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Sunday, 26 December 2010

Tuna Belly Black Gigantes Beans (Ventresca με μαυρους Γιγαντες)

These are Gigantes beans (or elephant beans) from Prespes D.O.P - Γιγαντες Πρεσπων -
but the dish also works with Borlotti beans, or plain gigantes.
Afterall it is a version of ventresca & borlotti, which is a very common but wonderful dish.

For 3 as a 1st or 2 as a main;
-2 cups dried Borlotti or Gigantes soaked overnight covered in cold water & 1 tbsp of baking soda
-2 tins of good Ventresca / tuna belly as a main course (or fresh, seared on a pan- if you can find it)
 -1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
-1 pink onion / white will do to boil, and 1 more onion chopped finely, to bake.
- tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- good olive oil in abundance
- fresh parsley
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, if small more.

- Pre-soak the beans, adding 1tbsp of soda powder. This helps soften the shells, they get creamier - Next day rinse the soda off them well, and drain. Boil for 10 minutes, and drain again, put beans back in the pan and over with water, add 1 whole onion and 1 clove of the garlic, and boil gently for 1-1/2 hours.
* this re-boiling helps make them easier to digest and this works well with most beans, borlotti, lentils, etc.
When cooked drain partly, keeping 2 cups or so of the purple juicy water.
discard onion, leave the garlic.

- mix the beans and heir reserved juices with the rest of the chopped tomatoes and chopped onions / garlic, parsley and add plenty of olive oil & oregano and the vinegar.
Stir 1 cup water with the tomato paste and add.
But all this in a baking pan and bake, at 180c for 30-45 mins, checking they re not drying out, adding water in small amounts when needed to keep them creamy. You want the top to crisp a little while the bottom soaks and gets soft.

-REMEMBER NOT TO ADD SALT TO THE BEANS UNTIL THE END - their shells will toughen. Add salt at the end.

This so far is a pretty classic greek baked gigantes as my mum does it, though she doesnt add vinegar. I do.

When done, and the juices around the beans are a glowing yellow red oil while the beans taste smokey and creamy but still have a bite to them, you re done.
Now you can season, serve with the ventresca on top, and a slice of lemon and extra parsley.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Sea Bass in two ways, with linguine & Sauce Vierge (Λαβρακι με ζυμαρικα)

Sea Bass & in two ways, with Linguine & Sauce Vierge

20 minutes cooking & prep. time, easily.

Portions below for 1 person;

Sauce vierge;
ripe cherry tomatoes, around 1 good handful per person.
3 tbsp good oilive oil
pinch oregano
3 leaves fresh sage
pinch fresh rosemary
1/2 lemon juiced
1 small baby courgette, or the equivalent
1 banana shallot
1/2 glass dry white wine
pinch red pepper flakes
pinch capers in salt (de-salted in some water)

You need 2 small bass fillets for each person, half of which you ll skin (or ask your fishmonger to do this) and half will stay skin-on, but with the skin scored. Those will be the crispy ones.

-First, chop the cherry tomatoes in tiny bits and rinse in a sieve to remove most seeds. Chop the shallots too, and the courgettes, really fine thin little squares.
Mix in a bowl with some salt, pepper, lemon, oregano, rosemary, 1tbsp of good olive oil and leave, to sit, for around an hour. If you dont have much time then even 10 minutes is better than none.
The tomatoes will cool down and their juices will mix with the shallots and garlic, the oil gets infused too.

Now you can skin half the fillets, by putting them skin down on a chooping board, and sliding a sharp small knife behind them, cutting while holding the skin down firmly. This is easier than one may think.

-chop the skinned bass in 2cm squares.
-Score the skin of the other fillets, and salt it, let it sit for 10 minutes at least and pad dry/ removing most of the salt. This helps the skin crisp up and gets rid of some of the water in the fish.

-When ready to eat;
- Cook your linguine until almost done. They ll cook more in the sauce.

