Category Archives: Meaty

Breakfast

Bit of a strange one this, but the shorts loved it so it is worthy of getting down on here (and it is a perfect use of my leftover Iranian rice – see below – and a great excuse for cooking too much of said rice). For the chronologically astute and the health conscious, I expect a certain level of concern over the fact that I am eating leftover rice that I cooked a week ago – I make no guarantees, but I stuck it in the fridge so I’m going to risk it. Just don’t try this at home. And don’t start commenting on here if you get a nasty dose of Bacillus Cereus. On second thoughts – go ahead and comment on here – I could do with a bit of adverse publicity to give dadattheweekend the global recognition it clearly deserves…

Sausage egg fried rice

Take a pack of sausages and fry them gently in a pan.

When they are almost done, take another frying pan with a good glug of olive oil and fry a finely chopped shallot. Once it has softened, add your cold rice and a few sprigs of thyme and heat for a few minutes on a moderate flame. If you’re using the Iranian rice recipe below, there is plenty of butter in it so no need for more. If you’re not, add a nob of butter.

Now break up the sausages with a wooden spatula (amazing how easy it is to misspell that word) and add them to the rice and pour in two beaten eggs. Now stir the whole lot vigorously for about 30 seconds ensuring the egg gets well distributed.

Sausage egg fried rice

Immediately take off the heat and serve. You’ll see from the picture that I got there a little too late with the camera…

poor little lamb…

I got overzealous in the the supermarket this weekend while the shorts were here and now I’m left with an unused pack of lamb mince – I’m not really sure why I bought it, but for some reason it found its way into my trolley and now it sits meekly in the fridge peeking up at me each time I take a look inside. Tonight I can’t bear the guilt any longer so I decide to put it out of its misery – bit of an experiment this one…

Wrap

Minced lamb wraps

Fry the lamb and put it into a saucepan with a tin of chopped tomatoes. Now fry a finely chopped onion, half a red chilli and a good sprinkling of cumin seeds, caraway seeds, thyme, parsley and anything else you fancy. Add it to the saucepan, season well and let it cook together for 15 minutes.

 

Take a flour tortilla (or wrap – I think they’re pretty much the same thing) lay it on a plate and spoon some of the mince on to it with chopped lettuce, a nice dollop of sour cream and tabasco if you like it spicy.

Wrap the wrap and eat it quickly. Tastes good. And no more feelings of guilt…

Postscript:
A day later and I’ve got a load of last night’s lamb left over – so a couple of ideas: it would be really good as a stuffing for red peppers (ok so it’s a bit 70s but it’s pretty good – just give it a go – or try aubergine instead – perfect for lamb) – just chuck the mix in a red pepper and shove it in the over for half an hour at about 180 degrees. Or, with Basmati rice – even better… Next time I write, I’ll explain how to cook rice the Iranian way – by far the best rice you’ll ever eat…

He’s on a roll

The shorts are running around like idiots and every screen in the house is on – two tvs, two pcs and an Xbox – it’s no surprise I rarely get to read the papers any more – today’s are still sitting by the front door in their wrapping getting increasingly nervous that I’ll fail to give them the attention they deserve…

I’m clearly on a roll as I manage to cook something noteworthy for the kids lunch today –

Lamb meatballs with linguine

Take half a kilo of lamb mince and mix it in a bowl with olive oil, ground cumin, finely chopped red chilli, plenty of salt and pepper and a good handful of chopped herbs – I used basil, rosemary, thyme and mint. Form the mince in balls the size of a small apricot, fry them and set aside in a saucepan, then fry an onion and two cloves of garlic, finely chopped, and add to the saucepan. Now add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon of caraway seeds and sea salt and ground pepper to taste. Let it all simmer for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, ten minutes before the meatballs are ready, boil a pan of linguine until al dente. Finally drain the linguine and add to the meatballs, along with another handful of chopped basil (you can also add tabasco at this stage if you like it spicy).

