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Despite the threat of a downpour, I had a Honk of Pork that needed heat and smoke!
So after knocking up a quick orange juice and pineapple marinade and leaving it to soak up the flavours for approx 4 hours, it was ready to go.
Luckily I had cleaned the BBQ after it’s winter hibernation when we had that last heat wave in April, so it was ready to go.
I filled up the chimney starter with coals and 10 minutes later it was cranking out a good 200 degree heat.
On with the pork in a roasting pan and using indirect heat for about 2 and half hours (it could have taken longer but we were starving) and here is the finished product.
A good start to the BBQing year – yeeehaaaah!
It’s amazing what you find when walking the dog! Three Cornered Leeks!
I thought they were just white bluebells but on closer inspection and some googling I discovered they are a Mediterranean delicacy called the Three Cornered Leek or Allium triquetrum
So I decided to cook them with some roast chicken. I basically braised them like you would a leek and added the edible flowers as a garnish.
How did they taste? – Like a mild version of a leek without three corners.
It’s been a while but after a slight break from blogging, 4 years to be exact, GarysKitchen is back with a simple but effective ‘Ultimate Steak and Nachos’ recipe.
First the Steak. Forget Sirloin, Rump Rib-Eye or Filet and go for a Flat Iron Steak (also known as Feather Steak). It is cheaper but better than the rest and with this simple cooking method it guarantees perfectly cooked medium rare steak very time.
First cut off any membrane and then rub with olive oil and season liberally with freshly ground salt and pepper. then heat your heavy bottomed pan to a high heat and slap down the steak for 5-6 minutes, then turn and give the other side another 5-6 minutes, then rest it for 5 minutes. This is important and really makes sure the steak is cooked to perfection.
Then carve into thin strips and voila – perfectly cooked medium rare steak!
Now to the Nachos.
Prior to cooking the steak put a sweet potatoe in the oven to cook through – about 15-20 minutes should do.
Then in the pan that you cooked the steak, fry off some mushrooms and thickly sliced red onions.
Once the sweet potatoe is cooked – remove skin and chop into small pieces. Then make one layer of nachos and add some of the mushroom and red onion mix and half of the cooked sweet potatoe. Then grate some cheese over the top – cheddar is fine.
Then make another layer and repeat.
Pop it into the oven to heath through and melt the cheese.
Whilst cooking, chop some cherry tomatoes, avocado and some fresh basil and once cooked sprinkle over the top.
Drizzle some alliolli (garlic mayo) over the top and you have the Ultimate Nachos.
2013 wasn’t a prolific year for blogging but the chaps at wordpress do prepare a nice little report showing this years stats.
Interesting that many people found my blog searching for Duncan Norvelle – WTF?????
This year GarysKitchen decided to honour the best TV show ever and have a Breaking Bad themed Christmas meal.
Trying to link each course to a Breaking Bad theme or episode took some doing, but thanks to the power of the internet the Walter ‘White’ Christmas meal was developed.
Firstly to the Little Black Pig who provided the main event of a Norfolk Black Turkey and other wonderful meats.
A special thank you goes to Kate from the Little Black Pig who personally delivered the turkey on Monday 23 December, which if people recall saw severe winds hit the UK with chaos on the roads.
But after hours on the road, Kate delivered the box of goodies
With all ingredients ready the marathon cook started on Christmas eve and the Breaking Bad menu started to come together.
The opener saw us say ‘Salud’ and celebrate episode 10 of Season 4 with a glass of Zafiro Anejo with each glass topped with sky blue crystal meth.
This little liverner kicked off proceedings nicely and everyone settled down to enjoy an amuse bouche of a tomato consomme shot with a mozzarella pearl. This celebrated the pink teddy bear eyeball seen floating in Walt’s pool in episode 1 of season 3.
The lab effect was improved by some nifty glass measuring beakers bought by son of Garyskitchen – seen in the photo below.
The amuse bouche was followed by a meat starter of mini Heisenbergers. I love this play on words but can not take the credit for this as Heisenbergers are awash on the internet. Our mini Heisenbergers were Dexter beef in home baked mini rolls, with sky blue cheese and pink onions (again referencing the pink teddy bear).
Accompanying the Heisenbergers were a selection of madrigal dipping sauces from Season 5, episode 2.
This course celebrated the legend that was Gus Fring and the fish stew he cooks for Walt in Season 3, Episode 11.
Now by this stage the party was in full swing and we did not take any photo’s of the bird but we did manage one photo of a full plate – although I think it looks pretty horrible.
