3 sticks

some carrots, 2-3

about 3 bay leaves

whatever leftover mushrooms you have in the fridge

indeed, any leftover veg you want to get rid of, really

oil, seasoning, the usual

tin of chopped tomatoes

bout a tablespoon of plain flour, although I’m sure nothing too heinous would happen if you used self raising.

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Roughly chop up the onion, carrot and celery.  In French they call this ‘mirepoix’ and in Italian ‘soffrito’ (if I remember rightly), often with the addition of garlic.

You can call it whatever you want.

Add the bay leaves, all in the same casserole pot with a nice big glug or two of olive oil.

Cook it over a medium heat for about ten minutes.

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In goes the beef and the plain flour, and stir it all through, cooking the flour off a bit.  It’ll go gunky.  Fear not.

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Chuck in the tomatoes and pour in the boozes.  Bring up to a simmer, stirring a bit.

You’ll have pre-heated your oven to 180C or Gas Mark 4.  Put the lid on the pot, throw the whole thing in the oven.

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Essentially you can cook this for as long as you want.  A good 3 hours would be minimum, I’d say.  Pull it out 2 hours in and have a look, add a bit of water if you fancy.  I did.  If you add a LOT of water, then make a little paste with some more flour and water and stir it through.  It’ll help keep the gravy thick.

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Now I cooked mine for two hours then let it cool, chucked it in the fridge overnight and did another two hours the next day.  This worked out fine.  Actually it worked fine for everyone but the fridge.  The shelf could not take the weight of the casserole dish and cracked in two.  Excellent.

For the last half-hour (if you’ve a ShitOven) or hour if you don’t, take the lid off.  It’ll look nice except for the incredibly burnt bits which have taken two days to soak off.
Cut up some parsley and stir through.  You should probably serve with some other veg.  We didn’t.

It’s very nice.  I ate it with a spoon.  I love eating stuff with a spoon.

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Chocolate Rough Slice

Good morning.
I made a deliberate decision to get up later than I should this morning.  It has had the knock-on effect of me missing ALL the trains, and having to run like Mo Farah for another one.  I am sure I have died as a result.  Anyway, am here now and of course whilst casting a sideways eye over the work email account decided to upload this little recipe first.

ShitOven is back in business!  The boyfriend fixed it, whilst I was upstairs having a nice lay down on Saturday afternoon.  Good boyfriend.  Basically he said all the foil-based fortifications I’d erected inside ShitOven to prevent it from incinerating everything had turned to ash and shut out the pilot light.  So, it’s fixed.  I’ve baked this slice (somewhat burnt) and a stew (to be blogged later, also somewhat burnt), so things are very much back to normal.

ShitOven has burnt me, twice.  It must’ve heard me make mention of replacements.

Rightyo – Chocolate Rough Slice – this was a favourite thing of mine (and my family) growing up – to cook and eat.  Bit of rough, innit.  Also, delicious.

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Pre-heat your oven to 180C or gas mark 3/4.  Ish.

Get:-

½ cup self raising flour
½ cup plain flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, melted

And for the topping:
1 cup icing sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon softened butter
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup condensed milk

Grease and line a 20x30cm type slice dish pan thingy.  You know what I mean.  If you don’t, then you’re probably not the best person to be making this.

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Sift together both flours and the cocoa.  No cheating I’m afraid, you need to sift properly.

Add the sugar and coconut, mix through.  Make a well in the centre, according to the recipe.  I rarely do this, but for propriety I have done so today.  Or yesterday, rather, which is when this whole shebang occurred.

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Mix in the melted butter till it looks like the above – kind of a crumble type thing.  It’s freaking delicious.  Eat some, then press lightly but neatly into the lined slice pan thingy and chuck it in the oven for 20 mins.  Unless you have ShitOven, in which case it’ll take about 30 seconds.

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In the same bowl (well, you can use another bowl if you want, but you’d be mad to) sift in the icing sugar and cocoa.  Make a mess, like me.

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Meet Archie, the new foster.  He’s quite sweet, considering he’s come from a disadvantaged home.  The current UK Tory government would no doubt want us to get him to sign a behaviour contract and stop smoking but we’ve not done that, I’m afraid.

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After stirring in the softened butter as much as you can (if you’re anything like me, that’ll be not bloody much at all) add the condensed milk and coconut.  Stir.  You’ll need muscles.

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Pull the slice out of the oven and let it cool nearly all the way, won’t take long.

Pour over the topping and refrigerate for a good couple hours.  Below is it, sliced, before waiting 2 hours.  Topping-sludge.  If you do wait it’s much less runny.  Eat, eat it all.  I had 4 slices last night.

Please note the colour of the baking paper.  That’s only 20 mins in ShitOven.  Seriously, I am actually playing with fire every time I cook.  Danger danger.

