Monday, 14 November 2011

Thai Vegetable Curry

We've had a bit of a vegetable build up at home in the last week, we've both been away/working late etc and so I needed something tasty involving vegetables and so I came up with this.

For the curry paste:
1 large clove of garlic
1/2 an onion
small bunch of corriander (including stalks)
1 stick of lemon grass
Few lime leaves
1 green chilli
juice of a lime
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of ground corriander
1 teaspoon of ground cumin

Chop and blend all the ingredients above into a smooth paste.

For the curry:
1 small pumpkin peeled and cut into chunks
3 carrots cut into chunks
Bunch of chard
Small cauliflower cut into florets
Can of coconut milk
Chopped coriander

Roast the carrots and pumpkin in a moderate oven for 20-30 minutes until cooked through. Meanwhile fry the curry paste for a few minutes then add the coconut milk. Add the roasted veg, the chard and the cauliflower and simmer until the cauliflower is cooked. Serve with rice and sprinkled with coriander.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Pan Fried Venison with Braised Red Cabbage and Apple

Paid a visit to Pitshanger Lane today which has become a bit of a foodie heaven recently. In one street there are two very good butchers, a fine fishmonger, a proper bakery and a greengrocer. Spoilt for choice as to what to have for supper but setted in the end for venison steaks. Serves 2.

2 venison steaks
1/4 of a red cabbage (finely shredded)
1 Bramley apple cored and cut into wedges
1 small red onion finely shredded
2 potatoes cut into wedges
Slug of balsamic vinegar

First get the potato wedges in a hot oven with some oil, salt and pepper. Cook these for about 1015 minutes before starting on the rest. Pan fry the steaks in a little oil for 2-3 minutes on each side, you don't want to overcook venison or it can become a bit tough. Rest the steaks in a warm place while you braise the cabbage, apples and red onions in the juices from the steaks until the cabbage has softened then add the balsamic vinegar and serve.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Roasted Squash and Porcini Risotto

Another meal that was designed to use up the contents of my Abel and Cole vegetable box. A pair of onion squash in the box and I didn't want to make soup or roasted veg with sausages and so this risotto was born.
Serves 3.

2 small onion squash or one butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 sprig rosemary chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 an onion or a couple of shallots finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed.
2 knobs of butter
small handful of dried mushrooms
1 litre vegetable stock (maybe a little more or a little less)
250g risotto rice
large handful of grated Parmesan cheese

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water until softened. 
Roast the squash with the rosemary, 2 tablespoons of the oil and salt and pepper in a moderate oven until softened and slightly caramelised around the edges.
Meanwhile fry the onion and garlic in the remaining oil and 1/2 the butter until softened, add the rice and stir to coat. Add the mushroom soaking water (avoiding any gritty residue) and stock gradually to the rice until cooked. Stir in the mushrooms and the roasted pumpkin. Add the Parmesan and the last of the butter and stir and leave to stand for a few minutes. Serve with some extra Parmesan shavings.

A Smoked Fish Supper

I love smoked food of all kinds, in particular smoked fish. I remember the bright yellow smoked haddock from my childhood and while today's undyed version looks less garish but tastes as good. This recipe is based on one of my favourites from Loch Fyne and works as well with cod or haddock.
Serves 2

1 thick fillet of smoked haddock or cod (divided into two portions)
1/2 pint milk
Large knob of butter
Teaspoon of grain mustard
small bunch of parsley finely chopped (reserve the stalks)
3 fist sized potatoes
100g frozen peas

Boil the potatoes and poach the fish in the milk with the parsley stalks until the fish is just done (about 10 minutes). Keep the fish somewhere warm (and away from hungry cats!). Mash the potatoes with some of the strained poaching milk, most of the butter and half the chopped parsley. Cook the peas. Add the rest of the butter, parsley and mustard to the remaining milk and then add the cooked peas.
Put the mashed potato in the bottom of a shallow bowl, place the fish on top and them pour over the pea sauce mixture.

Plum Crumble

I don't make many puddings as I don't have the time after coming home from work. During the week pudding is either a pot of yoghurt or some canned fruit. Puddings are normally saved for entertaining. However the veg box from Abel and Cole recently has had a lot of plums hence this pudding. Serves 2.

