Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fig Bread and Butter Pudding

For my good friend Sharilyn. (sourced from archives on the net)pud




200g/7oz butter
1 ready-made brioche loaf, sliced
200g/7oz Demerara sugar, plus icing sugar for sugaring the dish
150g/5oz figs, halved, soaked in brandy for at least one hour (preferably overnight)
500ml/17fl oz double cream, plus extra to serve
3 free-range eggs, beaten
3 free-range egg yolks, beaten
1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped out
100g/3½oz caster sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Butter the brioche slices generously, then cut the slices in half diagonally to create triangles.
3. Grease a 30cm x 20cm/12in x 8in ovenproof dish, then sprinkle with a little Demerara sugar. Place the brioche slices into the dish so that they fit together snugly, layering until you have added all of the brioche.
4. Sprinkle over half of the Demerara sugar, then add the figs. Finish by sprinkling over the remaining Demerara sugar.
5. Place the cream into a saucepan and place over a medium heat until just boiling, then remove from the heat.
6. Place the beaten eggs and egg yolks into a large heatproof bowl. Gradually add the hot cream, whisking constantly.
7. Add the vanilla seeds and caster sugar and stir to mix well.
8. Carefully pour the cream mixture over the brioche slices, until the dish is almost full, then leave to stand for at least 30 minutes.
9. Place the pudding dish into a large roasting tin, as deep as the pudding dish. Add water to the roasting tin until it is halfway up the sides of the pudding dish, then carefully place into the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until the custard sets.
8. Serve in the dish at the table dusted with icing sugar and with double cream poured over.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Baked Pork Chops With Parmesan Crust




Baked Pork Chops With Parmesan Sage Crust

Ingredients -

1-1/2 cups Italian Flavoured Breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese
1 tablespoon Dried Rubbed Sage
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon grated Lemon Peel
2 Large Eggs
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
4 Bone-in Centre-Cut Pork Loin Chops (each about 1 inch thick)
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Olive Oil


1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. Add Italian flavoured breadcrumbs, grated fresh parmesan cheese, dried rubbed sage, cumin, and grated lemon peel in glass pie plate.

3. Stir to combine.

4. Add eggs to medium bowl, whisk with fork until well beaten.

5. Place flour in shallow bowl or on plate.

6. Season flour with salt and pepper.

7. Dredge pork chops in flour. Shake off excess flour.

8. Dip chops in breadcrumbs.

9. Add pork chops to breadcrumb mixture and roll to coat all surfaces.

10. Add butter and olive oil to heavy ovenproof skillet. Heat over medium high heat.

11. Add breaded pork chops to hot skill. Cook 2 minutes per side until well browned.

12. Place skillet in preheated oven.

13. Bake 20-25 minutes, until pork chops are crispy on the outside.

Thursday, November 26, 2009




  • 2 pheasants or 2 ducks
  • 20g butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 rashers streaky bacon
  • 500ml red wine
  • 300ml good chicken stock
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 1 clove
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Small piece orange peel or ½ papaya, de-seeded and chopped
  • 10g dark chocolate, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/Gas 4.

2. Cut each pheasant or duck into 4 pieces. Melt the butter in a casserole dish and brown the pheasant or duck pieces lightly; you might have to do this in 2 batches. Remove the meat and add the chopped onions with a good pinch of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes until soft and brown, stirring occasionally.

3. Chop the carrots, celery, garlic and bacon, then add to the casserole and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add a good splash of wine to deglaze the casserole, scraping up any bits stuck on the base.

4. Return the meat to the casserole along with the remainder of the wine and the chicken stock. Heat through, then add the juniper berries, clove, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme and orange peel or papaya. Put the lid on and transfer to the oven for about 1¼ hours, or until the meat is cooked.

5. If you prefer an even richer, thicker sauce, pour off half the liquid into another pan and reduce briskly before returning to the casserole dish. Lastly add the grated chocolate, stirring in thoroughly, tasting as you go. You might want to add a little more! For a touch of South America, add a teaspoon of mild chilli sauce or a tablespoon of papaya jam with the stock.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Somerset pork chops

pork chops with cream and apples

  • 1/4lb butter
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 Cox apple, cored and cut into thick rings
  • 1 red apple, cored and cut into rings
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/8 cups dry cider
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large heavy skillet, over medium-high heat, melt half of the butter. Fry the pork chops on both sides until a nice golden colour. Transfer the chops to a 2 quart casserole dish with a lid, and sprinkle with thyme.
  3. Melt the remaining butter in the pan, and fry the onion and garlic until tender. Transfer them to the casserole dish. Fry the apple rings in the pan for a few seconds on each side to give them colour, then remove to the casserole dish. Sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Spoon any excess fat from the frying pan and pour in the apple cider. Stir to remove any flavourful bits from the bottom. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then pour over the pork chops and apples in the dish. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake the casserole, covered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pork chops are cooked through. Remove the pork chops and apples to a serving platter and stir the cream into the juices. Serve sauce over pork chops.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Asparagus and pumpkin risotto

  • 400g pumpkin
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 350g Arborio rice
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only
  • Approx 1 ½ litres hot chicken stock
  • 1 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 6-8 large asparagus spears
  • 8 baby asparagus
  • 100g sheep's cheese, grated
  • Truffle oil to drizzle
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1.Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C.

2.Peel and chop the pumpkin into small cubes. Place in a roasting dish and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven until soft - approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

3.Lightly fry the onion and garlic in hot olive oil until softened, then add the rosemary and cook for a further minute. Add the rice and stir for approximately 2 minutes until the grains begin to turn translucent. Add a ladleful of stock and stir until all the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding and cooking out ladles of stock until the rice is creamy and tender.

4.Meanwhile remove the woody ends from the larger asparagus and chop into inch long pieces. Steam the asparagus over a pan of boiling water until tender – roughly five minutes for the larger spears and three minutes for the baby ones. Once cooked, immediately plunge into ice cold water

5.When the risotto is almost done, mix through the grated cheese, pumpkin and chopped asparagus continue to heat through for a minute or two. Drizzle with a little truffle oil, finish with a grind of fresh pepper and serve.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

David Grayson Quote

"Talk of joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread --- there may be."
David Grayson
'Adventures in Contentment' (1907)

Beef Stew and Dumplings

beef stew


For the beef stew
2 tbsp olive oil
25g/1oz butter
750g/1lb 10oz beef stewing steak, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp plain flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
175g/6oz baby onions, peeled
150g/5oz celery, cut into large chunks
150g/5oz carrots, cut into large chunks
2 leeks, roughly chopped
200g/7oz swede, cut into large chunks
150ml/5fl oz red wine
500ml/18fl oz beef stock
2 fresh bay leaves
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
3 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, or to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dumplings
125g/4½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
60g/2½oz suet
water, to make a dough
To serve
mashed potato
1 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. For the beef stew, heat the oil and butter in an ovenproof casserole and fry the beef until browned on all sides.
3. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and all the vegetables and fry for 1-2 minutes.
5. Stir in the wine, stock and herbs, then add the Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar, to taste. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
6. Cover with a lid, transfer to the oven and cook for about two hours, or until the meat is tender.
7. For the dumplings, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
8. Add the suet and enough water to form a thick dough.
9. With floured hands, roll spoonfuls of the dough into small balls.
10. After two hours, remove the lid from the stew and place the balls on top of the stew. Cover, return to the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until the dumplings have swollen and are tender.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Anon quote

"To cook is to create. And to create well...
is an act of integrity, and faith."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Arnold Schwarzenegger Quote

"I love Thanksgiving turkey... It's the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts."

