Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Ask Foodycat IV

Ms Crankypants has opened a whole can of worms with her question for Foodycat...

She says "My pancakes stuck in my non-stick pan today. Do you use non-stick cookware, does it have an average life, and do you have any favourite brands? The latest one to be sent to heaven is a Scanpan. The one before it was a cheaper Raco, but did a lovely job and I can't find a replacement".

Well, Cranky, the truth is that I loath non-stick cookware and wouldn't give it houseroom. All our cookware (except a couple of my caketins) is either enamelled cast iron (Le Creuset or cheaper Le Chasseur) or stainless steel. I used to have a flatmate who adored her Scanpan but I have just never got on with them.

One of the things about non-stick cookware is that it doesn't usually like really high heats. Which is fine for you non-meat eaters, but we like to cook our steak over blisteringly high heat. We also like to make sauces with the nice crusty bits that stick to the pan, scraped up with a fork, so non-stick just doesn't work for us.

This page of "10 ways to ruin a nonstick pan" is a pretty good resource for prolonging the life of your non-stick surfaces if you insist on using them! Peter's of Kensington have some pretty good deals on Anolon and Scanpan for your next purchase.

Monday, 29 September 2008

The kindness of strangers

Or, in the words of the Simpsons' Oh Streetcar! "A stranger's just a friend you haven't met". Some lovely, lovely people have been handing awards to me, willynilly across the blogosphere. Nice to know someone likes what I am doing!

Sam at Antics of a Cycling Cook and Dee from Choos & Chews gave me the Brillante Weblog Premio Award. I can't believe Dee - whose pancake mix is now indispensable to my health and happiness - is giving me an award! And Sam is a pretty new discovery for me, but his baking is admirable. You should see his French-style apple tart. Wonderful stuff!
Gloria from Cookbook Cuisine and Teresa from Mexican Chocolate Lore (and her other lovely blog Mexican-American Border Cooking ) have granted me the I'm a Chocoholic Award. Which is funny really, because normally I can take chocolate or leave it, but ever since they told me they'd given me this one I have been absolutely craving chocolate! Good thing a couple of kind friends recently gave me boxes of Leonidas Belgian chocolate truffles. I will now have one to celebrate!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Ask Foodycat III

My mother says "Italian has always been my favourite food country, and after our visit to Florence I'm sure Firenze is my culinary home. Not least because I love pulses. But I have never quite worked out what sort of bean is used in ful mesdames?"

Ful medames is made with dried broad/fava beans in all the recipes that I can find, but there must be a few different types because the beans seem to range from wide flat beans about an inch long to a smaller round bean. Either way, it occurs to me that I haven't had that lovely, earthy combination of beans, garlic and parsley in far too long. Definitely a dish to revisit this autumn!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Date Night

I've said before that we have a problem with Friday nights - I finish at 4 and therefore have to kill quite a lot of time without buying shoes if we want to go out in London.

So last night, in traditional fashion, I had a manicure (purple this time) and found a champagne bar to while away my time with a bellini (and then a bottle of perfectly chilled Piper Heidseick - Paul had joined me by this time so I was only 4 drinks ahead of him).
And then, we ate bbq. It's only been a week since I first heard of Bodean's BBQ on Gemma's blog but the thought off pork has been occupying most of my waking moments.

The dining room downstairs was fairly empty, but a waiter assured us that all the tables were spoken for and there was an hour wait for them. So we went back upstairs and stared fixedly at a couple until they felt uncomfortable and left us their seats at the crowded, buzzy bar.

There was some baseball game playing on the big screens, but I couldn't hear it and had to turn to see it, so I didn't feel overwhelmed by sports. Which is a good thing, because I would avoid it if it was a "real" sports bar.