For the filling:
6 large plums, quartered and stones
1 tablespoonful of black current gin (optional)
1 tablespoonful of vanilla sugar
1/2 teaspoonful of mixed spice

For the crumble topping:
150g plain flour
80g brown sugar
100g butter

Stone and quarter the plums and layer in a oven proof dish. Sprinkle over the gin, sugar and spice. Make the topping by rubbing the floor and butter together to make a breadcrumb like texture and mix in the sugar. Loosely sprinkle the topping over the plums and bake in a 180C oven for 40 minutes or until the topping is golden and crunchy and the plums are bubbling through. Serve with cream, yoghurt or ice-cream.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Long Time No Blog

It's been a while since I've put fingers to keyboard. Several reasons, been on holiday in Wales, my better half has been away on various travels (so I've been living on home made chilli and curry!) and we have been busy in the garden clearing twenty years of ivy from a rotting fence so we can get a new one put up.

However there are a number of food related items to talk about.

The Garden
The garden has been a mixed bag this year; some thing have cropped well others not so well thanks to the odd summer we've had.

Success Stories:
Beetroot, Jerusalem Artichokes, Mixed Salad, Courgettes and onions have done really well this year and all will find a place in the garden next year though I may substitute red onions for white and I may reduce the number of courgette plants! Leaks are looking good for late in the year.

Could Do Better
Beans (French, Broad,Runner), Sweetcorn, Rhubarb. All suffered from the hot dry April followed by the humid cloudy summer. Harvested some nice early beans but quality and quantity dropped off rapidly. Sweetcorn didn't set well so carved off the kernels rather than boiling the cobs whole.

Very Poor
Tomatoes. Blighted by blight due to the humid dull summer (and having lots of water dumped on them thanks to a blocked downpipe/gutter!) I, for the first time, harvested no tomatoes, very disappointing! 

Newbury Show

I know I should call it the Royal County of Berkshire Show but for me it will always be the Newbury Show!

This is an agricultural show that Liz and I have been going to together for 20 years and Liz for even longer as this  the area in which she grew up. As well as show animals (huge bulls, primped sheep and pampered pigs) there are vast craft and food tents to explore. Amongst the food tents the highlights this year for me were: Watercress Pesto - great with sliced courgettes and pasta, a West Country butcher who always bullies me into buying more high quality meat than I can physically fit in my freezer, Fox's Spices where I stock up on my herbs and spices for the year ahead, WI jams and pickles and fine cheeses including Oxford Isis a rind washed cheese with a wonderful scent and flavour.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Beetroot and Bacon Risotto

31st of August and already it feels like Autumn! Need something warming and cheerful to buck me up and this fits the bill (especially as I have a lot of beetroot in the vegetable bed!) Serves 2-3.

1 tennis ball sized beetroot, grated
1 small onion finely chopped
220g rissoto rice
750ml stock
2 rashers of smoked bacon (chopped into lardons)
small handful of freshly grated parmasan cheese
large knob of butter

Fry the bacon lardons in a hot pan and when coloured add onion and butter and cook until the onion has softened. Add the rice and stir to coat in the butter. Add the grated beetroot and stir and fry for a few minutes before adding the stock bit by bit until the rice is cooked. Add the parmasan, butter and seasoning. Add a few parmasan shavings and a drizzle of olive oil to garnish (I used some mandarin infused oil which added a nice sweet/citrus edge to cut through the earthy beetroot).

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Experiments with Courgettes

An unexpected evening with only me to cook for and after having several nights of chilli and curry I fancied something a bit simpler (and containing some vitamins!). Having popped out to the garden and collected an armful of courgettes, a basket of salad leaves and a handful of slender runner beans I decided to make some fritters.
Not made these before so it was a bit of an experiment and to be honest I'd only give them 6/10. More experimentation needed.

Ingredients (For 1)
1 medium courgette (grated)
1 medium egg
40g self raising flour
dash of milk
salt and pepper (be generous with both)
oil for shallow frying

Make a batter with the egg, flour, salt, pepper and milk. Add the courgette and mix. Heat the pan, add the oil and then when the oil is hot add blobs of batter/courgette mix (I made 3). Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and risen slightly. Serve with salad and tomato ketchup.

