Wednesday 30 October 2013

Nice Additives, Completely Lovely -Mere Salt Guidelines

Well the Chines style stuff would have some salt in it

 I don't think I can get away with anything for C5H8NO4Na
So will stick with -

-- some MSG

This is why I'm not a chef
I like my omelette cooked.

and this is a random pie, made with rough-puff pastry 

Actually it was Chicken and Mushroom, I was out of randoms

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Beef in Black Bean Sauce

Chinese time. Don't know much about Chinese food, other than that I enjoy it in Chinese restaurants as a change from "Indian" food. Oddly enough I've had a few Chinese meals in restaurants in India where it was common to find both Indian and Chinese food on the menu.

This is my attempt at beef in black bean sauce. Those would be the black beans, pictured above. They smell marvellous. I soaked the bowl of beans for some time in (initially hot) water which to which I added varying quantities of the soy sauces and vinegars (and fish sauce) pictured in the banner at the top of the page.

There was a small topside joint in the reduced section, so I bought that and chopped it up. I did fry a slice too as a snack. 

But back to the Chinese. Fry an onion and some garlic, add the meat and Chinese type veg. - Bamboo shoots and beansprouts maybe. Fry for a bit in the very hot oil. add some fresh ginger or ground dried if not, and a smidge of chilli powder. Add the  marinated beans and associated goo. Top up with a bit of stock (Powdered or cube veg or chicken  works well.  Thicken the result with a teaspoon or two of cornflour dissolved in water.

To go with black bean stuff there's more beef, in Oyster sauce with water chestnuts and mushrooms, prawns in a light crispy batter and a turmeric coloured curry, rice and noodles. all very tasty 

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Curry Saturday Once Again

Here's the spices for today's Curry. All the usual stuff, but note the amchur - also known as sour Mango Powder, and the Black Salt which you don't see everywhere. Both add to this sour dish.

But before that here's my not spag bol page

Anyway, back to the curry. This, as mentioned above has some sour ingredients which make it quite different from those restaurant standards. So what did I do? Well I ground allt eh spices together. What you see on the plate is what I used. Then - Fry an onion until soft and golden. And garlic too if you like add some meat , I chopped up 4 chicken breasts. fry that too for a bit. Add the ground spices and fry for a bit. I add then a can of chopped tomatoes, and  a can of whole tomatoes blitzed to a mush. stir it all round . Add a can of chick peas. As a final flavour boost stir in some kasoori methi. Thats the green herb version of the Fenugreek seeds. (If you think someone smells of curry, it's probably the methi, in either form - no the garlic)

We had the usual boiled rice with it, but some naan would be good too Here's how

Still not quite enough so how about some prawny things.

This batter here is mostly chick pea (gram) flour with a bit of cornflour salt, sugar, and the red stuff is achar pickle spice. Add the prawns to the dry mix, then ad a little water to make a stick mix. Be careful here as this flour can go from dry/sticky to wet soup very quickly. - Now  take take a few prawns at a time and fry them until golden.

Here it is, with dry roast cumin and green coriander

I Don't do many desserts but when there's a guest ---This is a very quick microwave sponge and dodgy custard. I had some left over stewed apple so put that in the bottom of a bowl. For the sponge, mix together  4oz Self raising flour +2 tsp baking powder. 4oz sugar, 4 oz butter or marge, hard or soft, and two eggs. Could add some lemon juice. Pour that on top of the apple, and cook in a microwave for about  5 mins - more if the sponge isn't cooked . For the dodgy custard, in a jug add a couple of egg yolks, 4 or 5 tso sugar, 4 tsp cornflour. Mix to a paste with a little mik, then upo half a pint or so, maybe a bit more. Put it all in a saucepan, and cook slowly stirring all the time until it just simmers and thickens, and that's it. Add more sugar to taste, and a bit of vanilla extract/essence if available.

and finally - got some bread ready for Sunday

Half Rye/Half strong white

Thursday 17 October 2013

"A trio of Luxury Pork Sausages"

Why do  pubs and restaurants have to serve a  trio of sausages, can't they spell three? Oh well, it's better than the  European Offal Tubes sold in many shops. Hence the need to make my own. 

The great thing about home made sausages is that you know what's in the things. And what is in them. Meat. In my case, usually pork, but I've tried beef, lamb and turkey and all work well. There's some reasonable veggie fillings too, but I've not come across any veggie casings. 

The meat should not be too lean or the sausages will be dry, so have some fat. Shoulder is great, but this is leaner leg, so I've added some cube back fat, (from butchers and,  Polish Delis) you'll need some cereal too, breadcrumbs here. Mince the meat and fat. I like quite chunky meaty sausages, so mince half course, half fine.

Fine and coarse mincing plates

 add the crumbs and of course the seasoning. definitely salt - pepper, nutmeg, herbs etc, (I've tried pesto, cheese, apple  chilli, garlic, paprika and all sorts of things. Fry a small portion of the spiced meat to see if it tastes ok, and adjust to taste. Then ram the mixture back into the mincer and stuff yer tubes. Leave the to  talk amongst themselves before eating ot freezing them

I get the skins etc, and the hardware, from

Biriyani Time

Yes it's yellow --That would be the turmeric

In many Asian restaurants in the UK, a biriyani is seen as a dish of rice, with perhaps a bit of mince, and invariably served with a veg curry sauce. If you start looking at the recipe books biriyanis become a celebration dish, with meat and fragrant  spices. so this  one is chicken,  with cinnamon, clove, cardamom, etc

 Try and avoid sticky rice. There's myriad methods and advice on how to cook rice, the experts often advising the "absorption" technique. Never works for me so I go for the lots of water method.. - That' s 7oz of rice in about 4.5 pints of water. (One coffee mug of rice, one big saucepan of water.) Boil  the water, which I don't salt, add the  Basmati rice, cook until done. About 10 minutes. Only way to tell is to taste it. 

For the rest of the stuff, - fry an onion until soft, fry a couple of cloves of garlic too. add the whole spices, then your meat, add the powders -Chilli, turmeric, ginger and salt if you wish. Stir it around for 15 minutes or so, then add a dessert spoon of plain yoghurt. And stir

Layer the rice and meat, finishing with rice, add cubes of butter, bay or curry leaves - (Could also add slices of lemon or lime, sprinkle (I never drizzle)  with Rose water and add lots of fried onion. Cover your  pan or casserole with foil, and a lid, and bung in the oven for 45 mins medium heat. Garnish with fresh coriander. Fried onion is great too. 

This dish reheats well. If you have leftovers, wait until they are cold, then refrigerate. To reheat, microwave until burning hot. Don't leave rice sitting around at room temperature, it will breed nasty bugs and you'll die after eating it (maybe)

Saturday 12 October 2013

The Roasting Files

Easy Roasting

They rise - and weren't served with the pork below.
Not least because the pork loin was cooked 7 years after the yorkshires -
 at the same time as the crunchy roast potatoes

and two weeks after the chicken. It's called non-linear cooking