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Day 17, in which we get

all creative.

So I thought about Parika Pork and thought it would probably be to spiky (spicy in Cub language), so I decided to play with it and here’s what I did.

Cut up enough pork for all of us about 350g in chunks

Mandolin sliced up 3 red onions,about 300g straight into the slow cooker.

Added, the pork chunks to it

1 chicken stock cube with about 400 ml of water

added about 4 tablespoons of sundried tomato paste I had left over

tomato puree

about a tablespoon of lemon juice

sugar a couple of teaspoons

smoked paprika (about a teaspoon)

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon of cider vinegar

1 teaspoon of parsley, thyme

fresh ground black pepper – we like black pepper so quite a bit ymmv.

Mixed it in the slow cooker, and cooked on low for about 8 hours.

Mixed half a tub of low fat crème fraîche.

Served with rice and garlic bread.

A tiny bit yum, I doubt I will ever be able to repeat this because I did it on the fly.

This is what it looked like:

Twas a tiny bit yum, in fact, I think somebody slipped in some crack cocaine because I’ve been eating the left overs on and off ever since!

Old Picture of The Cub

New Picture of The Cub

Peace, love and pizza!

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Day 15, in which I explain

why the only recipe’s I follow are baking ones. I use recipe’s as a guideline not an absolute. Robin can’t do that and it drives him up the wall, this is a bonus. Baking to me is a dark art, I rarely do it and when I do tend to follow the recipe slavishly as I don’t have the 10,000 hours required to be as spontaneous with desserts. I understand that other people may not have the same cavalier attitude (cavalier attitude, not said enough in my opinion), I do towards meal meals iyswim. So I know what I can do with the recipes that I change due to lack or ingredients or whimsy.

Which is why I’m putting the recipe’s up and then telling you what I do, so last night was the Brie thing. The boys don’t like brie sometimes they think it tastes a bit amoniaey (legit word!) and tastes a bit like the smell of wee so I use a packet of normal cream cheese. Robin not so keen on the lemon so a quarter of the lemon zest and about a teaspoon of juice. Mixed the non-pasta ingredients and left to ‘infuse’ for the length of time it took to cook the pasta.

Picture:

It was yum, the boys had a minor revolt. The Cub did NOT like the sauce on his pasta and Robin complained about the amount of lemon – again. I thought it was extremely yum, so yahboo shucks to them.

Tomorrow is soooooooper complicated, but not really, beef in ale pie, from a magazine, I have no idea which one.

For the Beef

  • small handful (grr) dried procini mushrooms (about 10 g/1/2 oz) not essential
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1kg 2lb 4 oz braising steak (buy this as a whole piece and cut it yourself into large chunks)
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 300 ml/1/2 pt dark ale
  • 2 beef stock cubes mixed with 400 ml/14 fl oz boiling water
  • small bunch each thyme, bay leaf and parsley, tied together
  • 200g/80z smoked bacon, lardons or chopped rashers
  • 200g/8oz chestnut mushrooms, halved

For the pastry

  • 650g/1lb 7oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 250g/9oz lard or cold butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten, to glaze
  1. Start by braising the beef. If you’re using the porcini, cover them in boiling water for 20 mins, then squeeze out but keep the soaking water. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish, brown the meat really well in batches, then set aside. Add the onions and carrots to the pan, adding a drizzle more oil, then cook on a low heat for 5 mins until coloured. Add the soaked mushrooms, sizzle for 1 min more, then scatter over the sugar and flour, stirring until the flour turns brown. Tip the meat and any juices back into the pan and give it all a good stir. Pour over the ale, stock and porcini soaking liquid, discarding the last few drops. Season stew, tuck in the herbs and bring everything to a simmer. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for about 2 hrs, until the meat is really tender.
  2. While the stew is cooking, heat a drop more oil in a frying pan and sizzle the bacon for 3 mins until crisp. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms and cook for 4 mins until golden. Remove from the heat and, when the stew is cooked, stir them through. Leave everything to cool completely – better still, make this up to 2 days in advance and keep it in the fridge as the pie will be better if the filling is fridge-cold when added. Can also be frozen for up to 3 months and defrosted when needed.
  3. Make the pastry up to 2 days before you want to assemble the pie. Crumble the flour and lard, or butter, together with a generous pinch of sea salt until completely combined, then add up to 200ml ice-cold water to make a soft dough. This can be done in a food processor if you want. Knead the pastry, then wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hr. The pastry can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept in the fridge or frozen for up to a month.
  4. When you want to make the pie, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and place a flat baking tray in the oven. Heavily grease a 24-28cm pie dish and dust well with flour. Cut a third off the pastry and set aside. Roll out the pastry to a thick-ish round that will easily line the pie dish with an overhang, then line the tin. Add the beef to the dish using a slotted spoon so some gravy is left in the container, as you don’t want too much sauce in the pie. You want the filling to be slightly higher than the rim of the dish. If you have a bit too much, set it aside.
  5. Roll out the remaining pastry to a thick round big enough to cover the dish. Brush the edges of the pastry in the dish with egg yolk, then cover with the pastry lid. Trim the edges, crimp the pastry, then re-roll your trimmings to make a decoration, if you like – I always decorate my pies with pastry leaves. Brush the top heavily with egg. Make a few little slits in the centre of the pie, place on the hot baking tray, then bake for 40 mins until golden. Leave the pie to rest for 10 mins while you heat up the gravy left in the container. Serve the pie at the table with a jug of gravy and a big pile of something green and leafy.

