Sunday, 30 January 2011

Tagliatelle with tuna

Was watching Jamie's 30 minute meals and he did this. I was inspired by the pan full of aromatics and had to try it.

Tuna, olives, capers, parsley, garlic and anchovies...





And this was what inspired me



After adding the tuna and toms



And finished....simple but nice



Saturday, 29 January 2011

Pork in Lychee sauce with crispy rice

Lou was off out for the weekend - and so I was left in charge of Thomas. Daddies first weekend babysitting. .And so naturally my thoughts turned to what culinary masterpiece I could cook up whilst the cat was away.

It has to be sichuan - and a good hunt through Fuchsia Dunlops awesome first book and I'd soon settled on this one. It seems a bit of a faff - but I had the time - so why not.

The idea is that you end up baking then deep frying cooked rice to get crispy rice-  which you then place in a bowl and pour over the rest of the dish....and it's supposed to crackle away giving pleasure to countless Chinese kids. Would it work.....?

Cooked rice before baking



And after



And then deep fried



It is lovely in it's own right - crispy and chewy.



And for the rest of the dish. It turns out there's no Lychee in the recipe. Lots of Chinese flavours are statements on what the dish is reminiscent of - not what's in it. This one worked - there was a lovely sweet flavour running through it - it really could have been made with lychees



Frying the marinaded pork





And so the finished dish.



The crispy rice was a lovely layer to both the texture and the taste



But - the million dollar question...did it work...well judge for yourself and watch the vid below. There was definitely some cracking - but I think the main problem was the sauce had become too thick with the addition of the corn flour. If I make this again - then I'll be much lighter in that department. However, overfall - a fun nice dish and another success from Fuchsia.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Simple Milk Loaf

I've had this feeling I've been missed out on a large part of cooking for some time now - that of making bread. It's a basic and important part of any cultures cuisine. However, I'm afraid I quite like a cheap white medium loaf from the supermarket for my sandwiches.

But still I thought - there must be something in it - and so I was very pleased to get  The Handmade Loaf  for Xmas. It's a very inspiring book - but not for the faint hearted. The author has travelled the world and has authentic bread recipes from all over the place. Trouble is - there's no short cut and plenty of need for specialist flours and so on. How silly I thought - I until I realised that was the point of the book - and then it made sense!

A fair few of the recipes call for the use of a home made Leaven. If you don't know what that is - wait a while - I'm in the process of making one and a post in the future will detail my results.

This recipe however is far simpler - it's about the simplest in the book - and guess what - it makes simple white bread - rock on!

It still required 3 different flours......and having never really given flour much notice before this in itself was quite interesting. I never knew there was so many - and also how much the graphics designers had been at the packaging



Golden syrup in bread you say - OK lets give it a go



And so when you don;t have either a home-made leaven or fresh yeast - then it's back to the dried stuff



Making the dough



I just liked this photo of the olive oil on the wood - before needing



Can you tell what it is yet...





Nice baps !



Oooh! That looks good



What a result for my first ever loaf !



A lovely sweet moist thick bread...




Which was perfect for a morning snack of homemade jelly on toast - and it was perfect!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Pork Vindaloo

I love curry. If I could only eat one cuisine for the rest of my life - it'd be Indian.

And when i find a new curry house - the acid test for me is a Lamb Vindaloo and a Bhindi Bhaji. Try as I might I 've never been able ot recreate that curry house curry flavour. A well done vindi is the pinnacle of that restaurant phenomenon for me..just a sauce, cubes of meat and potato...hot... pungent. I adore it when it's done well.

But....it's sooo difficult to recreate that 'authentic' (!) curry house taste at home. I've a million Indian cookbooks and it's always the same. the results are generally fantastic - but nothing like the 'real' thing (yes yes I know - they are the real thing - but you get my point).

Ans so it was again....this is a fantastic lovely spicy pungent hot sweet dish and nothing like you'll get in the Raj Tandoori - shame. One day I will find the recipe....

It all starts with a spice marinade (the cinnamon and cardamom really add a layer of difference)



And the 'vin' in vindaloo (or so I understand)



To make a marinade



Some fried onions garlic and chilli to start it all off



Frying the pork with the marinade (after a day)



Chopped toms go in



And it cooks down to this little beauty



Now I love curry and chips....so that;s what i had. A brilliant meal made even better by watching Arsenal cruise past Leeds in the FA Cup 3rd round replay !

Monday, 10 January 2011

Pork Satay

I got a great new cookbook for Christmas...the latest from the daddy of Thai cooking...David Thompson's Thai Street food. (thanks Mum & Dad)

It's a large beautiful coffee table cookbook. In fact so large it could actually be a coffee table - which on a purely practical note is a bit of an issue. Not the easiest of reads in bed - or for propping up in the kitchen to follow a recipe. However, I digress......

After a good look through it was difficult to choose the first thing I wanted to cook as there are so many great ideas in the book. However, it being just after Christmas...plainly we had a mountain of peanuts to use up - and so it had to be satay.



The recipe itself is not just about the satay sauce- but ensuring also that the pork has a good marinade in a coconut milk based sauce





The satay sauce was a heady spicy mix of chillies, garlic, galangal, ginger, cumin, coriander...



...and of course peanuts...



Both the marinade and the sauce require palm sugar. If you want to ever cook Thai go get a great big pot like this - keeps for ever and adds a deepness to the sweetness....



Unfortunately it rained tonight - 'cos even though it's currently 2 degrees outside I was determined to BBQ these. Not so & they ended up on the grill -which seemed to work out OK.....







And so - with the satay sauce (which was excellent) and a quick green veg and black pepper stir fry to compliment



And a loving close up on the satay sauce. it made plenty so that's now in the freezer for another day. Cool!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Chicken with Tarragon

A last minute change of plan. I had all the ingredients for a Pork Satay (see next post), but it was pointed out that we had an excess of Crème fraiche in the fridge. OK - a quick and easy French classic then....

Got some lovely fresh tarragon from the supermarket - and we were off



Browned and the braised in chicken stock and white wine



Fished with a cream and tarragon sauce, some spinach and roast Charlotte potatoes. Lovely.