Friday, 26 June 2009

Eggy Crumpets

I love eggy bread, it was a weekend treat that my Dad used to cook some Saturday mornings.
When I was little I loved it with golden syrup, these days it is all about the ketchup.

I was watching the Jamie Oliver at Home episode all about eggs and he made this fantastic version using crumpets.
Such a simple brilliant idea I'm amazed I haven't heard of it before, the crumpets suck up the egg even better than a slice of white.

(This isn't my photo, I found it here. When I make it it's always been gobbled before I even think of taking pictures!)

It's a doddle to make, for four crumpets you need two eggs, whisk them in a bowl, add salt and pepper and a splash of milk and put the crumpets in the eggy mixture and watch it get sucked up in to all those lovely holes.

Fry in butter.

Serve with ketchup or with bacon and maple syrup if you are throwing the boat out!

Last night for a quick supper I also added a splash of Encona chili sauce to the eggs. Encona and Eggs, it's a classic combination!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Dominic's Potato, Mushroom and Leek Filo Pie

I made a nice pie last night.

I only took a picture of the uncooked pie, once cooked it was golden on top and the slices came out of the dish satisfyingly whole and pie slice like.

Having watched a number of episodes of Jamie at Home on 4OD the last few days I was inspired by his asparagus tart from the episode dedicated to the vegetable.

I arrived in Sainsbury's to find them out of asparagus so the dish diverged somewhat after I picked up a few other bits instead.

Firstly I buttered a dish and layered it with sheets of filo pastry, I used two packs. Before placing each leaf I painted what was already in the dish with butter, this helps the pastry crisp up and separate in that filo way.
I let the pastry hang about one to two inches over the edge of the dish, once the filling went in this was scrunched up to make a nice crunchy edge to the pie.

I boiled and mashed about 8 potatoes, whilst the potatoes were boiling I cooked slices of mushroom and leek in butter until they were soft.

The leek and mushroom mix was added to the mashed potato along with a small tub of cream, 100ish grams of Cheddar cheese, 100ish grams of Lancashire cheese, 1/4 of a nutmeg and a teaspoon of English mustard, season with salt and pepper to taste.

To this mixture I finally added three beaten eggs to bind it and then the whole lot was poured into the pie dish and that put in the oven for about 40 minutes until it was golden on top.

It was very nice with a crisp green salad.

Barcelona Food Market - La Boqueria

Friday, 5 June 2009

Beer Butt Chicken

I've heard of the Beer Butt style of cooking on numerous American blogs like this. They don't roast chicken as often as we do in the UK so in the US it's turned into a simple foolproof way to roast a chicken for the uninitiated. It's used as a way to cook chicken in a covered barbecue quite a lot but you can also do it in the oven as I did.

It's also quite a bit of a novelty standing a chicken upright like in Withnail and I. That's the main reason why I wanted to try this.

I cooked two birds and used Heineken as the beer more out of convenience than choice. The can should be half full and the chicken is shoved on top as in the photo above. I stuck a quarter of a lemon and a few cloves of garlic up the cavity before hand. It was when I shoved the chickens on the cans I remembered British beer cans are much taller than US ones. You have to be careful you don't knock them over.

I made up a basting liquid with chilli, crushed garlic and oil. I brushed this all over the chicken before sticking them in the oven.

You need a tall oven for this. We barely got our chickens in even after taking out all of the shelves and putting the roasting tin directly on the bottom of the oven.

The chickens were in the oven at 180-200 and because of the steaming from the beer cooked quicker than normally in just over an hour. Apparently the yeast also reacts with the chicken to make it more tender but I don't know if that's just the steam doing that.

When removing the birds from their perches there was still quite a bit of beer in the cans. I had to be careful not to spill it into the beautiful juices that rained off the chicken into the pan that would flavour our gravy. Next time I'm going to cut the top of the can off as I found recently was another way t get more beer steam into the chicken.

I served it with mash which was very buttery because I got to fulfil a dream of mine by chucking an entire packet of butter into it. There was a lot of potatoes I promise. There was also some greens.

Everything worked out really well. The chicken was very, very good. They were cooked incredibly well. I think it's a combination of having them suspended above the roasting tin and having the presence of steam in the oven. It keeps everything moist and makes the skin thin and crispy.Like I said before it's foolproof way to roast chicken. You only really get lagery tasting bits from the meat that was on the underside of the chickens cavity. The gravy did have a bit of a lager flavour though and even though the chicken was slightly spicy because of the chiili baste which also flavoured the gravy it really went well with buttery mash, broccoli and green beans.

When I do this again I'd like to try a different beer. Maybe a yeasty Belgium wheat beer or if you really want to get fancy what about serving individual Poussins each cooked on a can of wine?

Monday, 1 June 2009

Breakfast Club Hoxton Square

I've been wanting to go to Breakfast Club for a while. I walk past the Angel branch down Camden Passage on the way to work every morning. A few weeks ago a new branch opened on Hoxton Square so I went to it.

I've been wanting a proper American breakfast consisting of decent bacon and pancakes all smothered in maple syrup for a while. I've tried The Diner which has good milkshakes but measly definitely not American style food portion sizes. They also don't do the bacon, pancake and maple syrup combo as a dish on the menu. Ok you can choose the separates to make it up your self but I wanted to go to a place that said it was normal to do this by putting it on the menu.

Alright the decor inside is trying a bit too hard with it's nostalgafantasticness but it does feel comfortable. If you ever go use the toilets as they have a glitter ball disco room in the bit outside where you wait for a free cubical. I did find the hammering output of obvious 80's hits piped through the sound system of the entire place annoying though. Those rhythms do not aid digestion.

I ordered the American breakfast which filled all the criteria of my cravings. It had bacon, pancakes, was served with maple syrup and also had sausage, eggs and hash browns.

There were some disappointments. The sausage was just odd. I don't know if it was supposed to be American or what but it had the wrong herbs inside and the texture of the meat was powdery. It was the first sausage in many years that I have attempted to eat and not finished.

The eggs which I decided to have poached were overdone. I was expecting the yolk to be runny so that I could burst the whites and spread over the breakfast but it was solid.

The hash browns were not like normal hash browns but like bubble and squeak without the cabbage. This style would have been fine if they actually tasted of anything. They weren't even greasy they were waterlogged and soggy.

The Maple syrup also wasn't real maple syrup but a maple syrup flavoured glucose syrup.

The good points include the bacon which was perfect. Exactly what I was dreaming about. Red and crispy but still juicy to the core. The pancakes were also brilliantly done. I should have opted for the simpler breakfast of bacon and pancakes and maybe I could have put up with the lacklustre maple syrup.

Although the meal was not perfect I will return to The Breakfast Club again maybe. The food my friends had seemed to be very good and I've heard the burgers are very well done. It's a far better choice than The Diner on Curtain Road or All Star Lanes on Brick Lane which I've been to recently and didn't feel the need to write about.