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Wed, 11 Dec 2013

Salmon Lasagne


- use a back of salmon, extract all the bones
- make a light béchamel sauce using half-milk half-water
- season the sauce with nutmeg
- cut the salmon into thin slices crosswise, add a lot of pepper
- make layers of salmon, fresh spinach leaves, béchamel sauce and lasagne
- I also add some chopped chives
- make three of four layers and finish with some grated parmesan
- bake in a hot oven for 25 minutes





posted on: 11/12/2013 at 18:06 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Wed, 04 Dec 2013

Polenta, Veal stew with carrots

I know I promised the blanquette de veau recipe accompanied by mixed roast vegetables but first I must divulge this wonderful polenta invention.

method:
- cook some polenta
- mix it (use a fork) with some chopped sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil and spices (cumin, chilli, coriander, cinnamon, etc. etc. - whatever takes your fancy)
- place in an overproof dish and grill in a hot oven until cooked through and lightly browned on top

Blanquette de Veau method:
- fry some chopped onions in a little oil
- add bite sized chunks of veal and brown
- add chopped carrots, garlic and a little flour
- add white wine (or dry cider) and stock to cover, salt, pepper
- place in a casserole dish and cook in a cool oven (160 degrees) for a couple of hours until the meat is tender and the sauce thick.
- Serve with slices of grilled polenta (see above)

posted on: 04/12/2013 at 16:05 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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A special day


Stuffed sea bass

A "pot" and sex toy tea strainer

Cake

posted on: 04/12/2013 at 10:58 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sat, 30 Nov 2013

Italian evening


And a fantastic pizza dough slinging show by Mario
and Luigi.











posted on: 30/11/2013 at 10:08 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Thu, 14 Nov 2013

Authentic Italian Theme Evening at Bruno Raja's Restaurant

Next Theme Evening

November 30th 2013, 8:30pm

Gourmet Italian Menu

  • One
  • Two
  • Three
  • Four
  • Four
  • Four

posted on: 14/11/2013 at 18:06 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sat, 09 Nov 2013

Mushroom and prawn salad


Well this is turning into a real Mushroom Month.

We went for a lovely dinner with our friends Alan Cook (ex-manager of the famous GothRock band "Sauerkraut" as featured elsewhere on this website, click here for more details if you are really interested) and Elisabeth Guinness.

Elisabeth runs the Guinness Gallery in Dublin and she is an excellent cook.

The spicy pork stew was fantastic but it was the starter of raw mushrooms and prawns which inspired me for this recipe. I have only slightly modified Elisabeth's original recipe by adding some spinach leaves and a slightly sweeter dressing to counteract their bitterness.

- thinly slice some mushrooms
- place on a bed of baby spinach leaves
- add some peeled prawns
- make a dressing with honey, lime juice, olive oil, oregano, salt and mild red paprika powder
- drizzle dressing on the salad

posted on: 09/11/2013 at 09:48 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sat, 26 Oct 2013

Second Theme Evening at Bruno Raja's Restaurant


The second of our Special Around The World Cuisine theme evenings

This month: Texan menu

- Southern cocktail with nachos and salsa

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- Halloween pumpkin soup
with cream and smoky bacon

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- Barbecued spare ribs
Marinated ribs cooked in the wood stove and served with an authentic American barbecue sauce (26 ingredients)

- Served with potato and sweet potato fries, bean and corn salad and extra barbecue sauce

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- Selection of American desserts
Lemon cheesecake, brownie, iced carrot cake, blueberry sauce

posted on: 26/10/2013 at 20:30 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Thu, 03 Oct 2013

Mushroom time again


It's that time of year when we have mushrooms in abundance. The "cepe" mushrooms are the most sought after and people can actually be seen fighting in the woods to defend their "patch".

A few years ago someone set up a mushroom canning business in a camper van parked in the woods herby. They were actually sterilizing and preserving the ceps in cans and jars on site and then selling them for a fortune in the city. A pitch battle broke out between these "intruders" and a gang of locals and the police had to intervene. Sadly no-one had really broken any laws, so they all got off with the most expensive illegal parking fine the police could conjure up.

