Nigel Slater’s Cabbage Soup…recipe is coming
Nigel Slater’s Cabbage Soup…recipe is coming
…recipe is coming
Much maligned, it truly is a great ingredient in the kitchen. Delicious and easy to prepare on your own, it rarely gets any love. Well, until you make lardy cake.
If you have any excess pork fat, cut it up, toss into a saucepan with a splash of water, and render it like it owes you money. Put the heat on medium low and check on it periodically. Eventually the fat will entirely render, with the added benefit of leaving behind what Newfoundlanders will know as scrunchions, which is essentially “mysterious, otherwise inedible but wonderfully delicious fried pork bits”. If you do it low and slow (like you should) it can take as long as three hours, but it’s worth it.
Pour through a sieve into a container, and put into the fridge. Put the scrunchions on paper towel with some salt. They’re awesome with beer. Obviously.
The National Trust Pork Pie!
Firstly, we should apologize for the extended absence. There have been a number of significant life changes - new jobs, apartments, etc., so we’ve been pretty distracted. With that said, we’re now settling in and renewing our focus. So, without further ado…
It’s that time of year where gluttonous excess is not only acceptable, but almost encouraged. It’s where diets go to die until being resurrected as New Year’s resolutions. This year we were not responsible for the full family turkey dinner, but instead did a Christmas Eve lunch. Nevertheless, we decided to go all-in with caloric excess, with a pork pie and, as an accompaniment to tea, lardy cake (which is, as the name suggests, cooked with lard, and will be dealt with in a different post). Both recipes are from the National Trust Complete Traditional Recipe Book. For those of us of British isles extraction, this is pretty much required reading from front to back.
The pork pie is rather involved, with three distinct elements - the stock, the filling, and the pastry. For vegans, the calorie conscious, and the faint of heart, look away now.
For the stock, you will need:
2 pig’s trotters (or bones, skin, and trimmings) [we couldn’t get pig’s trotters, so instead used a wild boar shin and trotter. Avoid our mistake - get it cut up to fit your pot]
1 bay leaf
2 or 3 thyme sprigs
1 onion studded with cloves
3 litres of water
This is pretty easy, but time consuming. Stick all of the ingredients in a pot, bring to the boil, and skim. Simmer (covered) for about three hours. Strain into a clean pot, discard what is by now an unrecognizable piece of meat and other bits, and boil uncovered until reduced to about 500 ml. Put aside.
Now for the crust.
450 g (1 lb) of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
150 ml of water
50 g (2 oz) lard (!)
50 g (2 oz) butter (!!)
25 g (1 oz) suet (!!!) [p.s. for those who might not know, suet is beef fat]
1 beaten egg
Put the flour into a bowl, adding the salt. Put the water and fats into a pan, heating until it comes to a boil and all the fats have melted and your arteries have clogged just looking at it. Remove from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture into the flour. As the mixture cools, use your hands to knead (I reject your moisturize and substitute animal fats!). Make sure it’s all incorporated and then cover the bowl before leaving out in a warm place.
Now for the filling.
1 kg (2 1/4 lbs) of pork - a quarter fatty and the remaining three quarters lean.
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon anchovy “essence” [this is mystifying - nobody we went to seemed to know what the hell this is, so we ended up using anchovy paste, which seemed to do just fine]
6-8 sages leaves, chopped
Pepper to taste
Cut a quarter of the leanest pork into 1 cm cubes [this gets confusing, given that the lean is supposed to be 3/4 of a kg of pork, and then you’re supposed to take a quarter of that to cube - which is 187.5 g - and it’s all just a big headache. We took about a quarter of the whole amount, and it was fine]. Take the rest of the meat and mince it coarsely. Don’t put through a meat grinder - it’ll make the end result less appealing and marbled. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
By now the crust should have cooled adequately for the next step, which is raising it in the pan.
Using an 8” springform pan (this is important, otherwise your presentation, not to mention the practicalities of cutting it, is shot), take 3/4 of the pastry and put it in the pan. Using your fingers, work it over the bottom and up the sides of the tin until you have a bit of overhang at the top. If the dough is flopping down, it’s too warm.
