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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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Right. I’m going to start on a MASSIVE rant. I’m not some supermarket hating, smug food writer who uses words like “bounty” to describe a lot of food, telling you to boycott supermarkets, and only get your fruit, veg and meat from farmers markets,  I’m just not that kind of writer.

It’s not that I love supermarkets, and think the sun shines out of the CEO of Tesco’s arse, either. But I do wish they would stock seasonal vegetables, such as pumpkins, when they are in season (which is a massively long one, too, as they store for ages, too!)… sadly, supermarkets only sell pumpkins about 1 week before halloween, and then come the 1st of November, you’ll not see them for another year.

Added onto that, there’s no point in buying a supermarket pumpkin. Don’t bother. They’re crap. They only sell big carving pumpkins, brilliant if you want a stupid orange face outside your front door, but crap if you want to eat it. So on that note, before you try this brilliant recipe, go to a farmers market, or a decent greengrocers, and if you can’t get a pumpkin, use a butternut sqaush, it’s still very similar!

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

(makes a huge amount)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small-medium sized pumpkin, or a large butternut squash
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large onion
  • Garlic
  • 4 french onion stock cubes (diluted to 2 litres) or good quality veg stock (2 litres)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Chilli powder
  • Turmeric
  • All Purpose Seasoning
  • Oil
  • Butter

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 150degrees c.
  2. Quarter your pumpkin, and deseed.
  3. Coat the pumpkin in a light dusting of the cumin, cinnamon, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Give a drizzle of oil, and rub in the spices.
  4. Place the pumkin in the oven and cook until nice and roasted and the flesh is fully cooked.
  5. Whilst roasting the pumpkin, chop and sweat the onions in a little oil and butter.
  6. Finely dice the potato, add to the onions, and then add a teaspoon of turmeric (this gives the soup another earthy taste, and improves the yellow colour of the soup).
  7. Add the stock to the onion and potato, and leave to simmer till the potato is fully cooked (the potato helps thicken the soup and bulk it out a little)
  8. Remove the pumpkin from the oven, allow to cool a little. Peel off the skin (best way to remove is if you pull from the pointiest corner, it should come off in one) and then add to the stock and onions.
  9. Using a hand blender or food processor, blitz the soup down and it will have a gorgeous velvety texture.
  10. Add a dash of All Purpose Seasoning*
  11. Check for seasoning, add salt and pepper if required.
  12. If adding more spice, whisk the spices in, as they will clump together otherwise!

*Why I use All Purpose Seasoning:

CONTROVERSAL STATEMENT ALERT

I use it for the MSG content. MSG is the second main ingredient in All Purpose Seasoning. There’s a big media shitstorm over MSG, basically people think it causes autism, for which there’s not enough proof for it. The other issue people take with it, is if they have a glutamate intolerance (MSG is Mono-Sodium Glutamate).  Our bodies have no problem digesting the Mono-sodium, but it’s the glutamate that we struggle with. People with a glutamate intolerance blame it on MSG, but they would also suffer with the related symptoms if they ate something with a lot of parmesan cheese, or leeks, or mushrooms, which all contain glutamate.

So chill out, use MSG if you want to, just don’t overdo it, everything in moderation, yeah?

P.S. This recipe makes a lot of soup, best invite the family and friends over to help polish it off!

Kris x

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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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So here it is, a second recipe post in one day!  I know, I spoil you! This is the point where I usually witter on about stuff, and try to be funny… but I’ve already blogged once today, and I spent all my wit on that one. A foolish move, yes, I know. I’ve just had my tea, watching Masterchef, but there’s not much funny things I can say about that. The nettle soup was nice, as was the main.

I guess I should just start talking about this lamb. Firstly, I would like to talk about cheap cuts of meat. If you know me well at all, you will know how much I love cheap, traditional cuts of meat, and when I saw breast of lamb in the supermarket, I thought, “oof, there’s a nice cheap cut of meat, ideal for slow roasting”, well here’s some news… it’s not. I would suggest any other slow roasting cut, perhaps shoulder of lamb would be ideal. It’s definitely a recipe for slow roasting though. So just bear that in mind!!

I’m going to post the two recipes as separate, just to make it easier for me.

Greek Style Minted Lamb

Ingredients :

For the marinade

  • Greek Style Yoghurt
  • Handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Obviously, a joint of lamb of your choice will be required, too.

Method :

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together. Score the lamb so that the marinade can seep into the meat.
  2. Marinate the lamb overnight.
  3. The following day, seal the lamb in a hot griddle pan, until it takes on some colour.
  4. Transfer to a pre-heated oven, at 120 degrees centigrade, for at least 2 hours. Although you can cook it for longer if you like. Maybe 3 hours at 100 degrees centigrade.
  5. Take out to rest for at least half an hour before serving, covering it with foil to retain some of the heat.

Saffron Potatoes

Ingredients :

  • Potatoes, sliced thickly (I suggest a good all rounder, nothing too floury, nothing too waxy)
  • Red onion, sliced thinly
  • Rosemary, ground with a pestle and mortar
  • A generous pinch of saffron
  • Butter!
  • Chicken stock cube
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method :

  1. Bring water with saffron and rosemary to a boil in a pan. Plunge the sliced potatoes in for ten minutes, and then remove the potato.
  2. Add the chicken stock cube to the saffron and rosemary infused water.
  3. Arrange the potato and onion in layers in a suitable dish. Season, and add a few knobs of butter to the top.
  4. Pour over the stock, to just above the top layer over potato.
  5. Cover with foil, and bake in a low oven for about 1 hour. With the foil removed for the last 20 minutes.

