My Foodie Adventures

Making up healthy recipes as I go along...

Category: Uncategorised (page 3 of 3)

One Man Tea Party: Loyd Mulled Wine with Plum

Let’s get this mother flipping party started!

I am about to review this tea into next week.

The first tea in my weekly blog is a wonderful Christmassy number from a Polish company called Mokate Loyd Tea.

I found it using the Google translation app, which is amazing! You hold your phone’s camera over the text you want translating and it does it on the screen in real time. It’s so much fun! And, you can download language packages for offline uses. This means that next time I go on holiday I don’t have to rely on my rudimentary language skills and strange gestures and waves. So I’ll look like less of an idiot.

Back to the tea at hand.

Using the app, I scoured the Polish section of my local shop, found the tea section and used it to find the caffeine free ones. This is because of the sheer volume of tea I drink on an evening. If I didn’t get caffeine free tea I would be bouncing off the walls.

I grabbed a couple of them in different flavours and brought them home.

The packaging for the Mulled Wine Tea with Plum wasn’t anything to scream about. It’s blue, has a mug on it and a plum. Pretty succinct really. But I’m not offering a critique on design. I’m here to book a one-way ticket to flavour town and, damn it, that’s where this tea is taking me.

The first thing you notice when you pour your boiled water in is the smell. It is incredible. It smells exactly like the mulled wine we had in Hamburg., to the point I had to double check I hadn’t just blanked out and actually made mulled wine.

After a couple of seconds, my kitchen smelled like Christmas. Cloves, orange, dried fruits, et al. It was permeating through my kitchen and into my face and I couldn’t wait to get sipping.

I let it brew for about 3 minutes (as well you should) and just basked in the intoxicating smell of a God damn winter wonderland. After those 3 tense minutes of impatience, I took a tentative sip.

The flavour isn’t as powerful as the scent, but it is not without its potency. The tea actually tastes alcoholic, which I guess is a bonus? And the flavours are amazing. Whoever crafted this wonderful beverage, I tip my cap to you.

I managed to get hold of the full English translation on Amazon and I checked off the flavours I could easily taste; such as apple, orange peel and blackcurrant. However, I have no idea what a chokeberry is and I don’t really know what rose is supposed to taste like, but they were in there too.

The spices comprised of your usual mulled wine fare of cloves, cinnamon and ginger but there was also hibiscus flower and liquorice. Nothing was overpowering and it all balanced really well.

In conclusion, this is a great winter tea and if I had some spiced rum and honey, I would be pouring them into this delicious hot beverage and getting drunk like bible times.

Spinach Stuffed Pork With Roasted Vegetables

I recently came into possession of a large joint of pork and as a way of stopping myself from trying out 5 different pulled pork recipes* (which would have led to me sitting on my sofa eating the whole lot with a spoon) I decided to cook something that required a little more effort than I usually dedicate to the culinary arts.

It turns out, it was the same amount of effort (if not less).

It’s stuffed pork with vegetables. Slow roasted because I was playing Battlefield and you can’t pause that game.

There really isn’t much more to say about it, except it looks and tastes amazing. You really should give it a go.

*Once I have perfected my pulled pork rub (a phrase that sounds a lot dirtier than it is) I will post the recipe up here.

Ingredients:

For the pork.

Joint of Pork (I don’t know what size you want. Think about how many people are eating, gauge appropriately

Spinach (I just used baby spinach)

Ginger (I used pureed because I use it in almost everything and couldn’t be bothered to peel it every day)

Salt

Pepper

Cinnamon

Apple

Garlic

Paprika (Smoked or not, it’s your choice)

Method:

  1. Firstly, make incisions at about 1/4 inch along the skin/fat side of the pork at diagonals. I think this is either for aesthetics or decent crackling. Both good reasons
  2. Rub salt into the skin/fat bit
  3. Blend everything except the pork and paprika
  4. Make an incision in the pork and cut all the way through to the other side. You want a wide enough cut that you can get a decent amount of stuffing into it, but don’t bisect it.
  5. Stuff the pork. Just grab handfuls of the spinach mixture and cram it right on in there.
  6. Rub oil over the sides and underneath of the meat, but not on the fat/skin.
  7. Leave it to settle for a bit.