The deli menu had a lot of things that interested me and I certainly have to go back for a smoked sausage hotdog and (probably on another occasion) a meatloaf sandwich. But last night I wanted ribs. I ordered a spare ribs and pulled pork combo. In no time at all I was confronted by a paper-covered cafeteria tray covered with a mound of pulled pork, a rack of 5 ribs, a mound of really nice chips (or should I call them freedom fries?) coleslaw (thank god they put that in a bowl, could have been messy) and a bit of slightly spicy mayo.

I have to say the pulled pork was a bit dry. I needed to give it a pretty big slurp of the Carolina-style bbq sauce (not as good as mine) to lubricate it. And I do think it'd be better in a sandwich than just in a pile. But the ribs were great. Sweet and smokey and porky with just the right amount of glaze. Paul was very proud that I managed not to get any in my hair while I inhaled them. He had a combo which included a 1/4 chicken which he said was pretty good, if not a meal he will remember to his dying day.

So. Not your first choice for an intimate date (although the couple at the bar next to us seemed OK using it as a venue for their break up) but really good for a reasonably-priced Friday night. And I think it'd be great for lunch.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Fennel Goats Cheese Souffle - Foodie Joust October 1

Peter at Souvlaki for the Soul won last month's whole grain/citrus/ginger joust with a really delectable-looking halva recipe. And with a sort of perverse glee he set fennel, parsley and dairy as his 3 challenge ingredients. Fennel and dairy? And parsley? So this one took some thinking about.

Eventually I figured it out. A base of my wonderfully flexible fennel confit, with goats cheese in a souffle. I'm pretty relaxed about souffles since adopting a rule to live by - if it rises it is a souffle, if it doesn't it's a sformato. If it really, really doesn't it's a frittata. See? Nothing to worry about.

Fennel & Goats Cheese Souffle

Fennel Confit
Finely chopped stems of 2 x 25g bunches parsley
1 orange - grated zest and juice
3 anchovy fillets, chopped (I sacrificed my last anchovies for this. Won't be buying more until I can find a sustainable source since they have been identified as vulnerable to overfishing)
¼ cup white wine (dry sherry, vermouth, whatever is open really)
2 fennel bulbs, outer leaves removed, very finely diced
1 large onion, finely diced
50ml/2fl oz olive oil
1 tsp sugar

Bechamel
1tbs butter
1tbs plain flour
1/2 cup milk
80g grated pecorino
150g soft goats cheese

To finish
Extra grated pecorino
Extra butter
1 whole egg
2 eggwhites

Put all the fennel confit ingredients in a heavy-based pan and cook gently, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the fennel is soft and all the liquid has evaporated. Allow to cool.

Make a very thick bechamel flavoured with pecorino and goats cheese. I normally go completely nuts on seasoning a bechamel, but this is no time for mustard or nutmeg or lashings of white pepper. Well, maybe some white pepper, but on this occasion I didn't.

Combine the cooled fennel confit with the bechamel and the whole egg in a large mixing bowl.

Beat the eggwhites to firm peaks and fold gently into the fennel mixture. Leaving the odd small streak of unmixed eggwhite is OK.

Grease a souffle dish with some soft butter and dust it with more pecorino. I have heard that making sure your brush-strokes all lead upwards in the souffle dish helps it rise because the mixture "climbs" the strokes. Maybe it does. Can't hurt. Turn the souffle mixture into the dish and bake, undisturbed, at 180C for about 1/2 an hour, or until it is well risen (or not) and golden brown.

Serve with a parsley salad (did you think I was going to just waste the parsley leaves?). Serves 2 greedy people as a main course, 6 as a starter in cute little straight-sided ramekins.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Dessert Thing

It's not a cake, it's not a crumble, it's not a cobbler or a slump - but it is warm and comforting and just what you want from your apple desserts. Plus it doesn't require me asking my husband to make the pastry for me because his is better...

