Sunday, 14 September 2014

"Meat" Meat Pies

NAME: _"Meat" Meat Pies
Shown served with buttered riced potato topped with grated cheese.

500g lean minced beef
2 tbsp besan flour
juice of half a small lemon

2 tsp rock salt
2 tsp raw sugar
3 tsp granulated garlic
1 (or 2, to taste) tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 cup coarse burghul

200g (approx) frozen mixed vegetables
1 tsp cooking salt
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
juice half a small lemon
1 tbsp olive oil

8 eggs
1 cup and a bit grated cheese

Put minced beef, besan flour, and lemon juice into food processor with steel blades. Put ingredients from rock salt to cumin seeds into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder, add to food processor and process to fine consistency. Be careful to make sure everything stays cold, and process in short bursts so as not to make greasy. (Warm fat "breaks" and smears through the meat mixture. It alters the texture and the flavour.) Add the burghul and process until barely mixed through. Scrape into a small bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. This gives the cracked wheat time to absorb some moisture out of the meat mixture.

Place the frozen vegetables, salt, pepper, lemon, and olive oil into the food processor and process in bursts until the vegetables are in coarse crumbles. Set aside.

Divide the meat mixture into as many portions as you intend to make pies. In my case, I used eight micro loaf tins, so formed eight portions. Place a portion in each dish, and use either another dish or something similar to force the meat to adopt a pastry shell shape.
Note the toothpick dispenser wrapped in plastic and used as the stamp.
In my case, a toothpick cylinder made the ideal pressing block. I wrapped it in plastic wrap for hygiene's sake, and for ease of cleaning up. Add a spoonful or two of the vegetables to each pie and smooth out, then break an egg into it, top with grated cheese. Bake at 190C for around 40 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown.

May be served hot or cold. If hot, rice or mashed potato is a good choice of accompaniment, along with a vegetable cooked in tomato based sauce, I used okra garlic and onion in tomato sauce. Serves four when served with sides.

The only reason lean mince was specified is because if it is not kept almost frozen, the fat will "smear" during the processing, and that affects the texture and flavour of the shells. Smeared fat also affects how the burghul absorbs moisture out of the meat mixture.

The idea came about because I like meat kibbeh and wanted to try a Turkish / Arabian based dish but of my own recipe. It is even GPG (my wife, aka "Guinea Pig Goddess") approved. Thank you Kerry for testing my food experiment ideas with me. You're a brave woman. %)

This style of "meat pie" can be the basis for a whole lot of different recipes. As they can be served cold as mezzes, you could make up different batches and serve as party food. Or adjust the sides to suit each different style. The secret to the pastry casing is the food processor developing the meat glutens, and then the starch (burghul, polenta, chickpea flour, etc) being given time to absorb and bind.

Six variations I can think of right away:
-Minced lean pork, fine polenta, cayenne pepper and cumin for the shell, refried beans and chilli con carne for filling, nacho cheese for the topping, would be Mexican style,
-Or substitute chorizo and olive based filing topped with sliced tomato and herb crusting  to make Spanish style. Both served with white rice, tomatoes, chillies, and side salad type things.
-Minced lamb, burghul, curry spice for the shell, chicken / tomato / raisin / cardamom based filling, and goat cheese topping for a Middle Eastern version...
-For the ultimate meat lovers, make a beef shell as above with a minced lamb, burghul, and toasted pine nut filling, and close the top with more beef shell. This would be a "kibbeh meat pie." Serve both Middle Eastern versions with lentil and raisin rice or pilaf style.
-Minced beef, basil, polenta, with a filling of bolognese style sauce with small pasta stars and topped with slices of tasty cheese for Italian style. Serve with garden salad dressed with olives, cheese, pickled capers.
-Minced goat or lamb with mint and burghul, filling of chopped eggplant moussaka and topped with goat feta for Greek style. Greek salad goes without saying.


