Archive for September, 2012

Man V Food Steak and Chilli night

I’ve always wanted to do a Man V Food style eating challenge, so when I heard Andrew Gordon Aberdeens Fine Butcher was holding a Man V Food Steak and Chilli night, I had to be there!

6 hungry diners, including the reigning champion from the previous burger challenge had turned up with a hungry gleam in their eyes, and a hungry expectation. We knew we would be in for a good evening as the quality of Andrews steaks are legendary.

Andrew weighed up 6kg of prime Aberdeen Angus Sirloin 1kg per person, 8 steaks each…..eek, but this was only a part of the challenge,  a fragrant chilli was bubbling away and would be mounded with cheese and chunks of bread on a large platter for our delectation. Taking the total weight up to an enormous 1.8kg,  (63.5 ounces in old money).

The steaks were cooked to perfectly medium rare and were a delight as they were dry aged for a month. We all ploughed our way through the steaks, the chilli and cheese was just too much for some as well, but I managed this, but I hit the wall when it came to the bread, the “dirty carbs” were just too much, however the reigning champion was able to finish his entire platter, a much deserved winner. It was an awesome evening, with beer aplenty to wash the food down and lots of banter.

Andrew will be holding further of these wonderful events over the winter months, get involved!

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A warming autumnal salad of duck breast and black pudding.

I love this time of year, the wonderful russet colours, the scent turns from freshness to a lovely earthy smell. Also love that the rugby season starts back up, and after a brutal local derby, I just craved something warming but not too heavy, but with a hearty protein kick to soothe tired muscles, and I wanted something quick.

I knocked this warming autumnal salad up with a crispy pan fried duck breast from Pipers Farm served pink and juicy of course, a few slices of black pudding fried off in the duck fat, some crumbly feta cheese, crisp  cos lettuce, some crunchy croutons, some crunchy slices of crystal lemon cucumber from my greenhouse, a few caper berries and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic glaze.

The flavours worked really well together, balancing out the richness of the crisp skinned duck and black pudding, and it was washed down with a much needed glass of Pinot Noir.

 

It’s ok…there’s an r in the month.

Oysters are back in season! The tradition suggests that oysters should only be eaten when there is an r in the month, and this still holds true, they definitely taste better when you haven’t been able to enjoy them for a while. We are now back in September, so it’s worth shucking a few oysters and enjoying them simply with a glass of cold fizz. Some people like a squeeze of lemon, some like tabasco and there are lots of other fancy ways to enjoy them, but for me, now these were perfection. A good oyster for me is pure essence of sea, like diving into cool water….and worth the wait.

 

Jeremiah Weed braised short rib.

First of all apologies that the pic isn’t up to my usual quality, the nights seem to be drawing in with such speed, one minute it was lovely and sunny, the next almost pitch dark. But this little recipe is a good one that I wanted to get out to you guys anyway.

I used a dry competition rub on these lovely short ribs, but use a shop bought or homemade rub too, and smoked them for 4 hours at 120 deg C. I then popped them on a deep baking tray and poured over a bottle of Jeremiah Weed Sour Mash Brew covered with foil and popped into the oven for another 2 hours to braise in the bourbon flavoured beverage.

The results were outstanding, lovely moist meat that pulled into lovely long strands, a smoky savoury bark, and the flavours from the Jeremiah Weed vanilla and spice subtly adding a lovely complexity to the meat.

What else would you drink this with but a jam jar of Sour Mash Brew.

 

Wine Safari

My very thoughtful wife recently booked me on a Wine Safari from Darts Farm as a treat. I knew the various safaris Darts put on had a great reputation so I was really looking forward to this. The Safari was to Pebblebed Vineyards a miles walk down Devons country lanes from Darts.

We were given a refreshing glass of Elderflower Fizz on arrival, and then from this point on the drinks flowed. We walked up to the vines and the instantly recognizable Pebblebed van, and were handed a glass of the sparkling rose, which was outstanding.

The host for the day Geoff Bowen introduced himself, and it was very interesting to hear he was a fellow geologist. we received a very informative explanation of how they grow the grapes and produce the wine using grapes that do best in the South West, Seyval Blanc, Rondo, Madeline Angevine and Pinot Noir.

