An Unexpected… Pudding

It was a nice sunny day in the summer holidays. We had said our good-byes a few days before to our child from Belarus that had been staying with us for a few weeks healthy respite. So it was just Us and our Kids. Time to chill out and relax.

Blackberry Frangipane

Our Kids had been eager to get their bikes out and have a ride around the local park. And that’s exactly what we did!

Off we set along with a bag of stale bread to throw to the ducks.

Our Kids had a good ride, plenty of exercise and fresh air on their bikes and the ducks were well stuffed.

On the way back home we decided to do a bit of foraging. On the way into the heart of the park we had noticed a patch of brambles with a few Blackberries peeking out that maybe warranted further investigation. And I am glad we did. After 30 minutes of scrambling about in the bushes and us shouting the kids “Don’t pick the ones near the ground… a dog may have peed on them!”, we returned home with just short of a kilo of plump, juicy blackberries.

 

Blackberries

Blackberry crumble seemed like a good idea but then I remembered I had a bit of leftover shortcrust pastry in the fridge but only enough for a base. Hmmm, what to do?

I’m pretty sure someone (Kit!…She has all the good ideas….) mentioned ” Bakewell tart but with blackberries” and there it was. Decision made.

 

 

I can’t call it Blackberry Bakewell tart though because to be honest it bears no resemblance to a Bakewell Tart!

 

So here is my recipe for:-

 

Blackberry Frangipane Tart.

 

Ingredients for 1 large or 2 smaller tarts

 

Shortcrust pastry (500g/1lb) Click the link for a recipe.Tart Case

Strawberry Jam (enough to coat the bottom of your tart… Ooo er!)

Blackberries (700 – 800g)

Caster sugar for sprinkling over the tart.

 

 

For the Frangipane:

100g/4oz butter at room temperature

100g/4oz caster sugar

2 medium eggs, beatenBlackberry Frangipane

100g/4oz ground almonds

30g/1oz self raising flour (a traditional frangipane uses plain but I wanted mine to rise into the blackberries)

 

To Make

Roll out your pastry to about 1/4″ thick and line a well greased flan tin/dish with it.

Slap on a good dollop of strawberry jam and spread to cover the base of the tart.

Blackberry Frangipane

To make the frangipane cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs and then stir in the ground almonds and flour.

Spread the frangipane on top of the jam.Blackberry Frangipane

cover the frangipane with the blackberries and sprinkle with caster sugar.

 

Blackberry Frangipane 7Blackberry Frangipane

Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/gas mark 6 for 40 – 50 minutes.

 

Let the tart cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. We had ours with some ‘Ome Made vanilla and Strawberry ripple ice cream. The leftover tart was nice cold, straight from the fridge.

 

Blackberry Frangipane

 

I’m writing this and It’s making me realise… we are very, very lucky in this country.

Sometimes I don’t think we realise just how lucky we are?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Ome Made Mild Curry Masala

The first ‘Ome Made products have finally gone on sale. Mike at Bradway Quality meats is the very first stockist, and after all his help and support it seems quite fitting!Curry Masala 1

Hopefully the first products to buy on www.omemade.com will be available very soon.

One of the first products available will be the ‘Ome Made Mild Curry Masala.

I started making my own curry masalas when I was a teenager. Over the years I have made modifications and finally ended up with something that is a perfect base for almost any curry.

There are some eighteen spices and herbs that go into ‘Ome Made Mild Curry Masala. The whole spices such as cumin and coriander (and a little Basmati rice to help thicken the sauce) are gently roasted before being ground to release the natural oils within the spices and give a greater depth of flavour.

Once the whole spices and rice are roasted and ground, they are combined with the other ingredients.

A little Gram flour goes into the mix to help thicken your sauce and a little salt to help blend the spices.

Compared with other curry powders on the market ‘Ome Made Mild Curry Masala contains very little salt and no flour to bulk it out, which also makes it suitable for a Gluten Free diet.

Only a little chilli is added so it’s suitable for those that don’t like to much heat. If I want a hot curry I just add fresh chillies or more chilli powder.

One heaped teaspoon per portion or a tablespoon for four portions is generally the right amount. Just fry in a little oil or ghee along with some onion, garlic and ginger before adding the rest of your ingredients.

