Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon

This is the drier one.

Yo, Dear Reader, this is a twin recipe with Braised Red Cabbage with Cranberry, so I won’t repeat myself, you can pop over there to read up about these recipes. This is a drier recipe, still plenty of liquid, but less need to drain before serving. There’s a really strong scent of bacon throughout he cooking process and it really resembles the traditional bacon and cabbage in a lot of ways, it’s almost like an intentional rework rather than a useful way to use up an excess of red cabbage. This one let’s everything cook a little longer and stronger, there’s nothing to stop you crisping the bacon and caramelising the onions to intensify the flavours. This takes a while to cook, but there’s very little needed here but patience and maybe a garden to grow your own cabbages. I’ll be back again soon, Dear Reader, until then stay safe and take care.

Such a lovely colour.

Ingredients

1 Head of Red Cabbage, Finely Shredded (About 500g)
250ml Chicken Stock
150g Bacon Lardons or Streaky Bacon, Diced
1 Yellow Onion, Sliced
80ml Balsamic Vinegar
50g Butter
30g Light Brown Sugar
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Can Be Frozen.

Method

  1. Add Butter to a large pot and heat on high, add Lardons when Butter has melted and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to medium, put the lid on and allow the fat to render. Once the fat has melted add the Onions and let them cook until the Onions and Lardons have browned.
  2. Add Red Cabbage and stir to coat. Cover with lid and let cook for 5 minutes until Cabbage has brightened in colour and started to sweat. Pour in the Vinegar and deglaze the pan. Add in the Stock, Sugar and Salt and Pepper and stir together.
  3. Cover and let it cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Near the end you can uncover for a while to reduce the liquid.

Braised Red Cabbage with Cranberry

It’s such a vivid purple.

Yo, Dear Reader, I did mention that I might have some recipes and well here I am. I can’t eat these myself, I don’t need to go into it here which I’m always grateful for, but they’re nice recipes and the person I made them for likes them and I tell you,. Dear Reader, if they like it it speaks volumes. The reason I’m making yet another Braised Red Cabbage recipe is twofold, firstly I planted it and have no idea why, but here it is so I had to use it, secondly the other recipe has a much more pronounced vinegar flavour and it isn’t something that most in Ireland are really accustomed to. These recipes are really rather simple, red cabbage just need longer cooking as it much tougher than green. This is fruity and can be adjusted as you want to. I couldn’t get pure cranberry juice, it too isn’t that common here, so I used a juice from concentrate with added sugar, ideal for the person who is eating these as they like it sweet. You’re just boiling it down until it’s meltingly soft, this has a lot of liquid, but you can just scoop out the cabbage when serving, it’ll help with reheating so don’t discard it. Not much else to add, Dear Reader, this one of a pair, so I’ll post both side by side. See you soon.

The soupy one is this one.

Ingredients

1 Head of Red Cabbage, Finely Shredded (About 500g)
500ml Cranberry Juice (Either Pure or from Concentrate)
2 Cooking Apples, Peeled, Cored and Grated
2 Red Onions, Sliced
60g Light Brown Sugar
50g Butter
30ml Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
Pinch of Cloves
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Can Be Frozen.

Method

  1. Add Butter to a large pot and heat on high, add Onions when Butter has melted and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to medium, put the lid on and allow the Onions to cook for a few minutes until they soften.
  2. Add Red Cabbage and stir to coat. Cover with lid and let cook for 5 minutes until Cabbage has brightened in colour and started to sweat. Stir in the grated Apple and add in the Sugar, Vinegar, Cinnamon, Cloves, Salt and Pepper and Cranberry Juice.
  3. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce to a simmer and Let cook for an hour, stirring occasionally. When ready the cabbage will be tender and will have reduced. When serving scoop Cabbage from the liquid.

AIP Chicken Shawarma

There’s just a before and after because there’s so little to do here.

