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Hello and welcome to the second instalment in my week of guest blogs, today we have my favourite London raggapunk, Asher from the Spontaneous Operatic blog, here to share with you food he grew up with, and still makes regularly to this day!

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Groovin’ out on life: Jamaican Patties

Wow, would you look at that. You’ve just started reading a food blog written by a Northern punk with a palette for absolutely everything (except ready meals), and suddenly this other, completely unknown raggapunk urchin from the dirty South (… alright, London town) rocks up to spoil the party. My name’s Asher, and I’m black. I also like food. Confused yet? You shouldn’t be, really. I’m just guest-blogging as a means of doing something other than soul-destroying exams. Basically, I’m avoiding revision. Fun times.
Well, this week we have a sort of treat for you, I suppose. But it’s not really a treat, because you still have to make it yourself in order to eat it. But it’s quite easy, I mean… I can do it. And I can’t really do much of anything. This recipe is one from my childhood, I might have been born in London, but I’m more cultured than a rastaman wi’ dem drum ‘at inna’ yard drink a Guinness punch. If you didn’t understand that, basically, I can cook all the Jamaican food my mother used to make. And this week, I’ve made some Jamaican patties. Ease up now. Taken from a place even further south than me, Cornwall – the Cornish pasty – the Jamaican pattie is essentially a cross between the pastry Devon wishes it could make and the Caribbean equivalent of a burger. Only, it’s much tastier than both of these. Jamaican patties sell in Caribbean bakeries around the various “black” areas of London (such as Peckham, Brixton and Camberwell) for over £1 a pop. That’s a rip off, don’t pay those prices, you can make 20 or more, depending on how well you can roll the dough, for much less.
Ingredients :

For the pastry :
  • 450g Flour
  • 255g Butter
  • 6tbsp Water
  • 3tbsp Ground Turmeric/Haldi
  • 2tsp Salt
  • 1 egg or 100ml milk

For the filling :

  • 500g Mince (can be beef or lamb, I prefer lamb but I use beef because it doesn’t go stodgy and fatty when cold.)
  • 2 Pointed peppers (or several baby peppers – sweeter the better)
  • 1 Scotch bonnet chilli pepper (I sometimes use two, depends on how spicy you like it.)
  • 1 Large onion
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 3-4 Scallions (Spring Onions)
  • Sprigs of thyme
  • Allspice/pimento seeds (I have them in a grinder)
  • Stock cube
  • 1 pint boiling water
  • Tomatoes
  • 3tbsp olive oil

Some things I add sometimes :

  • Grated root ginger
  • Jerk seasoning
  • Grated sweet potato

Method : (Delivered in Asher’s unique style!, Kris)

So, what you want to do after washing your hands is measure out your flour and add the turmeric and salt to it. Then sift it to get rid of the lumps. Leave the butter to rest on the side until it’s a bit softer, then cube it and add it to the flour mix. You can either work through it with your hands repeatedly (squeeze!) or you can be lazy and use a food processor. After I started making these at ridiculously industrial levels (I’m lying.. about 40 at a time), I started to favour the food processor, and it does get the pastry to a nice consistency. Once you’ve worked the flour and butter into breadcrumbs, add your water a bit at a time and knead it until it all sticks together. Or just add the water and blitz it in your food processor. Either way, if you find it’s too sticky, add some more flour, a bit at a time. If you find it’s not sticking together, slowly add some more water. Once it is ready, you’ll notice the ball of dough is a yellow colour. That’s the turmeric. It’s how people can tell you’ve made Jamaican patties, and not Cornish pasties. Racist? I think so. Wrap the dough up in clingfilm and put it in the fridge whilst you get on with this next bit.
This is how the pastry should look when rolled out

