Pages

25 February 2013

Burgers and Mash with Peas & Carrots


A Polish classic :) By far the most often requested dinner meal from my repertoire. And no wonder - it's absolutely, utterly delicious. Warm, couthy comfort food. I could eat a tonne of it each time.






Burgers:


Ingredients:

  • 500g beef and pork mince
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • half of 1 stale roll or a small piece of stale baguette or 2 slices of stale bread
  • 3 tbsp of finely chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste (yes, I *taste* the meat before I cook it. Just take a bit in your mouth and spit it out. If you're too squeamish for that then... good luck)
  • 1/2 glass of milk
  • 2 glasses of very fine breadcrumbs
  • oil (for frying)


1. Soak the bread in the milk until it's completely soft. Then take it out of the milk, squeeze it in your hand to squeeze as much of the milk out as you can, and mix it together with mince, egg, parsley, salt and pepper.

2. Fry the onions until they're thoroughly glossy (or just before they start turning golden brown), wait for them to cool and add to the meat.

3. Form burgers, about 1cm thick (they will thicken as you fry them), and coat them in breadcrumbs.

4. Fry them first at high heat to lightly brown them on each side (to seal the juices inside), then reduce the heat and fry them until they are cooked on the inside - it doesn't take long at all. I just cut one open to check after about 5-10 minutes.





If you want to make them a bit more interesting, you can stuff the burgers with cheese as well. Just cut up a good quality melting cheese, like Mozzarella, Edam or Gouda into chunks and wrap the meat around them when you're shaping the burgers. That way the cheese will melt nicely inside when you fry them.



Carrots and Peas:


Ingredients:

  • 1 glass of frozen peas
  • 1 glass of diced fresh carrots
  • (or, as I do it - half a saucepan of carrots and half a saucepan of peas)
  • 1 stock cube (chicken or vegetable would be best, but I used pork and beef before and it worked just as well)
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp of butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 2 tbsp of plain flour



1. Put the peas and carrots in a saucepan and add water - just enough to cover the vegetables.

2. Add the stock cube.

3. Boil at low heat for about 40 minutes, or until both peas and carrots are very soft and the water starts turning orange from the carrots.

4. Using a potato masher or a fork, mash some of the peas and carrots - not all of them, just a little bit. You don't want a peas and carrots mash, but you want some of the peas and carrots to break up to mix with the water and help thicken the sauce.

5. Melt the butter in a separate pan and stir in the flour. Fry together on low heat, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes and add to the peas and carrots. This will thicken the sauce.

6. Season with pepper to taste (and salt if you want, but the stock cube should have been enough) and cook for a while longer if it's still too thin to thicken the sauce up a bit more. When it's the texture of a thick... something (the carrots and peas stick together), you can start serving it.







Mashed Potatoes:


Ingredients:

  • White potatoes
  • 4-5 tbsp of salted butter
  • 2 tbsp glass of milk



1. Boil the potatoes in salty water, drain them thoroughly (I usually drain them, put them back in the pot and put them back on the bob on low heat, stirring and shaking constantly not to burn them, but to help any remaining water evaporate), and add in the butter and milk. Mash thoroughly.




18 February 2013

Meat and Potato Pie



The only thing I ever liked about working as a waitress at the Anfield Stadium in Liverpool was the unlimited access to free meat and potato pies :) They remind me of the North West. I thought I'd try to recreate it! :)





Pastry:


Ingredients:

  • 300 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • salt
  • 75 g butter
  • 75 g lard, or vegetable fat
  • 5-6 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp milk and 1 egg, to glaze
  • 1. Rub the butter and lard into the flour and salt until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water and form the mixture into a ball adding a little more water if necessary. Chill for 20 minutes.



Filling:


Ingredients:

  • 500g mince (beef or beef+pork)
  • about 500g peeled and diced potatoes
  • 2 carrots, very finely chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp of mustard (I used Polish mustard, but I think English mustard would have been even better)
  • 2 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt and pepper to taste



1. Fry together the meat, onions, carrots and spices in a large pan or wok.

2. Very briefly boil the potatoes, until they are 'al dente'. Add them to the mince.

3. Add the beef stock and boil everything together until you get a thick sauce/stew.

4. Place the filling in a large oven dish and cover with a rolled-out pastry. Glaze with milk and egg beaten together, make a few cuts in the pastry to let the air out and bake in the oven for about 50 minutes at 200 C or until the pastry is golden-brown.









11 February 2013

Steak with Stilton & Mixed Peppercorn Sauce and Dauphinoise Potatoes.



My moderately failed attempt to recreate a meal I had at a lovely Aberdeen restaurant :) I think a few more attempts and I'll master it. For now I bring you this - not bad for a first try!






for 1 portion:


Dauphinoise Potatoes:


Ingredients

  • 1 large potato for mashing
  • 100ml Extra Thick Double cream
  • 50ml Milk
  • 100g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper.



1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Thinly slice the potatoes. Coat them in salt, pepper and garlic. Layer them up in a ramekin, sprinkling a little cheese between each layer.

3. Bring the cream and milk to the boil in a pan, and simmer for a couple of minutes. Pour over the potatoes and sprinkle any remaining cheese on to the top.

4. Bake for 45-75 minutes or until you can easily stab them with a fork.

5. Turn ramekin upside down over the plate to remove and serve the potatoes.



Steak:

Ingredients:

  • Cow.

1. Walk it through a warm room.



Stilton and Mixed Peppercorn Sauce:


Ingredients:

  • 250ml extra thick double cream
  • 150g Stilton, or other blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 to 3 tbsp mixed peppercorns, roughly ground or crushed
  • 1 pinch salt, to taste



1. In a saucepan, bring the cream to simmer.

2. Add cheese and simmer, constantly stirring, until the cheese melts completely

3. Add peppercorns and salt.

4. Cook over low heat until the sauce thickens.



Asparagus:

I used to think that cooking asparagus was complicated and required specialist weird pots. Until I discovered this:


Ingredients:
1 portion of asparagus
3 tbsp of water
pinch of salt
1 Tupperware box



1. Put a tiny bit of water and the asparagus in the Tupperware box. Sprinkle with salt and replace the box lid loosely.

2. Nuke in a microwave for 3 minutes.

3. Done. Love it.





4 February 2013

Chicken in Creamy Onion Sauce


And the award for the Easiest Recipe goes to....






Ingredients:
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • around 300ml of sour cream
  • 1 pack of Knorr instant onion soup or instant french onion soup (this may be quite tricky to get in UK, but it's quite easy to get in Poland, so most Polish shops would be happy to order it for you. Last time I checked Waitrose stocked it as well, 75p per packet: click here. )



If you're REALLY impatient you can flatten the breasts a little bit with a meat tenderiser (or as I call it, beat the meat. Although I am told this is not a good way to say it. I don't understand. English is confusing.) - this way they will cook a little faster.




The cream and the soup will infuse together and create a delicious onion sauce. I serve it just with chips - it doesn't need anything else - but if you want to add a salad I do recommend something slightly exotic to nicely contrast with the creaminess of the sauce. I like to serve it with a salad of grated celeriac, sliced leeks, diced pineapple, a tablespoon of mayo and a splash of soy sauce.Yum!