 

The Vegetables.

For mine, I used:

  • Fennel
  • Red onion
  • Carrot
  • Butternut Squash
  • Crushed Garlic
  • Cooking Apples

You can just grab whatever is in season, or whatever you like.

Chop them to roughly the same size, toss in a bit of oil and season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg, fennel seeds, sage, oregano and a couple of bay leaves. Just a pinch of each, because otherwise you run the risk of not learning from my mistakes and every mouthful tastes like being punched by a spice merchant.

Cooking the lot

Make sure the vegetables all have room, you want one single flat layer. If you have them piled on top of each other they will steam and that’s not what we’re aiming for here.

Then mix apple juice and a beer of your choice (I had some Duvel in, but any hoppy beer will do).

Pour it in with the vegetables. You only want a really thin pool, about 2mm so the bottom of the chopped veg is sitting in it. We’re not boiling the veg in this mix (that’s for another recipe).

Sit the stuffed pork on top, skin side up

Cover over with foil

Set oven to… I’m going to guess at 200℃ but the numbers have all rubbed off on my oven dial so I, as previously stated, cook with guess work. It’s slow cooking, so just pick a fairly low heat. If it’s not cooking at all after an hour, turn it up.

Once the meat is cooked through (stab it, the juices should run clear) take the foil off, crank the heat up and cook it for a further 10 minutes. Make sure you check it regularly so it doesn’t burn. You want the skin to puff up and be crunchy.

Once that happens, take it out of the oven. Wrap the meat in foil and let it sit for 10 minutes. You can leave the vegetables in the oven so they don’t chill out too much.

Once it’s rested, put the vegetables on your plate(s), carve and serve the meat, pour on some of the juice from the bottom of the pan and enjoy.

Let’s Get Classy, Don Draper Style…

Let me introduce you to my favourite drink. The Old Fashioned. A surprisingly simple drink which just makes you want to put on a suit and listen to jazz music. This potent potable has recently seen a resurgence in popularity, thanks mainly to the awesome TV show, Mad Men and Don Draper’s somewhat worrying penchant for them, at any hour of the day.

I recently took it upon myself to have a Mad Men Marathon; the first four seasons are on Amazon Instant Video, so it would be rude not to. Once I decided that this was how I was going to spend my weekend, I knew I would have to go all out. It wasn’t going to be as simple as pressing play.

I knew that I would have to mentally prepare myself for the blurred line between reality and TV, like the time I watched 30 episodes of The Sopranos and kept telling people to “fuhgedaboudit” and calling them a “schifosa” despite having no idea what it means.

For my initiation into the world of advertising in the 50s, this meant  I wound up wearing a suit and eating steak (rare, in case you were wondering).

However, about four episodes in, a thought dawned on me. My mouth was a little parched, probably because I had covered my steak in tabasco sauce and served it with chips covered in salt and vinegar. I knew I couldn’t just pour myself a normal drink. I needed a classy drink. I needed an Old Fashioned.

So, with introductions well and truly out the way, let’s do this.

*NB: There is no official, agreed upon method or recipe for an Old Fashioned. This is just how I make it*

Ingredients and Tools:

Whiskey or whisky (don’t just pick up a random bottle. The choice of alcohol plays a massive part in the taste of the end result)

Brown Sugar

Angostura Bitters

Orange Peel (just a small wedge will do, try not to get any pith because this will make it bitter and awful)

Ice (big chunky ice, you want it to chill your drink but not melt quickly and water it down)

Optional: A Drop of Water

You need a small tumbler for this, like in my picture up there. That was a glass I got free with a bottle of Jura.

