FD’s Salt and Pepper Ribs ‘n’ Wings Combo

19 Feb

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Well this is a turn up for the books ! I’m guessing you’ve all been fretting like mad wondering where the hell I’ve been … I bet you’ve had many a sleepless night worrying if I’d ever pop back on here to show you more of my simple tasty ideas for cooking at home …
I imagine you’ve shed tears … Bitten nails … Kicked cats … And tossed the kids favourite toys onto the fire to relieve the stress ….

What ?

You haven’t ?

Oh ! …. What a bummer !

Never mind !!

Back to the pans then !
You know when you get the urge for something you simply have to have ? Well I had that the other day, and these babies were the result.
I should warn you in advance , I’m doing this post on my iPad which means it won’t be as ‘Gucci’ as usual, (to be honest, I’m bored shitless during a moment of rare ‘downtime’ at work, so I thought, “What the Hell ! I’ll post a foodie thing and see what happens!).

So as you’ve guessed, the main starting point for this was to get hold of some decent meaty ‘short’ Pork Ribs , ( I went to my second home, Tesco, and bought a full rack for £3.50 and trimmed and halved them myself), along with a stack of Chicken Wings, ( £3.25 at Tesco’s Emporium of Two Stripe Value!).

Then the marinade, simple as ever :
2 tablespoons of Cornflour
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
1 tablespoon of water

That’s the ratio, just make as much as you need to coat all the meat in the thick gloopy mixture.
It’s a good time to wonder at the marvel of Cornflour at this point. You know that thing where you add just the right amount of water so that it solidifies as you try and stir it, yet turns back to liquid when you leave it !
Always puzzled me that ! (So if you know the reason why it does then please tell me!)

Anyway, coat everything liberally in the mix, and leave it for at least 3 hours, that’s important to impart the flavour, and tenderise the meat.
Whilst it’s resting, make up your Salt and Pepper mix. The ratio for this needs to be :
1 tablespoon Szechuan Peppercorns
1 teaspoon Cornish Sea Salt (or a good rock salt)
1 finely shredded red chilli
5 thinly sliced Spring Onions

Roast off the pepper in a frying pan to release the aromas and essential oils, then grind it in a Pestle and Mortar with the Sea Salt and leave to one side.

Ok, 3 hours have passed now, (and you’ve quaffed a beer or six to pass the time!) so it’s time to get cooking .

Heat up the deep fat fryer, and whack the oven onto 220 to get nice and hot.
Give all the ribs and wings a final toss in the marinade, then fry them off in batches for 3-4 minutes until they are crispy and golden, (I did the ribs and the wings separate to ensure they cooked evenly). Once fried, into the oven for 10-15 minutes to cook through.
Then fire up the wok until it reaches ‘solar’ heat, then lob in the ribs and wings together with the ground salt and pepper and the sliced chillies and spring onions. Time for a good old toss, (don’t take too long or your food will burn 😉).
Then as it’s all crispy and sizzling, a couple of dashes of Soy Sauce, a final toss in the wok, and into a nice big serving dish with a pile of kitchen roll and some finger-bowls, and a raft of ice cold beer!

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As my good friend Huan Tsi Cheung from the local takeaway said when he tried this …
” Floydsdad, that’s reet bloody tasty son!”
(He’s lived in Oldham for 38 years!)

I served this with a good old dollop of my “Piss Easy Pad Thai” which I know a few of you have tried and enjoyed. The recipe for that is on here, and on the “CookSomething” app which is are really snazzy place, (so get over there and get ‘liking’ my stuff!)

So, as ever , have a go, and I hope you like them. Feel free to leave a comment below, it’s always nice to read them!
Who knows …. I might even crawl back out from under my stone and do a few more !
Enjoy ! FD 🙂

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14 Jan

You may have seen via my Twitter feed that I went to visit my lifelong best mate and his wonderful family (@calmville) on Sunday. He was one of a bunch of people who had committed to cooking the delicious ‘Nanny’s Lamb Curry’ which became my most read post ever over the weekend with over 200 people stopping by to take a look.
I mentioned to him that the provider of that recipe, the talented and very lovely LondonMousie had another dish which was a sure fire winner, and told him all about this. So as the nights are cold and gloomy, I urge you to dig out your slow cooker, and give this a go!
Thanks to The London Mouse’s Cookbook for allowing me to re blog this post.

