Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Fall Harvest

This year promises to yield a bumper crop of apples and pears for our annual Cider pressing. The trees around our house are heavy with fruit, as are all the other orchards across the island. Sometime in the next week or two, our friends will start showing up with boxes of fruit ready to be crushed and turned into Scrumpy. On top of all this, it is also Chanterelle season. I can't hold back the excitement I feel when the first rain of Autumn falls and I don my old clothes and head off into the woods. Some years are poor, but this year I have already found a  shit load baskets full of the little beauties.
There is nothing better than combining the fruits of this season into a delicious meal, but first you have to go and find the main ingredients.

A tell tale sign

A bit more clearing reveals the subject of the hunt

OK, now for the rest. I know you are in there somewhere......
After a few hours of crawling around in the undergrowth, my legs look as if I have indulged in a bout of foreplay with a Bengal tiger (female of course) and my face has collected enough spider webs to knit me a small hammock.

Still, the rewards are plentiful. Enough to make a delicious Dinner.....Pork Chops a la Normande

Now for the rest of the recipe. This one feeds two.

You will need Bone in Pork Chops, (1 per person)
1 Cup Hard Cider,
A good slosh of Calvados if you have it or Brandy if not.
1 Apple, peeled, cored and sliced
6 Chanterelles
1 medium Shallot diced
3/4 cup of heavy cream
Sprig of Rosemary
S&P to taste.

Some garden greens to steam as a side dish. These are Collard greens

Season and brown the chops on both sides in Olive Oil for about 2 minutes each side. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

 Add the shallots and some of the Rosemary and stir until the onion is translucent, but not too brown.

No, the kettle did not catch fire.
  Add the Calvados and then add the Cider. No Calvados? Use Brandy.

I did taste the Cider to make sure it was OK, hence the glass.
 Add the sliced Chanterelles and apples and combine into the shallots. Reduce the liquid before adding the cream.

Put the Pork back into the pan, together with any juices and bring to a lovely thick consistency, then serve (here with steamed collard greens.)

I put both chops on the plate for this photo, as I was by myself, but I didn't eat them all....Honest.

Bon Appetite

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mung Bean cakes with Moroccan spices.

After my last attempt of trying a vegetarian diet, I am stepping very carefully. Actually, it is my wife who is dabbling with it, Vegan no less, and only during work hours. I have decided to try out some new ideas so she can have more than just salad for lunch.
I had already decided to make some veggie cakes/patties and was wondering what might be good to go with it, when my son brought home 2 large zucchini squash from one of our neighbors.

Here is the result.

Mung Bean Patties with Moroccan Spices served on shredded Squash and Harissa.
It turned out very tasty and was pretty quick to make. I made the Ras El Hanout myself but I bought a jar of the Harissa, as it is always handy to have in the fridge. I have made it myself before, but I couldn't be arsed this time.

Cook the Mung Beans in salted water (soak them over night) until soft and then drain into a bowl so you can use the liquid in a soup afterwards. Once cooked, they have a pale, unappetizing color, so the addition of other veggies will brighten things up a bit.

Once dry, I add the spices, grated and shredded veggies (your choice), then add some salt to bring out the liquid. Add enough Garbanzo/Chickpea flour to bind, and then form into patties with your hands. The size of the pattie is your choice, but smaller will hold together better in the pan.

I used a bit of the flour to help form them and to stop them sticking.

Shallow fry in the oil of your choice until golden brown on both sides. If you have to do them in batches, transfer them onto a paper towel lined dish and pop them in the oven until ready to serve.

The next step requires you have a Mandolin.

No, not one of these....

One of these

Cut the squash into 6" pieces, cut in half and remove any soft mush and seeds.
Select the fine shred blade, and without removing any fingers or knuckles, slide the squash length ways until you get spaghetti like filaments.

You can add any other veggies you have on hand, or just toss in olive oil with some shredded Beet Greens or Swiss Shard. Garlic, Pepper, whole spice seeds or seasonings such as Lea & Perrins or Soy Sauce can also be added.
Whatever takes your fancy really.

Once the Squash is done, make a bed of it on the plate and add the patties straight from the oven. Garnish with a bit of shredded carrot, and Harissa and serve immediately.

Any spicy wine will do to go with it. I used Viognier.

It is easy, cheap and very nutritious. It almost makes me want to go Vegan.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fall comfort food- Ham and Egg Pie.

Yes, It's that time of year again folks. We have had as good a summer as I can remember, but with my memory, that's not too far. The warmth we have experienced is now showing up in a bumper crop of apples and pears, with which we will be pressing for our 2103 cider (hard) pretty soon. What better to go with a pint of dry cider than one of the tastiest savory pies known to man and woman. Of course, I am talking about Ham and Egg Pie.
Every now and then, we purchase a large ham. Towards the end of its life, I indulge myself with making one of these.

I cut the leftover meat off the bone (Pea and Ham Soup next) and stick it in the food processor with some onion, sage and salt and pepper then pulse it until the ham is coarsely chopped. I added 3 whole eggs to the mixture, then lightly folded it into the meat. I try and leave it so you can still see yolk and white, so you get a colorful striation in the finished pie.

I make my short crust with both lard and butter (about 60/40) and I use an egg as part of the liquid. This gives a wonderful color and texture. I also add a teaspoon full of English Mustard (the secret ingredient, Shhh, don't tell a soul.)

You can use whatever pie dish you want to and add ingredients the same as you would for any other pie. Bake at 360 degees for 30 minutes or until the pie turns a gorgeous golden brown.
Once cooked, let it to cool before serving.

I like to eat it with fresh garden tomatoes and pickled beets, or home made chutney, but you could serve it any way you like.

The bone is already in the pot with a bunch of root veggies and split peas.

Fall......bring it on.

Sorry, I had to take a bite.

If you want shorter but more frequent ideas, I have a facebook page called, "The cook in your kitchen."
Maybe see you there.