Monthly Archives: April 2012

Sunday Brunch

Today we made a most delicious brunch!

Sunday Brunch

Easy and quick, a yummy way to start the day. At noon.

On the menu was scrambled eggs, french toast with Tom’s special syrup, and bacon along with some yummy aeropress coffee.

Scrambled Eggs

So I always thought scrambled eggs was just making an omelette and squooshing it up. Turns out thats not really true. Real scrambled eggs are far more tasty.

Head Chef: Tom

Ingredients:

4 eggs

salt & peps

a few small knobs butter

4tsp cream

Whisk the eggs in a bowl, then add a few small knobs of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Put the mixture in a frying pan over medium heat and stir constantly. This will give you softer, creamier scrambled eggs with smaller curds. If you like larger curds in your eggs, do not stir as much. When the eggs are almost but not yet cooked, add 4 tsp cream. Cook a few more seconds and serve immediately.

Scrambled Eggs

Fluffy clouds of scrambled eggs.

French Toast

For the french toast, we had never made it before, so we made a simple recipe.

Head Chef: Rasha

Ingredients:

3 pieces of sliced white bread, cut diagonally into triangles

knobs of butter for frying

75ml milk

1 egg

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp sugar

¼ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

+Tom’s special syrup for topping

Whisk all the ingredients except for the bread and butter in a bowl. Melt some butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Dip the bread into the mixture for 5 seconds on each side. Place the bread on the frying pan and fry on both sides until crispy and golden brown. Serve immediately, topped with Tom’s special syrup.

Tips: We used skim milk, and Weightwatchers bread, and it tasted delicious, so this recipe works for the (slightly) health conscious. We halved a recipe that serves 4, so you can double to serve 4.

French Toast

French toast with Tom's Special Syrup.

Tom’s Special Syrup

Tom’s special syrup is born out of a chronic lack of maple syrup in the United Kingdom generally and my house specifically.

Head Chef: Tom

Ingredients:

3 heaped tablespoons golden syrup

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

1 dash nutmeg

¼ tsp chilli flakes

Mix it all together with a fork. The mixture is quite viscous at first, but loosens into a delicious ooze on anything hot. The chilli adds a bit of an interesting kick to something which otherwise would just be trying (and failing) to be authentic maple syrup, so I think it’s a worthwhile addition.

It’s also recommended to serve all this up with a mess of bacon and coffee.

That’s it for today, have a good brunch!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

Stoodley Pike Tapas Birthday Extravaganza!

Our very first blog entry commemorates Rasha’s 26th birthday. We decided to go on an 11 mile hike and thought a lovely spanish picnic would make all the exercise go down easier. The spanish tapas recipes come from The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega.

Eating tapas on Stoodley Pike

Yumzo!

Ham Croquettes (Croquetas de Jamon de York)

Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 tbsp sunflour oil

40g butter

4 tbsp all-purpose flour

750ml milk

2 eggs

175g bread crumbs

vegetable-oil for deep frying

salt

fresh or fried parsley

200g Yorkshire ham, very finely chopped

Preparation:

When I was making the bechamel sauce, I consulted The Cook’s Book. It turns out there are two different kinds of bechamel sauce, one which takes a lot longer than the other. The first involves heating the milk with some aromatics to add some extra flavours before adding the milk to the rest of the sauce. The type I made was the shorter version, as suggested by the Ortegas. Heat the oil and then add the butter. The oil prevents the butter from burning too quickly. When the butter is melted, stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Gradually stir in the milk and keep stirring until the sauce thickens. We added a bay leaf to the milk while stirring the sauce. Once all the milk has been added to the pan, it should take about 10 minutes for the sauce to thicken to heavier bechamel.

You can either use serrano ham or Yorkshire ham, but I thought I would go local and choose the Yorkshire ham. Stir the ham into the bechamel sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. It’s better to do the seasoning after the ham is added than to season the sauce by itself so the mixture doesn’t get too salty.

Pour the mixture into a large baking dish. We had about 2cm of mixture in the bottom of our dish. Cover it with cling-film and pop it in the fridge for at least 2 hours for it to set.

Croquette mix

Croquette mix- tastes much better than it looks

Set up your workspace while you are waiting for the mixture to cool. You will need a shallow dish with the beaten eggs in it, and another to put the bread crumbs in. Take out the cool mixture, and using two tablespoons, begin shaping the croquette mixture into quenelles.

Croquette quenelle

Making the quenelles of sauce for the croquettes- remember- use spoons!

As you make each quenelle, scoop it up into your hand and roll it in the breadcrumbs. Try and make sure the bread crumbs cover the entire surface, which make it easier to handle.  Then roll the croquettes in the beaten eggs, and then again in the bread crumbs. The pointed shape of the quennelle will naturally soften into a barrel shape. You can finish off the barrel shape with your fingers.

