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Cauliflower cheese, homegrown mange tu and “leftovers”

It’s been a while since I posted here due to adjusting to my new family life, settling down in a new country and finally settling into a new full time job here in Sweden (and playing a terribly addictive phone game that had a habit of eating any of my free time remaining..) but with the summer being my favourite time of year for food, coupled with it being a Swedish summer (even shorter than an English one which I never imagined was possible..) I felt the desire to post again :)

Being a lover of nostalgia, the cauliflower cheese in this recipe was and always will be inspired by my Mum.. as Mum’s do they make the best of everything and even if that’s just because “Mum made it” it still tastes great none the less. We are also growing on our small balcony at home some mange tu so naturally the first small crop of the year had to play a part of this dish and the rest of the ingredients was a common case of  “check what’s in the fridge and just throw it in a pan..” :)

So for the Cauli Cheese..

Bechamel sauce (Mornay or Cheese sauce variation)

  • 1 oz/28g plain flour
  • 1oz/28g butter
  • 1 pint/568ml hot milk
  • salt and white pepper
  • good, strong grated cheddar to taste

Method

  • melt butter and mix with flour in a heavy based saucepan to make a “roux”
  • cook over a low heat for 2 mins taking care not to brown the roux or catch the bottom of the pan
  • gradually add the hot milk whisking to a smooth paste until all the milk is added
  • cook over  a low heat without the roux catching/burning on the bottom of the pan for 30-40 mins until the floury taste has gone
  • season, add cheese and stir until melted
  • strain the sauce through a sieve and reserve the sauce off the heat
  • cover the sauce with some paper to avoid a skin forming
  • meanwhile take 1 cauli and break into approx 2-4cm florets
  • blanch in boiling salted water for 5 mins until just cooked but still al dente
  • drain off water then place the cauli into an oven proof baking dish
  • pour over the cheese sauce and bake in a moderate oven until golden for approx 20-30 mins

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“Leftovers”

  • In this instance I had in our fridge some spicy sausage, onions, garlic, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and bacon (for those that know me, no surprises on the last ingredient being present!) and from our balcony some first crop mange tu .. a grand total of 5 pods! :)

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Then for the cooking of the leftovers I peeled and blanched in boiling water the sweet potatoes, then fried them in a pan with olive oil. Then sauteed the chopped onions and garlic until softened and no colour, added the sausage and mushrooms and bacon and sauteed until the bacon was crisp and the sausage and bacon cooked.. approx 6 mins in  a hot frying pan then threw in the mange tu for 30 secs and served up, using the leaves of the mange tu for garnish

 

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The finished result costing in Swedish Krona or UK £ was approx per person 20kr or £2,  money well spent!

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Illuminating blogger award

Image

I’ve been nominated for a blog award and here goes, part of the process is to link the site here in my blog and list one random point about myself as well as 5 nominations for who I recommend.

* One random point about me is I’ve taken 18 months off work to raise my new born daughter :)

* My 5 nominations for other blogs are:

* http://somethingswedish.wordpress.com/

* http://creativenoshing.wordpress.com/

* http://importedkiwi.wordpress.com/

* http://www.photobotos.com/

* http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/

Thanks very much for the nomination!

http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/

Recipe – Pike perch (Gös in Swedish) with tomato, leek and horseradish

Ready to eat!

I’m a keen lover of eating and cooking fish and this was my first time tasting this beautiful specimen and it certainly wont be the last.. I had the pleasure of having this fish cooked for me by my partner’s Father during a recent visit to his home last month, to which he happily agreed to me sharing this recipe with you all here.

We purchased the fish from a local Fisherman who was moored on a nearby riverbank. He had a great reputation for quality fish sales in the area and he reminded me of the stereotype fishermen we have back home, complete with big white beard and a personality full of character!

              

The perch was stonkingly fresh and very reasonably priced for line caught fish at approx £15 per/kg. We took the fish home and here are the results of a prime quality fish in a very tasty dish, complete with my partner’s Father’s recipe, to which from memory I hope is accurate!

Recipe – (Serves 4)

  • 1×2.5kg (approx) Pike Perch, gutted, scaled, head and fins removed. (Very important to watch fingers on the top fin as razor sharp)
  • 2x plum tomatoes or similar variety, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 leek washed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh horseradish, grated
  • A handful of chopped chives
  • Approx 300ml cream
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Place all the ingredients less the cream in a roasting tray and cover with cream
  • Bake in Oven @ 180c/gas mark 4/350f for approx 20-25 mins or until a skewer comes out easily from the thickest part of the fish (flesh part) or until the fish comes away easily from the bone at the head end. (This can be tested carefully with a spatula or knife by gently lifting the flesh at the head-end of the fish)

I was also given a wee challenge to produce  a starter from a few bits and pieces that he had in his fridge to use which was some sliced home cured gravadlax, some sliced rye bread and some dill dressing so I played around and came up with this…

Cue the Jaws theme tune next……

Then came the perch...

