Archive for March, 2012

BBQ Bucket Mussels

Summer is just around the corner so crack open a cold glass of cider and get stuck into these

BBQ Bucket Mussels

A nice bit of pizza, plain and simple

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………

The dishes that don’t cut the mustard……

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?   

What are your views on eating Veal?

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.

Dirty Veal Steak….dirty meat no more.

I’d love to hear your views.

Some seriously thick ribs.

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.

 

First Pizza in Wood Fired Oven of the Alfresco season

It’s been a lovely start to the spring season, the weather has been unseasonably warm, so it was about time I fired the wood fired oven up for a quick couple of pizzas for my family.

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.

Dirty Veal Steak……Dirty Meat no more.

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.

 

 

New additions to the family.

We love this time of year, new life and all that, and it’s something we really believe in our children having a good understanding of. The last couple of years we have hatched ducks in our incubator and it’s been such fun.

This year we decided to ring the changes and hatch a dozen quail, the eggs as usual are from ebay, we’ve had pretty good results so far.

My son, is very excited and couldn’t wait to pop them in the incubator, and then make a little wish that they all hatch safely, with a kiss goodnight.

So in approximately 16 days we should have some baby quail, and a further 6-8 weeks after that lots of quail eggs for recipes……I’m thinking mini scotch eggs.

Smoked Morcilla and Chorizo Fabada

 

A Fabada is a Spanish white bean stew enriched with Morcilla (similar to black pudding), Chorizo, and pork, cooked in a fragrant rich sauce. I managed to get my hands on a couple of smoked morcilla and a couple of cooking chorizo from the Totnes Good Food Market here in lovely Devon, and had always planned to cook this dish which was a favourite of mine from travels in Spain. If you can’t get your hands on the morcilla, then a good quality black pudding along with smoked paprika would have a similar rich smoky taste.

Smoked Morcilla and Chorizo Fabada(serves 4-6)

2 smoked morcilla ( or a couple of slices good quality black pudding)

2 cooking chorizo

400-500g pork loin or steaks

2 cans cannelini or white beans

1 can cherry tomatoes

1 can passata

1 onion finely diced

3 cloves of garlic

olive oil

a pinch each of smoked paprika and saffron

Fry off the sliced sausages in a medium hot pan with a little olive oil until just getting crispy and set aside in a separate bowl, turn the heat up and brown the pork, set this aside too.

Turn the heat down and soften the onion and garlic, add the beans, the meat and sausage, the tomatoes and passata, and the spices. Simmer on a low heat for a few hours with the lid until until the sauce becomes rich and smoky.

Serve with some crusty bread and some greens, we had some steamed purple sprouting broccoli from the garden.

Goes perfectly with a wonderful glass of Rioja.

 

 

First tentative shoots of spring.

I love this time of year, everything seems to be getting ready to burst into life, you can almost sense the possibilites in the air. All my planning through the dark winter months of what I’ll be growing in my vegetable garden start taking shape.

One of the first things I get going is the chillies and tomatoes which need a long a growing season as possible, so need to be started off in a warm place as soon as you can. I went for an outdoor variety of chilli this year, and I hope to get a good harvest this year.

Have you started growing yet? and what are you planning on growing this year that you have never tried before?

And here’s a cute springtime picture of my son and I with some lambs……

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.

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

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

From Alfredo's With Love

Fire in my hands - A passion for food in words, photos and recipes...

Devonium & Kitchenalia

Recipe Meanderings from Dartmoor and Culinary Cartoons

thehungrylinguists

tantalise your taste buds

The Artisan of Flavour

Cooking Italian is a craftsman’s labour, the work of an Artisan of Flavour.

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.

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

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

From Alfredo's With Love

Fire in my hands - A passion for food in words, photos and recipes...

Devonium & Kitchenalia

Recipe Meanderings from Dartmoor and Culinary Cartoons

thehungrylinguists

tantalise your taste buds

The Artisan of Flavour

Cooking Italian is a craftsman’s labour, the work of an Artisan of Flavour.