2021 At The Table: Recipes and Food Discussion

TrudyTrudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
I have locked the 2020 Banqueting Table thread and opened this new one so discussion and sharing of favourite recipes can continue here. Bon Appetit!
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Comments

  • Happy New Year all!

    Following on from last year’s thread, @Graven Image, an email with The Bitter Southerner’s Seven Essential Southern Dishes appeared in my inbox this morning, and it includes a recipe for field peas with chow chow, which looks really good. It may be too late for this year’s black-eyed peas, but it might be worth filing away for next year. :wink:

    BTW, the pound cake recipe is pretty much the same as the one I always use, and it always gets raves.

  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    With a glut of very ripe tomatoes, affordable courgettes, red bell peppers and aubergines available (no farmers' markets open), I went back and retrieved @la vie en rouge 's tips for making the perfect summer ratatouille (originally posted in last year's More Tea, Vicar? thread in July).

    'Proper Ratatouille is a time-consuming affair but very delicious and worth the effort. Mmmm.

    Proper Ratatouille™ is tomatoes, courgettes, aubergine, onion, garlic and peppers of two different colours. What makes it ratatouille is frying each vegetable separately, otherwise it becomes no longer ratatouille but piperade -- perfectly pleasant but without the bite and intensity of flavour of the labour of love which is the genuine article.  

    Step 1: go to the foie gras land market and buy the appropriate vegetables. Said veg has been ripened on the plant in the sun and brought to the market straight from the farm. The tomatoes are as big as your head.

    Step 2: chop and slice everything up. Stick the tomatoes in a big pan and smash them up a bit with a rolling pin. Leave them to cook down slowly with some basil. Now the bit that takes flipping ages: fry each vegetable separately and set aside. When they're all done, put them in the pan with the tomatoes and cook over a medium heat.

    Step 3: the magic secret bit only known to excellent cooks in the South of France. Add a couple of spoonfuls of honey to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes. Season to taste.

    Step 4: sit out in your garden and savour for a late supper - no point eating too early when it's 35°C.'
  • @ Nick Tamen, You just put a smile on my face and a dance in my step. My grandmother made chow chow each year, and I had forgotten about it and long lost the recipe. Brings back so many happy memories of her and my mother and aunts in the kitchen in the early fall. Thank you so much. Love this site, I will be cooking up some memories.
  • @ Nick Tamen, You just put a smile on my face and a dance in my step. My grandmother made chow chow each year, and I had forgotten about it and long lost the recipe. Brings back so many happy memories of her and my mother and aunts in the kitchen in the early fall. Thank you so much. Love this site, I will be cooking up some memories.
    So glad, GI! And I really can’t recommend The Bitter Southerner highly enough.

  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I can believe in the separate cooking: the secret to a superior coq au vin* is cooking the shallots and mushrooms separately from the chicken and wine.

    *or 'cow au vin' as autocorrect would have it. A very much more substantial dish.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    @MaryLouise I'm glad to be of service :smiley:. I hope you enjoyed it.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    @ Nick Tamen, You just put a smile on my face and a dance in my step. My grandmother made chow chow each year, and I had forgotten about it and long lost the recipe. Brings back so many happy memories of her and my mother and aunts in the kitchen in the early fall. Thank you so much. Love this site, I will be cooking up some memories.
    So glad, GI! And I really can’t recommend The Bitter Southerner highly enough.

    Could you make savoury pound cake or is the sugar why it keeps ? I was thinking maybe cheddar n pickle flavoured.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    I can believe in the separate cooking: the secret to a superior coq au vin* is cooking the shallots and mushrooms separately from the chicken and wine.

    *or 'cow au vin' as autocorrect would have it. A very much more substantial dish.

    A very substantial dish indeed, but a cow beyond milking would be incredibly tough.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    @ Nick Tamen, You just put a smile on my face and a dance in my step. My grandmother made chow chow each year, and I had forgotten about it and long lost the recipe. Brings back so many happy memories of her and my mother and aunts in the kitchen in the early fall. Thank you so much. Love this site, I will be cooking up some memories.
    So glad, GI! And I really can’t recommend The Bitter Southerner highly enough.

    Could you make savoury pound cake or is the sugar why it keeps ? I was thinking maybe cheddar n pickle flavoured.
    I have to say I’ve never heard of a savory pound cake. Chocolate or lemon, yes, but savory, no.

    Not saying it can’t be done, but I doubt anyone here would recognize it as pound cake—the “traditional” recipe of which calls for a pound each of butter, flour, sugar and egg.

    I’m particularly partial to toasted and buttered (leftover) pound cake for breakfast.