The vines are beautiful, and it is great to see them flourishing in the rolling Devon hills. Though some of the difficulties with this very wet summer were discussed, but it’s great to hear how flexible they are in making their wines with the best crop they have.

We wandered back to the new winery which had a beautifully laid out long table in the middle, and we worked our way through a glass of Sparkling 2009, White  2011, Rose 2010 and finally the Red 2011, which for me was a particular favourite, as it reminded me of the Pinot Noirs I tasted when I was out in New Zealands South Island for my honeymoon.

There was a sumptuous spread of westcountry food put on by Darts Farm which went well with the wines, and we were further entertained with some fascinating stories from Geoff.

All in all a great value for £25, entertaining, informative, fun and most of all celebrating the wonderful produce of Devon.

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Barbecue Maple Ribs

This cracking recipe, shows you some of the tricks to get the best BBQ ribs. Have a look at my Barbecue Maple Ribs to see how I get the best out of a rack.

 

Duck Egg, Black Pudding and Arbroath Smokie Stack

I love to cook with inspiring local ingredients, most of the time this means the wonderful range of treats available in my home county of Devon, but when away working in Aberdeen, I love to search out the local treats and work out a new way of using them.

I had a lovely slice of Stornoway Black Pudding, made with lambs blood, an Arbroath Smokie, a fantastic smoky hot smoked haddock with a lovely creamy flesh, and a lovely duck egg.

I fried off the black pudding in a little rapeseed oil, with the duck egg until both were crispy on the edges (with the egg still runny of course) and then plated up with the pudding on the bottom, some flakes of the smokie, and finally the duck egg sitting proudly on top.

Cut into the egg and let the yolk ooze out through the fish and black pudding.  The rich taste of the black pudding marry well with the smoky creaminess of the smokie, and the egg simply takes this combination to a heavenly level.

Simply enjoy!

 

Sticky Chilli Jam glazed crab claws and prawns.

A warning is required with this recipe….. this is seriously messy eating at its heavenly best, you have no choice but to eat with your fingers, and the lovely sweet sticky glaze will smother your fingers, but my what a joy to eat like this.

Using the scotch bonnet chilli jam left over from the previous recipe, I had a cunning idea that it would make a lovely sticky glaze for some crab claws and prawns I had just bought.

In a large frying pan over a medium heat, I fried off 2 cloves of garlic and half a red chilli in a tablespoon of rapeseed oil until softening, then I added a handful of whole large prawns and 3 large pre cooked crab claws that had been cracked open with a sharp tap from the back of a knife to open them up a little and let the flavours in.

I waited until the prawns were cooked on one side for a few minutes before turning everything over to cook on the other side, at this point I added 2 large tablespoons of chilli jam and waited a few more minutes before stirring together, as the jam warms it creates a lovely sticky glaze. I finished with a squeeze of lemon, seasoned and added a little chopped coriander.

I enjoyed this with a glass of Chilean Viognier which went perfectly.

 

Figs with oozy goats cheese and Chilli Jam

A visit to the little foodie getaway of Stonehaven yielded this tempting Scotch Bonnet Chilli Jam, the colour alone was enough to draw me to buy it. I had a few recipe ideas that popped into my head to use this wonderful ingredient. But I just couldn’t resist and tried a little on some of the Somerset goats cheese for the recipe, creamy, sweet, hot…..heaven.

So the question was how am I to improve on this morsel of perfection I asked myself…. how about a lovely seasonal fig stuffed with the cheese, topped with the chilli jam, and all wrapped with a slice of serrano ham. All the flavours there, a combo of sweet, salty, creamy, juicy…..I’ve run out of words….just try it….

Pop it into a medium oven 180 degC for 10 minutes until the chhese starts oozing, the fig softens and the ham crisps a little.

 

With some wine of course….a nice Plummy Rioja went well and wasn’t overpowered by all the tastes going on.

 

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

I love this time of year, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, an Ode to Autumn as penned by John Keats. The wonderful abundance of fruit and vegetables, the colours, the possibility of an Indian Summer to enjoy it all in.

I just had to share these wonderful plums and greengages that I found, sweet, sharp, and refreshing, I just enjoyed them in their purity, they didn’t need a recipe, just a sharp knife, celebrate the abundance.

Ode to Autumn ~ John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
~
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
~
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies

 

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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.

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