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Take A Pic Of Your Dinner!


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How?
Quite easily!

First make up the blackened spice mix:

  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 3/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp finely ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

(Makes enough for several meals. A variant I like very much is to substitute smoked paprika and smoked sea salt, if you have any. Supermarkets sell it now and it's a very useful condiment to have lying around.)

Mix together. Pat the steak dry, rub a generous amount of spice mix over it, and put it back in the fridge until you're ready to cook it.

Dice the veg: I used half an onion, a green pepper, and half a dozen portobello mushrooms, but it can be just about anything really. I like a little dash of bitterness in there so green pepper and/or celery is recommended for that. I also added a clove of garlic (minced).

Fry the veg off until cooked somewhere between softened and browned. Add 150 g of Basmati rice to serve two (I find the texture is best if you soak the rice in cold water for half an hour first, but that's optional). Fry briefly, then stir through between 1 tsp and 1 tablespoon of the above spice mix or all of the below spice mix. Then add 300 ml of chicken or vegetable stock. Put a lid on and simmer for around 10 minutes on a very low heat, then turn it off and leave it for a further ten minutes. The stock should be entirely absorbed and the rice fluffy.

In the pictures above, I threw in a handful of frozen prawns with the stock because I had some to use up. That's entirely optional. Authentic Cajun dirty rice has chicken gizzards, if you're that way inclined.

You can use the same spice mix on the rice as you made for the meat, or, if you're feeling energetic and want to mix things up a bit, try this as an alternative:

  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika

This is the right amount for 150 g of rice. This can be pretty hot -- adjust the white pepper to taste, or substitute cayenne if you prefer a chilli heat to a peppery one.

Then fry the steak, in the usual manner. Here, I was using my Le Creuset [1] cast-iron griddle, which is the best pan I've found for frying steaks. You can get the pleasing crosshatch effect by turning it through about 60 degrees halfway through cooking each side. Cooking steak for a good crust and a rare interior is all about balancing temperature and time. Because this steak was so thick -- almost two inches -- I used a slightly lower temperature than normal and fried it for a total of 10 minutes, reaching an internal temperature of 43 deg C. I then removed it to a warmed plate in a warmed oven and rested for ten minutes, which reached an internal temp of 52 deg C for the nice rare inside you see in the pic.

IMO, any methods of telling how done a steak that involve timing it or prodding it are for the experts (line cooks who cook dozens a night) or the rank amateurs (who don't know any better). I am neither. My wife bought me a fancy Thermapen [1] digital thermometer last year and it's been a superb tool for all sorts of cooking, particularly barbecue.

[1] Cheaper brands exist.

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You can use this method on almost any protein -- chicken breast is great (better hammering it thinner first for even frying), swordfish, salmon, red snapper, mahi mahi; any meaty fish steak that'll hold together through the frying process. Here's some seared tuna I did a while back, basically the same technique (and very similar rice):

8520312497_f36ee08f2a_c.jpg

Blackened seared tuna with Cajun rice by PenLlawen, on Flickr

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You probably didn't want it. With a sirloin that rare, the fat hasn't rendered much; so it was very hard and chewy, probably inedibly so unless you're very determined. This is why (they say) you should always serve a ribeye (with its right-through marbling of fat) cooked medium through, to soften the fat.

The steak itself was actually a little tough too, as was the second one I bought that we had for dinner tonight; despite careful cooking and resting, too. I suspect it was just an unfortunately poor piece of meat. My butcher is generally very reliable but you can't win 'em all.

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This is why (they say) you should always serve a ribeye (with its right-through marbling of fat) cooked medium through, to soften the fat.

Man, I wish a lot of people knew this... Nothing more annoying that talking to someone who thinks they know everything about steak and then they say something like 'You've ruined a ribeye if you cook it medium!'

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Shit phone photos:

aPbmgZzl.jpg

This is Salted Pork Belly Stew with Black Pudding, Chorizo and Butterbeans, from a recent Guardian article.

Unfortunately it was a bit shit. The salt from the pork was evidently still present despite curing and rinsing as instructed, and even though the pork itself was ok, all the saltiness had gone into the tomato sauce, which was basically inedible. I'd added some sausages too that needed eating up. Basically I had to just pick out all pork bits and beans and leave the sauce.

