Lobster with creole sauce

We had a very large lobster, which isn’t usually that good a deal: lots of shell, not much meat, and a worry about what to do with it. Plus it had lost its claws along the way, hence the reason why it wasn’t that marketable. I made this with it; delicious and I reckon it would work well with monkfish as well, or prawn tails. I poached the lobster for 15 minutes and saved the liquor for use in the recipe. If you doubled the recipe to use 2 lobsters, then you wouldn’t be using half onions etcetera.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large cooked lobster, meat removed from tail, plus save the liquor from boiling it.
  • 25g butter
  • 2 tsp creole spice blend (from seasoned pioneers)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 tin tomatoes

METHOD:

  • Roughly chop the cooked lobster meat and put it in the fridge in a plastic tub along with 2 tsp creole spice blend, shaken to distribute the spice.
  • Melt the butter in a large pan and gently fry the onion for several minutes, until translucent.
  • Add the garlic, green pepper and carrot, and continue to fry for a few more minutes.
  • Meantime, use a soup wand to purée the tomatoes in the tin. Add to the onion and carrot mixture
  • Simmer the sauce very slowly for around 45 minutes, adding a little of the liquor from boiling the lobster if it looks as if it is getting a little dry.
  • Add the chopped lobster meat, and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the lobster is heated through. Serve on a bed of rice.

Kohl rabi soup

This recipe can be made vegan, or not so vegan.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 kohlrabi, well peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 litre vegetable stock
  • 1/2 litre water
  • 100g cashew nuts OR 200ml double cream
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • a good pinch of white ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 potatoes
  • chilli flakes
  • olive oil

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the onions for around 10 minutes, until soft.
  • Add the crushed garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, and then add the kohlrabi.
  • Add the stock, water, herbs, salt and pepper, and the nuts if you are using them. Simmer for at least 20 minutes (I watched ‘It takes two’ strictly come dancing for the duration).
  • Dice the potatoes and steam until tender
  • Remove the bayleaves and puree with a soup wand. Add the cream now if you are using this.

Serve in warmed bowls with the potatoes, and garnish with olive oil and chilli flakes.

Kerala Lamb Stew with Turnip

Here’s a twist on local ingredients. It looked a little pale and would have been improved with the addition of green beans and carrots.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 900g lamb, diced
  • 4 tbsp veg oil
  • 2x7cm cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 10 cloves
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 20 curry leaves (or 10 bay leaves)
  • 2 tsps grated fresh ginger
  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 turnip, peeled and diced
  • you could add chopped carrots and green beans
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 can coconut milk

METHOD:

  • Put the oil in a large heavy pan, and set over a medium heat. When it is hot, add the cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves and cardamom, and let them sizzle for a few seconds.
  • Add the onion, and continue frying until it starts to turn light brown.
  • Add curry leaves and ginger, and after another minute, add the lamb and stir for a few minutes.
  • Add 1 litre of water bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes
  • Add the potatoes and vegetables, salt and cayenne pepper, and simmer for a further 30 minutes, until the meat is tender.
  • Add the coconut milk, and thicken sauce to taste by squishing the potatoes a bit.

We just had this as it came. Rice or bread would be good, but we didn’t bother.

Beef Cheeks

We are working through the lower reaches of our freezer, and someone has given us beef cheeks. I am very keen on eating all of the animal, waste is a terrible thing.

Beef cheeks are tough, cheap and extremely tasty cuts of meat that need long cook times to make them tender. You could use shin of beef or venison for this recipe instead.

First off, I had to prepare the beef cheek. I started with about 600g of meat, but a lot of it was sheets of fat and connective tissue. I trimmed it, using a very sharp knife, and then cut the remaining sheets of meat into pieces about the size of half a post-card, and about 1 cm thick.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 600g ox/beef cheeks
  • seasoned flour, 2 tbsp
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 2 large Carrots, chopped
  • 2 sticks Celery, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • a dash Brandy
  • 300ml Red Wine
  • 1 clove
  • half tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 pinch of aniseed
  • 4 sprigs of time, or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 can of tomatoes, blended
  • 2 Anchovies (you can buy these in a jar, in oil)
  • Salt and Black pepper
  • Flat Leaf Parsley, to serve.

METHOD:

Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius.

