Tagged: cream

Pimping your Food – Onion Stylee!

This is going to be a pretty short post because it’s not really about a whole plate of food. It’s about how to take a simple family classic and give it a simple tweak that will elevate it to a whole new level.

So, the simple dish of the day is… SAUSAGES & MASH!

Doesn’t get much easier than that. You can start with the basics and mess around to your hearts content, but everyone who has even basic kitchen skills should be able to put together some sausages and mashed potato so I won’t be telling you how to do either of them…

Well, all right, I will make a few suggestions…

I always roast my sausages in the oven, turning a couple of times… it takes about 30 mins and gives a nice all round ‘cook’.

As for mash, I rarely have it plain. There are just to many ways to sex it up. You’ll see from the pictures that I actually threw a few carrots into mine, cooked at the same time as the potatoes and mashed together too. Easy and more colourful… and, of course more tasty.

You can throw a handful of peeled garlic cloves into the potatoes as they cook and mash them all up together to get a really subtle flavour. Alternatively, at the mashing stage add mustard, or creamed horseradish, or harissa paste, or smoked paprika, or marmalade, or … well you get the idea.

But to get to the real point of this blog I want to introduce you to a little bit of classical French cooking. If you were a ‘saucier’, this gem would be a key piece of your arsenal. Surprisingly though, it is a rarely heard of sauce. I should point out too that I am going to be showing you a bit of a cheats version rather than the full hit ‘Masterchef’ one.

The sauce you are going to be making replaces the key missing element from the S&M which, as we all know, would normally be ONION GRAVY! (And fear not, I still love gravy and will continue you to use it as part of my S&M routine in years to come)

“Get on with it!” I hear you clamouring.

You are going to now discover how to make a SAUCE SOUBISE.

Already, it sounds a bit posh… perfect for dinner party oneupmanship etc.

A Sauce Soubise is basically where you combine a classic bechamel sauce with a fine onion puree… and that would be the proper way to do it… but most of us don’t have the time to be passing ingredients through fine sieves etc which is what you have to do if you are going down the ‘Masterchef’ route.

This is how you make a simplified version… but you can now call it “Sauce Soubise au Paysanne” and still keep ahead of your poncey mates!

Get three large onions and chop them coarsely.

Add them to a pan with a large knob of butter ( and I do mean large… 1/3 of a standard 250g block).

DSC_0047

Now all you are going to do is sweat them down for 30 mins on a low heat. Stir them regularly so they don’t brown up… you want to try and keep them pale in colour.

DSC_0045

Next, add a heaped tablespoon of flour and stir it around in the pan until it soaks up all the butter and onion juices.

Then add about a pint of vegetable stock and stir well so that it combines thoroughly with the onions and flour mix. Raise the heat slightly and get the pan going on a rolling simmer. This will let the liquid reduce slightly and start to thicken.

DSC_0050
Add some salt and white pepper (if you have it – black is fine too).

After about ten mins, get your electric hand blender (C’mon… you HAVE to have one of these in the kitchen!) and blitz the mixture until the you have made it into as fine a puree as you can.

Finally, add about 300ml of single cream and stir thoroughly until everything has warmed through.

DSC_0051

And that’s it… it really is a simple few steps and creates a marvellously rich and more’ish sauce. All the elements of an onion gravy with enough sophistication to satisfy the most pretentious of guests and… it really is bloody gorgeous. I first had this in a swanky restaurant and was in awe of how lovely it was… and then when I found out that it was so simple to make this basic version at home… HALLELUJAH!!

DSC_0055

Anyway, hope you enjoy… and if you want to go full out for cheffy marks, try the true classical version… but this one will do me just fine for the moment.

DSC_0057

Peppered Kangaroo Steak with Mustard Sauce and Jersey Royals

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Looks good doesn’t it. It’s not burnt, it’s the pepper coating which with the meat and the sauce was a lovely combination. That was one highlight of the dish, the other was the Jersey Royals. I love waxy salad potatoes and usually buy in some Charlottes on a regular basis but this time of year is the Jersey Royal season. They are a little bit more expensive than regular new potatoes but the texture and taste is second to none.  There’s no secret way of cooking them, just boil in salted water for 15 minutes , drain and then toss in salted butter with herbs of your choice. Parsley, Dill, Mint or what I used, Chives. My chives are storming away covered in lovely purple flowers that can be used themselves sprinkled over salads etc.  As for the Jersey Royals I usually cook more than I need as both me and Carol just keep going back for more. I could just eat a plate of them alone.

For the sauce for two you need
2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
1 Tbs Wholegrain Mustard
Half glass of white wine
4 Tbs Cream or Creme Fraiche

Just put the lot in a small pan and reduce a little to a nice saucy consistency.

The Kangaroo was one of Lidl’s special offers. £3.99 for 300g. Ok you cannot guarantee the shape or amount of steaks you get but that’s up to you to sort out, I did get two even dishes out of 4 different shaped steaks. I have no ideas what part of the animal it is but I can vouch for it’s mild beefy flavour and tender texture. All I had to do was coat in a lot of ground black pepper and then fry on both sides for 3 minutes and rest a little.

I had some fine beans to hand so that was my veg sorted but honestly, if I had pre cooked potatoes, I could cook this live on Saturday Kitchen, telling stories of wild abandon and promoting this blog site and maybe my absent blogger’s new film, Go With God, of which I was too busy to do the catering, or too expensive, I can’t remember which but I did create some props. My conscience is clear now Frank.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This I hope Olly Smith or as I call him, Incrediboy from The Incredibles would do his film and suggest a nice spicy Pinotage or Shiraz but eventually go for a Tempranillo  like we did.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then they could pass the dish along to guest Carol Kirkbride the weather girl and I could then beat Marcus Wareing at the omelette challenge. A perfect day or what.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh, sorry, I seem to have wandered off there.  Dreaming of Carol’s warm front I think. Yes that was my wife Carol I was thinking of……… ahem.

You really must take advantage of these different meats that are around. They are incredible value and give fillet steak a very good run for it’s money.