Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Recipe #6 - Wyau Ynys Mon

Last night I was craving stodge - it had to be veggie stodge too as Greg was staying over. What did I find? (#6) Wyau Ynys Mon, or Anglesea Eggs. It consisted of 3 main parts: a ring of potato that's been through a vegetable mill mixed with mashed stewed leek; nestled in the ring eight quartered hard-boiled eggs, no less; and finally a topping of cheesy sauce made with flour, butter, milk and a good mature cheddar. Add an extra sprinkling of cheese for good measure and bake until golden brown on top.

All pretty straight-forward to do - except the veg strainer on the Kitchen Aid does not mill spuds very well as some website said it would...I think I will invest in a proper vegetable mill.

The dish was actually pretty bland, but was strangely satisfying. Greg and I ate a massive portion and continued to get fuller and fuller for a while after we'd eaten it. In fact I was still full this morning! I made so much I've got to have it for tea again tonight!

Here's what Greg said:
"Anglesey Eggs. Is all British food entrails and stodge? If you live on a windy peninsula I guess you need food that keeps you warm 10 hours after you've eaten it, and this is perfect for that. Buttery leeks (haha) and eggs together are a sensation but you'd need an iron constitution, or at least to eat smaller portions than we did, to indulge more than once a year. It's more filling than anti-matter but so delicious. I'd put mashed-up ready salted crisps in the cheese topping to jazz it up but that's just me, I aint no purist. 4/5 again I think. Marks are still high but veggie options running low. Check out the vid of Neil making potato worms with ye olde Kitchene Aide to whet your appetites."

My score:
#6 Wyau Ynys Mon: 2/5 - homely stodge, great on wet winter days but lacked excitement

video

Monday, September 17, 2007

Recipe #5 - Pan Haggarty

Our mate Joff came round for tea last night so we had a very nice Pan Haggarty. The meal had to be veggie so the only change I made was to use groundnut oil with a dot of butter instead of lard to fry it in. Pan Haggarty is a North-Eastern dish (from Newcastle, I think) and is simply finely-sliced potato and onion layered up in a frying pan with grated cheddar, adding plenty of seasoning on the way, then frying it slowly until it cooks through and then popping it under the grill. The only difficult part would be the slicing-up of the veg, but luckily I've got a slicing attachment for my Kitchen Aid so it was all done in 5 minutes!

In Yorkshire, this dish is called a Pan Aggie - my uncle used to cook it. His way was to layer up potato, onion, garlic, butter and bacon, and bake it in the oven. This way is just as tasty and quite different, but it does take rather a lot longer to bake in the oven than it does to fry on the hob.

#5 Pan Haggarty: 4/5 - a great supper dish - particularly if you need to keep to a tight budget


Here's what Joff said:
"I was very excited at the prospect of this dish and I wasn't disappointed. I'm told it was simple to make but I couldn't have done it! The spuds were particularly perfect. Its the sort of dish one should eat after a brisk walk on a cold, windy day. I shall give it a 4.5/5. Only reason the 0.5 is 'missing' is because there wasn't any left over for a doggy bag!"

And Greg:
"My ruthless critique of Pan Haggarty is . . . yum! Basically it's 'I'm getting a divorce and I've lost my job' style food. Comforting in the extreme. The stronger the cheddar the better I'd say and fanzy pickles/relishes are de rigour. I could a whole one to myself. I'd be sensational and go with garlic too though I reckon. Easy peasy too, esp with a Kitchen Aid slicing machine. 4/5. Well done chef."

Recipes 2-4 - Glamorgan Sausages, Olde Worlde Mushrooms and Peas



I've been away from a computer for a few days - I still don't have the internet at home and I had to go back to Leeds at the weekend because my brother Ady and his good lady wife Nads had a little boy called Harry. He's the cutest and I'm NOT biased! Now I've got some catching up to do. The hat trick meal went quite well although I did get a little flustered and rushed through the making of the Glamorgan sausages - they were far too big and didn't cook through properly. They were also a bit well done - au creole I should say - because I lost concentration when dishing up. However, they can be done well in advance, so next time I'll be better prepared. They're a definite veggie alternative. Doing them in the food processor makes light work of it too - although be careful, I've sustained my first injury on one of the blades! The fricassey of mushrooms was brilliant; the taste and aroma of the mace and nutmeg were warming and so very Medieval! The Grigson talks about the English way to cook (#4) green peas - i.e. with mint and sugar in with the water - as the only way to do them yet I had never actually eaten them this way. Well, I certainly agree and it will now be the only way I shall cook peas in the future!
For the Glamorgan sausages:

Start by mixing together 5 ounces of grated Caerphilly or Cheddar cheese, 4ounces of fresh white breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of finely –chopped leek or spring onion and a generous tablespoon of chopped parsley. You can quicken the whole process by simply reducing those ingredients into breadcrumbs in food processor. Now mix in 3 egg yolks, half a teaspoon of thyme, a level teaspoon each of salt and mustard powder and some pepper. Bring the mixture together and form into around 12 small sausages. Dip each one in egg white and then coat in some dried breadcrumbs. Fry gently in oil or lard until golden.

The recipe for ‘A White Fricassey of Mushrooms’ comes from Hannah Glasse and I shall simply quote it as Griggers has done:

“Take a Quart of Fresh Mushrooms, make them clean, put them into a Sauce-pan, with three spoonfuls [tablespoons] of Water and three of Milk, and a very little Salt, set them on a quick Fire and let them boil up three Times; then take them off, grate in a little Nutmeg, put in a little beaten Mace, half a Pint of thick Cream, a Piece of butter rolled well in Flour, put it all together into the Sauce-pan, and Mushrooms all together, shake the Sauce-pan well all the Time. When it is fine and thick, dish them up; be careful they don’t curdle [ don’t let them boil]. You may stir the Sauce-pan carefully with a Spoon all the time.”

The peas were simply a cop out: make sure you boil them with plenty of salt, sugar and mint!

Here's what Greg reckons:
"13th Sept: Glamorgan sausages, mushroom fricasee, minty peas, new potatoes. As a combo it works really well. The mushrooms are creamy, reminded me of the really nice chicken supreme we used to get at school, the peas are sweet n fresh, the sausages are comforting stodge, sits together a treat. The mace was most exciting , looks like pork scratchings, smells like sarsaparilla, gives the mushrooms an exotic little edge. I'd put more in than she says, it could take it. The peas were lovely, could eat a huge bowl by themselves, it's not quite the same as just having peas with mint sauce either, you get all the sweetness first and a rush of mintiness last, totally moreish. Sausages were grand but recipe said make 12, which the monkey reduced to 4, bit of an error as they were not quite done through so still a bit leeky. The cheese will never fully melt anyway as it's not fatty. Potatoes perfect complement. Sausages: 3. Mushrooms: 4 (my fave). Peas: 4. (I'm saving 5 for something amazing!)"

My personal ratings are:
#2 Glamorgan sausages: 3/5 - next time I'll do them better and hopefully they'll graduate up to 4/5!
#3 A Fricassey of Mushrooms: 4.5/5 - a brilliant way to serve mushrooms as a veg with a Sunday roast.
#4 Green Peas: 4.5/5 - quintessential English delight

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Easy Peasy

Hang on..!

#4 - Green Peas. Mint, butter and sugar are all that's required! Brill. She doesn't mention the frozen pea, b ut she doesn't assume fresh either. We all know that the ONLY veg worth freezing is the garden pea. A hat trick it is! Doing a puds as well will be far too cocky. I'll definitely leave it at three.

Vegetarianism Begins at Home

I'm going to try (#2) Glamorgan Sausages and to accompany, (#3) A White Fricassey of Mushrooms i think. I'll also have it with mashed potato as the Welsh do, even though Ms. Grigson reckons it's too stodgy - I'll be the judge of that! The only potato-as-a-veg recipe in the book is Mashed Potato with Dulse, and I don't have any of that (yet) so it won't be a hat trick! Unless there's an easy pea recipe. Hmmm...

Anyway, if Greg gives the sausages a good rating then they can be an official veggie option. We'll have to wait until tonight and see what he says.

On Concessions....

I did say in the premise that I had to cook everything to the letter with no concessions (unless impossible!). I may have to go back on this for one tiny aspect - those damn vegetarians! I need veggie alternatives to meat dishes if people are coming round for a dinner party or Sunday lunch. However even veggie staples such as Glamorgan sausages are fried in lard or dripping. So in order to keep people happy and so that more people came come over and eat and drink and have fun, I simply have to make this ONE concession!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Recipe #1 - Smoked Finnan Haddock Soup


Well the first dish was made last night - my mate Simon popped on over to see my new house so I thought I'd better get started with this little undertaking!

I decided on Smoked Finnan Haddock Soup as the first dish - it seemed straight-forward enough and the ingredients were easy to get at short-notice. A bit of poaching and then liquidising were the most testing techniques. Easy-peasy - all done in 35 minutes.

I've decided that Tuedsay's are the best day for fish dishes as the fish is usually delivered on that day. The fishmongers in the Arndale market were very good. Nice, super-fresh, plump fish fillets - and very good value for money; seven quid for 8 ounces of naturally-smoked haddock and 12 ounces of white fish (I chose cod, whiting and coley). I didn't want to use all cod as the white fish as perhaps I would have done 10 years ago, but it's much too expensive these days, plus it's on its way to extinction with overfishing. (I doubt if I could pass the Pepsi challenge with coley and cod anyway.)

Pour boiling water over 8 ounces of Finnan haddock and let it lightly poach for 10 minutes. Whilst you're waiting for that, cut 12 ounces of white fish into cubes and melt 2 ounces of butter in a pan and cook a large chopped onion. once soft, stir in a tablespoon of flour and let it cook out for two minutes or so. Measure out a quarter of a pint of the haddock water as well as a pint of milk. Flake the haddock and keep a tablespoon of the fish aside. Place the rest - bones, skin and all - into the soup pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove any large obvious bones and then liquidise the soup, then reheat it without letting it boil. Add a quarter of a pint of cream and some chopped parsley. Stir the tablespoon of reserved haddock meat, season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Here's what Simon said about the soup:

"Tuesdsay11th September 2007Grigson's smoked haddock soup. Served with brown bread and a crisp Sauvinon Blanc.Happy to report I have had the pleasure of eating Neil's first official dish from the book. The soup served was a creamy delight with a delicate but plentiful flavour. The smoked fish was balanced wonderfully with cream, parsley and lemon; all presented well with an excellent consistancy. Overall the soup was very moreish so I went back for more. Yummy, next please.
Food: 5
Service: 4
Decor: 2(Out of 5 that is)"

So a great start - I would certainly recommend this one to anyone who wants to make a quick supper or a very easy, but impressive starter.

Simon decided that the next dish to be attemped is: Duck Stewed in Green Peas

However, I'm going to do some veggie stuff soon too as my boyfriend Greg is a veggie - as well as a fair few friends of mine too! Maybe a meat and two veg with a veggie option is the way to go.

Send me your ideas please!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Also hopefully I'll get some pics of me up so that you can get to know about me, where I'm from, my partner, my friends, my job and my cat! That will all come very soon!

The Premise

The whole idea of my blog came from a conversation I had with my boyf about a woman who decided to cook every recipe in a cook book she found. I'm quite an enthusiastic cook and thought it would be a great idea to give it a try too.

I've chosen to use Jane Grigson's English Food for a variety of reasons. First, I enjoy cooking all sorts of world dishes but have never really concentrated on English/British cuisine apart from the odd dish here and there; second Grigson is a great writer; and third, although it was published in 1974, it very much concentrates on traditional dishes and many ingredients are no longer widely used (or perhaps not at all!).

That's the serious bit done - the main reason I'm doing the whole thing is to become a better cook by concentrating on it as my hobby and to have some fun - although I don't know where on Earth I'm going to get some of the ingredients from, i.e. brains!!

So this is it. I have to cook every dish in the book as written by Jane - even if it contains something I don't like, e.g. whiskey and salmon. I'm sure I can find someone who'll eat it! I may need help with finding some ingredients. If I can't get hold of something, I'll use the best alternative as a last resort. Many of the recipes contain foods that I've never tried myself so I'll be giving feedback on everything as I go along!

I'd also like help from you too - hints and tips, good suppliers, whatever - all help will be greatly recieved! Also if you'd like to suggest the next recipe or even try cooking the recipes along with me to start discussions about the best way to devil a kidney or whatever we might be attempting!

All I need to decide on is what I'm going to cook first...