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Hi, howdy and hello. Today I’m going to keep my usual pre-recipe pre-amble down to a minimum, as I have lots of recipe goodness to type up. However, lets just see how carried away with it I get.

You see, on Monday night it was my dad’s birthday. I say Monday night, I mean, it was his birthday all of the day , all 24 hours of it, but it was Monday night when we celebrated his travelling forwards through time at a constant rate of one year… erm… per year. He turned 48, so in two years time he’ll be able to get a plethora of Parker Pens just for enquiring with various companies about life insurance. We shall never be short for pens when jotting down a number on the telephone again. That said, surely in 2 years time we’ll have microchips implanted in our brains that mean we have amazingly astonishing memory skills, and we can remember any list of things, no matter how long, to help save on both paper and Bic Biro pens?

Or is that just me going a bit doo-lally tap?

Anyway, as I was saying, it was my dad’s birthday, so I cooked tea! Hooray! So I cooked up some Moroccan Meatballs, with Harissa Roast Potatoes , and I’ll fess up right away, the roast potato recipe came from one of those cards with recipes to plug their products you pick up at Sainsburys. But I did my shopping at Morrisons. Nerr. The recipe(s) follows.

Please note that I don’t give spice measurements, as I think we’re all adult enough to choose how much we want in our food, and how not to go to the overkill.

Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with a Tomato Sauce, and Harissa Roast Potatoes

(Serves 4)

Ingredients :

For the meatballs :

  • 600g lamb mince
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 shallot, minced finely
  • Cumin seeds
  • Coriander seeds (toasted and ground)
  • Ground cinnamon (toasted and ground)
  • Dried mint
  • 2 teaspoons of harissa paste
  • Salt
  • Pepper
For the tomato sauce :
  • 2 tins of good quality chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 2 shallots, minced finely
  • 1 onion, minced finely
  • Garlic, minced finely
  • Cumin seeds (toasted and ground)
  • Coriander seeds (toasted and ground)
  • Chilli powder
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Fresh mint
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
For the harissa roasties :
  • New potatoes
  • Harissa paste
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
Method :
  1. Firstly toast off enough cumin and coriander seeds (separately) for both the meatballs and the sauce. To do this, just heat up a dry non-stick frying pan, and then once rather hot, turn off the heat, and add the cumin seeds, keep the seeds moving until you can smell them, then transfer to a pestle and mortar, and grind. Repeat process with coriander seeds.
  2. Mix together all of your meatball ingredients, adding the egg last. Using wet hands (so the mixture doesn’t stick), shape the mixture into balls, you want to end up with 12 decent sized meatballs, or if you want, 24 small ones. Leave meatballs in the fridge until needed.
  3. In a deep frying pan, heat some olive oil, gently fry the onion, and then add the shallot and garlic, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the tomato purée to the onions, stirring through until the rawness is cooked off. Then add the tinned tomatoes and the spices, including the two cinnamon sticks, and leave on a low light to simmer for half an hour at least. If it looks to be reducing too much, just add a splash of water.
  5. Whilst the tomato sauce is cooking, begin work on the roast potatoes. Slice the new potatoes so that they are all roughly the same size (leaving smaller ones whole), and in a bowl toss with a generous amount of harissa paste and an equally generous amount of olive oil.
  6. Transfer the potatoes onto a roasting tray, add slices of lemon amongst the spuds, and pop in a preheated oven at around 200 degrees C, turning throughout cooking
  7. After the potatoes have been cooking for 15minutes, add the tray of meatballs to the oven to cook for 20-25 minutes, turning over halfway through.
  8. Once the meatballs are cooked through, chop the parsley and mint (saving enough mint for decoration), and stir through the tomato sauce, and then add the meatballs, and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  9. Serve, with a scattering of finely sliced mint, and if you want some slivered almonds. I hate almonds, though, so I left them out.
Yeah, it’s really nice, so you should probably try it… the only thing is, I bought a kilogram of lamb mince… and then I had all of this mince meat left. So then the following night, I decided to make myself some lamb kofta patties. So here comes another recipe. See why I tried not to ramble on too much at the beginning?
Lamb Kofta Patties with a Cucumber and Shallot Salad
(Serves 2 as a light meal)
Ingredients :
for the kofta patties :
  • 400g lamb mince
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • Garlic, finely minced
  • Lots of fresh mint, chopped
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Toasted and ground coriander and cumin
  • Chilli powder
for the cucumber salad :
  • Cucumber
  • Fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Also, Pitta breads and Greek yoghurt for serving
Method :
  1. Halve, and slice the cucumber very finely and place in a bowl.
  2. Add the shallot, salt, pepper and mint, and stir, and leave for the flavours to marinade, and salt draw water out for an hour in the fridge.
  3. Mix all the kofta patty ingredients together in a bowl and shape into thin patties, and gently fry in a little olive oil until golden brown and cooked through.
  4. Toast some pitta breads, and put the patties inside them, with a good dollop of yoghurt.