Friday, 22 August 2014

Chicken Lasagna alla Ted

NAME: _Chicken Lasagna alla Ted

1 chicken breast half
1 small brown onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 medium turnip
1/4 medium swede
1 medium carrot
several leaves kale
2 red european capsicums
1 tsp crushed chilli
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fish sauce (or one anchovy shredded)
1 tsp light soya sauce
2 tsp capsicum powder
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp plum jam
sufficient lasagne sheets.

Bechamel topping
100g butter
1/2 cup plain flour
150g cheese
1 cup cream
1 egg
2 tsp hot english mustard

water, salt, pepper, etc as per instructions

Dice onion and garlic finely, add to saucepan. Remove skin (if any) from chicken breast and knife chop into very small dice, (more coarse than mince - barely) and add to saucepan. Pare skin from, and then julienne, the turnip and swede, add those to the saucepan. Finely dice one red capsicum and add to saucepan. Peel and cube the carrot, add to saucepan. Add the olive oil, and place on high heat.

Fry until browning begins, stirring often, then add the plum jam, capsicum powder, thyme, fish oil and soya sauce, continue frying until all liquid is absorbed and browning begins again, then add tomato, and about one tin of water. (1.25 cups) Reduce to a fast simmer. Season with ground black pepper and salt to taste.

Remove stems from kale leaves, finely shred, and add to saucepan, also cut remaining capsicum to rings, quarter the rings, add to saucepan. Leave simmering for half an hour to an hour.

Bechamel topping
Dice or grate the cheese. Warm the butter in a saucepan, add a half teaspoon of salt, dissolve the English mustard, and then add the flour, stirring contantly. Keep stirring and add the cream, enough water to form a paste, and the cheese. Set aside once partially thickened.

Layer as a normal lasagne, spread a *thin* layer of filling on the bottom of dish, then layer lasagne sheets and fillng, then top with bechamel topping.

Bake in medium low oven for an hour or until a skewer meets no resistance from the pasta, and the top is golden brown.

Serve immediately.

Chicken mince might work, but I think it would be too fine. The plum jam is important.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Austrian Style Potato fry

NAME: _Austrian Style Potato fry

3 tbsp pork lard
2 tbsp butter
5 - 6 medium potatoes
1 cup water
1 tsp salt

Peel potatoes, slice into around 7mm (3/8") thick slices. Just barely melt the lard and butter in a large frying pan, arrange the potato slices and sprinkle with the salt, pour the water over, and increase heat. Allow the water to boil away, reduce heat slightly, and leave until underside of potato begins to crisp and brown. Turn sections over using a spatula, allow the potato to break up as you do so. Again, leave until it crisps and turns light brown, keep doing so until about a quarter of the potato is crispy, more or less according to taste.

Serve hot.

This is the most basic version, what they all have in common is that the water is used at the beginning to steam the potato, and then as the water evaporates the fats take over and brown the by then slightly fluffy potatoes.

Other things to try are a sprinkle of cayenne or white pepper at some stage in cooking, or (my favourite!) sprinkle a handful of grated cheese over on the second to last turn-over, and a couple of eggs beaten with salt and cayenne before the last turnover.

If done in the last way, this is a meal in its own right...


Ted Style Chevups

NAME: _Ted Style Chevups

150g minced beef
2 tsp raw sugar
2 tsp sweet paprika powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp psyllum husk
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp beef dripping

Well mix everything but the dripping by hand in a bowl, form into a log about 7cm (3") diameter, flatten to about 1cm (1/2") thickness and 9cm - 10cm wide, and square up the ends with the edge of a knife, then refrigerate for at least an hour. Then cut the log across into 1cm strips. You should get around ten 1cm x 1cm x 9cm chevups. Multiply quantities if you want to make more.

Heat the dripping in a frying pan to medium heat, and fry the chevups until brown and slightly crisped on each side.

Serve hot.

