Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Perfect Rib of Beef, plus Beetroot and all the Trimmings 13/9/14

Saturday's meal was a lovely one rib of beef weighing 1.2kg with the bone in, to feed 6 of us.  I wanted to try this way of cooking the beef, which is unconventional but makes perfect sense and perfectd results, and makes cooking much easier even if you have to start much earlier.

So I also cooked some cocktail sausages, onion rings, beetroot and roast celeriac as well as Yorkshires to go with it.

The recipe for the beef I adapted from The Food Lab on Facebook:

  1. Heat the oven to 93C
  2. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper, ideally 12-24 hours before cooking.  This allows the salt to dissolve and the liquid to be reabsorbed deeper into the meat.  Better than just sprinkling it on the surface just before cooking.  Leave at room temperature for a few hours.
  3. Put the meat in the oven on a rack, fat uppermost, for 3-4 hours, until it reaches 49C (med rare), 57 (med).  [I cooked it to 53C which was perfect for me but slightly too little for some of the others.  Next time I would try 57C for a perfect medium.  1.2kg took about 3 hours to go from around 21C to 53C so expect a larger joint coming form the fridge to take much longer]
  4. Once up to heat, remove and tent tightly with foil.  [The temperature shouldn't carry on rising much- with my attempt it rose from 53 to 54, then dropped to 52 after an hour]. The recipe says to hold it like this for half an hour but I found an hour was fine.
  5. Increase oven temp to maximum (260-288C).
  6. When ready to serve, put the meat back in the oven, fat uppermost, for 6-10 mins. [I did 10 mins at 250C].  Alternatively you could brown it in a frying pan, I suppose.
  7. Carve and serve immediately.
Note- the beef was only one rib so I carved it along the grain as my knife was a bit blunt (!).  A bigger piece would have made it easier to carve across the grain.
The beauty of this way of cooking is that the meat is perfectly pink to exactly how you like it done all the way from just under the browned edge through to the middle.
One comment was that it wasn't as visually appealing. Because of the pieces of fat in the meat.  With rib you can remove the larger pieces of fat on carving, if it helps.

Roast beetroot
I also roasted some beetroot as an experiment.  Washed the whole beetroot, trimmed it to 1" at the top and fairly close at the bottom.  Tossed in oil an roasted for about 30 minutes.  I found it delicious but the children weren't so keen.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Deep-fried chips, chicken wings and celeriac chips 6-7/9/14

Having bought a deep-fat fryer, I thought I had better use it.

Home fried chips:

My first experiment was deep-fried chips, which we had with steak on Saturday night (6/9/14).  Quite straightforward- I cut 850g of maris pipers (at room temperature) into medium size chips, leaving the skin on, gave them a quick rinse and dried them with a tea towel.  This was to remove any excess starch and to minimise the water going into the oil.  (Apparently soaking them for a few hours is a good thing).

The frier took about 2 litres of oil- I used rapeseed.  I cooked the chips at 160°C for about 8 minutes, took them out, increased the temperature to 190°C whilst I cooked the steak and vegetables, cooking the chips for a further 8 minutes while the steak was resting.

The chips were absolutely delicious with Halen Môn sea salt from Anglesey, and were definitely enjoyed by everyone.  The best chips I have ever done :-)

I forgot to photograph them so here's a picture from the Web.

Next time I might have a go at Heston Blumenthal's triple-cooked chips.

Sunday night I had a go at chicken wings and celeriac chips.

Chicken wings:
I needed a recipe that didn't include flour, to fit in with my low-carb diet.  So I found this one that looked good at http://pinchofyum.com/filipino-fried-chicken:

Ingredients I used... Method
2 lb. chicken drumsticks 1kg chicken wings, each separated into 2 and tips removed (and fed to the dog)  Place the raw chicken in a large bowl.
1-2 teaspoon minced garlic
1-2 teaspoon minced onion
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon seasoning mix (Magic Sarap)
1 egg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tbsp minced garlic and ginger
1 tablespoon Hendersons relish
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Anglesey sea salt
1 tbsp Dunn's River All Purpose Seasoning
1 egg
1 tablespoon cornflour
Add the garlic, onion, oyster sauce, black pepper, salt, seasoning mix, egg, and cornstarch. Stir until the chicken is evenly coated.
1-2 cups oil for frying c. 2 litres rapeseed oil -Heat oil in a large pot (deep fat fryer) over medium heat (to 190°C).
-When hot, drop the chicken wings, one piece at a time, in the oil.
-Fry the chicken until the skin is golden brown and crispy (I cooked them for 6-7mins).
-I cooked these in two batches.

