I have been threatening to make a pie for years, long before I started teaching myself to cook on this blog. Not counting that quiche or the flan I threw together last year – or my world famous indestructible mince pies – this is my first ever proper pie. My pie-ginity.
I won’t lie to you, last week was a long, hard and tiring to make. I also had Moussaka three times. When it came to actually getting the pans out at the end of the week for some tomato-ey pasta I realised that I needed to add something new and quick to my week-night repertoire. Something lightning quick I could whip up
before sitting in my chair and watching Geordie Shore re-runs and Netflix boxsets with a pack of biscuits until bedtime when I get in from work.
So this week when it came to choosing a new recipe to cook all my wild ideas of reaching for Madha Jaffery or the Wagamama’s book were hampered by my lover having a massive stomach ache, which was caused by lashings of gin. (more…)
Don’t worry, it’s not my mama (the poisoner). That would be terrible, and probably contain a lot of bran. No this mama belongs to a lady called Anjie Mosher in the second Hairy Bikers’ Best-Loved Recipes book, and it’s delicious. Also, this week is a bit of a two-for-one – they’re separate recipes that are delicious by themselves but go together really well. (more…)
Its been a while since I started a post saying how I’d never had suchandsuch, and now I’m saying it again – until I made this I had never had meatloaf. Sometimes when I was growing up my mum would open a tin of corned beef and call it meatloaf, but we weren’t convinced.
The weather has finally turned autumnal here in London; I think it was the threat of one last salad finally made the temperatures plunge. And the meatloaf was pretty perfect for a cold November evening. This is the first time I’ve used this book, it had been on the coffee table for ages and I’d assumed it was from the library. It’s not, my lover bought it cheap in Smiths. It’s the second edition of the Hairy Bikers Mums Know Best book, the first edition served me well for many years (mostly to lean on and stuff)
To make a loaf big enough for 4-6 you will need 1kg of mince, a large red onion, 2 slices of bread, 3tbsp of tomato ketchup, 1 egg, 2 tbsp brown sauce, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 50g grated Parmesan, 1 tbsp chopped oregano, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 1 tbsp milk, salt & pepper. The book also gives a recipe for potato salad to go with it, but my lover looked at it and said he’d make his babushka’s. If I knew the recipe I couldn’t tell you, it’s a secret and my lover would have kill us all…
Its the easiest recipe to make. Put the oven on to 180c (gas 4), chop the onion and the parsley, and blitz the bread in to crumbs. In a bowl mix all the ingredients together, if it’s a bit wet add more crumbs.
Line a loaf tin with some greaseproof and lob it in the oven for 50-60 minutes (slightly less if you halved the mix like I do) the centre should be firm when it comes out the oven.
Cut off a slice or two and serve with potato salad. Then again cold the next day.
My first meatloaf experience was actually pretty delicious – sort of like a beefy sausage roll with no pastry or nostrils. It was great with the potato salad, but I guess I could be virtuous and have it with a spot of veg. I was more puck-like cold, but some how nicer for that – it felt healthier because the fat had cooled, but I was slightly worried it would crack the plates! This is definitely one to make again.
The Hairy Bikers’ Family Cookbook Mums Still Know Best (by Si King & Dave Myres Weidenfeld & Nicolson ISBN: 978 1 4072 3380 2)
When I told my lover I was making this recipe a look of horror crossed his face and he said those immortal words “you’re not going to attempt it in 15 minutes are you?”
Yep, that’s right, I’m having another bash at something from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals. And no, I was not going to attempt it in 15 minutes (but I would still use every single utensil I own, as are the rules). I’ve been making the bulgur wheat part of this recipe for a while, as an alternative to rice with other chilli; without the lemon though as it makes it taste a bit like a Yankee Candle…
To make this for four you will need: 300g bulgur wheat, a preserved lemon, a cinnamon stick, 400g lean beef mince, garam masala, olive oil, 3 jarred red peppers, 4 spring onions, smoked paprika, 700g passata (I couldn’t find a 700g jar so I think I used 675g or something like that), bunch of coriander, 400g tin of kidney beans, cumin seeds, and fat free yoghurt and a lime to serve.
I won’t write down the meathod as written in the book, because I didn’t follow it and it came out fine. To start get your liquidiser out and add the jarred peppers, three of the spring onions, a heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika, the passata, half the coriander and some salt and pepper and blitz it until it’s a smooth paste.
