What Jessie Did Next...

...being the inane ramblings of a mundane Yorkshire bird.

Tag: food (page 1 of 2)

I do a lot of different ice-creams, and you do need an ice-cream maker for this one (I love my Cuisinart one but any will do). Best place for vanilla pods is actually eBay where you can get shrink-wrap Madagascan ones for a lot cheaper than the Supercook ones you get in the supermarket. You can also cheat by using a sachet of vanilla sugar and leaving the vanilla pod stage out. My notes from the day tell me this is recipe #8 without the chill stage… 😉

  1. Put the canister from the machine into the freezer a day before you want to make the ice cream.
  2. Next day, pour about 200ml cream and 300ml semi-skimmed milk into a medium heavy-based pan, and tip in 60g of golden caster sugar. Slit a vanilla pod down its length with a small sharp knife and scoop out as many of the tiny black seeds as you can into the cream mixture. Cut the pod into three and drop it into the pan.
  3. Heat the cream and milk over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until it almost boils – you’ll see a few bubbles at the edge. Take off the heat and set aside for 30 minutes so the vanilla can infuse.
  4. Put 3 large egg yolks into a bowl with another 50g golden caster sugar and beat with an electric hand beater for about 2 minutes until the mixture has thickened, is paler in colour and falls in thick ribbons when you lift the beaters. Using a measuring jug, scoop out about 125ml/4fl oz of the cream mixture and beat into the egg yolks to slacken them. Reheat the cream until it just comes to the boil, take off the heat and stir in the egg yolk mixture.
  5. Return the pan to a low heat and cook, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon, for 8-10 minutes, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Watch that it doesn’t boil – as soon as you see any bubbles about to burst to the surface, it should be thick enough, so take the pan off the heat so the mixture doesn’t curdle.
  6. Put a greaseproof circle on the mixture so a skin doesn’t form and put the bowl in the fridge for 3-4 hours, preferably overnight, so it gets really cold.
  7. Get the ice cream machine running, scoop out the vanilla pod pieces from the mix, then slowly pour in the cold custard. Leave it to churn for 10-30 minutes (depending on your machine). When it stops, it is probably too soft to eat, so spoon into a plastic container, cover with cling film, then a lid, and freeze for a minimum of an hour. (It will keep in the freezer for 3 months but don’t take it out, then refreeze.) Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.


Easily the recipe I’ve been asked about the most. The one on telly didn’t have the brandy in because I didn’t want Jake to explode…

  1. Break about 250g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) into small chunks in a large pyrex bowl. Spoon in 2tbsp of golden syrup and fold in about a quarter of a 568ml carton of double cream.
  2. Stand the bowl over (not in) a large-based pan of hot water over a low heat and leave until the chocolate has melted, and add in 2tsp of brandy (this needs mixing in quickly or it’ll curdle). Remove the bowl from the pan and stir again so it’s silky smooth. Leave to cool but do not refrigerate!
  3. Line your cake tin (an 8″ size is perfect) with greaseproof paper – you can do this while you are waiting for the chocolate to cool. I used a spring-loaded cake tin which made it a lot easier to get the torte out afterwards. Remember it’ll take the shape of the tin, wrinkles and all.
  4. Pour the rest of the cream into a very large bowl and add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Whip until the cream will stand in soft peaks which disappear after about 1-2s.
  5. Fold the cream and chocolate mix together by pouring the chocolate into the cream, then use a whisk on a slow setting to beat it together properly.
  6. Pour it all into the tin and level the surface with the back of the spoon. Put the tin in the fridge and leave to firm up – you can get away with doing this in 2h but I prefer to leave it overnight.
  7. Before you serve, dust with cocoa on the top.
  8. Unclip and remove the side of the tin and remove the greaseproof. Slice and arrange and serve. Nom!

This serves about 8 portions because it’s so rich, and goes really well with fresh raspberries and vanilla ice-cream (which is how I served it on the show). The camera crew had quite a bit later on in the week 🙂

The full title for this was Woodland Venison With Blackberries, Roast Potato Stack & Chanteney Carrots but I guess there’s a space issue with that.

I can’t remember on timing, but experiment a bit. You can get excellent venison shoulder steaks from Leeds Market (the farm shop up Fishmongers Row is where I got mine) and it’s less expensive and tastier (in my daughter’s opinion anyway) than beef.

  1. Chop the spuds into Jenga blocks and season with Herbes De Provence, and soak in salt water
  2. Roughly chop rosemary needles and garlic and set aside to go in the spuds when roasted.
  3. Wash the carrots and place in cold water.
  4. Get a small saucepan for the jus, and add in about 4tbsp of balsamic. Add beef stock (about a pint), redcurrant jelly, pepper, a handful of blackberries, and heat gently. Leave it simmering but not boiling – the aim is to reduce it to bring the flavours together. Will take an hour or so.
  5. Parboil the spuds (about 20 minutes).
  6. Heat oven to as hot as it’ll go (warp factor 9 Mr Scott!) and prepare a roasting tin with goose fat. Put the tin in the oven.
  7. Take the venison out of the fridge – it needs to reach room temperature.
  8. Parboil the carrots.
  9. When the spuds are parboiled, put them in the goose fat and sprinkle with chopped garlic (about half a bulb) and roughly chopped rosemary needles. WEAR PROTECTION, HOT FAT HURTS 😛 Turn the oven down to 240C.
  10. The spuds will take about 30-40 minutes to roast. In this time you’re doing the venison.
  11. Season the venison with pepper and Herbes De Provence.
  12. Prepare a frying pan to searing hot and wang in a small knob of butter.
  13. Place the venison shoulder steaks in the pan and turn after about a minute to seal both sides. Do not cover the pan!
  14. Now sear the venison until it is cooked but still pink in the middle and then set aside under tinfoil to rest for a few minutes. Pour the jus in the frying pan to deglaze and leave it on a low heat. This is the point where you can go eat your starter 🙂
  15. (optional dependent on timing) Just before serving, sear for approx. a minute again while you pass the jus through a sieve.
  16. Slice each piece of venison and arrange on plate.
  17. Throw the rosemary and garlic into the roasted potatoes and shake, then empty out onto a plate with kitchen roll to de-grease.
  18. Plate up with the jenga spuds in a stack, three carrots per person, three (warm) blackberries and dribble the jus over, being careful to throw it over the side of the plate and onto the work surface.
  19. Go next door and stress about what your guests think of it while you hit the wine.

