Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Borough Market on Saturday was fairly calm early on - most intensity seemed to be with people ordering wonderful things for xmas - then looking uncertain about when to collect their goodies. Tuesday xmas means an exceptionally full fridge for half a week if you go the Saturday option. Last year was gridlock from about 8am so I understand the hesitation.
Started at Ginger Pig and told my sad tale of bad sausages bought the week before - not a problem at all for the young man serving me. He was all apologies and replaced them without question - 9 fat fresh cumberlands for 6 bad steak sausages - as the man no longer fancied trying the steak variety. We had them grilled on Tuesday night and then cold in lunchboxes for a couple of days and they were very good indeed. I may never know what they are like! With a couple of pork chops itended for Monday night but ended up in the freezer - it was only £5.40
Went to Furness for mackarel but they had none - cheap!
Then to Wild Beef for eggs - scrambled for supper Monday night - £1.50
Gorgonzola as the last gasp of a huge feast on Sunday then as snacks and finally with spinach as a pasta sauce Friday night - from Gianni at Gastronomica - he really wanted to sell me some mozzarella as well but I had no use for it and it would be sinful to waste such wonderful cheese - I suspect he probably managed to sell the lot in any case - £6
Fortunately Applebees had some mackarel - cured and served as the start of the feast on Sunday - so bought two big fat ones that the monger then skinned and filleted for me - £7.80
Apples from Chegworth lunches - £1
Coffee from Monmouth - no more cup of excellence which was wildly expensive but was indeed an exceptionally good coffee so a little dark roast colombian instead - £8.50
Two more apple strudel from the cake stall next to the Olive Oil Company because they were so good last week as dessert it seemed worth doing it again this week - Sunday dessert - £5
More trouts eggs Sunday lunch from Inverness Smokery - there was no Orkney Rose this week - and also bought shortbread and whisky marmalade as english xmas gifts for our french neighbours. I couldn't resist a half leg of blackface lamb - for the freezer - so it was £22.80 the lot
Needed white onions white onion foam to go with roast Cote du Boeuf Sunday and I know they don't sell them in Booths so I bought them at Turnips - an expensive £1.50 for 3 made to seem even dearer as one of them had started to rot...
Brindisa for another jar of lovely chickpeas for the cupboard - looked to buy some dried white beans there but they were £12.50 a kilo. I am sure they are extraordinary but I didn't want to find out that they were irresistable and find myself having to use them for all my white bean needs so stuck with the chickpeas at £2.75
Booths for veg - lots of potatoes both pink fir boiled with lunch Sunday then as salad in lunches Monday, Tuesday and yukon gold yet to be eaten, carrots lunches and salad Tuesday, garlic soup Sunday and the other half of the soup in the freezer, beans Sunday feast, celery, fennel lunches and salad, and peppers lunches - only £5
Milk, bread, clotted cream and a serious chunk of Montgomery cheddar Sunday's excess!- the only one they export to France - from Neals Yard - £18.70
Almond croissant and a toasty loaf from Flour Power - £3.20
So all together I spent £89.15
This time last year we were mostly eating (a lot!) red pepper hummus and taramasalata - and we've had a lot of the hummus since. A serious treat is daube of duck with prunes or carbonara with prosciutto and a slightly lighter dish is grilled pork and noodle soup, always a favourite.
Whatever you choose to eat over christmas I hope it is utterly fabulous and made with love. For myself I'm off with the man for a little break - normal service will resume in another year.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
This is a really good dish for lunch boxes as well as working well for the cooler weather. The chick peas make it substantial and add a creamy undertone to the whole thing. The ones I used for this were seriously posh ones from Brindisa - big fat pale yellow balls of joy. They are a much better choice than pasta for this because they are more robust and don't tend to collapse the way pasta does. Slow roasting the vegetables gives them a concentrated sweetness that is lovely to taste.
Chickpea & Roasted Vegetable Salad
2 medium onions, peeled, halved and the halves cut in to quarters
6-8 garlic cloves, flattened with the flat of a knife but unpeeled
1 aubergine, cubed into 2cm pieces
2 courgettes, halved lengthways then cubed to the same size as the aubergine
3 peppers, chopped roughly the size of the courgettes
2 large tomatoes, cubed again into 2cm pieces
2-3 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
Salt and pepper
660g Jar of El Navarrico chick peas if you can get them - or 2 tins of the usual
Drizzle a little olive oil over the base of a low sided roasting pan, scatter over the herbs and garlic cloves then add all the vegetables, piled up if you need to - they will collapse as the moisture from them evaporates. Season and then drizzle the lot generously with olive oil - the oil becomes the dressing for the salad, full of the sweet roasting flavours, so don't stint. Put the tray into a medium/gas5 oven and roast for about 90 minutes, turning every 30 minutes or so. They are cooked when the edges of the veg are starting to caramelise and the volume has reduced by about half.
