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veal cooked in milk

I’ve just been painting the nursery (no not the one with the lamps) with this natural paint that’s entirely mineral based and cuts down on the associated non-biodegradable toxic waste. Unfortunately it’s like painting with coffee. It flies everywhere and after two coats it still looks like an undercoat (it takes three). I’ve often wondered what painting in the 17th century was like, now I know. On the plus side it avoids the speckled history of the paint industry, washes off easily enough, and doesn’t smell.

Much easier is this veal dish I made a couple of weeks ago. Not only is it easy, but it’s about as close to a perfect meal you could hope for. It’s a big call I know, but it uses a few simple ingredients that compliment the feature ingredient, is unfuckuppable and you get that elusive feeling of a really special meal without having tried to hard.

There was one minor hitch. It was in a French magazine that I get every quarter in a swap with Gracianne. It means bodgy translation from French by me and this time I found out that Cocos de Paimpol, wasn’t ‘something coconut’ but a kind of white bean from Paimpol and my friends were saved from veal cooked in coconut milk.

The veal is non-bastard veal from White Rocks Veal and cooked as one piece.

two onions
one stick of celery
six button mushrooms
1 litre full cream milk
600ml cream
rack of four veal chops

250 gm dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
three sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf

Brown the veal in a little hot oil – to the brown that you’d like to serve it at..
Sautee the onions, celery and mushrooms in a little oil in a heavy casserole. Add the rack of veal and then filled with the milk and the cream to cover. Allow to very gently simmer, covered for one hour.

Take out the veal to allow it to rest. Strain the cooking liquid and then reduce it to a sauce/one-coat roll on paint like consistency. Reducing in a wide frying pan will hasten things.

The recipe suggests cooking the beans in water for about half an hour. I thought of adding them to the casserole dish at the 25-minutes-from-finish point but ended up finishing the beans in some of the cooking liquid.

Carve the chops and serve on the beans with the sauce. See if you can manage, unlike me, to get the garnish in the middle.

Tastes fabulous, cooks perfectly, and is really only about half and hour of actual kitchen work. Don’t forget the bread.

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lamb tagine

Sorry for the not very exciting pic but this is really very good and one of the best things I’ve made for a while. It’s a combination of a few different recipes and techniques. I’ve been working through my half a dorper lamb from Dorper Lamb (same place I got my NYE wagyu from) and the rolled roast leg was very nice, reminded me more of venison. I’m also working my way through the Pickled Pink range I got given and am using now the photos are done (also really good, available at Tarts in Northbridge – the cafe, not just any old tart, and Sayers in Leederville). There was a jar of baharat and not knowing what it was, suspected it was Middle Easterny and found out it can be used for tagines – similar to ras al hanout.

Here’s the recipe in a very convincing recipe like form -

1kg lamb neck (or shanks)
2 cups chicken stock
olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tins chopped tomatoes – drained with juice reserved
2 pieces of lemon rind
1.5 tablespoons Baharat
4 fresh apricots, cut into large chunks
10 dates, seeded and halved
1 tbs honey
salt and pepper
2 tins of canelli beans (or similar), drained

Trim the lamb of excess fat and brown the meat in a frypan. Place lamb in a tagine or casserole. Deglaze the frypan with the tomato juice and add to the lamb. Add the stock and the lemon rind. Top with water to not quite cover the meat (remember the other ingredients). Get to a boil and the reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, fry the onion and the garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the baharat and stir through until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and stir through until heated. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the beans.

Place the lid on and cook gently on the stove top or in an oven at 150C for an hour and a half. Add the beans and cook for another hour or until the meat is tender. Add water if necessary or remove lid to allow sauce to reduce. Season and you can also add a little more baharat to taste.

I served it with rice which was a bit of a bodge together of basmati cooked in chicken stock with a cinnamon stick and then fried onion, garlic, cardamom seeds, and hot chilli sauce sauteed together and finely chopped lemon rind all mixed into the rice.

Entree was the lamb kofte here served on a bed of rocket, parsley and mint with a lemon and EVOO dressing.