Bread crummin'

Bread crummin'

Some tips:

Try to clean off your fingers periodically through the process so the croquettes don’t get messy in your hands while rolling them.

Don’t start off with all the bread crumbs in the bread crumb dish, or the will start to get lumpy as you work. Top it up periodically so you don’t end up with a soggy lump of breadcrumbs.

Have a plate ready to put the croquettes on. It takes some patience and practice, but soon they will start to look like legible shapes.

Croquettes- pre-fry

Croquettes- pre-fry

And then the frying. Heat the vegetable oil to about 180-190 degrees C, or until a piece of white bread browns in 30 seconds. Watch out for spitting oil, and add the croquettes into the oil in batches off about 6 at a time. Cook them until the outside is brown and crispy. Transfer them to a plate covered with paper towels to soak up any excess oil, and put the plate into a warm oven while you cook the rest of the croquettes.

Before each batch, do the bread cube test to make sure the oil is still at the right temperature. You can serve immediately and garnish with fresh or fried parsley, but we let ours cool,, put them in tupperwares and had them the next day for lunch. They were yummy.

Spicy Chorizo and Gherkin Pinchos (Pinchos de Chorizo Picante y Pepinillo)

The pinchos are an endurance trial. The anchovies and onions are slippery, and the toothpicks start to dull after the 3rd ingredient. But the  flavour combination was something unusual that we wanted to try, so we persisted and made about 20 of them.

Ingredients

Deli-counter anchovy fillets (they crumble less easy than canned and are much less salty)

175g sliced spicy chorizo (the Ortegas say to remove the casing, but we found this to turn into a smushy mess, so left them on)

about 20 cornichons (you can use any kind of pickled gherkin, but cornichons are easier and cuter)

about 20 pickled onions (the smaller the better)

1 fresh red chilli, seeded and cut into slices (we used green)

about 20 cocktail sticks.

The method here is quite self-evident, see below, just remember to roll the anchovies!

Banderillas

Pinchos- they look like scarecrows

Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas a la Espanola)

Ingredients

500 ml olive oil for frying

750g potatoes, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (so you get half-moon shapes)

1 large onion, roughly chopped

100g gruyere cheese

6 eggs

1 cup roughly chopped spinach

2 tbsp olive oil

As this was a birthday meal, we opted for the classic fried Spanish tortilla. In this recipe, you pan fry the onions and potatoes, rather than a healthier method, so you may want to look around for something healthier if you aren’t interested in flavour. Ours is a variation on the Ortegas’ recipe, though they fry theirs too.

First, heat the 500 ml of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the potato slices and onion, and stir until softened and golden brown. Tip: If all the potato and onion mixture does not fit into your frying pan, do it in batches. Season with salt and drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Add the potato and onions to the eggs, and then add the cheese and spinach and stir with a fork. Heat the 2 tbsp olive oil in the skillet, and then add the mixture. Do NOT Stir! Cook until the bottom is set and lightly brown. Then flip it over. It may seem cruel for me to glibly suggest you just flip over this hot heavy tortilla like it was a playing card, but that is what you have to do, and if you break it, shame will follow you for the rest of your days. The method for this is to put a plate over the frying pan. If the plate is smaller than the circumference of the pan, it will slip inside and you will burn your fingers. If the plate is larger, the plate will probably slip as you flip, and shatter into a thousand pieces. Needless to say, it is a difficult and frustrating thing to try to do. If you can achieve this subtle art of the flipped tortilla, you then slide it from the plate back onto the frying pan and cook it until the other side is golden brown. Then you can slide it back onto the plate and serve like a pie or omelette.

You can put pretty much what ever you want into a tortilla. We added the spinach and cheese, which was excellent. They also travel well.

Tortilla

Tortilla- Why do half of people think that a tortilla is a wrap and the other half think a tortilla is a potato omelette? To be clear, this is the potato kind.

Olive caviar (Caviar de Aceitunas)

Easy and delicious.

Ingredients

150g black olives (pitted, to save yourself the effort of pitting them yourself, unlike me)

4 canned anchovy fillets in oil (not 4 cans, 4 fillets) drained

1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

oaties or crusty bread (Nairns, obv.)

Method:

Blend the olives, anchovies and capers in a blender until grainy like caviar (you can do this in two batches). Stir in the olive oil. Spread on the oaties and jam it in your mouth. You won’t be able to stop.

Tapas

Up at Stoodley Pike Monument. After being hailed on for approx. 1 hour, food was welcome.

So that is our first post. Thanks to Kate, Jo, and Sama for coming up to Yorkshire for Rasha’s birthday! Stay tuned for more!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements