Monthly Archives: January 2013

Garlic/ Clam/Tomato

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Free, best quality.

Free, best quality.

quality ingredients, make this simple dish work.

quality ingredients, make this simple dish work.

Hugh Fearnley Whitigstals Three good things. An excellent book.
Clams were replaced by cockles, although three clams made it in. All of which were hand gathered by myself. Good tomatoes are a must! If you can only get naff ones grown hydroponically in Holland or the huge place in Kent, try another recipe. A good white wine, The UK is doing some good white wine, however I used Noilly Pratt. Good butter, I used a Normandy butter.
The purging took 48hrs, with 5 changes of water. The overnight purge is a myth. I tried it, the result was grit city. Even 36hrs ended up gritty. 48hrs was almost perfect. I think temperature also plays a part. To cold, slows things down. At night they moved in to the kitchen, not the minus degrees, of the garage.
I used course polenta and oatmeal (that’s not rolled oats). This either feeds or irritates the cockles or both perhaps.
Oxygen is the thing most needed. So use a fast running tap, when filing the cockle bath. I use a washing up bowl, with a roasting rack in it. It works! Change the water when you get up in the morning or every 7, 8, 9, 10 hrs. Even I have to work and sleep.
This web site has the best info aimed at commercial purging of shellfish.
http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/publication/shellfishpurificationsystemsscot.pdf
As with most experiences with food, the same rules apply to small time foragers like myself.
I hope you try this.

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Ox Cheek in Nutty Black Ale

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Another fine dark ale for cooking.

Another fine dark ale for cooking.

Ox Cheek, Ale, Parsley Mash

Ox Cheek, Ale, Parsley Mash

After seeing Marco Peire Towel head steal and others steal my idea of using Theakstones Old perculiar, I thought its time to try a new cooking ale. Thwaites Nuty Black, what a move. Lots of malty sweetness, tons of character. If was to go back on the sauce, this could well be the one to do it!
Cooking was easy, First I browned the cheek, I mean browned! I use an outdoor cooker for this (£10, served me very well). I removed the cheek. Then in the same pan,on a medium heat, I fried some sliced shallot untill just browned. Then added chunky root veg, whatever is around. I used parsnip and swede. swooshed some beer in to deglaze the frying pan. All in to a bigger pan (heavy based) with the cheek more beer, 2/3 of a bottle in total. Some herbs and a bay leaf were added, thyme rosemary or marjoram, a small sprig of each. Bring up to a simmer, 6 hrs it took on the gentlest heat. No seasoning at this point We are talking a ocasional bubble, lid on. The cheek should be soft to cut in to. Remove the cheek, strain the liquid in to a frying pan reduce by half. Strain through Muslin, or a brand new Jay cloth means you can rock the heat up, this is called hard boiling. Do stir as sugary deposits of yumieness stick to the sides and burn. I fried half an onion finely sliced with some small dice carrot, I added the sliced cheek to this. I mixed it withe reduced liquid. Tasted and seasoned, it likes black pepper.
Parsley mash offsets this very well indeed.
BBC tells it like this:
For the parsley mash, in a food processor blend the curly parsley with 2½ litres/4½ pints water.
Place a colander inside a large bowl. Line the colander with a muslin cloth and add the ice. You will need this in the next step.
In a large heavy-based pan, heat the parsley water, whisking continuously. When the temperature reaches approximately 80C/176F the chlorophyll will separate from the water. At this stage pour the liquid into the colander lined with muslin and set aside to drain for an hour, until a thick parsley purée is left in the muslin. Scrape this off and reserve for the mash.
I had no thermometer or ice cubes, my mash was great, our ricer is in Bavaria. I used a masher, not as good , but still OK. I only had one bunch of Parsley (flat leaf), a large one reduced, it worked. Never say Never. Unless Gordon Ramsay’s says Never, then you don’t do it!
Place the mash in a clean pan set over a low heat. Add butter and stir until the butter has melted and incorporated into the potatoes. Add the milk and stir to combine. Now add the parsley purée and stir to combine.
Let me know, if you use alcohol in a dish.