  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    Firenze wrote: »
    I can believe in the separate cooking: the secret to a superior coq au vin* is cooking the shallots and mushrooms separately from the chicken and wine.

    *or 'cow au vin' as autocorrect would have it. A very much more substantial dish.

    This is also true of a superior minestrone. For years I made a good-enough tomatoey vegetable soup bulked out with pasta and beans and topped with basil and grated Parmesan. Then I learned to add vegetables in stages according to their cooking times, to be sautéed separately so that they retain texture and individual tastes
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    @MaryLouise I'm glad to be of service :smiley:. I hope you enjoyed it.

    I'll let you know next week, @la vie en rouge!

    I always look out for insider tips from those who come from the communities or places where certain dishes have been perfected over generations or centuries. A friend of mine from Lagos invites friends over for a meal of Smoky Party Jollof Rice when we are in Johannesburg and I've spent years trying to work out why I can't replicate her magnificent dish. She says her grandmother, from the Woluf community in Senegal, was a champion jollof cook and that the secret ingredients are dried crayfish powder and a fermented locust bean called dawadawa, along with Tolly Boy rice from Nigerian shops. Tomato paste, not fresh tomatoes. Groundnut oil, not coconut oil. White pepper from pounded peppercorns. Scotch bonnet chillies not piri-piri (bird's eye). The rice must not have the texture of a congee or risotto, it has to be firm, slightly sticky from steaming, and the colour of burnt orange. I can't get it right, yet.
  • PriscillaPriscilla Shipmate
    We were given a slow cooker last year, but had never used it. Today, Darllenwr made a pork , apple and cider casserole in it ( we forgot to get mushrooms, unfortunately) which worked well enough to consider using it again.
    Can anyone suggest some recipes to try?
  • Priscilla wrote: »
    We were given a slow cooker last year, but had never used it. Today, Darllenwr made a pork , apple and cider casserole in it ( we forgot to get mushrooms, unfortunately) which worked well enough to consider using it again.
    Can anyone suggest some recipes to try?

    I love my little slow cooker. I mainly use it for veggie stews. It retains the flavours well and means that after the meal there’s only one easy pot to clean.

    Jack Monroe (cooking on a bootstrap) did her whole Christmas dinner using slow cookers!
  • My favorite way to do corn beef is on low for 8-10 hours.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Lamb shanks are wonderful in the slow-cooker, especially if you brown them first and then toss the veggies in the same oil.

    @Nick Tamen - the rice dish with prawns and sausage on that link looks lovely.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Slow cookers are awesome! I use mine at least once a week.

    It is the perfect tool for any level of cook. If you hate cooking, get a slow cooker! Throw in Some Meat/Some Veg + Some Liquid + Some Flavouring, and behold, when you come home from work, a homemade dinner is ready for you. If you love cooking, get a slow cooker! It does wonderful things with stews, tagines, curries, and chilis.

    Laziest dinner ever: cubed raw chicken breast and a jar of butter chicken sauce into the slow cooker. Or cubed raw chicken breast, a can of coconut milk, and some curry powder or paste. (On my slow cooker I'd set it for either 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.) Throw in some frozen veg at some point, put rice in a rice cooker, and enjoy it all.

    Greatest dinner ever: boeuf bourguignon in the slow cooker. Oh my, now I want some. A few ingredients turn into deeply-flavoured beefy magic.

    You can make the cheapest, most delicious vegetable curries in the Western world with a slow cooker.

    They are especially great for when you know you'll have a busy day and you know you may not feel like cooking when dinner time rolls around. Don't order in. Eat better and more cheaply by using your slow cooker! *this is not a paid ad, I'm just really happy with my slow cooker.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    A hint for a slow cooker - tear off a sheet of baking paper and press it down onto whatever it is that you're cooking. Particularly if it's just a small joint, this works wonders.
  • The main reason that I love my slow cooker is that I can render dirt-cheap cuts of meat into tender yummyness!
  • Firenze wrote: »
    I can believe in the separate cooking: the secret to a superior coq au vin* is cooking the shallots and mushrooms separately from the chicken and wine.

    *or 'cow au vin' as autocorrect would have it. A very much more substantial dish.

    Surely just another name for boeuf bourguignon?
  • PriscillaPriscilla Shipmate
    Thanks for all your comments re slow cookers, but can anyone give me some recipes, or suggest a good recipe book? We are total slow cooker novices!
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    edited January 3
    When we got our first slow-cooker (in Canada) we bought a huge tome called Fix it and Forget it by an American called Phyllis Pellman-Good, but it seemed to be overly devoted to (a) chilli con carne (for which there seemed to be endless recipes); and (b) recipes made almost entirely of things in packets or tins.

