A wonky picture of a delicious supper, not sure how much wine The Man and I had drunk before this got to the table but it looks like quite a lot!
This is a retrospective post as I made this in spring using British Asparagus, it tastes so much better than anything flown in because it doesn’t have to travel as far so is fresher when it gets to you.
Very simply I fried the asparagus with olive oil, garlic and chilli until just about cooked and then added half a little gem lettuce per serving and cooked untill there is still a bit of crunch in everything (I had reservations about cooked lettuce but trust me its great). Served on top of a chunky slice of toasted bread and Caerphilly cheese it makes a gorgeous quick supper.
More random American food purchases, this time a can of Libby’s Pumpkin, it is just cooked pumpkin, nothing else I tasted it and I didn’t really like it in its natural state. But like many things, add a ton of sugar and some spices and it gets much more interesting. Yes folks Pumpkin Pie!
9 oz short crust pastry
2 beaten eggs
1 can of pumpkin
6oz granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 pt evaporated milk
Line a 9 inch flan tin with pastry and blind bake at 220° for 15 minutes, mix the other ingredients together and pour into the pastry case. Turn the oven down to 180° and bake for 40-50 minutes until a knife comes out clean. Allow to cool and serve (with squirty cream).
It got a great review from The Man, and I thought it was much nicer than I remembered (sorry Mum) a little like a custard tart which given the ingredients isn’t surprising and given my literal taste for Americana I would defiantly make it again.
I’ve already posted about the fab squash we grew on the allotment this year, and now it’s time to eat them. First up, the crown prince squash.
I hit my cookery books and the internet and finally settled on a Nigella recipe from her Christmas book but also published in the New York Times; Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin . She recommends cooking it as a vegetarian Christmas Dinner but it was Sunday dinner for us as well as lunch and dinner on Monday and Tuesday.
The hardest part was hollowing out the squash, but it looked beautiful, bight orange flesh contrasting with the steel-blue skin.
The filling, with rice, cranberries, clementine zest, ginger and allspice smelt very Christmassy was very simple again with the ingredients simmered for 15 minutes before being put into the hollowed out squash, the whole thing then went in the oven for 3 hours.
TADA! It looked lovely and tasted wonderful and it still did on Tuesday. We ate it with a ginger and tomato sauce from the original Nigella recipe (passata, a clove of garlic and ground ginger blitzed together) and it was gorgeous. It would work very well as a Christmas meal and would serve a lot of people, although it did need the sauce to stop it becoming dry, especially on Monday and Tuesday.
I don’t know why but I have a huge fascination with American packet mixes, maybe it’s because my mother doesn’t use things like that ( heaven forbid) or the fact that they are from America which to me at least still has an alluring otherness, mixed with something a little seedy but I am always intrigued by them. Living in an area with a reasonable number of Americans, some local shops have an American food shelf or isle means from time to time I end up buying something I don’t really need for the hell of it. Take Aunt Jemima pancake mix.
Pancakes are easy to make and I don’t think making up the mix from a packet is any quicker really. 1 cup of dry mix, 3/4 cup of milk 1 tbsp of oil and 1 egg, mix and leave to thicken. Pour 1/4 cup into a pan and turn when the batter begins to bubble. The pancakes were larger than I expected, with a dry fluffy middle and a not quite salty not quite sweet taste until covered in agave syrup and strawberries, yum.
Interestingly Aunt Jemima has been the source of some controversy as Wikipedia states “The term “Aunt Jemima” is sometimes used colloquially as a female version of the derogatory label “Uncle Tom”. In this context, the slang term “Aunt Jemima” falls within the “Mammy archetype”, and refers to a friendly black woman who is perceived as obsequiously servile or acting in, or protective of, the interests of whites. ”
Something to chew over with your breakfast!
I tried braised ox cheeks a few weeks ago in a really lovely pub The Man and I went to with some friends. They were incredibly tender and very rich and came served with smoked mashed potato, perhaps I should have gone back to the pub to eat it again, but no I decided to try it at home.
Braising the ox cheeks was quite straight forward, as a hard-working part of the animal they need long slow cooking, so they ( one each) went in the oven at 150° for 3 1/2 hours with a roughly chopped onion, a mixture of vegetable and chicken stock and a slug of beer.
Now for the mash, man oh man, I googled this and most recipes suggested smoking you potatoes a day in advance and I’d left it far too late but one recipe suggested smoking the milk ( haha). So I cut open one of the smoker bags The Man’s Mum gave us for Christmas; lined a pan with tin foil, wood chips on top, milk in a bowl on top of that, popped it on the heat untill the wood chips began to smoke and then popped a lid on until the milk was suitably smokey (very vague I know and is probably personal taste) and them added it to the potatoes as I mashed them.
In the end it was delicious, if time-consuming. Ox cheeks are a great cut of meat, very cheap and incredibly tasty, although previously looked down upon as a cheap cut and classed as offal which can make people squeamish. The mashed potato was awesome but very time-consuming to make so I have bought some liquid smoke to make the whole process faster and tastier.
Another quick solo supper, chilli prawn linguini and done in the time it takes to cook the pasta.
Put on as much pasta as you feel like and whilst it is cooking, fry a finely chopped clove of garlic and a finely chopped red chilli ( more or less if you like) when these have softened add some halved cherry tomatoes ( as many as you like depending on how hungry you feel, cook until the tomatoes release some of their juice and then a little of the pasta water. I picked this trick up off Nigella and it seems to work, the starch in the pasta water should help the sauce thicken a little to coat the pasta nicely. Drain the pasta and add the prawns (I used un cooked) to the sauce and cook until they turn pink. Add the pasta to the sauce and eat.