- Heat the garlic & red pepper flakes in some oil. When it starts browning, take the garlic out. Then quickly fry the tomato mixture, not letting it brown, stirring. When dry add the wine, until it evaporates. Add the diced fish and cook for 2 mins or so, stirring. Set aside.

Heat some more oil, and add the skin-on fillets, skin down. Press down lightly and cook for very little, just as you see the top of the flesh turning opaque/white, take off the heat.

Keep warm in an oven at 100 or less, if you d like. Stir the pasta in the tomato/bass sauce, and serve with the crisped fillets o top or on the side. Serve with some fresh breadcrumbs on the pasta and some chopped parsley sage & raw olive oil, making sure nothing moist goes on the crisped fillets as it will soften them .

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Crisped Halibut with Its Stock Reduced, On Roast Garlic & Courgette Puree

Crisped halibut steak on courgette /roast garlic potato puree and halibut stock reduction.

You could do this with big sea bass fillets too, but they d cook a little quicker. You need some bones for the sauce / stock though.
2- halibut fillets, skin on, with the big middle bone left on. (see below)
3 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 courgette
3 potatoes
olive oil
1 lemon
red pepper flakes
coarse salt (will be ok ish with ground too)
fennel leaves

Dead simple;

-Bone the halibut steaks, cutting it through around the bone, with scizzors or a sharp knife. Or have your fishmonger do this for you.
Keep the bones. cut the fillets so that they only have one skin-on side. you ll end up with thin quarters, like half a fillet .

Pad dry the halibut steaks after rinsing them under the tap.
Score them, cutting through the skin - but not the flesh- in thin strips, every 1 cm or so, as you d score a duck breast. Salt it with coarse salt and let it sit for an hour.

*Meanwhile ; boil the potatoes and fry some courgettes sliced thinly, in some oil & red pepper flakes. Preheat the oven at 200. Stick in the garlic for a few minutes, unpeeled, in a little water and oil.

When the courgettes are nicely browned take off the heat. Once the potatoes are soft, drain and mash with a fork or through a passatutto / food mill what have you. Mix in the courgettes and once the garlic is roasted mash that with a mortar or a fork, and stir in.
Season well, you can serve these now, or reheat / crisping them in the oven formed in little balls.

- The stock;
Once you ve remoned the bones, put in 2 cups water in a small saucepan, with 1 bay leaf, oregano, fresh parsley, a lemon wedge and 1/2 cup white wine, pepper and salt and a clove of garlic, and 1 shallot sliced in half. Let this simmer slowly, part covered, it will thicken into a lovely stock. Keep adding water when its too dry, you dont want it to scortch..
You ll thicken this sauce with some flour dilluted in a little water, right at the end.

When everything is almost done, rub the salt off the fish, and fry skin down, on a littlel olive oil, on high heat, turning down to mid-low as soon as you put them in the pan.
You ll see the flesh getting opaque, a couple of minutes depending on the thickness of the steaks, once the middle / sides are opaque and the top looks about to get there too, take off the heat and drain on paper towels. Residual heat will finish them off.
* Just before you finish the fish, you add some bunches of fennel leaves, just the whispy green ends, roughly chopped - fry a couple of seconds next to the fish.

Sit the fish on the potato cake, drizzle the stock around the cake, not on the crusty fish, and add the fried fennel leaves on top.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Tuna Steaks In Wine, With Fennel Seed, Sage, Lemon & Wild Caper Sauce

 Its important to have good capers, and good herbs for this. And obviously the fish matters too!

1st step;
Dip the steaks in white wine and a pinch of sage and marinade for 1hr. discard the sage from the marinade after its ready to cook.

2nd step;
5-6 leaves fresh sage chopped,
pinch of fresh parsley chopped,
1 sprig fresh rosemary chopped,
a little salt & plenty black pepper,
juice of 1 lemon,
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Wild capers in salt (Dont use vinegar or brined ones, just the ones in dry salt, and de-salt them first in a cup of water, rinsed)
pinch of fennel seeds
pinch of good oregano (throubi)
A little olive oil.

stir all the above (without the capers) well with a fork or in a mortar & pestle. They ll make a coarse salsa.
The capers will be added just before you serve.

