Archive for the 'Cooking techniques explained' Category

Bangers and mash recipe – with video

* Go to the Bangers and mash recipe

Our cooking method for sausages adds extra flavour to the sometimes ho-hum “bangers and mash” by creating a chunky onion and tomato gravy out of the pan juices. Along with the obligatory mashed potato, this dish really does need some greens as well – green beans or broccoli, plunged into boiling water for just a few minutes. Perfect.

This is a reasonably quick dish – suitable for a weeknight dinner. It’s easy to scale up the recipe for extra guests – say, two sausages minimum per person. Continue reading ‘Bangers and mash recipe – with video’

How to cook with truffles

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mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe for Pasta with white truffle
Go to the recipe for Eggs in cocotte with white truffle

On “schoolnights”, when everything happens at helter-skelter pace, it’s always a rush to get home from work, throw a meal together and do the day’s housekeeping before crashing into bed. If I’m lucky Waz has been on an early shift and we can share the evening duties.

So on the weekends we really like to give a lot more time and attention to creating lovely meals that we can enjoy eating at a slower pace.

I thoroughly respect the ideology of the Slow Food Movement – begun in 1986 to celebrate and enjoy local and regional cuisines. So when time permits I love to create meals that embody the Slow Food philosophy of creating the simplest of dishes, with the highest quality ingredients.

Chef Michelle and I recently treated ourselves with a whirlwind weekend trip to the centre of the white truffle universe – the Alba truffle festival in Piemonte near Turin, Italy. We ate a fantastic truffle meal at a Slow Food restaurant with some luscious local Barolo wine. We couldn’t believe our luck the following day when, while roaming the Alba hills, we ran into a local truffle hunter who sold us some white truffles that his little dog had just dug out of the ground. Continue reading ‘How to cook with truffles’

Let the jelly roll: Swiss roll recipe from Waz’s Nana

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mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe for Swiss roll, aka jelly roll

Swiss roll – or jelly roll to the Americans and Canadians – is what Lenny likes to call a store cupboard cake. Like my Mum’s teacake, this is baking at its easiest. You’ve probably got most of the ingredients already, and the results are sure to win you a disproportionate amount of praise from your guests. Continue reading ‘Let the jelly roll: Swiss roll recipe from Waz’s Nana’

How to roast a duck, the slow and tender way

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mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe for Christmas duck

Let’s talk turkey. Actually let’s talk about something else this Christmas. Let’s talk turkey alternatives.

This is a first for Crash Test Kitchen. We’ve never done a Christmas episode before. So we thought we’d focus on two of the basic elements you want on your table: crispy roast potatoes and a lovely bird.

But instead of turkey, we’ve chosen duck. Continue reading ‘How to roast a duck, the slow and tender way’

Baked salmon recipe, with a bed of puy lentils

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mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe for salmon with puy lentils

If you’re good at chopping vegetables, this dish is a doddle. Even if you’re a little bit slower with the knife it’s still worth the effort. We find it an easy way to boost our fish intake, and it’s sophisticated enough to put on a dinner party menu.

Because salmon has quite a strong flavour, it’s good to have something a little bit hearty with it. The bed of puy lentils, diced vegetables and herbs does the job. Continue reading ‘Baked salmon recipe, with a bed of puy lentils’

Our roast chicken recipe: hot and fast

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mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe for hot and fast roast chicken

People do fuss over a roast chicken, don’t they? Doing all sorts of things like draping bacon over the fleshiest bits to keep them moist, mucking around poking seasonings under the skin, stuffing all sorts of things inside them to add flavour, even insisting that you have to roast a chicken breast-down in the pan and then flip it over part way through cooking.

In our opinion, if you keep the cooking simple, getting a good result can be reduced to one decision: buying a decent chicken in the first place. There’s been a lot of publicity about chicken welfare lately, with the focus being on battery laying hens and intensively reared, fast-growing meat birds that can hardly stand up by themselves.

In our house we haven’t gone down the full free-range route, but have settled on buying slow-growing birds that are fed better food in more spacious barns endorsed by animal welfare authorities. In the UK the scheme is called RSPCA Freedom Foods and no doubt there are equivalents elsewhere in the world. Continue reading ‘Our roast chicken recipe: hot and fast’

Crème caramel: from one flan to another

Windows video (small)
mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe for crème caramel

If you want a dessert that combines simplicity and wow factor, this has got to be it – crème caramel or flan, either vanilla or au café (the latter, “with coffee”, tends to be preferred in France).

Sure you’ve got to make caramel and custard. But neither could be easier. While a careful eye is needed to get the caramel just right, if you cut and run a bit early it will probably just mean that it’s a lighter colour.

And the custard is not your fraught stove-hovering kind, where you’ve got to heat and whisk over the burner for ages while engaging in some minor bacteriological warfare until the consistency and temperature hit their alchemy point. Nope, as far as custard goes this is really a straightforward heat-and-mix job. Continue reading ‘Crème caramel: from one flan to another’

Duck a l’orange

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mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe (duck breasts)
Go to the recipe (whole duck)

When I found whole duck on sale at our local supermarket, I got very excited. And I remembered that we had an episode up our sleeve not yet launched on the wider Crash Test Kitchen viewing public.

Friends and family were coming over for dinner this week and I had planned to do a simple roast chicken – but I had never cooked a whole duck before, and I want to have one next Christmas. So this would be the trial run.

It might be a tad retro, but duck a l’orange remains synonymous with birds that swim. A while back we did a show for the Word of Mouth blog that involved duck breasts and a recipe by Stefan Reynaud. Recipe-wise, what I’ll detail here is how we did the breasts-only version shown in the video, and how I handled the whole bird – a Gressingham duck in our case. Continue reading ‘Duck a l’orange’

Partridges with bread sauce

Windows video
mp4 video

Autumn is game season, and in years past I’ve indulged in wild meaty delights such as pheasant and woodcock (I think it was). I’ve fantasised about getting out in the woods with my wellies and peacoat, dogs yapping along the muddy tracks while I take a few shots at the woodland foul as the beaters scare them out of the brush. But I never really thought it would happen.

And it didn’t, exactly. But this did: our friend Richard was lucky enough to be taken on a game shoot recently and, lucky for us, his kitchen was being refurbished at the time, so we ended up with two lovely, bright-eyed fresh partridges trussed up in a plastic bag to do with what we would.

Continue reading ‘Partridges with bread sauce’

Stock while-u-don’t-wait

Windows video
mp4 video

Making stock is easy enough – bones, vegetables, herbs, seasoning, then simmer simmer simmer. For a long, long time. And therein lies the problem – can you afford to be housebound for eight hours or so while you wait for all that boney, marrowy, veggie goodness to leach out?

We’ve heard some people talk about making stock in a pressure cooker. You can cut the cooking time down to an hour and a half, maybe less, which should fit in nicely with your TV watching. But do you have a pressure cooker? No, neither do we. But we do have a slow cooker, or crock pot, as featured in our last episode. In this latest instalment of our Adventures in Slow Cooking we find another way to put it to good use. Continue reading ‘Stock while-u-don’t-wait’