Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Pork and pearl barley stew

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This rich and hearty stew makes for perfect winter eating. You can use any meat really, although pork rabbit, chicken (thigh), lamb and turkey leg meat are best in supposition. The presence of fennel and pearl barley gives excellent medium for digestion and winter flavour, whilst having the aniseed edge to denote a clean aromatic flavour to accent the game flavours. The aniseed element also goes very well with pork.

Ingredients (serves 2, so adjust accordingly)

300g pork meat (shoudler, leg or belly), or turkey leg meat, or chicken thigh, or wild rabbit, cut into serving pieces.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
150g/5½oz pancetta
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small fennel bulb, sliced into 5mm/¼in thick slices
600ml/1 pint white wine, or sweet cider or even mead.
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 sprig rosemary
2 tbsp pearl barley

The doing bit.

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the meat and fry for 3-4 minutes on both sides, or until golden-brown all over. Remove and set aside.

Add the pancetta to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the onion, garlic and the sliced fennel. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the fennel is softened. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Return the meat to the pan together with the wine, tomato purée and the rosemary. If the meat is not completely covered with the liquid, top up with water. Bring to the boil, then stir in the pearl barley, cover and simmer for one hour and 15 minutes, or until the pearl barley is tender. General rule - the longer the better.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Yakitori glazed steak with yasai ramen

I've been playing around lately alot with Japanese cuisine, and in celebration of this here is a main course which comprises several elements of typical Japanese cuisine. Yakitori is a meat glaze that is quite sweet, and complements almost all meats and fishes of a robust flavour, due to the wide range in its flavour band, from the sweetness of the sugar and the sake and mirin, to the more earthy flavour of soy.

Yasai itself refers to a vegetable dish - in this case its a noodle dish. All things considered, you can use virtually any kind of vegetable, as long as it can be quickly cooked in a pan (traditionally a wok). In this instance i use mushrooms, courgettes and spring onions but this is not exclusive.

You will need: (per serving)

1 rib eye steak (sirloin is also acceptible)
3 spring onions, cut into juliennes
4 shitake mushrooms, cut into thin slices
2 baby courgettes, cut into julienne
yakitori sauce
Ramen noodles (cooked).
Meat stock (beef or chicken)

The doing bit:

Bring the steak out of a chilled environment and leave for half an hour covered at room temperature. Glaze the meat with the yakitori sauce with a brush, and allow to rest for a little while whilst you prepare everything else (chopping and trimming vegetables etc)


Heat up a heavy bottomed frying pan and add a little oil until smoking hot. Sear the steak one side for about a minute then turn, brushing the steak with more of the marinade. I usually cook my steak to rare / medium rare but its up to you. The less the steak is cooked, the more it will complement the glaze. Rare or medium rare is ideal. Using a carving knife or saishimi knife, carve the steak into slices and serve with the noodle dish.

Yasai Ramen

Heat up a frying pan or wok, and add a little oil until very hot (it will begin to smoke). Add the vegetables and cook for about a minute until they just soften. Add a small cup of stock and the noodles also. Serve with the steak in a large bowl, and drizzle with any of the pan juices, and devour.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Poached Cod with Shitake Mushrooms

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This dish is wonderful and hearty, quite healthy and not too filling. Combining earthy flavours such as the soy with the mushrooms gives a wonderful hearty approach which is wonderful year round, but especially something to look forward to in the colder months.

This is a wonderful dish that fish fans will love, and meat eaters will enjoy alike. The cod isnt set in stone - you can use other fish if you wish just make sure its a meaty white fish like cod, pangaseas, or even haddock.

You will need:

25g butter
2 x cod fillets (150g)
2 spring onions trimmed and thinly sliced
1/4 green pepper trimmed and cut into julienne
handful of shitake mushrooms finely sliced
tbsp sake or dry vermouth
salt and white pepper
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 x foil squares (Roughly 3x size of the cod - enough to be able to contain the ingredients and the fish)

handful of mixed salad

The doing bit

Preheat oven to 200C

Grease the foil with about half the butter.

Combine ingredients in foil with butter, skin side down, season with salt and pepper. Put parcels in a roasting tray with hot water half way up the tray. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes or until cooked, unwrap and serve on the bed of mixed leaves.

serve with steamed rice or rice noodles. Devour.