-When the Tuna is done marinading & you re ready to eat ;
pad the steaks dry, and keep a little of the marinade.

-Heat a griddle pan til smoking hot.

-Rub a little of the herb salsa on the tuna, and add salt - cook on the very hot griddle pan 1 minute each side or less, and take off the pan & keep warm.
-Turn the heat down and deglaze any juices with the remaining marinade (wine). add the rest of the salsa and the capers, and a drop of water, stir and spoon the sauce on the tuna.

Serve with potatos sliced thin & roasted in lemon and oregano, with sauteed pomodorini & fine beans

Friday, 24 September 2010

Sage Lemon Keftedes on Anchovy-Lemon Rigatoni

 4-5 leaves fresh sage,
1/4 white onion
2 cloves garlic
salt & pepper
a pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 cup bread soaked in milk
juice of 1 lemon
tablespoon of balsamic glaze, or teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
pinch of oregano

Blend in a mortar & pestle or mince in a blender & mix well with the meat. Any poultry mince will work well, pork too, i use turkey breast mince and sometimes veal. The quantities above are good for around 500 grams of meat, only use 3-4 meatballs per person, and refriregate the rest of the mixture for the next day, it will simply marinade better. Season well.

Leave at least 30 minutes to marinade lightly, shape into small balls and roll each one in a lightly floured surface.

Shallow fry for a couple of minutes, in a little olive oil, shuffling the pan or turning them over to cook evenly. Put out with a splash of white wine, and add the juices to the sauce below before serving.

- The pasta sauce

1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
1/2 cup shallots finely chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp tomato puree
3 tbspn olive oil
A pinch of Capers In Salt, de-salted ; use good wild salted capers, not those in vinegar or brine, or ommit.
2 pomodorini halved
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, whole.
4 whole anchovy fillets, broken into bits
low salt chicken stock, or fresh chicken stock
3 small courgettes, sliced thinly & sauteed in a griddle or a little oil.
5 sage leaves

start by gently sauteeing half the onion and the shallots together with the garlic clove in the olive oil.
A minute in, add the anchovies and red pepper flakes and cook very gently, without touching the anchovies, let them sit still.
About 3-4 minutes later when the anchovies look like they d disolve if you moved them, add white wine and let evaporate.
Add tomato paste, lemon, the sauteed courgettes, the pomodorini, the capers and the stock, bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer gently for around 30-40 minutes, stirring and adding water when dry. Thicken the sauce with some of the pasta water.

Just before serving, add the remaining sage to the sauce.

- For the pasta, cook just under the package instructions and shock in cold water, then when sauce is ready spoon half of it out of the pot & keep warm with the keftedes, finish cooking the pasta in the sauce, then serve with the rest of the sauce spooned with the keftedes.
Serve with Grana padano, grated, or just some more sage & lemon

Monday, 20 September 2010

Fresh Borlotti -or Green- Bean Pennete A La Grecque

The 'a la grecque' obviously indicates vegetables slowly stewed in tomato and olive oil, and this is indeed a perfectly symmetrical cross between my mother's way of stewing fresh beans in tomato, and a nearly classic pasta e fagioli (φασολι)

use fresh borlotti (χανδρες) podded, or beans, unpodded.

* A relatively novel way of using onions in a tomato sauce, which again hails to Mother, is to add half the onion later, after the first half (shallots in this case) was sauteed, which brings a far deeper richer and more raw onionness to the dish.
The crushed tinned borlotti are used as a thickener, and to add some more beany meatiness to the dish. Much in the way half of the borlotti's are crushed in a typical pasta e fagioli, but again, greeks go that extra mile, stewing it it all much longer, and softly.

I am pretty sure this would also marry well with fat egg pappardelle, or lasagne sheets broken in squares, though i havent tried it yet.

