Archive for August, 2011

Salsola…a samphire alternative?

Marsh Samphire has to be one of my all time favourite vegetables, fresh, crunchy and salty it is also highly seasonal, and recently trendier and hence more expensive, so I was very pleased to come across Salsola Soda in the Real Seeds catalogue last winter. It’s a salad vegetable that is very popular in Italy and Japan, and to my taste also very similar to samphire.

It can be used raw in a salad dressed with a light lemony vinaigrette, or lightly steamed with a little butter or olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a little seasoning, which was what I did.

I’ve been very impressed with the productivity of the few plants I grew, but found it quite tricky to germinate, and found it important to keep weeds at bay around the seedlings as they become swamped easily. It is definately a plant I plan to grow again next year.

 

 

A full weekend of cooking outdoors.

Well I’ve done the weekend cooking now, thankfully no more rain, Saturdays pizza went great, we ate outside, and no sticking issues on the peel, so must have been the rain/time running from the kitchen, I use a 50/50 semolina/polenta mix for dusting the peel and dough, this has always been great for my bread, so carried it on for pizza .
I had some pizza dough left so experimented with chocolate pizza, dipped into melted chocolate spread…..very delicious and the wife and kids loved it
I’m planning on building a roof for my outdoor kitchen, and building an outdoor cinema/chill out area, so i’ll be able to cook and we can eat outdoors even in the rain….
The roast pork joint was delicious, marinated in a garlic and rosemary paste and slow cooked for 4 hours, I just left the embers in the back of the oven, I probably should have used a little foil to cover the joint at first as it was a little too crispy on the top, but you learn from these mistakes.
The bbq on sunday evening was lovely and laid back, with sunshine, lots of local sausages burgers, belly pork and ribs, home made bread, garlic and rosemary focaccia, and home made coleslaw.

Friday night Pizza washout

Having a lovely new pizza oven has it’s ups, and tonight I found out one of the downs, what happens when you arrange to cook pizza for guests and it rains! Horror!

I fired the oven up,and got a lovely temperature going, the base hitting 400deg C and waited for guests to arrive. At about 5pm the heaviest rain shower ever decided to hit, nobody wanted to sit outside obviously, so I ended up shuttle running pizzas from the house to the garden, I managed 8 pizzas before everyone was happy and full, and then I stuck in a nice loaf of ciabatta bread in. The pizzas were great about 2 minutes to cook each, with good balance of top and bottom heat, and the bread was the best tasting yet, even though it did stick to the peel as I slid it in, due to the rain on the peel I think.

So remember, as wonderful as having an outdoor alfresco dining  often is…..we still live in this lovely wet place called Britain….so here’s hoping for a lovely warm Indian Summer!

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

With only a small kitchen garden, I feel there’s little value in growing vegetables that are cheap and easy to buy from a good vegetable shop, so I like to grow things that are slightly unusual, expensive or difficult to store.

This year instead of growing standard courgettes, I decided to grow Crook Neck Squashes which were promised to be more productive/tasty/useful than your standard courgette. With this they appear to have succeeded, though they are certainly visually an interesting shape.

The other unusual vegetable picture here is the Acocha ‘Fat Baby’, a relative of the cucumber, and tasting somewhere between a cucumber and a pepper, it is an extremely productive and vigorous climber.

So for our meal this evening, I wanted to come up with a way of using these vegetables in a meal entirely picked from our kitchen garden.

So to bulk out the meal, I used some Cavalo Nero (Tuscan Black Kale), Maris Piper Potatoes, and Onions and Garlic all picked from the vegetable garden, in the following recipe from the Riverford Cookbook.

Fry off a finely chopped onion, some garlic and chorizo in a little olive oil in a large frying pan until colouring, and the lovely juices from the chorizo are melting out, then add some cubed cooked potato, and some lightly steamed kale, and saute until the potatoes start to crisp up and season.

The Acocha and squash were sauteed with finely chopped garlic and olive oil.

The evening was lovely and sunny so we enjoyed the meal outside with a nice glass of Chilean Pinot Noir.

 

Very Cute Duck Picture!

Awwwww cute!

Ebay Duck #1

I’m proud to announce the arrival of the first baby duck!