As I have said here in the past, we love the black trompette mushrooms. I made a pizza with them.

- Make a pizza base, let it rest for a while to make it elastic
- Roll out the dough very thin
- Put on some tomato sauce (home-made of course)
- Put of some mozzarella cheese (buffalo of course)
- Put on three rashers of bacon (smoky of course)
- Put on some "trompette" Horn of Plenty mushrooms (fresh of course, if you are using dried ones, which is okay, first let them soak for a while in warm water)
- Cook in a hot oven until ready

posted on: 03/10/2013 at 13:00 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sat, 28 Sep 2013

Theme Evenings at Bruno Raja's Restaurant

I'm cooking in Bruno's Restaurant once a month for Special Around The World Cuisine evenings

This month: Thai/Indonesian menu:

- Sweet and Sour Soup with shrimp, lemon grass and coriander

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- Kaeng Khieu Wan Kai (Green Curry)
Chicken and vegetables cooked in coconut milk with Thai spices, served with basil

- Satay Babi Manis (Pork Satay)
Pork fillet marinated in lime and fish sauce served with peanut sauce

- Gado Gado
Cucumber and vegetable salad with spicy peanut dressing

- Fried banana
- Thai rice
- Fresh chutneys and hot sauce

--------------------------

Banana cake, passion fruit ice-cream and mango coulis

posted on: 28/09/2013 at 20:30 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Mon, 09 Sep 2013

Figs


It's that time of year again.
Our fig tree is very strange. It has its first fruit in June but the figs are tasteless and floury. Then the second crop in September are simply delicious.

We make jam, I cook them with duck, we stew them in the oven in red wine and spices (peppercorns, star aniseed, cloves and cinnamon), for more ideas see this post from last year.
One new aperitif recipe we tried this year:
- partially slice the figs into quarters to open them up just a little
- fill with blue cheese
- wrap a thin slice of parma ham around the fig (this helps to keep the cheese inside)
- warm in the oven until the cheese starts to melt

posted on: 09/09/2013 at 11:23 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Wed, 07 Aug 2013

Jamie Oliver inspired chicken salad

All credit has to go to Jamie Oliver for this recipe. It's not so much Jamies recipes in themselves, but the methods he sometimes uses are inventive and time-saving.
In this easy recipe, you toss a chicken breast in spices and fry it until it's dark and crispy on the outside and soft in the centre. For the spice mixture and coating I used ground coriander, chilli powder, turmeric and polenta (for added crispiness). Before frying, toss the chicken in this mixture, cover with greaseproof paper or aluminum foil and bash flat with a rolling pin so that the spices and polenta penetrate the chicken.

Once cooked, slice the chicken breast and serve on a bed of salad. I use mâche (corn leaf salad, Valerianella locust), Italian red chicory (Trevise), and celery. Served with a wrap or tortilla.
There are endless variations of this method, use your imagination.

posted on: 07/08/2013 at 15:21 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Tue, 23 Jul 2013

Stuffed Chicken Rolls

I have already posted my signature dish of chicken rolls stuffed with black Horn of Plenty mushrooms. You can find the recipe here.
These little black mushrooms are plentiful in our part of the world in the Autumn and they dry out very easily and can be kept all year. In French we call them "Trompettes de la Mort" which literally translates as "deathly trumpets"
I usually serve these chicken rolls with a blueberry and Madeira sauce.
In this photo I have accompanied the chicken with:
- a stuffed garlic mushroom: fry some chopped bacon and the mushroom stalks, mix with some garlic and parsley, stuff your mushrooms and top with breadcrumbs, bake in a hot oven until browned on top
- mashed vegetables: the purple colored mash is from our homegrown black potatoes, also shown is yellow turnip mash and carrot/cumin mash.

posted on: 23/07/2013 at 12:02 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Tue, 16 Jul 2013

Stuffed peppers

I am surprised I haven't already posted this recipe here as I make it quite often. The peppers that come from Navarre in Spain, just over the Pyrenees from us, are the best for this dish? Called "Pimiento del piquillo" or Piquillo pepper, they are sometimes quite hot and spicy. You can probably find them ready-peeled in jars or tins available in shops that sell Spanish produce.

