Sunday, 7 November 2010

Slow Roasted Pork Belly – with the Cajun ‘holy trinity’ of Bell Peppers, Onions and Celery

Feeds 2 – 3 hours cooking - Easy
This dish was inspired by an ‘Mmmm that looks nice’ feeling when I saw their Pork Belly Stack with Rosemary Mash and Deep Fried Leek Strips, at The Nineteenth House pub in Bath. I’d only dropped in for a pint on the way home.
The dish is relatively easy to cook requiring very little experience; something to impress without too much effort. Serve with a Dijon Mustard Mash.
Pork Belly - cut in rectangles and about 350g per person
1 Red Onion
2 Bell Peppers
1 Carrot
1 Stick of Celery
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 bottle of Red Wine (150ml for the dish)
2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
Potatoes sufficient for 2 portions of Mash
1 Egg
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 dstsp. Crème Fraîche
½ pint of vegetable stock (Bouillon)
2 tsp. Corn Flour
Salt and Black Pepper
Light up the oven and preheat to Gas Mark 8 (450°F, 230°C, Hot)
Score the skin and fatty surface of the pork into 15mm (1/2 inch) squares, sprinkle with a little of les Herbes de Provence with Salt and Pepper to taste.
Place in a fairly shallow roasting tin and place in the centre of the oven. After about half an hour check and if the skin is ‘crackling’ up nicely, reduce the heat to Gas Mark 3 (325°F, 165°C, Moderate) and roast for a further hour.
Now prepare the vegetables. Peel the potatoes sufficient for two portions of mash.
Cut the Bell Pepper into 2cm squares, along with the onion. Thinly slice the celery and carrot, crush and chop the Garlic.
When the meat has been in the oven for an hour and a half, take it out cover on a warm plate and set aside while the cut vegetables are tumbled in the juices in the tray, seasoned with black pepper and sprinkled with the rest of les Herbes de Provence . Rest the meat on top of the vegetables and return to the oven for a further hour.
With half an hour to go, make the Mustard Mash. Boil the potatoes and mash. Stir in the egg, Dijon Mustard and Crème Fraîche and a couple of twists of fresh ground black pepper. Put in an oven proof dish and place in the oven to keep warm.
Preheat a second roasting tray. Remove the meat and vegetable from their cooking tray and place on the fresh tray and return to the oven.
With the original roasting tray, place it on the hob and heat. When boiling, add the wine to de-glaze ensuring you stir in all the rich caramelised juices from the meat and vegetables and then reduce. Add the vegetable stock and thicken as required with a little corn flour. Finally glaze with a knob of butter before serving.
To serve the dish, place a pile of Mustard Mash on a warm plate. Pile the vegetables on the mash and pour a little of the sauce over it before topping out with the Pork. Dress the rest of the plate with the sauce.

PS. I’m going to try this again but vary the flavours with Chilli and chopped leaf Coriander.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Something Nice from Inexpensive Lamb

This is Moroccan Slow Cooker Lamb

I found a pack of their 'Basics' Stewing Lamb in Sainsbury's yesterday so I thought I'd give this a bash. It's loosely based on a Moroccan style Chicken Dish I made a little while ago but this time I dispensed with the Harissa Paste.

2 tbsp. Olive Oil
1.2Kg Stewing Lamb (larger pieces are good and bone-in will add to the flavour)
3 large Onions peeled and quartered
3 Peppers of various colours, deseeded and cut to 2.5cm pieces
1 Butternut Squash, peeled deseeded and cut into 15mm pieces
3 salsa strength Chillies sliced thin
3 large cloves of Garlic, crushed and sliced
1 x 250g carton of chopped tomatoes
125g dried apricots, soak just covered in water
1 tbsp. flaked almonds
2 tsp. Ground Coriander
2 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Caraway seeds
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 Lemon, zest and juice
Coriander Leaf, you can never have too much

