karohemd: (Chef)
I have been lax in posting my own cooking to my blog recently which was mainly due to not having cooked anything new, exciting or worthwhile to post but here are two:

Mackerel and orange salad

I had picked up a mackerel from the wet fish counter at Sea Tree in Mill Road and wanted to make something very simple and quick. I filleted the mackerel (which is very easy compared to other fish), rubbed the skin side with rapeseed oil, seasoned the flesh side with sea salt and pepper and fried the fillets skin side down in a hot pan for about a minute, took the pan off the heat and flipped over the fillets to cook the other side.
To serve I arranged the fillets on simply dressed leaves with orange segments. The bitterness of the leaves with the tart orange worked well together. Blood oranges would have been even better but those weren't in season.

Poached Dover Sole

My friends Heidi and Carri had told me of a van that sells fresh wet fish from Lowestoft next to the Portland Arms pub on Mitcham's Corner on Wednesdays (from 8:30 to 15:00, I think) and yesterday I finally got up half an hour earlier and took a detour on the way to work. Yesterday, they had cod, haddock, salmon, plaice, Dover sole, herring, sprats, whole squid, prawns, rainbow trout and a few other bits and pieces. Everything looked excellent and fresh. As I knew I wouldn't have much time in the kitchen, I picked a Dover sole with the plan of poaching it. They even had a few that were already skinned which saved me some time.
Home after work, the fish was still in excellent condition, ever after 9 hours in the office fridge. I made a poaching liquor from white wine, water, a fish stock pot and a couple of slices of ginger and garlic, brought it to the boil, switched the heat off and let it cool down for a while, taking out the ginger and garlic at the end. On a Saturday I would have made my own stock from the bones but I was quite hungry and didn't want to wait that long. I filleted the sole (you get four fillets from a flat fish) and poached the fillets in the liquor for about five minutes. Then I took them out, seasoned them with salt and pepper and served them on dressed leaves and boiled new potatoes. Next time, i'm going to let the liquor cool even further so they don't cook quite that much. They were firm but still moist. The flavour was subtle and clean, just what I wanted.
karohemd: (Chef)
Kavey Eats has a monthly ice cream challenge called "Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream" in which I have taken part twice so far. This month's challenge is any theme from the last year so I thought I'd try my hand at a sorbet.

My Riverford box contained blood oranges which were ideal. I zested the oranges then instead of juicing them I peeled them and blitzed them with my stick blender. In a saucepan I combined the juice, zest, half an inch of grated ginger, half a vanilla pod, two short cinnamon sticks, one star anise, five or so bruised cardamom pods and quite a bit of demerara sugar (don't ask me how much, I did this by eye but enough to make the mix taste really sweet), heated the mix until the sugar was dissolved, pulled the pan off the heat, put a lid on and let it cool off and infuse with the spices. After the mix was cool, I strained it into a tupperware container to remove the spices and put it in the freezer.

I don't have an ice cream machine so I took the container from the freezer every hour or so and stirred it through with a fork to break up any ice chunks that were forming. In my low rated freezer compartment it took almost 24 hours until it resembled sorbet or, to be honest, more like a slushie as it melts quite quickly. It tastes nice, though, fruity, tangy and spicy so I'm really happy with it.

Spiced Blood Orange Sorbet
Served in a tumbler with (shop bought) brownie pieces
karohemd: (Chef)
I've been wanting to do this for a while so I finally bought a pack of Gressingham duck legs and some duck fat on Monday.
To prepare, I rubbed the duck pieces with a mix of chopped garlic, sea salt, cracked black pepper and thyme, wrapped the bowl in clingfilm and let it sit in the fridge.
After about three hours, I took the legs out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature. Meanwhile, I melted the fat in a saucepan that was big enough to fit the two legs snugly. I scraped off most of the seasoning and dropped the legs into the fat, put on a lid and let them simmer on the lowest setting my cooker offers for three hours or so, checking now and then that the meat was still completely submerged and the fat wasn't boiling.
Now came the tricky part, taking out the legs without them falling apart. I managed this mostly with one leg but the other was in pieces. I let the legs drain on plenty of kitchen paper for a few minutes while I preheated my little grill oven on its highest setting (probably around 220°). The intact leg as well as the skin from the one that fell apart went onto a rack in a tray under the grill for about 15 minutes until it was nicely browned and crispy (possibly a touch too long). It looked like this:

