Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Venison En Croute

When in Rome...or rather - when in Norfolk....

We had a week's holiday at Lou's family cottage. I took up a few cookbooks, and this had to include Cooking At Morston Hall - by Galton Blackiston, which pays homage to the food and cooking of the North Norfolk coast.

After a long deliberation, and knowing that Mum & Dad were joining us, I decided on what is basically a posh diner party dish, but I was swayed by the fact that I was able to get some of the local venison as the star ingredient. Dad was keen to make a guest appearance on the blog, and so was happy to pitch in.

I'm not saying how much this was !



A simple set of ingredients - but what a fuss....as you will see



Dad gets a cameo role in the blog....making the mushroom veloute



Cooking down the mushrooms and fennel after Dad's expert whizzing



Next - the recipe called for parsley pancakes!





Browning my meat !





A layer of puff pastry with a layer of pancakes



Followed by a layer of mushroom sauce



And wrap it all up



Until it looks like a pigs bladder !!!



Bake.....




Happy - but nervous...what's it going to be like....





And how about that. Very happy!



...but to be honest..I think the photos make it look a bit better than it actually was. It was certainly nice - but it didn't have the wow factor - certainly not for the cost/effort/time that went into it.

However - one can't complain at the provenance of the dish....this beast was likely roaming the land in one of the lovely stately homes just close to the cottage only a few days before. Happy days.


And as a little post script....

Very good cold as a salad a few days later....

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Cromer Crab Salad

Another attempt to eat things very close to where we were staying.....which was at the fantastic Oram Norfolk cottage.

This caught my eye as something that might be interesting (from Cooking at Mortson Hall by Galston Blackiston), and knowing that Dad would certainly want to by a Cromer crab when we went up the coast it all seemed like a swimmingly good idea....



Rather pleased with this photo of Cromer pier. Yep - this is the middle of August & the crabs are out there somewhere



Are you pleased to see me - I do you have a crab in your pocket?



We also bought (and not foraged to my disappointment) some samphire



And so the finished salad. The idea was to layer the white and dark meat with a mustard based layer and an avocado/chilli/coriander layer. Unfortunately, I was in charge of the seasoning - and I think I went a bit heavy handed. In my defence, the recipe did not warn about this - but my efforts totally overpowered the delicate taste of the crab (which was lovely as I'd sneaked a few spoons during preparation). A definite lesson learnt: Crab = delicate seasoning. Looks bloody good though !



We'd also bought some lovely smoked haddock from the Cley Smoke House, which I flaked and grilled with some Norfolk cheese.




..and so overall - a reasonable dish - but not great

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Dung Po Pork

I'd been itching to cook Chinese again after having a conversation with a mate about what to cook from the excellent Food of China (check link on left to see what I've done from it)

This one caught my eye - and a perfect bit of pork presented itself at the supermarket. Awesome.

Lou had invited some friends around - which meant I could experiment with a few more dishes...which is exactly what I did!

Firstly the pork was shallow fried until crisp - and then allowed to cool and dry



It was then braised for 3 hours in a sauce of rock sugar, dark and light Soya and Shaoxing rice wine.



Which produced this...



Carved thinly



And presented with the sauce



A seriously nice dish....moist fall apart pork with a lovely...errr..Chinese tasting sauce! Despite the fat Lou and the rest gobbled it up.



And so a beer to celebrate



I also cooked these...which is possibly my favourite chinese dish. fish Fragrant Aubergines from the awesome Fuchsia Dunlop's Szechuan cook book. A heady mix of chilli bean paste (Douban jiang), sugar, garlic, soy, shaoxing rice wine and so on. Doesn't taste fishy - but in my mind tastes amazing. It's very good with pork also




I also cooked a crispy Szechuan beef. Another stonking success. Crispy fried battered beef and carrots with a final sauce of sugar and black rice vinegar. Lovely.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

English Onion Soup

My brother came up with his little ones and so a Saturday lunch was required.

A combination of Jamie at Home and a trawl through the internet and I decided on an English Onion Soup.



A 40 minute slow cook of the onion and leeks produced a deep sweet flavour





The second batch - the first I forgot about as Russ turned up and almost burnt the house down !



Finished with a stock made from the left over braising juice from the last Oxtail recipe.



A lovely Saturday lunch

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Pork Chow Mein

Really pleased with this one. This was far different to the slop you normally get from the local chinky.

The secret on this one was the fresh egg noddles that were first blanched, then left to cool and dry, before frying until crisp. The rest of the chow mein was layered on top - including the sauce, which meant a slow melt into the crispy noodles. It really worked well.

Noodles post blanching



Some chinese chives in the distance.



Almost too much frying.....but actually this was perfect



Lovely and fresh and crunchy



the assembled dish...that didn't take long to disassemble!



A loving close up of the noodles



Arty shot of chow mein!?!