The London Mouse's cookbook

I’m going to start with one of my favourite winter dishes. It’s simple, I think it’s delicious and it uses the slow cooker so you can’t get easier.

This is my own creation so be kind!!

Ingredients

Beef brisket joint. Trimmed of excess fat.
Tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbps tomato purée
1 large chopped onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp hot chilli powder or chopped fresh chillis if you prefer
1/2 pint beef stock
Tin of kidney beans
2 squares of good quality dark chocolate

First thing to do is get all the ingredients ready which, for this, I appreciate isn’t a lot of prep work!!

I like to fry the chopped onions for 5 minutes, in a little oil, just to give them a bit of colour.
Transfer these into the slow cooker. It’s at this point I like…

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Nanny’s Lamb Curry

11 Jan

Good evening everybody, and of course welcome to 2013, and ‘Happy New Year’ to you all!
I think this is instalment 5 in our culinary adventure, and for me this is the best one yet for a number of reasons. Not only because of the quality of the dish, but also because it marks a first, in that this recipe isn’t actually mine. Those of you who have followed the blog, and the ‘On the Pans’ pages, will know that what really makes it worthwhile is the interaction. Receiving a comment always raises a smile, and brings that ‘warm glow’ which keeps us going. I always hoped that I could get others involved in this by suggesting dishes to cook, or even offering up dishes of their own. This is one such dish!

Surely this is the 'Holy Grail' of Indian and Far Eastern Cookery...

Surely this is the ‘Holy Grail’ of Indian and Far Eastern Cookery…

This one comes courtesy of one of my newest ‘Twitterchums’ @LondonMousie, or more precisely from her Nan. I recently  put out some feelers to see if anyone had any favourite recipes they wanted to share, and, having trawled back through my tweets, as you do when you’re new to the world of Twitter, she spotted the request, and in a flash, she came up with this. This book is like a Holy Grail of Indian cookery, passed from Great Grandmother, to Nanny, to Mum, and finally to daughter. I really can’t help but think that if a ‘Celebrity Chef’ got hold of this book that there would be a TV series made in a flash !!!Well it’s all very well me telling you what I think about the book, but the whole idea of having a guest blogger is to let them tell you what it means to them. So, @LondonMousie, it’s over to you!

“Ever since I can remember, I would be in the kitchen helping Nanny cook. One of my earliest memories was helping her make chapatis when I was very small, helping mix them and shape them. Some of you may wonder how my Nanny got so many fabulous recipes from India and the Far East…

It really doesn't get any more authentic than this...

It really doesn’t get any more authentic than this…

I come from quite a large army background. Both my maternal grandparents come from army families and was in fact how they both met.
After my Grandparents married, my Grandad who was fairly high up in the British Army, moved them both to India. My Mother was born in Hong Kong and my Auntie was born in Singapore. My Grandad served with the Gurkhas and was very highly respected, he was one of the only officers ever to be given a very special honour at the religious festival of Dashain.
My grandparents were loved and cared for by all the communities they lived amongst and as such Nan picked up many traditional recipes throughout her years abroad. She kept a note of these in a recipe book given to her by my Great Grandmother.
Sadly my Nan passed away some years ago but the book was left in her will to my Mother. Sadly my Mum, who used to be a chef such was the influence of Nan’s cooking, is now disabled and no longer cooks. I have inherited the cook book early. It is filthy, covered in oils and spices, but has a special feeling about it; it has travelled all the way round the world and has produced many a wonderful dish that has bought happiness to so many. From dinner parties Nan threw whilst abroad to family dinners back in the UK.
I will always treasure it and hope to pass it on to my children one day.
I hope you enjoy the curry and it lives up to your expectations!!”Floydsdad on the Pans Nanny's Lamb curry
So now we know a little bit about the background to the antique cookbook and the dish, let’s get down to some serious cooking! A quick spin around the ingredients, which are surprisingly simple. Well as it’s a Lamb curry best we start with some Lamb! In this case 1.5kg of Leg Steaks, which I cut roughly into around one inch cubes. There’s also a really big onion, again roughly chopped, and a pint of coconut milk, (which wasn’t as per Nan’s recipe, I just couldnt find the block, although I’m sure it’s readily available).

Grind all these together in a heavy Pestle and Mortar...

