Saturday, 27 October 2012

Improper Passata

NAME: _Improper Passata

Several kilos of firm fleshed tomatoes. I used romas for this one.
A teaspoon or so of salt.

Cut the romas into quarters and scoop out the seeds. (If you want - I tend to scoop because I want mainly the red flesh and skins.) Roughly chop the quarters and put in a large pot. Sprinkle the salt over the top to start the tomato "weeping" and start over low heat. As the tomato breaks down and liquefies, turn up the heat slightly. Keep it on a low simmer for around an hour or a bit more. You want the tomato somewhat liguefying, with soft whole bits still in.

Allow to cool, and blitz in a food processor with the plastic knife until it's the consistency you want. Do this in batches that suit your food processor, mix all the batches back together and then pour into freezable containers. (I used plastic take-away containers that were washed in very hot sudsy water.) Only fill to 2/3 to 3/4 to allow freezing expansion. Freeze.

I use this as a pasta sauce by itself, or make meals using the passata as a base.

You can additionally return the tomato to the simmer after blitzing and reduce it even more, but I find it's almost perfect as it is at the stage required above.

If you leave the liquid and seeds in, you may need to simmer the passata for longer to reduce it sufficiently.

Passata can also be canned into two-part lid canning jars, but I have plenty of room in the freezer - and I'll make a canning batch later in the season... (And post the recipe here of course!)


Egg Cornmeal Pasta

NAME: _Egg Cornmeal Pasta

200g plain flour
50g maize corn flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
5 eggs

Sift the corn flour and plain flour together into a mixing bowl, add the salt. Separate the yolks from three eggs, put in the bowl, and add the whites and yolks of two more eggs. Add the olive oil and knead to incorporate.

Keep kneading until it forms a stiff dough, then turn out onto a floured board and keep kneading down hard. You want to make this dough develop some gluten, so fold and press down hard, until it becomes somewhat stretchy. Roll it out into a noodle, simultaneously rolling and stretching, until you have a noodle about 1.5cm - 2cm thick and about 45cm long.

Cut into four sections, and roll out to the second-last setting on the pasta roller, then cut as required into strips, and hang for drying in a warm spot. See notes for more info.

When firmed up, boil in salted water for around 6 - 10 minutes depending on your cut and texture desired.

Serve as for any pasta with the sauce of your choice.

Cornflour doesn't develop gluten as well as plain flour or OO grade flour do, so this needs to be WELL kneaded and rolled, and the drying time is necessary.

The idea of the kneading is to start the glutens joining hands and making the dough stretchy and firm. Since there's not a lot of liquid to begin with, you really have to force the moisture into the flours. Adjust the consistency to a very stiff dry dough by adding plain flour if too wet, or a few drops of water at a time if too dry.

Knead by folding in half, then merging the layers together by pressing and sliding with the heel of the hand. Do this for a few minutes, folding and pressing, until you feel the texture change. At this stage, roll the dough into a ball and then roll and stretch the ball into the noodle shape and roll/stretch as described above.

Cooking the pasta - if you cooked it right away, the surface of the pasta would dissolve, followed by the rest of the pasta... By "drying" it off, the dough toughens up and will hold shape in the boiling water.

Cut the pasta into strips either with a knife or with the strip cutting attachment of the pasta roller. It's suggested to use the fettucine width (wider strips) because as mentioned this pasta has a lot of corn flour which weakens it. (Or use a sharp knife to cut strips around 5mm wide.)

Dry the pasta strips by draping them over chopsticks or thick skewers and balancing them between anything that gives enough height to stop the pasta dragging on the counter.


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Pork n Beef Meatloaf

NAME: _Pork n Beef Meatloaf

250g lean beef
250g lean pork
2 rashers bacon
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
2 or 3 slices white bread
salt to taste

fresh herbs as follows:
a dozen needles of fresh rosemary
two fresh sage leaves
five - ten leaves fresh oregano
one clove garlic

Tear the bread into small pieces and blitz in the food processor. Finely chop green herbs and put in mixing bowl, add the chopped bread, mix briefly. Set aside.

Remove the rind and about half the fat from the bacon rashers, rough chop and place in food processor. Cut the pork and beef into small cubes, chop and crush the garlic clove to paste. Start the food processor and add the cubed meat and crushed garlic. Add the salt, two eggs, and sufficient water to just keep the mixture moving in the food processor. Process on medium to a sticky paste then stop. (This can be about two - three minutes in total, the important thing is to get that smooth sticky paste consistency.)

Scrape the meat paste in with the bread mixture and mix thoroughly, then put in a small loaf tin. I line the tin with aluminium foil but you can butter and dust with flour if you prefer.

Cover with foil, put in 190 degree oven for about an hour, remove the foil, increase heat to 210, and roast for another 30 minutes. Let cool for ten minutes before removing from loaf tin, then unwrap and let sit another ten minutes.

As for any meatloaf, serve with your choice of vegetables and side dishes. However, this meatloaf is especially good when the leftovers are sliced 5mm thick, pan fried, and served with bubble and squeak.

Using lean meat produces a low-fat meat loaf, however that would have little moisture or adhesion, hence the eggs and water. Processing the meat to paste produces meat glutens. Mixing with blitzed bread loosens up the texture and stops the meatloaf being a solid brick. I used home made bread and the slices were a bit thicker than a toast slice as cut by the bakery, so I used only two slices. If you slice to normal thickness you may want to use three slices.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Two Dry Marinades

NAME: _Two Dry Marinades

Red Marinade
1 tbsp each of the following
nustard seed
dried onion flakes
paprika powder
2 tbsp each of
granulated garlic
raw sugar

Yellow Marinade
1 tbsp each of the following
granulated garlic
smoked paprika powder
turmeric powder
2 tbsp each of
raw sugar
coriander seed

In each case, put the ingredients in a spice blender or processor and blitz until reduced to powder, then apply liberally to meat and leave to marinate for at least an hour in a cool place or the refrigerator.

not applicable

I recently had a kilo apiece of pork ribs and chicken wing pieces, wanted to just do them up for slow oven baking and frying respectively. I decided to marinate and cook them both, and that way I'd have the meat for two different meals. I used the red for the pork and the yellow for the chicken.

These dry marinades work same as charcuterie marinades, the salt and sugar carry the spices into the meat at a pretty much a known rate, so the longer you leave it (within reason) the deeper the flavour will be. The sugar also helps form a caramel on the meat, hence using it for roasted and fried meat gives a lovely dark colour. Also, the salt and sugar helps break down the meat proteins so the resulting meal is tender, and slow cooking well marinated meat provides the most tender meal. the roasted ribs are to die for.



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