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pork terrine


Duck Liver and Pork Terrine

A terrine is a nice enough way to get back into cooking and it gave me a good reason to give my 70′s moulinex a bit of a run. Porky joy yes and I decided to partner it with apples (sauce) and figs (always nice with prosciutto). Pork belly because it needs some fat. Duck liver because there wasn’t any pork liver available.

mincer

Ingredients are approximate: 500gm of pork belly; 500gm of pork meat (taken from chops); 500gm of duck liver; 1 cup of bread; 2 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and finely chopped); 5 dried figs (soaked in 1/3 cup of calvados) – not fresh sadly; 1/2 cup cream; a few chives and a few sage leaves (finely chopped); salt and pepper. 8 rashers of bacon. Sprig of thyme for non sequitur garnish.

Run the meat, liver, and bread through the mincer. Finish with the bread, it doesn’t make cleaning any easier but it does mean you don’t have to scrape out bits of viscera. Actually best keep the whole thing a bit quiet, I had it all packed up by the time Toni got back. Liver looks the mincer had an unfortunate incident involving some surprisingly cheap seafood.
Mix all the ingredients together. Line a bread tin (or a terrine if you’ve got one) with foil and then give it a good oiling. Line the tin widthways with strips of bacon, fill with the mix and then drape the strips over. Cover with baking paper – greased with butter.
Cook in a steam bath in a 180C oven for two hours.
To make a steam bath, get a roasting pan and fill it with warm water so it reaches 2/3 of the way up the terrine. Fergus Henderson has a nice hint to place a teatowel on the bottom of the roasting tin so the bottom of the terrine isn’t in direct contact with the oven heat.
Take it out, place a weight on it and leave for 2-3 days (yes you’ll have to wait).

Very rich, the amount of liver brought it close to being pate. There was room to be a bit bolder with the amount of fig. A very filling entree that will keep guest happy for an hour. Served with local Pickled Pink Apple and Roasted Beetroot Relish, which is very nice and offset the terrine nicely – too nicely in fact, you don’t want the thing you didn’t make outshining the thing you did.

lunch
Arrosto di Agnello al Ginepro

There is lamb and then there’s lamb. According to Marcella Hazan, my 80′s authority on Italian cooking, there the spring lamb, abbachio, taken straight from the teat and the there’s your regular ‘mature’ lamb which we usually have. For mutton, it must feel like not only somebody not knowing your fave ever band but then realising they hadn’t even been born – shoot me now.
So for the mature lamb, it gets the casserole in her recipe for Arrosto di Agnello al Ginepro – lamb roasted with juniper berries. Juniper berries seem quite the thing, or at least they were when I last checked. Anyway, this recipe is, as they say in Italian, unfuckupableio.

1 leg of lamb; 1 tbs chopped carrot; 2 tbs of chopped onion; 1 tbs chopped celery; 250ml dry white wine; 2 crushed cloves of garlic; sprig of fresh rosemary; 2 tsp juniper berries; salt and pepper.

Put everything into a heavy casserole and simmer covered on a low heat for 2 hours. Turn the leg every 45 minutes. Then increase the heat slightly, put the lid askew and simmer for another 90 minutes. The juices should reduce down to a nice thick jus and the meat should be cooked and very tender.
Let the leg rest under foil.
Spoon off as much fat as possible, strain the jus, and then you can extend it a bit by returning it to the casserole after you’ve deglazed the casserole with a glass of red.
Very tender and very understated on the juniper.

Served with sausage and black eyed beans and a salad.
The sausage and blacked eye beans is just the onion/celery/carrot/garlic mirepoix upstairs – sauteed in olive oil in a casserole dish. Tin of tomatoes added with juice and simmered for 20 minutes. Then 4 or 5 pricked continental sausages added and simmered for a further 15 minutes. Then 4-5 cups of black eyed beans. Top up with water, bring to a simmer, cover and leave in a 180C oven for 90 minutes – check liquid levels occasionally. Season.

dessert

Crostata di Uva

Thank you Mrs Medici – my 90′s authority on Italian cooking. A very uncomplicated tart – even the custard doesn’t bother with vanilla. Very dependent on getting beautiful fresh crisp and cool white grapes. Just a sweet shortcrust pastry made with the zest of one lemon and cooked into a tart shell. Then make a three yolk custard, adding a tablespoon of flour to the milk as a thickener. Pour the cooled custard into the chilled tart shell then fill with grapes

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potroast1

Two meals from our post christmas camping trip to Denmark.

