Posts Tagged ‘mint’

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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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!!


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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!


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