Next, wash your hands and squash up the mince, salt, pepper, and a heaped teaspoon of garam masala. Next (and this seems to pie the important bit) wet your hands and divide the meat into 16 balls and rub them round into a ball shape and put them on a plate and put the kettle on.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and measure out 300g (a mug-full) of the bulgur wheat. Add 2 mug-fulls of boiling water, a preserved lemon, a cinnamon stick and the the bulgur wheat to a medium pan (medium heat) and put the lid on. This needs to cook for about 15 minutes.
Add the meatballs to the hot frying pan one or two at a time, and toss-roll the around each time you add them which seems to make them rounder… which is strange… Let them brown for about 5 minutes, rolling quite often to keep them cooking evenly. Heat another pan and pour in the sauce from the liquidiser (slosh the liquidiser jug around with some water and add this to the sauce).
Drain and rinse the kidney beans and add them to the frying pan with the meatballs with a pinch of cumin seeds and after a minute or so transfer the meatballs to the pan with the sauce with your trusty kitchen tongues – leave the kidney beans to cook for a bit longer before stirring them into the sauce too.
By now the bulgur wheat should be done (as in all the water has evaporated and you’re left with wheat, the cinnamon stick and the lemon), remove the cinnamon and then mash the lemon into the wheat. Plate it up with a dollop of yoghurt, some coriander and the other spring onion chopped up decoratively.
It was very chilli-ish; the sauce was like a slightly hot tomato sauce – maybe it needed more paprika and longer to simmer. Maybe a bit more garam masala for the meatballs too? But the meatballs were a resounding success for the first time ever they were smooth and rounded and cooked like balls instead of lumps of knobbly meat. I might miss the coriander out next time too… Definitely one to make again, but not in 15 minutes!
For the last year I’ve been trying to focus on speedy meals that don’t require me to be chained to the hob for hours on end, so in that spirit I spend three hours of last Sunday bubbling some stew.
The recipe in The Good Granny Cookbook says it serves six, but I reckon with a bit of veg and maybe an extra potato it could stretch to eight easily. I halved the ingredients and it still served me and him two nights in row.
For six you will need: sunflower oil, 3 onions, 900g of chuck steak (I used casserole steak) 3 tablespoons of sweet Hungarian paprika (the book says to use a fresh tin of paprika, I just used normal smoked paprika) 2 tablespoons tomato purée, a garlic clove, a glass of red wine, a bouquet garni, 4 medium potatoes, 1 red pepper, and 200ml of sour cream. You can also add 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds, but I couldn’t find any.
Firstly, as always, peel and chop the onions, and cut the steak up into 3cm cubes. Get out a large pot that can go on the hob, and heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil in a frying pan. When the oil had heated up brown the onions, and then chuck them into the pot. Then sprinkle the paprika into the pan and roll the beef around in it, keep stirring until the beef has been browned on all sides, then add to the pot.
If there is any paprika left add it to the pot, then throw in the garlic cube, tomato purée, the bouquet garni (mine came as a little teabag, which was exciting), the wine, a little salt, and enough hot water to cover the meat.
Bring to the boil – stirring well – then turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for two hours. That’s right. Two hours.
After about an hour and three quarters, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 inch cubes and boil them for 5 minutes. Drain and add to the pot, with 2tsp of caraway seeds if you’re using them. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes.
By this time you should have washed out the frying pan you did the meat in, so out it back on the hob, quite low with a bit for oil in, and while its heating up de-seed the pepper and cut it into thin strips.
Gently cook the peppers for a few minutes, then stir them into the goulash and serve with a dollop of sour cream. And don’t forget the pick the bouquet garni out.
The first night we had it is was with a whole head of broccoli, and the second with noodles. I preferred it with the veg, but my lover preferred the noodles.
I didn’t want to risk freezing it because of the potatoes, so I left it in the pot on the hob overnight and it was fine. The meat was so tender it fell apart on the fork, and the flavour was really full and autumnal. It was absolutely perfect for a rainy October Sunday.
I’d imagine this would be a good meal to make in one of those slow cooker things, but I don’t have one. I’m definitely making this again, on a slow day…
Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)
Instead of cooking something tricky at the weekend and writing it up in time for Friday morning, like I usually do; this week I decided that I’d trash my kitchen with a Jamie Oliver recipe on a work night. Fool.
To make this for four you will need: 2 250g packs of cooked brown rice (like Uncle Ben’s or similar), a lemon, 125g oyster mushrooms, sesame oil, low-salt soy sauce, sherry vinegar, clove garlic, 2 x 250g sirloin steaks, 1 cucumber, 2 spring onions, caster sugar, 1 little gem lettuce, harissa paste, 100g baby spinach, 2 large eggs and some sesame seeds. I was cooking only for him and me, so I used half the quantities.
