Friday, October 25, 2013
Oats aren't just for breakfast. A savoury concoction can be made by easily substituting milk or water for chicken stock and maybe simmering with a little shallot and garlic. It takes a little to get your head around the fact that the silky lush and oh so meaty tasting concoction are oats, or perhaps it’s just me the has them relegated to the humble position of if cooked in liquid it’s porridge and should be sweet. Other grains such as rice don’t seem to have the problem, rice as a carb on a plate for dinner, or congee a savoury porridge, or as rice pudding a sticky sweet mess, so why not oats?
One cup of oats with a diced shallot and two cups of chicken stock are added to a pot over a low heat, stir occasionally to begin with and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring more frequently as the oats thicken. They’re cooked when thick creamy and soft but still with a bit of bite, not sludge. Stir through fennel fronds and a splash of good olive oil. Season with salt.
Cut whole fennel into wedges, finely slice an onion, dice a spicy chorizo and toss together in an oven dish, sprinkle over salt and add a generous splash of sweet vermouth, about quarter of cup, cover tightly with foil and bake at 150°C for about two–two and one half hours. The fennel should be meltingly tender but still holding its shape, not a mushy mess.
Season and brown chicken thighs all over and add to the braising fennel dish for the last 30–40 minutes.
Drain the braising liquid into a saucepan and bring to a very low simmer. Make a paste of one teaspoon arrowroot and two teaspoons of water. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the paste. If it doesn't thicken straight away put it back on the heat and stir constantly, it will thicken quickly.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Eggs are placed in 75ºC water for 13 minutes, then removed to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Meanwhile asparagus is sliced in two, beans top and tailed and likewise cut into manageable portions and spinach sliced. A pot put on a low heat with a good portion of butter and generous pinch or three of pepper added, soy sauce is swirled into the melted butter. The eggs now move to 60ºC water to heat through for 10 minutes. The vegetables are sautéed in a little butter, and when cooked tossed with a little bit of the soy-butter. A nest of greens placed in the bowl, a warmed through egg cracked and slid out to nestle in place, a glaze of soy-butter spooned over and around and finished with a sprinkling of bonito flakes.