Confit duck leg and scratchings

The meat was soft and the skin crispy without being fatty as all the fat had rendered. Being very lazy I just had a mixed leaf salad and some ciabatta with it. It was very good indeed.

I took the rest of the meat off the other leg, shredded it, wrapped it in foil with some of the fat and kept it in the fridge for lunch today.
karohemd: (Chef)
This steak looked so good I cooked it a lot less then usual, about a total of one minute on each side, then rested for 10 minutes while I braised the chicory in the same pan. I added some veg stock to the pan, then the quartered chicory and put on a lid to let cook until tender but still crunchy and most of the liquid was gone.

Sirloin steak, braised chicory, horseradish mash
karohemd: (Chef)
I found myself in town on Saturday so had a look around the market and found a lemon sole at the fish stall. I still had some broad beans from my veg box and new potatoes so that was dinner sorted.
I skinned and filleted the sole which was quite fiddly but I persevered and produced four reasonable fillets. My cooking liquid was a generous glug of vermouth, two generous glugs of white wine, some fish stock and a big knob of butter, seasoned with salt and pepper. I bought this to a boil in a frying pan, turned off the heat and when it stopped boiling added the fillets, turned them after a couple of minutes until they were evenly cooked and removed them to a warm dish to keep warm, while I turned up the heat again and cooked the (double-podded!) broad beans in the liquor until they were tender and the liquid was reduced to a sauce.
I served the fillets on a warm plate, with the beans spooned over and around, with new potatoes on the side. Very nice indeed.

Lemon Sole
karohemd: (Chef)
This long weekend was perfect for some experimentation in the kitchen so on Monday I used up the rest of the asparagus (I had sauteed spears with my lamb steaks on Sunday evening), cooking the front half of the spears in lemony butter, removed them from the butter and kept them warm. Then I cooked the chopped stems in the same butter with some veg stock. When those were tender, I blitzed them with a stick blender, seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg, stirred in a good dollop of double cream and blitzed again, tilting the blender head to get in as much air as possible. The result was a light, smooth, fluffy soup. The flavour was spot on, too.
I served the soup in a deep plate, with the cooked spears and a poached duck's egg yolk on top. Probably the technically best dish I've ever cooked. Very happy. :o)
Cream of asparagus soup, poached duck's egg yolk
karohemd: (Chef)
After my light lunch, I fancied a nice piece of meat for dinner. I'm pretty confident in cooking steak my usual way (fast sear and then finished in a low oven) but I wanted to try the method Heston Blumenthal demonstrated in his last TV series.
The steak had quite a chunk of fat on one end so I cut that off, chopped it up and rendered it on a low/medium heat. There was enough fat to lubricate the steak so I didn't need any oil. It most likely helped with the flavour, too.
With the extractor fan on full and window open, I added the steak to the smoking pan and flipped the steak every 15 seconds (roughly, by counting, I didn't actually use a timer), seasoning with salt and pepper halfway through. After four times on each side, so for a total of two minutes, the steak felt as if it was done so I removed it from the pan to a warm plate to let it rest for five minutes. I poured off the fat as suggested in the linked recipe but made a standard red wine reduction instead to which I added the resting juices later.
After resting, the steak was just how I like it, dark pink throughout, wonderfully juicy and with a really nice crust on the outside, quite possibly the best steak I have cooked.
This I served with boulangere potatoes and fresh, blanched asparagus.

Sirloin steak cooked the Heston way, boulangere potatoes, new season asparagus Sirloin steak cooked the Heston way (cut), boulangere potatoes, new season asparagus

I remember watching this episode on TV and myself and many others on twitter found it a bit odd but it really works. I mentioned this to an American friend and she thought it completely normal. Different cultures, different ways of cooking steaks.
karohemd: (Chef)
Last night I bought a pack of salmon fillets at the supermarket (from the saucy fish co.) because I needed something quick for dinner. The first fillet I pan-fried and had some leftover mediterranean couscous with it. Perfect quick evening meal.

This morning I had bought fresh asparagus from my greengrocer and thought I'd attempt something fancy with the other fillet for lunch:
I took off the skin, laid it flat into a frying pan, with a sheet of baking parchment on top and weighed down with a saucpan and then turned on the hob at medium heat. After five minutes, I turned the skin over and cooked the underside for a further five minutes. The result was a perfectly crispy piece of salmon skin.

I split the fillet lengthways to create two equally thick slices, set them next to each other on a sheet of clingfilm, added a spear of asparagus split lengthways, seasoned with salt and pepper and rolled it up tightly, twisting the ends of the clingfilm. This I wrapped in foil in a similar way and poached it in hot water for about five minutes. After unwrapping (ow!), it came out rather well done but still juicy and flaky. I will need to reduce the temperature next time but for that I will need a thermometer...

I also had cooked some lentils in water and seasoned with salt and pepper and dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I sliced the ballotine (more difficult than it sounds with flaky fish) and arranged the slices on the lentils, with the skin on the side.
Despite the fish being on the well done side, everything tasted really nice and as a first attempt I call this a success. One of the more "cheffy" things I have attempted.

Ballotine of salmon and asparagus, crispy salmon skin, lentils
karohemd: (Chef)
My butcher had nice pork tenderloin portions so I picked up one and they also had cooking chorizo and morcilla (Spanish black pudding) which I thought would go well with it. I also picked up potatoes and sprouting broccoli from Les Ward across the court and my shopping was done.
I first sliced the chorizo and morcilla and fried them in a dry pan over medium low heat until the slices were crispy and a lot of the fat had rendered. I removed the sausage with a slotted spoon to a warm plate and seared the piece of tenderloin in the rendered fat until browned on all sides and then put it into a low oven to finish.
I deglazed the pan with a glass of cider, seasoned with salt, pepper and a bit of thyme and let it reduce down to a sticky sauce.
After letting it rest for a few minutes, I carved the tenderloin, arranged it on top of the mash, crumbled the chorizo and morcilla over and around it and drizzled with the sauce. A few Maldon salt flakes and a few twists of pepper were the only seasoning (apart from the flavour of the chorizo fat).
Served with simple mash and steamed purple sprouting broccoli.
The crispy chorizo and morcilla provided not only extra flavour but also texture. I was really happy with how it came out.

Pork tenderloin, Chorizo, Morcilla

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karohemd: (Chef)
In my previous "baking" post, I mentioned I'd try making a savoury tart with the shop-bought, ready-rolled puff pastry I bought Saturday (JusRol).
I'm pleased to say it worked really well as you can see below.
I didn't have quite enough left to fill my tray so I patched the last piece together with some offcuts from the weekend and it worked (although you can see the wonky lower right corner), scored a rim into the pastry, spread some diluted tomato puree on the pastry, arranged courgette slices, quartered cherry tomatoes and bits of crushed garlic topped with bits of goats' cheese and finishing with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Maldon sea salt and a few grinds of pepper. Into my toaster oven for about fifteen minutes and out came this:
Courgette, Tomato and Goat's Cheese Tart
Photo taken on my phone and processed with instagram, I quite like it.
karohemd: (Chef)
My butcher had some nice looking belly pork today so I picked up a piece.
I first scored the skin, rubbed some salt into it and let sit for 20 minutes or so before wiping off the resulting moisture. The flesh side I rubbed with salt, pepper and thyme and then sat it in a roasting pan with a slosh of cider in the bottom. First I cooked it on the highest setting for about 20 minutes to get the skin going and then turned it right down to roast gently for about 4.5 hours.
I had first intended to serve it with mash but GigerPunk, a twitter friend, mentioned he used to cook belly pork on top of potatoes and onions which sounded like a brilliant idea. So I sweated off some red onions which I alternated with sliced redskin potatoes in an ovenproof dish, adding some well-seasoned chicken stock cooked with more cider and the juices from the roasting tin. This I roasted on medium high for about half an hour and then added the belly on top to roast for another half hour or so until the crackling blistered. I removed the dish from the oven to rest while wilting some spinach in butter, seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg. The finished dish looked like this:

Pork belly, boulangere potatoes, spinach

I'm really happy with how this came out. The crackling was crunchy, not chewy at all and the meat was soft. The fat had almost completely rendered but could possibly have done with a little more cooking. Still, not bad for a first attempt.
karohemd: (Chef)
Very quick dinner tonight:
Chopped a cooking chorizo into little chunks, cooked them in a pan on medium heat until crispy and the fat had rendered. I removed the chorizo and cooked the cod loins in the rendered fat (around 3 minutes on the presentation side and another 2 after flipping and turning off the heat), seasoned with salt and pepper.
Then I deglazed the pan with a slosh of Fino sherry and whisked in a few knobs of cold butter until emulsified to make the sauce (a bit like a beurre blanc but red from the paprika in the chorizo, hence the above name).
Served with the chorizo sprinkled over, braised spring greens, fresh baguette and a glass of Fino.
Cod loin, braised greens, chorizo, "beurre rouge"

Just a phone photo while I was eating.
karohemd: (Chef)
It's Pancake Day in the UK but I'm not a huge fan and always preferred the thicker, fluffier version called Kaiserschmarrn (Wikipedia has a few theories as to the origins of the dish).
There are of course as many recipes as there are families for this dish but the below works best for me. Good quality free range eggs are essential, not just for ethical reasons but also for the colour.

Kaiserschmarrn with home made icing sugar

Ingredients: (1 person as main for dinner, 3 for dessert)
Eggs (3 large, 4 medium or 5 small)
plain flour
caster sugar
icing sugar
raisins or similar (optional: soaked in rum or whisky)

Separate the eggs, whisk the yolks with ca. 3tbsp of sugar, add about two parts milk and then about 3 or 5 tbsp of sifted flour (whisk in the flour one by one until it's the consistency of double cream). Beat the egg whites with a small pinch of salt to stiff peaks. Let the batter rest/expand for about 20 minutes then fold in the beaten egg whites until incorporated.
Heat a large, thick bottomed frying pan (cast iron is ideal), melt enough butter to generously cover the bottom, pour in the batter. Turn the heat down to medium after about a minute. When the underside starts to brown, chuck in a handful of raisins into the still liquid batter. Cook until just set on top or the bottom is dark brown and turn the pancake over. Let brown for a bit then break up into bitesized pieces with your spatula, turn the heat down to low and continue frying for about five minutes or until cooked through. Plate generous portions and dust with icing sugar.
Instead of turning over the pancake, you can also put the pan onto the top shelf of a hot oven (top heating element/grill only) and cook the upper side that way.
Serve with apple sauce or other fruit compote/preserve and possibly some ice cream. :o)
karohemd: (Chef)
It seems Kavey gave me the ice cream bug so yesterday I made another batch. I had five blood oranges in my organic box this week and thought those would make a great base. I first zested them with a grater, then cut off the peels as close to the flesh as possible without leaving any white pith behind, blitzed the lot with my stick blender (quick and easy way to juice oranges) and strained the juice through a sieve. I cooked down the juice with the zest, some sugar, a stick of cinnamon, a piece of star anise, two cloves and the seeds and husk of a vanilla pod to a thickish syrup (probably about 200ml). Into that I whisked a 300ml tub of double cream and set aside to infuse for half an hour. After that I took out the whole spices and brought the temperature up again. Meanwhile I whisked three egg yolks in a bowl with about three tablespoons of sugar until foamy. Into that I carefully whisked the juice/cream mix and then transferred the custard back to the saucepan to finish cooking while stirring, taking care not to boil the mix (or you'll end up with scrambled eggs), until the consistency was right (the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon and won't run when you run your finger through it). It tasted really strong, almost mouth puckeringly tart so I hoped the flavour would be strong enough for the end product. I poured the finished custard into a freezer tub and let it cool down to room temperature before putting into the freezer and forking through every half hour or so.
And lo, the finished ice cream tasted fantastic, really tart, just as I like fruit ice cream to be, almost too tart on its own. I could imagine this going really well with a chocolate mousse or a sweet crumble. ETA: It was perfect with chocolate brownies. :o)

