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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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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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Ahh, Bank Holiday Mondays, eh?! A time for doing the gardening, and watching James Bond films and nursing a hangover… well, I’ve not done any of these. My dad decided to be a massive cliché and do gardening… for a change, but me, did I have a hangover to nurse?, alas not. I think the last time I went out was December last year, and the last time I was hungover?, not a clue. And as for James Bond, I once watched a James Bond film when I was a nipper, didn’t like it, and it’s never appealed to me. It’s a bit macho I think, and I’m far from being macho.

So I spent most of today in bed, and I’ve spent all of today in my PJ’s, surely that’s what bank holidays are for? Lazing about the house?

After being a bit of an accidental vegetarian over the weekend, having a Beetroot and Wild Garlic Risotto on Saturday, and home made Egg Fried Rice last night, I decided I needed to eat an animal, and the options were sausages (with a dubious pork quantity, my dad tends to buy crap sausages), or tinned tuna. So, tinned tuna it was. As I’ve already established, bank holidays are made for lazing about, and comfort food is the best when in this mood, so I knocked up a Tuna Pasta Bake! Hooray!!

Tuna Pasta Bake

Ingredients :

  • 1 tin of tuna chunks in oil
  • 200g pasta
  • 1/2 a pint of milk
  • 100g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • handful of chives, chopped finely
  • Worcester sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 20g butter
  • 20g flour
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • handful of crushed Soured Cream and Onion Kettle Chips (optional)

Method :

  1. Boil the pasta as to the packet instructions, but cook a few minutes under
  2. Make a roux, by gently melting the butter, and then adding the flour to the butter. The molten butter should not be too hot. Beat the roux for a few minutes with a wooden spoon, to cook out the flour.
  3. Gradually add the milk to the roux, starting with a little splash to let it down, eventually adding more each time.
  4. Allow the white sauce to thicken, and then add salt, pepper and  dash of Worcester sauce to taste.
  5. Add the chopped chives and grated cheese, and stir into the sauce.
  6. Stir the tuna through the pasta, and then add the cheese and chive sauce.
  7. Transfer the tuna pasta bake mixture into a suitable baking dish.
  8. Add a handful of crushed kettle chips, crushed for a cheeky bit of crunch, and a grating of Parmesan cheese, and bake for half an hour at around 150 degrees centigrade.

And there we go, for me the real comfort food aspect of this dish is the crushed crisps on the top of the bake!


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Yeah, so that’s the last time I consult Urban Dictionary for possible funny uses for the word “fudge”… so yeah, from my opening gambit, you may have fathomed that this post is about fudge. If that is what one fathomed, then one fathomed correctly. Here, have a piece of fudge. I’ve got loads of it.

I’ve spent all weekend (well, Friday and Saturday) making fudge. Two types. One recipe isn’t mine, one recipe is mine. Firstly I shall discuss the recipe that isn’t mine. This is a complete copy/pasta job, and I shall take no credit for it. Except when my friends eat it, and they all go “wowww, this is sooo gooooooooooood”… then I shall take all the credit I possibly can for it!

Sophie Dahl’s Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients :

  • 125g/4½oz butter
  • 500g/1lb 2oz dark brown sugar
  • 120ml/4fl oz milk
  • 250g/9oz crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds only
  • 300g/10½oz icing sugar

Method :

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar and milk, and bring to the boil for 2-3 minutes, without stirring.
  3. Remove from the heat, and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla seeds.
  4. Place the icing sugar in a large bowl, and pour the hot butter and sugar mixture on top. Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture until smooth.
  5. Pour into a 20cm/8in square baking tray, and set aside to cool slightly, then place in the fridge to chill completely.
  6. Cut the fudge into squares with a sharp knife, turn out of the tin and store in an airtight container.

Recipe taken from : http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/peanutbutterfudge_93630.shtml

So yeah, it is really nice, although as with all fudge, quite sickly. Just to finish off this bit, here is a picture of my peanut butter fudge I made…

Sophie Dahl's Peanut Butter Fudge

Sophie Dahl's Peanut Butter Fudge

As I said, not my recipe, but I thought that I should share it with you lovely, lovely people, and suggest that you give it a try, it’s a nice simple fudge recipe that doesn’t require a sugar thermometer. Which is good for me, as I still don’t own one, but I think with this new found skill of fudge making, I’m going to have to purchase one for myself.

