Food Goblin for the next few months will undergo an exciting project over the next 3 months! From June-September I will be travelling across America in a country wide FOOD TOUR, West-East, discovering the sights, smells and tastes of the US's greatest culinary marvels!
From BBQ to po'boys, from burgers to crawfish boils, pizza to fried chicken, gumbo to sandwiches - I will be eating it all and recording everything that I sample and experience online on the Food Travel Blog section of this website (follow the link above in the side bar)! I'll keep updating this section with any recipes that I pick up along the route and the Food Travel Blog section will be reguarly updated so keep your eyes peeled and your tastebuds tickled!!
Big love from the soon-to-be 'Big Lu' x
This recipe went down a treat recently when I cooked it for my Dad on Father's day. He, like me, loves meaty, robust flavours that don't pull their punches and, because we were also in Scotland at the time, I devised this as a special treat!
The pork fat crisps up nicely on the top to form a crackling crust and the black pudding and haggis both a richness and a lovely, moist texture which plays nicely off the crackling. I like my pork cooked 'rose'- just slightly undercooked - so that it stays moist and juicy. If you prefer it more well though just keep it in the oven maybe 5 minutes more.
Ingredients (Serves 4):
1 2.5lb roasting pork loin joint
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 inches of good quality black pudding, chopped up
1.5 inches of good quality sliced haggis, chopped up - if you're not buying it in sausage form, buy a small round haggis and just be prepared to have some spare!
salt and pepper
1. Butterfly the pork loin by slicing down the middle of the loin, without cutting it totally in half, and by opening the two halves like a book. Score the fat on the top of the joint, if it still has fat on it.
2. Heat an oven to 200 Celsius.
3. Fry the black pudding in oil for a couple of minutes until crumbled. Set to one side. Repeat with the haggis (keeping the two separate).
4. Lay the pork out and season the inside two halves with salt and pepper. Scatter the minced garlic evenly over the two halves.
5. On one half spread the black pudding so that the half is totally covered. Repeat on the other half with the haggis. Fold the two halves together.
6. Take the butchers twine and tie up the pork tightly, so that it doesn't spring apart when cooking. Season the outside of the loin and rub with oil.
7. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the pork is firm but still juicy. Rest for 10 minutes.
8. Serve with roasted vegetables and a jus made from the roasting juices and stock.
Tarte Tatin is a delicious French classic dessert made traditionally with apples. It consists of apples caramelised in butter and sugar cooked upside-down, with pastry. Legend has it that the recipe was born in a guest house run by the Tatin sisters; one had left her apples cooking too long and, when alerted to this by the burning smell, attempted to rescue the dish by quickly topping it with pastry and cooking it in the oven - with pleasing results!
There is a bit of debate with Tarte Tatin over the pastry - some, like Julia Child, opt for Shortcrust, others, like Raymond Blanc, urge puff. Which you pick is up to you - for this recipe I have chosen puff as I like the rich, butteryness it brings to the dish.
You can make Tarte Tatin with a variety of different fruits, like apple, pineapple, rhubarb or even prune. For this recipe I chose pears because I found some wonderful ones in my local fruit and vegetable shop that were crying out for eating. I chose rosemary to pair them with (there's a pun in there :p) to add a more complex, floral note. The result is rich, gooey, decadent fun. Serve with a chantilly cream (cream with vanilla) or a vanilla or brandy icecream.
Ingredients (Serves 6-8):
8 pears, not too ripe, cored, peeled and halved
100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 stalks rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
3 green cardamom pods, cracked
500g all butter puff pastry
1. Heat an oven to 200 Celsius. Tip the butter, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom into an oven proof frying pan about 20cm in diameter. See below for what to do if you don't have an oven proof frying pan. Heat over high heat until it separates and the sugar caramelises to a toffee brown colour.
2. Lay the pears in the pan, sprinkle over the rosemary and cook for 10-12 minutes until richly caramelised and brown, turning occasionally. Don't worry about it burning, it won't.
3. Remove from the heat, season with a pinch of sea salt and allow to cool slightly. Remove the cardamom pods. Roll out the pastry to about the thickness of a 2 pound coin. Put a plate that is just about bigger than the pan on the pastry and cut round it.
4. Lay the cinnamon stick in the middle of the frying pan at the bottom so that it is in the middle at the top when the tart is turned out. Arrange the pears attractively in the pan cut sides up, perhaps in a circle with the fat ends of the pears outwards, thin edges pointing in, with another similar circle within the larger one and a central pear in the middle.
