Food, glorious food... done my way. Pretence of perfection

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Happy Xmas all who read this... all 3 of you :-)

I roasted a nice free range organic duck this year. Salt and peppered the skin, with garlic, salt and a wedge of onion in the cavity. All nice and simple as always (I used as a guide Jamie Oliver's book from his Italy programme {I didn't see the programme] but the recipes rock).

I kept the fat from the duck to roast my potatoes in, they came out really crisp and gorgeous (after being par boiled) :-D

The brussel sprouts I par boiled, chilled in ice-water then fried in butter to warm them up.

I also made my own "stuffing", bread crumbs, onion and sage. Left to marinade in themselves for a while then panfried in butter (I could have put some garlic in, I can't remember!).

All in all a good feast... now for the leftover recipes!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I've been quite lazy in blogging, haven't done much "new" stuff lately, just perfecting my classics :-) Good old steaks with cream sauces, bruschetta with different toppings (traditional and blasphemous I imagine) and .

Xmas is only a few days away, and it's the first time I get to go solo, just cooking for myself so I can cook it myself. I saw Rick Stein's (probably my fav chef) Food Heroes Christmas special the other day and now have an interest in duck or goose. I've had goose before at my Nans place in Ireland, but never cooked it before myself. Hopefully it will make my roast spuds just that little bit more scrumptious!

However, it's now Thursday and Xmas day is Saturday so I'm gonna have to gamble on what I can find in the shops and markets. I'll adapt, if it all goes wrong there's always the local pizza place!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bangers and mash

Can't beat the classics!

I used one venison and red wine sausage (farmers' market) and two Toulouse sausages from the supermarket. Fried them up nice and hot to begin with, then added onions to the frying pan and turned the heat down. Once the sausages had cooked I removed them from the pan, added chopped garlic and cooked the onions off until caramelised. Then in went some Wolf Blass red wine and a little beef stock. Onion gravy, that easy :-)

At the same time I boiled up some potatoes (removing half when par boiled for tomorrow's excursions), the rest I cooked until my fork would pierce them quite easily. I drained them, and into the same saucepan went butter and milk to warm up. Once they were warmed I put more garlic in and fresh parsley. Stirred it all up, let the garlic poach a little and then added the potatoes back into the pan for mashing.

Bit of seasoning and there you have it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Turkey pie (well it is Christmas)

Went a bit festive today, I decided to make a pie; and like all my recipes there was no real plan, it just came together. While wandering around my local supermarket I picked up smoked rindless bacon, chestnut mushrooms, double cream and pastry (shortcrust). I buy pastry, I can't be bothered making it just yet, I find the fillings more more interesting when making pies.

So, in butter and a little olive oil, fry, separately, the bacon, mushrooms, onions & garlic and turkey pieces (breast). Then once they'd all browned off, I added a little white wine vinegar to deglaze the pan, then added it all back into the pan pan and poured in the cream. Once I gave that a little stir, I added heaps of nice fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Blind back the pastry base leaving the excess overflowing the edge, this is so you can cut it off after it comes out of the oven (it'll shrink when cooking). Then in went the filling, more pastry on top (I'd filled in the cracks in the base with bits of uncooked pastry) and sealed it with a little beaten egg.

Once it had browned off (the leaves I cut out and placed on top were browning beautifully) it was ready to eat.

Another yummy weekend!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pizza + Calzone

Good old Giorgio Locatelli. I used his recipe to make the base, using type "OO" flour of course.
I made enough for 4 pizzas. I used sun dried tomato paste, garlic and ketchup for the sauce.

So I got a few mates round on the Saturday to watch the footy (come on you reds!), have a few beers and a few slices of pizza.

The first I split into two sides, in order to cater for the vegies (I asked if it was ok to put meat on my side, they said yes) I heaped on the shelled tiger prawns, anchovy stuffed green olives, shredded belly of pork, (and for the vegies) fresh pineapple, tomato, chestnut mushrooms, mozzarella and Gruyere. Once it came out of the oven I tore up some fresh basil and sprinkled it on top. Probably a bit too much topping really, pretty messy :-)

The second was all meat, same toppings.

On Sunday, with half the dough still left I thought about making a calzone. I used the same sauce for the base, but this time I fried off the mushrooms and a few sliced onions before it went into the calzone. When I'd added the rest of the filling, I folded the edges into the middle and turned it upside down. I sliced a few holes into the top then sprinkled a little Gruyere on top and slapped it the oven on full whack til it had crisped up. It was sweet :-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Scraps from here are there

Ok, didn't do much shopping lately. And after the Chinese buffet at the weekend I didn't feel like food this morning (a first). All I had were some red onions. Luckily, my brother was getting rid of his leftovers, bacon and mushroom, since he's leaving for South America tomorrow (I see the world in how it affects my dinner). In exchange I cooked gluten free and shared it.