This is how the pastry should look when rolled out

You’ll wanna’ clean the side and dry it – it will need to dry completely whilst your dough is standing in the fridge so that none of it gets stuck when you’re rolling it later. Oh, I forgot everyone else has massive kitchens with more than one side to use. Nevermind. What you’ll want to do next is heat your oil in a pan (I prefer a proper saucepan, you can do it in a frying pan or wok, but if you’re anything like me, it will fall out over the sides later). Once it’s smokin’ a lickle bit, reduce the heat and break up your mince. Put it in the pan. Hear that sizzle? Cry as it spits at you, then turn the heat down some more because that means it’s too high. Break up the mince in the pan with a spatula, make sure none of it clumps together – rubbery mince is horrible. Brown the mince slowly, but whilst keeping a close eye on it, chop up the onion and put it in with the mince as it browns, You want to finely chop everything, this isn’t vegetable stew we’re making. Cut the top off the scotch bonnet and deseed it (don’t touch the seeds! If you get your fingers in your eyes they will burn you!) by poking or dragging them out into the bin with a small knife. Finely chop the scotch bonnet (proper finely – you don’t want a chunk of that bad boy turning up), and finely chop the other veggies except for the scallions. Put all of them in the pot with the thyme and the allspice and keep stirring it at a low heat.
Boil up a pint of water, add it to your stock cube. Use lamb stock or beef stock respective of your mince. Add the stock to the saucepan and stir it, wait for the stock to be absorbed before you stop stirring. Add about a cup more water and simmer it until the water has reduced down. Add the scallions and stir them in. Taste it to see if you like it. Cry if you don’t like it. Tell all your friends you have tasty food and they don’t if you do like it. Delight in their dismay. Tell your mum about it and be annoyed as she picks at it whilst you do the next step.
Filling for the patties, simmering away

Filling for the patties, simmering away

Leave the filling to cool down with a lid on it. That won’t stop your mum, but it keeps flies and whatever else out of it. Once it has cooled down, get your dough out of the fridge and unwrap it. Cut the ball of dough into four quarters. Roll one quarter in your hands for a bit until it’s a bit easier to manipulate, but don’t get it hot – hot dough doesn’t like you. Stop beating away your mum’s hand from the pot with your trusty rolling pin and use it to roll the dough with flour underneath and a bit on top of the dough to keep it from sticking. When you roll the dough, turn it around occasionally to stop it from sticking. Roll it to about the thickness of a pound coin. With a quarter of a ball, you should be able to get 5 rounds, but you might have to reroll the bits and bobs. Cut around a saucer with a knife to make a circle of dough. Cut many of these out and put them aside. Put some greaseproof paper onto a baking tray and preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. I’m not sure what this is in gas marks, because we bought a gas oven so we’d have gas marks, and for some reason, it uses temperatures in degrees. I think it might be gas mark six, but don’t quote me on that.
Put a generous dollop of mixture onto a round, just off-center, making sure it doesn’t touch the edge. Dip your fingers (after you’ve washed them, you filthy bastard) into some cold water, and run them around the edge of the round. Fold the round over, press it down a bit to form a seal, then use a fork to secure the seal and make a pattern around the edge. Then use the same fork to poke two holes in the top of the pattie for ventilation purposes. Fans of microwave dinners, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Just don’t stab the shit out of it.
Haha, shit stabber.
Once you’ve got a trayful of patties, get a small pastry brush and brush them with milk or egg. Or both. Just a bit though, you don’t want them being soggy. Slap them in the oven for 20 minutes. Make another trayful whilst you’re waiting. When the patties are cooked, they should be a shiny golden yellow colour. Take them out and they will harden once you leave them to cool down on a wire rack or something. Then eat them. Not all of them, leave some for mum. And that’s all there is to it!
Asher Baker, artisan baker

Asher Baker, artisan baker

Rolling the pastry was the hardest part for me, initially, getting it the right thickness and making sure it didn’t tear because it was too thin. If in doubt, make it a bit thicker than a pound coin to start with, you’ll soon get the hang of it. Remember to clean up once you’ve finished, or else mum will be cross with you. Then take the patties to a Sonic Boom Six gig, and feed them to Laila K to make her fat. The system works.
If you do make these patties, let me know! I would like to know if anyone has any alternative fillings they like to put in! Sometimes I like to use ackee and saltfish instead, but that’s a recipe for another day.
All fruits ripe, Punkchef. Bless.