Drain and wash the chick peas and put them into a large bowl. Tip the hot vegetables over the top scraping in the oil from the pan. Try and rescue the herbs and the garlic and bin it if you can. Mix it all together then check the seasoning. Add salt, pepper and perhaps a dash of balsamic vinegar till the combination is perfect.
This made enough salad for both of us for lunches for four days - with some cold chicken and stuffing for the first few days and on its own on Thursday and it remained good to eat. Lots of flavours and textures and a good salve for lunchtime hunger.
Monday, December 03, 2007
We arrived early - on the dot of 9 - and the market was blissfully quiet. I think some people save up going to fill up on treats for christmas leaving the regulars a bit more space in early December. Works for me.
Started at Wyndhams for chicken carcasses to make stock and I did Saturday afternoon - £2
Then to the Ginger Pig and bought a big chicken for a spectacularly good lunch on Sunday with cold leftovers in lunchboxes for a few days after that, some steak sausages for a change - we've never tried them and they were a complete disaster as when I opened the bag on Monday night they were rancid - they stank and had to go straight in the bin outside, not happy, and some unsmoked oyster bacon -some in the freezer and some in barley stuffing in the chicken and some draped across the breasts to keep the bird moist as it roasted - £25.40
This week's one off stall outside roast was organic smoked salmon - tried a bit and it was very good so bought a pack - which is now in the freezer as we had far too much for dinner Saturday night and it will be special another day - £4.50
Eggs emergency omelette Monday night and coarse ground mince into the freezer from Wild Beef - £9.25
Dolmades - as a snack before lunch Sunday and olive oil soap as the man is fond of it - from Taste of Turkey - £5.50
Chocolates for a treat - £2
Last chance slice of seldom seen goose for the year lovely sandwich for Saturday lunch - £3
Apples lunches and juice to keep us going while we shopped from Chegworth - £2.80
A couple of massive apple strudels - warmed through for dessert with clotted cream on Sunday and just divine - from the cake stall next to the olive company - £5
Then we bought some oysters - we are going to France for xmas and it is traditional round us to eat oysters for xmas day so the man decided we should practice here first which is enormously sweet of him as he doesn't like them at all but knows my passion for them - a dozen small natives - we managed to shuck 10 out of 12 very successfully and I shared them with Georgia as an appetiser before lunch on Sunday - for £5
More fish to continue our odyssey - this time from Shellseekers where we got a dressed crab and some sweet fresh prawns devoured by the man on Saturday night as I'd been to a cooking class in the afternoon and couldn't eat another thing so it worked out well as he was a little jealous that he hadn't come with me and then he was delighted he didn't have to share! - £8.30
Chickpeas - posh ones in a jar - for roasted vegetable salad for lunches for the week - from Brindisa - £2.75
Booths for veg - potatoes, carrots - roast, fennel - meant for salad with fish but still in the fridge, sugarsnaps, clementines lunches, parsnips, spring onions parsnip and spring onion pudding, garlic and pine nuts red pepper houmous - £6.50
Scotch egg from Ginger Pig for brunch - £3
Peppers, aubergine and a couple of zucchinis -t o make my lovely roasted veg and chick peas for lunches - from Tony - £2.30
Bread and milk and clotted cream from Neals Yard - an exact £8
Almond croissant and another little cottage tin loaf for excellent toast - £3.20
A total of £98.50 - not sure where it all went!
This time last year we were mostly eating spiced beef and bali salad - highly recommended for a touch of sun in winter
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Except that I didn't know what to do with them either! Flicked through a few recipes and the general consensus was for poaching. I had already bought tarragon at Booths for the stuffing for Sunday's roast lamb so that seemed like a good herb to add, along with the delicate fern of fennel from the garden and the spray of seeds. The man said slices of onion - he may know more than me so that was in too.