I fried the bacon in olive oil, then added the sliced onions. Then in went chunky cut mushrooms and chunky cut anchovy stuffed green olives (I always have a few tins in reserve). Then came the two cloves of sliced garlic. Then some dried herbs, oregano, sage and basil, with paprika and white wine vinegar. Then I added the basmati rice (I was gonna cook pasta, penne, seperately... but changed the recipe last minute to accomodate the bro), stirred it into the ingredients already in the saucepan to coat the grains in the oils and flavours. Then I added passata and chicken buillon(sp?) and left to simmer with the lid on for 20 mins.

Not bad for mainly cupboard items :-)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Slacker - Pork chops

Ok, I haven't been posting much lately. I've been away in hotels trying to bankrupt them by eating all the food in their english buffet breakfasts :-D

Since my larder was empty, i was buying quick and easy stuff (but none of that rubbish in jars!).

I did go back to the farmers' market though, bought to whopping pork chops, with a nice thick rind. I whipped that off for a start, scored it nice and deep and rubbed salt into it. Then stuck it under a hot grill with the chop (which had beed seasoned) until done. With a little multi-seeded bread that was dinner.

The crackling was to die for...

Then there was the Cantonese buffet tonight, needless to say, hours later the mountain of ribs and salt & pepper chicken is still making it's way through my alimentary canal... too much information? :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Indian beef surprise.

After gorging on gorganzola and fresh bread [:-D] last night, I wanted something nice and light. So I ignored myself and made a nice filling rice dish :-)

I coated the beef in flour, tumeric, paprika, fenugreek, salt, pepper and ground coriander and browned it in a little oil and butter. Then I extracted it from the saucepan, turned down the heat a little and added chopped red onions and diced baby potatoes. Once they had had a good turn in the juices I added chilli seeds, garlic and fresh ginger. I added some chucky cut field mushrooms and stirred them into the mix followed by a good handfull of rice. The rice was unwashed, and just stirred into the oils and juices already in the saucepan. In with a couple of cardamon pods and I was nearly there.

Then in went beef stock and water to cover, then I left it to simmer with the lid on.

40 mins later it was ready for devouring. Only now do I realise I forgot the cumin... D'oh.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Happy now Catesa?! I baked this yesterday. It tastes great with some gold old Irisgh butter on top :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2005


The Farmers' Market was in Manchester again this week. I bought two lovely thick, juicy sirlion steaks. I just like them simply seasoned with lots of pepper and a little salt.

I have a really good griddle pan, but this time i opted just to fry it in a mix of olive and vegetable oil. The hot oil sealed the meat and gave it a nice crispy crust. 4 minutes later it was done.

BLACK on the outside, but a nice PINK on the inside.

Can't be beaten.

Monday, November 07, 2005


I had lots of veg. left over from yesterday, and a little steak. I fried off the steak first in a little butter, then added a few button mushrooms . Then some chopped veg., potatoes, carrot, cabbage, and onion. After a few minutes in the pot i added some oregano, salt and pepper. Then in went 1l of beef stock.

On went the lid and an hour later it was ready, a bit of fresh parsley and it was ready for eating! :-)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Cornish pasty + dessert.

Mmm pastry.

I used potatoe, cabbage, carrot, onion, steak and magic to make mine. The pastry (shortcrust) was store bought, i just chopped up the veg nice and small and put it in the rolled pastry with a little seasoning and flour (for the gravy). A little eggwash on the top and then popped it in the oven for 20mins at a high temp, then reduced the temp and left for 40 mins.

With the leftover pastry I made a mini pasty filled with dark chocolate (70%), it only had 30mins (20 of those on high). It needed a little sugar on top really... I don't like it too sweet though, maybe next time.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Spag Bol

Carrots and onions went into a nice large saucepan to soften a little. Then in with the pancetta, and after it had time to cook a little in with the beef steak mince.

Then a little paprika, dried oregano and basil and to get the flavour off the bottom of the pan a little balsamic and white wine vinegar. Then tipped in a jar of passatta and let simmer for an hour... while I watched Man Utd getting beat again :'(

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Rack of Lamb - with a herb crust

Bought a nice rack on Friday, then when she went hom I went to the farmers' market and picked up a nice rack of lamb. There are lots of recipes for this dish, i used all of them and none of them. I had parsley and mint in with my bread crumbs, that were then mixed with melted butter and packed in on top on the "fatty" side.

And just because Catesa was likely to read this I threw in some veg... can't have a roast without roast potatoes! They were banged about a bit in the pot after boiling so that when they came out of the oven they were deliciously crisp. And a few garden peas were balanced on the plate full of nice pink lamb and roast taters.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pitta pockety things

Last night was a warm salad in pitta, tonight a cool salad.

