Tag Archives: Cooking

Deep-Frying

Deep frying
Image via Wikipedia

Deep-frying is the process where food is immersed in hot oil or fat to be cooked. Food can be partly cooked in advance and then finished just before being served.

To partially cook food you immerse it in the preheated (to 160C-175C) fat or oil until softened and not coloured.

To fully cook food you immerse it in the preheated (to 170C-190C) fat or oil until cooked through and crisp on the outside.

While it is relatively easy to deep fry food with the correct tools (basket or spider), there are a number of things to be concerned about, first you are cooking in either fat or oil, so it’s important to remove as much of this as possible after cooking. The most common way is by shaking as much off the food as possible as soon as it is removed from the cooker and then rested on clean kitchen paper to absorb more of the oil.

It’s important to have the correct amount of fat or oil for the food you wish to cook and this should be changed regularly to avoid the build up of hydrogenated fats (a.k.a. bad stuff). It’s also vitally important to remove as much excess moisture as possible from the food before frying to prevent accidents.

In most cases a specific deep fat fryer should be used, however you could use a large saucepan. I would strongly recommend that if you are going to deep fry then use a dedicated deep fat fryer as this will have its own temperature controls and is far less likely to go on fire than any cooker top method of deep-frying. That said it’s always a good idea to have a fire-blanket and an appropriate fire extinguisher handy as well as knowing how to use them!

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.

Roasting

Basting...
Image via Wikipedia

When roasting, the food is cooked with oil or fat either in an oven or on a spit. The joint of meat to be cooked is placed on a trivet in a roasting tray and placed in a hot oven to seal. The temperature is then lowered and the joint cooked through with frequent basting. Alternatively, the joint can be placed on a spit over a heat source and basted regularly.

This is a great way to cook a large joint of meat as it uses only the heat and the fat within the meat to cook and all the excess fat is rendered out of the meat along with some of the natural juices, these juices can be kept and used to make gravy.

It’s always a good idea to use a roasting tray that is deep enough to hold all the ingredients easily. It’s essential when basting that you do not splash fat onto yourself or others or indeed the oven or heat source as this could cause a fire. Remember to drain off the excess fat before making the gravy.

Finally the joint should be left to rest before carving as this will make it easier to carve.

Recipe: Yorkshire Puddings

Rushed Yorkshire Puddings
Rushed Yorkshire Puddings

Ingredients;

125g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 egg
200ml Milk
20ml Vegetable oil


In the world of classic accompaniments Yorkshire puddings are to roast beef as R2D2 is to Luke Skywalker. Yeah, Luke is handy enough on his own but with R2D2 around you know it’s going to be better.

These are easy to make, once you know what traps to fall into, if you take your time and don’t rush, they are easily avoided. The picture above is a perfect example of these kinds of traps, these weren’t hand whisked enough so they didn’t rise well and were also overdone.

Sieve the flour and salt together in a bowl then add the egg, mixing everything together. Mix the milk and vegetable oil and add half the mixture and beat until smooth.

Then add the rest and whisk until smooth and airy, this is best done by hand, whisking the mixture towards you, so you can raise the whisk a little each stroke to catch more air. Put a small amount of oil in each section of a muffin tray (about 3-4mm) and pre-heat it in the oven at 220C.

Once the tray is hot, pour the batter into each section of the hot tray (roughly 3/4 fill each) and cook for 40-45 minutes until risen and golden brown.