'He hath filled the hungry with good things'

On these pages I’d like to present you with good things: Food and everything that goes with it. In an amateur way my father continues the family trade that goes back several centuries. His grandfather was the last in the family to be a professional vintner and Papa still tends to his vines in the evenings after work in the little town of Breisach in southern Baden where I grew up. Wine and good food go together, particularly in Baden. On the border to France and occupied by the Austrians for hundreds of years, this little state of Germany marries some of the best culinary traditions of central Europe. The Mediterranean climate encourages Italian influences too. My brother and I were treated to the best of German and English cooking. Mother’s family comes East Anglian yeoman that lived off the fruits of their fields and the game of the hedgerows. Granddad used to shoot pheasant from the open dining room window! Returning to England I now live in Cambridge where I hope my cooking combines the best of two worlds.

Mittwoch, 12. Februar 2014

Garden Cottage Cottage Pie.

This twice cottaged cottage pie 
Is the best bit of cottage you’ll ever try.
One large Onion 
Beef Mince (lean) 
One Carrot
One tin of chopped Tomatoes
Three large potatoes
Beef stock
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper 

Chop and fry onion, add half the chopped carrot and mince to the pan. Peal, chop and boil potatoes add the rest of the carrot. Add plenty of beef stock and tomatoes to frying pan. Strain Potatoes and add yoghurt, olive oil and salt. Mash all, add more yoghurt and more oil until the mash is smooth. Layer the mince and the parsley with a little pepper into an ovenproof dish.  Top with mash and spread some mustard on the top. With a fork score waves into the mash and form little peaks. Place under a grill for at least 15 minutes.

Usually milk and butter are added to the mash, however yoghurt and olive oil create a similar effect, while being considerably healthier. This can easily be turned into shepherd’s pie if mince beef is substituted for lamb.

Donnerstag, 8. August 2013

Cheeky Beef Tea.

Three table spoons of Gravy Granules 
Three table spoons of Tomato Sauce 
Three table spoons of Tomato Puree 
Half a Beef Stock Cube 
Ideally two table spoons of Parsley (or mixed Herbs failing that) 
Boiling Water, depending on required thickness

Mix all in pan and simmer gently with lid on. Serve as beef tea with a little extra water or as a quick gravy substitute.
For a hearty outdoor bracer: Add a shot of brandy or a cheese and mustard crouton or both. For the crouton spread a slice of baguette with mustard, cover with grated cheese and grill in the oven. Serve the crouton floating on top of the beef soup.

Beef tea used to be a staple of (what my mother calls) ‘invalid cookery’, the boiled beef bones were supposed to give you strength during illness. Serve in a porcelain cup and saucer.

Dienstag, 6. August 2013

Salmon Mousse.

A tin of salmon or equivalent in fresh smoked
4 leaves of gelatine (at least) 
Half a pint of white wine 
One fish stock cube 
Some Tablespoon of Greek yoghurt 
Two spoons of mayonnaise 
A spoon of horseradish sauce 
A little grated onion 
Crushed pepper

Dissolve gelatine in simmering white wine, add the stock cube. Pour into a jug; add flaked or mashed salmon and all other ingredients to make about 1.5 pints of mixture. Stir with a fork until homogenous. Place in fridge until partially set; remove from fridge and pour into a lightly oiled mould. 
For a show effect; poor in half the mixture, allow to set a little, layer some smoked salmon or cooked asparagus onto that and add the rest of the mixture on top until fully set. 

This was a terribly popular dish in the 1970s that has fallen from favour. The great amounts of double cream from the original are replaced with yoghurt in this version. For the authentic look one might add faux caviar to the finished mousse.

Sonntag, 4. August 2013

A Coconut Curry.

Two Onions
One garlic clove
Curry paste (to suit your pallet)
Chicken (need not be included if a vegetarian meal is required)
One tin of coconut milk
One Apple
Some ground coconut or almond

This recipe doesn't pretend to be anything but European. Chop onions and fry in a little olive oil, add curry paste until very soft. Fry chicken until cooked and chopped apple until soft. Add coconut milk. At this juncture more curry paste might have to be added. The best curry is cooked twice. Allow curry to cool and re-heat before serving adding the ground nuts at the very last moment.

Curries are usually served with rice. Coat rice in a little melted butter before preparing to keep it fluffy. Calculate about half a cup of rice per person.