We had the visitors over last Sunday. This is, if I am honest, the event that both instigates and supplies the necessary motivation for home maintenance. Cannot identify the elements that explain this phenomenon but … it is as it is.
I was just recovering from that Stomach Flu – it had me down for the count for about two days. For this excitement you will need …
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Earl Grey Tea
You don’t need this but I wopped in some blackberry juice gleaned from berries shortly to be discussed but this is a departure from the recipe.
So to begin, it is necessary to make some cinnamon tea. It will clear up, pretty quickly stomach flus if brewed correctly. I realise the skeptics will scoff, they are in good company. I did it, it worked – almost immediately – 3ish hours, with repeat dosing – but I digress.
Crumble real cinnamon sticks, the ones that look like rolled up newspaper, not the ones that look like two curls of cardboard – this is Cassia, it smells like cinnamon but if you use this, you’ll give your liver a rough time.
Crumble the cinnamon in to a saucepan. Fill 1.5 cups of water per intact cinnamon quill. If they have crumbled – just do your best. Turn on low heat and slowly, very slowly – bring to the boil. Just as the water commits to boiling, turn off heat and let water completely cool. This is when the water exacts the medicine from the cinnamon quills.
Strain out cinnamon bark when water is completely cold and reheat water once more. Turn off heat when it has boiled and make cups of Earl Grey tea with the water – as many cups as toddies you are intending.
It’s relatively down hill from here. Give each cup a squirt of lemon, a drop of honey, a shot of whiskey and in my case a wop of blackberry juice – stir and serve hot.
Good Work. This went down well in front of a wood fire. Slight bonus, this recipe lends itself to the Virgin Version. Just a thought. Moving on …
This does not sound like much but it is worth making up the night before. It is, in truth, a kind of Cabbage Casserole – but, this does not sound as good as giving it a nod from Vienna, where I understand it was first conceived. The version I made last Sunday substituted a few items and departed somewhat from the original, but it was still worth it. It is derived from that odd Winter Marriage between Cabbage and Apples. You will need …
- One Purple Cabbage
- One Purple Onion (so they match)
- 75g of Chicken Fat (the original calls for Beef dripping which I did not have)
- 2 Table Spoons of Sugar (I used raw)
- One Large Cooking Apple
- 3 Table Spoons of Red Wine or Apple Cider Vinegar
- 300 mL Chicken Stock (the original calls for Beef Stock, but I was without the necessary)
- One Table Spoon of Flour
- 4 Table Spoons of Cream or Sour Cream (I used A2 Cream)
To begin …
Cut the cabbage in to quarters and remove the core, discard. Chop the cabbage as finely as you can. Put to one side. Round up the onion and chop finely. Melt fat in deep heavy casserole dish – something French if you are in to that sort of thing. Cook the onion until it begins to brown then add the sugar and continue cooking until golden. Wop cabbage in and mix well.
That’s the cabbage. Now to the apple.
Core and chop, but do not peel the apple. Wop in with cabbage. Add the vinegar and some salt, and pepper. Stir well then cover and let it cook over low heat for around about 15 minutes.
Heat up the stock next and add to the cabbage and apple. Cook casserole on the stove top for two hours. Or if you are like me and not keen on constant monitoring, just put the casserole in a low oven. After two hours have passed, mix the cream and flour to a paste, return the casserole to the stove top on a low heat and add the paste slowly, stirring to avoid sticking and burning.
That’s it, more or less. If you make it the day before, which I advise – just heat it up before you are ready to serve. It’s pretty easy and goes really really really well with Pork.
Roast Pork Belly
It took me a while to learn how to cook pork belly. Frankly, it took me a while to recover from the flabby attempts my mother made before completely giving up on pork and sticking to roasting beef – much easier. But I am pleased to say, I have cracked it – I think.
