Pesto variations

(1) Rocket, parsley and basil

  • half a bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • half a bunch of basil
  • several large handfuls wild rocket
  • clove of garlic
  • a couple of tblsps sauted pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • grated parmesan
  • freshly ground pepper
  • cooking water from the spaghetti, spoon at a time until the desired consistency
Advertisements

Belinda Jeffery’s absolutely scrumptious pork pie

absolutely scrumptious pork, thyme and apple pie Belinda Jeffery

aka her family’s ‘Christmas pie’ which is when I make it too

Serves 6-8.

ingredients

  • shortcrust pastry (she makes her own, I buy it)
  • 500g pork mince
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 180g bacon, rind removed, cut fairly finely
  • 3 teasp finely chopped thyme or oregano
  • 2 tblesp finely chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • nutmeg or ground mace to taste (try 1/4 teasp)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 small eggs, hard-boiled and peeled (I use quail)
  • milk to brush the pastry top (she uses an egg yolk and water)

to serve:

  • red cabbage or beetroot pickle
  • tomato or apricot chutney

method

  • Preheat oven to 200C and lightly butter a 24cm springform cake tin. Put aside.
  • Mix the filling ingredients except for the small eggs.
  • Line the tin with pastry, leaving a 2 cm overhang. Half-fill tin with mixture and smooth it out. Make 4 little hollows in which the eggs go. Cover with the remaining filling.
  • Dampen the edges of the pastry overhang, add a pastry lid and pinch edges together tightly to seal. Crimp and trim the edges as you please.
  • Brush the top with the milk or eggwash. Prick holes into the top to allow steam to escape. You can embellish the top with left over pastry trim in shapes to taste if you haven’t already eaten it.
  • Put the pie on an oven tray and bake for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 180C and cook for another 50 minutes. Belinda’s advice is that ‘If the juices bubble up in the final stages of cooking, just mop them up with paper towel and return the pie to the oven to dry out for a few minutes.’ When cooked, leave out to cook in the tin and then chill, preferably overnight.

To serve: run a blunt knife around the edges of the tin to loosen the pie, then release and remove the sides of the tin. Sit on a platter or board in thick slices with the pickles and/or chutney.

It keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Satay sauce

I have to start with an apology to my past, present and future sex providers. When I think I’ve died and gone to heaven it’s always because I’ve eaten this sauce. Sorry about that.

Ingredients

200-250g crunchy peanut butter
150g palm sugar
tamarind concentrate mixed with water
5 finely chopped red chillies
5 finely chopped cloves garlic
1 large can coconut milk thoroughly shaken
a little grape seed oil

Method

Fry the garlic in the oil gently until becoming golden. Add the chillies and the sugar, followed by the peanut butter and the tamarind. Mix thoroughly and then add the coconut milk. Cook, stirring, until the oil is separating from the mix

Cool and store in fridge in screwtop jars. Stephanie Alexander says this lasts for months, but I wouldn’t know. I’m lucky if I can make it last til dinner time.

My guess is about a tablesp of the tamarind with about 4 tblsps of water.

Stephanie Alexander does this with peanuts, which is my preference if I have them. She says brown sugar or palm. I love palm sugar and always use it. She also says to take tamarind pulp, soak it, extract the juice. I happened to have the concentrate and it seems okay to me, but in the past I’ve used the extraction method. Her recommendation is peanut oil for the frying, but I used grapeseed because it was in the cupboard and it has a neutral flavour.

Stephanie Alexander gives this in conjunction with a recipe for a marinade for the meat to go with it. Of course a famous way to use this sauce is as the star of gadogado. Today for lunch we are having a very simple version of that. A few raw vegetables, a little fried tofu. Some rice on the side.

 

 

 

Simple things to do with carrots

I wanted something simple to do with carrots, something that involved no going out into the snow in search of ingredients. It’s snowing here! And it was to go on the side of gyozas, so something Japanesey.

I ended up making Just Bento’s carrot salad. Lime instead of lemon (did I mention not leaving the house until it stops snowing?)

Another one I’ve taken note of for when I want a hot version is her carrot kinpara.

Italian olive paste: another Stephanie Alexander winner

This is a divine thing to do with best quality black olives. In fact the second time I made it, I used kalamata olives instead, but the fact is, I think you want that strong colour that you get from black. Kalamata olives pureed looked a bit like something that comes out of a baby if you ask me.

Ingredients

Cup of olives stoned and diced.*
1/2 cup parsley, flat leaved to keep it Italian
2 large sprigs thyme chopped
2 large sprigs rosemary chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped or crushed
1/3 cup olive oil

*best not to leave any of the stones in the mixture when it goes into the processor/blender. Take it from somebody who knows.

Method

Puree all ingredients.

Store

In a container with a layer of olive oil covering it. Apparently it lasts for weeks like this. Can’t imagine that scenario, ours didn’t last one.

Poached chicken salad

Personally, I’d rather chew my own arm off than eat chicken breasts that other people have cooked. It is almost never the appropriate cut of chicken to use, tasteless with a bad texture.

But. IF you cook it properly. Maybe…

So, you must poach the chicken extremely lightly, to just undercooked…it will finish cooking as it cools. Something like a little water – maybe an inch, no more – in the pan with a dash of soy and sesame oil and a slice of ginger. Bring to a gentle simmer, add the breasts, cover pan and simmer for maybe a couple of minutes before turning so that the top is now in the liquid. Another couple of minutes and let it sit and cool in this liquid.

Slice.

Destem baby leaf spinach.

Mix the chicken and spinach with this divine dressing:

Plain yoghurt
Some sort of jam – peach, maybe apricot. It can be that crappy French jam which proudly announces it has no sugar in it. I mean honestly. Jam is ALL sugar. You bought this accidentally, or someone ignorant gave it to you…it’s dreadful stuff on its own, but perfectly useful in this dish.
Good quality white wine vinegar
Green tomato chutney – this I make myself and I will post the recipe.

Fresh bread on the side.

A perfect summer lunch.

Scotch Eggs – Two Fat Ladies’ style

Two Fat Ladies’ Scotch Eggs

They simply have no idea, these two, how to write a book and it really makes a difference. Just being good cooks is not enough.

In this case, I find that this recipe does nowhere near 8 normal sized eggs. However, as it happens, I like using quails eggs so that you have something more like finger food.

Makes 8

10 large eggs (but be warned, see intro)
200 grams cooked ham
6 anchovy fillets
100 grams fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter or bacon fat

Boil 8 eggs in cold water brought to the boil and simmered for 5 minutes, put immediately into cold water and then peel.

Beat 2 eggs

Finely chop ham and anchovies – I’ve done it by hand, but you can use something mechanical. Mix in breadcrumbs, mixed spice, freshly ground pepper and most of the beaten egg.

Brush each boiled egg with the remaining beaten egg. Mould the ham mix aroung the eggs with your hands.

Fry in oil and butter on a medium heat until brown all over.