Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Kitchen Talk

1. What's your favourite way of preparing burgers?

I like making them myself with minced beef, adding breadcrumbs to soak up the fat, herbes de Provence, garlic, S&P and sometimes a dash of Worcestershire sauce, all bound together with a beaten egg.

They are so tasty that I can't bear to buy ready-made ones any more. I either grill them, fry them or chuck 'em on the barbecue, and always eat them in a toasted burger bun with sweet onion, ketchup and tomato. Mmm

2. What's your favourite way of preparing chips?

I think I do them the Jamie Oliver way. I heat olive oil in an oven tray to 200°C, then throw on the chips I've cut from real potatoes. They take about an hour, and I like them well-tanned. You can either just salt them, or sprinkle over some gremolata (parsley, lemon zest, crushed garlic) which makes them really something. I wouldn't add vinegar as well however. They are way less fatty than cooking them in a deep-fat fryer, and are really tasty.

3. What's your favourite way of preparing pizza?

You can make fab dough in a bread machine. It takes 90 minutes to do and the quantity makes three thin or two medium crust pizzas. I bought some of those pizza trays with holes which prevent the dough from going soggy, and my oven has a pizza programme so they always turn out properly cooked. The boys prefer pizza without cheese but with chorizo and bacon bits, and I like it with cheese and any veggies lurking in the fridge.

4. The asparagus season is over now, but my eldest's favourite way of eating it was in a quiche. Ready-rolled pastry thinly spread with mustard, fried up bacon bits sprinkled over the top, chopped sweet onion and the steamed asparagus all covered with a mixture of 4 eggs and a small box of 15% fat liquid cream with some fines herbes. Twenty minutes in a hot oven (220°C) and Bob's yer uncle.

5. Finally, with the barbecue season upon us, you can run up the best sauce ever by heating olive oil with some ketchup, Branston pickle and water to thin. Add anything you like extra such as a little HP sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, herbs etc. Heat gently and pour over the barbecued meat when ready. Enjoy with crusty bread and a green salad, and your summer is off to a great start!

Bon appetit!


  1. Like to grill? Try beer can chicken or orange soda duck.

  2. How about more detail, John F...?

  3. Years ago we came across a recipe for patties of ground lamb including chopped dates and bits of roasted red pepper. They're served in a bun with dijon mustard and a fresh basil leaf. They're the standard around here now -- we call them camel-burgers (to put guests off so there's more for us).

  4. They sound super, expat!

    Do you grind the lamb yourself?

  5. Mais non... ground lamb is pretty easy to find here. If the supermarchés can't flog it as chops, they grind it up and reduce the price. Good for curries, too. Miam.

  6. Sorry, haven't been back on for awhile.

    Beer can chicken ---- good recipes on Epicurious.

    But basically you take a can of beer, drink one quarter up to one half, put the remainder of the beer (still in the open can) inside the chicken (skin on) and stand upright on the grill.

    I find it is best to put a pan under the bird to catch all the drippings and to use the indirect heat method.

    Put the cover on the grill and cook until the chicken is done (it is challenging to overcook them using this technique). Makes an incredibly moist and most succulent bird.

    One can season the chicken however you want and should put some of the seasoning in the can.

    One can use any canned drink and any fowl (although I suppose with a large fowl one would need to use a Foster's or some huge can.

    In the US they sell little stands to hold the can and chicken upright.

    The one warning----the can is occasionally a little difficult to remove--I sometimes need to stick something down the neck to prod the can a little. And when the can comes out it contains boiling liquid so one must use some care.

  7. I remember doing that once and being terribly disappointed that the chicken didn't have a beery taste. But I did use the beer to make a sauce, and you're right it's quite a tricky procedure removing the can. Best to do it over a dish!

  8. More beer flavor? Baste it with beer per this link. http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/chicken2.html

    Also, be sure the neck opening is closed (or plugged with a potato, Swede, or some such.


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