5. Lay the pastry over the pan and tuck the edges down into the pan and around the pears with a spoon so that it hugs the fruit and keeps the tart compact. Poke a few holes in the top of the pastry.
6. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Then pour off an excess juices, so that the pastry doesn't get soggy. Reduce the heat to 180 Celsius and bake for another 15 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
7. Put a large plate on top of the pan and carefully flip the pan over, to turn the pie out onto the plate. Serve with cream or ice-cream.
NB - if you don't have an oven-proof frying pan, don't worry. Saute your pears in a normal frying pan and then transfer, in a nice pattern, into a 20cm flan case or circular oven proof dish and put the pastry over this to cook.
Lovely bubbling juices, pre-pears
cooked pastry on top
Forget Grandma's cabbage, boiled to within one inch of its life. Try this. Delicious with pork especially, but also with other robust meats like venison or beef.
Ingredients (Serves 4):
1 head of savoy cabbage, shredded
5 rashers of back bacon - I prefer unsmoked, but if you like smoked, go for it. Chopped roughly.
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 good glug of white wine
1 tblsp whole grain mustard
1 knob butter
salt and pepper
1. Melt the butter in a large saute pan or wok on medium/high heat. Add a glug of vegetable oil to raise the smoking point.
NB - butter has what is called a low smoking point, which means that it burns at a relatively low temperature. Vegetable oil has a much higher smoking point and so by mixing butter and oil in the pan it means you can combine the rich taste of the butter with the practical high frying properties of the vegetable oil.
2. Add the bacon and saute until cooked and crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute for a minute until soft and starting to brown.
3. Add the shredded cabbage and saute for about 5 minutes until softening.
4. Add the white wine and mustard and cook for a further few minutes until the alcohol has evaporated off.
5. Season and finish off by stirring in some more butter. Serve immediately.
I love carrots. Asides from the obvious benefit of allowing you to 'see in the dark' (thanks, mum), they are delicious when cooked properly and not boiled to dire death in a saucepan with no seasoning and served emaciated, bone dry and glowing matt-ly with a white, chalk sheen (thanks, gran).
Serve them baked. Baking vegetables brings out their inherent sweetness and works particuarly well with carrots, but also with beetroot or any root vegetables.
I love cumin with sweet things - it works fantastically with mango in mango chutney (see my recipe!!) and it works similarly well with sweet carrots. Yum.
These carrots are cooked by trapping them in a tin-foil 'cage' which seals in all the juice. It forces the carrots to stay moist, sucking up all the yummy herby wine-y juice. I hope you enjoy!
Ingredients (serves 4):
500g baby carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch batons
few sprigs of thyme
glug of white wine
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. Lay two sheets of tin foil on a surface, one over the other in a cross.
3. Tip the carrots into the middle. Bring up the sides and seal along to form a parcel, leaving a hole in the top. Place in a roasting tin.
4. Scatter in the cumin seeds, season, thyme and pour in a good healthy glug of the wine. Seal up the parcel.
5. Bake in the oven for approximately 50 minutes, or until the carrots are soft, but still with a bit of bite. Serve.
A take on the British classic of Queen of Puddings (sponge, strawberry compote and a meringue crown) - this dessert is composed of a tart but sweet compote of peach and rhubarb, with a hint of orange and vanilla, on top of a bottom layer of crumbled ginger nut biscuits, topped with creamy, caramelised browned Italian meringue.
It came about from me having left over rhubarb in the kitchen and a hungry American vistor with a sweet tooth to feed in the sitting room. I wanted to pair it with something sweet to balance out the acidity of the rhubarb, which is how the Italian meringue came into the picture. The peach made its entrance out of the desire to compliment the rhubarb with something else sweet and warming and to enrichen the juice of the compote. The ginger nut crumble added texture and a bit of heat.
It looks a picture, like a cloud, and the browning, done either with a blow torch or in a hot oven, follows the swirls of the meringue prettily. I'm extremely enthusiastic about Italian meringue at the moment - it combines the unctious, almost caramel flavour of a marshmallow with the creamy, smooth texture of....I don't even know, gooey SILK....and is glossier to look at than an Easten European hair advertisement. Just great.
There are 2 main types of meringue - French meringue and Italian meringue. French is probably the most common and is made by whisking egg whites and adding caster sugar and then baking - it is crisp, but may have a chewy inside. Italian meringue is made by whisking up egg whites and then slowly adding a liquid, hot sugar syrup while whisking. The meringue is ready to eat immediately and is much softer and gooey in texture. It is this technique that I used for this recipe.