Rosemary-scented Almond and Apple Dessert

Place a branch of fresh rosemary in an oven-proof dish. Peel and core dessert apples (not too sweet, but will hold their shape), cut them into 8ths and fit them into the dish on top of the rosemary. My dish takes 3 apples cut this way. Grate the zest of a lemon over the top. Pour over 1/4 cup white wine (I was drinking sparkling white Burgundy at the time) and drizzle 3-4tbs of maple syrup over.

Make a batter from 1 cup of Instant Vanilla and Almond Pancake Mix adapted by Dee from a recipe of Nigella Lawson's, letting it down with 1/2 cup thick cream (the spooning sort, not the pouring sort), 1 egg and a dash more vanilla.

Dab spoonfuls of the batter on to the apples. Bake at 180C for about 40 minutes until the top is golden and crusty. Serve with cream.

The wine, lemon and rosemary combine to make an extraordinary perfume - it's almost like gingerbread. Very delicious! I liked the high fruit: topping ratio, because it meant I had room for seconds, but when I make it again I will make a double quantity of topping batter and really lay it on thick.

I am sending this to Sophie at Key Ingredient for her apple & peach KICK contest.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Marscarpone hotcakes with spice roasted pears



Ever since Dee posted her pancakes I've been wanting to have a go. I mean seriously, having a jar of almond pancake mix in the cupboard ready to go? How good is that? And today it coincided with 2 pears on my poor, neglected pear tree being ready. Not ripe - if I let them get ripe the birds would get them - but ready.

So for the pears I peeled and quartered them, put them in a baking dish with white wine to go half way up, a spoon of brown sugar, a cinnamon stick and 3 bruised cardamom pods, and baked them for about 1 1/2 hours, basting and turning periodically. For the pancakes, I took a cup of the pancake mix, 125g mascarpone, an egg and enough milk to make it runny. Served the pears (2 quarters went as quality control) and the pancakes with a quenelle of mascarpone flavoured with a little cinnamon and brown sugar, and drizzled the reduced cooking juices all over.

I am told that what the hotcakes really needed was bacon. That's the good bit about having the jar of pancake mix in the cupboard - next weekend I can do it all again with a side of bacon. And more pears - our tiny little home grown ones just weren't enough.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Calamondin - fruits of our labour III


So - another of the bonsai has born fruit. This one is the calamondin orange, which is lovely and bitter and incredibly fragrant. Made an exceptionally delicious garnish for a gin & tonic. When the others on the tree ripen I am thinking about either preserving them in brandy or making a tiny pot of marmalade with quartered fruits.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Figs & Proscuitto

There is a reason why figs and proscuitto are such a classic combination - it tastes good, it smells good and it looks pretty! I have had some very fine warm salads of figs stuffed with gorgonzola, wrapped in proscuitto and baked until the cheese drools out like cream. But at it's simplest - a piece of fresh fig wrapped in a piece of proscuitto - it really is at its best.

Pasta with seafood & broadbeans

After a tiring day, spend a quiet moment double podding some broadbeans. Then when you are relaxed enough to eat, put a lot of olive oil and some slivered garlic into a saute pan. When the garlic starts to sizzle chuck in a bag of seafood mix (pulled from the freezer as soon as you came in), a shake of pasta seasoning (what am I going to do when I run out of that stuff? I know - go to Florence!) and as soon as the prawns start to pink, the broadbeans. Toss through some nice pasta with lots of curvy bits to catch the seasoned oil.

Would have been nice to have a lemon to squeeze over at the last minute.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Ask Foodycat II


Historically Hysterical has asked what to do with wild smoked salmon, some lovely looking smoked haddock and smoked garlic, brought back from a smokehouse during her recent sojourn in the Lake District.

Well I am glad she asked! With the smoked salmon I would probably just get some very good bread and a few lemons and make really superior smoked salmon sandwiches. That yummy rose champagne I was drinking last weekend would be just the thing. If you wanted to seriously gild the lily you could make a little herb butter to spread on the bread first but lets not go crazy.
We go to a pub called the Bricklayer's Arms that has an onsite smokehouse, and the smoked fish platter they do as a starter is a superb example of this very simple treatment.