You can find recipes using ‘Ome Made Mild Curry Masala here: www.omemade.com/ome-made-curry-secret-ii

'Ome made Curry

‘Ome Made Kebab

Ome Made Kebab

‘Ome Made Kebab

 

I have been fond of kebabs since my beer swilling teenage years… You could not beat that garlicky, salty meat stuffed into a pita with slice cabbage, grated carrot, raw onion, sliced tomato and cucumber then drizzled with lemon juice, yoghurt & mint and hot chilli sauce after a night out on the beer!

Of course once I had kids, nights out were a thing of the past and a greasy donner kebab became something I’d have once in a blue moon.

And then I noticed that when I was having them I was enjoying them less and less. The meat seemed to have less flavour, you got less salad,yoghurt and mint seemed to not be an option and ask for lemon juice and you got funny looks. And why can’t you get a kebab in a pita anymore?kebab 3

It seems that a lot of takeaways standards have dropped these days. And to be fair there is a lot of dubious establishments out there selling things they shouldn’t be to make a bigger profit. Not that I want to tar all takeaways with the same brush… there are of course some excellent takeaways out there.

The thing is, sometimes you just fancy a kebab. So it’s handy to be able to make your own.

If I had my way I would have a big rotisserie spit in one corner of the kitchen but I don’t think Kit would approve!

kebab 4

 

So how do you get something that tastes and has the texture of a Donner meat?

I’ve found the best method is what I refer to as ‘The Big Sausage’ method!

kebab 2

So here’s how you make it;

You will need

1 kilo lamb mince (or beef, or a mixture)

3-4 cloves of crushed garlic

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Plenty of black pepper

1/2 tablespoon oil

Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. The best way to mix is with your hands, so get in there and give it a good squish. The more like a paste you can get it the better.

Once all the ingredients are well combined get a large sheet of greaseproof paper and a large sheet of tinfoil.

Lay the greaseproof paper on top of the tinfoil and then get your meat mixture and lay it out in a line, round about 12” long. Now mold the meat into a ‘Big Sausage’ shape. Once you have a rough sausage shape you can roll it in the greaseproof paper to get it nice and round and compact. Wrap your ‘Big Sausage’ in the greaseproof and then the tinfoil. Lay the package on a baking sheet or dish (some juices may escape) and put in an oven at about 165°C (145°C for fan assisted)for around 80 – 90 minutes.

The meat will now be cooked. To serve slice the meat thinly and place on a baking sheet before giving it a flash under a hot grill.Ome Made Kebab

Gigantic Naan Bread

The meat can then be served in a pita bread with Turkish Salad, yoghurt and mint and of course a good dollop of chilli sauce (preferably ‘Ome Made!) or as I’ve done here in a gigantic Naan bread which is then rolled up and sliced (and by the way if you wrap it tightly in cling film and put in the refrigerator overnight, it slices really nice and is ideal served cold on a picnic or as pack-up).

kebab pack-up

 

Easter Thai Time!

 

Easter Thai Time!

So for Easter Sunday this year we decided to have Thai.thai fish cakes

 We were having friends and Family around for Dinner so we decided to keep it simple.

 So of course it had to be Thai Fishcakes and the ubiquitous Thai Green Chicken Curry. These were complimented by some nice crunchy pickled vegetables, cucumber sauce and Thai sweet chilli sauce.

The fishcakes were made a couple of days beforehand and re-heated in the oven for 35 minutes beforehand, they reheated really well and saved time on the day. The Thai green curry paste was also made in advance to save time.

thai fish cakes

Unfortunately there are no pictures of the Thai Green Chicken Curry (I’ve put one in of a previous creation) but I’ve included the recipe anyway for anyone that wants a go.

First up the pastes. These will make more than you need but if you fry them in some oil and put them in sterilised jars they will keep in the fridge for six weeks or so. By the way if you’re one of those Veggie or Vegan types you can omit the shrimp paste.

 

Thai Green Curry Paste

 

Makes 180g/6oz

 

2 teaspoons coriander seeds (or two level teaspoons ground coriander)

18 small, hot green chilli peppers

2 stems of lemongrass

3 tablespoon galangal sliced (or ginger)

1 tablespoon kaffir (if you can get them, normal if not) lime zest

30g/1oz coriander (if you can get it with the root on add that too)

6 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped

60g/2oz shallots or onion chopped

1 tablespoon shrimp paste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon ground white pepper (yes you can substitute black but white gives a truer and better flavour)

 

Add all the ingredients (starting with the hardest first) into a food processor or wet grinder and blitz to a smooth paste adding a little oil if necessary.

