"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Welsh Rarebit

    Life is so funny, just about the time I start with a real craving for real pub food, an associate pop’s by from a trip to the UK.

    I’ll not divulge all the ins and outs of the visit, but suffice to say, I came into possession of several kilo’s of good Caerphilly cheese. Real honest to goodness Welsh Cheese. There is only one thing to do but make Welsh Rarebit. Welsh Rarebit is a roux of butter and flour, used to thicken 1/2 pint of beer and 1/2 milk, and flavored with 4 oz of good white cows milk Cheese. Wonderful on toast.

    I’ll need some very good bread, and a most excellent beer, and a decent selection of spices and herbs, as well as a classic English Mustard.

    Caerphilly is a hard, white cheese that originates in the area around the town of Caerphilly in Wales, although it is now also made in England, particularly in the South West and on the English border with Wales. It was not originally made in Caerphilly, but was sold at the market there, hence taking the town’s name.

    Caerphilly is a light-coloured (almost white), crumbly cheese made from cow’s milk, and generally has a fat content of around 48%. It has a mild taste, with its most noticeable feature being a not unpleasant slightly sour tang.

    It is rumoured that the cheese was developed over time to provide the coal miners of the area with a convenient way of replenishing the salt lost through hard work over ten hour shifts underground and so was a staple of the diet of the coal-miners.

    Real Farmhouse Caerphilly production died out during World War II as all milk had to go to the Cheddar factories to help the war effort. After the war these factories started making their version of Caerphilly (initially to help their cash flow as Caerphilly matures quicker than Cheddar), which is how it is mostly known today, dry and crumbly. However, there are now two or three farms making original Caerphilly which is dry in the middle and creamy around the edges.

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  • Meatless Monday – Roasted, Toasted, Smashed Reds

    While in the farmer’s market this weekend, I happened upon a table of new (small) red potatoes. Once again these are memories from my youth. Usually boiled and prepped in a milk sauce, these are truly good, but I want a bit more flavor, and a lot more texture.

    Suppose I dice / boil them in a veggie stock, and roast garlic, onions, perhaps a carrot or two, and then mash with a fresh cream, to form a a dish similar to roasted bubble and squeak. But just so people do not think I’ve gone totally health nut, I’ll grate Parmesan cheese over and finish with a drizzle melted butter.

    A little trick I picked up on my last trip to the U.K, was to roast a medley of vegetables, and then mashed them with potatoes for a variety of textures and tastes. This will make a side dish that will compete with the main course for the dinner’s attention, they are just that good.

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  • Breakfast Sausage Rolls

    Breakfast, and I am on a “roll” as it were. Many things to do, and not much time, so simple, “on the go food”, that tastes good, and can cook itself, is the order of the morning.

    Another hand meal, stuffed with sausage, cheese, and possibly fruit, and rolled into a puff pastry sheet. These can be sized to individual servings or to a main course item, to be sliced and served with either a spicy mustard or slathered with red onion gravy.

    Really this is the source recipe for “pigs in a blanket”, and “cocktail wieners”.

    A Sausage Roll is a type of savory convenience food commonly served at parties and available from bakeries and milk bars as a take-away food item. Originating from the United Kingdom, it is also very popular in the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

    The basic composition of a sausage roll is generally a sheet or sheets of puff pastry sliced into two, wrapped into tubes around sausage meat and brushed with egg or milk before being baked. They can be served either hot or cold.

    Some variations on the basic recipe include chopped vegetables, such as carrots, onions, or courgettes; other seasonings such as herbs and spices; and the use of split sausages.

    Sausage rolls may be served and sold in various lengths from 1 or 2 inch so called “party” or “cocktail” sausage rolls, up to 6 or 7 inch “jumbo” sausage rolls. In the UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia and the Netherlands, they can be sold as large as 12 inches long.

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  • Beef Wellington

    January 2, 2012, the last day of vacation…. need to do something special… I have a beef tenderloin, I have puff pastry…. Checking the panty I have a good mustard, and some horseradish… Rumbling in the fridge I have mushrooms, garlic, shallots.. Sounds like I have all the fixings for Beef Wellington…

    Wikipedia says:

    Beef Wellington is a preparation of filet steak coated with pâté (often pâté de foie gras) and duxelles, which is then wrapped in puff pastry and baked. Some recipes include wrapping the coated meat in a crêpe to retain the moisture and prevent it making the pastry soggy.

    A whole tenderloin may be wrapped and baked, and then sliced for serving, or the tenderloin may be sliced into individual portions prior to wrapping and baking. Many spices may be added to enhance the flavor; some examples are curry, allspice, any grilling mix or ginger.

    I am not going to do foie gras. I will make a duxelles of shallots, mushrooms, and garlic (all things I need to use this week). And add a mustard / horseradish wash for the meat

    Plus I’ll butterfly and dry age the tenderloin overnight, this will not be a lot of time, but will add a lot to the flavor / texture.
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  • Sausage Stuffing Puff Pastry Rolls

    As leftovers from the holiday dinner, I have a good bit of puff pastry sheets. We’ll be exploring how to use these to make more elaborate dishes, in a smaller time frame. For now a revamp of a favorite.

    A hand meal, stuffed with sausage, dressing, and possibly cheese or fruit, and rolled into a puff pastry sheet. These can be sized to individual servings or to a main course item, to be sliced and served with either a spicy mustard or slathered with red onion gravy.

    Really this is the source recipe for “pigs in a blanket”, and “cocktail wieners”.

    A Sausage Roll is a type of savory convenience food commonly served at parties and available from bakeries and milk bars as a take-away food item. Originating from the United Kingdom, it is also very popular in the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

    The basic composition of a sausage roll is generally a sheet or sheets of puff pastry sliced into two, wrapped into tubes around sausage meat and brushed with egg or milk before being baked. They can be served either hot or cold.

    Some variations on the basic recipe include chopped vegetables, such as carrots, onions, or courgettes; other seasonings such as herbs and spices; and the use of split sausages.

    Sausage rolls may be served and sold in various lengths from 1 or 2 inch so called “party” or “cocktail” sausage rolls, up to 6 or 7 inch “jumbo” sausage rolls. In the UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia and the Netherlands, they can be sold as large as 12 inches long.

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  • Leftover Beef Pie

    Steak Pie from leftover roast … A simple but sumptuous way to utilize leftovers and generate a meal that is more than the sum of its parts.

    Cubed roast, with a rich gravy from the roasting, thickened by mashing the vegetables from the roast into it. The addition of onions, peas, corn and mushrooms to provide more taste / texture contrasts.

    Pour it all into a baking dish and cap with my ultimate mashed potatoes, and bake until the gravy bubbles out and all is piping hot through out.

    Based on my discussions with a Pub operator in Crown Passage…

    Background

    A steak pie is a traditional meat pie served in Britain. It is made from stewing steak and beef gravy, enclosed in a pastry shell. Sometimes mixed vegetables are included in the filling. Steak pie is subtly different from Steak and kidney pie. In Ireland Guinness Stout is added along with bacon and onions. It is commonly referred to as a Steak and Guinness Pie (or Guinness Pie for short). In Scotland sausages are traditionally added to the steak. This practice goes back to the days when families could not afford more steak and the pie was padded out with cheaper meat. It is still to this day preferable to have the sausages and many butchers still sell them in large quantities. Many people would argue that the sausage enhances the flavor. The dish is often served with “steak chips” (thickly sliced potatoes fried, sometimes fried in beef dripping).

    The usual list of ingredients is omitted as this if committed with leftovers, use them all, if you need to get a bigger baking dish.
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