You’ll need a large frying pan at medium heat, and a griddle pan at high heat, and you’ll need to get your food processor out – but if you’re not fussed about making this in 15 minutes, and you’re a tidy chopper you can use a knife instead.
Put the cooked rice into the frying pan, with the lemon juice and keep stirring it regularly. With tongs place the mushrooms on the griddle, and turn them over when they’re charred. While they’re charring mix 1 tbs of oil, 2 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs sherry vinegar, and a crushed up/minced garlic clove in a bowl.
Slice the steak into 1cm thick strips, transfer the mushrooms into the marinade and lay the steak out on the griddle in one layer. Slice the cucumber and the spring onion and tip into a bowl with a pinch of sugar and salt, a drizzle of soy sauce and of sherry vinegar, and scrunch it all together.
When the steak is done to your liking put it in the bowl with the mushrooms and mix it all in with the sauce. Tip the rice into a bowl, and put the a teaspoon of the sesame oil in the pan. Crack two eggs into the pan and cook for a minute and a half on each side – sprinkled with sesame seeds.
I’m not sure the best way to serve this. The picture shows it all in separate bowls, which I did, and then we lobbed it all on to our plates – I could have done this in the kitchen and saved a load of washing up…
It was OK. If I make it again I’d use different mushrooms – the oyster mushrooms with were a bit like cold wet ears. I’d also cut everything up with the knife, maybe leaving out the cucumber/onion mix out and bring it straight from the kitchen already plated up.
And I wouldn’t make it on a work night.
Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (Penguin 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15780-7)
That processor has corrupted me, corrupted I say. I’m power mad, and to prove it I cracked open Jamie’s 15 minute meals… one of the many recipes that requires electricity!
I know it irks you when I say these things, but I had no idea what a puy lentil was, or that it was a different thing to the orange art-class lentil. I couldn’t get even a sniff of a puy lentil in Hammersmith and had to go searching. But I had the rest of the ingredients.
To make this for four you will need: 1 x 250g pack of ready-to-eat Puy Lentils, 1 heaped tsp garam masala, 400g lean mince, 3 ripe tomatoes, 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, 2 spring onions, 1 red chilli, bunch fresh coriander, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp runny honey, 2 heaped tsp Patak’s Rogan Josh Curry Paste, half a tin of coconut milk, 300g basmati rice, 5 cardamom pods, 200g green or yellow beans and 200g frozen peas. Jamie also says to use fat-free natural yoghurt, a lemon and 2 uncooked poppadoms, but I didn’t bother with those. I’m not sure how big a bunch I was supposed to get, but Sainsbury’s sold me this:
I reckon it was too big.
After trying the last two recipes from this book I decided to ditch the frantic 15 minute malarky and calm down a bit. To start with I scrunched together the lentils, garam masala, mince, with some salt and pepper. It made a brain:
I had a whole Sainsbury’s fail and could only get a 500g pack of mince (the butchers was miles away in the other direction, I still feel bad cheating on him) so it made a much larger brain than was intended. Once you have your brain, wet your hands and divide it in half and then mould each half into 6 fat fingers. They look like mice at this point, which was the exact moment my squeamish lover chose to pop into the kitchen to see how I was going. Oops.
At this point Jamie says you should put them in the pan, but to avoid burning everything I skipped that bit and skipped straight to the exciting blender bit. Speed freak.
In your powerful yet sleek liquidizer put in the tomatoes, peeled ginger, spring onions, half the chilli, the coriander stalks (although not all of them if you’ve accidentally bought a tree of it) the tumeric, honey, rogan josh paste and half the tin of coconut milk. It will look like this:
Blitz that mother down. Vroom. Now time to start cooking, calmly and serenely.
Put a tablespoon of oil in your large frying pan and turn the heat up high, then boil the kettle. When the oil is hot stick the koftas in the pan, turning them when golden. Put the rice, 2 mugs of boiling water and the cardamom pods into a medium lidded pan and the (pre-halved) beans on top. Put the lid on.
After a few minutes, give the liquidizer another quick blast, because its fun, and then pour the mix into the frying pan with the koftas. Bring it to the boil and then simmer. My pans don’t have tight fitting lids, so I had to weigh the lid down to stop the bubbly rice water from going all over my hob… which looked like this:
By now, I reckon you should be about 5 minutes before the rice is done, so open the lid of the rice pan, put the frozen peas in and give it all a good stir round. After this Jamie says you should microwave your poppadoms, but I don’t have a microwave and forgot to buy the poppadoms, so I skipped it to take pictures.
