Monday, January 25, 2010

That's just the icing on the cake.


Peas, peas me, whoa yeah, Like I peas you...

Just because you can buy frozen peas and ping them in the microwave, doesn't mean you can't know how to cook them for real.



INGREDIENTS. - 2 pints of green peas
salt and pepper

METHOD. - Shell the peas, put them into boiling water, add a little salt and a sprig of mint, and boil, with the saucepan uncovered, from 10 to 25 minutes, according to age and variety.
Drain well, put them into a hot vegetable dish, season with pepper, add a small piece of butter, and serve.

TIME. - From 10 to 25 minutes. SUFFICIENT for 6 or 7 persons

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rock and/or Roll for a Game, Set and Match

Topical too, because we are hosting the Australian Open right now.

Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education. - Mark Twain

Cauliflower is pretty awesome. What can make it even awesomer is the addition of cheese sauce. Preferably lots of it. For some reason, I usually only make this at Christmas time, which is probably good for my cholesterol levels.



INGREDIENTS. - 2 or 3 small cauliflowers
3/4 of a pint of white sauce
2 tablespoonfuls of grated cheese, preferably Parmesan
1 tablespoonful of brown breadcrumbs
about 1 oz. of butter

METHOD. - Boil the cauliflower as in the following recipe, (Put them into fast-boiling water and let them boil gently, keeping the saucepan uncovered.) drain well, and divide them into pieces convenient for serving.
Have ready a round gratin dish, or any fireproof dish, that may be sent to the table, grease it well, and in it arrange the pieces of cauliflower so as to appear as one large one.
Mix 2/3 of the cheese with the COLD white sauce, and the remainder with the breadcrumbs; pour the sauce over the cauliflower, and cover the surface with the mixed breadcrumbs and cheese.
Place small piece of butter on the top, and bake in a moderate over until well browned.

TIME. - About 40 minutes. SEASONABLE from June to November. SUFFICIENT for 5 persons.

I omitted the breadcrumbs. And I think I had a bit more white sauce. And lots more cheese. Lots and lots more cheese. I usually ping my cauliflower in the microwave rather than boiling it until tender, and add the white sauce while it is warm and all the cheese melts into it and then it seeps all around the cauliflower. But that could be just me...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"On Wednesday I go shopping And have buttered scones for tea."


Turkey lurkey!

Turkeys seem like Christmas to me. I know a lot of Americans associate turkeys with Thanksgiving, and Canadians associate turkey with Canadian Thanksgiving... but to me, Christmas is turkey time... and as I love turkey, that's a pretty good thing.

It's really all Charles Dickens' fault. Before it was published in 1843, Christmas was in a decline. Dickens sparked a revival in Christmas as well as the Christmas turkey dinner. Obviously, before the discovery of the Americas, turkeys were unknown so a traditional Christmas dinner was more likely to consist of goose or beef. Ham and pork are also quite common.

"Do you know the Poulterer's in the next street but one, at the corner?" Scrooge inquired.
"I should hope I did," replied the lad.
" An intelligent boy!" said Scrooge. "A remarkable boy! Do you know whether they've sold the prize Turkey that was hanging up there?- Not the little prize Turkey: the big one?"
"What, the one as big as me?" returned the boy.
"What a delightful boy!" said Scrooge. "It's a pleasure to talk to him. Yes, my buck!"
"It's hanging there now," replied the boy.
"Is it?" said Scrooge. "Go and buy it ... I'll send it to Bob Cratchit's," whispered Scrooge, rubbing his hands, and splitting with a laugh. "He shan't know who sends it. It's twice the size of Tiny Tim. Joe Miller never made such a joke as sending it to Bob's will be!"
- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol


This is not my Christmas turkey. I had a cold at Christmas time and whilst I did cook my turkey and do it all very well, I didn't take any pictures. So the turkey above is actually from Christmas 2... last Saturday when I baked a half price post Christmas turkey. But I love turkey so it was a terrible thing to have to cook another one just for fun (and photos).



INGREDIENTS. - 1 turkey
1 to 2 lbs. of sausage meat
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. of veal forcemeat
2 or 3 slices of bacon
1 pint of good gravy
bread sauce
fat for basting

METHOD. - Prepare and truss the turkey. Fill the crop with sausage meat, and put the veal forcemeat inside the body of the bird.
Skewer the bacon over the breast, baste well with hot fat, and roast in a moderate oven from 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours, according to age and size of the bird.
Baste frequently, and about 20 miutes before serving remove the bacon to allow the breast to brown.
Remove the trussing-strings, serve on a hot dish, and send the gravy and bread sauce to table in sauce-boats.

TIME. - From 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours. SUFFICIENT for 10 or more persons

Sides will be following in later posts so for now just enjoy the turkey goodness and get sleepy from the tryptophan.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dessert is probably the most important stage of the meal, since it will be the last thing your guests remember before they pass out all over the table


It's a great pastry debate!

Hi everybody!

(Hi Dr Nick)

Hope you didn't miss me too much over the Christmas period, and I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and an excellent new years.

As we learned last year in this post, I make a pretty mean mince pie. However, this year I set myself a new challenge, which provoked the great pastry debate. I wanted to see what the difference was if you make a pastry with lard instead of with butter as I am used to.

SHORT-CRUST, PLAIN. (For Pies, Tarts, etc.)

INGREDIENTS - 1/2 lb of flour
3 oz of lard, clarified butter or dripping
1 teaspoonful of baking-powder (heaped)
1/4 of a teaspoonful of salt
1/4 of a pint of water

METHOD - Pass the flour, salt and baking-powder through a sieve into a large basin, then rub in the fat, add the water, and work into a smooth paste with a knife. Roll out to desired shape and thickness and use at once. When required for fruit tarts, 1 tablespoonful of sugar should be added to the above ingredients.

TIME - About 1/4 of an hour. SUFFICIENT for about 1 medium-sized tart


4 oz (125g) of plain flour
4 oz (125g) of SR flour
4 oz (125g) of butter
2 oz (60g) of castor sugar
1 pinch of salt
About 3 tablespoons of water

METHOD.- Put butter, flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Turn on and process until it resembles bread crumbs, add egg yolk, and process, add water a little at a time until the mixture forms a ball of dough whirling round the mixer. Remove and roll out on a floured board/bench top. Then use or refrigerate until required (no more that 1 day)

And here they are:
Butter Pastry

Lard Pastry

Personally I prefer the butter ones. The lard ones took a few days before they stopped tasting really lardy...but after that they were very nice. I found the lard pastry to be much shorter (probably due to the lower fat content) but would be really good for a savoury pie.

In the grand scheme of things then, the real difference is - not much. I'm calling it a tie.