Then came the perch…

Before baking...

Before baking…

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Served simply with some boiled potatoes.. delicious!!

Served simply with some boiled potatoes.. delicious!!

  • The fish is a flaky texture, not too dissimilar to a cod family and the flavour was very clean and fresh tasting. This recipe would work very well in my opinion with alot of fish such seabass or salmon or many types of flat fish too. :)

Recipe – Organic spelt and sunflower seed bread

Organic spelt and sunflower seed bread

Recipe

  • 1kg organic spelt flour
  • 500g organic stone ground white flour
  • 1 litre blood temp water
  • 25g melted butter
  • 25g fresh yeast/12g dried yeast or 300g wild yeast which is what I used for this recipe
  • 35g salt
  • Sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top of loaf

Method

  • If using commercial yeast, activate with water for 5 mins. If using wild yeast, weigh and add to mixing bowl
  • Add flour to yeast, melted butter and water
  • Mix to form a dough
  • Add salt and knead bread on a medium speed for 8 mins or byhand until a smooth and elastic dough is formed
  • Lightly oil the dough and the inside of the mixing bowl
  • Place kneaded bread back in the bowl to prove and double in size. If using wild yeast, the proving time may take up to 4 hours as wild yeast is a much slower proving process in comparison to fastr acting commercial yeast
  • Meanwhile, line 2 loaf tins with oil and dust liberally with flour
  • Knock back dough once double proved then shape and place in loaf tins
  • Sprinkle with sunflower seeds
  • Leave to prove until double in size
  • Preheat oven to 250c/475f/gas mark 9
  • Place a metal container of water in the bottom of the oven
  • Put loaves in oven and cook for 10 mins before turning down heat to 180c/375f/gas mark 6
  • Cook for approx 20 mins more then remove loaves from tins to continue baking directly on the shelf
  • Bread should be hollow sounding once tapped all over
  • Rest on a cooling rack once cooked

Chef’s tip

  • When kneading your dough, stretch the dough out infront of you using the palm of your hand to push to dough across the work surface. this way you can see how elastic the dough is becoming as the gluten begins to work in the flour. More elasticity is what you want to achieve to form bonds in the bread to get a decent texture
  • When shaping your loaf, press into a rectangle shape, then fold the top 2 corners in to form a rough triangle. Bring the bottom of the dough up to the top and then knead into a baton/thick baguette shape
  • The bread will freeze in slices very well for future use, especially if toasting direct from freezer
  • Cost per 10mm thick slice depending on what you pay for your flour, (I paid the equivalent of £3.70 for 2kg stone ground white flour and £2.50 for 1.5kg spelt flour in Sweden) so approx 10p per slice.

 

 

Recipe – Home made clotted cream

Clotted cream

Hi all, long time no blogging for me.. I’ve been busy enjoying family life with my partner Fia and our newborn daughter Nova and currently enjoying my first trip back to the UK with my family to introduce Nova to my parents for the first time! We’re still over visiting them now and all having  a great time spoiling Nova rotten with love and too many new clothes! The best news is that Nova is healthy and doing brilliantly, growing very well and strong thanks to Mum’s finest top grade milk!

Seeing as we are currently in Cornwall, South West UK home of the infamous English afternoon tea, I thought it fitting to blog about one of Cornwall’s many food attributes – the delicious and very moreish clotted cream.

I made it for the first time about 3 weeks ago back home in Sweden after researching the technique online for a while, well half a day’s reading various recipes and forums and as with alot of things, there were many various techniques and schools of thought to producing this luxury product, so I took a few common threads of info and set about experimenting… 

 Essentially people were saying for best results to use unpasteurised milk or cream so I started with cream. Unsurprisingly I couldn’t find any unpasteurised cream in Sweden but read that it was still possible to make it with the heat treated stuff so that’s what I tried. I read about two processes, one cooking in a saucepan ontop of the stove and one in the oven. I tried both, the stove top one first which involved scalding the cream for a few mins then cooling overnight and well, it was frankly unsuccessful and lets leave it there with that one.. with the second attempt this one was to scald the cream at 83c in an oven overnight with no exact time given so I did it for 6 hrs in a cast iron tray, monitoring the temp with a digital thermometer, then cooled it overnight at room temp, (food safety nuts would be freaking out and curdling like sour milk at the thought of that, however I’m still here to tell the tale..) then I placed the clotted cream in the fridge for about 12 hrs more which thankfully worked a treat!!