Grind all these together in a heavy Pestle and Mortar…

First things first, you need to get your trusty heavy based large frying pan out, and start to gently fry the onions so the soften and go slightly opaque. Whilst thats happening, you can turn to preparing the spices ready for the ‘masala’. This is the heart of the dish, so don’t mess around here, if you’ve got jars of spice in the cupboard gathering dust, bin them and get some new ones. So the platter of spices for this dish are as follows. From the top (clockwise) we have 1tbsp of Corriander Seeds, 1tsp Ground Cumin(Jeera), 1tsp Turmeric, 1.5tsp Black Peppercorns, 1tsp Cayenne Pepper, 1tsp Paprika, 1.5tsp Fennel Seeds, 1tsp Chilli Powder, a 1.5 inch piece of Ginger Root, peeled and chopped and 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped. Take a heavy Pestle and Mortar, and grind all these together to release the oils and aromas.

Prepare for a blast to the sesnes...!

Prepare for a blast to the sesnes…!

By now, your onions will have softened, so transfer them to a warm dish, and wash out and dry the pan. Next step is to dry fry the spices carefully so as not to burn them. Your kitchen will fill with a wonderfully warm spicy aroma which will give you a hint of the delights to come. I’m a huge fan of Rick Stein, and recall him describing the aroma of the Indian markets and street food stalls, and can only imagine that this is something very similar.

Take your time with this bit, don't burn those spices...!

Take your time with this bit, don’t burn those spices…!

Add just a splash of water to the pan to create a thickish paste, and then throw in the Lamb to coat in the spices and take on a little colour. Don’t rush this bit, you need to give the Lamb time to colour up, but you don’t want the spices to burn as they will taste bitter, (I added a few drops of water as I went along here just to keep it moist). You might find 1.5kg of Lamb is quite a lot, so if needs be, take half the spice masala out of the pan and fry the Lamb in two seperate batches.

Bring things up to a gentle simmer, don't let that curry boil...!

Bring things up to a gentle simmer, don’t let that curry boil…!

Ok, here’s the important bit now. It’s time to add the onions back to the pan, give it all a good stir, and then add 1 pint of Coconut Milk and gently stir it all together until the colour is evenly distributed, and the spices are nicely amalgamated into the sauce. The one tip from ‘Nanny’ here is “..the curry must never boil, or the coconut will split”, so I made sure that I gently brought things up to the simmer, before adding a bay leaf, and then leaving the pan for the lamb to cook slowly for a good 3 hours.

It's truly delicious, you simply have to try it..

It’s truly delicious, you simply have to try it..

And there you have it my friends, ‘Nanny’s Lamb Curry’, courtesy of @LondonMousie, and I can honestly say it was utterly delicious. I served it up with some rice, and a stack of Chapatis, (I was going to be ambitious and cook my own Parathas, but I don’t mind telling you they were a complete disaster!). So I urge you to give this a go, please, and as ever, let me know what you think. Click on the stars at the top of the page, and if you can, pen a few lines in the box below. It’s not that often you get an insight into such a traditional recipe, handed down from generation to generation, so you’d be mad not to try it!

So until the next time… Happy Cooking !

Laters peeps… FD :@)

‘Pinchillo de Navidad’ (Christmas Hash)

5 Jan
Here's what we started with,(and no there weren't 15 people coming, just 8!)...

Here’s what we started with,(and no there weren’t 15 people coming, just 8!)…

Well good evening everyone, and firstly a very Happy Christmas to you all. It’s the evening after Boxing Day here, and as such the novelty and general bonhomie of Christmas is starting to wear a little thin! If like the vast majority of people, you catered for an imaginary 150 guests on Tuesday, then you will have an ample supply of leftovers clogging up every work top, cupboard and shelf in the fridge. So here is just a quick idea on what you can do with them. Now, I’m not one for blowing my own trumpet, but I am sorely tempted next year, to cook the big dinner two days early, and serve this on the big day.

Those of you that know me, will be aware of the fact that ‘now and again’ I dip my toe into the Twittersphere, (yes, I know, there is a certain amount of poetic licence in that comment!). Whilst on there recently, I have happened across so many ‘top people’, and one or two of those have turned into what ‘El Maestro’ Keith Floyd would have referred to as his ‘newest top Twitterchums’. One such person is the wonderfully talented, ( and keeper of many an Eastern culinary treasure), @boobswithbrains, and it was she who was the inspiration behind this dish. Yesterday afternoon she posted some wonderful tweets describing the creation of that traditional favourite leftover dish ‘Bubble and Squeak’. When sometime later she sent a picture of the finished dish with the title ‘Yummy Caramalised Oniony Goodness’ then the gauntlet was thrown, and I set to work trying to come up with something to rival what was, I admit a masterpiece. Being a lover of all things Spanish, (and having Chorizo amongst my leftovers), I decided to try and put a Spanish twist on proceedings, and this is what I came up with.