Next time I may add one or more of the following: some grated cheese, some herbs, some spring onions or serve them with a minty yoghurt dressing. Chips might be good too.

Friday, 22 July 2011

A Midweek Chicken Roast

Our garden is starting to produce plenty of goodies, in particular courgettes and this week I've had a couple of nice meals based around them (serves 2).

2 skinless chicken breasts (or 1 monkfish tail)
4 rashers of streaky bacon
2 red onions quartered
2 red or yellow pepper cut into large chunks
2 medium courgettes cut into large chunks (I used a yellow spherical one)
2-4 sage leaves
Olive oil

Cut a pocket in each chicken breast and insert the sage leaves. Wrap the streaky bacon around the breast and secure with a skewer or cocktail sticks. Heat the over to about 180 degrees and mix the vegetables with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetable in the oven for 15 minutes then add the chicken breasts and turn the oven down to 160. Roast for 20-30 minutes until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through.

Serve with a simple green salad and/or crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Awesome Courgette Monster

You turn your back on the garden for 5 minutes and suddenly everything starts to crop. I have already harvested half a dozen round yellow courgettes (each the size of a tennis ball) and the same of long green ones. Then I found hiding under the mixed salad leaves a whopper of a green courgette.

An Assortment of Courgettes

I'll probably make this into a vegetable curry at the weekend Most of the yellow ones have already been claimed by the wife to take into work for her boss or to give to our neighbours. I have been able to roast some with red onions, peppers and tomatoes and served them with herby couscous and fried hallumi cheese and they were very tasty. Good texture, quite firm and tasty. Broad beans, planted late, are just about ready. Interestingly they have not been attacked by blackfly instead slugs have been eating the leaves. The mixed salad leaves are doing well and the runner and french beans are flowering nicely. Jerusalem artichokes are taller than me and the sweetcorn is shooting up. Onions, beetroot and leeks are filling out nicely so I should be cropping all the way through to Christmas.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Aubergine Bake

We love aubergines we do. They take up the savoury flavour of anything they are coked with and in particular fit in well with aromatic North African spicing. So after a brisk bit of work in the garden I threw this together.
Serves 2-3

1 medium aubergine cut into 1/2 cm rounds
250g minced beef (or lamb)
1/2 a pepper (diced)
1/2 a courgette (diced)
1/2 a can of chopped tomatoes
1 large onion (finely chopped)
6 button mushrooms (diced)
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon corriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the topping:
1 egg
50ml milk
50ml yoghurt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
handful of grated chedder

Fry the meat in a little oil until brown, add the onion, courgette, mushrooms and pepper and fry until softened. Add the spices and tomatoes and simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
Fry the aubergine slices in olive oil until softened and lightly browned.

In an oven proof dish layer the sauce and the aubergines. Beat the topping together and spoon over the top of the meat and aubergine layers. Bake in a moderate oven for 20-30 minutes until browned and bubbling. Serve with a green salad or peas and garden beans.

For a vegetarian option replace the mince with cooked lentils, beans or extra vegetables.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Chicken Stretching

Been a while since I blogged, work has been very busy, but it hasn't stopped me from cooking and thinking about food. Over recent years we have cut back on the meat we've eaten, instead buying less, better quality meat. Also I hate waste so when we have a roast chicken I like to make the most of it!
This weekend I roasted at free range corn fed chicken with some onion wedges, bay leaves, sage, thyme, onion, and new potatoes, adding a punnet of cherry tomatoes for the last half-hour.
Plenty of leftovers after this which went on to make the following meals:
  • Monday work lunch of couscous, herbs, red onion, pepper, chicken and tomatoes
  • Monday supper of a soup (made with chicken stock from the picked over carcass) of chicken, carrots, onion, canned tomatoes and sliced spring greens (with a portion for my lunch the next day).
  • Tuesday supper of chicken curry (chicken, grated onion, carrot, spring greens, apple, dried fruit, cumin, coriander, fennugreek, turmeric, cardamom and creamed coconut), with a portion left over for my lunch the next day.
So from one chicken we got nine meal portions (and could probably have made 10-12 as they were generous portions) not including the little treats the cats persuaded me to dispense! 

