Best laid plans of mice and butchers….

2

This post was from August but quite frankly this dish is ideal for the winter! Anyway – in case you were away and missed it-here is a REAL favourite of mine!

From Alfredo's With Love

Best laid plans of mice and butchers....

Ok…where was I? Tuesday I went shopping for the rest of the week’s meals and went to a mighty fine establishment in Windermere called Booth’s. Normally, it stocks a fine range of food, especially the butchers…but my plans went awry when I heard the butcher say in a rather too casual way for my liking, ‘sorry, we have no pork tenderloin.’ That scuppered Wednesday’s fare. And it got worse….they no longer stock ham shanks…the reason was fairly bizarre but seemed to be along the lines that they did not keep long enough. I was left speechless. I have never heard such a ridiculous  excuse for not having an item! Hey ho! So, I had to alter Tuesday’s meal, which is what you see part compiled above – here are the ingredients for 4 – see May 9th for recipe.

60 gm of lardons or cubed smoky bacon – or pancetta…

View original post 413 more words

Sausage Meat Balls in a mustard and cream sauce…

3

Sausage Meat Balls in a mustard and cream sauce...

This is a recipe created by the marvellous Nigel Slater and it appears in his wonderful new book – Eat. Like all great meatball dishes you can play around with the idea – adjusting quantities, ingredients to suit your taste / mood. This was my attempt and I was pleased with the result – it is a different way to cook them – and simple yet succulently appealing to the senses.

For 4

6 good pork sausages – skins removed
Olive oil
500 ml beef stock – or you could use chickn stock for a lighter flavour
Tbsp Dijon mustard
A little chopped rosemary
A crushed clove of garlic
A little grated lemon zest
250 ml double cream

400 gm pappardelle

Put the sausage meat in a mixing bowl and stir in the rosemary, lemon zest and crushed garlic. Shape into small balls – I got 16 decent balls, slightly smaller than a table tennis ball. But you can make them smaller if you fancy.Cook the balls in the olive oil over a moderate heat until evenly browned.

IMG_4688

Get rid of any excess fat, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil and let it reduce a little. Add the cream and stir in, plus the mustard. Season with a little salt and a bit more pepper. Continue to cook for about 15 or 20 minutes, stirring gently every now and then.

IMG_4689

Remove the balls to a warm plate with a slotted spoon.Turn the heat up under the sauce and let it reduce a little. It will not thicken though.

Pop the meatballs on a plate of warm pappardelle and pour over the velvety sauce.

You could miss out the cream and stock altogether and just pan fry the balls in olive oil then add butter and lemon juice to the pan juices at the end, pouring these over the balls and pasta. Tis up to you!

Good old toad…never lets you down!

0

A good one for cold autumnal evenings…

From Alfredo's With Love

Good old toad...never lets you down!

A back to basics meal last night – my kids said they fancied something with sausages and that was filling, and my daughter was pining fro gravy. So…call for Mr Toad! You can’t beat Toad in the Hole for its wholesome simplicity, its naive goodness, its tempting aromas and alluring goldenness. It’s a cheap meal and yet when done right I’d pay a lot more for it! But no need…I cook it!

We ate it with steamed buttered kale – a real favourite green in our house. Oh..and of course, a thick onion gravy!

Ingredients for 4 folk in need of sustenance of the down to earth variety

8 good pork sausages – I used Cumberland with a high meat content
Lard
1 red onion – thinly sliced
1 white onion – thinly sliced
2 large eggs
175 ml milk
110 ml of water
175 gm plain flour
Salt and…

View original post 208 more words

Good old toad…never lets you down!

7

Good old toad...never lets you down!

A back to basics meal last night – my kids said they fancied something with sausages and that was filling, and my daughter was pining fro gravy. So…call for Mr Toad! You can’t beat Toad in the Hole for its wholesome simplicity, its naive goodness, its tempting aromas and alluring goldenness. It’s a cheap meal and yet when done right I’d pay a lot more for it! But no need…I cook it!

