Saturday, 31 January 2009

Lancashire Hotpot with Braised Red Cabbage

Reading the BBC's Good Food magazine the other day I felt the need to make Lancashire Hotpot! So this is yet another of James Martin's recipes.
The last time I'd had Lancashire hotpot was about 1989 when I worked in Warrington in Cheshire. At the time I remember thinking it was all very strange that they served beetroot with it.
I don't know why I thought it strange as it went really well with the dish. Just that at the time, having just moved 'up north' from London, I'd never heard of such a thing before.
I served mine with braised red cabbage which was really lovely. It went very well with the hotpot. The recipe for the cabbage is below.
So, on with the recipe. This is my version of James Martin's excellent recipe.

Print this Recipe

You will need:

100g butter - divided into three
4 lambs kidneys - cored and cut into bite sized pieces
700g lamb - I used boneless lamb steaks -
cut into large chunks
2 medium onions - chopped
4 carrots - peeled and sliced
30g plain flour
3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
400ml of
chicken stock
2 bay leaves
900g potatoes -
peeled and sliced really thinly (best to use a mandolin)

How to do it:
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F or Gas 3
Heat a third of the butter in a large shillet or frying pan and brown the lamb in batches, once done add them to the casserole dish. Now brown the kidneys and add those to the casserole.

Fry the onions and carrots in the pan in another third of the butter
until nice and golden. Sprinkle over the flour and allow to cook for a couple of minutes, shake over the Worcestershire sauce, pour in the stock, then bring to the boil.

Add all of this to the casserole along with the bay leaves.

Arrange the sliced potatoes on top of the meat and dot with a little more butter.

Now cover the casserole with it's lid or some foil, and place in the oven for about 2 hours until the potatoes are cooked through.

**If you are going to make the braised red cabbage, now is a good time to get it ready, as it will take 1 and a half hours to cook.

Melt the remaining butter and turn the heat of your oven up, remove the lid from the casserole and brush the potatoes with the melted butter.
Put the dish back into the oven, uncovered for about 1/2 an hour to brown the potatoes.

Print this Recipe


For the Braised Red Cabbage:
1 small red cabbage - cored and sliced
1 red onion - finely chopped
1 firm apple - peeled and thick sliced
50g unsalted butter - cut into small pieces
150ml chicken stock (Knorr stock cube)
1 tablespoon of
red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons clear honey
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
1 tablespoon of
pomegranate molasses
a good dollop of red currant jelly
1 x bay leaf
a sprig thyme
salt and pepper to season

How to do it:

Mix together all of the ingredients. Put the lot into a shallow roasting tray and cover with foil. Place in the oven on the bottom shlef with the hotpot on the middle shelf. Cook for about 1½ hours, stirring regularly, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add a little more chicken stock if you think it's getting too dry.
Taste for seasoning, stir in a little more sugar if required. Remove the bay leaf and sprig of thyme and serve.

The picture below shows the cabbage ready for the oven.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Chicken Escalopes, Beans, Asparagus Tips and White Wine

I saw James Martin make this on one of his cooking programmes the other day and it looked so good I gave it a try last night. I did a few things differently to the original recipe as you do but whatever it was yummy.

I also served it with some potatoes (I didn't want to starve) that I had sliced and then par-boiled, seasoned with salt and pepper and put them in a frying pan with a little oil until they were nice and brown and cooked through.

Sadly, I couldn't get fresh ceps (porcini) mushrooms only dried ones. I only used a few as Mr Bennett (the husband) doesn't like mushrooms. A strange person he is!

You will need to serve 2:

2 chicken breast fillets
100g green beans
100g asparagus tips
3 tablespoons of olive oil
4 shallots - peeled and halved length ways
40g unsalted butter
3 fat cloves of garlic - finely chopped
50g dried cep mushrooms - soaked in 100ml of hot water for 20 minutes
to re-hydrate. ** Keep the liquid they were soaked in as it contains the lovely flavour from the mushrooms and will be needed - see below. If you are lucky enough to be able to use fresh ceps then ignore this bit!
2 tablespoons of the liquid from the mushrooms
100ml white wine
2 tablespoons of capers - rinsed well and dried
a small bunch of fresh chives - chopped
a few tarragon leaves - picked

How to do it:
Lay a sheet of cling film on a clean, flat surface and put a chicken breasts on top. Cover with another sheet of cling film and use something suitably 'bashable' to flatten the chicken breasts to thin escalopes.
Give both sides a good seasoning of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Trim the stalks off the green beans and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the asparagus tips to the same pan for a further 2 minutes.
Drain and refresh under cold water and set aside.
Now heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the chicken escalopes and the shallots, cut side down. Fry for 3-4 minutes then add the butter to the pan. Turn the chicken and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes,
or until cooked through.
Remove the chicken and shallots from the pan and set aside. Add the garlic and ceps and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Then pour in the wine and the liquid from the mushrooms and cook until reduced by half.
Stir in the beans and asparagus and make sure they are cooked though. Now add the chopped chives and capers. Season well with black pepper.