I’m finishing this blog now. My PC has crashed twice throughout this blog, once yesterday when I started it (I’ve had to change all references of “yesterday” to “Monday night, now… grrr) as I just got sick of the internet and went to watch Masterchef : The Professionals, and the new Alan Davies comedy set in a kitchen, Whites, which is brilliant, and I recommend it!

Now it’s time to get a bacon butty, sit back and relax, and watch Monk.

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Woah, it’s been quite a whilst since my last blog, and for that I can only apologise! You may have noticed last week that there were a few guest blogs, and I hope you enjoyed them, and I did plan to return to blogging on the Friday, but unfortunately fate was determined to get me to diet somehow, and I ended up with gastroenteritis, which meant from Wednesday-Saturday I spent all day in bed, crying with pain of my kidneys trying to get rid of the nasty bug that decided to stop me eating for three whole days!!! As I said, my body was determined to get me on some kind of diet, and restore a normal sleeping pattern, and decided illness was the way forward.

Now of course, that doesn’t excuse me for no blog posts this week, but to be honest, I was still nibbling at comfort food most of this week! After being so ill, going back to food is like learning to eat again, you’re not sure what you like, so you end up sticking to bland things. However, all is better now, and on Tuesday I received a comment on my blog from a lovely researcher at ITV on my “About Punkchef” page, asking me if I would like to apply for Britain’s Best Dish! Of course I would, I was born to be a star, sweetie darlings!! I may have a face for radio, but that’s not going to stop me trying to interfere with your reception, and hopefully soon my beaming fizzog will be staring at people all across the country, so apologies in advance!

So after speaking to the people on the telephone, I had to decide what recipe I should use, should it be one I’ve already shared on the blog, the chicken and leek pie?, the mint and white chocolate mousse?, or should I do my as of yet, undocumented Chilli Con Carne? A recipe which I’ve been developing for quite some time, each time I make it I add something different, just to enhance it. “Yes!” I exclaimed, whilst sat alone in my room, to nobody, “I shall make the chilli”.

My audition is tomorrow, so please feel free to leave good luck comments. Here is the recipe, and I would like to point out, that even though it has a wide amount of spices, particularly chillies, it is not too spicy, my opinion on Chilli Con Carne, is that it’s an earthy dish first, and a spicy dish second!! The emphasis, for me, is on earthy flavours.

The Best? Chilli Con Carne

Ingredients :

  • 1kg pork mince
  • 2 cooking chorizo sausages, diced
  • 1 large spanish onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 and 1/2 chipotle chillies, finely chopped, or tbsp dried chipotle flakes
  • 3tbsp cumin
  • 2tbsp chilli powder
  • 1tbsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 6 slices of pickled jalapeños, finely chopped
  • 1 large fresh green chilli, finely chopped (seeds removed)
  • 1 tin good quality chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin pinto beans
  • 200ml red wine (I suggest something Spanish or Chilean, I used a Tempranillo, but a Rioja would also work brilliantly)
  • handful fresh coriander
  • 90%+ cocoa solids, dark chocolate
  • zest of 2 limes, juice of 1 lime
  • salt
  • pepper
  • corn or vegetable oil

Method :

  1. Add the chorizo sausage to a pan, and fry in a little vegetable oil to release spices and fats in the sausage, strain and reserve chorizo.
  2. Add the onion to the flavoured oil, and sweat over a low heat, until they have reduced to half their original volume.
  3. Add the minced garlic to the onions, and the paprika, and continue to sweat for another 10 minutes.
  4. Once the onion is thoroughly cooked, add the chipotle chilli, and increase the heat, and fry off for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the cumin and chilli powder to the onions, and fry until the spice catches the back of your throat when you breath in the aromas. This is how you know the dried spices have cooked.
  6. Return the chorizo to the onion and spice mixture, followed by the fresh chilli and jalapeños, and continue to cook over a high heat.
  7. Add the pork mince, and stir until browned, then add the wine, and leave the alcohol to cook off for a few minutes.
  8. Once the wine has cooked off, add a tin of chopped tomatoes, and a tin of pinto beans, and stir through.
  9. Chop the coriander and stir into the chilli, check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper.
  10. Grate 2-3 pieces of high quality, high cocoa percentage, dark chocolate into the chilli and allow to melt into the chilli.
  11. Finally, add the juice of a lime, and zest of 2 limes, check for seasoning once again (as the chocolate may contain a little sugar, which you may wish to combat with a little extra salt), and leave overnight, as this allows the flavours to mature.
  12. Serve with long grain rice, perhaps with some wild rice added to it.

