Saturday, 26 August 2017

Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks with Celeriac Mash

After recently purchasing a slow cooker for the van I am keen to explore recipes that we can leave bubbling away all day so when we return to the van from a day of fun the dinner is almost ready. There is the obvious stews and casseroles, and I'm sure we will do plenty of those in good time, but I think the slow cooker lends itself to cooking lamb shanks perfectly. They're one of Mrs Larry's favourites too so that's extra brownie points for me. This celeriac mash has an added surprise as it contains little pockets of cheese that burst with flavour in your mouth.


Ingredients:

2x Lamb shanks
1x Onion, roughly chopped
1x Carrot, peeled and roughly chopped.
2x garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1x Bottle of red wine
1x Lamb stock cube
2tbsp Tomato puree
2tbsp Mint jelly
1tbsp Cornfour, mixed to a slurry
1tsp Dried mixed herbs
1tsp Caraway seeds
1/2tsp Black pepper
1tbsp Pomegranate seeds

For the Celeriac Mash:
1x Large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1x Celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks
4x Garlic cloves (we used smoked)
40g Butter
50ml Double cream
50ml Milk
120g Crumbly cheese, e.g. Lancashire.
1tbsp Chopped chive


Method:

1. Season the lamb and brown all over in an oiled frying pan on a high heat then set aside in the slow cooker.
2. Turn the heat down and add the carrots and onions and cook for 5 minutes before adding the garlic, tomato puree and caraway seeds. Cook for a couple of minutes more then add the black pepper, mixed herbs, wine and mint jelly.
3. Bring to the boil then add the stock cube and cornflour slurry, stir well then pour it into the slow cooker. The liquid should cover the shanks, top up with water if it doesn't.
4. Cook on low all day long.
5. When you get back to the van gently spoon the shanks out of the slow cooker (be careful they will fall off the bone) and set aside covered in foil.
6. Sieve the cooking liquor, discard the veg, transfer to a saucepan on the hob and reduce to a sticky sauce. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.
7. Make the mash by boiling the potato, celeriac and garlic until they are soft. In another pan heat the milk and cream so it is warm but not boiling. Drain the celeriac then pour in the hot creamy milk and mash with a fork until smooth. Add the butter and mix well then season to taste. Now crumble in the cheese, the idea being that you have chunks of cheese throughout the mash that burst a delicious surprise of flavour in your mouth. It makes a change from grated cheddar anyway.
8. And that's it so plate up! We served ours with a bit of veg and topped with pomegranate seeds and chives.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Black and White Pudding Stovies

After spending the day in Scotland we wanted to end with a traditional Scottish meal but the obvious haggis didn't appeal to Mrs Larry. Enter stovies! Stovies is my type of meal and is basically left overs bunged into a pan on the stove with some potatoes and onion. There are hundreds of stovies recipes out there but as we had just purchased some Ramsay black pudding and white pudding from Gretna Green my stovies had to include that.


Ingredients:

220g White pudding, diced
320g Black pudding, diced
750g Meat mince, we used pork
1kg Charlotte potatoes (or any waxy spud), sliced
2x Onions, sliced
2x Garlic cloves, crushed
2x Smoked bacon rashers, diced
2x Spring onions, sliced for garnish.
1x Stock cube
1tsp Dried mixed herbs
1tbsp Soy sauce
1tbsp Cornflour, mixed with water to make a slurry

Method:

1. Brown the mince and bacon in a big frying pan or wok. Set aside in a casserole dish but retain the fat in the pan.
2. Cook the onions in the fat until translucent then add the potatoes and garlic, continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes then transfer the dish with the pork.
3. Deglaze the pan with about 500ml of water then add the stock cube, soy sauce, herbs and cornflour. Pour into the casserole dish.
4. Add the white pudding to the casserole and mix well then put the lid on.
5. Turn the oven on to gas mark 4 and pop the casserole dish in there for about 2 hours.
6. When the stovies is done quickly fry up the black pudding cubes until they are just crispy.
7. Plate up with some nice green veg and top your stovies with the black pudding and spring onions.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Côte de Boeuf

A côte de boeuf is basically a big thick slice of rib eye steak with the bone still in. It's definitely a cut for sharing and boy what a cut of meat it is too. It's not cheap by any standard but as a treat, or if you're lucky enough to see one on offer, it is melt in your mouth amazing. In my view adding a sauce of any description would detract from the fantastic flavour of the meat, all it needs is well seasoning and a bit of butter to finish and that's it.



