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Archive for the ‘Recipes and Experiments’ Category

 

Bacon & egg with peashoots on toast

Bacon & egg with peashoots on toast

 

Finished this with a lovely warm honey, mustard and raspberry vinegar dressing.

 

Belly of pork with butterbeans

Belly of pork with butterbeans

 

Stuffed the pork with a light layer of sage, date and lemon and roasted on top of the ribs.  Made a glorious marmitey meat juice sauce. The marrow and ginger jam was too sweet with the stuffing but will be nice with fish maybe as it was v. lemony.

 

Plum pies with homemade vanilla icecream

Plum pies with homemade vanilla icecream

 

Free-styled an almond sweet pastry but it backfired on me – never frick about with patisserie! Was way too short and crumbly, couldn’t roll the bugger so had to press it into the mold. The plum filling rocked though – as did the faithful old ice cream recipe.

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The day-to-day plums that most of us get from the super markets these days tend to be a bit hard and uninspiring eaten straight from the bowl.

 

My plums on toast

My plums on toast

 

I’ve devised a great way to sweeten them up without cooking out all the goodness and making it into a delicious light(ish) breakfast.

Simply halve you plums, de-stone, pan fry in a little butter and add fruit based booze and sugar to taste towards the end to make a reduced syrup sauce.

Toast both sides of a good bit of bread (sourdough or something thereof) and then spread with a mixture of equal parts butter and sugar with a good pinch of cinnamon and ginger. Place the plums nicely on the toast, dust with icing sugar and serve.

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3 bits with parsley, one with chilli sauce

3 bits with parsley, one with chilli sauce

 

Got this recipe from Olive magazine so I thought I’d give it a bash seeing as it fits in with the bacon curing, butter churning, bread baking ethos we are following at Full English.  I bought spankingly fresh mackerel from Steve Hats on Essex Road and processed the fish as soon as I got home.  

Fillet, de-bone and lay on a layer of equal parts salt and sugar (with lots of black pepper).  Refrigerate with weights on top, after 24hrs drain and repeat (I added more of the cure but the recipe didn’t mention this). After 48hrs remove, rinse pat dry and slice thinly – serve on buttered toast with some garnish or other – the chilli sauce was really good – mustard or wasabi would also work but lemon juice is essential.

The taste?  It reminded me of smoked salmon without the smoke.  Not overtly fishy (a good thing – that suggests the fish is old…) but a lovely texture and depth of mackerel flavour.

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Having mastered the art of the New York Times no kneed bread the next logical step was to try a sourdough.

This would of course involve some kneeding and a more measured approach to proofing and the likes but the thing that got me really excited was the idea of growing a sourdough starter without using any instant processed yeast.

The idea of a sourdough starter is to encourage the growth and development of natural yeast spores found in the flour you use and in the environment surrounding you. This really is getting back in touch with a purely natural way of cooking.  Making bread is one of the most exciting and rewarding acts of cooking – bread is ace – homemade bread made with natural yeast from the air we breathe is freekin’ awesome!

So I set to work following one of the many guides found online (thanks S John Ross!).  Take your flour (I used unbleached wholemeal), add water and make a thick battery gloop.  Let sit at room temp with tea towel over the top to deter critters…

The first couple of days nothing much happened. By about the 4th day I had magic bubbles – a sign that something is happening with the yeast and bacteria. But woow – it totally stank of baby sick – never smealt anything quite like it.  So I kept feeding it each day and eventually it settled down and took on that lovely faintly sour beery hue.

So that was my starter sorted all, I needed to do was add more flour and water to develop a sponge, about 3 hours later you add more flour to get a bread consistency and then kneed for about 10 minutes (strangely cathartic actually).

Sourdough - the first rise

Sourdough - the first rise

You then let it rise once more, knock it back and create a loaf.

Second rise as a loaf - nice slits...

Second rise as a loaf - nice slits...

Get it while it's hot!

Get it while it's hot

Oddly, the recipe I was following told you to cook the bread at 200 from cold (ie don’t preheat the oven).  This had the effect of rising the dough even further before the real heat kicked in and creating a lovely soft bread with an excellent crumb with little crust – perfect for sandwiches!

Charlotte made me get up early the next morning to construct a PBJ – a bit sacrilegious with such fine bread (aidsims) but she did say it was the best bread I’d made so far.

Next up – same recipe but using the dutch oven method so you get a more french style crust and some wholemeal individual rolls – yumosa!

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Apparently the name Welsh Rarebit is a dig at the Welsh.

You’d think there’d be plenty of other options for riling our celtic cousins without resorting to a poke at this classic comfort food that has become so popular over the last couple of years. But apparently it relates to the fact that whilst rabbit was the cheap food standby for the English, the Welsh standby was cheese – hence Welsh Rarebit…

With a classic recipe there are of course 59 different ways of doing it – beer or no beer – roux or no roux etc etc. Last night I tried the no-beer roux route. Lovely with some old school soft lettuce and pepper salad with a honey and raspberry vinegar dressing.

Welsh rarebit

Welsh rarebit

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Went to the Barge Inn near Pewsey, Wiltshire at the weekend to celebrate Tony Crackburn’s 40th!

Took advantage of the scorching weather to crack out the barbie and roast up some ribs and other delights.

Grilling the Aubergines for babganush

Grilling the Aubergines for babaganush

The babaganush was stuffed inside some turkish peppers. A bit bland in the end – none of that rich smokeyness that you’d expect.

Radishes at Marlborough market

Radishes at Marlborough market

Ginger pig ribs and chipolatas

Ginger pig ribs and chipolatas

The ribs ruled – sticky and sweet from their bourbon and horseradish marinade.

Tony Crackburn's wicked kebobs

Tony Crackburn's wicked kebobs

Tony’s kebob’s in full effect – nice use of whole mini peppers Tony!

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Wiping the plate clean

Wiping the plate clean

 

Five-a-day?  Me neither…

Not at the moment anyway.  Bread for breakfast, bread for lunch (sandwich styleé), then something bordering on vegetables for tea if I’m lucky.

However, given my obsession with soda farls I’ve become equally addicted to the berry compote.

They are so easy to make and have a fraction of the sugar of a jam but taste just as great.  Plus, they aren’t boiled to buggery so they don’t loose loads of their nutrient content.

Strangely, given our leaning towards all things English, my fav. is the blueberry compote – kinda American in it’s outlook.  No matter, the blueberry creates a wonderful light syrup and combined with real vanilla is a real treat.

 

Blueberry Compote with Soda Farls

Make sure you add a little sugar to the farl recipe here

 

For the compote:

1 punet of blueberries (serves 2 generously)

2 tea spoons of sugar

1 vanilla pod

 

Wash the blueberries and add to a small pan.  Add enough water so that the berries are barely coated (think steaming spinach – about that amount) – DON’T ADD TOO MUCH – you can always add but its a lot of faff to take out the berries and reduce the syrup later.

Sprinkle over the sugar, split the vanilla pod to scrape out the seeds – add those and chuck in the pod itself for good measure – stir lightly to combine.  

Get the mixture up to boiling and simmer gently for about 5 mins.  The blueberries should be starting to break up but not completely turned to mush.

CAREFULLY taste the syrup – don’t forget it has sugar in there and will be volcanic – if its too loose take out the berries and boil hard to the right consistency  – it should be like loose jam but not too runny. 

Take out the vanilla pod and allow to cool.

Best served slightly warm with the farl and lashings of salted butter.

Yumosa!

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