Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#blog12daysxmas Day 6 Μπριζόλες χοιρινές

Or in other words Greek pork chops. I love Greek grilled meat: souvlakia, chops,  meatballs. Usually I just prepare the meat by flinging it in some olive oil and oregano, maybe some garlic too. It sits for a while and it goes on the grill. 

However, this year for Christmas someone gave me some Creaming Seeds Spice Co. Greek Seasoning. This consists of oregano, rosemary, garlic, sea salt, black peppercorns, onion, marjoram and lemon myrtle. So the flavour is a bit more complcated than my normal Greek grills. 


I tried it out with some pork chops and the result was delicious. I ate mine with salad and poatoes and ate the remainder cold for lunch over the next few days.

Ingredients

4 pork chops
2 tsp Greek seasoning
Olive oil

Mode

Sprinkle chops with Greek seasoning and splash on some olive oil
Leave to marinate for 15-20 minutes (or longer)
Heat the grill
Place the chops on the grill
Baste with the marinade
Grill both sides until cooked basting with the marinade from time to time
Enjoy with salad and potatoes

Monday, December 29, 2014

#blog12daysxmas Day 5 Vera's shortbread


This year was our second Christmas after my mother's death and just before Christmas I suddenly thought it would be nice to cook the shortbread she had always made and give some to my siblings.  

In the weeks leading up to Christmas every year my mother's kitchen was always a frenzy as she churned out Christmas cakes, mince tarts and shortbread for the three of us and our workplaces and friends and relatives. 

I was using her recipe which she had written down years ago when she had an old gas oven with no thermostat and her recipe didn't include many details such as how long the shortbread needed to be cooked. The critical things were the ingredients as she knew exactly what she was doing and how long it would take. 

I had made the recipe before, both with my mother and also by myself, but as I pondered how to write out enough details for someone else to understand the recipe so that I could blog it, I also fell to wondering if, as I thought I remembered, it had been her mother's recipe. I certainly remembered eating my grandmother's version of the shortbread.  Or it had been passed from even further back in the family?

Who would know? There was really only one place I could look. I have in my possession part of a hand-written recipe book that belonged to my grandmother's aunt, Lucy Agnes Collie. Would she have cooked shortbread using the same recipe and, more importantly, would it be in the part of her recipe book that survived?

Indeed the recipe was in Auntie Luce's recipe book and giving more detail than my mother's recipe did. But the interesting thing about the recipe was the name: "Vera's Shortbread". So it had not come down from generations ago but was a recipe from a generation after Auntie Luce from her niece Vera. Vera Hall was my maternal grandmother's sister. I am sure that my grandmother had also cooked this same shortbread as I remember having it. But she must have got it from her sister. So it was a recipe shared around the family at that time and like many other handwritten out in their recipe books.

I am sure the story is mainly of interest to the family, but I made a couple of batches of shortbread and how to make it came back to me once I started! I enjoyed making it and exploring its origins. You too can make "Vera's Shortbread" if you wish.



Ingredients

4 oz caster sugar
8 oz butter
14 oz plain flour 

Mode


Pre-heat oven to 150c
Cream the sugar and butter
Fold in the flour gradually
Butter baking tray
Turn out mixture onto floured surface
Roll like a roly-poly
Cut slices about 1/2 inches
Place leaving space between on the buttered tray
Press fork into surface to decorate
Cook in oven until just starting to change colour (15-20 minutes)
They should still be soft but will harden while cooling
Remove from oven and place to cool on wire racks



Friday, December 5, 2014

Lemon and orange chicken



Last week when with the help of a friend I was cleaning out and sorting a high kitchen cupboard where I store preserves I discovered I had a jar with some syrup from a jar of Stephanie's Spiced Oranges.  I have used it in the past for basting roast chicken and talked of doing that again.  However, this time I chose to cook some chicken Maryland individual pieces rather than a whole chicken.  And the result was delicious!

Ingredients

2 portions of chicken Maryland
1 dessertspoon citron salt
6 dessertspoons of spiced oranges syrup


Mode

Preheat oven to 210c.
Arrange the chicken in a baking dish
Sprinkle with citron salt
Roast for 30 minutes
Remove the chicken from the oven and spoon over the spiced orange syrup
Return to oven and roast for another 20 minutes.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Chicken balls with ginger and Vietnamese mint



These gingery chicken balls with the added flavours of Vietnamese mint and lemongrass are easy to make and delicious!