Ingredients:

1x Côte de Boeuf, about 700g


Method:

1. Take the meat out of the fridge an hour before cooking.
2. Put the oven on at gas mark 7.
3. Smear the steak in oil and season well with salt.
4. Get a big frying pan or griddle smoking hot and sear the steak on both sides for about 2-3 minutes each side.
5. Now season with pepper and transfer to the oven for 20 minutes
6. Remove from the oven and allow to rest with a big blob of butter on top.
7. Slice and serve.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Beefburger with Bacon, Cheesy Pasta and Spicy Sauce

This Easter we were lucky enough to take the kids to Florida and during the stay we visited Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs in Orlando. The feature burger at the time was developed by Guy Fieri and comprised of beefburger, bacon and macaroni cheese, and it was huge! Here I am tackling it in a slow-mo video bombed by Little Lady Larry. I wouldn't call this a recipe as such, more a combination of ingredients, but if you would like to make your own burger patties please try my recipe here. The spicy sauce I used was sriracha but if that's too spicy for you try The Best Homemade BBQ Sauce here. The mac-n-cheese was just a bit left over from the previous day, it would have been a shame to waste it ;)



Ingredients:

1x Burger
1x Bread bun
1x Spoonful of macaroni cheese, see recipe here
2x Bacon rashers
Lettuce
Sriracha

Burger sauce:
Mix together the following to taste:
Tomato ketchup
American mustard
Mayonnaise
Chopped capers


Method:

1. Cook your burger and bacon on the grill to your liking.
2. Warm the macaroni cheese.
3. Combine the ingredients from bottom to top as follows:
Lettuce
Burger sauce
Beefburger
Bacon
Sriracha
Mac n cheese
4. Dive in! The only way to eat it is to get messy.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

We have just bought a new slow cooked for the van so I am keen to put it to the test and there is possibly no better alternative evaluation recipe to the classic pulled pork. Making it in the slow cooker is so easy but one tip is, whatever you do, do not be tempted to eat it at the end of the day. Pulled meat is far better left in the fridge overnight in a tub full of its cooking juices, simply warm through the next day and serve. I promise you by doing this the meat will be much juicer and tastier. Serve it up in a bun of choice with the classic combo of coleslaw and BBQ sauce. Please see The Best Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe here, and a Creamy Coleslaw here.


Ingredients:

3kg Boned and rolled pork shoulder
1x Onion, grated
2x Garlic cloves, crushed
500ml Chicken stock
2tbsp Granulated sugar
1tbsp French's American mustard
1tbsp Chipotle paste
1tbsp Apricot jam
3tbsp Cider vinegar
1/2tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2tsp Smoked sea salt
1tsp Ground black pepper


Method:

1. Season the pork all over then brown in a frying pan on all sides. Remove any strings and place in the slow cooker.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker then cook on low all day.
3. Shred the pork with two forks then store it in its cooking liquor in a tub in the fridge overnight.
4. The next day heat through gently on the hob, in the oven or in the microwave, it doesn't matter which method you use, it will be delicious.

Creamy Coleslaw

Coleslaw is definitely one of those dishes that is a million times better homemade than any shop bought. I tend to make it different every time by varying the ingredients depending on what I have in the fridge and store cupboard on the day. This one has a bit of sour cream in to give it some indulgence, and with cider vinegar and mustard it's also got a twang to it too. The recipe below is just what I made today, next time it will be completely different, maybe I'll use red cabbage, fennel, shallots, peppers, beetroot, apples, spring onions, salad cream, aioli, horseradish, yoghurt, parsley, mint, coriander.. the combinations are endless but one thing is for sure, they're all worth a try at least once.




Ingredients:

Red Onion
White Cabbage
Green Cabbage
Carrot
Mayonnaise
Sour Cream
Lemon Juice
French's American Mustard
Celery Seeds
Cider Vinegar
Salt
Pepper
Sugar


Method:

Slice up the veg then combine with the remaining ingredients to taste.

Friday, 28 April 2017

The Best Homemade BBQ Sauce

My good friend Criggybarbar over at www.criggybites.com has come across this fantastic BBQ sauce recipe and I guarantee that once you have made it shop bought sauce will never cut the mustard again. Criggy sourced the sauce from the book "Hog" by Richard H Turner and Richard states the recipe should keep on evolving so I made a few changes myself (purely because I couldn't get all the ingredients). I also halved the measures as I didn't want to make so much this time, my quantities below make 750ml. Give it a go, I dare you, you won't regret it.


Ingredients:

For the spice mix:
1tsp Fennel seeds
1tsp Cumin seeds
1tsp Coriander seeds
1tsp Celery seeds
1tsp Black peppercorns.


