Saturday, June 18, 2016

MISS ISS I PP I Pot Roast Sans Packets

I'm not known for using packets of anything, with very few exceptions. Here is a recipe I found on Pinterest that called for a packet of ranch dressing and au jus mix....Both definitely out for me.

I start with my garden and pick a large handful of each of these herbs:


Carry to your prep area, wash and dry, then set aside.

Then I carmelise a large onion.  Just use a smidge of oil and add sliced onions, sprinkle with a pinch of brown sugar.   Cook slowly, about 20 minutes with a stir now and again.  Place in a slow cooker.

Next, Brown both sides of a 3 lb. chuck roast in the same pan as the onions.  Place the roast on top of the onions in the slow cooker.  Deglaze the pan with 2 cups veg, or beef stock and a splash of Marsala, and a dab of Marmite.  Pour all this into the cooker. Next mix together dashes of garlic powder, onion powder, and smoker paprika, salt and pepper into 1/4 cup of cornstarch.  Put this mixture over the meat rubbing it in a bit.

Now comes the fresh herbs, grind them up in a food processor and put on the meat.  It is time to adorn the roast with 6 pepperoncinis chopped into rings. The shining glory on the top is a stick of butter. 

Slow cook for 8 hours.  Forget about it!

You will left with a tasty gravy ready to serve with the meat and over potatoes of your choice.  Garnish with a few more pepper rings for a bit of jestiness and color.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Capers with Dandelions

The word is out about the health benefits of dandelions.  Here we will talk about the edible treatments of the flowers, buds.  In a future time we can discuss the benefits of the leaves and roots.  On another blog we made infused oil and hair rinse - Salve, Rinse, Repeat

The buds can be used as capers!  The capers shown here are pickled in a sweet and sour brine.

 I also used some flowers to make an infused syrup.  

Collect your flowers and buds.

Leave some for the bees!


Dry the flowers in a low heat oven.  As low as your oven will go.  Leave for a few hours, until dry.  

The buds will be placed in a jar waiting for the company of the rest of the ingredients.

For the caper brine:

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. honey

Heat until bubbly and pour all at once into the jar with the buds.  Add a few pinches of juniper berries and a few pinches of pink peppercorns.  Let cool and then cover.  Put into the refrigerator to mature, about a week.  Use as you would use bought capers in dishes like chicken piccata. 

For the syrup:

1 c. dried dandelion flowers
1 c. cane sugar
1 c. water

Bring the sugar and water to the boil.  Pour over the dried flowers in a jar.  Cool.  Cover and put in the refrigerator to infuse over night.  Strain.  This can be used in any dessert you want to try it on.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Quest For More Mushroom - Mushroom Ketchup

Mushroom flavour is a great addition to juicy steaks, or a chicken dish.  Chunky slices of mushrooms and even a shaker of dried porcini powder add the desired effect.  Another way to capture mushroom essence is in a mushroom ketchup.  The "ketchup" turns out differently than I first thought, it has a consistency of Worchestershire sauce.  I was expecting a thick sauce, don't be surprised when it is very liquid-like.

500 grams or 2 punnets of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. mixed spice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
200 ml malt vinegar
2 tsp. brown sugar

 Layer the mushroom slices with salt in a large bowl and leave overnight.  Drain the mushroom juice.  Place the juice and the remaining ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Bottle and process in a hot water bath.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Czech Smokey Garlic Soup

We have been seeing smoked garlic on offer around the UK, well around Shropshire anyway.  Tempting displays of the bulbs piled high in baskets at markets. If that isn't evocative enough, pick one up and sniff, they have a truly wonderful smell. You can use the garlic as it is normally used to instill a mild smokey flavour in your dishes.  I would say it is more mild in flavour than other smoked products such as cheese.  This sort of garlic is nice with a further roasting and then using as a spread eaten with a baguette, or added to sauces.  Another way to use it is in a soup as I have done.....Read on to find the recipe later.

