I love cooked ham on the bone but cannot justify buying the fresh cut or pre-packaged item from a deli. The other day I was in the local butchers and he had ham hocks on sale for only £1.98. So, for the first time I learnt how to cook one of these wonders and found it very very easy. Big pan. Put the uncooked ham hock into some cold water for fifteen minutes to release some of the excess salt. Drain and pop into the deep pan with loads of water and a few bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then leave simmering with the lid on for two hours. Eat it hot if you want but I feel it is best if left until the meat is cold and left overnight in the fridge to chill. This I did and had two utterly yummy ham and tomato baguettes the next day with loads left to nibble on or mix in with some pesto and pasta. Hmmm! All that delicious meat for under £2.00! Heaven!
It was pouring down with rain in Nottingham city centre and I decided to pop into Delilah the deli that's grown enormously and more glamorously since its move from the previous premises near to the tatty Broadmarsh Shopping centre.. This was the first time I'd been in the former bank premises to purchase anything. It may have been raining out on the street but sitting by the window with my steaming cup of coffee I felt like I was in another country. A lovely relaxing experience. Food from Delilah can also be ordered online at http://www.delilahfinefoods.co.uk/.
Do visit their deli if you are ever in the heart of Nottingham. This is a place that will become a firm favourite on any food lovers list of places to visit.
Things are only really supposed to be stored in the domestic freezer for three months so I rescued some Cornish sardines to make, for the first time, some sardine pate. There were half a dozen filleted sardines and a similar amount as whole gutted fish all of which I defrosted then filleted the rest. Sardines are very delicate oily fish so care in handling is paramount.
There was no need to remove all the small bones as they get blitzed in the food processor. I gave all the filleted fish a gentle wash under the cold tap and arranged them in a large oven proof dish and added a small amount of light olive oil. This went into a pre-heated oven (Gas mark six - 150 degrees) for forty five minutes and then I put the cooked fish into a colander to drain and cool.
The cooked sardines.
The original recipe called for coriander. I had none nor the opportunity to buy any (shops shut due to Bank holiday) so I just left it out and added 75g of unsalted butter and the juice of four lemons and two limes. I blitzed the whole lot in the food processor and spooned the mix into two dishes and put them into the fridge for four hours. The mix seemed quite sloppy when I spooned it into the dishes and I was worried that I would end up with cold sardine soup. However the pate came out of the fridge in a perfect state and feeling that I would never eat two dishes I gave one to my neighbours to try. They loved it!
For common sense sake I am averse to mentioning a specific supermarket name but want to amuse you lovely readers by recounting and exaggerating upon an incident from last Saturday at the supermarché.
In the past the fishmonger's department and the meat department were occasionally visited by a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall lookalike with his very young, floppy haired, son, Zachery. They are terribly posh and Daddy speaks to the nine year old son like he is part of a children's TV programme on the television. He ... spells... out... every... word... slowly... as ...if ... the child... is thick or addicted to patronising TV,
Apparently, I am a valued and under paid cast member of the proverbial Kiddy Cookery show. Either I am called Mr Butcher or Mr Fishman and perform the tasks to be narrated in real time and in a tone stickier than the stickiest of a gloriously sticky syrup. The very young son of the false HFW is called Zachery but I know his real name and I ain't letting on. Daddy HFW is very patronising but doesn't seem to realise it.
Example: "Now Zackery, watch the nice Mr Fishman. He is going to prepare our fish. Look he is getting out his ... very sharp knife... and is taking off ... the fishy head and tail. See. Now he is going to take out the fish's yucky tummy. Watch the deft way he slides the sharp knife along from the fish's bottom hole to its gills. I know, Zackery, one wants to disgorge one's own tummy contents on to the supermarché floor, n'est pas? Be brave now."
"Now Zachery, watch and see how Mr Fishman pulls the decidedly yucky tummy out of the dead fish and snips out the purple gills with his very special extra sharp scissors. He's very clever isn't he? Zachery? Are you alright Zachers?
Zachery is going a demure OAP grey around his own gills.
"The master has to do this so we can eat our fish without guilt or piscatorial acknowledgement Zachery. We wouldn't like to think that we were actually eating Nemo, Jaws or a piece of cod, would we Zachery? Be brave son."
"What's that nasty word we learnt today Zachery? Barbaric? That's right. Mr Fishman may seem nice and friendly under his goatee beard and white coat but really he is barbaric. Barbaric Zachery, that means ... a ... necessary... vicious... commoner. Commoner Zachery? Oh la la. I couldn't possibly say. Perhaps Mummy will explain later."
"Do you think that Mummy's list suggested we should go to the safe pre-packed isle Zachery? That's a terrible shame because we do so like to witness the brutish skills of the under-paid proletariat, don't we Zachery?" "That's why we like patronising the supermarché."
"What does 'patronising' mean daddy?"
"Stop asking questions Zachery. Mummy will explain what 'patronising' means. Oh alright, it has to do with daddy and his opinions. Daddy is the patron and he is 'ising. Like the 'ising on a cake. That's right. His words are very special and sugary like marzipan."