Arnold Schwarzenegger


Turkey meatballs




500g British turkey mince
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 tbsp vegetable oil
225ml whipping cream
3 tbsp dried breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
salt and freshly milled black pepper
200ml chicken stock
2 heads of broccoli, cut into small florets, cooked
300g cooked pasta ribbons


Cook the onion and garlic in a little oil to soften, about 10 minutes.
Place the mince, cooked onion, lemon zest, olive oil, breadcrumbs, and 1 tbsp of whipping cream into a bowl and mix well. Season well with salt and pepper.

Form into 20 small balls, then chill well.

To make the sauce, boil the chicken stock and lemon juice to reduce by two thirds. Add the remaining cream and re boil, the sauce should thicken straight away. You may need to add a touch of stock if the sauce thickens too much. Season well with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

Place a couple of tablespoons of oil into a non stick frying pan.

Add the meat balls and gently cook for 15 minutes to lightly brown and cook through. Serve with warm pasta and broccoli. Spoon over the hot lemon sauce.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Virginia Woolf quote

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. ----Virginia Woolf

Osso Bucco

osso bucco

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 60g butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 3 sticks of celery, cut into small cubes
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 cup plain flour, seasoned
  • 8 veal shanks (about 1.5kg)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 800g diced Italian tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Gremolata
  • finely grated rind of 2 large lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  1. Heat 20g butter and 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan. Add carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove to an ovenproof dish.
  2. Place seasoned flour into a plastic bag. Toss, two shanks at a time, in flour. Shake off excess and place on a plate.
  3. Preheat oven to 200°C. Melt remaining butter and oil in a frying pan over high heat. Brown both sides of veal in 2 to 3 batches. Place on top of vegetables.
  4. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, beef stock, thyme and bay leaves to pan. Bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour over vegetables and veal. Cover roasting dish with lid or foil. Transfer to oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours to 1 3/4 hours until veal is tender and add a few olives.
  5. To make gremolata: Mix ingredients together. Sprinkle over veal and serve.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote

Let the stoics say what they please, we do not eat for the good of living, but because the meat is savoury and the appetite is keen.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer.

Devilled Kidneys


2 ts Worstershire sauce
2 ts mushroom ketchup
1 ts English mustard powder
2 oz butter; melted
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 " salt
1 " black pepper; freshly ground
8 lamb's kidneys
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 ts chopped parsley


Mix together the Worstershire sauce, mushroom ketchup, mustard, 1 ounce
butter, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper.

Clean the kidneys by removing
the outer skin and cutting away the core.

Cut each kidney into three or
four pieces.

Heat the remaining butter with the oil in a frying pan and
cook kidneys for 4 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally.

Pour the sauce
mixture over the kidneys and stir for 1 to 2 minutes to coat the kidneys.

Serve on warmed plates, with hot buttered toast.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Søren Kierkegaard quote

"...therefore would I rather be a swineherd on Amager, and be understood by the swine than a poet, and misunderstood by men."

— Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Danish existentialist philosopher writing in Either/Or (1843).



Baked Hot Citrus Gammon



  • 1.2 kg unsmoked gammon (boned and rolled)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 clementines
  • 1 lime
  • Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon chopped chillies
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 10 whole black peppercorns


Place the unsmoked gammon joint (without any packaging) in a large stock pan and cover with cold water.

  1. Add to the water the black peppercorns, fresh flat leaf parsley, bay leaf and the zest from two clementines and one lime. Place the rind less fruit into a refrigerator until their squeezed juice is required later in the recipe.
  2. Bring the gammon and ingredients in the water to the boil. This may take a while. Once boiling well reduce the heat under the stock pot until the liquid is a gentle simmer. Leave the stock pan simmering gently for two hours, checking every 30 minutes. Turn over the gammon at the one hour point. This should be done with great care.
  3. Once the gammon is slowly cooked, the stock pan should be removed from the heat, the liquid drained from the gammon and the gammon set to one side uncovered to slightly cool. Within 20 to 30 minutes, the gammon should be able to be handled. Cut away the skin and most (but not all) of the fat. Score into the fat in a criss-cross pattern.
  4. In a separate bowl make up the hot citrus rub. Ingredients for the hot citrus glazing are the chopped chilled, finely chopped garlic cloves, the freshly squeezed juice of the clementines and lime plus the light brown sugar. Mix well in the bowl.
  5. Spoon the glaze over the boiled gammon and bake the gammon, standing in the Clementine and lime liquid, in an oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the garlic is roasted.
  6. Carve the Baked Hot Citrus Gammon immediately for serving or eat as a cold cut within 2 days of cooking.

Friday, September 25, 2009

John Steinbeck quote

It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.  ~John Steinbeck

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fish pie



55g/2oz scallops

455g/1lb cod or Huss fillets, skinned and cubed
115g/4oz mussels
115g/4oz cooked tiger prawns
55g/2oz butter
55g/2oz plain flour
150ml/¼ pint dry white wine
425ml/¾ pint stock
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp soured cream
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
4 sliced boiled eggs

900g/2lb potatoes, par-boiled and grated
1-2 carrots, peeled and par-boiled
30g/1oz butter, melted
55g/2oz strong cheddar cheese, grated


1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
2. In a small pan heat the butter, add the flour stirring continuously.
3. Heat the wine, stock, bay leaf and seasoning. Add slowly to the flour mixture, stirring continuously.
4. Add the fish, shellfish,boiled egg slices, soured cream and herbs. Pour into a 1.2 litre/2 pint pie dish.
5. Mix together the potato, carrot, butter and cheese; place on top of the fish sauce.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Samuel Johnson quote

Any of us would kill a cow rather than not have beef

Samuel Johnson


Beef Carbonade



  • 3 - 3.5 lbs. of stew beef, cut in 2" cubes
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of flour
  • 3 large onions
  • 1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon of wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 3 cups of beer
  • 2 cups of boiling water (approximately)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


    Heat the butter on high.
    Sauté the meat until brown.
    Sprinkle the flour on the meat and cook while stirring for 1 to 2 minutes.
    In a heavy casserole dish:
    Place half of the meat in the bottom,
    Add herbs (cumin, tarragon and parsley), onions (cut in fine slices),
    Place remainder of the meat on top,
    Pour beer over the meat and add enough boiling water just to cover.
    Salt and pepper to taste and add thyme and bay leaf,
    Cook until boiling.
    Mix the vinegar and Honey and add into the dish.
    Place lid on casserole dish and put in oven heated to 300 degrees F.
    Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours

  • Shoulder of lamb Navaran

    shoulder-lamb navarine

    Serves 6-8
    50g butter
    900g British shoulder or leg lamb, cubed
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tbsp sugar
    1 tbsp flour
    300ml beef stock
    2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
    1 tbsp tomato puree
    1 bouquet garni
    2 bay leaves
    450g baby new potatoes, scrubbed
    225g baby carrots, trimmed
    225g shallots, peeled and left whole
    For the herb dumplings:
    50g self-raising flour
    50g fine breadcrumbs
    2 tbsp suet, shredded
    Handful parsley, finely chopped
    1 tsp rosemary chopped
    1 egg.

    Preheat the oven to 180C 350F or gas 4. Melt the butter in a large ovenproof casserole dish and add the meat, salt and pepper. Stir well to brown meat on all sides, then remove and set aside.
    Add the sugar to the casserole and brown gently to make a caramel. Return the meat to the casserole, add the stout and stir well.
    Add the stock, garlic, tomato puree, bouquet garni and bay leaves and stir well again. Cover and cook for one hour.
    For the dumplings, mix the flour, breadcrumbs, suet, chopped herbs, seasoning and egg together and, using your hands, roll into walnut-sized balls.
    After one hour cooking, remove casserole from the oven, add the potatoes, carrots, shallots and dumplings and return to the oven and cook for a further 40 minutes. Check the vegetables are cooked and then serve.

    William Blake Quote

    When the stars threw down their spears, / And watered heaven with their tears, / Did he smile his work to see? / Did he who made the Lamb make thee?”

    William Blake


    Sunday, September 20, 2009

    Beouf Wellington

    beouf wellington


    1 kg/2lb 4 oz middle cut beef fillet, trimmed
    ¼ bunch of thyme, finely chopped
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    55g/2oz butter
    1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
    500g/1lb 2oz flat field mushrooms, finely chopped
    a few drops of truffle oil
    1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
    English mustard, to taste
    500g/1lb 2oz block puff pastry
    1 egg, lightly beaten, to seal the pastry
    melted butter, to glaze


    1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
    2. Season the beef with the thyme, sea salt and pepper and rest for 30 minutes.
    3. Heat a pan and sear each side of the beef until golden brown.
    4. Allow to cool to room temperature.
    5. For the Duxelle, sweat the butter, garlic and mushrooms in a pan over a low heat until all the moisture evaporates.
    6. Add the truffle oil and parsley, and season to taste.
    7. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
    8. Smear the beef with an even coating of English mustard.
    9. Lightly dust a sheet of baking paper with flour.
    10. Roll the pastry so it is a little wider than the beef, and the beef can be completely rolled in pastry.
    11. Place the pastry so the longest half is facing you.
    12. Spread the Duxelle mixture evenly over the half of the pastry closest to you.
    13. Place the beef on top of the mushroom mix.
    14. Roll the beef up in the pastry, leaving a slight overlap of 3cm/1¼in. Brush this with beaten egg and seal.
    15. Trim the ends of the pastry so they are flush with the beef.
    16. Cut a sheet of baking paper to the size of the beef Wellington.
    17. Place the beef Wellington on the paper, lightly brush the top with melted butter and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    18. Put the beef Wellington in the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until dark golden in colour.
    19. Serve.

    Saturday, September 19, 2009

    Wild mushroom+ mascarpone quiche

    mushroom tart

    1. 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    2. 45g butter
    3. 1 large red onion, very thinly sliced
    4. Large pinch of caster sugar
    5. 500g mixed wild and chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
    6. 25g mascarpone
    7. 100ml double cream
    8. 2 large eggs, beaten
    9. 50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
    10. 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
    11. 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
    For the pastry case
    1. 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    2. 65g chilled butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing
    3. 65g chilled lard, cut into pieces
    4. 40g parmesan cheese, finely grated
    1. 1. For the pastry, sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Add the butter and lard and whizz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese, then 2 tablespoons cold water and mix until the pastry comes together into a ball.
    2. 2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Lightly grease a 23cm round x 4cm deep loose-bottomed flan tin. Thinly roll out the pastry on the floured surface and use to line the flan tin. Chill for 20 minutes.
    3. 3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Line the pastry with baking paper and beans and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes, until the pastry is pale-golden.
    4. 4. Meanwhile, heat the oil and 15g butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, sugar and some seasoning and cook for 10 minutes, stirring, until soft and lightly caramelised. Tip into a large bowl.
    5. 5. Melt another 15g butter in the pan, add half the mushrooms and cook over a high heat for 2-3 minutes, until softened and excess moisture has evaporated. Season and tip into the bowl with the onion. Repeat with the remaining butter and mushrooms. Set aside to cool slightly.
    6. 6. In a bowl, mix the mascarpone with the cream until smooth, then mix in the eggs and half of the grated cheese. Stir into the mushroom and onion mixture with the tarragon, parsley and some seasoning.
    7. 7. Spoon the mixture into the pastry case and scatter with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden.

    Alexandre Dumas quote

    "I confess, that nothing frightens me more than the appearance of mushrooms on the table, especially in a small provincial town."
    Alexandre Dumas, early 19th century


    Lobster Bisque


    • 1.5kg lobster heads
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 small carrot, chopped
    • 1 stick celery, chopped
    • 2 sprigs flat-leaved parsley
    • 1 sprig thyme
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 large tomato
    • 1 tbsp tomato purée
    • ½ tsp cayenne pepper, plus extra to serve
    • 1 tbsp brandy
    • 300ml dry white wine
    • 1 litre fish stock
    • 500ml veal stock
    • 250ml double cream
    • 8 tsp Armagnac
    • sea salt


    1. Crush the lobster heads with a mallet or a rolling pin until they are well broken up.

    2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, carrot and celery over low heat. When the vegetables are lightly browned, add the parsley, thyme and bay leaf and the lobster heads, stirring so that the contents do not stick or burn. After about 5 minutes, stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée and cayenne pepper. Add the brandy and stir well for a minute or two, then add the wine. Bring to the boil and cook for at least 3 minutes.

    3. Add the fish stock and veal stock and bring back to the boil. Season lightly with sea salt. Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off the scum that appears on the surface.

    4. Drain through a colander set over a large bowl, pressing the lobster bones well to extract all the juices and flavour. Then strain this liquid through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Bring to the boil and skim.

    5. To serve, bring the soup back to the boil and allow it to reduce by one-third. Add up to 250ml double cream, according to taste, and boil for 5 minutes. Pour 2 teaspoons Armagnac per person into four warmed soup bowls and pour the soup over it. If you have any lobster claw meat available add that too.

    6. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, dress with a little chives and serve immediately.

    Edward Lear quote

    Time will show as the Lobster said when they assured him he would become red if he fell into the boiler.”
    Edward Lear, English artist, writer (1812-1888)

    lobster lobster1

    Duck leg confit

    duck leg confit

    • 4 duck legs
    • 2 tbsp coarse sea salt
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 sprigs thyme
    • 3 heads of garlic
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 carrot, diced
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • rendered duck fat, for cooking

    For the Madeira sauce

    • 75g butter
    • 2 shallots, chopped
    • 150ml Madeira
    • 175ml dry white wine
    • 300ml thickened veal stock

    1. Lay the duck legs on a tray and sprinkle with sea salt, chopped bay leaves and thyme leaves.
    2. Cut 2 garlic heads in half and arrange around the duck legs. Cover with food wrap and leave to marinade for 24 hours in the fridge.
    3. Preheat the oven to 140C/gas ½. Wash off the herbs and pat dry. Lay the duck in a deep, heavy based saucepan.
    4. Add the onion and carrot and top with the remaining halves of garlic.
    5. Melt the duck fat and pour over the legs. Cover with a lid and cook for 3 hours, making sure that the fat does not boil.
    6. Remove the legs from the pan and place in a clean bowl. Leave to cool.
    7. Strain the fat through a fine sieve and pour over the duck legs. Refrigerate for 2 days (they will keep like this for a long time if well covered with the fat). To serve, remove from the fat.
    8. When you are ready to serve the duck legs, preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Heat a frying pan and lay the duck legs in, skin side up. Cook for 2 minutes, before turning over. Transfer to a hot oven and cook for 10 minutes, until hot all the way through and crisp.
    9. Drain the legs on absorbent paper.
    10. Meanwhile, make the Madeira sauce. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the shallots until softened but not coloured.
    11. Add the Madeira and white wine and reduce by two-thirds. Pour in the thickened veal stock and bring to the boil; simmer for 5 minutes.
    12. Stir in the butter.
    13. Present the duck skin side up. Serve sauce in a sauce boat.

