Recipe: Slow Roasted Goat

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I have eaten goat before but only as part of a highly spiced curried  Jamaican style dish. I have certainly never cooked with it. So when Emily, fresh from a trip to our local butcher (Chartfarm, Kent), bought some English reared goat I decided to try something a little different.

She came back with a whole shoulder, which looks a little bit like lamb but somewhat darker and ‘gamier’. I thought that I would slow cook it in a similar way to a lamb we had some weeks earlier. Before I go into the specifics of the recipe it have to admit that it was not totally successful. Despite cooking the goat for over 8 hours it was still a lot tougher than the previous lamb version, which literally fell off the bone, and was still overly fatty. It also has to be said that, for me personally, I was not that impressed with the flavour of the meat itself. It might sound a little obvious but the meat smells and tastes distinctly ‘goaty’, despite all of the spices used. Really, the take home message here is – you can buy British reared goat meat, and that’s great, but you might be advised not to.

So ultimately, this is a recipe in that I am going to suggest you do not try but if anyone does have a great goat dish that they think will change our opinion of this meat we will gladly give goat another go (comment below).

Ingredience

  • 1.5 kg goat shoulder
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 whole chopped preserved lemon
  • 2 tbsp baharat (Lebanese seven spice)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) butter
  • 1 tbs Black peppercorns
  • 5 Cardamom seeds
  • 5 Cloves
  • 1tbs Coriander seeds
  • 1tbs Cumin seeds
  • 1tbs smoked paprika
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 red chili
  • 2 handfuls of mixed fruit
  • 200ml veg stock

Method

Mix the garlic, spices and salt in a pestle and mortar along with the butter to make a thick paste. Then rub the resultant mixture on the goat after scoring the surface of the meat with a sharp knife. Leave the goat for at least 3 hours in the fridge or, ideally, overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160°C or 14°C in a fan assisted oven. Prepare a foil parcel large enough to accept the meat. Chop the veg and place half in the bottom of your foil parcel. Put the goat on top and then throw the remaining veg and mixed fruit over the top of the meat. Place the goat in a deep roasting pan, pour stock into the pan and roast for 8 hours or until the meat falls off the bone easily.

Serve with couscous.

– James

Really Simple Wild Garlic Pesto (Nut free)

Wild garlic is currently in season and in abundance along hedgerows up and down the country. They say there is no such things as a free meal but this simple recipe is as close as you can get.

I am allergic to nuts so cannot actually eat regular pesto. So, I have experimented for years with my own nut free alternatives and this is about the best. What is key to note it that it is so simple and, combined with pasta, makes a meal for under 10p per serving.

Ingredients
A big bunch of fresh wild garlic
Breadcrumbs
Rapeseed Oil
Strong English Cheddar
Salt & Pepper

The method is simple – just throw it in a blender and blitz until it is a rough paste. Throw a few table spoons of the mixture over pasta and serve. What remains of the mixture can be put into a jar and stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Wild garlic is a fantastic ingredient but must be used immediately it is picked or it loses all flavour. Also, do not under estimate the importance of British rapeseed oil to this recipe. If you use olive oil… it will not taste half as good.

wild-garlic-flowers12Finding wild garlic

Wild garlic is mainly found in woodland or in hedgerows but you will smell it before you see it. The strong garlic smell will lead you directly to it. However, if you find bluebells the garlic will not be far away. The plant itself has long flat leaves and topped with small white flowers.

Unlike ‘normal’ garlic the leaves are more important than the bulbs. With a sharp blade cut the garlic as close to the base of the plant as possible and only take what you will use that day.

– Emily

Real wasabi grown in England + salmon with mussel & wasabi sauce

This, I will freely admit, is not a recipe of my own but an adaptation of a fantastic one by Bryn Williams which he put together for The Great British Menu. I have very simply substituted the horseradish for wasabi and added the watercress pea shoots. The reason for the second substitution to watercress was because The Wasabi Company, from whom we bought our main ingredient, are also Europe’s largest grower of watercress.

For more information about The Wasabi Company and our first thoughts about fresh UK grown wasabi click here>>>

On to the recipe -I must say that our photo does not make this look all that great (or maybe it is our plating) but do not be put off. It does taste great!

