Tuesday, February 21, 2012

#422 Cassoulet (My Way)

This is my Faux Cassoulet made from leftovers and a jar of white butter beans.

One jam jar of Tomato Salsa de la Casa*
One jar of Butter Beans
4 Rashers of Bacon
4 Sausages
4 Pieces of Black Pudding
Half a bag of Parsley
Olive oil.

Fry the bacon, when crisp remove and continue using the bacon fat to cook the sausages then the black pudding. Dice all the meats into bite size pieces.

Heat a big pan and slowly warm the salsa and beans. After 5 minutes add the meats. Then gently stir in the parsley and maybe some olive oil. That's all.

Salsa de la Casa.
Fry a big diced onion until transparent, add 3 cloves of diced garlic.
Add one tin of tomato pieces. (In Spain I use Tomate Pelado Troceado).

Optional additions: 
A couple of spoons of concentrated tomato purée or some squirts of Heinz tomato sauce.
Chili pepper (fresh or powdered) or quite a few drops of Tabasco
One cup of stock or a glass of red wine
Sliced red bell pepper
Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper and two tea spoons of brown sugar.

Cook on a low heat for half an hour or more - until the consistency is not wet and the colour is a nice dark red.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

#421 Crisis Menu

We went out for lunch, not something we do that often, but at 8€ how can you refuse?

To start we had a big plate of rice with pieces of sausage, black pudding, chorizo and rabbit. Then a very acceptable chicken dish cooked in herbs & beer with fries. It was all so delicious and copious that we refused the dessert (various flans or ice creams) and had coffee instead.

Included in the set price was bread, a bowl of olives and a bottle of red wine. Total bill for two 16€. . . . . .

When you go to a very expensive restaurant you have a level of expectation equal to the prices on the menu. Here there was nothing to spoil your buzz, even if the food and service had been crap for 8€ you wouldn't complain (too much ;-)

As we left, at about 3 pm, it was just starting to fill up, it was a bit like the old Les Routiers restaurants in France which served the working man and truck driver with good French food at economical prices. What ever happened to them?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

#420 Brilliant Blumenthal

This is Heston Blumenthal's top tip for making consommé.
It is simple. It works.

You wonder why it's not common practice. Instead of boiling your pot of stock and then adding egg whites and stuff in a laborious clarifying process, Heston recommends just freezing overnight, then next day (or whenever) thawing in a muslin covered sieve. The clear consommé drips through and the gelatinous solids stay in the sieve. Simple.

He made his consommé a little more chi-chi by adding jasmine flowers, I didn't have any to hand but dropped in a jasmine tisane tea bag for a similar effect.

Even if I say it myself - it was all right :-)

Thursday, February 09, 2012

#419 With Captain John Paul Jones.

Posing with Captain John Paul Jones
(and three months with new hip).

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

#418 More Soups

I'm in a Manic Soup Making Mood!
I've got stock pots on the go night and day.

Here is a Swede Soup, I got most of the recipe from a Gordon Ramsay link. But as you can tell, I added far too much cardamom, much as I like cardamom in my Hot & Sour Curry today's soup was over cardamomed.

(All my life I've been spelling and saying cardamon with a final N - spell checkers aye?)

Saturday, February 04, 2012

#417 Jazz

There are a few dozen versions of Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. A very Spanish classical version by Paco De Lucia, a really nice jazz track on Chet Baker & Paul Desmond's Together (which I can't find on YouTube) but this version by Jim Hall is 99% there. Enjoy!