Filed under recipes

Simple Super Sweet/Savoury Scones

I’m not a big cakes and sweets man. If I’m going to cook something, it’s generally going to be a first or second course offering. That said, the simplicity (and scrumptiousness) of the Helmore family’s scone recipe is too good to refrain from passing on. It requires 4 cups of self raising flour, a small tub (300ml) of cream, and 1 can of lemonade. Combine the mixture in a big bowl (you may need to add more flour or less lemonade to reach the desired consistency) and then plonk blobs onto a floured baking tray. Cook at 180-200 for 10-15mins… and voila! Perfect with whipped cream, jam and tea!

As good as these scones are, I’ve been desiring for some time to make a savoury scone recipe of similar simplicity; and so I set out to make the scones by substituting the lemonade with a can of beer and by adding bacon and grated cheese to the mix. The result, perhaps surprisingly, was a very nice (and wholly edible) savoury scone which, when consumed with beer and a little bit of relish, constitutes part of a nutritious Lancashire Tea.

I used a moderately flavourless beer – XXXX Gold – and added some pepper and salt to taste. Although the smell of beer is apparent when mixing and resting, it does not invade the flavour of the scones. Possible modifications include cutting the bacon into smaller squares, adding semidried tomatoes or olives into the mixture and/or using soda water with extra salt for those wishing to avoid using beer.

One other option is to make the scones according to a traditional recipe, which by all accounts isn’t too much more difficult that the one thus divulged. Either way, Storm and I now have a deal that every weekend, while she hangs up our 3 loads of washing, I’m to make a fresh batch of scones. And believe it or not, that proposition was arrived at by mutual accord!!

Jock Rocking Chilli Garlic Calamari Recipe

Sorry about a second consecutive recipe post but they are a little less thought consuming than other posts. That, and this recipe is fantastically delicious, quick, and relatively cheap. It was first shown to me by Matty B in my 7th Ave days and is one that has given me solid browny points with Storm when sprung on her as a surprise – her quote, ‘it rocks my jocks’…

All the cooking steps are logical to the point that having just typed them out, it almost seems foolish to describe them in detail; but maybe, just maybe, it’ll encourage some people to give it a go and impress unsuspecting dinner guests. After all, how often does someone cook calamari for you outside the fish and chippery scene?

You will need, for 3 or 4 –

* 2 tubes of squid (easily acquired from the deli section of supermarkets for about $8-10 a kilo)
* 1/2 a cup of milk
* 1/2 a cup of flour
* chilli (fresh or paste) and garlic to taste
* canola or olive oil for frying.
* Salad makings of your own choosing (a spinach based salad with cooked potatoes goes very well I believe)

How to –

1) Slice the squid tubes once lengthways and unfold with the skin face down.
2) Score the soft side (the side that is facing up) of the squid with a sharp knife in diagonals, being careful not to cut too deep.
3) Slice the squid into horizontal strips.
4) Dip the squid strips into the milk (in a shallow bowl or the like) and then coat with the flour. When stacking them, be careful not to get them all stuck together.
5) On a high heat, get the oil warmed and add the chilli and garlic (according to taste/heat preference). I use about the amount of oil that it takes to thinly cover the bottom of the pan.
6) In batches if necessary, add the calamari and quickly stir it through the chilli, garlic and oil. Once stirred through, let it sit and cook for a 1-2mins on that side.
7) Flip the calamari, stir and cook for another 1-2 mins. The appearance of the calamari should go from translucence to an opaque white (similar to fish and chicken).

Ideally your calamari should be well coated in the Chilli Garlic deliciousness, have golden brown crumbs and not be too tough (on account of overcooking)…

As already alluded to, I generally serve it with a nice, fresh green salad – as an example, a spinach base with cherry tomatoes, capsicum and small potatoes (cut in half and microwaved for 5-6 mins in a bowl with glad-wrap and 1cm of water) with a squeeze of lemon on top.