 Time; 1 hour and a bit.

You ll need ;
-2 banana shallots, (or one pink or white onion) finely chopped.
-1/4 white or pink onion, very finely chopped, or grated on a grater.
-2-3 plum canned tomatoes
-3 tbsp tomato puree
-olive oil
-good oregano
-bay leaf
-two handfulls of either podded fresh borlotti beans, or un-podded but trimmed chunky green beans, purple beans or what have you fresh
(about a bowl and a half's worth un-podded)
-red pepper flakes, a pinch
-Pennette, or penne if you cant find pennette
-pecorino romano
-1/2 cup canned borlotti beans, mashed (by hand or machine, just squeeze them with your fingers).

Start by gently heating the shallots in a healthy bit of oil, with the garlic just roughly crushed for a couple of minutes.
Then add the tomatoes ; squeeze out the pips with a sieve underneath, and crush them in your hand; then put in the pan, to cook with the onions, covered for the 1st 5 minutes on low heat.
Add the bay leaf, and red pepper flakes, and the beans. Add a cup of water or enough to cover the beans, and the finely chopped raw onion.
add salt generously, cover, bring to boil and lower heat once in full boil, to your lowest simmering setting.
Now take the lid off, and leave it ajar, not covered, not open. Simmer gently.
Leave, checking and stirring to make sure nothing is charring, for at least 30 minutes. If you re using fresh borlotti simmer at least an hour. Top up with water when dry.

Meanwhile ; Cook the pennette for 2 minutes less than the packet's cooking time. Drain and shock in cold water, drizzle some oil & stir, keep it till sauce is ready.

As around an hour has gone by, the sauce should be thickening - Add the mashed borlotti's and stir.
Add water from the pasta pot if needed, it should be a thick but generously moist sauce.
Add the pasta and cook for a couple of minutes, adding water when dry, until pasta is al dente - 1-3 minutes.

Add a drizzle of olive oil and some pecorino romano, and serve immediately. Best eaten once its not too hot and the flavours are settling.
And dont be embarassed to dip a slice of bread in the juices, its practically impossible to resist.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Awesome Basics (part 2)

The Beef Fillet Steak,
Or The Duck breast

Take a good steak (Thick, unpounded around 3-4cm deep) or a good duck breast.
Pad it really really dry. Salt it, with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt per steak / breast and leave it in your fridge, uncovered, for a day 24hrs at least.

The salt draws humidity out of the meat, (not its juices, just any water) and will make for an incredibly crispy texture when you cook it.

When you d like to cook these - a day is pretty much on the safe side, any more depends on how cured you want our meat and how fresh it was when you bought it- pad dry again.

* Preheat oven at 220degrees Celsius.

Now, if its the duck we re doing, score the skin with a sharp knife, very narrow strips going in one direction, every 3-4 mm or so.
If its beef, just look at it.

Heat a non stick pan to foundry levels, until smoking. No oil or anything.

rub some oil on your steak / if its a duck breast just a tad on the nonskin side.

Put on the pan and let it squeak, looking around the ridges to see it getting cooked - the flesh changes colour. Wait around 1-2 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the cut. But be courageous, nothing will reverse the overcooked meat, whereas the undercooked will probably finish cooking anyway in the oven!
Just before you stop, sear the side edges too, on high heat for 10 seconds or so each side.

as you ve seen the edges of the meat sealing, stick on a pan, and put in the oven, mid shelf, turn temp, straight down to 180 degrees, leave for 10 minutes.
Take it straight out, let sit for 5 minutes in room temp.

You cannot get this wrong.

Now. For complications, anything can happen to that steak, or duck, before its cooked;
You can rub some pepper, red, green, black, all of them. Ginger, garlic (rub a clove cut in half, using the cut side to rub on the meat.).
Crust it with good miso powder, crushed dried mushrooms (almost pulverised into a powder) etc.
Typically, at the end after you take the steaks out, you d deglaze the pan with wine, or stock, or water, or cream to make a sauce of your liking.
But theres plenty of those out there, and i just felt a safe fool-proof way of doing the basic part perfectly well, is more essential as a building block to a food blog.
I meant a recipe blog.

