What Do You Like?

•August 22, 2009 • 2 Comments

I often write recipes and I often don’t. To my handful of readers, what do you like? Are my recipes of use to you? Do you like hearing about what kind of disturbing food creation I’ve made this time? Share! Tell! Fill in the poll!

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Bacon Shortbread Cookies

•August 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Yea I know I’ve been slacking, but I figure I can make it up to you with the best cookie recipe ever. Now I originally posted pictures of this little treat on Flickr in January of last year, but never shared the recipe as it just needed some work still. It’s been over a year now and I got the urge to fix the recipe so here it is in all of its bacon-y glory.

Couple of things to explain before I give you the holy grail of bacon recipes. As I currently live in England I’ve used Golden Syrup. I’ve used this instead of Maple Syrup mainly because it’s what I have and works. You can use a light maple syrup instead.

Now what kind of bacon you use is very very important. Don’ tuse English back bacon. It won’t crisp up like it’s needed. So make sure you use streaky bacon. For you Americans out there, that’s just normal bacon. Whether you decide on smoked or unsmoked is up to you, but I highly recommend you use smoked.

Now what you’ve been waiting for.

1 cup Butter – softened and salted
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 cups Plain Flour
2 Tbsp Golden Syrup
250g Streaky Bacon

Preheat oven to 170 Celsius for a fan assisted oven and 180 Celsius for a normal oven..

First you need to prepare your bacon. Simply fry all of your bacon until very crisp. Let the bacon cool on a paper twoel covered plate.

Once cooled seperate in half. Roughly chop one half of the bacon. This should roughly be 1/2 a cup of bacon. Set aside, but don’t refrigerate.

The remaining bacon needs to be shopped very finely. You coud use a grinder for this but I suggest doing it manually.  Chop this bacon up to a fine chop that resembles fine wet sand.It can be finer, but you don’t leave it rougher. It will interfere with the shortbread’s texture.

Put this bacon into a small bowl and stir in 1 Tbsp of the Golden Syrup. Set this aside, but don’t chill. If you put it in the fridge the Golden Syrup will make itself rather solid.

In a medium sized bowl whip the butter until it’s smooth.
Stir in the sugar until well mixed.
Stir in your bacon and Golden Syrup mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
Stir in the roughly chopped bacon.
Measure out your flour and mix it in gradually until it is all thoroughly incorporated.

Your dough will seem slightly squishy, but it should stay together without any problems. Flour a surface and lay out your dough. Using your hands press out your dough to about 1cm thick.

Cut out your cookies using a cutter or a glass and place on a cookie sheet. You can place the cookies pretty close, but not touching, as they shouldn’t spread and will only rise slightly.

Before putting them in the oven you need to put a light glaze on them. In a little bowl mix the other tablespoon Golden Syrup and a splash of warm water. Brush a this over the cookies just before they go into the oven.

Cook for 20 minutes, but check after 15 minutes to see how they are getting along. When done they will feel sightly dryer and solid and will have a very light brown colour.

Once done, place on rack until completely cooled.

Once cooled, try not to eat them all at once. Should make around 16-18 cookies.

Using Pork Belly More Than Once

•May 7, 2009 • 2 Comments

I don’t often buy big cuts of meat, but one of my few indulgences is Pork Belly. Of course I was able to get this through my shop in the village so little piggy was local. I always cook my Pork Belly the same way. I cut any bones off the underside and put them in the fridge for later and I score it and smear it with Chinese 5 Spice paste. You can make your own, but I’ve become rather rather bond of Bart’s brand spices and their Chinese 5 Spice paste is wonderful. Saves me a hell of a lot of time too.

I smear it all over and make sure to get it into the cuts. I have a fan oven so I use temps that are a little lower than most would use, but usually I put it in at about 175C for around 30 minutes. Amount of time really depends on how big it is. I test it after about 30 minutes to see if it still bleeds. Once it’s crispy on top and stop bleeding then it’s ready to be dinner.

I served the sliced Pork Belly with some plain steamed rice. You really don’t need much with this in my opinion. This is all about making the pork the star.