Chilli Garlic Calamari
Voila! – http://www.jameses.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/img_7739.jpg

Also, apologies to those that received 3 blog posts in one email… The program that sends them out seems to have had a fit – I would never knowingly bombard anybody with that much drivel in one hit 🙂

Bubble and Squeak – Jameses’ Recipe

Storm and I were coming to the end of our grocery supplies and I thought I’d like to polish off what fresh produce there was so we could have an entirely ‘fresh’ start. Bubble and Squeak seemed the logical way to use up the last spats and spots of veges, including cauliflower which has an annoying habit of going off before being fully utilised. The following recipe is the B&S I made today although you could easily change ingredients according to taste or available items. In my mind there are three necessities: a) fried veges; b) a mash of some description; and c) an eggy mixture. The exact makeup of the first two is a matter of details. The beauty of B&S is that it takes about the same amount of time to fry the veges as it does to boil and make the mash, meaning you’re never really waiting around for things to get shaking!

Ingredients:

For Frying – 1 Onion, 1/2 green capsicum, a handful of beans, a few small nubs of cauliflower, some snow peas, 1/2 a decent zucchini (Mushrooms would’ve been a nice addition although they never last long in our house).
Mash – 1/2 a Sweet Potato, 2 Small Potatoes, 1/2 a head of cauliflower (1/2 a head of fried cauliflower would’ve been too much; mashing it adds bulk but hides the flavour a bit)
Egg Add-in – 3 eggs, a dabble of milk, black pepper.

How to –

1) Chop the Mash ingredients into small pieces and get them boiling.
2) Finely cube the onion and capsicum, and chop the beans and snowpeas into 1-2cm lengths. Chop half the zucchini into cubes and grate the other half.
3) In the frying pan, get the onion and cauliflower nubs going in some canola oil. You’ll want a relatively high heat. Add the capsicum and some chilli and/or garlic paste for taste. Stir through well. You will need to add water at decent intervals to get the veges to soften up.
4) Add the beans, cubed zucchnini and snowpeas according to perceived cooking times; with bubble and squeak you’re almost better to have them cooking for a bit longer than too little.
5) As the vege mixture was cooking, I added some Worcestershire sauce for flavour (I think Lancashire sauce might’ve been a bit nicer). Add the grated zucchini and mix through.
6) Make your mash (not too creamy or runny) with a bit of milk and some butter and leave aside for a little bit.
7) In a decent sized bowl, mix the 3 eggs with a dabble of milk and some cracked pepper.
8) Move the vege mixture to the upward side of the frying pan and add the egg mixture to the pan (on a relatively high heat). Let the egg cook on its own for a bit, stirring it to get all the egg to solidify.
9) Add the mash to the vege mixture and stir through the egg. When the goodness is well mixed through, pat the B&S down till it is even all over, turn up the heat and let the underside crisp up a little bit. If you would like some toast, whack it on now.
10) Add B&S to toast, with crispy side up for presentation; cherry tomatoes and parsley would be a good garnish.
11) Invoke the ‘he or she who cooks does not wash up’ rule and enjoy some crappy weekend telly.

Although it’s more of a breakfast-afternoon lunch sort of meal, I think it would go fantastically well with a couple of lamb chops. It’s also the sort of comfort food that would go well with a winter hangover 🙂

{Ed. It seems I’ve moved up in the world since Toad on the Road… or have I?}

Poached Eggs and some…

I love poached eggs… Strangely threatening to attempt for the first few times, but a wonderful and ‘easy’ meal once you’ve mastered the tricks. Being home sick for a second day running, I had a few extra minutes upon waking up to indulge myself with a decent breakfast… I’d decided that I wanted a little something extra for flavour and in so doing stumbled on a great little combo:

Put hot water in a small pot, and bring to the boil with a dash of salt and white vinegar. At the same time, throw a medium flame under a small frying pan.

Drop your two eggs in with care and hope they don’t break or combine (depending on your taste for poached eggs, about 2 1/2 or a dash more minutes should give you firm whites and runny yolks). Drop a dollop of butter into the pan and grate a decent handful of zucchini onto the butter. Mix it through reasonably well and get your bread toasting. Throw a small dollop of leggos (tomato pasta sauce) or similar into the buttered zucchini… in this case, less is more… and stir through.

Drop the poached eggs onto the toast and fork them to spread. A smidge of salt and a grinding of pepper and then place your zucchini masterpiece on top. Finish with a grating of cheese and enjoy with a newspaper and a glass of Booyah-Jimmy (3/4 Juice of Orange, 1/4 cranberry juice)…

Smashing!

In all Likelihood…

With the advent of the internet, the sharing of recipes has taken on new form and vigour. Websites such as videojug provide step-by-step video instructions on how to make your favourites, whilst a well aimed google search can reveal the how-tos for the most surprising, diverse or inauthentic fare. My friend Gally is looking to set up a website that features great recipes for hungover people and I have even previously posted a wonderful recipe on this blog.