Spiced Blood Orange Ice Cream

This is another entry for Kavey's Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge (click the thumbnail below to go there):


P.S.: In German, the process of cooking the custard is called "zur Rose abziehen" which literally translates as "pull off to the rose" because when you blow at the back of a spoon coated in custard it will fan out in a pattern that looks similar to a flower. Try it (if you care about those things maybe only if you're going to eat the ice cream yourself and don't serve it to others) to see for yourself.

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karohemd: (Chef)
They had some reasonable looking monkfish at the fishmonger's so I picked up a piece. I filleted it, cut the fillets into chunks and marinaded them in pimenton and olive oil for a while. While the fish was marinading I made a sort of romesco sauce from a red pepper and some cherry tomatoes cooked down in olive oil with tomato paste, pimenton, garlic and dried herbs, seasoned with salt and pepper and then blitzed with a stick blender.
For the fish, I sliced two small cooking chorizos and fried those in a dry pan over medium heat until crispy and the fat had rendered. I removed the chorizo and then fried the fish in the rendered fat until browned on all sides and moved the pan to a low oven to finish for a few minutes.
In the meantime I steamed some broccoli florets and cooked the couscous with vegetable stock, olive oil and lemon juice.
When the fish was done I set it aside on a warm plate to rest while mixing the pan juices into the sauce. I then plated the fish on the couscous, drizzled the sauce over and around it and added fried chorizo slices. After I'd taken the photo I realised I'd forgotten to add the broccoli. Never mind.

Monkfish, Chorizo, Romesco Sauce

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karohemd: (Chef)
While browsing the meat shelves at the supermarket for ideas I randomly found some diced rabbit (from Gressingham, the farm with the lovely ducks) on offer so I bought two packs.
One pack I turned into a simple stew with leeks, carrots, cabbage and potatoes (dusted the meat in seasoned flour, browned it off, sweated off the leeks, filled up with chicken stock, let simmer for an hour and a half, added the potatoes and carrots, cooked for another 20 minutes and then the cabbage to cook for the last 10 minutes. The result was a lovely, thick stew with tender meat. Simple phone photo of a rustic dish in a rustic plate (click for big):

From the other pack I made an Italian style ragu (meat browned off in olive oil, tomato paste, can of chopped tomatoes, Italian herbs, smoked paprika, salt and pepper, simmered for two hours until the meat fell apart), served with penne and freshly grated parmesan. No photo, you can imagine what a plate of pasta looks like. ;)