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Sweet Potato & Chorizo Soup

G’day.
I’ve some tragic news. ShitOven has broken.  Well, it’s a bit broken.  Obviously this has only heightened my already stratospheric disdain for it.  It seems to have lost its pilot light mojo, and just sadly clicks away, when switched on, like a lonely cricket at the wrong time of year.  Jiminy.

Of course this leads to exciting new NotShitOven opportunities, however all the ones I like are not cheap. Nothing I like is cheap. It’s a sad thing to live life this way.  I think, in the first instance, the boyfriend (who is not very DIY-y, neither am I although I am ACE at employing workmen and figuring out what I really want about a month after they’ve gone) will have a bash at relighting it this weekend.  If there is a bright light and a concentrated ‘WHOOSH’ over West London this weekend, bid us farewell and godspeed.

In the meantime it’s stove-top cooking, ahoy.

This soup is bloody good, even if I do say so myself.  It’s not ground breaking in terms of flavour combos and I’m sure every man, his dog and the six mice he’s unaware of living under the floorboards all have their own recipes for it, but I guarantee if you use mine you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re veggie or vegan, just drop the chorizo.  It’s an affectation anyway, considering the relatively small amount there is of it in there.  Oh and swap chicken stock for veggie.

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I used:-

3 medium sizes sweet potatotes

1 big carrot

3 cloves garlic

2 white onions

1 litre of chicken stock (from a packet, OBVIOUSLY)

parsley (flat leaf, preferable)

chorizo

Madras curry powder

seasoning

bit of olive oil

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Roughly slice the onions, peel and chop the sweet potato and carrot and chuck into a big saucepan with a good dollop of olive oil.

Add the chopped chorizo – above shows how much I used.  About half.  The other half will no doubt sit in the fridge with the other packet of now out-of-date chorizo.  It’s a bit like that in our fridge. We have a lot of delicious speck and pancetta we brought back from Italy, languishing in there.  Must do something with it.  Will freeze it.  Can I freeze it?

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Moving right along, stick the pot on the stove.

Add a good teaspoon of the Madras curry powder and cook over a lowish-mediumish heat for around 8-10 minutes, till the veg are warmed through and the chorizo starts to leak its oils like the easy tears of a spoilt toddler.

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It’ll look something like the above, if you’ve done it right.  Basically you want to soften the onion (don’t let it brown) and start the cooking process with all the other stuff.

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Add 3/4 of your chicken stock, which I hope you’ve made with hot water.  Please make it with hot water otherwise pouring cold stock onto hot veg will mean you’re basically starting from scratch when it comes to cooking temperatures.  I am never sure whether I’m patronising you all with such simple advice but will continue to do so just in case it’s warranted.

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Bring the whole mix to a simmer and let it cook through and down for a good ten minutes or so.  You might want to add the rest of the stock half-way through.  I did.

If you can mush the sweet potato and, most importantly, the carrot – using a fork – then you’re good to go.

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Whazz the whole thing up with a blender – I use the handheld wotsit as it’s easy and I can do it straight in the saucepan.  If you’ve got a fancy hot-liquid blender thing, then use that.

You shouldn’t need any more liquid – the amount of stock leaves a nice consistency to this soup and if you’ve used the chorizo they will not whazz up to microscopic proportions but will swim about like tiny spots of savoury something that you kind of like and are kind of weirded out by.

Add a good handful of finely chopped parsley and taste for seasoning.  Probably won’t need salt, cause of the stock, but a good wrench or two of cracked black pepper will do no harm at all.

Serve, I recommend a bowl, with some spring onions. I was going to add sour cream to this as a final flourish but I forgot to buy any.  Eat with some toasted ciabatta.

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Lamb Shanked

Sunshine!  In autumn!  We’ve paid for it with a night of unstoppable rain, the park was a bit of a mudbath as a result, but instead of being lazy-arsed as usual we’ve been motivated to get up, to the park and other such things.  The highlight has been a visit to Homebase where I wandered around thinking, ‘I had no idea my life would reach such brilliant heights’ as I searched fruitlessly for an oven thermometer.

Boyfriend is fixing something on 2 of his 5 bikes, dog is hopefully searching for bits of dropped chicken from lunch, and I’ve two banana breads no doubt burning a horrible death in ShitOven.

Time to blog.

This is a delicious thing adapted from something that overtly glamorous and unrealistically clean lady, Lorraine Pascale, did on her tellybox show a while ago.  Have made it a couple of times, is bloody good, and here’s my version for two people.

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Obviously double or triple amounts if you’re cooking for more than two.