Prepare your slow cooker: this usually involves reaching in, over or up, to the most out of the way place in the kitchen. It may even require standing on a chair so be careful. Give the lid, outer rim, handles and the cable a good wipe over with kitchen cleaner and a damp cloth. Plug it in and turn it on and set it to low, splash some water into it (a couple of tablespoons) and a teaspoon of bouillon or other powdered stock to warm the beast up.
In a large frying pan add the Olive Oil, Coriander, Cumin, Caraway Seed and Cinnamon. Bring up the heat and cook until it just begins to smoke then lower to minimum and allow the spices to release their flavours into the oil. Meanwhile cover the lamb pieces in flour. Add the lamb to the frying pan and increase the heat again. Cover the lamb in the hot oil and spices turning to ensure all sides are sealed and seasoned. When ready turn the lamb out into the slow cooker and cover.
Into the frying pan put the Chillies and Garlic and turn about for a minute to release their flavour. Add the Onion, Peppers and Butternut Squash and turn over. Allow the edges to darken slightly for flavour but try not to burn the Garlic. Tip the vegetables into the slow cooker and work in around the Lamb. Pour the Chopped Tomatoes into the frying pan to deglaze it and pour them straight in to the slow cooker.
Allow the slow cooker to come up to its working temperature. You'll find the Low setting will give you a very gentle simmer. Now tip in the Apricots and the water they were soaked in into the cooker and halve them. Add the Flaked Almonds, Lemon Zest and Juice and stir in.
Now leave cooking for at least 2 hours and certainly until the Lamb falls apart (be careful, you want it to stay in as few pieces as possible).
When ready to eat chop up a shed load of fresh Coriander, throw ¾ of it into the slow cooker and fold it in. Save the rest to garnish.
Prepare your Couscous, Rice or other accompaniment to taste and place it on a large serving dish as a bed and spoon the contents of the slow cooker over it, garnishing with the rest of the chopped Coriander leaf.
Serve with a Minted Yogurt

Enjoy. As before - any comments? You know what to do.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Agressive Aetheist and Proud

If any god bothering extremist wants to have a bash they're welcome. I don't give a ****.

To be continued...

Monday, 13 September 2010

...this Cooking Thing!!

It seems that I may have made a poor career choice some years ago. Once I had given up nicotine my taste buds went ape!! My waist line has become a testament to that. The result of course is that I am getting a bigger and bigger kick out of banging together really nice tasty good food.
Anyway here goes with another recipe...
As usually the inspiration for this beast of a curry was the Butternut Squash which I'd bought on a whim and had sat in the fruit and vegetable bowl for a few day.

Nick's Thai Style Red Curry
3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon Ghee
3 or 4 Chicken Breasts - Skinned
Corn flour
Black Pepper (Fresh ground)
3 large Onions pealed and cut to 2cm pieces
3 cloves of Garlic
A thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and slice thinly across the grain
1 Butternut Squash, peeled deseeded and sliced to 3 or 4mm and cut into 15mm pieces
2 tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
3 salsa strength Chillies
3 large Peppers - deseeded and cut to 2cm pieces
1 cup Garden Peas (fresh and shelled or frozen)
10 -12 Cherry Tomatoes
15oz (tin) Coconut Milk
8oz Baby Spinach Leaves
Coriander Leaf
Cut the Chicken Breasts into 2cm cubes and toss in corn flour seasoned with salt and pepper to coat thoroughly.
Preheat a Wok and add the fats. Immediately add the chicken and toss to cover and seal with the hot oil. Allow time for the coating to brown slightly while turning frequently. When done remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Bring the oil back to temperature and add in turn the Onions, Garlic, Ginger and Butternut Squash turning constantly to prevent burning.
Once the squash has begun to soften add the Thai Red Curry Paste, Chillies and Peppers. Stir well to distribute the paste evenly through the vegetables.
Once the Peppers have softened add the Peas, Cherry Tomatoes and Coconut Milk. Bring back to the boil and turn down to a simmer.
When nearly time to serve add the Baby Spinach Leaves. Stir to combine the leaves with the sauce. The spinach will wilt away to nothing very quickly so don't over stir them.
Finally add the Coriander leaf and server at once over Rice or Noodles cooked to your own taste.

