Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lamb and Potatoes. And Beans. And Broccoli.

I though we'd have a variation on the sunday roast, so I'm trying an eye fillet of lamb today. And since I'm doing it "differently" I thought we'd have dauphinoise potatoes with it, and some broad beans from the garden (they've just come ripe for a lovely winter crop). Here's how it went:

The lamb fillets were scored lightly and marinaded in: soy, pomegranate syrup, oyster sauce, anchovy paste, grainy mustard and balsamic vinegar for about an hour.

Meanwhile the potatoes were prepared in the usual way; thinly sliced, layered, and covered in hot milk, cream, garlic and bayleaf. I covered them in grated Gruyere, and they were then baked for about an hour at 200 deg. I filled the baking dish right to the brim, and they overflowed, creating a lovely, bubbling, burnt cheesy cover to the base of the oven. Oh joy.

The lamb got a browning in a frying pan, and then a quick roast at 200 deg back in the marinade (10 minutes would have fine; I gave them 15 and lost the lovely pinkness I'd been aiming for).

The broccoli was simply steamed until bright green, and the beans were blanched for a minute in boiling water, then poached for 5 mim in butter, salt & pepper. They were actually the star of this dish, and we could eat them just on their own. Fresh from the garden only minutes before they were cooked, they were superb!

and now... I'm going to clean the oven!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Soup and sandwiches. Again.

It's Sunday, it's evening, and it's our turn for soup and sandwiches with our dear chums, N&S.

The recipe today is a bit of a cultural bastard. The soup has leanings to the Thai, the sandwiches are a little Iberian. 

The soup: A very kind patient of mine brought us some freshly-caught snappers about 2 months ago. I filleted them, and we had a brilliant, fresh, fish and chips, but the bones, head and skin went into a big pan with onion, bayleaf and water and I made a fragrant stock. And here it is, with the addition of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil, and coriander root, as the basis for this soup.


I then fried some red onion, garlic & ginger, (all finely chopped) until soft but not browned. 

frying things

And I strained the flavoured stock into the softened onions, and then decided it needed some sourness, so I added a few tsps of tamarind paste.

I then let it all cool, and waited for our guests to arrive before re-heating the soup base.

Finally, I added raw prawns and scallops, cooked them for about 3 minutes, and served the soup, garnishing with chopped coriander leaf. And, because I missed it out from the cooking process, so as not to offend the palate of those who don't like it, I served chilli sauce too, as I like the heat!

the soup. Served.

As for the sarnies: White bread and "Chaka":
Chaka is a bit obscure: even wikipedia doesn't list it, but the same Spanish best friend of LW who gave us the recipe for Tortilla also turned us on to this simple delight: Surimi (yes, really, that odd, rubbery faux-crab made of pollock and alginate!) hard boiled eggs, and mayonnaise mixed thoroughly and seasoned. That's Chaka!

and so is this.

It's also great on a baked potato. That's tonight's meal!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

frittata, meet tortilla.

Eggs are back in season! The chooks are laying again, not without some hesitancy, but we are accumulating them more quickly than we're using them.

Usually, this heralds the first tortilla espagnol of the season; LW's best friend in Glasgow is a lovely Spanish lady who knows the recipe for the authentic tortilla, passed it on to me via LW and then I corrupted it somewhat. I think it's something to do with a problem with authority. I'll think about it later.

However, I wanted to see how things went if I extended the ingredients...

So Here's what I did:

I pan fried onion & garlic to soften but not brown them, added thinly sliced potato (so far exactly like a tortilla). Then I blanched brussels sprouts, broccoli florets and thin slices of carrot, and added them to the frying pan, added an unseemly amount of butter, and softened everything adding some seasoning in the form of salt, pepper and a little cayenne and cumin (don't tell LW- she doesn't like cumin). I also added a handful of crushed, toasted cashews

In a bowl I cracked 10 eggs, and added some cream and a heap of finely grated parmesan, whisked it all up and poured it into the veggies in the frying pan. Cooked slowly in the pan until the sides had set, I then put the pan in a hot oven to let the mixture bubble and brown.

I made the mistake of using the wood-burning range to keep the whole thing warm; it was warmer than I anticipated and I nearly burnt the damn thing. It looks burnt, but it tasted fine!

This was actually rather tasty, and great with a little chilli sauce. Or cold the next day. Or the day after:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

LW the baker

 We do like our daily bread. Sometimes, we're in the mood for a floury white loaf (especially if we're having bacon sarnies) and other times we want something wholemeal, for a great breakfast toast, with marmalade.

If we're having homemade bread, we use a breadmaker often enough, but LW saw a recipe for a "knead-free" dough, and wanted to try it, so she did. The ingredients are as follows:

The dough sat right next to the wood-burning range (which was on all day yesterday as the temperature had dropped to below 10 degrees (cold for these climes!)) and rose spectacularly.

I nipped into Kaikohe and bought a couple of loaf tins, and the whole thing came together, so that, by early evening, we were basking in the warmth from the range and the smell of baking bread.

Here's how it looked:

And here's how it tasted:

Delicious, nutty, sweet and light. My grateful thanks to LW for a lovely recipe (especially as she claims that she can't cook!) xxx

Monday, July 5, 2010

Some assorted musings

This has been a busy week with a variety of interesting food-related things happening, and I've not taken photos of much of them!

We had a lovely supper at Ake Ake Winery and restaurant on saturday night. The restaurant is managed and catered by Chris and Jude, good friends of ours, so I'm bound to be biased, but the meal was excellent! I had a really good seafood chowder; light and very tasty, and then a braised lamb shank with Kumera mash and plenty of gravy, and panna cotta and biscotti to finish. Ake Ake make some good wines and their own 2009 Chambourcin  went down very well indeed! LW had a filo-parcelled camembert as her starter, then baked salmon and polenta, and finished with the panna cotta. There were 15 of us, for a 40th birthday party, and everyone enjoyed themselves, as far as I could tell.

(photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Yesterday afternoon, whilst I was dozing and watching TV, there was a brief lull in the torrential rain we'd been having, and LW spied a bunny in the orchard. Like a cross between Elmer Fudd and Rambo, I slipped out of the house and carefully closed in on the little furry blighter. It ran off, but, as they are wont to do, it stopped to see if I was still there. And I was, and then it wasn't. I won't go into the gory details, (unless requested), but skinning, gutting and butchering a rabbit is a very straightforward procedure. It's now jointed, blanched and in the freezer, waiting to be joined by a couple more before I make a casserole or curry!
(photo courtesy of the rabbit)

We've a glut of limes from one particular tree at the moment, so I thought I should preserve some, Moroccan style. So I did. I didn't think that 25 limes would fit in one big jar. But they did. And I didn't think that the salt used to preserve them would leach out so much juice that it would cover them. But it did. I'm going to do a load more of these with other citrus, as the season progresses. 

citrussy, salty deliciousness.