Lamb shanks, preferably from a nice kind of butcher

Red onion

Rosemary, couple sprigs

Bay leaves

Carrots (I used 2)

Peppercorns, bout 6 or so

Seasoning

Oil

Parma ham or pancetta (Lovely Lorraine Pascale uses chorizo but I decided not to risk the 3-months out of date stuff we had in the fridge)

Rioja

Garlic

Paprika (Lovely Lorraine Pascale uses normal, but I used smoked) – a good teaspoon

Beef stock, bout 500ml

Balsamic vinegar, bout 125ml

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Tear the ham into little stips and fry off in some seasoned olive oil.  I kind of mush them down a bit with a wooden spoon as I want the flavour rather than the actual lumps of cured pig flesh.

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In a nice big casserole dish (one with a lid, please), brown your lamb shanks, seasoning a bit with pepper if you fancy it. I always fancy pepper, bit like I think I might always slightly fancy Luke Goss from Bros.  We all have our shameful secrets.

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Whilst the shanks are browning, gather your fun stuff – a whole garlic sliced in half, couple sprigs of rosemary, bay leaves (I used 3 as mine were dessicated and ancient, but you may not need that much if yours are fresh), peppercorns and paprika.

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When the shanks are browned enough in your eyes, add 2/3 of the stock, about 300ml of rioja, the balsamic, paprika, garlic, bay leaves etc etc.

Basically add everthing bar the onion and carrots.  Bring to a simmer on the stovetop.

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Above is my second-favourite souvenir from Italy – we bought a couple of takeaway sodas on the beach in San Benedetto del Tronto, and the lady at the bar gave us the bottles with these bottle tops on, for travelling.  Obviously we’ve kept them and they are already coming in handy.  Italy, you are amazing.

*looks fondly at tiny yellow plastic lid*

Anyway put the lid on the dish and chuck it into an oven on at about Gas Mark 3 (moderateish, not too hot) for 1.5hrs.  If you’re cookingmore than two shanks I’d up this to about 2 hours at least.

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After this time add the roughly chopped carrots and onions and add the rest of the stock.  I also added a bit more water, you might also want to, but then again you probably don’t have a ShitOven so don’t need to take precautions in quite the same way.

Back in the oven for another 30-40 minutes.

Serve with mash potato, or whatever you like, really.

Best eaten when it’s pissing with rain outside, and a good few hours before bedtime, unless you enjoy hours of sleeplessness due to whale-like proportions.

I’ve got to go save the banana breads, I can hear them screaming.  Really, you’re so lucky you can’t hear how I speak to ShitOven, it’s very rude indeed.

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Middle Class Chicken

Hullo.

You’ve probably made this already.  I don’t seem to be doing a lot of new cooking lately (ie, I’m cooking lots of stuff I’ve already blogged, I’ve been blogging for 10 months now, that means a LOT of things non-repeated, it’s utterly exhausting) but last night I made this and I know I’ve not blogged it and so you’re getting it.

It’s quite tasty.  Eat it with lots of working class vegetables to even out the class divide.  Actually we ate it with cheddar-stuffed mushrooms (working class cheddar, middle class stuffed mushrooms), asparagus (totally middle class) and corn on the cob (well working class), so I’m not sure where we’ve ended up.  We even used proper butter and Maldon sea salt on the corn, god help us.
Anyway…

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It’s middle class chicken.  So you need:-

Pesto

Parma ham

Organic free range chicken breasts

Plus some olive oil and cracked black pepper.  You won’t need any salt as by the time the pesto and parma ham have done their salty thing your lips will be shrivelling like the snails my grandmother throws on the road to play ‘chicken’.  They inevitably lose.

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Slice into the thickest side of the chicken breast, making a kind of pocket but not really.  It’s really just a slice.  You can arse about making a proper pocket from the top of the thing all the way down if you like.  I don’t like.

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Lay a good teaspoon of pesto in the opened bit.  You can dilute this a bit with cream cheese if you want. I didn’t have any cream cheese, so I didn’t, so that’s probably why it was Really Quite Salty at the done end of things.

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Lay a piece of parma ham over the sliced bit, then roll up in two more bits.  I’ve shown you above what to do.  S’not rocket science.

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As usual I’ve forgotten to tell you to pre-heat the oven to 200C or so.  Do that.

Brown off in an oven-proof frypan, just gently, and throw in the oven for around 20 minutes or until done.  I took mine a bit over.  They were a bit dry.  Very average baking on my part.

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Out of the oven they’ll look a bit like the above. Let them rest whilst you plate up whatever social class of vegetable you’ve chosen.

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The above photo is to demonstrate the utter lack of light in the kitchen.  We’ve got shitty lights, inherited from the previous owners who appeared to spend as little as humanly possible on things like working lights, ShitOvens and cupboard fronts. Also, the dog is present, doing her usual begging. If we actually fed her as often as she asked she’d be less whippety and more St Bernard.  There needs to be at least one skinny person in our house and at the moment the dog is it.

Below is the finished product, inadvisably sliced in two with a serrated knife.  Don’t do that. I was trying to show you the pesto in the middle.  Not really successful.

This dish is fast and easy and not too pricey, bit like me.

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