We ate it with steamed buttered kale – a real favourite green in our house. Oh..and of course, a thick onion gravy!

Ingredients for 4 folk in need of sustenance of the down to earth variety

8 good pork sausages – I used Cumberland with a high meat content
Lard
1 red onion – thinly sliced
1 white onion – thinly sliced
2 large eggs
175 ml milk
110 ml of water
175 gm plain flour
Salt and pepper

Pump up the oven to 220c. Open a bottle of red. Make the batter – sift flour into a bowl, break in the eggs, add the water and milk and use an electric hand whisk to blend them together. Season.

In a frying pan, fry the onions until soft and then put to one side. Then add the sausages and lightly brown them all over.

Pop a chunk of lard – about a big tablespoonful – into a dish – I used an oblong Le Creuset dish measuring 20 by 30 cm.
Place in the oven and leave until it is starting to sizzle – about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and add the sausages – they should sizzle. (Love that word!) Then pour the onions over them. Finally, pour over the batter ensuring it gets into all corners – put back into the oven for 40 minutes until the top is crisp and golden and seriously plumped up.

I am sure you all have your own versions of this – but this is the one that works for me and although I do not make it often, when I do, it fills me with an enormous sense of well being!

As well as sausages and batter!

IMG_4145

Best laid plans of mice and butchers….

10

Best laid plans of mice and butchers....

Ok…where was I? Tuesday I went shopping for the rest of the week’s meals and went to a mighty fine establishment in Windermere called Booth’s. Normally, it stocks a fine range of food, especially the butchers…but my plans went awry when I heard the butcher say in a rather too casual way for my liking, ‘sorry, we have no pork tenderloin.’ That scuppered Wednesday’s fare. And it got worse….they no longer stock ham shanks…the reason was fairly bizarre but seemed to be along the lines that they did not keep long enough. I was left speechless. I have never heard such a ridiculous  excuse for not having an item! Hey ho! So, I had to alter Tuesday’s meal, which is what you see part compiled above – here are the ingredients for 4 – see May 9th for recipe.

60 gm of lardons or cubed smoky bacon – or pancetta even
340 gm Puy lentils – or any green ones if not
Some chopped fresh rosemary but you’d be fine with dried
A large red onion chopped finely – or white if no reds handy!
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
800 ml of chicken stock
red wine vinegar
olive oil

I used a kilo of lentils for 15 of us and 3 litres of stock. I also added to the pan for the last half an hour – a small smoked gammon joint cut into cubes (I had boiled it gently for an hour beforehand), 12 fabulous pork and black pudding sausages pan fried and cut in half – the butcher partly salvaged his reputation here, they were fabulous – chorizo sausage sliced and pan fried, and several slices of pan fried pork belly cut into bite sized chunks. I served it with copious baskets of rustic bread and ficelles. And it all disappeared! I had served a large garden mushroom to each person as a starter baked in the oven with fresh oregano, garlic and butter on a bed of salad leaves. We finished off with pan fried nectarines in brandy with cream.

Last night we had meatballs and pasta – I got up early and made 70 or so of them – beef mince with cumin, rosemary and thyme and some dried crushed chilli. We went for a stonkingly long walk yesterday to Blea Tarn– well it felt like forever – it was only 3 miles there and back – but as it rained most of the way there it took the edge of it a tad. I felt like Noah who realised he forgot to anchor the ark down. I did dry out on the way back though and I also got to the pub by 6pm for an hour before cooking. So all was dandy in the end.

Tonight it is salmon steaks with a lime and mayo sauce and salted crushed new potatoes. And for those of you who are interested sufficiently to scroll further, here are a few more pics, including the house we are residing in for the week. Keep well!

IMG_4088Birch House…sleeps 15 and comfortably too!

IMG_4080Blea Tarn arising from the mist and rain…

IMG_0583The younger members of our group! My two are far left and 3rd from the left….

IMG_4066Little Langdale….saw kites several times sweeping overhead.

