Archive for October, 2011

Wood & Pizza Oven UK Forum

There’s been a great deal of interest in How to Build a Wood Fired Oven recently.

There is a wonderful Forum for people considering building one themselves from Cob and Clay Ovens right up to brick built Pompeii ovens.

Have a look here if you fancy having a go yourself, it’s a great  place and there’s lots of people having a go at building their own ovens.

http://woodovenukforum.forumup.co.uk/index.php?mforum=woodovenukforum

Here’s the story of how I built my own oven with mostly recycled material.

https://countrywoodsmoke.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/build-day-1/

 Thanks for visiting.

Easy home made Sushi.

Eating sushi out is often a highly disappointing experience either very poor quality or very expensive, but it really is incredibly easy to make at home.

Using sushi rice (I like Clearspring) wash the rice until the water runs clear, and then heat in a rice cooker or lidded pan to the ratio of 100g rice to 125g water per person. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the water is absorbed by the rice, take off the heat and allow to sit without removing the lid for 10 minutes.

Make up a seasoning with 90ml sushi rice viegar, 2 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp salt stirring until these dissolve. Spread the rice out onto a large tray and sprinkle with the seasoning using a wooden spoon to  mix gently and allow to cool, using a fan is traditional here.

To make a simple Norimaki roll, lay down a sushi rolling mat with a sheet of nori seaweed. Dip your fingers into a bowl of cold water (this stops the rice sticking) and spread out some rice over two thirds of the nori, not too thickly. You can then lay thin strips of whatever takes your fancy on the middle of this, favourites are cucumber, carrot, avaocado, pepper, and then some fish if you fancy, salmon, or my favourite raw mackerel (you can use raw or smoked fish if you wish), and then a sprinkle of coriander, or a smear of wasabi, it really is up to you.

Once you have the sushi laid out it’s time to get rolling. Keeping an even firm pressure roll the end nearest you over and over again, releasing the front edge of the rolling mat as it goes over. The first one you do will probably be a bit loose, but you’ll soon get the knack of it.

Nigiri is made by shaping a small ball of rice in your hand, and simply laying a slither of fish on top, in my case I went for raw salmon, but you could use whatever takes your fancy.

Serve up with some soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi.

The secret to Supercharged Vegetables.

The traditional way to improve your vegetable patch is to add lots of organic matter, but soil is a complex substance that requires a new viewpoint.

My father who has been growing veg organically since I was little, is always looking for ways to improve the quality of his soil, and hence the vegetables, a few years ago came across soil remineralisation. It’s basically a way to supercharge your soil, and something which I’m giving a go.

Soil is comprised basically of three elements, organic matter, ground up rock, and a living element. All of these factors need to be considered to get the best from your soil, so we can add bulk organic matter, compost and well rotted manure to boost the organic element.

Some of the most fertile soils are on volcanic islands, this is due to the mineral rich rocks below, so a source of gound down volcanic rocks is a great additive to our soil, it will boost the mineral content and microbial activity, and therefore the health of the vegetables grown in the soil. Rock dust is now widely available www.seercentre.org.uk/.

Then the living element needs consideration, the microbes in soil really are the key, a healthy living community of organisms breaks the minerals down into a form that is easily accesible to the plants, if you give these little fellas a nice home then you’ll end up with even more, so Biochar (basically charcoal) added to the soil will boost the microbes in the soil, and will stop minerals leaching out of the soil, so next time you have a bonfire, save some of the charcoal and spread it onto your veg patch or compost heap.

Get all of the three elements right in your soil, and you’ll grow wonderfully nutritious vegetable like my dad does.

Home Cold Smoked Rainbow Trout

I regularly smoke my own fish, it’s a real treat that is easier than you would think, and I just wanted to try and encourage a few people to give it a go themselves, unless you’ve tasted true smoked fish you haven’t tasted anything. The smoked salmon you most often buy in the supermarkets is sprayed with a smoke taste additive, and very often not even properly cured, as the curing process removes water and hence weight, so the supermarkets get more for their money which makes the salmon cheaper. The salmon in the first place is most likely farmed and fatty, so you get a washed out tasting oily fish.

You can cold smoke salmon or trout and both are delicious and easy to do at home.

The technique for curing the fish I use is a dry cure, basically a handful of coarse salt, a handful of dark brown soft sugar, a few grinds of black pepper, rub this into the fish fillets generously and then wrap in cling film. Leave for 4-6 hours, and you will see the fluid that has leached out (to supermarkets this is profit down the drain).

