Hasselback potatoes

I think hasselback potatoes are currently my new favourite kind of potatoes, there’s just something about them. Not only do they look exciting, they also taste very good!

6 potatoes
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves only
~3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
3 tbsp olive oil
butter

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F (fan). Wash the potatoes well, and dry with kitchen tissue. Place the potatoes on a large, deep spoon one at a time, and cut slices for the whole length of the potatoes. The spoon should ensure you don’t cut the potato through completely, as you do want to keep the whole potato in one piece at the bottom.

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2. Crush the peppercorns and salt (I use pestle and mortar). Finely chop the herbs, and add to the salt and pepper, and crush all together a little more. Add the oil, and mix everything together.

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3. Loosen / spread the potatoes (slices) a little if possible, then rub with the spice mixture, trying to get some also in the gaps. Place in an oven tray and bake for 40 minutes.

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4. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and put a small knob of butter on top of each potato. Place back in the oven, and bake for further 10 minutes.

Puff pastry

During the first wave of the Covid lockdown in the UK, one of the food items that was hard to get your hands on was puff pastry. Because of this, I started making my own, and I was so surprised how simple it actually really is. Now, I tend to always make it myself. I  can use the same all butter puff pastry for savoury or sweet foods just fine, and now I’m just thinking that why on earth did I not start making my own sooner?

225g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
150g butter
150 ml cold water

1. Mix  the flour and salt together in a bowl, then put in the fridge for a few minutes, whilst cutting the butter.

2. Cut the butter into cubes. Put the cubes into the bowl with the flour, and stir with a spoon, until all of the cubes are coated with the flour.

3. Pour the water into the butter and flour, them mix all quickly to a rough dough. You will still have some cubes of butter in the dough mix. Put some flour on you work space, and tip the dough on the table. Shape the dough into a log, and press the log flat with your hands, but don’s knead it. Wrap in a cling film, and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

4. Place the chilled dough log on a floured surface, and roll to a thickness of about 1 cm to a rectangular shape. The length should be about three times the width.

5. Fold the top third of the pastry down, on top of the middle third, then fold the bottom third over these.

6. Turn the dough block in a way that the open edge is to the right. I also tend to turn it over so that the last fold is at the bottom. Add flour on the surface if required.

7. Repeat the dough rolling and folding process 4-5 times. If the dough starts getting too sticky, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for a few moments, before continuing.

8. When using the dough, roll to about 1/2 cm thickness, add the filling of your fancy, brush with egg wash and cook in the oven at 200°C / 392°F for about 15-30 minutes, depending on the food. Below pictures are some examples I’ve used my puff pasty for: raspberry pastry, chicken pie, sausage rolls and Finnish Christmas prune tarts.

Sticky pork ribs

I’m not necessarily the most experienced when it comes to pork ribs, but I definitely know good food when I come across it. I started eating and cooking pork ribs last year, and this recipe makes amazing, fall-of-the-bone ribs. They do take quite a while to make, but I guarantee they’ll be worth it!

2 racks of pork ribs
cola
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120 ml dark muscovado sugar
2 tsp paprika powder
1 tbsp caster sugar

1/4 tsp salt
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 chillies, finely chopped

120 ml tomato ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp lime ( or lemon) juice

1. Heat the oven to 140°C / 284°F (fan). Place the ribs in an ovenproof dish and cover with the cola. Tightly cover with foil. If the ribs are not fully submerged, turn them around a couple times during the baking. Bake 2-3 hours in the pre-heated oven.

2. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a pot, and simmer for a few minutes.

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3. Once the ribs are done, remove from the dish and dry with kitchen tissue. Get rid of all the liquid, and place the ribs back in the dish. Coat the ribs with the sauce, and place in the fridge for a minimum of  an hour. The ribs can also be prepared until this point the day before.

4. Heat the oven to 200°C / 392°F (fan) or prepare the barbecue. Cook the ribs, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Turn the ribs around half way through, basting them, to make sure they are coated with the sauce all over. 

5. After the final baking time, remove from the oven, and cut into singular pieces. Toss around in the sauce to coat them all around, and serve. Sprinkle with spring onions and sesame seeds if desired.