But no!! Today’s blog doesn’t end here. How could I leave you, just reading my ramblings on, and not provide you with an original recipe? That would be morally bankrupt of me. I would go to sleep, feeling dirty, that I fobbed you off with a half hearted copy/pasta. No. I would never do that. Never ever. I’m good to my readers.

I don’t know about everyone, but I’m sure a lot of people from my parents generation (in their late 40’s/early 50’s) have one of those collections of recipes. Well, I have one. It has some old family recipes, and in it, I found a recipe for Chocolate Fudge.

I like chocolate, and fudge is a great medium for chocolate, but I thought to myself… well chocolate fudge is good, but it’s not terribly exciting. So, I took a list of basic ingredients with me into town, and began to buy them, looking out for something I could do to make it more exciting. A few of my ideas were (and bear in mind that I will do some of these when I get the ingredients)

  • Mocha Fudge (coffee and chocolate)
  • White Chocolate and Strawberry Popping Candy Fudge
  • After Dinner Mint Fudge (dark chocolate and peppermint extract)

Those were my three ideas, and yes, the Mocha and After Dinner Mint fudges were possible, but as walking through the shops I had some more grand ideas of how I could make the After Dinner Mint fudge, and decided that as nice as Mocha fudge would be, I’m not a big fan of coffee, and definitely have to be in the mood for it. And as for popping candy, it seems near impossible to find. Anywhere. Not even Hawkin’s Bazaar sold it, and they sell loads of sweets from when we were kids!!

So I did what any other 22 year old with a sweet tooth would do. I got the ingredients to make Double Chocolate Fudge! Hoorah!! Oh, and I’d advise using an electric whisk to do this. It takes a while to make even with one of those!

Double Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients :

  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 397g tin condensed milk
  • 120g dark chocolate
  • 800g icing sugar
  • bag of white chocolate chips

Method :

  1. In a large bowl, soften the butter, and then slowly beat in the condensed milk.
  2. Melt the dark chocolate, either in a bain marie, or in the microwave.
  3. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly, and then gradually beat into the butter and condensed milk.
  4. Add 200g of the icing sugar, and mix it in.
  5. Add as many white chocolate chips as you want. I went for the entire bag. Incorporate into the mixture.
  6. Gradually, add the rest of the icing sugar until it forms a dough like consistency.
  7. Pour into a suitable tin lined with a greaseproof paper, and allow to set in the fridge overnight.
  8. Dice into bite sized pieces, sit in front of the tv and scoff them.
Double Chocolate Fudge

Double Chocolate Fudge

So now it’s got me thinking, what other types of fudge can I make? The one flavour which is buzzing around in my head at the moment is a two layered fudge of Rhubarb and Custard Fudge. Which would consist of a bottom layer of bright cerise fudge flavoured with rhubarb, and a bright yellow top layer, made with none other than Birds custard. I’ve just found a website (literally, just now) which does flavours, including rhubarb flavours, and they allow up to 5 samples. I don’t know if I will get approved for some samples, but be assured that if I do get samples sent for rhubarb flavourings, there will be a blog post very shortly after I get it in the post!!

I think that’s about it for this post, and MY!! What a post. Two recipes. Loads of wittering on about fudge. Blimey.

I guess one final thing to ask, what flavours of fudge would you like to try? Answers in the comments box. You see, I’m thinking about looking into selling fudge (obviously this would require me to take a Food Safety course/exam, and for my kitchen to go under inspection to make sure that it’s safe and clean enough to use for making food to sell) but it may just be worth it!

Seriously, does anyone want a piece of fudge? I’ve got a metric shitload of it!!

Kris

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It’s been a long day for me today… I woke up early this morning, felt ill. Went for a job interview in Kirkham, continued to feel ill. Had to spend an hour waiting for the bus to come home, feeling ill. Begin to cook food for tea tonight, whilst feeling ill.

Safe to say, today was not a day I wanted to cook. That’s the last thing I want to be doing today. I want to curl up in a ball and just nibble on pizza, or turkey dippers… or anything that is just a case of warming up in the oven. But no. The bus driver had to mug me of my remaining money to get to this job interview. £4!!!! FOUR FUCKING POUNDS for a return journey that doesn’t even hit 4 miles each way! So, here I am, feeling rotten, and having to cook something with what store cupboard ingredients I had.