Fried onions, mushrooms, garlic and peppered salami. mixed with packets salad leaves (one of the posh ones), a little cheddar, mayo and chopped tomato.

Salad leaves, finest yorkshire ham, cheddar and a few anchovy stuffed olives.
Not many ingredients, I'm hoping the quality shows through :-)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Lamb koftas and pitta

Garlic, chilli, onions and lamb mince all nicely mixed with fresh coriander (maybe a few breadcrumbs if it needs it, no egg, never see the need, they never break up in the frying pan).

Break the koftas up, stuff them in a nicely toasted pitta bread, put a little more coriander on, with a few chopped tomatoes.

Should be good :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Stir fried Tiger prawns

Mmm garlic, chilli and ginger frying in a wok, just gets the juices flowing doesn't it? :-)

Add to that chestnut mushrooms, give them a minute then add the raw Tiger prawns (yum). The 30 seconds after add (unsalted) cashew nuts, water chestnuts and bamboo shoot, wait 30 seconds... then in goes the lemon juice (1/2), soy sauce and nam plah (or fish sauce). Stir in fresh coriander and then add the noodles. Stir in, then them get warmed through (I had them in cold water to prevent stodging), then serve.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Disappearing pizza

First of I made a sauce for the base (Ciabbatta sliced in half). The usual stuff, onion, garlic, chilli, white wine vinegar, can of tomatoes, dried oregano and basil, seasoning and a little paprika to thicken it a little.

I toasted the ciabatta, spread some of the sauce on and covered with buffalo mozzerella, cheddar and parmegianno regianno. Then put a few slices of pepperred salami on top and grilled them. unfortunately they disappeared within minutes, never to be seen again :-)

Sauce for stuffed pasta

Fry "cubitos di pancetta" and extract from the pan, leaving the fat behind. Then fry the garlic, chilli, and chestnut mushrooms in the juices and olive oil. Add a little white wine vinegar and sun dried tomato paste, and season. Mmm lovely jubbly

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I cooked some new potatoes yesterday to go with my steak. With those that didn't make it to my stomac... plate! I chilled them in the fridge. Tonight I dusted them in flour, patted off the excess, and deep fried them (which as we know is healthier than shallow frying).

They were glorious. Full of that new potatoey taste with added crunch :-)

[And before you think I'm starving myself, I had a little of my brother's sheperds' pie and a few anchovy stuffed olives :-)]

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Steak again

Crushed black pepper corns and sea salt flakes went on my nice thick juicy sirloin... and nothing else. Got my griddle pan nice and hot, and 5 minutes later I had a meal to die for (oh, I had some new potatoes with it too - but who cares about veg!?)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Sausage?! Sausage?!

First, I must doff my cap to Blackadder.

Second, I must doff my cap to the butchers in the North West (of England), I had Cumberland sausage for tonight's meal. It's coiled into a spiral, so to pan fry it you have to use two skewers, in a "+" shape horizontally through the sausage (otherwise it'll just flop all over the place, which is quite annoying!)

I had that on it's own with a little gravy made from the pan juices, beef stock and white wine vinegar.

Sumptuously good.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Hmm... I've chosen my first post and lat line which read "Of course fresh basil and parmegiano regiano to top." Catesa ofcourse picked on my spelling mistakes :-P

Basically I'm explaining the reasons why my girlfriend stopped letting me decide how we spiced up our sex life. Only kidding! I don't have a girlfriend, but if you're single and female and open to experimenation...

OK OK basically i just love these two ingredients, i always have some in the fridge. I'll use dried basil but stay very clear of boxed parmesan.

See, not a filthy comment in sight :-D

Monday, October 03, 2005

Fishy pasta

I mized together garlic, anchovies, chilli, lemon juice and olive oil for about two hours. Then cooked some spaghetti, al dente, S&P etc etc, and mixed in the warmed through mixture, then flaked on some sardines.

Very nice :-)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Mmm chicken

Chicken wrapped in proscuito ham, pan fried then finished off in the oven.


Onions sweated in a pan with garlic, rice thrown in and given a gentle stir, then add water. Cooked the rice til the water had been absorbed/evaporated.


Blue stilton, melted in the frying pan, double cream, salt/pepper.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Sausage Rice

Again those spiffing black pudding sausage, this time with fried rice. Fried egg omletted in a wok, placed on a plate. Then stir fry chopped onions in the wok, then add the rice, soy sauce and then add the egg. Classic... kinda :-)

Sausage Cous Cous

Simple stuff. Mixed with fried onions, chestnut mushrooms and garlic... with sliced black pudding sausages, i.e. sausages with pieces of black pudding in :-D

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Steak... and pasta.

