Strawberry and Aperol Sorbet

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There seems to be little that separates most strawberry sorbet recipes save varying quantities of sugar vs strawbs. I found a David Lebovitz (twitter @davidlebovitz) recipe which optional Kirsch and since all my Lebovitz ice cream recipes came out so well thought I’d give it a go.

Basic quantities are the same as original recipe except since I didn’t have the optional Kirsch replaced it with Aperol (twitter @AperolSpritzUK) which I adore and compliments strawberries well. I also added a lightly beaten egg white at near to end of churning as I understand it acts as an emulsifier.

I must say the recipe was a success so thanks David.

Strawberry & Aperol Sorbet
450g Fresh Strawberries
150g Sugar
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed Lemon juice
Pinch of Salt
1 tablespoon Aperol (optional)
1 Egg white lightly beaten

Slice the strawberries, mix with sugar and Aperol. Sugar will dissolve and juice form. Let stand for an hour or so to marinade together.

Purée the strawberries and juice along with lemon juice and salt.

Strain out seeds if bothered!

Chill for at least 4 hours or couple of hours in freezer as i did.

Churn in ice cream machine to manufacturers times. I have a KitchenAid with ice cream attachment; time is 12 minutes. You don’t actually need an ice cream maker just freeze with regular trips to freezer a mixing by hand until done.

I added the egg white at 9 minutes.

Sit in sun and eat fresh with an Aperol Spritz (Aperol and Prosecco) Enjoy!
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Pizza Express Calabrese recipe. Francesco Mazzei

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Having tried and absolutely loved the Pizza Express Calabrese pizza by Francesco Mazzei I set about recreating this fiery beauty at home.

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I reckon this recipe is pretty much spot on and all the ingredients are easily available. The hardest thing to find is the authentic sausage but one can barely notice its absence if using a decent chorizo ring (not the thin sliced stuff) in its place.

I’ve listed some Pizza Express ingredients as optional as they sound good on a pizza menu no doubt but, on the actual pizza in the restaurant most subtle flavours (like the pesto) are lost to the heat intensity anyway so I leave them out. Less is definitely more in pizza terms.

Makes One Large Calabrese pizza.

Pizza Dough
Pizza Marinara sauce
Semolina Flour (for dusting board)

-Mozzarella torn in thick chunks
-Rocket
-Peppadew brand hot sweet piquanté peppers sliced into quarters.
-Fresh sliced red chilli
-Approx 30mm diameter Chorizo ring sliced on the angle at about 5/7mm thick.
-Gran Padano cheese.
-Decent EVO.

Optional if you’re feeling fancy.
-Pesto
-Oregano (I put plenty in my pizza sauce so therefore leave out)
Also if you like to really spice things up, put a teaspoon of hot chilli powder into your marinara pizza sauce when cooking.

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(Assuming you can make pizza dough and pizza sauce!…..)

Dust your board with a good dusting of Semolina Flour and roll out your dough to about 3/4mm, apparently the Pizza Express pizza is square because Francesco Mazzeis mother said they should be.

Coat with your pizza sauce then add the Chorizo, and Hot Peppers and sliced Chilli evenly but not over loaded.

Cook in a preheated 200° + oven for around 8/9 minutes.

Take it out and working quickly add first the mozzarella chunks (oregano and pesto if desired) and top with layer of fresh rocket.

Grate Gran Padano over the lot and serve on wooden chopping board.

Enjoy.

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Marvellous Chorizo Sausages

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I’ve been making these for a while and have had so many great comments about them thought they needed a share. These are really different and intense chorizo inspired cooking sausage from which the distinct flavours of garlic, fennel and of course paprika EXPLODE into the mouth. Nothing subtle about these. They are amazing. Absolutely freaking amazing…..in my opinion!

(For anyone without a method of stuffing sausages read paragraph near the bottom…you can still make them).

Ingredients.
I tend to scribble what I put into any recipe I make on the kitchen chalk board. I read George’s Marvellous Medicine lots as a boy and now to my children and it troubles me that should something stupendous happen I might not be able to recreate it. Whether these sausages can called stupendous I’m not sure but in went…..

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Ignore the Pancetta Friday, that’s when it was ready!

I had a pork shoulder and back fat which I put through the grinder on the Kitchenaid. You can of course buy at your butcher (because you dont use supermarkets for your meat do you?…) minced pork or as i used to do get a specific joint like shoulder minced by them.

Here’s a jazzy pic of my grinder IN ACTION!

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Next I add salt (2% of meat weight) I had just under 1.8kg hence 34g.
Smashed garlic cloves, smoked paprika and smashed fennel seeds. Add about 200ml very cold water Give it a mix with the flatbeater and chill in fridge again.

Now I’m assuming if you have the gear to stuff sausages you know how to use it. If you don’t you can simply form into sausage shapes and fry/grill off.

