Thursday, 31 May 2012

Jamaican Curry

A couple of years ago I spent 6 weeks in Kingston and travelling around the fabulous island that is Jamaica. I loved the country, and wasn't only taken aback by the incredible culture of music, dance, sport, art and a fair amount of marijuana, but also the tastes and smells of the country. Although not having a huge amount of variety on the menus in the shacks that line the roads, you could be guaranteed that what was on the blackboard that day would be something different and truly amazing.

I loved the Jamaican curries and this is just my interpretation of the flavours and smells i can remember. Allspice seems to be the taste of the Caribbean, so don't try and substitute it 

I decided to write this at this time to celebrate the West Indies cricket team in England, and England winning the recent test series.

Any meat (or a selection of decent root vegetables) would be fine in this , but i used some beef stewing steak (Jamaican's would use goat).

Jamaican Curry

1 Large knob of ginger - match-sticked
2-3 Scotch bonnet chillies - sliced
2-3 Cloves of garlic - smashed
2 Onions - chopped up
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
All spice - 2 heaped tablespoons
Cumin - 1 tablespoon
3 potatoes - large cubes
400g of stewing beef/lamb/mutton/pork/goat
Pint glass of beef/lamb stock
Half a tin of coconut milk

Again another fantastically simple dish to make.

In a very hot saucepan brown off the meat in some vegetable oil and then turn down the heat and add the onion, ginger, chillies, and garlic and cook until the onions are soft. Add the dried spices and tomato paste and cook for about 30sec to a minute.

Add the potatoes and stir into all the flavour for a minute or two. Add the stock and cook for at least an hour on a low heat. When the meat is tender add the coconut milk and cook for another 20-30 minutes.

Serve with some Rice and pea's (which funnily enough actually contains, not peas, but kidney beans) and a refreshing glass of Ting, Ginger beer, Red stripe, or rum and any of the above.

Enjoy it.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Puff Pastry Pizzas

I love a good Sunday roast as much as the next man, but to be honest sometimes on a sunday evening I fancy something a little lighter with limited amounts of prep and even less washing up. These tasty delights are perfect for those occasions when you fancy something comforting.

I am certainly not going to tell you how to make puff pastry, mainly cause I have no idea how to do it myself, and all the smug people on TV tell you that the shop bought stuff is just as good, so this uses a pre-rolled puff pastry (the non-rolled stuff is a little cheaper, so get it if on a budget, and the only thing i need add is... roll it out).

Also this is not really a recipe as who I am to tell you what to have on a pizza, so this is more of an idea.

Puff pastry Pizzas
Pre-rolled puff pastry (you will be able to get this from your 'local/metro/little' supermarket.
Tin of tomatoes/Passata
Clove of garlic (smashed)
Chilli - finely chopped
Ball of decent Mozzarella (buffalo would make it very special).

My favourite toppings:
Parma Ham
Red onion
An egg
Little balls of sausage

But to be honest have whatever you want.

Right pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Cut the puff pastry into the desired shape and size. Line a baking tray with some tin foil and sprinkle with flour.

Gently fry the garlic in some good olive oil in a frying pan and add the tin of tomatoes and chopped chilli, season and let the sauce bubble down for about 15 mins. When the sauce is done let it cool down a bit.

Place the pastry on the floured foil and put in the oven for 5 mins. Take it out and then start building your pizza. Sauce, mozzarella (slice or rip), toppings.

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes and you will have a lovely teatime treat, small ones would be perfect for nibbles (my time in Liverpool has taught me that Canap├ęs is not an acceptable word for small bits of food).

Be brave and crack an egg on top about ten minutes before finishing and you will not be disappointed.

Anyway i do think that this is a cracking light meal so please do give it a try, and any new topping ideas would be greatly appreciated.


Monday, 14 May 2012

Sausage and Leek Tartiflette.

Well I have been on a bit of a recipe sabbatical recently, but this simple hearty meal is me coming back with an alpine inspired bang.
I am a big fan of skiing and i love the big flavours and portions that are served to cold hungry skiers in the mountain restaurants, and this is a bit of tribute to that food philosophy, with a British twist.

Sausage and leek tartiflette. 

6-8 Potatoes (a good all-rounder) peeled and finely sliced.
2 leeks - finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic - 1 smashed, 1 chopped
6 good sausages - chopped up into relatively small pieces
Mug of double cream
1/2 a mug of semi-skimmed milk
Grated cheese - gruyere is best but a decent cheddar would be lovely too.
Pinch of fennel seed.

Gently fry off the leeks, fennel seed and smashed garlic in a pan with some oil. While that is softening, mix the cream and the milk together in a bowl with the chopped garlic. Layer half the sliced potatoes on the bottom of a greased ovenproof pan. 

When the leeks are soft take out the smashed garlic and put them aside. Fry the sausages for a small amount of time just to colour them a little. 

Place a layer of the leeks on top of the potatoes, and then the sausages, Pour over half the cream and milk mixture and sprinkle half the cheese over. Layer the remaining potatoes over the top and pour the rest of the cream mixture over the top. Finish off the with the remaining cheese and some pepper.

Place in an oven for at 160 to 180 for 1 hour.

You could chuck in some herbs into this at any point, typical potato herbs would be good. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, would all be equally as lovely.

I actually managed to split the cream on the first recipe i tried, so make sure you use double cream and i have halved the amount of milk on here. The more the fat the less likely to split.

Treat yourself on a tuesday night.

A hungry man.

Try this on a weekday evening and you wont be disappointed.

Zilometer (without the splitting): 6.5/10

My lowest score yet.
Note to-self: Must please him more next time.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Apprentice's Balls

  • The Apprentice Made Me Do This

    On the Apprentice last week they had a food task, which is usually hilarious because the applicants are barely complete humans, let alone business people or chefs; thus cooking displays the flair and adaptability they all think they have, but display like Baldrick ( . Of course, being a student, I have roughly Baldrick’s cleanliness, but I am in far more debt than him. Anyhow, the team led by knuckle dragging, 70’s throwback (provided everyone was thick and sexist back then like I assume) Adam decided to make “gourmet” meatballs. Given a budget, can I beat their attempt? 96 pence per serving I think they reached (It was a week ago).

    Adam's Bargain Meaty Balls.

    Serves 2 -3

    One good quality sausage (40p or so)
    A pork loin steak (anywhere between 40p and 80p depending on where and how many)
    Tin of tomatoes (33p)
    An onion (Bag of cooking onions from Iceland, 75p, so 8p or so)
    An egg yoke (free range, 17p)
    Seasoning, see above but use what you have
    Spaghetti (for 3, 345g, 40p)
    End of bread loaf
    Garlic (25p – I use posh garlic)

    £2.03, give or take, which is 67pence a dish for 3 people.

    I had a sausage and a pork chop in my fridge, and I decided to see if I can make the two into a meatball to beat the horror of Adam’s team’s effort. So I chopped my pork fine, removing the fat before as it is harder to cut finely and needs more effort, but should be cut and added for flavour. By finely cut, it is really up to you, but I went for short slithers of cheap ham slice size. Cut the fat up separately, and as fine as you can be bothered. Put it in a bowl.

    The sausage was a “finest” quality one, with apple, but you can use others of course depending on budget and taste. However - complete skimping is highly discouraged in the sausage area. They are not that dear, can be frozen individually and the cheaper ones are made from pork sinew dust, ligament puree and rusk; those cheap ones will not work in this recipe, probably. Yuck. Open the skin to the sausage and remove the meat. Add it to the pork in the bowl.

    Add half an onion and one or two garlic cloves finely chopped.

    Blend a bread loaf end to dust, add half of that to the meatball mix.

    Add your herbs. For apple sausages I used a big pinch of Cinnamon, Italian seasoning, dried parmesan (two big pinches), pepper, and a tiny bit of green pesto. It was literally what I had lying about. I even scraped a bit of growth off the pesto, before adding it of course.

    If apple sausages and a fruitier feel doesn’t appeal, swap cinnamon for ground fennel seed and some dried chilli. And obviously don’t buy apple sausages.

    Add an egg yoke to this meat, bread and herb mix and gently massage them together. I only say gently because you can lose much to the floor with vigorous manipulation.

    Simmer some onion, chilli (I used two birds eye), garlic and red pepper (I chopped up a half reasonably small) over a medium heat until soft. When soft add a tin of chopped tomatoes, oregano and salt and pepper. At this point any wine you have comes into play, a half/ full glass of white or red depending on taste. I’d use white with these meatballs. I didn’t have any wine as I prefer to drink it, so I put a cap of white wine vinegar in. I also added a mug of boiling water and some chicken stock. Simmer this.

    Roll the meat into balls, size is really up to you but I did quite big ones, and got 7 of them, which isn’t the ideal amount for sharing I admit. Add some pepper to the remaining breadcrumbs and roll each meat ball in it before frying them over a medium heat in olive oil or butter until golden brown on each side. Then add them to the sauce which is still simmering.

    Leave the meat and sauce to simmer for a bit, with the lid on and stir every few minutes while you boil the pasta.

    Do I need to explain how to cook pasta? If you can’t cook pasta everything previously will have read like Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The only advice I’ll give is do lots of spaghetti, say 115g per person, the dish is fairly sauce-y and rich so bulk it out with pasta to soak the flavour up.

    Another Challenge to the readers
     - make a cheaper more delicious meal than this.

    Adam Laudus (@theLadHimself)