The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted some butternut squash on the plate. This deserves a special mention as this is the homegrown butternut squash from my Mystery Plant and it was very tasty too.
After the main event we were flagging but we all managed to move on to the dessert which was in honour of Gale Boettichers coffee brewing as seen in Season 3, so a light dessert of Cafe Glaze, with a cookie referencing Saul Goodmans classic quote of referencing his secretary Franchesca as HT and a light sprinkling of contaminated Chilli P, from Jesse’s signature cook.
GarysKitchen also did a Black Forest Gateaux. I have no idea why but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
After four hours of feasting, we all needed a little pick me up and thanks to Walt we weren’t let down.
And even Skylar made it an A One Day
It’s the latest foodie craze – cooking on a budget.
And then there are the other celebrity chefs jumping on the bandwagon – The really skint Gordon Ramsey is having to cook at home, rather than in one of his 13 UK restaurants – poor old Gordon.
The really annoying Nigel Slater is having to resort to collecting windfalls from his orchard – poor old Nigel.
The really patronising BBC is telling us to bake our own bread or make friends with a butcher!
And finally the really nasty Tories are even telling us to save money by putting on a jumper!
One positive mention though for the moneysaving guru, Martin Lewis who has been giving us decent advice for ages.
So, in the true spirit of togetherness, and hopefully not as patronising, although for those who are really struggling I am sure it is, GarysKitchen is jumping on the bandwagon and here is my recipe for a really cheap, but high quality, three course Sunday lunch.
GarysKitchen menu consists of the following:
Starter – Vegetable Laksa
Main meal – Organic Half Leg of Lamb (totally patronising but you’ll see why) with all the trimmings
Pudding – Apple, Plum and Cherry Crumble with Custard
The total cost for this meal is £14.69 for four people with plenty of leftovers, so £3.67 a head.
I’ve had a go at providing a full cost breakdown and if you check out Jamie’s mothership lamb (no mention of starter or pudding) at over £15, you’ll see that I have beat him hands down.
So how did GarysKitchen manage this money saving feat?
here goes with my budget starter of Vegetable Laksa.
One Malay Taste Laksa kit – Free. Now this was because they were doing a cashback offer and I got the kit absolutely gratis.
Some chopped vegetables – red pepper, green pepper, mushroom, red onion, pumpkin.
So a starter for about 50p.
Here are my ingredients and kit ready to go.
Next, on to the main course of a Organic Leg of Lamb. I took Martin’s advice and bagged a reduced organic half leg of lamb for £7.89, rather than the original £11.78. Now I know that this is still a hefty price tag but I do not like to buy cheap meat (I accept that I can afford to make this choice and many other people don’t have that option) but even forgetting the organic badge, £7.89 is still cheap for a decent lump of meat and this is a recipe for quality food remember.
So how to make this lamb even more quality – marinading of course.
So I picked some rosemary, thyme and mint from my Garden (oh no, I am turning into Nigel Slater – Well not quite as we have a tray of mixed herbs that the slugs haven’t managed to devour) which I chopped up with 3 garlic cloves and some lemon zest – about 20p’s worth.
And then I smothered the lamb in this mix and left it marinate for a few hours.
Now onto all the trimmings.
Potatoes – I am a bit fussy about potatoes and like Albert Bartlett Rooster red potatoes, they are a bit more expensive at £2.00 for 2kgs but they are nice and make great roasties. so I used about 75ps worth
Parsnips – I always buy my veg loose as it is cheaper and 4 parsnips came in at about 90p
Mashed Celeriac – 80p for a whole celeriac, I used about half so 40p
Roasted Carrots – 30p
Sweetheart Cabbage – again about 40p worth
Peas – sorry Petis Pois – about 50p worth
Yorkshire puddings – Why make your own when Aunt Bessie does a great job at £1.00 for 12, so 8p each
Gravy – Make your own with the roast juices and a stock cube at 15p
All in all the trimmings came to about £4.00
So £11.89 for the main meal
Finally, the pudding. Now I really have gone all Nigel here but rather than getting windfalls from my own orchard, I bagged some from my father in law – so free apples.
I then had some leftover plums about to go rotten in the fruit bowl, so about 30p worth and then the final ingredient really is the middle class pièce de résistance – cherries picked from our own tree in Kent! Now these too were free (well apart from the cost of petrol driving to and from Kent twice) as we were bought a rent a cherry tree as a christmas present and harvested a load of cherries.
So our freezer is full of cherries, here are some frozen ones
And here they are being stewed.
and potted into the ultimate middle class accessory – the Kilner jar!