As ever, preparation is the key. Roughly tear your leftovers into chunky pieces...

As ever, preparation is the key. Roughly tear your leftovers into chunky pieces…

If you look at my chopping board, you can see what I had to hand. Starting at 12 o’clock, I had the ubiquitous Brussels Sprouts, Gammon (with a chilli jam glaze), Roast Rib of Beef, a portion of Pan fried Chicken and Chorizo Picante (from the kids Christmas Eve tea), some roast potatoes, stuffing balls, and then the remains of my Shredded Sprouts with Pancetta and Cumin. Now much the same as everything I try and show you, the few minutes you spend preparing the bits and bats, (let’s face it your list is going to be different to mine!), the easier the cooking will be. So in the tradition of keeping things ‘rustic’ you need to tear all the ‘stuff’ up into nice chunky pieces of roughly the same size because the last thing you want is a plate of stodge. The only other things you’ll need are a good heavy frying pan, salt, black pepper, olive oil, and a bottle of Worcester Sauce.

Try not to break things up to much, keep it chunky...

Try not to break things up to much, keep it chunky…

First into the searing hot pan with a good slug of Olive Oil are the potatoes, they’ll brown quite quickly, so turn the heat down to medium now and let the residual heat work to brown off the rest of the ingredients as they first hit the pan. I’m going to be brutally honest here, I didnt do the fancy ‘Nigella’ or ‘Jamie’ spuds this year. I decided to keep it simple and did ‘Tescos Roast Potatoes in Goose Fat’ and they were bloody lush! I also bought 4 packs of the things, as I knew I’d be doing something like this at somepoint.

Fry the meat until it goes nice and crispy...

Fry the meat until it goes nice and crispy…

Next in, whatever meat you have, in my case Gammon, Beef, Chicken and Chorizo, and this is when I threw in my stuffing balls for good measure. Now you know how much I like to toss when I’m cooking, and here’s where your wrist action comes into play. Spend the next few minutes flicking your wrist and giving it the full ‘Ainsley Harriot’ (only without the God damn annoying voice!) until you see the meat crisping up and taking on some serious colour. Take your time here, get the meat nice and crispy before you move on, because the more things that go in the pan, the more they start to steam, rather than fry.

A good slug of Worcestershire Sauce for the pan, and a good glug of whatever for the chef...!

A good slug of Worcestershire Sauce for the pan, and a good glug of whatever for the chef…!

Once that’s done, it’s in with the veggies, they should hold their shape, (unless of course you cooked them to within an inch of their lives on the big day), and now a good glug of Worcestershire Sauce, to get some steam in the pan, and start the caramelisation process, and a couple of grinds of salt and pepper. You may find that the process slows a little now, and so this would be the perfect moment to pour a glass of Rioja, or as I did, crack open an ice-cold beer and just relax as the veggies and the meat combine their flavours in the pan.

Press everything down firmly, and gradually, as you turn things over, a wonderful crust will form...

Press everything down firmly, and gradually, as you turn things over, a wonderful crust will form…

All that remains now, is to press everything down in the pan, and then every couple of minutes or so, give it a slow gentle turnover in the pan, then press it down again. Keep doing this until the dish starts to dry out a little, and everything has a wonderfully caramalised look to it. This last stage allows any excess sauce to evaporate, and if you’re brave and attentive you can keep going here for a good five minutes to allow everything to crisp up which really adds to the final dish.

It's worth the wait! To be honest I enjoyed this more than the main event...!

It’s worth the wait! To be honest I enjoyed this more than the main event…!

Finally, tip everything out onto a warm plate, and top with a little grated cheese, (in my case Manchego to stick with the Spanish twist). Slide the plate under a fiercely hot grill to brown off the cheese for a minute or three, and then serve with whatever leftover beer you have available, (Stella 4 in this instance, but a large ice cold bottle of San Miguel would have been the piéce de resistance!).