Old Cub Picture

New Cub Picture

Love, peace and pizza!

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Day 13 in which we actually have what is planned

but don’t make it like the recipe.

Here’s how I did it:

1 red onion and 3 cloves of garlic, blast in the food processor with the sharp blade attachment until v small. Or, as they are known in this family, invisible onions. I’ve been known to do this with a few onions for the week but it makes the fridge smell. I’ve also bought a bag of cut onions from Asda and popped them in the freezer to use – I keep meaning to do this with invisible onions but keep forgetting, or there is no room in the freezer.

Fry off until soft but not brown in some veggie oil – you know how much you like to use for this.

Add the mince beef (or mince beef and pork if you can get it, better flavour and texture imnsho). Fry until browned. If you have to much and are doing it a bit at a time plonk the browned beef straight into the slow cooker. If you’re using mushrooms (The Cub doesn’t like mushrooms so we don’t bother) fry them with the mince beef until they release their liquid.

When all the minced meat is in the slow cooker add 1 carton of passata and or 1 can of tomatoes (chopped or otherwise).

You know what your family likes, mine likes mixed herbs so I put 3 heaped teaspoons in.

An anchovy – I promise it will disappear during cooking and you will not taste it in the end. Obviously, if you have a fish allergy don’t do this!

A tablespoon of lemon juice.

Mix.

Put on low and allow to cook for 8 hours, whilst it fills your house with garlic and spag bol fumes.

Serve with garlic bread and salad if you’re feeling sassy.

It’s just as nice as the other one and nowhere near as expensive.

Spag Bol Picture:

Tomorrow it’s fish fingers and chips – there’s no recipe for this as they are coming out of a box but I buy the more expensive type because the fish is better. One day I will make these though:

From the Good Food Website

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 85g white breadcrumbs, made from day-old bread
  • zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g skinless sustainable white fish, sliced into 12 strips
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 140g frozen peas, cooked and cooled
  • 100g young leaf spinach
  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Pour the beaten egg into a shallow dish. Tip the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Mix the lemon zest into the breadcrumbs along with the oregano and some salt and pepper.
  2. Brush a non-stick baking sheet with half the oil. Dip the fish strips into the egg, then roll them in the breadcrumbs. Transfer to the baking sheet and bake for 20 mins until golden.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the mayo with a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss the spinach leaves and peas with a squeeze more lemon juice and the remaining oil. Serve the fish fingers with the spinach and peas and a spoonful of the lemony mayo.

I do make my own ‘tartar’ sauce with some capers and cornichons chopped up into mayo.

And, instead of the oven chips we’ll be having I’ll try making these:

Heston’s Triple Cooked Chips

  • 1kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into chips (approx. 2 × 2 × 6cm)
  • Groundnut or grapeseed oil
  • Salt
  1. Put the cut chips into a bowl under running water for 5 minutes to wash the starch off.
  2. Place 2 litres of cold tap water in a large saucepan and add the potatoes. Place the pan over a medium heat and simmer until the chips are almost falling apart (approximately 20–30 minutes, depending on the potato).
  3. Carefully remove the cooked chips and place them on a cooling rack to dry out. Then place the rack in the freezer for at least 1 hour to remove more moisture.
  4. Heat a deep-fat fryer or a deep pan no more than half filled with oil (to a depth of around 10cm) to 130ºC. Fry the chips in small batches until a light crust forms (approximately 5 minutes), remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Put the potatoes on a cooling rack and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour. (At this stage, if you don’t want to cook and serve immediately, the chips can be kept in the fridge for 3 days.)
  6. Heat the oil in the deep-fat fryer or deep pan to 180ºC and fry the chips until golden (approximately 7 minutes). Drain and sprinkle with salt.

Tomorrow, is not that day.

