Friday, November 26, 2010

I wanted I bought I made

I thought it was cold when we got back to London. Seems positively balmy in retrospect. Odd thing is the news this morning announced this to be the warmest year in a decade...

We are away for the weekend and out Sunday and Monday so it's a short week to plan food wise. Tuesday I fancy steamed pork ribs with black beans, Wednesday I really want soup, Thursday we are out again and Friday I think burgers and salad as there is a salad from 5amfoodie that I really want to try. I did this! - first time ever I matched what I wanted to what I made, though it will be omelette Friday, not burgers.

Wow it was cold at Borough on Saturday - I swear the concrete freezes the better to radiate icy conditions. I was very early and John was seriously rugged up behind the counter at Ginger Pig, including a wool cap. Looking at him made me warmer! They didn't have any spare ribs though, so decided on a couple of pork chops on the spur of the moment. £6.50 Also had a lovely catch up chat with Charlie and how nice it is to be flying somewhere on holidays, even economy, what with films to watch while someone serves you drinks.

Coffee at a queueless Monmouth - £11.50

I bought eggs at Wild Beef where Lizzie wore no gloves but the young guy working with her was in a full length woolen poncho - Mexican stlyee - £1.50

Apples from Chegworth - £1.20

Then I thought - ooh, maybe Northfield will have spare ribs and they did! Got a lovely big meaty rack - £4.80
Milk and pasta from Neals Yard - £6.70

Baguette from du Marché - £1.30

Also bought lots of lovely treats as gifts but the total for the shop for us was £33.50 but I'd bought salami at Di Lieto's before I'd even got home

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pork and Chicken Liver Terrine

I do love a good terrine. Simple and sophisticated, they have flavour and texture and if animal based generously give a lovely meaty mouthful. The melding of elements make a whole greater than the individual bits, and the very best examples have one or two sublte surprises included for extra joy.

For a long time now I have eaten at the Anchor & Hope at Waterloo, gastro pub extraordinaire. I have never had a single bad meal there, I have never been disappointed, which never ceases to amaze me. One of the things I have ordered and enjoyed consistently is the terrine - rich and delicate at the same time, it was easy to recognise the pork and the liver, the hit of garlic and the lovely savoury notes of thyme. There were other bits, like the occasional slippery fruity strand that I had more trouble identifying, could have been prune but it wasn't, could have been vegetable but sweet? Marinated raisin - maybe but not.

Head chef at the A&H for a long time was a woman called Trish Hilferty who had come there, via The Fox from the original London gastropub, The Eagle. Difficult to get a better pedigree than that. Recently, to my delight, Ms Hilferty set up on her own at the Canton Arms, a pub a mere 5 minute walk from us. Five minutes! It was a little uncertain to start, slightly uneven, but interesting. The first Sunday we had lunch there I think was the best roast chicken dinner I have ever eaten. It was sublime. The pub was also half empty so we were happy to stay in the bar for lunch perusing the papers, having a blissfully perfect version of Sunday. It has become very well known since, and sadly is so incredibly busy you must eat only in the restaurant should you be lucky enough to score a table. No bookings means wait and see - and we do.

As a starter or a plate to share terrine is often my choice. It is always a variation of the ones I have eaten for years. Jay Rayner says 'The house terrine, thick and dense, served with still-warm Melba toast and cornichons, was an exemplar of its kind'. He's right - it always seems to work.

So imagine my delight the other day when, perusing the cookery shelves of Book Warehouse, I found a book called Gastropub Classics Cookbook, written by none other than Trish Hilferty. I flicked IMMEDIATELY to the Starters chapter and found this recipe for terrine.

Couldn't wait to make it, couldn't wait to share.

Pork And Chicken Liver Terrine

Makes a one kilo loaf - serves 10

Very simple to make though not quick, this makes an elegant starter or an impressive centrepiece for a cold buffet. We ate it for lunches through the week, with a seedy crispbread and a crispy salad of fennel, carrot and celery. Perfect for the two of us.

1 small onion, finely diced
200ml red wine
6-8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
750g pork mince
200g chicken livers, trimmed of connecting bits
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
3 tbspn brandy or Madeira
1 tspn fresh thyme leaves
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Put the diced onion into a small saucepan and pour over the red wine. Place the pan over a lowish heat and simmer until all the wine has evaporated and the flavour has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Use the bacon to line a 1 - 1.2litre terrine dish or loaf tin, arranging them crossways with the edges hanging over the sides. Put all the remaining ingredients, including the cooled onion, into a large bowl and mix really well. Use your hands - it squishes very satisfyingly indeed. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Squash the mixture into the lined terrine, fold over the hanging ends of bacon and cover with a lid or foil. Trish Hilferty then places it into a roasting pan of hot water and bakes it at 160C/325F/Gas 3 for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. I covered mine with foil and steamed it at 100C for 90 minutes for a perfectly rich moist result.

To test whether the terrine is cooked, pierce it with a skewer; it should come out hot and the juices should run clear. Drain any collected juice from the tin. ( I added the porky/livery essence to a beef stew to wonderful effect).

Let the terrine cool for ten minutes, then weight it down. (I didn't do this) Refrigerate overnight. To serve, turn it out of the tin and cut into lovely thick slices.

At last I know what the lovely slippy threads are - finel bits of onion cooked in red wine. Great trick!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I wanted...I bought...I made

Bacon and onion omelette topped with grilled to golden cheese

Back to London in winter, lightly tanned and slightly shocked at the cold. Comfort food is needed.

Saturday we are out to lunch so dinner will be cold collation, that most beloved meal of the man masses of cheese with salami and St John bread. Sunday I think I shall make a spinach pie - I have some cheese and filo in the freezer. Couldn't resist making a terrine for lunches, so had another collation. Beef stew with mash and sprouts Monday, noodles Tuesday omelette and salad, more stew Wednesday, pasta with dried mushrooms Thursday 'twas pasta but baked with cauliflower and (3) cheese sauce and lamb chops with aubergine Friday - cheese on toast!. Could be a good week.

Borough Market was quiet early - it was good to be back. Bought pork mince and chicken livers at Ginger Pig, which had a fair queue for pre 9am, spent £13.70

From Teds Veg I bought lots - potatoes, onions, fennel, garlic, brussel sprouts, flat mushrooms - £6.60

A bag of chocolates for Sam who's coming to visit this week - £2

From Wild Beef I bought eggs - £1.50

At Gastronomica I asked Gianni for something hard and sheepy - he presented me with a sliver of a spectacularly fabulous Pecorino, so bought a chunk and a rocchetta, went to pay with £20 and he asked me if I needed Parmesan. I did. So he cut me a lump then added a buffalo mozzarella and half a softish goats cheese - £20 for the lot - total bargain for such a glorious selection

Apples, a pear and an apple crumble from Chegworth - £4.20

Milk, spaghetti and cream from Neals Yard - who are going to be selling St John bread from next week - yay! - £7.30

Bread from Flour Power - £1.10

Spent £56.40 but there was much more needed. Bought salami at Di Lieto's, cauliflower and celery at Brixton market, porridge oats, biscuits and butter at the supermarket. It all adds up.