- Soak some salted codfish in water overnight or longer, change the water a few times so that the salt is eliminated.
- Make some potatoes in a lot of unsalted water (the salty codfish provides enough saltiness)
- Halfway through cooking the potatoes, add the rinsed cod to the pan (make sure there are no bones in the fish beforehand)
- Gently boil for another 10 minutes, drain.
- Mash the potatoes and fish, add some olive oil (quite a lot), a crushed garlic clove and some chopped parsley
- Stuff the peppers with the potato, codfish mixture (this is a bit messy I'm afraid)
- Cook in a hot oven for 15 minutes

posted on: 16/07/2013 at 10:28 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sat, 06 Jul 2013

Chinese Sweet and Sour Pork

This is a classic Chinese dish. When I was a boy, my mother used to make this with crispy fried noodles on top. In this version I use pork but you can also make it with chicken breast (recipe somewhere else on this site).

- Fry some chopped onions in a wok.
- Toss small pieces of chicken breast in cornflour and add to the wok. Add some chopped carrots and green pepper. Fry until the chicken starts to colour.
- Add
    - pineapple chunks
    - pineapple juice
    - soy sauce
    - tomato purée
    - vinegar
    - a little sherry
    - honey (or sugar)
- Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through and the sauce thickens
- Service with rice or noodles.

posted on: 06/07/2013 at 14:20 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Wed, 19 Jun 2013

Pepper beef with Mediterranean vegetable gratin

Further to my previous post, the Garonne burst it's banks and Bossòst is flooded. Incredible photos and images on the news, 400 people or more evacuated and some dead. If we had gone through there one day later, we would have been underwater.

The "merlan" is a long piece of tender beef from the top of the rump. It is called "merlan" because it looks like the fish of the same name (in French).

First the vegetables:
- grill thin slices of potato on the griddle, spray with a little oil
- grill thin slices of aubergine and courgette on the griddle, spray with a little oil
- make layers of cooked aubergine, potato, courgette and sliced tomato in an oven proof dish
- add plenty of parsley, garlic and salt at each layer
- cover with a mixture of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese
- cook in a hot (210°) oven for 40 minutes.

Now the beef:
- Coat beef "merlan" in freshly ground pepper (lots)
- Place on a very hot griddle, keep turning until cooked.
- Slice thinly and place on dish.
- Serve with vegetable gratin.

posted on: 19/06/2013 at 18:14 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Tue, 18 Jun 2013

El Portalet (yes, again)

At last a photo of the best restaurant in the world, le Portalet in Bossòst, Catalunya.

Sadly the restaurant was closed for a short but well deserved break before the summer rush.
The weather has been fantastic and it has been so hot that the mountain glaciers are melting quickly and the rivers are almost flooding.
More torrential rain is coming, so the situation will surely worsen later this week.
The photo is a Catalan meatball with asparagus tempura. Mixed meat meatballs are a Catalan speciality - (see here).

posted on: 18/06/2013 at 16:33 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Wed, 05 Jun 2013

Crispy pork chops with oven chips

This is a variation on my mother's crispy pork chops recipe.
I've actually tried this with both pork and lamb chops. Enjoy!

- Heat some duck fat in an oven proof tray. When sizzling put in some potatoes cut into chip size pieces
- Brush the chops with plenty of mild mustard
- Grind a mixture of walnuts and a little breadcrumbs, add a little salt
- Coat the mustardy chops with the nut mixture
- When the oven chips are just starting to become golden you may need to turn them over from time to time), place the chops next to them in the oven tray or separately in a lightly greased oven proof dish
- Cook in a hot oven until the chops become a nice golden color and the chips and nicely brown.

I suppose you could call this recipe chips and chops!

posted on: 05/06/2013 at 17:42 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Fri, 31 May 2013

Sauerkraut

By popular demand, the whole SauerKraut story is posted here.
Use mouse to scroll along, click on photo to see enlargement and start slideshow

Visit SauerKraut's Facebook for more news, photos and videos

posted on: 31/05/2013 at 11:06 in category: [/humour] with permanent link

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Mon, 27 May 2013

Hot goat cheese and tomato starter

This is a really simple goat's cheese starter.

