Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Ale and Venison Stew

My brother and his girlfriend are visiting from Copenhagen. Yesterday I took them to some of my favourite places in London (guess where?): the farmers' market by Oval Station and Borough Market.  The result?  Loads of good food was sampled and we schlepped home a lot of delicious meats, cheese, herbs and vegetables.

After carefully browsing the selection of treats at the farmers' market, we set our hearts on some diced venison which we decided to stew last night.  Last time I cooked a venison stew I used red wine, but this time I cooked it in ale.  I also used smoked bacon so it came out quite different to the last one.  I prefer this one as it has more flavours and  I like the smokiness and saltiness from the bacon.

To feed 4 friends:
500g of diced venison
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
6 pieces of smoked bacon (I swear by Giggly Pig bacon from the farmers' market)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 cellery sticks, washed and sliced
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 pint of ale (I used Black Sheep Ale)
2 bay leaves
2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
5 large sprigs of fresh thyme
3 pepper corns
0.5 L of beef or venison stock
freshly ground pepper


1. Cut or slice the bacon into small strips and put them into a large hot pot on the stove.  Let the strips fry until light brown and the fat has melted.  Then add the onions and garlic.

2.  Add the venison and freshly ground pepper once the onions turn light brown. When the venison turns brown, add the bay leaves, carrots and cellery.  Stir it around and add the thyme and rosemary.  Fry for another couple of minutes while mixing everything around.

3. Add the pepper corns and pour in the ale and stock.  Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for at least an hour.

My brother made a mash out of potatoes, celeriac and garlic which went really well with the stew.  It would also be good with boiled potatoes.


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Pork Chop Stew

This morning I took out some pork chops from the freezer without the faintest idea or inspiration about how to prepare them for dinner.  The cold weather helped.  By early afternoon I had come to crave a warm, hearty stew though I wasn't quite sure about the suitability of pork chops for this.  I decided to give it a go using some cellery hearts and beans.  The result was excellent. Try it out for yourself! 

To feed 4 friends:

4 pork chops
1 can of tomatos
1 can of Cannellini beans
2 washed and chopped cellery hearts
smoked paprika
2 peeled and chopped red onions
2 peeled and chopped cloves of garlic
0.4L water
olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Heat some oil in a big pot.  Add the onions and fry till golden.  Add the pork chops and garlic.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoonfuls of sage and 1 tablespoonful of paprika. Fry for a few minutes.

2.  Add the chopped celery hearts.  Fry for another couple of minutes.  Drain the beans and add together with the canned tomatos.

3. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes with a lid on.

I served the stew with boiled potatos, but this dish would go well with rice, bread or maybe even couscous.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Roasting Time - Chicken and Autumn Veggies

It may still be warm here in London, but it is also October and my body clock has spoken: it is time for roasts! I adore the UK-tradition of Sunday roasts though I don't limit myself to making them on Sundays.  Yes, they take a while to cook, but they are quick to prepare.  Just turn on the oven as soon as you walk in the door, prepare the meat and veggies, shove it all in the oven, and put on an episode of Mad Men or two episodes of SATC while you let the cosy smell of roast spread all over the house (or, in my case, flat).

There are so many great autumn vegetables out there begging to be roasted: pumpkins, squash, parsnips, carrots, leeks, celeriac, swedes, beet roots.  And the best part is that these vegetables cost next to nothing!

Chicken Roast for 4 people:
1 chicken
fresh sage
fresh thyme
1 lemon
1 swede
5 carrots
3 leeks
3 onions
4 garlic bulbs (yes, bulbs!)
1 kg of potatos
olive oil
sea salt and pepper

1. Turn the oven on and let it pre-heat to 200 degrees.  Take the chicken out of the fridge.

2. Wash the potatos and boil them for 10 minutes (this will make them quicker to roast).  Add a whole lemon to the boiling water too (you will use this for the chicken in step 4).

3. Meanwhile, wash and peel the carrots and swede. Cut them into pieces.  Cut the carrots into quarters and cut the swede into 3cm x 3cm pieces.  Peel the onions and cut them in half.  Wash the leeks and slice each of them into 2-3 pieces.

4. Put some oil in the bottom of a roasting tray.  Place the chicken in the roasting tray.  Put thyme and sage inside the chicken and squeeze some in between the legs and the body too.  Take the lemon out of the boiling water, poke some holes in it with a knife (this is a Jamie Oliver trick) and put it inside the chicken.  Rub the bird with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Arrange the vegetables and the garlic around the chicken in the tray.  Add a bit of oil, salt and pepper.  Mix it all around with your hands.

5. Put the potatos in a separate tray.  Add oil, salt, pepper, sage and thyme.  Mix up it and shake the spuds around a bit so that they get oil on them.

6.  Put the tray with the chicken in the oven for one hour.  Add the potatos for the last 30 minutes.

7.  The chicken takes about an hour to roast.  Here is a tip to make sure it is ready: take it out of the oven and break away one leg from the body.  If the juice is clear it is done.  If it is still a bit red then it needs more time.

Each person gets a garlic bulb.  Squeeze out the garlic and use it to smear over the meat and potatos. Bon appetit and who cares if your colleagues give you strange looks the next day? Could be worse - you could have forgotten to put on your skirt!

Monday, 27 September 2010

A Variant of Hungarian Gullasch

I have been looking forward to the fall for two reasons: my new pair of boots and wintery cooking aka. stews and roasts.  The following recipe is inspired by the well-known Hungarian gullasch dish.  It's quick to put together, but needs to cook for about hour to get the best result. Spicy, filling and it warms you up from the inside - perfect for dinner or Sunday lunch on a cold winter's day.

To feed 4 people:
olive oil
2 chopped onions
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 chopped fresh chilli pepper
1 chopped sweet pepper
1 diced bell pepper
3 chopped carrots
2 chopped leeks
1 can of tomatos
500g of diced beef
smoked paprika (picante pimenton)

1. Heat some oil in a big pot.  Add the chopped onions, garlic and chilli pepper.  Fry for a few minutes before adding the beef.  Once the beef is brown add 1 teaspoonful of paprika and 2 teaspoonfuls of smoked paprika.  Stir it well.

2. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables.  Fry for a few minutes.  Add salt and pepper.

3. Add the canned tomatos and 0.4L of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 45 mins to 1 hour.

Service with rice, bread, mashed potatos or boiled potatos.

This recipe can also easily be stretched by adding extra tomatos and vegetables.