    I don't actually have a specific slow cooker recipe book these days; my advice would be to think of a recipe you'd like to make (say, beef casserole), and google "slow cooker beef casserole". I know that might sound a bit like "let me google that for you", but if you have an idea of what you fancy making, and all you need to know is how to adapt it for a slow-cooker, that's probably the way to go. Bear in mind that however much liquid you think the recipe needs, it'll probably be too much; the very slow, uninterrupted method of cooking means you need far less liquid than conventional cooking.

    The instructions that come with it will probably give you an idea of how to adapt the timing; this article from BBC Good Food's web site gives some general guidelines.

    Happy cooking - once you've tried it you'll love it!
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Sorry for double-post, but if, like me, you did baked gammon according to the blessèd Delia for New Year dinner - half cooking it in watered-down cider with onion, cloves and bayleaves then baking it with mustard and brown sugar - don't throw away the liquid - it makes really good stock.

    Leave the liquid to get cold, then skim the fat from the surface, strain it and add about as much water again.

    Chop an onion, a shallot, two carrots and two large potatoes and sauté them in a little oil and butter with two chopped cloves of garlic, a shake each of ground ginger and coriander, a tiny pinch of salt (you don't know at that stage how salty the stock will be) and a few twists of pepper. Add a few chopped small tomatoes, cover and sweat over a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't catch.

    Meanwhile, reheat the stock and when the 15 minutes is up add a handful of red lentils and the hot stock to the veggies. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a gentle bubble, partially cover and simmer for about an hour and a quarter or until the veggies are soft.

    Take the soup off the heat, add a little cream or crème fraîche and whizz with an immersion blender until smooth.

  • kingsfoldkingsfold Shipmate
    Priscilla wrote: »
    Thanks for all your comments re slow cookers, but can anyone give me some recipes, or suggest a good recipe book? We are total slow cooker novices!

    @Priscilla, check your PMs...
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited January 4
    Piglet beat me to it. Use very little liquid unless you're after a soup. Another easy tip - cover the joint or bird with a sheet of baking paper tucked around it.

    An easy chicken recipe - brown chicken thighs and put into the cooker. Soften sliced leeks in the same pan, add a bit of diced ham (etc), some pepper and a dash of allspice. Pour over the chicken, cover and cook for 4 hours or so on high - more if you have a lot.
  • A question about stock. I have occasionally tried making chicken/turkey stock from carcasse + bits. This makes me feel thrifty until I start thinking about all the fuel I am burning to simmer the stock for hours and then reduce it. It takes hours and seems a horribly inefficient use of heat. Yet if you don't reduce it then it will take up ridiculous amounts of room in the freezer and have very little flavour. Is there a better way of doing things?
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    You can always freeze the carcass and then make the stock when you're ready to use it. If you're making soup, risotto etc. you don't need to reduce it in the final recipe.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    What does a sheet of baking paper add to a joint or bird in the slow cooker?

    I'm also a fan of them - I last cooked a leg of lamb in ours and the meat is so moist and tender it falls off the bones. If I'd been cooking on Christmas Day I'd have slow cooked the turkey crown, for moistness and also it frees up all the oven space for roasties, pigs in blankets, stuffing and so on. I also cook bolognese sauce in it - heat all the ingredients, put it on low for the day and all there is to do is the pasta at the last minute. I also use dried casserole mixes with the meat and veg - add cold water to the mix and heat it up to thicken before adding. My other stalwart, a tin of white wine and cream sauce, is not so successful: fine as a casserole in the oven but it tends to separate and go watery in the slow cooker.

    Navarin of Lamb is a favourite here - or was when we entertained as it makes a fair bit.

    Lamb noisettes, or I use lamb steaks with visible fat cut off, 1 onion and 2 cloves of garlic, 1 cup of water, 3 cups of chicken stock, half a cup of dry red wine (the proportions of wine and water tend to vary :wink: ), 400g chopped tomatoes, quarter cup of tomato paste, 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 stalks celery trimmed and chopped to 5cm pieces, 20 baby carrots trimmed (or large carrots peeled and chopped), 200g button mushrooms. The recipe also calls for 150g green beans, added 30 minutes before the end, but I can't be doing with that - and find they go mushy if overcooked, so I usually leave them out. Brown the lamb, soften the onion and garlic, add to slow cooker, heat all the other ingredients, add to cooker, cook on low all day. Thicken with cornflour at the end if needed. Serve with roast potatoes and something green like broccoli or peas.
  • The baking paper prevents the top of the dish from drying out by keeping the steam in. Not just for a joint, but also for casseroles and stews, where particularly the meat component can become dry if just poking through the top of the liquid.
  • A question about stock. I have occasionally tried making chicken/turkey stock from carcasse + bits. This makes me feel thrifty until I start thinking about all the fuel I am burning to simmer the stock for hours and then reduce it. It takes hours and seems a horribly inefficient use of heat. Yet if you don't reduce it then it will take up ridiculous amounts of room in the freezer and have very little flavour. Is there a better way of doing things?