We of course couldn’t eat all of it in one sitting. It was half of a piggy belly after all. So half of what was left over was put aside to use in my soup the next day and the rest put into some Tupperware and popped into the freezer for later use. Will be great for using instead of bacon.

The bones that came off the underside haven’t gone to waste. The next day I popped them into a put of water with some seasoning and let it simmer until I had the most heavenly stock you ever did see.  I don’t mess around when making stock. Sometimes I’ll use veg, but often I’ll just stick the bones and such into a pot and let it simmer for a few hours until al the yum is out of the bones and any meat stuck to them. I got enough stock to make my soup and some to set aside for later use.

I’ll get another 2-3 meals out of that Pork Belly. Yummy!

Pickled!

•April 29, 2009 • 2 Comments

When I was a little girl my mom used to can and pickled everything you could think of. So I grew up making these thing with my mom and generally falling in love with pickles.

My mom would pickle some unusual things. My favourites are still pickled carrots. Of course we did beets and green beans too. I don’t know where my love for pickled eggs came from as I first had them several years after leaving home.

I made some pickled carrots and eggs a few weeks ago. Both are a resounding success, but I’m most impressed with the eggs. They turned out so perfectly that they have totally inspired me.

So dinner’s inspiration was wheat flour noodles in a fish broth with steamed broad beans and purple sprouting broccoli with one of my pickled eggs sliced on top. Wonderful!

Old Things

•April 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I love old things, but I especially love old kitchen wares. I inherited a majority of my cooking utensils and dishes from my Grandmother. I loved them so much that I even shipped them all over here to the UK. There was no way I was leaving them behind, no matter how costly it was. So you can imagine how I squeeled when I saw this bundt pan in the charity shop last week. I had to have it. In most charity shops it’d be 50p, but we were in Oxfam so it cost £2.50. I still had to have it despite the price and the layer of blech on the inside that wasn’t rust but definitely meant it needed a very good scrub.

This pan is easily older than me and unlike most bundt pans, it doesn’t have the fluting that you usually see in them. It’s also heavier than most cake pans. It’s more like a bread tin in it’s weight. So I made up a pretty standard yellow cake and added some cherries and almonds to it and popped it into the oven. What came out was a lovely cake with a crust that reminds me of bread and a soft cake-y inside.

It lasted 3 days.

Sik Kebas

•April 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Moving to the UK meant that I was going to have to get used to many new foods.  One of them was of course going to be Indian food. Now ages before I moved to the UK I had eaten Indian food a couple times.  This of course didn’t even begin to prepare me for the wonderful Indian food I would find here. I am absolutely amazed and delighted by the Indian food I’ve had here and have turned into a curry addict. One of my very favourite things is the Sik Kebab. I don’t often order them in the restaurants, but I adore them when made by my husband. In case you’re wondering, no he isn’t Indian. He does make some amazing food though and these are my favourite.

This time was an experiment with the meat itself. Because I’ve become so enamoured with Abel & Cole we thought we’d order some meat from them. So delivered to our door was some lovely organic lamb mince and I of course demanded he spoil me with the lovely Sik Kebabs. Ya know, I don’t think we’ll be getting our lamb mince from anywhere else now.

Chocolate Rum Brownies

•April 15, 2009 • 4 Comments

I love brownies almost as much as I love cake. Of course brownies can always be improved upon and the best way to do that is to add alcohol. Now I’ve tried several different types in this recipe, but my favourite is just normal spiced rum. Although the cherry liqueur runs a close second on awesome.

Now the amount of alcohol may seem like a lot and I suppose it is, but it works wonderfully. Remember to use a spiced rum that you’d actually drink. Use a crappy rum and it won’t taste nearly as good. I also would suggest using Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate. You won’t regret it. That’s the best chocolate on the face of the earth. I continue to do research to find one that is better.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8oz 70% chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 2.5 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Some almond slivers

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over low heat; set aside.
Mix together eggs, sugar, rum and cocoa powder.
Blend in melted chocolate mixture, flour and salt until thoroughly mixed.
Pour into baking pan.
Sprinkle with almonds
Bake for 40 – 45 minutes. (Don’t overbake.)
Let cool for approximately 1 hour before cutting into squares.