Friday, 30 April 2010

Delicious Blueberry Pie

It's a bit redundant to call a blueberry pie delicious, but it really is one of those great culinary treats where everything just seem to fit together so perfectly. And to improve on the perfect dessert, I've added a scoop of homemade vanilla icecream which just slowly started melting all over the pie. This is what they will serve in dessert heaven.
Pie dough:
280g flour
1 tsp salt
150g cold butter
5-6 tbsp ice cold water
Blueberry filling:
2 trays of blueberries
5 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch of all spce
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice

The dough is a quite straight forward pie crust dough. Mix the flour and the salt. Then cut the butter into the flour but make sure it stays very cold all the time. If the butter starts melting it absorbs the flour and becomes less flaky. Keep mixing until it has a "sandy" texture. A food processor is perfect for this. Then add the water and quickly press the dough together. Leave it to rest in the fridge for an hour.

Crush about half of the blueberries with a fork.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Leave it to rest for the sugar to dissolve and the juices to mix.

Turn on your oven. Roll out the dough on a well floured table. You can do this on top of a sheet of oven paper to make it easier to mover into the pie mold.

Place it in your pie mold.

Trim off the edges and pinch the base with a fork. Roll out the trimmed off pieces and cut them into strips.

Pour in the blueberry filling.

Weave the strips on top. Crimp the edges of the pie.

Bake at 15 min at very high temperature. Then bake it anohet 30 minutes at middle temperature or until the crust is golden. Should it start browning too much you can cover it with tin foil.

The final result, the perfect slice of blueberry goodness.

Pork Shreds (Carnitas)

A simple pork snack with a hint of Mexican spices. It goes great as a filling in wheat tortillas. Again, the technique is borrowed from my guru, Chef John at Foodwishes. If you still haven't visited his, then I strongly recommend paying him a visit (after having read this blog, obviously).
1 kg pork shoulder
1 small onion
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1 l. chicken stock

Chop the onion and add it with the rest of the ingredients to a large pot or dutch oven.

Place the pork on top and pour over the chicken stock. Add water until the pork is covered. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and let it simmer under lid for 3 hours.

Remove the meat and break it into large chunks. It' so tender and moist that it will almost fall apart by itself.

Ok, here's where I made the mistake of breaking it up into too small pieces. As a result it got quite dry. So leave it it rather chunky and cut it later, after roasting. Put the chunks in a preheated oven at 230º C for 20 minutes until it's golden and crispy on the outside but still moist on the inside.

As said, mine turned out a bit on the dry side. But it was very tasty nonetheless.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Doughnuts pt.2: from Spain to Finland

My girlfriend's cousin is on an Erasmus exchange programme in Finland. She saw my dougnuts recipe and got inspired to impress her fellow students at a barbecue with some homemade goodies. They turned out to be such a success that in the time it took her to run back to her dorm to change the battery on her camera they had all vanished. She says she's already planning to make her next batch.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Doh! Doughnuts

I strongly recommend any food lover to look up Alton Brown's Good Eats (I found it on youtube) where he goes through all the history and chemistry behind most typical American dishes in fun and easy-to-follow recipes. Watch it if you want to learn. Recently I watched an episode where he made doughnuts and thought it didn't look too complicated. A word of warning. This recipe yields some 40+ doughnuts, so unless you're having a party at the local police station or going out with Homer Simpson, you might want to half or even use only a cuarter of the amounts indicated here:
240 ml milk
70g vegetable shortening (I used margarine)
2 packages instant yeast
80ml warm water
2 whole eggs
60ml sugar
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1.5 tsp salt
650-750g flour

Heat up milk with the margarine in until the margarine is completely melted.

Mix the yeast with the warm water in a separate bowl.

And mix the flour with the salt and the nutmeg.

Make sure the milk is not too hot by testing it with your finger. Then pour in the yeast.

Add the sugar.

Add the eggs and mix well.

Add half the flour and stir it in well.

Then add the rest of your flour and use some kind of doughhooks for kneading this very sticky dough. The recipe calls for only 650g of flour but I found that the dough was almost liquid still, so I added about another 100g. Mix until he dough starts letting go of the sides. It'll probably take from 5 minutes and upwards. The more you mix, the stronger the gluten (up to a certan point).

It will be very sticky, but should just let go of your fingers. If you add more flour he doughnuts won't be as soft and light. Cover and leave to rise for a hour or until doubled in size.

Flour your table very well. Pour out the dough and sprinkle it with plenty of flour. It's still very sticky. Fold the dough over it self 3 times and pad it down with out punching all the air out. Roll it our with a rollingpin to about 1cm thick.

Cut the dougnuts. I used a metal mold I'd made from an old can of tomatoes plus the lid from a small tube. Let them rise for 15 minutes.

