Baked Spare Ribs

We took this recipe from ‘The Organic Meat Cookbook’ by Frances Bissell. We used some spare ribs from Ken Wilson’s croft: they were HUGE and delicious. The book says to allow 450g ribs per person but that was way more than enough. We used the oriental variation of the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 spare ribs per person (or 450g)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsps rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp angostura bitters
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp chinese five spice powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

METHOD:

  • Mix all the ingredients except for the ribs and the cornflour, and put them in the bottom of an ice-cream tub or similar, large enough to take all the spare ribs. Mix well.
  • Put the ribs into the marinade in the tub, make sure they are all coated in the marinade, and leave in the fridge overnight
  • When ready to start cooking, turn the oven to 200C and take the ribs out of the fridge to warm up a bit.
  • Take a roasting tray with a rack, and put a enough water in to cover the bottom. Put the ribs onto the rack, and put this in the oven. Save the marinade for basting
  • Bake for 1 hour, turn and baste the ribs every 15 minutes or so.
  • Once the ribs are cooked, take them out of the oven, and set aside on their rack. Take a spoonful of the liquid in the bottom of the tray, mix with the cornflour, and stir this back into the pan. Bring this to the boil to make a thickish gravy.

We served the ribs on rice cooked with a little shredded cabbage. One suggestion is to add sesame seeds to the ribs for the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking. We sourced most of the more unusual ingredients from Lovats (Carnan)

Chicken curry with mint

 

We had some bits of chicken in the freezer, all boned, and I made this from ‘Curry Easy’ which has to be one of my favourite recipe books.

Ingredients for marinade:

  • 500g boned skinned chicken pieces, cut into 2cm slices
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Put all the ingredients in a sealed plastic box overnight (or minimum 30 mins if you forgot) in the fridge. Give the box the occasional shake to keep things all mixed together.

Ingredients for cooking:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g chopped onion (about 1/2 an onion)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Method:

  • Use a wok, karhai or large frying pan. Heat the oil over medium/high heat, then add the chopped onions and stir-fry for a minute
  • Add the marinade and the chicken, and stir-fry for 3 minutes
  • Add the mint, stir through, then take off the heat and serve with rice.

Venison Curry

We made this curry with left-overs.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.25 kg left over roast venison, chopped into large cubes
  • 4 tsp whole coriander
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seed
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp whole fenugreek seed
  • 4 tsbs olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cm piece of grated fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 350ml stock (beef, chicken or marigold
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 125ml creamed coconut
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • In a small heavy pan, roast the cumin, coriander, fennel and fenugreek over high heat for 30s, set aside to cool, and then grind in a pestle and mortar.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan, and fry the onion, garlic, ginger and cinnamon over a medium heat for five minutes
  • Add the stock, meat, vinegar, cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, lots of grated black pepper, all the ground spices, and bring to a simmer.
  • Stir every so often, and heat through for around 30 minutes
  • Stir in 125ml creamed coconut (or 250ml coconut milk)

I served this with rice. You could make this with brisket of beef, and cook in a slow oven for around 2 hours.

Apple and Date Chutney

Dear Angela. Here is the original recipe for the chutney. I got this from Christina at the surgery, whose mother got it from a friend. The quantities are quite ‘loose’ and depend on what is in the store cupboard.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2  lb cooking apples
  • as much garlic as you like
  • 1 3/4 pints malt vinegar
  • 1 lb dates, stones out and chopped
  • 1 lb raisins
  • 1 lb brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • ginger, peeled and grated, if wished

METHOD:

  • Chop the unpeeled apples, garlic and ginger, and simmer in a pan with the vinegar, until soft.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring regularly.

Makes about 6 jars. The recorder of the recipe advises keeping your fingers crossed; I suspect because she is free and easy with the quantities.

Grilled chicken breasts with harissa, mint and yoghurt

We had some bits of boned chicken, mostly breasts in the freezer, and some home-made harissa sauce. We found this recipe in Nigel Slater’s Kitchen diaries. And that is what we had for tea, with boiled potatoes and a little salad.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Boned chicken, chicken breasts, chicken wings
  • 2 tsps harissa paste
  • 100ml greek yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp organic olive oil
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Stir the harissa into the yoghurt and then beat in the olive oil with some salt and pepper to taste
  • Roll the chicken in the thick sauce, and then grill it until tender inside, with some slight browning on the outside
  • Done. I think this would work well on the barbeque in the summer, or with lamb chops. We are going to try it with goose breast as well.

Apple and pecan pudding

For the person who left us some apples.

