Monday, 21 April 2014

Fictitious Dishes

You'll recognise these two. In my teenage years I did become a bit obsessed with the nutritious value of ice cream and apple pie using it as some kind of culinary reference point. Strangely I hardy ever partook of this treat until in my later years...the influence remains however. I was pretty much on the road in the wrong country. All you got here in the glorious non-glam post pretentious 70s was chips, pieces and filed rolls. As for Holden Caulfield's pedestrian snack cheese sandwich, well it's OK if unspectacular. I need to see what Gatsby had for a snack, just to make a meaningful comparison. Next: I'm sure there's a few questionable or bizarre lunchtime treats yet to be explored in Game of Thrones. That's for another day.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Steak Night

If you don't understand the significance of steak night then you've clearly a) not been in the navy or b) watched many episodes of Scrubs. Everybody needs a steak night now and then, so here we have:

2 x Sirloin steaks, mushrooms, tomato, (the pepper sauce and fat chips didn't make the pic).

Heat the cast iron frying pan (with a little oil) until hot, add the steaks and sear them, let it all hiss and turn frequently. 5 minutes = medium any more is well done so add the tomatoes and the mushrooms at about 2 minutes. The fat chips should be in the oven, they'll take 20 mins from frozen (don't judge me) so work backwards from that.

Pepper sauce: Double cream, peppercorns, beef stock, brandy (or whisky), butter and seasoning; all sensible amounts. Melt everything in a pan and then add the cream last, mix and simmer thoroughly until smooth and you're away. 

Serve on warm plates with room temp French Beaujolais. Nice.

Overall cost inc wine; £21.55.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Other burger recipes

Following on from the Earnest Hemingway burger recipe here are two slightly less sophisticated but still appealing options you might want to try.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Believing the hype

Tenuous linkages. Strictly speaking this is not a  recipe but it does exist way over to the left on the food and drink awareness spectrum. It's about the way that once you reach about half way with any jar of coffee the flavour tends to turn a little sour or flat or ceases to be as good as when the jar started. I've noticed this with all the major brands and derivatives; I've been robbed of coffee joy. A sad state of affairs. This phenomenon also applies to some extent to the sludge that Costa, Starbucks and the like serve up. So coffee pleasure has slipped away from my taste bud's top ten and been replaced with tea and milk bombs, strange  but still refreshing days. 

So in a bid to restart a coffee revival and as a result of some intense marketing and TV advertising I became aware of new Gold Blend Barista Style - it promised a lot (rich and full bodied) and I believed and...two cups later and it's ok. We'll see how well it's doing once I get to halfway down the jar.

Friday, 10 January 2014

How to cook

Happy days
All of this is stolen by the way - Dangerous Minds strikes again: A favourite Hemingway anecdotes always revolve around him being absurdly macho—like when he mocked F. Scott Fitzgerald for his monogamy, or when, in an attempt to prevent sharks from eating the tuna he had just caught, he opened fire with a Thompson submachine-gun directly into the water. This, of course, was pretty counterproductive, since it only produced more blood, attracting more sharks and exacerbating the feeding frenzy.

It only makes sense that Hemingway would tire of shooting fish at some point, and settle himself down for a nice, slow-moving animal like a cow, and it turns out that he had very interesting (and totally delicious-sounding) specifications for his burgers. Below is his recipe for an ultra-manly, super-robust burger. Apparently, Mei Yen Powder is no longer on the market, but you can approximate the rich, umami flavor with nine parts salt, nine parts sugar and two parts MSG. For 1 teaspoon of Mei Yen Powder, use 2/3 of a teaspoon of the mix, plus 1/3 of a teaspoon of soy sauce. (And don’t believe the hype about MSG—it’s harmless and delicious.)


1 lb. ground lean beef

2 cloves, minced garlic

2 little green onions, finely chopped

1 heaping teaspoon, India relish

2 tablespoons, capers

1 heaping teaspoon, Spice Islands sage

Spice Islands Beau Monde Seasoning — 1/2 teaspoon

Spice Islands Mei Yen Powder — 1/2 teaspoon

1 egg, beaten in a cup with a fork

About 1/3 cup dry red or white wine

1 tablespoon cooking oil

What to do–

Break up the meat with a fork and scatter the garlic, onion and dry seasonings over it, then mix them into the meat with a fork or your fingers. Let the bowl of meat sit out of the icebox for ten or fifteen minutes while you set the table and make the salad. Add the relish, capers, everything else including wine and let the meat sit, quietly marinating, for another ten minutes if possible. Now make your fat, juicy patties with your hands. The patties should be an inch thick, and soft in texture but not runny. Have the oil in your frying pan hot but not smoking when you drop in the patties and then turn the heat down and fry the burgers about four minutes. Take the pan off the burner and turn the heat high again. Flip the burgers over, put the pan back on the hot fire, then after one minute, turn the heat down again and cook another three minutes. Both sides of the burgers should be crispy brown and the middle pink and juicy.

That is one hell of a specific hamburger is it not? If you've no time for all this try a Tony Macaroni burger when you're next out on the town.