    Walter Cronkite Quote

    The perils of duck hunting are great - especially for the duck.
    Walter Cronkite


    Duck Breast with Blueberry Sauce



    • 10 g salt
    • 2 g fresh-ground black pepper
    • 6 g dried thyme leaves
    • 3 g crushed dried rosemary
    • 45 ml olive oil
    • 4 potatoes, cubed
    • 660 g fresh or frozen blueberries
    • 120 ml water
    • 120 ml apple juice
    • 100 g white sugar
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
    • 3 slices pancetta or bacon, cut into thin strips
    • 6 shallots, thinly sliced
    • 75 g sliced shiitake mushrooms
    • 910 g bok choy, sliced
    • 4 (8 ounce) boneless duck breast halves
    • 30 ml vegetable oil
    • 15 g butter
    • 30 ml aged balsamic vinegar


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl mix together the salt, ground black pepper, thyme, and rosemary; set aside. This will be your spice blend for seasoning the roasted potatoes and the duck breasts.
    2. Place cubed potatoes into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of your spice blend over the top of the potatoes. Toss the potatoes in the pan until they are evenly coated with oil and seasonings. Spread into a single layer across the bottom of the baking dish and bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.
    3. While the potatoes are roasting, stir together the blueberries, water, apple juice, sugar, and jalapeno in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, and simmer until the mixture has reduced to the consistency of syrup, about 10 minutes.
    4. Cook the pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove the pancetta to drain on a paper towel, leaving the drippings in the skillet. Add the shallots and the mushrooms to the hot skillet; stir and cook them until soft and just beginning to brown. Remove the shallots and mushrooms and set aside. Increase heat to medium-high and place the bok choy in the hot skillet. Stir and cook the bok choy until the leaves are wilted and the white stalk pieces are tender, about 5 minutes. Return the shallots, mushrooms, and pancetta to the skillet, turn off the heat and set aside.
    5. Rinse the duck breast halves and pat dry. Rub the remaining spice blend onto both sides of the duck breasts. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat, when the pan is hot put in the vegetable oil and butter. Immediately place the duck breasts in the pan, skin and fat side down. Do not move the duck breasts until the skin is deep brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the breasts and cook until the internal temperature of the thickest part is 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) for well done. Remove the duck from the pan and place on a plate, covered with foil to rest for 5 minutes. While the duck is resting, place the skillet with the bok choy mixture onto a burner over medium heat to warm through.
    6. Slice each duck breast diagonally into 1/2 inch strips. Divide the bok choy mixture among four plates and drizzle each serving with 1/2 tablespoon of aged balsamic vinegar. Arrange the sliced duck breasts on top of the bok choy mixture; ladle on blueberry sauce. Serve with oven-roasted potatoes on the side.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Salmon and caper sauce



    • 100g butter
    • 250g shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
    • ½ x 1kg new potatoes, peeled and par-boiled for 5 minutes then cooled
    • 15g coriander, finely chopped
    • 2 x 15ml spoons cider vinegar
    • 100ml sunflower oil
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 salmon fillets
    • 250g dwarf beans
    • 284ml fish stock
    • 142ml double cream
    • 40g capers, drained and rinsed
    • 15ml spoon gin


    Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and cook the shallots gently until almost caramelised then allow to cool.

    In a large bowl coarsely grate the potatoes. Add the shallots, coriander, vinegar, oil and seasoning.

    Mix and form into 4 large flat patties and cook slowly in a large frying pan until golden on both sides.

    At the same time, place the salmon fillets in a frying pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.

    While the fish and rostis are cooking, place the fish stock in a small saucepan over a medium/high heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds. Cook the green beans in boiling water until tender and keep warm.

    Stir the cream into the stock and continue reducing until the sauce thickens, then add the capers, gin and seasoning to taste.

    To serve, place the rosti on a plate, top with some green beans, then the salmon fillet and spoon over a little caper sauce.

    Louis XI quote

    I have chased the English out of France more easily than my father ever did, for my father drove them out by force of arms, whereas I have driven them out with venison pies and good wine.

    -Louis XI
    Said after the signing of the Treaty of Picquigny, Sep.

    The Ballad Of Bouillabaisse


    The Ballad Of Bouillabaisse


    A street there is in Paris famous,
    For which no rhyme our language yields,
    Rue Neuve des Petits Champs its name is--
    The New Street of the Little Fields.
    And here's an inn, not rich and splendid,
    But still in comfortable case;
    The which in youth I oft attended,
    To eat a bowl of Bouillabaisse.

    This Bouillabaisse a noble dish is--
    A sort of soup or broth, or brew,
    Or hotchpotch of all sorts of fishes,
    That Greenwich never could outdo;
    Green herbs, red peppers, mussels, saffron,
    Soles, onions, garlic, roach, and dace:
    All these you eat at TERRE'S tavern,
    In that one dish of Bouillabaisse.

    Indeed, a rich and savory stew 'tis;
    And true philosophers, methinks,
    Who love all sorts of natural beauties,
    Should love good victuals and good drinks.
    And Cordelier or Benedictine
    Might gladly, sure, his lot embrace,
    Nor find a fast-day too afflicting,
    Which served him up a Bouillabaisse.

    I wonder if the house still there is?
    Yes, here the lamp is, as before;
    The smiling red-checked ecaillere is
    Still opening oysters at the door.
    Is TERRE still alive and able?
    I recollect his droll grimace:
    He'd come and smile before your table,
    And hope you liked your Bouillabaisse.

    We enter--nothing's changed or older.
    "How's Monsieur TERRE, waiter, pray?"
    The waiter stares and shrugs his shoulder--
    "Monsieur is dead this many a day."
    "It is the lot of saint and sinner,
    So honest TERRE'S run his race."
    "What will Monsieur require for dinner?"
    "Say, do you still cook Bouillabaisse?"

    "Oh, oui, Monsieur," 's the waiter's answer;
    "Quel vin Monsieur desire-t-il?"
    "Tell me a good one."--"That I can, Sir:
    The Chambertin with yellow seal."
    "So TERRE'S gone," I say, and sink in
    My old accustom'd corner-place
    He's done with feasting and with drinking,
    With Burgundy and Bouillabaisse."

    My old accustom'd corner here is,
    The table still is in the nook;
    Ah! vanish'd many a busy year is
    This well-known chair since last I took.
    When first I saw ye, cari luoghi,
    I'd scarce a beard upon my face,
    And now a grizzled, grim old fogy,
    I sit and wait for Bouillabaisse.

