Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pepper’

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

Read Full Post »

“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”

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

I’d wager that a lot of people around the country, in particular those in the midlands and the south had never heard of parched peas until Johnnie Mountain cooked them on Great British Menu, with his rabbit pudding and gravy. Parched peas a practically a delicacy in the north west, and I have great memories of eating them at bonfire night celebrations, and in Garstang Victorian Christmas Festival when I was younger, and my dad helped a friend with a fairground organ.

It’s a nostalgic flavour, and the smell of my kitchen at the moment is brilliant! If you were to visit Preston, you would find a stall on the Flag Market selling baked potatoes, and  parched peas, sometimes the queue can be as long as 10 minutes, yet nobody is ever put off!

Parched Peas

Ingredients :

  • dried parching peas (also known as Maple or Black peas)
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • salt
  • vinegar
  • butter

Method :

  1. Soak the peas overnight in a bowl of cold water, with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
  2. The following day, drain the peas, and rinse them under some running water.
  3. Transfer the peas to a large pan, and cover with enough with cold water, bring up to the boil, and boil for 20minutes, then reduce to a simmer, for at least an hour, until the peas go soft.
  4. Drain the peas, and bake in the oven for 5mins at 20 degrees centigrade, until some of the peas have split open.
  5. Serve in a white mug, with a knob of butter, and PLENTY of salt and vinegar.

Seriously, parched peas are not a dish for those worried about their sodium intake

To continue the retro feel, I used the chintziest bowl in the world

To continue the retro feel, I used the chintziest bowl in the world

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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!


Read Full Post »

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!!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »