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Chicken and Mushroom Leek Pie

October 24, 2014 Comments off

Basically just one of my favourite dishes, chicken in tarragon cream sauce but with a puff pastry lid. Would have preferred shortcrust pastry as it’s stodgier.

Sweat some onions, leek and garlic in butter, avoid colour in the leek. Add pieces of chicken breast and after a while some button mushrooms. Bit of pepper, bit of thyme, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Then some flour and after a while a chicken stockpot and enough water (a splash of white wine or blonde beer) to make a sauce. Keep cooking to reduce a bit. Add cream, nutmeg, a bay leaf or two and tarragon, keep cooking gently to reduce the sauce and thicken it. Should end up with something like this:

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Pour it all into a casserole dish after picking out the bay leaves, like thus:

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Cover with pastry, make a couple of holes for steam to escape and egg wash it:

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Put it into an oven for 30 minutes or so until golden brown, 200°C:

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Enjoy the crappy photo!

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Categories: Cooking

Comfort Food: Cottage Pie

September 4, 2014 Comments off

Two things need to be done right in order to have a good if not great cottage pie, first being keeping the mince sauce in the low oven long enough, say 150°C for 90 minutes or until very tender and soft, all the flavours having been amalgamated. The second is then topping it all with buttery mash. A nice twist is to blanch small cubes of root vegetables (parsnips, swedes, carrots work well) and adding those between the mince and the mash.

For a kilo of beef mince:

– 2 onions

– garlic

– thyme, pepper, bay leaves

– tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce (generously), little flour, a pint of water, beef stock cube

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Soften the onions in butter, add the garlic and mince. When brown and getting caramelised, add pepper, thyme, Worcestershire sauce. Keep cooking a bit, then add tomato paste, little bit of flour, the stock cube and water. Mix well, add bay leaves and put into the oven.

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Meanwhile, prepare the mash using milk and loads of butter. Add salt to taste and perhaps some grated horseradish. Make it fairly thick.

When the mince sauce is ready and also has quite a solid consistency, pick out the bay leaves and spread the mash on top. Practise some fancy fork work for decoration and place some small knobs of butter on top to melt in the oven where the pie goes back until golden on top. The more mash on top  the less seepage through it.

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This dish goes very well with beer, by the way. Could even splash some beer in the mince.

Categories: Cooking

Beer Snack: Spicy Curried Honey Popcorn

February 21, 2014 Comments off

Prepare the spice mix: 1/2 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp ground coriander and 1/2 tsp salt. Melt 1 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp butter together:

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Make the popcorn: in a saucepan, heat 4 tbsp of oil with 3 corn kernels, lid on. Once they pop, take the pan off the heat, get rid of the popped corns, add 1/3 cup of kernels into the pan, cover, shake well and wait 30 seconds until putting it back on the heat. Shake well as popping starts.

No burned popcorn, no un-popped kernels, not a single one:

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Add the melted honey butter (delicious on its own too) and spice mix and shake well to get an even distribution. Microwave oven popcorn seems to be a hit and miss, either you burn the popcorn or leave plenty of kernels in the bottom of a bowl – none of those problems here, and you can do many flavour combos (bacon fat one sounds good too). The honey goes well with the curry but next time I’ll double the amount of honey and it’ll be just a perfect snack…

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Enjoy with a homebrew.

Categories: Cooking

Beer snack: Samoosas

October 17, 2013 Comments off

I can only dream about samoosas sold in the parking lot of the world’s largest liquor store, Benny Goldberg’s on Louis Botha Avenue in Joburg, now long gone). That was in the 80’s and I remember the peas, minced beef, chili and curry powder. Half a rand a bag. Cheap as chips. Those were the days when a pint of Lion lager was 50 cents too (always a Lion man, never Castle).

