Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Beef Cheeks, new years

We had the horde at our place for new years eve and it was put to me to sort out the non liquid nourishments, I quite frankly had my heart set on revisiting the Dr pepper-miso short ribs that I had dabbled with previously, pretty damn stubbornly I might add too, but with leaving the shopping too late and only one suitable rack of ribs at the store, reluctantly (read: kicking and screaming) I changed my mind and used beef cheeks, so there were a couple of alterations to make, no longer sticky finger licking ribs, it would be unctuous melt in the mouth beef cheeks that had been braised on a bed of peppers, onion, carrot and cilantro roots, served in a tortilla with all the trimmings.

12 Beef Cheeks
1 Can of Dr Pepper (reduced to 125 ml)
2 tsp Miso paste (shiro)
3 Chipotle Chillies
1 tsp Cider vinegar
Coriander Seeds (pulverised)
Splash, dash or glug of oil

Divide the beef cheeks between some zip lock bags. Combine all the other ingredients together in a bowl, check seasoning, then pour into the bags, massage the marinade into the meat, seal and refrigerate overnight.

In a dish large enough to hold the cheeks make a bed of diced red onion, carrots, capsicum and coriander roots (use the leaves as a garnish). Place the cheeks on top of the vegetables and pour over the marinade. Cover with a double layer of tin foil and cook for 5 hours at 130ºC

After 5 hours strain the liquid off and discard the vegetables, add a couple of chipotles to the liquid. Pour the liquid along with the cheeks back into the roasting pan, cover and cook for another 30 minutes.

Remove the cheeks and set aside. Pour the cooking liquid into a pan and reduce until thickened, season. Slice the beef cheeks and set in a serving dish, pour the reduced cooking liquid over. Cover until ready to serve.

We had the cheeks in corn tortillas with a variety of toppings we had assembled around the dish of beefy goodness on the table, made for a fuss free meal, as everyone could pick and mix as they liked.

Also finally managed to crack open my second brew, pleasantly surprised at how good it is, I don’t know how much longer it will last, I’m trying to ration it but I am weak willed. I have another very hoppy bitter IPA on the go and a ginger beer that is very very dry and very very alcoholic (a slight miscalculation).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fried wings

Wings again! But this time fried not baked, not quite as healthy, but hey you only live once. These are pretty straightforward to make, no faffing about with batters and the like, just marinate the wings in buttermilk, with a few extras, then dredge in a mix of potato starch and flour, and deep fry for a couple of minutes. For an extra spicy twist toss the crunchy cooked wings in some hot chipotle sauce. Devour with a cold beer and crisp cooling coleslaw.

For 500 grams of wings:
250ml Buttermilk
2-3 Chipotles
150g Potato flakes
150g Flour
Salt and Pepper

Blend the chipotles and buttermilk, season well with salt and pepper, stir in the wings, cover and leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Buttermilk is a great tenderiser and will do wonders to the wings.

Blitz the flour and potato flakes in a food processor with some salt and pepper to make a fine powder. Toss the wings in the flour mix, making sure to shake off any excess marinade first, set the coated wings aside ready to cook.

Heat the deep frying oil to 180°C, rice bran is good. Fry the wings in batches until they’re floating on the surface and have an internal temperature of 70°C. The mini ‘drumsticks’ should take 5-10 minutes and the wings 4-7 minutes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bread salad with haloumi

Bread salad (Panzanella) is a great way to use a chunk of leftover stale of sourdough bread, it can be as light or a heavy as you want and in this case the simple addition of a couple of slices of fried haloumi elevated the salad to a very tasty meal.

The Salad Components:
Stale Sourdough Bread, large dice
Radish, sliced
Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Cucumber, cored and sliced
Mint, chiffonade
Parsley, finely chopped
Red Chilli, sliced
Black Olives, stoned
Capers (in salt, soaked)

Cider vinegar (1 part)
Dijon mustard
Olive Oil (2–3 parts, depends on how acidic your vinegar is)
Salt (not too much as capers and olives are salty)

Mix all the salad ingredients in a bowl (keeping aside a little mint and chilli to dress), add enough vinaigrette to hydrate the stale bread, and allow it to sit for at least half an hour, you don’t want dry bread.

I like to fry the block of haloumi whole with a little oil over a medium heat on both sides until golden brown and warm all the way through and then slice, but if you prefer slice it first and then fry.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Wine Cocktails

Hot summer days are always a good and easy excuse to get boozy, especially if it is ice cold and does a particularly good job at hiding how potent it is. One such drink that seems to crop up again and again in our household on particularly scorching days is the good old wine cocktail. The quantities below will comfortably fill a two litre jug and keep a small group happy and boozy.

1 Bottle still white wine
1 Bottle sparkling white wine (drier the better IMO)
250 ml Brandy
1 Orange sliced and frozen
1 Peach sliced and frozen
Pomegranate seeds and Strawberries to garnish

It's not rocket science, mix the whole lot together in a jug and then place a couple of sliced strawberries and generous amount of pomegranate seeds in each glass, pour, and oh yeah drink responsibly (no left overs).

Summer Pudding

This recipe was originally created for Urban Harvest, do go check out their website for some great produce and other recipe ideas.

Summer pudding is a great way to celebrate the abundance of fresh berries we have at this time of year, maybe even a good replacement for the traditional Christmas pud. You can use any mix of berries you want, I’m sure there are purists out there who insist on the traditional bunch of raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and red currants, but I say use what you like, however I think strawberries and raspberries should make a showing. The choice of bread used to line the bowl is important, avoid things like sourdough or supermarket pre-sliced white, use a quality white bread that won't turn to mush, for this recipe I use brioche which is a little more delicate to work with but adds a great richness to the pudding.

2 punnets Raspberries (240g)
1 punnet Blueberries (130g)
1 punnet Strawberries (240g)
200g Boysenberries
1 Brioche loaf (recipe) or good quality white bread
75g Sugar
50ml Water (about 3 tablespoons)
Juice of 1 Lemon

The Berries: Gently rinse and pat dry the berries. Hull the strawberries and slice the larger ones in half or quarters. Heat up the sugar and water in a pan over a medium heat, once dissolved and simmering add all the berries apart from the strawberries, simmer for a couple of minutes, they should remain relatively intact, if in doubt take it off the heat we’re not trying to make jam. Strain the berry mix into a bowl, sample the juice and adjust with lemon juice to taste.

Brioche: Remove the crust from the loaf and slice into 5mm slices, reserve 2 squares one for the base and the other for the top, cut the remaining slices down the middle on a slight angle. You should now have a couple of whole slices and a pile of angled rectangular slices.

Putting it all together: Line a bowl with cling-film, I find using a scrunched up tea towel handy to smooth the cling-film down without the fear of tearing it. Dip the whole slice of brioche in the berry juice and lay on the bottom of the bowl, dip the rectangular slices in the juice and build up vertically around the sides of the bowl, overlapping slightly as you go. Spoon in the strained berries, scattering in the strawberries as you go. Dip the other square slice in juice and place it on top, you may need a couple of offcuts to fill any gaps. Bring up the cling-film over the top and place a plate on top with a can or two to weigh it down, refrigerate overnight. Save any leftover berry juice.

Serve: Remove the plate and unwrap the cling-film, place a serving plate on top and flip over, the pudding should slide out relatively easily, if not just give it a gentle tap. Use the leftover juice to drizzle over the top of the pudding. It’s great on its own, but a good dollop of whipped cream would not go amiss.