So to find a name for the dish. I don’t propose to be a natural speaker of the lingo, so I enlisted the Interweb to help me out. I finally found that ‘Pinchillo’ translates as ‘hash’ and I knew that ‘Navidad’ was Christmas, and thus a dish was born! So thanks @boobswithbrains for starting the whole thing off !

As ever, if you are inspired to have a go at this, let me know how it went by leaving a comment below. If you’re shy, and don’t want to, well aside from ‘growing a pair!’, just click on the ‘like’ button underneath. You can share this with your friends using the ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ buttons, and of course anyone logged in via WordPress can ‘Press This’ (I’ll be honest, I don’t know what it does but I bet it’s nice). Anyway you chose, just keep in touch, us bloggers thrive on it!

I hope you’ve had a really great festive period, and look forward to pushing our culinary relationship to new boundaries next year… Laters peeps FD :@)

Farfalle di ‘Floydsdad’…

5 Jan
Be honest, how often do you actually use yours...?

Be honest, how often do you actually use yours…?

Hello again my mighty kitchen warriors! I trust you are all well. Firstly, I’d like to thank those of you who have taken the time to ‘have a bash’ at some the dishes so far, and been kind enough to leave a comment. That’s the sort of thing that keeps us ‘bloggers’ happy! Anyway “enough of that!”, I hear you cry, let’s have a look at what’s on offer today. I’m trying to keep with a theme of ‘nice and easy’ dishes for now, but at the same time, trying to pick dishes that pack a heap of taste, and create the impression to any guests you may have, that you’re a bit of a whiz in the kitchen. So, I thought we’d go Italian this time, and this little baby is a ‘bistro’ style pasta dish which uses some ‘unusual’ ingredients and is so easy to do because the sauce almost makes itself! As with everything in life, you get what you pay for, so when you pick up the ingredients for this dish, bear that in mind. Ideally you’d want to be making your own pasta, using one of those machines you always see in charity shops. That in itself tells you that it’s a bit time consuming, and fiddly and so most people buy one, use it for a month and then give it away for the good of the cats or something! Trust me though, home made pasta (using top quality ‘double yolkers’ from somewhere like The Collins Egg Company and good quality Durum wheat flour) simply knocks the socks off the dried stuff, and the kids will love making it !!!

In the absence of home made, I went for a decent dried pasta...

In the absence of home made, I went for a decent dried pasta…

Anyway, enough of all that, as El Maestro used to say, let’s take a spin round the board and see what you’ll need. I didn’t make my own pasta, (it’s at the charity shop!) and they didn’t have De Cecco, which is the best in my opinion,(because Rick Stein said it was!), so I went for the only Italian made one they had. To go with that,a pack of Mozzarella pearls,(or a ball of the same), a pack of dry cured smoked pancetta, a couple of fat garlic cloves, a nice sprig of fresh thyme and a block of proper Parmagiano Reggiano, (definately not those shavings!), a bag of pine nuts, and finally a nice plump Savoy Cabbage. I told you there were some strange ingredients, but come with me on this!

Toasting your nuts improves the flavour...!

Toasting your nuts improves the flavour…!

As with everything we do here ‘Floydsdad Style’, I want you to spend a bit of time prepping stuff up, so first things first, get your bezzy big frying pan out, and toast off the pine nuts. Keep an eye on them, and give them a toss every now and then. At the same time, (come on, you should be up to a little multi-tasking by now!) shred about half of the cabbage, and finely great plenty of Parmesan, I’d say at least 2 coffee cups worth! Strip the leaves of the Thyme, slice up your garlic, (slice, not chop!), and if you have gone for the Mozzerella Pearls, cut them in half, or if you’ve gone for a full one, shred it into small pieces.

Pancetta is best, dry cured streaky bacon will do, just get it crispy!

Pancetta is best, dry cured streaky bacon will do, just get it crispy!

OK,  are your nuts toasted? If so then you think about wearing looser fitting pants! (Sorry!) Set them aside, and get the pancetta into the same pan, a few slices at a time, fry it for a minute or two on each side so it goes nice and crispy. Once you’ve cooked it all, then drain it on kitchen paper, and then slice it into thinish strips. I tried slicing and then cooking it, and believe me, it isn’t worth it, as it almost always sticks together.

We're going to move quite quickly here, we don't want anything to wilt...!

We’re going to move quite quickly here, we don’t want anything to wilt…!

