Giving new life to an old recipe

This next recipe is based on one I found in an old cookbook – “Recipes of All Nations” by Countess Morphy, published in 1935. History is a little murky, but it appears that she wasn’t a countess at all and may not have travelled the world either! The book is still an excellent read and a historical curiosity and we’d like to thank our friend Will for lending it to us.

According to Countess Morphy:

The recipes I have selected for curries, dopiazas and koftas are chiefly from Northern India, as these are less hot and more adapted to English tastes.

My how times have changed since 1935 :) And it’s not just the English tastes either, I made some significant changes to the original recipe, as it had more than double the amount of butter and a huge amount of salt. My new recipe gives more or less the same flavour but with less than half the butter and the only salt in it is from the salt in the butter and on the peanuts. It should leave your heart a little happier than the original recipe.

I also added salted peanuts and raisins to the recipe. The peanuts give all the salt the dish needs and the combination of both gives a really interesting texture.

I remember the first time I made this curry, I was stunned by the subtle flavours, the lack of heat and just how easy it was to prepare. Even if you’re a hardened curry fanatic that likes their curry “centre of the sun” hot I’d urge you try this recipe, even once just to experience the flavour.

That Barbecue – the details!

Slow Roasting Irish Pork
Slow Roasting Irish Pork

Irish Pork
Irish Pork slid out of the heat to test if it's done.

OK, so my post about the “Family Get-Together” raised a few questions, which to be honest I wasn’t expecting and had to scurry off to find answers – and find some I did.

Irish Pork and Apple
Irish Pork and Apple

First the meat, it was a 60 kg pig, that was cooked for approximately three and a half hours. The fat was scored and the entire pig salted before cooking, also some foil was used to prevent the crackling from getting burned. This was more than enough to feed the estimated one hundred or so guests. In fact there were leftovers as well as bones for the dog.

The Argentine Barbecue, as I’ve decided to call it until someone corrects me, was definitely home made, under the watchful eye of an Argentinian polo player, who was familiar with both the device and cooking techniques required. Some angle iron, some mesh, some sheet metal, some steel bar and a welder are all you would need if you decide to make one yourself 😉

The secret to this barbecue is in the heat, a wood fire is lit on the top of the barbecue over the meat. As the woods turns to glowing charcoal these are moved underneath with a shovel to cook from below.

Argentine Barbecue with the grill shelf slid out
Argentine Barbecue with the grill shelf slid out

It’s important to concentrate the fires and coals over and under the thicker parts of the animal (without ignoring the narrower parts) in order to make sure that it cooks evenly and consistently.

If there are more questions, there is plenty of space in the comments to answer them or if anyone can shed some more light on what this type barbecue is called or originates from, I’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime here are some more pictures of the barbecue to help with identifying it or for those brave enough to try building their own 😉

Recipe: Caramelised Onion Chutney

Caramelised Onion Chutney
Caramelised Onion Chutney

Ingredients;

6 x medium white onions sliced in half moons
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil

Line

This is another one of those recipes that’s not so much a recipe as a way of creating something supremely tasty from only three ingredients plus time and some heat.

Get a large pan or saucepan onto a high heat. Allow the pan to heat fully before adding a lug of olive oil, turning the heat down and adding all the chopped onions. Stir them well until the heat has gone down in the pan and they stop sizzling.

Next cover the pan of onions and leave over a very low heat for thirty to forty five minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has disappeared. Now add a glug of a good balsamic vinegar, stir this in and leave it for ten minutes until this too has disappeared and repeat this last step again, adding more Balsamic Vinegar, stir it in well and leave over a low heat until all the liquid has evaporated.

Now you’re ready to serve, hot over a freshly cooked burger or steak; or if you allow this to cool it can be stored in a refrigerated, sterilised glass jar for about a month, to be used cold on sandwiches or salads or reheated.

Recipe: The Greatest Burgers Evah!

The Greatest Burger
The Greatest Burger

Ingredients;

500g lean ground beef
1 large red onion, finely diced
2 slices of bread, made into breadcrumbs
Large handful of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Large handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
1 pinch of cumin seeds
2 tablespoons dried oregano
Salt
Pepper
1 egg
1 teaspoon of smooth French mustard
2 handfuls of grated mozzarella cheese
1 chili, finely diced

Line

Burgers in general are just ground beef reformed into a convenient shape to place in a burger bun, right? Even at it’s simplest a burger is so much more than that, every burger maker has their own preference for the cut of beef to be ground for their burgers or the blend of cuts and the percentage of each. Some add nothing more than seasoning and others bulk out their burgers with all sorts of synthetic “fillers” and “flavour enhancers”.

I like the idea of a pure beef burger but in truth I find all but the most exceptional to be a little bland and lacking in flavour, which is why I go down the route of using a blend of herbs and other flavours to make every bite an event.

Once you have the onion and fresh herbs chopped, place the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, a large pinch of salt and pepper and the oregano in your mortar and pestle and grind them up as finely as possible. Then add this to the blender along with the fresh herbs and the bread and blend until you have nice fine herby breadcrumbs.

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix them together well – get your hands in and mix everything together really well, yes even the cheese.

Next place a large sheet of clingfilm onto a clean surface and arrange the mixture on top so that you can roll it into a six to eight centimetre thick sausage and seal it in the clingfilm, making sure to have this sausage compacted into this size as much as possible. Now place this in the fridge and allow it to cool for at least an hour.

Now remove the burger-sausage from the fridge and (without removing the clingfilm) slice it into burgers about one and a half centimetres thick using a very sharp knife. Once all have been sliced it should be easy enough to remove the pieces of clingfilm.

These can then be cooked on a grill, in the frying pan, or my personal favourite, grilled over a charcoal burning barbecue for approximately 2 minutes each side. I like them served in a toasted bun on a bed of lettuce and sliced cornichon with a generous helping of grated cheddar melted over the burger, topped with some hot fresh caramelised onion chutney and a blob of ketchup.

Family Get-Togethers

A magical, wondrous, creature, roasted and almost ready to eat
A magical, wondrous, creature, roasted and almost ready to eat

Every family has get-togethers from time to time and there’s usually an occasion to be celebrated as there was in our case, this weekend. One of my nieces was confirmed and so the get together was on, a feast had to be organised.

Thankfully early faith in great weather on the day meant a pig had been ordered and the Argentine Barbecue was checked and approved for use. I say Argentine Barbecue because the design and technique was passed on to one brother-in-law by an Argentine Polo player although it has me stumped.

I googled, I wikipedia’d and I haven’t been able to find any information about this particular style of barbecue. So if anyone has some more details please share them in the comments below.

Slow Roasting Irish Pork
Slow Roasting Irish Pork