Get yourself the best pork belly you can find and then you need to trim back the top layer of rind. This is an absolute bastard. Two options – you can risk puncturing an artery by doing this prior to cooking or risking third degree burns by doing it after exposing the belly to high heat for 15 minutes. YOur choice. I’ve done it both ways and … it depends on who is watching.
Because the visitors were coming around – I couldn’t be in the kitchen trimming back rind and yelling conversation and possibly administering first aid to myself at the same time. Visitors might leave. Not ideal, all that house cleaning – for nothing! So I trimmed the rind back before the belly met the oven.
Assuming this has happened … score the rind, rub best quality salt you can find, like Maldon maybe? Squirt on lemon juice and repeat. Then wop the oven up real high meaning about 200 Degrees Celsius – but in our oven because the seal doesn’t always err seal, as high as you can. Wop the belly, fat up in to the hot oven for 15 minutes then for every 500g you give it 30 mins at 180 degrees. You will not be disappointed.
Blackberry Butterscotch Tart &
Salted Caramel Icecream
This Tart looks fabulous and tastes pretty wild with the Icecream too. The Tart is fairly easy. The Ice-cream – well, we will come to that … to the Tart first, you will need …
- Pastry (I used Gluten Free cardboard substitute due to my remedial genetics, but it went OK)
- 500g of Blackberries
- 150g of Raw Sugar, the kind that looks like wet sand
- 4 Table Spoons of Flour
- 4 Table Spoons of Cream
- 2 Eggs
Let’s do this ‘on speed’, because that’s how I did it and let’s face it, you’ll be losing interest and daylight hours – the warm glow hospitality aside. I don’t mean imbibing amphetamines, I mean – quickly!
Make Pastry Case the day before. Make up filling mixture. Mix sugar with flour, mix eggs with cream. Add small pinch of salt to the dry ingredients. Combine wet and dry. Mix well. Set aside until ready to cook Tart which will be more or less after the Pork comes out of the oven. Then you quickly, fill pastry case with berries. Pour over butterscotch filling. Put in hot over 210 Degrees Celsius for 10 mins, then 180 Degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.
The Ice-Cream will need to be made the day before – like yeah! And you will need an Ice Cream Maker. Mine is one of those with a paddle and a frozen bowl that takes up vital freezer space.
My Grandmother was a great cook and I have perused her carefully collaged recipe book in which she had extracted the best of Woman’s Day and had multiple references to the old name for ‘Salted Caramel’ – which was … errr ‘Butterscotch’! So we could call this Butterscotch Icecream. You will need …
- 2 Cups of whole milk (divided in to 2 portions)
- 300g Sugar
- 1/2 Table Spoon (60g) Salted Butter
- 1/2 Tea Spoon Salt
- 1 Cup of heavy cream
- 5 Large Eggs
- 3/4 Vanilla Extract
MAKE AN ICE BATH
Nest one mixing bowl (2L capacity) inside another, line with ice cubes and cold water. Pour 1 Cup of Whole Milk in to the inside bowl and put strainer on the top of the mixing bowl. At the ready.
MAKE THE SALTED CARAMEL
Spread 300g sugar over large saucepan and cook over heat until caramelized. This is a dry caramel. It is a bit tricky. You must hold out until the caramel begins to turn the colour of tea and begins to smoke but not so long that it burns. Tricky. Very Tricky.
Once the sugar has caramelized to your satisfaction, remove from the heat and stir in the butter until it melts. Then gradually whisk in the cream stirring as you go. If the caramel seizes? becomes solid, just return to the heat and soften it again. Add 1 Cup of Milk.
MAKE THE CUSTARD FOR THE ICECREAM
Whisk the yolks in a small bowl then gradually pour the warm caramel mixture over the yolks whisking as you go. Return the mixture to a low heat, maybe medium if you want to live dangerously – stir, stir, stir until the mixture thickens. This means the back of the spoon begins to collect a thick coating.
Finally when mixture is ready, pour through strainer of cold milk in ice bath – stirring as you add the vanilla extract. When mixture completely cooled, put through ice-cream make and freeze as instructed.