With the smoked haddock I only see 2 possible options. You make a kedgeree that Lizzy Bennett-Darcy would be proud to serve on the breakfast table at Pemberley, or you make a chowder of great beauty.

For the kedgeree, I would melt quite a large knob of butter (buttery kedgeree is good kedgeree) and saute 1tsp panch phora in it until the cumin seeds start to jump about, then add cooked and drained basmati rice to it. You have previously poached your haddock in some milk, so now you break it into big flakes and fold it carefully through the rice with some very finely chopped parsley and some quartered boiled eggs. You tip the whole lot into a baking dish, sprinkle a little of the milk from the poaching over it and dot the top with a few more bits of butter. Then put it in a 180C oven until it is piping hot but not shrivelled at the edges. Kedgeree is a brilliant supper dish with some salad, but it's pretty traditional for the sort of ye olde English breakfast where they have kidneys in chafing dishes and butlers.

For the chowder I would soften an onion in some butter and add some lardons of smoked bacon, then a potato cut into small cubes and a mixture of half milk and half fish stock. After a few minutes I would add the haddock, broken into flakes and the kernels from a corn cob (it really does make a huge difference to use corn freshly cut off the cob for this sort of thing). I'd let it simmer a few minutes until the corn is tender and then season with freshly ground pepper and garnish with chopped chives.

Smoked garlic is a funny one. I've had delicious smoked garlic butter (which is lovely tossed through pasta or smeared thickly on sourdough bread) but when I have bought smoked garlic cloves the smokiness hasn't really penetrated very much into the garlic. So I would probably use the garlic in a roast chicken, where a bit of subtle smoke would be delicious, or I would put a few cloves in while boiling the potatoes to make a smoked garlic mash.

Hope that helps!

Monday, 15 September 2008

An award

The truly outstanding Deb in Hawaii has very graciously passed on this award to me. It is humbling to have a really wonderful blogger like her passing this to me.

One of the things I didn't expect but am really loving about my blog is the way the blogosphere embraces you. You meet like-minded (i.e gluttonous) people and share recipes with love and generosity. You try new tastes and get an insight into other cultures. It is enriching on more than just a culinary level and I think it is quite amazing.

So. In honour of my introduction to home-cured bacon, I pass this on to Elle, of Elle's New England Kitchen. She's been given it before, so she is clearly doing something right!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Birthday dinner

None of the pictures I took at Mon Plaisir turned out last night. I need a tripod... so you have to put up with one of my birthday champagnes for illustrative purposes. I've got to put away that box of napisan - it sneaks into so many pictures!

So - with 3 friends we went to Mon Plaisir for my birthday last night. There was a fair bit riding on this, because we have been raving to 2 of these friends for about 18 months about how good this restaurant was.

In a nutshell, the food surpassed expectations created by many fine meals; the service was not good.

We started with a bottle of Besserat de Bellefon rose champagne - one of our friends was running late, but she doesn't drink champagne so it was a pretty safe bet. After a considerable delay the champagne arrived after she did and we were unable to get any other drinks until after we'd finished our starters...

I had the most magnificent tomato veloute for my starter. It has replaced the pappa de pomodoro I had in Florence last year as the best tomato soup ever. But I still feel a bit annoyed, because a couple of people ordered oeuf en cocotte, which came in their own adorable little clip-seal jars.

There was another extraordinarily long wait before the main courses arrived. We'd sat down at 7.30 and at 9.30 our mains were nowhere to be seen. Irritating, as another friend was joining us for dessert and she ended up having to sit and watch us eat.

My pumpkin and scallop tarte tatin was outstanding though. An extremely crisp puff pastry base, with a thick smear of pumpkin puree, discs of beautifully browned scallops and a pile of wild mushrooms in the middle. I would never have thought to combine those elements, but it was just gorgeous in taste and texture. I think my husband thought he did pretty well with his cassoulet of lobster, shellfish and pigs trotter though.

