Monday, 18 February 2013

Rustic homemade chips

Rustic homemade chips

The chips of my childhood were just ordinary potatoes sliced up longways, thrown in the oven with some olive oil, and often not quite baked enough. This was usually my fault as the fish that matched was always finished first, and I did not have any intention of waiting for the chips to be properly cooked before devouring. 

I have since found this very simple variation. It's amazing what a little flour and some proper cooking time can do to make the ordinary chip taste better than the bought chip.  Fluffy, golden and crunchy, without the deep fryer.

Start with some baby cream delight potatoes. These are a little bigger than baby chat ones (I found them in a bag in the supermarket. Shouldn't be too hard to find!)

I used about 6 which provided big servings for 2 people. 

I have made this with your usual red skinned desiree potato, but found the little baby cream delight ones end up fluffier inside. Definitely a bonus. 

Before we get to doing anything with the potatoes though- make sure your oven in on to about 190 degrees c. Find a big baking tray, splash about 3 tablespoons of olive oil onto it, then place it in the oven to heat up.

Now we can start with the potatoes. Slice them long ways in half. Then with each half cut that into 3 or 4 pieces (no more than 2 cm wide). This will give you some perfectly sized chips.
 Once all your potatoes are cut up, find a bowl, and throw in half a cup of plain flour
 Season the flour with a good big grind of pepper 
 And a little grind of salt.
And pop your potatoes in!

Start to toss them like a salad, making sure each side of the potatoes is properly coated in flour.
 Now time to pull your tray from the oven. Don't burn yourself (note to self). See how runny the oil has become? Tip the pan up a little to make sure the oil is fully covering the bottom of the baking dish.
 Then tip your potatoes into the pan. Give them enough room to become crisp- which means only one layer, and not jammed in too tightly.

Pop them in the oven for about 50 minutes! 
 After 30 minutes they will start looking nice and golden.
 This is the perfect time to flip them over, before placing them in for the remaining 20. 
50 minutes might not work for your oven, so just watch them until they're beautiful and golden all over.
 This is what they should look like. Take them out of the oven
And place in a little bowl to serve. You could even whip up some homemade bbq sauce to match.

Rustic homemade chips

6 baby cream delight potatoes. (2-3 potatoes per person, depending on serving size, and size of potatoes). Can also use other potatoes.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup plain flour

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees c. 
2. Throw the oil into a baking tray, and place in the oven to heat up while you're preparing the chips.
3. Slice the potatoes in half longways, and then slice each half into 3 or 4 pieces.
4. Place flour in a bowl, add pepper and a little salt to taste.
5. Toss the potatoes into the flour mixture, making sure each side is coated.
6. Take baking tray out of oven. Make sure oil is spread across the tray. Place potatoes on the tray, making sure they are only in one layer.
7. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the chips over, and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until golden brown and fluffy on the inside.

(I think this is the shortest recipe I've posted.) 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Pumpkin and Kumera (sweet potato) soup

Pumpkin and Kumera (Sweet Potato) Soup

It's soup night here in the Wilkins' house! I know it's the middle of Summer, but we had a slight turn in the weather with quite an extroardinary amount of rain.  This brought out the hibernation gene. Which in turn made us all crave some warming comforting soup! At the very least it will get you prepared for the autumn. This one has a little ginger and warming spices, and again, super easy to make. Serve with some toasty hot bread when it's cold and wet outside.

Here are some things you should probably have around to start. Pumpkin and kumera being the main ingredients of pumpkin and kumera soup of course.
First step- how to dice your onion up. Find your two red onions, and slice the ends off them.
Then slice them in half
Peel away the skin
Slice them longways 
 Then holding it together, cut them across the other way
And you end up with some beautifully diced onion! 
 Like I said.
 Then find a nice big heavy pot. Throw in a glug of olive oil (1 tablespoon) and a little piece of butter. The butter brings out the flavour of the spices.
Throw your onion in and stir it around. Low heat will do, just to let them sweat. 

Now for your garlic. Take 3 cloves, slice the hard end off and peel away the skin. 

Take your big knife, place it on the side, and crush the garlic clove with the side of the knife. Once it's crushed, you can use the sharp edge once again to dice it up. 

This helps to release the flavour all the more.

