Monday, February 27, 2012

Moules marinières...

This is one of my favourites. I remember first time when I ate moules... It was on my honeymoon in France, Brittany (beautiful, little town of Auray). My and my Hubby went for a lunch to a local restaurant (which was actually was more like a bistro). He had oysters for starter and a steak for main. I had a salad for starter and... big bowl of mussels for main! It came in a very nice pot. You had to turn the lid up side down and it became a 'plate' for shells - what a handy idea! :) I couldn't eat enough... Cleaned the whole lot! Crème brûlée followed for the dessert.
Recently I made this beautiful dish myself - which wasn't that difficult. The biggest task was with the mussels - clean them, debeard etc. That took a while. So my advice - buy already cleaned ones, though it may cost you more, so the choice is yours. I love moules marinières with fresh baguette, which I then use to eat the lovely juices left on the plate...
This particular recipe is by one and only Monsieur Raymond Blanc.


How to make it...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Yorkshire pudding - light as a feather and sooo delicious...

Since I've been living in Ireland I have heard about Yorkshire puddings a lot - mainly in British cookery programmes. I wanted to try it and I finally did - have to admit that it was way too late! I should have tried it earlier so I would have been enjoyed this delicious little things sooner rather than later ;)
It's perfect(!) accompaniment to a nice roast with gravy. Not to mention that it's easy-peasy to make. No excuses for you - you have to make it nest time for your Sunday (or mid week) roast dinner.
P.S1. It will be perfect for a party!
P.S2. I used Darina Allen's recipe from "Ballymaloe Cookery Course" cookbook.



"Yorkshire Pudding is a dish that originated in Yorkshire, England. It is made from batter and usually served with roast meat and gravy. A 2008 ruling by the Royal Society of Chemistry has it that "A Yorkshire pudding isn't a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches tall". The Yorkshire pudding is a staple of the British Sunday lunch and in some cases is eaten as a separate course prior to the main meat dish. It is often claimed that the purpose of the dish was to provide a cheap way to fill the diners - lunten of the meal - thus stretching a lesser amount of the more expensive ingredients as the Yorkshire pudding was traditionally served first. There are other uses for Yorkshire pudding. In various parts of the country - but particularly in the North - it is served as a snack with jam, or as a 'pudding' in the true sense, sometimes with jam and ice cream." - by Wikipedia.org



How to make it...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lard... it really isn't so horrible as it sounds...

Lard is something very popular and 'natural' in Polish kitchens, and not only Polish ones for that matter. It's widely used in cooking and is something you have rather as something you would probably throw away otherwise. It's whats left after you cut out and trimmed off your pork meat.
Lard is pig fat in both its rendered and unrendered forms. Lard is widely used as a cooking fat or shortening or as a spread similar to butter (especially with a sprinkle of salt and raw white onion sliced on top :) ).



"Lard can be obtained from any part of the pig as long as there is a high concentration of fatty tissue. The highest grade of lard, known as leaf lard, is obtained from the "flare" visceral fat deposit surrounding the kidneys and inside the loin. Leaf lard has little pork flavor, making it ideal for use in baked goods, where it is valued for its ability to produce flaky, moist pie crusts. The next highest grade of lard is obtained from fatback, the hard subcutaneous fat between the back skin and muscle of the pig. The lowest grade (for purposes of rendering into lard) is obtained from the soft caul fat surrounding digestive organs, such as small intestines, though caul fat is often used directly as a wrapping for roasting lean meats or in the manufacture of pâtés.
Lard may be rendered by either of two processes: wet or dry. In wet rendering, pig fat is boiled in water or steamed at a high temperature and the lard, which is insoluble in water, is skimmed off of the surface of the mixture, or it is separated in an industrial centrifuge. In dry rendering, the fat is exposed to high heat in a pan or oven without the presence of water (a process similar to frying bacon). The two processes yield somewhat differing products. Wet-rendered lard has a more neutral flavor, a lighter color, and a high smoke point. Dry-rendered lard is somewhat more browned in color and flavor and has relatively lower smoke point." - by Wikipedia.org

I always use the second method - dry rendering. To be honest it's only now I've learned about dry rendering. I know that some will add apple or onion to dry rendered lard but then of course it will limit the way you can use your lard. I prefer to keep it simple. Lard will keep for months and months - which is never an issue at my house ;) as we use it little by little all the time.

Oh, just one last word of wisdom - use a good pig, organic if possible. Do not attempt to do this from a mass produce pig - it will be vile...

How to make it...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Seafood heaven - Fish pie by Rick Stein...

I wanted to make a fish pie for ages and i finally got around that. It was delicious, really words can't describe it! I used Rick Stein's recipe from his book "Seafood". I knew he is very passionate about seafood and that his recipe will be foolproof - and it was! The only change I made was to add a little bit of grated cheddar to the potatoes. This pie is what I call a comfort food :)
If you like seafood you HAVE to try this. It will be perfect for a dinner party as a centre piece on your table or just enjoy it on your own. i think you can easily follow all the steps and freeze it instead of putting it into the oven. I have to warn you that this amount of ingredients will make you a rather big fish pie.



"Fish pie is a traditional British dish. The pie is usually made with white fish (for example cod, haddock or halibut) in a white or béchamel sauce made using the milk the fish was poached in. Prawns and hard boiled eggs are other common additional ingredients. It is oven-baked in a deep dish but is not usually made with the shortcrust or puff pastry casing that is associated with most savoury pies (e.g. steak and kidney pie).
In place of a pastry casing enclosing the pie, a topping of mashed potatoes (sometimes with cheese or vegetables such as onions and leeks added) is used to enclose the contents during baking. The dish is sometimes referred to as "fisherman's pie" because the topping is similar to that of shepherd's pie, in that it uses mashed potatoes." - by Wikipedia.org

How to make it...