- Use North African brick pastry sheets. If you can't find them, filo pastry should also work.
- Cut each round brick sheet in half and fold each half lengthwise to obtain a long strip. If you are using rectangular sheets of pastry, cut into strips.
- There are many many techniques of folding samosa shaped triangles. The best technique I know of can be seen here on the right (thanks to youtube)
- Place a thin slice of tomato and a slice of goats cheese into your pastry packet
- Seal well with melted butter
- Brush all over with more melted butter
- Brown in a hot oven for ten minutes or fry with some oil in a pan. You can also deep fry these samosas, they only need a few minutes before turning a lovely golden brown colour.
- Serve on top of a salad (I use roquette or young spinach leaves)
- Sprinkle with a little balsamic vinaigrette

posted on: 27/05/2013 at 10:15 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Fri, 24 May 2013

Chilli Pie

I obtained some chilli powder from Bolivia. I used it in this very interesting variation on Chilli Con Carne:
Chilli:
- Fry a chopped onion
- Brown some freshly minced beef
- Add some chilli powder, some garlic and a little ground coriander
- Add a large tin of peeled tomatoes (or some fresh chopped tomatoes) and one or two little squares of dark chocolate
- Simmer until the sauce thickens
- Add a tin of red beans
Topping:
- Boil some potatoes, carrots and sweet potato
- When soft, drain and make a mash, add a little butter and some grated cheese
Pie:
- Place the chilli in an ovenproof dish - Place a sliced tomato on top
- Cover with the mash and make some pretty patterns on top with a fork
- Cook in a hot oven until nicely browned on top
For those who are frightened of making a chilli that is too hot and spicy, you can substitute the chilli powder with sweet mild paprika. When serving put some tabasco or hot sauce on the table for those who like it "hot", and some do...

posted on: 24/05/2013 at 12:06 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sat, 18 May 2013

Thai Green Curry

I'm sure I have posted this recipe somewhere here already. This version was especially tasty:
- Fry a chopped onion
- Make green curry paste in a blender using the following ingredients:
    - a large bunch on fresh coriander (leaves and stalks)
    - one or two fresh chillies (depending on how hot they are)
    - one clove of garlic
    - about 2cms of fresh ginger
    - a teaspoon of Thai shrimp paste (sometimes called Trassi or Kapi - you can buy it in most oriental stores)
    - A little oil, sesame oil is good for a nutty flavour
- Add the curry paste to the onions
- Add coconut milk
- Add a tin of peas, or fresh peas, or even frozen ones
- Cook on a gentle heat
- Add fresh peeled shrimp and cook through (if you are using cooked shrimps do not cook for so long, just heat them sufficiently)
I serve this with rice and fresh basil.

posted on: 18/05/2013 at 10:49 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Mon, 13 May 2013

The tweets are back, and the woodpecker pecks



A woodpecker has been pecking on the beams on the outside of my office wall. He's driving le crazy and making huge holes in the beautiful facade of our house.
To add to the woodpecking noise, the red tailed birds have come back for the sixth or seventh year running and built their nest on the beams above our terrace. The chicks are very hungry and tweet endlessly as the parents go back and forth collecting food.

posted on: 13/05/2013 at 08:52 in category: [/travel] with permanent link

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Sat, 11 May 2013

Barbecue Sauce

This sauce has a lot of ingredients. It's better if you cook it a few hours in advance or even the day before to allow the deep flavors to merge and mingle.
- Fry a chopped onion in a little oil.
- Add a tin of peeled tomatoes
- Add the following ingredients: 2 cloves chopped garlic, teaspoon ground coriander, teaspoon ground cumin, two big spoons tomato ketchup, lemon (or lime) juice, tablespoon dark brown sugar, big teaspoon molasses, two or three tablespoons red wine vinegar, a chopped chilli pepper (or two depending on how hot they are), two big spoons of mango chutney, two teaspoons honey, glass of orange juice, big dash of Worcester sauce, two tablespoons of soy sauce, 2cms of chopped fresh ginger (or teaspoon ground ginger), big teaspoon of mustard, a little water, salt to taste (just a little, the soy sauce usually makes it salty enough).
- simmer on a low heat for 35-45 minutes, add some more water if the mixture starts getting too thick
- I add an optional ingredient at the end which is "liquid smoke", you can buy this if you live in the US, otherwise it can be ordered on the internet at myamericanmarket.com. It gives a wonderful smoky taste.
- I cook spare ribs for 45 minutes in the oven and baste regularly both sides with this sauce. Then finish them off on the barbecue. You can use it with practically any barbecue recipes. Heat some sauce and put on the table for dipping.
The photo on the left shows my barbecue ribs served with Mille Feuilles of Boulgur and Quinoa (see recipe here above)