As I said earlier in my blog, my recipe for chilli con carne focuses on the earthy flavours of cumin, and paprika, and good wine and chocolate, and although it does have a chilli kick, it’s not the main focus of the recipe. I know a lot of people claim to have “The best recipe for chilli con carne EVER”, but for a lot of people who make this claim, it’s just a synonym for “the most needlessly spicy recipe for chilli con carne EVER, where you won’t be able to taste anything else for days as your sensitive taste buds will have been rendered useless due to obscene amounts of capsicum”… and if you think I’m talking about your chilli con carne recipe here… I probably am.

Finally, I would like to add a MASSIVE, HUUUUGE “THANK YOU!!” to the very wonderful Paul Farley, the head chef at Hero Burrito, for donating me a can of chipotle chillies for my recipe, when Morrison’s decided that now would be a great time to stop selling them, which is a ball ache for me, as chipotle is a key ingredient in my recipe, and without it I would have been up a creek without a paddle! So go to their restaurant, or order a takeaway, and mention that you heard of them through me (even if you didn’t!! lol) and tell them I say thank you, again!!!

Hero Burrito : http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=145411818243&ref=ts

Anyway, wish me luck for tomorrow!!

Kris.

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Yes!! That’s what I’m having for tea tonight, no, I’m not eating the popular rock band, Weezer (see video above!), but I thought I would make a Mexican style meal of pork and beans! I love Weezer, they’re a great band… y’know, I don’t really know where I’m going with this… I’m half watching The Simpsons, half eating nachos, with jalapeños and a lime and tequila salsa, whilst half writing this blog post,… although at this point, The Great British Menu is about to start, so now I will be half watching that. I don’t know if that puts me at 2 wholes, or 1 and a half. I did fail maths at school, though… at this point, I’m going to live blog… though.

Righto, that’s the liveblog done… now for some recipe goodness!!

Mexican Pork Shnitzel, with Pinto Bean Chilli

Ingredients :

For the pork shnitzel

  • Pork shoulder steaks
  • Stale bread, crust removed
  • Cumin seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Smoked sweet paprika
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Plain flour
  • Egg

For the Pinto Bean Chilli

  • 2 tins of Pinto beans
  • 1 large onion
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Tomato puree
  • Fresh red chilli, chopped finely (seeds removed if you wish)
  • Pickled jalapeños, chopped
  • Chilli powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Smoked sweet paprika
  • Dried coriander
  • Zest and juice of one lime
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method :

  1. The first thing which needs doing, is to bash out the pork steak so it is thinner (therefore cooks quicker!), do this by laying it between two sheets of cling film and give it a good whack with something heavy. Imagine it’s your enemy’s face.
  2. Leave the pork in a fridge, so that it remains firm.
  3. At this point, begin work on the pinto bean chilli. Finely chop an onion and gently fry in a pan.
  4. Once softened, add the cumin, paprika, and chilli powder and fry out the spices until the fumes catch the back of your throat.
  5. Add the red chilli and jalapeños to the onions and spices.
  6. Add some tomato puree, and mix thoroughly into a paste consistency
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes, and mix through.
  8. Then add the pinto beans, add salt and pepper, and leave to gently simmer.
  9. Blitz the bread in a magimix until it is breadcrumbs.
  10. Gently crush all the spices in a pestle and mortar, and mix through the breadcrumbs.
  11. Dust the steak with flour, and then into an egg wash, and then in the breadcrumbs, making sure it is well coated.
  12. Fry the shnitzel in a little vegetable oil until golden brown and cooked through (remember, pork should never be overcooked!!! it can be slightly translucent in the centre)
  13. Add the zest and juice of the lime to the chilli before serving.

Pork and Beans, Mexican style

Pork and Beans, Mexican style

Look, I even did that cheffy thing, where you cut it in half, and then lay one half on top of the other! Move over Heston!!

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