Sunday, 3 August 2014

Warm Beef and Cannellini Bean Salad

Sometimes you know, simplicity makes for the perfect meal, especially when the sun is out and filling yet light meal is all you require. This is perfect for sitting outside on a summers evening as the heat beginnings to cool and your shiny forehead (unless you’re follicley blessed) glows red as if in competition with the setting sun. Add in some acceptable company a glass of your favourite tipple and perfection is pretty much there

One of the great things about this dish is the use of beef fillet tails. If you’re not sure what this is, it’s basically the end pieces of the beef fillet that don’t look as aesthetically pleasing as the rest of the cut. That’s where the differences stop, as a fillet tail is just as tender and succulent as it’s easier on the eye brother. If you can find yourself a good butcher, which I have with H.H Jackson, always helpful and will try and order for you what they don't normally stock

You can use other cuts of beef or even a steak from the middle of the fillet, the idea here is that you make an expensive ingredient go a long way , whilst maintaining the fantastic beefy taste and complementing it with other ingredients that give the dish a marvellous balance of flavours. This also works well with Rib eye steak as you get almost the same tenderness
As there’s little fat on the beef and it’s used sparingly, this is pretty healthy considering the red meat content

Serves 2
One Beef Fillet tail – Single Rib eye steak will do (basically just use a steak the size you would normally use for one person)
Handful of plain black pitted olives
2 Medium size tomatoes
1 400g tin of Cannellini beans
4 Tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon of Red Wine vinegar
1 Clove of Garlic
Half of a Heart or Romaine Lettuce
Half a red onion
20 or so Basil leaves
Parmesan Cheese

Begin by taking the steak out of the fridge, cover and allow it to come to room temperature
Drain the beans in a colander or sieve and wash thoroughly under cold running water, allow to drain.
Finely chop the red onion and place into a wide salad bowl
Cut the tomatoes into quarters, remove the seeds, juice and core, slice into strips and add to the Onion
Quarter the olives and add to the Salad Bowl
To prepare the steak season well with Salt and Pepper, add a small amount of cooking oil and rub all over the steak and set to one side
In a small bowl, add the vinegar and olive oil
Crush the garlic clove add this to the oil and vinegar along with a twist of salt and pepper plus a dash of lemon juice, whisk until thick and combined. Then taste, if its not to your liking, add a little at a time what you think it needs more of. I can’t be more precise than this as I have no idea what you like

Place a frying pan on the hob and heat until very hot
Now place your steak into the pan and cook to your preference, in this case more rare than medium.
Once cooked place the steak on a plate and cover with foil and leave to rest for around 10 mins

Put the pan back on the heat and until hot, pour in half a glass of water, careful is this will boil madly. Then using a wooden spatula scrape of the bits of meat stuck to the pan. Reduce the liquid to about a tablespoon and add to the dressing, whisk again
Whilst the beef is still resting, slice the lettuce into strips, tear the basil leaves and add both to the salad bowl. At this point get your hands in and combine well
Take the beef from the plate, pouring any remaining juices into the dressing
Slice thinly at an angle, add the beef to the salad, mix again
Give the dressing a last good whisk and taste, then pour onto the salad. Mix well again with your hands, this will get messy.

Four a flourish place shaved (using a potato peeler) parmesan on top.

Dig in

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Brunch Burger

Of all the places to be inspired by, McDonalds would not be my first thought but it was Maccy D’s where I first experienced this meat, cheese and egg delight. Admittedly it was early morning and I was somewhat hung-over but from thereon in I was hooked.

I’d had this in mind for quite a while now and two things prompted me into action. A Nigel Slater book for Christmas which had almost this exact recipe and a special nod to Caroline Taylor who blogged about this a few months ago.

So, Sausage, egg, bacon and cheese inside a toasted muffin, drooling yet?

By using quality sausages and bacon you’ll get a robust and meaty flavour, the cheap n cheerful burger cheese adds that dairy hit and finally the runny yolk completes the picture. It’s worth seeking out a good muffin as well and Sainsbury’s Cheese and black pepper ones work wonderfully

Perfect for Dinner (lunch) Breakfast or after the pub, If you like the odd McMuffin but feel somewhat unclean eating breakfast at McDonalds then give this a go.

