Showing posts with label Recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recipe. Show all posts

Thursday, 21 February 2013

We are the pigs - Recipe for Tatws Pum Munud

Martin Player Butchers, Cardiff. Back Bacon
Martin Player Butchers, Cardiff. Back Bacon

Sometimes a really simple recipe is what is needed. Don't get me wrong, mastering a complex dish, or a recipe in an unfamiliar cuisine is hugely satisfying, but there's something about the alchemy of taking 4 or so ingredients and conjuring something tasty and frugal that is joyful. Here is one of my favourite storecupboard recipes requiring just potatoes, onions, stock and bacon.

Finding great bacon isn't easy. Pop a supermarket rasher into a dry frying pan and you end up with a puddle of water which boils the meat rather than frying it (whether labelled as 'dry cure' or not). For great bacon, you might take advantage of your local farmers market, in Cardiff, Riverside Market is a good Sunday morning out. It should still be an economical purchase but being able to get a good caramelisation on the meat and a crisp rind makes all the difference.

Here in Cardiff we also have Martin Player Butchers in Whitchurch. This is a butcher where provenance is king. Every supplier is carefully chosen. Their bacon is amazingly good, a world away from even the 'finest' of the supermarket stuff and this recipe makes the best of it.

I got this recipe, shortly after moving to Cardiff, from my boyfriend's mother, the daughter of a farm labourer in Carmarthenshire where this was a traditional meal. I now understand that it was often eaten in winter when root vegetables and cured bacon might be what was available. It is called Tatws Pum Munud or Five Minute Potatoes, but as you will see, this is a bit of misnomer.

Tatws Pum Munud (Serves 2)
  • Potatoes - 4 medium, thinly sliced
  • Onions - 1 medium, thinly sliced
  • Back Bacon - 4 rashers, diced
  • Stock (whichever you fancy, I mainly use chicken) - about 300ml or so
Tatws Pum Munud, ready to cook
Tatws Pum Munud, ready to cook
  1. Fry the bacon well in a deep frying pan or chefs pan, let it 'catch' a little on the bottom of the pan
  2. Remove the bacon leaving the fat behind, then add the onions to soften for a few minutes
  3. Add the sliced potatoes and plenty of black pepper (no salt needed!) to the pan and mix through, then scatter the bacon over the top
  4. Add the stock so that it comes a centimetre or two below the bacon
  5. Simmer for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through and most of the liquid is gone
Bacon, potatoes and onions - ready to eat!
Bacon, potatoes and onions - ready to eat!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Breakfast in America - American Banana Granola Pancakes

At last it's February so January austerity can do one, and indulgent weekend breakfasts are back on the menu again. Last September we spent a couple of weeks travelling through Arizona, Nevada and California and if there's one thing Americans do well it's breakfast.

In San Francisco there was a lovely little place in North Beach, just round the corner from our hotel called Pat's Cafe where the eponymous, colourful Pat serves hearty breakfasts, brunches and lunches.

When we went I had the Banana Granola Pancakes, an order which was rewarded with an approving "Good choice ma'am". They were delicious served with real maple syrup and this is my attempt at recreating them. This is a great brunch recipe and is handy for using up fruit that is too ripe for eating, in fact overripe is best!

Banana Granola Pancakes
Giant American Breakfast Pancakes - in SF an
order would be 2 of these plus fruit salad!
Banana Granola Pancakes (makes 4 small or 2 large pancakes)
  • Plain flour - 135g
  • Butter - 25g, melted over a gentle heat before you start plus a little extra for greasing and serving
  • Egg - 1 large
  • Milk - 130ml
  • Caster suger - 1 tablespoon
  • Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
  • Sea salt - large pinch teaspoon
  • Banana - 1, very ripe bananas are best
  • Granola - 2 handfuls
  • Maple syrup
Pancake batter
Pancake batter
  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, mix the wet ingredients in a jug then combine, mixing until smooth. The batter benefits from resting, 20 minutes at least but you could make it the night before and leave covered in the fridge until needed.
  2. Heat a heavy based pan over a medium heat.
  3. Slice the banana thinly and add to the batter along with the granola
  4. Butter the pan lightly and evenly and once hot add spoonfuls of the mixture to the size of pancake you want.
  5. The pancake is ready to turn when you see lots of bubbles on the uncooked surface
  6. Flip the pancake and cook for a couple of minutes on the other side. You may need a little more butter.
  7. To serve, let a small knob of butter melt on the hot surface and pour over some maple syrup. The Americans would add icing sugar too!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

I'm Free - Ham Hock Soup Recipe

Now that we have finally made it to the end of the indulgent, rich Christmas foods, this bloggers thoughts have been turning towards hearty, frugal cooking. The butchers closest to me in Cardiff, Rees Family Butchers, sometimes have ham hocks available for the grand old price of £2.50 (they also do fantastic pies and often have duck eggs).

I regularly take advantage of these budget cuts and have a few recipes in the toolbag that make the most of this tasty meat, normally stretching the cut to 4 portions, but this super simple, hearty soup feeds 6 or so depending how greedy you are feeling.

Ham hock soup
Ham hock pasta soup
To serve, a little grated Parmesan on top is an excellent garnish. In fact if you have a parmesan rind available throw that in at step 3 with the rest of the ingredients. I like to serve with a chunk of crusty bread and a wedge of cheddar cheese.