These were very popular, particularly with George.  Next time I might try cooking the chicken for longer at a lower temperature, but these were lovely and moist inside, with crispy skin.

The original recipe was to shallow-fry these in 2 cups of oil for about 20 minutes.

I served these alongside a roast chicken with delicious roast spuds (maris pipers, boiled for 15 mins, tossed in goose fat and my polenta mix and roasted at 210°C for about an hour), my carrots and sweetheart cabbage:

Celeriac chips:

This was an experiment. I didn't give myself enough time to follow this recipe so had to adapt it:

Original recipe
1 large celeriac
2 garlic cloves, peeled
A few sprigs fresh thyme
A generous pinch of sea salt
500ml melted duck fat
Groundnut oil, for deep-frying

Now confit the celeriac for the chips. Cut off the top and base of the celeriac, then slice off the skin, following the curve of the root (you want to cut beneath the natural inner layer that surrounds the vegetable), and cut the flesh into 1cm-thick chips. Place the chips in a small pan and add the garlic, thyme and salt. Pour over the melted duck fat to cover and lay a crumpled piece of greaseproof paper on top. Place the pan over a low heat and simmer slowly for 12-15 minutes, until the celeriac is tender. Drain the celeriac (once cool, reserve the fat for roasting spuds or something another day), lay on a tray lined with kitchen paper and leave to cool.

When you're ready to cook, heat the groundnut oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable deep, heavy pan to 180C (if you don't have a thermometer, that's the temperature when a small piece of bread dropped into the hot oil will sizzle vigorously). In several batches, deep-fry the celeriac chips for a few minutes until they are evenly golden brown and crisp on the outside. Remove, drain on a tray lined with kitchen paper, sprinkle with a little salt and keep warm while you cook the fish.

My version:
Time was short so I cut the celeriac into chips and boiled them for about ten minutes until softish.
I let them dry off and deep-fried them at 190°C for about 8 minutes or so until seemingly crispy.

Mine were good but they did lose their crispness very quickly.  Next time I would cook them for longer and serve them straight away.  I would like to give the above recipe a go though.

World Cup Final- Germany v Argentina 13/7/14

So for the World Cup final I cooked Bratwurst, German Fried Potatoes and (Argentinian) Grilled Vegetables.

Bratwurst was from Tesco.  Instructions said to grill or fry but I had to cook them in the oven due to grill capacity.

Grilled Vegetables: Remarkably similar to the oven roast veggies I frequently cook.  I'm not really sure what made them Argentinian.

German-Style Fried Potatoes (from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/German-Style-Fried-Potatoes-355207)

Ingredients (I did about half this):
4 pounds unpeeled medium-size red-skinned potatoes
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons malt vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons lard, rendered bacon fat, or olive oil, divided
Coarse kosher salt
6 tablespoons lager beer, divided
2 1/2 cups finely chopped red onions, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives or green onions (green parts only)


Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender when pierced with sharp knife, about 25 minutes. Drain. Refrigerate potatoes overnight.

Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes (do not peel). Whisk oil, vinegar, and mustard in small bowl to blend for vinaigrette. Heat 3 tablespoons lard in each of 2 large nonstick skillets over medium-high heat. Add half of potatoes to each skillet; sprinkle with coarse salt. Sauté until potatoes begin to brown, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons beer, then 1 1/4 cups red onions to potatoes in each skillet; cook until beer evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and sauté until potatoes are brown around edges, about 5 minutes. Pour half of vinaigrette over potatoes in each skillet and toss to coat. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer all potatoes to large bowl. Sprinkle with chives.

These were quite nice but I'm not sure they were worth the effort.  Germany should have won 2-1 (Bratwurst and potatoes v grilled veggies) but 1-0 was close enough to my culinary prediction for me to be happy.