Friday, February 29, 2008

'Toblerone' Pancakes

Now that the pancake day blogging feast is over, here's what we did....take one pancake (i'm not gonna patronise you and tell you how to make a pancake; a) you should know, and b) there are plenty of sites/recipes out there), and sprinkle with grated, quality dark chocolate (I use Divine or Green & Blacks), Honey and chopped Almonds. Voila! Toblerone Pancakes. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Roasted Belly of Pork with Cain's Gravy

This is an adaptation of a Richard Fox recipe that caught my eye recently. Why? Because it involved Belly Pork, possibly my favourite cut of any meat ever. So versatile, I think Belly is starting to get the recognition it deserves. Anyway, this is basically a slow-cooked belly, perfect for slicing, and the gravy is all made in the pan. The secret ingredient is beer - in my case, Cain's Raisin Beer. Richard reccommends a full-bodied Yorkshire beer, but I found the juicy and slightly floral nature of Cain's Raisin made an excellent gravy.

Serves One Yorkshire Lass and One hungry Yorkshireman
you will need;

A good hunk of belly; about four/five ribs.
Tin of chopped tomatoes
1 stick of celery
1 leek
2 carrots, chopped and peeled
Half a bottle of Cain's Raisin Beer
300ml Chicken Stock

For the dry rub:

2 cloves garlic
Chopped parsley, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary
Salt, Ground Black Pepper

1. Pre-Heat your oven to 150-160 degrees
2. Score your belly pork; rub the dry rub into the skin and leave to stand while:
3. ...You add all your chopped veg into a roasting tin. Over the veg, pour over the tomatoes, stock and finally the beer. Mix a little.
4. Lay the Pork on top, and roast for about 4 hours.

This is a perfect meal for putting in and forgetting about - but keep an eye on it if you don't know your oven inside-out; you don't want that juicy pork to dry out. Over time, the veg softens into the liquor; creating a tasty gravy so chunky you won't need additional accompaniments, in my opinion.
If you fancy making this and use another beer, let me know how it turns out. Any robust beer should do the trick, and you'll get different flavours every time.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Leeds Brewery...Coming Along Nicely

I was pleased to hear this week that those enterprising young chaps at Leeds Brewery are setting up their own pub. Tentativley named The Midnight Bell, the pub will be situated not too far from thier brewhouse in Leeds, and building work will start soon.
As you know, Leeds Brewery have the full backing of TGS; not least in thier recent success but also due to the fact that these lads are truly passionate about beer and this latest step is certainly 'one in the eye' for those who think that the 'pub' is dead.
The Good Stuff, along with many other Yorkshire-based beer and food blogs, will be there on opening day for certain. Good Luck.
....and on other TGS - endorsed news, The Fox & Newt are currently selling their own-brewed ales at £2 a pint. Make sure you don't miss out - thier brewhouse is producing some excellent beers right now.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tikka-Spiced Fish...Caught Cheating

Although the mere fact that you, dear reader, are reading TGS tells me you have a healthy interest in cooking from scratch - there comes along, every once in a while, a ready-made sauce or stock or similar that surprises you and reassures that if 'cheating' is needed, then at least it can be done well.
As part of a christmas hamper, I ended up with a jar of Cottage Delight's Tikka Masala sauce; and it provided a great solution for a busy afternoon. As you will see, some prep is still needed in the recipe that I ended up throwing together, but the need for major legwork was certainly taken away by using the sauce.
Apologies to John - This will be my last fish-based post for a while, i promise!)

Tikka-Spiced Fish (Serves Two)

You will need

1 Large Fillet of Whitby Cod
1 Pepper, chopped
1 Onion, sliced
1/2lb of Cherry Toms
1 medium Courgette, sliced
1 Jar of Cottage Delight Tikka Masala Sauce
Rub -
1tsb of grated ginger
3 large cloves garlic, mashed
2 tsps veg or corn Oil
2 tsps Tomato Puree
pinch of fenugreek
pinch of garam or gujarati masala
large pinch of chilli flakes (to your liking)
1 pinch of Panch Phoran (onion seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds)

Preheat the oven to 180c.
1. First, make the rub. combine all ingredients above in a ramekin and you'll end up with a pungent paste. smear this on your fish, and leave to marinate slightly while:
2. You gently saute the veg in a large pan. Use Olive Oil for this, and season with black pepper once golden. Don't use salt - it'll dry out the toms and courgette.
3. In a a large dish, place your soft, golden veg and lie your marinated fish on top.
4. Simply pour the sauce over the top, and bake for about 30-40 minutes.

As you can see, despite a long ingredients list, its not that complicated. The end result tastes great; creamy and tomatoey with a zingy kick beneath the surface. All you're doing really is pre-cooking and pre-marinating the fish to give a little extra flavour, and finishing in the oven. We served this with home-made flatbreads, but obviously rice or naan would be perfect also.
As for beer, instead of opting for an eastern beer I chose Bitburger - although not one of my favourite tipples, I wanted a clean, dry pils to counter the heat but with a little more body-and it certainly did the trick.

