Archive for sugar

Nigel Slater’s Classic Porridge

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

(Source: Observer)

I was brought up on sweet, milky porridge made with rolled oats, but that all changed when I was shown how to make it by champion porridge maker Ian Bishop from Carrbridge in Scotland. My method is now his.

The recipe

Pour three cups of water into a small saucepan and place over a moderate heat. Tip in one cup of medium oatmeal and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. As soon as the porridge starts to blip, add half a teaspoon of salt. Continue stirring until the porridge has been cooking for a total time of 5 minutes. Tip into warm bowls. Have a bowl of cold milk or cream ready. Lift a spoonful of hot porridge and dip it into the cold milk or cream and eat.

The trick

Only stir your porridge clockwise or you risk summoning the devil. A wooden spurtle will get right into the corners and prevent your porridge from sticking. Eat immediately it is ready. The porridge will thicken as it cools. Use medium oatmeal rather than rolled oats. Add salt to all porridge, even if you are going to sweeten it afterwards.

The twist

Each to his own, but porridge is correctly made with water rather than milk. The usual embellishments are red-berry jams, golden syrup or honey, but other ideas include a compote of stewed dried figs, maple syrup or a mixture of fresh berries, sugar and ground cinnamon. You could also leave it to set into cakes and fry it in butter. Oatmeal ice cream, made with toasted oatmeal and cream, while not quite porridge, is certainly worth a visit, too.

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Cider-cured herrings for four people

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Cider is such a great drink to use in your cooking, and the addition of Julian Temperley’s Kingston Black apple apéritif gives this Scandinavian dish a bit of a British kick. You will need to marinate the herrings for 4-5 days before serving.

16 herring fillets, scaled, boned and trimmed

For the marinade:

300ml cider vinegar
300ml warm water
80g sugar
2 tsp sea salt
25-30 fresh green peppercorns
1 tsp fennel seeds
8 juniper berries
2 bay leaves
6 shallots, peeled and cut into rings

For the sauce:

2 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
2 tsp Tewkesbury mustard
1-2 tbsp Kingston Black apple apéritif
1-2 tbsp chopped dill or fennel

Bring all of the ingredients for the marinade to the boil then leave to cool and add the shallots. Mix with the herring fillets, then lay the fillets in a non-reactive container and pour over the marinade. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 4-5 days before serving.

To make the sauce, mix the Kingston Black with the mustard and mayonnaise, then whisk into the marinade to about the consistency of double cream; stir in the dill.

To serve, remove the fillets and dry on some kitchen paper. Fold them in half with the skin on the outside and arrange on a serving plate with a few of the shallots and green peppercorns on top. Serve the sauce separately.

Chilli con carne

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

1 tbsp oil
1 large onion
1 red pepper
2 garlic cloves , peeled
1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
500g lean minced beef
1 beef stock cube
400g can chopped tomatoes
½ tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp tomato purée
410g can red kidney beans
soured cream and plain boiled long grain rice, to serve

Prepare your vegetables. Chop your onion into small dice, about 5mm square. The easiest way to do this is to cut the onion in half from root to tip, peel it and slice each half into thick matchsticks lengthways, not quite cutting all the way to the root end so they are still held together. Slice across the matchsticks into neat dice. Cut your pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop.

Start cooking. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add the oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob). Add the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, chilli, paprika and cumin. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Brown the mince. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and break it up with your spoon or spatula. The mix should sizzle a bit when you add the mince. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.

Making the sauce. Crumble your stock cube into 300ml of hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. Open the can of chopped tomatoes and add these as well. Tip in the marjoram and the sugar, if using, and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp of tomato purée and stir the sauce well.

Simmer it gently. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes. You should check on the pan occasionally to stir it and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan or isn’t drying out. If it is, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.

Bring on the beans. Drain and rinse the beans in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot. Bring to the boil again, and gently bubble without the lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving, and relax.