Serve all together with a big dollop of soured cream…

Sunday 26th April

Birthday and house move are approaching fast and I’m locked in an out-and-out battle with my ex landlord who has decided that rather than give my deposit back to me, he’d like to use it to pay for a long list of building works on his house (none of which are related to my stay of course) – now I remember why it’s better to own than to rent…

We go to Carcraft in Enfield (one of those huge car supermarkets) for a quick look at what’s on the market – not that I need a car right now, but mine’s on its last legs and I know that at some point in the next 12 months it’s going to finally give up the ghost and leave me somewhere half way up the M56 with nothing but a bag of murray mints and a towel to keep me amused while I wait to be rescued by the AA for the 10th time this year. From the moment we arrive til the second we leave, we are harassed by hoards of slimy, overzealous used car salesmen vying for our attention. At least five of them home in on us throughout the ten minutes we manage to stay there. I think I now know what it’s like to be a single woman in a cheap bar – constantly being approached by barely post-pubescent youths with ill-fitting suits and the charm of a dose of pig-flu trying any line they can to engage you in conversation. But I’m not playing ball – I try various tactics from smiling to scowling to pretending they are not there all. What I really want to do is tell them to bugger off and leave me a alone but my upbringing doesn’t allow for such bravado. I stick to the ignoring them tactic – it’s not really working, but at least I’m avoiding conversation. I notice a young couple sitting at a small Ikea desk who were not so lucky – they failed to hold the line and now they are stuck – like a pair of hapless wildebeest being savaged by a pack of hungry hyenas (and boy are they hungry right now). Luckily for us they have created the diversion we need and we make our escape relatively unscathed.
What I don’t really understand is how making people so uncomfortable that they want to leave as quickly as possible can be good for business. At some point I’ll have to bite the bullet and spend long enough in of of these places to go through with it and buy a car – but I make a promise to myself to delay the day as long as I possibly can – and to never risk this place again. I’ll be chancing my arm on ebay…

Anyway, once back it’s time to make a simple Chicken Liver Pate

Roughly chop an onion, a few cloves of garlic and a little chopped red chilli and fry in a pan with butter. After a few minutes add about 250g of chicken livers to the pan and continue to fry on a moderate heat. Next add half a glass of white wine, plenty of seasoning and cook for about five minutes allowing the wine to reduce and the livers to cook through.

In a blender, add a handful of chopped parsley and few tablespoons of cream cheese then add the liver mixture and blend to a smooth paste.
Turn in out into a bowl and top with  a large nob of butter which will melt and form a seal over the pate.

Leave it in the fridge – if you can bear to wait then give it a day before cracking it open…

Christmas Day

I’m not sure going into this in great detail makes sense, so I’ll just talk about what I cooked – The method was not revolutionary so I’ll assume you can wing it if necessary – and if you can’t then all you have to do is ask…
Roast the goose with a pork, sage, onion and apple stuffing (put in both orifices in little balls and then put back in the oven to complete cooking after the bird is taken out of the oven)
Roast Spuds and parsnips – par boiled before going into the oven (if you do this they will be soft inside and crunchy on the outside. If you don’t they will be dry and horrible)
Sprouts – par boiled for 5 mins until al dente then plunged into freezing water. Fried in butter, salt, pepper and garlic just before serving.
Carrots, peeled, cut into discs and sweated in butter with salt and pepper, peas (defrosted) 2 mins before serving to heat them through.
Bread sauce (do NOT buy ready made bread sauce – it’s disgusting) – onion and bay leaf in milk, heat up, strain into another saucepan, add breadcrumbs, add cream, add butter, nutmeg and seasoning – seriously – what could be easier??
Gravy – made from boiling the giblets with an onion and a carrot, straining, adding flour, butter, the liquid from par boiling the veg and all the lovely sticky bits from the bottom of the gooses roasting tin (with as much of the fat drained off as you can – greasy gravy is yuck) – then add wine or port and season.
Cranberry sauce, made with fried onions, cranberries, a shot of port and seasoning
I think that’s pretty much it – make sure you rest the bird for 20 mins before scarving – this is when you can turn up the oven to max heat to make sure your roast veg are nice a crispy!
One tip – for something like this where you have to serve up a load of different dishes all at the same time, I find it useful to put together a list with timings so you know when to prepare what, put what in the oven, on the hob, etc etc (I know, another list – but believe me it works)