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This week I’m not going to be blogging very much myself, so I’ve arranged for a couple of guest blogs this week from my friends!! Indra is a good friend of mine, and writes The Blog of an Amateur Gardener, and would like to share her recipe for revenge on the dandelion!!!

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Ok, so guest blogging! Well, I’m Indra and I’m a gardener, and I did some baking and this crossed over our blogs, so here I am! *waves*

So, what have I been doing? Well, I have been eating dandelions, of course! Yes, people those annoying weeds are edible!
You can eat the leaves, however this is not the time of the year to be nomming down on them, they are terribly bitter at the moment. However, you can eat the flowers. They can be pulled apart and sprinkled on salads, or you can make fritters from them. But how do I do this Indra? Well, you follow this recipe, of course 😀
Remember to try and pick your dandelions from areas away from pollution and dog wee!
If you would like to read more of my garden related rambellings you can read my blog at http://amateurgardenerblog.wordpress.com/

Dandelion Fritters

Ingredients :

  • 55g /2oz flour (gluten free can be made from a mix of cornflour, gram flour and rice flour, using a 1:1:1 ratio)
  • dandelion flowers
  • 1 egg beaten
  • pinch of salt
  • water
  • butter/marg, for frying

Method :

  1. Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the beaten egg to form a stiff thick dough like batter.
  2. Slowly add the water a little at a time, stirring well each time, until it goes to a thin batter
  3. Heat butter/marg in frying pan.
  4. Dip the flowers into the batter, and fry in pan until golden brown.
  5. Serve.

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I’d like to just thank Indra again for contributing again, and remind you that you can find a link to her blog on the blog roll on the right hand side of this page!!

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Well, after staying up till the small hours, following the election coverage, I’ve been shattered all day, yet, because I’m so nice, I’ve pushed myself to cook something tasty and then blog about it for you all. I’m generous like that. Yes, I’ll work myself into an early grave just so I can get another blog out. Such is my addiction to writing this blog!

I spent ages mooching around Preston today, looking in the market, at all the stalls, had a couple of oysters at one of the stalls, that was lovely. I gave in, went to the library to look through some cookbooks to try and inspire me, went out with no inspiration, and inspiration finally struck when I was stood at a greengrocers, next to a butchers. The two things I saw at the same time, leek and chicken. So it was decided, Chicken and Leek Pie should be my tea tonight!

I know people will complain, just like when I made the Cheese and Onion Pie, but I didn’t make the pastry from scratch. I’m far too tired to much about with all that effort. I just got shortcrust pastry mince from the weigh and save shop in Preston. Nice guy, but tried to get me to buy carrot cake mix. I know it’s kinda hypocritical from someone using instant pastry mix, but I’ll not buy instant cake mix to which I only have to add water. He said that if I made it, I would just have to invite a girl round for the carrot cake, and she’d be mine… so if any girls fancy some carrot cake, leave a comment! 😉

Chicken and Leek Pie

Ingredients :

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 pint of milk
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • bay leaf
  • sprigs of thyme
  • sprigs of marjoram
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 20g butter
  • 20g plain flour
  • shortcrust pastry (either home made, ready made, or instant pastry mix)
  • 1 egg

Method :

  1. Place the chicken thighs in a pan, with the onion, bay leaf, thyme, and marjoram. Cover with a pint of milk, and simmer for an hour on the lowest light possible (to avoid the milk catching) with a lid on.
  2. Whilst the chicken thighs are poaching, slice and sweat the leeks in a little oil and butter. Season with salt and lots of black pepper. Once sweated, drain from the oil and butter, and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Remove the chicken thighs from the poaching milk, and shred, discarding the skin.
  4. Strain the herbs and onion from the poaching milk into a jug, skim as much of the fat which will settle at the top as possible.
  5. Make a roux, by gently melting the butter, and then adding the flour, beating vigorously to cook out the flour.
  6. Gradually add the poaching milk to the roux, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Check for seasoning, chicken and leek go well with a good bit of black pepper. Add some more marjoram.
  7. Line a pie dish with the shortcrust pastry, and add the chicken and leek filling. Then pour over the white sauce.
  8. Add a pastry lid, slash so that the steam can escape.
  9. Whisk an egg , and then use to glaze the pastry.
  10. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes at 200 degrees celsius/gas mark 4.