Anyway, GarysKitchen has loads of free cherries!
Next the crumble mix.
Butter, flour, some porridge oats, brown sugar and ground almonds – what do you reckon, about a quid?
And finally custard – again why make your own when ambrosia does 500g for a quid.
So total pudding coming in at about £2.30
Here are the finished articles
and all three together
Whilst pottering in GarysKitchen garden recently, I noticed that a strange plant had sprouted up next to my compost bin.
It looked pretty impressive and after a bit of Google research I have decided it is some kind of Cucurbita moschata most probably a butternut squash, from a rogue seed that was dumped into the compost.
Here is the plant in it’s early stages
Here it is a few weeks later
As you can see it is growing at a heck of a rate and I am hoping that it will produce some fine produce in the Autumn. On the other hand I could end up with something like the Little Shop of Horrors.
It is now nearing the end of August and the mystery plant keeps on getting bigger.
The butternut squash are getting bigger
The monster keeps growing. We’re well into October and the not so mystery plant still keeps growing and we have some massive butternut squash.
I am going to leave them as they seem to be growing nicely and I suppose they’ll be harvested before the first frost.
Well I couldn’t wait for the first frost as it is getting colder and my mystery squash didn’t seem to be doing much on the vine.
So they’ve been harvested and here they are in all their green glory.
Now my understanding is that after a few days on the windowsill they will turn the normal beige colour of butternut squash – fingers crossed.
Great British Bake Off is back – Series 4 – CAKE, kicked off last night with absolutely no changes.
The winning formula of signature bake, technical challenge and showstopper remain with the only change being 13 (a bakers dozen) contestants, and they even looked reassuringly familiar.
Paul and Mary said the same things “good bake” and “nice texture”, the baking catastrophes were the same with Toby mistakenly adding salt instead of sugar aka John Whaite’s rumbabas in Series 3. Even Mel and Sue’s jokes were familiar, although the tiny temper chocolate gag was new.
So to celebrate the new series here is a photo of Son of GarysKitchen birthday cake.
and for my overseas readers here is a link to the episode on Youtube
The snow has gone, the sun is shining and perhaps, just perhaps, spring is here – fingers crossed.
I’m tempted to spark up the barbeque, just in case this is it for our summer, but I’ll settle on a fantastic lamb tagine with the tastes of Morocco to remind us of those long forgotten summer evenings.
Lamb and butternut squash tagine ingredients:
- Half leg of lamb – cut into large dice
- Butternut squash – chopped into cubes
- 2 onions – sliced
- Ras el hanout spice mix
- Tinned tomatoes
- Lamb stock
For this tagine, I am using a half leg of lamb. I find that leg is better for tagines as it is less fatty and provides more bite to the meat, rather than the melt in the mouth of shoulder.
First cut the leg into large cubes.
Then make a lamb stock with the remaining leg bone – see my recipe here.
Brown off the meat in batches and rest in the tagine dish.
Then make up your Ras el hanout.
Ras el hanout is a blend of spices that you either buy or you can make up your own.
Here is GarysKitchen Ras el hanout made up of fresh ginger, garlic, chipotle chilli, lemon peel, harissa spice, cumin seeds, la chinata paprika, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground mixed spice, cardamom, saffron and finally sumac.
A special mention for sumac (the brown crumbly looking spice above) as I see that it is being mentioned a lot lately in cooking articles as the new super spice. Sumac is a tart lemony spice ideal for meat, fish or sprinkled on humous – try it.
Fry off the onions in the same pan and when golden add the Ras el hanout mix and cook off for a few minutes.
Add the tin of tomatoes and the lamb stock and bring to a gentle simmer, add the butternut squash and then pour over the lamb.
Put the lid on and place into a low oven for about 2 hours, or when the lamb is tender.
Serve with couscous, homemade humous and flatbreads – spark up the shisha pipe and Morocco here we come.
Rugby does not get better than this….Wales 30 – England 3!
and here is an extract from the god who is JPR Williams
I was in tears when I heard the nation deliver the most rousing pre match rendition of Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau that I have ever heard.
It must have been so intimidating for an England side, many of whom had never played here before. They fell apart.
And it got better and better and better as the afternoon went on. I do not even want to talk about England’s shortcomings or the frailty that I saw against Italy seven days ago.
I could go from one to 15 and wax lyrical about each and every member of the side on Saturday, they were that good
Oh and to top it all off the big mouthed idiot Austin Healey has weaseled out of his one pound twitter bet with every Welsh person – Muppet