It’s hard not to like red wine. It’s impossible when that wine is a gift. This is a lovely tipple with plenty of body from Cabardès which is the only formal appelation permitted to blend Bordeaux with Mediterranean grapes. It drinks very well (and quickly in my case) and is best drunk young, within two years of purchase. Tannic and dry I drank it on its own, but I would imagine it going well with game or rich red meats. Definitely one to keep in if you’re a gout-seeking meat and red wine fan like me.
Apologies for the rather dubious quality of the photograph, I was using the laptop camera. It seems photobooth takes a mirror-image snap. I haven’t the faintest idea why, but it does make it look like I’m back-to-front with my cutlery. Credit to my friend Lawrence Calver for the inspiration for this one. (I say inspiration. I’ve really just stolen it.)
To greet the dawn today I made some guacamole by roughly blending avocado with coarse sea salt and lemon juice. Lime is better, but when life gives you lemons you have to use those instead. I also whooshed in a glug of tabasco to give the guacamole some bite and served on toast with a couple of poached eggs. I finished it off with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Eggs and sauces is the story of my breakfasting life, and, while I don’t think the French mother sauces have anything to be too worried about, my Aztec dalliance made a delightful change. It’s also good to be healthy once in a while (though it’s not very often I say that).
There are few things I enjoy more than making something delicious out of leftovers. We had a chicken fillet, mashed potato, spring cabbage and even gravy to use up. I couldn’t believe my piggy little eyes. A few onions got fried with some garlic and the potato and cabbage followed them shortly after to make bubble and squeak. Mushrooms made for a lovely side when sauteed, and I deglazed the pan with a little calvados (a rough harsh brandy from Normandy made from distilled cider) before adding the gravy (to which I had already added the juice from the mushrooms). It was delicious! And with it I drank a calvados and soda. Delicious!
I have just got back from a busy week in London and am feeling worse for wear with a terrible cough. So I resolved to eat something with lots of garlic. Thus, the centrepiece for today’s Sunday roast was a chicken breast that I scored, stuffed with huge chunks of the blessed aliol, and rubbed in butter that I spiced with cayenne pepper, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, ground ginger, and hot chilli powder. Also at the party were some roast potatoes coated with herbs and panko bradcrumbs. For the meat-free gravy (a must for my vegan house) one heaped teaspoon of marmite was used instead of stock and makes a delicious alternative (even for someone like me who doesn’t like marmite). This should have me on the mend!
Not the prettiest picture in the world, but a very scrummy breakfast indeed. Infusing hollandaise with the flavour of bacon is no easy feat, but with lots of lemon makes for a really delicious sauce. I made the hollandaise in the usual way by putting an egg yolk and a little vinegar and lemon juice in a bain marie and cooking over low heat until it thickened. I fried the bacon in half a block of butter. The trick is to keep the heat low enough so that the butter doesn’t burn, but hot enough so the bacon cooks properly. Once I’d cooked the bacon I beat the melted butter into the thickened egg yolk drop by drop. I served it all up on a muffin with poached eggs.
I promise I will be taking a break from eggs for the next few posts! (Though as it happens we’ve got twenty-two of them to get through! Perhaps some baking is in order…)
Inspired by seeing Julie & Julia the other day I decided to try Julia Child’s method of making an omelette by swirling it round the pan, then violently jerking it into shape before tipping platewise. As you can see from my picture (which is mysteriously glowing) I failed. My omelette cooked too much on the bottom and wouldn’t respond to my pan-shaking efforts. So I just did it the old-fashioned way: waiting for it to set and dragging the edges to the centre as the Bible instructs. I served it up with heavily-buttered toast and used up the last of my home-made mayonnaise. I felt like Edith Massey’s character from Pink Flamingos.
Good morning gastronauts! I speed off to Manchester later today, so just time for a quick post before I embarrass myself at New Year celebrations by drinking too much calvados. My camera has gone AWOL so apologies for not snapping what I made. I attach what remains of my mayonnaise which I made according to the recipe I described on the 18th.
I had some mashed potato left over so I opened a tin of tuna (which I’ve gone a bit mad for lately) and mixed them together with a little egg and some crème fraîche to bind. I fried them in olive oil and they came out huge and unsightly (so perhaps the missing camera is no loss). I made this mayonnaise to go on the side and I, as usual, bumped up the lemon juice. I also added English mustard before the oil because not only did I think the meaty tuna coould take it, but the yellowness of the finished product psychologically brings out the lemon flavour. Well, it does for me anyway. Quick and easy and worth bearing in mind if you want something filling to throw together on New Year’s morning.
P.S. Apologies for my undress. It is my habit to get dressed after breakfast, because frying in a suit is always a bad idea.
In my last post I alluded to having overcompensated for the vegan cake by making my own Irish cream. A few words of warning: don’t operate heavy machinery after a couple of these. I mixed 2 fl. oz. whisky with about 100ml of cream and added a shot of coffee liqueur. I mixed it up with lots of ice cubes (a bit pointless if you’re going to put it on top of an Aga to photograph it, but hey-ho) and served it up in tiny glasses. Not because I planned on drinking it slowly. Just because it looks cute.
Okay, so Marie Antoinette most likely said ‘let them eat brioche’, and frankly had the pre-revolution French proletariat been faced with this stodgy-looking cake they might have opted for bread even given the choice. However, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looks. As I’m having a (broadly) vegan Christmas I used this slightly mad recipe which uses dairy-free margarine, self-raising flour, and oil as the batter. Being rather fond of eggs and butter and cream, I would have preferred a more indulgent cake. But if you’re the only one who can eat it the line between indulgent and gratuitous becomes a little hazy. Despite the obvious textural problems, this cake – stuffed with currents and cherries – was a treat the whole family could enjoy.
As you’ll see in my next post, I made up for the lack of dairy with a delicious home-made Irish cream liqueur.
My family are vegans. As you can tell from all of that cheese, I am not. However, that does mean that all sorts of charming foodstuffs fill the fridge, not least Fry’s French Garlic Polony, a vegan alternative to slicing sausage. It’s really delicious and for supper (which according to my body clock is breakfast) I buttered two toasted crumpets, topped them with slices of the polony, covered the lot with some good strong cheddar and grilled. I then spooned on some of this delightful chutney I found at Sainsbury’s (I promise I’m not paid to say that) and gobbled them up in preparation for a long night of playing poker. Absolutely delicious. (Though if you make such decadent snacks a regular thing you might want to invest in some bigger trousers).