Sunday, 11 August 2013

Crusty Rolls

I just spent 3 perfectly good study days in bed with flu.. So my hopes of finding some free time for the cooking, photographing and writing about food have gone the way of becoming a jazz singer. I'll have to settle for a very quick drop-by with an old recipe!
There is nothing better than good bread and butter.. Whenever I've tried making bread at home, it's tasted uncomfortably of yeast. But not this one! This one was amazing.. It does make a lot though- so halve or save for a party? I love you Foodie Bride. And get some good old salted butter- it's totally worth having some in the fridge along with the unsalted baking stuff!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Mom's Beef Stew

You know how you think stew is going to taste when you see it? That meaty, salty, comforting taste. This stew is purely that. It's almost nothing but beef itself, with potatoes added in the end. The flavour comes from the beef mixed with super super caramelised onion, with just a tiny bit of carrot. This is my mom's showstopper- the thing that always makes her kitchen a happy place, even when times are difficult.

I've realised something recently- I really really love this little blog of mine. I share the recipes close to my heart and, when I'm not too shy, I try to share some of my life and my crazy female mind with you. I'm so grateful for you. I love that you come here to read my my silly thoughts, find out about my insecurities and hopefully agree with my naive belief in happiness and love and relationships. I hope I'll start hearing more from you when you're ready too!

I've been missing all this while working and studying very hard, but I plan to come back with just crazy amounts of sweets, cakes, warm suppers, fancy breakfasts, delicious salads and pretty much anything you can use to treat well deserving loved ones in December. For now I'll keep posting once every couple of weeks- as often as I can find a moment in which I'm not much to tempted to sleep.

Mom's Beef Stew
From my mom

Serves 4

1 kg chuck beef
3 onions
1 carrot
3 cloves garlic
3 medium potatoes

1) Clean the meat, taking off the bones and cleaning off most sinew and fat.
2) Chop the onion finely.
3) Cut the carrot into batons (julienne but slightly thicker).
4) Heat up about half a tablespoon of butter and some olive oil in a cast iron pot on a medium-high heat.
5) Fry the beef until browned and caramelised.
6) Turn down the heat, and add the onions and carrots.
7) Once the onion is caramelised, turn the heat to low, add a bit of water to keep it from burning, and cover with a skewed lid.
8) Cook for 4 hours, stirring and adding bit of water as needed every 20 minutes or so. By this point it should be all saucy and irrisistible- keep sticky fingered husbands away, while you get the rest ready.
9) Dice the potatoes and add them, continuing with the water and stewing until they're tender.
10) Serve to now openly salivating loved ones. This stew goes down very well on cold winter nights.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Duck Breast with Green Peppercorns

I'm not a bit fan of the fancy. I have no time for men in suits and ties unless they have a redeeming feature, like messy hair or a tie with tiny ducks in a row. In my opinion whimsy is the only thing that can save the fancy. 

The same goes for restaurants. It can't be all show- ingredients that I don't recognise, used to think of as cute pets and frankly, scare me, just don't go down well for no good reason. As with men in suits, I have met too many fancy restaurants which are just fancy and nothing else. This has, sadly, tainted my relationship with duck. And duck, let me tell you, is absolutely wonderful.

My cake magician friend Erin chose this dish from the Larousse to make for her boyfriend for Valentines Day, and it was just so romantic and sweet, I had to try it for Ralph. Of course with Ralph he had to watch me make it, photograph it, and then eat it slightly colder than he would have liked. Poor Ralph..

I loved the flavours in this dish- and it's so rare to have such wonderful depth with such a simple cooking method. The sauce was memorably amazing, and I loved this method of cooking rice like a risotto- it made it so much more interesting and tempting than the usual lump of white. I'll definitely be trying it again.

Duck Breasts with Green Peppercorns on a Bed of Rice

2 x duck breasts
125 ml chicken stock
1/2 cup Basmati rice
500 ml- 1 litre chicken stock
1 tblsp green peppercorns
60 ml cream

1) Heat up a small knob of butter with some oil in a heavy-based saucepan on a medium-high heat. Once it's hot, place the duck breast on it, skin side down. Turn the heat down to medium.
2) Let the breast stay breast side down for as long as possible. You want to cook as much of the fat under the skin off as possible, without burning the skin.
3) Turn the breast over and brown the underside of the breast. Then add chicken stock and the peppercorns. Cook until the breast is not quite medium, then take off the heat, add the cream and keep warm.
4) To make the rice, melt a tablespoon of butter in a small pot on a medium heat, add the rice, and fry it for about 2-3 minutes, giving it a nice sizzle.
5) Add about a cup of chicken stock.Cook until the stock has been absorbed, then add another cup. Once the second cup is absorbed, taste the rice for doneness. Now you keep adding cups of stock until the rice is done. Season to taste.
6) Serve this rich caramelised duck on top of the rice and pour a spoonful of sauce over the finished dish.  Enjoy at a candle lit dinner with wine and the person you love the most in the whole world.