Roasted Marrow Bones with Pickled Shallots

roasted marrow bone plate

Serves approximately 4

Ingredients

6 shallots, trimmed, quartered lengthwise with some root attached

1 cup of champagne vinegar

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon pink peppercorns

1 dried bay leaf (preferably Turkish)

1 dried chile de arbol

4 to 5 marrow bones

¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped

¼ of a lemon, sliced

flaky salt, such as Maldon’s

8 or more fresh slices of baguette, preferably homemade, toasted

 

For the Pickled Shallots

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Remove from heat and let cool for about 30 minutes.  Once cool, slice the shallots into julienne and place in a bowl with some of the pickling juice.

 

For the Marrow Bones

Preheat the oven or toaster oven for 450°.  Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil.  Stand the marrow bone upright with the widest end of the bone on the bottom.  Roast for 15-20 minutes.

Scoop out the marrow onto toasted baguette.  Sprinkle with flaky salt, lightly dress with lemon and top with  pickled shallots and parsley.

 

 

Sushi 101

 

Steve and I have been having some fun with experimenting with homemade sushi and sashimi;  we’ve been reluctant in the past to do so, having had access to some pretty amazing sushi restaurants in Santa Barbara that would be difficult to replicate.  Well, we found out that ‘sushi masters’ we are not, but our fish was fabulously fresh and tasty and our presentation….we’ll skip that part.  As with all dishes, your end results are only going to be as good as your ingredients.  So a little plug for our fish source, Catalina Offshore Products in San Diego, is worth some serious recognition.  We don’t know anyone there or have stock in the company, but we give them 2 big thumbs up.  They have a nice variety of things from the sea, their products are guaranteed, packed very well and they have great customer service.  Thanks Greg (brother in-law) for giving us the heads up on these guys.  Catalina Offshore also have little sushi 101 starter kits, which for most people may not be necessary as the items are often found in the Asian section of most supermarkets.

What’s equally critical – making properly seasoned sushi rice.  A rice that has worked well for us is Nishiki brand – we just follow the package directions.  After the rice is cooked it’s placed in a large wide bowl and fanned until your hand says ‘enough’!  Once the rice has cooled to room temperature, you add a sushi su seasoning that has been dissolved on the stove.  The seasoning is basically 3T sugar, 1T salt, and 1C rice vinegar. For each batch of rice add about 1-2 ounces of the seasoning  and stir well to combine.  Wet your fingers and have a go at making a sushi roll or tekka maki.  Kanpai!!

It’s the journey…

I have to say overall I don’t travel well…or smart.  I’m definitely not one of those people that seem to stay mysteriously fresh looking throughout their travel experience.  I really envy those who dress smart and look perky and seem to know where their gate is via some internal GPS system.  I, on there hand, look like a train wreck, feel half dead, normally lost, drink way too much caffeine followed by beer, wine, champagne, followed by way more caffeine while I manage to food crawl through hours of layover.  I need to learn how to spend down time more productively no doubt.

On the brighter side, the 12 weeks at Ballymaloe Cooking School has ended and some students have found employment!  Well done for them.  Others have accumulated some valuable culinary knowledge that they will impart in one form or another throughout their lives.  I’m looking forward to seeing how much information from this experience will stay in my noodle and for how long.  The most enjoyable part of my time abroad was meeting so many fantastic people and working with them (and playing with them) in a very unique and intense environment.  I’ve made some new friends and that in itself was worth the journey.  Please stay in touch and look for posts from the green isle and other places in the near future.  Cheers!

Dingle Pie

I made this tasty pie as per the recipe, but I can’t see why one couldn’t shortcut by putting the ingredients in a casserole dish and making only enough dough for the top crust.  The dough is actually fairly simple and quick; however, there are a few steps involved for the filling as all savory pies are guilty of.  This is a great weekend cold weather comfort food!

serves 6

1 pound of boneless lamb

9 ounces yellow onion, small dice

9 ounces carrots, small dice

2 rounded teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground

10 fluid ounces of stock (quality chicken stock is fine)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

salt and pepper to taste

Hot Water Crust Pastry

12 ounces all-purpose flour

6 ounces butter, salted

4 fluid ounces water

pinch of salt

preheat the oven to 400°

Trim the lamb of fat, if necessary, and cut into 1/2″ cubes.  Place the trimmed fat (or a tablespoon of oil) in a hot saucepan.  Render the fat and remove the remaining pieces.  Add the onion and carrot to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove vegetables and toss the meat in the remaining fat (if there is none, add olive oil).  Cook meat until browned on all sides.

