Summer is just around the corner so crack open a cold glass of cider and get stuck into these
Archive for March, 2012
I fired up the oven again this afternoon to drive away the moisture built up over the winter and get it ready for a full summer of pizza and wood fired cooking, I also had a play with a couple of pizza recipe ideas, more of which will follow in a later post. But here’s a lovely simple cheese and tomato thick crust pizza, it seemed a shame not to use the oven with this glorious weather.
The oven seems to be working pretty well I’d say………
Taking photographs of food is a funny thing, I always try to get my photos so that they look like the food that we have enjoyed as a family, so that it helps to inspire others to give the recipe a go themselves. Some of teh subjects are easier to photograph than others, and there’s so much to think of, is the light good enough, is the composition good enough, and most importantly is the food good enough.
Well I usually get the food right, I have the occasional disaster, but luckily these are few, and usually to do with baking cakes with a hangover. So just need to ensure the light is right, not always the easiest with a hungry young family who’s needs do not often coincide with the timings for the “golden hours” of early and evening light. As far as composition and dressing the image, I like to keep things simple and rustic, and as we’ve eaten them. Ok, ok so sometimes there is a rogue tea towel or a strategically placed beverage, but I believe that the best pictures tell a story about the food.
But sometimes it’s nigh on impossible to get the food looking right, and the hardest things to take a good photo of are the “brown foods” which can often taste out of this world, as the two examples I’ve included here, a Cauliflower Cheese with roasties and Bangers in Gravy which were served on piles of fluffy mash. Although warming and comforting meals that were enjoyed by my family, the photos just didn’t cut the mustard (pun intended as both dishes contain mustard) as they don’t jump out of the page.
It does make you wonder as you browse through all the lovely images on the plethora of food blogs and in food magazines, are they biased towards the photogenic dishes, the deconstructed foams and spheres of pea puree?
What do you think?
Enjoying veal has always been difficult due to the historical and justified bad press. But it’s a wonderful meat, and the new Rose Veal being produced is something very special.
I’d love to hear your views.
One of the benefits of establishing a good relationship with a quality butcher or smallholder is that you can get hold of cuts of meat that are exactly what you are after. I’m lucky that my neighbours at Pitmans Farm are able to supply me with some cracking quality rare breed meat to my request. I love ribs, but I often feel a bit hard done by when there’s not much meat on them, and the butcher has been too efficient at removing the belly.
So when I was able to get my hands on these ribs with a thick juicy layer of belly on, I knew I’d be on to a good thing. I gave them a good rub down with brown sugar and then a cajun dry rub pimped up with extra smoked paprika. I gave them 4 hours in the smoker with Apple wood smoke at 110 degC, before brushing with a spicy BBQ marinade and direct grilling for another hour until the outside is temptingly smoky and crusty, and allow to rest out for 20 minutes. It was obligatory to have these with homemade coleslaw, a cold beer, and seriously sticky fingers.
It’s always difficult after you haven’t fired an oven in anger for a while as it builds up moisture over the winter and everything takes a while longer to heat up.
Still it was a good start to the year with a couple of pepperoni pizzas, but the light fades so quickly, so caught the first pizza in near dark conditions.
I’m looking forward to a great season of eating outdoors, hope you are too.
Veal has until recent years been a dirty word in the world of meat. Veal calves kept in crates and poorly treated. But no longer, veal is set for huge growth, it’s just us consumers who need convincing that it is ok to eat now.
Rose veal is a world away from the veal of old, and is now positively encoraged by the RSPCA, the male dairy calves would otherwise be shot shortly after birth, but can now be enjoyed as a wonderful meat, guilt free.
I bought a couple of T-bone Rose veal steaks from my local farmers market, and cooked them “Dirty” straight on the coals in my wood fired oven, this is such a good way to cook steaks, as it chars them quickly on the outside, and gives a lovely crisp smoky outside, while the inside can still be medium rare, a revelation.
We enjoyed this sprinkled with salt and pepper, and with a little salad while cooking our first pizza on the wood fired oven of the season.