If you have any thoughts please don't hesitate to contact me via the Comments link below.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Tagliatelle 'uddersfield

This little beast was inspired by the left overs in the fridge this morning. I have an epithet of 'short date' by virtue of the fact that I can't resist buying food that has a limited shelf life, which is why I ended up with a pack of Co-Op Fresh Tagliatelle in the fridge this morning. Stashed away at the back with the bacon could also be found a quarter of a Huddersfield Black Pudding. Purist would have you believe that the only good Black Pudding comes from Bury in Lancashire. Not true. I have found that the Black Pudding sold in The Market in Bath is gorgeous and comes from Huddersfield thus: 'Tagliatelle 'uddersfield'.
In a moderate (Gas Mk 5) oven place a tray with quartered half inch slices of a quarter of a Black Pudding ring to crisp, be careful they don't go hard. Take 2 chopped Banana Shallots, a large clove of Garlic, chopped; 2 rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon cut small and some Sage and Oregano and sweat off in a saute pan with Olive Oil, adding thin sliced White Mushrooms when nearly done. Meanwhile bring a pan of water to boil and cook the Tagliatelle. Once the Tagliatelle is cooked to taste drain and toss into the sauted vegetables to coat with the juices. Beat two Eggs and mix into the pasta and vegetable mix and serve with the pieces of Black Pudding on top. Serves at least one person so adjust for more.
If you rate this let me know. Cheers...

Saturday, 17 July 2010

..Cornish Beer (Part III)

I'm not sure yet, but it may be a bit of a struggle to get up to The Vineyards this afternoon but one things for sure it would be worth it.
Last night's session began for me at about quarter to seven. The Star was already filling up but there was still space on 'death row'. I started with another pint of the Gull Rock (4.2%) - or was it Cornish Gold (3.8%) - from the Tintagel Brewery. This one is such a good brew. It turns out the Gull Rock of the pump badge is the one off Trebarwith Strand and not Potreath's as I thought. I had to try the Roseland Cornish Shag (3.8%) again to confirm my earlier experience and second time around proved to be much the same as the first. A colleague joined me half way through the Shag and when finished it I went straight for a half of Wheal Maiden Brewery's Grandma's Weapons Grade Ginger Beer (5.5%) which couldn't have been more ginger - delicious. By now the Spingo and the Gull Rock had gone and there were 2 more ales on tap. I followed the ginger beer with Penzance Brewery's Potion No. 9 (4.0%), a golden ale which started on the palate with sweet peachy flavours and then rounded out to finish with a balance of sweetness and citrus tones. A good session beer. The last ale that I consider myself fit to judge was Stoked (3.6%) from Hogswood Brewery. This beer was almost mild like with a darker colour than the golden ales we'd become familiar with. It was gently fruity and not over bitter, refreshing - a great quencher and session brew. Although I did drink another pint I'm not sure if I can be objective enough about it. It was becoming increasingly difficult to make the notes. All I will say is that All Saints Brewery's Blest Bitter was yet another golden ale - a good one to be true with a complex hoppy bitternes on the finish. I'd certainly like to try it again. Perhaps if I make it up there this afternoon there'll be some left. Cheers.

Friday, 16 July 2010

..Cornish Beer (Part II)

Well, back up to The Star Inn again for another afternoon session. Managed to make it before the first barrel of Spingo Special (if you want links look at my previous post) was still going (just!!). Started on a Gull Rock from the Tintagel Brewery. The rock on the pump badge is very similar to the Gull Rock of Portreath. Now, having just checked their site it appears that the beer can only be their Castle Gold (3.8%). Whichever it is, it went very well with the Pasty - a Cornish Bakehouse bite - the beer, with its light body is 'Golden' ale and delivers a fine sweetness from the malt and a rush of hops as it washes over the tongue with strong citrus flavours on the finish that's just begging for more. Further down the glass I got a whiff of Ginger which then appeared on the tongue. Of course since he was there Lewis had to find the ginger as well. The other half of yesterday Spingo (6.6%) followed and then it was on to Roseland's Cornish Shag (3.8%). This is an unassuming light ale which swallows well; after the Spingo I suspect my pallet was still swamped. Further down the glass more of its character became evident. A good quaffing ale that you could enjoy all night. Nicely finished. Back home for Cornish Sardines baked with Chili, Lemon and Garlic - nothing Cornish about that but it was Sainsbury's 'short date' - you can't mess up Cornish New Potatoes. Cheers