Camping dinner must meet certain requirements. It must involve fire. It must take time. It must use a camp oven. Tuna sandwich, no. A large piece of topside, yes.

My usual trick is to roast it and then finish with a few glasses of wine. Sadly, crisp dry summer undergrowth and warm toasty camp fires do not a happy pairing make. So I lacked the coals to surround the camp oven with and instead had the unidirectional heat of the gas BBQ. The solution was to make something in between a pot au feu and a pot roast (I lacked the cook books to be faithful to either and worked on guesses). It worked so well that when I returned to the Denmark Dewsons, I did the same thing again. Here are the two variations.


Variation 1

potroast1forcarving

First I seared the beef (keeping the topside whole) on all sides, removing to sautee 6 cloves of garlic and two chopped onions. Back in went the roast followed by 1/3 pinot noir, 1/3 beef stock, and 1/3 water to nearly cover the beef. Next a handful of thyme and two bay leaves. Following, were the finely chopped stems of a dozen swiss brown mushroom followed by their halved caps. The broth was brought to a boil and then left to a very slow simmer with the lid on. Kipfler potatoes were added after an hour.

[two hours pass, the sun sets, the flies go to bed, beers are drunk]

Testing the meat it is clearly ready. Slice thinly, placed in bowls with the potatoes and then the broth covers it to make a soup. Topside is lean and therefore not the tenderest of cuts and doesn’t break down like stewing cuts but it was flavourful enough and the broth was tremendous.

modydisgorges


Variation 2

potroast2

[the following evening]

As above but lacking anything for larding, I thought stuff it and lard it with garlic. The stuffing was rosemary and sage with duxelles of butter, mushroom and onions. A pocket made with a knife and then closed with the stem of rosemary. Roasted it for about half an hour before adding the broth.

Similarly good and just as enjoyed. The stuffing broke up the unrelenting meatiness. I don’t know if slowly stewing a stuffed piece of meat is correct protocol but it was good.

fieldkitchen

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Bouillabaisse

‘allo can you go

Much discussion about authenticity on this one but authenticity is a much more contrary beast than some would have you believe. There is petty authenticity and great authenticity. Wear the right mirkin buckle at a Mediaeval Fayre and it’s bouquets. Run a sword through Sir Gallahad, brickbats.

I’m not channelling poor Marseilles fisherfolk here so it’s what looks good at the fish shop in the three categories of shellfish, firm fleshed, and soft fleshed. Had in my company, authentic French woman, Veronique, who had the requisite three categories of a french name; the ability to pronounce rouille; and willingness to put up with me going haw haw haw haaaaw. We chose

Blue Manna crabs and Crayfish legs

Fillets of King Snapper and Mangrove Jack

Whole Whiting and Garfish

Dinner would be good. At Tate Estate on newly upholstered chairs and Kiwi Robert was going to the International Beer Shop to get a selection of fine beers.

C’est une tables

6 seeded and chopped tomatoes; two chopped onions; half the whites of a leek; 8 small cloves of *pounded* garlic; a sprig of fennel; a bay leaf; three sprigs of *bruised* parsley; three sprigs of thyme; and a piece of orange peel.

On top of this goes the

Crustaceans

Then with the firm fleshed fish on top of this and a cup of olive oil; salt; pepper; and crumbled saffron. All covered with the quick and easy fish stock I’d made with the whiting and garfish bones. Extra water to cover.

Strategy

We had about four cookbooks open but settled with the Larousse Gastronomique version. I’ve got 643 recipes requiring the aromatics to be sauteed first so this wouldn’t be 644. Just cover, turn the heat on and get it boiling. The boiling is important as it blends the oil in properly. After 9 minutes put in the soft fleshed fish and cook for another 7 minutes. It should take no longer than 15 minutes in total.

Served in bowls with simple bread and rouille.

The meal

Great mussel starter. The bouillabaisse’ stock was superb, especially with the hint of saffron. The crayfish legs were no great shakes but the local crabs topped it. Heavy duty beers were in action all evening. A Spanish beer, Alhambra Reserves 1925 that was more Belgian than Belgians – 6%. Hoegaarden’s as breathers, and the Leffe Brune and the Leffe Radieuse. A great Spanish Basa 2003 Blanco – no citric stilettoes here, smooth with a hint of olives. Hey, how tight are the Dead Kennedys? Didn’t make it to the other one – off my game.

