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Posts Tagged ‘onion’

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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“This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note, stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany. … It is evil things that we will be fighting against—brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution—and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.”

Neville Chamberlain – September 3rd, 1939

On September 3rd, 1939, it was announced, that Great Britain was at war with Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and life for the British was to change drastically. I am sure you are all aware of the tragedies of WWII, but I want to focus on the one part of life during wartime Britain that I have a keen interest in. Food.

During the First World War, Britain had a food crisis, in that two years into the war, we were left with only six weeks food and from therein, food had to be rationed. There was no strict plan in force, and unfortunately many measures taken towards rationing failed. During the Second World War, rationing was re-introduced just months after war was declared, in an effort to make sure that Britain had food. Infact, during the war, Britons were at their healthiest than ever, nobody ate too much fatty foods, too many carbohydrates, etc. Rationing provided everyone with a healthy, balanced diet.

Anyway, that’s enough fact regurgitating for now, I’ve got a few more blogs planned for this week, where I can share some more!

If I were to ask most people now, what they would expect ration based meals to be like, I would expect them to be suspicious of them, expecting them to be dull, and bland meals, however, I know this not to be true. Sure, life during the war was hard for everyone, but food brought people together, and when you’re limited in the kitchen, and as they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, and some great dishes were made during this time of austerity!

I’m going to share with you, a three course feast, all based on rations, and to start off with, a dish that people would have enjoyed, until 1942, when onions were rationed for two years, until 1944….

Onion Soup

Ingredients :

  • 6 onions, very thinly sliced
  • 30g butter (ration per week ranged from 227g to 57g), or margerine (ration per week ranged from 340g to 113g)
  • tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tsp sugar (ration per week ranged from 454g to 227g)
  • tbsp vinegar
  • 1 litre of beef “tea”, made from Oxo or Bovril, for authenticity
  • salt
  • pepper
  • bread (bread wasn’t rationed until after the war, but you would have been limited to “national loaf”)

Method :

  1. Place your pan on the stove, and bring to a high head, add the butter and oil.
  2. When very hot, add the thinly sliced onions and sugar, and stir for 5 minutes, until they start to take on colour.
  3. When the onions have taken on colour, reduce heat to a minimum, and leave to sweat for around 30 minutes.
  4. Return to a high heat, and then add the vinegar to the pan.
  5. Add the beef tea, and reduce to a simmer for an hour without a lid on.
  6. Adjust the seasoning with a little salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve with some bread to dunk in.

So there is your starter for your three course, wartime feast! It’s brilliant how so few ingredients, so simple, can make something both tasty, nutritious, and on a cold night during the war, warming, which would have been a welcome treat for any air raid wardens working throughout the night, in their trusty Thermos flask!

As I said, food was something that brought people together during WWII, but one other, was music. It was important to keep morale high, and the BBC, gave big band and jazz, dance music, better slots in their radio scheduling. Also, artists like George Formby (and no, I still won’t play any Fromby numbers on my ukulele!) were played. Upbeat, jaunty music kept morale high.

The reason I’m now talking about music, is that my good friend, Lorraine “Swingaroo”, is putting on a monthly event in Preston, the “Swingaroo Vintage Dancehall“, where music from the 1920’s, to the 1950’s will be played. There will be a good mix of music, from vocal harmony groups, to big bands, to rock’n’roll, and each night begins with a dance lesson, to teach you how to do The Lindy Hop, I’ll be the one flat on his face. I’m a terrible dancer.

So yeah, this is the reason for my rationing era themed week, I want to help get you “In The Mood” for the Swingaroo Vintage Dancehall, and remember… “We’ll eat again, don’t know where, don’t know when”

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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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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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I think it’s only fair that I take a break once in a while, even though this month long (almost) break wasn’t planned, I feel like I’ve earned it. It’s not as if I’ve been resting on my laurels during this break, my dad went into hospital (nothing serious, don’t worry!) so I’ve spent the past fortnight looking after him, as he had tonsils out, I was cooking, but I was cooking mush,  nothing exciting enough to blog about that. So yeah, even though I’ve enjoyed not worrying about cooking something to blog about, it’s nice to be back with a blog!

I didn’t actually expect to be back today, no. Until earlier I had no money, and no food in the house. But my dad decided to bugger off for a bit, and gave me some money to get some food, I hopped into Kirkham, and found there was a farmers and craft market in the square, and had a look around. It was pretty good, a bunch of hippy crap such as dream catchers, and joss sticks, and other crap to make people more spiritual (Ok, I’m a ruddy sceptic, get over it. But joss sticks won’t make you more spiritual, they’ll make your front room smell a bit pleasant after cooking something smelly, but that’s it)

One of the stalls was a greengrocers, a bit of a Del Boy, he bought gold for cash, heh. But on his stall he had 2 things which inspired my recipe tonight, wild garlic, and fresh beetroot! Now then, wild garlic, GET IT WHILST YOU CAN! It only has a season of about 6 weeks, and we’re currently in the 3rd week of the season! So get it whilst you can! It’s not cheap, but if you can forage it, it’s free.

So now I’ve walked the 3 mile hike up and down hills, come home, cooked my tea, and before I settle down to watch Doctor Who, I’ll share my risotto with you!

Beetroot and Wild Garlic Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 4 raw beetroots
  • Handful (6 leaves) of wild garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 250g Risotto rice
  • Splash of white wine, or dry vermouth
  • Chicken or Vegetable stock, kept warm
  • 50g Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 5 Sprigs of Thyme
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil

Method:

  1. Finely slice the onions, and gently sweat in a mixture of butter and olive oil.
  2. Add the thyme and continue to sweat down.
  3. Peel the beetroots, and dice into small cubes. Add the diced beetroot to the pan, and continue to sweat for a further 10 minutes, stirring to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the rice, and stir and gently fry for a few minutes with the onion and beetroot.
  5. Add a splash of white wine into the pan, at this point the kitchen will smell beautiful. I guarantee it.
  6. Turn the heat down to a low simmer, and slowly add the stock, ladle by ladle, stirring constantly, adding a ladle when the stock has been absorbed.
  7. When all the stock has been added to the risotto, the rice is tender, and the beetroot slightly al denté, shred the wild garlic and stir through the risotto.
  8. Grate about 30g of the Parmesan cheese and stir into the risotto.
  9. Serve with an extra grating of Parmesan on the top.

One thing I forgot to get was Lancashire Crumbly Cheese, which is brilliant, crumbled on the top of a beetroot risotto, if slightly unconventional!

Hooray for pink food!

Hooray for pink food!

Nom

Nom

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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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