I chose a fig and almond clafoutis for dessert. It came in a little cast iron pot, but it wasn't particularly hot. Still, the combination of preserved figs and almonds is always a winner, and the plain milk icecream on top was just what was needed. I think I need another go at clafoutis. Unfortunately a couple of people had ordered digestifs instead of dessert, and they were not served until after we'd finished, and one didn't turn up at all.

One of the waiters realised that the service had gone pear-shaped and we weren't allowed to tip and one of the bottles of wine was free, so excellent response to a bad situation, but I would still have preferred it all to be seamless! There is a sense of responsibility when you are hosting. But at least the food was above reproach!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Making Bacon


Well. Last week I was minding my own business when Elle changed my life. She posted about making home-cured bacon. The recipe she posted from Saveur was very easy and I actually had all the ingredients in the house. So it was the work of a moment to stick a bit of pork belly into the cure and stick it in the fridge. The piece of pork belly I had was even exactly the right weight! The only variation I made to the recipe was to use fennel pollen instead of fennel seed and caraway seed.

So - a week on and today I got to finish the recipe off. Definitely worthwhile! When I fried some it gave off a huge amount of lard, but it was delicious. Sweet, just the right amount of saltiness and with a really rich, bacony flavour. And frankly, I'd much rather my bacon gave off lard than grey water like so much supermarket bacon does. It wasn't as pink as store-bought, because I didn't add any saltpetre or nitrite or whatever it is, but it still cooked to a very appetising colour.

I now have a bag of bacon bones and rind to add to my next lentil soup, and 2 breakfasts-worth of lovely thick bacon rashers. And it gives me a nice warm glow to be all pioneer-y.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Gnocchi with cream and roquefort.

I've been meaning to make Joe's gnocchi for a while now. What could be simpler than throwing together a bit of choux paste, poaching it and baking it with cream, cheese and bacon? Of course, I didn't factor in my ineptitude with a piping bag. So my gorgeous choux paste (the secret with choux pastry is to float with zen-like calm above the moment where you are convinced it is separating) extruded into fat worms, rather than Joe's perfectly formed little nuggets. I would have been better off using a pair of teaspoons to make quenelles, I think.

Still - the end result was fab. I couldn't believe that gnocchi baked in cream could be so etherially light in texture. Not a bit stodgy. With the pancetta and roquefort it is very rich, so the half-quantity I made was plenty for the two of us. It looked a bit measly on the plate, but all we could fit in alongside was a lemony green salad. In fact, for the first time ever my husband was heard to say that I maybe used too much bacon. Too much bacon!

With it we had a lovely 1993 German riesling. While the top of the cork was intact and solid as oak, the bottom half had completely disintegrated leaving nothing for it but to get out the decanter and filter. The honeyed colour of the wine gave a good indication of the flavour - rich and sweet but with a lovely fresh, dry aftertaste. A very good match!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Game Pie

The main indicator that the summer is officially over, for me, is the plethora of articles on autumnal foods that hit the newspapers. This has clearly been getting to a friend of ours, because at the wine dinner the other night he said that he wanted game. More than wanted it, he came fairly close to stamping his little foot and demanding it.

We'd said we'd cook for him last night, so I figured that it had to be game. And conveniently I had 2 packets of wood-pigeon breasts and a couple of packs of diced venison in the freezer, which all said "pie" to me. But not a cold, raised pie like I have done in the past. No, this time there had to be gravy.

So I sauteed some smoked lardons with a diced onion and added the diced venison and some soaked, sliced shiitake mushrooms. Then I stirred in a tablespoon of crushed juniper berries, added a good cupful of beef stock and about the same of red wine and let it simmer about half an hour. Then I added some little white button mushrooms and the pigeon breasts, halved, and let it cook a bit more.

