Archive for April, 2012

Pierrade, Indoor Hot Stone cooking

 

I’m sure many of you have noticed that we have been still in the grip of an extreme drought…errrm….well the extreme rain has made even a hardcore outdoor cook such as myself have second and third thoughts about cooking outside, so I fished out my pierrade from a previous existence from when I lived in a first floor flat, and was not fortunate to have the space that I have now to cook outdoors in.

A pierrade, often also called a raclette, is a hot stone that is heated with an electric element underneath until it’s sizzling hot, you then pop tender morsels of food on top to cook to your choice. I often find that for dinner parties, I’m slaving away at a hot stove and  miss out on a lot of the chat.

This piece of kit solves that and is an awful lot of fun to boot. You prepare some pieces of meat fish and veg, that you can cook quickly, I went for fillet steak, peri-peri chicken, lamb leg steak, king prawns and scallops, things that will all cook quickly. I also prepped some cooked new potatoes, cheeses, charcuterie, and pickles and condiments, all served with homemade crusty bread and one or two glasses of wine, a real feast.

You sizzle the meats and fish on the hot stone, and can  also grill food in the little pans underneath the element, slices of potato smothered with bubbling cheese, it really is up to you.

These bits of kit can be picked up cheaply from around £30-£40, and are a fun sociable way of eating.

 

 

 

A first time Dexter Tri Tip

I remember hearing about a Tri Tip a while ago from the BBQ legend Dr Sweetsmoke, he’d mentioned this as one of his favourite cuts to pop on the BBQ, I’d been after this cut for a while, but it’s not an easy one to get hold of, blank looks from butchers, but fortunately I put in a bit of research and was able to advise my good friends at Pitmans Farm what the exact cut I was after is known as the bottom sirloin, it’s a traingular cut and I can now attest to it being very very tasty.

I removed a few bits of sinew, and then rubbed a homemade rub of cajun seasoning, smoked paprika, celery powder, onion powder, mustard powder, salt and coarse ground pepper. I rubbed this mix in thoroughly and left for a couple of hours.

I fired up the smoker set at 110 deg C with some maple chips smoking away. I popped the Tri Tip on until it reached 50 deg C over indirect heat. Then I placed direct over coals, to sear the outside of the meat and the internal temperature reached 60 deg, just about medium rare. I allowed the meat to rest wrapped in foil, and then carved against the grain, it was wonderfully moist, and rich and beefy, the meat was so tender as it was cooked perfectly and carved against the grain.

We enjoyed this with BBQ chicken thighs, homemade coleslaw, sweet potato wedges, and homemade bread, oh and a cold beer of course!

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Wok Cafe Exeter- Bubble Tea in Devon!

 

We are incredibly fortunate living in the South West, seaside, moors, outdoor living, wonderful “real” food, the only area we lag behind the cities is with the trends in food. I remember reading about Bubble Tea last year for the first time, and thought it would be one of those trends that never makes it down the M5, so I was hugely surprised to chance upon the newly opened Wok Cafe in Exeter, apologies to those in the big cities who have no doubt been enjoying this kind of thing for the last few years for my excitement.

This lovely place has opened just in the last month below the Shanghai Nights Chinese restaurant at Exe Bridges in Exeter, which has always been a favourite of ours back when we were living in the city. We were looking for a place where we could have a quick and easy lunch with the kids, and this place proved just the job.

It is light and airy with loads of space, and the all important (for us anyway) high chair. The kitchen is open, so you can see the guys cooking in front of you.

So onto the all important food. There’s a good selection of noodle and rice dishes, and of course the bubble drinks, Hong Kong bubble tea, and bubble milkshakes. I opted for a Seafood and Chicken Laksa which was much better than I’d ever had before, hot and sour with lots of seafood, chicken, mussels and squid. My wife went for the Beef in Black Bean sauce which she enjoyed immensely, and wouldn’t even let me taste.