So there you go. A cheat's success. It's certainly made me realise that there are some great products out there that certainly warrant a position in your storecupboard.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

In the Words of Jason Molina -

- Just be Simple. Something we sometimes lose sight of, particularly when it comes to food and drink. This morning in Leeds is glorious, sunshine throwing down and melting the overnight frost away.Even my jog this morning was not the slog it usually is. I feel good; thoughts turning to this years' projects, growing and brewing, and all those great things you can only seem to do in the lighter months. John over at John's Random Ramblings has starting planting and brewing, catching that spring-time bug.

What's different - apart from the weather?
Well, for me, we're not talking about complication here, we're simple pleasures. don't get me wrong, I'm all for complication in food - in moderation. The simple act of baking bread, even in a breadmaker, can give you that glow that stacking six layers of meat in a ramekin and serving with a two-day condensed and simmered jus simply cannot. Making Jam; beer; growing some tomatoes - it's all the same. These little things we miss when we cannot do them.

I was reminded of this lately when I decided that I fancied something traditional for dinner, but found it surprisingly hard to find anything that quite fitted the bill in my cookbook library. As a passing thought, I picked up a battered old Be-Ro cookbook that had been passed down to my girlfriend by her Grandmother. Archly, I sat and sifted through it, scoffing at its antiquated recipes and pictures. Then, there it was - Toad in The Hole. No herbs added to the pudding. No speciality sausages - just good ones. No flavoured oils, just dripping. Perfect. It turned out perfect too, burnished brown and sizzling... washed down with a pint of Black Sheep Riggwelter it certainly gave me that aforementioned glow.
The book? Well, lets just say it gets a little more attention these days. They are still on sale, actually. Pick one up, or something like it, and get back to your roots.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

And the Winners Are....

The National Winter Ales Festival took place recently in Manchester - Here are the winners as per the Camra website, with Wickar's Station Porter taking the honours. Naturally, being a Winter festival, it was time for Stouts, Porters and Barley-wine styles to take a bow.

National Winter Ales Festival 2008: Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2008

Gold - Wickwar, Station Porter (Wickwar, Gloucestershire)
Silver - Robinson's, Old Tom (Stockport, Cheshire)
Bronze - Hop Back, Entire Stout (Salisbury, Wiltshire)


Old Ales & Strong Mild Category

Gold - Purple Moose, Dark Side of the Moose (Porthmadog, Gwynedd)
Silver - West Berkshire, Maggs Magnificent Mild (Thatcham, Berkshire)
Bronze - Highland, Dark Munro (Birsay, Orkney)


Gold - Hop Back, Entire Stout (Salisbury, Wiltshire)
Silver - Spitting Feathers Old Wavertonian (Waverton, Chester)
Bronze - Spire, Sgt. Pepper Stout (Chesterfield, Derbyshire)


Gold - Wickwar, Station Porter (Wickwar, Gloucestershire)
Silver - E&S Elland, 1872 Porter (Elland, West Yorkshire)
Bronze - Acorn, Old Moor Porter (Barnsley, South Yorkshire)

Barley Wines

Gold - Robinson's Old Tom (Stockport, Cheshire)
Silver - Durham, Benedictus (Bowburn, Co Durham)
Bronze - Mighty Oak, Saxon Song (Maldon, Essex

Nice to see Acorn getting a shout - i've been a fan of thiers for a while now, and the Old Moor Porter is lovely. Strong showing from Hop Back, also.

Salmon Parcels

...Or Salmon En Croute, if you like a touch of culinary flair. I needed a dish that was easy to prepare yet looked a little flashy for a weekend supper, and this is what happened. Hardly an original idea, but a lighter option to Beef Wellington and it went down a treat. I have no qualms about using frozen pastry either - the results are excellent and it really is a time-saver. I use Jus-Rol.

Recipe for one parcel; simply replicate however many times you need.

You will need:
One good, fresh Salmon Fillet
A good bunch of Spinach, washed and dried
1 pack of flaky pastry - two sheets (one per parcel)
Black Pepper, to season
1 egg, beaten

1. Warm your oven to 180.
2. Simply lay one sheet of pastry down, and lay your salmon across the sheet however you want it.
3. Season with black pepper.
4. Top the salmon with as much or as little washed and dried spinach as you like. You could also add Fennel, too - i didn't have any but I think that would work.
5. Brush round the fish with the egg wash, and fold pastry over to form your parcel. Decorate/crimp round the edges.
6. Chill the parcels for at least an hour.
7. When ready to cook, put you baking tray in the oven to heat. I find this trick ensures a crispy base every time.
8. Egg-wash your parcels, place on the tray and bake for about half an hour, or until golden.

...And that's it. hardly any work at all and an excellent result. The spinach steams within the parcel, and the fish should be moist - serve simply with parsley sauce and new spuds.

To accompany, I chose one of my favourite Belgians, Orval. It's widely available, and being a little lighter really compliments the delicate flavour of Salmon. You certainly don't want intrusion on the flavour here from your beer choice.