Category Archives: European

Day 24 – Aioli

So we’re moving. Windows are being fitting, kitchen is being designed. I can finally unbox my Christmas Kenwood. Problem is cooking has been hard. I’ve deviated from the Super Saturday list, so shameful. Everything has needed to be easy this week. I’m also away this weekend. Sorry.

Tonight we had fish and chips but I wanted something extra. There are four things I love in food terms – cheese being the first which you might know by now. The others are salt, mayo and garlic. Yes I know the salt one is terrible but I can’t help it, it goes on everything I eat. However not many recipes exist with salt as the main ingredient so garlic mayo it is. Or Aioli to be precise.

Ingredients

3 egg yolks

4 garlic cloves

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt and pepper

150ml extra virgin olive oil

mustard powder (optional)

saffron (optional)

Now this recipe couldn’t be easier. It puts all the easy recipes so far to shame.

Steps

1. Blend egg yolks, garlic, lemon and salt&pepper in a food processor

2. Pour in the oil in a steady stream while still blending until thick and creamy

3. Serve with baguettes (or chips.)

And that’s it, you can add the mustard and/or saffron to vary the flavour if you like. I guess you could add other herbs or spices to it as well for different effects. I’m not sure how long this would keep though  but definitely a fridge dweller.

 

 

Day 23 – Chickpea Fritters

Another food I quite like is humous, on everything. It’s made from pureed chickpeas mixed with various other things and is something I really want to try freshly made. However, my new kitchen isn’t finished yet and as such my lovely Mr Ken Wood the mixer is still in his box. His day will come.

So, what else is there that you can make with chickpeas? Especially when they are three tins for a pound in the store. Easy, quick and simple – chickpea fritters. Almost like a vegetarian burger perhaps.

Ingredients

200g/7oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp ready-made harissa
handful fresh spinach leaves, torn
1 free-range egg
1 tbsp olive oil

I usually always have most of these in the house which makes this pretty simple to do on an unplanned night. I had onions, garlic, spinach, eggs and oil. All I needed was chickpeas and harissa. Edit – I lied. I had harissa left over from something else too.

What To Do

1 – Blend together the chickpeas, onion, garlic and harissa together until smooth. I guess you could leave it slightly ‘lumpier’ if you prefer it that way too.

2 – Add the egg and spinach. Pulse in the blender until combined in a thick mixture.

3 – Heat the oil in a frying pan. Spoon fritter sized chunks of the mixture into the pan and brown on either side for a few minutes. Remove to some kitchen roll to drain.

4 – Eat

I do like it when a recipe is done in three steps. I do miss having time to make more complicated things though as I think they can taste better just because they were harder. Hmm, will have to plan out the kitchen time better in future.

Day 18 – Meatloaf

Cue soundtrack and semi-awful-but-you-can’t-help-but-love-it ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ wailing. Yes, meatloaf is the dish of the day. We finally went food shopping. We haven’t been food shopping since around the second week of December – it’s now almost February. The year is going so fast, nearly 20 days of nom already.

So out of habit we picked up mince as I tend to make bolognese a lot. But I’ve already made that this year so in the spirit of new foods and the fact I can’t not stick with it now people know, I had to find a recipe that called for mince. Hence the meatloaf.

Ingredients

900g mince

1 Onion – Grated

1 Tsp Sage

2 Eggs – Beaten

50g Bread Crumbs

240ml milk

Salt and Pepper

Steps

In a dish soak the breadcrumbs in the milk. Add the Sage, Salt, Pepper, Onion and Mince. Mix it all up and put in to a loaf-ish shaped dish. It can be topped with Ketchup or Worcestershire Sauce before cooking.

Cook for 40-50 minutes at 180.

Eat.

How’s that for simple. It also smells amazing. I did make an error with the mince as I only had 500g not 900g. I had every intention of halving all the other ingredients too but it wasn’t until I was putting the mix in to the dish that I remembered. Oops. I think the extra breadcrumbs counteracted the extra fluid so it wasn’t a huge issue.

Day 17 – Kedgeree

I bought food a while ago that was in the sale as I can’t pass up a bargain. One of these bargains was smoked haddock so the obvious next dish had to be Kedgeree. I was late home from work so I cheated a little and bought microwave rice.

According to Wikipedia Kedgeree is either from India then brought to the UK or from Scotland to India to the UK again. I always thought it was Scottish though.

Ingredients

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Smoked Haddock

1 small Onion

1 Tsp Cumin

1 Tsp Tumeric

1 Tsp Ground chilli

1 Tsp Curry Powder

2 Tbsp Creme Fraiche

2 Eggs

Steps

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In a small pan boil the eggs for 10mins. While they’re boiling, poach the haddock in a separate pan for a few minutes. Remove fish and allow to cool. Put fish water to one side.

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In a saucepan, add some butter and soften the onions. Stir in the chilli, tumeric, curry powder and cumin.

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In one go add the flour and stir in. Remove from the heat before gradually adding the fish water. Stir constantly.

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Flake in the fish straight in to the sauce and stir through gently so as not to break the fish up.

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The recipe says to serve the fish ‘sauce’ over the rice but I’ve always had the rice mixed in.