Leaving your chilli to stand is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle and the meat.

Perfect Porridge

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Lady Claire Macdonald writes in the Daily Mail:

I was browsing around Marks & Spencer when I found myself staring at the shelf in front of me. It was crammed with pots and pots of ready-made porridge.

I’m passionate about porridge. So I’m thrilled that it is enjoying such a revival.

McDonald’s is branching out with bowls of it. And supermarkets are crammed with every flavour imaginable.

With temperatures plummeting and snow falling, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the original comfort food. It’s filling, it’s nutritious and it’s full of health benefits.

Porridge has the proportion of protein needed for repair and growth in the body and boosts the immune system. It’s also rich in soluble fibre, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol.

It’s high in vitamin B6, which promotes the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. And the slow-releasing carbohydrates in oats sustain energy levels.

Porridge has always been a fantastic fast food. But it fell out of favour when we became too busy to wash up the hideously sticky pans. That is no longer a problem – use a non-stick pan.

My first introduction to porridge came soon after I arrived in Scotland as a young bride.

I was staying in this fantastic old house where our fellow guests were the judges of the piping section of the Highland Games.

I watched in fascination as one of the three – a sprightly looking man in his late 70s – proceeded to eat porridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I realised then how seriously the Scots take their porridge.

There’s even an annual porridge-making competition in Aviemore. Traditions abound. Some people will only eat their porridge standing up. Purists swear that porridge should never be eaten with anything other than a dash of salt. Others insist on eating their porridge washed down with whisky.

And then there’s the question of how you stir your oats. Traditionalists use a spurtle – a stick specially produced for porridge stirring.

You can understand why the Scots are so passionate about their porridge. It was their staple diet for generations. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s followers went into battle at Culloden with slabs of cold porridge tucked under their tartan cloaks. They lost, but they still swore by their porridge.

While other nations were tucking into pasta and rice, the Scots were eating porridge slabs: oats mixed with water and salt, allowed to go cold and then sliced into pieces.

Porridge is easy to make. You just need the right ingredients and the right equipment.

Oats come in four main sizes: pinhead, fine, medium and coarse. Freshly harvested oats contain 14 per cent moisture, so they have to be dried and toasted to develop their flavour.

You don’t need milk – porridge has its own creamy consistency. I love heaping demerara sugar on my porridge. It is so versatile you can add anything: bananas, strawberries, honey. And there are so many other things you can do with oats – such as add to crumble mixes or coat fish and chicken.

90g pinhead oatmeal
100ml full-fat milk
10g butter
15g sugar
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Soak the pinhead oatmeal for 12 hours and drain off excess water.

Put the oatmeal in a pan with the milk and simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the oats have softened (approx 20-25 mins). Then beat in the sugar, butter and spices.

Kinloch Lodge Hotel special porridge recipe by head chef Marcello Tully

Apricot tart

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

I often use this pastry recipe for tarts, as it’s buttery and crunchy. You will need a 23cm tart tin with a removable base.

For the pastry:

250g plain organic flour
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
2-3 drops of vanilla extract
1 tbsp caster sugar
a pinch of sea salt
125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the filling:

12 apricots
4 tbsp sugar
the juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp caster sugar

Place the flour in a food processor and add all the other ingredients. Pulse until it resembles coarse sand. Continue to pulse until the pastry forms a ball (add a little water if necessary). Wrap in parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes, then roll out and line your tart tin. Prick the base all over and return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
Slice the apricots in half and remove the kernels. Put in a bowl and sprinkle over the sugar and lemon juice and set aside.

Now blind-bake the tart. Heat the oven to 180°C. Line the tin with parchment paper and weigh down with baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes, remove and take off the paper and beans.

Arrange the apricots around the tart and sprinkle on the caster sugar. Return to the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the pastry should be nutty brown.

Serve just warm rather than hot, with a big dollop of crème fraîche.

Nigella Lawson’s Eton Mess

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

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