Tuesday 21 November 2006

Beef and Guinness Stew

It's been cold recently, so more comfort food required, plus the fact that I hadn't made stew in years. Used 900g of lean casserole beef (seasoned in flour, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper), lots of baby chantenay carrots, a couple onions, a load of shallots, a few ribs of celery, and pint or so of stock and a bottle of Guinness. Left to cook for 3 hours with some thyme and bay leaves, then just served as it was, but with a little bread to wipe up the gravy.

The amount I cooked would probably suite about 5 or 6 people (depending on the people). Might have been nice to have some dumplings too, but not really necessary with all the potato and carrot.

Thing is, there were only 2 of us, but I'm sure it will taste even better the next day, although I've already got a trade arranged for some lasagne which was made elsewhere tonight (although by the sounds of it, I'll be fishing the mushrooms out, so not the best trade I've done).

If I were making it again, I doubt there is much I would do differently. Except perhaps use a bit of bacon as well, as one recipe suggested. I would probably take the photo with the stew in a nicer plate or bowl, and slightly better presented. But other than that, it was pretty good as it was. It's what it tastes like that really matters, not whether someone has sloshed the gravy around on the way from serving to table.

Still working on the requirements of the site, and investigating various 3rd party APIs which may also be needed.

Friday 17 November 2006

Southern Fried Chicken

Djavid suggested cooking this after filling up on the Meatball Curry earlier in the week. None of us had ever had home-made fried chicken, and I rarely eat it at all. I've never deep fried anything before (that I can remember), and memories of bad fried chicken definitely put me off the idea, but Djavid had laid down the gauntlet, and as he's got a proper gas hob and more space, I agreed to do it as long as I could do it at his house. I just brought the ingredients and prepared everything, although he did the majority of the cleaning afterwards, which was definitely a bonus.

I got some ideas from a few recipes on the web, and created my own slight variation. Flour, Lawry's, Paprika, Cayenne, Black Pepper, mixed. A few eggs with some milk and a tablespoon or two of Encona Hot Pepper Sauce, beaten. Clean the chicken pieces, dry them, then cover with seasoned flour, then dip into egg mixture, then back into the seasoned flour, and deep fry in hot groundnut oil until golden brown and the chicken is cooked, turning once or twice during cooking. The first batch were a little bland on the spices, but we added more on each subsequent batch until we had it just right. If there is a next time though, I think we might experiment with other spice combinations.

I have to say, it tasted pretty good. Once properly drained on kitchen towel the chicken pieces weren't really greasy and the chicken on the inside was nice and moist without any oil at all. Djavid and Gab managed to eat 7 pieces each which seems slightly excessive. Personally, I think I had about 3 pieces, which I think is probably sufficient for most people, depending on the size of the chicken pieces.

Then we experimented with South Fried Apple Fritter, which would have been OK if it wasn't for the salt I reckon. Definitely not advisable. But doing another flour mixture with cinnamon and a plain egg and milk mixture made Apple fritters which tasted almost like miniture Apple Pies. A lot of deep fried food, but we did have some corn and salad with it, and it seemed right to get the most from all the groundnut oil we used.

New requirements came out of the evening, so going to have to spend another day or so before getting them reviewed.
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