Whale steak…It’s what’s for dinner

14 06 2013
mmmm blubber

mmmm blubber

 

This WWI era advert for affordable, delicious Whale steaks in a can sure got my tastebuds tingling.

Or was that the feeling of 1000s of specialised nerve endings trying to expel themselves from my mouth?

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Quick and easy Saag Aloo

5 04 2013

Finally decided what I am going to make for dinner tonight… Saag Aloo.

I am not completely convinced that anyone in India has ever had Saag Aloo / would recognise what we server here in the UK but for some reason the combination of spinach, potatoes and spices gets me everytime!

Feeds 4 – sort of:

  • 4 medium potatoes 
  • 400g spinach puree
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green finger chillies
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Half tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Finely chop the garlic and the green chillies. Stir the green chillies into the spinach puree along with the lemon juice, and leave to sit in a bowl. 

Next, dice the potatoes into small pieces no larger than one square inch each. Do not pre boil tha potatoes as otherwise they will end up as mush. Chop the onion and finely mince the garlic.

Now bring the oil to heat on high in a medium-sized pan. When it’s hot, add the chopped onion and garlic and saute for five minutes until golden. Then add the potato pieces, cumin and coriander powders and stir on the high heat for five minutes or until the potato edges start going translucent. If the spices start getting stuck to the bottom of the bottom add a tablespoon of hot water and scrape it off.

Next add hot water to the pan until it comes half way up to the potatoes. Lower the heat to a medium and cook the potatoes until they are done. This will take between 5 and 10 minutes depending upon how fresh your potatoes are, and you have to stir regularly.

When you can easily insert a fork through the potatoes without breaking them, mix in the spinach. Add salt to taste, you will need a fair bit to lift the spinach, and simmer for 5 minutes.





Fast food nightmares

20 07 2012

Long time readers will know that food is one of my favourite subjects to write about, in particular I have a sick fascination with crappy fast food.

If it has more fat than a pig, enough calories to stop 1,000 hearts and will clog not just your arteries but your toilet as well then I want to know about it. Not eat it, just marvel in it’s awfulness.

Recently I have stumbled across enough crimes against gastronomy that I decided it was time for another round up:

Chili’s Awesome Blossom

How the hell do you manage to turn a harmless little onion into such a festering piece of crap?

Well somehow the good folks at Chili’s managed it. Kudos guys, kudos.

I have actually eaten an Awesome Blossom and let me tell you the only thing awesome about it was the mess that a visit to Chili’s made in the bathroom when we got home.

We shared this monstrosity between 5 of us and not a single person enjoyed it.
Crunchy deep fried crap over some slimey, gooey onion all dipped in a tub of bright pink, tepid goo…what’s not to love?

KFC Mashed Potato Bowl

Correct me if I’m wrong but this looks suspisciously like someone vomited in a bowler hat and then took a dump atop the whole vile mess.

According to KFC this is not an item of milinery filled with vomit and turds but is actually a tub filled with mashed potatoes, layered with sweet corn, and “loaded” with pieces of fried chicken. To really tip this over the edge they then top it off with gravy and cheese.

Mmmmm, doesn’t tht sound good. You are right it doesn’t.

I will admit to being surprised at KFC, I didn’t think they could dream up anything worse than the Double Down. But somehow they pulled it off, this looks like you could place it directly in the toilet and just cut out the tedious business of eating this crap.

Chocolate Thunder from Down Under

That’s right someone actually called a food substance “Chocolate Thunder from Down Under”, if that doesn’t set warning bells rining in your ears I don’t know what would!

The name brings to mind an immediate, urgent need to evacuate ones bowels. Possibly in a rather messy fashion.

Luckily for punters at Outback their version is just a desert

“An extra generous pecan brownie is topped with rich vanilla ice cream, drizzled with our warm chocolate sauce and finished with chocolate shavings and whipped cream.”

Now I know what you are thinking, that doesn’t sound too bad, what is he on about?

Well for starters there is that name, I just don’t trust it. Secondly this thing is pretty much death on a plate:

Nutrition Facts

Amount per Serving
Calories 1,220
Calories from Fat 702.0
 
That is half  of a full grown man’s calorific intake and over 120% of the recommended daily intake of fat. From desert, that’s food you eat after you have had your food.
 
Thirdly I just don’t dig the Aussie theme. When I think of the great cuisines of the World Australia just never crosses my mind, after all this is the country that gave us the meat pie floater.
 
Aussie Cheese Fries
 
Just to get you headed in the right direction for your Chocolate Thunder from Down Under what better side dish to tuck into than a big, dirty plate of Aussie Cheese fries….
 
 
 Mmmm doesn’t that just look like a treat?
 Well actually it doesn’t, it just looks like a mess. How the hell can a “restaurant” serve this crap?
 
Topping the scales at a whopping 2,900 calories the Aussie fries are liberally smoothered in bacon and a radioactive looking orange gloop laughably referred to as cheese.
 
I wouldn’t serve this shit to a mortal enemy, let alone charge money for it.
 