Hopefully we will have a further 4 arrive, hoping for at least one boy amongst them to breed with our girls, as the drake we have doesn’t seem to be doing his job……

The first batch of eggs we tried to incubate from our girls were all infertile, so we bought crested runner eggs off Ebay, and popped them in the incubator. 28 days later, hey presto!

Just hope the others hatch out as we have promised them to some lovely people.

Mojo Pork Tenderloins

I was given some wonderful pork tenderloin from Pitmans Farm, this was from their wonderful Berkshire pigs, this much underrated pork is known in Japan as Kurobuta “Black Pig” and is prized alongside Kobe Beef and Bluefin Tuna, so I was very excited to get cooking with the tenderest cut of this wonderful meat.

I made up a Mojo style marinade with lots of garlic lightly browned in sunflower oil, and deglazing the pan with lime juice and adding seasoning and some oregano. After this cooled, I marinated the tenderloins overnight.

I made the grill up with a chimney starter of charcoal, and set the Tuscan grill to heat up over the top.

I put together some onion lollies, slices of onion skewered to hold them together, some local stout sausages and also had some extra Padron peppers to grill.

The tenderloins took 4/5 mins a side, and the tuscan grill gave them some wonderful charred grill lines. They were cooked until just slightly pink and then rested for a few minutes before slicing against the grain.

Served with fresh out of the oven ciabatta and freshly dug Maris Piper spuds covered in butter and dill, made for a feast. The tenderloins were full of rich pork and zingy mojo flavour and were melt in the mouth tender.

If you get the opportunity to try some of this rare breed pork please give it a go, it’s so far removed from the tasteless mass produced pork from the supermarkets.

Jack Knight Cooks

From My Kitchen to Yours

Whisked Away Bakery

Blue sky baking

BUTTER WOULDN'T MELT

Stories from the hearth

The BBQ World of mrdodd

Making simple food great, and great food right.

Bathrooms, Kitchens and Bedrooms

Devon based bathroom installations

UK BBQ Review

UK BBQ Review site

The Munch and Tattle

A Blog About Food (Mostly BBQ and Grill): Trying everything once and telling you all about it. Good or bad! Blogging from areas around Newport and Cardiff, South Wales.

bake affairs

Bridget`s Bakery Blog

Cornelius Veakins

Outdoor BBQ Chef

CountryWoodSmoke

British BBQ- Cooking outdoors whatever the weather

Country Skills for Modern Life

Some of the cool and useful food, craft and sustainability skills that your grandparents knew, but probably didn't teach you!

GourmetGloucestershireGirl

An exploration of all things foodie in Gloucestershire!

Hunting chef William Alldis shows you how to live off the land and create mouthwatering recipes for peanuts! Grow it, forage it, kill it, cook it and enjoy it.

Running Buffet

One man's quest to exercise enough so that he can eat all of the good things that exist in the world

The Knight of the Round Table

Musings and recipes from my kitchen to yours

Jack Knight Cooks

From My Kitchen to Yours

Whisked Away Bakery

Blue sky baking

BUTTER WOULDN'T MELT

Stories from the hearth

The BBQ World of mrdodd

Making simple food great, and great food right.

Bathrooms, Kitchens and Bedrooms

Devon based bathroom installations

UK BBQ Review

UK BBQ Review site

The Munch and Tattle

A Blog About Food (Mostly BBQ and Grill): Trying everything once and telling you all about it. Good or bad! Blogging from areas around Newport and Cardiff, South Wales.

bake affairs

Bridget`s Bakery Blog

Cornelius Veakins

Outdoor BBQ Chef

CountryWoodSmoke

British BBQ- Cooking outdoors whatever the weather

Country Skills for Modern Life

Some of the cool and useful food, craft and sustainability skills that your grandparents knew, but probably didn't teach you!

GourmetGloucestershireGirl

An exploration of all things foodie in Gloucestershire!

Hunting chef William Alldis shows you how to live off the land and create mouthwatering recipes for peanuts! Grow it, forage it, kill it, cook it and enjoy it.

Running Buffet

One man's quest to exercise enough so that he can eat all of the good things that exist in the world

The Knight of the Round Table

Musings and recipes from my kitchen to yours