This quantity of meat made thirty-four perfect plump paprika pork pockets. I’m still eating them from the freezer now!

They go well with all sorts, I like them for breakfast (altho that amount of garlic is unlikely to be appreciated any one you might meet that morning) they go great chopped with pasta because they ooze oily flavouring everywhere, they make everyone go oooo what are these when barbecued or make a tasty little different sausage and mash comfort dinner as below.

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Additional info: Now if you like the sound of these but really can’t be bothered or have the time/gear/patience to make them my good friend Matt Cockin (he doesn’t know we’re good friends yet, but I’m sure we are) who runs the awesome Fruitpig Compamy makes his own style and he will SELL you them. I imagine his are far superior as he is a PROFESSIONAL where I am an ARTISAN (which is a trendy and annoying word for AMATEUR!) he uses ALL RARE BREED pigs raised by smallholders and he delivers ANYWHERE IN UK so you’ve really no excuse not to have tried someone’s version very soon.

Hope you like them.

Perfect Satay Sauce

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I love Satay Chicken. It must be one of my favourite Thai dishes, but I always found it hard to get that ‘restaurant’ taste. If you’ve ever bought a satay sauce jar (or in fact any other oriental sauce in a jar) from the supermarket you’ll know how god awful bad and inauthentic they can taste.

The main problem was that for years it was not possible to buy the authentic Thai curry paste which is used as the base of the satay sauce. Good news is It’s pretty widely available now in those little plastic tubs in the world foods section of supermarkets.

With a tub of that and a few basic other ingredients probably already in your pantry you’re not far away from having a pretty impressive starter or even more impressive BBQ dish.

I was told the basic ingredients and how-to after asking the lady in the oriental supermarket in Norwich ages ago, after i got home i made a pretty poor attempt first time, but could see i had added way too much coconut milk so it wasn’t as thick as I wanted, anyway,…. Heres the recipe as I make it now:

1/2 can coconut milk
Big tablespoon red curry paste
Approx 5 tablespoons peanut butter (I like mine quick thick and peanutty so I use crunchy)
1-2 tablespoons of nam pla
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2-3 tablespoons sugar

Quantities of nam pla and sugar I would suggest you start with the lower amount and try; then add more to suit your taste. If its too thick you can water down with small amounts of coconut milk.

Method.
Heat up coconut milk, then add curry paste and mix together well. Then add peanut butter. Add the rest of ingredients stirring all the while. Taste and add more of each accordingly or to taste.

The basis of all Thai cooking is hot sweet and sour; chilli for heat, sugar/palm sugar for sweetness and nam pla/tamarind etc for sourness. So adjust those until it tastes right but it should be pretty close I’ve made it enough times!! It can be made quite spicy which I like for example by adding more curry paste or fresh/dried chilli.

Obviously, you can serve this over grilled chicken or pork, as a marinade, stir into rice or noodles, or use as an amazing dipping sauce (use cucumber…lush!).

If you have more time use the other half of the can of coconut milk mixed with a little curry powder (about 1-2 tablespoons) and marinade your meat for a few hours before skewering up and grilling. Again thanks to lovely lady in oriental supermarket for that tip.

Hope you like it, let me know how you get on!

Porchetta

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Without a doubt in my mind the finest thing you can do with a pork belly is create an italian dish called Porchetta. The belly a good value cut so you can go large in the butcher. This is a superb way to feed a crowd and makes a brilliant main course for summer dining, its something different for BBQ season that will cost the same as a bucket of burgers and sausages and the best bit is it’s so goddamn killer tasty that everyone wants more and will revere you like a god.

Ive no idea how authentic mine is, but it tastes jolly fine. Here’s how I do it.

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Visit your butcher and ask for a belly, you’re only really limited by the size of your oven! A whole belly will fit in most (minus the ‘thick end’). This was my latest piece…

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Ask the butcher to bone it and score it with 1 cm gaps, but leave it unrolled. Now may be a good time to sweet talk him into giving you some twine to tie it with if you don’t have any suitable string at home.

Take the skin side and give it a rub down with oil. Then rub a generous amount of Maldon sea salt or rock salt all over the skin, making sure you massage the oil down in the scoring.

Flip it over and sprinkle with generous (at least 2 tablespoons) of

Rosemary
Sage
Fennel seeds

If you have fresh Rosemary and Sage so much the better about 20 sage leaves finely chopped will do nicely with two or three decent sprigs of Rosemary. Personally I feel it’s difficult to over herb this, fennel is THE Italian flavour and you don’t want this to taste like your average roast.

Lightly crush garlic cloves and lay across the centre. Your meat should be looking something like this…

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Use as many garlic cloves as you need to make a line right through the middle.

After that roll it up as tightly as you can, doesn’t matter if it takes a couple of attempts. Take your twine and tie the joint. You may need a helper. It takes about one minute to learn how to tie a butchers knot, if you can tie your shoes you’re half way there, YouTube will tell you the rest.

