The best Chili in the World . . . EVER!

November 23, 2009 · Posted in Cooking · 3 Comments 

Simon Rimmer is the resident chef on BBC2’s Something for the Weekend. A couple of weeks ago on his twitter feed (@simonrim) he announced a new website he’d setup, where he’s asking people to film themselves cooking their recipes and upload them.

As I seem to keep banging on about cooking on here and enjoy it so much (as anyone who has been round to our house for dinner will know), I thought it was a good opportunity to put my money where my mouth is and film something. Read more

KFC’ish . . .

September 14, 2009 · Posted in Cooking · Comment 

Here’s how it starts.

theWife: What do you fancy for dinner?
me: (shrug) dunno, what do you fancy?
theWife: don’t know . . . something chickeny, with lots of vegetables!.

And with that my brain starts ticking, my taste-buds start tingling and I know we’re in trouble. Read more

Cookin’ for Christmas

December 25, 2008 · Posted in Cooking · Comment 

I like cooking, and what I like cooking most is large hunks of meat.  Big joints of Pork or Beef are fantastic things to cook when we have friends round and even when there’s just the two of us I’ll get something bigger than needed because it just cooks better.

However Christmas is a little different as it’s traditionally Poultry time.  4 years ago for our first married Christmas I cooked a Goose. I’d never done one before but I figured it can’t be that hard, it’s just a bird.  As it happens there are one or two tricks to getting a Goose right, mainly to ensure that the skin is nice and crispy, but it’s easy enough and we’re having one again this year.

Boxing day this year will be a bit different though.  There’ll be 7 of us for dinner so we’ll obviously need something a little bigger.  I could have just got a large Turkey but I always like to experiment and try new things out. With that in mind I’m building a 4 bird roast.  I’ve done something similar just twice before but with only 2 birds in each.  A Ducken (a Duck with a Chicken inside) and a Phearkey (a Turkey with 2 Pheasants inside). This year I’ll be cooking what we have christened a Duphearkenridge which consists of a Duck (for a nice crispy skin outside) stuffed with a Chicken, a Pheasant and a Partridge.

Each of the two previous times I’ve cooked one of these people ask me how difficult it is.  The answer is that the preparation is more time consuming than difficult.  There are plenty of instructional pages on the Interenet telling you how to debone birds but once you’ve done it you shouldn’t need to look again.  It’s more tricky and a little fiddly than difficult.

You obviously have to be pretty careful with whichever bird is going to be going on the outside as that’s the one that’s got to look good, but life is made somewhat easier as you don’t have to bebone the legs or wings of that one.  The inside birds you can then be a little rougher with a they’re just filling.  You should still get them as whole as possible as it make the rebuild easier, but a few nicks in the skin are fine.

Once it’s all rebuilt you’ve then got to stitch it back together and this is probably where you’ll need some help.  Either that or you’ll need to grow an extra pair of hands.

The actual cooking is then doen to a certain amount of guesswork as you’ve now got a solid lump of meat, rather than a bird with a hollow cavity.  I tend to go off similar cooking times as for joints of Pork but I also use a meat thermometer when cooking these.  The last thing you want to do is cut your magnificant creation in front of your guests only to find out that it’s not done.

A final little tip for the cooking.  As the Duck, in this case, will be exposed to the heat for a lot longer than normal it will have a tendancy to dry out, particularly the lovely crispy skin. The trick here is part way through cooking, lay some streaky bacon over the bird.  This will add some extra fat onto the outside during cooking keeoing things crispy and moist 🙂

More pics of the creation of this years bird can be found here on my Flickr page . . . expect a few more once it’s all cooked and keep your fingers crossed that I get the cooking times right!

Makin’ breakfast juice

November 12, 2008 · Posted in Cooking · Comment 
juice all made and bottled, ready for transport

juice all made and bottled, ready for transport

Last week my when we met brother-in-law, Steve, we were donated a carrier bag full of unwanted apples . . . it would seem that their new house has several apple trees in the back garden and they aparently have more apples than they know what to do with.

They’re cooking(ish) apples so they’ve spent the whole time just sat in the bag waiting for us to get round to doing something with them.

theWife is out riding around on her horsey’s so I decided to use the free time (interspresed between watching crap TV and killing anything that moves on GTA IV) to make some breakfast juice.  The basic receipe is as follows.

  • some Apples
  • some Pears
  • half a Lemon
  • 1 fresh Chilli
  • any miscellaneous veg you happen to have the you want to use up

The first ingredient is obvious . . . the second is probably not a surprise and maybe not even the third (the lemon helps make the juise taste fresher, less thick) but I always get a raised eyebrow when I mention the chilli and the vegetables.

This time I’ve chucked some somewhat bendy celery, and that actually has more taste then most raw juiced veg, but it’s not unusual for me to use brocolli and especially sprouts.  They all have plenty of vitamins in and you can barely taste them alongside the fruit.

The secret ingredient however is the Chilli.  Now don’t go silly putting in handfulls, you just need one decent sized medium chilli . . . just trust me that if you add this one thing into your juice, 5 minutes after drinking it it will feel like someone has flicked a light switch on inside your head. Real full on wake up juice 😉

Finally a word of warning about handling Chillis.  Juicing them should normally be OK, particularly with mild to medium chillis, as you never open them but either way always wash your hands well after handling them. Rubbing your eyes after cutting chillis is extreemly painful and scratching your nose was probably best described by Mitch Benn as ‘the closest you can legally get to a 5 year coke habbit!’