Saturday, March 19, 2011

Coq Au Vin......Cock Marinated And Cooked In Red Wine

The rooster, the cock, cockerel, or the Gallus gallus, has a tough meat.  It takes a long time to  braise over the stove with the cover on at low heat.  So you have to prepare it with special care.
I would like to share this recipe with you today because it is the weekend. This is a traditional French dish usually prepared in the countryside for special occasions.  Now however, Coq au Vin is served in the best of restaurants in the city.
For a Coq Au Vin that respects itself you will need:
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Chopped Calf's Liver Leftovers With Farfalle A La Crème......Very handy!

Ah! So you had some leftover chopped liver (my recipe dated March 13th) and you don't feel like eating it the next day or the day after. So you can deep freeze it for a maximum of one week.
The day you feel like eating it, you could do the following:
Step 1:  Thaw.
Step 2:  Depending on the quantity leftover, boil an equivaltent quantity of butterflies (farfalle) or any other pasta you haven't eaten for a long time.
Step 3:  Have 500 ml of Fresh Cream on hand (full cream 35% fat; none of that "light" stuff).
Step 4:  Put the liver in a wide and deep pan, heat. Add the pasta mix well, add the cream to make a nice, rich, liquid sauce.
Step 5:  Top with freshly ground pepper,  freshly grated parmezan cheese,  and sprinkle some finely chopped parsley for decoration.
Serve quickly because the pasta loves cream as it will suck it up real quick and you may end up with dry pasta. A tossed green salad on the side and you're done for the day. Now you will have to worry about what you will have to cook for the next day.....!!
Bon Appétit
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Orata Al Cartoccio.....Sea Bream Baked In Foil

Happy St. Patrick's Day Everybody !
I had Orata Al Cartoccio in Milan, Italy once and fell in love with it. So I will share it with you today.
The Orata or Sea Bream is one of the most delicious fish...
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shepherd's Pie........Quick And Easy

Good ol' " English School" of Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt fed us many a time this shepherd's pie because it is cheap, filling, and has lots of vitamins from the meat and the potatoes. I was a "day boy"meaning I had lunch at school but returned home for the night. When I made "prefect" I ate with the professors at "Head Table" . I remember I belonged to the Amazon House. Wow good old days. British habits.
Shepherd's pie is made with meat and potatoes not beside each other but one on top of the other, potatoes on top, and baked till the potatoes brown on the surface.
Easier even if it is made with left over mashed potatoes, and left over ground meat sauce (omitting the juices)
Life has become so fast nowadays that we sometimes do not feel like cooking or do not have the time to prepare complicated stuff so we can use leftovers to make up new dishes.
However, if you feel like making a decent shepherd's pie, you will have to start from scratch.
You will need:
Serves 4 - 6
For the mashed potatoes:
-  1 kg of potatoes, peeled, washed, cut, boiled till they fall apart and drained.
-  1.5 cups of milk or fresh cream whichever you prefer.
-  50 gms of fresh butter.
-  Salt, white pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg if you wish.
For the ground beef:
-  1.5 kg of lamb or beef ground as thickly as possible.
-  1 onion  roughly chopped.
-  2 carrots thinly sliced.
-   2 celery sticks chopped.
-  Some olive oil
-  1 small can 250 ml of skinned tomatoes.
-  1/2 tsp. sugar.
-  Salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce (indispensable in every home)
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C.
For the Mashed Potatoes:
-  Mash drained potatoes with the potato masher shown in my yesterday's recipe.
-  Add milk, stir, then add the butter, stir and mix. (The heat of the boiled potatoes will melt the butter).
For the ground beef:
-  In a frying pan, heat olive oil, add onions, carrots, and celery. Stir till they are all soft.
-  Add ground lamb or beef,  stir and cook meat on all sides to brown. Add the Worcestershire sauce, stir.
-  Add tomatoes, and half tsp. of sugar, to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
-  Stir, mix and bring to a boil,  cover, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
-  Butter the bottom and sides of a baking dish and add the meat on the bottom. The meat should be dry, no liquids.
-  Cover with the mashed potatoes.
-  Grind some pepper on top and bake for minimum of 30 minutes or till the mashed potatoes have taken a nice brownish color. In fact you can try brushing some beaten egg on top of the mashed potatoes before you bake.
Et Voila!
Enjoy this hot meal on a cold early March evening.
P.S.  I would like to congratulate and commend "The Delicious Sophie Dhal" for her beautiful and most romantic TV program and for her version of Shepherd's Pie.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Simple Mashed Potatoes.........A Secret Revealed !

