Tuesday 26 March 2013

Goat Curry - A Random Recipe

This month at Belleau Kitchen HQ, our task was to randomly select a recipe from cuttings, clippings and handwritten recipes that most people have stashed away somewhere. Bit of a problem this one for me as I don't tend to keep clippings and the like but a few weeks ago before this challenge was announced I bought a paper within which was a few recipes to do with goat and mutton which I decided to pull out and keep because I wanted to have a go at cooking with goat, so this is technically a bookmarked recipe....however....bare with me because I'm going to make this Random.

I rarely get a weekend to myself but by some coincidence I was free this certain Saturday so I decided to head into town to stock up with stuff from the market. Having spent a good ten minutes shopping, I randomly decided to go and have a well earned pint, unfortunately, by some random coincidence I had left my Kindle at home so I went to buy a paper to read with my beer which happened to be the very paper that held the recipe I am submitting for the Random Recipe Challenge.

Anyone buy that?

Anyway...Goat! a new ingredient for me so I was very intrigued to see what it was like.

First impressions are it is a tough cut with lots of annoying chunks of bone, I don't know if this is standard but this is how it came when I bought it. It definitely requires long slow cooking in order to release the tasty meat from the bone. I recommend if your goat comes with lots of bones that you cook the curry and leave it to cool completely, then remove the meat from the bones and sift through with your hands or a sieve to pick out the remaining tiny bits.
Being in a curry It was difficult to get a taste of the actual meat but it cooks very tenderly and is a very lean meat, it is very cheap as well with a kilo costing about £5 and there is easily 4 plus portions in this recipe.

Personally I can't see me cooking it again with goat I would probably substitute with beef cheeks for a lot less hassle.

Recipe for the goat curry plus a few mutton ones are available here.


Friday 15 March 2013

Comic Relief Staff Bake Off

Baking is difficult at the best of times. Baking under a tight time limit, with people watching plus the added pressure of making something to win a competition is just slightly below the level of insane.

So it was with some trepidation that I suggested that for Comic Relief this year that ten staff members take part in a Staff Bake Off. Fortunately I work with some rather cool people, or possibly very stupid, who immediately signed up and began planning their bakes, well 9 out of the 10 did, the last person instead began to plot on how best to sabotage everybody else, her solution was to lick each and every bake afterwards.

Over the last month or so the 'friendly' competition escalated into all out warfare with psychological warfare being the preferred method. One baker, printed off a spectacular wedding cake off google images and spent the day convincing people she just whipped it up over the weekend.
Others brought in stuff they made and fed it to other contestants to psyche them out, whilst others had conversations with the sole intention to convince the other person they were doing it wrong, one quote I overheard was that you have to take the green off pistachios before you use them.

Worse than the actual kids some of them.

Anyhoo, competition day came round and bar some last minute sparring, all ten bakers got on with the job admirably and produced some outstanding bakes.

Me in my self elected role of Chief Judge and 3 other brave greedy volunteers sampled all ten bakes, it was a tough job, but hey someone had to do it and we came to a conclusion based on Style, Control, Damage and Aggression.

Before I present the top three bakes, here are the remaining 7 in no particular order;

Victoria Sponge

Lemon Surprise Cupcakes

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Smiley Cupcakes

Profiteroles with pistachio cream

Coca Cola Cake
Black Forest Cake
 While all spectacular bakes, they didn't come close to the following, I give you bake number three:

Lego Cake
Bake number two:
Rennie Mackintosh Chocolate Cake

 and finally, The Bake Off Champion 2013:
A Cup of Cupcakes
All in all, It was a great couple of hours and a very difficult judging session, all that cake is tiring to eat. We raised with donations and selling them to the kids over £130 for Comic Relief.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Purple Sprouting Broccoli with a Tahini Dressing

I like trying new food, who doesn't. Not just the actual food but new techniques or recipes, perhaps a new culture but usually it's just a case of what's that, what does it taste like and what do I do with it.

Currently in my fridge there is a kilo of goat meat waiting to be cooked due to that exact reason but more about that in a future post.
On my recent trips to my local market, which admittedly is not as good as some of the large city markets such as Leeds, Doncaster or at the top end of the scale Borough Market in London, it's produce is limited, like any market, to what its customer wants so it's a fairly standard affair,  I occasionally spot something I haven't tried, in this case it was a box of Purple Sprouting Broccoli (PSB).

I was even more intrigued to try it after reading the recipe suggestions in last weeks Guardian thanks to the ever reliable Hugh encouraging us to treat it with the same reverence as asparagus, well that sold me because I love asparagus and I'm currently counting down the days until that's in season.

I opted for the middle recipe in the above article because of the jar of tahini that's been sitting all alone in my cupboard. The recipe was delicious, the PSB still had a slight earthy sweetness which complemented well with the sour nuttiness of the dressing. It was very easy to cook, I don't have a griddle pan so had to make do with a frying pan but even without the char marks it was still very good. Will definitely be making this again alongside the recipe for PSB Rarebit I have just found in River Cottage Veg.


Sunday 3 March 2013

Clafoutis - A French Tea Time Treat

Bonjour, Mesdames et Messieurs.Tout est allé un peu français autour de ces pièces. 

The reason for this is twofold. Number one; I recently purchased a new French Brassiere cookbook by Michelin starred Daniel Galmiche and wanted to use it and two; Kate and Karen of What Kate Baked and Lavender and Lovage are doing a French themed tea time treat for their monthly challenge, a coincidence I'm more than happy to get behind.

Now say what you like about the French and most people generally do, usually in relation to a small squishy amphibian, but you cannot deny they do some good grub. Inventing fine dining or haute cuisine in the 18th century under La Varenne and Antonin Careme before being fine tuned by the Grand Master of fine dining, Georges Auguste Escoffier.
But, as well as all that fancy schmancy stuff, there is Brassiere cooking which is a lot simpler with local recipes, simple ingredients and techniques and most important of all, bags of flavour.

One of the classic French brassiere desserts is the Clafoutis. A simple dish of fruit, usually cherries surrounded and baked in a flan batter mixture before being served on its own or with fresh cream, C'est Magnifique.

This version uses raspberries and blueberries to symbolise the flags of both our fine countries and our mutual love of good food.....

Ok fine, there were blueberries and raspberries available at the market so I bought them, the other reason sounds better though.

125g Raspberries
125g Blueberries
zest of one lime/lemon
125g caster sugar
50g butter, half soft/half melted
85g plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 egg
1egg yolk
300ml full fat milk

Preheat the oven to 180C (fan)
Put the berries into a bowl with the zest and 2 tbsp of the sugar and leave for 15 minutes.
Grease a large oven proof dish with the butter and sprinkle 3tbsp of the sugar around the dish, coating all sides.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. in another bowl whisk the egg, egg yolk and sugar together then slowly add to the flour and salt.
Incorporate into a smooth batter.
Slowly add the milk, stir until the batter resembles crepe batter then add the melted butter and mix until combined.
Spread the fruit on the base of the dish and pour over the batter.
Bake for around 25 minutes until the tip of a sharp knife can be removed clean.