Which reminds me chips in our house are called Chris Normals due to Robin’s inability to read clear handwriting and mistaking Chips Normal for Chris Norman. Crinkle cut chips are Chris Crinkles 😀

Old Cub Picture:

New Cup Picture:

Peace, love and pizza!

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Day 12, in which we go off the rails – again

So, I could convince not a soul in the house that garbage soup was a good idea. It sounds vile but what it really is, is a soup that uses up all those left over veggies and any bits of meat that are lurking in the freezer and actually it’s pretty damn good. I like thyme and bay leaves as herbs and serve with either home made bread or a really nice loaf. We have no bakers locally, which is a shame so I do have to go to the supermarket. Here’s tomorrow’s recipe from the BBC Good Food site:

  • 500g Fresh Beef Mince.
  • 400g Dried Spaghetti.
  • 4 Rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon, finely diced.
  • 2 Tins of Plum/Chopped Tomatoes.
  • 6 Fresh Cherry Tomatoes.
  • 2 Medium Onions, peeled and finely diced.
  • 2 Sticks of Celery, trimmed and finely diced.
  • 2 Carrots, trimmed and finely diced.
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely diced.
  • 1 Medium Chilli (optional), seeded and finely sliced
  • 75g Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, plus extra for grating over.
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Beef Stock Cube.
  • Glass of red wine (optional)
  • Herbs:
  • 2-3 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary.
  • Handful of Fresh Basil, plus extra for Garnish.
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano.
  • 1-2 Fresh Bay Leaves.
  • Olive oil.
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper.

Get yourself a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, and place it on a medium heat. Add a good lug of olive oil and gently fry your bacon until golden and crisp, then reduce the heat slightly and add your onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Next remove the leaves from the Rosemary sprigs and add them to the pot, discarding the sprigs. Move everything around and fry for around 8-10 minutes until the veg has softened. Next, increase the heat slightly, add the mince and stir until the meat is browned all over. Stir in your tins of plum/chopped tomatoes, (plum tomatoes are best as they contain less water, but either will turn out great!). Add your remaining herbs, tomato puree, stock cube, chilli and if using, the wine. Slice your cherry tomatoes in half and throw them in aswell. Give everything a stir with a wooden spoon, breaking up the plum tomatoes as you go and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to low-medium, put the lid on and leave it blipping away for about an hour and 15 minutes until the flavours develop into a wonderfully rich tomatoey sauce. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t catch. Just as the sauce is nearly ready, Add the parmesan and season to taste. Meanwhile add salt to a pan of boiling water and cook the spaghetti according the the packet instructions. Once the spaghetti is ready, drain it in a colander and add it to the pan with the sauce. Give it all a good stir, coating the pasta in the lovely tomato sauce. Serve with a little grated parmesan and use the extra basil leaves to make a great little garnish. This is expensive and not what I have planned – I shall be using the slow cooker because it brings out the best in the mince. Mince is usually not taken from the best cuts of meat and benefits from a slow cook. We actually had chicken and beef burgers tonight, not home made due to the horror that is shoe and glasses shopping. I love Robin with all my heart and probably, a bit of a few other peoples. But, I cannot abide glasses shopping with him, every year the ‘requirements’ for what a pair of glasses has to do changes and that means everything that has gone before is out of the window. This year, he has got it into his head that if he wears the ‘wrong style’ of glasses people shout at him more. He rarely, if ever, gets shouted at by anyone, he’s good at this job and sets realistic expectations for the company and the users. I have no bloody idea where he’s got this from – his current glasses look nothing like the ones he says will make people more antagonistic so he has no empirical evidence to back up his claim. Sometimes I despair of him. I thought we’d dropped lucky with one of those companies that send you the frames to try on but even that has turned problematic. The Cub however was a dream, it was such a shame there were no actual shoes in his size!

A picture of burgers:

Old Picture of The Cub

New Picture

Peace, love and pizza!

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Day 8, in which following the menu planner spirals out of control

Today was supposed to be kedgeree, there’s a lovely recipe for it here on the BBC Good Food website. It didn’t work out that way, nobody really felt like curry including me so we had pasta bake and salad. Here is the Mumsnet microwave cheese sauce recipe:

Put 300ml milk in a jug with 25g of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour and put in the microwave for 1 min. Take out and whisk, then put in for another 3 mins, taking out and whisking at 1 minute intervals. Stir your cheese in at the end.

Never again will you be a slave to the pan with cheese sauce. Pour over cooked pasta with bits of ham torn up into it. Cover with grated cheese or mozzerella. Serve with salad and garlic bread.

I forgot to take a picture, it’s been a bloody busy week!

Old Cub picture:

toile diary t-shirt 032

New Cub picture:

Peace, love and pizza!