My father spent time in Hungary and liked the chevups (spelled "cevapcici" which is prnounced "chevup-chi-chi") so he and I started varying recipes and spices. I like powdered red chilli in them, too. Cevapcici are skinless sausages, so follow sausage-making basics - keep everything cold as possible while mixing, mix well so that the mixture begins to cohere but don't allow the fat to smear, and allow setting time in the refrigerator (at least an hour, preferably a day) before cutting into slices.

I feel that dried garlic granules gives the best flavour, but I've also finely chopped fresh garlic and onions, sprinkled those with salt, mixed and let stand for an hour beforehand and that tasted not too bad either. Experiment. I think making these with lamb mince would be delicious, especially if you add fine-chopped fresh mint leaves and a few teaspoons of lemon juice and some cumin powder.


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Bacon And Egs Al Forno TEdAMENU Style

NAME: _Bacon And Egs Al Forno TEdAMENU Style
Cooked, this lot is maybe a little bit too lightly browned.

6 eggs
12 rashers of bacon, medium short cut
1 cup tomato passata or blended tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp chopped capers
2 tbsp chopped chives or spring onion greens
6 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup grated parmesan
olive oil as required

Just have to sprinkle parmesan over
Brush a 12 muffin tin lightly with olive oil, lay one rasher of bacon in each section so as to form a cup. Place half an anchovy fillet in each cup.

Break eggs into a suitable bowl, add 1 tbsp each of basil and spring onion, beat until mixed. Place passata in another bowl, add remaining tbsp each of basil, spring onion, and capers, combine until well mixed.

Spoon about 2tbsp of each mixture into each cup, side by side if desired, or in layers. If dong layers, make sure the egg is the top layer. Adjust the quantity so that each cup has about equal amounts of the filling and all filling has been used.

Sprinkle the parmesan equally over the top of the cups, bake on the top rack of a hot oven for 20 minutes, until bacon is sizzling and cheese browned.

Allow to cool for a few minutes, lift cups out and serve 2 - 3 per serving with toasted bread and extra parmesan.

Hot oven is 210C or hotter, and the time may need to be adjusted, but for preference leave for slightly longer rather than taking out earlier. Anchovies and capers aren't optional, they are what makes the dish salty and delicious. If you don't think anchoves and capers are delicious then I'm sorry but we can't be friends any more... %)


Saturday, 28 June 2014

Porky Pinwheel Loaf

NAME: _Porky Pinwheel Loaf

350g plain flour
210m water
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

100g - 150g pulled pork
1 small onion
1 cup gravy
1 tbsp leaf lard
1 tbsp plain flour
salt and pepper to taste

around 50g - 100 cheddar cheese

Make up a bread dough. (To tell the truth, I use my bread maker and let it mix and knead the dough for 25 minutes. Far easier than breaking out the mixer and dough hooks.) Knead the dough and shape into a ball, brush with olive oil, place in a bowl that has also been brushed with olive oil, cover with a tea towel and allow to sit until it's doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, dice the onion small, fry in lard until glassy. Add the shredded pork, allow to fry until it slightly colours, then sprinkle with the flour, allow to fry for another minute or so, then add the gravy and enough water to cover the meat mixture. Allow to thicken to a quite solid consistency, and set aside.

Dice the cheddar 3mm - 5mm cubes.

Take the dough and roll out in a rectanguar sheet about as wide as a loaf tin and 1.5 - 2 times as long. Spread the pork filling almost to the edges, then sprinkle the cheese cubes on, and roll from short side so you finish up with a roll as long as your loaf tin. Wet fingers and seal the seam, place in loaf tin seam side down. Brush top with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, slash top with five or so diagonal cuts.

I'm honestly not sure what temperature I baked this at, because the oven I used had a faulty thermostat and I was adjusting the temperature by guesswork. I'd say 40 minutes at about 180C - 190C if I had to hazard a guess. The loaf should start colouring on top around the 25 minute mark and should be a good shade of brown by 40 minutes, with crust forming along the sides of the loaf inside the tin as well.