Recipe – yield 300g clotted cream

  • 500ml heavy\double cream – (I used 36% fat content, highest one available in Sweden)

Method

  • Set oven to 90c\200f
  • Pour cream into an oven proof tray so it is approx 20mm deep
  • Place in oven without a lid for 5-6 hrs
  • Insert a temperature probe to control and monitor temperature
  • The cream will form clots as the cream is scalded at 83c. It will produce a light, yellow crust on the top during cooking
  • Remove from oven and cool until cold enough to transfer into fridge for a good 12 hrs
  • Carefully scoop off the clotted cream from the top of the tray into a container and keep in the fridge
  • You will find that you have approx 15mm thick clotted cream then approx 5mm milky susbstance underneath which can be used for cooking

Chef’s tips

  • The clotted cream willl keep fresh in the fridge for 7 days
  • Great with scones and jam – naturally..
  • Makes a fantastic ice cream
  • This recipe made enough for 15 scones, food cost after currency conversion – 13p per 20g portion of clotted cream to go with a scone, less the electric bill for the oven!

 

Recipe – Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread, cloudberry jam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fantastic recipe from a dear friend of mine and great home cook, Marnie. I added a Swedish touch with the lingonberry jam and cloudberry jam which was hand picked and made by my girlfriend’s Auntie over here.

I made a quarter of the recipe and it was enough for 8 slices

Recipe

  • 1kg organic white flour
  • 5g sodium bicarbonate
  • 7g salt
  • 15g sugar, castor or granulated
  • 60g melted butter
  • 450g buttermilk (To make your own, take 430g milk, 20g white wine vinegar, mix and leave to stand for 5 mins)
  • 1 large egg
  • 5g grated orange or lemon zest (I used lemon in this recipe)
  • 250g dried currants, saltanas or raisins (I used raisins in this recipe)
  • A touch of flour to coat the raisins so they don’t clog up in the wet mix

Method

  • Pre heat oven to 375f/190c
  • Sift flour, bi carb, salt, sugar together
  • Add the melted butter and zest and mix well
  • Beat the egg and mix with the buttermilk
  • Add to the flour mix and bring the ingredients together with a wooden spoon or similar
  • Add the currants/raisins
  • Turn the mix onto a floured surface
  • Knead into a ball
  • Make a cross incision on the top
  • Bake on a baking sheet for approx 50 mins
  • Should be hollow when tapped
  • Leave to stand for 5-10 mins before slicing

Enjoy!!

Blog feature in The Staff Canteen

The staff canteen logo

 

 

I’m very pleased to say that probably the best website for Chefs and keen foodies that exists out there ran a feature on my blog this week..!

http://www.thestaffcanteen.com/blog/chef-eyes-blog-by-gavin-swonnell/

And apart from that shameless plug, if you love your food, it doesn’t matter if you are a Chef or not it’s a fantastic UK based site that has so much to read and view from the World’s best Chefs posting recipes and videos to advice columns, job vacancies, food suppliers, a forum that covers everything from books, recipe advice, stories, blogs, restaurant reviews.. there is something in there for everyone.

Why not check it out? There’s bound to be something of interest if you love your food.. ;)

Re-blog – Chocolate and chile Ancho bread

chefeye:

A great blog full of good recipes here, this one for the chocolate bread I just have to try!

Originally posted on The DelGrosso Food Blog:

With Valentines Day just a day away, forget about buying chocolates for your significant other! Make something for them!!! This weeks inspiration comes from a deep, dark part of my heart. My chocolate heart that is!

My mother bought me a book for my birthday, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Dayby Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, and leafing through the pages my eyes immediately locked upon a recipe for chocolate bread.  As I began to read the details about making this bread, I could not help but think what an addition chile would be to this recipe! Chocolate and chiles are such a flavor affinity to me! So, once the weekend came, it was time to itch my baking scratch! You will notice the recipe is by volume rather than by weight. This is a bit inconsistent in my opinion, but I did not take the time to convert and test…

View original 1,025 more words

One for the Yorkies..

Grub's up...

“Nowt like a pie fresh out oven to guzzle down yer gob..”

“For that’s what married life is all abaht,
Mellin’, growin’ cloaser year by year;
Ridin’ aht some rough times wi’ the smooth,
Mixin’ in thi laughter the odd tear.”

