Some Kinda Change

•June 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment

So, going to give this a go again. This time though I won’t be concentrating on recipes, but just on the food experiments that I delve into on a regular basis. It may not all be exciting but it should be an adventure.

I may still put up recipes, but we’ll see.

Bacon Chocolate Fudge

•March 6, 2011 • 4 Comments

My friend Lauren accuses me of being a “bacon high mage”. I just like to think I’m a serious food adventurer. I love to create and explore new flavours and combinations.

Everyone loves bacon. You might even say that there’s a bit of a cult around bacon in the world of foodies. You might even say that the mere mention of bacon could make some people drool; myself included.

One night at a club in Second Life the conversation turned to food, as it often does. Someone, it was either Nancy or Josie, was a smart ass and pretty much dared me to make Bacon Fudge. Well ya know what? I did it and it is amazing.

So here it is, pure heaven in Bacon and chocolate form.

Ingredients

250g packet Smoked Streaky Bacon, chopped roughly (otherwise known as normal American bacon)
397g can Condensed Milk
1 cup firmly packed Dark Brown Sugar
100g lightly salted Butter
200g Milk Chocolate, chopped roughly
2 tbsp bacon fat

Get the darkest brown sugar you can find. The darker the better. It’ll impart a real rich molasses flavour. Also, get the best chocolate you can find.  I used Green & Black Milk Chocolate, but you could also use a good 60-70% dark too. Whatever your choice, make sure it’s good quality.

Fry up your bacon until it’s nice and crispy then let it cool for a few minutes so it’s easier to but up. When chopping up the bacon do it all together and make it a little rough. After chopping you’ll have this kind of finer bits of bacon under the bigger bits. I kept this to the side to sprinkle on the top.

After frying the bacon don’t toss the bacon fat. You need this for the fudge.

After frying and chopping you bacon set it aside for a moment. Using some cling film, line your pan of choice. The one I used was 7.5in x 11in and glass. This gave me about 1/4 in thick fudge.

Now sprinkle the bacon evenly over the bottom of your pan. Whether you choose to reserve the smaller bacon particles for the top is up to you.

You’re now all ready to start on the fudge.

In a medium saucepan put the condensed milk, brown sugar, butter and the bacon fat. Heat this on a medium to low temperature, stirring constantly, until everything is melted and well combined. Put all of your broken up chocolate into the saucepan and continue to stire for 3-4 minutes until everything is melted and smooth.

After putting the chocolate in and it begins to melt the mixture will begin to get thicker and denser. The second this happens you need to take it off the heat and pour it into your pan.

Put the fudge as evenly as possible so that all of your bacon and the bottom of the pan is covered. Gently nudge into corners as needed. If you’ve decided to sprinkle your bacon dust on top, now is the time.

Now comes the hard part of this. You now need to put it into the fridge and not touch it for 2-4 hours. You have to let them set before you can even think about eating them.  You’ll be able to tell when they’re set by lightly pressing on them. When there is no give they are set. or at least set enough to cut and eat.

Once set use the cling film to gently pull the fudge from the pan and place it on a solid surface that you can cut on. Now there is a little trick to cutting fudge and getting nice smooth square pieces. It’ll also prevent swearing as you get frustrated as the sticky sugar things cling to your knife and prevent cutting.

Use a large, long knife so you can cut all the way across or nearly. Try not to drag the knife across, just cut down. And the tip to keep your temper in tact is this; wipe your knife off completely after every single cut.

Now if you can manage to not eat the whole thing right now, you should put it on a plate and put it back in the fridge. If you need to stack the fudge on the plate, put some greaseproof paper between the layers so they don’t stick together, just in case.

Enjoy!

Pistachio and Chocolate Chip Cookies

•February 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I love pistachios. By far they are my favourite nut and I’ll put them in anything I can. Of course pistachios and chocolate are a match made in heaven, so I made cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup crushed pistachios

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
Crush Pistachios. I like to just put them under a towel and take the rolling pin to them until they’re as crushed as I like.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, butter, brown sugar and white sugar until you’ve got it well mixed and most of the brown sugar lumps are gone or small.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla .

Mix in the chocolate chips and pistachios.

Add the flour, salt, and baking soda and mix well.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light brown.

Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon Chicken with Jerusalem Artichokes

•February 3, 2011 • 2 Comments

Every 2 weeks I get a fresh veg box delivered. So on occasion I have the chance to get unusual veg that I’ve not tried before. My last box had Jerusalem Artichokes in it. That name though is a bit of a misnomer; they aren’t artichokes. They’re a root veg and have a similar texture when raw to radishes. They’re often also called Sunchokes.

