Archive for June, 2008

one for the barbeque: lamb koftas

June 26, 2008

Is it barbeque weather where you are? Even if it isn’t, why not try these lamb koftas? They’re really quick to assemble and taste great fried or grilled on a barbeque. Serve with couscous or with pitta bread and a yoghurt and cucumber dip.

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on Venezuelan Black: marinated roast pork

June 19, 2008

As I’ve mentioned before, we eat a lot more pork now that we’re living in East Anglia. Sometimes the best part of a roast pork dinner is the crackling. Yes, you read that correctly, sometimes the crackling is even better than the roast potatoes! We’re very lucky because the cuts we buy from our local farm shop yield the most delicious crackling. I didn’t think we could make it any better, but press some crushed fennel seeds deep into the fat and, oh my, the crackling is heavenly!

See, I’ve digressed already – back to the purpose of the post: the Venezuelan Black marinade. To inject the marinade into the flesh, you’ll need a syringe. I bought a silicone baster with a detachable stainless steel injector.

It did leave holes in the meat and some of the liquid did ooze back out but the cooked joint was moist with a delicate flavour and the juices in the roasting tin produced the best gravy we’ve had in a while.

We used boneless pork leg that had a lovely marbling of fat. Get your butcher to score the fat.

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lamb filo triangles

June 11, 2008

Filo pastry is one of those products that seem to last forever. No matter how many times I take out a batch of silky smooth rectangles, I never manage to get to the end of the box. After last week’s attempt at a variation on tarte tatin, which mrB said needed more work, I thought it wise to go for a savoury dish. There’s something moreish about moist fillings encased in crisp, buttery parcels. And this time, mrB was more than happy with the results of my baking efforts.

These triangular parcels are filled with a sweet and spicy lamb mixture. The sweet part comes from a handful of chopped dates and the spicy part from a harissa-style paste. If you have some harissa to hand, you can substitute it for the paste.

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the cupboard was bare: pasta bake

June 5, 2008

Besides tending the garden, I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading in recent weeks, including chef autobiographies as well as the usual cookery books. One of the autobiographies I thoroughly enjoyed and found difficult to put down was White Slave. In this book, Marco Pierre White describes a party where everyone is hungry but the host’s cupboards are bare. He volunteers to cook and in the kitchen he finds some onions, pasta, tomato puree, garlic and bacon, and serves up an amazing pasta dish inspired by the way his mother used to make it.

I remember a similar evening when I was a student – no party, but the same empty cupboard scenario. Back in the early nineties, my weekly food budget was about ¬£10. In my shopping basket there would usually be a carton of milk, some rashers of bacon, a piece of meat, onions, carrots, potatoes and either some cheese or eggs, but never both. At the end of one particular week, I’d eaten all the interesting stuff and was left with an onion, a tiny piece of cheese and a limp carrot. One of my housemates rose to the challenge of cooking me dinner using those seemingly limited ingredients, together with whatever we could find in our store cupboards.

Using my leftovers she cooked the tastiest dinner I’d had all week. Carrot salad with a dressing to start, followed by a grilled pasta bake. I’ve tried to recreate the pasta dish here.

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a few pounds of rhubarb: turn it into a fool

June 3, 2008

I’ve been away for a few weeks now, tending our new vegetable plot and herb garden. The weather has been so miserable the last few days that I can no longer continue using the garden as an excuse for not blogging.

So what have mrB and I been cooking recently? A lot of rhubarb. One of my regular stalls at Bury St Edmunds market had a big display with lovely pink stems. I couldn’t resist and even got sucked into their special offer.

I made up a big batch of rhubarb and ginger and it’s been waiting in the wings for some action on our counter tops. Some of it featured in a crumble, only this time I swapped half the flour for some rolled oats to make a topping with more bite. Some of it appeared in a sauce for a pork belly and noodle dish, from¬†Jamie at Home. And the last of it was blitzed into this delicious rhubarb fool.

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