Wash the fillets and then allow to dry in the fridge for 12 hours, this forms a skin on the outside of the fish that allows the smoke to adhere to.

Then pop in a cold smoker, these can be easily made, I use a Pro-Q cold smoke generator which costs around £35, and enable you to cold smoke in almost any vessel, even a cardboard box, but there are also lots of DIY smoker plans out there.

I usually use beech wood dust to smoke as it is nice and sweet and not too strong, but you can add a sprinkle of other woods to give more character, I often use apple too for my fish, but the traditional wood is oak.

You then smoke for 10-12 hours, and you have yourself a product that couldn’t be further away from slimy supermarket smoked salmon.

Give it a try!

Arroz con Pollo Recipe.

Using the leg and wing portions from a jointed chicken(see previous post), heat a large casserole or a large frying pan with a lid, brown off the chicken portions in a little olive oil. When these are a lovely golden brown, add a finely chopped onion and a couple of sliced garlic cloves, some finely chopped celery, red pepper and carrot, allow to fry until soft and add some slices of chorizo which should start giving off their delicious red oil and smokey taste. You can also add frozen peas or  chopped tomato to bulk out at this stage.

Add 70g paella rice per person and allow to cook for a few minutes, before adding enough chicken stock to cover, then half a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a few strands of saffron and season with salt and pepper. Cover and allow to simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, then pop a quartered lemon on the top and turn the heat down and cook for another few minutes, hopefully the rice will start to form a slight crust on the bottom (which is my favourite bit), the rice will be cooked perfectly, garnish with some chopped flat leaf parsley.

Delicious with a glass of white Rioja.

The chicken challenge.

Usually when I get a lovely Free-Range Chicken for the family, i’ll roast it, and i’m sure somewhere there’s a statistic saying that the vast majority of chicken eaten in this country are roasted and only make the one meal, with the leftovers binned, which really is such a waste.

So I decided to set myself a little challenge…..to make a chicken go as far as I could for my family.

I decided that splitting the chicken into portions would get the best value for money out of it, and the giblets were still there for me to use too.

To portion out a chicken you need to do the following.

Cut the skin between the leg and body and pull back the leg until the join pops open, using the tip of the knife, cut through the leg joint and separate the leg, do this both sides. Then do the same for the wings.

This should leave you with 2 legs and 2 wings and the body, if not then either you’ve done something wrong or you have a very odd chicken.

Then it’s simply a case of removing the breast by either cutting through the bone just below the breast meat to remove the crown from the back section, or you can  use a thin sharp knife to cut out the breasts. The crown then can be split into two by slicing to one side of the breastbone cutting through the bone.

Over the next few days, I used all the meat in the following ways, Arroz con Pollo ( Paella style rice and  chicken) see next post. I roasted the back section with the giblets and bones to make a chicken soup with noodles and greens. I made Chicken Fajitas with one breast using the meat sliced thinly. The next night was Chicken with noodles and black bean sauce. So very happy that I made four meals using one chicken, very good value for money and a real feeling that I had made the most of the chicken.

 

 

Sloe Gin….Hic!

Everything is so early this year, all the fruit is around a month early, my cider production has been hampered by hordes of pesky wasps, normally when the apples are ready to be pressed the wasps are long gone, so my thoughts turn to alternative beverage production until the weather cools a little and I can resume cider production once more.

I have discovered a little secret stash of sloes, where they hang on the bushes like plump bunches of grapes and don’t seem to have the usual large amount of needle like thorns, last years one bottle is still being enjoyed, but this year i plan to drink one and save one….. they say the longer you can leave it to mature the better it improves.

Here’s the quick and easy Sloe Gin recipe.

For every 70cl bottle of gin, use 300-400g of sloes, if they are extremely soft ripe and squidgy like mine were then use them as they are, if they are still like little bullets then pop them in the freezer overnight or prick them with a cocktail stick.

Pop them into a large glass jar, I find the 2l kilner jars ideal, and add 100g of caster sugar for each bottle of gin. I made 2 bottles up this year. Shake the jar and do the same every couple of days for 3-6 months. Strain off the liquid and allow to mature for as long as you can bear to leave it.

Here’s the lovely amber nectar from last years, a quick slurp tonight for medicinal purposes only you understand….

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 UK BBQ

British BBQ- All the best of UK 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!

theshotgunchef.wordpress.com/

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 UK BBQ

British BBQ- All the best of UK 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!

theshotgunchef.wordpress.com/

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