They tend to cost a quid per bulb.

I wouldn't rule out smoking a batch at home.

There are several sources online that will tell you how:

I made a Czech style soup with a good handful of cloves.  This soup provides you with all the good qualities of garlic.  Cesnecka, as it is called, is said to be a hangover cure.  Garlic and a good stock, or bone broth are well known to stave off a cold.

2 tbsp. olive oil, or butter, or bacon fat
2 shallot, diced
6 cloves smoked garlic, crushed
6 c. chicken, or beef stock
2 lrg. Potatoes, peeled and small diced
1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped

In a med. pot, cook the shallots and garlic in the oil, until translucent.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Then, add the potatoes and parsley, simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 min. Season with salt and pepper.

This soup is good garnished with croutons, bacon, grated cheese, or all of the above.

The garlic is showing up at all the grocery stores now, as well.  

Oh look, it costs a quid!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Marmalade On Pancake Day

We are nearing the end of Seville orange season and Pancake day is coming up.  Why not combine the two?  

Seville oranges are in season and shipped to Britain from Andalusia for a short time in the winter months.  

Read more about them here:

This is a basic recipe from The Beeb:

I like to use muscavado sugar and a squeeze of lemon in mine. This adds a twist of flavour and a deep richness. Large shred adds even more of the bitter quality the oranges are known for. This is desirable in a good marmalade and gives you something to sink your teeth into.

The days before lent in Britain start with Pancake day.  I,however don't need an excuse to indulge in a pancake, or two any time of the year.

The pancakes come from a blog a few moons ago, on a previous blog of mine:

 Sprinkle with icing sugar.  Adding more and varied fruit with a drizzle of maple syrup can't hurt either.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Burns Night Starter

A haggis appetiser with a whisky glaze to start off Burns Night celebrations.  

 We found some haggis sausages, and then the dish was addressed.  I shouldn't wonder if this dish can be made with a traditional haggis in place of the sausages.

Brown the sausages on two sides, and then bang in an oven that was preheated to 180 deg. c. for 20 minutes. You will need a sausage for each person you are serving.

Squeeze the juice of an orange, I used an in season Seville orange. Stir in a tablespoon of dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons maple syrup and set aside.

When the sausages are done, drain off any fat.  Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup whisky, cook off the alcohol and add the orange juice mixture.  Reduce the liquid into a syrupy glaze.  Baste the sausages along the way.  Slice the sausages into medallions.

 Place each medallion on a Scottish oatcake.  Drizzle with the prepared glaze.

Garnish with roquette.

Don't forget the neeps and tatties!

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm......


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pumpkin Time Of Year - Pumpkin Truffles

Pumpkin Salted Dark Chocolate Truffles to be exact.  They are hand dipped and we are making a dozen. 

We have been enjoying pumpkin everything!  It is nice to take advantage of the unique flavours of Autumn while it lasts.

Start with a 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree' and a stick of butter (1/4 of a pound) that is at room temperature.  Blend this in a processor with the beans from one pod of vanilla and 1/4 cup of icing sugar.
  Make it as smooth as possible.


                      Place this in a container in the refrigerator overnight.

Make 12 little balls from heaping teaspoons of the filling.  Place back in the chiller for at least 20 minutes to firm them up.

Next is tempering chocolate to hand dip the pumpkin filling.  I can't take pictures and hand dip at the same time, so I will wait until I have a photographer to demo tempering and hand dipping, next time.  I used all I ever use - dark chocolate, this time however it had sea salt added.

I also didn't have little presentation cups to put the truffles in, I used homemade cups made with foil.

First I cup squares of foil and pressed the basic shape into a mini muffin tin.

Then, trim with decorative scissors. 


Place back into the mould to get it just how you want it.


Top with spiced pumpkin seeds, I got those at Trader Joe's.



I sampled one and can tell you, they have a wonderful pumpkin taste.