Tuesday, 8 September 2015

healthy but nothing in the cupboard.

fried 1 leek and 1.5 celery stalks finely chopped with 2 cloves garlic in olive oil until they were soft and translucent. poured in 2 handfuls of frozen peas and a slug of white wine and simmered for a couple of minutes. then emptied in a packet of merchant gourmet "mixed grains" as we happened to get that in the post recently. it is a good and saintly combination of pre-cooked Bulgar Wheat, red quinoa, toasted soya flakes (???) and lentils.
It comes out of the packet in clumps and lumps so i bashed it all up with a wooden spoon and ladeled in some chicken stock - probably about a cupful just to loosen it all up a bit. when this had warmed through completely I stirred in a teaspoon of grainy mustard, a teaspoon of rocket pesto and a teaspoon on creme fraiche and seasoned with salt and pepper. tore in an old bunch of watercress and served with ripped up basil leaves on the top. it was surprisingly great actually, and max said it was the best neeps and tatties he had ever had. which is sort of like when someone at a festival in Hackney thought I was Scarlet Johansson but then qualified it with the fact that they had had acid for breakfast.

the best food in the world.
steam tenderstem broccoli for five minutes in a saucepan with about 2 cm water in the bottom of the pan and a lid on. when it's done it should be vibrantly bright green and maintain some bite. Drain off the water and drizzle a slick of the magic ingredient "white truffle infused extra virgin olive oil" all over. crunch over a BIG pinch of salt and toss it all around. eat straight out of the pan, fight off any surrounding ganets. it is SO delicious. it tastes like you have drenched the entire thing in oceans of butter. but you havn't.

magic sweet potatoes.
steam diced sweet potatoes for about 10 mins? or just until you can spear them with a fork. then mash with olive oil and seasoning. I used smoked paprika, smoked salt, and garlic granules. good.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

cooking with lads Vol III

poaching an egg

do you want me to tell you about poaching an egg, just a quick one. trial and error, its taken danny years, not the ones we used to have in paper pockets. they were ace. then it comes out a perfect poached egg. i did the one where you spin it. you lose a lot of the white though and if you do it wrong you get a solid orange pebble which is terrible.
so boil a lot of water. its a bit of a waste of water. if you can just have a boiled egg do that. if you do two are you poaching two different eggs or does it become one big egg?
"are they discreet?"
i boiled loads of water in a tall thing. a pan. thats it. a tall pan. a deep pan. yeah quite a lot of water and you get it to boiling point and its bubbling away, and you've broken the egg into a bowl.
and you could drop it in with vinegar. that keeps it together.
i didn't have any vinegar. so it was just spinning round and it was a vortex, like a whirlpool. remember them. then it's spinning and you've got the egg but don't break the yolk. thats a disaster. then the eggs in the vortex. then you cover with a plate thing maybe and it's spinning round like mad *dances* and its hot still and bubbling. then you leave it for two minutes and you leave the room. for two and a half minutes. imagine you're probably using your phone and just adding two, but you need to know the thirty seconds cos it goes quickly. then you need to take it out with a slotted spoon otherwise you pick up loads of water.
then you come back in and take off the lid and look inside and it will probably look like an orange pebble. you lose quite a lot of the egg as well! unless you get good at the game.
"you should get good at it"
"what was the end result was it good?"
NO it was crap.
i tried to do two but it didn't work and it broke the yolk.
i don't think it makes them taste better.
i had it on a piece of toast. the one i made didn't look very nice. did it.
"madeleine was a champion egg poacher"
she gave kari 8 slices of toast for a ferry ride.
danny's quite good at it though. he eats it with a salad for breakfast.
pepper. lots of pepper.

cooking with lads Vol II

Lamb koftes

I  made lamb koftes for the girls Angharad lives with. The gallies. I cooked in the kitchen while they were all in the living room playing Mario cart and laughing. They were going out and I didn't want to go out so I just cooked and went to bed without any real interaction. I did a bit of a dance for a while, to an 80s compilation of war reports interspersed with Lucky Star by Madonna.
Ok so. Angharad and her friends came round and I made lamb koftes.