Remove from the heat and stir through the tarragon leaves.

To serve, put the chicken on plates and arrange the shallot halves on top. Spoon the vegetables and mushrooms over, along with the lovely juices from the pan.

Monday, 26 January 2009

My Trip to London

Last Monday was a rather grey day in London - as you can see the weather wasn't too nice at all!
So I went on the train to London ready for the Television studios the next day. I can't mention which studios or the name of the programme either! Sorry to be all mysterious but we are not allowed to chat too much about it as it's a brand new cooking programme showing in a few months time.
We all stayed in a hotel that is inside the building to the left of the London Eye, you can see it in the picture above, so we were in a really good central place.
Seeing as I've discovered this amazing video thing on here you can see my video of what happened at the very bottom of this post!
I had a fine time - one day London travel pass in hand, I trundled off to Harrods!
I thought I'd share a few pictures with you for anyone that has never been there.


Harrods is huge - you can get lost in there. I headed straight for the food hall as you do.
Loads of different cheese's from just about everywhere were on sale.

The ceiling is amazing - it's different in each part of the food hall.
All different kinds of coffee are sold.
I love looking at all the 'fancy' food they have. The prices are quite fancy too!!
These lobster halves were actually not too bad in price considering this is Harrods they were £17.95 for each half.
Although a cauliflower was £3.95 compared with the normal 'everywhere else' price of around 89 to 99 pence! I shouldn't think I'd have made my cauliflower soup if I had to shop there! A baby gem lettuce was also £3.95 in Harrods.
Below: Lots of posh looking chocolates.
The Sushi bar - not sure on the prices here but I did notice a
small glass of white wine was £9.95
This Valentines chocolate heart (hollow) was a mere £150
........and nope Paul is not getting one!
Then I headed off to the pet department - no pictures of the animals cats, dogs, bunnies etc as photographs are quite rightly not allowed there.
The Egyptian stair case or escalator is used to get to the pet department.
I also stopped by the television department where you can buy a 70inch Television for the absolute bargain price of £30,000 - Yep 30 grand!!
Now this is a Cat Bed! A real bargain at £395.....not!
Also in pink for the same price - can't be bad eh?!
Later on we (our team of four people) met up to eat - I was in need of food!!
I must say the other team members are all really nice people and I'm really glad to have met them.


This was our starter - between three of us as one person couldn't get there early enough to eat with us. A right bargain that was as Monday night was 50% off all food! It's a pub chain called (much to my horror) 'The Slug and Lettuce' what a yucky name!
Now here's a very blurred picture (but you get the idea) of the London Eye
at night!
So, if you really feel the need, you can watch the 'Jan can talk for England'
version of what happened below!

video

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Greek Lamb with Fennel and Other Good Things

I watched 'Food Safari' on TV last week - I love that programme!

They show recipes from different places in the world, India, China etc but last week it was Greek food - Jan sits up in the chair pen and paper at the ready!

They made a Greek lamb dish that looked so yummy I had to make it.
My pictures do not do it justice though - I still have cream plates in my pictures where they are in fact white but hey ho, you get the gist!

The smell coming from the oven whilst it was cooking was amazing.
Imagine the lamb mixed with oregano, lemon, onions and wine.
When it was cooked the lamb was just so tender and delicious.

First of all I prepped all the ingredients.


You will need:
  • 500g lamb shoulder - boneless
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion - chopped into large chunks
  • 6 shallots - chopped into halves
  • 3 cloves garlic - sliced
  • Zest of 1 lemon - peel with a vegetable peeler as you want strips of peel
  • 1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 300g Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of runny honey
  • 1 fennel bulb - finely sliced
  • 3 sprigs flat leaf parsley - leaves only

How to do it:
Preheat oven to 170C /325F or Gas 3

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Put the olive oil in a cooking pot (one that can go into the oven and has a lid) and heat it up. I used my Tagine as it is so amazing, it can go on the oven top and in the oven too!