So since I didn’t have a clue about using them I hit up the internet for a few ideas. In the end I came up with Lemon Chicken with Jerusalem Artichokes.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Chicken Thighs
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/8 cup Lemon Juice
  • Pinch Saffron (optional)
  • 4 Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), peeled and diced
  • 1 cup Double Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
  • Cooked white rice (enough for 3 people)

In a large deep skillet heat 1 tbps of oil. While this is heating, sprinkle the chicken thighs with a bit of salt and pepper on each side.  Once the oil is hot, place the thighs in skin side down and brown each side, turning only once. Once browned place on a plate and set aside.

Add the lemon juice and chicken stock to the pan. If you’re using the saffron, add it now also. Bring this to a boil and scrape off any stuck chicken bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the Jerusalem Artichokes and the Herbes de Provence to the mix and return the chicken to the pan with any accumulated juices.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the Jerusalem Artichokes are tender.

Now stir in the cream. It may be easier to do this if you again remove the chicken from the pan so it is easier to stir and then put it back in. Taste and adjust any seasoning and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Serve over rice.

If you don’t have any Herbes de Provence, you can use basil and thyme as a substitute. Any herb that goes with chicken will work with this recipe.

Bacon Black Treacle Flapjacks

•January 18, 2011 • 2 Comments

I have a confession.

I am a baconaholic.

If I can find an excuse to put bacon in something, I will. As anyone who’s had a look through some of the back posts of this blog, I am a fan of pork in general and will put bacon in anything.

So it is with great joy that I share one of my favourite baconised recipes.

Bacon Black Treacle Flapjacks

Ingredients:

100g Porridge Oats
100g Butter
1 1/2 tsp Black Treacle
100g Dark Brown Sugar
250g Streaky (American) Bacon

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 160 C.

Fry the bacon until browned and crispy.
Cut half of it up finely
Cut ip the remainder coursely
Set aside.

Combine the butter, brown sugar, treacle and bacon in a pan. Heat on low until sugar and butter are melted.
Stir in the oats and mix well.

Press the mixture firmly into a pan.

Bake for 30minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan before cutting.

Britain’s Secret Food Culture

•February 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

There is a secret food culture in Britain that most won’t know about and Britons won’t realise. What I’m referring to is food in the office place There are some very interesting food habits that are very different from the US.

Birthdays require the birthday girl/boy to bring in cakes/chocolate/sweets in to the office for everyone. Everyone does this when their birthday comes around. No one questions this or thinks of it. Everyone just does. This still confuses me. It’s my birthday so why do I have to treat everyone else? Of course if I didn’t buy the sweets who would be chosen to buy them for me? Certainly not the office. So yea, I get it. It just seems backwards.

Then there is the ingrained drink culture. The stereotype of Britons and tea has never been so true as it is in the office. Pretty much everyone drinks tea and usually in large quantities. There’s always instant coffee too, which is also drank in large amounts. Everyone takes turns getting the drinks in and the dishes clean-up is shared. If you don’t drink either tea or instant coffee in large quantities you get some of the weirdest look.

The other time food ends up in the office is when someone goes on holiday or just because. In a good office you’ll get people bringing in treats that they’ve made too, like cookies and cakes, just because. It’s pretty common though for people to bring sweets back from their holiday location. I’ve had some very interesting treats from abroad cause of this.

The whole thing about all this is that it’s normal for Britons. No one blinks an eye at it and they assume everyone knows the rules. This is the secret food culture of Britain. This is what everone is born knowing when they go to work in aan office. It’s like a big family if it’s a good office. Everyone says please and thank you and everyone is happy and friendly about sharing, both the work and the treats.

Hating Liver But Loving Pate

•August 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I can’t stand liver. I don’t really like offal of any kind. The jury is still out on faggots as I’ve only had them once. Last year though we went to the south of France to visit Hubby’s dad. On one of our last meals before coming back we went out to inner. In a fit of adventure I ordered Canard Foie Gras Salade with Smoked Canard Gizzards.

I was unsure of the gizzards and the pate, but that meal changed something for me. I fell in love with pate. So much in fact that when I got home I set about figuring out how to make it.

I’ve made it a few times. Getting duck livers is proving to be a pain in the ass though. So the couple times I’ve made it now it’s been using lamb livers. I still think they’re gross though and I can’t stand to smell them when they cook. At least they only cook for a few moments. Blech.

I love mushrooms so I’ve sauted up a few after cooking the livers then toss it all into the blender. I blend it all together for a bit then begin adding my cream. Although I do add my butter in at the beginning.

I have a couple of these little bottles and I love them. They origianlly had Foie Gras in them. It’s always tempting to eat the pate fresh after making it, but this is one of those food things that benefits greatly from sitting in the fridge overnight.