May 28, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized, Northwest European, Unusual meat — ros @ 7:51 pm

I first had kangaroo steak a couple of years ago at Archipelago, near Russell Street. This is an excellent restaurant which has a very original menu. However I think I did badly with the kangaroo dish, it was a touch overspiced and so I didn’t get chance to taste the meat properly.

I tried it again a couple of months ago in a Walkabout pub. They do several kangaroo dishes. I opted for a salad and it was very good. Since then I’ve found places to buy this meat online. Osgrow and Alternative Meats both stock this as well as a wide variety of other exciting things. Gamston Wood who have a stall at Borough Market but, sadly, no website, sell Ostrich and Kangaroo  and I am informed they will be expanding their selection soon.

Kangaroo has a very similar flavour to venison and there isn’t a huge difference in price. Half a kilo of a good quality steak cost me about £11 - about the same as an off the bone venison haunch. I had been told it went well with berry sauces so after a bit of internet research and looking at the special offers in the local supermarkets, I came up with this recipe. The idea for the sweet potato came from The Amateur Gourmet. It doesn’t look like he’s put up a recipe so I’ve offered mine.

May 25, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized, Sri Lankan — ros @ 11:49 am

For some reason I’ve been craving Sri Lankan food recently. This is very weird as I thought my parents’ cooking had put me off it for life.

My parents see food as being purely functional.  Everything in the kitchen gets thrown in a pan and stir fried to death. Every vegetable in the fridge gets chopped up, thrown together with soya mince, quorn sausages (yes, they’re veggies) rice, chilli sauce, soy sauce, tomato sauce and lettuce and cooked until the sausages are solid and the lettuce is soggy. Once, for a dinner party, tandoori chicken got made with strawberry yoghurt because Mum thought it wouldn’t make it taste any different. And then there was the lamb chop that was left in the oven so long I thought it was pork.

However there were some things which I really miss. Mostly things I had on holiday in Sri Lanka. Kiribath is amazing stuff and a well made Sri Lankan fish curry never goes down badly. I’d like to find some breadfruit too.

So I thought I’d give it a go, and it worked. Very well in fact. I made..

Mungatta Kiribath: Kiribath is rice cooked in coconut milk and is traditionally served on New Year, birthdays and other special occasions. It has a risotto like texture, but is slightly more sticky. Its often pressed into a large square and cut into diamond shaped pieces. Mungatta means mung beans. These are sometimes added for a bit of extra texture and flavour.

Fish Curry: Sri Lankan curries are similar to South Indian curries in a lot of ways. There are subtle differences in the spicing. Often a LOT of chilli is used. Also the spices for the curry powder is roasted before being ground, giving the flavour of the curry more depth

I served these with some okra that I fried gently with curry powder and a touch of chilli powder. I would say that it was a big success. It certainly seemed to go down well with my housemates who tried it.

May 22, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized, Mediterranean, Sausages — ros @ 3:28 pm

This happened in true “Ready Steady Cook” style last Sunday. There was a French rabbit in the freezer, chorizo in the fridge, a big pan and not a lot of space anywhere. Paella was the obvious choice. Fortunately, it turned out to be a tasty choice too, although its construction turned out to be quite stressful.

It should have happened like THIS. But that would be far too easy.

Problem number 1: No Paella rice. Solution - substitute Japanese sushi rice and believe it or not… it worked!

Problem number 2: No red pepper.  Solution- stir in  some red pepper soup and put in fresh chopped tomato for colour.

Problem number 3: No herbs. No solution to this one. I just prayed there’d be enough herbiness in the stock to make up for it.

Problem number 4: The chorizo was covered in a shrink wrap plastic that I mistook for the chorizo skin. I’d added half the chorizo before I noticed and spent a while picking plastic out of the pan.

Problem number 5: The rabbit was looking at me funny. No - not really a problem but why leave the head on the rabbit when packing it? It’s pretty useless. Isn’t that weird? Guess it isn’t in France. Also we had a freak rabbit with a disturbingly big liver.

After all that we eventually had a paella that was very nice apart from the occasional bit of chorizo plastic floating about. We paired it with a nice Rioja and some dolmades we found in the freezer.

May 20, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 6:47 pm

For ages I thought that blogs were a rubbish idea. I still do. There are far too many people taking up webspace posting really boring details about their lives that no-one really cares about.

But now I’ve discovered food blogs my attitude is changing. I really like cooking and eating and, more importantly, cooking and eating ‘interesting’ things. I’ve got to the point where, if I’m looking through a recipe book or around the shelves in the supermarket I find I’ve seen and tried it all before. Even restaurant menus are looking old. So where do I look for ideas? It turns out that the most exciting and original recipes can be found online in food blogs. There are hundreds to sort through… these three are the best I’ve found.

Lex Culinaria

The Amateur Gourmet (refresh the page and look at the cool pictures at the top!)

The Passionate Cook

Now I’m making my own contribution. Maybe one day it’ll be nearly as good as these guys’ pages.

I guess I’d better sort out a design, think of a name and get a camera!