Once the pancetta is all cooked and sliced, stick it with the pine nuts, and slop a glug or two of olive oil into your pan. Throw in the cabbage, garlic and thyme, and in a big pan of boiling salted water throw in your Farfalle for as long as it says on the pack. Cooking pasta can be a bit hit and miss, but you want to get it ‘al dente’ (with a bite), and that may mean testing a few pieces as you get toward cooking time.

Almost there ... gently stir everything together and the sauce makes itself...!

Almost there … gently stir everything together and the sauce makes itself…!

OK, your pasta is cooking away nicely, and  the cabbage has softened slightly, so now you can tip the pancetta and pine nuts back into the pan, and combine the two, making sure you resist the temptation to stick a fork in and stuff your face. Drain off the pasta once that’s cooked, (but save a cupful of the cooking water for later) and add that to the pan. Slowly stir everything together until the cabbage and pancetta has been distributed evenly throughout. Nearly done, so pour a glass of chilled Albarino or Rueda, and crack on with the finishing touches. Take your finlely grated parmesan and just throw it all into the pan, giving it a good stir to stop it from going all ‘claggy’. Pour just enough of the reserved cooking water from the pasta into the pan until you are left with a nice shiny coating over everything. Finally tip in the mozzaerlla and give it a final 30 seconds and there you have it! “Farfalle di Floydsdad”.

Serve in a warmed pasta bowl with maybe a (large) glass of Rueda...

Serve in a warmed pasta bowl with maybe a (large) glass of Rueda…

Hopefully you will have warmed through some pasta bowls, so take these out of the oven and spoon in a generous helping. Be sure to evenly distribute the cabbage as it can sometines cling together. Pour over some of the self made Parmesan sauce and enjoy! As always, I’d love you to give it a go, and let me know what you think. If you like the look of it, but don’t fancy trying it, then simply click on the ‘like’ button at the bottom so I can see the stuff that floats your boat. Feel free to share this with your cybermates using the ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ buttons,  and of course, if there is anything you fancy seeing me have a go at, or to chat about anything ‘foody’, then just leave a comment below, and I’ll gladly get back to you.

Laters peeps! FD  :@)

Piss Easy Pad Thai

5 Jan

I thought when I posted  the last dish, “Don’t be a barnpot FD, hardly anyone likes liver!”, (and so it seems to be), but I really enjoy that dish, so on it went. This little baby however surely must be a little more ‘popular’, I mean, who doesn’t like Thai Food? Even more so when it’s cooked fresh like this. It may look a little fiddly at first, but if you prep everything up, it’s a belting dinner party dish. Ideally, you want to let your guests see you making each one individually, (it’s far better), and you can crash and bang around in your wok to create the impression you’ve half an idea what your doing! …. (That’s all I ever do!)

Preparation is the key here, get everything ready, and it's less than 5 minutes cooking..

Preparation is the key here, get everything ready, and it’s less than 5 minutes cooking..

So a quick ‘Spin around the ingredients’ as the Master famously used to say! We have a slack handful of Sharwoods ‘Ready to Wok’ Thai Ribbon Noodles, a bowl of Pad Thai sauce, (which I made from scratch, I’ll tell you how in a minute), a nice large free range egg, (preferably from somewhere like ‘The Collins Egg Company’ who supply the best eggs ever!), 8 fresh raw prawns, de-veined and butterflied so they spread out all fancy in the pan! Traditionally, you would use Chicken breast fillets, sliced up nice and thin, (but I’m a sucker for Duck, and these were on offer!), then on the plate we have 3 sliced spring onions, 1 sliced green chilli, 1 plump garlic cloved sliced really thinly but not chopped, a fistful of fresh Corriander, chopped up, stalks and all ! Then I bought a ready mixed ‘Thai Stir Fry’ from Tesco and just fished out the beansprouts and carrots, (only because I couldn’t be arsed chopping them myself!), a lime, cut into wedges, and a few left over wild mushrooms. Finally in the centre, a slack handful of salted peanuts, which you roast off in a pan, and then roughly chop.

Ok, the Pad Thai Sauce, this is the flavour bit, and I’ve faffed around buying ready made stuff to try and match the best I’ve ever tasted, (which coincidentally came from the Lana Thai take-away in Oldham, although they have now moved to Heaton Chapel) and failed miserably. So I asked them, and this is what they told me!