    Where are you, old companions trusty
    Of early days here met to dine?
    Come, waiter! quick, a flagon crusty--
    I'll pledge them in the good old wine.
    The kind old voices and old faces
    My memory can quick retrace;
    Around the board they take their places,
    And share the wine and Bouillabaisse.

    There's JACK has made a wondrous marriage;
    There's laughing TOM is laughing yet;
    There's brave AUGUSTUS drives his carriage;
    There's poor old FRED in the Gazette;
    On JAMES'S head the grass is growing;
    Good Lord! the world has wagged apace
    Since here we set the Claret flowing,
    And drank, and ate the Bouillabaisse.

    Ah me! how quick the days are flitting!
    I mind me of a time that's gone,
    When here I'd sit, as now I'm sitting,
    In this same place--but not alone.
    A fair young form was nestled near me,
    A dear, dear face looked fondly up,
    And sweetly spoke and smiled to cheer me
    --There's no one now to share my cup.

    . . . . .

    I drink it as the Fates ordain it.
    Come, fill it, and have done with rhymes:
    Fill up the lonely glass, and drain it
    In memory of dear old times.
    Welcome the wine, whate'er the seal is;
    And sit you down and say your grace
    With thankful heart, whate'er the meal is.
    --Here comes the smoking Bouillabaisse!


    William Makepeace Thackeray




    For croutons
    • 12 to 16 (1/2-inch-thick) baguette slices
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, halved

    For soup
    • 1 lb crab meat
    • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 lb boiling potatoes
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped fennel fronds
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 9 cups white fish stock(or store-bought)
    • 3 pounds white fish fillets (such as monkfish, turbot, red snapper, striped bass, porgy, grouper, and/or cod), cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1/2 pound cockles or small hard-shelled clams, scrubbed
    • 1/2 pound cultivated mussels, scrubbed and any beards removed
    • 1/2 pound large shrimp in shells
    • Rouille


    Make croutons:
    Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 250°F.

    Arrange bread slices in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan and brush both sides with oil. Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes. Rub 1 side of each toast with a cut side of garlic.

    Make soup:

    Cook tomatoes, onion, and garlic in oil in cleaned 6- to 8-quart pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Stir potatoes into tomatoes with fennel fronds, bay leaf, saffron, sea salt, and pepper. Add stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

    Add thicker pieces of fish and cockles to soup and simmer, covered, 2 minutes. Stir in mussels, shrimp, crab and remaining fish and simmer, covered, until they are just cooked through and mussels open wide, about 5 minutes.

    Stir 3 tablespoons broth from soup into rouille until blended.

    Arrange 2 croutons in each of 6 to 8 deep soup bowls. Carefully transfer fish and shellfish from soup to croutons with a slotted spoon, then ladle some broth with vegetables over seafood.

    Top each serving with 1 teaspoon rouille and serve remainder on the side.

    Ingredients for Rouille

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (preferably from a baguette, crust removed)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Preparation

    Pour water over bread crumbs in a bowl. Mash garlic to a paste with sea salt and cayenne using a mortar and pestle. Add moistened bread crumbs and mash into garlic paste.

    Add oil in a slow stream, mashing and stirring vigorously with pestle until combined well.

    Oscar Wilde quote

    After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives.   Oscar Wilde



    • 1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
    • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper, or combination of red and green bell pepper
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
    • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
    • 2 1/2 cups water
    • 3/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
    • 1 pound peeled, cleaned, and cooked shrimp
    • 1 chorizo sausage, sliced

    Heat oil over medium heat in a large deep skillet. Add ham; brown lightly. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic; cook until tender. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, water, rice, bay leaf, salt, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp and sliced chorizo and heat through. Serve with crusty garlic bread.

    Serves 4 to 6.

    Venison and Blackberries

    venison with blackberries


    For the venison
    250g/9oz smoked streaky bacon, pounded thin with a knife handle or rolling pin
    1 kg/2lb 2oz venison loin, fat trimmed
    1 tbsp olive oil
    For the glaze
    110ml/4fl oz chicken stock
    110g/4oz blackberries
    1 tbsp sloe gin
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    For the rösti
    500g/1lb 2oz old potatoes, grated
    500g/1lb 2oz turnip, grated
    250g/9oz carrot, grated
    50g/2oz butter, melted
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 tsp olive oil
    For the parsnip crisps
    vegetable oil, for frying
    1 parsnip, thinly sliced
    To serve
    150g/5oz sugar snap peas
    200g/7oz green beans
    olive oil, for drizzling
    salt and freshly ground black pepper


    1. For the venison, cut the loin into medallions about 2cm/¾in thick.
    2. Wrap a piece of bacon around the side of each venison medallion, securing with a cocktail stick.
    3. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the venison and fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and leave to rest on a warm plate.
    4. For the blackberry and sloe gin glaze, add the stock to the pan and deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate the caramelised meat juices.
    5. Add the blackberries and poach for 2-3 minutes, mashing them lightly with the back of a fork.
    6. Add the sloe gin and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    7. For the rösti, mix the grated vegetables together and place in a clean tea towel. Roll the towel tightly into a ball and squeeze out all the water from the vegetables.
    8. Break up the ball of vegetables into a bowl and add the melted butter. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir well to combine.
    9. Press the mixture into a patty about 1cm/½in thick.
    10. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the rösti. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden-brown and crisp.
    11. For the parsnip crisps, cover the base of a deep sided frying pan with about 3cm/1¼in of vegetable oil. Carefully drop the parsnip slices into the hot oil and fry until golden-brown and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper.
    12. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the the sugar snap peas for two minutes and the green beans for 3-4 minutes. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    13. Cut the rösti into four pieces and place a piece in the centre of four serving plates. Top each rösti with the venison, a spoonful of sauce and some parsnip crisps. Place the greens alongside and serve immediately.

    Louisiana Gumbo



    oil for frying
    275g/10oz onions, chopped
    225g/8oz green peppers, chopped
    2 sticks celery, chopped
    25g/1oz spicy sausage, sliced
    25g/1oz smoked pork or bacon, cubed
    1 tsp crushed garlic
    ½ tsp dried oregano
    ½ tsp dried thyme
    1 bay leaf, crumbled
    1 tsp salt
    1½ tsp cayenne pepper
    1½ tsp paprika
    ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
    ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
    1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
    300ml/10fl oz puréed fresh tomatoes, strained
    crab shells to flavour (optional)
    450g/1lb large prawns (reserve the shells and heads for the stock)
    1 dozen oysters
    225g/8oz crab meat
    6 freshwater crayfish
    200g/8oz cooked rice to serve

    For the fish stock:

    fish heads, tails and trimmings
    1 onion
    2 carrots
    1 stick celery
    1 leek
    1 bay leaf
    2 sprigs parsley
    black peppercorns
    prawn shells and heads


    1. Place all the ingredients for the stock in a large saucepan and cover with about 1.7 litres/3 pints cold water. Simmer for as long as possible - 4 hours if you can manage it - and strain. Set aside.
    2. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions, green peppers and celery and let them sweat for a few minutes. Add the spicy sausage and smoked pork.
    3. Stir in the garlic, herbs, salt and spices.

    4. Add the Tabasco sauce, puréed tomatoes and 1.1 litres/2 pints of the fish stock. Simmer for at least 45 minutes.
    5. Add crab shells, if you have them, to give a little extra flavour and colour, the prawns, oysters, crab meat, crayfish and Simmer for another 10 minutes.
    6. To serve as a main course, place a quarter of the rice in each bowl and top up with Gumbo.