Sunday, 29 May 2011

What's Growing?

I've just about filled the two vegetable beds with the plants for this year. Some I've grown from seed, some are perennials and some I've bought from the local allotment association (HAAGA) and from Ryton Organic Gardens. This year I'll be growing in the vegetable beds:
  • Rhubarb - found this in the garden when we moved in many years ago buried under all the rubbish left by the previous owners. Not so good this year as the weather has been very dry.
  • Jerusalem Artichokes - planted a few tubers a couple of years ago and now have a small forest of plants. Great for soups or roasted with beef or chicken.
  • Courgettes - Two different types this year; a yellow globe type and a more standard green one.
  • French, Broad and Runner beans - Heritage seeds from Ryton, it will be interesting to see how they taste.
  • Onions - grown from sets from HAAGA
  • Leeks - Heritage plants from Ryton, these will see me into winter
  • Salad Greens - a mixed set of leaves
Bean Poles in place - annoyed cat in foreground
In planters:
  • Aubergines - small lilac globes some being grow in the greenhouse and some in the sunnier area by the greenhouse.
  • Tomatoes - Several heritage types from Ryton including one called Giant Green Sausage growing on the patio in large, deep planters.
  • Herbs - several types of mint, sage, hyssop, rosemary, bay and lime balm.

  • Two apples - an old Cox type (was in the garden when we arrived) and a Egmount Russet - my favourite apple.
  • Victoria Plum - far too large for our garden because of the rootstock it is on but it produces buckets of juicy flavourful fruit every year. Plenty for me and plenty for the birds!

Jerusalem Artichokes at the front centre
Hopefully we will have the perfect mix of sunny warm days and warm wet nights this summer and a bumper crop of goodies!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Norfolk Nosh

Been a while since I wrote anything, lots of things going on; work, three sick cats and a holiday in the wilds of East Anglia have all got in the way. Our holiday on the border between Norfolk and Suffolk provided us with some very fine food offerings. The asparagus season was in full swing and signs proclaiming this fact could be seen almost every 100 meters. I love asparagus but only eat it in season as the taste, like sweetcorn, fades away quickly after being harvested.

Asparagus featured in our first, and probably best, meal of our week away. Our first two nights were spent at the fabulousOld Rectory Norwich. The evening meal (and the following morning's breakfast) were fabulous. I started with a salad of asparagus, black pudding, soft boiled egg and salad leaves while my wife had a crab tart of sublime lightness and intensity. For my main I had a fillet of local beef with roasted shallots, spinach and fondant potatoes while Liz had a large fillet of sea bass with asparagus, new potatoes and seasonal vegetables. The beef was both tender and full of flavour and the sauce from the meat juices fabulously tasty. For pudding I had a delicate vanilla panna cotta with macerated strawberries and lavender shortbread and Liz had a gooey chocolate fondant. Both were fantastic.
Sunset on the walk back from the Locks Inn
We then moved from the luxury of the Old Rectory to the more basic conditions of a self catering converted cowshed. Set in the owners' smallholding it was very peaceful and relaxing. Best of all it was only a 15 minute walk from a great pub. The Locks Inn has atmosphere to die for. The old, main part of the inn is tiny and lacks any form of artificial light, so we had to rush our postcard writing before the sun went down! The food (beef chilli and rice, vegetarian goulash) was flavourful and hearty and was complimented by some very good beer from the small, local Green Jack brewery.

Sole Bay Inn Southwold
Other good food and ale was to be had at the Sole Bay inn in Southwold, a very pretty town on the coast with beach huts, a funky pier and a interesting selection of shops. At its heart is the Adnams brewery and you can smell the aroma of brewing beer throughout the town.
In Norwich Totally Thai is a very good Thai restaurant with a good selection of classics. On the way back to London we stopped at a farm shop for breakfast. Breakfast was good and there was a fine range of produce to take home. A bonus was the small petting zoo of pigs and sheep in the car park!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Steak and Cabbage Stir Fry

As we are away on holiday (Norfolk) next week it makes sense to use up everything in the fridge. No veg box this week so we just had a small head of pointed cabbage in the fridge. Along with a piece of steak from the freezer (left over from the Beef Stroganof a few weeks ago) I had enough for a tasty supper.