Slice the other half of the chilli and the coriander leaves to artistically scatter over the dish. Next time I make this I won’t scatter the chilli because it was really hot and gave me the hiccups.
This was the first recipe from this book that I have loved, and the first where my lover has said I can make it again.
The quantities are to serve four, and rather than mess around with halving all the quantities I made the curry for four and the rice for two (150g rice, 1 mug water, 100g beans & 100g peas) and froze half of it. It froze, defrosted and re-heated really well (although the koftas fell apart and were more like chunks than mice) so I will definitely make it again. As a bonus I can use the other half of the tin of coconut milk, the other half of the bunch of spring onions and the other half of the pack of fine beans for Nigella’s curry in a hurry (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/week-8-curry-in-a-hurry/) – no waste and I get to process stuff, Boom!
Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (Penguin 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15780-7)
There’s an awful lot of
tedious back story to this week’s new recipe; so of course I shall recount it all.
Nigella’s Barbecued Beef Mince recipe is on the page after last weeks triumphal Cheesy Chilli ( https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/week-22-cheesy-chilli/ ) and while I was cooking the chilli I kept looking at the picture of this brown stuff with nachos. Then I read it: Barbecued Beef Mince is the same thing as Sloppy Joes! I had heard of Sloppy Joes but never tried it, and didn’t know what it actually was… it’s not the sort of thing my mum would ever have made with a name like that.
So I read the recipe, realised everything needed processing together and put it aside – my luddite kitchen was not equipped with a blender. And then suddenly it was!
My lover’s boss was getting rid of his old mixer, he did this by offering it to everyone in the office, rather than putting it in a bin like any normal person. When he lugged it through the door my heart leapt; YES! I can cook all those liquidised recipes I have, and can eat meals through straws! Boom!
I skipped off into town and bought the ingredients: 1 stick celery, 3 cloves garlic, 2 onions, 150g rindless smoked streaky bacon, 2 carrots, vegetable oil, dark brown sugar (3 tablespoons, 2 in the sauce) ground cloves (pinch), ground allspice (half teaspoon) 500g beef mince, 1 can chopped tomatoes, worcestershire sauce (3 tablespoons) bourbon (3 tablespoons) and tomato puree (2 tablespoons, but you can use sundried tomato paste if you like). I was surprised how many of these ingredients I already had in my cupboard, this never would have happened in week one!
But then disaster struck… I decided to clean the mixer (it smelled like the last thing my lovers’ boss had liquidised was his underpants) and found that it didn’t work! NOOOOOOO! Faced with the prospect of Chunky Joes, I had to buy a mixer. To cut a long story short the luddite days are over at Casa Del Crump:
There’s a preamble for you. Behold my new toy; with some carrots.
The first stop in making this is to jam the carrots, celery, bacon, garlic and onions onions into the food processor and keep it spinning around until its all mushed up. Like this:
Once it’s fully blended, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottomed lidded pan and cook the orange mush for 15-20 minutes. While this is cooking, mix the can of tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, bourbon, tomato puree and add the tomato tin of cold water into a jug, and add 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar. I only had dark muscavado sugar, so mine turned out like this:
I don’t know if it’s right. It smelled kinda fishy…
After the orange mush has turned mushy-er and soft, add a pinch of ground cloves, the allspice and 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar. Give it a good stir and add the mince. At this point it will look horrible, like so:
A little like a brain. Eww. When the pink turns grey add the jug of sauce, stir it, lid it, turn the heat down low and leave it to simmer for 25 minutes. While this is simmering away you could make a start trying to scrub the carrot dye off your sexy new mixer without cutting your fingers off. Also, you can prepare your chosen serving suggestion. I decided to try it with tortillas and in a bread roll (they were left over from last weeks burger night https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/week-4-burger-night/ )
I know the dish is called Sloppy Joes, but I wasn’t prepared for it to look like this:
I’ll admit, it put me off slightly. It was like the ultimate protein shake. Worse still, buoyed by the success of last weeks chilli I made the full amount so I could freeze portions, leaving me with an enormous vat of slurry on my hob.
It has a certain taint to it. I can’t tell if it was the celery (hate celery) or the bacon/allspice but it wasn’t very nice straight from the pan. Also it was very watery, maybe I needed to simmer it longer? The bread roll wasn’t a good idea, it just got wet and my lover has a thing about wet bread.
I froze the rest of the Sloppy Joes, and had a portion on a baked potato the other day and it was much better after it had been through the freezer. If I make this again (when I have a bigger freezer) I’ll make it and freeze it straight away!
Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)