Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hey Presto, Pesto!

I was off last Wednesday and was wondering what to do with the herbs in the garden that I'd grown.  I'd planted mint, sage, parsley and basil ages ago and throughout the miserable winter all I could see were a few straggly shoots of hopeful herbs (I hoped) trying to get going.

The sage was soaked in one downpour so was particularly weakened.  The mint I'd used for Mojito's as soon as I saw a shoot so I think in protest was going on something of a go slow and whilst I'd never had any luck with parsley before, my basil had grown like weeds.  Not this time.  It was the parsley that suddenly took off and threatened to engulf its neighbors.

Parsley run amok

I'd planted the herbs in their own individual wine boxes and filled that with potting soil hoping that way they'd have a chance to grow as our regular soil is so poor here.  And now the parsley was on a takeover of the mint next door but as I'd planted a geranium (for some reason I thought was good at the time) in the middle, it in its turn was spreading everywhere too.  Chaos ruled so I had to harvest now before it all went haywire.

Not bushy like it should be but the Basil grew into little trees before harvesting.  I've planted more now so we'll see how that goes.
As we had some pine nuts in the fridge, I immediately thought Hey Pesto!  Sorry, bad pun.  And as I'd not used my big mixer in a while, I thought lets give it all a go.  I checked a recipe on the internet but totally ignored the quantities as I thought I'd just fill up the mixer and push the button and see what happened.

It turned out so well that I thought what could I smear it onto and came across some nice thick pork chops in the fridge, so hey presto there we went!

Here's the recipe.  Ingredients only so do guess the quantities like I did!
  • Parsley (lots)
  • Basil (lots)
  • Pine Nuts -- 1 carton
  • Garlic -- quite a lot as I like garlic
  • Lemon juice -- I used 2 or was it 3 whole lemons?  Hmm.
  • Olive oil -- again quite a bit but as it turned out quite dry, I think I may not have used quite enough.  You can always add more later though as you only need a couple of table spoons with a plate of pasta.
  • Salt and Pepper
Looking at the recipe again, swap pine nuts and basil for mayo and anchovies and you've got Caesar Salad dressing.  

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Brisket is the new...

Since my first retirement in 2009, I started to cook more.  I'm not that great still but am trying and in fact there have been some things I cooked that worked out pretty well.  Regrettably I don't remember many of the things I learned, cooked and now have forgotten.  So I rely pretty much on the internet for recipes I fancy trying out.

And as of today I wrote down the first recipe.  Brisket.

Why brisket?  Not sure really as I don't really care for it.  When we've traveled in the US BBQ states, brisket always seems a top drawer item but in reality I find it just OK so have decided that its probably me and that with the right rub and cooking method, it should turn out pretty well.

Real Texas brisket, Coopers BBQ style

So I tried this Texan recipe:

3-4 lbs brisket

Dry Rub:
  • 2 tbl chilli powder
  • 2 tbl salt -- waaaay too much, cut it back to 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tbl black pepper
  • 1 tbl sugar
  • 2 teaspoon dry mustard (actually I used Sumac as I didn't have any dry mustard, or rather couldn't find it)
Stock for the pan and some red wine.  Add some garlic, onion and bay leaves into the mix.

Roast dry for an hour then for another 2-3 hours after adding the fluids.  Cook at 350 and every so often baste it with the fluid.

It took 15 minutes to prepare and the result is actually pretty darn nice!

I do like this done Irish style, something like corned beef in fact.  Hot served with cabbage.  But sliced BBQ style, hmmm.

Eats Redux and BBQ Hogge, Bermuda style

It's been a while since I made the last post (2013) and I know why.  It's because I am or rather was doing what a million others are doing, namely food blogging.  This blog really wasn't meant to be a food blog in the traditional sense.  It was meant to be a reflection of what different things we eat in some hopefully interesting places.

We like to eat.  Actually we like to eat a lot and as it turns out, much of what we do when we are away is go to nice restaurants and eat hopefully nice things.  Take the recent weekend in Toronto trip we just did, 3 of the highlights were the restaurants we visited.

But it's also meant to reflect what other stuff we get up to as well.

Take a couple of weeks back, our son Alex had a combined 30th birthday party/new house party and decided he wanted to cook a whole pig.  Actually a Bermuda hogge, if you want to be precise.

He talked about it endlessly and had the notion of digging out a fire pit at his new house and cook it there.  The question was how.

Of course he could have bought a fancy set up but as he had a neat flower bed available decided to dig it out (and dump the earth everywhere else in his new garden), build it up with a few concrete blocks and cover it with some wire mesh and above that some sort of corregated iron to keep the heat in and give the pig the smoke taste.

Getting the fire going very early indeed
Credit to him for he picked all that stuff up at the dump (for nothing) and worked like a charm!

We visited Wadson's Farm to check out the porcine inhabitants and found a litter of week olds running around and then a group of 1-year old 70 pounders.  Given that there could likely be 60 people at the party, the small piggies wouldn't work at all so that meant the bigger porkers.

Not sure which one it was, but it was one of these guys!

I wasn't part of the pick up crew but was present when the stomach cavity emptied porker was pulled out of the big black bin bag (where it had been marinating overnight) and spread upon the wire mesh above the fire pit.

Alex and the Hogge

Fire pit in all its Heath Robinson-like glory!

This would take 10 hours to cook so Viv and I came and went a few times during the day until the lovely chap was ready.

Talk about flavor!  The skin was fantastic as was the meat.  Why is it that really fatty stuff like this tastes so good?

The fire pit worked so well, I've decided I want one now!

The party rocked too!