Ingredients
For the sauce
500g/1lb 2oz fresh mussels in their shells
2 shallots, finely sliced
olive oil
250ml/9fl oz white wine
250ml/9fl oz single cream
squeeze lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
5cm/2in piece fresh wasabi root

For the potatoes
200g/8oz Charlotte potatoes
bunch chives, chopped
For the salmon
4 pieces of wild salmon fillet, each 120g/4½oz, skin on
100g/4oz freshly shelled peas
50g/2oz watercress (or pea shoots as in the original recipe)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sqeeze lemon juice
drizzle rapeseed oil
Preparation method

1. To make the sauce, prepare the mussels by washing them undercold water and removing the ‘beards’. Drain. Discard any that do not close when lightly tapped. In a heavy-bottomed pan, cook the shallots in a little olive oil until translucent. Add the mussels and pour on the wine. Place a lid on the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the mussels have opened. (Discard any that do not open.) Drain the mussels in a colander set over a bowl. Pour the liquid from the bowl into a small pan and set aside. Pick the mussels out of their shells and keep to one side, discard the shells.

2. For the potatoes, cook the whole potatoes in boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes or until tender. Drain and leave to cool. When cool, peel off the skins and put the potatoes back into the saucepan. Crush the potatoes with a fork. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and add the chopped chives. Keep warm.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

4. For the salmon, season the salmon with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat a non-stick, ovenproof frying pan, then add a splash of olive oil and cook the salmon skin-side down for two minutes, without turning. Place the pan in the oven to cook for 3-4 minutes.

5. To make the sauce, bring the reserved mussel liquid to the boil. Add the cream and simmer for 5-6 minutes until reduced slightly. It should not be too thick, but more soupy. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add the peas and cook for one minute, then add the mussels just to warm through.Remove from the heat. Grate in the fresh wasabi.

6. Season the watercress with salt, pepper, lemon juice and a drizzle of rapeseed oil.

7. For each serving, place a chefs’ ring, about 4cm/1½in diameter, in the middle of a shallow bowl. Spoon the crushed potatoes into the ring, lightly packing them. Remove the ring. Scatter the mussels and peas around the potato and place a salmon fillet, skin-side up, on top. Scatter the watercress on top of the mussels and peas, then finish with a light drizzle of the warm wasabi cream sauce all around.

Thanks to Bryn Williams From Great British Menu for the inspiration for this rather tasty meal.

– Emily

Home Made Christmas Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is now a festive favourite, especially if it is home-smoked. Many people are scared of having a go at smoking at home but it is actually far easier that you would imagine.

Mrs B recently bought a whole side of British farmed salmon from Waitrose for the bargain price of £12. Over the course of this weekend it was cured and passed through my homemade moker (a metal bin). The result is, I think, my best attempt at smoked salmon yet. However, best of all it has taken a £12 side of salmon and turned it into a £60 side of smoked salmon ready to accompany cream cheese and MrsB’s home made bagels on Christmas morning.

I have posted about the smoking process before on our blog (here) so will not go into that again but I do recommend that you give it a go! But, if you do want to buy some of the best smoked fish try some that has been smoked using the traditional method.

The roots of traditional fish smoking in the UK stretch back into pre-histrory when it was a method essential to the preservation of fish as much as a means of adding flavour. The oldest smokehouses currently operating in the UK were built over 200 years ago and, thankfully, many now enjoy listed building protection today. Ensuring their continued preservation, if not their operation. Traditional Smoking requires a purpose built building in which sawdust is slowly burnt. The skill in operating a traditional smokehouse is in controlling the temperature, flow of smoke and rate of burn of the sawdust at the bottom of the smokehouse.

fish3Mechanical -v- traditional smoking

The majority of smoked fish you will see in the supermarkets will be mechanically produced. Indeed, there is nothing inherently wrong with this method but some would say that the best smoked fish is still produced the old fashioned way. Mechanical smoking kilns were developed in the early part of the 19th century as a means of producing a more efficient smoke. Mechanical kilns are merely electrically heated and  utilises a much smaller amount of smoke in their process. Traditional smokehouses use vast billowing rooms full of smoke and develop a natural tar to the actual walls of the building. This tar will have been been built up over centuries and actually adds to the flavour of the final product. Indeed, I have used my homemade smoker for about 4 years and it too has developed a layer of tar which, I have noticed, has make the intensity of the things I have produced far stronger.

Where to buy Traditional Smoked Fish

Most  traditional smokehouses are now located in Grimsby. In fact Grimsby Traditional Smoked Cod and Haddock are now protected by a PGI (Protected Geographical Indicator) meaning only fish cured in the traditional process can be called Grimsby Traditional Smoked Fish.

To find your local Traditional Smokehouse see the maps below:

– James

 

Christmas pud, cake and mince for stir-up Sunday!

