Monday, 3 December 2007

Cooking Pad Thai,

Well, I cooked this for a friend here in France and it turned out pretty good. Except fish sauce stinks and you really do need a hot pan. When I cooked for them the pan was not that hot and the egg just tended to form a sticky mess at the bottom rather than nicely stirfrying.

Oh and the recipie is really amusing

Monday, 15 October 2007

Sticky pork

This, is, the goods. Man oh man. So very sticky.
I like to serve it with angel hair noodles, and a cabbage salad lightly drizzled in sesame oil. Hot, cold and noodley, all mixed up on the same plate.

And good with that aussie wine, too.

K, I hungry now.

Wet rice good

I really like making risotto. Sure, you spend most of your time standing there, stiring the fugger, but it's rewarding (notice that only losers say that kinda shit? huh.)

Ok, came across this tasty little recipe on the interwebz. I was a bit dubious - after all, the guy: looks like he'd be happier making risotto halfway up a mountain, even with the name Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (but hell, so would I!) but it also contains NO GARLIC!!!!!
That's how you can tell it's British.
But deep frying sage leaves? Friggin' inspired. They crumble so nicely as a garnish. Num. And add some deep fried prosciutto, and Bob's a close relative.
So, without further ado, here's a link.
My tips? I put in about as much garlic as I can stand. Which is about a head. And I add prosciutto, deep fried and chopped small, as garnish. The butter makes the whole thing amazing, and it doesn't need cheese.
Add white wine = tasty dinner.

I'm considering trying some more of the recipes on the BBC site, as this one works pretty well. After all, Clarissa Dickson-Wright features too.
I'll let you know.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Cous cous

I'm a cheap-arse.
I like cous cous.
I want more recipes for fun and different cous cous.
Got any?

[edit: Nik]

You read my mind!

I had cooked this and it turned out really well, I was just too lazy to post it was sitting there waiting.,1977,FOOD_9936_27553,00.html

Alot of the tagine and Cous cous recipies I have seen are pretty bland on flavour, but this one is good and spicy.

Cous Cous served here is usually a liquild sauce similar to whats given here with various vegitables (eggplant, zuccini, etc and chick peas) that have had the hell boiled out of them. This is spooned over cous cous and meat of some kind cooked seperately and added (lamb, chicken, spicy Maguiez sausages, meatballs).

I have found there are 2 types of cous cous here, a sweeter variety with a warm cindamon flavour and a sharper spicy lemon variety. I prefer the lemon. Thus this recipie.

Chicken Tagine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 large pinch saffron
1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) free-range chicken, cut into 10 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 preserved lemon, recipe follows
1/2 cup cracked green olives
1 cup chicken stock

Couscous with Apricots, recipe follows

In a skillet over medium heat, toast the cinnamon, peppercorns, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, and cloves until they start to smoke. Remove from the heat and grind in a spice grinder.

In a bowl large enough to accommodate the chicken, add the oil, spice mix, garlic, ginger, cilantro, bay leaves and saffron. Mix to a paste. Add chicken, rubbing the marinade over all the pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve marinade. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a tagine or large casserole over medium high heat add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Put in chicken pieces and lightly brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until just starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Rinse preserved lemon well. Scoop out flesh and discard; cut peel into strips and add to pan. Add reserved marinade, olives, and chicken stock. Cover tightly and cook over medium low heat for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove bay leaf and discard. Taste juices and adjust seasoning. Place chicken on a warm platter. Spoon juices with the preserved lemon, olives, and onions over chicken and serve accompanied by Couscous with Apricots.

Camp food roxor

You changed the title before I could even post! Cheeky monkey!

I wanted to share my little camping gem with you. It's pretty simple, and I made it up, but it was very delicious.
We seem to have this habit of eating very well while camping. It's a great habit - not like smoking, what kills you dead.
A few weekends ago we made a bridge at the new Festy site, and stayed over. I had most of a lamb leg* in the freezer, and I chucked in some random ingredients to plan something palatable later.
The vauge procedure went like this:
  • Browned the meat (and random bits of meat/fat) in dutch oven, as well as I could as some of it was on the bone.
  • Tipped in lots of harissa, and cooked it a little further.
  • Threw in a sprinkle of spices I'd prepared earlier - a jar containing paprika, cumin, corriander and salt. Tossed it about some more.
  • A tin of tomatoes, a bit of water, and let the whole thing stew.
  • Towards the end of it, some chopped carrots, sweet potato and onion.
  • I have a plastic tub I bought honey in, that had dry couscous in it - I boiled some water and made couscous the easy way.
  • Then we ate it.

It was so good, I reheated the left overs for lunch the next day. There was even some couscous left.

I guess the real reason I was so chuffed that this worked out is based around the circumstances. It was raining for most of the cooking time, the wood was wet, it was dark (though head torches are great). But it was delicious, and a great meal after a day of hauling logs.

No, that's not a euphamism for anything.

