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Saturday, 5 January 2013

The end

Can't be bothered with this anymore.
I'll leave the recipes and stuff up but I won't be doing anymore posts. There are other sites that do it far better than I could.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Chicken casserole with a Spanish twist.

The use of chorizo and paprika lend a real warmth to this dish. It's a big, bold tasting mix of meat and vegetables that will fight off those winter chills.

Ingredients
400g chicken, cubed.
200g chorizo cubed.
2 big sweet peppers.
2 medium courgettes (Zucchini if you are enjoying thanksgiving).
2 medium onions.
1can tomatoes.
400g passata.
2 tbsp Smoked paprika
2 tbsp basil.
1 tbsp oregano.
1 tsp chilli flakes.
1/2 tsp turmeric.
Salt & pepper.

Method
Place the peppers, onions and courgettes in an oven dish and roast on high for 20 minutes until you have some nice browning. (I do mine in a griddle pan because its quicker).

While that's going, add a little fat to a heavy casserole dish on the hob and start frying the chorizo.

When that lovely red colour starts bleeding out, add the seasoned chicken and brown.

Now, add in all the roasted veg and the spices, stir in passata and tomatoes. (add half a can of water if it looks too dry).

Throw it in the oven and cook at 120 C for an hour or so. (Or tip it in the slow cooker for 6)

Dish up and enjoy!  It'll serve 4 greedy adults easily!

Spence.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Paleo crisps/chips

There's always a time when you want a bowl of crunchy, savoury chips to munch on. Usually when you're watching the footy or a film and indulging that inner couch potato.

Now, I wouldn't recommend eating these all the time as our bodies need better quality fuel, but they're a much better alternative to the chemical and transfat laden rubbish that are usually on sale.

Ingredients

A Cassava
A deep pan of beef tallow/dripping
Sea salt
Liquid smoke

Method

Peel the cassava then slice thinly on a mandolin (Or with a knife if you have the skill).

Heat the fat, throw in the slices, take out and drain when golden brown.

Spray a little liquid smoke on them and sprinkle a little salt over, shake up and serve.

They're also nice with smoked paprika and salt too.

Happy munching.

Spence.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Garlic and Rosemary Lamb Chops

I love lamb. Whether its a whole leg for Sunday roast, a shoulder cooked as Mechoui, neck fillet rubbed with ras al hanouf and barbecued as kebabs...Lamb is one of the most delicious, versatile meats.

I'm sure some Kiwis out there will disagree, but grass fed, Welsh lamb is without doubt, the absolute finest you will ever get.
There are two constants in my culinary life, and they are Hereford beef and Welsh lamb. Nothing else ever tastes quite as good.

Now, I love mint with lamb, but with variety being the spice of life, I decided to try for a different flavour, one that works well on a leg, garlic and rosemary (with a cameo from thyme and mint, just because I had some in the garden).
Ingredients (serves 2)
4 lamb chops.
4 inch sprig of rosemary.
1 large clove of garlic.
2 mint leaves.
A little thyme.
Salt
Pepper
Butter or oil.

Method
Strip the rosemary leaves into a mortar and pestle (Or food processor), add the garlic, thyme, mint and a little salt, then pound it into a paste. Add a little butter or oil and keep pounding. It's ok for some leaves to stay whole, as long as they're bruised the favours will develop nicely.

Rub the mixture into the lamb chops and put them to one side for an hour. (Or in the fridge for a few, just take them out 40 minutes before cooking).

Heat a heavy pan or skillet until its searing hot and fry the chops for around 10 minutes. Turning 3 times and giving them a good twist of black pepper.

I served these with carrots,  spring greens and broccoli which was all cooked in one pan. (Slice the carrots, boil for 20 mins, add the spring greens cook for 5 mins, add the broccoli for 5 more minutes).

There you are, simple, delicious and paleo!



Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Moroccan Lamb Meatballs

With the cooler weather rolling in, its time for warming, high energy foods like hearty stews and spicy curries. (Though I have to confess I eat them all the time anyway).

This dish offers a nod towards the traditional tagine dishes most of us think of when Morocco night comes around.

The main difference is that the meat has a more savoury seasoning that works wonderfully with the sweetness of the sauce.

Ingredients (Feeds 4).
500g lamb (minced).
A knob of butter.
1 tin chopped tomatoes.
400ml passata.
A large onion (grated).
4 cloves garlic (crushed).
A handful of pitted dates.
A handful of sultanas.
A handful of dried apricots.
A handful of slivered almonds.
Turmeric.
Pepper.
Salt.
1tbsp honey.
Ground cumin.
Ground cinnamon.
Ground saffron.
Chilli powder.
A small bunch of parsley (chopped).
A small bunch of coriander (chopped).

Method.

To the lamb, add 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1 tsp turmeric, salt, cinnamon, pepper, salt, chilli, cumin and 1 tbsp chopped herbs.

Mix well with your hands and roll into small balls.

Fry in the butter until well browned, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Throw the onion and garlic in the pan and sweat them on a low heat.

Add 1 tbsp turmeric, cinnamon, cumin.
1 tsp chilli, 1/4 tsp saffron. A good pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper.