So this evening I thought I’d share the recipe for tonight’s dinner – the most unique meal I’ve ever made and one that ‘In all likelihood’ I’ll never make again…

Toad on the Road, (A.k.a – Slop on Toast or Lazy Man’s Shag)

The basic premise for this meal was simple: use up all the leftover vegetables in the fridge that had not passed the ‘vegetable-fungus spectrum’ threshold. And try to make it edible. One additional self-imposed stricture on tonight’s cooking procedure was that it had to be bloody easy, given that nary a vegetable had been cut, peeled or otherwise reshaped by 9:30pm.

Firstly, peel, chop and cook potatoes as though you are going to make mash.
Now, place various vegetables into the food processor until they are finely chopped. Start with an onion and a carrot and then get these frying in a pan with an gallop of olive oil. ‘Process’ your zucchini and that bag of semi-dehydrated mushrooms you found adhered to the iced-over panel at the back of the fridge and add them to the mix of frying slop. By now, if you’ve done things correctly, you should have something that resembles rabbit vommit, with a similar texture and no flavour.

At this juncture, take a moment to think about how you could possibly salvage your meal… actually, save yourself the hassle… by now you should have realised that it’s going to be pretty fckuing ordinary. In a misguided attempt to add flavour, ‘process’ a handful of olives and chuck them into the mix and then clear space in the middle for the egg… I know, I know… egg?!? (Not up there licking a 9V battery but still some pretty poor decision-making nonetheless). Semi cook the egg and then stir it through the goop so you have neither scrambled eggs with vegetables nor the makings for vege patties.

Add a dollop of pasta sauce and some black pepper. Scratch your head and curse two and half times and then add a tin of lemon zest tuna for good measure.

Mash the potato and roll your eyes before chucking it into the frying pan to be mixed in with the ‘rest’. Afterall, why have a dinner plate with heavenly mash and goop in proximity… it’d be like inviting the Queen and Ziggy the bag man for high tea and biccies.

Butter some bread, add the slop atop, and garnish with cheese recently de-molded…

If you’ve made it according to plan, it should taste exactly like the sum of the ingredients (i.e. not that bad) and have the appearance of a freshly flattened toad

Best enjoyed with a nice glass of Merde de Maison…

Jameses’ Chorizo Delight

Following on from my friend Gally’s sporadic desire to publish recipes on his blog, I thought I would divulge the secret of my wonderful chorizo pasta. You will need…
1 Chorizo

1 Sizeable onion

Garlic (according to desire), likewise with chillies.

Tonnes of mushrooms

Black olives (not Kalamata), pitted and sliced

1 large tin of diced tomatoes

A handful of fresh tomatoes.

Half a capsicum

Fresh herbs (a smattering of basil and oregano should suffice)

300g of nice (egg) pasta – why wreck the perfect pasta?.

And around 22 minutes.

In a dash of olive oil, cook the chorizo whole for a few minutes on a medium heat. Chop your onions, garlic and chilli whilst it is blattering away. Chuck these into the frying pan, turn up the heat and remove the chorizo. Chop the chorizo into smallish pieces and chuck it back into the mix. Whilst you are waiting for your onions to soften and golden, chop up your tomatoes and capsicum (I like to do the capsicum in long thin strands and the tomato in thin-ish semi-circles).

Add the tin of tomatoes and herbs, stir and turn the heat back to medium. Add your olives and wait for a minute or two, perhaps boiling the kettle or plotting the downfall of your nemesis. Add your tomatoes, mushrooms and capsicum (you could even add a handful of grated carrot for something different.

Start cooking your pasta with a pinch of salt and a fraction (smaller than 3/43) of oil.

Let the magic of heat do the rest whilst you try and remember the relevance of a Mersenne prime number, wash some dishes and mentally prepare yourself for the post-dinner administration of a foot massage to your fortunate other. Keep an eye on your sauce and taste it for chilliosity, flavour and consistency – sometimes a dollop of leggo rights the imbalance immediately.
When the pasta is to your liking, add it to the sauce and stir through thoroughly.

Garnish with parmesan and italian parsley. Goes well with a Cabernet Merlot and Tracy Chapman’s first album (self-titled).