Anyway, I’m going to pre-empt the recipe with a safety warning…

DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS RECIPE IF YOU ARE READING IT NOW, AND THINKING “HEY I CAN MAKE THAT TONIGHT”… YOU CAN’T. IT WILL TAKE A FUCKING LIFETIME. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS RECIPE IF YOU HAVE A BACK CONDITION. YOU WILL SPEND A FUCKING LIFETIME HOVERING OVER THE HOB, AND THIS WILL ONLY MAKE IT WORSE. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS RECIPE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, OR PLANNING TO GET PREGNANT WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS, AS YOU WILL PROBABLY GIVE BIRTH BEFORE THE FIRST STAGE IS COMPLETE.

So with all that build up, why is it such a bastard, I hear you say. Well, I’ll explain as the recipe goes along…

Cheese and Onion Pie

Serves 4 generous portions, can feed about 8 though if you want

Ingredients :

  • 150g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 50g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 medium sized onions, sliced
  • 2 medium sized potatoes, sliced as fine as possible
  • Milk
  • Plain flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Shortcrust pastry mixture

Method :

  1. Begin to caramelise the onions. This will take a good proportion of your life. You need to cook them on the lowest possible light on your hob. For me, it’s taken 1 and a half hours.
  2. Whilst the onions are caramelising, make the shortcrust pastry as the packet suggests, but add the grated pamersan to the mix too…if you’re a clever sod, make your pastry from scratch. I’m ill, I’m taking liberties and cheating. Put the pastry in the fridge to cool down once made.
  3. Boil the potatoes in some salted water for around 8 minutes, then drain and leave to cool
  4. Once the onions have finally caramelised, add a tablespoon of flour to the onions, stir through them, and allow to cook through. Then add milk. This is one of those times when you need to guess how much to add. Just add milk, and stir until it is of a nice sauce consistency.
  5. Add the cheese to the onion and milk, and stir until molten. Then add the sliced potatoes, and gently stir into the filling mixture. Leave to cool slightly.
  6. Whilst the filling is cooling, roll out the pastry for the base of the pie, and line a pie case/tray/whatever. Prick with a fork, blind bake and blast in the oven for about 10 minutes.
  7. When removed from the oven, allow to cool slightly, and add the filling.
  8. Roll out the pastry for the lid, and place on top of the pie. Remember to make a few holes for steam to escape from the pie!! If you fancy it, and I do suggest it, give the pie an eggy wash (phrase (c)opyright “The Hairy Bikers”)
  9. Bake the pie in the oven for around 30-45 minutes, at 200 degrees Celsius/Gas Mark 6. Or until the pastry is cooked and golden.
  10. Serve it up with some Vichy carrots and savoy cabbage.

Unfortunately, I’m not that hungry today, I think I’m going to have a lot of leftover pie, so if anybody wants some pie, feel free to come round mine!!.

Right, off to finish off the cooking…

An update with some pictures, it was tasty!! Got three quarters of the pie left if anybody wants some…

3.14225% of pi

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Rice Puddin’

Rice pudding, I used to bloody hate the stuff when I was younger… I guess I was spoilt by getting to experience my nan’s homemade rice pudding, which then just raised the bar for all following attempts, and they never quite matched up, leading me to avoid the stuff like the plague, however, whilst reading Hugh Fearnly’s book, “The River Cottage Year” on Saturday night, during a moment of boredom as my laptop was playing up and there was nothing on TV, I came across this recipe, and Hugh was the same as me, he used to bloody hate the stuff, so I put my faith in him, got the ingredients together and gave it a bash… and I tell you what, it’s bloody lovely!! (Though I’ll still never go back to the tinned crap!)

Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall’s Rice Pudding

Ingredients :

  • 100g Pudding Rice
  • 50g Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 500ml Single Cream
  • 500ml Full Fat Milk
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • A grating of nutmeg
  1. Preheat the oven at 140degrees C/Gas Mark
  2. Melt the unsalted butter in a pan over a gentle heat, and make sure it doesn’t get too hot.
  3. Add the pudding rice, and stir so that the rice is coated with butter.
  4. Add the cream, milk and sugar and simmer for 10 minutes on a very low heat.
  5. Whilst mixture is simmering, butter an ovenproof dish to cook the rice pudding in.
  6. Transfer mixture to ovenproof dish, grate nutmeg over the top, and put in the oven for 3 hours, stirring every half hour to break up the rice.
  7. Serve with whatever your favourite topping, be it jam, chocolate, marmalade, fresh fruit, whatever takes your fancy!!

Happy eatings!

Kris

p.s. I would put photos up, but I don’t have a camera at the moment, next time I make this I will update this blog post with a picture!!

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