Stir well, add the remaining herbs and stir again.

Add the tomatoes, passata and honey.
Bring to the boil, then add the dates, sultanas, apricots almonds and meatballs.

Add a little water if its looking a little dry.
Simmer gently for 20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce attains a lovely, unctuous thickness.

Job done!

Spence.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Bish, Bash, Bosh!


Every once in a while (When you ride a bike) you're gonna come off or hit something.

That's a fact. There's an old saying about bikers - There's two types of bikers, those that have had a crash and those that are gonna.

Yesterday I managed to smack into the back of a car at a roundabout. I saw her move, looked right to see if the traffic was easy enough for me too, looked back to the front and she'd stopped.

Yeah, I know, heard the jokes about shop windows and stuff. It was my own dumb fault, but luckily All that happened to the bike was the footpeg got knocked off and the brake linkage got bent. I kept upright so there was minimal damage to me and the bike other than that and a sore leg.

As you can see, the bolt that holds the front footpeg was bent too much to save.
Not a great picture, but the threads all got stripped out of that hole in the footpeg bracket.


To fix it, I drilled out the hole to remove all the damaged material. (Make sure you don't drill a hole bigger than you have a bolt for).

Then, I measured the thread on my new bolt with a thread pitch guage.
See how the little teeth align perfectly with the valleys in the threads?

Now, since I know the bolt is a M10 and the thread is 1.5, I dug into my tap and die set for....a M10x1.5 Tap.  Simple, eh?

These kits cost about 20 to 30quid from somewhere like Amazon or Screwfix and they're well worth the money. You don't need the high end, expensive ones if you're just using them now and again on your own bike.

If you need a good one in a hurry, try this.


So, having cleaned out the old threads and selected the right tap, I added a little grease to it (Some folks use special cutting compound, but I never had any problems with plain old grease..The important thing is you use something, cos a dry tap in a dry hole will snap).
Here's a fuzzy pic of the thread cutting. This bit is really important, go slow, never more than half a turn inwards and always slack off a quarter turn each time. This snaps off the swarf inside the hole and lets the cutting faces unclog. If you try and go too fast, you'll break the tap in the hole, cut a wonky thread or bust the tap wrench. Either way, the part you are trying to save will be junk. So take it easy!

After cutting the thread, clean it out with some WD40 or something, then (finger tight) screw in the bolt a few times to make sure it runs in and out cleanly.

As you can see in the fuzzy pic above, I bolted everything back up and it works fine. Which is good, cos I'm too poor to pay a garage to do it.

See ya soon.

Spence





Thursday, 6 September 2012

Lasagne

Sometimes we all need a little comfort food. Most of the time for me.
Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes comfort food, sticky pudding, rich stew, crusty pies or fiery curries...the list is endless, but one constant for most people is the need for richness and flavour.

Nothing combines these two quite like lasagne, from the heady red wine and beef stock meat to the silky, unctuous cheese of the bechamel, this one has it all and enough veg to make a dent in your 5 a day.

Ingredients

500g minced beef or bison.
1 large onion (diced fine).
4 garlic cloves (crushed).
3 carrots (diced fine).
3 sticks celery (diced fine).
Half a tube of tomato puree.
1 tin of chopped tomatoes.
2 large sweet potatoes.
500g grated cheddar.
1 cup cream (any sort).
1 tsp arrowroot powder.
Basil.
Oregano.
Salt.
Pepper.
Chilli powder.
Water.
Stock.
A glass of Red wine.
Splash of balsamic vinegar.

Method

Fry the meat in a little fat (I use duck fat for this, but any saturated fat is safe).
While that's browning, put the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and basil in a food processor and blitz it up until it's chopped to your liking, then add to the pan containing the meat and lower the heat to sweat all the veg a while.

After about 5-10 minutes, stir in the tomato puree, then, after a minute or so, add a little chilli, salt and pepper, then the tomatoes and stock.

Top up with wine and water so its nice and runny, bring to the boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for an hour or so. (I throw it in the oven at 120C for an hour and a half, but you can bung it in a slow cooker while you go to work if you like).

While that's cooking, peel 2 big sweet potatoes and slice them really thin on a mandolin (or use your peeler if you don't have one).

Next up, grate all your cheese and gently bring the cream to a simmer in a small pan.

Add 1/3 of the cheese and stir it in.
Simmer gently for 5 minutes or so, then add 1tsp of arrowroot powder to a small glass of cold water (about a shot glass or so) and throw it in.
Stir well, remove from the heat.

To assemble, ladle a half of the meat sauce into an oven dish, then carefully cover with the slices of sweet potato, pour half the bechemel sauce over and sprinkle a 1/2of the remaining cheese on top.

Ladle the rest of the meat in, then cover as before, meat, sweet potato, bechemel and cheese.

Put it in a medium oven (140-160C) for half an hour, then whack the heat up to 220 for 10 minutes until nicely browned.

When you take it out, just leave it for 5 minutes or so for the sauce to thicken a little, then dish up.

This should feed 5 or 6 greedy cave people.

Enjoy.

Spence.