 

Thai Red Curry Paste

 

10 – 15 dried red chillies (soaked in hot water for twenty minutes or so)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 stems lemongrass sliced

6 cloves garlic peeled and sliced

60g/2oz shallots or onion sliced

3 tablespoon galangal or ginger sliced

1 1/2 tablespoon shrimp paste

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground white pepper

 

add all the ingredients into a food processor or wet grinder and blitz to a smooth paste as above.

 

Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Man Pla)

 

this makes approximately 22

375g/13oz white fish (haddock, cod, Pollock!)

1 large squid tubeCurlyE Mixing

1/4 portion of red curry paste (roughly a tablespoon)

1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon softened palm sugar or dark brown sugar

2 kaffir lime leaves soaked in hot water

55g/2oz  yard-long beans (or any round green bean) cut into thin slices

1 small egg beaten

 

Prepare the fish and squid taking the bones and skin off the fish and removing the backbone, beak and intestines from the squid then rinsing. Roughly chop and process the fish in batches into a smooth paste. CurlyE was helping me with this – “Urgghhh! that looks like snot!” to be fair he was right! Mix in the other ingredients with just enough egg to bind without being sloppy.

thai fish cakes

 

Form the mixture into balls using about a dessert spoon of mixture for each one (having a bowl of cold water and keeping your hands wet will stop the mixture sticking to your hands). Flatten your balls into disks about 5mm thick.

 

place the fishcakes on greaseproof paper on a tray (if all the ingredients were fresh and not previously frozen they can be flash frozen at this stage).

thai fish cakes

To cook from fresh deep fry for approximately 3 minutes, from frozen give them about 4 – 5 minutes.

 

 

Pickled Vegetablespickled veg

 

We love pickled vegetables in our house. They make a lovely side dish to all South East Asian food. Even a bit of poached chicken on some plain boiled rice is livened up and made into a tasty refreshing dish with the addition of them.

 

The choice of vegetable is up to you. In this instance we used baby sweet corn, onion, carrot strips, white cabbage and some green beans. We also did one jar with some sliced chilli in, some like it hot! The pickling liquor is quite light, so these will not keep for months but they should keep for a couple weeks in the fridge.

 

To make your pickling liquor you want roughly 50/50 vinegar to water, some sugar to taste and some bits n bobs in it to flavour (Lemongrass trimmings, coriander seeds, garlic, ginger or whatever takes your fancy).

Simmer the mixture for 20 – 30 minutes until the sugar has melted and the flavours have infused the liquor.

pickled veg 2pickled veg

pickled veg

 

 

 

 

Prepare your veg and place in a colander over a bowl. sprinkle with salt, give it a toss and leave for 20 minutes to draw some of the water out. after twenty minutes give the veg a rinse, drain and then put in clean jars (sterilised if not using within a week). Strain your vinegar liquor while still hot and pour over the vegetables to cover. It will be ready after 24 hours.

 

Sorry it’s not much of a recipe but it’s just one of those things I do on the fly!

 

 

Sweet Chilli/Cucumber sauce

 

In a pan put 175ml/6 fl oz water, 250g/9 oz sugar, 2 teaspoons salt and 175ml/6 fl oz white vinegar. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the sugar has dissolved.

 

Put 1/2 of the above mixture in a serving bowl, add a dash of fish sauce and light soy sauce. Finely dice some cucumber and add to the sauce. And that’s the cucumber sauce done.

 

To the remaining vinegar mix in the pan add 2 teaspoons of dried chilli flakes or a couple of finely diced fresh red chillies and two teaspoons of strawberry or raspberry jam. Bring to the simmer again and cook until the jam has dissolved, that’s your sweet chilli done.