The Awesome Basics (part 1)

It seems trivial, but i shall tell you how to cook potatoes.

You ll need;
Water from a tap
Potatoes (good, waxy or floury, both have their merrits in this)
Olive Oil, preferably mild, but any will do.

You shall peel them, and cut them in 1,5cm - 2cm cubes.

Then you shall boil them, in enough water to cover them, for 6 minutes since they start boiling (covered ; and salt the water generously, and put them together with the water from the tap, not after its started boiling).

Then, simply drain and cool them running the tap on them, like you d do with pasta, and smother them with some more salt and some light favoured olive oil, with your hands. Shuffle them around in a baking pan, the LOWEST rimmed pan, or just a flat open tray, use what is your most shallow, most open walled baking vessel whatsoever.

Shuffle well, as this releases the startchy flouriness around the potatoes, and the oil will rub into their edges with the salt.
You need enough oil to coat even a little tiny bit of all of them.

 Wait 10 minutes, let them sit, they ll cool down and the oil will sink in a bit more.
Meanwhile put your oven at 220.

Stick in the oven, mid to low shelf, and leave there for 20 minutes. Check to see how crisp they get.

The floury texture soaked in oil just around the surface of the potato but still just steamed in the middle is a treat.

Elaborated simplicity part 1.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Sausage From Sardegna, Sardinian Sausage

Dry Sardinian Sausage
Salsiccia Sarda.
Dry, cured, dark deep musky fennely sardinian sausage


The bridge between the east and west, balkans greece and italy. The sardinian sausage.

Yes yes,

Sardinian Sausage.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Fresh Summer Tomato Sauce With Stock And Olive Oil

This is one of the staple luxuries that makes me fairly content to be alive ; to have access to this flavour of slowly stewed ripe tomatoes and olive oil, it is just such a coincidence that the incredible culinary wealth of this dish is directly proportional to its sensual flavour ;with a skimmed chicken stock, theres little or no saturated fats, the oil is the only substantial fat, and everything else is just bunches of vitamin fibre and lycoprene, which in stewed tomatoes (in oil) is even more present and easy to absorb, than in raw tomatoes. .
And for me theres also a bit of Mama 's kitchen in this. I dont remember if i d loved it as much as a kid but i cant remember myself at any point in time not being delirious with the rich simplicity of the maternal pasta in a midsummer tomato sauce.

* my Great-grandmother would always add an anchovy with the onions, or salted capers, and my mom never did chicken stock with this, but would add rosemary instead of basil, and cinammon too, and oregano at the end. As a note. The variations are endless really, this is inspired more from the long painfully slow greek oven-finished meat or vegetable stews, always stocky and caramelised, but in a meat-less sieved sauce version with a stock which tastes more latin than greek.

For the Stock;

4-5 chicken bones from legs, or 4-5 drumsticks. (meet wont be needed)
2 red onions, quartered.
4 chunky ripe fresh tomatoes ( almost over-ripe)
1 stick celery, whole.
1 bay leaf
1/2 bulb of garlic, unpeeled but bottom bit cut off.
2 carrots, cut in 3rds
rosemary, dried, a pinch.


For the sauce ;

olive oil
5 chunky ripe fresh tomatoes ( almost over-ripe)
1 stick celery, whole.
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 banana shallots, finely chopped.
black pepper
2 slices prociutto crudo
3  crushed cloves of garlic.
grana panado, or parmiggiano, or pecorino depending what you fancy.
Fresh basil, a handfull
splash of red wine

Spagghetti or chunky linguini, half a packet at the most.
Orzo pasta is also good in this, cooked in the stock itself.


