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.


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Green Fig Chutney Relish

NAME: _Green Fig Chutney Relish

1/2 to 1 kg unripe figs (but see NOTES first)
1 medium eggplant
2 brown onions
2 cloves garlic
6 - 10 whole cloves (the spice, not more garlic)
1 level tbsp salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp grated cinnamon bark
1 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 nutmeg, grated
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp pomegranate syrup (see NOTES)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1/2 tsp turmeric or anatto  (see NOTES)
1 tsp hing (assafoetida) powder
1/2 a salt preserved lemon
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 - 4 very ripe tomatoes
water if and as needed
1/4 cup olive oil

Dice the onion, cut the skin off the eggplant and dice that to similar size, finely dice the garlic. Place them in a heavy saucepan with the oil, cloves, salt, cumin seeds, cinnamon bark, chilli flakes, and nutmeg. Fry gently until the onions begin to soften and turn golden, then add the sugar and allow that to melt into the mixture.

Add the cayenne pepper, turmeric or anatto, hing, and finely chopped preserved lemon peels, and fish sauce, keep frying for another few minutes, then add the vinegar and finely chopped tomatoes. Allow to simmer for 10 - 15 minutes to combine flavours and soften all the ingredients.

Add the prepared figs, as per NOTES below. Add minimal water required to prevent clumping, preferably none at all. Simmer for another 10 or so minutes to make sure the figs are softened, then spoon into sterilised jars while hot, and seal the jars. During the last few minutes, adjust seasonings to suit yourself - this should be pungent with fish sauce, with loads of sweet, sour, and spicy hot flavours. Allow the jars to cool, then store in a cool place. May be kept for a few months, if it lasts that long. %)

As an accompaniment to fish, meats, cheeses, and as part of the condiments with curries and similar dishes. Also good with cold cuts and sandwiches.

First, WHY would you do this? Well, our tree must have stressed and dropped most of the fruit while it was unripe. Not wanting to waste the fruit that could be salvaged, I picked the biggest, softest, the ones with a pink tinge or better, and used those. There is another recipe for dealing with the ones that are still white inside and hard as rocks, but I threw mine in the compost.

Preparing Really Unripe Figs: Cut the stems and end nubbin of fruit off the figs. Bring enough water to the boil to cover the figs, drop in the figs when it's boiling, allow to boil for a few minutes, drain the water, rinse the figs and set aside, boil a second lot of water and repeat.

If using the figs for the recipe above, halve the figs once each way so you end up with eight bits.

If preparing very unripe figs, you'd now halve the figs lengthways, estimate how many cupfuls you have, and add one cup of water, one cup of sugar, and two to six whole cloves per cupful, and bring this to the boil again without burning the sugar but bring it to the syrup stage, then allow to cool, add the juice of about 1/4 lemon per cupful of figs, and bottle.

Sugar / Pomegranate Syrup / Etc: The relish has to be strongly flavoured in each favour. I used some home made plum jam in addition to the sweeteners mentioned in the ingredients, to get a fruitier flavour.

Flavouring: I also adjust (extra salt, cayenne, salt preserved lemon, etc) until the flavours are quite strongly developed. It's a relish, after all, and needs to be punchy.


Thrifty Specials Stuff

NAME: _Stretched Chicken And Steamed Asparagus

I've enjoyed getting things on special, and either processing them right away, or else freezing them and processing when needed. It's one of the best things about living here and now - despite Big Food trying to inject "convenience" into our food chain and making us their customer for life, it's also easy to get hold of good local whole foods and fresh foods.

An example was a local meat processor letting slightly undersized chickens go, two to a tray, for less than the price of one normal bird. Apparently these are that small because they are pretty much organic, but the idea didn't take off. Into the freezer they went, for dealing with another day...

Living where we do, we're under an hour away from the biggest asparagus growing region in the state. I always have two bunches or more frozen fresh, the equivalent of two bunches chopped steamed and pureed in a ziplock baggie frozen, and sometimes a few bunches just steamed and frozen in plastic wrap.

Herbed light gnocchi are easy to make with a bit of butter, flour, and eggs, but when they go on sale special, easy to keep a few packs in the freezer against lazy days.

And so on - I never miss a chance to put aside stuff. The coming few weeks, I'll try and write up the recipes that I concocted to make use of all the bounty that's available.

Recipes include Chicken Stock Broth, Chicken Veg Gnocchi, Green White Fig Chutney Relish, Chicken Rice Parcels, and whatever else I remember.

The nice thing about many of these ways of dealing with food, are good for meals at times when there may be no refrigeration or electricity. Pretty much "prepper" meals.



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