 

 

Thai Green Chicken Curry

 

Enough for 6 – 8 people

 

30g/1oz fresh coriander

1 generous tablespoon green curry paste

4 kaffir lime leaves (soaked in water if dried) shreddedthai greenchicken & prawn curry blog

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 400ml can coconut milk

6 – 8 chicken breasts sliced (roughly 1 kilo/2.2lb)

1 heaped teaspoon dark brown sugar or a couple lumps of palm sugar

a dash of soy sauce

a dash of fish sauce

some Thai basil leaves shredded

2 Thai red chillies thinly sliced

juice of two limes

 

Blitz the fresh coriander in a food processor. Heat some oil in a large pan and add the curry paste, fresh coriander, lime leaves and the spices. Fry for a couple of minutes, stirring so the mixture doesn’t burn. Add the coconut milk, bring to a simmer and cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and if necessary enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring to the simmer and cook gently, covered for approximately 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Serve with some plain rice or noodles and a little pickled veg and mango salad on the side.

 

Mango Salad

Dice a whole mango and place in a serving bowl. Add a dash of vinegar, black pepper, a sliced red chilli and a sprinkling of soft dark brown sugar. Top with some toasted and crushed cashew nuts before serving.

 

So that was our Easter Sunday Dinner. It might not have been traditional but it was damn good!

Oh… yes there was dessert but it was just a boring old trifle… and erm…. the custard didn’t set… whoops!

The trifle was a bit sloppy but that wasn't going to stop me!

The trifle was a bit sloppy but that wasn’t going to stop me!

 

Not All Pirates Eat Meat!

I was winding an old friend up a couple weeks ago who happens to be a Vegan, he also bears an uncanny resemblance to Jack Sparrow, especially when he gets the full costume on…come on, stop swooning ladies!

Jack Sparrow aka Steve

Anyway to make it up to him I promised I would put a post on the Blog that featured a Vegan recipe. So Steve… ahem, sorry, Captain Jack ‘A-Hoy mi seafarin’ shipmate. Shiver mi timbres an get ya cooking pot at the ready!”

Ok it might not be Salmagundi (every pirates favourite) but it is Vegan and it’s packed full of protein which sometimes can be lacking in a Vegan diet

‘Ome Made Houmous (Hummus to our friends over the pond…) with Pitta Bread & Turkish Salad

Houmous is dead easy to make and so much better than shop bought. My recipe makes a lot! It’s easy to halve or quarter the recipe though. Or you could freeze the extra. It will keep in the fridge for up to ten days providing its in a sealed container.

For the Houmous you will need:

500g dried chick peas soaked overnight (you can use canned)

1 jar Tahini (300g)

About 10 cloves of garlic (or more or less depending on your taste) chopped    houmous 3

Zest & juice of of two lemons

About 200ml olive oil or sunflower will work fine too

Plenty of slat and freshly ground black pepper

Ground paprika

To Make:

Drain and rinse your chickpeas. Place in a deep saucepan and cover well with water. bring to the boil and boil for ten minutes. Remove any scum that floats on the surface.

After your chickpeas have boiled for ten minutes, turn down to a simmer and cook for another 45 minutes or until tender.

Once cooked, drain and let the water evaporate from them while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Houmous 1

Once your chickpeas have cooled a little mix all the ingredients, except the paprika, in a large bowl and put through a blender or food processor or if your a true pirate you can use a masher or the back of a fork, it will just end up a little more course. If the mixture is a little dry and thick you can add a little more oil or some cooled down boiled water.

houmous 4

Once your Houmous is ready put into a serving bowl and sprinkle with a little paprika.

 

For the Pitta Breads you will need:

(makes 8)

350g strong white bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons dried yeast

2 tablespoons oil (olive or sunflower)

250 ml warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

 

To make;

 

Mix the sugar yeast and water together in a jug. After 10 – 15 minutes it should have a nice foamy head.

 

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, make a well in the centre of the flour and pour your water/yeast in. mix together to form a soft dough. take out the bowl and give a knead for a good 5 minutes using a little more flour if the dough is still sticky.

Put back in the bowl and cover with a damp cloth or cling film. Leave for an hour to rise.

Put your oven on the hottest setting it will go on

Once ready knock back the dough and knead again until smooth. Divide the dough into eight balls and then roll each out into an oval about 1/4” thick. Place on a greased baking sheet and leave to prove for 10 minutes.

Cook the pittas in the pre-heated oven for about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes each side. When ready wrap the Pittas in a clean tea towel to keep warm.