I love mashed potatoes. Some call this very important side dish, pure, others call it cement because as you serve yourself from the bowl, you have to literally shake it off the serving spoon onto your plate just like with cement when laying bricks. And sometimes when you are clumsy, as I am, it may land on your neighbor's head or lap!
Mashed potatoes are not just potatoes which are mashed. They should be treated with love and care in order to produce a delicious velvet texture that has a few lumps inside to show that they are made from fresh potatoes.
I will share with you the general way to make this special delicious texture.
You will need:
Potatoes, milk or fresh cream, butter, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.
-  Peel the potatoes and wash them well
-  Cut and boil them till they practically fall apart.
-  Drain,  return to the pot.
-  Use the special utensil as shown in the pictures below to mash as best as possible.

-  If you are in a hurry and just want mashed potatoes, at this point just add just enough milk to be quickly absorbed by the potatoes (very little milk). Serve and add a lump of butter at table.
The secret however:
-  If you wish to go the extra mile after mashing, start beating with an electric hand beater.
-  Add fresh cream instead of milk, enough to be quickly sucked in  by the potatoes while beating.
-  Continue beating, add a good lump of good quality butter, season with salt , white pepper and nutmeg, cover till it is time to serve. Mix, ..... ready!
Note: The beater aeriates the potatoes and makes them fluffy.
Note1: The mashed potatoes must not be fluid but stiff.
Mashed potatoes are usually served with meats cooked in sauce.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Lamb Fricassé......Typical Greek Family Meal

Springtime is the time for baby lamb in Greece.
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chopped Liver .....Alla Stelio!

The infamous saying "What am I....chopped liver?" meaning "doesn't anybody like me", is an old saying before modern gastronomy came into being...before science discovered that calf's liver is an iron rich ingredient and generally very good for the health. Wikipedia is talking about liver and bacon. I suppose the bacon is included to improve the taste. The other thing going for calf's liver is that it is inexpensive and very affordable specially nowadays.
Fresh Calf's liver is one of the healthiest foods you can eat especially when you eat it with spinach which is also rich in iron....remember Popeye the sailor??
Today I would like to share with you a way I can eat liver because it has a rather strong taste. I will be frank with you, I do not like liver, and never liked it specially when my mother used to force me to eat it because it would make me big and strong....Yes, it made me BIG!
I marinate it for about 2 hours in lots of oregano, oil, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup brandy.
Furthermore, I cut it in little cubes. The less the surface area eaten the better. In order to be able to cut the liver in cubes, I freeze it and cut it in thin slices, then cut the slices in strips, then cut the strips into cubes otherwise it is very difficult to cut it in small pieces when it is soft. Put in a sieve and let cold water run through to wash well. See picture. 
Calf's Liver Chopped Into Little Cubes.
Marinated In Oregano, Oil And
 You will need:
Serves 4 to 6
-  1 kg of fresh calf's liver cut in cubes as explained above.  You should trust your butcher. Generally the lighter in red color the better.
-  2 big onions thinly sliced in rings.
-  2 Tbsp. dry oregano.
-  1 tsp. salt.
-  1 Tbsp. pepper.
-  1/4 cup brandy.
-  3 bay leaves.
-  2 - 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce.
-  Fry onion in some oil until it becomes soft.
-  Drop in the liver and on high heat cook while stirring and mixing constantly until it is cooked all over. About 10 minutes or until you see that it is slightly hard to the touch. Add the Worcestershire sauce,
-   In the meantime you have prepared the white rice.
Bon appétit
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