Next Month: Duck a L’orange! Rescued from the 70′s.

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Winter goes, a day that turned bastardly and dinner with friends allowed me to try this wintery inspiration from my “50 if it’s a day” Cook a Good Dinner by Ann “Many housewives are not interested in the baking of cakes or making of preserves, instead they would rather…(creative readers can make suggestions in comments)” Mason, to make a pot pie with a scone crust.

I used a recipe from a post a year ago on Beef and Guinness Stew with two modifications. One was to use Cooper’s Extra Stout instead of Guinness and to add a bay leaf. All the stout went in the pot this time, every last beautiful drop. I held it tight, the ball of my hand resting on the cool smoothness of the glass, my fingers brushing against the label. This will be a long month.

The scone mix is easy to make and uses the following ingredients:

4 cups wholemeal SR flour; 60gm butter; 1tsp dried mustard; 1tsp salt; 1.5 cups milk/water mix

Rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs and then add the other ingredients – kneading lightly on a floured surface.

Rolled out the scone mix and trimmed to the size of the dish. To stop it going soggy from the stew, I gave it a quick and very light toasting in the oven.

Well?

It was little more bitter than the the last time, a little too much for me and I’m not sure if it was due to changing the stout or the addition of the bay leaf that did it. The scone was great, doubling in thickness. Simplicity. Meat, gravy, stodge all in one. The season’s passing here but Northern Hemisphereans, tuck this one away

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I was sucessfully badgered to join three friends doing this year’s Avon Descent to do a paddle through the “Tea Trees” – a 20km stretch of an immature river winding sharply through pointy branches and rocks.

3 hours in the middle of winter paddling, head butting my way through branches and falling off a log-like surf ski that eventually filled up with water. I had two things on my mind, a Weezer song and healing winter dinner.

I was going to do a bastardisation of a cassoulet but it was all too hard in my state. Instead I settled on pork and decided to braise it, inspired by something tasty I’d had at the Subi Pub and constant recent socio-political pinging. Went to the butchers and was getting the “we’ve got fillet” and “not much left” routine. Persisting, I said it was going to be braised with beer and there was a “why didn’t you say so” moment. We ceased being client/merchant and became equals – he told me he had some pork belly out the back. Out it came – “with or without bone?”, “With bone” – approving nod. He told me, lovingly, how he was going to trim it. For good measure I told him the rabbits looked great and I’d be back for one later.

The meal was based around a standard braising technique plus a quick skip around the net to see if I was on the right track. I chose Little Creatures Pale Ale as it’s a relatively sweet beer and I’ve been enjoying bacon with maple syrup a lot of late.

Pork

The pork was scored with a bit of salt rubbed on the top. I largely chopped a few aromatics – 1 leek, 2 carrots, and a stick of celery put them in the cast iron casserole dish with a little butter and put the pork belly, cut into two pieces, on top.

This went into a 190C oven until the pork was lightly browned on both sides. Then it was back onto the burner. 1.75 bottles of Pale Ale went in. Don’t worry, my wife (bless) knew I might be sad, so she got me a 6 pack rather than just the two I asked for. And added half a cup of chicken stock to bring the liquid half way up the meat. I added a bouquet garni and filled the pot with thinly sliced cabbage. Bought the pot up to a simmer, reduced it to an ever so gentle simmer, placed the lid on, and came back two hours later.

Took the pork out of the dish. I was unhappy with the “crackle” so I put them under the griller while I did the rest of the preparation. Cabbage and leek was taken out and kept and the rest was strained with the carrot and celery binned. The broth was kept on the burner in very token gesture to reduction.

Stoemp

I was disappointed that this is just a fancy Belgian way of saying mash – as a noun it would make a great verb and Wrestlers who dig exotic wordplay should take note. The mash was just boiled Royal Blue potatoes with buttermilk. According to the very useful Essentials of Cooking byJames Peterson, which I also used as a guide for the braise, it shouldn’t be done with a processer as it glugs up the starches, so I went back to old masher.

Serving

Stoemp as an island surrounded by a sea of broth with a sea pasture of cabbage and leek…that’s enough of that…pork on top. Fair compensation for a grim morning but would recommend reducing the broth a little further and darts as a sport. The flavour was strong enough and made a soup with the potato – beer soup, ponder that.

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