If you wanna know how to make it;

lamb mince and I put it in a bowl. Dun a big bowl. Glass bowl. It has a picture of Wallace and Gromit on it which I've never really understood as that's not really about cooking. Why not a big screwdriver? Or a dogbox?
Theres a bowl and its got all the mince in.
Silas right, when he makes bolognese he makes a big thing of it. I've said to him countless times that I do not think Liverpool have a chance at winning the league. I need to publicly state right here and now that 2 years ago Silas said he might start supporting Arsenal if Liverpool keep being shit. He's the hideous factor.
So Silas when he's cooking, says "it really brings out the flavour when you take the mince and you just squeeze it into a ball and throw it in." it doesn't, it just makes lumps. like fuck it does, it brings out the IDIOT that I live with.

So put the lamb in the bowl. A bit of mint, cumin (does that sound right?) an egg as a binding agent - doesn't matter which kind of egg, small or large, I think it's just important that it has a yolk and lives in a shell. What other spices? Salt and pepper. Oregano chopped up small because it GOES IN. Then I put an onion in, probably not, I don't think I put an onion in because I'm not very good at chopping.

Smooshed it all around into 10 balls of meat. I mean balls. Dip them in flour, to give them a coat. and it keeps them together because you're going to be eating them out of a pitta bread. They are meat balls, they have a form which you want to adhere to. Even if they do roll around your plate.  Good for  bonfire night.

I fried them in a pan in a little kind of pool of oil. It's like a puddle, its all very very hot. because when you cook them you want them to have a hard coating. They might be big or they might be small. I imagine the cooking time might depend on the size of them. They get all black and burnt, in a nice way. If they're pink and sticky in the middle, it's not their fault, you just put them back on.

Pitta bread I did in the oven. baked'em. Because you can get more in an oven, and it's more authentic. and I kept the heat in by not cutting them in half. Sometimes they release hot air and try to scald you. Pitta bread coming out of the toaster is one of the hottest things in the world. that's science though.

tzatziki - I stripped a cucumber. Shaved it. Cut it in half, scooped out all the seeds and then put it to dry in between some sheets of kitchen paper. If it's too wet your tzatziki will be too watery. Cucumbers and people are 80% water.
Then I chopped up the cucumber really really tiny then put it with more mint even more mint, so thank god we had the mint tree, even though it no longer yields large leaves, it only yields small leaves which Danny says are not so flavourful. Then it was greek yoghurt, and I made too much.
People can put it together themselves, you don't have to worry, and then you just tell em to do one.

Mum: can you eat these last two bits of apple?
Max: do i have to?
Mum: No.

kicking the health kick

A powerful health faction has taken up root in the kitchen - where once lurked packets of biscuits, tubs of cream and sliced bread there new resides a collection of seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin...), almond milk, coconut oil, quinoa and rye flour. The fruit bowl overflows with apples, pears, oranges, lemons and so on and the juicer is constantly on stand-by. You can barely hear Bargain Hunt on the telly over the roar of health-conscious machinery. And just as a shift from the centre ground breeds extremists from the opposite end of the political spectrum, so does the presence of a health nut force the meat-eating, cake-eating slob out of the shadows.
'I... must... have... some... meat...'  bellowed the 18 year-old one lunchtime, 'where are the pork pies and the sausages that used to be here? There's nothing in the fridge but spinach and bloody parsley and nothing on the shelves but tins of tomatoes and chickpeas...'
So fed up was she that an unprecedented event took place... she got out of bed and went up the road to Tesco and came back with a packet of sausages. The resulting lunch (which was cooked by another, the 18 year-old having returned to bed, exhausted by the outside world) looked deceptively healthy on the surface, but had within its depths a clandestine layer of sausage meat. It was very good

kicked health casserole
feeds 2

olive oil
2 sausages, skin removed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tin tomatoes
half a tin of chickpeas, more if you like
3 olives (you can add more but that was what we had in the fridge), chopped
2 oz, more if you like, pasta
handful of spinach leaves, roughly chopped
handful chopped parsley

heat some oil in a pan over a medium heat and fry the sausage meat  until browned and starting to go crispy. Add the onion and fry until translucent and soft. Add the tomatoes, the chick peas, swill the tin of tomatoes out with some water and add that, and then add the pasta. Add the olives. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for five mins or so and then add the spinach leaves and half the parsley. Continue to cook until the pasta is done, adding more water when necessary. Serve sprinkled with the rest of the parsley and a grating - if you feel especially rebellious  - of cheese.

Monday, 17 March 2014

slush mush week continues...

