Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beef Pie

As I say up at the top near the title of this blog, mostly I wing food. I winged it last night and it was quite edible! I made beef pie and dessert. All round it was a hit with Himself and J&C.

Basic ingredients :

About a kilo of Angus beef steaks, cubed

2 onions, diced
3 stalks celery, peeled and diced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
3 marrows, sliced into thin rings
1 tbs finely diced ginger

half a punnet of mushrooms, washed and thickly sliced
2 tbs sour cream
2 tbs crushed garlic
salt and pepper
bay leaves
crushed mustard seeds

1 cup rice
half a carrot and marrow, grated
4 mushrooms, grated
about 2 tablespoons cream of mushroom soup powder
2 cups water

Start out by sweating down the onions and celery in some olive oil, then add the ginger and garlic and braise until the onions start going brown. Add the bay leaves and cubed meat, browning nicely. Add some stock or water, bring to a boil then turn down and simmer until the meat is tender. Add the sliced marrow, carrots and mushrooms and cook until the vegetables are tender and there isn't too much liquid. Add the cream at this point and if there is too much liquid, thicken with a bit of cornstarch. Season and pour meat mixture into an ovenproof dish, topping with puff pastry brushed with some melted butter. Bake in a preheated oven until the puff pastry is golden and fluffy.

Meanwhile, pour one cup of rice, two cups of water, 2 tbs soup and some salt into a pot, bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer. Cook until the rice is done then add the grated vegetables and mix through.

Dessert consisted of filling 4 meringues with some strawberries. Earlier in the afternoon I diced some strawberries and mixed in some castor sugar and some lemon juice and then left it to marinade in the fridge. After supper, I mixed some more castor sugar with some smooth creamed cheese, put a spoonful into each meringue and topped that up with 1/4 of the strawberries and a dollop of the sweetened creamed cheese.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tomatoe sauce

Such a basic thing to make you would think. Tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, spices, sugar, water, sugar....

I first started experimenting with my own tomatoe sauce about a year ago. I chucked a can of diced tomatoes into a pot and stirred. Then I added some spices and stirred. This recipe follows on from that first experiment. Now I use fresh tomatoes and herbs, and stir.

I used 4kg of fresh tomatoes, 2 400g cans of skinned, diced Italian tomatoes, about 20 small onions (the ones you'd use to make pickled onions), garlic, celery, salt and pepper.

Cut a cross in the bottom of each tomatoe and pour boiling water from a kettle over the tomatoes and leave them to soak.

Peel the purple onions (this is the first time I have used purple onions in my sauce, normally I use white onions), then slice and dice them. While doing this, pour quite a large glug of good quality olive oil into your pot and heat up on the stove. Once the oil is hot enough, add the small onions and coat with the oil. Then add the purple onions and diced celery. Sweat them down until the small onions start caramelising. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic, stir and cook for a further 10 minutes or so on a low heat, making sure that the garlic does not burn or go brown.

Peel the tomatoes, making sure to cut out the hard core. Add the fresh tomatoes to the onions and garlic. Open the two cans of Italian tomatoes and add to the pot as well.

Then cook until the tomatoes start breaking apart easily with a spoon. At this point I turn up the heat to boil off at least half of the liquid. Then I blitz the sauce down in a food processor and return to the pot to cook off any liquid that still remains.

I freeze the sauce in an ice tray, pop the sauce blocks into a container in the freezer and use whenever I need tomatoe sauce.
For pizza, mix in some freshly chopped parsley and basil and a bit of sugar.
For spaghetti sauce, mix in freshly chopped basil, some sugar and chilli.
For chilli con carne, add chilli, sugar and Mrs Ball's chutney.
Experiment with different flavours.