Now your garlic is chopped like a pro, throw it in with your onion and stir it around.
Now find a piece of ginger. I keep this in the freezer and grate a piece off when I need it. Grate a centimetre or so, enough to fill about 2 teaspoons. 
Now for some spices. 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin and coriander. Stir them around, and let it cook away with the onions for a minute or two.
 Now, if you haven't already got your pumpkin chopped up, you might want to turn the heat off in the saucepan, otherwise your onion will burn while you're chopping up the veges!
For your pumpkin- we have a quarter of a kent pumpkin, which weighs about a kilo. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
Then slice it into wedges with a big sharp knife.
When they're in wedges it's much easier to lie them on their side to slice the skin off. 
Then when you have your skinless wedges, you can start to dice them up.
 Until you have a forest of nicely chopped pumpkin.
 Throw it in with your spicy onion (make sure the heat is back on!) 
Now time to skin the kumera. I have just one large sweet potato. And thankfully the skin is soft enough to just use a vegetable peeler on, unlike the pumpkin. 
 Once the skin is off, slice up the middle to make long sticks. 
Then cut those sticks up until you have small pieces. 
 These can be thrown right in with the pumpkin. 
Give it a good stir around. You've almost done all the hard work!
 Just make some stock up to just cover the veges. About 700mls worked for me. I used 2 teaspoons of powdered stock and boiling water.
Pour the stock right over the veges until they are just covered. 
Add some salt and pepper. 
Then turn the heat right down, cover it up, and let it cook away until the vegetables are soft. You could blend it up after half an hour, but if you give it a good hour the vegetables are extra soft, and spicy flavours fully developed.
Here we are after one hour. It looks a little brown and unappetising, but once you blend it up, the orange will return. 
Cosy warm soup mmm.
 Serve with a dollup of sour cream and some crusty bread.

Pumpkin and Kumera (sweet potato) Soup

2 red onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
20g butter
1cm piece fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1kg kent pumpkin, skin removed and diced into 2cm chunks
700g kumera (sweet potato), skin removed and diced into 2cm chunks
700ml (or more) vegetable stock

1. Heat olive oil and butter in a large heavy pot. Gently fry onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
2. Add grated ginger, cumin and coriander to onion mixture, and saute for a further 2 minutes until fragrant.
3. Stir in diced pumpkin and sweet potato. Add salt and pepper
4. Pour in enough stock to ensure the vegetables are just covered. Cover and let it simmer away for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how much time you have.
5. When the vegetables are soft, remove from heat and blend with a stick blender.
6. Serve with a dollup of sour cream, more salt/pepper as desired, and some crusty bread.

Winter warmers... in Summer.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Homemade barbeque sauce

Homemade barbeque sauce

This was made especially as a little adaption to my pulled pork recipe. After my first go of making it with bought barbeque sauce, we both felt a little bit queasy having digested so many preservatives and artificial colours and nasties! It's amazing how un-used to preservatives your body can become when you don't have them for awhile. I think sticking to my philosophy of no pre-made food works much better for me. 
So here is my homemade sauce, use it in your pulled pork recipe, use it for your steak on the BBQ, on anything really! The great thing is that it is incredibly simple to make and tastes very close to the real thing.

Dice an onion up, and start it frying away in a small saucepan with some olive oil.
 Crush and dice 3 garlic cloves up
 Stir it into your pot- let this cook until it just starts to caramelise, about 5 minutes
Then pour in one 400g tin of peeled diced tomatoes. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down to let it simmer.
Now for the ingredients to make it taste like a barbeque sauce rather than an Italian pasta sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and mix in.
 Find some vinegar with some flavour- apple cider vinegar for me.
Add 3 tablespoons full
 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce (key ingredient right here)
 Some salt and pepper. Probably quite a lot of pepper to make it extra tangy.
Stir it all in, and let it simmer away for about 20 minutes 
 Let it keep bubbling away until it starts to thicken. This is when the flavours really develop.
 When it's sufficiently thickened, put your mix into a bowl where you can blend it up
Pull out that stick blender and bleeeend. Or use a blender. Or just sieve it.
 There's your beautiful sauce!

Now throw this into your pulled pork recipe instead of that horrible bought stuff!

Homemade Barbeque Sauce

BBQ Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
400g tin diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

1. In a small saucepan, heat olive oil, then saute onions and garlic for 5 minutes, or until just starting to caramelise.
2. Mix in tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. 
3. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, until sauce starts to thicken and flavours develop,
4. Blend with a stick blender, and use it as you wish! In recipes or just on some sausages.