Just a weekly bit of fun whereby I can natter about any culinary ‘inventions’ successes and disasters in the kitchen, whilst trying to get the best out of leftovers.
… I mentioned last week that I did an online shop, and during this shop I bought a large piece of beef brisket. I’ve wanted to do this for a while but only then got around to it. The reason for the brisket? I desperately wanted to corn my own beef. I had looked for a long, long time for a recipe that was an actual recipe and not ‘corned beef (from the butchers) with spice packet’, and that didn’t contain saltpetre. Once I found the recipe it sat in my recipes file for some time. Anyway, brisket in fridge I made a hot brine with various aromatics then cooled it before immersing the brisket. I then put it in the fridge for a week, turning the joint every day. I didn’t understand why I had to turn the joint daily as it was fully immersed but I did it anyway! After a week and in time for Sunday dinner I cooked the brisket with a stock made from more aromatics, following instructions at this point for ‘boiled beef and cabbage’. With some time to go I added halved potatoes and carrots, but I couldn’t bring myself to add the cabbage. I was using savoy, and I don’t do ‘boiled cabbage’. When I cook savoy usually I either ‘show it the pan’ with very little water then toss the barely cooked cabbage in black pepper, or roast it. Today I roasted it tossed in a little oil and seasoning, then added a spritz of lemon. Anyway… back to the corned beef… It may not have been bright pink because of the exclusion of the saltpetre, but it was delicious! I’ve never had corned beef that wasn’t out of a tin before so I had nothing to compare it to, but it was great, and I’m looking forward to the leftover/cold tests!
… Here was my first test for the corned beef… corned beef hash. Previously I’ve had to use tinned corned beef (we can’t get fresh corned beef in the UK it seems), so this was going to be different. The potatoes were also different as red ones were on offer, and I had some left over from Sunday. So… I made the hash the way I normally do by sautéing onion, then adding the chopped corned beef and potatoes. I then added Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning before shoving it in the oven to brown the top. I served the corned beef hash with more savoy cabbage! Yes, the hash was different but also delish and the final test would be a corned beef and ketchup sandwich at some point!*
… We got a takeaway because I wasn’t feeling well and had been very busy with work. A standard takeaway is always a dilemma for me because I never want chips. This day I fancied a mushroom omelette from the Chinese, but they serve it with chips. Hmmm… I asked C to get it with boiled rice instead. Apparently the people behind the counter ‘looked at him like he was strange’, but the meal was a success with a little dark soy!
… WedJ was visiting and occasionally he’s a guinea pig. I’d already made the smoked peppered mackerel and potato dish for C and me, but I wanted to make sure we aren’t weird so I made it for WedJ. It’s quite an easy dish to prepare and mainly looks after itself. I boiled potatoes with sliced onions, and de-skinned and flaked the mackerel, popping the fish back in the fridge until needed. I then made up fish stock, cooled it and added a few tablespoons of horseradish and a little double cream. When the potato/onion was ready I strained it and threw it into a serving dish, then added the fish and the stock mix. I did all of this, in stages, and a little ahead of time so with about forty minutes until dinner I shoved the mix in the oven. Meanwhile I had sautéed off leeks that needed to be used then just before dinner, reheated, added a little chicken stock and frozen petits pois to serve as a side. The guinea pig loved the mackerel dish, but to be honest… he is very easily pleased. I was sterilising my wooden spoons in a large pot of boiling water one day and he walked in and exclaimed “Mmmm… wooden spoon soup!” He would have eaten the ‘soup’ if I’d served it.
… I had a pack of lamb mince in the freezer that we bought whilst it was offer so I decided to make a shepherd’s pie. Somehow we had ended up with a glut of potatoes so this was a good plan. I sautéed an onion, whilst dry browning the lamb in a different pan to get rid of some of the fat. Once the onion was translucent I added the meat then used up more leftovers by grating the carrot from Sunday into it. I then added a couple of dessert spoons of plain flour and cooked that off for a few minutes before adding Worcestershire sauce, a slug of red wine, a lamb stock cube and water. At that point I added a couple of good sprigs of rosemary too that could be pulled out later. With the meat simmering I boiled and mashed potatoes then when the meat was ready I scooped it into a serving dish to cool. I’ve learnt the lesson of hot ragout, the mash sinks when you put it on! Once cool I spooned on the mash, moved it about with a fork then baked it for about forty minutes. I served the shepherd’s pie with asparagus simply tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper, then roasted for fifteen minutes. Shepherd’s pie makes a nice change from cottage pie.
… It was a holiday so we had a takeaway (again)! I wanted to try the Chinese we’d found recently so I chose crispy chicken with lemon sauce, and C chose their special chopsuey, we both ordered rice. Both were delicious and I love that their dishes have lots of vegetables. The one up the road only seems to have onions and peas! Next time we’ll only order one portion of rice, and we’ll definitely be trying new dishes as so far the four we’ve tried have been amazing!
… We had leftover shepherd’s pie with petits pois and gravy made from granules.
* This Monday lunchtime C made me (he has to make lunch on a Monday because I’m too busy to stop) a corned beef and ketchup sandwich. He said it smelt like corned beef as he cut it, and it definitely hit the spot when I ate it.