Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Celeriac & walnut terrine

I am just about to fly to Poland. I am taking nearly two weeks break. Need to charge up my batteries, see my family and friends. To say good bye I prepared another thing that can end up on your Easter table and this time it is vegetarian. Again I would serve it with roasted beets & horseradish relish or just horseradish sauce (preferably homemade, freshly grated horseradish is wicked!)

I hope that you will have nice bank holiday
and enjoy the royal wedding!

All the best and see you when I get back!

makes small bread loaf tin

celeriac, peeled, weight after peeling about 650g, coarsely grated
large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
about 200ml vegetable stock
2 whole eggs
3-4 tbsp of breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 chilli powder
freshly grated black pepper
100g walnut pieces
few tbsp oat bran, to line the tin

In large pan fry the onion and garlic in olive oil for a little while. Add grated celeriac, fry for another minute and then add the stock. Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes. For the last 10 minutes uncover so the excess of liquid evaporates.

When the celeriac is soft, take off the heat and leave it to cool down.

Heat the oven to 200C (fan) and prepare the tin. Oil it with little olive oil and lie with some oat bran, shaking out its excess.

Add egg yolks to the celeriac when cooled down, nutmeg, chilli, most of the roughly chopped walnuts and breadcrumbs. (to be quite honest - I forgot about the breadcrumbs, so my terrine was a bit crumbly)

Whisk the egg whites with pinch of salt until quite stiff, then mix it gently with celeriac and other ingredients. Place it in the tin, cover with piece of tin foil and place in bigger dish filled with hot water (about 1/2 of the size of the loaf tin). This is called bain-marie, which is a type of preparation used for protecting dishes requiring gentle heat from the fierce heat of the oven.

Bake for about 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for further 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and refrigerate (preferably overnight) in the fridge.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Blackcurrant glazed ham

In Poland we eat quite a lot of ham on Easter I know this recipe sound more like Christmas for some people, but I make this ham all year round, when I fancy some homemade aromatic piece of cold meat.

Homemade ham is certainly a good thing. Some of those that you can see in shops have water added or are reformed from various cuts of meat. To buy a decent ham you have to pay bit more, or make your own.

I would love to make many different cold meats and hams for sandwiches or just snacking in the future, so far I only used one recipe that I have found in "Feast" by Nigella Lawson. I followed the recipe and cooked it in cherry coke and it was tasty, however the idea of cooking in coke is little bit controversial. Therefore I swapped it for cider (dry or sweet). Also I add some more things to the stock and use different types of topping - it goes well with blackcurrant jam, as well as cherry jam, and I used redcurrant jelly too.

You can use gammon, or ham. Cooking tip: allow about 1h cooking for every kilogram of meat. Mild cured meat doesn't need soaking, otherwise tip piece of meat in cold water and bring to boil, then drain and start from here.

gammon or ham
onion, unpeeled and halved
bay leaf
2-3 whole allspice
1.5l cider
some whole cloves
2-3 tbsp of blackcurrant jam
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp of smoked paprika

Place meat in a pan with onion, bay leaf and allspice and cover with cider. If you have not enough cider add some water, just to cover the meat. Use small pan, big enough to squeeze the meat in - it will leave less space to fill with cider. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down to simmer and cook accordingly to meat weight (1kg meat = 1h). Drain the meat and place on a chopping board.

Cut off the excess of fat, leaving some fat on the meat. Score the fat with a sharp knife to make diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove. Place the ham on the baking tray lined with some kitchen foil.

Meanwhile heat the oven to 200C and prepare the glazing. Place jam, paprika and vinegar in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer until bubbly and sticky.

Carefully spread the glazing onto the ham and place in the hot oven for about 10 minutes, until caramelised. Remove from the oven.

Very tasty hot and cold.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Lamb & apricots páté

I have just found out that today is… Chocolate Day. I haven’t got anything chocolate, but I have something that you may find handy for upcoming bank holidays. I will try to remember next year about the chocolate!