I lifted the meat into a blind-baked shortcrust case, added some cornflour (let down in a little red wine) and cooked the juices down to a thick gravy. I didn't do much to season the juices until they were quite thick because I didn't want them to get too salty.

I poured the thick gravy over the meat and allowed it to cool for 10 minutes. Then topped it with a puffpastry lid, glazed it with beaten egg, then scooted over to our friend's place and put it in the oven.

His runner beans have been very productive this summer, so simply steamed runner beans were our accompaniment. And a really lovely 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon that has been travelling with Paul for a very long time now.
The meat was succulent and richly-flavoured. The shiitake mushrooms added an extra savoury note and it all went perfectly with the smooth, aged wine.

I'm really hoping for an Indian summer, but if this is what autumn is going to be like, it's not too bad.

Pomegranates - fruit of our labour II

My husband has always wanted a pomegranate to bonsai. So part of his last Christmas present was a pair of punica granatum nana seedlings. Poor little things - they were bundles of bare twigs when they arrived, but he has carefully nursed them back to health. They have repaid him with loads of pretty flowers, and yesterday our first fruit ripened. We nibbled at some of the seeds, and the rest he put into a glass of sparkling rose for me. So pretty! And they are a superfood, don't you know?

Spanish Wine Dinner

The theme for the most recent wine dinner was Spanish. And very nice it was too.

We started with a tapas platter - chorizo cooked with onions and red wine was really the highlight. The tomatoes stuffed with diced onion and tiny capers would have been better if the tomatoes were really sweet flavourful ones. The mixed pepper tortilla was very good, and I could eat tiny potatoes stuffed with potato salad again. The wine served with the tapas was delicious though - Masia l'Hereu rose cava. Not too sweet, but fruity and light and lovely.

What they called Gazpacho Extremeno came next. It didn't bear much resemblance to the recipes for this dish that I have seen - normally it is a breadcrumb base with garlic, olive oil and beaten eggs, with green peppers to garnish. This one used cucumber as the base and I don't think it had eggs in it. It was OK, I think it could have done with some vinegar to give it an edge, but that might have been unkind to the Albarino Valminor we were drinking (I think Albarino Valminor sounds like a High Elf in the Silmarillion, but it is in fact an indigenous Spanish wine grape). The other people at the table had Gambas al Ajillo for this course. I think they chose better - the prawns were fat and perfectly cooked.

As a main I had Huachinango a la Gaditana - red snapper with tomato, pepper and brandy sauce. I think I had the best option. The fabada asturia, with beans, pork ribs and chorizo was delicious, but the portion was huge, and the Paella Vegetariana was more like a stodgy, underseasoned risotto that a paella. And it had to go back to the kitchen to be warmed up. The Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva that we had with our main courses was fantastic, spicy and fruity and not too much tannin.

Yet again the dinner failed at the pudding course. The wine supplier doesn't have a Spanish sticky (we asked the rep) so with the desserts they presented a Blanco Rueda - which was a lovely wine but just didn't work at all with the pear poached in cinnamon and white wine.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Sausages with apple gravy

My mum and I have eaten so many plates of sausages and apple gravy over the years! And this week I decided to resurrect them. Not quite according to the recipe (an old Women's Weekly one) but in the spirit.

So - brown some good pork sausages (these are nice outdoor-reared, 98% meat ones seasoned with nutmeg and coriander) and add a sliced onion to the pan. When the onion goes floppy and is beginning to brown add a sliced apple and 1/2 cup of apple juice. When the apple is softening (this was a Bramley and turned to lovely sour fluff moments after the picture was taken) thicken the juices with a little cornflour let down in some soy sauce. Easy, comforting and tasty.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Paul cooks salmon

My husband's mind works in strange ways. While we were driving around Scotland we'd see fields of barley (which reminds me that my mother-in-law thought the Sting song was Fields of Bali and she thought it was really insensitive to play it after the bombings), and then vast tracts of purple heather, and then we'd cross the Tay or one of the other famous salmon rivers. Did he think "Oh pretty"? No. He thought "The barley is for making malt whisky. Heather honey is good. Let's put them on a plate with some fish from the river". He was right too.

