Tag Archives: Cookery

Microwave

The microwave cooks food with energy created by microwave emissions at high frequency, which activate the water molecules in the food and the agitation created produces heat which cooks or reheats food.

Microwave oven
Image via Wikipedia

It can be used to cook food in its entirety, partially, reheat food or even to defrost food. You can save up to three-quarters of the time taken by conventional methods, for his reason it is often called the refuge of the lazy and/or disorganised cook. This is because the microwave does nothing for the flavour of food and in many cases provides a far inferior tasting finished product to a conventional option, but it sure is quick. That said it does cut cooking odours and minimise the shrinkage of meats or fish and it is useful for small quantities of food.

The interior needs to be kept clean at all times. Metal or gilded containers should never be used. Also the door seal should be checked regularly, if it is damaged the microwave should not be used until it is repaired.

I’ll admit that our microwave gets a lot of use in our kitchen for three purposes, the first is for making porridge in the morning and this falls into the lazy/disorganised category as I just can’t be bothered with saucepans and watching when I’m still just waking up myself, mix the porridge in the bowl, bung it in the microwave and ninety seconds later I stir in some mashed banana and eat my breakfast. The second is for heating Elly’s “hotpack” that she uses instead of a hot-water bottle.

The final and most frequent use that our microwave gets is as a bread box, it’s big enough to hold 2 full loaves and it’s an airtight container, you just have to remember to let the oven cool before placing the bread inside and closing the door.

Recipe: White Soda Bread

White Soda Bread
White Soda Bread

Ingredients;

340g plain flour
5g salt
5g bicarbonate of soda
290ml buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 200C.

Sieve the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir.

Make a well and pour in the buttermilk, then mix quickly to make a dough.

Place on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, you almost want to treat the dough like it’s really hot when you’re kneading it, handling it as little as possible. Then form into a round and flatten slightly before placing it on a lightly floured baking sheet.

Cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe: Potato Rosti

Potato Rosti
Potato Rosti

Ingredients;

400g Potatoes, peeled
Melted Butter
Salt
Pepper

Serves 2


These are fairly easy to make and a great alternative to mash or baked potatoes. They do need a bit more effort though, not much, so let’s not think about it and just get started.

First you need to peel and wash the potatoes, they should be roughly the same size so cut them only if you really need to. Next place them in a saucepan with just enough salted water to cover them. Place this on a high heat and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for about a minute then remove the potatoes from the water and allow them to cool slightly before moving onto the next step.

Grate all the potato using a large grater, season with salt and pepper and add the melted butter, a little at a time, mixing in well each time, until the potatoes stick together. Depending on the type of potatoes the amount of butter will vary, however I find the starchier the potato the less butter is required. You could also substitute sunflower oil for the butter, but I find this can effect the flavour and colour of the result.

Next take a small amount of the mixture and form it into a mini burger shape. Fry it until golden brown on both sides and taste to check the seasoning. If you’re not happy add more salt and pepper to taste.

Next, shape the mixture into rounds like you’re making burgers. I use a ring mould for this but you can form them into rounds by hand either. Then fry on a hot pan until golden brown, usually 3 -4 minutes a side.

Recipe: Honey and Soy Grilled Rainbow Trout

Honey and Soy Grilled Rainbow Trout
Honey and Soy Grilled Rainbow Trout

Ingredients;

3 Tablespoons Dark Soy Sauce
4 Tablespoons Honey
4 Tablespoons White wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoons water
2 x Rainbow Trout Fillets

Serves 2


For an island nation we eat a pathetically small amount of fish and most of what we do eat comes from the frozen food aisle in the supermarket. This recipe is very easy to prepare and cook, it’s quicker and tastier than a lot of those frozen options, so give it a go!

To make the marinade/sauce just mix the soy sauce, honey, white wine vinegar and water together.

Place the trout fillets skin side down in a container just big enough to them fit them flat and side by side, then pour on the marinade mixture, making sure the fish are completely covered and leave to marinade for at least twenty minutes. Don’t add all the honey soy mixture as you’ll want to keep some to use as a sauce/dip.

While the fish are marinating, turn your grill on to its highest setting and allow it to warm up. Then prepare a grill tray for the fish. You want a flat grill tray with raised sides, the height of the fish should be fine but you want the base to be as close as possible to the size of your fillets. If your tray is larger than you can make a smaller tray to sit inside your regular grill tray from tin foil.

Once the fish have marinated for at least 20 minutes remove them from the marinade and place them in your grill tray, then pour the marinate over the fish so that it coats them but only comes about half way up the fillets. Next, put it under the grill for about 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness, until cooked through.

In the picture above I have served the fish on a braised rice pilaf made like this recipe with a finely chopped stalk of lemongrass added instead of the turmeric, this gives a wonderful delicate lemon flavour that complements the fish. I then poured some of the sauce over the fish before sprinkling some chopped spring onion on top and garnishing with a lime. Nyomtastic :)

Recipe: Roast Rib of Beef and Roast Gravy

Sliced Roast Beef with roast gravy
Sliced Roast Beef with roast gravy

Ingredients;

Rib of beef
3 carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 leek
1 onion
2 sticks of rosemary picked and finely chopped
Salt
Oil
Beef Stock


Season the joint with salt, then peel and roughly chop the veg and place in the bottom of the roasting tray to act as a trivet. Drizzle some good quality olive oil over the joint, sprinkle the chopped rosemary over the meat and place in a preheated oven at 230C – 250C.

Baste the joint frequently with the juices and fat that run out of the meat. Reduce the heat to 200C once the meat has sealed. The total roasting time is 15 minutes per 500g plus 15 minutes, or until the juices run clear.

Once removed from the oven the joint should be rested for 15 minutes before carving.

While the meat is resting, remove the fat and oil from the roasting tray, this is best done by lifting one corner of the tray carefully so the liquid runs to the opposite corner, then simply spoon off the clear liquid. Next get the roasting tray over a high heat and use a wooden spoon to gently work any bits that are stuck to the tray loose, at this point it’s a good idea to add a generous measure of red wine or (my personal preference) port to help “de-glaze” the tray.

Once all the pieces have been worked loose, think about how much gravy you want when finished and add roughly twice that amount of hot beef stock to the roasting tray, bring it to the boil and remove from the heat.

Now strain this through a sieve into a clean saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow the liquid to reduce by half and it should thicken just enough to give a really rich gravy, if it thickens too much just stir in a little stock to thin it down again.