- Step one ;

Take 5 of the tomatoes, and open in half, rinsing the seeds off them under a tap.
Put carrots, red onions, chicken, 5 of the tomatoes , bay and a bit of oil and salt & add the garlic unpeeled, in the oven at 200 for 25 minutes.
This will give the stock a roasty flavour.

Let the chicken cool down, then (if you used drumsticks with meat on them) remove the skin & meat and save for sandwiches or salads, or another ragu.. If you have just bones & cartilage, no need for that step.

Put everything including pan drippings (if anything is burns take it off, for example if the onions are too charred take the charred layers off them.) in a stock pot on a low flame.
Cover, add bay leaf, 1 celery stick, pepper, rosemary, add enough water to cover everything by 3-4 cm and let simmer for 2-3 hours. DO NOT bring to the boil.

After this, you can squeeze the veg and sieve the stock into a bowl. This should make you 2-3 cups of dense reduced stock.


Take the other 5 tomatoes, put on a bit of water and boil covered for 2-or so minutes to soak the skin. Take skins off, and crush them on top of a sieve, so you keep the juices.
Then rinse seeds under a tap and crush the flesh of the tomatoes or blend in a blended / or food mill / passatutto.

-Finely chop the shallots and fry with some salt, gently and covered for the first 1 minute , in 3-4 tbsp of olive oil until soft. I know it sounds like a lot of oil but it is the only fat in this meal and its glorious.
-Add remaining roughly crushed garlic, the last celery stick and the rest of the bay leaves
-and 2 tbspns tomato paste.
-splash of red wine, let evaporate.
-Add the Stock (2-3 cups) and the prosciutto chopped very finely. Bring to the boil and lower heat straight away, cover and simmer veeery gently for 1 hr at leats, until everything smells incredible and an emulsion of oil and tomato juices has been formed.

* Make sure its not boiling, or simmering agressively, we want it barely to simmer very gently.

If its too watery, keep uncovered and keep cooking on low flame. you want it a little thick, but not too much.
add basil just before serving.


Thursday, 22 July 2010

Pork Belly In Two Ways With Crackling Crisps & Soy

Pork Belly In Two Ways With Crackling Crisps & Soy

This is not as tough as it looks.
You basically make a nest for the pork to lay in, with veg chopped up and layed on a tray. The water that goes in (stock) keeps the fleshy part moist and lets things caramelise at the end, while the skin stays dry and crisps up until its separated etc.

you ll need;
-pork belly, one big joint whole or two (one cut in half).
-soy bean paste (korean is best, labelled Miso, its pure soy bean paste, or use a non-salty soy sauce if you cant find it)
-bay leaf x 2
-garlic crushed x 4 cloves
- banana shallots x 4 or 3 onions quartered / in 3-4cm thick cubes
 -2 carrots sliced in 2-3cm thick cubes
-stock (veg)
-cognac or white sweet wine
-Sea Salt (oodles)
-mustard, dijon
-rosemary, 1 bunch, fresh preferred.

Prepare the pork belly;
-score the skin well, in diamond shapes, making sure the skin is cut through but fat & flesh intact.
Prepare the brine;

Brine the pork belly ;
- bring a pan with water, 6-7 peppercorns 2 bay leafs and 1/3 cup sea salt, almost to the boil, and immediately take off the heat and rest - let cool.
This is the brine, emerse the pork in there and cover tight & refrigerate for a least 1 day.


When ready to cook, prepare the veg ; cut onions and carrots in 2-3cm blocks squareish, they ll function as a bed for your pork, so arrange them onto a tray, a baking tray that just about fits the pork bellies in.

clean the belly off the brine and pad dry.
Now sit it on the chopped veg already in the tray. Mix with the mustard and rosemary.

Heat up some duck fat or olive oil to Very very hot, smoking hot.
Carefully shock the skin of the pork with the hot oil, rubbing / pouring the excess off afterwards.

rub more salt into the skin and pad dry again. Real dry.

now carefully (DO NOT pour any of that water on the skin, it ll sog it) pour stock, enough to cover the veg and just about touch the lower sides of the meat 1-2 cm. It shouldnt touch the skin, i repeat.

