Week 72: Porkholt / Perka

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…)

Week 39: Korean Fried Rice, Steak, Mushrooms & Pickles

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)

jamie 15min

Week 23: Barbecued Beef Mince

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 ( ) 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 )

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)

Week 22: Cheesy Chilli

I know I’ve done chilli before, but the book fell open at this recipe during the other week’s puttanescapades ( So I thought I’d give it a whirl, and see how it compared against the other chilli’s in my life.

It won.  This recipe actually won above all the recipes I’ve cooked in weeks!  I think after a few weeks of being an almost vegetarian, the massive amount of meat Nigella asks for gave me some sort of carnivorous euphoria.

To make this chilli (to serve 4-6),  you will need 110g chorizo, 500g beef mince, 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon (15ml) tomato puree (or sundried tomato paste – which I didn’t have), 400g can chopped tomatoes, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce, 400g can kidney beans, 2 x 125g mozzarella balls, salt, pepper and optional coriander to taste.

First up, I chopped up the chorizo and put it in the pan, then added the mince when the oil started to come out of the chorizo.

Once the mince stops looking raw, add the cocoa powder, oregano and puree/paste and mix it all up. Then add all the other ingredients (except the cheese) and bring to a bubble

Turn the heat down low and simmer for 20 minutes.  What I adore about Nigella’s Kitchen book is that she’ll give a recipe that makes for six, and then tells you which bits you can freeze/refrigerate, and tells you where to stop and freeze.  Normally I would try to halve a recipe so as just to cook for my lover and I, but this time I thought “No!  Nigella knows best!”: so I made the chilli for six and froze half of it:

When the freezer portion has been taken out of the pot, turn up the heat to get it bubbling, chop up the mozzarella and stir it in, season and stir.

I bought baked potatoes to have with this, and then when I was heating the pan to start off the chorizo I realised that I had completely forgotten to put them in the oven… so we had it with rice:


Did I mention that this is my favourite meaty chilli recipe?  I loved the Hairy Bikers Chilli from week 3 ( which is much more vegetable based; Nigella’s chilli was much less hot – no hiccups from me!  I know I said this about the week 3 chilli, but I will definitely make this again.. I just wish I had a bigger freezer!

Nigella writes much better instructions than me, so if you see a copy of Kitchen for sale anywhere buy it, and if its already sat on your bookshelf its on page 31!  YUM!

Nigella Kitchen

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)

Week 16: Steak et Frites de Legumes Racines

That is your actual French for ‘Steak and root-vegetable fries’, which is exactly what it was.

Little Paris Kitchen

My lover bought Rachel Khoo’s “The Little Paris Kitchen” about 18 months ago, and this is the first time we’ve made anything from it.  The objective for this week’s new recipe was to christen the griddle pan he bought to match the new skillet (see Periodic Pudding number 2: Tarte Tatin for a tour of my lovely new skillet).  I ended up using the skillet again.  Griddle fail.

I’ve done steak before, watery supermarket clingfilm steak, never good steak from the butchers.  If I’d done a bit of meaty research before I started I could have avoided a heart attack at the butchers.

The recipe calls for a 500g rib-eye steak, which cost me £12.00 and first refusal on my left kidney.  I didn’t realise that I could have used fillet, skirt, rump or sirloin instead – but I don’t like changing ingredients the first time I make a recipe.

The recipe also calls for ground almonds, sunflower oil, salt, pepper, a sweet potato, a parsnip and a carrot to make the root-vegetable fries.

I think it was this that attracted me to this recipe – I don’t like steak with fat chips, and I don’t have space in my tiny freezer for frozen french fries.  Also, I’ve neither owned or cooked a sweet potato before, so it was all good.

Looking back, I think I was a little too eager with my first sweet potato purchase, it took forever to cut up and then made a few too many fries – which didn’t fit onto my too-small tray.  I didn’t think this would be a problem, but it did ultimately affect the way they cooked so some were a bit soggy.

I was all ready to season and sear the steak when my lover viciously thrashed it was the rolling pin.  I was quite shocked, especially as he beat it to be bigger than the skillet… which was silly.  Apparently it was necessary, but I did wince at the thought of him knocking seven bells out of an expensive piece of meat.  But it fit in the pan (after a bit of squashing back)

I gave it about 4 minutes on each side and then put it in the oven with the fries.

steak frites 6

Without wanting to sound too conceited; it was absolutely delicious.  Who knew sweet potato fries would be so nice?  I served it with a healthy blob of my special mustard from the Scandi Kitchen, which is milder than normal Coleman’s or Dijon, so it didn’t overpower the taste of the meat.

I’ll try it again with the griddle, a less expensive cut of meat, and a smaller sweet potato.  The Little Paris Kitchen is a very good book – Rachel Khoo writes informatively about the food and cooking techniques, and makes the giant meals of French cuisine look achievable.  I already have my eye on her Clafoutis.  Oo la la la.

The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo (Penguin Books 2012 ISBN: 978-0-718-15811-8)

Week 4. Burger Night!

Who here hasn’t tossed a burger?

I must have flipped a million of them while I worked at McDonalds, but I’d never made my own.  I was having a lazy week, and while I spent the week planning to cook something else for New Recipe Night I opted for a basic, no-nonsense hamburger recipe from the Cupboard Love book.

It’s very simple.  It’s beef mince.  I went to my local butcher for some good quality mince and got stuck in and was so impressed by the burgers – I have introduced ‘burger night’ into most weeks.

burger night

To make four burgers you will need 500g of beef mince, half a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper.  Nothing else.

Combine the mince with the salt and pepper, and form in to burgers about 2mm thick.  Heat a heavy based frying pan/griddle and put the burgers on when it is searing hot.  Cook each side for about 6 minutes which leaves them a little pink in the middle – which is just perfect.

The hardest bit off this recipe is timing the oven chips and toasting the bun so everything is ready to serve at once.

I used normal white flowery baps from Sainsbury’s, lightly toasted on the cut side, oven chips (Tom Norrington-Davies recommends oven chips, although he provides a recipe if you absolutely must make your own; however I prefer Aunt Bessie’s) a slice of mature cheese from Sainsbury’s (I go for the Taw  Valley strength 4, or normal strength 5 cheddar) and some Scandinavian mustard that I picked up at the Scandi Kitchen (but French’s squirty mustard would do too).

It’s really filling and a firm favourite over the last few weeks.  Just a word about the meat you use though – I get mine from the butcher who minces it from a bit of meat while you wait (so as not to have a load of mince sat around) and when it fries there is no splatter and it has a really deep beefy flavour.  The other week I got caught out by the butcher having half day closing on Thursday and had to get the mince from the supermarket and the burgers shrank because of all the water added and as the water left the meat it splattered all over my kitchen, and didn’t taste very nice.  If you can, go to the butcher – the price is more or less the same and it’s much much tastier.

Sure burgers aren’t healthy in the classic sense of the word, but these are much better for you than buying ready made ones, or from a takeaway, so give it a go and add Burger Night to your week!


Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

cupboard love