NEWSLETTER - DECEMBER 2010
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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
. . .
Stuffed peppers anyone?
I was in my early teens my mother discovered the recipe
for stuffed peppers . . . many was the time I wished
she hadn't! Horrible! Green peppers stuffed with a
rice and minced beef mixture tasteless except
for the bitterness of the green pepper. Why do I tell
you this? Because I have come up with a quick recipe
for a great veg dish for when you are in a hurry.
During the week when everyone is working cooking
needs to be quick and, if not quick, it needs to be
easy. One of my easy meals is pork chops done in the
oven for about an hour and served with a veg and some
sort of potatoes (I am a great fan of the chip pan).
Anyway to make a long story even longer, the day
after my birthday I didn't feel like cooking. All
the kids had gone to the local firework display so
my wife and I thought it would make a nice change
to nip to the local Pizza Hut the thought was
fine but the reality a bit less so but one bright
spot was my starter . . . stuffed pepper!
It was quite tasty and the idea seemed simple enough.
Half a red pepper stuffed with risotto and covered
in a crisp herb and cheese crust. Now you could make
your own risotto to do this but we are trying to make
a quick and simple veg so let's not get carried away.
This is about using your supermarket to make quick
the crust I used Swiss Emmental cheese finely grated
and one of Jamie Oliver's Herb Crusts. There are four
herb crusts in the range:
Herb Crust with zingy lemon and garlic
Piri Herb Crust with chilli, paprika and
Chilli & Garlic Herb Crust - with kibbled chillies
Herb Crust with herbs, spices and spices
I chose the Rosemary, Chilli & Garlic but go
with whatever works for you. According to his web
site the crusts are available in UK from Booths, Morrisons
You will require:
2 x sweet red peppers
Jamie Oliver's Herb Crust
Emmental Cheese, grated
1 x pack Uncle Ben's microwave risotto
the peppers in half lengthways and remove seeds
the risotto as per instructions.
each pepper with risotto so that it fills the hollow.
cheese on top followed by the herb crust.
put mine in a roasting tray covered with tin foil.
Crinkle the tin foil and it stops the peppers from
rolling. It also means that you haven't got a pan
with baked on cheese to wash! I also put the peppers
in the pan before sprinkling on the cheese and the
crust . . . just less mess.
long to cook for? When I am doing pork chops I usually
put the chops in for an hour in the top half of
the oven on Gas 5 and then put the peppers in on
a lower shelf for 45 minutes. I will then switch
them round so the peppers are on the top shelf for
the last 5 or 10 minutes.
Don't like peppers?
Just do the same with large mushrooms but you only
need to cook then for about 30 minutes. I also do
two mushrooms per person!
Editorial note: This site is not paid to promote
Jamie Oliver products nor Uncle Ben's. They are just
an example and you can use whatever takes your fancy.
THE GOOD LIFE IN SPAIN
What is Iberico Ham? (part 2)
Iberico ham which one to choose? Firstly we
have to look at the regions where these hams are produced.
There are four recognised regions in Spain, these
are: Salamanca, Extremadura, Huelva and Cordoba. There
are also some famous names attached to these regions
such as Jabugo, Guijuelo and Los Pedroches.
A seasoned connoisseur will be able to tell the subtle
differences between hams from each area but for simply
choosing a quality Iberian ham all produce prime examples.
So what about flavour? This will depend on the grade
of ham you require, pigs are fed on different diets,
some not on acorns at all so it pays to understand
Free range pigs that feed on acorns and grass, curing
time is a minimum of 30 months. Puro bellota hams
account for a very low percentage of 100% breed
Free range pigs that are fed on a mixed diet
of acorns and compound feed. Curing time is a minimum
of 24 months.
Iberian pigs (not free range) fed solely on compound
feed. Curing time is a minimum of 24 months.
de Campo: Iberian pigs fed on a compound diet
but which are also free range. Curing time is a
minimum of 24 months.
Bellota hams are the most expensive, a Recebo ham
can be significantly more economical but those nutty
flavours, supreme texture and aroma will be less evident.
Cebo hams are still very good, cheaper still and having
all the traits of Iberico but without the bellota
(acorn) flavour characteristics. Compared to Serrano
hams from the white pig Iberian hams have a moderately
higher fat content which is marbled throughout the
meat, the leg is also a different shape being longer
and much slimmer. It is worth noting that the term
puro is occasionally used, a good example
of such a ham would be the 5J or Cinco
Jotas from the town of Jabugo, these hams command
a price higher than most due to their relative rarity
coming from 100% pure Iberian hogs.