posted on: 11/05/2013 at 11:16 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Mon, 06 May 2013

Mille Feuilles of Boulgur and Quinoa

I purchased some cooking rings. They are really useful for making individual gratin portions ("rostis"), perfectly round fried eggs, and for making very pretty presentations on a plate. You can find them in most supermarkets now or buy them online at places like Tescos or even Amazon. They are very cheap. I am told you can also cut an opened tin can in half, but this sounds dangerous, beware of cutting yourself.
I have always like cooking with cereals, rice and couscous of course but also Bulgur, Quinoa, Barley and Millet. I made these little cereal and tomato moulds to accompany my chicken breasts stuffed with horn of plenty mushrooms with blueberry sauce
- Fry a chopped onion in a little oil.
- Add a mixture of quinoa and bulgur, salt, pepper and some stock to just cover
- Cook for about 10-15 minutes adding more stock if necessary. This method is identical to making a risotto. Different grains are available in different countries and require varying cooking times. You need to stop cooking when the cereals have absorbed all the liquid but are still a little "al dente".
- Allow the cereals to cool a little and add a lot of chopped parsley, or better, some chopped basil.
- Slice a large tomato, I used Coeur de Boeuf or "BeefHeart" tomatoes. Using your chef's cooking rings, cut out a circle from each tomato slice just the size to fit inside the rings.
- Grate some cheese, I used a mixture of freshly grated parmesan and goat's cheese but emmenthal or cheddar will also work.
- Add one or two eggs (depending on how many rings you are making) to the cooled quinoa/bulgur/parsley (or basil) mixture.
- Assemble your rings with a layer of cereals, a layer of grated cheese, a slice of tomato, a layer of cereals, a layer of grated cheese and topped with a tomato ring. Add any leftover grated cheese on top.
- Bake in a medium oven for 12-15 minutes.
- Place the rings on a plate and carefully lift them off. The eggs and melted cheese should have set the little "towers" which look just spectacular.

posted on: 06/05/2013 at 12:15 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Salmon and Leek pie

My mother used to make fish pie regularly, this recipe brought back childhood memories similar to that wonderful scene with the food critic in the movie Ratatouille.
- Chop two leeks and gently fry in some olive oil with a chopped onion.
- Peel and boil some potatoes and carrots, you can also add a turnip, a swede, or a sweet potato.
- Add a little water to the leeks if they start to stick to the pan
- When the leeks are soft add a large knob of butter to the pan.
- Sprinkle with flour and mix well. When all the lumps of flour are dissolved, add some milk and keep stirring until the sauce starts to thicken. Add plenty of nutmeg.
- If the leek/béchamel sauce is too thick add some more milk or a little cream.
- De-bone some fillets of fresh salmon and remove the skin. Actually any other fish would also be good.
- Place the fish in a deep baking dish, add pepper and sprinkle a little white wine over it, for added flavour.
- Pour over your leek/béchamel mixture.
- Mash the potatoes (and other vegetables if used) with a little butter.
- Spread the mash over the top of the fish and leeks. Make pretty patterns on the top with a fork.
- Bake in the oven at 200° for 25-30 minutes by which time the mash topping should have started to brown.