 

To make the Turkish Salad

Finely shred 1/2 a white cabbage. Grate one or two carrots. Slice one medium sized onion.

Mix the cabbage, carrot and onion in a bowl. Sprinkle approximately two teaspoons of salt and the same of sugar over the salad and mix again.

Squeeze the juice of one lemon or a tablespoon of bottled over the salad and a couple dashes of white wine vinegar. Give the salad a good grind of black pepper and a pinch of ground cumin., mix again and the salad is ready to serve. It will keep for a good five days in the fridge.

 

To serve split your warmed Pitta breads and spread liberally with the houmous. Pack in as much salad as you can. You know have a Vegetarian/Vegan equivalent of a Kebab! You can of course sprinkle some Chilli Sauce (in our case, ‘Ome Made) over and it does benefit from some yoghurt and mint (but then that wouldn’t be vegan).

So there you have it. ‘Ome Mades first ever Vegan recipe.

“Aaaaar enjoy mi scurvey kerr!”houmous 2

 

 

Cheeky Cow!

Mike, our butcher, had got a couple of Ox Cheeks in. I’ve never had them before but I thought I’d give them a go.

I’d read about them and understood that they needed a nice slow cook. Apparently they make an absolutely wicked chilli, or should that be cheeky chilli!Ox Cheek 1

 I think the bit of Irish in me had attuned to the fact that St Patricks day was approaching so I decided to cook these cheeky chappies in Guinness (other stouts are available…)with a few flat mushrooms, carrots and onions and serve them with a good dollop of Champ, that comforting dish of mashed potato with spring onions and lots of butter!Champ 1

I have to say that I was not disappointed with the results. After quite a few hours of cooking I had a gorgeous dark gravy and the cheeks were moist and succulent and had a lovely beefy flavour that reminded me of a cross between beef shin and Ox tail.

Ox Cheek 8

 

 The Cheeks went a long way too. They are quite rich due to the gelatinous nature of them so a little seems to go a long way. You shouldn’t pay a lot for them either which makes them a real bargain.

With the leftover meat, champ and gravy I made some potato cakes with the meat in the middle, baked them in the oven and served them with some peas and the leftover gravy… I’ll tell you something, leftovers don’t get much better!

I would recommend anyone to give Ox cheeks a go. They are a very forgiving meat to cook as long as they are cooked for plenty of time, they are cheap and extremely tasty. Don’t be put off by the look of them or the part of the animal they are from. They really are delicious which is probably why all the celebrity chefs are coming out with recipes for them… lets hope they don’t succeed in pushing up the price of these cheeky little morsels!

Ox Cheek 2

Recipe (to serve 8 adults)

 2 Ox Cheeks (about 900g – 1 KiloOx Cheek 3

1 large or two medium onions chopped

2 garlic cloves chopped

4 large carrots cubed/sliced

8 – 12 flat mushrooms sliced

Plain flour (some)

About 400ml beef stock

2 x 500ml bottles of Guinness

1 or two star anise

1 Tablespoon muscavado sugar or other dark sugar

Pinch of thyme

Good pinch of salt to taste and a really good grind of black pepper

For the Champ

 2 kilo peeled potatoes

2 bunch spring onions (12-16)Champ 2

50 gram butter

200ml milk

 Method

 When we had this we prepared it the day before we were going to have it so that it could be put straight in the oven to be ready for teatime. It’s a good idea to do if you have a busy day.

 First off dice your onions and finely chop your garlic and fry gently in a large oven proof pan. Add the carrot, thickly sliced and continue to gently fry.

 Prepare your Ox Cheek by taking off the outer thick bits of fat and any thick bits of membrane. Don’t worry too much about the state of your cheeks being perfect, after a long slow cook they’ll be fine.

 Once the onion has softened and the carrot is stating too take on a bit of colour add your cheeks to brown.

 Heat your stock ready to go in the pan.

 Once your cheeks are nice and brown sprinkle over some flour to roughly coat everything in the pan. Continue to cook gently for a couple more minutes.Ox Cheek 3

Add your stock a little at a time while giving everything a bit of a stir. You should end up with a thick paste. If it’s a little lumpy don’t worry as after a long cook it should cook out.

Now pour in your two bottles of Guinness. Remember to do a quality control taste on each bottle before adding!

