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:
Thanks very much for the nomination!
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
- 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……
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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)
- 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
- 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!
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
- 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
- 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
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..!
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..
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 Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, and leafing through the pages my eyes immediately locked upon a recipe for chocolate bread.
“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.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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!
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..
- 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
- 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
- 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..
- 1 boneless or bone in gammon, up to you if you regard it as a hassle or waste of money buying with the bone in. Over here in Sweden I find it’s more cost effective to buy off the bone, back home bone in is cheaper and no idea why…
- Water to cover
- Soak your joint of gammon in running water for 12 hours or over night to remove as much salt as possible. In a professional kitchen, I run it under the cold tap for a few hours before putting it in the fridge overnight, then running it under the cold water again for 30 mins in the morning before cooking it. At home I place the gammon in a bucket, put that in the bath tub and place the shower head on a trickle of cold water for 24 hrs
- After the gammon has been well soaked, place in a saucepan and cover with cold water
- Bring to simmer on the stove top and cook for approx 3-4 hrs topping up with water as and when required. You should ensure the ham is covered at all times with the water or if like me at home your saucepan is a bit on the small side, turn the ham over regularly during cooking, say every 30 mins til it’s done
- To check your ham is cooked, insert a skewer into your joint and the skewer should slide off easily once the ham is cooked
- When cooked, carefully remove from the cooking liquor which is best saved to make soup or whatever you fancy. Allow to cool for 15 mins or so then the joint is easier to handle, or just get stuck in when it’s fresh out the water, depending on how asbestos- proof your fingers are and how much/little time and patience you have
- Pre-heat oven to 180c
- If the ham has skin on, carefully remove this along with as little or much fat as you like. For me the fat is the best bit as it’s so full of flavour so I keep a fair amount on
- With a sharp knife, score the fat and cover with maple syrup. Honey works well too of course, I just had some maple to use up, hence my topping of choice on this occasion. There are many variations you can do as a tasty topping to glaze your ham before baking, just experiment with whatever you fancy but generally speaking, if the flavour goes well with pork or ham, it will work well as part of a glaze, i.e mustard, honey, treacle, cloves, brown sugar, chilli, etc, etc, just be creative and enjoy!
- Bake in a hot oven for approx 20-30 mins or until a nice caramelisation is achieved
- Cool overnight before slicing to get the best shape to your slices where the natural gelatine in the joint has chilled enough to re-set the joint in shape. Unless you want it hot of course, just carve away!
- The slices will freeze very well for home use, ideally vac packed in a professional kitchen or at home in between baking paper in freezer bags or cling filmed well is fine
- You can also pull the meat from the bone to make terrines or patties or put the trimmings through a risotto or a pasta dish for example, or a simple salad
- If serving hot it makes a delicious main course, lovely with mashed potatoes, parsley sauce etc being classics to serve with it from many European countries
Over here, it works out at approx 1 Swedish krona for my 30g breakfast portion which is what I use the ham for. That’s approx £0.10p back home, or cheaper of course with UK prices.
Happy cooking all