Sunday, 30 January 2011

Rabbit Greek Style

Should we eat wild rabbit? I think the answer is yes, there are good reasons why we should. However battery or farmed rabbit is a different matter, similarly to chicken, farmed rabbits live in pretty dire conditions and if only on a selfish note, their meat is stressed and not good + all the other ethical reasons, that goes without saying.
Wild rabbit meat has a high percentage of easily digestible protein, it is cheap, low in calories and full of flavour. On the minus side, it is not always available and it has lots of little bones Your local butcher will chop a whole rabbit into  portions. Once cook, you can bone it or leave it to convives to do so.

In the original recipe, the meat is marinated overnight but I forgot still flavours were "a-plenty" so if you fancy something different which is possibly going to stretch over several meals here you are Rabbit Greek Style

Rabbit Greek Style

Ingredients
 1 medium-size wild rabbit (about 3 pounds), cut into serving pieces
 For the marinade:
  •  1/4 of a liter (or thereabout) of cooking red wine
  •  2 bay leaves
  •  2 or 3 tsp of allspice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
 For the dish
  • flour to coat the rabbit portions 
  • 1 cup olive oil  
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper  
  • 1 pound small round stewing onions, peeled and whole  
  • the marinade or if you forgot all the ingredients for the marinade
  •  1 tin of chopped tomato  + a pinch of sugar
Method
Place chopped rabbit in a large bowl.
Pour in the wine, and add the bay leaves, allspice berries and cinnamon.
Marinate the rabbit overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

In a wide, heavy stewing pot, heat half a cup of olive oil.
Add the onions and cook in the oil over medium-low until they brown a little, you will have to stir at times
In the meantime, remove the rabbit from the marinade, keep the marinade, pat dry and dredge lightly with flour.
Remove onions with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add another quarter cup of olive oil to the pot and heat.
Place the rabbit pieces in the pot and sear to brown over medium-high heat, turning on all sides.
Pour in the marinade (or all the ingredients contained in the marinade) the tomato tin and sugar; add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick(only if you are not using the marinade.
Lower heat and cover.
Simmer rabbit over low heat for about one and a half hours, or until tender.
Remove, cool slightly and reduce the sauce, put the rabbit back in the reduced juice serve with potatoes of pasta.


Saturday, 29 January 2011

Radio Star

"Were you scared" asked my co-writer on the Black & White series. Scared, no, more like phased. I will do it again given the opportunity but this time I will more prepared. Off air when Graham Logan of Leith Radio prompted me for my favorite question, I told him "ask me about the writers, I interviewed" believe it or not when he asked me the question on air, I did not have an answer ready.

I you want to listen to the interview, it is only 5 minutes click here

Friday, 28 January 2011

And the Winner is...........

The winner of the Onken give-away is NUMBER THIRRRTEEEN with the Greek yogurt + honey flavour

Dear Mr Ano, thank you for letting me know that you had entered, I will send your details to the PR companie and you should receive your vouchers next week.

Thank you all for taking part, I have enjoyed reading about your dream flavours.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Savoury Polenta Muffins

Substituting polenta for wheat sounds like a good idea. It is always fun to play with new ingredients and recipes. Except when it doesn't quite work, you can hear in my voice, here, that I am a tat fustrated with the original recipe, it could have been so perfect but oh no.....

What is wrong in the recipe is......... the type of polenta, major ingredient in a polenta muffin, wouldn't you agree. In order to make these gorgeous muffins, here professionally photographed by the very talented Anne Mortensen, I confidently grabbed the polenta packet which was in the pantry. Wrong. To make these Savoury Polenta Muffins you imperatively need a quick-cooking polenta, sometimes labeled minute-polenta otherwise you will end up, like me, with slightly grainy muffins.

This recipe is worth trying, especially if you are "souping" these muffins are filling and taste really good (or so they should) so have a go and let me know.

Cooking Time : 15 minutes
Preparation Time : 10 minutes
Preheat your oven to 220°C / Gas6
Ingredients:
• 50g melted butter, plus extra for greasing the tins
• 250ml milk
• 1 large egg
• 160g quick-cooking polenta
• 30g cornflour
• 3 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 & 1/2 teaspoons caster sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
Method
1. Grease your muffin tin with melted butter, set aside.
2. Get a large bowl; add the milk, eggs and 50g melted butter. Whisk together.
3. In a separate bowl, combine polenta, cornflour, baking powder, caster sugar and salt. (The reason the dry ingredients are in a separate bowl is so that they can be well mixed now and then they don’t need a lot of mixing when you add them to the liquid which would make the cornbread tougher )
4. Next, add the dry ingredients to the wet then stir with a wooden spoon until they are only just combined. If you mix it too much the polenta bread will be tough.
5. If you want to add any of the different flavours I suggest; put a few spoonfuls of the mixture into a separate bowl, gently mix with the extra ingredients then spoon each individual into a muffin tin.
6. Once all of the mixture is in the muffin tins, bake for 15 minutes or until golden and just barely firm enough for a skewer to come out of the centre dry.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Give Away #4 : Creamy Vanilla with Chocolate Flakes Yogurt -Onken Vouchers-

Product testing is part of the fun of being a food writer and as we say in French "A deux, c'est mieux". This time-round, you and I are going to share. More over we are sharing a limited edition so grab a spoon and read on.