Hangovers, beef and chicken action

Terrible start to the day. I don’t think anyone would call Penzance a cultural centre, but last night we shook our stuff with the best of them and sampled many local delights. Needless to say we weren’t feeling too clever in the morning.
The day doesn’t really happen for me – the only thing that keeps me going is that I promised to cook dinner for the boys – I go to the supermarket in a state of semi consciousness and somehow manage to push the trolley from aisle to aisle picking up the things I need to bring the team back to life and ready for another night…
The boys for head off a long walk to Porthleven while I begin to prepare a couple of things to eat…

Beef Carpaccio
Take the best quality beef fillet you are prepared to afford – I usually go for the tail end of the fillet as it’s easier to cut into slices. You need about an inch of fillet for each person as a starter. Now take a mixture of herbs and spices and pound them together with a pestle and mortar until they have the texture of ground black pepper (not too fine). I usually use coriander seed, cumin (a must), oregano, salt, pepper, thyme and fennel. Now roll the fillet in the mix until it’s completely coated and set aside until about 10 minutes before you want to eat.
At this time, sear the fillet in a hot frying pan (with olive oil) for about one minute on each side – so about 4-5 mins in total. The beef should be a lovely caramelised colour. Now leave it to rest for about 5 mins.
To serve – take your plates and pour (not drizzle please) a little olive oil on the bottom of each plate. Then cut the fillet into slices as thinly as you can (but don’t get anal about it) with a very sharp knife. Lay the slices on the plates, hopefully covering the bottom of each plate and then take a bag of wild rocket and cover the beef with it. Finally use a potato peeler to shave parmesan over the rocket and finish with a good splash of lemon juice and more olive oil. Serve with really good stonebaked crusty bread…
Followed by Chicken Casserole with Sweet Potato Mustard Mash
As always, you can pretty much wing this as long as you get a few basics straight –
For four people, start with a whole chicken (you can use pieces if you like but it seems odd when you can get all you need from a whole chicken with a tiny bit of effort and you get a carcass as a bonus to make decent stock with). Remove the breasts, and legs, then separate the thigh from the rest of the leg and chop off the horrible knobbly ankle bit at the end of the drumstick. Then cut the breasts in half – so now you should have eight portions of chicken. These now need frying (off?) in a frying pan until brown all over. When you’re done you can put them aside.
Now take some veg – I used half a celery, a large onion, a handful of sweet baby carrots, and a red pepper – chop them roughly and fry gently in your casserole dish with butter and olive oil. Next fry a pan full of mushrooms in butter with salt and pepper and add to the casserole.
Pour in the majority of a bottle of white wine or Marsala, two tablespoons of grainy mustard, a tablespoon of dried (or a handful of fresh) tarragon. Mix it up, season with salt and pepper and place the chicken pieces on top. The liquid should just about reach halfway up the chicken pieces.
Put the lid on and place in an oven at 200c for about 40 mins.
While the casserole is cooking peel some potatoes and a sweet potato, cut them up and boil in salted water. When they are done mash them with a tablespoon of grainy mustard lots of butter, salt, pepper, and cream!
Ten minutes before serving, take the chicken pieces out of the casserole and place on a roasting tin in a very hot oven to make the skin lovely and crispy. While you’re doing this add a little flour to the casserole to thicken it, and then place the chicken back ready for serving.
Serve the chicken and mash together with more crusty bread and a wine that goes with the wine you used in the casserole – in this case I used the Australian Riesling – again!
Needless to say the boys were very happy…

