Thursday, 24 November 2011

Buffalo and Beetroot Stew

I'm quite a fan of this time of year, gone are the light dishes and salads of summer and in come thick hearty stews and warming soups. The inspiration for this stew came from two separate markets, the spectacular Borough market of London town and the little deli market that crops up monthly in the stunning surroundings of Kirkstall Abbey of Leeds.

While having a wander around Kirkstall Deli, one of the stalls I visited was Snowden Hill Water Buffalo, which as the name suggests sells buffalo in various cuts and forms. Having never cooked with buffalo before I picked up a packet of shin meat for a bargain price of £2.50, planning to make some variety of stew with it. A week or so later while wandering around Borough Market, one of the veg stalls were selling bunches of beetroot for £1.50, so as with the buffalo I picked some up to have a go cooking with it.

With stews I generally follow a simple formula:

Meat + Veg + Alcohol + Long cooking time = a damn good stew.

This time, for the alcohol, I decided to continue with the Red theme and opted for a bottle of Merlot.

Buffalo and Beetroot Stew
500g Shin buffalo, diced and coated with 1 tbsp of flour (substitute with beef if you you cant get hold of any buffalo)
1 tbsp oil
1 Large onion, diced
2 Carrot, roughly chopped
2 Parsnips, roughly chopped
2 bulbs of beetroot, peeled and diced
1 400g tin of tomatoes
500ml Merlot or alternative red wine
Plenty of Thyme/Rosemary
Salt and Ground Black Pepper

Fry the onions for a few minutes in the oil until golden brown.

Several recipe books that I've read state that browning the meat is not necessary, but if you prefer then add it now and cook for a few minutes until browned.

Add the remainder of the dry veg and cook for 5 minutes until softened slightly.

If you didn't brown the meat add it now.
Pour in the wine and tinned tomatoes.
Season well and add lots of your choice of herbage.
Bring to the boil
Now you have a choice either stick a lid on and simmer on a gentle heat for 2-3 hours or transfer to a oven proof dish, cover with foil and place into a preheated oven at 160C for the same length of time.
Check occasionally and add a bit of water if its looking to dry.

Sit back with the remainder of the wine.

Remove from the oven and serve with fluffy mash or a jacket spud.

Absolutely fantastic, everything a autumn/winter stew should be and with a stunning deep red colour.

If you have leftovers, leave them in the fridge for 3 days, the flavour intensifies and it gets even better, after that then freeze it.

Considering the buffalo was the shin cut and had to be stewed, It hard to give an opinion on the flavour specifically. The texture is slightly different however, slightly softer and leaner. I will have to get a steak cut next time and try it properly.


Saturday, 12 November 2011

Ginger and Cinnamon Doughnuts

A new blogger challenge that has started this month is Tea Time Treats, hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Kate at What Kate Baked. the inaugural theme this month is Ginger and bonfire treats. So I thought I would enter.

Having just started a new job, I am still getting used to the place and finding random pieces of equipment in the kitchen, one of these things was a mini doughnut maker. Having never made doughnuts before and didn't fancy messing about with 200 degree oil and burning the place down, I borrowed it for the weekend.
To fit the theme, I adapted the basic doughnut recipe from the instruction book in order to make these lovely things:

Ginger and Cinnamon Doughnuts
175g Self Raising Flour
2 tsp Baking powder
125g Caster Sugar
1tsp Ground Ginger
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
50g Glace ginger
1 Large egg
135ml Milk
50g Melted butter.

Preheat the doughnut maker for 5 minutes
Mix the dry ingredients including the glace ginger together in a large bowl.
Make a well in the centre and add the liquid ingredients together, beat together until smooth.
Add a teaspoon of the mixture into each section and close the lid, leave for around 3 minutes until golden brown. Repeat until mixture is used up.

Chocolate dip
Melt the chocolate either in the microwave of over a pan of simmering water.
once melted remove from the heat and stir in the cream until combined.


