Saturday, January 25, 2014

Shepherd's Pie

Wednesday 22 January
We made this shepherd's pie the real way - no, not with shepherds, but with lamb.  (Remember, it's "Rome rules" when ground lamb is as cheap as ground beef.) 
We again went to Gordon Ramsay for the recipe, though we must say, we left out the Branston pickle; and didn't thin the meat with broth and re-thicken it with flour, since we don't have any of either on hand.
It came out a treat, nonetheless.

Lamb Sausages with Peppers and Onions

Tuesday 21 January
We had "Meat Joint" sausages made with lamb, garlic, and rosemary a couple of weeks ago, and loved them enough to go back and get more. 

Another simple fry-up and braise, with sliced red bell pepper and onions.

Pork Chops and Purple Broccolini

Monday 20 January
Here they leave the rind and fat on their pork chops, as if they would become "cracklins."  Of course, if you cook the chops that long, the meat itself will become leather. 
We snipped the fat layer so the chops would lie flat, patted them with salt, pepper, and thyme, and fried them to medium rare.

Served with stir-fried purple! broccolini, grown by the nice girl at the Summertown farmers' market.

Braised Duck Legs with Onions and Olives

Sunday 19 January
In Oxford, we are operating under what we call "Rome rules."  If good ol' beef chuck steaks are just as ridiculously expensive as hand-cut scallops of shell-pink veal, get the veal, which is too ridiculously expensive to buy when you're at home.  And that is why we came home from the Co-op with a packet of duck legs rather than chicken.
This was our guide recipe, though for leeks read onions. Barbara had foresightedly gotten some assorted olives, and despoiled several laurus nobilis trees at the farmers' market of a leaf apiece, just in time for it.  
The duck legs take a while to cook, and don't look attractive enough to photograph at the end, but oh - the flavor is enough to make you swoon.

Trout with Mushrooms and Red Peppers

Saturday 18 January
Today we checked out Alcock's in Summertown, which has a fishmonger around the corner from its grocery and butcher shop.  We got some nice fresh rainbow trout fillets, though they proved to still have some pin bones, which you shouldn't expect at those prices.  

We simply salted, peppered, and fried the fillets, presenting them fashionably on a mound of sauteed mushrooms and red bell pepper, and Holt carved each of us a squeezable half lemon for the side.

Sausages with Red Cabbage

Friday 17 January
After starting the evening with apƩritifs of white wine and nibblies kindly offered by Tom and Eleanor, who live in our building, we went upstairs to our own flat and continued their theme of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc throughout the preparation and consumption of our dinner.
We were frying up six rare breed Tamworth pork sausages from Woodhouse Farm in Leicestershire, via the Summertown farmers' market.  In the pan with them went sliced red cabbage, apple, white wine, and red wine vinegar, more or less in the way we normally do kielbasa, though the sausages were too little to slice, so we left them whole.
The dish turned out fine, but the sausages were a bit more smooth and livery than we like.  So we might try another breed (Gloucester Old Spot, maybe?) for next time.

The Rickety Press, Oxford

Thursday 16 January
We were meeting up with our colleague Eleni (oddly in Oxford, not Cincinnati where we all live), and she recommended the Rickety Press, a pub out in Jericho (oddly in Oxford, not Israel).  She has a fine palate, so we trusted her, and our trust was not misplaced. 
The night was raw and rainy, so we ordered a nero d'Avola from Sicily, which was rich, red, and not too expensive.  
Starters included a Scotch egg encased in venison, and a salted-beef salad, which turned out to be surrounded by perfect little quail eggs.  Those and the meaty Scotch egg were all a bit runny in the yolk, instead of hard-boiled, which was a pleasant surprise.
Our mains were a slow-cooked round of lamb shoulder, served with roast onions and a reconstructed white whale of mashed potato; and even better, a bavette (read: sliced flank) steak with grilled tomatoes, a leafy salad, and a flowerpot of excellent fries (or frites, or chips, or whatever). 

Dinner had been so good to that point that we went further, and ordered a hot sticky toffee pudding with caramel ice cream (and three spoons) for dessert, not a step we'd often take in a pub.  But the Rickety Press continued to please, and the hot pudding made us warm enough for the wet walk home.

Penne with Oyster Mushrooms

Wednesday 15 January
As we stepped off the bus from London, we walked into a display of beautiful pale grey oyster mushrooms at today's Gloucester Green market, and we couldn't resist. 
You can't let these get limp in the fridge, so we fried them up tonight trifolata style, with rosemary, thyme and parsley and garlic, and tossed them with penne. 

After some complicated Lunnon food, it's nice to get back and do something simple ourselves.