Thursday, 30 September 2010

Beef and Green Bean Stew


These rich meat stews are quite a staple for me. Ten minutes preperation and I can disappear for a couple of hours and come back to a rich, intensely flavoured dish. This kind of thing is perfect for batch jobs as well and is cheap as free papers and sunlight. This must, must, must be paired with some turkish/middle eastern bread, to scoop up all the meaty, sweet juices.

So you’ll need…

200g beef, a stewing cut, like shin, cut into half inch cubes

100g green beans, topped and tailed

4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

garlic clove, chopped

red onion, peeled and chopped fine

half teaspoon of ras al hanout (spice mix)

1 tsp of red wine vinegar

1 bay leaf

half a cup of water/stock

salt and pepper

a few pitted black olives

handful of parsley to garnish

Firstly, season the beef with salt and pepper, then fry until browned. Fry in batches rather than all at once if space is an issue in the pan. It just won’t brown properly if it doesn’t have enough space. Once browned, remove the meat and set aside.

Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the ras al hanout, allow it to cook out for a minute or two and then add your vinegar, bay leaf, tomatoes and stock/water. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to it’s lowest setting. Reintroduce the meat, cover the pan with a lid/cling film/tin foil and allow the contents to gently bubble for two hours or until the meat is melting and tender. At this point, add the green beans and olives to the saucepan and give them fifteen minutes or so.

Serve with a chunk of bread, maybe some rice, scattered with parsley.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Other bloggggggggggggg.

Hi, if anyone is on this site and likes it, I have a much cleaner and updated version over at tumblr.


if you want.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Steak with Triple Cooked Chips

Lately, I have been quite interested in peoples answer to the question 'You're last meal?' I am as tired of people replying 'steak' as I am the bemused look i receive on the utterance of 'ortolan'.

If so many people love steak so much, why do I always end up with shitty steaks unless I cook them for myself? Here, I present a solid steak recipe for myself as much as you, in the hopes that if you ever offer to cook for me, I won't have to spit some grizzled rump on your lovely tablecloth.

I like to accompany mine with an incredibly versatile base sauce, to which you can easily add a plethora of other ingredients such as green peppercorns, wild mushrooms, a light shower of blue cheese or a slug of brandy.

Also, a steak without chips is like an ear without lobes. This triple cooked method is by far the best method I know of.

I present all this as a pictorial timeline, so without further ado, you will need...

1 rib eye steak

salt and pepper

for the cream sauce...

a single shallot

a clove of garlic

a splash of white wine

75ml double cream

sel et du poivre

for the green beans...

handful of green beans, topped and tailed

two shallots

clove of garlic

knob of butter

splash of water

salz und pfeffer

for the three times chips...

king edward potatoes, peeled and sliced evenly

vegetable oil (lots)

The most time consuming element are the chips, so let's go ahead with them first. Take your peeled and chopped tatties, and introduce them to enough boiling salted water to cover. Blanch for a few minutes, until they start to soften. What you're looking for is the edges to be a little rough. If they start falling apart...well.



Once drained, set them out on something absorbent, and spread them out. a clean dishcloth is ideal for this. We are looking for them to dry. The fridge is a good place to do this, but wait until they cool otherwise your housemate will probably tell you off for 'changing the internal temperature of the fridge, therefore costing us more in electricity as the fridge has to work harder.'

At this point, I like to precook the beans.

I always cook my beans sideways.

Add the beans to a cold pan, adding your water and the butter, then bring it up to a medium heat. It's a lovely technique because it allows you to both boil and saute, as once the water has evaporated and part cooked the beans, the butter takes over and finishes the job. Once the water is gone add your shallot and garlic. saute until everything caramelizes. Take off the heat, set aside for reheating later.

Now back to the chips. Take your dry, cold potato out of the fridge. Heat enough oil to cover these, preferably in a tall pot to cut the risk of spitting and infernos. This is the first fry stage, so we're looking for a temperature of around 150. If you don't have an oil thermometer, then set your hob to a medium heat. We are blanching in the oil, not colouring, and we want the chips to take on the oil, soften, but not crisp. This should take around ten minutes. If it's quicker than this, pull the pan off the heat while you bring down your hob temperature.

When done, they should look something like this :-

health kick.

Repeat the same draining, drying process as the first time around. I took a small break here and listened to a little music. Feel free to do the same.

Next is the tricky part and what it all comes down to. Timing. We need the steak to be cooked and rested at the same time as the chips come out all crisped up and the sauce is in the pan and ready to blanket the meal in decadence.

First things first, put the beans in a low set oven to reheat, then start bringing the oil up to temp and get a separate frying pan as hot as you can for the steak. We are looking to get the oil for the chips to around 190, which should be on a high heat on your hob. Not the highest, but pretty high. In other words, the chips should bubble and boil at a good rate when you put them in.

Probably a bit like this.

Season your steak at the last minute, then drop it into the smoking hot pan. I like mine rare, so i give them and minute and half on each side, no more. Once they've had their time, it is important they are set aside on a plate to rest, which will let the meat relax and the internal juices settle evenly. I rest them for four minutes minimum. In this four minutes you can get on with the rest.

The chips go in their preheated oil, they should take 3-5 minutes and then they're done.

During this time, make the sauce in the same pan you cooked the steak in by sauteing the shallot and garlic briefly, adding the wine and boiling down for a minute or so, then adding the cream, and cooking down until a little thicker. The meat juice that has escaped from your resting steaks is imperative for beefy backup, so add that as well.