Very tasty but then how can doughnuts with chocolate not be? especially with the excellent partners of ginger and cinnamon.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Spiced Citrus Bean Soup - A Random Recipe

This months random recipe challenge was a little easier than last months global challenge, which involved me hiding under a duvet until the images of the dreaded ingredient went away. This month was a collaboration between Dom from Belleau Kitchen and Jac from Tinned Tomatoes who have teamed up to do a joint soup challenge.
After scouring my recipe books I appeared to be a bit thin on the ground with soup recipes, so I thought I would attempt it another way. I went to BBC Good Food and typed in soup. I then went to a random number generator and received the random number: 78. So off I went to scour the listings, hoping for a proper winter warmer, a quality soup that would be right up my street, maybe a nice minestroney style soup.....but no. Result number 78 was Spiced Citrus Bean Soup...*sighs*...ah well it might be nice.

Spiced Citrus Bean Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
450g Carrots, roughly chopped
1 tbsp garam masala
finger length of fresh root ginger, grated
juice of one orange
1L vegetable stock
200ml can reduced fat coconut milk
410g mixed beans, drained, rinsed
2 tbsp coriander, chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
Gently cook the onions and carrots for 15 minutes until soft and golden.
Add the garam masala and ginger, cook for a further minute.
Add the juice and stock then bring to the boil.
Simmer for ten minutes until the carrots are tender then stir in the coconut milk.
Puree until smooth then stir in the beans.
Add the coriander and serve.

Never again shall I judge a book by it's cover...or a soup by its name in this case. Turns out it was blooming lovely. Nice mix and balance of flavours brought together by creaminess of the coconut and perfect for this time of year. The recipe states to use reduced fat coconut milk but the normal stuff works just as well. I'll definitely be making this again.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Fig Custard Tart

Last weekend I went to borough Market in London. For those of you that are unacquainted with this market basically it's heaven on earth for a food lover. Honestly I wandered around in a slight daze for the first hour, before slightly coming round to enjoy a cup of fine coffee and fresh oysters for breakfast while deciding what I wanted to buy from this wonderful place. One of the stalls had a pyramid of fresh fat figs for a reasonable price of 5 for £2. Most of what I bought got eaten as they were but I saved a few to add to this tart...yes its another tart, honestly I'll cook something different eventually....maybe...erm...

Anyway, custard tart. One of my all time favourites, I've been eating this since time began. Once for a birthday instead of a cake I requested a custard tart a lemon meringue pie and a batch of mince pies (my birthday is in May) so I thought I would make one with the addition of figs to see how it would work together.

210g Plain flour
35g icing sugar
125g cold butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
2 tsp of water
1 egg white (to brush the cooked case)

70g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
150ml cream
150ml whole milk
Vanilla pod and seeds or use 1 tsp extract
As many figs as you like, halved and trimmed to just below the pastry line.

Mix the flour and sugar together, add the butter.
Rub the butter into the flour gently between your fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the yolk and water and mix together.
Using you hands bring together the mix into a dough ball, don't overwork.
Wrap tightly in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30mins to an hour.

Get two sheets of cling film, spread one across the work surface, place the dough in the middle and spread the other sheet over the top.
Roll out gently in between the two sheets of cling film (this method stops any excess flour being added to the pastry and drying it out).
Remove the top layer and using the bottom layer drape the pastry into a 26cm fluted tart tin.
Press gently into the tart tin and using a rolling pin roll across the top to trim off the edges.
Push the edges up a couple of millimetres to compensate for shrinkage.

Gently press a layer of foil into the tin and fill with baking beans.
Bake in a preheated oven (180C, fan) for 15 minutes.
Remove the foil and beans and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown
Remove from oven and brush with egg white to create a waterproof layer.
Turn the oven down to 130C (fan)

Prepare the figs, trim off the tips and slice in half and trim until it's just below the pastry line. Arrange in the pastry case as you like.
Whisk the sugar with the eggs
Bring to the boil the cream, milk and vanilla in a saucepan.
Add to the eggs whilst whisking constantly.
Sieve into a jug

Pour into the pastry case around the figs and grate over some nutmeg.
Place very carefully into the oven and bake for around 40 minutes until the filling gives only a slight tremor when shook.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool.


Very nice. Lovely crisp pastry with soft sweet custard complemented with juicy baked fig, can't go wrong.