Friday, 6 February 2015

Sounds the same, but slightly different: Puy and Ham Soup

I've already tried to make a soup with a ham hock and documented my absolute failure to find split peas anywhere. In the end I found some but because I am irritating I decided, despite my previous moaning, to eschew the split peas this time for beautiful verdant jewel like puy lentils, their earthy nuttiness matching the tender pieces of ham amazingly. If there is anything good about the cold weather, it is most definitely the food. And if you're making soup, then you may as well make vats of the stuff to keep you going through the cold winter days.
Some things to bear in mind when making this. Be really careful with the amount of salt you add as the hock stock will possibly be quite salty to begin with. This is quite an involved activity as you will need to boil the hock to cook the hock and allow it to cool before you can strip the meat from the bones. You will also need to reduce the stock before you put the vegetables, the lentils and the herbs in. Lastly, personal preference of course, but I love great chunks or long strips of ham hock, rather than ham chopped finely. I am not looking for this to be an elegant dining experience.
Puy and Ham Soup
Serves 8 - 10
Two ham hocks
 enough water to cover the hocks (Mine was about 4 pints)
500g Puy lentils, rinsed briefly in cold water
two onions, diced
four carrots, chopped
a handful of parsley stalks, finely chopped
seasoning (but be careful!!)
ham, stripped from the bones
parsley to scatter over the top
Put the hocks into water and bring to the boil. Skim the scum from the surface as it begins to boil.
Allow the hocks to simmer in the water for about an hour to an hour and a half. When the hock can be easily pierced, remove the hocks from the water and allow to cool enough so that they can be handled.
Meantime, bring the stock to the boil and reduce by about a third.
Once the stock has reduced add the onions, the carrots, the parsley stalks and the lentils. Stir them into the stock. Allow the stock to simmer for about a 40 minutes or until the lentils yield to the touch.
At this point, add the strips of ham to the stock to warm through. At this point taste and adjust the seasoning where necessary.
Serve in deep bowls, scattered with parsley and some crusty bread and butter

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Sephardic Supper - Ottoman Style Braised Meat with Cannellini Beans

This recipe is from the most beautiful cookery book I possess - and cookery books are often a work of art these days anyway really, but this one really is beautiful. It's that beautiful that I don't want it splattered with ANYTHING. If you saw the state of some of my 'go to' cookery books, with little notes and the evidence of messy cooking, well, in one way it's quite reassuring of a wonderful collection of recipes, but when I cook anything from this book, it's positioned at the other end of the room from the cooker, for fear that it being any nearer will result in it being in line of a random splatter or mucky fingerprint.
So, I maybe should tell you the name of this cookery book seeing as I have bigged it up in such a way. It's called 'Stella's Sephardic Table' and I spotted it in a book shop a few years ago just before Christmas. It was a revelation - not only was my ego interested as the cover bore my name, but its gold lettering and its origins on the Greek island of Rhodes, coupled with visions of antique maps, and elaborate scroll like writing had me hooked. I wanted it from Christmas, but it was too late to do much about it, so I asked for it for my birthday instead and lo and behold, I was very, very fortunate. (Thank you Phill! xx) 

I should probably also say that this is the biggest cookbook I have ever owned. Big and beautiful.

Anyway, I shall cut to the chase. Seeing as the days are getting colder and I am a big fan of a one pot wonder, I was really tempted by this wonderful recipe which hints at warm, exotic origins and can blip away doing its thing whilst I am doing my thing. I sometimes think I should rename this blog 'One Pot Wonder' because there are so many of them on this blog, but I would find it hard to find anything more satisfying to sit down to after a cold day outside.
Ottoman Style Braised Meat with Cannellini Beans, adapted from 'Stella's Sephardic Table' by Stella Cohen
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad and three others
2 tbsp. olive oil
1kg of braising steak cubed or other stewing cut, cubed or cut into bitesize pieces
1 marrow bone (probably optional, available from butchers, Waitrose or Ocado, which is where I got mine)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 leek, washed, white part only, sliced
1 celery stalk (and leafy top, if you like) sliced finely
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of parsley
500ml chicken stock
Two tins of cannellini beans
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp sugar
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan over a medium high heat. Add the beef and cook in batches. I put the marrow bone in to and kept it in the pan to leech its wonderful bone marrow into the pan as the beef browned. When the beef is browned, remove to a plate.
 Now add the onion, the leek, the celery, bay leaf and parsley sprigs to the pan. Cook until everything is softened and picking up the beef residue from the pan. Return the browned beef to the pan. Add half the stock and bring to the boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently for an hour or so, or until the meat is tender. Keep checking and add hot water if necessary.
Stir in the beans, the tomatoes, sugar, thyme sprigs, red pepper flakes and pepper. Pour in the remaining stock and bring to the boil once again, cover and reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, but keep checking.
Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the salt and lemon juice and discard the herbs. It might be that you want to thicken the sauce and if that is so, remove the lid and increase the heat so that the sauce reduces. When it is at the consistency, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve in huge bowls!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