See, Dear Reader? I did keep looking at AIP recipe even I could tolerate. This is a rough tweak of an older recipe for Chicken Shawarma. I have been reading up on the AIP diet, skimming mostly, I do like the idea of a temporary healing or reset diet, I still wonder about the rigidity of this kind of approach and the difficulty of creating a true one-for-all plan, even if we don’t understand what out bodies can tolerate there can never be a diet hat won’t still pose dangers. The AIP allows a lot of ferment foods and citric acids, which are a huge no-no for yours truly, so if I had followed it originally I may not be where I am today. Ultimately it depends on how much you can think for yourself, if you blindly follow any diet it can be dangerous. Now, I don’t like being a jerk, you know me, Dear Reader, I measure my words and think about what I’m saying and this has been with me from the very early stages of my own journey, but I do not like the transition from AIP to paleo, I still find the paleo-ish idea better, being more inclusive about food rather than strictly following an often arbitrary diet, paleo’s rules are often silly and based on random theories about primitive man. No grains and no pseudo-grains because reasons is just nonsense and it matches the mindset that follows those kinds of diets. There are people that consider themselves deep thinkers, everyone else is sheep, never them funnily, and a diet that evokes images of he-men fits that kind of mindset. It’s too much to unpack here, Dear Reader, nor do I want to, but if any diet plan can’t provide concrete, credible and scientifically proven reasons to abstain from any beneficial food then question it. Question everything. Even what I say, Dear Reader, it never hurts to explore our ignorance.

Here’s the after.

As with many AIP recipes this is a rather basic and simple. I served it with a non-AIP sauce, I’m still on my own diet after all, Dear Reader, but what is interesting is that this kind of recipe forces you to really figure out how to make something from and by omissions. By leaving out the salt I’d almost always add I leave the remaining flavours, however sparse, the space to shine. The end result still isn’t thrilling, but it’s warm and filled with healing spices. When the Summer comes and I start my Salad Garden in earnest, and try to learn to eat more greens, I’ll want seasoned meat like this as most dressings are off-limits to me. I’ll still do some searching around for suitable AIP recipes, partly to fill a void in my understanding, partly out of curiosity and partly to encourage others to think outside of their own diets. That’s it for today, Dear Reader, I’ll be back sooner rather than later, until then take care.

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts, Chopped
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Heaped Tsp Ground Tumeric
1/8 Tsp Garlic Granules
1/8 Tsp Cinnamon
1/8 Tsp Cloves

Method

1. Mix all ingredients together until smooth, add the meat and coat all over.

2. Preheat non-stick pan and when hot add Chicken. Turn to medium-high and cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Carob Syrup Chicken

The meagre sun kept hitting the pan.

I often say that the garden holds a very great influence when in its apogee, blame crosswords,  over my cooking as I’ll often have to find uses for ingredients that I find myself with a great surplus of. Now, Dear Reader, you know by now that I might be Jack of limitless possibilities in the garden, but in the kitchen I’m greatly hampered, not that you’d know it with the sheer volume of available recipes to be found here, infinitely modest too. I’ve often found myself with odd ingredients, not just strange, but out of place on their lonesome, usually the’re best paired with other foods I can’t eat and other recipes that are out of my dietary reach. Other times the ingredients are there but the recipes aren’t forthcoming or even existent. Carob Syrup, Asafoetida  and Chinese Five Spice, the last at least is more useful than the first two, but all three have been combined with the garden’s produce to make something a little bit different, what here isn’t?, and really delicious in a different way.

Sometimes I forget that spatula tastes of garlic and spoil desserts with it.

I’ve actually made this about three times already, I just never measured anything, it was just pure curiosity rather than inspiration. I wanted to see what the five spice, a mild version according to the spice pot, would taste like in different recipe so I’be been sprinkling it here and there. I think what works here is that the star anise and the carob both have a distinct liquorice flavour, the carob’s is very pronounced and the onions, garlic and asafoetida  naturally match each other’s flavour profiles, the Asafoetida is mostly used to boost allium’s flavours in curries from what I’ve read. It at times reminds me of the flavouring in Sour Cream and Onion Crisps, but that could be me misremembering, it has been a long time after all, Dear Reader. All in there is a lot of convenient taste pairing here, but it’s nothing very complex, just luck, you can play with the amounts to suit yourself.

Browned, hard to get the right shot with the dim light. When I need sun where is it?!

As for taste, aside from the aniseed notes, there’s a pleasant warmness, and a dark flavour, it’s the only way I can describe the carob’s other taste notes. I can’t tolerate soy or fermented products so it can be hard to get an aged flavour in food, it’s why I like playing around with Dark Roast Coffee, the carob has a slight bitterness, cut by the honey which also adds the slight stickiness, you could play with intermittently increasing and decreasing the heat to get a different texture, but be careful of burning the honey. The onions and garlic just melt into the chicken, coating and keeping it moist. It’s what I think of a “Shovel In” kind of dish, you just keep eating and eating and then it’s gone. I had it with rice and squash, getting low on squash sadly, and it works really well with a plain side.
An entire squash. Eat good food and you’ll do fine is my motto.

