January 26th, 2012 — 11:02am
I do love a garlic mushroom. They’re just so…retro. Ideally, I’d eat them preceded by a prawn cocktail and followed by Black Forest gateau. These are layered with anchovies before baking, which melt away into the garlic butter, creating an intense savoury sauce. Perfect as a relaxed weekend lunch with crusty bread for dippage, particularly if you’re planning on hunting down any vampires. Find the recipe on AoL Lifestyle.
21 comments » | AoL Lifestyle, Mushrooms
January 23rd, 2012 — 3:23pm
Now you may be thinking, ‘she’s really lost it this time’ but I promise you, this is incredible. I came across the idea on a few American websites, where they call it ‘praline bacon’. It’s basically smoked streaky bacon, candied and topped with toasted, caramelised pecans. This is a new high in the world of candied bacon quite frankly and I think it may have overtaken candied bacon ice cream as the best candied bacon recipe of all time (yes, praline bacon ice cream will be made very soon).
The combination of salty bacon, sweet sugar and those nuts is just…oh my goodness. The sound I made when I bit into it was like a combination of the sounds made when Homer Simpson eats a donut and Greg Wallace puts a big spoonful of profiteroles into his gob, to the power of 10 guilty pleasures. If you think the idea of candying bacon is weird, you’re missing a major trick – check out my post on candied bacon and what to do with it and then go and make some. Preferably this recipe.
Next time I need me some nibbles I’m serving praline bacon but seriously, and this is a warning – do not make these when you’re in the house by yourself because once you’ve had a bite, they own you. All self-control is gone and when they are finished, there will be nothing left in that house apart from you and your guilt.
Smoked streaky bacon rashers
Light brown sugar
Finely chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 200C and lay out the bacon rashers on a baking tray. Cook them for about 8 minutes (I found this is the optimum time), until the fat is starting to crisp up. Remove from the oven and sprinkle light brown sugar over each rasher. Follow with chopped pecans, pressing them down on to the bacon slightly. Cook for a further five minutes, watching carefully.
Remove from the oven and carefully place each piece on to a cooling rack. Space them apart so they don’t touch each other and stick together. After 5 minutes they will be cool, hardened and ready to eat. Either chop into sections as nibbles or just eat as is. They’re addictive; don’t say I didn’t warn you.
If you make these in advance for a party as nibbles then you’ll need to warm them up before serving, otherwise they will go soft.
50 comments » | Beer, Canapes, Guilty Pleasures, Meat, Snacks
January 12th, 2012 — 11:22am
I have started a second blog. This is because I don’t have enough to do already with a job, a PhD, this blog, other bits and bobs of recipe writing and you know, a life on the go. BUT, the temptation was just too great; I’ve wanted to read a London sandwich blog for so long and in the end I decided to bite the bullet and write one myself because the chances are if I want it, other people will too. It also means I can justify the vast quantities of sandwiches I eat and I get to go back and visit all the great ‘wiches I’ve discovered over the five or so years I’ve lived in London.
I understand this is a pretty niche area but I take the sandwich very seriously, see. Creating a perfect sandwich is like creating a work of art. I won’t hear otherwise. Readers, I bring you, The London Review of Sandwiches.
38 comments » | Sandwiches, The London Review of Sandwiches
January 10th, 2012 — 8:01am
I’ve been playing around with Hungarian goulash recipes and come up with a version using melty beef brisket, which I have to say turned out to be quite sexy. Point your cursor at this little linky for the recipe.
[EDIT: AoL is no longer online so please find the recipe below]
Beef Brisket Goulash (serves 4-6)
1 x 1kg beef brisket, in one piece
2 onions, sliced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
3 tablespoons un-smoked paprika
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
4 bell peppers (not green ones), sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Beef stock (about 450-500ml)
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
A good splash of red wine
Zest of 1 lemon
Oil, for cooking
Bread, to serve
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan which is large enough to hold the brisket. When hot, sear the brisket until it is brown all over, then set aside on a plate. Add the onions to the pan along with the chopped fresh chilli and let cook over a low-medium heat until the onions are starting to colour – about 10 minutes.
Add the paprika and caraway seeds and cook, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes. Add the red wine and let it bubble up and cook down for a few minutes more, then add the peppers and tomatoes.
Add the brisket back to the pan, along with the vinegar and just enough of the beef stock to almost cover the meat. Season with salt and pepper, then bring to the boil, put a lid on and simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the brisket is falling apart. Shred the meat into the sauce.
Serve in bowls with finely chopped chives, grated lemon zest and sour cream on top.
42 comments » | AoL Lifestyle, Main Dishes, Meat, Stews, Writing Elsewhere
January 2nd, 2012 — 6:46pm
Potato skins, particularly when ‘fully loaded’ can be grim. I’ve come across one too many chewy potato boats harbouring a glob of rubbery cheddar and a smattering of flaccid bacon bits. No, thank you.
I’ve taken a slightly different approach to skins by baking and scooping out the potato flesh as usual, but then brushing them with a paste made from oil, salt and chipotle flakes before re-baking them briefly. This maximises crispness on the outside and leaves them coated in a salty, smoky chipotle crust. The top part has a thin layer of soft potato, which I topped with a blob of blue cheese dip and lime-heavy avocado salsa.
We ate them on New Year’s Eve as nibbles presented like this, but you could of course just make a pile of skins and serve the dip and salsa alongside. They’re like the best crisps ever. They were so addictive I nearly spoiled my appetite for the rest of the meal but then the rest of the meal was rib-eye with Béarnaise followed by chocolate cake so, you know, I struggled on…
Chipotle Potato Skins with Blue Cheese Dip and Avocado Salsa (makes 16)
For the potato skins
4 baking potatoes
Oil (e.g. vegetable or groundnut)
Prick the potatoes and place directly on the oven shelf at 200c for about 1.5 hours or until cooked through. When they’re cooked, cool a little and then cut in half. Scoop out the flesh from each potato, leaving a thin layer inside each skin. Cut each potato skin in half lengthways.
Mix together 1 tablespoon cooking oil with 1 tablespoon chipotle flakes and about half a tablespoon of salt. Brush this paste onto both sides of each skin. Arrange the skins on a baking tray and put back in the oven at 200C for 15 minutes. When ready, top with the blue cheese dip and salsa.
For the blue cheese dip
150-200g blue cheese
200ml sour cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice (ish)
1 teaspoon mustard (I used sweet American mustard)
1 tablespoon chives, snipped with scissors
Make sure the garlic is well crushed then mix with all the other ingredients. Add some black pepper. It may need a little salt.
For the Avocado Salsa
1 avocado, finely diced
Small handful coriander leaves, picked and finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Mix the spring onions, coriander and avocado together, then squeeze in half the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper then taste and decide if you want more lime juice.
31 comments » | Beer, Canapes, Dips, Nibbles, Snacks