A rump steak, seasoned, then pan fried for a couple of minutes each side. Whip it out and leave it to relax. In the pan throw in some garlic and white wine vinegar. Let it reduce a little before adding dried basil and sun dried tomato paste. Cook out a little then add the sliced steak pieces, turn into the sauce then add the pasta (always the pasta to the sauce for some reason [maybe because of the starch in the pasta pan?]).

Seasoned, but decided against cheese, i had just a little too much cheesecake recently ;-)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Mmmm Cheesecake

New York cheesecake in the oven as I type. Goats cheese, mascapone, sugar, eggs (6), and a lemon (zest & juice). I've added dark 70% cocoa chocolate to it this time, nice chunks. hopefully, they'll melt just slightly so leave it nice and rippled rather that brown but... it's all good! :-)

Last night was "Suprema de Pollo" (as I grew up with it called) or chicken milanese. Basically, a butterflied chicken breast dipped in egg and a mixture of parmegianno and bread crumbs. Deep fried in a wok [after the prawn crackers were made :-)]. Perfick.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Fun with Pitta Bread

Slices of pork with goats cheese, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms, served with pitta bread

Slices of pork with cheery tomatoes, rice cooked with garlic and cardemon pods, mushrooms and garlic. Mixed with olive oil and soy sauce. Served with pitta bread :-) Simple and quick, just like the cook.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A man's salad

Lettuce, plain goats cheese, cherry tomatoes, danish salami, butter beans, spring onions, boiled egg, EV olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Served in a pitta bread or two. mmm salad :-D

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Salad... ;-)

Catesa would be proud. Grilled mushrooms, your average lettuce leaves, lemon/pepper goats cheese, spring onions, tomato, boiled egg and a little EV olive oil/White wine vinegar dressing.

See salads can be fun...

...when paired with a massive thick PORK CHOP that is!!! Soooo juicy, what a beaut!

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Nice bit of sirloin straight from the Farmer' Market. Well hung *insert purile joke here* :-) Just gonna be peppered and salted, and pan fried. Why would you possibly grill steak? Unless you have a grill as hot as the sun!

I also bought some monster pork chops from the same guy. They're for the next entry :-)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Toad in the hole! :-D

Only one thing could have rescued tonight in an Englishman's view. Sausages baked in batter. Sweet.

Let it doesn't even come close to cancelling the bitter taste of defeat. I hate football!

I'm playing tomorrow....

Monday, September 05, 2005

On reflection...

I'm sure I remember seeing the oven being turned off when cookin pavlova... the recipe doesn't mention it (I triple checked), but it would make sense. Next time!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Win some, loose some.

Made Carbonnara last night, needed an egg white or some cream. It was a little on the thick side.

Today I used the left over egg whites to make pavlova. Either my oven superheated, or leaving the whites overnight didn't work, either way it burnt :-(

Still raspberries and cream will finish off the BBQ quite well on its own :-D

Gluten free sausages, lamb & mint kebabs and peppered steak burgers (all store bought). Plus, i spent 50p on some sprats, cleaned them up a little and banged them on too... sweet :-D

Friday, September 02, 2005

Dinner plans cancelled... Plan B then!

Wll I was going to Carbonnara for a few mates tonight, they cancelled a few moments ago. Luckily I just bought some ciabatta. Therefore I can make Cambezola pizza, with Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Kalamata Olives and a few Spring onions... i love pizza!

Salad :-(

Baby gem lettuce, vine cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, fresh basil, spring onion (scallions) and parmeggiano. Extra virgen olive oil and a touch of mayo.

Sickening really.

The salad was good, but it's still just a salad. With every mouth full you feel yourself getting healthier and healthier, it's just not good for you!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

hmm didn't go to plan

My bro hurt his back in the gym. I ended up cooking his dinner too. He had a rump steak to use, so i salt/pepper one side and sprinkled Thai seven spice on the other, fried it off nice and quick and sliced it. In a saucepan i boiled/steamed some rice (with unpeeled garlic cloves [2]). mixed the two together with a bit of fried green pepper (capsicum) and added soy sauce to taste.

My Bolognese ended up being a bit more involved then i had planned. I added chestnut mushrooms, paprika, green pepper, dried oregano and basil (along with the final flourish of fresh basil). I think playing football (soccer) before eating made me bulk up the flavour a bit; the paprika, and to a lesser extent, sea salt and freshly ground pepper really added a depth to it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tonight i shall be mostly having...

bolognese, concha style pasta with a simple passatta sauce, with steak mince, garlic, onions... and maybe balsamic vinegar to add a little sweetness if needed. Of course fresh basil and parmegiano regiano to top.