IMG_4071Canopy of forest up by the tarn where we took shelter and had a soggy picnic!

Pudding on the style…a great start to a Sunday…

9

Pudding on the style...a great start to a Sunday...

Being Lancastrian by birth, black pudding is in my DNA. I have tasted many varieties from our own northern prize winning Bury Black pudding to plasticky almost inedible supermarket varieties to the fabulously sexy morcilla of my beloved Spain. But I have now come across one to rival the best – made by Clonakilty from Ireland. It is a stunner – a real mouthful of bp heaven. It is unctuous, a word I know I use a lot – but I love it and it was. And it awakens tastebuds in a way that leaves you thinking – hmmm…I’m in black pud paradise! I cannot recommend it highly enough if you are a fan of such fare – and if you are not, then you should be…and you will be if you give this baby a go. With a once in a blue moon fried egg (I’m more of a poached man – but somehow it just felt right this dank, drear morn to fry the free range meal in a shell) this was a fine way to start the day.

Oh…and as the plate said….it did all melt in the mouth!

Parmigiana Pugliese…

1

Last night’s supper was a new version of an old classic – melanzane parmigiana – my wife’s favourite. Like so many popular Italian dishes there seem to be a hundred different versions. I read about this a while ago in a book on Italy but the other day saw a recipe in a Jamie Oliver magazine I was browsing through. Had to give it a go. The key difference here is the treatment of the aubergine slices and the addition of mortadella sausage. It produces a wonderfully unctious and filling sauce.

Ingredients for 6

olive oil / 4 garlic cloves peeled and finely sliced / bunch of basil, leaves picked and stems finely chopped / 2 medium aubergines / 2 x 400gm chopped tin tomatoes / 150 gm mozzarella torn into pieces / 8 slices of mortadella  a bowl of flour / 3 eggs beaten / handful of breadcrumbs

Oven set to 180c. Lightly fry the garlic and basil stalks in olive oil in a pan until lightly golden. Add the chopped toms, a little salt and black pepper and a dash of tom sauce or puree. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes until thick.

Slice the aubergine into 5mm rounds. Heat more olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Dip each aubergine slice first into the flour then into the beaten egg. Pop straight into the frying pan. Cook in batches – be patient! Each slice will take around a minute per side to brown up. Set to one side on kitchen paper.

In a deep ovenproof dish layer up your parmigiana.A layer of sauce, a few basil leaves and then a layer of aubergine. Top with 4 slices of the mortadella. Then more tomato sauce. Pop in half of the mozzarella and more basil leaves. Then another layer of mortadella. Then more sauce over this and another layer of aubergine. Finish with the remaining tomato sauce. Cover the dish with foil and pop in the oven for half an hour.

Remove fron the oven – remove the foil – add the remaining mozzarella and scatter over the breadcrumbs and a grating or two of parmesan.  Drizzle over some olive oil and pop back in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes til golden and bubbling.

I served it with lamb meatballs – though it is a meal in itself. And i also fancied some white asparagus in lemon juice and oil so we had that too! Greedy, eh?!

Image

Sloe gin sausages in tomato sauce

2

Sloe gin sausages in tomato sauce

Decided that last night it was a ‘let’s go with what’s in but let’s be imaginative’ supper..so the gorgeous 6 pork sausages keeping themselves to themselves in the fridge were chopped and pan fried in olive oil with a sprinkle of cumin seeds, chopped green chilli, bay leaf, garlic clove slithered, an onion finely sliced and black pepper. After 30 minutes the ensemble was looking and smelling seriously inviting – so in went 2 large splashes of sloe gin to deglaze and flavour the mix. This made the difference. After 2 or 3 minutes, in went 600 ml of chopped tomatoes and a can of drained cannellini beans. I left it for 20 minutes or so to thicken up. It was served  with some seriously large pasta shells and a side dish of asparagus spears with large loving slices of pecorino and swirls of olive oil. The sloe gin I used was from Wiltshire Liqueur Company – the link is on the side bar – lovely to use local produce.

