Friday, 30 August 2013

Oxtail and Guinness Stew

I have a new love in my life, it's smooth, curvy and provides me lots of tasty food for very little effort. Yep, it's my shiny new slow cooker.
I have toyed with buying one for an age but never seemed to get round to it but finally, after a few Twitter conversations I went out and bought this little 4.5 litre beauty for less than 20 quid at Argos.

After two days of ownership I already have an ever increasing list of things to cook in it including; chilli, pulled pork and of all things confit duck. To get the ball rolling and to give it a trial run, I decided to keep it simple with a beer and beef stew using the lesser used cut of oxtail and everyone's favourite Irish export, (after the Dubliners), Guinness. This is a fairy heavy stew which is probably not suitable for these Summer months but Winter is coming people, so be prepared.

To these two ingredients, I added a variety of vegetables, lots of rosemary and some tinned tomatoes. I also browned the onions and meat to add a bit more flavour.

The resulting stew after a long, painful wait of 9 hours was just glorious. Thick, rich, beefy and damned tasty. The previously tough oxtail was easily pushed off the bone with a teaspoon and then promptly fell apart into tender pieces of beef. It's the stuff dreams are made of.

Oxtail and Guinness Stew
Ingredients (makes 5 decent portions)
600g of oxtail, cut into sections, (ask your butcher)
1 bottle of original Guinness (2, if you fancy one yourself)
2 onions, diced.
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
2 carrots, sliced into circles
2 leeks, sliced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes.
2 twigs of rosemary, take off the leaves but put the twig in as well.
1 beef stock pot
200ml of water
Salt and Black pepper

Heat oil in a frying pan and brown the onions and garlic, transfer into the slow cooker.
Season the oxtail and fry in the pan until browned on all sides, transfer to the cooker.
Add every other ingredient into the cooker and give it a stir.
Put the lid, switch to low and go to the pub for the next 8-9 hours.
After the required time, remove the oxtails and scrap off the meat and mix into the stew.
Serve with your favourite carbohydrate and veg based accompaniments.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry - A Random Recipe

An interesting challenge from Belleau Kitchen HQ this month. The illustrious cookbook we had to cook from had to be chosen on 'the hoof' so to speak. What cookbook would we grab if we had only ten seconds to pick one?

The instructions were to get a friend, house mate etc... to count to ten while the challenger sprinted to the cookbooks and grabbed one. Now I live alone so I had to do this one myself.

So I went outside... psyched myself up...nearly convinced myself the house was on fire....sprinted in....and grabbed my favourite bottle of whisky (next to the cookbooks) and legged it back outside in a blind panic.

After composing myself with a wee dram (any excuse). I tried again, this time without working myself up beforehand.

I was torn between two cookbooks to grab, the first one was Raymond Blanc's Kitchen Secrets, this is one of my favourite books because as well as the recipes, it give an explanation into why you are doing a certain stage or technique in a recipe and coming from a Food Science background and having to teach the stuff, this is my cup of tea.


My sensible head kicked in and I grabbed one of my other favourites which is Our Hugh's River Cottage Veg Everyday with winning argument being - easier and healthier recipes.

Book sorted and after a quick random number generator I landed on Page 26 and this rather interesting curry from one of my favourite chef's; Angela Hartnett.
Normally, I'm not a fan of cauliflower and I would not normally pick this recipe to cook but cover anything in enough spice and I'll probably eat it (not squid, I hate squid) and to go with the rules of the challenge I had to give it ago.

The resulting curry was excellent, nicely spiced, fragrant and fresh with a nice kick from the chilli flakes. It was very easy to make, 40 minutes from beginning to eating so good for a mid week tea. another success from River Cottage Veg.

The recipe is available here on the Guardian website or on page 26 of the book which you really should own by now.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Turkey Leg with a Barbecue Sauce

I have walked through Leeds Market more times than I can remember, either for wander to soak up the atmosphere of a bustling market and to have a nosy at the food or it's to stock up on some fine produce.

Usually, it's the normal selection of fish, meat and veg and rarely something a bit different catches my eye, However these beauties required a double take. my first thought is that these chickens had grown up near a nuclear plant or something but on closer inspection they were Turkey legs and good God in Heaven are they huge, I have put one up against a wine bottle to give you an idea, the other one I bought was the bigger of the two.

Seeing this took me straight back to holidays in America, where roasted ones of this size were available at a popular theme park, so naturally I bought two for the bargain price of £1.75 each. One of these I reckon will feed about 3 people, with sides obviously. (or one very greedy person)

To cook them I planned to treat it like any roast chicken as it was big enough and marinate then roast in a Barbecue Sauce that @feastandglory cooked recently for her little gathering, which is superb little recipe with just the right amount of sweetness and heat.

Alternatively if you can't get hold of a turkey leg, get some chicken thighs, drench them in the sauce and roast for about 40 mins. 

Turkey Leg with Barbecue Sauce
1 turkey leg
3 spring onions, chop up the entire thing, green stems and all
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.
1 scotch bonnet, finely chopped. keep the seeds in you wuss.
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp dark rum
3 tbsp clear honey
1/2tsp all spice

Take all the marinade ingredients together and mix well until fully combined and saucy.
Poke the turkey leg with a sharp knife all over.
Take a large food bag and place the marinade and the leg in there and seal.
Shake it, rub it, do the conga with it until the leg is well covered in the marinade.
Leave for a minimum of three hours or overnight if you can.
Take a roasting tray and open the bag and empty it's contents into the tray.
Cover the tray with tinfoil and roast for about an hour at 200C.
Baste a few times during cooking.
Stick a thermometer into the leg after the cooking time and if it reads 70C then you are good to go, if not put it back in the oven for 10 minutes.
Leave to rest then eat in whatever way you see fit, go all medieval on it if you like.