About year ago I made my first baked pate – chichen, orange and caramelised shallots páté. Now I know exactly how to make this kind of páté and I experiment with different types of meat and other ingredients. So far the best one I have made was lamb and apricot páté, made in very similar way as the previous one. It is not a rocket science and the taste is great. What probably more important I know exactly what is in it. Not like with those shop bought… (did you ever read the label?)

I encourage you to make your own, I know it can be time consuming, but the results are worth it. It goes really well with cranberry sauce (please, please, please - do not eat it only at the Christmas table, it so tasty it should be eaten more often), roasted beets & horseradish relish, or caramelised red onion. Next time I will try to make nice jelly topping.

1.8kg lamb shoulder (about 1.1kg when roast and boned)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 small carrots, cut into chunks
5-6 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2-3 allspice
2-3 garlic gloves, unpeeled
few springs of fresh thyme (I used lemon thyme)
few springs of fresh mint
big handful of dried apricots
about 175ml dry white wine
300g pork or chicken livers
about 30g butter
300g pancetta, diced (or smoked bacon lardons)
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
small stale bread roll
50ml brandy
freshly ground black pepper
3 whole eggs
10-12 rashes of smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
cup of vegetable or chicken stock (optionally)

Heat the oven to 150 C.

Rub some salt, pepper into a lamb shoulder and fry on each side in olive oil until lightly browned. Place in an ovenproof casserole and add the oil remaining in the frying pan. Add carrots, garlic, mint, thyme, apricots, wine, whole peppercorns, allspice and bay leaf. Cover and roast for about 2.5 hours.

Fry the liver in the half of butter in the pan until browned, then remove from a pan and place in a bowl.

Using the same pan fry pancetta cubes without any extra fat until slightly browned. Remove from the pan and place in the bowl together with liver.

Still using the same pan fry the shallots in the remaining butter over very low heat, until golden, not browned. Add to the bowl with rest of ingredients.
Soak bread roll in some water, remove any excess of liquid and place in the bowl.

When lamb is cooked, remove from the oven, let it cool down, bone and add the meat to the bowl. Discard mint, garlic, allspice, bay leaf, but keep all the juices, thyme, apricots, carrots. Roughly pick some leaves from thyme and discard the tough bits.

Mince all the above ingredients three times using meat mincer, season with salt, pepper, add brandy, egg yolks and mix thoroughly with your hands. If the meat seems a bit dry add some liquid from roasting a lamb, alternatively you can add some extra stock. You should be able to mix this gently with stiff egg whites.

Whisk the egg whites with pinch of salt until they stiff and fold gently into the meat mixture.

Line big loaf tin (or use 3 small disposable tins) with bacon or pancetta slices, so they slightly overhanging the tin, fill it with a meat mixture, level with a spatula and cover with the overhanging bacon.

Cover the tin with a kitchen tin foil, place in bigger dish filled with hot water (about ¾ of the size of the loaf tin). This is called bain-marie, which is a type of preparation used for protecting dishes requiring gentle heat from the fierce heat of the oven.

Bake for 1 hour in preheated oven (180C), uncover and bake for further 10 minutes until the top is golden. Remove from the oven, let it cool down and leave in the fridge overnight before serving.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Homemade oatcakes & Champion cheese 2010

At last I had the opportunity to try the World Cheese Awards Champion Cheese 2010. During the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham in November last year over 200 judges from 19 different countries judged more than 2,500 cheeses from 29 countries during the morning session (I wish I could have this job!). These were whittled down to 47 super gold award winning cheeses by the afternoon session. The Supreme Panel, made up of 15 experts from 11 countries, each chose their favourite cheese to go forward to the final judging. Cornish Blue from the Cornish Cheese Company, was finally crowned the World Champion Cheese.

I ordered 200g Cornish Blue pot, as it was a present for my partner. Next time definitely will go for at least 0.5kg! Pot is beautiful, so the gift is well presented and worth its price. This delicious cheese was pressed into a special collectors' edition 'Cornish Ware' ceramic pot and hidden under red wax. After the cheese feast this pot can have a second life – it is too pretty to be discarded. Those interested in this lovely blue and white stripe ware called Cornish Blue should visit manufacturer’s website.