Our kids are pretty used to this kind of food, one of my nearly 3 year old sons favourite things is Edamame Beans, so we figured they’d be happy here, and we were really pleased with the Chicken Congee that the staff recommended for them, a big bowl of steaming rice porridge with loads of chicken, and a side dish of noodles. Perfect for little fingers and spoons to get stuck in. All the dishes on the menu are £7 or less, great value for such a huge bowl.

We shared a couple of bubble milkshakes, with the coconut being our favourite, we loved the tapioca bubbles at the bottom of the glass, although they really don’t taste of very much.

So if you’re looking for somewhere a little bit different, and a taste of Hong Kong in the westcountry, this place is fun and the food fantastic. The staff couldn’t be more helpful and friendly with the manager handing us a big bag of prawn crackers for the kids to munch on. We’ll definitely be headed back here.

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Out of this world BBQ Spider Crab

These BBQ Spider Crab look like they are from another world, but oh my, they taste out of this world!

Go and have a chat with your fishmonger to get some of these prized crustaceans.

The recipe is here BBQ Spider Crab

Enjoy!

 

Pizza with a bit of character

The great thing about getting your guests involved with the food at a party is that it’s such fun everyone having a go, and learning about food, and there is no better food for this than pizza. Everyone can make up their own bases, kids love this, and with a selection of  traditional and unusual toppings, some great combinations can be had. This was my brother in law’s favourite, with tuna, olives, sweetcorn, and ahem pineapple. He loved it so all was good. The pizza’s cooked in my wood oven have real character, but you can cook these in an indoor oven too with the oven at maximum temperature and still get great results.

The oven managed to hit the highest I’ve ever taken it, as you can see 550 deg C, on the base of the oven, super hot! You can see on the base of the pizza the lovely mix of polenta, semolina and flour that I use to dust the peel, and stop the dough sticking, a few little burnt bits, but these all add to the taste of these rustic pizza.

I also included my personal favourite, loaded with a couple of different types of salami, and drizzled with chilli oil.  Keep experimenting, enjoy and have fun!

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Wood Oven Veal Burger with “Holy Fuck” sauce

 

 After a recent Pizza session in my wood fired oven, I had a few latecomer guests turn up, it was my family so I didn’t give them too much of a hard time, the oven had cooled a little from the super hot 500degC that I’d been cooking the pizzas at.

So I knocked together some burgers from some minced Rose Veal I had handy, I added a  little pepper but no salt as this tends to toughen the meat up, (I added a little after), my way of shaping burgers couldn’t be simpler, lay out a tennis ball sized piece of mince on a square of clingfilm, fold the film over the top and flatten with the heel of your hand.

These are then ready to go on a searingly hot BBQ or the base of a wood oven, after turning over, I topped with some mozzarella and let this melt oozing on top.

Once cooked, pop in a bun with your condiments of choice, mine was the highly addictive “Holy Fuck” sauce from Mark Gevaux aka The Ribman.

So next time you spark up the BBQ don’t automatically reach for the beef, give veal a go, this was a wonderfully moist and tasty burger.

 

 

BBQ Razor Clams

BBQ Razor Clams

I’m a really big fan of great simple seafood, and especially love to try new things. I’d been after some Razor Clams for a while, and I mentioned this to the friendly fishmongers at Greendale Farm Shop just outside Exeter. They had recently been out foraging and so were able to sell me some. Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity.

I got the clams home and rinsed out any remaining sand, and fired up the BBQ with some white hot coals, I popped the clams on meat side down and grilled them directly over the coals until seared, a couple of minutes, I then turned the clams over with some tongs, and brushed them with garlic, chilli and coriander butter, a squeeze of lemon and a little salt and pepper, until the shells started to char and smoke, another couple of minutes, don’t overcook them or they’ll turn to rubber. At this point the aroma was amazing.

I served the Razor Clams hot and we ate them with our fingers, avoiding the gritty stomach, and enjoyed them with a glass of cold New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the taste and texture was similar to scallops, slightly sweet and subtly smoky from being cooked over fire.

Have a chat with your fishmonger and see if he can source these for you, and try something different on your BBQ this summer.

Razor clams

BBQ razor clams

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theshotgunchef.wordpress.com/

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The Knight of the Round Table

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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