On the whole it’s just a little different from what I’m used to, which when you’re as restricted as I am you’re really grateful for, I’m sure I have no need to tell you, Dear Reader. I’d buy more carob syrup as it’s just all round easier to utilise than the powder and has a stronger, more intense flavour. If I were to play with the recipe I’d add some shallot, maybe some Sichuan Flower Pepper for some additional kick. You can use it as a guide or just go to town and create something completely different from this. I had deliberated with myself as to its worth as a recipe, but when I realised that savoury carob syrup recipes are scarce, strongly flavour recipes that aren’t high in histamine are too, well, I thought why not? My Dear Readers aren’t finicky and might find it interesting if nothing else. I’ll be back again later, Dear Readers.

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts, Chopped
1 Small Onion, Diced
4 Cloves Garlic, More or Less to Taste, Cut into Strips
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Carob Syrup
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tsp Chinese 5 Spice
1/4 Tsp Asafoetida Powder
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

Method

1. Mix Carob Syrup, Honey, Five Spice, Asafoetida, Salt and Pepper together in a bowl and then add Chicken and stir until completely coated. Set aside.

1. Add Butter to a frying pan and when Butter has melted add the Onion and Garlic. Cook Onion and Garlic on a medium-high heat until browned, about 20 minutes, then add Chicken. Reduce heat to a medium and cook until chicken is cooked through and slightly sticky.

Braised Red Cabbage

But first…

I know, I know, but I have to share, Dear Reader, I have harvested the largest squash I have ever grown. It is almost three pounds. The Honeybear squash feels more like a pumpkin, it has that heavy hollowness, but you’ll have at least three days to wait, until it has cured, before I carve it. We’re at six squashes harvested for those keeping count. Okay, onto the recipe.

I went back and made a half batch with the second. It’s just that good.

It’s very pretty.

It chops easily, but you can use a food processor if necessary.

Okay, I’m saying it here to save myself repeating it, I can’t eat this myself, nor have I tested it personally, but in saying that, the person it was made for, who really won’t eat anything they don’t like, had to be pulled away from the pot. They absolutely loved it, they had tried a store bought version that they found hard, this is, according to them, is soft, tender and just cooked perfectly. So there you go, the rest is just my observations. I’ve been cooking long enough to be able to gleam a lot from just reading and cooking a recipe, so you can trust I’ll just tell you the truth and nothing else.

It doesn’t take much. The vinegar is new to me.

So, the one thing about a dish like this is that it’s greatly affected by the ingredients used. This is an extremely seasonal recipe as it uses fresh Roscoff onions, Golden Sun shallots and, o course, freshly harvested Red Drumhead cabbage. A very kind Dear Reader, from Ma Cuisine Sans Sulfites, was telling me about a raw preparation of the Roscoff onions with vinegar, which made me think about the onion in the recipe, original here, I thought about the sweetness the Roscoff brings and couldn’t but use it, a little shallot to add something extra and there were are. I used a Jazz apple, which is slightly sweet too, this is mostly comprised of many just barely sweet ingredients. The one striking thing is the aroma while t cooks, it’s sweet and so pleasant, though I’m not a fan of cabbage I couldn’t but like it. The vinegar smells mild and just boils into the cabbage, softening it I imagine as the end result is very tender, but not sloppy.

A beautiful pink-purple.

Into the freezer.

So, there you go. A simple recipe, one I will stand by even if I can’t eat it. Sadly a lot of the red cabbages were ruined by the heat, but as I’ve gotten this recipe from the two I harvested I’m happy enough. I’m using my cured onions and shallots, in various ways, and I’ll have my squash to try out soon. I’ve never eaten the honeybear and I’m curious to see how much will be just seed. As long as it’s carveable I’m happy, you may remember the Golden Nugget squash that resisted a smash into the wall. I also have my completely baffling mystery squash nearing ripeness on the vine. Oh, but the food will be glorious for a time, Dear Reader. The work repays Dear Jack. Take care.