  • Trim the cheeks as described above, coat each piece with seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish, and brown the cheeks. Once they are done, remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Slice the onions, carrots, garlic and celery and cook in the same pan over a medium to low heat, until soft. Add a little more butter or olive oil if required
  • Once the vegetables are soft, increase the heat and add the meat back to the pan, with the can of pureed tomatoes. Mix to coat the ox cheeks and veg in the puree and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the wine, brandy, clove, cinnamon, thyme, bayleaves, aniseed and anchovies, and bring to a simmer. Put the pan into the oven to cook for 2 1/2 hours.You may wish to check that there is enough liquid in the pan half way; add stock or water if necessary
  • After 2 1/2 hours, check that the meat is tender, and turn the oven off, leaving the pan in the oven. Use this time to make mashed potatoes, cook any additional vegetables, have a cheeky wee glass of wine, and remember to warm the plates.

We had this with mashed potatoes, but the original recipe suggested polenta as an alternative. It was delicious.

Quick-braised celery

I got this recipe out of ‘how to cook’ book 2 by Delia Smith. Word of warning – takes a little longer than I anticipated.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head of celery, trimmed and cut into 5cm batons
  • 25g butter
  • 75g carrots, cut to match the bits of celery
  • 1/2 large onion, finely sliced
  • 200ml marigold stock
  • Salt, pepper, chopped parsley

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter in a pan, and cook the onion over a medium to high heat, until golden
  • Add the carrots and celery, and cook for another 5 minutes, until beginning to brown
  • Season with salt and pepper, and add the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for around 15 minutes
  • Take the lid off and boil the juices down to a reduced and thickish stock.
  • Serve with the juices poured over the celery and garnished with chopped parsley

I served this with Roman Beef Stew.

Pork chops grilled with blue cheese

This made a real mess of the grill but it was sensational. Recipe from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries. I love the way he is really showing us good ways to eat, rather than fancy ways to cook.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large pork chops or steaks
  • 50g blue cheese
  • 50g butter
  • 50ml single cream
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • a sprinkling of salt

METHOD:

  • Mash the cheese, butter, cream, mustard, thyme and black pepper together, and put in the fridge to chill a little.
  • Sprinkle the chops with a little salt, and grill under a hot hot grill, until just beginning to colour on each side, and the chops are just cooked through, about 7-10 minutes on each side
  • Put a slice of the blue cheese/butter mixture over the chops and return briefly to the grill, until the blue cheese melts onto the chops. Leave it too long and the mixture drips into the grill pan and makes a mess.

I served this with new potatoes, courgettes in a lemon and olive oil dressing, and some braised fennel.

Microwaved Cod in a creole sauce

Cod Creole: I sniggered. Recipe adapted from The Microwave Kitchen Handbook. I picked this because we had some locally caught cod.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g cod, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 15ml lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp creole spice mix from Seasoned Pioneers
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes

METHOD:

  • Put the cod in a plastic fridge container with a lid, and add the salt and pepper, lime juice and creole spice mixture, and store in the fridge until needed.
  • In an oven-proof bowl, put the olive oil, garlic, onion and pepper, cover and microwave on high for 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
  • Add the cod and chopped tomatoes, and microwave for another 8 to 10 minutes, stirring twice, until the fish is cooked, and flakes easily.

We served this with rice.

Mashed Cauliflower and Kohlrabi

Kohl rabi grow well here, in spite of the neglect I mete out to them.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 kohlrabi, well peeled and diced
  • 60ml (4 tbsp) Plain greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp horseradish
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp chopped chives

METHOD:

  • Steam the vegetables, until the kohlrabi is tender
  • In a pan, mash the vegetables, and add the yoghurt, horseradish, salt, pepper and chives
  • If you want a smoother texture, use a soup wand, but we just went for the rougher texture, and it was lovely.

Roast Kohl Rabi

A revisit – just about to start going through the posts from the old site and adding them back in.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Kohl rabi, peeled and chopped to 2cm chunks
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Thyme leaves

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to high (gas 8, 230C)
  • Coat the kohl rabi chunks in the oil and season with salt, pepper and thyme. I do this by putting all the ingredients into a large plastic freezer box and giving this a shake
  • Roast for 45 minutes.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem artichokes grow well in the Uists, and they are delicious. Two words of warning – they tend to come back every year in the plot. They give me bad wind.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 kg jerusalem artichokes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 litre of stock
  • 300ml milk, or milk/cream

METHOD:

  • Melt half the butter and gently cook the onion until soft.
  • Add the celery, jerusalem artichokes, and garlic, season with a pinch of salt, put the lid on the pan and cook gently for another couple of minutes
  • Pour on the stock, bring to the boil, and then simmer until all the vegetables are soft.
  • Puree, then add the milk, bring to a simmer and season to taste. Add more water if the soup is too thick.
  • Whisk in the rest of the butter, and serve with a garnish of toasted nuts or croutons