tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
I am attempting to refine a really good slow-cooker chile recipe. I quite like Jamie Oliver's, but I have had trouble getting the right chillis (hurrah for forthcoming trip to the States; I will definitely bring some stuff back). I have cooked Heston Blumenthal's chilli twice, and concluded that it made a wonderful spicy goulash, but was not really chilli, but that some of his ideas were worth stealing. So I'm going to keep a note of what I do this time...

Make some fairly strong coffee. Take 200ml of it, and put three dried chillies in it to soak. Drink the rest of the coffee. You could just make 150ml of coffee, but that's no fun.

Take two 400g cans of tinned tomatoes. Lidl's are the best I've come across. Put them into a saucepan, and reduce them down gently, stirring occasionally. You're aiming to reduce by about a third.

Meanwhile, chop a medium onion to a medium thickness. Fry in a little oil until the onion begins to soften.

Add to the pan:
2 pieces star anise (this is a Heston trick: he says it makes meat taste 'meatier', and he seems to be right)
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin (I'd have used 2, but we turned out to be nearly out)
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 small fresh chopped chilli
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
the dried chillies, sliced

Leave for about a minute, then put in the slow cooker, with a splash of the chilli infused coffee (I'd chuck the rest, it's not as nice - on its own - as chilli chocolate). Check your tomatoes - they might be sufficiently reduced by now.

Add a little more oil to the frying pan, and briefly brown
400g shin. The key word is 'briefly', so the heat should be high. Shin needs stewing to be good, so you don't want to cook it. Actually you could probably skip this step, but I don't see the point of cooking meat without at least some Maillard reactions.

Add to slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with 100ml red wine. Add that to the slow cooker. Add 200ml chicken stock. (Which was the home-made stock I had handy). Stir.

Cook on low for at least five hours.

At some stage during this time, roast and skin two peppers. (If you're going to be out all day, you CAN skip the roasting and skinning stage, but it really does make the finished result a lot nicer).

... I will come back to this entry later, and finish it off.

ETA: stage two, about one hour before you want to eat is ideal.

Chop your roasted peppers. Drain two 300g cans of beans - I like to use one of canillini, and one black-eyed beans. You could use kidney beans instead of the black eyed beans, or two tins of kidney, if you prefer, but I'm not mad on kidney beans on their own. Taste, and adjust the seasoning to taste. If your chillis turned out to be unexpectedly wimpy, then chop up another and throw it in. Hot sauce, e.g. Tabasco (I like the chipotle variety, which you can sometimes find in UK supermarkets) is also useful and gives you more precise control.

Eat, with rice, corn bread, or - and I know this is probably wrong - cheese grits.

Reflections: I think 1 tsp cumin is too little. The coffee is a good addition to the sauce, but it needs to be properly strong.
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
Taking a leaf out of Oursin's book, I thought it would be interesting (for me, if not for you), to start keeping a log of this. At the moment, weekends are the only time I'm not eating institutional food anyway....

Friday dinner: cheated, as we were both feeling fairly grotty, and went to Yippee!, the sort-of-Pan-Asian (i.e. mostly Chinese, apart from the samosas) noodle bar round the corner. Less good for vegetarian/ pescetarian purposes than we had anticipated - all the noodle soups had chicken stock in them, which was a shame, but while the vegetable rolls were disappointing (mostly chunks of carrot in the filling), the prawn toast was enjoyable, and the fried noodles with prawns, beansprouts, pak choi and chilli slices was exactly what I wanted.

Saturday: For lunch, knocked together a spinach, tomato and feta fritatta, with a little bit of garlic added in. Probably used more spinach than was really good for the balance of flavours, but it was still very tasty. Baked fritattas are my new favourite vegetarian thing - so much easier than omlettes, but extremely satisfying! Stone Soup has a recipe for a chickpea, parmesan and rosemary one that I am keen to try soon.

For dinner, we had a change of plan. We had some fillets of wild Pacific salmon, and had been planning to do them with pak choi, but I had chopped up a pepper at lunch, thinking it might go in the fritatta, and then realised it wouldn't fit. So we spiced the salmon with chipotle, oregano, and coriander, blackened it, and served it with fried red pepper and onions, and a can of refried beans we had in the cupboard (slightly slackened with a little water, and supplemented with a chopped red chilli. I wouldn't normally use a whole chilli for these purposes, but the ones Sainsburys has at the moment are extremely mild).

Sunday: For lunch, bacon rolls with Frank's Hot Sauce, supplemented with the pak choi, so that it didn't go to waste.

For dinner, top rump of beef, which I had covered in mixed herbs and a little salt before browning it all over, and putting it in the slow cooker with a little water and cooking it on low for... a couple of hours. Ended up nearer medium than rare, but very tender and well-flavoured. On the side, roast potatoes, and stewed cherry tomatoes. This was a last minute improvisation. We had bought savoy cabbage, but when we cut it up, it was covered in little black spots, and while I suspect they were only a cosmetic problem, I wasn't sure, so we used up the tomatoes left over from the fritatta that were originally being kept for snacking. And very well they went with the roast too (probably better than the cabbage, actually).
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
So: later this week, I am attempting to make a friend from Louisiana's red beans and rice recipe. Said recipe calls for "a regular sized bag of dried red kidney beans."

