Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hangover Chips with Harissa Mayo

Ingredients: Hangover x 2; organic Irish potatoes x 3 ; an egg yolk; grainy mustard; white wine vinegar, rapeseed oil; Harissa; salt, salt salt and pepper

'Staying in' on a Saturday, simply means it is possible to drink as much as you like, fall asleep where you are sitting and wake up in the morning, cold, sore and with a slipper in your mouth, on the floor. The hard cold floor below the warm snug sofa with cushions and a sofa cat (it's a cat that smells due to some sort of warming bag thing inside it that you can heat up, which means instead of sharing a bed with Salty Squid and the countless number of random, stuffed rejected animals, Sofa Cat lives on the sofa. What the heck am I talking about Sofa Cat for??)

Potatoes slice thickly, skins on. Cover in salt, pepper, oil, herbs or spices or whatever you feel. Put onto a baking tray and place on the bottom shelf in a cold oven. Turn the oven up full and wait.

Or you can mix the egg yolk, vinegar and mustard together and the slowly add the rapeseed oil, whisking all the time while you wait. Finish with Harissa and some seasoning.

After this we had three pizzas. I recommend you do the same.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Portuguese inspired Pineapple Cake

Blame it on one rainy and restless Sunday afternoon. When there is really nothing else left to do than heating up the oven, putting together a simple cake recipe and waiting until the sweet smell of a holiday oozes of of the kitchen. Despite the other half's this month's resolutions ("No more cakes, please...!", as if anybody would feel like this anyway), yep, this was a prefect day for a cake.

Pineapple Cake
(Tessa's Kiros recipe from the "Piri Piri Starfish" cookbook)

350g caster (fine) sugar; 1 fresh pineapple, or 1 canned, drained; 4 eggs, separated; 200g unsalted butter; 200g cake flour (00); 1 tsp baking powder

Heat your oven up to 180 degrees and grease and flour gently a 12 x 4 inch loaf tin.

Make caramel, by mixing 115g of the sugar with couple of teaspoons of water in a non-stick sauce pan. Heat up until sugar melts and swirl the pan around (don't stir otherwise sugar will crystallize). When the sugar turns golden brown and starts to burn, pour carefully into the tin and let it cool down.

Arrange about 10 pineapple rings (drained) over the base of the tin, overlapping.

Whip the egg whites into peaks, and mix the butter with the rest of sugar until it's creamy.
Add the yolks, beat well and then sift in the flour. Fold in the egg whites.

Spoon the mixture into the tin, and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour until the top if puffy and golden. Take out and let it cool, then loosen the sides with a knife and turn upside down. Voilá!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Year Of The Rabbit

The year of the Rabbit. What in gods name does that mean? I have images of giant rabbits taking over the world, stomping building to rubble with their huge feet, shooting lasers from their eyes, pretty much wreaking havoc and being a general pain, which, to a lot of farmers is what the normal, smaller, non-laser shooting rabbits are anyways. I have no idea what the 'Year of the Rabbit' holds fur us, sorry, I mean for us, but an educated guess would leave me to believe that we will all grow a shoe size or two and our hearing will improve. And we will probably be non too fond of Elmer Fudd.

Right now you are probably wondering what all this has to do with food and our tapas entry? The answer as always Dear reader, is nothing.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Ingredients: 1/2 cup brown sugar; 1-2 tbsp Ketchup; 1-2 tbsp light soy sauce; 1/2 cup pineapple juice (fresh or canned); 1/4 tsp salt; 1/4 cup Chinese Shaoxing wine (or dry Sherry); 1/4 cup Chinese rice vinegar (or Cider vinegar); 2 tsp corn flour, dissolved in 2 tbsp water

Mix all ingredients together in a small sauce pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and add the corn flour, stirring well. Keep simmering until the sauce thickens. Use hot or allow to cool down. So simple the Karate Kid could.... oh wait that was Japan right?

Green Beans with Sweet and Sour Pork

Ingredients: 200g pork mince; handful of green beans, blanched and halved; 1 x onion chopped; 1 x clove garlic, sliced, 3tbsp home made sweet and sour sauce; some Chinese 5 spice; Szechuan pepper, Chili powder

Heat your pan and add the onion and garlic and colour on a high heat. Add the pork mince and brown, then add the spices and a splash of rice vinegar or white wine vinegar or whatever you have. Add the blanched green beans, and continue to cook for another minute, add the sweet and sour sauce and stir. Continue to cook on a high heat for another minute, allowing the sauce to caramelise and get sticky on the pan. Serve. Love you long time.

Duck pancakes

Ingredients: 1 x duck leg; Szechuan peppercorns, Chinese 5 spice; 1/2 cup Oyster Sauce; 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced into batons; Pak Choi, cooked before hand

The night before, marinate the duck leg with about 10 Szechuan peppercorns, some Chinese 5 spice and Oyster Sauce. Remove from the fridge 30mins before cooking. Preheat the oven to about 130, add the duck and cook for about an hour, basting from time to time. Make sure the duck is nice and tender before removing, it may take longer.

Once cooled, flake the meat from the bone. Lay out your spring roll paper and fill each with some duck, cucumber, pak choi and season. Roll up the pancakes and the dip into a mixture of Chinese 5 spice, Oyster Sauce and Chili powder. Bake in a preheated oven at 180c for 20mins
until crisp and sticky. You BIG American!

Stir fried crispy Tofu with Choy Sum, Enoki mushrooms and other Asian sounding weird things

Ingredients: 100g tofu, chopped up however you want; 50g Choy Sum; pickled ginger; 1 x onion chopped; garlic sliced, some chopped chili; bunch of coriander; Enoki mushrooms; Chinese 5 spice; Szechuan pepper; sesame oil; soy sauce

Freeze your tofu the night before, then defrost a bit before it's needed (great tip from a Chinese friend!), this helps it keep it's shape and bite, not that there is much bite to tofu. I should probably lay my cards on the table here and say my love for tofu and soy related products is non-existent since the discovery of a rare breed of humans that frequent the cafe and order soy lattes, de-caf-soya-cappa's (what the sweet mother of fu** is that!??) and have an air of arse about themselves. But that's a blog entry for another day.

Heat some oil in a pan and fry the tofu. To help hide the taste and texture add some onion and garlic and pickled ginger. Next add the spices and peppers, followed by the Chinese cabbage and mushrooms. Add some soy sauce and chili after a min or two and continue to cook. Add the coriander and sesame oil. Stir and serve. Five dollar!!

On the stereo
Pitchfork 500 album on shuffle

In the glass
Arthur Metz, Reisling, Alsace, 2009