Makes 5 Burgers
4 Good quality pork Sausages
5 Rashers of Smokey Bacon, chopped
5 Eggs
5 Muffins
5 slices of burger cheese (Cheese slices) you can try cheddar or anything you want really

Using a knife, slit each of the sausages, remove the skin and place the meat in a bowl with the bacon
Season with a few twists of salt and pepper
Mix together well , then, using your hands shape into 5 even size balls, making sure they are tight and compact
Using your fingers gently shape each ball into a flat burger shaped Patty

Halve each muffin and toast until golden brown under the grill

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large frying pan

Place the patties gently into the oil and fry, turning frequently until each side has a colour akin to marmite.

Place a slice of cheese onto each burger and melt under the grill

Fry your eggs as you like them, its worth it trying to time these to cook as the burgers are going under the grill

Put the burger on one half of the muffin, place the egg on top , top with the final half and your ready to enjoy your meaty, cheesy runny yolked delight.

Serve with a cup of Builders Tea

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Mutton Shepherds Pie

Shepherds Pie, really Andrew! 
Ok so most people can make a shepherds and have their own take on how it should go. I include myself in that as I’ve made it on many occasions but never with mutton.

I’ve blogged previously on the merits of mutton and I had an idea to make mutton shepherds pie. Is it worth hunting for the meat and then the inevitable slow cook when you could easily knock up the standard offering? In this case, most definitely it is

What you get, by using chunks of mutton as opposed to minced lamb is far deeper, richer lamb like flavour and those oh so tasty slow cooked strands of meat nestled underneath a pillow of mash. I’m sure I’ve used the term pillow before on this blog but I couldn't think of anything else

As per the norm this is relatively cheap to make, the mutton was only £3.49 and the rest is simple store cupboard fare or veg.

To find the mutton you may need to hunt around a bit and in all honesty I struggled until I found a halal butcher, they’ve got loads of the stuff.

The stuff I got, from Pak Foods in Shelton had bones in, this is good as it imparts flavour and the process I came up with involves removing the meat and shredding it so you can remove the bones at this point

I’ve included the mash as well, just in case you fancied a different approach, this includes the use of a potato ricer which is probably one of my fave kitchen gadgets and a raw egg!

For the Stew
500g Cubed mutton leg (search on line for your nearest halal butcher if you struggle to find it)
1 Onion finely chopped
2 Carrots sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 Tsp of Tomato Puree
1 litre of Lamb stock, chicken will do
3 finely chopped anchovy fillets
2 Rosemary sprigs
1 Bay leaf
2 Handfulls of frozen peas
Small pinch of chilli flakes
40G plain flour, seasoned
Good glug of red wine, omit this if your halal purchase was not just for convenience

For the Mash (you probably have your own method so feel free)
5 or 6 Large potatoes (Rooster are my current fave)
1/3rd of a pack of butter
One beaten egg

You’ll also need flame proof casserole dish

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees

Dredge the mutton pieces through the flour so that each piece is nicely coated
Heat the pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil
Fry the meat in batches so that each piece is nicely browned remove from the pan
Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and fry until soft
Add the tomato puree and cook out for a minute
Next add the garlic and anchovies fry for 30 seconds
Add the Carrots and fry for a further minute
Add the wine boil rapidly and reduce
Stir in the flour so that it’s well combined
Add the stock, stirring as you go
Finally add the meat, chilli flakes and herbs,stir and bring to the boil, cover and place in the centre of the oven
Cook this for about 3 hours, stirring every 30 mins or so
Taste and then season if you need to

Remove the meat with a slotted spoon into a separate bowl
Using two forks start to shred the meat, this should be easy as by now it will be falling apart. At this stage remove the bones
Once shredded add the meat back to the pot along with the frozen peas, stir well and leave to cool

Meanwhile, peel cut and boil the spuds.
Cook them until you can push a fork in easily
Drain the spuds then mash, using a potato ricer here will give smooth mash
Add the butter and a generous helping of Salt and pepper, beat with a fork, add the raw egg and combine, don’t worry the heat of the potatoes will cook the egg
Taste and add more seasoning if you want.

Heat the oven to 200 degrees
On top of the cooled meat spoon the mash evenly then when covered lightly go over with a fork to create that ridge effect.
Dot all over with little pieces of butter
Place uncovered into the oven for 20-30 mins until browned on top and the meat is hot. Test this with knife of skewer into the middle, if it comes out hot its done.

That’s it; serve into bowls with chunky bread