A Trifle Late for Christmas, but maybe it will do next time around!! Baileys and Banana Trifle

Of course, if I was any good, I  would have made this from scratch, but considering I am not on Bake Off or Masterchef or something, and I am, in fact, a frazzled mother of two who wanted to do more than she had time to, this trifle is 'assembled', but honestly, it is not the worst for it. It is, frankly, scrumptious and I don't care that I didn't make it. It saved the day when I realised that my plan to have a trifle on my Christmas buffet was seriously not going to happen in time. Forgetting to start the night before was the reason everything went to pot. I should start to leave myself lists everywhere so I have a fighting chance of being organised.
So, all of the ingredients I got at the supermarket. The exertion on my part consisted of whipping the cream (by proxy, of course; out came the trusty Kenwood), peeling a couple of bananas, opening a tin of conny onny (Carnation) caramel and locating the Baileys in the drinks' cupboard. A quick assembly job and a grating of chocolate over the top and you are good to go. And your guests will be extraordinarily grateful for, I repeat, this is scrumptious!!
The original recipe is from the BBC Good Food website. I made a 'super trifle' and instead of serving them in individual glasses, I made one big affair for people to take as little or as much as they want. One must never be stingy with trifle. I also used whipped double cream instead of extra thick because I wanted something pliable enough to pipe, and they had none left in the supermarket. Grrrrr. I also, because it was a big trifle dish, upped the quantity of cream, caramel and brownies, because you cannot have enough of any of those if you ask me!
Bailey's and Banana Trifle, adapted from BBC Good Food Website
600ml double cream, whipped to a stiff peak
7 tbsp Baileys
400g chocolate brownies (I got the ones that you can often get from in store bakeries)
3 bananas, sliced
500g pot vanilla custard
one tin of carnation caramel (or dulce de leche)
50g chocolate, grated
Whip the cream with 1 tbsp Baileys, and set aside.
In a pretty trifle bowl, place the brownies, broken up if need's be. Drizzle with the remaining tbsps. of Baileys.
Top with the sliced bananas, custard, caramel sauce and Baileys cream. (I decided to pipe the cream over the top... you don't have to!)
When ready to serve, grate chocolate over the top.
Can be made a few hours ahead

Saturday, 3 January 2015

New looking blog, same old blogposts - Roasted Lamb Chops with Roasted Vegetables and Harissa Sauce

