NEWSLETTER - DECEMBER 2011
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There is always something happening in supermarkets -
new products, product demonstrations, shelves reorganised
so you can't find anything. Not always interesting, quite
often boring and sometimes a chore but just occasionally something
catches your eye, something is interesting . . .
was recently asked if I would like to try a range of stocks
for use at home. Now I'm never one to turn down such an offer
but I did want to make it clear to the manufacturer that my
opinion would be my opinion . . . good or bad!
As the years have gone by, too many in my opinion, I have
become more and more set in my ways. The young man who took
risks and tried everything has turned into a rather conservative
stick in the mud, reluctant to try new ideas or change the
way I do things. So having used Knorr stock cubes for as long
as I can remember, long before Marco Pierre White started
extolling their virtues, I look upon alternatives with suspicion.
I have not tried all five stocks yet but I have tried the
veal, fish and chicken. The first to try had to be the veal
as I have never seen this available to the home cook. I made
up one heaped teaspoon with 500ml of boiling water. I tried
it there and then and I have to say it makes a very nice warming
drink but it made an even better dish.
There is not much you can say about stock without repeating
bland adjectives which have been devalued by their over use.
What I would say is that these are top quality stocks which
I would strongly recommend everyone trying. Even though I
still have two to try, the beef and the vegetable. I am confident
that they will be as good as the ones I have tried
I have not worked out whether you are getting more stock
for your money in powder form over the traditional cube .
. . I just went and had a look and according to my reckoning
the powder stock is better value. That of course assumes that
the stocks are equal. Essential Cuisine's stocks are in my
opinion superior to anything I have used before . . . which
gives them added value.
The fact that Essential Cuisine stock comes in powder form
is an added bonus as it makes it very versatile for the home
cook, in adding flavour to quick cook dishes or when you have
misjudged and need to bring something to life with a slightly
more intense flavour.
There are five stocks in the range:
Beef ~ Vegetable ~ Veal ~ Chicken ~ Fish
This months product may not be available in your supermarket
but it is available online. You can buy it from the
web site of Essential Cuisine.
Editorial note: This site is not paid to
promote any of the products or places featured in this newsletter.
THE GOOD LIFE IN SPAIN
SPANISH ROASTED LAMB
roasted lamb is definitely one of those meals fit for special
occasions or for enjoying with friends and family especially
during the winter months. Lamb is prepared and cooked many
different ways in Spain but by far the most popular in Andalucia
is Asado de Cordero. The first time we tried this
dish in a local restaurant it blew us away with the flavours
and texture of the meat, cooked in real Spanish style the
dish was actually prepared the previous day then was taken
to the nearby panaderia or bakers who just so
happened to have a clay oven designed for such things.
The lamb was cooked for no less than three hours which, with
a dish like this is the key to getting it just right. The
lamb itself bred in certain pockets of the Granada province
is also quite special, known as Cordero Segureno
the breed has a distinct quality and is very hardy
perfectly suited to the harsh Andalucian countryside during
the long hot summers. You can of course use any good lamb
for this dish and it can also be cooked in the oven at home.
1 leg of lamb, machine cut into slices.
Three or four medium potatoes.
1 large onion
2 green peppers
6 cloves of garlic
Whole black peppercorns
6 8 sprigs of rosemary and thyme
the bottom of a large roasting dish with olive oil and
lay the chops in the bottom.
and finely slice the onion and potatoes and slice the
the onion slices, then the peppers and potato slices over
the lamb in the dish.
and roughly chop the garlic then add to the dish, season
well with salt and peppercorns.
full sprigs of rosemary and thyme and a final drizzle
of olive oil.
for 3 hours on a very low heat (140°C / Gas mark 1)
adding a little water if necessary during cooking.
A large roasting tray is ideal for this kind of Asado especially
when feeding the family, the best way to serve is just like
they do in Spanish restaurants and place the tray center
of the table for everyone to get stuck in. Keep plenty of
fresh crusty bread handy too for mopping up that herb and
lamb infused olive oil. Asado de Cordero is a real family
affair, a dish that brings people together around the table
and great for any occasion. Buen proveche!!
TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING
This recipe for Gypsy Tart by Tallyrand uses Muscovado
sugar. It is a British speciality brown sugar that is very
dark brown and has a particularly strong molasses flavour.
The crystals are slightly coarser and stickier in texture
than other brown sugars. There are light or dark brown Muscovado
sugars and the darker the colour is the more molasses and
therefore the stronger the flavour.
As Gypsy Tart is very sweet it is best served with some tart
fruits to counter the sweetness (Kiwi fruit works well).
400gm evaporated milk
350gm dark muscovado sugar
1 sweet pastry case - about 25cm
How to make:
heat oven to 200°C / 400°F.
Whisk evaporated milk and sugar together for 10 - 15 minutes
until light and fluffy.
Pour the mixture into the blind baked pastry case.
Bake for 10 minutes.
The tart will have a slightly sticky surface initially
but will set when it has been left to cool.
SMOKED HADDOCK AND LEEK SOUP
600g peeled Roosters, cut into large dice (2cm)
600g undyed smoked haddock
1 finely chopped onion
3 sliced leeks
75ml double cream
4 sliced spring onions
the haddock, chopped onion, and bouquet garni into a saucepan.
Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Skim the surface
of any froth and simmer for 5 minutes.
the haddock from the pan and remove any skin and bones.
Flake the haddock and return the skin and bones to the
water. Simmer for 20 minutes.
the fish stock.
the butter in a heavy saucepan, add the washed and sliced
leeks, and cook until just soft. Then add the potatoes
and cook for another 3 minutes.
the fish stock and simmer gently until potatoes are tender.
the double cream and bring to the boil.
the haddock and check for seasoning.
into bowls and sprinkle the spring onions on top.
SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE
3 oz rolled oats
3 oz self-raising flour
3 oz margarine
3 oz Muscovado brown sugar
15mls golden syrup
the oven to 190°C / Gas mark 5.
the sugar, flour and oats into a bowl and mix until combined.
the margarine with the milk and syrup.
wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
small pieces of mixture and roll to a golf ball size.
on baking sheet and flatten slightly (they will flatten
further when cooking).
in the preheated oven fro approximately 20 minutes (ovens
vary) until golden brown.
from oven and remove biscuits to cool on a wire rack.
MIXING BOWL . . . RANDOM BITS AND PIECES
to peel garlic
If you are peeling only a few cloves, simply press each
clove against the cutting board with the flat side of a
heavy kitchen knife or press between the thumb and forefinger
to loosen the skin first. If your recipe calls for a larger
quantity of garlic, drop the cloves in boiling water for
just a minute and drain quickly. They will peel quite easily.
Alternatively you can use the microwave by cooking the cloves
for 5 seconds or so to achieve the same effect.
Test baking soda for freshness by pouring 1/2 teaspoon
vinegar or lemon juice over the baking soda. If doesn't
actively bubble, it's too old to be effective. Pour it down
the drain and buy a new box!
Red Wine spill
If you spill red wine on a carpet, pour white wine right
over it. The white will neutralize the red wine. Follow
with light soap and water and blot with a thick towel.
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