Friday, July 24, 2015

Pears and Stilton - Lockets Savoury

A great snack - but one word of advice, store stilton in an airtight container.
Stilton does freeze well for long term storage, but the smell can be overwhelming for the fridge.
I picked up the cheese at the highly recommended On the Pigs Back in Cork cities English Market.

Named for a famous London restaurant.
Very simple, all you need is bread, butter, a ripe pear and stilton cheese.
Watercress is a nice addition as well.

Peel and slice ripe pears thinly.
Lightly toast some good bread - sourdough is perfect - on both sides.
Butter the bread generously.

Happy meal
Preheat the grill, or heat the oven to 200C
Arrange the thinly sliced pears on the toast and top with Stilton
Grill or bake until cheese gently bubbling
Serve on hot plates, ideal with a small glass of port.

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Devilish Kidneys with Star Anise Tomato

A classic meal, Devilled Kidneys, which has for some reason fallen out of fashion.
Traditionally served as a breakfast - this is a meal for later in the day, this meal was served with simple polenta, star anise tomato and warm cucumber to start using up a glut in the garden.

Colorful, tasty and ready in about 20 minutes.

Firstly - clean the kidneys.
The video below is a quick guide. Normally there is also a meniscus on the outside of the kidney, this is easy to remove.
You may also have to remove the external fat from the outside, but butchers tend to do this in advance. (**See Note)

Devil-ling the kidneys is as easy as pie.
You will need:
Two tablespoons of Mustard Powder
Two tablespoons of Goodall's liquid Yorkshire Relish -
Worcestershire sauce ( Lea & Perrins ideally) is a good alternative.
Salt and Pepper, season to taste.
Parsley to garnish.

Mix and chuck in with the kidneys in a bowl, stir well to coat.

This can be done up to 24 hours in advance.

On a grill pan or on skewers, grill each side for five minutes when ready to serve.

Sprinkle with copious amounts of parsley, serve on toast for breakfast, or be inventive for lunch / dinner.
There is plenty of great sauce in the pan that you can pour over, cream can be added to it to make it a little richer and milder if you like.

As a very simple side veg with this - breakfast or lunch - star anise with tomato is a great combination.
Use cherry tomatoes or halved beef stake tomatoes.
Coat with olive or rapeseed oil, sprinkle with well crushed star anise and sea salt.
Bake low and slow for best results.
**In Ireland one can easily get kidney with the external fat intact, it is not so common in the UK.
Kidney simply grilled or BBQ'd in its own fat is another great dish, but inthe UK you might even have to order it online by post.

Do note if doing a search for fresh kidneys online can produce some unplanned results.
If offered kidneys from anything other than an animal, quickly switch off your computer, disconnect and consider leaving the country.

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Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Hearty meal - simple stuffed lambs heart

Heart is a cut of meat which is under-used, normally very economic to buy and very, very tasty.
I sincerely believe in using every viable part of an animal, there is too much food waste.
This dish is very easy to prepare.

If you eat liver or kidney then you will be able to eat hearts, but they are not as strong-tasting.

If you are a little squeamish, or even if it is the first time - ask your butcher to remove the vascular bundle at the top of the heart (i.e. the aorta, superior vena cava etc.)  
It is important to maintain the integrity of the hearts two cavities for the stuffing.

Also, ask your butcher for butchers twine.
This meal will require a stove top and the oven

1 heart per person with gristle, veins and excess fat removed.
Bread crumbs
1 large onion finely diced
Sage leaves.
Knob of butter.
Salt and Pepper to season.
Bacon to wrap

Parsley to garnish

Red Wine
Flour or cornflour

Preheat oven to 140 deg. centigrade

Using a heavy based pot or casserole dish with a lid gently fry the onions until softened.
Add the finely chopped sage and thyme until wilted and flavour blended in
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the breadcrumbs and stir in until well mixed.
Remove from pan and set aside.

Rinse the heart cavity.
Stuff with the mixture
As an option you can wrap some bacon around the heart.

Secure the top of the heart and bacon using butchers twine.
You can also use bamboo skewers

Heat some more butter in the pot or casserole dish.
Braise the heart until lightly browned.

Cover the pot or casserole dish and transfer to the oven for 90 minutes.
In the oven cooking time you can prepare any side dish you wish.

I served with apple braised home made sauerkraut/zuurkool (or buy Kapusta Czerwona - available in most polish food shops) and new potatoes.

After 90 minutes remove the hearts from the oven.
Remove the string and leave the meat to rest.

In the meantime, using some red wine deglaze the pan
Use plain or cornflour to thicken the liquid - it makes a lovely gravy or jus - but this does need to be kept warm and served quickly to stop it becoming lumpy.

Slice the heart and serve up - garnish with some parsley

 Its a bit different and really worth a try - it is delicious - enjoy and please leave a comment.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Irish country style buttermilk, bran and blackberry muffins

A fiber and fruit filled breakfast treat based on a recipe by .
It takes its inspiration from traditional soda bread, and uses soda, buttermilk and blackberries (fresh or frozen) in its composition.

If you want it fresh in the morning you can leave the mixture overnight in the fridge.
For me its a handy thing to make when baking bread or pies anyway - so you don't waste energy.
The batch is sufficient for 11 or 12 muffins

You will need:
75 grms (1 cup) wheat bran
250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk - yogurt can be used as a substitute or a mix.
80ml (1/3 cup) rapeseed oil or other vegetable oil. Unsweetened applesauce can also be used
1 egg
95 grms (2/3 cup) brown sugar
125 ml (1 cup) self raising flour
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
About a 100 grms (1/2 cup) blackberries (you can also use other seasonal fruits or raisins)
You can add some vanilla extract if you like
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (375 F)

Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. 
Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes. 

Beat together oil, egg, sugar (and vanilla if wanted) and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in any desired fruits and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. 

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
Try not to overcook - 15 minuted should do it in a fan assisted oven.

Cool and enjoy!

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