My poor little blog, how I have neglected you.
I don't know how people who actually work for a living blog regularly and do all the other things that need doing. It is not that I haven't been cooking and therefore have nothing to talk about, because I have. And whilst every other food blogger in the history of creation is giving us virtuous recipes, because it is January and everybody is on a diet, no doubt, (this might be an over generalisation) I might decide to post all about the calorie laden amazingness that happened in December, because it suits my subversive nature and because I am a crap food blogger who, if she was less crap, would have blogged all about these yummy things before Christmas so she could have been helpful to her readership. But I didn't, and I am not. It is, what it is.
Anyway, I am going to try to pay my blog a little bit more attention this year and my first action was to shake things up a little. I had, in my mind, a vision of a blog that had clean lines, beautiful photography, exuding a sense of elegance, etc. and as you can see, I failed. I like my handwriting font though, and for some time yesterday there was no blog as I spent two hours trying to remove a background from my blog. And then I had the idea of a slideshow... I am really lucky that there is still a blog to speak of.
Anyway, to the food. This is easy and soooooooo delish. I bought a tray of lamb chops from the ASDA for a bargain. A BARGAIN!!! They were throwing them out and as regular readers will know, I am not fussy. I bunged them in the freezer and forgot about them, until I discovered them on Christmas Eve whilst I was desperately trying to rearrange the freezer to fit some more food in. I thought, I will cook them And I did. I put them in an ovenproof pan and generously scattered some of my Christmas herbs (thyme and rosemary) over them, plenty of salt and pepper, a couple of glugs of olive oil, bit of a massage, job done. Then I raided the huge amount of vegetables that I had bought for ONE MEAL: (Why do we shop at Christmas like we are expecting the end of civilisation?) some carrots, some parsnips, a couple of red onions, a couple of cloves of crushed garlic, a couple of humungous potatoes; I peeled those that needed peeling, chunked them up, threw them in a roasting tin and scattered thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper and splashed over some olive oil. I put the meat and the vegetables in at the same time, but took the meat out about 10 minutes earlier than the vegetables to allow the meat to rest and to make some kind of sauce from the juices in the pan. I drained off quite a bit of the fat, added a lamb stock cube and 200ml of water and allowed the sauce to bubble away merrily. Once it had reduced, I tasted it, and you know when you taste it and add seasoning but it isn't quite enough. That was where I was at. Then, I spied a jar of harissa paste on the side which I had used a few days previously and because it is me, hadn't put it away. In for a penny, in for a pound, I heaped a teaspoon in and stirred. Transformation.
I can't begin to tell you how good this sauce tasted when put with the lamb chops and the vegetables. I know you shouldn't 'Mmmmmmmmm' your way through a meal that you have cooked, but, you know....
Roasted Lamb Chops. Roasted Vegetables and Harissa Sauce
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad
Six lamb chops
1 - 2 tsp chopped rosemary and thyme
salt and pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
For the potatoes
two parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
two carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
two red onions, peeled and quartered
two crushed cloves of garlic
two large potatoes, peeled and cut into sixths
1 - 2 tsp chopped rosemary and thyme
a generous amount of salt and pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
For the sauce
The juices and residue from the lamb chops
a lamb stock cube
200ml water
1 heaped tsp of harissa (or to taste).
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Arrange the lamb chops in an ovenproof pan/roasting tray.
Scatter the herbs, the seasoning and the oil over the chops and ensure the chops are evenly covered.
Prepare the roasted vegetables as advised above. Put them into a baking tray and then add the herbs, the seasoning and the oil. Mix the vegetables so that they are evenly coated in the herby, seasoned oil.
Put the meat onto the top shelf of the oven and cook for about 30 minutes or to your liking. Put the vegetables on the middle shelf. The vegetables will take longer to cook.
Once the meat is done, take it out and put it onto a plate and cover with foil. Put the vegetables up onto the higher shelf and increase the temperature to 225c. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
Drain as much of the fat as you can from the pan that you cooked the meat in. Break up a stock cube into the pan and add 200ml of water, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Allow the sauce to boil until it reduces by half, or to a consistency that you prefer. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Place a spoonful of harissa into the sauce and mix it in. Taste the sauce.
By this time, the vegetables should be ready. Serve the lamb chops with the vegetables with some of the sauce drizzled over.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Wonderful in any language - Lemon Pepper Chicken #babel14

I have really looked forward to blogging for #babel14, or DMB14, the Day of Multilingual Blogging. Last year, I blogged in English and French about Banana Cake, and this year I decided to go for something more savoury. I have been watching the wonderful Tom Kerridge on BBC television here in the United Kingdom and I so want to cook everything that he has made so far. I tried his dish for Lush Lemon Pepper Chicken and it tasted absolutely amazing. It was also very easy to make.
I adapted the original recipe by substituting thyme for rosemary. I was also a little concerned that my potatoes wouldn't cook so to make sure I cut some of the bigger ones in half.
I served this with shredded cabbage and leek, which I sautéed in some butter with seasoning. Definitely lush!