Freshly whisked and whipped up Italian meringue
Ingredients (serves 4):
400g rhubarb, shopped into 2 cm chunks
5 medium peaches, peeled, stone removed and cut into small chunks
1 orange, zest and juice of half
1 vanilla pod, sliced in half and seeds scraped out (and kept)
50g caster sugar
8 ginger nut biscuits
For the meringue:
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup water
2 egg whites
1. To make the compote; place the peaches into a saucepan with the zest and juice of the orange, the vanilla pod seeds and the pod itself. Put over medium heat and simmer for 4ish minutes until the peaches are slightly softening.
2. Add the rhubarb to the pan and continue to cook for another 6 minutes or so, until both the rhubarb and the peaches are soft.
3. Crush up the ginger nut biscuits and layer in the bottom of 4 ramekins.
4. To make the meringue, first make a sugar syrup by placing the sugar and water into another pan. Heat on low and stir with a metal spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Leave on medium heat to simmer, without touching it, until the sugar reaches the 'soft ball' stage, approximately 5 minutes.
NB - Soft ball stage = around 235 Farenheit/112 Celsius - measure with a sugar thermometer. Soft Ball stage means the stage where if a teaspoon is taken out and dropped into a bowl of very cold water, it will form a ball which when picked up, collapses in your fingers into a puddle. The next stage along from that is 'hard ball stage', suprisingly, where if you pick it out of the cold water it is a hard ball that doesn't collapse, again suprisingly. If you don't have a sugar thermometer just use this test.
5. Whisk the 2 egg whites until you have stiff peaks. Then, while still whisking (use a hand blender) very very slowly trickle in all the hot sugar syrup. The egg whites should become glossy and smooth and altogether beautiful.
6. Remove the vanilla pod and place the hot compote on top of the ginger nut crumbles in the four meringues and top that with the Italian meringue. Try and dollop it on prettily as the browning will follow the swirls of the meringue. Either swirl it on in an attractive fashion or pipe it on in spikes.
7. Take a blow torch and brown the outside of the meringue. If you don't have a blow torch, heat the oven to 200 Celsius (in advance) and place into the oven for 5 minutes until evenly browned. The browned bits will take on a lovely caramelised flavour and will have a slightly chewier consistency than the inner meringue - don't burn it though as burnt sugar is vile.
8. Serve immediately.
rhubarb and orange
hello crumbly, compotey ramekins
A pretty little canape that is damn fine on the tongue too. Cute in a scaled down afternoon tea sort of way, and easy too (but shh, that's a secret).
Photograph courtesy of Victoria Albrecht.
Ingredients (makes approx. 20)
200g caster sugar
200g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 lemons, zest and juice
3 free-range eggs beaten
200g self raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in cake tin with butter, then add a small amount of flour, turn the cake tin to coat the sides and bottom and shake out any excess.
2. Beat the sugar, butter and lemon zest in a mixing bowl until pale and fluffy, using an electric whisk.
3. Gradually add the eggs, whisking after each addition until the egg is completely incorporated into the mixture before adding the next. Carefully fold in the flour using a metal spoon.
4. Stir in the lemon juice.
5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the sponge has risen and is cooked through. (The sponge is cooked through when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.)
6. Leave the cake to cool for about 10 minutes. Once cooled remove from the tin.
7. Using a circular cutter about an inch across in size (if you don’t have one try using a shot glass or a champagne flute!), cut as many little circles of cake out of the sponge as you can and place on a tray.
8. Add a little splodge of lemon curd to the top of each one and place a raspberry on top. The curd acts as glue (you can also add it to the bottom to stop it sliding around on the tray.
9. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Imagine a mouthful. Imagine a mouthful that is spicy, meaty, sweet but salty. Imagine it with just the right amount of fat fried crunch around the outside. The perfect amount of yielding crisp as you bite, the perfect amount of butter rich fat coating your lips. Juicy chicken going into a zing of chilli and ginger, creamy garlic, warm spicing creeping in, thin but crunchy batter, butter, ghee, salt, all washed away by the juices of the chicken, trapped inside the shell.
It's not great for you, but it doesn't matter, not when it smells like this, not when it tastes like that.
I met this mouthful in Goa in Southern India, when it was cooked for us by the Nepalese hosts of our beach shack. In Goa it cost 1 pound for a huge plate but, damn, I'd have paid much much more. Have a go and see what you think. Try and imagine yourself on a white sand beach, at sunset, sipping a Cobra and perhaps it will enhance it even more.