So there you go. Two recipes, aren’t I lovely at sharing stuff?

I’m just going to leave you with a picture of how my tea turned out tonight. Not sure when I will blog next, I may blog tomorrow, or sometime over the weekend. I just don’t know!

You can't really see in this photo, but the potatoes went a lovely golden colour from the saffron!

You can't really see in this photo, but the potatoes went a lovely golden colour from the saffron!

Till next time!

Kris,

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Right then, a few things to cover in this blog post. I’ll cover them in no particular order whatsoever, too!

Firstly is the news that I am going to be on my own this week, my dad is going holiday with his missus and her family, and I opted to stay at home (much more relaxing for me, I’m a fairly quiet person), and this gives me the opportunity to cook some tasty things that I wouldn’t normally get the chance to cook. So I pledge to put up at least three blog posts between Monday and Friday (although, if I’m too busy, I may extend that to include the weekend, to catch up, you know?). I’ve already been shopping, and some ingredients I’ve bought include breast of lamb, pork cheeks, and my personal favourite (purely because I’m rather curious about how they will go down), pig trotters!! Ahh yes, me and my love of offal, eh? I’m also planning on cooking something fishy on Friday, because, even though I’m far from being a Christian, it’s a nice tradition to eat fish on a Friday!

Secondly, I’ve come across a new blog, and I think it’s a good blog, it’s called Random Eats, Nairn (the blogger) bought 11 BBC Good Food cookbooks on Amazon. Upon realising that they just act as dust magnets, he set himself the challenge, of every weekday, having a recipe chosen at random by a colleague or friend, and that night he will cook it, and provide photographic evidence. It’s a fair good read, too!

And, as always, there’s a recipe, for spicy potato wedges. Yeah, it’s a simple one, but it was damn tasty, so I’m going to share the recipe.

Spicy Potato Wedges

Serves 1 as a snack, 2 as part of a main meal

Ingredients :

  • 3 medium sized potatoes, cut into wedges (8 wedges per spud)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground sea salt

Method :

  1. Plunge the potato wedges into a pan of boiling water, and par-boil for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain the potato wedges, and put into the pan to cool.
  3. Whilst cooling, mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Coat the potato wedges in the spice and oil mixture, be generous!.
  5. Transfer the potato wedges to a baking sheet, and bake in a pre-heated oven, at 200 degrees Celsius/Gas Mark 6, for roughly 20 minutes.

And, the reason I did this recipe, was because of one of the blog posts on Nairn’s blog, in which his random meal ended up being potato wedges and baked beans. So, I served mine up with some tinned baked beans, although mine were Branston baked beans (the baked beans of kings!!), straight from the tin. Not proper baked beans, lovingly crafted from scratch like his. It was good though. Filled a hole!

Anyway, I’m shooting off, this perry and these doughnuts aren’t going to eat and drink themselves!

Cheerio

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Last night I was looking around the fridge thinking, there’s nowt in. Sure, me and my dad went to the shops earlier that day, but all he bought was cake and bread and fruit juice. My dad is a terrible shopper, he never buys the food required for meals, he just zones in for the cake aisle straight away. This is a house that is never without cake. I don’t even care for cake that much. Anyway, so there I was looking in the fridge thinking, “what the hell am I going to have for tea?”, then suddenly, I saw, a silvery glow. Half a tin’s worth of corned beef, wrapped in foil to keep it fresh. I thought to myself “fuck it, corned beef hash it is”, and last night, I made my best corned beef hash, ever! So it seems only right that I share the recipe.

I’m going to type up this recipe as I did it last night, which served just me. If you want to serve two people, double it up.

Corned Beef Hash

Serves 1 Greedy Pigloid

Ingredients :

  • Half a tin of Corned Beef
  • 2 rashers of smoked bacon
  • 1 medium size potato
  • Tomato Puree
  • Dried Mixed Herbs
  • Cayenne Chilli Powder
  • Cumin
  • Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • 1 egg (for poaching, although if you really like eggs, go for 2, we’re not rationing them any more!)

Method :

  1. Dice the potato into small, bite sized cubes. About 2cm cubed. If you want to take out a ruler, go for it.
  2. Par boil the potato in salted water. Then drain and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Cut the bacon into lardons, and begin to fry in a little vegetable oil.
  4. Dice the corned beef to similar size as the potato.
  5. To the bacon, add a dash of cumin, as much cayenne pepper as you like, and a teaspoon or two of paprika (I go for two, I like paprika)
  6. Add the potato to the frying pan and turn hob down to medium, toss occasionally. I don’t like to stir this, as it tends to turn the hash to a more mushy consistency.
  7. Once the potatoes have taken on a little crispness and colour, add the corned beef, and turn the heat up a little.
  8. Add a dessert spoon of tomato puree and continue to toss. Allow the hash to take on a little crispness from the bottom of the frying pan before tossing each time. The crispy bits are the best.
  9. Whilst cooking the hash, poach an egg. If you don’t know how to do this, I suggest looking at Auntie Delia’s website, here.
  10. Turn the hash out onto the plate, in a mound, make a well in the top of the mound of hash, and put the poached egg into that.

I think corned beef hash goes great with white, buttered bread and tomato sauce. But you can use whatever sauce you like and if you’re feeling particularly healthy, opt for wholemeal, your body is a temple, yeah?

I suggest this is best enjoyed with a glass of Shiraz, or a crisp lager.

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