20141021_164533The last Sunday before Advent is traditionally called stir up Sunday. On this day it is a British tradition for families to get together and prepare their Christmas treats. Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince meat ready for your mince pies essentially use the same basic ingredients. As such if you are going to make one of these festive favourites you might as well make them all at the same time.

The recipes I used this year for the pudding and the cake were both adaptations from basic recipes from Nigella:

Ultimate Christmas Pudding (click here)

Easy Christmas Cake (click here)

The mince meat recipe is one that I have used from Delia for many years:

Mince Meat (click here)20141021_165624

Being sticklers for tradition we always put threepenny bits into the Christmas pud (these have been in my family for 3 generations now), and the whole family have a go at stirring them in. Apparently, in a recent survey  two-thirds of British children, revealed that they had never experienced the tradition of stirring Christmas pudding mix.

It is important to us that we pass these uniquely British traditions on, and the experience is also a lot of fun for all…. plus the house really begins to smell like Christmas. Get stirring!!!

LN_053717_BP_10However, if you must buy your Christmas pudding there are some really good ones sold in the supermarkets. Last year we bought a Carved Angel pudding that was absolutely fantastic (of course they are British made).

– Emily

3 recipes 1 pumpkin

Daddy and Spiderman (Lucan) with our jack-o-lanterns.

Carving jack-o-lanterns is a real highlight of Halloween but after the last trick or treater has gone home you are usually left with a mass of pumpkin that generally gets thrown away. This year we decided to do an experiment to see if, rather than waste them, we could make the most of them.

I managed to eek out 3 recipe from just one vegetable using every last bit – Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Soup and Savoury Pumpkin Bread. All the recipes were real winners so give them a go and do not let your British grown pumpkins go to waste. They are in season now, are really versatile and taste fantastic.

The recipes I used are below:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:
Seeds from 2 pumpkins
Vegetable oil
Soy Sauce
Pinch of salt

This is a really simple recipe but there are a few tricks to getting the seeds nice and crispy. The key is to make sure that when removing the seeds from the pumpkin you remove any of the pith or flesh and them wash them thoroughly. If you fail to do this the seed with stick together and will be soggy.

The method is really simple. Coat the cleaned seeds in the oil and soy and add a pinch of salt. Spread them on a baking sheet and stick on the oven on 150C for 45 minutes. You need to turn them every 15 minutes to prevent sticking.

They are a great snack and Lucan loved them.

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:
1 diced pumpkin
5 cloves of garlic
1 pint vegetable stock
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 tsp cumin
Sprig of rosemary
Nutmeg
Fresh coriander
Salt and pepper
2 tbl spoons Crème Fresh
Vegetable Oil/butter
Chilli Oil (optional)

The first job is to remove the skin of the pumpkin and cut it into large cubes. Add the pumpkin and the garlic cloves to a large roasting pan and coat in vegetable oil. There is no need to skin the garlic. Place your pumpkin in a pre-heated oven for 1 hour on 180C (if you are feeling clever you can put this in with your pumpkin bread to save a little energy).

In a pan add the onions, carrot and celery with a small amount of butter and sauté until the onions turn glassy. Add the Pumpkin and de-skinned garlic along with the stock. Add your herbs, salt and pepper and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes with the lid on. Before serving add the roughly chopped coriander and crème fresh. Then give the whole lot a blitz with a blender. I don’t like it too smooth so I just give a couple of short blasts.

Finally add a poncey swirl of crème fresh and chilli oil and plonk on a couple of coriander leaves on top for garnish like it’s 1978!

Savoury Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:
Melted butter, to grease
300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mild chilli powder
450g mashed cooked pumpkin
125ml milk
60g butter, melted, cooled
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a loaf pan with melted butter. Sift the flour, salt and chilli powder into a large bowl. Add the seeds. Make a well in the centre.

Place the pumpkin, milk, butter and egg in a jug, and use a whisk to stir until well combined. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, and stir with a large metal spoon until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Sprinkle evenly with some extra sunflower seeds.

Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven. Set aside in the pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Do you have a great pumpkin recipe. Please let us know in the comments section below!

 

Recipe: Venison Liver – Our Suprising First Tasting

IMG_0016I would say that Emily and I are pretty adventurous eaters. So, it is difficult to find something that neither of us has ever tried. However, it was on a recent visit to our favourite butchers (Chart Farm in Seal, Kent) that we both discovered that we had never partaken of venison liver. Tonight we thought we would give it a whirl and it is fair to say that we found the experience surprising.

My plan was to cook it as simply, but as carefully, as possible so as to get a true idea of the flavour.