For the sauce:
1x White onions, grated
2x Garlic cloves, grated
25ml Veg oil
125ml Apple juice
125ml Malt vinegar (Criggy uses cider vinegar but I had a vat of malt to use up)
1x Apple, cored, peeled and grated
25g Smoked Maldon sea salt flakes
50g Chipotle paste (Waitrose do it here)
125ml Maple syrup
125ml French's American mustard
210g Pomegranate molasses (also from Waitrose)
125g Apricot jam
1/2 Can chopped tomatoes


Method:

1. For the spice mix put all the ingredients in to a large dry saucepan and toast until you can smell the lovely pungent flavours.
2. Add the onions, garlic and oil to the toasted spices and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or more until the onions are really soft. Add the apple juice and vinegar and simmer until reduced by a third. (Criggy uses a chopstick like a dipstick to gauge the amount of reduction). Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Blitz the sauce in a blender, then pass through a fine sieve and funnel into sterilised  jars.

Crispy Bacon and Scrambled Egg on Polenta with Sausage Gravy

This Easter we took the kids on a once in a lifetime trip to Florida and it was so good we're now hoping it wont be 'once' in a lifetime. The American food certainly was interesting, one day for breakfast at Egg City I had their City Mush, which was grits with cheese, sausage gravy, scrambled eggs and bacon. Now I just had to try and replicate it back at home, or even better in the van, but as we cannot get grits easily I've replaced them with polenta, which is probably the closest substitution. 'Sausage gravy?' I hear you ask, yep its a gravy made from sausages but don't knock it until you've tried it. I think this is great alternative breakfast, even if it is a bit unusual for us Brits.



Ingredients:
(serves 1)

Polenta (about a handful)
Grated cheddar cheese (about a handful)
1x Blob of butter
Salt and pepper

2x Sausages
1tbsp Flour
1x Glass of milk
1x Blob of butter
Salt and pepper

2x Eggs
2x Bacon rashers


Method:

1. Start with the sausage gravy by removing the skins and chop the meat into small pieces.
2. Put them in a pan on medium heat with a blob of butter and gently brown all over.
3. Reduce the heat then add the flour and mix well. The flour is mixing with the fat to kind of form a roux.
4. Pour in the milk and stir continuously. You will have to judge the amount of milk needed by eye but it should form a really thick gravy after about 10 minutes. Season to taste.
5. Now the polenta is pretty easy and you can follow the packet instructions or just put a handful of polenta into a pan with double the amount of water and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir frequently and when its thickened add the butter and cheese and allow to melt. Season to taste.
6. Fry the bacon in a frying pan until crispy then set aside but keep the fat in the pan.
7. Scrambled eggs are easily done in the microwave in about a minute but they're also delicious cooked in the leftover bacon fat. Mix together your eggs then pour into the frying pan with the fat on a medium-low heat, stir constantly until done to your scrambled liking.
8. All that's left to do now is plate up! Pour the cheesey polenta into a bowl and top with the sausage gravy then the eggs and finally the crispy bacon. Enjoy..



Thursday, 16 February 2017

Macaroni Cheese Crumble

Due to other commitments Mrs Larry couldn't come away this half term so I took the opportunity to take just Little Larry away for a spot of father and son bonding. We had a great time exploring Derbyshire and found a wonderful set of waterfalls among the ruins of old mills at Lumsdale. From my point of view it was great to be with just one child and dedicating all my attention on him, rather than splitting it between all three kids and not really concentrating on any of them. We shall definitely be doing more individual trips away with each Little Larry in the future.

Moving on to cooking, as Little Larry's favourite meal is macaroni cheese I thought we could have a go together at making it and hopefully teach him a few basic culinary skills along the way. The crumble bit comes from a topping of breadcrumbs and parmesan which adds a crunchy texture to that gooey, cheesey, carby heaven.


Ingredients:
serves 4-5

250g Dried macaroni
200g Grated Cheddar cheese
35g Grated parmesan cheese
35g Breadcrumbs
35g Butter
300ml Milk
150ml Double cream
1x Garlic clove, crushed, diced or grated
1x Onion, finely diced
1x Pinch of nutmeg
2tbsp Flour
1tsp English mustard


Method:

1. On a medium/low heat sweat off the onion in a frying pan in 5g of the butter for about 10 minutes then add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes (Carnivores can add some chopped bacon here too). We're looking for slow caramelization so keep stirring and be careful it doesn't burn.
2. While the onions are are cooking boil the macaroni in salted water for about 8 minutes.
3. In a saucepan melt the remaining 30g of butter and add the flour, stir with a whisk and cook for about 2 minutes then add a good glug of milk. Keep stirring and slowly adding milk until you have a white sauce then mix in the cream, nutmeg and mustard before adding the cheddar cheese in batches. Taste the sauce and season with pepper and salt if needed.
4. Drain the macaroni then combine with the cheese sauce and onions in an oven dish. Allow to a cool a little before topping with the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan.
5. Cook in the oven on gas mark 5 (190C) for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden. We roasted cherry tomatoes at the same time and wilted some spinach leaves by mixing them through the hot tomatoes and oil before serving.
6. Plate up and tuck in!