I have tasted many different cheeses before but none of them was so delicious. Exactly up to my taste! Handmade, matured 12-14 weeks, very delicate, yet slightly bitter. Its consistency is very interesting nearly fluffy, yet creamy. It is slightly sour, but sweet, smells lovely – apple like.

If you will have opportunity to taste it – go ahead! You will not regret it. This cheese made me realised how little I know about cheese and I should try more and more different ones.

This is all about the cheese and now about the oatcakes. I though that great cheese deserves good homemade oatcakes. I wanted to make them more savoury than neutral. So I search though the internet and this recipe is a compilation of few that I have found. They are not as crunchy as shop bought I will try to make them thinner or bake longer next time.

Makes about 20

225g medium oatmeal + extra for dusting
1/2 tsp celery salt
some roughly crushed black pepper
1 tbsp melted butter
about 150ml lukewarm water

Heat the oven to 160 C (fan).

Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Make well in the centre of this mix and add water mixed with butter. Use a palette knife to mix everything together. The mixture will be initially a bit wet, but then will gradually absorb all the liquid to give a soft dough ball.

Lightly dust a work surface with oatmeal. Tip out the dough and roll out to about 3-4 mm thickness. Use a round cutter to cut out the oatcakes or use any shape cutter you have. Re-make the dough using any trimmings and continue to rolling out and cutting out the oatcakes.

Place the oatcakes on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 20 minutes, carefully turning the oatcakes every 5 minutes. (This should stop them from going stodgy). Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Store in airtight contained, up to 5 days.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Bloody Mary sardines

One of the most common language mistakes being made by Polish people in United Kingdom seems to be ordering bloody steak as oppose to rare. Many Poles don't realise that steak that has some blood running out of it is not called bloody. By the way bloody hell I find very interesting and useful and this is one of my favourite English expressions. And talking about bloody - I love Bloody Mary cocktail. Mixture of vodka, tomato juice and flavourings such as Tabasco and celery salt makes me really excited.

This is why I couldn't resist a recipe that I have seen in Hugh's Fearnley-Whittingstall River Cottage. He has done a genius thing by mixing Bloody Mary classic taste with... tinned sardines.

Serves 2

2x95g tins of sardines in oil, drained
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
few drops Tabasco sauce
few shakes Worcestershire sauce
squeeze of lemon juice
pinch of celery salt
freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tsp good quality cold vodka (I really encourage you to use good quality Polish rye vodkas - they are the best!)
bread to serve + butter (optionally)

In a small bowl roughly mash the sardines with the ketchup, Tabasco, Worcestershire, lemon juice, celery salt and black pepper.

Pile the mixture on the bread. Finish off with a sprinkling of vodka and serve straight away. I am sure it tastes great as an accompaniment to a shot of good quality freezing cold rye vodka. (get some of Polish ones such as Królewska, Chopin, Belvedere, Pan Tadeusz, Sobieski, Wyborowa).

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Fermented rye starter for soup

Some time ago I showed you how to make a typical Polish rolled oats sour soup. It is based on a naturally fermented starter – very tasty and healthy. Also I mentioned that my favourite one is starter made from rye flour and this is the one I am going to show you today.

You will need big jar, clay or glass jug or a bottle, clean cloth/tea towel and rubber band to secure the towel.

Makes about 1l starter (depends on its sourness I use it to cook about 2-3l of soup)

7 heaped tbsp of rye flour (not the white one, it should be wholemeal, quite rough preferably organic)
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly squished with a knife
1-2 bay leaves
1-2 allspice
few whole black peppercorns
about 900ml good quality water, lukewarm (if you do not have good water, used boiled tap water)
tsp of died marjoram (optional)

Mix water with flour thoroughly so there are no lumps left. Add rest of the ingredients, cover with the cloth, secure with elastic band and leave it in warm place.

Once a day (or every two days) mix the starter thoroughly. It should be ready within 7-14 days, depends on the temperature, type of water, flour, humidity etc.

Some people use only this sour water from the top of the starter; I think it is a waste and use all of it, together with flour and bits.

Use in exactly the same way as the rolled oats one. To find out more about this delicious soup please visit my friend's blog.