 

Any road…. This post is a wee homage to a couple of Yorkshire friends of mine who are mad about food and appreciate a good pie or two when they see or taste one.. Best get in quick though as they don’t let it hang around for too long… !

So I cooked this yesterday for my girlfriend and me for lunch and it reminded me that my cooking at home just doesn’t consist of enough types of pie because damn, they are good! This is the kind of dish I would love to eat in a nice little English pub.. simple, home cooked food made with good ingredients that are handled and executed well and with love.

So with my freshly made puff pastry, some chicken stock and leeks, I went about making a chicken and leek pie served up with sweet potato and garlic mash and rosemary glazed carrots.

Recipe

Chicken and leek pie 

  • 150g diced chicken leg
  • 1 small onion fine dice
  • 1 clove garlic chopped fine
  • Approx 80g leek, diced
  • 30g butter
  • 30g flour
  • Approx 500ml chicken stock
  • Approx 125g total peas, sweetcorn, spinach to bulk out pie and give more flavour so feel free to vary these veg as you wish
  • Seasoning to taste
  • Puff pastry approx 200g

Method

  • Roll out the puff pastry approx 3mm thick ideally the day before to rest it and brush with egg yolk to give a glaze when cooked
  • Sweat the onion, leek and garlic in the butter
  • Add the flour and on a medium heat, cook for 2 mins, stirring all the time
  • Add the chicken stock, bit by bit stirring all the time to keep the sauce smooth and lump-free. (The sauce will cook faster if the stock is already hot when you add it)
  • Add the diced chicken leg and cook gently for approx 1 hr, or until the meat feels tender to the pinch, whilst still holding it’s shape
  • Add your seasoning and taste the stew
  • Remove from heat and add the peas, sweetcorn and spinach
  • Place the filling in pie dish and cover with the pastry, sealing well around the edges
  • Pre heat oven to 220c/425f/gas mark 7, then cook for approx 25 mins or until the pastry is golden and risen well

Sweet potato and garlic mash

  • 1 large sweet potato approx 250g, peel and dice 1 inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and crushed fine
  • Approx 80g creme fraiche or double /heavy cream
  • 30g butter
  • Seasoning

Method

  • Cook the potato in boiling water for approx 20 mins, or until tender
  • Drain and leave to stand in a colander for approx 10 mins so as much water evaporates from the potatoes
  • Meanwhile, add the creme fraiche and garlic to a saucepan and cook for approx 3 mins to thicken the creme a little and cook the garlic
  • Pass the cooked potato through a potato masher and add to the garlic creme fraiche
  • Mix well and add seasoning. Keep warm

Rosemary glazed carrots

  • 200g carrots, peeled and cut into batons
  • 40g butter
  • 1 Tea spoon of rosemary
  • Water to cover

Method

  • Place carrots in a sauce pan with butter and  a good pinch of salt
  • Barely cover with water and boil vigourously until all the water has evaporated and the carrots begin to fry in the remaining butter
  • Add rosemary and carry on cooking until a good colour is achieved on the carrots
  • You are now ready to serve up, Enjoy!

 


 

Recipe – Aioli

zuu1 026 (3)

A timeless Spanish classic with a good history of the garlic sauce here

This recipe  is not made using the classic technique from Catalonia made in a mortar and pestle which is pretty tricky to do apparently and nope, I’ve not tried it that way either yet but the source of this recipe is from Catalonia and the technique very simple. It’s a delicious sauce that is made in under 2 mins and a must for all garlic lovers out there..

Recipe – 2 – 4 portions  

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 small to medium sized clove of garlic, peel and remove centre stalk
  • 1/4 egg yolk to assist in the stability of the sauce
  • 75ml sunflower or a similar neutral tasting oil, 25ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt to taste

Method

  • Place egg and garlic in a narrow and tall container
  • Using a hand or stick blender and applying an up and down motion, blend together for 30 seconds
  • Slowly pour in your oil to form an emulsion
  • The sauce should be thick and smooth

Chef’s tip

  • Don’t panic if the sauce splits! It can be rescued by placing a small quantity (10ml) luke warm water in a clean container then bit by bit add the split sauce to the water applying the same up and down motion with the hand or stick blender until the sauce is corrected
  • Goes great on toasted bread, with charcuterie, as a salad dressing, with fish or seafood, with fresh, raw vegetables, in soup
  • Best eaten within 24 hours of making
  • Avoid substituting for garlic mayo at all costs as it’s incomparable to home made aioli!
  • Click on the photos for a slideshow..

 

Happy cooking all.. ;)

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