On the Border Grande Taco Salad with Taco Beef
 
Hmm a salad, sounds good hey? Wrong!
 
This “Taco Beef” salad some served in an edible bowl made of deef tried tortilas…mmmh well that is guaranteed to help you drop that dress size




Chilli and lime coconut ice cream

10 07 2012

I know it may sound a little odd to have chilli as one of the key flavours in an ice cream but trust me it is really subtle and really,really good.

The chilli, lime and coconut blend together wonderfully to give a real tropical / South-East Asian vibe.

Enjoy,

Ingredients.

800ml  coconut cream or coconut milk
250g caster sugar
4 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
8-10 limes
250ml double cream
1 litre ready-made vanilla custard

Method:

Juice your limes and set to one side for later

Pour the coconut milk/ cream into a pan and bring to the boil. As soon as reaches boiling point remove from the heat and add 250grams of caster sugar and the lime juice. Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely

At this point add your chopped chillies and the zest of two limes and leave to infuse in the mixture until it is cool.

Once the mixture has cooled add in the 250ml of double cream and the litre of ready-made vanilla custard.

Pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container and freeze. Stir your ice cream once an hour for the first 3 or 4 hours it is in the freezer to break stop any large ice crystals from forming.





Beef and Green Olive Tagine

5 07 2012

We’ve some people coming over for dinner on Saturday night and whilst it might only be midday on Thursday I can already feel myself being completely lazy.

I know shocking isn’t it!

Seeing as how I am suffering from premature laziness I have decided it is time to break out some good old fashioned one pot cooking. In this case a lovely, healthy beef and green olive tagine – yum.

Just a quick aside before I launch into things. A tagine is actually the name of the special conical pot which is used for cooking, not the name of the sauce, just wanted to clear that up as one of my colleagues has spent the past 15 minutes arguing pointlessly about it.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds stewing steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp  cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp tomato puree
4 shallots
1 large potato
2 large carrots
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt
1/2 jar of pitted green olives
Olive oil

Method:

Mix together the paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger, and garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Add the beef and toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Heat the  about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of the tagine and fry the chopped shallots, potatoes, and carrots until they begin to color and soften. Remove and set aside for later.

Add the beef and brown on all sides. Return the vegetables to the tagine along with the chopped tomatoes and any remaining marinade. Cover and cook over a low heat for 3 to 4 hours or until the beef is tender.

Add the parsley, season with salt, and stir in the olives. Continue cooking for 15 minutes.





Spicy shrimp pasta salad

14 06 2012

 In honour of last weekends double birthday and our recent engagement we decided to throw a bit of a party last Saturday.

Now even though the weather seems to have decided otherwise it is actually Summer here in Ireland and as such that means it is time for me to break out the BBQ.

If there is one thing that every good BBQ needs to really tip it over the edge it is pasta salad…

Yeah, yeah I know what you are thinking how old school and boring can you get but I love pasta salads.

As for being boring my spicy shrimp pasta salad is anything but!

 

Ingredients:

500g fusilli or farfalle pasta

200g shrimp (shells and heads removed)

2 red bell peppers

1 piri piri chilli (you can use a jalapeno if you like)

1 large dill pickle

Good quality full fat mayonnaise (I make my own but you don’t have to)

Heinz tomato ketchup

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp cognac/brandy

2tsp Smokey Paprika powder

1tsp Cayenne pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

Cook the pasta, drain and set aside to cool

Cook your shrimp and leave to cool (if you are tight for time this is one of the only times I would advocate those bags of frozen shrimp)

Deseed and chop your bell peppers into 1/4 inch cubes

Finely chop the dill pickle

Combine together equal amounts of ketchup and mayonnaise with the cayenne pepper, paprika, lime juice, chopped chilli and brandy and mix until you have a light pink coloured sauce with a nice smooth consistency.

Add the pickle, bell pepper and shrimp to the pasta and mix together well, then pour over the sauce and make sure everything is well coated.

 





The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, & Flavorings

24 05 2012

Hi Chums,

It has been rather a while since I last recommended a book to the World at large ,that would be you lot by the way.

In the main this is because I have been far too busy working on my own cookery book which will be launching rather soon. Hint Hint…

As such it is rather fitting that the book I am all in a lather about is one that dovetails nicely with my own.
The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, & Flavorings 

The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, & Flavorings

Here is what those nice chaps over at Amazon have to say about it:

“An illustrated sourcebook to these all-important cooking ingredients includes information on more than two hundred herbs, spices, essences, edible flowers and leaves, aromatics, vinegars, oils, teas, and coffees”

I on the other hand will stick to simply issuing an instruction –

IF YOU COOK  AND DON’T OWN A COPY GO AND BUY ONE. NOW.

Not quite Wordsworth but hopefully the point comes across. I very rarely encounter anything that I look at and think wow this is something which everyone should own. However on this occasion I really am that impressed.

Not only are they lots of high quality pictures, excellent descriptions of various herbs, spices and flavourings and their uses but there are also over 200 recipes so you can leap straight in and start applying all this new-found knowledge.








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