Starring Mr Mung

 

So this is our very first attempt at making a video, there are flaws yes…. but if a picture says a thousand words, then a video means I don’t need to type anything at all.

 

Enjoy ūüôā

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Liar liar pants on fire!

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Walking around telling everyone you’re an Artichoke from Jerusalem. “Do you think its big?”

“Think its going to make you some friends?”

“Well its not!”

“You’re the tuber from a certain type of¬†sunflower. I know it, you know it, and now everyone knows it.”

So that has outed the Jerusalem Artichoke, one of the biggest liars in the veggie kingdom. We are at the end of season for this little treat, so either try and get some before its to late or October will see them in the markets again. Now,  Artichokes also have a dark side and are known in some circles as Fartichokes. This is down to the carbohydrate called inulin, which our bodies struggle to naturally digest. But do not let this put you off, because with a little peeling, and a touch of cooking you have yourselves a very tasty treat. Warning do not eat on a first date, unless Eproctophilia is your thing.

It was pretty cold on the day Beth’s Brother found himself stood in his kitchen hungry and not having much to hand.  So soup was on his mind. 1 Onion, 3 Cloves of Garlic, 400g of Jerusalem Artichoke, and some Chicken stock. Later, the soup was nearly ready. Blitzed until smooth, and finished with a little Creme Fraiche and Chorizo Oil; Beth’s Brother was happily filled his little face in no time at all.

Jerusalem Artichokes are fairly inexpensive, and quite versatile when it comes to cooking them.  You can treat them like a potato, roast, sauté, bake, boil or steam them. But one thing you can do which I wouldn’t advise to do with a potato is eat them raw, in a little salad with some hazelnuts, lemon and good goats cheese.

So forgive these little guys for their flaws and pick some up next time you see them hanging around markets bragging about being an Artichoke from Jerusalem.

The kids are alright!!

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So this last week Beth’s Brother got to hang out with his lovely little mate Nat Coleman, as they went on a little cooking adventure at Central Street Cookery School.

Central Street Cookery School  is a charity run cooking school which has won awards!! So put that in your pipe and smoke it. Give the link a little click and check those lovely people out. .

Now as some of you may or may not know Miss Coleman picked up the title of Master Chef last year when she won The Apprentice. After winning over the Dragons, on the Great British Sewing Bee with her final 3 dishes that included lobster and fennel, pork belly with scotch egg and vanilla chocolate panna cotta she left the jungle as queen and started a bit of kitchen hopping to hone her skills as Britons next top model.

Since leaving the Xfactor last year Nat has been working her way around some of the best kitchens in England and picking up all manner of tips, tricks and ninja like cooking skills from the best chefs our little island has to offer. But thats enough about what Nat has done, the Voice is over and the future is approaching in the shape of ¬†small adults, also know as children; and who knows they may follow in Nat’s footsteps one day, and become victor of Castaways!

All joking kids need to know about food. From where it comes from, to how to cook it. Cooking is fun and exciting, and when not treated like a chore sparks children’s interest; as Beth’s Brother got to see first hand last week at the cooking school. We made flat breads, which we filled with Harissa turkey or homemade falafel, Tatziki and some baby herbs – nice and healthy. Then a bit more on the naughty side, we finished off the day with caramelised banana, and salted caramel puff pastry tarts. Beth’s Brother will be doing his own take on these dishes in the next week or so. So keep your eyes peeled for the adult versions.

 

 

The end is nigh!

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Floods, tube strikes, and I’m pretty sure I saw 4 horse men in Greenwich the other day. The end is nigh!

So hopefully most of you will have your arks built my now, if not¬†this site¬†may help. Next, if you find a big net, and throw 2 of every animal in¬†that¬†would be¬†great. Now if you are going to out last this¬†apocalyptic¬†weather you are going to need food, (no thats not what the animals are for).¬†You can’t take your fridge on your ark; otherwise the Pandas won’t have anywhere to stand. ¬†“But our food will spoil!!! Death to the Pandas!!” I hear you cry, alas no my friends….. Preserving¬†holds the key.

So this weekend, why not give it a try. Beth’s Brother loves a bit of meat so he is bringing some homemade Chorizo to the apocalyptic table.

It’s easier than you think to make Chorizo, and stuffing the skins is a lot of fun. Ask your butcher to mince the meat, or chop the meat yourself if you prefer. Don’t be scared of the salt you will want about 25g per kilo of meat, this will be the key factor in the preserving process. Give everything a good mix, stuff your skins, and hang for 3 months. Somewhere cool and dry, inside the ark, you don’t want the flood water getting on them.

You can have these as a pre voyage snack, just hold back on the salt and you will have to cook them.

50% Shoulder, 35% Belly, and 15% Fat. (All Pork)

Smoked Paprika, Fennel Seeds, Garlic, Ground Coriander, and Cumin.

Salt and Pepper.

Like Beth’s Brother always says “If you need an ark…I Noah guy”

 

Beeting off for Valentines Day.

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Beetroot, the gift that keeps on giving.