Ingredients (for 2)
1 piece of frying steak (sliced into strips)
1 head of pointed cabbage (or a small Savoy, or a bag of spinach, kale or spring greens) coarsely chopped.
1 onion (sliced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 thumb sized chunk of ginger (cut into matchsticks)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 star anise
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Thai sweet chilli sauce
3 tablespoons of black bean sauce (or oyster sauce)
a splash or two of water

Heat a wok still hot and add the oil. Add the garlic, star anise and ginger then the onions and stir fry briefly. Add the steak and stir fry for a few minutes. Add the cabbage and briefly stir fry again. Add the soy, chilli, black bean sauce and the water. Stir fry to coat the meat and cabbage.

Serve with rice or noodles dressed with sesame oil and a glass of cold beer.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Beef Stroganoff

Now that the clocks have gone forward we have the chance to work in the garden if we get back from work on time. Today we concentrated on tidying the frond garden. Three large recycling sacks of pruning and one small bag of rubbish (how did that crumpet get there??) we were ready for supper. It had to be something warming and quick and this fitted the bill.

Ingredients (for 3)

250g of thinly cut steak cut into strips
250g chestnut mushrooms (sliced)
1 medium onion (thinly sliced into half moons)
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
1 tub (c250ml) sour cream
Small bunch of dill finely chopped
1 teaspoon oak smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
knob of butter
1 teaspoon of olive oil
salt and pepper
Plain boiled rice and steamed greens to serve

Fry the onions in the butter until softened then add the mushrooms, garlic, paprika and caraway seeds. Fry until softened. Fry the steak in a separate pan in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes then add to the onion and mushrooms. Add the sour cream, the dill and season. Warm through briefly and serve with the rice and greens.

For a vegetarian option add stacks more mushrooms.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Being Cooked For

Some of my friends find it stressful cooking for me - I don't know why. I love being cooked for and yesterday, after playing D&D, I had a very enjoyable meal of Chinese spiced tuna steaks followed by glazed pears and mascapone cheese on ginger cake with a lemon drizzle. Absolutely yummy. All the more special as Rob has only been cooking for about a year, natural talent I say. Obviously I offered myself as a consultant ...

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Gooseberry Scrumble

I had some left over fruit scones from yesterday's afternoon tea and half a tub of clotted cream. What to do? I asked myself and so the Scrumble was born!

Ingredients (for two individual scrumbles)
1 punnet of gooseberrys
2-3 fruit scones (crumbled)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 knob butter

Put the gooseberries in two ramekins and sprinkle over the sugar. Crumble the scones and sprinkle on top of the gooseberries. Dot the top of t scrumble with the butter and bake in a oven (150-180C) for 30 mins or until the top is golden and crunchy and gooseberry juice is oozing out. Serve with a dollop of clotted cream or ice cream.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Afternoon Tea #2

Another baking frenzy in the kitchen today. Cheese and tomato and cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches on home-made wholemeal bread alongside smoked salmon on dark-rye with coriander bread. Cheese and cumin scones and fruit scones with thick clotted cream and scrummy strawberry jam. I also made fairy cakes for the first time, the first time I'd made any sponge cakes to be honest. Bit nervous as the mixture looked odd but when I took them out the oven they looked and smelled wonderful. Drizzled over a bit of lemon icing (just icing sugar and lemon juice) to dress them and they tasted great.

Yummy and very light.
Now want to make more cakes - a proper Victoria sponge is my next project!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Rootie Tootie Curry

Have a bit of a glut of root vegetables at the moment; Jerusalem artichokes from the garden, carrots from the veg box and sweet potatoes from the supermarket. The solution - a hearty vegetable curry, mild yet warming.
Serves 4-5 

1 large sweet potato (I prefer the orange fleshed ones) peeled and cut into chunks
3 medium carrots cut into chunks
2 medium Jerusalem artichokes trimmed and peeled (I find this makes them less 'windy') and cut into chunks
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
Thumb sized chunk of ginger peeled and grated
1tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp corriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fenugreek
1 stick cinnamon
1 small bunch of corriander
1 can chick peas
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
Small head of broccoli
1 fresh tomato
2 tsp garum masala
3 tsp oil
juice of one lime