Firstly, 3 Tablespoons of ‘Thai Fish Sauce’ (I use ‘Squid Brand’ from Tesco), 3 Tablespoons of Tamarind Paste,(again Tesco sell a jar for £1.99 which will do you two lots), to that you add 3 tablespoons of light brown muscovado sugar, the juice of a lime and a dash of water. Mix all these together, and you have a batch of sauce. You won’t use it all, just enough to ‘coat’ everything, and definately don’t overdo it, as it packs a bittersweet punch which can overtake the whole dish if you’re not careful !

Get the pan ridiculously hot, (it looks more impressive!)...

Get the pan ridiculously hot, (it looks more impressive!)…

So, everything set? Drink in hand? Guests sat at the table dribbling at the prospect? (If they are, you might want to think about who you invite round!) Get yourself a nice heavy wok, and heat it up until it’s rivets bleed! Seriously hot! Throw in a generous glug or three of Olive oil, and in with your Chicken, (Duck in my case), give it a minute or so to take a bit of colour, then launch in the wild mushrooms, and the prawns, and watch as they curl up and go nice and pink. Once that happens, scoop everything out and put it in a warm bowl and set aside.

quality eggs are a must ! Look at the colour of these babies..

quality eggs are a must ! Look at the colour of these babies..

Then whack into the pan, the spring snions, the garlic, chilli, beansprouts and carrots, and give it a right royal bashing in the wok, shake it as vigourously as you can, toss it around and look serious, (the guests will love it!). Chuck in almost all the peanuts, and almost all of the corriander, and take the pan off the heat. Time to chill, tip in the beaten egg, and leave the pan off the heat whilst you top up your drink, and make something up about the meaning of ‘Pad Thai’ to amuse and bemuse your guests for about a minute. They’ll be amazed at how you can appear so chilled whilst in the middle of a ‘Wok Frenzy’ of a dish !  What should happen is that without trying, you’ll have created a ‘mini omlette’, which will still be a bit sloppy, so start your ‘over the top’ wok antics again to break it all up.

Almost there, break the noodles up, and get that tossing action going again...

Almost there, break the noodles up, and get that tossing action going again…

Now, once that’s done, break up the noodles, and add them to the pan, with the the Chicken and Prawns and stuff from the bowl, give it all a quick toss, then slowly pour in your ready made Pad Thai sauce. The key word here is ‘slowly’, you just want to give it a light coating, and that will depend on how big your ‘slack handfuls’ have been, once it’s nicely coated, give it two or three ‘showboat tosses’ in the pan to bring it all together, and get ready to serve!

Served with fresh wedges of lime, (minus one for the beer!)...

Served with fresh wedges of lime, (minus one for the beer!)…

It might seem complicated, but if you’ve got your prep right, and you’ve made enough of a showboat with your cooking style, by now your guests will be eating out of the palm of your hand! Of course that’s not the way we’re serving it, so get a plate nice and warm, and then carefully tip out the dish onto your plate, give it a full ‘Ainsley Harriot drop from on high’ with the remaining nuts and corriander, and there you have it, a super healthy, super tasty, super authentic Pad Thai. Try it, you’ll love it, and of course it has to be served with a well chilled Tiger Beer. Unfortunately, all I had was Stella 4, but you get the drift!

Pad Thai …. I told you…. It’s piss easy !!!…If you give it a go, let me know! More importantly, tell me what you want to see me cook. I’ll have a go at anything. Please leave a comment, (good or bad!) using the link below. If you’re too shy to do that, just click on the ‘like’ button, and please share this with your chums via the ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ buttons. If any of you ‘WordPressers’ out there want to ‘Press’ this then I least I’ll find out what it means!)

Laters Peeps ! FD :@)

FD :@)

Piri Piri Chicken Livers on Toasted Sourdough Crostini…

5 Jan

I know some of you will have already dismissed this as a dish you’re going to try, simply because you have convinced yourself you ‘don’t like liver’, when in fact it’s the idea of liver that you don’t like. So be brave, give this a go, and I promise you’ll be in for a treat. You can tinker with things a little if you like, (just remember not to add anything too strong or you’ll lose the taste of the livers, and they are the stars of the show!). This is probably my ‘Version 5’, and I think it’s just about there.

Simple ingredients, simple to cook, wonderful taste...