After quite a few barren weeks I seem to have my cooking mojo back and produce things that are worth blogging about. More towards the end of the week, hopefully.
karohemd: (Chef)
Plaice fillets (or any other flat or white fish, adjust cooking times according to thickness)
cherry tomatoes, anchovies, red onion, garlic, dried or fresh mediterranean herbs
baby potatoes
mixed baby leaves
olive oil, butter
Gently fry the plaice in butter and olive oil over medium heat (about 2 minutes each side), season with freshly ground pepper (the sauce will be salty enough).
For the sauce, quarter cherry tomatoes and gently cook them with chopped red onion, garlic and a few anchovies in olive oil, season with salt, pepper and mediterranean herbs.
Boil the potatoes and crush them in the pan in which you cooked the fish to mop up all the butter, oil and flavour.
To serve, place the crushed potatoes in the centre of the plate, a fillet of fish on top and spoon over the sauce. Arrange the dressed (good extra virgin olive oil, balsamico, salt, pepper) leaves around the side.
It was very tasty indeed.
Plaice, tomatoes, crushed potatoes, dressed leaves
karohemd: (Chef)
It's been a long time coming but I finally cooked something the look of which I was reasonably happy with and that was a bit different from what I'd cooked before.
The mackerel fillets were simply pan-seared and seasoned with salt and pepper. With it I served beetroot couscous for which I stirred the couscous into cooked, pureed beetroot, thinned with a bit of chicken stock so there was enough liquid and seasoned with salt and pepper and wilted spinach. The little cubes of beetroot were pickled in warm balsamic vinegar for about an hour.

Pan fried Mackerel, Beetroot Couscous, Spinach
karohemd: (Chef)
When I visit my parents I usually enjoy my mother's cooking but I also pick a day when I cook something. This year my parents again sourced a lovely saddle of roe deer from a family friend who used to be the local gamekeeper and still has connections.
I knew that my parents would still have some dried foraged ceps (this year was too dry but there were plenty the year before) so a risotto sounded like the perfect accompaniment with sprout leaves on the side:

Loin of roe deer, cep risotto, sprout leaves

The day before, I removed the loins from the bone and trimmed off all the sinew and fat and put the meat back in the fridge. Then I chopped the bone into chunks and roasted it with some veg (celeriac, carrots, onion) in a hot oven until nicely browned. That, the offcuts, a sprig each of rosemary and thyme, a few juniper and allspice berries and about a litre of water became the stock for the risotto. Skimmed and strained it only needed to be reheated the next day.

The next day, I made a basic white risotto by gently sweating off a finely chopped shallot and garlic clove in a mix of olive oil and butter, adding the rice, stirring until coated, a generous glug of white wine, stirring until absorbed, added the reconstituted and chopped ceps and added the stock (with the cep water added) ladle by ladle, stirring after each until the liquid was absorbed until the rice was done.

When the risotto was on its way, I rubbed the loin (cut into pieces that would fit the pan) with rapeseed oil and seared it in a hot pan and then transferred them to an 80 degrees oven to finish.

The sprout leaves (mum was my commis and helped pick them) were just quickly blanched in salted water and refreshed in ice water to be finished later.

When the meat was done to my liking, I removed it and let it rest. In the pan I seared the meat in, I melted a generous piece of butter, seasoned it with salt, white pepper, a twig of thyme and rosemary, crushed juniper berries and ground allspice and basted the loin with it before carving. I removed the whole spices and herbs from the butter and tossed the sprout leaves in the pan to warm through. The risotto was finished with a handful of parmesan and a knob of butter which gave it a nice shine.

All that remained was plating up and dig in. The meat was so buttery soft it almost melted in the mouth and - if I may say so myself - up there with any I recently had at fine restaurants. The risotto had just enough ceps in it to flavour it and not overpower the meat. The sprout leaves were nice, too.

Needless to say, I was very happy with that dish.

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karohemd: (Chef)
After so many posts of other people's food, I've finally cooked something pretty enough to post.
Nothing special, just a nice lamb steak, marinaded in rapeseed oil, rosemary and garlic, seared in a smoking hot pan one minute on each side and then finished in a medium oven until it was nicely pink throughout (links to a crappy phone pic halfway through eating).
Served on garlic mash, wilted spinach and a red wine reduction made from the pan and resting juices. Not exactly fine dining but solid home cooking and, if I may say so myself, very tasty indeed. I possibly should have let it rest a bit longer but I was hungry. :P

Lamb steak

September 2017

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