Monday, November 30, 2009

Movember cupcakes

Banana and peanut butter cupcakes from Vivid to raise funds for Movember 10 days ago. You can see more on their blog here, and there's a couple of cupcake recipes you can *must* try here

The Movember Foundation charity runs Movember events to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues accross the world.

As Vivid are an all female company they couldn't grow moustaches for the month of Movember (well not yet anyway) so they made these cupcakes instead and sported fake 'taches (see on link above). All good fun for a good cause!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2 quick (to prepare, but slow cooked) pork casserole recipes

While I spend all day shopping, preparing, cooking, travelling etc. for my clients, when it comes to my own meals they have to be fast.
I had two packs of diced pork in the freezer from Home Farm to do something with. The first one made the cajun pork risotto a few weeks ago which I gulped in 5 minutes before I hit the road delivering one dinner party and cooking for another, while another was going on somewhere else. The second pork dish I left in the oven for Hannah & Adam last Friday while I went to cook for a dinner party with Gill, and eventually ate my portion at 01:30 after I had finished, and was pleasantly suprised - when you chuck it all in a pan and hope for the best the results are always suprising.

1 - Cajun pork oven risotto

Diced pork (150 - 200g per person)
Onion
Garlic
Cider
Chicken stock
Cajun spice
Dijon mustard
Homemade tomato sauce
Tobasco
Left over fresh herbs
Risotto rice (rinsed with cold water in a sieve - removes excess starch)

Brown pork & onion. Add everything else but the rice. Bring to boil, cover & transfer to the oven. Cook for 3 - 4 hours till pork is tender. Stir in rice and place back in oven for 20 mins till rice is cooked.

EDIT

A few weeks after this I made another version with pork hock (£1.30 on reduced to clear - which made 8 portions). Cooked in the same way, but left the hock in the oven for 5 hours. Along with the cajun spice I added thai fish sauce, chilli, soy & lime juice after the 2nd pork recipe had turned out so well - all that umami does you good on a busy Saturday. After the pork is cooked take it out & mix in the rice and let that cook for 20 mins. As there were some celery leaves left I chopped those up and mixed those in with the rice too. So much flavour in the leaves - it's a shame they are so often neglected.
Once the rice is cooked you can pull the pork into strips on top of the rice - fast food can be good food! If it needs a little more acidity you can add more lime or a bit of (white wine) vinegar.

2 - Thai style pork

Diced pork
Onion
Garlic
Fresh ginger
Homemade tomato sauce (could use tinned tomato/ passata)
Anchovy puree
Thai fish sauce
Soy sauce
Thai chilli sauce
Ground cumin
Ground coriander
Chicken stock

Cooked in the same way as the first but without the rice. I added less liquid with this one, so as it cooked so long it thickened naturally. Served with creamed potato - comfort food.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

1001 Kitchen Tips #54 - Why does the top fall off my cottage bread? Why does my cottage loaf fall apart?

2009 has been the year of baking. I have just collected some bread photos with links to the relavant blog post/ recipe on the facebook page - there was much more than I remembered.

I made these thyme cottage bread rolls late at night a couple of weeks ago. I first made cottage loaves when I was 12 - a school open evening, it looked good to prospective parents as they looked round. When I made them last year though the tops rolled off as they baked and I ended up having to make something else.

I had forgotten the number 1 tip with cottage loaves - you need to make a hole in the top to make sure the two pieces of dough stick together.

This time I made the hole in the middle of the larger piece at the bottom then popped the smaller piece of dough on top and pressed the two together gently. This stops the top falling off.
You can also put the two together, and push your fingers or a wooden spoon through the top to weld the two together as shown on recipetips.com.




PS

The 1001 Kitchen tips got a mention in The Hindu 8 days ago - thanks for the article. Hope the tips are useful! At the current rate they should be finished by 2047.....

Friday, November 06, 2009

Madgetts Farm duck at Cheltenham farmers market

Once you've tried the duck and chicken from Madgett's Farm, there's no going back. Normally I get them via the Meadows at Home Farm so I can collect everything in one go. When we are very busy however and we need to concentrate on the weekend in hand, they have sometimes delivered at Home Farm before I have put my order in - as you really need to work a week in advance. All is not lost though - while they do the deliveries on Tuesday and Wednesday, on Thursday to Saturday they sell at the local Farmers markets. I picked up a couple of ducks last year from them at the Gloucester farmers market held at the cross in the centre of Gloucester.

A couple of weeks ago Adam caught up with them at Cheltenham farmers market on the prom after delivering desserts to Burger Burger. I had phoned the night before just to make sure they brought enough ducks with them. It's worth going out of your way to find the best ingredients.

Farmers markets really are amazing - so many wonderful things you won't see elsewhere, and you know exactly where it comes from - you can talk to the people who grow/ make/ rear it.

There's some great farmers market shopping tips here.

Like the duck from the Smallholding in Chadbury (which is plucked by hand), it's the dry skin and the hanging that makes a lot of difference to these ducks - you can read more about the proccess they use at Madgetts here.

Find your local farmers market on the Big Barn map.

Related posts

Duck ballottine - how to bone a duck

Monday, November 02, 2009

Elderflower liqueur update

As the evenings draw in you need to give yourself a reminder that summer is never too far away. Homemade elderflower cordial, 'champagne' or liqueur really is summer in a bottle. Unlike the mass produced version this has fragrance bursting out of the bottle - and you remember why the bees like the elderflower bushes so much - it has to be the best thing you can pick in the wild. I keep them in the front of the van while I drive back from collecting them - the aroma is awesome!

I passed the elderflower liqueur last month through the jelly bag used for making jam, just in time for Adam's birthday. A select vintage - just 1 1/2 bottles. I was going to make more but it rained - and the elderflowers are never any good after rain. You can see how it started out from a post in June. I didn't use quantities, or a recipe - it was just elderflowers covered to the top with gin, caster sugar and a lemon cut in small pieces - the lemon helps to stop the elderflowers turning black. It came from an idea from my great aunt who used to like making a Cointreau like liqueur with orange and lemon zest, caster sugar and gin. But I couldn't find her recipe anywhere so I guestimated. I thought adding in the elderflowers would be nice. I was right.

The only problem when making something like this is the bottles always seem to have a hole in the bottom.......


Related posts

Elderflowers June 2009 - to make the liqueur
Elderflowers 2007
Elderflower poached chicken