For me the best condiment to go with this fish pie is a generous dose of hot tabasco.

posted on: 06/05/2013 at 10:49 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Fri, 03 May 2013

Christmas Pudding Roll

They say that your can keep Christmas pudding indefinitely in a plastic container in the fridge. I guess this is because the amount of alcohol that goes into it, a very long shelf life is assured.
You can see my Christmas Dinner Leftovers recipes on my 26th December post.
You can imagine that I was a little reluctant about making a dessert from the leftover Christmas pudding in early May (ie 6 months old) but as this was a homemade pudding based upon the wonderful Good Housekeeping recipe, it did smell ok, and the archeological effort of re-discovering it and getting it out of the deepest depths of the fridge sort of justified doing something with it.
In fact, after months of marinating, it was just delicious, better than at Christmas.
- Roll out several layers of fill pastry, brush each side with melted butter and lay on top of each other.
- Grate an apple (or two). Add some cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Spread the grated apple and left over Christmas Pudding onto the layers of filo pastry. Moisten with a little rum or brandy if the mixture seems too dry.
- Roll up the pastry into a roll and brush all over with more melted butter.
- Bake in a hot oven until golden brown.
- Slice and serve with cream, ice cream or even some bandy or bum rutter.

posted on: 03/05/2013 at 14:25 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Tue, 30 Apr 2013

Beef stir fry


- Chop an onion. Cut two or three carrots into matchstick sized bits. Fry the onions and carrots in a wok using sesame oil.
- When the carrots start to soften after a few minutes, add some chopped steak.
- Fry on a very high heat for a few minutes until browned. Add a little chopped garlic.
- Add some ground szechuan spice. You can find this is most oriental food stores, it's main ingredient is szechuan pepper.
- Add some soy sauce, a little HoiSin sauce (you can also find this is most oriental food stores), some sugar and a dash of sherry.
- Cook through until the sauce thickens a little.
- Serve with rice.


posted on: 30/04/2013 at 11:35 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Tue, 16 Apr 2013

Bread and Butter Pudding

An old favorite, my mother used to make this. It's a sort of merger between French toast and clafouti.
- Butter some slices of bread and cut into triangles. In the photo I used Italian Panettone cake which gives this dish a lot of flavour. If you are using plain bread, you should also spread some jam or marmalade onto the bread.
- Lay the triangles in a baking dish
- Sprinkle with raisons, sultanas and cinnamon
- Heat 350ml of milk and 50ml of cream to boiling point (just scald, don't boil), you may need to increase these proportionally for a larger dish
- Whisk two eggs with three tablespoons of brown sugar
- Slowly pour in the hot milk stirring all the time
- Pour the custard mixture over the bread and allow to rest for a while so that the bread soaks up some of the liquid.
- Sprinkle with ground nutmeg and demerara sugar
- Bake in a moderate oven for 40 minutes until the custard is cooked and brown on top.

posted on: 16/04/2013 at 07:32 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Mon, 01 Apr 2013

Some new links

New posting on Sauerkraut's Facebook page:
Diany and the Danettes and Chadee

Some great new books on Grrr...Art Editions website:
Définitivement Charlots by Jean Sarrus
Jardins à l'Algérienne by Albert Labbouz
Kit de Secours pour Alcoolique by Pierre Veissire

posted on: 01/04/2013 at 17:42 in category: [/humour] with permanent link

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Sat, 23 Mar 2013

Prawn curry and chapatis

- Mix a smooth bread dough with flour, salt, oil, a little yeast, and sugar. Let it rest for a while, this makes it more elastic and easier to roll out thinly.
- Fry a chopped onion in some ghee.
- Add some cubed courgettes and a chopped banana and continue frying for a few minutes.
- Add some curry powder or, better, curry paste. You can make this yourself in a small blender by adding freshly ground dry spices (coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds) and fresh chillies, ginger and a little oil. You can find various posts in this blog about making fresh curry paste, basically use the spices you like best and experiment with the proportions.
- Mix the spice mixture into the pan and add some lemon juice, and coconut milk.
- Cook on a low heat until the courgettes are cooked through and the sauce is creamy.
- Add some peeled cooked prawns, just heat through and serve.
- You can also use uncooked prawns (also peeled), in which case put on a high heat and cook for a little longer until the prawns are cooked through.
- Roll out small balls of the chapati dough until they are very thin. Cook on a very hot flat griddle or a heavy based frying pan. They need only one minute per side providing the pan is hot enough.