Onken is the number 1 in the UK for large pots of Yogurt, so there must be something in it. I don't mean in the pot....you cheeky. I mean, the fact that the brand is at the top. And it may be because they are going slightly against the trend.
Take this limited edition, which WE are tasting. it was launched during "diet month" but it has creamy in the title, and Onken urges us to indulge, see what I mean?
So what does it taste like? if I wanted to be pernickety, I could say : "It is thick but could be a little thicker, there are plenty of chocolate flakes and that is a real plus, rich in vanilla flavour, smooth, a little sweet. Now your turn
Give Away #4
            a set of vouchers to exchange against any Onken Yogurts  
Rules:
answer this question: "If you were to create a yogurt, which flavour would it be?" plain flavours such as strawberry are perfectly acceptable answers.
  1. Leave a comment and you will be entered in the prize draw
  2. To get a second entry Twit the giveaway and let me know
  3. and if you wanted one more entry, join PebbleSoup followers and you will get yet another (these already following will automatically get an extra entry)
Good luck, dead line- 27th January at midnight- winner announced the next day- No geographical restriction - but make sure that there is one of the 3 retailer below near you.

The Onken Limited Edition Creamy Vanilla with Chocolate Flakes yogurt comes in a 450g big pot and is available from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose & Morrison’s, with an RSP of £1.25.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Blue Monday: Pork & Coriander Stew

You think you suffer from Monday morning blues but just wait.....Today, Monday 17 January 2011 is tipped to be the most depressing day of 2011 - Blue Monday - thanks to the distant memory of Christmas and the dreary weather combined with broken New Year’s Resolutions and enormous credit card bills.
So let's comfort ourselves with mood up-lifters, the kind of recipe that warms one up: one-pot dish. These all in one dishes are rather great, you can start them off and forget about them for an hour or two while doing something else. I think I am getting hooked on slow-cook and one pots from Jambalayas to Osso Buccos via Curries and Tangines. I found this stew recipe in the appropriately named "One-Pot": Best ever one pot recipes.

You will have spotted the lack of true representation of this recipe and that is always a sign, yes, once more, the dish was all gobbled up before the camera could come out of its bag.

Pork and Coriander Stew
Ingredients
1tbs coriander
800g pork filet, cubed
1tbs plain flower
2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion
375ml red wine
250ml chicken stock
1tsp sugar
fresh coriander to garnish

Method
Crush the coriander seeds in a mortar, combine the pork seed and crack pepper in a bowl Cover and marinate overnight over ever if you forget to do so carry on with the recipe

Toss the pork in flow. Heat oil in a frying pand and cook the pork over high heet for a couple of minute. Remove

Add the oninon in the pan cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes or until just golden. Return meat to pan, add stock and wine + sugar. Bring to boil and reduce the heat. Simmer for one hour

Remove the meat and retun the pan to the heat boil until juice thickenen. Pour over the meat.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Trout with Figs

                                      

Surprise: noun from 15C French, surprendre.
Definition:
1. a sudden or unexpected event, gift, etc.
2. the feeling or condition of being surprised; astonishment.

And in my book, a word which ranks high in the list of emotions. The unexpected materialised under the shape of new (to me) combination of flavours. The gift, a lovely meal researched and prepared just for me.

At first, the trout/figs combo is disturbing, slightly too sweet, far too alien. However after a couple of mouthfuls, you find yourself wanting more. I would advocate you try this recipe, as soon as you put your hands on dried figs. You never know, you might already have some lurking in the pantry. Ready in 35 minutes, it is perfect for week-day dinner. Original recipe, 260 calories per serving which is fabulous for a January meal.

He found the recipe here and adapted it, didn't go anywhere near untreated wood planks, whole trouts were fried in butter but if you wanted to make it leaner, steaming them in aluminium foil in the oven will do the trick.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Pumpkin with gorgonzola sauce

Jennifer Joyce's photo was shot by the talented
Anne Mortensen whilst I interviewed
Jennifer  for "writers in Black & White"
Cooking with recipe:
Rule #1 : read recipe
Rule #2 : get the ingredients
#3: follow the instructions.