Ingredients

600g Red Cabbage, Cored and Chopped Fine
3 Eating Apples, Cored, Peeled and Chopped into Cubes
1 Medium Roscoff Onion/Yellow Onion Chopped Finely
1 Shallot, Diced
100ml Red Wine Vinegar
50g Butter
45g Light Demerara Sugar
30ml Olive Oil
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
2 Tbsp Cranberry Sauce

Method

1. Add the Butter and Olive Oil to a large pot, heat on high until the Butter melts, add Onion and Shallot and reduce heat to a medium-high, cover and cook for ten minutes or until Onions have softened.

2. Add Red Cabbage and Spices and stir to combine, turn heat to high and keep stirring to coat the Cabbage, when glossy stir in the Apples, Light Demerara Sugar and Red Wine Vinegar, reduce heat to medium and cover with a lid. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, then stir in the Cranberry Sauce and cook covered for a further 10 minutes.

3. When ready check for taste adding more Cranberry sauce if necessary. If freezing add to containers and place in the freezer when cool. When reheating either defrost in he fridge and heat in a sauce-pan or the microwave, or just defrost in he microwave and reheat.

Mango and Basil Dip

Original here.

Couple of points before I begin, Dear Reader. The recipe is vegan even if my  use for it isn’t, the original looks nothing like mine, mine is bright green!, no idea why, I’ll report back on the frozen version, I topped it with more EVOO to stop the basil turning black. Once you cut out acid and nightshades dressings and sauces start to become scarce, Dear Reader, but here I am in the year of 2018 with a sauce featuring fresh basil. Every year I wonder if I’ll find anything new to do with my limited list of edibles and I somehow muddle through. This is made with a mixture of genovese and Thai basil, you can use anything you’d like naturally.

I had too much so I’m freezing half as a test.

My mango had started to go bad, but I had enough, this was already cut down a lot and when I cut it down further I still had to much for one serving. Not a bad complaint, I’ll update this with the frozen option when I get around to it, could be a while, though I see no reason as to why it shouldn’t be fine, I’ve frozen all he ingredients in different ways before and they came out just fine. I like t be absolutely certain of things before I tell you about them, Dear Reader, I might not be much, but I’m responsible.

I used the Jerk Rub with a little honey.

Not a great deal goes into this and because it’s unheated you lose none of the freshness, there’s a beautiful balance of fruitiness and sweetness from the mango and a spicy fresh kick from the basil and raw garlic combination. I honestly don’t know how you’d use it, over a salad freshly picked from the garden perhaps?, as for me letting it cut through the flavour of warmly spiced chicken strips and soaking into fresh rice seemed just right. With my hay fever, I think that’s what this is, wonder where I’m getting the pollen from? A mystery for the ages, Dear Reader, fresh and fruity is best, besides this heatwave isn’t doing wonders for my appetite, I still have to eat, but I’m feeling pretty indifferent towards food. This was nice and bright for a warm Summer’s day.  See you sooner than you think, Dear Reader.

Ingredients

1/2 Ripe Mango, Peeled and Cubed
17g Fresh Basil Leaves
4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
30ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Makes Two Servings. Can be frozen, just top with Olive Oil.

Method

1. Add everything to a blender, layering the basil and mango in alternating layers, finally topping with the oil, then pulse until everything is smooth, no need to add extra water. Use right away or cover and leave in the fridge for a few days.

Sautéed Garlic

I’m using solo garlic because it’s all there was in the shop.

I love garlic. If I have a sore throat I eat it whole and raw, I like it raw, cooked and now I’ve taken to roasting whole peeled cloves. They turn crisp outside and gooey inside, as bonus they need no oil. Today, dear reader, I’m sharing something that you might have seen countless times before, but I feel that it’s always useful to share any technique with you just on the off chance that you might, like me often, have never had the chance to see how easy it is to do something that can sound rather daunting. Sautéed garlic is just a simple way to prepare garlic so it can be used as a topping for, well, anything, I just happen to like it with pasta. The only issue is that you need to keep the heat just low enough below full so that the garlic doesn’t burn. That’s really it. You can use any oil. I just happen to prefer olive oil.

Our kitchen is cold and the steam wouldn’t stop wafting.

What you end up with is a crispy, slightly sweet, but still very much garlic, shard. It’s a great alternative to croutons. It’s not something you’d feel warrants a recipe page to itself, but it’s a very useful trick to know as it can elevate a dish from bland to interesting with just a simple scattering. You do have to make sure to leave them to last as any oils or sauces will soften them and remove their signature crispness. As you can see Jack is still well stocked with pesto. I may very well have enough until the basil is harvested again this year. Okay, that’s it for now. The first recipe of the year. Hopefully not the last!

Ingredients

As Much Garlic as Desired
Olive Oil for Frying

Method

1. Heat Olive Oil in a non-stick pan over a medium-high heat. Peel the Garlic and slice into wide, thin strips. When Oil is hot add Garlic. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. When Garlic is golden brown remove using a slotted spoon and leave to dry on a paper towel for a few minutes.

Baked Table King Squash Fries

This takes so long, but it’s worth it.

Back again, dear reader, with another squash. This time I tried table king fries and they worked really well, not quite as good as the harlequin, but still really worth trying. As I’ve repeated often you can’t compare a freshly harvested squash with a store bought one so I can’t say with certainty how you’ll fare if you do try this with store bought fruit. I imagine they’d still be good, but maybe not quite the same. They crisp up rather well, they are slightly softer than the harlequin, the standard which all squashes will be unfairly held to, I can’t help my love of that humble berry, dear reader, no more than you could stifle the love of Jack in your heart, why are you laughing? They’re in no way soggy thankfully. Nothing more unappealing than soggy vegetables.

Fake McDonald fries anyone?

This marks the last of the first batch of pollinated and harvested squash. There are more waiting in the wings, but it’ll be a while before I’ll be able to use them. No rush, I’ll be searching for new recipes to try them in. I’ll leave it at that today, dear reader, take care.

Seven Spice chicken open faced waffle sandwiches.

Ingredients

1 Medium King Squash, Around 400g
Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt, Black Pepper and Garlic Powder to Taste

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 175c (Fan) and line a baking tray with tinfoil.

2. Peel the Table King Squash, remove the seeds with a spoon and slice them lengthways, each slice should be about about half a centimetre thick, then cut them into half centimetre strips. Add to a plastic bag, season to taste then drizzle in the Olive Oil. Shake everything until the Table King Squash Fries are coated.

3. Spread out over the prepared tray. Making sure there’s plenty of room between the fries. If making a large batch use two trays. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. until the Table King Squash Fries are dry and crisp. Remove from oven and transfer to a plate and let cool for a minute or two. Table King will crisp up more as it cools.

Last of the pea onward.

Coconut Jasmine Rice

I’m cleaning up some of my recipes pages, dear reader and splitting off the ones that have become too crowded. If possible I’ll update these with photos in the future, but for now this will have to do. I’ll schedule these so they won’t overrun the site.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup of Jasmine Rice
160ml Coconut Milk
90ml Milk
2 Tsp Desiccated Coconut

Method

1. Mix together the Coconut Milk and the Water and set aside.

2. Heat Olive Oil in a pot on a medium heat. Stir in Rice and Coconut and cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Rice should be slightly translucent and may brown slightly. Add Coconut Milk and Water and stir up the Rice, and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium (3 on hob) cover and let it cook for about 12 minutes.

3. After the 12 minutes is up, remove it from the heat. Let it stand for another 10 minutes or so. After 10 minutes, lift the lid and take a fork and fluff the Rice.

Cashew Jasmine Rice Pilaf

I’m cleaning up some of my recipes pages, dear reader and splitting off the ones that have become too crowded. If possible I’ll update these with photos in the future, but for now this will have to do. I’ll schedule these so they won’t overrun the site.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup of Jasmine Rice
250ml Water
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
1/8 Tsp Turmeric
1/8 Tsp Cumin
1/8 Tsp Salt
1/16 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Bay Leaf
20g Cashews, Chopped
1 Tbsp Dried Fruit (Raisins etc)

Optional: Cilantro to Serve

Method

1. Cook Butter, Cumin, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Garlic in a pot on a medium-low heat for 2 minutes.

2. Stir in Rice, turn to medium and cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add Water, Salt, Fruit, Cashews and the Bay Leaf and stir up the Rice. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium (3 on hob) cover and let it cook for about 12 minutes.

3. After the 12 minutes is up, remove it from the heat. Let it stand for another 10 minutes or so. After 10 minutes, lift the lid, remove the Bay Leaf and take a fork and fluff the Rice.