posted on: 23/03/2013 at 06:03 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Thu, 21 Mar 2013

Curried Meatball Koftas

- Fry an onion in a wok using ghee (clarified butter available in dairy or vegetarian form in all Indian shops).
- Add some Indian curry powder (see elsewhere on this website) and fry for one minute until the aromas are released.
- Add two chopped tomatoes, some tomato paste and a little water, simmer gently.
- Mince some lamb.
- Blend one or two green chilli peppers, some curry powder, chopped garlic and ginger. Add a little tomato paste.
- Mix the spice paste with the lamb and some chopped coriander.
- Now put your hot tomato curry sauce into the blender and liquidize. Pour back into the wok and add some water.
- Using your fingers, form some small golf ball sized meatballs with the stick lamb mixture.
- Place the meatball into the tomato sauce and gently cook for about 30 minutes. Add more water if the sauce becomes too thick.
- Serve with rice sprinkled with grilled sesame seeds.
- Decorate meatballs with some more chopped coriander and some plain yoghurt.

posted on: 21/03/2013 at 11:55 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sun, 10 Mar 2013

Bread
I'm back to making bread every day with organic spelt flour.
          
Take about one pound of regular flour in a bowl. I actually use a little more than one pound because my bread tin is quite long and holds more than a pound. I also mix wholemeal and white flour, about half and half. Use instant yeast from Knights supermarket or similar outlets. You can also use any other dried yeast or fresh yeast dissolved in a little warm water with some sugar For just over a pound of flour I would use about two tablespoons of yeast, here you can see the approximate amount in a yoghurt pot. You can also follow instructions on the side of the yeast packet Add yeast, two tablespoons of cooking oil, a teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons of sugar. You can also add oats, linseeds, raisons, whatever you like to give more flavour. Mix well.
       
Add warm (not hot) water and knead until the dough is soft and flexible but not sticky Roll out the dough on a floured board and then place in a buttered baking tin Cut some incisions into the top of the loaf which helps it rise evenly and make it look pretty. You can also brush with a little egg and decorate the top with oats, sesame seeds, cornmeal, poppy seeds, whatever. Cover with a tea towel and leave it to rise (about 30mins to one hour or more depending on the weather) Leave it until the dough has risen over the top of the bread pan and put into a very hot pre-heated oven. After 6-7 minutes bring the heat down to 190¡ degrees C and cook for a further 20 minutes (total baking time 27-28 minutes).
Basically you need to take the bread out of the oven when its a nice golden colour and it sounds "hollow" when you tap it with a wooden spoon.

posted on: 10/03/2013 at 08:55 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sun, 03 Mar 2013

Smoked Salmon Mousse starter

- Put some leaves of gelatine to soak in cold water or, if using powdered gelatine or veggie jelly (various brands out there), follow instructions on the packet.
- Finely slice a carrot and boil for a few minutes (the carrots should still be a little crunchy).
- Make some mayonnaise (or use some ready-made) and mix it with a little tomato ketchup and a little horseradish sauce (or tabasco if you want more of a kick).
- Melt the gelatine in a small amount of hot water, allow to cool a little.
- Add the cooled gelatin mixture to the pink mayonnaise and add some fromage blanc (you could also use cream). Line the bottom of some ramekin moulds with a little of the mixture.
- Assemble the ramekins in layers of smoked salmon, cooked carrots, and mayonnaise mixture.
- Place in the fridge to set.
- To serve, place the ramekins into a little hot water to slightly melt the set gelatine and then turn out onto the plates.
You could also use cucumber slices in this recipe.

posted on: 03/03/2013 at 10:03 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Thu, 28 Feb 2013

Griddled Chicken



This was an improvised dish made on the plancha griddle, it turned out to be very tasty.
- Cover some chicken breast with cling film and bash them out flat with a rolling pin.
- Place the chicken in a marinade of lime juice, olive oil, honey, soy sauce, crushed peppercorns and crushed coriander seeds.
- Marinated for an hour or two, more if you want.
- Heat the griddle until it's really hot.
- Grill the chicken breasts twisting once (to give them a pretty criss-cross pattern and turning once. Baste with the marinade from time to time.
- Gently heat any remaining marinade separately in a small saucepan to pour over the chicken when serving.
- To accompany, I grilled some quartered mushrooms on the side of the plancha (see photo).
I served with mashed potato and cherry tomatoes.