Can’t be rocket science to make these at home…first the filling:

Onion, garlic, mince, pepper, salt, curry powder, piri-piri chili, cumin, nutmeg, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste. Fry in the pan, add a little flour and water to make it sticky. Make the curry powder the dominant spice. Then add peas and tiny cubes of potato:

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The dough for four large samoosas or pies as I decided to do as I couldn’t be arsed to tinker with rectangular shapes of pastry triangles. Three cups of flour, 3/4 cups water, four tablespoons of oil, one teaspoon of salt. Mix into a dough ball and cut into four, then with a rolling pin flatten them into round flat thin discs. Put some filling in and make moon shapes:

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Look like Russian meat pies…then enough oil in the pan so these are almost covered, fry them from both sides until golden colour, drain the excess oil.

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Enjoy with home brew. Scrummy.

Categories: Cooking

Spatchcock Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

October 15, 2013 Comments off

The strict diet holds very well and this is this week’s treat. The point is the flavoured herb butter which cooks the root vegetables as the chicken roasts in the oven.  Root vegetables work here very well as they are left quite sweet and caramelised. I  spatchcocked the chicken but that is not necessary.

Herb butter: butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, tarragon, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram.  Mix well and keep cool so it’s easier to work under the chicken skin.

Root vegetables: I only had baby potatoes and swede but parsnip would be king here. Celeriac, carrots etc are nice too. Chop them up and mix with roughly chopped onion and garlic. Put in an oven dish with salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice.  Veggies act as a bed for the chicken and soak up the herby lemony olive oily buttery goodness as they roast.

Rub the butter on both sides of the chicken and especially under the skin, between the meat and skin. Salt and pepper on both sides and place the bird on top of the vegetables. Looks like this:

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Roast in the oven until tender and delicious:

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Have a home brew to wash it down:

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Categories: Cooking

Beery Jaeger Pork Schnitzels (Hunter’s Pork Cutlets)

March 15, 2013 Comments off

Beer and pork go so well together and this one is one heavy dish – loads of butter, fat and cream – not for people on a diet nor for the faint hearted. For fat blokes who like hearty comfort food and beer.

A pork loin cut into steaks (I like them chop-thick) and slightly pounded. Then into flour with some salt, pepper, thyme, sage, cayenne. Then into egg wash. Then into bread crumbs (panko if you must). Fry them in loads of butter until golden brown. Place in an oven dish and then into oven to cook and get tender – none of that fashionable pink pork crap here, it’s just not right.

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Move into sauce. Same frying pan, saute a large onion, add more butter, add chopped bacon, pepper, salt, thyme, sage, fry a bit. Add mushrooms (I used trumpet chantarelles and regular button ones), keep frying. A bit of soy sauce, 2 tsp of dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, beer (I used my recent mild), heavy cream. Parsley. Keep cooking on low heat until onions are super soft and you have a thick paste, too thick to be a sauce. I added some of the leftover flour into the mix too in order not to waste it.

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The pork should be nicely sizzling by now in the oven, pour the paste sauce on top and cook until ready. Serve with boiled potatoes.  Drink beer with it.

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Categories: Cooking

Cheese Smothered Beery Pork Chops

February 21, 2013 Comments off

First, cook the roux. Fry a chopped onion with bits of bacon in butter until the onion is soft, add thyme and mushrooms (I used trumpet chanterelles), cook a bit more. Add pepper, salt, cayenne, flour, dijon mustard. Then in goes the beer (I used my smoky Rauch) and milk. Cook away the taste of flour until you have a thick paste. Add some chopped gherkins and lots of grated cheese (I used emmental). Should look like this:

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Fry some pork steaks (loin or chops) in butter, season with pepper, salt, a bit of cayenne. Put in the oven until tender:

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Take out of the oven and plaster the paste on top of the steaks. Some bread crumbs, more cheese and cayenne on top:

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Put back into the oven until golden brown (I was too hasty) and cheese has melted:

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Enjoy with a few nice pints. Use your own judgement to figure out the measurements, temperatures, what have you. This works with chicken too, or bread to make an open sandwich.

Categories: Cooking