Triple cooked chips

During the first Covid lockdown in the UK, my husband and I really enjoyed cooking together, and experimenting with a lot of things we’d never cooked before. Triple cooked chips have always been something to create excitement when out in a restaurant. I’m personally normally more of a fan of skinny fries (french fries) than the typical chunky chips that are very common in the UK. But, when cooked this way, the chunky chips are amazing! Very fluffy in the middle, and crispy on the outside. These are truly the best chips / fries I’ve ever had! I think it might’ve been Heston Blumenthal who created this style of cooking for the chips, the man definitely knows what he’s doing!

large potatoes
vegetable oil
table salt

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes to preferred size, however for these kind of chips it’s better if they are quite big.  Rinse under cold running water to wash the starch off. Place in a pot, sprinkle with salt, and cover with cold water. Cover with lid, and bring to gentle simmer. Cook until soft.
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  2. Drain the cooked potatoes, and when cooled enough so that you can touch them, transfer to a rack, then place the rack in to a freezer for an hour.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil to 130°C / 270°F. If you don’t have a deep fat fryer, you can just use a pot that’s quite deep (this is what I use). Just be careful not to fill it too much with oil, as it can easily overflow when the food items are put in. At the same time, you do need to put enough oil that the food items are freely floating in the oil, and not having to stick to the bottom of the pan. Fry the potatoes in batches for 5 minutes  (each batch). It’s a good idea to check the temperature of the oil every now and then, as the food items will cool the oil when they are put in.
  4. Drain the potatoes on a kitchen tissue to remove excess oil, then place back on the rack, and put the rack back in the freezer for an additional hour, or longer. Keep the oil in the pot, as you will need it again. At this stage, the chips are still looking pale in colour.
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  5. This time, heat the oil to 180°C / 360°F. Fry the potatoes for about 5-7 minutes, until golden and crispy, then serve immediately.

Continue reading “Triple cooked chips”

Cauliflower and broccoli gratin

This gratinated cauliflower and broccoli is a wonderful and tasty side to any dish. It’s not difficult to make either, which makes it a great staple accompliment to any dinner table.


1/2 cauliflower
1/2 broccoli
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50g butter
4 tbsp plain wheat flour
500ml milk
200ml grated cheddar cheese
2 egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 225°C (fan) / 435°F. Cut the cauliflower and broccoli to florets. Place in a pot, and boil until just about cooked throug, but still firm (around 10 minutes).

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2. Melt the butter in a pot. Once melted, remove from the heat. Mix in the flour, and once the butter and flour are properly mixed, add the milk, stirring.

3. Place the pot back on the hob, and cook the mixture on a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring the whole time. Use of a whisk may help you to get a smooth sauce.

4. Remove the pot from the heat again. Add most of the cheese (just save a little to sprinkle on top). Once the cheese has melted, add the egg yolk, stirring well.

5. Place the pot back on the hob once more for a couple of minutes, stirring, however don’t let the mixture boil. Stir the remaining spices into the sauce.

6. Place the broccoli and cauliflower florets on an ovenproof dish. Pour the sauce the vegetables, and sprinkle with the remaning cheese. Place in the oven, bake until hot and the food starts getting a nice colour on top.

 

 

 

Southern pulled pork

I don’t think I know anyone who wouldn’t like this comfort food of pulled pork. You can eat it in various different ways, hot or cold. You also get a lot from one piece of meat, and it can easily be frozen for those laze days when you don’t feel like cooking.

~2kg boneless piece of pork shoulder

Marinade:
150g dark muscovado sugar
2 large onions, chopped
16 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp tabasco
1 tsp coriander seeds
4 tbsp english mustard powder
4 tsp paprika powder
200ml tomato ketchup
2 tbsp Worchester sauce
4 tbsp treacle
2 tbsp sea salt

1. Blend all marinade ingredients together into a paste.

2. Pour the marinade paste over the pork shoulder and massage onto the pork, making sure all of it is coated. Marinade in the fridge for at leat 2 hours.

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3. Place in a pot. Add water so that it just about covers the meat. The meat normally comes with the skin, I tend to cook it with the skin on, and remove it after the cooking. Cover the pan with a lid. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours, or until the meat pulls apart.

4. I like to spoon some of the marinade / cooking liquid over the meat for some extra flavour. On this occasion I served my pulled pork in a homemade pitta bread (click here for recipe) with some lettuce, tomato and gherkins.

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Oven baked creamy salmon and vegetables

Salmon is a great versatile, tasty and meaty fish that can be cooked in many different ways. It is also very healthy, and in particular is rich in Omega 3.