Ingredients (feeds 4):

400g of venison liver
1 large oinion
Pancetta (or streaky bacon)
5 large mushrooms
2 Cloves of garlic
Fresh  rosemary
1 glass  of English red wine
1/2 pint of stock (or 1 cube added to water)
Salt/Pepper

Method:

I started by frying the pancetta (made by my talented wife) then added the onions and garlic. The pancetta releases plenty of fat so there is not need for any additional oil. Fry until the onions start to turn glassy then add the venison liver, which I cut into strips, and chopped onions.

I found the venison liver to be substantially thinner than, say, lambs liver and it also looked a lot leaner, so I was keen not to over cook it. I added the rosemary and seasoned. I then fryed the liver for about 2 minutes, noting a slight pink still in the middle, and then emptied the whole lot onto a plate to rest while I made the gravy.

Using the same pan I added the wine and then the gravy stock and cooked until it achieved the consistency I wanted. I then added the rested meat mix back into the gravy for a further 20 seconds and served.

I served with broccoli and oven chips (not pictured – in case people thought we are not the sophisticates we purport to be 😉 ) I would say that a nice mustard mash would likely be better though.

IMG_0021Our findings:

What is the most suprising thing about venison liver is the texture. It is so soft that it absolutely melts in the mouth. In fact it has a mouth feel very much like foie gras, which makes it very very rich. The flavour is obviously like liver but, not suprisingly, more gamey.

If cooking it again I would be tempted to add something fruity, like cranberry sauce, to the gravy to cut through the richness of the meat.

In short, venison is nothing like the shoe-leather-like liver you remember from your school dinners. If treated right it has the potential to be the main ingredients to a very luxurious tasting dish which is great when it is really cheap.

– James

 

The science of the perfect cup of tea… you have been making it wrong all this time.

fatherteaThere is nothing British than a nice old cup of tea but according to the Royal Society of Chemistry we might have all been making it wrong!

Forget a cure for the common cold or putting man on Mars, science is finally putting their skills to good use. Boffins at RSC have been using chemistry to find the recipe for the perfect cup of tea… phew… about time!

Unusual recommendations include using a microwave, use a large mug instead of a cup, use a teaspoon to cool the tea to the correct temperature.

So here it is:

How to make a Perfect Cup of Tea
Ingredients: Loose-leaf Assam tea; soft water; fresh, chilled milk; white sugar.
Implements: Kettle; ceramic tea-pot; large ceramic mug; fine mesh tea strainer; tea spoon, microwave oven.

Draw fresh, soft water and place in kettle and boil. Boil just the required quantity to avoid wasting time, water and power.

While waiting for the water to boil place a ceramic tea pot containing a quarter of a cup of water in a microwave oven on full power for one minute.

Synchronise your actions so that you have drained the water from the microwaved pot at the same time that the kettle water boils.

Place one rounded teaspoon of tea per cup into the pot.

Take the pot to the kettle as it is boiling, pour onto the leaves and stir.

Leave to brew for three minutes.

The ideal receptacle is a ceramic mug or your favourite personal mug.

Pour milk into the cup FIRST, followed by the tea, aiming to achieve a colour that is rich and attractive.

Add sugar to taste.

Drink at between 60-65 degrees Centigrade to avoid vulgar slurping which results from trying to drink tea at too high a temperature.

The explanation

· Use freshly drawn water that has not previously been boiled. Previously boiled water will have lost some of its dissolved oxygen which is important to bring out the tea flavour.

· Avoid “hard” water as the minerals it contains gives rise to unpleasant tea scum. If you live in hard water area use softened (filtered) water. For the same reason do not use bottled mineral water.

· To achieve perfection, we advocate using a tea-pot with loose tea. The pot should be made of ceramic as metal pots can sometimes taint the flavour of the tea. Tea bags are a handy convenience, but they do slow down infusion, and favour infusion of the slower infusing but less desirable higher molecular weight tannins (see below).

· It is not necessary to use a lot of tea. 2 grammes (a teaspoon) per cup is normally sufficient.

· Tea infusion needs to be performed at as high a temperature as is possible, and this needs a properly pre-warmed pot. Swilling a small amount of hot water in the pot for a couple of seconds is not enough. Fill at least a quarter of the pot with boiling water and keep it there for half a minute. Then, in quick succession, drain the water from the pot, add
the tea and then fill with the other boiled water from the kettle.

A better alternative is to pre-warm the pot using a microwave oven! Add 1 /4 cup of water to the pot and microwave on full power for a minute. Then drain, and add tea and boiling water from the kettle. Aim to synchronise events such that the kettle water is added immediately after it has boiled, and just after you have drained the water. Taking “the pot
to the kettle” will marginally help keep the temperature high.

