Friday, 23 March 2012

Guest recipe - cantuccini biscuits

Biscotti di Prato (almond cookies from Tuscany)

by Miss Camel


175 g whole almonds – preferably without skin; if
you have to peel them put them into boiling
water for some time, try to peel them, get angry
because 1. it doesn’t work and 2. Stabbing
almonds underneath your finger nail is damn
painful; if you manage to get rid of the skin be
happy J let the almonds dry overnight or don’t – couldn’t make out much a difference
250 g plain wheat flour
180 g sugar
2 packages of vanilla sugar
½ bottle of bitter almond flavour (be careful – we’re talking about German ingredients and I
have no idea how much they put into your flavouring bottles)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 pinch of salt
25 g butter – not too cold
2 eggs


Put the ingredients into a bowl, make a sticky dough, make a ball and put into the fridge for half an hour. (As I figured out it doesn’t matter to leave the dough inside the fridge overnight in case of a sudden laziness.)

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Divide the dough into 6 slices and form – Tim says –  “sausage shapes”, put them onto a baking tray with baking parchment and bake for 13 minutes until they are golden.

Let them cool.

Cut the “sausages” into finger width slices, arrange them with the not-yet-baked side down on the tray (my very German way to explain what I mean J ) and bake/roast for another 10 minutes (200°C) until golden.

If you have done your job well – enjoy your cantuccini with a nice latte macchiato, cappuccino or anything you prefer and share your flatmate.

You can also store them for quite some time if you put them into a tin.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

All Hail the Oxtail

A great English classic gets the Heavy Metal treatment.

Some people get a bit funny about the idea of eating oxtail for some reason.  This is stupid.  It's just meat - and extremely flavoursome, tender meat at that.  So tender, in fact, that I actually had difficulty picking it up with the fork.  Add a rich gravy into the equation and you're on cloud #666.  It's also nice and cheap.  I recommend making a large quantity in advance so you can refrigerate it and have a quick easy midweek meal ready to go.  More people should eat oxtail.

Ingredients (to serve four):
  • 1kg oxtail
  • Two medium sized onions (beef and onion, hell yeah)
  • Three celery sticks
  • Four carrots
  • A few thyme sprigs tied into a bouquet garni
  • Two bay leaves
  • 750ml beef stock (I think)
  • 250ml red wine (use ale or stout if you prefer)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsps plain flour
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • A couple of knobs of butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees and chop up the onions, celery and carrots into chunks.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a heavy-based casserole.  Season the oxtail pieces (as always with beef, be liberal with the pepper) and sprinkle them with a bit of plain flour.  Sear them on all sides, starting with the fatty sides to start rendering the fat down, then remove them to a plate.
  3. Throw the vegetables in the pan with some butter.  Season them lightly and gently fry them until golden, then deglaze the pan with some wine.  When the wine has almost completely reduced, put the oxtail back in, mix it all up and pour in enough beef stock to almost cover the beef.
  4. Skim any scum from the surface of the stew, then chuck in your bay leaves and herbs.  Put the lid on the casserole and stick it in the oven for three hours, then discard the bay leaf and herbs.  Simples!
  5. Enjoy with mustard mash.