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And it’s done. It looks a lot darker than the photo but that might be the hot chilli.

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This was so hot, hotter than I remember Kedgeree being. I did use hot chilli instead of medium chilli powder as we like hotter food. It was so good though, but not really what I was expecting when you Google images of Kedgeree.

Day 16 – Pizza Dough

Japanese week is over. It was fun having a theme as it meant I could buy a lot of the same ingredients for several days and also gave me a chance to think up now things for after the week ended. So far I’ve come up with Pizza. That’s it.

I tried making the pizza dough yesterday and it was a disaster so I’m trying again today. It seems so basic I can’t work out what went wrong so here goes – I used Jamie Oliver’s Pizza Dough recipe so what’s the worst that could happen.

Ingredients

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1kg Strong White Flour

1 tsp Fine Sea Salt

2 x 7g Dried Yeast Sachets

1 Golden Caster Sugar

4 Tbsp Oil

650ml Lukewarm Water

I stopped at the store for flour as I didn’t have any Strong Flour in the house. Turns out I did. I now also have a second bag of strong flour, several magazines, a sandwich, popcorn, a phone cover and an empty purse.

Steps

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Sieve the flour and salt onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre. In a jug mix together the yeast, oil, sugar and water.

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Leave for a few minutes to dissolve and mix together. Pour the liquid mixture in to the well and gradually bring the flour in with a fork.

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It should start coming together to form a dough. When this starts, work it in to a ball using your hands. Make sure they are dusted with flour to prevent the dough sticking.

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Place the dough in a flour dusted bowl, dust with flour then cover with a damp cloth. Leave to proove for an hour in a warm room, until the dough has doubled in size. Take the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a bit to remove the air – this is called Knocking Back.

The dough is good to go.

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Top with a selection of goodies – We went for Milano Salami, Streaky Bacon, Chipolatas, Basil and Mozzarella.

I baked for 20-30 minutes, checking regularly.

I am never, ever making Pizza Dough again. Second time and it was just as bad. I’ve Googled it since and the problem is potentially yeast related. There was no froth. Neither attempts rose, and when I cooked the second attempt it was shiny and none of the toppings would stick. Tasted lovely though.

Day 7 – Parmesan Puffs

Yesterday I spent many hours in the car on a trip from Wales to Wigan to pick up our new puppy. Yay. This meant little real food and less cooking. Today we eat.

I made up yesterday a pot of my own style bolognese which is a household favourite. Today I am making some hopefully amazing puffs to serve with it. I’m not entirely sure what ‘puffs’ are but they have a vast amount of cheese in them so it’s all good with me.

Ingredients

1/4 Cup of Milk

60g Butter

14 tsp Salt

1/2 Cup Flour

2 Large Eggs

1 Cup Grated Parmesan

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The recipe didn’t mention what sort of flour to use so I opted for plain. It didn’t turn out too bad really. The recipe is good as it’s pretty low on steps but does require some speed with the eggs and flour into a hot liquid situation.

Parmesan Puffs

1. In a saucepan combine the milk, 1/4 cup of water, butter and salt. Bring to the boil over a high heat.

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2. Once boiling reduce to a medium heat and add the flour in one go, beating it in until the mixture forms a ball.

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3. Remove from the heat. Stir in the eggs one at a time.

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4. Add the parmesan and pepper to taste.

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5. Form mix in to balls and place on a buttered baking tray. Cook for 20-25 minutes at 180 or until puffed up and golden, turning half way through so they cook evenly.

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I have to admit to trying some of the ‘batter’ left over after the balls were made. It was beyond cheesy and rather salty – I normally salt everything but this was a little too much for even me. Luckily this didn’t remain in the finished ‘puffs’.

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So that’s what a Parmesan Puff looks like.

TASTE – Cheesy, bit greasy but possibly doubled the butter by accident. Bit like a cheese scone. Came out a little doughy so I don’t necessarily agree with the cooking times.

DIFFICULTY – Simple. Bit faffy having to swap bowls all the time though. Would do it all in the one dish next time. And reduce butter.

COST – Cheese was dear at 2 quid but the rest was super cheap basic brands.

Day 6 – Bolognese

Tonight we needed an easy meal, something we had in the house and that didn’t need a hundred and one new ingredients. Bolognese was the answer. This bolognese is my bolognese. I don’t have a recipe and it’s unlikely to be accurately ‘Italian’. But it tastes good, cooks quick and fills you up better than bread.

Ingredients

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Mince

Sea Salt

Onion

Mushrooms

Garlic

Passata

Oregano

Mixed Herbs

I’d love to make a true Italian Bolognese just to see how they compare but to be honest, this tastes like bolognese to us and it tastes good so who cares if it’s not true Italian.

Steps

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Gently fry the onion and mushrooms in a frying panuntil soft.

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Drizzle with oil and add a crushed garlic clove or two. Put to one side.

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Cook off the mince until brown. Add salt and pepper. Add the oregano and mixed herbs to taste.

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Add the the mushrooms and onions back in a stir while continuing to heat.

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Add the carton on passata. Stir through.

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Leave to simmer and reduce down until the sauce becomes thicker.

And that really is it. Cook up some pasta, stir it in and serve caked in parmesan. Garlic bread optional.

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