    Five Spice Duck Breast

    five spice duck breast
    • 4 duck breasts , look for free-range
    • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
    • olive oil for frying
    • 2 star anise, broken in half
    • 4 bok choi , halved
    • 4 spring onions, cut into lengths
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • chicken stock fresh, cube or concentrate, made up to 100ml
    • 2 tsp runny honey


    Cut slashes through the skin and fat of each duck breast, making sure you don't cut into the flesh. Rub the duck breasts with the five spice and season well. Heat a little oil in a heavy frying pan and when it is really hot add the duck breasts skin-side down. Turn the heat down a little and fry for 8-10 minutes or until the skin is very crisp and brown and the fat has started to melt out from under the skin. Tip out any excess fat.

  • Turn the breasts over and add the star anise to the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the duck breasts feel firm to the touch but not too solid - you want them pink in the middle. Take the duck out and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the bok choi to the pan with the spring onions and cook briefly. Add the rest of the ingredients and bubble together briefly. Plate the duck, bok choy and spring onions and spoon the sauce over.
  • Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Quote Voltaire

    Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.

    Cajun dirty rice and blackened ribs


    • 3/4 pound chicken gizzards
    • 3 1/2 cups hot chicken broth or beef broth
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
    • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
    • 1/2 pound ground lean pork
    • 1/2 cup chopped onions
    • 1/2 cup chopped celery
    • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
    • 1/2 cup chopped green onions with tops
    • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or a few dashes Tabasco sauce
    • 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
    • 1/2 pound chicken livers, finely diced
    Simmer gizzards in the chicken or beef broth for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove gizzards with a slotted spoon; grind or mince. Reserve broth. Heat bacon drippings and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy casserole. Sauté the pork and gizzards over high heat until pork is no longer pink. Lower heat; add vegetables and seasonings and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice and reserved broth; bring rapidly to a boil, stir once, cover, and lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, until rice is tender.
    Sauté minced chicken livers in remaining butter for 3 minutes. Toss with the rice, taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Cover and let rice fluff in a 225° oven for 10 minutes .
    Serves 4 to 6.

    blackened ribs


  • 110 g brown sugar
  • 4 g ground cumin
  • 15 g ground black pepper
  • 10 g ground coriander
  • 30 g chili powder
  • 30 g salt
  • 60 ml soy sauce
  • 65 g chili powder
  • 25 g Cajun-style blackened seasoning(see below)
  • 2725 g prime rib roast, bone in
  • 475 ml water
  • Preparation:

    1. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cumin, black pepper, coriander, 1/4 cup chili powder, salt, and soy sauce. In a separate small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup chili powder and blackened seasoning. Set aside.
    2. Cut ribs from roast, and place in a roasting pan. They will act as a roasting rack. Rub the meat all over with the soy sauce mixture. Then rub and coat with the Cajun seasoning mixture. Let marinate for at least one hour or wrap in plastic, and chill overnight.
    3. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
    4. Remove any plastic from roast, and place pan into the preheated oven. Roast uncovered for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Pour water into the pan to produce moist heat. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), and continue roasting for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature is at least 130-140 degrees F/55-60 degrees C) for medium rare, or (145-155 degrees F/63-68 degrees C) for medium . Let the roast stand for 30 minutes before carving to let the juices return to the centre.

    Cajun Style Seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 4 teaspoons dried leaf thyme
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to your taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Mix
  • Technorati Tags: ,,

    Delicious Beef Curry

    beef curry1

    Dry spice mixture

    • 1 dessertspoon ground coriander
    • 1 dessertspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek seed
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
    • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
    • 1 teaspoon green chilli (finely chopped)
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground red chilli

    Wet spice mixture

    • 4 oz creamed coconut
    • 4oz tomato puree
    • 1/2 teaspoon tamarind puree
    • 1 dessertspoon honey
    • 1 crushed garlic

    Spice mixture

    • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
    • 1/2 teaspoon cassia bark
    • 1/2 teaspoon curry leaves

    Fried mixture

    • 2 Spanish onions, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove crushed
    • 1 cube of fresh ginger, finely chopped


    1. Mix together the dry spice mixture and roll 1lb cubed beef until well covered.
    2. Chop onions, garlic, ginger and fry for a few minutes in ghee. Add the meat and gently fry a few pieces at a time.
    3. Separately dissolve wet mix ingredients in warm water. Then add to the fried meat, combine and simmer for 15 minutes.
    4. Add spice mixture and gently simmer for a few minutes more.
    5. Put curry in an oiled casserole dish and simmer for half an hour, stir regularly to prevent the curry from sticking.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Sea of Life

    Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

    Mark Twain.

    Sunday, May 3, 2009

    Things a dog must remember

    1. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.
    2. I do not need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm lying under the coffee table.
    3. I will not roll my toys behind the fridge, behind the sofa, or under the bed.
    4. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house.
    5. I will not eat the cats' food, before they eat it or after they throw it up.
    6. I will stop trying to find the few remaining pieces of clean carpet in the house when I am about to get sick.
    7. I will not throw up in the car.
    8. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc. just because I like the way they smell.
    9. "Kitty box crunchies," although they are tasty, are not food.
    10. I will not eat any more Kleenex or napkins and then redeposit them in the back yard after processing.
    11. The diaper pail is not a cookie jar.
    12. I will not chew my humans' toothbrushes and not tell them.
    13. I will not chew crayons or pens, especially not the red ones, or my people will think I am haemorrhaging.
    14. When in the car, I will not insist on having the window rolled down when it's raining outside.
    15. We do not have a doorbell. I will not bark each time I hear one on TV.
    16. I will not steal Mom's underwear and dance all over the backyard with it.
    17. The sofa is not a face towel. Neither are Mom's & Dad's laps.
    18. My head does not belong in the refrigerator.
    19. I will not bite the officer's hand when he reaches in for Mom's driver's license and car registration.
    20. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.
    21. I will not eat mint-flavoured dental floss out of the bathroom garbage, to avoid having a string hanging out of my butt.
    22. I will not use "roll around in the dirt" as an option just after getting a bath.
    23. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is not an acceptable way of saying hello.
    24. I will not hump on any person's leg just because I think it is the right thing to do.
    25. I will not fart in my owners' faces while sleeping on the pillow next to their heads.
    26. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt across the carpet.
    27. The toilet bowl is not a never ending water supply, and just because the water is blue, it doesn't mean it is cleaner.
    28. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch when company is here.
    29. Suddenly turning around and smelling my butt can quickly clear a room.
    30. The cat is not a squeaky toy, so when I play with him and when he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.

    Sunday, March 22, 2009

    Bright future looms for TV screens

    Television images in the future will look brighter and crisper than ever, but cost may put them beyond the reach of most people.

    It is likely that those future TVs will be ultra-thin devices, 3mm thick, that use organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) to produce sharp images based on red, green and blue pixels.

    OLED TVs are also more energy efficient than LCD panels because they do not need a backlight to boost brightness.

    OLED could one day be used for clothing and images on windows

    Instead, each pixel on this type of screen is made from an organic material that emits its own light.

    David Fyfe, the boss of Cambridge Display Technology, explained that OLED screens are "different" from other display technologies.