Iberico ham is a real delicacy and as such needs
be enjoyed to the full, you wont find anywhere
near as many recipes for Iberian ham compared to Serrano
ham, particularly regarding bellota examples the ham
is the star of the show with such a unique flavour
that any food pairings should remain simple with mild
flavours let the ham do the work. Slicing the
ham itself will determine fine textures and aromas,
slices should be short, rectangular and wafer thin
before being left to breath until they almost sweat.
It is at this point that you can truly savour one
of the finest flavours in the world.
To view Iberico hams:
TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING
that time of year again so something a bit seasonal
is in order.
Christmas Eve Pie
8oz short crust pastry
1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1 onion - sliced
2 large tomatoes, skinned & sliced
Pinch garlic salt
Pinch mixed herbs
3/4lb sausage meat
How to make:
will need a deep 8 inch pie dish.
the pie dish with three-quarters of the pastry.
with layers of tomatoes, apple, onion.
sausage meat with herbs and spread on top.
with pastry and decorate with pastry holly leaves
or Christmas tree
with milk and bake at 425° for 15 minutes.
the oven temperature to 375° and bake for a
further 40 minutes until golden.
either hot or cold.
Serves 4 to 6
French Onion Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large onion, finely sliced
1/2 glass white wine
3/4 pint of hot Chicken stock (2 OXO)
1/4 pint Beef stock (1 OXO)
Garlic to taste
Tablespoon of Sugar
35ml Martell Cognac
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the topping:
Sliced French Stick Bread (4 slices)
1 tsp olive oil
50g / 2oz gruyere cheese or cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to make:
make the soup, melt the butter in a medium saucepan
over a low heat.
the sliced onion, cover and gently cook until softened.
Adding the Sugar half way through to caramelise.
the heat, add the wine and stock and garlic and
simmer until reduced by a third (20 -30 minutes).
the cognac after 20 minutes.
and lightly toast the bread.
the bread with the olive oil and season, to taste,
with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the
cheese and grill until brown.
serve pour the soup into a large brown bowl and
place 2 pieces of toasted cheese bread on top.
Taste of Christmas is the perfect recipe for
gourmet glamour, entertaining and inspiration.
Fill your stockings early at the boutique market
and source those essential ingredients for your
festive table before settling down to a fine wine,
rich coffee, quality cheese or chocolate tasting.
Visit the Taste Theatres, where top chefs like
Heston Blumenthal, Antony Worrall Thompson and
Jean-Christophe Novelli share their kitchen secrets!
12 of Londons top restaurants will be serving
up seasonal menus of everything from traditional
classics to cutting-edge cuisine - plenty to fire
up the imagination, and your tastebuds.
Eat, drink and be merry in style this year and
prepare for the Christmas countdown.
Chilli Company Festive Food Fair is on each day
from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Held under cover in a huge
marquee the fair includes:
dogs & burgers
Sponsored by Taste of Anglia in support of the
East Anglian Air Ambulance.
SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE
This recipe comes form a little cookery book entitled
The "AL" County Cookery Book compiled by a
County Education Secretary and Domestic Subjects Staff.
The book was actually my wife's grandmother's from when
she left school in 1913.
1lb bread scraps (stale bread)
3 ozs currants
1 tbsp flour
3 ozs sugar
Pinch of salt
3 ozs suet
1 oz candied peel
1/2 tsp mixed spice (or cinnamon)
1 tsp baking powder
Milk (for mixing)
Soak the bread in cold water until it is quite soft
then squeeze all the water away. Beat the bread
with a fork to remove any lumps.
the suet and prepare the fruit.
all the ingredients together, adding the milk to
the whole into a greased basin and then boil (or
steam) for from one and a half to two hours.
the bread pudding with custard sauce.
The bread pudding may be baked in a dripping tin
until it becomes nicely browned. Then cut it into
squares and sift with sugar before serving.
MIXING BOWL . . . RANDOM BITS AND PIECES
Cooking brussel sprouts
Cutting the X into the brussel sprouts will allow
the heat to penetrate to the centre and cook them
evenly, so the deeper the cut the better the cooking
Need help with cooking the turkey?
There is a page dedicated to the very subject "How
to cook a roast turkey" <click
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