Monday, 25 February 2008
Possibly one of the most frustrating feelings in the world is repeatedly opening and closing the barren fridge in the desperate hope that you may have missed something delicious on the first attempt. Nothing ever materializes. You are stuck in a food drought and will be forced to eat the most unlikely items from the depths of the store cupboard instead. I made do with a small tin of tuna stretched with the last scraping of mayonnaise, one red pepper from a jar, some elderly iceberg lettuce and a thimbleful of garlicky sweet-potato (and baking potato – a mistake) mash prepared with immense solemnity by a friend who had ridiculed my meal choice as “far too girly”. He won.
Posted by hart at 06:34
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
A huge amount of diced beef in the fridge and my sister's point-blank refusal to eat stroganoff
inspired me to try making a stew. Being half Irish, I feel that stew-making is something that I'm supposed to know, intrinsically, how to do, but I always need some cook-book guidance.
Finding absolutely no help in any of the thousands of books scattered throughout the house, even from my favourite teacher Nige(l slater, apparently he just refuses to make them) and feeling thoroughly annoyed with all the chefs populating the kitchen in text form I decided to make it up as I went along. It was all fine in theory until I realised that you need about three hours to stew the meat properly and I had foolishly waited a while, being entirely unable to concentrate while masterchef is on (I am mesmerised by John and Greg's attempts to cram in fist-sized mouthfuls of dainty food).
* roll the meat in seasoned flour and fry in olive oil in a large deep frying pan. (The important thing is not to crowd the meat in - do it in small batches - otherwise, it will end up stewing in its own juices and not browning properly.) When browned remove from the pan.
*chop an onion into rough strips and cook in the left over oil and meat juices. When they are starting to brown, throw in some roughly chopped mushrooms and parsnips. As this is cooking put the meat back in and add some smashed garlic cloves, bay leaves, crushed juniper berries and some thyme (sadly mine was very old and dried from the back of the fridge)
*as this starts to sizzle throw in a glass of red wine (I used a suspicious looking Taste the Difference Portugese wine that said "drink with stew" on its label.)
when the alcohol has cooked off add a pint of vegetable stock, put the lid on and let it sit there simmering for as long as you can bear. (this is where my crucial mistake was made)
I left it for an hour and a bit and was still quite tough so you probably need about 2 1/2 hours.
When ready to serve, add a small spoonful of sour cream to each plate.
Served with mum's favourite potato style (I bet some people don't even have a favourite potato style...) "Crusssshhed potatoes"
N.B if you are serving these you must use the most seductive voice possible.
Posted by hart at 02:58
Monday, 18 February 2008
Inspired to make comforting sunday night risotto by Lucas Hollweg in Style magazine and had to use up the leftover roast chicken as it was emanating such a powerful smell that it was causing boyfriend fridge-opening apprehension.
Ransacked local Turkish supermarket with £3 and bought one lonely carrot, some celery, a handful of sad-looking mushrooms, small UHT single cream and managed to wheedle a few stems of flat leaf parsley for free from suspicious shopkeeper.
Watching American Idol in background, I picked apart chicken (feeling much like Simon Cowell) and put on stock (4 pints of water over chicken carcass, half onion with skin on, sad carrot and celery, at which boyfriend immediately becomes filled with pretend allergy related rage at celery's inclusion in dish)
Followed bastardised version of Jamie Oliver's recipe as had no white wine, parmesan, risotto rice or garlic, but still good thanks to free parsley and garlicky pre-roasted chicken.
* heat stock
*fry finely chopped onion and celery ("Nooo!") in butter and oil to stop burning
* when down (onion is translucent) add rice and stir to ensure all is coated in oil
* add ladleful of stock to calm sizzling (add white wine or vermouth usually but new poverty has rendered impossible)
*stir slowly letting liquid cook off and adding another ladle of stock each time it does so
*carry on until rice is cooked, about 20 minutes, keep checking.
* add salt pepper, some chopped parsley, chicken meat, and mushrooms- chopped
*keep stirring slowly until last liquid has soaked up then stir in some cream and sprinkle last of parsley on top.
*boyfriend will then refuse to eat due to afore-mentioned celery content. consume all.
Posted by hart at 04:02
only named as such because I had to write down the shrove tuesday recipe for my reluctant chef
sister to impress her fiends with during Never Mind The Buzzcocks and was inspired by the on-screen display of Golden Jupitus. He could eat ALL the pancakes.
8oz flour (plain)
1 pint milk
big pinch Dad's salt (table salt)
*mix flour and salt in bowl - create flour-free void in bowl. fill void with eggs.
*whisk eggs allowing small amount of flour to get involved.
*gradually incorporate more and more flour to the mix all the while balancing thickness with milk, a bit at a time.
*create pleasingly thick (viscous) substance. whisk lots to make bubbles. let stand alone.
*melt butter in a hot pan with a bit of oil to stop it burning
*add ladlefull of batter. coat pan evenly.
*LET COOK. DON'T TOUCH OR PROD WITH SPATULA IN OBSESSIVE MANNER.
*can flip when it moves of own accord when pan is shaken in manner of rapid stabbing.
*eat only with lemon and sugar.
Posted by hart at 03:46