Once it is raised, pack the meat into it tightly. Roll out the remaining quarter of pastry into a round for the lid, brushing the edges with the beaten egg. Trim the excess pastry and crimp the edges. Make a small hole in the middle of the pie and cover it with a pastry rose. Brush the crust with the egg.
Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes, then lower to 325 for another 90 minutes. If gravy is bubbling out, all the better!
After taking the pie out, let it sit for 20 minutes. Remove the rose from the centre, and pour the stock into the hole (if it has set, simply bring back to the boil before using) until it completely fills the pie. If you have too much, all the better to enrich a later stock. Replace the rose and cool the pie for at least 24 hours to let the gelatin set.
Ta-da! When serving, spring the pan, cut into slices and serve cold with some mustard and a salad.
We happened to stumble upon these unusual scallops in the shell in Hooked a few weeks ago and damn if they aren’t fantastic. Unlike 99.9% of the scallops that you find in North American stores, these are not cleaned up so you just buy the muscle. Instead, they’re fully intact and in their beautiful shells.
How are they prepared? It couldn’t be easier. Get your BBQ (or oven or stove-top pan) very hot, plop the scallops on it, and eat as they open. You’ll know when they’re open, since they snap open with impressive speed when they’re ready. You could squeeze some lemon over them or top with some Sriracha, but we like ‘em simple - we eat them right at the grill as they open. Fantastic!
HERB and Olive PESTO
Easy 10 min prep involving your food processor.
Assorted herbs (we recommend kale, chives, rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil)
A few garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
Some sundried tomato and olives
Play and experiment. This one guideline could be a dozen of different recipes and its up to you to make it super awesome! Remember to taste after you add and adjust every ingredient.
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium butternut squash, cut in half and deseeded
2 fresh red chilli peppers
2 med onions, quartered
1 head of garlic
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
4 cups stock (meat or veg)
2 small springs of rosemary, finely chopped
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp red curry powder
1 – 2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste
Pre-heat your oven to 375 F.
Roll garlic, some salt and pepper and rosemary in a piece of foil and place on your baking tray.
Place the squash cut side down on the baking sheet along with the whole peppers, onion, thyme, and a generous dash of salt and pepper. Toss.
Place in the oven and roast 50 – 60 minutes or until everything is tender.
Serve in small bowls - this soup will be spicy!
Spicy olive and sundried tomato spicy dip. Perfect for a party served on flat bread…or a lazy night in!
One can of chick peas
1/2 cup pitted olives (I used red)
2 tsp of cayenne pepper
sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
pepper and no salt needed
Taken from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s wonderful Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World, this recipe for quick Swedish rye is, as the name promises, quick - as well as easy and delicious. It is a lovely dark soda bread that is perfect with charcuterie, pates, and cheese.
The proportions are for two loaves - if you don’t want to or don’t have two bread pans, cut the dough in half, cover in cling film and put in the fridge for the next day or two. Just remember to bring it back up to room temperature before baking.
Preheat the over to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Grease your 8x4 bread pan(s).
In a bowl, mix 5 cups rye flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds (I like it cumin-y, so I usually do heaping spoons).
In another bowl, combine 2 cups plain yogourt (full-fat, dammit!), 1/2 cup milk, and 1/4 cup honey (the recipe calls for mild honey, but darker buckwheat honey is killer).
Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. It will be terrifically unattractive and sticky. Have patience.
Turn into the pan(s). Smooth the tops (or, as demonstrated above, make nice patterns).
Put into the pre-heated oven. Immediately lower temperature to 385. Bake for 30 minutes, and then lower to 350 for another 20 minutes. They should have pulled away from the pan by this point. If you’re not sure, do the time-honoured stick-a-skewer-in-it trick and check to make sure it pulls away clean.
Turn out the loaves and let cool. Avoid the temptation to slice and eat hot. It needs to set and cool first. If you DO slice it hot, it’ll look and feel undercooked. It’s not - just let it cool off.