Sea Trout Poached in White Wine
2 very fresh sea trout
1 onion, peeled and very finely sliced
Half a dozen sprigs of fresh tarragon and the same of fennel
Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds
2 tbspn olive oil
200ml white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Wash the fish under a cold tap and pat dry. Put about half the onion and herbs into the cavity of the fish. Pour the olive oil into a baking dish big enough to hold the fish. Strew a little onion and some herbs ino the bottom of the pan then lay the fish on top. Top with the remaining aromatics and season generously. Pour around the white wine and cover the whole lot with foil.
Cook in a moderate/gas 5 oven for about 45-50 minutes. Serve onto warm plates with a little sauce drizzled over and accompanied by some new potatoes and buttered leeks.
They were perfectly cooked and the herbs added flavour and the sauce definitely adding a lift to the dish. I enjoyed it but not entirely - there was a vague muddy note to the fish and it wasn't entirely the kind of flavour and texture combination that I really go for. I liked the sauce the best! If I did make it again I might try the same method with a different fish perhaps. To do it again with this would be for the sake of having fish supper not because I really wanted it.
But I would like to try sea trout differently - wrapped in bacon and barbecued or char-grilled - a smoky crispy note might make them sing (or swim) for me!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Where fish is concerned I would certainly class myself a beginner. But I have to say the results of my experiment with this incredibly beautiful looking fish were spectacular - as close to perfect as you can get when you start off with an idea rather than a destination in mind. I have in the past cured fillets of salmon with very good results. Extrapolating from that I wondered about doing the same thing to mackerel because even though I do not like them cooked at all I have enjoyed mackerel sashimi.
On Saturday I went to Furness Fish and selected a couple of shiny tiger-skinned beauties. I asked the fishmonger to fillet and skin them for me - he is much more skilled and his knives are a hell of a lot sharper than mine. It took him less than a minute. The good news is that is all the hard work done.
2 very fresh mackerel, filleted and skinned, leaving about 350g fish
1 bunch coriander, chopped stems and all
1 1/2 tbspns salt
1 1/2 tbspns sugar
1 tbspn grated ginger
Chopped zest of a lemon
Mix everything together except the fish.
Rub your fingers lightly over the flesh side to find any remaining bones - there may well be a few, as Wikipedia points out. They come out very easily with tweezers pulling in the direction they lie in the flesh. (Tweezers don't cost very much and are surprisingly useful in the kitchen for fiddly things.)
Put the fish into a ceramic or glass dish on what was the skin side down. Cover with the herb/salt/sugar mix and pat it into the flesh. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 12-18 hours. A lot of liquid will be drawn out of the fish and will pool in the dish.
Take the fillets from the dish, scrape off the topping, rinse briefly and pat dry with kitchen paper. Slice very thinly and serve - I had them with Japanese soy to dip, pickled ginger and trout roe and tiny cake forks though they would have worked well piled onto Japanese seaweed crackers I think. Had none to test that particular theory.
Utterly delightful. A most perfect amuse bouche with salty, sweet, spice and fishy in every forkful. We had it before lunch on Sunday with the lovely Marie. I wanted something entertaining and very light to fill the first half hour or so after she arrived.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Spectacularly cold at Borough Saturday morning - all the stallholders were wrapped up in woolly hats and big jumpers and fingerless gloves. Though I was wearing lots of layers I was thoroughly chilled by the time we finished shopping.