Any thoughts on how big a regular sized bag of beans is? I'd guess 1lb, but who knows...?
tree_and_leaf: Harriet and Peter at a party: caption "Frivoling" (frivoling)
Anyone have any brilliant ideas/ recipes for a pudding involving lemons which would be suitable for six people in hot weather, preferably one which can be made in advance?

I have a freezer, but no ice-cream maker.
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
I have a feeling that it probably shouldn't take just under an hour to walk into town, say evening prayer, and walk back again, but it always seems to. It's quite easy to loose track of time when sitting being quiet by candlelight, at any rate.

It's been a curiously mixed sort of day; I would have got more done had I been able to drag myself out of bed sooner. I have tried on a number of dresses and bought none of them (largely, I suspect, because I am still in love with the Hobbs one). I did buy a wool v-neck sweater, which is delightfully warm yet light and compact and, I realised to my bemusement, bears a suspicious resemblance to the one in [ profile] emily_shore's Mandelson icon. Oh well, I like it. I also painted a large papier mache giraffe and zebra, went to the library, and bought a book called 'Small Boat, Big Sea', by Peter Owen Jones, a diary of the first year in the job of a priest in charge of three Cambridgeshire parishes (he had some connection with the Che Guevera! Jesus poster; apparently the slogan was originally intended to be 'public enemy number one: discover the story this Easter', which I have to say would have been substantially better than what they went with, 'Meek. Mild. As If.', which is a bit adolescently shocking-for-the-sake-of-shocking, and only half true anyway.)

Now I am going to make toad in the hole, courtesy of the discussion on [ profile] dolorous_ett's journal. I've learned how to make a lot of delicious things thanks to the flist - [ profile] schreibergasse's Italian sausage and bean pot and [ profile] dreamer_marie's chicory with ham and cheese stand out. lj can be marvellous!
tree_and_leaf: Autumnal sycamore leaf, text reads: "In heaven, it is always autumn - Donne" (autumn)
Someone asked me for the recipe for this. It's vegetarian, delicious, and serves two generously.

1 tsp sunflower oil (or whatever you normally use for frying; nothing too strong, though)
1 onion, chopped.
1 red (bell) pepper, chunked.
1 clove garlic, crushed.
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp caraway seeds
375g pumpkin or squash, thickly sliced, peeled and de-seeded.
1 large carrot, thick sliced,
75g red lentils, rinsed.
450ml stock (vegetable if you're vegetarian, of course; otherwise chicken would also work)
4 tsp tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
plain yoghurt to finish.

Preheat oven to 180º C.

Heat oil, brown onions (roughly 5 mins). Add red pepper, garlic, paprika and caraway seeds. Stir in and fry for 1 min.

Add everything else bar the yoghurt, and bring to the boil. Cover and cook in the oven for about an hour.

To serve, top bowls of goulash with yoghurt and sprinkle on extra caraway seeds and paprika. Serve with - well, crusty bread, rice, potatoes, couscous, dumplings etc, and a green salad would work if you feel the need for extra vitamins...
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating (or eating again)
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

[ profile] panjianlien's addition: italics for things I have cooked/prepared and/or eaten in my home kitchen

This way to an odd list of food )
tree_and_leaf: Text icon: Anglican Socialist Weirdo (Anglican socialist weirdo)
Due to some unexpected invitations over the weekend, I have been left with 250g of white asparagus, which really needs something done with it, but I can't eat this evening, because I have something else needing eaten...

Anyone have a good soup recipe?
tree_and_leaf: China cup and saucer with tea.  "Never turn down tea.  That's how wars get started." (cup of tea)
I went round to my friend H's for dinner last night; H has just sent off the first draft of her thesis to her supervisor, and is thus taking advantage of the wait for comments to make bread, cook, etc. That morning, she had decided to try yoghurt, except it curdled. Nothing daunted - or rather, somewhat averse to pour several litres of spoiled milk down the sink without a fight - she resorted to Google, and found an exciting page on making your own cheese. So after a trip to the local fabric shop to get something approximating to a cheese cloth, and a bit of further cooking, she was able to present me with a nameless curd cheese (in German terms, very close to Quark), and a ricotta which she'd made with the whey. Needless to say, I was very impressed, and while part of me wonders about the sanity of home cheesemaking and had to be refrained from cracking Archers jokes, I am tempted to give the marscapone a go.
tree_and_leaf: Autumnal sycamore leaf, text reads: "In heaven, it is always autumn - Donne" (autumn),,2198012,00.html

Some nice recipes here - I'm definitely going to try the Iranian chicken curry and the Cuban 'Christians and Moors' dish (mind you, it doesn't sound very Communist!)


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