I’m having mine with chips, if I was feeling less tired, I’d probably make some mash and serve it with some asparagus… infact, when I made the cheese and onion pie, I was tired then, too! Hmm, I keep doing this to myself.

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Wow, after all the hype, scandals, name calling and televised debates, it’s finally Election Day, or as I like to know it, National Not Voting Conservative Day (yeah, I’m a bleeding-heart, liberal!), most of us have been out to make our votes, even though Rupert Murdoch (boooo, hissss) has already told us how to vote, through owning far too many media companies than one man should be allowed. Knowing my luck he owns WordPress, and I’ll come to my blog in a short while, and find it heavily censored, but enough about politics, lets talk about food.

During the American election coverage (ok, I promise I’ll stop talking about politics soon), me and a couple of friends stayed up all night to follow it, with pizza and booze, and for the UK General Election, I thought I would go one better, and make food from scratch for it… well, yeah, I’m still having a shop bought pizza, but I’m terrible at making pizza, so there! But cookies, I’ve not made cookies in ages, and I decided that’s what I should make.

I instantly thought, “Smarties Cookies”, it’s one of my favourite things about getting a meal deal at Subway, the Smarties Cookies!! So tasty, and chewy and best when slightly warm. So off I popped to the village shop, they sell Smarties, surely, I’ve seen them there before… heh, I wish. The one day when I want a few tubes of Smarties… they don’t have any.

But no!, Lady Luck was on my side, as I saw in the corner of my eye, a choir of angels began to sing, as I spotted a big family pack of M&M’s! Hooray! All was not lost, and I can tell you, I walked home with a spring in my step after being rescued by Mars Inc.

Election Day Cookies, in the blue cookie, Conservatives, in the red cookie, Labour, and in the orange cookie, Liberal Democrats

Election Day Cookies, in the blue cookie, Conservatives, in the red cookie, Labour, and in the orange cookie, Liberal Democrats

Election Day M&M Cookies

Ingredients :

  • 345g plain flour
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 250g butter (softened)
  • 185g bag of Chocolate M&M’s
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2tsp of baking powder

Method :

  1. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar together until it goes pale.
  3. Once pale, beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  4. Gradually beat the dry ingredients in to the butter and egg mixture, until it forms a stiff dough.
  5. Stir the M&M’s into the cookie dough.
  6. Roll into small balls, and place on a baking tray with baking parchment, leaving enough room for them to expand (and they will!)
  7. Bake at 20o degrees centigrade for 10 minutes (or until golden), reduce the heat accordingly for fan assisted ovens.
  8. When taken out of the oven, give the tray with the cookies on it a gentle slam onto a hard surface, to knock the air out, and make the M&M’s more pronounced
  9. Leave on trays to stiffen slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  10. Make sure you try at least one whilst still warm, as this is when all cookies are at their best (although they’re just as good cold!)
About to take the first bite

About to take the first bite

Yummy

Yummy

Met with approval!

Met with approval!

BLOG UPDATE!! Friends have accused me of bias towards the big three parties, and insisted that I created a cookie which represented the fascist BNP… so here, I give you… “THE BNP BISCUIT!!”

"Racially Pure" cookie

"Racially Pure" cookie

NOT met with approval

NOT met with approval*

*actually, it’s still a nice cookie, but for the purposes of political commentary, a cookie representing the fascist BNP could never be met with approval, could it?

In the next blog, I promise there won’t be as much politics!! I swear!

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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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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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