 Ox Cheek 4

Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Ox Cheek 5

 

Ox Cheek 6

 

Once the liquid has come to the simmer you can either take off the heat, cool and refrigerate to cook the next day or it can be put in the oven to finish off.

The Stew can be cooked,covered, on 165°C for three hours or 150°C for about six hours. We put our stew straight in the oven from the fridge. We put it in a cold oven set to 150°c where it stayed for three hours and then we turned it up to 160°c for another three hours, after which it was cooked perfectly. The cheeks were lifted out of the gravy to rest while the gravy was put in the oven uncovered to reduce slightly.

As for the champ, well thats dead easy. Peel and cut your potatoes into approximately 1 1/2’’ chunks. Plonk into a pan and just cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes and put on a very low heat until the steam almost stops (meaning all the excess water has evaporated and you’ll have nice fluffy potatoes).

While your potatoes are finishing, put the onions, milk, butter and seasoning in a pan and warm gently allowing all the flavours to infuse.

When your potatoes are ready give them a good mashing and then fold the milk, butter and onion mixture into the potatoes.

Once your ready to plate up the Ox cheeks can be sliced or pulled apart with a fork. Simply put a dollop of Champ into a dish, place some Ox cheek on top then ladle some gravy over the top. We finished our dish off with a little purple sprouting broccoli.

 Ox Cheek 9

A nice cheap meal that really tasted like something you should be paying a lot of money for in a trendy ‘Gastro’ pub.

Happy St Patricks Day everybody… enjoy your Guinness, in moderation… of course!

 

Curried Bakers Oven Lamb

Here’s a traditional English dish given an ‘Ome Made twist, to be fair it was Kits idea. I was just going to do the plain English dish of Bakers Lamb Layerslamb shoulder baked on top of layers of potato and onion, which in it’s own right is delicious. Add some spice, herbs and a curry sauce though and it takes the dish to a completely different level… This really was scrumptious!Bakers Lamb studded with garlic This is a fantastic dish to prepare the day before so that you can bang it in the oven the next day, forget about it and get on with all those things you need to catch up on, take the kids out or… go to the pub!

Bakers Lamb Layers

  It really is simple. You will need a full or 1/2 shoulder of lamb. Some White potatoes, onions and garlic. I also used some dried mint, fresh coriander and some red chillies. Curried Bakers Lamb u.c. closeup

First of all slice some potatoes (skin on) thinly and some onions. These need to be layered in a deep buttered baking dish. I did about four layers adding seasoning as I went along. On the middle layer I put a heap of chopped fresh coriander, a couple of chopped red chillies and some dried mint. On the top layer I sprinkled some more mint and some black cumin seeds.Bakers Lamb Final Layer

I then fried some mild curry masala in a little oil and added some chicken stock and let this cook for twenty minutes or so. Next prepare the lamb. With a sharp knife make a few slits in the meat and push in some pieces of garlic. Now rub the lamb all over with some Kashmiri Chilli powder and some ground cumin. Sit the lamb on top of the layered potatoes and onions and give it a good grind of black pepper and a good sprinkling of salt. Pour your curry sauce into the corners of the baking dish. You want enough so that it comes about 1/2 way up your potato and onion layer.Curried Bakers Lamb Now cover the whole baking dish with a double layer of foil, creating a tight seal. Curried Bakers Lamb to go in oven When your ready to cook pre heat your oven to 200°c. Put the lamb in the oven and then turn the temperature down to 165°c Which means the lamb will be ready after about four hours (but should be fine up to six). If you want to cook it for longer (or your having a really long session in the pub!) then you can cook the lamb on 145°c. The lamb will then be ready after six hours but be even better after around eight hours. To finish the dish off, remove the baking dish from the oven. Carefully remove the lamb to a warmed plate or dish. The meat should be falling off the bone. The layered potatoes then need to go back in a hot oven to brown and start to crisp up. If the liquid is above the potatoes just spoon some off ’till you can see the top layer. Put the baking dish back in the oven for about twenty minutes.

Curried Bakers Lamb 01

To serve, pull apart the lamb, spoon out some potato into a dish and place the lamb on top, spoon a bit more of the curry sauce over. A nice dollop of natural yoghurt goes nicely with the dish but that’s all it really needs.curried bakers lamb 03 A tasty, warming and comforting dish for a lovely lazy Sunday. Give it a go!

