Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yorkshire Puddings

This is my 100th post. Wahoooo!!! and today I am going to talk about Yorkshire puddings, something I have never been able to perfect. As I was born in Yorkshire, you would think that making these would come naturally...well no. Previous attempts have turned out dense and tasted too eggy.  Yesterday though, this changed, I made the best yorkshire puddings ever. They were light and airy yet crisp on the outside. They were just like how my mum makes them. The batter mix made six and I ate four of them. Two of them with my dinner and the other two randomly dipped in left over beef gravy. Mmm mmm!!!

The secret that I have always been told is to have the oil really hot in the muffin tins and the batter very cold, so this is what I did.  As I poured the batter in the tins I heard the oil sizzle and I knew I had cracked it. I watched through the oven door in anticipation as the batter rose and turned a nice golden brown. I was so happy that they turned out so well. They had doubled insize and were so light and above all yummy.

They were perfect and tasted so good alongside our roast beef and garlic mashed potato. Ian was so impressed

Yorkshire Pudding mix
1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Water
2 Eggs
Pinch of salt
Oil or Beef Dripping

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the milk, water and eggs. Whisk well to combine, you should see little bubbles within the mixture. If you make the batter in advance cover and store in refrigerator (just lightly whisk again before adding to the pans). Using a muffin tin add a small layer of oil or beef dripping to six of the tins and place in oven until it starts to sizzle. When the oil is hot pour the batter into the tins (I left a quarter space between the batter and the top of the tin to allow it to rise). Bake for approx 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Seared Tuna with Thai Chilli Mayonnaise

I have always been scared of cooking fresh tuna. Did I trust myself to cook it right? Would eating medium rare tuna that I cooked make me ill... after all its raw fish. I ate sushi often enough but was never 100% confident in my own abilities. I decided to take the leap of faith after a friend at work had ordered pan fried tuna for her lunch. It just looked so tasty.

My main mission was to find a nice piece of fresh tuna steak. My local superstore fish counter was very dissapointing, so a trip to whole foods was on the cards. There poking through the ice was 3 nice juicy pink steaks staring at me. I picked my steak and eagerly watched as it got wrapped up in brown paper. I couldn't wait to make it. I rushed home knocked together some asian slaw and began to prepare for the searing of the tuna.

A light sprinkling of salt and pepper was all the tuna needed. The frying pan was hot and a thin layer oil was swirling. In went the tuna. I gave it one minute then turned it over and gave it another minute. The tuna easily came away from the frying pan as the pan was hot enough to sear it quickly. I allowed the steak to rest treating it like a beef steak (not sure if this is needed but it made me feel more confident and chefy!!! (What an idiot!!!).

I sliced it nice and thinly and it looked superb. The pink shiny band of tuna glowed through the light brown seared borders. I was so impressed. I served it with a huge dollop of Thai chilli mayonnaise. It was devoured within minutes. I can now honestly say I am not scared of cooking tuna any more. Just make sure it is fresh and the pan is hot.

Seared Tuna with Thai Chilli Mayonnaise (Serves 2)
1 fresh tuna steak
Salt & Pepper
For the Mayo
2 Tbsp Mayo
1 Tbsp Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce

On a medium high heat, heat a enough oil to coat the bottom of a heavy based frying pan until it starts to swirl. Season the tuna with salt and pepper. (I like to use sea salt as I like the crunch of the salt on the tuna). Place the tuna in the pan (it should sizzle straight away). Watch as the tuna starts to turn opaque, you should be able to judge when the steak needs to be turned over. I usually sear it for a minute on either side. If you begin to turn the steak over and it is sticking to the pan it will need a few more seconds. The steak should lift off easily from the pan. Sear the other side then remove from the pan and allow to rest for a couple of minutes. While the tuna is resting mix the mayonnaise and chilli sauce together until combined.

Slice the tuna finely and arrange on a plate. Serve with a huge dollop of the mayonnaise.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hot Brown Sandwich

Wow!!! Comfort food or what? Last week I promised that I would start to eat a little healthier...well that was soooo thrown out of the window this week. My breakfasts so far have consisted of A&W classic combos and my evening meals range from steak and fries, fish and chips and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. The reason for this is that Ian and I have been away from home for a few days and it is much easier to pick up a breakfast on the go and then chill out in the pub on an evening eating yet again more fried food. By rule Ian and I do not eat much fried food and bread is always kept to a minimum so our bellies have had a culture shock.

Since returning home our dietary intake hasn't really improved (mainly because I need to do a decent food shop). Nacho's yesterday and hot brown sandwiches tonight. I have never made hot brown sandwiches before and did not know about them until I saw then being made on a food network program. I was hooked, so for tonight that it was I made. It turned out far better than what I expected and was pretty quick to make and above all was soooo tasty. How could anything not taste good if it is smothered in oozing cheese sauce.

(Picture courtesy of irishgumbo.blogspot.com)
OK so mine wasn't as yellow but you get the idea ... right!!!

