Friday, 3 May 2013

Arty's Cooking Diary 23/6/13 onwards

This page is meant for my benefit really as a log of noteable food made to refer back to, but I have no objection to anyone looking at it and commenting.

Sun 23/6/13
Roast rib of beef

Wed 12/6/13
Egg, Cheese and Bacon Casserole
from (but my adapted recipe is in Evernote)

This was not a casserole but more of an egg loaf.  Mixed reviews but not everybody was in the mood.  George and I liked it.  Served with air-fried potatoes (which were excellent, not overcooked, and peas.

Sun 9/6/13
Pulled beef
I bought 2x 450-ish-g cuts of Sainsbury's pulled beef with a chipotle glaze.  They were very nice for a change but would be better home-made.  Portions seemed a bit small as the weight included the chilli sauce (which was a bit hot) but there was some left over so it can't have been.  Had with usual carrots, sweetheart cabbage and rosties.

Sun 2/6/13
Roast leg of lamb
2.2kg leg of New Zealand lamb at room temp.
1/2 head elephant garlic
Rosemary sprigs

Prepared the lamb with around 12 sprigs of rosemary with garlic slivers.
In the oven with the probe.  I think it cooked for about an hour but I didn't make a note.  The crucial thing is that I took it out when it was 59C.  It rose and peaked at 70C having been uncovered.  I meant to take it out sooner but it was absolutely spot on- all the meat was moist and the pink bits were just right- not too rare.

Wed 22/5/13
Quorn Shepherd's Pies
I've been trying to do more meat-free meals (e.g. jacket spuds with cheese & beans, something else on Tuesday, and now this).  3 tubs of cottage pie, which usually goes down well.  Only this time made with Quorn.  I wasn't expecting it to be brilliant but I was amazed when I actually tucked into it.  It was just extremely forgettable.  I was expecting the filling to be the worst bit but that was okay, if a little unsatisfying.  However the potato on tope was awful- it tasted of and had the texture of cardboard.  My theory is that they make the potato awful so you don't notice the filling.
We won't be buying that again!

Sun 19/5/13
Chicken in puff pastry
I didn't have much time for Sunday dinner so invented this, which was delicious.

5 chicken breasts
1 packet of ready-rolled puff pastry, with rosemary and thyme
1 packet of Philadelphia
1 packet (900g) Aun Bessie's roast potatoes
My usual Sunday carrots
Steamed broccoli

I trimmed the breasts, cut a slit in the top to take about 1 rounded tsp of the Philadelphia, then put a layer of puff pastry on top. (Remember to trim to the shape of the breasts, and use baking parchment or similar).  They cooked for about 30 mins at 210C- (until they reach 78C inside).

Next time I must remember to cut the pastry to the shape of the breasts.  And to let the sauce down with a little milk (Ginette suggested oil, which might have worked also. Or butter?  Probably rich enough with just milk)

Sat 18/5/13
Pork Goulash
Made this again, served with jacket spuds and sweetheart cabbage.

1kg onions
1.5kg pork shoulder, trimmed and cubed
1 Head of garlic, crushed (I only had some garlic flakes, which did the job)
1 tin (75g) mild paprika
15g smoked paprika (next time I think I would try half and half. The formula should probably be as much as 100g paprika/1kg meat)
1tsp caraway seeds (as a test, which worked, but didn't really notice)
Small amount dww or stock
A pot or two of Creme fraiche, best quality (eg Tesco Finest). This time I used 1 pot TF Creme fraiche plus most of a pot of Tesco soured cream, which was a bit more liquid. Might be good to use more paprika and 2 pots TF Creme fraiche)

Fry the onions in oil gently until lightly browned
Add the meat and paprika and cook for a couple of mins only. Also the caraway seeds
Add ONLY enough dww or stock to barely cover the meat.
Cook for a couple of hours in the oven at 120Cish

Fri 17/5/13
Crispy chicken fajitas
From a packet bought in Tesco for 49p, which I discovered was nearly 2 months out of date. It was excellent and will do again. The kit came with breadcrumbs, a mild salsa and wraps. I added guacamole (style topping), soured cream, grated cheese (which I also used for nachos, using a packet of tortilla chips which was reduced to 29p but in date) and chipotle chilli paste (for me). Went down well with everybody. Could make using seasoned dried breadcrumbs, chicken and about 3 tbsp oil. 8 medium wraps did 5 of us but Harry and Juliet didn't eat much.