Corny

So it’s less dad at the weekend, more lad at the weekend this time with a bunch of old friends on the Cornish coast.
This place is just fantastic – it’s cold but the swell is small and perfectly formed – half a day in the water is exactly what we needed to build up a decent appetite.
Straight out of the sea and Dev cooks up a fantastically simple Asian broth with chicken
Heat a litre of chicken stock (preferably home made) and pan fry a couple of chicken breasts (or salmon fillets if your prefer). In the meantime, chop up some lovely vegetables – my favourites are pak choi, spring onions, mushrooms (doesn’t matter which, but chanterelle are really good), red chillies (without the seeds unless you like it really spicy) – really whatever you like as long as it’s delicate and cooks easily in boiling water. Now add a handful of udon noodles to the stock, along with some rice wine vinegar.
When the chicken is ready (nicely browned on both sides) let it rest and then slice it thinly. Add the veggies to the stock and let them cook for a couple of minutes, then add the chicken and a good glug of soy sauce.
That’s it!

Canadian duck

Finally – something different for breakfast! The Canadians are here so I have to do a real English breakfast with bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, black pudding, baked beans and toast – brilliant!

Then off to Cambridge and Immie’s skating party. It’s unnatural for english people to ice-skate. We simply have no grace and it’s all too obvious when we strap blades to our feet and try to look like we know what we’re doing. And that lack of grace is compounded by the fact that we can’t maintain ice rinks either – it feels more like skating along a rocky mountain pass than a placid lake. Why can’t we do these things properly?

Anyway – we get back and it’s time to cook the thing I have been waiting to do ever since I started this blog –

Confit of duck leg, pan fried duck breast with mustard mash and garlic fine beans

The thing to know about this meal is that you should prepare the confit at least a day before you eat it (although you don’t have to).

For four people you need a whole duck and an extra pair of legs. Take the duck and remove the legs and the breasts. Remove any fatty skin from the bird cut into small chunks and put in a saucepan. Trim the excess fat off legs and breasts (not too closely) and put the fat into the pan, then put the pan on a low heat. When the fat has fully melted you can take the pan off the heat and set aside. In the meantime, take the legs and cover them in salt (and pounded juniper berries if you have any) and leave for a few hours (or overnight if you’re patient – although to be honest – you can probably skip this step if you are in a rush)

When that’s done – take the legs and scrape off the excess salt and juniper berries and put them in an oven proof dish (that is just big enough for all four legs) and pour over the duck fat – they should be virtually covered in the fat. Cover with foil and put in a low oven (about 150c) for two hours then just turn off the heat and leave them. You can turn them over half way through cooking if you like. The trick is to make sure they cook in the fat and that they don’t cook too quickly. Once they are cool, that’s it – they can stay in the fat for a very long time (old French preserving technique).

Right – now you’re ready to cook the meal –

I think I’ve done mashed potato before so just look down this blog – the key here is to make sure there is a enough cream, mustard, salt and pepper in there.

Take the legs – scrape off the excess fat, place on a baking tray, brush with a little honey and place in the oven at 180c. They will take about 20 mins – but check them to make sure they don’t overcook. Take the duck breasts, season well and place into a frying pan at a moderate heat (about 3/4 strength) fat side down. Now the timing completely depends on the thickness of the breasts but I would go for about 5 mins on the fat side, turn over for 4 mins, and then do a last couple of mins on the fat side again. The breast needs to give when you prod it – otherwise it’s overcooked – and that is a disaster. When done, take them out of the pan and onto some foil to rest. While the duck is frying, steam the fine beans for about 5 mins until almost cooked. Then take the beans out of the pan, finely chop a large clove of garlic and put it in the pan with a good shot of olive oil for one minute, then put the beans back into the pan with lots of salt and pepper – they will be the best beans you have ever tasted – trust me.

Finally, put equal amounts of honey and balsamic vinegar into the pan and let it reduce a little to make a glaze. Now you just need to serve –

Cut the duck breasts into 1 cm slices and place on the plate, covering with the glaze. then add the leg, mash and beans. Works every time.

Lovely with Rioja.