Ingredients
700 gr minced chicken
2 cloves garlic
4 tsp minced ginger
Handful Vietnamese mint
1 tsp lemongrass paste
1/2 tsp Sambal Oelek
Dry fine bread crumbs
Olive oil
250 gr ready made tomato sauce
Water
Steamed rice or noodles
Shaved Parmesan



Mode

Crush garlic and ginger
Chop Vietnamese mint roughly
Add chicken, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, Sambal Oelek and Vietnamese mint to a bowl
Combine ingredients thoroughly with hands
Using a heaped soup spoon of mixture form meatballs
Coat lightly in bread crumbs
Place tomato sauce in large pan to heat 
Heat olive oil in pan on stove top
Add the meatballs in batches and quickly seal on both sides
Add sealed meatballs to the tomato sauce
Simmer on the top of the stove for 20-30 minutes
Serve on a bed of rice or rice noodles
Top with shaved Parmesan



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lamb balls in tomato sauce



These meatballs arose because I felt I wanted something Lebanese-tasting to go with my turnip pickles. I was out late at a meeting so I grabbed a bottle of ready made sauce at a shop on the way home but you could make your own tomato sauce for the simmering.

I ate the meatballs in sauce with rice noodles and some shaved parmesan, but you could also serve with rice or pasta or any type of noodles. If you are one of my "evil carbs" friends, you can leave out the pomegranate molasses and serve the dish without the rice or pasta accompaniment.



Ingredients

 750 gr minced lamb
1 tsp sumac
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp all spice
2 large handfuls coriander
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
2 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Tomato sauce (already prepared)
Pasta/rice/noodles (accompaniment)
Shaved parmesan



Mode

Heat the tomato sauce in a pan on stovetop and simmer
Chop the coriander roughly
Crush the garlic
Place lamb, coriander, garlic, sumac, all spice, cumin, and pomegranate molasses in a mixing bowl
Mix thoroughly using hands to ensure that all ingredients are blended
Using a dessertspoon and hands form meatballs of whatever size desired
Heat olive oil in frying pan
Seal the meatballs in batches and transfer to the tomato sauce
Simmer the meatballs in the tomato sauce for about 30 minutes
Meanwhile prepare rice, noodles or pasta for accompaniment
Serve with rice, noodles or pasta with shaved parmesan.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pickled turnips


A couple of weeks ago I was ordering a meal in a Lebanese place in Montréal. In  order to answer my question about a French word I didn't understand on the menu, the young woman serving us whipped out her phone to get a translation.  It was "turnips" and, of course, they were the pinkish pickled turnips that I have often eaten in Lebanese restaurants though I had not really thought about how they were produced.

Once home, I pulled out my Middle Eastern authorities, Claudia Roden and Abla Amad, and read up about Middle Eastern pickling of vegetables. This is mainly achieved with vinegar and water and sometimes salt.  Beetroot or red cabbage are the agents used to colour other vegetables.  Sometimes other elements such as celery or garlic are added for additional flavour.

I decided to go for the simple: turnips, beetroot, white wine vinegar, water and salt. I just peeled and chopped and put them in the jars making sure that there was beetroot in both.  You could slice the beetroot finely and build the vegetables up in layers and achieve a nicer visual outcome.

The photo at the top of the post was taken just after I bottled them, and the other taken the morning after already shows the colour of the beetroot taking affect. Now it's a waiting game as they won't be ready for 7-10 days.


Ingredients

4 medium white turnips
1 medium beetroot
3 dessertspoons salt
White wine vinegar
Water


Mode

Cut the tops and bottoms of the turnips and peel
Slice into chunks in whatever shape you like
Cut the top and bottom off the beetroot
Cut into slices
Place the turnip pieces and the beetroot slices into a bowl
Add salt and mix
Place the turnip and beetroot into glass jars
Pour white wine vinegar into the jars until they are about one third full
Add water to the jars making sure the vegetables are covered
Seal the jars and put aside for 7-10 days when the turnips should be ready
These will last about six months kept in the vinegar and water solution.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ginger chicken balls



I always feel like meatballs - of whatever flavour. These ones combine some of my favourite flavours: ginger, garlic, Thai basil, chicken, and spring onion and are simmered in tomato sauce and served on a bed of basmati rice. I used a Dolmio spicy pepper sauce which went well with the other flavours, but you could make your own or use a different sort of ready made sauce. However, the meatballs could also be cooked and eaten without sauce, or with sauce served with noodles or pasta. Meatballs are very flexible! I cooked these on the top of the stove but they can be baked in the oven at 160c for 45 minutes.



Ingredients
600 gr minced chicken
2 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
8 gr Thai basil
Dry fine bread crumbs
Olive oil
250 gr ready made tomato sauce
Water
Steamed rice or noodles
Shaved Parmesan



Mode
Slice spring onions finely
Crush garlic and ginger
Chop Thai basil fairly finely
Add chicken, spring onions, garlic, ginger and Thai basil to a bowl
Combine ingredients thoroughly with hands
Using a heaped soup spoon of mixture form meatballs
Coat lightly in bread crumbs
Place tomato sauce in large pan to heat 
Heat olive oil in pan on stove top
Add the meatballs in batches and quickly seal on both sides
Add sealed meatballs to the tomato sauce
Simmer on the top of the stove for 20-30 minutes
Serve on a bed of rice or rice noodles
Top with shaved Parmesan



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