Deep fry them until golden brown, then flip them over. You should only fry a couple or three at the same time or the temperature of the oil will drop and the doughnuts will start to absorb more fat.

As you can see I also fried the holes (separately). The leftover dough can be mixed, left to raise again, rolled out and then cut into more doughnuts.

I then made a simple sugar glaze, by mixing some icing sugar with vanilla and a bit of warm milk.I added it before the doughnuts were completely cooled off, which as you can see was a mistake as the icing started running. but they were delicious none the less.

Kinda Clam Chowder

I usually try not to throw too much food away. And especially all sorts of bone go straight to my freezer for later being tuned into stocks and soups. And thus I had some frozen fishbones and heads which have now been converted to the base of this chowder.
1 spring onion
1 carrot
1 celery stick
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
Fish heads and bones (about 500g)
1.5 glass of white wine
1/2 lemon, sliced
5-8 pepper corn
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
2 l. water
100g bacon
1 small onion
1 medium potato
1 tbsp butter
1.5 l of the fish stock
500g of any white fish (I used whiting)
200g frozen prawns
250g clams
100g soup pasta (optional)

Start by slowly sweating the vegetables in a bit of olive oil.

When they are soft, add the fish bones and heads (eyes removed) and the white wine. Let the wine reduced to half.

Add the lemon, pepper and parsey. Pour over the water. Bring to a simmer. Simmer at low heat for 20 minute.

Remove all the big pieces of bones. Filter the stock through a sieve or a cloth. Set aside. Use within 3 days or freeze in smaller portions for up to a month.

Now for the chowder. Fry the bacon until brown but not crisp. Remove.

In the same pot where you've just fried the bacon, add a table spoon of butter and the onion and potato cut into fine cubes. Fry until the onion is soft. Then add the bacon again.

Pour in the fish stock and boil the potatoes for 12 minutes.

Cut your fish into smaller pieces. Add them to the soup and boil for 5 minutes or until the fish is nearly done.

Add some peeled, raw prawns, I also added some thin pasta, specially for soups, but you can leave it out. Cook for 3 minutes.

Add the cleaned clams and cook until they start opening up. Discard the ones which don't open up. As you might have noticed, I haven't used salt up til now. So, go ahead and add salt to taste. I added about a tablespoon full. Start with less. Stir it in, taste and adjust.

Serve with a good slice of bread with a crunchy crust.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Chef John's Beef Satay

As part of a dinner I hosted this Saturday, I made some thai spring rolls (recipe already posted, search for it), skewers with teriaki chicken, and Chef John from' s beef satay:
You need thinly cut beef, cut against the fibres and for the marinate:
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp pureed lemongrass
0.5 tsp cumin
0.5 tsp turmeric
0.5 tbsp ground coriander
0.5 tbsp fresh lime juice

Mix all the ingredients for the marinate.

Slice the beef thinly against the fibres.

Marinate for about 5 hours.

Place the meat on skewers previously soaked in water

Grill or fry the skewers.

I've sprinkled them with a bit of finely chopped peanuts.

Casadielles Fritas - An Asturian Speciality

When in Asturia, I bought a cookery book on typical Asturian dishes. It was quite old, which I thought was a good sign when you're talking traditional dishes. No fancy nonsense, measures are more or less by intuition and the pictures (or drawings) are all very retro. It alo contains some local history, poetry and a guide to the local produce which is a help as many of the fish and sea food have the original Asturian names. I chose to make this typical dessert, Casadielles, following the traditional way of preparing the dough. Most of the ones we found in Asturias today were made with puff pastry, but here's the original method:
1 cup of neutral oil
1 cup of white wine
1 egg yolk
100g butter, softened
1 tsp baking powder
As much flour as the dough can take without getting dry
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 shot of anís liqueur*
1/2 cup water or butter
* Anís liqueur, or anisette tastes a bit like licorice. It's suggested that you can substitute it with white wine or cognac

Start by mixing the white wine, oil and salt until it starts emulsifying. Then add the baking powder, the yolk and the butter. Mix it well.

Add the flour bit by bit until you have a homogenous dough which doesn't stick to the fingers. Don't over knead the dough.

Roll out the dough thinly, using plenty of flour so it doesn't stick to the table. Place it between two pieces of cling film and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, chop the nuts and mix it with the rest of the ingredients until you have a chunky paste.

Cut the dough into squares.

Place a teaspoon of filling on each square and roll them. Use a bit of water to make the ends stick. Squeeze the ends together so the filling doesn't come out while frying.

All shapes and sizes, evensome broken (the dough was quite hard to work with): True sign of a home cook.

Deep fry them until they are golden, turning the now and then. Let them drip off on a cooling rack. One of mine broke while frying and all the sugar and nuts started caramelising and turned the oil useless for further use. So handle with care.

The final casadielles.