Sunday, 19 August 2012

Rime of the Ancient Marinated Anchovies

Here's a quick little recipe that I like to use for pizza toppings. I've been making my own pizza a lot recently and discovered this quick, simple trick for making anchovies that little bit more interesting. All you need are the following:

  1. Tin of anchovies or, if you can get them, high quality fillets of anchovies
  2. Juice of half a lemon
  3. Olive oil
  4. Chilli peppers of choice (I used a scotch bonnet, for added attitude)
  5. Salt, pepper, sugar

Squeeze half the lemon into a small bowl, and make up the rest of the marinate with 2-3 times as much olive oil. Mix it well till it forms an emulsion. A small whisk does wonders here. Then, chop your chilli pepper. For my scotch bonnet, I diced it. If you're using a regular green chilli or red chilli then just slice it so that it keeps it's cross-section shape (purely for aesthetic). 

Then, place the anchovies and chilli into the marinade and add a generous pinch of sugar, then grind in pepper and salt if required. Then, just leave it till it's ready. The longer you leave it, the more the flavours will infuse and the hotter and spicier it'll taste.

Then, you can add the chillis and anchovies onto your pizza, draining off any excess liquid before adding it to the topping. 

The leftover marinade can then be used to drizzle the pizza if you like, or you can use it as a spicy salad dressing, or as a dip. It taste so good that it's a waste to throw it away. Have an experiment and you'll be able to find something to use it with. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Pastries of Death Part 4: Because vegetarian food is always healthy

Get some more cushion for the pushin' with this leek, potato and cheese pie recipe!

I recently had a pie party at my flat.  I did the steak and Guinness pie from before (see but I thought a vegetarian option was in order, so I came out with this one.  It's hard to find a vegetarian recipe that doesn't involve a metric ton of cream, cheese and carbs, and who am I to buck the trend?

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.  Roll out your pastry until it's the thickness of a pound coin, then carefully drape it over a lined baking tin, make it fit, and cut off the excess.  Prick the base with a fork to stop it from rising into a load of bubbles and blind bake it for about 25 minutes, then remove it from the oven.  Leave the oven on for later.
  2. Get some salted water on the boil.  Peel your potatoes and cut them into thin slices - you want them to be about half a centimetre thick.
  3. Cut the offending ends off your leeks and slice them lengthways.  Wipe any dirt out of them under cold running water, then chop them into little half moons.
  4. Gently fry your leeks in butter and give them a bit of seasoning.
  5. Blanch your potato slices in the water for about three minutes.
  6. Layer your potatoes and leeks in the pie according to the cutting-edge diagram below.  Season well in between each layer.
  7. Pour in the cream and grate a buttload of cheese all over the top, then bake it in the oven for about 45 minutes until it's golden brown.

Polenta Double-Team Action Part 2 - Steaky Steak Steak

Oh man I love the steak.

In this second instalment of our series on the wonderful things you can do with polenta, we'll be looking at what you can do with the leftovers from the previous recipe.  Formed into a cake and fried like bubble and squeak, it develops an awesome coating, making it crispy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside (like an armadillo).  Serve it with some seared cow and it's business time.

Ingredients (to serve one):
  • 1 x well hung rump steak
  • Handful of cooked polenta with parmesan from the previous recipe
  • Handful of fresh leafy green veg, like kale
  • 1 x clove of garlic
  • 2 x rosemary sprigs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Few knobs of butter
  • Splash of red wine to deglaze
  1. Get your meat out of the fridge at least half an hour in advance to allow it to adjust to room temperature.
  2. Heat a frying pan up - you want it REALLY hot - and get your other ingredients ready to go.  That means smashing the garlic clove, forming a nice flat hockey-puck type shape with your polenta and smashing the garlic clove with your palm heel.
  3. Heat another frying pan up on more of a medium heat and cook your polenta in olive oil or butter for a few minutes on each side until it's crispy.
  4. Season the steak on one side with salt and a liberal amount of black pepper - beef and pepper are best friends, like Kerry Katona and every plumber in Cheshire.
  5. When the pan is up to heat, drizzle a bit of olive oil in - don't worry about smoke, smoke is good (forget what they told you at school).  Assuming your steak is about 1 inch thick (that's not a euphemism), sear the steak on the seasoned side for 1 and 1/2-2 minutes for rare meat (go on my son!), 3 for medium rare (eh... ok) and 4 for well done (hang your head in shame).  DO NOT TOUCH THE STEAK UNTIL THIS PART IS FINISHED.
  6. When that side is cooked to your liking, season the other side, flip the steak and cook the other side for the same amount of time.  Chuck the butter, garlic and rosemary into the pan too.  When it's done, baste it and remove the steak to a warm plate.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, pour the jus all over the steak and serve with the polenta and some steamed veg of some sort!