Sunday, 17 May 2009

Roast Chicken - plain and simple

...and very very tasty..

The only way to cook a chicken...under the spit....

This one was so tender it ended up falling off the spit as it came apart. Still fantatically juicy though

Get in....

Cripsy, dry pots - runner beans and some grated carrot sweated down with shallots and white wine. That'll do !

Boiled beef in a fiery sauce (Shui Zhu Niu Rou)

It was Lou's hen night - which gave me the perfect opportunity for a cook up. Several hours of poring over the cookbooks - and then a quick whizz around the net and I'd settled on Boiled Beef in a Fiery Sauce. This recipe is from the FANTASTIC Sichuan cookery book by Fuchsia Dunlop. An awesome cookbook (and that praise even though it has a disappointing number of photos - call me shallow eh.)

The cast of ingredients is below. Probably the most important of these is the Sichuan Chili paste (Toban Dijan). Luckily I can get this from China Town....and it's used pretty frequently these days so I'll need to stock up soon.

A select of dried mushrooms re hydrating. I love the texture of these once fried. Texture is a major part of understanding and enjoying proper Chinese.

I bought silken Tofu by mistake. Didn't hold up to cutting - let alone frying - but still it was great.
This is the Chili Paste being fried for a few minutes. Awesome pungent flavours coming off this. It gives the oil it's red tinge, and adds heat to the whole dish.
Fried dried chillies and Sichuan peppercorns. This is little mixture was subsequently chopped up and added to the final dish. I am getting worryingly short of the Sichuan peppercorns I brought back from China. Need to find an authentic supplier in the UK.

The finished dish....Absolutely superb.

My broken up braised silken tofu with Chinese mushrooms (and a spare yellow pepper)!

A close up. The celery is really great. Note the deep red of the oils and the sprinkling of fried chili and sichuan peppercorns. A fantastic dish

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Thai Hot and Sour Beef Salad

I'd been out the night before to a great South India restaurant in Leicester, and for some reason was feeling very full all day. So - on the drive down the M1, at the point I normally start to think about that evenings meal (i.e. at the first junction!), I was annoyingly distracted by the fullness of my belly. Not that it didn't stop me thinking about hefty meals - it's just that I thought I shouldn't try and 'fit one in'.

I know - a salad!

And in my mind - this is the Daddy of salads. Thinly sliced slivers of charred beef, briefly marinaded in a spicy lime and fish sauce marinade, and served on a bed of salad leaves with plenty of fresh mint and corriander. Perfect!

This is adapted from another of the 'Food of' series - the Food of Thailand. I can't stress again how excellent these books are.

I'm not normally a mint fan. I hate it drenched over lamb (it's way too overpowering). However, I think it makes this meal. Along with the steak.........

I'd racked up the grill pan to super hot - to get that lovely combination of char-grilled outside and pink and moist in the middle.

Very thinly slicing the meat makes all the difference...

(this is how I do my steak sarnies also - sooo much easier to eat)

Added some sliced yellow pepper and a scotch bonnet! Phew!

A nice fat close up - and very nice it was too....

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Imam Bayildi

Hmm...coming back from a 3-1 defeat by Chelsea - so it was time for something to console the soul! We diverted via Green Lanes and bought a few random turkish ingredients. Whenever I go to Cafe Gallipoli on Upper Street, I often have Iman Bayildi. My memory of this was a very tomatoey, baked aubergine but definately (I'm sure) with lamb.

However, getting out my new Turkish Cooking cookbook, and also cross referencing with Google - and it turns out no Lamb. Oh Dear. Iman Bayildi means 'The Holy Man Fainted' - apparently with the gallons of Olive Oil that the original receipes uses. So, as I regard all receipes as a starting point - and because I'd just bought some lamb, and because there really was a bucket amount of Olive Oil - it was time for slight variation....

I always fry off my mince whe I use it in receipes. I like the slighty crunchy texture - and I tend to drive off all the excess liquid.

Ready to go in the oven - 45mins....

Something about doing this makes me feel like a real cook !

Out of the oven. I'd covered it with a layer of cheese. There was loads of liquid - which was fantastic (the receipe called for a cup of water)

The finished article. Smoked Jalapeno, some greek yoghurt, and a small salad of chicory and sorrell fresh from the garden

I liked this photo - because of the gentle steam coming out of the dish

One more shot. This made up for the Chelsea defeat. Actually - it didn't - but it was superb!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Sage and Onion Meatballs

Bit of a made up one this one - but we were very impressed with the results...

Decided to use some of the fresh Sage growing in the garden.

Binded the meatballs with Egg. Have you discovered these yet? Awesome eggs (that's for the tip mom). You can get them in most supermarkets now. A superb yellow yolk - full of egg flavour! (Make a great egg and bacon sandwich in the morning also)

The Meat balls mixture. Added sime grated onion - three types of pepper and some breadcrumbs

For the tomato sauce I also decided to dice and fry up some left over mushrooms and courgettes. It worked well - a nice muchroom undertone.

I only used the large pan for a better pciture !!!

These boyos were lovely

Can't seem to get a good photo on the 'big white plates'. Served up in a de-constructed way...which sort of looks good - but the first thing you do is mix - so it seems a bit silly. Also - I believe meatballs may taste even better having simmered in the sauce. Could wait (see previous post for the theme!)