Introducing…. Bob!

We have a new addition to the household!

Born on the 27th February 2014 we would like to introduce you to …. Bob!

Birth of Bob 2

Bob is a sourdough bread starter, or will be providing I can keep him alive for long enough!

I’ve made bread starters before but I’ve never kept them after they’ve made their first batch of bread. Bob however I intend to feed and nurture and see how long I can keep him going.

I have to say I’m not feeling confident. You see it’s all a bit scientific. Flour to water ratios, temperature, how much flour to feed, blah blah blah. I can’t be doing with all that so I’ll be truthful and say… I’m winging it!

For those of you who fancy having a go at ‘winging it’ too you will need some flour. I used some  strong white flour and a little malted grain. I used the malted grain because it has whole grain in it which, if I understand right, has more of the natural yeasts present which are needed to get your bread going. The malted grain also contained rye which again is supposed to make a good starter.

I put the flour in a tall kilner jar and then added water to make a paste the consistency of single flour. I then put the lid on and left it.

A couple of hours later he looked like this…

Birth of Bob

This is not good…

If I was a puritan I should probably have ditched the mixture and started again. However I’m ‘winging it’ so I chucked in a bit more flour, gave it a mix and left it.

On day 2 it looked better but still had water separating so I added more flour again. It did smell nice, a bit like beer, which is good… I think?

On day 3 he’s looking like this…

Bob day 3 full

Now to me that is looking quite healthy…

I guess only time will tell, watch this space…

Tandoori Chicken… Or Three?

Chicken Tandoori seems to be quite popular in our house at the moment. It makes a nice Sunday roast!

 Tandoori Chicken

We use a whole chicken… well actually three!

The leftovers of course go into the Kids school pack-up and they make a rather nice curry (Chicken Tikka Massala Madras hot is a favourite!)

 Tandoori Chicken

Of course you don’t have to do three chickens, you don’t even have to do a whole chicken! Chicken joints work just as well and of course you can even do Tikka with just the breast meat.

Tandoori SpicesTandoori ingredients

 

 

I do recommend that you try doing a whole chicken though, it needs a little longer cooking than if you do joints but the flavour is great and the marinade keeps the meat nice and moist. And of course as a center piece on the table it looks amazing.

I’m not going to give a full on recipe because my way is rather long winded and… top secret. I will suggest some ingredients that you can add to make it a little special though.

 Tandoori Marinade

The easiest way of doing this of course is to buy a jar of Tandoori paste and add yoghurt and lemon juice to make your marinade.

 

My method is this (For three chickens)

 

Ingredients

 

1 tablespoon mild curry massala (’Ome Made in our case)

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder

1 level tablespoon dried mint

 

Big chunk of ginger (3’’ by 1’’)

Lots of garlic, roughly 9 cloves

Couple of green chillies

Big handful of fresh coriander

 

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons of natural yoghurt

Seasoning

 

Method

 

Fry your spices (not the chilli) gently in a quite a bit of oil to make a paste.

 

Blitz or finely chop your ginger, garlic, green chillies and coriander.

 

Mix all the marinade ingredients (apart from the Kashmiri Chilli) together.

 

Now you need to skin your chicken, this bit always grosses out the Kids! You could leave the skin on but the marinade tends to slide off and the skin doesn’t go crispy so it’s not particularly nice.

Tandoori RubNaked Tandoori Chicken

 

 

 

Once you’ve skinned your chicken score it (SEVERRN! Sorry!)

Now rub the Kashmiri chilli powder into the chicken, if you have some gloves to wear, I would. The other option is a freezer bag!

Slap on the rest of the marinade and give your bird a good massage (That’s the chicken!)

The chicken can now be left to marinate for up to 24 hours or for as long as you have (I’ve given it 30 minutes before and it’s still been lovely).

To cook preheat an oven to 225ºC (200ºC if using fan assisted).

Put the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes and then turn down the temperature to moderate about 170ºC. The chicken then needs to be in for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or if your doing three about two hours. Test the chicken is done by testing with your usual method. The joints should be nice and flexible and easily pull away from the bird.

Tandoori Chicken

Let the Chicken rest for  20 minutes or so and then pull apart or carve to serve.