Salmon in whisky honey sauce

Pan-fry a salmon fillet in a touch of oil until very almost done. Pour on quite a lot of malt whisky, as it evaporates, add a knob of butter and a squeeze of well-flavoured honey. Swoosh the fish around in the sauce - the butter will bring it all together. Serve with simple green veg (this is rich).

The whisky and honey give a very subtle flavour - you really wouldn't pick what the components are - a bit of sweetness and a bit of smokiness. And it gives the fish a slight glaze which is very attractive. If I were cooking it I'd use salmon steaks with the skin on, to get more of a crisp contrast, and I'd dust them in seasoned flour.

Tomatoes Andaluz

Last weekend we had dinner with friends. They produced this amazing tomato salad - and were amazed that they hadn't made tomatoes Andaluz for us before. It isn't very different from other tomato salads, but somehow the flavours were so fresh and so delicious that it really was something special.

It's just tomatoes with garlic, white wine vinegar, rock salt, mixed dried herbs and olive oil, allowed to marinate for a while. But it really is fabulous.

During the week I made a version using fresh parsley (because I had some in the fridge that wasn't going to be used otherwise) and tiny sweet little cherry tomatoes. We had it with simply cooked steaks. It was divine.

Congratulations Darius!

Everyday Cooking - Darius T Williams fantastic blog - has won the Best Food Blog in the 2008 Black Weblog Awards. Richly deserved, his food always looks tempting and his writing is excellent. Congratulations Darius!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Ask Foodycat



My dear friend Short and Sweet and Sour (who, like all the best sweet things, has the right touch of acidity) has suggested a new section for the blog - Ask Foodycat - where people can email me with their culinary dilemmas. Well. I can do that!

And she has set me my first dilemma - goat, but not curry, easy to moderate degree of difficulty.

Well, SSS, to my mind it has to be Greek-style roast goat. I am assuming that you are talking about quite a young animal (sometimes marketed as capretto), not a stringy old billygoat that you accidentally hit while hooning around Toy Town.

If it is a leg or shoulder, you'd put it in a baking dish with halved potatoes, a slosh of olive oil, the juice of a couple of lemons, a few cloves of garlic and a sprinkling of oregano. You'd season with salt and pepper. You'd cover the tin with foil and make quite a good seal, then you would bake it on quite a low heat - 130-150C for 2 hours or until the meat shreds with a fork and the potatoes are soft and delicious.

If it isn't a joint - cubed leg or shoulder or something - I would make souvlaki. Again lemon and olive oil and garlic, a sliced onion, oregano, salt and pepper, marinade the cubed meat over night, thread onto skewers and grill - preferably over charcoal - until cooked to your taste. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and a big salad.

Hope that helps! Now I need to go and devise an Ask Foodycat logo...

If anyone has a dilemma for Ask Foodycat, email me at foodycat AT fourie HYPHEN online DOT eu but please don't ask me about baking because I really haven't a clue.

Monday, 1 September 2008

I've been tagged!


I've been given another award! The very kind Alex at Just Cook It tagged me with a meme and gave me the Brillante Weblog award. Not sure what I did to deserve it - possibly my devotion to black pudding turned the trick!

So, I am supposed to share 6 random facts about myself and pass the baton to 6 other bloggers... but I'm not gunna. I prefer to maintain a small amount of mystery. And I haven't been keeping track of all the tremendous blogs I've been reading recently.

So all I am going to do is give a little shout out to Laura at Hungry and Frozen. Her saffron syllabub is one of the most glorious confections I have seen in the blogosphere in ages. Her blog is fab. If you haven't seen it, you have missed out.
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