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.




Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Cheesy Sort Of Hoppiness

I'm missing Blighty already!  I had to find a way to enjoy a favourite....Hereford Hop Cheese.  It is not available in my area, so this is the best I can do.

Here is a link to a Hereford Hop flashback:

I Want My Umami Cheese Platter

The hops were drying on the vine and smelling strongly of the hoppy aroma.  I plunked some off the vine, reserving some for a home brew, or two.

Next, they were stripped apart and whirled in a food processor.   

I looked for the strongest cheddar I could find at the store I was at.

I cut the cheese by accident....Oh, dear.  Try to not let yours break, if you should try this, but it isn't the end of the world.

Put some plastic wrap down on your chosen flat surface.  Sprinkle the hops to form a slightly larger shape than your cheese.

Place the cheese in the centre.

Sprinkle hops over the top.

Wrap the cheese tightly.  You can use parchment to wrap the cheese, if you would like.  Usually, I'm against wrapping cheese in cling film, but in this case it forms well, and retains the hop flavour.

I let mine set in the refrigerator for a week.  It is great served on a cheese platter, or I made a dish with it:

Prosciutto wrapped chicken, that I stuffed with the cheese and massaged kale.

  I then glazed the whole lot with a apple cider reduction.  It would be remiss to not sprinkle some of the grated cheese on top.

The bitterness of the hops toned down by the sweetness of the glaze paired well with a nice Zinfandel.

Monday, October 5, 2015

What A Load Of Cobblers!

Up the Apples and Pears Crisp/Crumble and Bourbon Peach Cobbler.  Ok, the first one isn't really a cobbler, but it fits the theme well enough.  It's no lie!

The crisp is named for the cockney rhyming slang "apples and pears" which means stairs.

My crisp has not only apples and pears, it also has Applejack to help warm it up even more.

From the website:

40% alc
Sizes: 750ml, 375ml, 50ml
Made from 100% home-grown apples. We carefully distill our fermented hard cider twice in small batches, resulting in a sweet distinctive spirit, both smooth and warming. Aged for 2 years in 50 gallon ex-bourbon casks, then finished in 15 gallons quarter casks, for additional color and barrel flavor.
More like a bourbon whiskey than a brandy, Cornelius Applejack is a fantastic gluten free alternative rye and bourbon. No charcoal filtration, no sugar and no additives. 100% apples.


                                        Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery


 Up the Apples and Pears Crisp/Crumble

Preheat the oven to 350 deg. f and have a 9 x 13 baking pan read.

10 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
4 lrg. pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 c. Applejack

sGently toss the fruit in your 9 x 13 pan and dust with flour, Sprinkle with cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, again gently toss the fruit to coat. Set aside.


Make the topping by cutting the butter into the flour and sugar and blending it well. Pour the Applejack evenly over the top of the fruit.  Top the fruit evenly with the crumble topping.  Bake for 40 minutes.  It is best served with ice cream.

The next recipe has another warming quality from the bourbon added to it.

 From their website:
                                                Hudson Baby Bourbon 

Once our local farmers harvest and dry the corn grown for our Baby Bourbon, we grind it, add water and cook the mash for fermenting – creating a round flavor and balanced palate. Baby Bourbon is left to mature in our signature small charred new American oak barrels, giving it a uniquely rich amber color. Small barrels mean more wood contact, which accounts for its rich, oaky, smoky flavor profile. We never charcoal or chill filter our bourbon, giving you a full-flavor experience. You’ll also recognize subtle notes of vanilla and caramel. 


Bourbon Peach Cobbler

You know the drill preheat the oven to 350 deg. f and have a 9 x 13 baking pan ready.

2 cans peaches, drained, set the syrup from one can aside.
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/4 c. bourbon
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice

Place a stick of butter in the 9 x 13 and place in the oven until melted.  In the meantime, mix the spices with 1/2 sugar and set aside.  Mix the remaining sugar with the other dry ingredients.  Mix the milk with the 1 can worth of syrup and the bourbon.  Blend these mixtures together to form a batter. 

Place the peaches evenly in the pan and coat lightly with the butter.  Pour the batter over the peaches and sprinkle with the spiced sugar.  Bake for about 30 minutes until golden on top.  Pile with ice cream while cobbler is still hot!


This is a Pinerest, I did that!  I can recommend this delicious corn.

Mexican Street Corn On the Cob

We had a Iowa meets Mexico meal, Pork Tenderloin sandwiches and the said corn.