"Let's go now and speak to Mr Butcher who can tell us all about slaughtering large farm animals and about meaty things in ye olden days and about the demise of his own family business when the convenient supermarkets arrived. That's ancient history in action, Zachery. Like Horrible Histories with extra guts and gore."
"Oh look Zachery, mummy is here now in the car park in her armoured four by four. Have you got the important list mummy gave us?"
"Yes but daddy, why haven't the supermarket got stuffed quail with freshly picked and subtly sniffed Mediterranean apricots and organic cashew nuts with hand picked prime seaweed from private and inconceivably remote Cornish coves?"
Still trying to watch the pennies I decided to make an old favourite the other day - lambs liver and onions in a tomato sauce with mashed potatoes. I made a decent amount, cooked it like a tomato stew with fried liver and used two cans of chopped tomatoes and a bottle of pasta sauce I happened to have in the cupboard. That's it. I left the stew to cook through for about 45 minutes on a medium heat whilst the potatoes were boiling for the mash. Dead simple and very tasty.
The days are starting to get a bit cheerier and warmer now and I actually had the back door open whilst I was cooking the gardens are looking like things are about to bloom. I noticed that the shoots on my lavender plants are coming through too.
My Kitchen Table
is a new collection of high-quality cookery books featuring
mouth-watering recipes from the nation’s favourite chefs - Ainsley
Harriott, Annabel Karmel, Antonio Carluccio, Gizzi Erskine, Ken Hom,
Madhur Jaffrey, Mary Berry, Raymond Blanc, Rick Stein, Rosemary
Conley and Sophie Grigson. I found out about this super series by accident and feel compelled to spread the word. Phil.
I'm not going to list
all one hundred of the recipes but to highlight those that I feel are
inspiring to me and therefore those that I may well try to cook and enjoy. My
images in this blog are random and an effort to illustrate my
excitement over this compilation. I think that I may well purchase
Raymond Blanc's version and the baking book by Mary Berry if this book is anything to go by. The price
was excellent by the way; just a fiver and no postage added!
Feel free to use this link if you fancy ordering a copy for yourself. The link in red at the top of the page will get you to all the titles on Amazon.
Rick's book covers: Soup and Starters, Light Bites and Lunches, Rice, Pasta and Noodles, Simple Suppers, Food For Friends.
From the Soups and
Starters I particularly liked the look and the relative low cost of
producing the dishes of:
Sardines stuffed with
pine nuts, currants, capers, parsley and orange zest.
Crab and sweetcorn
Spiced octopus salad
Squid fried in olive
oil with smoked pimentón
and garlic mayonnaise.
Razor clams a la
Oysters with sauce
From the Light Bites
and Lunches section I fancied making the:
Gravlax (Dill cured
Devilled mackerel with
mint and tomato salad.
Eggs Benedict with
Japanese fish cakes
with ginger and spring onions.
Crab with rocket, basil
and lemon olive oil.
Sashimi of salmon,
tuna, sea bass and scallops.
Warm mussel and potato
salad with pistou.
Seared scallops with
lentils and a tomato and Herbes de Provence dressing.
My selection from the
Rice, Pasta and Noodles dishes is:
Crab Linguine with
parsley and chilli.
Mussels in Pilau rice
with a coconut, cucumber and tomato relish.
Nasi Goreng with
Roasted sea bass with
Pastis and an Arborio rice risotto.
fish pasta with fennel seeds, anchovies, tomatoes and olive oil.
Tortilla of salt cod
and sweet onions and potatoes.
From the Simple Suppers
section I really liked the look and sound of:
Moules Marinieres with
cream, garlic and parsley.
Coconut chilli prawns
with cumin puris.
sardines with piri-piri oil.
Monkfish with saffron
and roasted red pepper dressing.
My food DVDs
From Food For Friends I would relish making any of the recipes below:
Grilled cod with aioli
and butter beans.
Grilled scallops with a
pumpkin seed, Serrano chilli and coriander sauce.
Baked sea bass with
roasted red peppers, tomatoes, anchovies and potatoes.
Fillets of John Dory
with capers, olives and rosemary.
I can almost smell the
lovely fresh fish cooking on the grill with additional tantalising
aromas of garlic and chilli and smoked pimentón.
As Rick often says “Delish!”
This is the easiest and most tasty thing you can make for dinner, lunch or supper. A rack of lamb roasted in olive oil with a sprig of fresh rosemary to taste. A rack of lamb will normally do two people or one hungry hog like me.
The cooking takes about fifty minutes dependent on how bloody you like your lamb. I cook with gas so gas mark six is fine. I guess with an electric oven you are looking at 160 degrees.
Obviously you can have whatever you want with this cut of lamb but sometimes I just like to cook one for supper (especially if I have managed to get one cheap from reductions at work). They normally cost about £7 at the time of writing but keep your eye out for cheaper sheep in your supermarkets' reduction bay or the meat counter's special offers.
For the first half hour of cooking I cover the dish in silver foil and then baste the lamb, removing the foil for the final part of the cooking process. You will find that the lamb has swollen during cooking and the aroma as it comes out of the oven is delish. Let it rest for five minutes before eating though.