There is a French translation of this recipe and you can find it here.
Lush lemon pepper chicken, adapted from 'Best Ever Dishes' by Tom Kerridge
For the marinade
4 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, peeled, grated
3-4 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste  
2 lemons, zest and juice

For the lemon pepper chicken
4 bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed, each breast scored three or four times using a sharp knife
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, thinly sliced
700g/1½lb baby new potatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, to serve


For the marinade, mix together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl until well combined.

For the lemon pepper chicken, rub some of the marinade into the chicken, getting into the slashes you have made. Then place the chicken breasts in a bowl and pour over the remaining marinade. Cover the bowl with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes and up to two hours.
When the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Put the sprigs of thyme and lemon slices in the bottom of a roasting tray. Tip the potatoes into the roasting tray, slicing them in half if necessary if you think there are some that are too big. This will enable even cooking.  Then place the marinated chicken breasts on top of the potatoes. Give the chicken a final coating of marinade and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until the potatoes and the chicken are cooked (the chicken is cooked through when the juices run clear when pierced in the thickest part with a skewer). 
Cover the roasting tray with aluminium foil and set the chicken aside to rest for 10-15 minutes. Just before serving, scatter over the parsley.


Merveilleux dans toutes les langues - poivre de poulet au citron #babel14

Je l'ai vraiment regardé avant de blogging pour # babel14, ou DMB14, 'Day of Multilingual Blogging'. L'année dernière, je blogué en anglais et en français à propos de Banana Cake, et cette année, je décide de cuisiner quelque chose de plus savoureux. J'ai regardé Tom Kerridge sur la BBC television, ici, au Royaume-Uni et je veux donc faire cuire tout ce qu'il a fait sur l'emission. Je essayé son plat pour citron poulet au poivre et  c'est goûté absolument incroyable. Il était également très facile à faire.

Il y a une version anglaise de cette recette. Vous pouvez le trouver ici.

Je me suis adapté la recette originale en remplaçant le thym pour romarin. Je suis aussi un peu inquiet que mes pommes de terre ne cuisiner, à faire en sorte que je coupe quelques-uns des plus grands de moitié.

Je servi ce chou et le poireau haché, que je sautés dans un peu de beurre avec l'assaisonnement. Certainement luxuriante!

Lush poulet de poivre au citron, adapté de 'Best Ever Dishes' par Tom Kerridge



Pour la marinade

4 cuillères à soupe de miel liquide

2 cuillères à soupe de moutarde de Dijon

3 gousses d'ail, pelées, râpées

3-4 c de poivre noir concassé, au goût

2 citrons, le zeste et le jus

Pour le poulet de poivre au citron

4 os poitrines de poulet sans peau, chaque sein a marqué trois ou quatre fois l'aide d'un couteau bien aiguisé 4-5 brins de thym frais

1 citron, tranché finement

700g / 1½lb bébé pommes de terre nouvelles

sel et poivre noir fraîchement moulu

poignée de feuilles fraîches hachées flatleaf de persil, à server


Pour la marinade, mélanger tous les ingrédients de la marinade dans un bol et bien mélanger.


Pour le poulet de poivre au citron, frotter un peu de la marinade dans le poulet marqué, puis placer les poitrines de poulet dans un bol et verser sur le reste de la marinade. Couvrir le bol avec une pellicule de plastique et réfrigérer au réfrigérateur pendant au moins 10 minutes et jusqu'à deux heures.

Quand le poulet mariné a, préchauffer le four à 200C / 400F / Gas 6.


Disposer les brins de thym et de tranches de citron dans le fond d'un plat à rôtir. Versez les pommes de terre dans le plat à rôtir, puis placer les poitrines de poulet marinées sur le dessus des pommes de terre. Donnez le poulet un revêtement final de la marinade et assaisonner au goût avec le sel et le poivre noir fraîchement moulu.

Rôti pendant 30-35 minutes, ou jusqu'à ce que les pommes de terre et le poulet sont cuits (le poulet soit bien cuit lorsque le jus soit clair quand il est percé dans la partie la plus épaisse avec une brochette).

Couvrir le plat à rôtir avec du papier d'aluminium et mettre le poulet de côté pour se reposer pendant 10-15 minutes. Juste avant de servir, répartissez dessus le persil.


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