Thursday, 25 March 2010

Bak Kut Teh

Hard core Chinese this one.

I was lucky enough to spend a few months working in KL a few years ago - and I persuaded the guys in the office there to show me some of the real Malaysian food. One evening I will never forget was a drive across KL to a small grotty roadside stall that was apparently the best Bak Kut Teh in Malaysia. Bak Kut Teh can be roughly translated as 'Pork Bone Tea', and the guys were justifiably proud. I remember it being quite a dish - fragrant and full of shall we say interesting bits of pig.

I left KL with a small bag of the BKT spices as a parting gift, but sadly I had never gotten round to using them...until I found myself on baby sitting duty and well - it seemed only right. As I was as work that day, I made a trip to China Town and bought myself another packet of the spices, as I was not sure the ones I was given several years earlier would still be up to the job.

Also bought some Morning Glory! Chuckle.

The China town spice mix...Normally I'm not one for a pre-mix - but take a look around the internet for some of the numerous things that could go into Bak Kut Teh....I was not going to source that lot

Before the 2 hour simmer. I used both the mix and also the whole herbs I got from my colleagues in KL. Absolutely no idea what I was putting into the dish (the ginger like stuff at the top)

As I mentioned - I also bought some Morning Glory. Turns out it's a sort of hollow Chinese spinach. I found a recipe to cook it with preserved tofu....and as Lou was out that made sense. However, sadly the jar of preserved tofu I'd had knocking around for a few years has gone mouldy when I opened has to resort to Oyster Sauce, Not such a problem!

After cooking. Note the whole head of garlic and the shitake mushrooms

The finished dish. It was superb. A great broth....fantastic deep flavours - almost herby - definitely Chinese. The pork was literally melt in the mouth. And it tasted even better the day after!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Lancashire Hotpot with Steamed Treacle Pudding

This dish has been on my radar for ages - literally a decade - and I've never actually got round to cooking it. However, my bruv was up and we were off to the Arsenal West Ham game (which we won 2 - nil - champions???), and since it had been pushed back to 5:30 - it seemed like a sensible dish to prepare in advance...ready for the post match/beer celebrations.

It was quite simply superb. The recipe called for chops from the best end of lamb - but Sainbury's had a half price deal on leg of lamb - so I ended up cutting great chunks off one of these. Pan frying in seasoned flour and then stewing for 2 hours....I luckily had some frozen gravy that I used as the basis for the stock. It was melt in the mouth tender at the end. A fantastic dish.

Did it taste better for the stock pot ? I'm sure the old Speckled Hen in the distance helped also.

Made a stock with the lamb bones

And some fresh rosemary from the garden

Frying the lamb

Before 1

Before 2

And 2 hours later...

Severed up with some steamed and buttered spring greens...Yum

And Lou followed up with a perfect home made treacle tart!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Green Pepper and Pork with Preserved Mustard Cabbage

A quick and easy one.

It turned out very nice which was a surprise as there was not a great amount of seasoning in it (no soya for example) - only a small amount of Shaoxing Rice Wine. It meant the taste of the green peppers really stood out.

The preserved mustard cabbage is one of those Chinese delicacies that takes some getting used to. I think it's quite important to properly rinse - as the flavours can be quite pungent.

Frying the peppers until they are quite 'dry'

And there we go...simple but nice

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Italian Sausage with Cavello Nero

I stumbled across this set of photos whilst doing some other edits. I seem to have forgot to post them up - and they looked so good I though I'd upload. I love these pink flavorsome Italian sausages - quite unlike a British banger as they are so highly spiced....fennel I'm lead to believe is a key ingredient.

Served simply on a bed of cabbage and pasta - you can't beat it !