Serves 2
2 large handfuls of spinach
1/2 courgette (zucchini)
2 small turnips
100g green beans
~6 florets of broccoli
2 cloves of garlic
2 salmon fillets
200ml cream
salt
white pepper
cayenne pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 360°F. Peel and chop the turnips into bite size chunks. Chop the courgette, green beans and broccoli also into bite size pieces. Place the spinach at the bottom of an oven dish, followed by the other vegetables. Squeeze the garlic on top. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper.img_1537

2. Place the salmon on top of everything, pour the cream over, and season the salmon with some salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

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3. Place in the preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes. If you don’t like your vegetables crunchy, you might want to bake the vegetables on their own first for 5-10 minutes, before adding the salmon and cream.

Grilled tuna steak

Fresh, proper piece of tuna steak is very different from the tinned version most are used to. It is meaty, and flavoursome, which can also be enhanced by marinating. To cook, I just popped it under the grill in the oven this time, which was very easy and hassle free.

Serves 2

two tuna steaks

Marinade
1 small green chilli
1 garlic clove
1 piece of
root ginger, about the size of half a thumb, peeled
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
handful of parsley (a few stalks)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Finely chop chilli, ginger and parsley. Peel and squeeze the garlic clove. Mix all marinade ingredients together. Place the tuna pieces in a container in the fridge. 8 hours marinating time would be ideal, if this is not possible try to do at least 2 hours.

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2. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Place the tuna pieces under the grill, and cook for about 12-14 minutes, turning once half way through the cooking.

Rack of lamb with garlic mashed potatoes

Rack of lamb is quite a simple Sunday lunch food to cook, and a nice cut of meat. The longer you have the marinade on, the better the result will be. I would try to have the meat marinating for at least four hours, but overnight would be ideal. In terms of the cooking time, I like mine medium (pink), and the cooking times on here provide exactly that.

Serves 2
Lamb rack

25g butter for searing
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Marinade
2 cloves of garlic
leaves from 3 rosemary sprigs
leaves from 4 thyme sprigs
6 black peppercorns
2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
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Garlic mashed potatoes
5 large potatoes (about 800g)
50g butter
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
100ml milk
50ml – 100ml double cream
5 cloves garlic
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tsp sea salt (or standard table salt)

1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together. I tend to crush them together with a pestle and mortar.

2. Clean the rack bones with a sharp knife, to remove the sinew. It won’t however be a problem if you don’t, this is only done for aesthetic reasons, and won’t affect on the cooking of the meat.

3. Rub the marinade mixture all over the meat, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for four hours, or overnight.

4. Peel and quarter the potatoes, place in a pot with four out of the five garlic cloves, rosemary and salt. Cover with water, bring to boil and cook until the potatoes are soft. Once cooked, pour the water off, and remove the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs / leaves. Mash the potatoes, and add the butter, milk, cream and salt. Finally, peel and crush the remaining garlic clove into the mash.

5. Heat oven to 200°C (fan) / 430°F. Melt the butter in a frying pan suitable for oven. Place the rack in the pan fat side down, and brown for a few minutes. Then sear both ends of the rack. Sear the remaining side, leaving the rack on the frying pan fat side up. For aesthetic reasons, you can cover the bones with foil, so that they won’t colour too much in the oven.

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6. Place the frying pan and the lamb rack in the preheated oven. For medium (pink) meat, cook for 20 minutes.

7. After the cooking time has passed, remove from oven. Cover the meat with foil, and rest for 10 minutes.

 

Roasted butternut squash soup

This soup is super tasty, and also pretty easy to make. Even though a couple of chillies are used, it’s not at all spicy. Butternut squash gives the soup a wonderful, sweet taste. This velvety soup is perfect for the approaching winter.

1 butternut squash
2 onions
1 garlic clove
2 chillies (I use green chillies)
900ml vegetable stock (I use Bouillon powder)
100ml double cream
2 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
black pepper and salt to taste

1. Peel and chop the butternut squash, and discard the seeds. Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F). Place the pieces in an oven dish, and sprinkle half of the oil on the pieces. Roast for 30 minutes. Half way through, turn the pieces.

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2. While the squash is in the oven, put the rest of the oil and the butter in a pot. Peel and chop the onions to large pieces. Cut the chillies in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and the pith. Finely chop the chillies and peeled garlic. Place onions, garlic and chilli in the pot, and fry on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring, until the onions are soft and translucent.

 

3. Once the butternut squash pieces are done in the oven, add them to the pot, together with the hot vegetable stock. Let cool for a while, before whizzing into purée.

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4. Pour back into the pot, reheat, add the cream and season to taste.

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