Image 7

Penne con Sugo di Salsicce….a brilliant mid week dish..

1

Penne con Sugo di Salsicce....a brilliant mid week dish..

These tinkers nestling in the dish are from Parsonage Farm…. Tuscan Style sausages ..perfect for one of my kids’ favourite dishes. I first saw this dish eons ago in the first River Cafe book…and it has stayed with me ever since..though it gets a tiddly bit altered each time, depending on how I feel!

Right then, here we go…

2 tbsps Olive oil
5 or 6 Italian spiced fresh pork sausages, meat removed from skins and crumbled (if you can’t get them easily – just use good quality pork sausages)
1 small red onions peeled and chopped.
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped.
2 small dried chillies, crumbled or a good tbsp or two of crushed dried chillies.
2 bay leaves
Small handful of fresh rosemary
Large glass of a good red wine

2x 400g tines peeled plum tomatoes, drained.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
120g parmesan, freshly grated – be generous
150ml single Cream
75 gram per person of penne rigate – but this is for folk who may not be hungry or not require seconds – I usually cook a 500gm bag.

Heat the oil in a large pan, and fry the sausage meat, stirring and breaking up the pieces. 

IMG_2809

After the juice from the meat has evaporated and the fat begins to run, add the onion, garlic, chilli, rosemary and bay leaves.

Cook gently for almost 30 mins until the onions are brown. Pour in the wine, increase the heat and cook until the wine evaporates. Now add the tomatoes, lower the heat, and simmer gently until you have a thick sauce, about 45-60 minutes.

Season with salt (and pepper, if the sausages were not spicy), and add the Parmesan and cream.

Cook the penne and then drain well. Add the pasta to the sauce, mix and serve. 

IMG_2810

This is so good..I mean…really truly scrumptiously delicious on a big scale.

Cheat’s Cassoulet recipe…see I remembered!

0

OK..this is not really anything to do with a cassoulet but it inspired me..and I love the word cassoulet…so good to get your tongue round..ca…sooo…lay….mmmmm! It is a great hearty dish for gathering friends round…you will need for about 6 needy folk:

60 gm lardons or pancetta or-at a pinch- smoked streaky bacon / 350 gm green lentils – Puy preferably / couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary / 1 red onion  chopped / 2 cloves garlic finely chopped / 1 carrot finely diced / 900 ml chicken stock / 2 tbs olive oil / tbs red wine vinegar /  tin of cannellini beans- meat can be all or any mix of the following – 4 pieces of belly pork, grilled or pan fried and cut into large chunks /good quality sausages -2 chipolatas per person was my choice last night – you could also add chunks of boiled or roasted ham hock, roasted chicken thighs or drumsticks…use your imagination.

I use a large stainless steel dutch oven – a pasta pan would be ideal – in which you pan fry the lardons til they start to colour, add then the onion, garlic and snip in the rosemary from one sprig. Fry for 2 minutes. Rinse the lentils..add to pan and fry for a minute tops. Add the stock and diced carrot. You could also add some celery if you wish. Season with black pepper – it may need a dash of salt but should not be necessary with the lardons and stock. Put lid on and bring to boil. Then pop in the oven with lid on for an hour at 160c.

After 50 minutes, I remove the pan and pour it all into a large roasting tin – add the meat and cannellini beans – put some foil over the top and return to oven – after an hour turn oven down very low to keep warm til you are ready to serve. Just before you take to table – stir in the red wine vinegar and a little more olive oil.  I also roasted in my top oven, a tray of quartered potatoes in veg oil, sprinkled with sea salt, for an hour – adding some sliced cooked chorizo sausage for last ten minutes – gives the potatoes a lovely reddish tinge – a scrumptiously mouth filling delight- and I put a large basket of crusty bread on the table too. I put both trays of potatoes and the lentil dish on the table to serve from – and folk can also just dip their bread in as they desire!

Any leftovers are great the next day warmed through – though tis rare that there is anything left……!