    You might consider your living circumstances. As in, is it winter, and could I turn down the heat to compensate? Our stove puts off enough moist heat when I'm making stock that I can probably turn the whole house down by a couple degrees.

    Though I must confess, I rarely reduce stock. I just flavor the hell out of it and use it for soup (or rice cooking water) right away.
  • @Hedgehog, just wanted to let you know that with my birthday approaching, I’ve decided that what I want for my birthday supper is Sauerbraten, so I’ll be using the recipe you passed along in last year’s thread. I am very much looking forward to it!

  • HedgehogHedgehog Shipmate
    Hope it meets your expectations!
  • Graven ImageGraven Image Shipmate
    edited January 9
    After years of using packaged just add milk hot cacao mix, I made my own. It is a world of difference. I had no idea. I am never going back.
    I used dark cacao powder, sugar, pinch of salt, some brandy vanilla my son made with brandy and whole vanilla beans, cinnamon, milk, and topped it off with a dash of cream on the top.
  • After years of using packaged just add milk hot cacao mix, I made my own. It is a world of difference.
    some brandy vanilla
    ...a dash of cream on the top.
    There might be a clue in there to the reason for the difference
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    Invented by me yesterday (the basic "four quarters" cake is a French classic, but the rest is mine).

    Orange-chocolate marble cake

    Weigh two or three eggs, depending on how big they are and how much cake you want to make. Use the same amount by weight of all the other ingredients.

    Cream butter and sugar together. Add a little flour if you're worried about it curdling, then beat the eggs in one at a time. Beat in the rest of the flour, sifted, plus baking powder (or you can use self-raising).

    Divide the mixture between two bowls. Add a heaped teaspoon of cocoa powder to one, and a generous tablespoon of marmalade to the other.

    Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Pour the orange mixture in first, then the chocolate one. Use a metal spoon to make the marble effect, lifting up the mixture from the bottom.

    Bake at 180° for about 30-40 minutes, or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.
  • Last night we had a bread and butter pudding made with panettone, bought in the apres Christmas sales. We used the remains of the Christmas brandy butter instead of butter and sugar. It was a little bit sweet, but very nice.
    Darllenwr has become a bread and butter pudding expert, and has become quite an experimenter - hot cross buns make a very nice pudding.
  • @Priscilla, my bread and butter pudding would suit Darllenwr's hot cross buns well. I make it with raisin bread, and add dried cranberries [soaked to reconstitute] and choc chips in between the layers. Store-bought custard when I don't have the inclination to make fresh. The result is luscious.
  • For those of us stuck with gluten-free and dairy-free cuisine, I did manage to make gluten free bread pudding, using up GF bread that needed eating. My mistake was that I used mixed dried fruit and the GF and DF requiring offspring also reacted to the citrus peel and couldn't eat it. It all came my way. The consolation is that it froze well, but it took me months to eat portion by portion in lunch boxes, and it's not an experiment I'm repeating any time soon.

    My latest GF attempt, yesterday, was the pastry for a galette, this one is the butternut squash galette from Ottolenghi's Flavour and looks like a form of rough puff pastry, using a mix of white and brown flour and a small amount of polenta, butter in chunks and repeated rolling in layers. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do this gluten free?

    GF brown flour doesn't exist, the GF brown bread effect is all fake, colouring and no real nutritional benefit, it's all to make the bread look more appetising, so not an option. For my first attempt I used GF flour and polenta, a mix of dairy free marge and Trex to give a solid fat and forgot to roll everything between layers of greaseproof paper to be able to manipulate it. I couldn't fold it to give me the layers and ended up with a very crumbly pastry.

    The second attempt I used some mashed potato in the mix as I know I can produce a GF pasty pastry using an Irish potato cake recipe that suggests it can be used to line a flan case. I also remembered the greaseproof paper, and using the paper to manipulate the pastry did manage to fold and roll as instructed. The resulting pastry had a better texture, was slightly puffier, but no layers. (I missed the final rolling out after putting in the fridge, but I did chill for half an hour before cooking). I wonder if butter is needed for the layers as well as gluten?