Sun 12/5/13
Roast leg of lamb with all the trimmings

Half leg of lamb (1.6kg). Pushed a mix of garlic purée, finely chopped rosemary and white pepper into about 10 slots. I put this in a bit early and removed it from the oven at 43C, returning it about 25m later (it had reached 51C at that point). It was at room temp when I put it in the oven and it probably had about an hour in total, coming out at 64C and resting for 20m or so. It was absolutely perfect- just off being underdone. As usual though, by the time it was on the plates the pinkness was much reduced, but still moist.

Roast spuds with rosemary- 1.5kg Maris pipers, cut in large pieces, parboiled for 9 mins, then tossed in rapeseed oil, finely chopped rosemary leaves, polenta, garlic salt and white pepper. Roasted on trays with space between them at 190-200C for an hour.  These were as good as I have done.

Carrots done the usual way (ginger, garlic, honey, butter, orange juice with no bits, white pepper). This time I used prepared carrots from the supermarket- round 2" long pieces, halved/quartered to make even sized pieces.  The carrots themselves didn't have much flavour but this way of cooking them makes them very tasty.

Packet gravy- Bisto lamb with mint.

Sat 11/5/13
Vegetable curry
3 onions (2 brown, 1 red because that's what I had)
1 jar Pataks Tikka curry paste- tamarind & paprika (mild)
2 tins coconut milk
1 head garlic
1 butternut squash
1 sweet potato
1 cauliflower
1 tin chick peas

Fry the chopped onions in a big saucepan in a little oil until goldenish
Add the curry paste and cook until the room is highly scented
Add all the other ingredients, cover and simmer gently for about 20 mins.
Served with boiled rice

Juliet and Harry aren't keen on the squash and sweet potato so didn't eat much. The others liked it.  NB: most of the Pataks jars need only half a jar, this needed a whole one.

Fri 10/5/13
Assemble your own sitting-room dinner: Morrocan chicken wraps
Chicken thigh fillets, in small-ish pieces, shallow-fried with garlic, white pepper and Moroccan spices
Pot of houmous (in this case, a red pepper on)
One ripe avocado
Salad leaves
Chipotle (smoked chilli) paste (for me)
Pack of large and a pack of small (wheat) wraps

Very easy, went down well with everyone.

Mon 6/5/13
BBQ night:
Veal burgers (about 650g veal mince from Sainsburys, red onion, garlic, pepper. Very tasty. Cooked until barely done)
Lamb rump steaks (Sainsbury, 300g). Pink.
Jersey royal spud salad (spring onions, feta, basil, mint, evoo)
Sweetcorn cobettes (a cob cut into about 5 slices, brushed with garlic, mint & veg oil, cooked 4m either side till hints of black. Then a bit of butter)
Eaten with Pimms blackberry & elderflower. Hadn't tried this before. I loved it, Ginette thought it didn't taste particularly alcoholic. Maybe I made it too weak?

I absolutely loved this meal. Everything was lovely if rather hastily put together. The sweetcorn cobettes are well worth doing for every bbq- I just need to ensure I put enough coals on.  This was the first time we had Jerseys this year and they were lovely. Worked well as a packed lunch later for Ginette also.  Veal burgers were good but they needed a sharper knife as they fell apart easily, which is easily remedied by egg, breadcrumbs, etc.  Everything was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh.

Sunday 5/5/13
White fish (Basa), with thai-style topping (leftover from the salmon from a few days ago)
Rich garlicky mash (maris pipers, creme fraiche, butter, white pepper, 1tsp garlic puree)
Sugar snap peas

This was delicious. A very easy meal to make- it would be worth having some of the topping mix in the freezer.  Hmm, I'll do that next time.  Previously have only done this recipe with oily fish.

Saturday 4/5/13
Jerk chicken- airfryer recipe.
Followed the recipe except I used about 2/3 tsp smoked chilli from jar, about 1 1/2 tbsp ground coriander, generous ground nutmeg, pineapple juice.
Did with oven chips and peas.

The chicken was a bit too citric from the juice of 2 limes. 1 lime would have been enough.
Ginette would have liked it with rice (rice + peas would be good)
George and I liked it very much.  I cooked the chicken in the airfryer for about 25 mins. The recipe said to joint a chicken and airfry it for about 15 mins.  That would not have worked.  I did large boneless breast pieces (but thigh would have worked well).