As his outstretched finger falls on the unlucky contestant, and Lord Alan Sugar utters the famous words “you’re¬†fired!” Take a look a little closer at his hand, you will see the insides are stained red!! “BUT WHY?” I hear you cry, because if it wasn’t for his job boiling beetroot whilst he was at school Lord Alan “Beetroot” Sugar wouldn’t be where is is today. So not only is Beetroot responsible for the TV show the Apprentice, it also turns your wee red, and that my friends is freaking awesome!

But oh no, Beetroot doesn’t stop there. In fact Beetroot doesn’t seem to know when to stop, just like meth addict with a pocket full of cash.

Beetroot can help counter garlic breath, it can cure dandruff, the red pigment is used in a ton of food as a colorant, and the Beetroot diet is single handedly responsible for The Warwickshire County Crickets Clubs 2004 victory off the County Championship.

But with Valentines Day fast approaching it’s the next little pearl of knowledge that should keep you scrolling down the page.

Two words ladies and gents “Nature’s Viagra” those kinky Romans first started using Beetroot as an aphrodisiac. These tasty little freaks have been found to contain high amounts of Boron which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones (as the love Beetroot website is telling me), which gives me a sneaking suspicion beetroot may also have a hand in the success of Grindr.

So forget the awful presents on the 14th, and give your partner a good old fashioned Beet down; to get them in the mood for love.

Although it is pretty much at the end of Beetroot season you can still find them in abundance at your local markets. Beth’s Brother has even been as kind as to provide you with some simple ideas you can knock up at home. At the top we have a lovely homemade Beetroot and Goat Cheese Tarte Tatin. Don’t be lazy, make the Puff Pastry yourself. Rough Puff is easier than you think just make sure you layer that Mo Fo. Or even easier, below is a Beetroot and Orange Salad. Beth’s Brother used Golden Beetroot as well as the more common variety; which I think we can all agree looks rather sexy. Beets, orange zest, and some good extra virgin olive oil, simple as that.

And as Beth’s Brother always says “If she don’t put out,¬†beat¬†¬†Beet her.”

                                                      Beetroot+OrangeSalad-10000

“Shhh, be vewy vewy quiet im hunting wabbits.”

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Thats what Elmer Fudd said to me right before he finally popped Bugs Bunny in the head.

Only joking kids, Bugs is alive and well……. it was Peter that got it.

All joking aside it is game season and rabbit is cheap, plentiful and crazy tasty especially wild rabbit. You can pick up a whole rabbit at your butchers or local farmers market and if you fancy jointing the little fellow yourself then this guy can show you how.

Always looking for a chance to knock up a stew Beth’s Brother jumped at getting his little mitts on a rabbit whilst in Brockley Market¬†(which is one of the best food markets in london, so you should check it out.)¬†¬†The result is what you are looking at here. Slowly cooked for 5 hours in cider, with mushroom, carrots, and shallots. The Rabbit was melt in your mouth, so good my tastebuds did alittle dance with every mouthful.

Anyways I will quit rabbiting on, as I feel I’m on burrowed time, but I will say if you are not convince then lettuce be more open minded to eating rabbit.

Thank you I’m here all week.

Heads or Tails?

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Meat is expensive, everyone knows that; but some of the tastiest cuts are cheap as chips, and not everyone knows that. With a little time and love meat doesn’t have to be a payday treat.

Beth’s Brothers, girlfriend’s sister and her fiancee are coming over for lunch. This worries Beth’s Brother, not because they are a pain or anything like that, but because they are traditional. Traditional in the sense that everything has its place, dvd’s are organised alphabetically, Hoovering and dusting are done on wednesday and saturdays and the mind set that a meal isn’t a meal without meat.

“I‚Äėve just gone self employed” he worries; he can’t be affording meat, meat is expensive. Something needs to be done here, what if they aren’t impressed with a vegetarian option? What if they tell all their friends “thats the guy who doesn’t serve meat with his meals?”

Then at their wedding in April when Beth’s Brother is master of ceremonies all of their friends will whisper behind their hands about him and the whispering will become so loud no one will hear the fantastic speeches he is making.

Or maybe they will be so unimpressed they wont let him be master of ceremonies at all, maybe they will let Beth’s Brothers, girlfriends other sister’s boyfriend do it? Oh the horror! This will not do, this will not do at all. Meat must be served for lunch

Venturing out to the local butcher Beth’s Brother recoils in horror at the price of meat! Meat is expensive don’t you know. Then a shaft of sunlight breaks through the cloud and shines on a price Beth’s Brother wasn’t expecting to see. 73p for 100g, what is this tomfoolery?

Then it clicks…. OXTAIL!!!

The humble oxtail, so cheap, so tasty.

But what to do with it?

PIE!!! Lovely meaty pie, made from the tails of ox’s they will love it.

So cooking commenced the day before to ensure the oxtail had enough time to cook down to that melt in the mouth texture that everyone loves. First Beth’s Brother got his base for the filling on the go, by sweating onions, garlic, celery, carrots. Then adding his oxtail (on the bone), tomato puree, bay, thyme, a bottle of Young’s chocolate stout, top it up with beef stock, and season. Pop your pot in the oven which is set at 120 degrees and just leave it all day if you like. Check on it from time but it should be fine.