At the beginning we went to Ginger Pig for lamb bones but they had none so got a couple of veal bones instead -the lamb bones were meant to make base for sauce with Sunday's roast so these ended up in the freezer to use in a stew perhaps another time and two pork chops grilled for dinner Monday night with mash and sprouts and it was deeply pleasurable as well as quick and easy - £3.80
After that it was Furness Fish to continue the experiment aquatic. I bought two fat little mackerel that I had filleted and then cured and sliced and served with ginger and soy as an elegant little mouthful before lunch on Sunday and two sea trout that had been simply gutted which I poached in white wine and herbs and served with new potatoes and leeks for supper Saturday - £8.90
Then we went to Wild Beef for eggs - had one boiled with lunch on Thursday and used a couple in a not entirely successful apple and walnut cake on Sunday - £1.50
I was delighted to see the man from Seldom Seen at his stall again selling fabulous slices of cooked goose stuffed duck stuffed chicken perfect sandwich filling on Saturday. He's encouraging all his shoppers to supply their own bags and cut down on waste which can only be a good thing. Next week will be the last time he's there for the year so will have to seek him out - £2
Bought some Borough Market xmas cards - not sure if they qualify as part of the weekly shop but they are lovely - £7.50
Next was coffee at Monmouth - this week they had one lot of Costa Rican beans that were labelled Cup of Excellence and were twice the price of the rest. Turns out that CofE is a strict competition that selects the very best coffee produced in that country for that particular year - and then the beans are auctioned over the internet and sold to the highest bidder. The high price paid is a reward to the farmer for the excellence of their production. As a fan of Costa Rican coffee I couldn't resist - bought 250g of beans - it is certainly very very good - for £8
A little wander round the stalls on the far side made me tempted by a jar of shaved bottarga but resisted till I have a recipe in which to use it but was seduced by a jar of trout roe from Orkney Rose Sunday snack - £4.25
Then on to Booths for veg - potatoes various boiled, rasted and mashed (might do sauté this week to run the whole gamut), mushrooms stuffed the lamb, turnip mashed with lunch on Sunday because it was so good last week, leeks with fish, carrots, sugarsnaps lunchboxes, brussel sprouts Monday dinner, tarragon stuffing the lamb, cauliflower soup as a starter on Sunday and enough in the freezer for another starter, bananas, clementines lunchboxes - £9.90 the lot
A warm sausage roll for miss piggy's breakfast from Ginger Pig - £3
Half a kilo of spinach from Tony to stuff my lamb - £1.50
Milk, bread, pasta, cream and Montgomery cheddar from Neals Yard - £21.40
And an almond croissant from Flour Power and a square tin loaf I've been eyeing off for a while because the sign says 'makes great toast' they didn't lie and it's only a pound - £3.20
A reasonable £74.95
This time last year we really enjoyed Cinnamon Chicken.
So the week ended up
Saturday - sausage roll and almond croissant for brunch, goose sandwich for lunch poached fish with new potatoes and leeks for supper
Sunday - toast and coffee, followed by cured mackerel, then cauliflower and truffle soup, roast lamb stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and tarragon with gravy, roast potatoes, mashed turnip and peas followed by apple and walnut cake with Montgomery cheddar. No dinner surprisingly.
Monday - coffee and cereals - the man likes bran flakes, I like raw rolled oats, both with milk - same all week for both of us, cold lamb with leftover potatoes and raw veg for lunch, grilled pork chops with mash and sprouts for supper
Tuesday - cold lamb with white bean salad herbed with the rest of the tarragon and some herbs from the garden and raw veg, dinner was cauliflower soup with bread and cheddar
Wednesday - last of the lamb for lunch, pasta with porcini, tomato and cream for supper
Thursday the man had leftover pasta for lunch and I had a boiled egg, the last of the beans and some raw veg and we went to see Rhinoceros at the Royal Court so we had a lovely supper at Le Cercle beforehand
Friday - only fruit left so lunch will be bought then supper will be burgers from mince from the freezer with bread and salad with the last of the carrots and celery and organic vac packed beetroot that have been in the fridge for a while
As for leftovers there is still some cheese but it will be good Sunday on a cheese board and a few sprouts that may not go any further
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole, add the venison and onion and cook for 10 minutes until well browned. Lift out onto a plate.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
l litre brown chicken stock
salt and pepper
For the tomato sauce
Put the oxtail pieces in a bowl with the wine, thyme, rosemary and bayleaf and leave to marinate overnight.. When ready to use preheat the oven to gas 1. Remove the oxtail from the bowl and pat dry, reserving the marinade. Heat about 3 tbspns of olive oil in a pan till smoking hot and carefully brown the meat all over until almost black. Remove from the pan and put them in an oven proof dish.
Wipe the pan clean. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the carrots and onion gently until soft. Add the reserved marinade and the stock and boil until reduced by half. Pour over the oxtail then transfer the dish to the oven and cook for 7-8 hours, until the meat falls from the bone. Take the dish out of the oven and remove the oxtail pieces from the dish. Strain the stock through a fine sieve. When the meat is cool enough to handle, pull it into smaller chunks, removing any fat, gristle or bone. Mix the meat with the reduced stock and season to taste.
Put half the mixture into a tub for the freezer to use another time, the rest is for the base of the lasagne.