Simple ingredients, simple to cook, wonderful taste…

So, let’s have a look at what you’ll need. It’s a one pan dish, so you’ll need one of those for definate, something big and heavy should do. If you’re not comfortable with your TV Chef frying technique, (you know the one, where you ‘flip’ all the ingredients over in the pan in quick ‘mini pancake toss’ moves), then get yourself a spatula. Other than that, a sharp knife to trim and prep all the ingredients, and you’re good to go.

Pancetta is the posh thing to use, but dry cured streaky bacon is just as good...

Pancetta is the posh thing to use, but dry cured streaky bacon is just as good…

You can get your Chicken Livers fresh or frozen, (I went for a small pot of frozen from Tesco for a ludicrously cheap 50p!). You’ll also need 4 or 5 rashers of dry cured smoked streaky bacon, a few Shallots, a few Forestiere Mushrooms, a clove of garlic, a small red chilli, a few sprigs of fresh Thyme, a slug of white wine, a smidge of mild mustard, (I use Tafelzenf, a cracking German mustard from Bury Market), a dash of Worcestershire Sauce, and to serve it all up, a couple of thick slices of toasted Sourdough loaf.

Fry these off in a searing pan, and transfer to a warm dish...

Fry these off in a searing pan, and transfer to a warm dish…

So before you start, you’ll need to trim the livers into ‘bite sized’ pieces. Sometimes the frozen ones can get a little mulched, (less so the freshly packed ones), but either way there’ll always be enough nice whole, smooth, clean looking ones for a portion, (The rest, you can fry up for an eager Spaniel later!). Slice the mushrooms and chop the garlic, chilli and thyme, and cut the bacon into small pieces. Then in a hot frying pan or skillet, fry off the bacon until it starts to go golden.

Once your bacon has crisped up and taken on a nice golden colour, add the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, thyme and chopped chilli. Continue to fry these off for a minute or two, until the are nicely soft. Get a small bowl ready because once everything has softened, you’re going to transfer it all to that, and whack up the heat ready for the stars of the show!

Turn the heat down a tad ... you want them seared, yet pink in the middle...

Turn the heat down a tad … you want them seared, yet pink in the middle…

Ok, once that pan has heated up a little more add a splash of Olive Oil, and then gently lay the pieces of Chicken Liver into the centre. Try and lay them away from you, as they do tend to spit and splash a little. If you’ve got one of those splashguard things to cover your pan, it might be a good idea. Now, the trick here is not to overcook the livers. They need to be slightly pink in the middle, no blood obviously, but a nice rosy pink, (if you cook them too much, they’ll just go a bit tough!). I reckon 3-4 minutes is all they need, flip them over halfway through to make sure both sides take on that nice caramelised look.

If you can't get Tafelzenf, then a dash of Dijon Mustard will suffice...

If you can’t get Tafelzenf, then a dash of Dijon Mustard will suffice…

Almost there my friends! So at this point everything is still technically ‘frying’, which we need to address. Take the small bowl ,(with everything from earlier still nice and warm) and tip it back into the pan. Add about half a teaspoon of mustard and a nice glug of white wine. It should bubble up quite noisily, and start to reduce straight away, so get that sourdough bread under the grill and toast until golden. Keep an eye on the sauce, give it a good shake to work in the mustard, then add a dash of Worcestershire Sauce to finish the whole thing off. Take the pan off the heat whilst you work out what to serve it with! I’d go for a dry white wine, or better still an ice cold beer like Corona,(the fact it comes in a 710ml bottle is just pure coincidence!)

It really is the best way to eat Chicken Livers, in my humble opinion...

It really is the best way to eat Chicken Livers, in my humble opinion…

Et voila ! Put your sourdough crostini together on a large plate, and carefully stack the Livers and everything else on top. Spoon over as much of the rich sauce as you fancy, and give it a little garnish with fresh parsley. Then crack open that beer and enjoy your ‘Peri Peri Chicken Livers on Sourdough Crostini’.

I’ve tried Chicken Livers a few ways, but trust me, this is the best way to eat them. They are so cheap too, so put aside your inhibitions, and your assumptions that you ‘just don’t like them’, dig out your pan, and get cooking !!!

Let me know what you think, please feel free to click on the ‘Like’ button, and share this with your friends via the ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ buttons. If you are on WordPress, then ‘Press’ this (just so I can see what it actually means!). Even better leave a comment, and I promise I will get back to you.

Laters Peeps    FD  :@)

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