Beth’s Brother left his in for 9hours, and by then the meat had fallen from the bone and the liquid had reduced nicely to a thick and rich gravy. Allowing it to cool, he then popped it in the fridge overnight until it was need the next day.

The next day Beth’s Brother awoke with a sense of excitement because the pies were going to be finished today and they were going to blow his guests socks off. These pies would cement his place as master of ceremonies no problem, instead of people whispering behind their hands they would be congratulating him.

“Oh you are the pie guy” and “Hey are you the guy who conquered the price of meat? Take that expensive meat”

The Pie Guy, he liked the sound of that. Maybe they might even feature on the menu on the big day!

But first he had to nail the pastry. Opting for suet pastry he failed at the first hurdle when he added a beaten egg ( which was meant to be for egg wash)  to his breadcrumb-like flour, butter and suet. But feeling invincible he ran with it and added slightly less water to bring the pastry together.

Cling film

Fridge

Roll

Blindbake

Now the pie cases were ready to be filled, and blind baking means you wont get a soggy bottom. Generously filling the pie cases, Beth’s brother’s, girlfriend’s phone rings. It’s Beth’s Brothers, girlfriend’s sister and her fiancee. They cant be here already, that is far to early, thinks beth’s brother.

Then he sees the look on his girlfriends face, no this cant be. NO NO NO!

“Tell them¬†we have meat” he shouts¬†“Meat is on the menu, glorious, tasty meat!!”

She hangs up “They are no longer coming”

Curse the gods, what cruel hand has fate dealt.

Beth’s Brother has a theory ” If people don’t turn up to eat your pie, they have to make you master of ceremonies at their wedding.”

An Apple a day is not a good thing.

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Last week¬†Beth’s¬†Brother quit his part time job at Apple, and in an¬†ancient sacrificial-esque¬†ceremony¬†he decided to consume the very thing that¬†represents¬†his ex employer.

His Iphone

After trying to chew his way through his 3GS, he gave it up as a bad job and popped down to The Allotment to pick up some very tasty Russet Apples.

Once he had picked all the glass out of the roof of his mouth he knocked up this tasty apple, ginger, and pecan loaf.  Apples are in abundance this time of year and this seasonal little loaf is a wonder with a cup of tea, and the rain lashing the windows.

Beth’s Brother has a saying¬†” An apple a day is pretty soul destroying.”

Patty Pan I choose you!!

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Looking a little like a Pokemon, and having a name a little like a Pokemon, this Patty Pan squash is like an edible little Pikachu.

Squash are in abundance this time of year and Beth’s Brother is urging you to go out and catch your own. After spying a wild Patty Pan in the ¬†fantastic¬†little shop ”¬†The Allotment” in New Cross Beth’s Brother entered. Creeping up on the unsuspecting Patty Pan he leered at it, then followed up with his seismic toss attack to weaken it; before throwing his bag for life at it, in the style of a pokeball. A few tense moments and the Patty Pan was caught; after updating his pokedex, and paying the very nice owner of The Allotment, he headed home with his prize.

Right enough of this Pokemon mumbo jumbo; what you are looking at here are two little side salads, or what could be bulked out to make an interesting light lunch. On the left Beth’s Brother has knocked up roasted squash (squash loves being roasted, they go all caramelised and chewy) with brown chickpeas, spiced yogurt, confit garlic and a sprinkling of toasted rice. On the right we have my favourite out of the two; char grilled squash, cherry toms, feta, mint and a splash of balsamic.

Squash are value for money, versatile and make great comfort food. There are also a ton of varieties, so go and catch them all.

 

 

No horse in sight!

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So after hanging around with those burger boys the other week, and always looking for an excuse to have a good mince, Beth’s Brother decided to give his own burgers ago.

Not wanting to cut corners he started with making the buns. Weighing out his flour and spiking it with a good amount of smoked paprika he adds his warm water and yeasts and begins to knead like a man possessed. After stretching the gluten more than a stretch armstrong from the 90s, he then leaves his dough to prove.

Beth’s Brother doesn’t mince his words but he will mince his meat, and his chosen meat is beef (no horse in sight); and his chosen beef is rump, brisket, and chuck (worryingly the first butcher he visited thought chuck was a fish). After giving the ground meat a good season he splits it up into patties.

Once the dough has proven and doubled in size you will need to knock it back and knead again. Beth’s Brother likes to deliver the knock back in the form of a sharp back hand, like a stereotypical pimp when displeased with one of his employees. Shape your dough and leave to prove once again.

Now it‚Äôs up to you what you top your burgers with, and this is the best time to get that prepped. Beth’s Brother went with balsamic glazed beetroot, gherkins and that horrible fake cheese that only seems to taste good melted on a burger. The sweet beetroot, sour gherkins, and salty cheese is a great work out for your taste-buds, and really gets your mouth going.

All that’s left to do is to cook your buns, and burgers. Then assemble your artery clogging masterpiece.

WARNING although you see two burgers in one bun, it did in fact render Beth’s Brother ¬†comatose for the rest of the evening . So double up at your own risk.