 Put in a 180 celsius oven, if possible with fan on.

Leave it alone for a good 2 hrs, occasionally checking the pan hasnt dried out, always keep refilling the stock so that the veg s covered. Check often, its good to air the oven quickly so waters evaporate. No worries about the meat drying cause the stock underneath rehydrates it.

2 hrs later, check for any signs of crackling. The cut and age of the pork will make for differences in cooking times and crisping times.
Now you should let the water evaporate a little more, making sure theres no scortching but just about that , just a thin layer at the bottom. This allows the veg and the bottom of the pork to caramelise a little, and brown nicely with the sugars from the veg.

At around 2 and 1/2 hrs to 3, crackling should be forming hard & crisp.

Now take it out, and let rest.


Once the pork has cooled down, carefully remove the crackling. You want to separate the skin but leave the thin layer of fat attached solidly to the flesh!
Use a sharp flat thin knife, pulling the skin as you cut.

Let rest.

Now you have your sort of pave' of pork, and your crackling chips. Cut the chips in strips with a pair of scizzors,  in thin 1/2cm slices or so, leaving their width as it is.

Stick the crackling back in the oven until super crisp. 10-15 mins. Drain on paper towels for excess fat.

The flesh of the pork should be melted and supersoft. The cracklings crisp and dry.

FInishing;   salt the fat side of the pork pave' and heat a tiny bi of oil / duc fat in a non stick shallow pan ; on high heat, fry both sides of the pork, ending with the fat side down, Just for a few moments, you ll see the edges browning.
This will make a more gentle second crackling crisping the fat layer that was under the skin before you took it off.

Now take off the heat and let rest - take some of the stock and vegetables you ve reserved from the baking tray, and pour in the hot pan, deglaze with some sweet white wine or cognac, and stir to make a sauce. Add 1tsp of soy bean paste, and reduce gently not letting the soy cook.

Serve the sauce on the plate, put the pork pave' on top, then the crisps of the skin on the side.

You ll want a lot of crisp acidic salad with this, definitely french beans and a big appetite.

ps - the stock from this is a lot, you may want to keep some to toss noodles in or make a risotto. Its fatty but you can skim it to your liking by letting it cool and spooning off the fat top layer.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Purple Sprouting Broccoli & Garlic - Anchovy essence on Linguini

Purple Sprouting Broccoli & Garlic - Anchovy essence  on Linguni

Find good sprouting broccoli, although this works with tendersteam too, if you boil the stems soft first ; however they are endlessly more tasteful and better for this dish (they also cook easier, if using big broccoli heads, try cutting the broccoli stalks thin first).
* watch the salt on this, the anchovies should provide all of it, and the pecorino will add some more. So dont add any more.

-good thick linguini
-1 big bunch of p.s. broccoli,  or tenderspeam, stems separated from stalks, tops broken to florets.
-2 tbsp tomato paste
-dry white wine / or red *
-tin of plump peeled tomatos - Open the tomatoes with your hands and run under water, to remove the seeds.
-1 cup water
-6-7 cloves of garlic, smashed with the back of a knife and skin off.
-red pepper flakes
-pinch of flour
-2/3 tin of anchovies in oil. roughly de boned and split in halves.
-1 tiny drop of natural soy sauce
- Good olive oil
- Flat-leaf Basil, fresh

* Wine;
For this sauce you can use white or red, depending really on what you fancy drinking with it..  Either will make a great sauce, the white tangier and the red deeper.