Hearty ham hock soup (6 greedy portions)
  • Ham hock - 1
  • Carrots - 4 or 5 depending on size
  • Onions - 2 medium
  • Celery - 4 sticks
  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Star anise
  • White wine (optional) - 1 glass
  • Tin of tomatoes
  • Small shape pasta - A couple of handfuls (orzo works best as it stays firm but spaghetti snapped into pieces or macaroni would do)
  • Chicken stock - 500ml
  • Whole peppercorns
  • Butter
  1. Rinse the ham hock thoroughly or stand in water overnight to reduce the saltiness. Place the meat in a large pan, cover with water. Halve one of the onions, cut 2 of the carrots and 2 of the celery sticks into large pieces and add to the pan with the bay leaves, star anise and a few whole peppercorns. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and leave simmering for a couple of hours. Skim off any scum that rises to the top of the water.
  2. Once cooked drain the meat retaining the cooking water for the soup. Once cool enough, I like to remove the skin and hack into the meat helping it to cool a little quicker so that I can get on with the soup. Once the joint is cool enough to handle, retrieve all the meat, cutting into smallish pieces.
  3. Finely chop the remaining veggies and cook in a little butter until soft, about 10 minutes should do it. Return the meat to the pan, add the wine first, letting it cook off  little, then add the tomatoes, chicken stock and a couple of ladles of the ham stock.
  4. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes then check your seasoning.
  5. When you are happy add your pasta. Note that Orzo has a longer cooking time so adjust accordingly.
    • If you are eating straightaway, leave to simmer until the pasta is just cooked.
    • If like me, you are cooking up a batch for the week or the freezer, just bring back to the boil then turn off the heat and let the whole batch cool.
  6. You may find that the soup has thickened up a little too much at this point, just add some water or more of the ham stock taking care that you don't end up over-seasoning the food.
  7. Shredded ham hock and the soup base
    Shredded ham hock and the soup base

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

My favourite weekday recipe - spicy sausage casserole

This recipe has done the rounds with my friends and family. Every person I've shared it with has told me that it's gone on to become a favourite.

I've used it for supper with guests, a restorative meals on wheels for a poorly friend and I've fed it to my Dad. He who was adamant that he didn't eat butter beans, but then I caught him having seconds!

It's nothing special, but it is super quick (half an hour tops), filling and very tasty.

The original recipe can be found here on the rather marvelous BBC GoodFood site.

Spicy sausage and butter bean casserole

  • Spicy sausages, about half a dozen or so (I like to use a mix of Gorno's Toulouse and Spicy Calabrian sausages)
  • Bacon - couple of rashers
  • Leek - one large, sliced
  • Chicken or vegetable stock - about 200ml
  • White wine - glass
  • Garlic - clove (or 2 to your taste)
  • Chilli flakes - half a teaspoon, again to taste
  • Butter beans - 2 tins
  • Parsley - chopped
  1. Brown the sausages and remove to a plate and when cool slice into chunks
  2. Fry the bacon then add the leek and garlic and soften
  3. Return the sausages and add the rest of the ingredients
  4. Simmer until the sausages are cooked through
  5. Add the parsley before serving
Super quick, super easy, super tasty and it needs nothing more than some leaves (spinach is good) and maybe some crusty bread.

When I haven't been able to get spicy sausages, which is always more difficult than you'd think it should be, I'll use the most interesting pork variety I can find, but then I'll vary the herbs and eat it with cheese and bread.

If you do get round to trying it I'd love to hear from you - similarly if you come up with another variation let me know by commenting below!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Traditional Cawl recipe

When it comes to food I am easily influenced. Like that cheese advert that sees a string of people seeing and then eating cheese on toast, someone only has to mention a particular food to me and I will immediately start craving and obsessing until I get some.
A few weeks ago we went to The Promised Land for lunch because I'd been craving faggots and peas and they are one of the few places that have them on the menu. One of us ordered the traditional Cawl and when it came it looked very similar to the recipe that I use and so I've been craving that ever since (you can see how this goes).

Cawl is a traditional dish which varies according to the region, season and personal taste, there is no right and wrong (although obviously I am right) so I thought I would share my traditional Cawl recipe with you because it is easy, tasty, cheap. It freezes very well so I always make a huge pan of and freeze into portions for lazy cooking days when I don't want to resort to the chippie!


This is my generic recipe but it can be changed according to what looks good and what you like and can be doubled easily. You can also substitute lamb for beef and add bacon if you want. Make your cawl the day before you want to eat it if you can.
  • Lamb shoulder, breast, neck on the bone (1kg) get extra bones if you can!
  • Onion (1 large or 2 small)
  • Bay leaves
  • Leeks (2-3)
  • Potatoes (500g)
  • Parsnips (2)
  • Carrots (4 medium)
  • Swede (1 small)
  • Butter (a bit)
Put the lamb and the bones if you can get them into a pan and cover with cold water. Add the onion in wedges along with 1 of the carrots in chunks, a couple of bay leaves and some peppercorns.

Bring slowly to the boil, simmer for about 2 hours giving the stock the occasional skim, until the meat is falling apart.

Remove the meat and vegetables from the stock which now needs to be strained (I do it through a cloth) and skim the fat. If you have time you can chill the stock and the fat will solidify into a disk which can just be lifted off. Chunk up the meat which should just slide off the bone.

Melt a slice of butter and start softening whatever veg you are using, adding them to the pan starting with the hardest first and softest (the leeks) last. Then return the stock and add your chunks of lamb and simmer gently for about an hour until the veg is tender. Check for seasoning and you can always add a lamb stock cube if you fancy.

Then leave it for 24 hours and serve hot with crusty bread and a piece of very mature cheddar. As we say in Wales, 'Lush'!
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