Heat a roasting tray in an oven at 170C and coat the root veg in 2 tsp of the oil. When the tray is hot add the veg and roast in the oven - shaking occasionally - for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile make the curry paste by blending together the onion, garlic, ginger and coriander stalks. Grind the dry spices together. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add the onion mix and fry stirring continuously. Add the dry spices and the cinnamon stick. Continue to fry for a few minutes then add the tomatoes, chick peas and coconut milk. Stir and bring to a simmer. Add the root vegetables and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the broccoli florets, garum masala and lime juice and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the broccoli is tender.

Sprinkle over the chopped coriander and serve with boiled rice or Indian breads.

If you want a less mild curry add 1-2 fresh green chillies chopped finely when you fry the onion mix.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A Winter Salad

Today was the first day of the year that felt, at least for a while, nice enough to go down to the shed/greenhouse. We were joined by Fitz and Latte who enjoyed our presence and the warmth out of the wind. While Liz pruned the rampaging blackberry brambles I sorted through the seeds we had left over from the last century and swept the greenhouse floor.
When the wind got up and the rain swept in with a vengeance we returned to the warmth of the house to enjoy a tasty Cook and Butcher pork pie and a tasty winter salad.

Ingredients (for two)
3-4 Shredded Sprout tops (the tops of the Brussels Sprout plant, tasty tender, peppery leaves)
2 grated carrots
1 small red onion finely sliced into half moons
1 handful of cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 a red pepper (finely sliced)
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of olive oil (I used a mix of plain and lemon infused oils)
Salt and pepper

Toss everything together and serve in a big bowl. Some finely sliced radishes, watercress or raw button mushrooms would be nice additions perhaps with some sautéed new potatoes or croutons to give a bit of extra yum.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Cottage Pie

The endless dilemma: Cottage Pie or Shepherds' Pie. Common wisdom is that the former is made with minced beef the latter with minced lamb and I'm not going to argue with that. In any case my version would shock any cottager or shepherd! Amounts serve four with enough left over to make a pasta sauce for my next two lunches!

For a vegetarian option replace the mince with more beans or cooked lentils.

400g minced beef
1 can tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 courgette
1/2 red pepper
1 bay leaf
2 carrots finely chopped
4 chestnut mushrooms chopped
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper

For the topping:
1 large parsnips
3-4 small potatoes
2 small Jerusalem artichokes (or more parsnips, potatoes, swede)
Knob of butter
Grated cheese
Grated nutmeg

Fry the mince in a little oil then add the onion, pepper, courgette and mushrooms. Fry for a bit longer then add the remaining ingredients bring to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes.
Cook the vegetables for the topping in plenty of salted water until soft then mash with the butter, cheese and nutmeg.

Put the sauce in a oven proof dish then cover with the mash and dot with butter and perhaps a little extra grated cheese.
Cook in hot oven until the top is golden brown and crispy.

Serve with green veg or a crispy salad.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Oxtail Stew

This was inspired partly by my visit to the Imperial War Museum's Ministry of Food exhibition as well as imbibing a double espresso before going shopping in a fine butcher. Canned oxtail soup is one of my favourite lunchtime treats so I was hoping this would come out as rich and tasty. I wasn't disappointed. Serves 2-4 with some mashed root vegetables (parsnips, potatoes and carrots) and some steamed savoy cabbage.

3 large chunks of oxtail trimmed of excess fat
2 carrots cut into chunks
1 onion cut into chunks
Few peppercorns
Few juniper berries
Few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon of dried
2 bay leaves
2-3 tablespoons of red current jelly
1/2 a bottle of red wine
Zest of one small orange

Brown the oxtails all over in a little oil in a casserole pan. Add the carrots, orange zest, peppercorns, juniper berries, thyme and onion then cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then cover and put in a low oven (130-140C) for 3 hours or so. Remove the oxtails from the stock and leave to cool. Strain the stock and discard the stock vegetables etc. Add 1/2 a bottle of red wine to the cooking liquor and reduce to a thick gravy like consistency. Shred the meat from the bones and add to the
gravy along with the the red current jelly.