Friday, 8 January 2010

Chopping and storing fresh Coriander and Parsley

Here's a quick guide to storing and handling fresh herbs, such as parsley and coriander.
I usually use one of two ways to store my fresh herbs I've bought at the market. Method one is keeping them in a small jar with water just like you would a bouquet of flowers. Cut the dry end off the stems before putting them in. Method two is wrapping them in moist (not wet) kitchen paper and put them in a plastic bag. They will keep in the fridge for quite a long time. Just make sure the leafs are not wet before you put them in or they will start rotting.

For chopping them, wash them carefully, shake the water off and hold them like a bunch of flowers.

Shave upwards towards the top with a sharp knife, leaving only the stems back.

Frow away the stems or tie them up and use them for a soup.

Gently fold the leafs together into a ball.

Cut carefully with out crushing them from one end. Move your fingers down as you go along.

If you want, cut onc or twice lenghtwise, but don't start chopping them. You will just crush the leafs and all the flavourful juices will end up on your cutting board and not in your food. Good luck.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Onion Rings - Low Fat Side Dish

Would you like some onion rings with that burger, sir? Yes, please. This is a simple, low fat solution to making the classic side dish, onion rings:
Egg whites
Bread crumbs
Cut some onions in thick pieces. Separate the rings.

Put them in a plastic bag with some flour, pepper and cayenne. Close it, shake it.

Mix some eggs whites with a bit of milk.

Prepare anothe bowl with flour mixed with bread crumbs.

Dip the floured rings in the eggs first, then into the bread crumbs and then put them on a oven tray with a spray of oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Serve with your burger.

Burger - Hangover food 2010

First of all, happy 2010! I hope everyone has entered the new decade with optimism and lots of hunger. First of all, the bad news. During a particular frantic cooking session over the holidays, our camera fell on the hard kitchen floor - and event which predictably fell out in favour to the the floor. So, until we find a new camera, I'll be posting some old, hitherto unpublished recipes I had from 2009. And as most new years start with a slight hangover, why not begin with the mother of all cures. No, it's not a Bloody Mary or a hair of the dog that bit you. I'm talking about the hamburger of course. There's only one secret you need to know to turn a good burger into an excellent burger: the burger sauce. What has made the burger so popular is its ability to hit all five taste senses at the same time. You've got sweet from the bun and sauce, sour from the acid from the tomato and the pickled cucumber, bitter from the lettuce, salt from the, well, salt on the meat, and umami from the meat. This sauce contains and further enhances all these flavours. Just try it out. Here's my take on it.
1/3 cup mayo
3/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp oregano
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
a bit of fresh lemon
150g mined beef per burger
Cheese (Cheddar or Sandwich)
1 burger bun
Pickled Cucumber

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce. Leave it for 30 min in the fridge, so the sugar can dissolve.

Stir your minced meat for a minute or so, until it all starts to stick together. Shape it into a ball and put it on a sheet of baking paper. Flatten it and round it with your fingers.

Place another piece of baking paper on top and flatten the burger using the bottom of a heavy pot. This will insure that the meat is equally thick all over and will cook evenly. You don't really need a big slap of meat which will dominate the flavour. Learn from the "McD" and the "King". Less is more. Balance, my friend, balance! You can make a lot of meat patties and freeze them at this stage. In fact I often freeze them a couple of hours in advance. That way they stay together better when they go on the grill.

Salt and pepper generously. Fry the patty a couple of minutes on each side.

Spread the sauce on the top and bottom bun.

After the last turn, throw on a some cheese.

Build the burger. Base, lettuce, beef, cheese, pickled cucumbers, onion rings and tomato slices.

Now, take a bite of that.