Remove and drain the chips, drag out and plate the beans, the steak, then the chips and drizzle and drape the whole lot in your lovely new sauce.


Now enjoy this, preferably with the bottle of wine you opened for your sauce and someone you don't mind having around. Try not to eat it alone, but if you really have to then please print the following out and place it opposite you. I will keep you company if no one else will.


Monday, 27 September 2010


The following is a recipe i wrote up a fair while ago for a website that never happened. Two things makes it not as good as originally intended.

1. One of the jokes doesn't work because i can't work out how to change the text colour on tumblr.
2. I lost my old picture, and have broken my camera for a second time, so i just stole someone elses picture from the internet.

It seems a shame to let it go to waste, so i cooked it again, checked if it was any good and now present it to you for your enjoyment...

This is quite good for poor people, unless they don’t have any of the ingredients, in which case it will be more expensive. If you have some of these things, or know you can get them, please read on. This dish is quite a treat; a pleasant mixture of textures and flavours.
I got this idea from a book I read on Thai food. The recipe is almost exactly the same but I changed the name and then put the real name in brackets afters.

Credit Crunch Thai Salad (Laarb really.)

There’s two ways you can cook this – the traditional Thai way or my way, but I like to think of it more as the not very good way or my way. The difference is in the way the meat is cooked, and it’s really just personal preference. For fairness sake I present both ways side by side, mine in black writing, and the original in a faecal brown.
Regardless of what way you choose, the ingredients are the same.

Pork mince, but please, not too much – you are getting a bit chubby, 100g
A couple of spoons of rice.
3 spring onions.
half a shredded little gem lettuce or some Chinese cabbage.
half a shredded carrot.
handfull of coriander.
A lime.
2 tbsp fish sauce.
a couple of squeezes of sriracha sauce.


1. Get a pan on the hob and dry fry your rice. It will start to go golden and maybe fidget a little in the pan. Get it out and crush it up to a coarse texture in a pestle and mortar.

2. Pan back on, wait till it’s very hot, add oil and fry pork until browned.

3. Remove from heat and season with fish sauce and half a lime. I like to add the spring onion now because I despise raw onion.
4. In a mixing bowl, add the meat and springers, carrot and some of the toasted rice.
5. Add a little sriracha and then a little more fish sauce and lime until it tastes nice.
6. Add coriander and mix well, then serve on either a bed of gem lettuce or some finely chopped Chinese cabbage with the rest of the toasted rice on top.
7. Just really enjoy it.


1. Do the rice thing as above.
2. Marinate the pork mince in lime juice for a few minutes while you put a pan or wok on the hob. This starts to cook the pork instantly and ruins the texture.
3. When the pan is hot, add a few tablespoons of water to it and then add the pork. Try not to cry as the meat boils away to a concrete gray.
4. Follow the rest above


Saturday, 25 September 2010

Thai Fish Curry: Fatboy Version.

this is a bit of a larger recipe, bit more complex, but incredibly enjoyable. i actually stole it from a menu of a little pub in the north lanes in brighton, and did what i could to recreate it at home. there's a lot of textural complexity in the fish, between the crunch of the crumbs or the almost doughy aspect it takes on soaked in the curry and the creamy fillet beneath. i think it's worth making the effort for this. it's good.

for the curry...

1tbsp red curry paste

2 spring onions

clove of garlic

1 red chili

a bunch of coriander stalks

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp of palm sugar

juice of half a lime

optional vegetables. i would recommend snow peas/mange tout or some delicious mushrooms, but anything else, just slice thin and it'll be fine.

for the fish...

nice white fish fillet. i chose whiting for some reason, but it was delicious



1 egg

shitload of oil

chop, slice and hack and grate everything up for the sauce. then get the paste in a saucepan with a little oil and cook it for a couple of minutes. if it's getting dry and sticking, add a little water. when the paste splits a little from the oil, it's done.

drop the spring onions, red chili, coriander stalks and garlic in and simmer for five minutes or so. add the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. adjust as required. set aside to be heated up later. if adding snow peas or mushrooms, then do it during the later reheat so they retain a little bite.

take your fillets and flour, egg then breadcrumb. if you're using fine breadcrumbs, think about doing this twice.

do they look like this? if not, throw them away.

not really! put them in the fridge to set a little, until you've go your oil hot. you can either deep fry or shallow fry, but i prefer to deep fry because i find it easier to control timings.

medium high heat, don't start frying until you can drop a little bit of bread in and it sizzles. keep you're eye on the pan. if it's smoking, turn down your temperature, take it off the flame. safety first and that. give it some minutes, until the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden, then gently remove and set aside to drain on kitchen towel.

compile the dish now - fried fish with your curry, topped with shredded coriander and roasted chopped peanuts. serve with rice and a singha beer.

eat it and wipe your hands and face afterwards.

Friday, 24 September 2010


I can genuinely say they are some of my favourite things in the world. I used to get a punnet every now and then when i worked at a greengrocers when i was little. Imagine all those wild mushrooms on toasted bread, a little garlic, a lot of butter, a touch of creme fraiche, parsley if you give a shit...
anyway, someone put together a decent guide over at guardian. I think i might go and get my walking boots out the cupboard. Anyone ever gone mushroom hunting.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

lebanese bread

I need some more lebanese bread in my life. Bread is the stuff of gods. What kind of bread is your favourite?