Should be easy, but somewhere I went very wrong and lovely Jennifer Joyce's Butternut pumpkin lasagne with gorgonzola bechamel came out of the oven, looking very much like a pumpkin + Gorgonzola gratin.
Though I forgot the tomato sauce and the bechamel and dare I say.... even forgot the lasagne sheets it was really lovely.
 So let me share with you a much reduced and amended recipe:

Pumpkin with gorgonzola sauce
Ingredients
2kg pumpkins peeled cut into thick slices
60ml olive oil
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1 tbs chopped sage
100g gorgonzola dolce latte or blue veined cheese, crumbled
Method:
Preheat oven to 200C (400F/Gas6)
Place the pumpkin on a baking tray and drizzle over a little oil, season
crush garlic and place in the tray
Roast for 20 minutes
remove from oven, puree gently
Add the gorgonzola to the puree with the rest of the oil
place in a baking dish and return to the oven for 15 minutes

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Fish + Nibble

It is not unusual for Pebble Soup to talk about fish. Even fish and nibble in the same sentence would not look astray. However, fish, nibble and feet gets a little curiouser. And if I tell you that the whole sentence is "fish nibbled my feet", you might think that I have lost my grip on reality.
Wrong, I went for a fish pedicure. One of his fantastic Xmas present idea. I must say, I was wholly convinced by the idea until I got to the beauty salon and saw tanks full of little fish.
I have always loved fish, dead or alive,  but just right then, just when the beautician said: "they have not been fed yet, they should be very hungry" I wondered if my love had not been misplaced.

After a foot scrub, I shuffled my much reduced posterior on  plush seats, looked at the minimalist, Japanese decor, closed my eyes and dipped my feet into a large aquarium. The first sensation was that of the jacuzzi effect, followed by little suctions all over the emerged part. Really not unpleasant at all.

Garra Rufa fish are little black fish, "mine" were only 5 weeks old which is not fully grown up but I am told that they will not grow much more in size. This sort of pedicure is very popular in the East especially in Japan. As I was relaxing cup of tea in hand - should Have been a glass of bubbly but I did not dare to point this out, just in case they had a tank full of piranhas and ask me to switch- The Garra Rufa acted as exfoliatiants and nibble my dead skins 

After 30 minutes, I had a quick foot massage and put my feet back in my boots. I can't say it was a mind blowing experience, because it was not, but it is a very pleasant feeling, my feet are much softer + the whole experience of doing nothing for 30 minutes but watch tiny little fish relaxed me no end. So much so that I almost forgot they were at work and wiggled and folded my toes only to ufold them quickly hoping I had not crushed any little fishies.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Curious Ingredients :Spice-crusted Venison

Let's start a new decade with an unusual ingredient. Venison is deer meat. It is a meat, low in fat with a rich, strong flavour. Like a lot of people, I am not sure about eating deer. According to autie Beeb (the BBC) Deer can be classified as wild deer, park deer (reared in herds that roam park-lands) or farmed deer (rearing varies from free-range to intensive). Obviously, the preferred option is farmed free-range but I have to admit that I acquired this knowledge after cooking and eating the Venison fillets, in question. However, you will have not excuse.

I have never been crazy about the taste of venison but I do like this recipe which bring up all sorts of well-combined flavours, plus it is rather quick to prepare.

This dish contains juniper berries. Now, it is unlikely that your spices rack includes them. the only reason, I have some is thanks to Sue who bequested the content of her pantry to me when she moved to Toronto.

Here is what Auntie Beeb says about this other curious ingredient: "The spicy, aromatic, dark berries of the juniper tree can be used fresh or dried, crushed or whole, to flavour casseroles, marinades and stuffings and complement pork, rabbit, venison, beef and duck. They can also be used in sweet dishes such as fruitcake. Juniper berries also provide the main flavouring for gin."

Yeh, one for the shopping list, it lasts for ever and adds a lot of flavour to a dishes such as casseroles.


Spiced-crusted Venison

Ingredients
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp juniper berries
1 tbs caraway seeds
sea salt and pepper
a thin venison steak per person

if you were to do the reduction
2 tsp cranberry or redcurrant jelly
150 ml red wine

Method
Grind the spices together in a blender or with a mortar.
 Season the venison with salt, coat in the spices,
Heat a non-stick friying pan
Place the steaks, spiced-side down in the pan and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes

for the reduction
Tansfer the steaks in a warm plate
Pour the wine in the pan stirring well to grab all the juices
add the jelly sea salt and pepper stir until syrupy
pour the sauce over the steak just before serving

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