Put the lamb in and seal the meat until it is golden brown on all sides.

Add the onion and the shallots to pot with the garlic, lemon zest, oregano and the white wine.

Remove from the heat and cover the lamb with the yogurt and drizzle with honey. Put the lid on and cook in oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

When it comes out of the oven the yogurt has turned to cheese and is used in the dressing for the fennel.

Once it's cooked, remove the lamb from the pot and allow to cool a little. Slice into thick-ish strips.

Place the strips of lamb on a BBQ, or grill and grill on both sides - they wont take very long at all as they are already cooked.

To Serve:

Make a dressing by straining the juices from the remaining onions in the pot and place the onions into a bowl. Add finely sliced fennel and picked parsley leaves.

Season to taste and drizzle with a little olive oil and serve with lamb and the sliced fennel.


Friday, 9 January 2009

Noodles and Vegetables with Chilli Bean Sauce

The other night I made a couple of Chinese dishes, sweet and sour pork, egg fried rice and a large bowl of noodles with vegetables in chilli bean sauce topped with pea shoots. The sauce gave it a nice sweet and spicy heat.
Now, the noodles I must say turned out rather nice indeedy. I had a jar of chilli bean sauce and a pack of prepared stir fry vegetables which consisted of Chinese cabbage, beansprouts, sliced red onion, sliced red pepper, carrot, bamboo shoots. I also had a few pea shoots.
So easy and quick to make too!
In a wok heat up about a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then add the vegetables along with a little soy sauce and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Now add the ready cooked noodles along with about 2 teaspoons of the chilli bean sauce. This sauce is hot so even I only used a small amount.
Give it all a good stir to heat through, then add the pea shoots seconds before it's all done and serve immediately.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

The Yummyest Meatloaf Ever!

When I saw the Greek meatloaf Peter over at Kalofagas had made a while back, I had to make it the very same day!
I've now made it twice and each time I've served it with lemon roasted potatoes, which, I must say seem to look very pale in this picture.
I didn't mess about with the recipe at all - I followed it very nearly almost exactly!
All the ingredients were followed as Peter says to in his recipe here.
I only used one slice of bread for the breadcrumbs, then added them to the mixture and poured the wine over the bread instead of soaking the bread in water. Also, I didn't have a sausage to go in the middle and I made the loaf in a bread tin, just for quickness.

Here it is pictured at the stage where the bacon that was placed over the top has crisped up a bit after being in the oven.

The tomato sauce is then poured on top and the meatloaf then goes back to the oven to cook further.


I must say this was one really yummy meatloaf - thank you Peter.
I say you just have to give it a go!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Roast Pork with Crackling

Roast pork with the crackling to me equals double yum.
Now I know the crackling isn't going to do me a bit of good - but I love it!
I always use a meat thermometer when cooking meat or chicken,
then you can't go wrong. 
Apple sauce, in my opinion just has to be served with roast pork.


Perfect crackling every time.

Then you need, proper roast potatoes, crisp and crunchy but soft on the inside.
No messing about is needed to cook them, no fancy ideas of putting anything on them such as flour or semolina as some people do.
Just potatoes roasted to perfection.
Roasting in Goose or Duck fat is excellent - you can see my post on the perfect roast potato here.
 

Perfect Roast Pork

Remove all packaging if any from the pork joint and using a very sharp knife, score the skin in even spaces of about 8mm apart.  
Now leave the joint to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.  Dry the skin with kitchen paper and rub the skin of the joint with a little sea salt.

It is vital that your oven is pre-heated first.
Pork needs to be cooked at a medium heat 180C/350F/Gas 4 for the first half of cooking.
Then increase the temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6 for the second half of cooking (this helps crisp up the crackling).
Cook for 30 minutes per 500g plus an extra 30 minutes

You really should have a meat thermometer to be sure your meat is cooked through. There are two varieties available - one you insert in the thickest part of the raw joint and cook until the desired internal temperature is reached.

The kind that I prefer is inserted into the cooked joint after roasting.


Recommended temperatures for cooking pork are:
Medium 70C (it must maintain this temperature for two minutes)
Well done 80C (it must maintain this temperatu
re for 30 seconds)
*Remember to take always the temperature from
the centre of the meat.
Cover the pork loosely with kitchen foil and leave it to rest for at least 20 minutes to half an hour before carving. Serve with roast potatoes, seasonal vegeta
bles and apple sauce.

LinkWithin