18th September 2016
Moving Out
Harmony Boat ID

Time to move out. Into my boat. And eat up everything I can't take with me.
Much to the relief, and insistence, of the new Dutch lady tenant who's also been my flatmate for a few weeks.
Not that she said as much to my face, what with me living in the next room and all. Oh no. She sent me a complaintive email instead.
Passive-aggressive wimmin eh? What are you going to do?
Like that bag of not-so-mystery meat I've been intending to turn in to a tagine, the pounds of minced beef perfect for a novelty cottage pie and another bag of mixed beef and chorizo (which I use for making my camping spaghetti bolognese), that I turned into a second cottage pie.
This one made with bacon, onions, thyme, celery, and stock.
But the really exciting thing was the topping - I chopped some preserved (pickled) lime and mixed it with grated cheddar cheese into the mashed potato!
Which is surprisingly tasty, by the way.

While I'm here I might as well mention the coffee bean duck breasts with plum sauce that I made for Kurt. Who doesn't like chocolate sauce.
The duck was a bust - since Bradford offers only duck legs that's what I cooked following the method I previously invented for duck breasts (and those coffee beans did need using up). But since the plum sauce was quite overbearing you couldn't really taste the coffee. We ate it with my Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32%!) which also needed using up. And is quite hard to drink on your own.

My plum sauce was good though!

Mystery Mince Tagine
meat main
I thought I'd try making a mince tagine, with the mysterious meat from the bottom of my freezer. Or maybe not so mysterious, since it was labelled ½ sirloin/½ brisket.
It was edible, if not overwhelming. Probably tagines work better with bigger chunks of meat.
Or possibly some Ras el Hanout*.

*Ras el hanout (Arabic for "top of the shop" or "top shelf") is a blend of the best spices a vendor has in his shop. The mixture varies depending on who is selling it, but can be a combination of anywhere from 10 to 100 spices. Commonly used ingredients include cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric. Some spices may be particular to the region, such as ash berries, chufa, grains of paradise, orris root, monk's pepper, cubebs, dried rosebud, fennel seed or aniseed, galangal, long pepper.
Or so says Wikipedia anyway.

Serves 4

Stir the cumin, ground ginger, coriander and cinnamon into the mince. And Ras el hanout, if you have some. Leave to marinate for a few hours.
Grate the ginger and chop the onion (about ½"). Heat oil in a casserole dish and fry the grated ginger until it begins to catch, then add the red onion and fry until softening. Set aside.
Re-oil the pan and fry the mince in batches to brown. Set aside.
Slice the celery sticks into 2 or 4 (depending on thickness) and cut into pieces. Re-oil the pot and gently fry the celery until it softens a little.
Chop the garlic into reasonable pieces or slivers. Re-oil the pan and fry the garlic until it takes on some colour. Set aside.
Add the reserved ingredients back to the casserole.
Stone the olives, halve, and add to the pot.
Stone the dates, halve, and add to the pot.
Sliver the almonds (you could toast them first, or use flakes) and add to the pot.
Peel the marrow, quarter (or eighth) and remove the core seeds. Cut into chunks. Add to the pot.
Add stock to moisten, paprika, honey, season with salt and pepper, cover and put on a low heat until the pot begins to simmer.
Heat the oven to Gas Mark 2. Put the pot in the oven and cook until tender, but not collapsing, 1½-2 hours.
Remove the pith from one of the lemons, remove the seeds from the other. Slice and add to the tagine casserole. Turn off the oven and leave the pot for 10 minutes for the lemon to infuse.

Serve with couscous or rice.
Not too bad, but definitely not as tasty as I was hoping. The flavours all meld together to end up a bit bland and muddy. Perhaps a bit more spicing?
It probably didn't help that I overcooked the dish slightly - you want to eat it before the marrow completely disintegrates.
2 hours max.
The olives might be added later too - they tend to lose a lot of their flavour if cooked for the whole time.

Oriental Cottage Pie
main meat
My oriental twist on cottage pie.
Like Shepherd's pie. Only with beef.

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 5/180°C. Prick the potatoes and put in the oven for an hour.
Chop the onion quite finely and fry gently with some thyme leaves until caramalising at the edges. Set aside.
Peel and chop the carrot quite finely and fry gently until beginning to shrivel. Chop the celery quite finely and add to the carrot. Continue frying until you see a hint of collapse and set aside.
Fry the beef until nicely browned. Set aside.
Deglaze the pan with red wine, bubble, add the stock and teriyaki or soy sauce and bubble until thickened.
Add all the other ingredients and cook, partially covered, for half an hour. Allow to dry out towards the end.
Pour the meat mixture into a casserole dish. Mash the baked potatoes with plenty of butter and a few dashes of milk. Season.
Cover the meat with the mash and run a fork across the surface to create lines. Dot with butter and bake for half an hour until the top begins to darken and crisp.
Really good.

Plum Sauce
sauce veg vegan
Of the kind you might serve with a roast duck breast.
The herby sourness of the Vermouth really makes the sauce work with the sweetness of the plums.

Serves 2

Fry the onions in butter until well caramelized. Cook gently towards the end to prevent burning. Deglaze the pan with a good splash of Vermouth. Add the chopped plums and sufficient water to moisten the pan. Simmer gently until the plums are beginning to fall apart. Push through a sieve. Simmer to reduce. Taste and season with salt, pepper if you like and a little honey.
You might want to experiment with adding star anise, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce if you're looking for a more oriental twist.

Comments (0)

No comments yet!

Post a comment (Optional)
  • Allowed markup: <a> <i> <b> <em> <u> <s> <strong> <code> <pre> <p>
  • All other tags will be stripped, unless they are in a <pre> (use this for blocks of code)