posted on: 28/02/2013 at 11:32 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Fri, 22 Feb 2013

Boeuf Bourguignon

This is a classic French dish which I have been making for a long time. I used to do it in the pressure cooker but I find that slow cooking in the oven works best.
- It is best to marinate some chunks of stewing beef in red wine overnight in the fridge but this is not essential.
- Fry some onions and stewing beef. If you have marinated the beef, pat it dry with some kitchen roll first (keep the marinade).
- Add some nutmeg, cinnamon, and chopped garlic. Add some flour and briefly stir so as to coat the meat.
- Add some red wine and some stock to almost cover the meat. If you have marinated the beef, use the marinade.
- Add some sliced carrots, two or three squares of dark chocolate, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil.
- Place in an oven proof casserole dish and cook in a medium oven (160°) for about two hours (or more) until the meat is very tender.
- About 10 minutes before the end of cooking I add some sliced cherry tomatoes as decoration, you can also add sliced mushrooms.

In the photo I serve the beef with garlic/mustard mashed potato and beans. Traditionally it is served with steamed new potatoes.

posted on: 22/02/2013 at 17:22 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Thu, 14 Feb 2013

Swedish Gravalax eclairs



Eclair cases made from choux pastry also work very well for savory dishes. You can buy them in most supermarkets and specialty pastry shops. - Slice some eclair case lengthwise.
- Blend together a large bunch of chopped dill, mustard, lemon juice, sugar, olive oil and a little mayonnaise. You can also buy ready made "gravalax" sauce.
- Gently mix the dill sauce with some fromage blanc, this filling should be quick thick, not too runny. Spread this mixture inside the eclair cases and close.
- Cover with a slice of smoked salmon.
- Allow to stand for an hour or two before serving to allow the moisture to soften the eclair cases. - Decorate with grilled sesame seeds and fish roe. Serve with rocket salad and a lemony vinaigrette.

posted on: 14/02/2013 at 12:45 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Sun, 06 Jan 2013

Easy Sunday Lunch starter



- Grate some carrots and celeriac.
- Mix the grated vegetables with lemon juice, mustard, some raisins, a few chopped walnuts and olive oil. Season well.
- Mix some plain yoghurt with some soft cheese, I used fresh goats cheese but cottage cheese or similar will also work.
- Mix in a lot of finely chopped dill.
- Roll yoghurt mixture in a slice of smoked salmon. Secure with a cocktail stick if necessary. - Serve with little mounds of the carrot and celeriac salad

posted on: 06/01/2013 at 12:15 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Pot Roast Chicken

This started out as Garlic Chicken (click here for recipe) but then I realized I didn't have enough garlic

- Thinly slice some potatoes.
- Place two or three chopped onions in a pot with some olive oil. Place the sliced potatoes on top and towards the edges so that there is enough room for the chicken. Add some chopped garlic (if you have got any).
- Lay the chicken onto its potato and onion bed and place the open pot in a hot oven for 10 minutes to brown the top of the chicken.
- Stuff fresh tarragon all around the chicken. Add a little white wine stock. Season well.
- Cover tightly and put back into a moderate oven for an hour or until cooked.

posted on: 06/01/2013 at 11:05 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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Wed, 02 Jan 2013

Meat Pie



This pie was delicious and very easy.

- Fry some onions in olive oil.
- Add some bite sized chunks of meat and brown. I used beef cheek but any stewing steak will do.
- Add some chopped mushrooms and some flour and mix in well.
- Add a bottle of beer to almost cover.
- Cover tightly and cook on a low heat until the meat is tender. It can also be cooked in the oven on a fairly low heat if you prefer.
- Place in a pie dish. Put some slices of cheese (cheddar) on top of the meat stew and cover with puff pastry (home made is better, recipe may appear here soon).
- Brush with egg and cook in the oven until golden brown.
I served this with garlicky mashed potatoes.

posted on: 02/01/2013 at 11:05 in category: [/cooking] with permanent link

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