    I am slightly stymied by not knowing how the pastry should turn out. So does anyone know what this pastry recipe produces? And any ideas on how to replicate it with GF flour and dairy free?
  • @la vie en rouge that sounds like a wonderful cake. I shall try it.
  • Someone, possibly in the ancestor thread, recommended brussels sprouts in a cheese fondue. Tried it last night and it was brilliant - thanks, whoever offered that!
  • MarthaMartha Shipmate
    @Curiosity killed I've never attempted anything more adventurous than regular shortcrust pastry gluten free, but I've seen recipes for a galette which use shortcrust pastry, so I'm sure that would be fine.

    You probably know this already, but gf pastry works a million times better if you use an egg to bind it, not cold water.
  • @Martha - thank you for that. I have managed a reasonably edible shortcrust pastry using egg and xanthan gum but it only really lines a tart tin, not great for manipulating into pasty pastry, and pasties are useful to take out walking.
  • MarthaMartha Shipmate
    Yes, I imagine you'd need a fair bit of stretch in pasty pastry. What are gluten free wraps like? Could you put a filling in, fold them up and bake till crispy, or would they just go rock hard or fall apart? This is pure speculation - I've never tried it.
  • I found using mashed potato gives some stretch and works with GF flour. What I haven't tried, yet, is substituting potato flour to see if that works. Again, all these pastries can get tough and hard, which is not so bad for pasties which need to survive in a pack. The Hairy Bikers have been using a similar pastry in their dieting books -here's a version.
  • MarthaMartha Shipmate
    That's a new one on me!
  • Celery & cashew soup, as requested by @Piglet

    75g butter (though I used a glug of whatever oil is to hand)
    2 heads of celery, chopped
    4 cloves garlic chopped fine
    150g unsalted cashews
    1.5 litres vegetable stock

    Melt butter, cook celery & garlic for 10mins without colouring the veg.
    Meanwhile, blitz the cashews finely in a food processor.
    Add stock & cashews and cook for ca 30mins until celery is tender.
    Blitz.

    I guess if you were being really picky, you'd then sieve it as it's not smooth & creamy. But a) it' s just for me and I don't care, and b) I can't be bothered.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Thanks, Kingsfold - I wouldn't faff about with a sieve either* - I'd use a whizzy-whizz.

    * partly because at the moment I haven’t got one: for some reason my sieves and colander were forgotten about when the movers were clearing the house in Fredericton, and I haven't got round to replacing them.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    @Golden Key and @Stercus Tauri can you get Patak's curry pastes where you live? They make a selection of curry pastes of different flavours and strengths. Although you can do lots of more exciting and complicated things with them, for a quick and easy curry, start by frying the basic meat or whatever in oil + a teaspoon of your chosen paste, and then go ahead from there.

    This is their website, but I don't know if they export. They are available in most supermarkets here. Their pastes usually have a slight edge on the supermarkets' own brands.

  • Enoch wrote: »
    @Golden Key and @Stercus Tauri can you get Patak's curry pastes where you live? They make a selection of curry pastes of different flavours and strengths. Although you can do lots of more exciting and complicated things with them, for a quick and easy curry, start by frying the basic meat or whatever in oil + a teaspoon of your chosen paste, and then go ahead from there.

    This is their website, but I don't know if they export. They are available in most supermarkets here. Their pastes usually have a slight edge on the supermarkets' own brands.

    Yes - they have them in the supermarkets here too, but I enjoy making them up as I go for the occasion, though usually based on my friend's old recipes. That way, it's easy to adjust the heat level, or avoid spices that some find disagreeable, or match it to the body of the sauce. Incidentally, the same Indian friend who got me started on this once told me that the meal is really the rice - the curry sauce is just there to make it more interesting. (I have never made a meat curry, and wouldn't).
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I would class curry powder with garam masala, ras el hanout, baharat, five-spice etc as a condiment in its own right. If making a specific curry, I would use the spices and aromatics specified in the recipe.

    Tonight I'm attempting the second recipe on this page - the macaroni and spiced lamb.
  • Mrs Claypool and I recently made the sobering discovery that we have about a dozen boxes of curry powder mixes of varying kinds. This includes FOUR separate biriani mixes. On top of this, we have oodles of the individual spices (garam masala, cumin, coriander, fenugreek etc etc).

    We have made a conscious decision to start using these mixes. A few nights ago we had a lovely chicken karahi. The only problem is that we have enough in the box for at least three more meals AND we have a second (unopened) box. At this rate, we will be eating chicken karahi for months.

    We recently got a copy of the Dishoom cookbook. Their recipes are wonderful - we had Lamb Raan for Christmas Day.
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