Hot Brown Sandwich (Serves 1)
2 slices of bread toasted
6 slices Deli Turkey
2 slice bacon
1 Tomato finely sliced
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Flour
1 Tsp Mustard
1/2 Cup of Grated Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay your bacon out onto a baking sheet (and sprinkle with brown sugar (Optional)). Bake in oven until brown and crisp and allow to cool. Meanwhile over a medium heat melt your butter in a pan and add the flour to create a thick paste (rue). Start to add the milk and stir into the paste until you create a thick sauce (use as milk as you need). Add the mustard and combine. Remove from the heat  and immediately add the cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Slice your toast diagonally then layer the toast on an oven proof plate in the following way with the remaining ingredients: Toast, 2 slices of turkey and tomato, toast, turkey, tomato etc etc until all ingredients are used. Pour cheese sauce over top and place under broiler until the cheese sauce begins to bubble and brown. Add bacon on top before serving. Yum yum yum!!! It sounds like it would be really heavy but honestly it isn't. It is great for supper.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chicken and Broccoli Calzone

This is such a great quick and easy supper to make. By rule I like to make everything from scratch, but after a 12 hour shift that rule goes out of the window. There are four ingredients that you need, pizza dough, chicken, mozzarella and a cream of campbell's soup. Mushroom works very well but alas Ian cannot stomach mushrooms so broccoli was the next option. With a sprinkling of Parmesan, pepper or dried Italian herbs the calzone looks very appetizing.

I decided to make one huge calzone that could be cut up into pieces, but if you have the time you can also make individual calzones, which are great to take on picnics or have for lunch on the go. You can also use different fillings. The most common filling is ground beef in tomato sauce. Anything you can out in a pie you can put in a calzone.

Ian and I were debating as to whether a calzone was a pizza or a pie. Ian believes it is a pie and I believe its a pizza turnover. No matter what we think it is, it tastes gorgeous and is so easy to make.

Chicken and Broccoli Calzone
2 Large Chicken Breasts
Can of Campbells Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 Small Red Onion sliced
1 Cup Grated Mozzarella cheese
Pre-made Pizza Dough (I used a tub of Pilsbury dough)
Egg Wash (I egg plus milk whisked together)
Dried Italian Herbs

Pre heat the oven according to the pizza dough packaging. Meanwhile slice the chicken into bite size pieces . Pour some oil into a frying pan and heat over a medium heat. Add the chicken and onion and allow to brown and cook. Once cooked through add the contents from the can of soup and warm through. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Roll the pizza dough out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Pour the chicken mixture onto one half of the pizza dough allowing at least an inch of dough visible on all the sides except from the remaining pizza dough half.. Sprinkle over the mozzarella then fold the other half over top of the chicken mixture. Seal the edges of the pizza dough my pressing the edges together. then roll and pinch the edges to stop the filling from oozing out when baking.

Egg wash the top of the calzone and sprinkle with herbs, pepper and Parmesan. Bake according to pizza dough packaging or until golden brown (mine was approximately 20 minutes). If you are making individual calzone the baking time will be reduced, so just keep checking on there color. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting into slices. Serve with a salad of your choice.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Poached Fish in Milk

Well this was a little experiment that went very well. Many moons ago when I worked as a kitchen assistant we often poached smoked haddock in milk and served it on a bed of wilted spinach. The poaching liquor was turned into a lovely thick sauce that was then poured over top. Yesterday I made a variation of this yummy dish.

Having moved to Canada I find it hard to find smoked haddock. There is plenty of smoked salmon around but I wanted that reminiscing feeling of a soft white fish.  So I bought some frozen haddock fillets and to get that lovely smoky flavor I bought a packet of kippers (smoked mackerel) and used them in the poaching liquor (milk). A sprinkle of black peppercorns, a few bay leaves and a pinch of saffron was also thrown in. This was gently simmered in the oven for 30-40 minutes, then served with peas and bacon and two soft poached eggs. Yum yum!!!

The memories came flooding back and I loved every piece of it.  I love to cook especially when the flavors turn out awesome. This recipe is a keeper. Next time I'm going to have it piled on a huge bowl of creamy mashed potato with the reduced cooking liquor poured over top and a sprinkling of parsley. A huge bowl of comfort!!!!

Poached Fish in Milk (Serves 2)

2 Haddock Fillets
1 Kipper
3 Bay Leaves
8 Black Peppercorns
Small Pinch of saffron
Enough Milk to nearly cover the fish
Salt (if required, I found the kipper made the fish salty enough for me)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a large lasagna dish place the fish in single layers and just about cover the fish with the milk. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns and saffron and allow to stand for 10 minutes before placing in the oven. I used frozen fish so the cooking time was slightly longer than if I had used fresh fish. I checked the fish at 20 minutes and turned the haddock over and cooked it for a further 20 minutes. Once the fish turned opaque it was cooked. I discarded the smoked mackerel, but there is nothing to stop you from serving both.

You can serve this fish in many ways from just a knob of butter over top to a reduction of the strained cooking liquor. If you like a thick sauce make a bechamel sauce using the poaching liquor.