Teaspoon

Method:

  1. Put about half a teaspoon of sugar in the glass, I had sugar cubes so I just used one of them
  2. Add a few drops of bitters and stir it in, this is where a drop of water comes in handy as you need the sugar and bitters to dissolve so you don’t end up with a saccharine sludge at the bottom of your glass
  3. Fill the glass with ice cubes and give it another stir, get the ice coated in the sugary bitters
  4. Put as much whiskey/whisky
  5. in as you like, it’s your drink, I won’t judge
  6. Point the orange side of the peel at your drink and give it a squeeze over it. This releases the oils and gives a light orange taste to your drink.
  7. Rub the peel around the rim of your glass and drop it in
  8. Final quick stir
  9. Slowly sip your drink and bask in its manliness. You’ll probably sprout a wicked moustache and talk like Ron Swanson, so prepare yourself for that
  10. Lose track of time and reality as you click ‘Next Episode’ for the 15th time
  11. Repeat

There are loads of variations on this recipe and as I make them, I will share my experiences with you!

Setting Sail….

My name is Luke, that’s me up there. I love food and I abhor boredom. I love the comfort of daily routines, but I constantly want new experiences.

I am, by no means, a chef. I have very little idea of the technicalities of cooking and I only own about two pans. I have an alarming number of knives, most of which I have no idea how to wield (as you can tell by the fact that I refer to it as ‘wielding’) but one fork, so I can’t host dinner parties unless I tell everyone we’re being “authentic” and eating with our hands.

I have honed my “skills” through a combination of necessity and pride as well as a lot of trial and error. I don’t have “recipes” but I do like to cook fairly healthily.

I have been fortunate enough to have been influenced quite heavily by one of the greatest cooks the world has ever known, my mother. I can’t think of a single meal that she has made that I haven’t enjoyed (and still do at any given opportunity, to this day).

My grandmother has also displayed a flair for cooking on occasion, especially her Sticky Toffee Pudding (I will endeavour to get a guest blog from her because it is amazing), although her portion sizes leave a lot to be desired. I’m a 6ft 2 man grandma, why am I getting the same sized portions as my 8-year-old brother? Why do you hate me so much?

That’s not even mentioning my Granny, a.k.a. the reason I refuse to pay for Indian food. Granny has been cooking it her entire life and nothing I could buy would ever come close. The woman used to feed me Roti with butter and sugar and I still get all nostalgic every time my left arm tingles and my breath gets short.

I also spent 7 years on and off as a chef in a professional kitchen (anyone who knows me, don’t point out it was Pizza Hut). So, I have some experience in this industry (don’t tell them I got fired either, let’s maintain an air of mystery here people!)

I began this blog because I’ve always loved cooking, even after I burned my eyebrows off because I looked too closely at a toaster. I’ve had a number of mishaps and a fair few successes. So if this site goes quiet for a short while, there is a distinct possibility I have overestimated my talents and set a small fire.

As the days go on, I will try to remember some of my more memorable failures, because no one likes a blog about one person’s constant success.

The thing to remember when you wander through the rocky terrain of this blog is that I tend to cook what I feel like. There is neither rhyme nor reason in the endeavor. I’ll just be sitting there and suddenly, I’ll think,

“I haven’t had coconut curry in a while” or

“I want biscuits, but the shop is shut”

And then I’ll resign myself to the fact that I’m going to have to make it. So if the recipes seem sporadic or disjointed, it’s because they are.

Before we unfurl our maps and embark on this culinary adventure together, please bear a couple of things in mind:

  • I cook with guess work. I broke my scales and I’ve never owned a meat thermometer. So if my ingredients lists seem vague, it’s because I don’t know how much I put in.
  • I don’t have any dietary requirements. If a recipe doesn’t specifically say gluten free or vegan, it isn’t. Although, it’s probably going to be obvious.
  • I am not an affluent man. This is probably a bonus for most people reading this. So there will be very few opportunities for you to break out the truffle oil or dust off your spiralizer (even though I really want one of those). Just basic ingredients you can find in most shops.

With you well and truly warned of the perils awaiting us on this journey, we can set sail. Get your walking boots on, throw on your apron and grab your compass. Actually, leave the compass. We’ll figure it out on the way…

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