Eventually Tatler and Teen Tatler ran out of steam and i could no longer feign interest in anybody called Cressy or Peeves. I was beginning to feel like I was experiencing quite an intense comedown from my painkillers/not enough painkillers. I tragically had to go and make my own soup for entertainment/survival.

tchuh have to look after yourSELF green soup
1 leek cut into rings
2 garlic cloves chopped
big handful each of kale and spinach leaves
1/2 cup peas
splash sherry (deeply sorry for myself)
1 pint chicken stock
sour cream (*weeps*)

sweat all the vegetables for about 5-7 mins until soft and stewy. 
grate in a long shower of nutmeg and a splash of sherry and after about a minute of furious bubbling (ie alcohol has cooked off) calm everything down by pouring in the stock. 
bring to a simmer and leave it for another 5 mins or until you feel the kale leaves are wilted enough, or until you can't be bothered.
whizz in the blender in batches as once a build up of steam blew the top straight off mine and painted a small green ring on the ceiling. 

try to make the soup as smooth as possible  for the useless-toothless. add more water if you want it to be thinner, and stir in a swirl of sour cream as a special treat (the only happiness in my tiny dark mush life.......sobs brokenly)

Later Mum came home and took charge of matters. This is her recollection of how she made even more bloody soup for me:

mum soup
1 potato (diced)
1carrot "
1/4 chopped squash "
1 onion "
1 can 200ml coconut milk
1/2 pint stock

Fry onion in olive oil until translucent and tenderish. Add the potato and the squash (orange thing whats it called?) and the carrot. Add a dash of sherry if you're feeling extravagant. Let it cook off until the alcohol evaporates, then add the stock and the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and let it bubble away until the veg is tender then blend with a blender stick stick blender. Perfect for useless people I mean toothless people. Who can't eat.

No Teef

I had a wisdom tooth removed on thursday and ever since have been reclining forlornly in my bed of pain unable to eat anything but slurry and taking a lot of painkillers scavenged from years-old bathroom cabinet supplies. Clementine, like a sister of mercy, made me some delicious healing jelly. This is her story:

" ok, do you want to tell it?
I went to Tesco to buy your tragedy pack ie mush. which consisted of jelly, banana, tinned peaches, raspberries, a flake yoghurt and Tatler. then I came home. 
If you really want it detail for detail, I went into your room and asked you what fruit you wanted which took some time, one of the harder decisions of your day. peaches and bananas it tuned out.
- I got the measuring jug and put jelly cubes into it (obviously not the whole big).
- Poured half a pint of boiling water on it, stirred it with a fork - felt like that was right - 
then when all the little cubes were no longer, I poured half a pint of cold water into the hot water mix to make one full pint. *coughs*
- then, mum was sitting outside because it was sunny, on the little table by the horse's head. I decided to ask her which bowl I should use. And whether I could put fruit in the mixture or into the bowl first and pour the jelly on top (!!!) There was some confusion and we just stood in the garden in silence, puzzling over it. then she exhaled gruffly and came inside and we thought we should chop up the banana and put it into the bowl (which was TOO SMALL MUM) then I decided to put the peaches in separately one bit by bit. 
- I regretted not putting them in a lovely design. 
- I got mum to put it in the fridge so i wouldn't spill it on myself and we had to move all your stupid spinach and kale.
- It set after three hours and then I gave it to you when you were at your lowest ebb and your nearly choked on it and spat it back out. "


monday turkey hash

1 packet of turkey breast meat cut into smallish pieces
1 leek cut into strings
1 stick celery as thinly sliced as possible
a handful of mushrooms cut up
1 clove garlic
sprinklings of dried tarragon, salt with dried mushrooms in, black pepper
dijon mustard
sour cream
1 tsp veg stock powder + water
mashed sweet potato

Quick write this down before pointless starts... you've got eight, no seven, minutes...
first of all, smell the turkey (I make Mum smell it as she has the definitive standards for off food) and make sure it's ok, then cut it into small pieces.
fry in a small amount of neutral oil (eg grapeseed/canola/rapeseed) until it is slightly browned. I use grapeseed oil because I think that doesn't burn.
Next I added the leek strings and some finely chopped celery and just sort of shoved it round the pan until it softened. Sprinkled in a big pinch of salt with dried porcini mushrooms in it, and a bit of dried tarragon, then I remembered I hadn't put in a garlic clove, so I added a pinch of garlic granules instead. Stirred through about 2 tsps of strong dijon mustard which had come in the post, part of the mustard collection, and a tsp of veg stock powder and a wine glass of water. I let it bubble a bit (about 5-10 mins) until it got thicker. Finally, I threw in a tablespoon of sour cream - all that was left in the pot, a small handful of chopped parsley and a bit black pepper. I ate it with mashed sweet potato and it was delicious