We came home to find a line of cooking apples marching across the kitchen table. Tonight we had apple and pecan pudding.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
  • 2 oz organic pecan nuts or walnuts, chopped
  • 4 oz organic dates, stoned and chopped
  • 4 oz self-raising flour, organic/wholemeal for preference
  • 4 oz fairtrade soft brown sugar
  • 1 oz melted butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Mix the flour with the chopped fruit and nuts, then add all the other ingredients and stir well
  • The mixture should be scraped into a greased 8 inch square baking dish, and baked for half an hour

We had this served with cream. The pudding had a wonderful mixture of flavours and textures.

Lamb curry with whole spices

We have made this using left-overs from roast lamb, but the original recipe came from Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘Curry Easy’. The book is very easy to use, the recipes easy and delicious and fresh. The resulting curry would easily serve 6.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tbsp organic vegetable oil
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 1 x 10cm cinnamon stick
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 tsp whole fennel
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 900g diced local lamb (or goat)
  • 300ml natural organic yoghurt (2x150ml)
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Heat the oil in a large oven-proof pan and set over a medium heat. Once it is hot, add the whole spices (cardamom, cinnamon,cloves, cumin and fennel) and give them a stir before adding the chopped onions, and fry until the onion is beginning to brown.
  • Add all of the other ingredients, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan with foil and then the lid to seal, and then bake in the oven for 1 1/4 hours until the meat is tender.
  • Uncover, and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the meat is drier and slightly browned. Stir occasionally to disperse any liquid evenly.

Serve with a vegetable dish and pita breads.

Spinach and Feta Pie

Spinach grows well in the Uists, and it is also often available in the co-op.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg spinach
  • 1 small onion finely chopped, or six spring onions
  • 50g butter
  • 125g Feta Cheese
  • 1 dsp chopped fresh fennel or dill
  • 100ml cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • flaky pastry
  • Small grating of nutmeg

METHOD:

  • Gently fry the onion in the butter until soft, then add all the spinach, and cook until it has all wilted down
  • Mash the cream, herbs, and cheese together
  • Mix the cheese and the spinach together, and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg
  • Put the spinach and cheese mixture in a pie dish, and use the flaky pastry to cover
  • Bake in a medium hot oven for 30-45 minutes until the top is crisp and golden.

If you were going to be really authentic, this would be made with filo pastry to create little triangular packets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQITqEJ-TvQ shows you the technique.

Fig and Rhubarb Jam

Noms. I made this because I had the ingredients. It turned out very tasty and set well. The recipe is from Marguerite Patten’s book ’500 recipes for jams, pickles and chutneys’ price 2 shillings and sixpence. I thought it would be out of print, but NO it is really available on Amazon, newer edition than mine though.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb dried figs
  • 2 lb chopped rhubarb
  • 1 pint of water
  • 3 lb sugar
  • Juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon

METHOD:

  • Soak the figs in the water for 48 hours, then simmer until soft
  • Add the rhubarb, and cook to form a thick pulp
  • Add the sugar and lime juice, simmer until the sugar is dissolved
  • Boil hard to setting point
  • Then put it in jars.

Nettle risotto

A recipe from the spring.

I know that nettles are supposed to be tasty and nutritious and free, but I’ve always struggled with the recipes that I’ve tried, usually ending up with something that looks wrong. But the scent of blanched nettles suggests an affinity with gooseberries, elderflowers, mackerel, and a wonderful hint of spring. I was out foraging for seaweed on the day I made this. At the end of the walk, I scrambled up a bank of dried kelp and pebbles, then silverweed, and then a great abundance of freshly sprouting spring nettles. 

When I got home, I blanched my pickings of nettle tops, and found I had 75g, enough to make myself a tasty wee risotto for one. You could easily multiply up for more.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 mild onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lovage sprig, finely chopped (leaves not the stem)
  • 25g butter
  • 75-100g blanched nettle tops, finely chopped
  • 100g arborio rice
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 300ml hot vegetable stock (I used marigold bouillon)
  • 1 oz parmesan, grated
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Fry the onion in the butter until it is soft and nearly browning.
  • Add the chopped nettles and chopped lovage, and stir in, frying, for a minute.
  • Add the rice, keep stirring and frying, until the rice looks glazed and shiny.
  • Pour in a glass of wine, and bring to the boil.
  • Slowly add the stock, bringing to the boil and waiting until the stock is absorbed before adding more.
  • Once the rice is tender, but still a little firm, add the salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Stir in, cover, and leave to stand for 3 minutes before serving.

Could you serve fish with this? Not sure. It was very good on its own.