For the tomato sauce
Fry the onion and garlic gently for about 20 minutes, till translucent. Increase the heat and add the tomatoes - break them up with a wooden spoon if they are whole - and rosemary and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a very low heat for about an hour. It is best to make the tomato sauce the day ahead of the lasagne - it will give it a greater depth of flavour as well as making prep on the day very quick. Remove the rosemary stick before using.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Inside the squid tubes there is a ridge. You hold that section of the squid and, with a sharp knife, cut the tubes open on the opposite side so that the ridge is like a halfway divider on the opened out fish. Wipe with a cloth and this will come away quite easily. Then, using a not particularly sharp serrated kitchen knife - table rather than bread - cut diagonal lines into the flesh but not all the way through. Turn the squid 180 degrees and cut more diagonal lines to make cross hatching. Then slice the squids into strips about 3 cm wide.
The criss crosses serves two functions. When the flesh is marinated it catches the mix and holds it - it tends to slide off the pearly smooth outer side. Then, when the pieces hit a strong heat, they cuts contract and the flesh curls into those pretty pieces I've seen so often served up in restaurants.
For the marinade I just used a couple of finely chopped chillies and a couple of crushed cloves of garlic mixed with about a tablespoon of olive oil and some ground black pepper. Mix it with your hands - its has a lovely silky texture as it slithers through your fingers.
Heat a ridged grill pan as hot as you can then put in the pieces of squid, smooth side down. Using kitchen tongs, flip over after about a minute onto the cross hatching. The heat will make the pieces curl so, after another minute, turn them over again to cook the outside of the curls.
Voila! Your starter is ready. Plate up with some peppery rocket dressed with a spicy oil and some crusty bread.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Started as ever at Ginger Pig - where there is still no sign of Chris and the only sign of Karl is the one out the front with his number to call if you want to do the last of the butchery classes for the year. Bought a piece of gammon for the weeks lunches - £16.50
Then a lovely pork pie for Sunday lunch! - £4.90
This week the one off stall outside Roast was yorkshire crisps of many varities in resealable tubs. The lightly salted ones were very good so bought a tub - these were better than good so it's lucky they're not there every week or I would succumb - £2
Eggs from Wild Beef - had intended to use at least two poached on a friton salad in the week but it didn't happen so they're still in the fridge but they'll be fine next week £1.50
Then to Gastronomica because I needed some truffle cheese to make a sauce for lasagne and - disaster! - none till next week. So bought a big chunk of strong sheeps cheese- sauce to top lasagne - and a rocchetta - cheese sandwiches Thursday night - and we tried a piece of chocolate pannettone that was simply sublime and just had to have one for dessert Saturday night with David and Michael and so with the addition of a smoked mozzarella snacked it was £30 - an even split, half cake half cheese
Went to the Gastronomica shop then to try nduke - a spreadable salami that is 30% chilli - very hot but very good so bought a little slice, in the fridge but it will keep, might be a treat this weekend on celery - £2
Coffee beans - start the day -from Monmouth - £8.50
Creamy white baby squid spiced and grilled for Saturday's starter - from Furness Fish - £7
Booths for veg - sweetheart cabbage half with sausage and mash Wednesday night, potatoes mash!, lettuce , rocket - weekend salads, peppers - meant for a roasted salad to go with the squids but it didn't happen so will cook them with bacon and the last of the sugarsnaps Friday night for supper, shallots - untouched in the veg drawer, cucumber - some in weekend salad some still in the crisper, celery with black olive paste whilst menu planning for food chain Thursday night, parsley - to cook gammon and to add to olive paste, clementines - lunches - carrots to cook gammon, with sausage and mash (for colour) and raw in lunches, sugarsnaps lunches raw and cooked in pasta with peppers Friday, chicory will still be okay for weekend salad - £11
Neals Yard for milk and bread - £6.60
And the prices have finally gone up at Flour Power - almond croissant is now £2.20
A fairly hefty £92.20 for the week
Friday, November 09, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
500g packet mixed fruit
Plus any little extras eg ginger, citrus peel, marmalade etc
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
125 g (4oz) butter
1 tspn mixed spice
½ tspn ground ginger
1 tspn bicarb of soda
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
Put all the ingredients down to the ground ginger into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add bicarb and stir while it fizzes and foams. Turn off the heat, put the lid on the pan and leave it to cool.
When the cake mixture is cold, first stir in the eggs and then the flour.
Cook at 150F/ gas 3 for about an hour or so…perhaps a little longer (says my mother). It is cooked when a skewer into the centre comes out clean.
Pour a little sherry over the hot cake. Leave it to cool in the cake pan it was cooked in which you cover with foil and then a bread board or tea towel. This makes for a nice moist cake.
I covered it with lemon and coconut icing because that's the way I have always eaten it but the icing is definitely optional.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
That hindereth Witches of their Will.'