Allow to cool a bit, slice and serve. We served ours with home made baked beans, which was pretty much the perfect accompaniment to the porky deliciousness.

I suppose you could do the same with a savoury mince mixture or any kind of reasonably dry pie filling. I just had some pulled pork from a slow roast a few nights earlier, and I wanted that bread / pork flavour, and I'd never made a savoury rolled loaf like this before, and the moment was ripe. Honestly, one of my happiest moments.

The pulled pork was a rolled roast with skin on, I untied it, and rubbed it with a pulled pork style powder, rolled it back up, and let it marinate in plastic in the fridge for 24 hours before roasting it over the course of about six hours. The powder was made by blitzing a tablespoon each of salt, raw sugar, and dried garlic flakes, half a tablespoon of coriander seeds, and half a teaspoon each of ground nutmeg and dred chilli flakes, al together in one of those whizzy spice benders that they sell on the pretext that they're actually coffee grinders. (Blergh, don't even go there, they make shithouse coffee for brewing because they always grind about half the coffee into dust and the other half stays as hug chunks.)

The pork gravy was made of all the trimmings and pan juices of the pork, and was left to set in the fridge once it was cooled, so I could lift all the lard off and just use the gelatinous sauce. The pork for this recipe was a handful of the leftover pulled pork shreds, chopped shorter.

Normally I'd have mead bread dough with baker's flour but I wanted the crumb to be a bit less cohesive and short, so it was more like yeast-risen scone dough. As it turns out, that was just about the perfect texture. Sometimes, you just get lucky...

What would have made this better? Beer. Flat beer instead of water in the dough mix, I reckon that would have carried off prizes at the local cookery club... And a sharper flavoured cheese.


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Big-Ass Stuffed Mushrooms

NAME: _Big-Ass Stuffed Mushrooms

Seriously delicious!

(Given 'per person' i.e. multiply up for multiple servings. As it is, the quantity is for one.)
1 flat mushroom
1 tbsp finely shredded ham
1 tbsp finely shredded cooked chicken
1 tbsp finely cubed eggplant
1 tbsp finely cubed onion
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp concentrated chicken stock
2 tbsp shredded tasty cheese
1 tsp butter

Piquant Cheesy Sauce
1.5 cups water (adjust as per Method)
2 level tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sugar (I use raw sugar for preference)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp grated cheese

Put olive oil, eggplant, ham, and onion in pan, fry until onions are browning, add the shredded chicken, fry for around the same length of time again. Remove from heat, stir through the concentrated chicken stock, set aside in a suitable bowl.

Remove the stem from the mushroom (I find it helps if I quarter the stem with a knife first and remove it in sections) then turn it over and lightly score a criss cross hatching across the skin. Rub the butter in. Heat the frypan and place the mushroom buttered side down, fry quickly until browning takes place. Light pressure applied with a spatula or egg slice can help here.

Place the mushroom on the griller (broiler) tray and fill with filling, top with the shredded cheese, press down smooth with the spatula or egg slice. Grill until the cheese is browned.

Piquant Cheesy Sauce
Warm the butter in a small saucepan, add the flour, cayenne, and sugar. Mix together well, increase heat and add the vinegar and fish sauce, stirring continually, then simmer and add water until the consistency is right, add the shredded cheese and stir to dissolve, then remove from heat. If you allow the sauce to cool before adding the cheese, it may split, so do this all in one go. I used the same cheese for both, so that some continuity of flavours occurs.

Serve immediately. I served mine with mash, a piquant cheese sauce, and a salad. It rocked!

I made a layer type salad with leafy greens, quartered tomato, celery cut to almost julienne sticks, the same shredded ham and the same cheese (also cut into thin sticks) as the main meal, lightly sprinkled with salt and allowed to draw for about ten minutes before service.



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