Posts Tagged ‘River Cottage’

Oh Amazon, thou art a wicked temptress!

“Free shipping!” said the email and I, unable to resist a bargain, went cookbook shopping.  It wasn’t really an impulse purchase – I’d had my eye on the latest River Cottage book for quite a while.

I’m a big fan of the series, but when my dear friend Joanna raved about the book, I knew it had to be a winner.

It has a very approachable feel to it, reminiscent of some of the early Jamie Oliver cookbooks – simple, wholesome food which we really could eat every day.

The book arrived less than a week ago and I’ve already made several recipes from it – a good indication that this will be a well-used resource in our kitchen.  Here are a couple of dishes that have gone down particularly well with the tribe!

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Tupperware Mexican Chorizo

This is a genius recipe.

The basic idea is to make a seasoned mince, which is left to mature in the fridge, and dipped into periodically to create various meals.  Definitely the sort of thing that appeals to me, although I didn’t have the nerve to store it in the fridge for two weeks as HFW suggests!  My variation is listed below, with the original ingredients in brackets:

  • 750g coarsely minced pork shoulder, preferably free-range
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika (1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika (2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chilli powder (¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper)
  • 1½ teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 10g /2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 50ml red wine
  • freshly ground black pepper

Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and squelch everything together with your hands until evenly combined.  Hugh suggests frying a little of the mix in oil to taste for seasoning – we did this by microwaving a tiny patty for just a few seconds until it was cooked.

The mix starts off quite salty to begin with, but as it matures, the flavours mellow out and integrate.  Remember though that the salt is necessary to preserve the meat, and Hugh suggests covering the mixture and storing it in the fridge for at least 24 hours to begin with, and for up to two weeks in total.

Edit: I asked Lee, who is a food chemist, whether or not he would be happy with keeping the raw chorizo mince for two weeks, and this was his reply:

No, I wouldn’t be happy with it. The only protection is temperature. The salt will not be enough, the spices may have some protective effect but I wouldn’t rely on them. The meat is diced/chopped so plenty of opportunity to get ‘seeded’ with bacteria. The saving grace is that all recipes cook the meat well.

Please use your discretion – I know that on Lee’s advice, I now won’t be keeping the mixture for more than a few days, and I might start making half batches from now on.

Over the course of the next four days, we turned this 750g mixture into…

…mini meatballs, and served them in our roasted tomato passata, tapas-style…

…five plates of Migas, each topped with a freshly laid egg and Picasso sheeps’ cheese…

…and the ultimate meatlover’s pizza!

There was something fabulous about having a container of raw savoury mince in the fridge, waiting to be turned into an instant meal. This is a recipe we’ll be making regularly!

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Easy Rich Chocolate Cake

This was the recipe that convinced me to buy the book, after Joanna posted about it on her blog!

  • 250g (8.8oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa – I used Callebaut callets)
  • 250g (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 medium free-range eggs, separated
  • 150g (5.3oz) caster (superfine) sugar and 50g (1.75oz) light brown sugar (or use 200g/7oz ordinary caster sugar)
  • 50g (1.75oz) plain (AP) flour
  • 50g (1.75oz) ground almonds

1. Grease a 20cm/8″ springform cake tin and line the base with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 170C/340F or 160C/320F with fan.

2. In a large pyrex bowl, melt together the chocolate and butter in the microwave using short bursts, being careful not to scorch the chocolate.  Stir until smooth and combined.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar to form a paste, then stir in the melted chocolate and butter.  Carefully fold in the flour and almonds.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.  Stir a large spoonful into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then carefully fold the remaining egg white in with a large spatula or metal spoon, trying to keep as much of the air in the mixture as possible.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes, until  just set.  The original recipe specified a 23cm/9″ tin and 30 minutes baking time, but I found my smaller tin (and therefore taller cake) needed a few more minutes to set.   The cake will still be a little wibbly in the middle – resist the urge to bake it until solid.  Allow to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes on a wire rack before opening the springform.

I’ve made this recipe twice in the last week, and both times it’s been demolished within 24 hours by family and visiting friends.

River Cottage Everyday – definitely a cookbook that suits how we  like to eat, every day!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Ours was the perfect combination of faith, family, friends and food. Nearly all the gifts we received were edible and many of them homemade, which made them all the more special.

Andrea’s mum, Iris, made us a loaf of her Pan de Pascua.  Even though it translates literally to “Easter bread”, it’s traditionally eaten at Christmas in their native Chile. It’s richly flavoured with walnuts, dried fruits and subtle spices – sort of a cross between fruit cake, raisin toast and tea cake.  Iris’ recipe is an old family secret, so even if I can beg it from her, I won’t be allowed to share with you. So far all she’s confirmed is that it doesn’t have ginger in it…

Carol very kindly baked me some of her almond bread for Christmas, since she knows how much I love it!

Diana and I are both big fans of The River Cottage series, so when she saw medlar jelly at her local country markets, she bought us a jar to try.  It’s a deep amber colour and very softly set.

The Little General EVOO is one of our favourite gourmet oils – lovely neighbours Pete and El have kept us in stock for yet another year..

Dottie gave us a jar of her delicious yellow bean soy dressing – it was the perfect accompaniment to our leftover Christmas chicken!

My wonderful cousins gave us a set of hand-painted espresso cups and a jar of homemade cookies, which included these beautiful stained glass treats.

These are my aunt’s special achar pickles – sweet, hot and delicious.  They only last about two days in our house!

Gourmet treats from Cliff and Kathy included jars of organic fig relish, black olive pate, and New Zealand Beechwood Honeydew honey. The  honey is unique in that it’s not created from the nectar of flowers, but rather from the excretion of tiny insects that feed on the bark of the beech tree.

The chocolate teddies are from Aunt Anna, and I just managed to keep them from the boys long enough for a photo.

Maude made me jars of her lime pickle (which I love, but am always too lazy to make) and also gave us a bottle of porcini oil, which will be perfect in Pete’s wild mushroom risotto.

Joyce and Marty brought us a packet of single origin chocolate from their recent trip to the Margaret River in Western Australia.  These 75% cocoa buttons are from Tanzania.

Cousin Andrew grows Corregiola and Manzanillo olives in the Cudgegong Valley river flats in Mudgee, NSW and cold presses them into this very special extra virgin olive oil.  It’s fruity and full-bodied, with a delicious pepperiness.

Finally, a couple of very special bottles – the 2003 vintage rosé Moët  & Chandon is a gift from the gorgeous Terri, and the citrus (lemon) vodka was given to us by our old friends and neighbours, PeteV and Nic.  Does anyone have suggestions of what I can use the vodka for?  I don’t need any help with the Moët…

Did you give or receive any exciting food gifts this Christmas?  We’d love to hear about them!

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