Heat the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan just until fragrant.  Crush or grind into a rough powder.  Add the flour and cumin to the browning meat stirring for  2-3 minutes.  Add stock gradually and bring to the boil.  Stir occasionally.  Add the vegetables back to the pot and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until lamb is tender.  Cool.

Meanwhile make the pastry:  Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the center.  Dice the butter, put it into a saucepan with water and bring to the boil.  Pour the liquid all at once into the flour and mix together quickly; beat until smooth.  At first the pastry will be too soft to handle – place in the fridge for approximately 1/2 hour.  Once the pastry is cool.  roll out to 1/4 inch thick to fit an 8 inch tart tin.  Set some pastry aside for the top and any decoration.  Line the tin with the pastry while trimming the edges.  Fill the pastry lined tins with the meat mixture.  Brush the edges of the pastry with the water and place 1/4 inch thick pastry top on sealing the edges all the way around the tin. Decorate with any trimming and pierce a hole in the center of the pie to allow steam to escape.  Brush the top with egg wash.

Cook the pie for approximately 40 minutes.

Malaysian Coconut Milk Soup

BEAUTY FROM THE BEAST

before and after

No time to angle and fillet one the ugliest eating fishes available?  Not a problem…this a deceptively easy seafood soup, especially if you purchase a firm white fish or prawns from your grocery store.  This recipe is also versatile in that it can be served as a canapé such as above, or in a soup bowl with rice.

 

serves 4-6 as an entree

 

4 pounds of firm white fish, or 20 prawns

1 stalk of lemon grass

1 shallot, finely chopped

1/4 – 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped

1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

pinch of saffron

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

1/2 cup of coconut milk, well stirred

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1-2 teaspoons Nam Pla or other fish sauce

lime or lemon juice to taste

Cilantro rough chopped

rice (optional)

 

Remove tough outer leaf of the lemon grass and grate or chop finely.  Place lemon grass, shallots, chilli, ginger, garlic, spices and oil into a bowl with choice of seafood.  Let marinate for an hour in the refrigerator if you have time.

Place a pot over medium heat.  Add marinated seafood and cook until just fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.  Add coconut milk, salt and pepper.  Bring to simmer and cook until just cooked.  Add fish sauce and citrus to taste stirring to incorporate.  Garnish with cilantro.


Whew at Ballymaloe!

It has been a whirl wind lately.  I finally made it to Ballymaloe Cooking School in Ireland!  Last time I tried to make it over for their 3 month course a volcano erupted in Iceland – that little devil Eyjafjallajökull – yes, it is now a curse word in many parts of the world.  I made a pact with myself that I would faithfully update my blog and emails daily, but have failed miserably. Unfortunately there’s no internet in my cottage and we’ve been going flat out at the school.  We have survived the first hectic week which has been packed with information from short pastry making to fire safety.  I hope to get a little more organized and include some of the amazingly delicious recipes soon, but for now a very brief glimpse of arriving, learning and cooking:

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Jailhouse Jambalaya

bedraggled and ready to eat

We have been working hard on the farm lately. Our weather is beginning  to turn toward Autumn and soon all outdoor work will come to a halt – so we’re kicking it into high gear.  We have the scintillating task of clearing a large field…of all rocks, all rose hips, all by hand.  In my previous life I was a suburban girl; I don’t remember all this manual labor being in the brochure.  I call Steve ‘The Warden’ now – he works me like a dog.  An upside is my pants fit a little better AND I can eat tasty, meaty dishes without as much guilt –  Such as this streamlined, bastardization, Pacific Northwestern version of a creole classic.

jailhouse jambalaya


serves 4-6


1 tablespoon olive oil

4 links of cooked sausage, such as Hempler’s, cut on the bias

6 bell peppers, seeded and rough chopped

1 large yellow onion, rough chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced

1 tablespoon coarse salt

1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or fresh minced)

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

2 cups cooked brown rice


In a large heavy saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot add sausage and brown on all sides.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Add onion, peppers, spices and herbs to the pan (add additional oil if needed).  Saute vegetables until soft but snappy.   Add the sausage back to the pan and cook until heated through.  Turn off the heat and add butter, stirring until melted.  Serve with brown rice.