The black pudding was also totally overpowered, offering nothing of note flavour-wise, and after two hours of cooking had gone a bit mushy.

Stuff I'd change:

More sage

Not bother salting the pork belly

Omit the black pudding

Add in some smoked bacon lardons

This is Broccoli & Tallegio Lasagne from 'Economy Gastronomy', using leftover slow roasted pork shoulder and tomato sauce. It was fucking delicious.

C6xzO72l.jpg

You slow roast the pork in a tomato sauce with chilli, garlic and rosemary until it's pullable, and eat that with veg and polenta or mash. Then with the leftovers make the lasagne. Soooo nice.

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Unfortunately it was a bit shit. The salt from the pork was evidently still present despite curing and rinsing as instructed, and even though the pork itself was ok, all the saltiness had gone into the tomato sauce, which was basically inedible. I'd added some sausages too that needed eating up. Basically I had to just pick out all pork bits and beans and leave the sauce.

That's a shame. I'd have been tempted to turn it into a soup, to try and dilute the saltiness.

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Didn't know where to put this, but Hawksmoor Guildhall have started doing a mixed grill:

BEv7zpQCUAARnj6.jpg

Jesus christ.

How many is that supposed to feed, 8?

I wanted to go for their huge breakfast there, but then I realised they don't do it on weekends which is pretty lame.

Edit:

http://thehawksmoor.com/wp-content/uploads/menus/GH-DINNER.pdf

The menu says '3-4'.

Seriously, how are 3 people going to eat all that?!

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Just made some most fantastic rum and raisin icecream using a recipe from the Icecreamist's Book - also made up but not pictured is the hot rum butter sauce to go with it. Quite boozy - rasisins been soaking in Old Monk (not rhyming slang) Superior rum for 36hrs and think there are 4 shots in the main ice cream and another couple in the sauce.

Been making a lot of ice cream recently as bought a Gaggia Gelatiera - it so exceeds the shop bought stuff in every way.

Not the best pic but you get the idea, its not going to last longpost-17489-0-27859300-1362831370_thumb.j

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Trying to eat more veg and less meat so I've been caning the slow cooker recently and had a superb Moroccan curry followed an Argentinian Stew and this today.....Vegetable & Cashew nut Red Curry. Bloody lovely, cauliflower, butternut squash and Aubergine have never tasted so good!

post-130-0-58806800-1362943264_thumb.jpg

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This is Salted Pork Belly Stew with Black Pudding, Chorizo and Butterbeans, from a recent Guardian article.

Unfortunately it was a bit shit. The salt from the pork was evidently still present despite curing and rinsing as instructed, and even though the pork itself was ok, all the saltiness had gone into the tomato sauce, which was basically inedible. I'd added some sausages too that needed eating up. Basically I had to just pick out all pork bits and beans and leave the sauce.

The black pudding was also totally overpowered, offering nothing of note flavour-wise, and after two hours of cooking had gone a bit mushy.

Right, I'm not having this. Salted pork belly stew? The go on about it like they've just invented it and given it a posh name. It's fabada, Asturian bean stew. Beans (we tend to go for butterbean and cannellini), black pudding, chorizo, thick smoked bacon (just for convenience, no probs using other bits of pork), saffron, paprika, garlic, onion, stock.

The black pudding can disintegrate depending on how you cook it, but I kind of like it like that:

Na3s0jll.jpg

Just don't unwrap it if you want it in chunks - traditionally you just cook that and the chorizo whole and chop them up at the end, this one had a couple of different types of spicier chorizo in it and non-disintegrated black pudding:

278F1bnl.jpg

Off to Oviedo in a couple of weeks and I'm going to be eating the shit out of that stuff :)

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Trying to eat more veg and less meat so I've been caning the slow cooker recently and had a superb Moroccan curry followed an Argentinian Stew and this today.....Vegetable & Cashew nut Red Curry. Bloody lovely, cauliflower, butternut squash and Aubergine have never tasted so good!

post-130-0-58806800-1362943264_thumb.jpg

Recipe please.

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