You can either steam these (for a more healthy option) or deep fry them, my personal favourite, for crisp and texture.
Serve with a spicy dipping sauce and a cold lager.
Ingredients (makes 10):
½ chicken breast
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp masala powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (mince your own if you can't find any)
1 tbsp chopped onion (1 small)
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
½ tsp salt
100g plain wheat flour
1. Mince/process the chicken into a paste. Mix in the other ingredients.
2. For the pastry: Mix together the ingredients and knead. Shape into a sausage shape. Divide into 10 roughly inch blocks.
3. Dust a surface with flour. Take each block, flour it and press into an patty shape. Roll out into a circle.
4. To fill them, take each circle and spoon the chicken mixture into the middle. Pinch one end of the circle together and then pinch pleat around the chicken mix forming a bag or purse shape around the filling.
5. Either steam or deep fry. To steam, lightly oil the steamer and then add the momos. Steam for about 8 minutes. To deep fry, heat vegetable oil in a saucepan and place the momos in and deepfry till golden brown, a couple of minutes. Alternative, use a deep fat fryer if you have one. Season.
6. Serve with a dip of choice. Traditional would be to fry chopped onion with garlic, garam masala, cumin powder, salt, coriander powder, masala powder and then blend until smooth. Alternatively it would go rather nicely with a raita or soy/chilli dipping sauce.
A really easy, simple and pretty tasty recipe for homemade Naan bread. Literally your one-eyed, one legged aunt could make this with her hands tied behind her back after a skin full.
Add whatever topping you like - I like garlic and coriander best, but each to their own!
Serve with Indian curries.
Ingredients- makes 5 naans:
250g plain flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil
100g butter, melted
Toppings of your choice:
Example: 6 cloves of garlic, minced, handful of coriander, chopped.
1. Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl. In another bowl, mix together the milk and oil.
2. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Be careful not to add too much liquid - add it bit by bit to avoid it becoming too wet. Slowly mix together the dough to make a smooth, soft dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky.
3. Oil a bowl, place the dough in it, cover it with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes. The dough should puff up and rise.
4. Cut the dough into 5 pieces and roll, with a rolling pin, into a tear drop shape. Get it as flat as possible. Use flour to dust frequently to stop the dough sticking.
5. Heat a grill to high. At this point you need a flat metal thing - I use the back of a baking tray. Place under the drill to get it red hot.
6. Scatted chopped garlic and coriander plentifully on top of each naan. One at a time, place on top of the heated metal tray and put under the grill.
7. Leave under the grill for 2 minutes until puffed up and browned/blackened in certain points. Remove from the heat.
8. Brush melted butter over the naan with a pastry brush - don't be shy, use lots. Season with rock salt.
9. Repeat for the rest of the naans. Serve.
A very dear friend gave me this recipe while I was at University and throwing events with the Food Society I was involved in where we had to pump out hundreds and hundreds of canapes on the spot multiple multiple times a year for 4 years. As I think I expressed a few posts back, this has left me with a deep rooted reluctance for all things canapeY. However, despite this cynicism, this is one of the only canapes that can drag me out of my stupor, into the kitchen and into an appetite. If I needed more reasons to adore this girl, this just put the proverbial cherry on the cake. Or Clafoutis. Mmm.
Flaky, cheesey, buttery pastry flavoured with salt and rosemary - oh god - topped with salty salty feta cheese, juicy sun dried tomato and olive - oh god, oh god, just too good.
Trust me, make these - you'll never ask for another canape recipe again. And so easy too; simple to make both for small numbers and immense. Pretty too, people will marvel. Give it a go.
Ingredients (makes 20):
For the shortbreads:
50g plain flour, sifted
Pinch cayenne pepper
50g cold butter
50g parmesan cheese, grated
1tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
For the topping:
10 semi dried tomatoes
Salt and black pepper
110g feta cheese, diced
10 Black olives, halved
1. Preheat the oven to 200Place the flour, a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt, butter, parmesan and the rosemary in a bowl and rub together to form a smooth dough. Alternatively you can pulse the ingredients in a food processor. This is a dry dough.
2. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 0.6 cm thickness. Using a 2cm fluted pastry cutter cut out circles. Place the dough on baking sheets lined with baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Bake until golden brown, 7-8 minutes. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool.
4. Top the shortbreads with tomatoes and feta. Garnish with olives and serve at room temperature.