    "The first thing you notice is that if you move out to the side, or you move above it or below it, you will see the same image at the same brightness as you would if you were facing it straight on," he said.

    By contrast, LCD flat-panels often have a very narrow viewing range.

    'Mass consumer'

    Organic displays are being developed further by Kodak which invented the first basic OLED device in the 1970s.

    The company already makes a wireless OLED photo frame with a hefty £690 ($1,000) price tag.

    Patrick Cowan, from Kodak, acknowledged this product is "not necessarily in the reach of the mass consumer".

    He added that wider adoption of this evolving technology will eventually place it within the affordability of "the general consumer".

    Stuart Silloway said OLED displays look "bright even in direct sunlight"

    Plus, OQO's latest handheld computer features a 5in (12.7cm) OLED screen.

    "It has a fantastic contrast ratio - the blacks are very much blacker than you would see and it comes out as a brilliant display," said John Wilson, a spokesman for OQO.

    Scale up

    While Stuart Silloway from Samsung America noted that displays look "bright even in direct sunlight" as another advantage of this tech.

    "When you are outside shooting with a digital stills camera, one of the challenges is that the sunlight tends to wash out the display.

    With OLED, he said, "you can see that what you are shooting looks natural".

    The world's first commercial OLED TV launched at the end of last year. The Sony XEL-1 has a screen 11in (28cm) across and in the UK costs in excess of £3000.

    Now manufacturers have said they intend to scale up to panels between 14 and 21in (35-53cm) by the end of 2009.

    But this in itself will increase the challenge of turning OLED displays into an affordable reality.

    Saturday, March 21, 2009

    New collar

    Wendell and I are off to buy his first adult collar.  He has already outgrown his puppy one.  He is never going to be a large dog but he has grown very quickly.  He eats like a horse and plays like a demon.  It is a good job he is such a friendly little chap.  I must buy some new bones today because he has ground his old ones right down.

    He still sits beside me when I am at my desk.  In fact he follows me everywhere apart from when we are eating.  He has to sit on Terry’s chair at dinner time.


    Saturday, March 14, 2009


    I was having a chat with Terry about how gullible some people can be, when I remembered another incident from when I worked in Bath.  My boss asked me to go out and buy a suitable plant for the teashop window, which I did.  After a couple of days the plant drooped a little and feeling sorry for it, I asked Brandt if I could take it home with me.  He refused, even though I offered him the money for it, saying “ you cannot have everything you want in life, Penny. “ I looked him straight in the eye and said “ Brandt, every time I look at that plant, I shall think of you and your meanness and it will wither and die. “ For three days I secretly tipped bleach in the plant’s pot.  I made a point of staring at it when Brandt was around.  On the third day the plant curled up and died.  Ever after, Brandt thought I had some sort of power and was nervous of me.  My friend walked past me and whispered “ you put bleach in that pot. “ but she never let on.  She was worldly and Brandt, bless him, was extremely gullible.  Needless to say, my friend and I were called The Two Witches. 

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    Shopping with Wendell

    Terry and I took Wendell with us when we went shopping today.  What a laugh we had.  Wendell went pigeon crazy at first but settled down to meeting many dogs and people.  His tail was whirring with happiness and excitement.  We caught the bus home and added another first experience to his growing list.  He was on his best behaviour on the bus, which was a relief; he can be a little tyke at times.  He earned himself a couple of raw bones to gnaw on.  It is 4.25a.m. so I must start thinking about taking him out for his first walk of the day.

    Friday, March 6, 2009

    Little Dustbin

    I had forgotten how great dogs are for clearing up leftovers.  We had pork curry for dinner last night.  Sadly, pork is bad for the little guy but he gobbled down the leftover rice with great enthusiasm.  I gave him some cooked liver yesterday but it gave him a dose of the trots, so maybe he is not ready for such rich offerings.  Some dog owners have to deal with mud.  I get to deal with sand, because Wendell has discovered the joys of digging on the beach.  He loves snorting about in piles of seaweed, so he smells pretty awful at times, too.  He thinks he smells wonderful, of course.

    Thursday, March 5, 2009

    Ain’t technology grand

    I am writing this whilst watching Crufts and recording the Show simultaneously.  How is this possible?  I am watching Crufts on a small viewer on Firefox and downloading it with Real Player.  I have the window reduced so I can either use my desktop or explorer.  Ain’t technology grand.  Terry is taking Wendell for his hike today, because I am glued to my desk, in case anything goes wrong.

    The sun is shining brightly today.  New neighbours have moved in.   Not the side that has been boarded up but the other.  They are French which makes a change from the Polish that have flooded Margate.  I hope they are clean and quiet. 

    Learning to live on a pittance is proving an interesting challenge.  Our tobacco runs out today and we have to wait until next Tuesday, before we can buy more.  We have plenty of pet food, sundries, coffee, gas and electric but food is becoming a bit thin on the ground.  I shall need to stretch what I have in interesting ways, in order to get by.  Should be a different way of fulfilling my New Year’s resolutions.  See ya, Pen.

    Monday, March 2, 2009

    First Swim

    Wendell had his first doggy paddle yesterday, when the rock pool he was paddling in became quite deep suddenly.  He did not panic, like me but swam back to safe ground like a seasoned professional.  We came home straight after because it was a bit cold for a now soaking wet puppy.  He was very hyper all the way home; trying to keep warm I guess.  Once towelled and fed, he slept for hours, giving the cats a bit of extra dog free time.  They have shown great tolerance towards Wendell but I fear their patience is wearing thin.  Right then, off to make yet another coffee.

    The Perfect Puppy

    I have finally managed to get my hands on a copy of The Perfect Puppy by Gwen Bailey.  What a brilliant read for anyone even contemplating getting a puppy.  Already I am finding mistakes I have made.  Armed with this wonderful book I hope to become the perfect puppy owner.  Thank you Jane, for telling me about the book. 

    A Spare Place

    A Spare Place


    I sit in a chair and gaze

    At the faces opposite me;

    Our hands trembling in unison

    My keepers will never see

    The shame I feel as I sit in

    Soiled underwear, pervading

    My soul, turning hope to dust

    And I shall never leave this place

    Of death and despair; ‘till a bag

    Is zipped; they’ll cover my face

    For fear I may cause offence.


    Somebody said we have fish

    For lunch; like a Mexican wave

    Our frail excitement undulates

    And we smile. No one is brave

    Enough to ask” Is the fish fresh?”

    Thus risking censorial frowns;

    It pays to not rock the boat.

    Mrs. Baker died yesterday.

    Not one person lamented this,

    No feelings in disarray;

    A spare place at the table.

    Sunday, March 1, 2009

    Twist in the tube

    Not long after leaving school, I got the job of lab. assistant, for ABM.  My job was to analyze grains for the production of beer and whiskey.  I was very puffed up with self importance, even though I was constantly having to leave the lab, walk down the hall to my boss and ask how to do the calculations.  {this being pre computer days}  I had a bank of test tubes over burners, into which I had to put some grain and five drops of hydrochloric acid, which I then cooked.  The steam went up and over the equipment, via lengths of rubber tubing and the resultant distilled liquid collected in another set of test tubes, ready for analysis.  Well, one day, feeling a tad groggy from the night before, I got one of my rubber tubes twisted.  You could hear the resultant explosion down the hall, where I was, once again pestering my boss.  I had destroyed the apparatus and we had acid dripping from the ceiling for a day.  I should have been sacked but I think my boss had a soft spot for me.  I never lived it down, though.I got married a year later and never went back to that sort of work…..no surprise really.