The Star Inn - 7th Annual Cornish Beer Festival

What a wonderful coincidence; my birthday and a Cornish Beer Festival starting on the same day. This was the reason for the earlier change of shirt. Suitable dressed I again left the flat and strode up through town, again dodging showers. Popped in to see BathZena in her dungeon before climbing Milsom Street and along The Paragon to The Star Inn. I had intended to be there for opening time but, well breakfast was worth taking time over. Just as I was within sight of the pub another, heavier shower hit so I had to run - only a bit - I don't do running. The bar person who will have to forgive me - I can't remember his name (I'll ask later) was waiting at the door for me (actually he'd chosen that exact moment to steal out side for a cigarette).

The menu for this years festival is most interesting. Of the 11 ales available over the weekend there are 3 familiar favourites and no less than 6 from new breweries. The three available for the lunch time session were indeed not the strangers; St Austell's Proper Job - a beautiful golden bitter ale and my usual pint at the Edgecombe Arms on my arrival in Cornwall via the Cremyll Ferry (Timetable). Proper Job is a very bitter ale with a strong flovour of grapefruit on the finish. Next in the line was the famous or should it be infamous Spingo Special - a true monarch of ales. Brewed at the back of the Blue Anchor in Helston it is a rich and fruity dark beauty and a strength such that many would advise only drinking halves. It was early in the day to be drinking Spingo so I too heeded the advise. The last one in line was one of my favourites from the Skinner's Brewery in Truro - Heligan Honey. Light in style and flavour amber ale with a hint of the honey from the bees of the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Before I left at 3 pm I had one more Proper Job. A most pleasant lunch time session.

Sixth Decade 3rd Birthday

According to the scheme used by The Millbrooker I am 3 in my sixth decade which is cool and confusing at the same time. Yesterday, my actually birthday, began as days sometimes do if you let them, with the campaign plan slipping into a dawdle around the web checking the weather, monitor pricing (LG E2250V) etc. etc. Eventually an hour later than planned I meandered up to The Kings Arms to see if their new breakfast would come up to expectation. Deb's has only just started them this week. The 'Full On' breakfast with a pot of tea for £7.49 was a cracking good eat. It took 23 minutes to demolish and then I had to just sit and drink more tea before I could move. The meats were gorgeous - finest thick rashers, the meatiest sausages and delicious black pudding with a decent amount of barley in it (too little in some I've eaten). Beautiful flavoursome eggs and then there were mushrooms, hash browns, a door step of soft granary toast, tomato and baked beans. Quality eating. Suitably stuffed I headed home, dodging giant rain drops, to change into my St Austell Brewery's Tribute drinking shirt ready for the afternoon's inactivity. 50 metres down the road I realised I hadn't paid - Doug slapped the back of his hand to remind himself to take the money off customers when he sells something. Thanks to both, a great start to my day.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Just a couple of things

Hi - Long time no see - I am minded to solve a puzzle or two that posed themselves last weekend.

The first was a question of details of the Prince Albert piercing - I can confirm that the bar does pass down the urethra and emerge next to the frenulum of the penis. The bar is beaded at each end to prevent loss. You can look this one up yourself.

The second was a question of the origin of Vin du Pay D'Oc which does according to the entry in Wikipedia (trust it if you will) come from the Languedoc-Roussillon area in the South of France. Indeed a Vin du Pay and equivalent I suppose to AOC over Vin du Pay. The Languedoc region getting its name from the language of Occitan, spoken in the region.

Now we know.

Friday, 15 January 2010

The Compleat Tom Paxton - Update

Way back in the mists of time (March 2008) I was on here bemoaning the fact that I could not get hold of the CD of The Compleat Tom Paxton; well, my very dear friend Finglebone arrived in Bath yesterday clutching the vinyl double gatefold LP version.

I have not seen one of those for more than 30 years.

Thanks Mate. I owe you big time.

Next time you're in Bath we must have a session - good food, good ale and the best company. Cheers.