Thursday 2/5/13
Cooked jointed chicken: Chicken (1.7kg)- cut into about 6 pieces + wings. 30 mins @210 (1st batch)
Oven baked Charlottes- large charlottes halved. Tossed in oil, sprinkle of salt. Cooked about 45 mins @190 (2nd batch)
Oven roast veg:- 1 courgette, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1 red onion, 1 large head garlic, handful cherry toms.
For the roast veg I prepared them in the usual way, except the garlic which I separated into cloves but left the skins on. I tossed everything lightly in the oil with (dried but fresh would be better) thyme and pepper, and put on a baking tray, leaving the garlic at one end.   I cooked them for about 20 mins @190.
After 20 mins I popped the garlic out of their skins.  I took the juices from the chicken baking tray, took some of the fat off and tossed the veggies in the chicken juices.  The veggies went back into the oven for 5 mins or so.

Delicious. Ginette liked it as the veggies weren't 'soupy'. I think this is because they only had about 25 mins. It would be good to have them at a slightly hight temp but I had overcooked the first batch of potatoes so was being cautious.

April 2013
Fish and chips (with extra thumb).
I had my bi-annual go at making deep fried fish and chips.  I don't deep fry much.  These were good but I must remember to use the holder for the potatoes when using the mandolin!!

Sunday 31 March 2013
Juliet and Antonia made peppermint creams, half-coated in chocolate, using the second of these two recipes.

350g icing sugar
3 drops peppermint essence
1 drop blue food colouring
1 drop yellow food colouring (we didn't have green)
1 egg white

1- Whisk the egg white until frothy
    Sieve in the icing sugar, add the essence and food colouring and mix well
2- Sprinkle icing sugar onto your hands
    Roll teaspoon-sized amounts of the mix into small balls and place on a (baking) tray
3- Flatten each ball with a fork to form flat discs
    Place in the fridge for one hour until firm
4- Melt the chocolate gently
5- When the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Allow to cool a little.
6- Dip each sweet into the chocolate until half-covered.
    Place the dipped sweets on a non-stick surface to set. Put in fridge.
7- Eat

A great success. They looked much nicer than the ones in the photo from the recipe.

These would be good with orange oil and lemon oil instead of the peppermint.

Mid March 2013
Purple potatoes
I bought some purple potatoes from Morissons just to see what they would be like. I made some into home-made oven chips, which were nice but wasn't quite as good as using normal chips.  I used the remainder as mashed potato, which were excellent.

Late February 2013
I had a go at making Trotter Gear using this recipe:

pigs' trotters (all hair removed) 6
onions 2, peeled
carrots 2, peeled
celery 2 sticks
leeks 2, split
garlic 1 head
thyme a bundle
peppercorns a handful
Sercial Madeira ½ bottle (I used some dry white wine)
chicken stock to cover the trotters
First make the trotter gear. Place the trotters in a large casserole. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes then drain. Now place the blanched trotters in the pot with the vegetables, thyme, peppercorns and Madeira and cover with the stock. Cook for at least 3 hours until the trotters are totally giving. At this point, strain the cooking liquid and keep. When the trotters are cool enough to handle, pick all the flesh, fat and skin off them tearing the skin to shreds. Add to the cooking liquid, seal in a jar and refrigerate. You now have trotter gear – giving, wobbly trotter captured in a splendid jelly.

I now have 4 trotters-worth, ready to use in the freezer.  I haven't actually used it yet though.

This is somebody else's valiant effort as I didn't photograph mine and it didn't look as good as this anyway.

Thursday 14/2/13
I was lucky enough to win this hamper of Jamaican goodies, courtesy of a Facebook competition. My favourites: the Encona sauces. My least favourites were the water crackers and the Canadian-style sardines.  Not very Jamaican!

I love Encona sauces- just the right heat and not too vinegary, unlike Tabasco.  My favourites are the traditional hot pepper sauce, followed by all the others.

Saturday 8/12/12
Tonight's tea for George and me. Duck confit from a tin which was given to me about ten years ago after it was given to Mum about ten years before that.  Maybe longer.  From before the time when dates were put on tins. Absolutely delicious!

I'm hoping George will make this with me. Luckily I have duck legs and plenty of fat :-)

Autumn 2012
Had a go at making bacon.  See separate blogpost.