*The 'most of a lamb leg' was because I had needed some diced lamb, and the butcher guys didn't have any left. So I hacked at a leg, and froze the rest. simple, really.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Habanero sauce

I wanna make this:


* 12 habanero peppers, seeded and chopped
* 1 (15.5 ounce) can sliced peaches in heavy syrup
* 1/2 cup dark molasses
* 1/2 cup yellow mustard
* 1/2 cup light brown sugar
* 1 cup distilled white vinegar
* 2 tablespoons salt
* 2 tablespoons paprika
* 1 tablespoon black pepper
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice


1. Place the peppers, peaches, molasses, mustard, brown sugar, and vinegar into the container of a food processor or blender. Measure in the salt, paprika, pepper, cumin, coriander, ginger and allspice. Blend until liquefied. Pour into clean jars, and refrigerate overnight before using.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Saag Gosht (lamb and spinach curry)


(4 servings)

Olive oil
1/4 ts black peppercorns
6 Whole cloves
2 Bay leaves
6 Cardamom pods
1 tbl paprika
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Medium onions finely chopped
6 Garlic cloves chopped
1 Inch cube of ginger chopped
1kg cubed lamb
2 tsp salt
250g frozen spinach chopped
1/4 ts garam masala


Fry the meat until brown on the outsides, remove and then fry onions slowly until brown. Add the spices, 1 tsp salt, garlic and ginger and fry for about 1min until aromatic. Return the meat and heat until frying again, and then add the spinach. Once this has melted/wilted add about 2 cups of water and simmer for about 40min, or more.
Just before serving add Garam Masala.

Major flavour: I dont know, salty and spicy because its a curry, however the spinach sweetens it quite a bit and its generally a sweet curry. So ill go with sweet on this.

Discussion: This turned out pretty good, but it was lacking something and im not sure what. Other recipes suggest that 5 tbl yogurt can be fried into the onion spice mix, and another suggests adding tomato paste. Ill try the yogurt tomorrow night. I think this is why this didnt work, I was missing the key sweet ingredients of Garam Masala, yoghurt. I cannot get Garam Masala here in franceand I used dried ginger and joke chilli (old Cayen pepper) pretty much it was a massive slapup job :-)

EDIT: Adding yogurt did the trick with this recipie. Ill edit it later.

Hints and tips

This section will have little gems of information I have learnt, or want to learn...


'It is an ill chef who cannot lick his own fingers'
William Shakespear.

One thing that everyone should do is taste their food, firstly thats how you learn and secondly you will get the food poisoning before your guests. Its the gentlemanly thing to do.

Spyder taut me something that has made all the difference to me with tasting. We were preparing a smallish feast (40 people) with a Arabic theame. She said that each dish should contrast in the meal, something sweet, something salty, something hot, something cold, something sour, something spicy. And from this she said, taste the dish and forget what the dish is and just say "what flavored dish is this, and does it have enough of that flavour?" Does my salty dish need more salt, does my sweet dish taste sweet enough. Its so simple, but just thinking like this cuts away all the other complex flavours you are tasting and allows you to see what you should.

So items to add:
Sweet: Sugar, sugar syrope, fruit, jams, dried fruit
Sour: Lemon, vinegar (careful but), lime
Spicy: Cumin, cindamon
Salty: Salt (duh wha?), stock (vegitable is my favorite, but beef or chicken is good too), bacon, olives
too bland: This is an odd one ive often found the following are really great items for fleshing out a flavour: Corriander (leaves, not powder), stock (powdered), oil, salt, garam masala (for indian), sugar (for thai)
Crisp/fresh: Lemon juice
Hot (chilli): Chillies, pepper, vinegar (or other acid)

My meat is too dry!

Well id suggest you see a doctor!
I once cooked a stew from pork I think. I couldnt undertand it. I bought loverly meat, cooked it until it was falling appart and it still tasted dry, I had no idea. The secret is oil. Oil lubricates the fibres of the meat and will make it that loverly soft texture that we all know and love. Anyone wonder why rabit is often cooked with bacon? and its not because bacon is the universal ingredient (after garlic), its because rabit is so lean that it cannot cook properly.

Balls out there food

"WHATS THIS ALL ABOUT?" I hear you say.

This is my style of cooking and eating, 10 years as a chemist (the white lab coat kind, not a pharmacist) has effectively killed me tastebuds and sense of smell. So basically I have a very poor sense of taste. As such all the food I cook has strong flavours and marvelous aromas. I have largely found that alot of food is a bit more middle of the road than im after so im collecting recipies that over time i and others have cooked.

This is about the smells, the colours, the flavours and the passion for food.

And one of these leads to another, the smell of a fine spice mix will gets the saliva flowing like nothing else and this inspires. Something also never to forget is the appearance of food. There is no reason why a meal should ever go out without a garnish, or splash of colour. Its how we are inspired to cook, by looking at the pretty pictures in books.

Anyway, so here it goes. Just remember, im no expert, if you poison your friends with my advice, then be it on your own head myfriend.