Fry the brocoli stalks in a little oil, brown it lightly and then add hot water, cover and cook until al dente. 10 mins or so depending on broc type.
While the broc stalks are simmering, in another, smaller pan, fry in gentle heat, 6-7 anchovies, with the garlic (very gently) so it bubbles and makes a nice mess. 5-7 minutes in, when it gets dry and browny add the tomato paste, and brown a little more, then the whine and bay leaf.  stir the bottom so the anchovies are totally disolved. add red pepper flakes, a good pinch.

then add 1 cup water, and crumble the tomatoes with your hands into the mess. Cook the sauce for 10 miutes or so, then take out most of the broccoli & reserve. Add a pinch of flour and stir. Let the rest of the sauce simmer gently, until sauce is thickened, add a hearty laddle of olive oil . Right at the end add a 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves chopped & stir in.

When your linguini is ready;
Add a splash of the past water into the sauce.
Stir the pasta with the tomatoey sauce, and serve, adding the broccoli you reserved on top of each plate.
Grate pecorino

rich rocket pesto

you need;
-1 big bunch of italian rocket, washed & dried well
-juice of half lemon,
-juice of half an orange
-1 clove garlic, 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted (toast them without Any oils, for a few minutes on low heat)
- 1/3 red onion,
-1/2 teaspoon soy sauce,
-1 tiny pinch curry powder,
-1/4 cup olive oil,
-1/2 cup pecorino romano chunks, or grana Or parmigiano but pecorino is best.

-couple of leaves of basil optional.

Put in blender, blend.

This is a rocket pesto that works on its own right on pasta or as a dressing.

Anchovy reduction for lamb fillets / fish / poultry/ pasta

This is an extremely versatile sauce, which happily coats linguini, beef fillet, poultry, or sits on the side of a mild fish dish.

Put 1 -2 anchovies , 2 tbspns of their oil, 1 bay leaf and a garlic clove or two, smashed. And a tiny pinch of red pepper flakes.
Let gently heat up, on very low heat, and after 3-4 minutes start shuffling it around with a wooden spoon, pushing down and disolving the anchovies and garlic, like a heated-pestle-and-mortar.

As it becomes messy and darker add a splash of *white wine and a tablespoon of water.
Take off the heat and let cool.

* Cognac instead of wine is great for red meats, and so is butter in that case instead of oil.

-But you can substitute that stage with lemon for fish or poultry, and stock or water from a pasta pot if using as a pasta sauce.
-Another variant is to add 1 tspn of tomato paste in the beginning for a sweeter result to offset the saltiness of the anchovies.

Warm Salad Of Smoked Mackerel Topped With Poached Egg With Dijon Dressing

Warm Salad Of Smoked Mackerel Topped With Poached Egg With Dijon Dressing

For two as a main or hefty starter, you shall need;

-2 fillets Mackerel, smoked, peppered.
-2 tbspns mustard, dijon prefered (if your mustard is not too acidic add a tad of vinegar) -lambs lettuce -dash of soy cream or other light cream (dash = about 2 tbspns) -1/3 a big banana shallot, or 1 normal shallot -1 tsp olive oil, mild. -2 eggs, good uns. -splash of vinegar for the egg poaching.
-french beans, trimmed.
-Parsley to taste -red pepper flakes to taste.

-- Preheat oven to 220, and boil water in pan. stick mackerels when oven is hot for 10 minutes. Same time, bring a small pan of water (2 inch deep at least) to the boil, on High heat, it ll need it.
In that time; Boil beans til tender and drain. Less than 2-3 mins but it ll be about 10 mins if you count the mackerel bake. Start the water & over together.
-blend (in blender or by hand) the shallots, mustard, oil and cream. Thats the dressing!
-poach 2 eggs in the small pan of water, one each time ; remember to spin the water and add vinegar before putting in the eggs. Looks neater.
When 10 minutes are gone and your beans are done and your eggs are poached; (DONT HARD BOIL THE EGGS PLEASE, must be quite runny, the heat of the fish & beans will finish them off).
lay out lambs lettuce and roughly stir dressing in, onto 2 plates.
Place the beans on top of the lettuce/dressing.
Lay one mackerel on the centre of each plate (skin on or not, to taste).

Place a poached egg on each mackerel fillet.

dot with red pepper flakes and parsley.