Tandoori Chicken

 

We like to serve ours with some Tomato, Onion and Mint salad, Pilau rice, Naan bread and lashings of Tandoori Yoghurt Raita.

 

Proper finger lickin’ fun.

CurlyE Tandoori

 

Tandoori Dj

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t wait for the weather to turn drier and warmer so I can do Whole Tandoori Chicken in the smoker and BBQ…

 

 

Burger It!

veal burger

We love a good burger in our house.

We don’t have them very often so when we do it’s a real treat.

Our children have never been to a McDonalds, Burger King or any other junk food purveyor.

I can imagine that when they do (although I’d like to think they never will…) it will be a real eye opener for them. I can just see them going back to the counter with the sad little burger in hand… “What’s this? You call this a burger?”

 

I don’t know why more people don’t make their own? You can buy a kilo of mince meat for a lot less than it costs for a kilo of burgers. All you need to do is add a bit of seasoning, mix and form into a rough Pattie and throw on a grill, BBQ or frying pan.

Veal burger mix

However you can let your imagination run wild and flavour your meat with a vast array of ingredients.

And then you have your toppings, now this is where the fun starts!

You have to have cheese of some sort. I love a slice of Monterey Jack on a beef burger, but a medium cheddar is just as nice. If you want to ‘Posh’ it up I would go with some crumbly Stilton. One of my favourite burgers is a Mediterranean influenced lamb burger topped with a piece of grilled Halloumi and some ‘Ome made Tzatziki.

 veal & chorizo burger

I like a nice mustardy mayonnaise on my beef burgers along with a little salad leaf, slice of tomato and I’m sorry but gherkins are good too. I also think a beef burger needs a good squirt of tomato ketchup.

 

Lately we have been making veal burgers. I know that some people are a little put off by veal but the place that we get it from uses the male animals from the place that they get their milk supplies from. If the animals are not sold for meat then they would be slaughtered at birth anyway. So personally I haven’t got a problem with eating veal that’s a by-product of the dairy industry, and from some where that has high standards for animal welfare.

Mince veal has quite a delicate flavour and it makes a really nice burger that compliments other ‘add ons’.

Heres a recipe you might want to try but feel free to add your own ‘add ons’ as everyone has different tastes. The burgers could be made with any sort of meat though.

 

Ingredients

1.2Kg veal mince (or beef or lamb), Waitrose often have a deal on veal mince, hence the amount which would cost £10

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

A really good grind of black pepper

A couple teaspoons of mustard. Dijon or wholegrain works best

 

And that’s it, although you could add other things if you fancy. Get your hands in the bowl and give it a really good ‘squish’ to thoroughly mix the ingredients into the meat.

I then line a tray with greaseproof paper, form the meat into burgers, place on the tray and chill which lets the burgers firm up a little. If you’re finding you have more meat on your hands than tray a tip is to shape the burgers using slightly wet hands. You may notice on the photos that we made some little meat balls from the same mixture, these were used in the Kids’ pack-up for their school lunch (I never got pack-up as good as theirs!), they would be equally as good in a tomato sauce with some pasta for a quick lunch or supper.

Veal burgers and balls

 And that’s it your burgers are ready to go and be cooked using your preferred method.

Burgers & Chips cooking blog

So we had these little beauties topped with Chorizo, Monterey Jack cheese, an ‘Ome made tomato and habenero chilli salsa and some rocket and baby spinach leaves all sandwiched in a mini Ciabatta bun with a squirt of American style mustard spread on for good measure.veal chorizo & Monerey Jack burger

The salsa is really easy too if you want to have a go. Just dice some tomatoes, onions and chillies (which can be left out if you don’t want the heat). Add enough sugar to lightly coat the mixture, a little splash of vinegar and a good squirt or squeeze of lime juice. It now needs a good pinch of salt (I personally like a nice salty salsa)and a good grind of pepper. Again a salsa can easily be customized to your own liking. tomato salsa

We had these with some nice chunky baked chips and a little more salad leaf on the side.

Be prepared for juice dribbling down chins and arms, but then that’s all part of the enjoyment!

And don’t forget to tell you’re kids how much nicer and healthier Home-made burgers are compared to the high street, mass produced crap of fast food vendors!

MissT Veal Burger Blog