    Saturday, February 28, 2009

    Get a Life

    A psychologist is urging people to get off Facebook and other social networking sites, and get a life instead.

    Dr Aric Sigman says the amount of time we spend with each other has slumped dramatically and in turn is damaging our health.

    He says our devotion to such sites could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, and the function of arteries, and influence mental performance.

    Levels of hormones such as the "cuddle chemical" oxytocin, which promotes bonding, altered according to whether people were in close contact or not.

    This could increase the risk of health problems as serious as cancer, strokes, heart disease, and dementia.

    Dr Sigman spells out his warning in the latest issue of Biologist, the journal of the Institute of Biology, and maintains that social networking sites have played a significant role in people becoming more isolated.

    He said: "Social networking is the internet's biggest growth area, particular among young children.

    "A quarter of British children have a laptop or computer in their room by the age of five and they have their own social networking sites, like the BBC's myCBBC. It's causing huge changes."

    Dr Sigman said 209 "socially regulated" genes have been identified, including ones involved in the immune system, cell proliferation and responses to stress.

    Electronic media is also undermining the ability of children and young people to learn vital social skills and read body language, he said.

    Dr Sigman continued: "One of the most pronounced changes in the daily habits of British citizens is a reduction in the number of minutes per day that they interact with another human being.

    "In less than two decades, the number of people saying there is no one with whom they discuss important matters nearly tripled.

    "Parents spend less time with their children than they did only a decade ago. Britain has the lowest proportion of children in all of Europe who eat with their parents at the table. The proportion of people who work at home alone continues to rise.

    "I am worried about where this is all leading. It's not that I'm old fashioned in terms of new technology, but the purpose of any new technology should be to provide a tool that enhances our lives.

    "Social networking sites should allow us to embellish our social lives, but what we find is very different. The tail is wagging the dog. These are not tools that enhance, they are tools that displace."

    Research suggests the number of hours people spend interacting face-to-face has fallen dramatically since 1987 as electronic media use increases.

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    Smiling dog owners

    When I lived in London, everybody rushed everywhere.  People on the tube and streets avoided eye contact and scurried about; myself included.The pace of peoples lives is slower here in Margate but people have still avoided eye contact, until now.  These days there is a group of people who not only smile as they pass but also stop to chat. Who are these people?  Dog owners.  I feel I now belong to a club of sorts.  A happy club made up from a diverse section of Margate’s population.  I am quite an anti social person, as a rule but I find myself smiling back, giving and receiving doggie compliments and reassurances.  Mission accomplished…Wendell is making me human again.

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    Beach Bum

    The day arrived and young master Wendell set foot, out into the wide yonder.  Terry and I took him for a walk to the beach and back.  What a bundle of pent up energy he was.  His tail did not stop wagging.  He met two bulldogs and a lovely Doberman puppy.  He picked up and tossed seaweed,  ran from the tide and sniffed the salty sea spray with great enthusiasm.  He also bounded up his first set of stairs, which connect the beach with the cliff top.  We carried him on the way down, for fear of him tripping.  He is back home, fast asleep in his basket now, after devouring a huge meal.We only took a few photos because the day was so dull.  See ya, Pen.

    Saturday, February 14, 2009

    Stuffed Hoof[vegetarians beware]

    Terry and I were browsing in the pet shop yesterday [as you do] when we spotted these stuffed hooves.  Naturally we could not resist buying Wendell one.  Well, you cannot imagine the hysterical reception it got.  I thought it might last Wendell a few days at least but no, after two hours of gnawing, hiding and retrieving it and jealously guarding it from the cats, the thing was emptied of its now foul smelling stuffing.  I don’t know what they put in these things but the smell is awful, the puppy gets covered in sticky grease and the poo… best not to dwell on that. Wendell had his third bath today and he looks fluffy and gorgeous; in fine contrast to the little oil slick of last night.  Maybe I shall stick to leather chews in future.

    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Brave little soldier

    Well my brave little soldier had 2 jabs and had a microchip inserted today.  I felt a stab through my heart when the vet dabbed a drop of blood from the little chaps neck but Wendell’s tail was still wagging in trust and excitement.  His weight has doubled in 2 weeks and he is a handful to hold now.  We have only 1 more week to go, before he can go walkies.  I think it will be a relief for both of us as well as a source of great fun.  His claws are like razors , at present and he will need some road work to get them smoother.  After all, life is not all running on the beach and sniffing trees.  Puppy party starts in 2 weeks, when he will be meeting people and other puppies and doing some basic training.  We both have much to look forward to, Pen.

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    Next stage

    Little Wendell is off to the vets in two days, for his next set of jabs.  One week after that, he will be allowed out in the wide world.  Already we are practicing lead work but I feel once Wendell gets a whiff of all those exciting smells and sights, I may find my training sabotaged.  We shall see what happens.  I hope the rain has cleared up by then.  He had a bit of a naughty day, yesterday, with much manic behaviour, nipping and jumping up.  It is difficult finding the correct level of censure.  I know he must be corrected, but he is a feisty little fellow and I don’t want to be telling him off all the time.  He is a lot calmer today, so maybe some lessons have been learned by both parties.  Once we are out, walking, he will get a chance to burn off his excess energy. At the moment, he does crazy circuits of the sitting room and kitchen, with no regard for his own safety.  I guess that is the terrier in him.  The cats just sit by with bemused expressions.  My biggest training success to date, has been teaching Wendell not to chase cats.  Porter helped by boxing Wendell’s ears a couple of times.  He is fast asleep as I type, bless.  See ya, Pen.

    Monday, February 9, 2009

    Best Behaviour

    I had family round for Sunday lunch yesterday.  There were concerns that Wendell might blot his copy book by pooping on the kitchen floor whilst lunch was in full swing.  I need not have worried.  The little chap was on his best behaviour and, after an initial hysterical greeting, he settled down in his basket and slept through the proceedings.  After lunch, he slipped into the kitchen to do his business on his newspaper and then returned triumphantly, to entertain all with his high jinx.  Then he returned to his basket whilst we watched a movie.  When my brother and my future sister in law readied for departure, Wendell did the cute little puppy thing; tail wagging, dropping toys at their feet and much licking of hands with a few nibbles thrown in for good measure.  All in all he charmed our guests and earned hundreds of brownie points for good behaviour.  Not one bark!  Not bad for a little terrier, Pen.

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    Knuckle Bone

    Whilst buying the pet food earlier, I spotted one of those roasted knuckle bones you can buy in pet shops.  I carried it home triumphantly and when Wendell went into his basket when asked, I gave it to him as a reward.  Well, he went nuts over it.  After half an hour of gnawing and growling, he ran into the kitchen, drank about a pint of water and returned to the fray.  I had forgotten what a greasy mess they make, before all the scrumps are chewed off.  His bedding was covered in greasy chewed off bits of fat and Wendell looked like he had gone ten rounds with a pound of lard.  The knuckle has been put aside for a while; the puppy is bathed and his bedding is in the washing machine.  Dried, primped and pretty, Wendell is now dozing contentedly, have done six circuits of the sitting room.  I shall let him have it back later.

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