· Brew for typically 3 to 4 minutes (depending on the tea). It is a myth that brewing for longer times causes more caffeine to infuse into the tea. Caffeine is a relatively quick infuser and caffeine infusion is largely complete within the first minute. More time is, however, needed for the polyphenolic compounds (tannins) to come out which give the tea is colour and some of its flavour. Infusing for longer times than this, however, introduces high molecular weight tannins which leave a bad aftertaste.

· Use your favourite cup. Never use polystyrene cups, which result in the tea being too hot to drink straightaway (and will also degrade the milk, see below). Large mugs retain their heat much longer than small cups in addition to providing more tea!

· Add fresh chilled milk, not UHT milk which contains denatured proteins and tastes bad. Milk should be added before the tea, because denaturation (degradation) of milk proteins is liable to occur if milk encounters temperatures above 75°C. If milk is poured into hot tea, individual drops separate from the bulk of the milk and come into contact with the high temperatures of the tea for enough time for significant denaturation to occur. This is much less likely to happen if hot water is added to the milk. Once full mixing has occurred the temperature should be below 75°C, unless polystyrene cups were used.

· Lastly add sugar to taste. Both milk and sugar are optional, but they both act to moderate the natural astringency of tea.

· The perfect temperature to drink tea is between 60°C and 65°C, which should be obtained within a minute if the above guide is used. Higher temperatures than this require the drinker to engage in excessive air-cooling of the tea whilst drinking – or “slurping” in everyday parlance. Leaving a teaspoon in the tea for a few seconds is a very effective
cooling alternative.

Our tea recommendations

The recipe recommends loose tea and for us there is only one name that come to mind – our friends at Comins tea house. Buy online here http://www.cominsteahouse.co.uk/single-estate-tea/white-tea. They also make some really cool teapots and cups. Or, if you are after something more traditional to drink out of try the brilliantly priced Dutchess china made in Stoke on Trent. See our video review here.

 

Recipe: Quick (and sustainable) Hake

20140503_204613The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), which represents fishermen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has recently launched a campaign to get us eating more hake. With this in mind I give it a go…. and it was a revelation.

The campaign comes after new research revealed that 52 percent of consumers eat fish at least once a week and 19 percent eat it around three times a week — yet the majority of people rarely stray from cod, haddock and salmon.

Hake was named as the U.K.’s “most sustainable fish” after the NFFO conducted an evaluation of stock and catch data against a criteria of 10 industry sustainability markers. Hake currently meets more of the standards than any other species. So the recipe I am going to show you is not just quick and easy but also great for the UK fishing industry.

After a hard day at work it is easy get home with very little enthusiasm for cooking a decent meal. Last night was one such evening and with nothing but a couple of hake filets in the fridge I was not all that inspired. I set about throwing anything that came to hand on my fish and what came out at the end was about the best meal we have had in a long time.

Quick and Spicy Hake

You will need:

2 Hake fillets (one each)
English wine (we used Mount Vineyard white Pinot)
3 big cloves of garlic
Spring onions
Sun dried tomato (we dried these last year)
Fresh red chili
Fresh Basil

The method:

What is great about this recipe is that you basically throw the whole lot into foil or baking paper and stick it in the oven for 25 minutes (190c). Wrap the fish individually, along with all of the ingredients, in a tight parcel put the kids to bed and by the time you come back down stairs dinner is ready.

I served ours on a bed of rocket and a couple of chunks of soda bread.

The NFFO is currently promoting a number great looking hake recipes here: http://www.nffo.org.uk/hake_initiative.html

 

– James

Video: British Black Garlic – Our first taste

This video has since been removed.

In our continued effort to find all things made, grown and produced in the UK we came across something that neither of us had heard of before… Black Garlic. This particular garlic was kindly provided for us to try by The South West Garlic Farm in Dorset. They were a little reluctant to give me the very secret recipe, as you might imagine, and we had very little idea of what to expect from black garlic over regular garlic.

This video features Emily and I cooking up a simple mushroom toast dish with the black garlic as an experiment of how we might use it in the future. Our findings? Inconclusive, but the flavour is like nothing we have ever tasted before. Complex is about as much as I was can say about it. Some words that come to mind are: sweet, savoury, meaty, soy, balsamic, Bisto, smokey.

Basically, you have to try it… and when you do please let us know how you use it.

Thanks again to www.southwestgarlicfarm.co.uk.

 

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