When it’s tied stand and look at it for a while because it’s a thing of beauty and about to make you very popular.

Whack your oven on highest And when it’s hot slap your meat in. Give it 5 minutes on hottest then reduce heat to Gas mark 2 which I think is about 150 degrees. My fan assisted oven blows quite hot so I turn it to 140 degrees.

Then find something to do for 3 to 4 hours, it’s impossible to overcook in a low oven so it needs NO attention other that a smug peek every hour or so.

The narrow scoring I absolutely promise will give you amazing crackling; and handy guide points to carve it.

All I have are the photos of the finished carved meat as I’m always too excited when it comes out the oven to remember to photograph; and besides it’s difficult to take pictures when a crowd of people are patting you on the back saying something along the lines of ‘good god that looks and smells ******* amazing’

Enjoy. We do.

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Home Cured Bacon in Oven Warm Roll

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So I reared some Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs for my freezer. The last thing on my mind was roasting them on a Sunday. For the record the meat roasted fabulously, but a more than curious interest in Charcuterie (or specifically curing) was the main attraction.

Now my eyes have been opened to how simple the basic concept of home curing is I am stunned that this isn’t something everyone does as a matter of course. I guess it’s just been forgotten and bacon as we know it comes vacuum sealed in plastic, in six or eight rashers.

Now I could rant about the quality of shop bought bacon but, I’m just going to tell you to go out source yourself some meat and salt because this really needs to be tried. You will be eating better quality bacon, paying less for it and will wear a smug grin on your face as you do so. You can thank me later.

BUYING & CURING

Please be aware this isn’t strictly a ‘how-to’ post, that’s for you to find out. This is a YOU HAVE GOT TO TRY THIS post!! What follows is a very basic guide only.

To my knowledge just about any part of a pig can be made into bacon. The belly gives us ‘streaky’ and the loin gives us ‘back’ bacon which is the typical bacon bought in packs. I’ve successfully cured both with little to no knowledge of the subject.

Visit your local butcher, inform him of your intention to cure and try a decent cut of loin (ask him to trim for you to cure) and a piece of belly (ask for the ‘thick’ end).

There are seemingly countless different variations of curing techniques and online blogs however for starters I recommend a visit to Sausagemaking.org for some ‘All purpose curing salt’. In reality you need only salt but the ready mix comes with a chemical addition which will preserve the colour and is of course very convenient. It comes with all the instructions you need. The technique is simple, you rub the meat all over in the required amount of salt (30g per kilo of meat) mixed with an equal quantity of brown sugar, wrap it, refrigerate and leave to cure for about five days with no attention other than to turn over or drain any liquid off as required. Pretty soon you’ll have your bacon.

Yes its that simple to begin with. The results are sublime; and like many other hobbies you can take it as far as you want. As you learn more you can do more; hang it, add herbs and pepper to your cure, smoke it or …….as i have below just plain fry it and eat it in a freshly baked still warm roll, which for the record tasted amazing.

Have fun.

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Nigella Lawson – Millionaire Shortbread

Yes it tastes as good as it looks.

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It really doesn’t get much better than this. Actually, in our house it’s known as Billionaire’s Shortbread. Yep it’s that good.

All credit of course to Nigella Lawson although I use 75g more chocolate.

I can also confirm it travels (posts) well after a batch was posted from dear old Norfolk to County Durham to my niece.

225g Plain Flour
75g Castor Sugar
375g Unsalted Butter
379g Can Unsweeted Condensed Milk
4 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
325g Dark Chocolate (although I don’t see why you can’t use Milk Chocolate should you desire. Also I use 400g to make it that little bit thicker)

8″ x 8″ tin, lined or loose bottom.

Oven to 170

Melt 175g butter, combine with sugar and flour to form soft dough. I use the flat beater in the kitchenaid because its a good excuse to switch it on but by hand in a bowl is just as easy. It will clump together by pressing.

Press into bottom of lined/loose bottomed tin and prick with fork.

Bake for 5 mins then turn oven down to 150 and bake for approx 30-40 mins. The shortbread wants to be a little squishy still when you remove as it firms up when cooled but when it starts to turn golden seems to be about right. I have a fan assisted oven which takes about 35 ‘minutes. Just keep checking.

Leave to cool.

Make the caramel by melting the remaining 200g butter in a microwavable bowl on a low heat. Add the tin of condensed milk, golden syrup and whisk well.

Microwave for 6-7 minutes at 45 second intervals mixing thoroughly between stopping and restarting. The caramel will start to bubble and boil after about 4 minutes. Be very careful it get VERY hot.

Pour the molton caramel over the shortbread and set aside to cool.

Use either microwave or Bain Marie to melt chocolate and pour over and once again leave to set.

You now own 64sq inches of heaven.