Enjoy 🙂

And now, a song courtesy of Tenpole Tudor:

(thanks Chris ;))

As the recipes on the C4 site aren’t the ‘real’ ones, I’ll post what I actually did – here you go…

  1. Prepare the glaze, mixing together chopped fresh coriander, a small amount of rice wine, groundnut oil, a chopped red birdeye chilli (leave the seeds in for a bit of heat), sesame oil, juice of two limes, juice of one lemon, and a teaspoon of soy sauce. Refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Fry the king scallops in a frying pan (3 per person) with a little bit of hot groundnut oil for about 3 minutes, turning halfway through. Just seal them, you don’t want them to be rubbery do you?
  3. When the scallops are almost done, add the glaze to the pan and leave to reduce for about 2 minutes. They’ll bubble a bit, don’t let them go dry.
  4. Drain off the excess into a small bowl, fry the scallops a little longer so they’re drier, and then plate up.
  5. Drizzle a tablespoon of the excess juice over the scallops and serve with chopped coriander, lemon wedge, and wilted pak choi.

I prefer to leave the coral on the scallops, but you may want to chop them off.

I always enjoy reading food blogs, especially when they’re local – but I was exceptionally chuffed to see Leeds Grub blog heading down our way to review Deli Central in Wakefield, just off the Bullring. More of that please!

Some time back my Gaggia Baby-D coffee machine died in a leaky can’t-maintain-pressure-and-piss-water-everywhere way. It was a sad loss mourned in our house given that Gaggia-the-company had also died and been taken over by Philips who weren’t honouring warranties, especially not on the ‘refurb’ unit I owned. I resorted to making espresso on the hob using my Italian espresso pot but I really missed the steamer and the convenience of it all.

Meantime, over on a UK techies maillist there was a discussion of bean-to-cup machines. Nicky and I had a few savings from birthdays and anniversaries and I talked her into letting me buy a DeLonghi-branded Magnifica ESAM4200. That was back in July; I figured I’d let the dust settle before I blogged any sort of review of it, but the short version is that I like it 🙂

It’s a nice unit, and tends to do everything for you including cleaning itself (an absolute boon as far as I’m concened – dismantling and cleaning the Gaggia was one of the onerous pains, especially since bits of it weren’t dishwasher-safe). Beans go in the hopper in the top, and it chucks out little coffee-poos into a box inside once finished.

It’s also fast – powerup to dispense is less than 30 seconds, and the steamer is ready within 15s from pressing ‘the button’. Thanks to this, if the daughter forgets to switch it on in a morning (the usual state of affairs) I can still grab a very quick coffee before work. In that regard, it’s quicker than the kettle if a little noisier with its ‘clunk’ and ‘whirr’ and ‘grrrtangfrrrrvvvv’.

As for coffee control itself, it’s pretty flexible – there’s the usual quantity and strength dials on the front, as well as a hidden knob to alter the grinder so the beans can be coarse or fine (I’ve left it on the default setting). It’s consistent and reliable, leaving a rather delicious-looking crema on the top every time. The coffee I’ve been using is the 1kg sacks of beans from CostCo (Starbucks brand) – although if you really want you can use pre-ground coffee just by moving the strength dial all the way back.

There’s a couple of things which are a bit tedious: the grinds disposal bin isn’t big enough so after six or seven shots it still needs emptying; similarly the water tank is a bit small (and it uses water on startup/shutdown to clean itself so doesn’t last very long). Keeping a jug or an old mug under the spout is mandatory as it dispenses a small amount of water whenever it cleans itself and the driptray could get full (and is more hassle to clean than a mug!). It’s a bit noisy, but the build quality is much better than the Gaggia though and seems to cope with the amount of coffee I require it to throw out on a daily basis.

It’s also important to set the water hardness correctly on installation – I waited (well, to be fair I didn’t read the instructions properly) and it nagged me for a descaler cycle after a month when it didn’t need it. Once that was triggered there was no way of telling it to stop nagging without doing a full descale which takes about an hour and requires the DeLonghi-specified descaler solution (or it invalidates your warranty).

If you want one of these units I’d recommend shopping around: for example, John Lewis list them at £399, but I managed to get it sub-£300 by going online to Amazon (though at time of writing they don’t seem to have any available direct). Still, recommended and seems to have been a good buy!

I’ve been growing a supermarket-purchased basil plant for a few months, nurturing it carefully on the kitchen window-sill. More recently I was aiming to make some pesto using it.

Tonight came the time to slay it in cold blood, or at least cut about half of it out! I filled the food processor bowl with leaves (not the stalks, just the leaves) and added a little bit of olive oil, some sea-salt, a crunch of pepper, and a handful of pine nuts. Wazzed it all up, chucked it in among the pasta and browned chicken, and it was lovely. Nicky was quite worried it’d be too strong but it was much better than the jar stuff you get in supermarkets.

The food processor thing wasn’t the entire story – the main bowl in the Kenwood didn’t get it down to the fine consistency I coveted, nor did the liquidiser. Finally I resorted to the hand-blender which didn’t quite do the job but at least made it a lot finer.

Traditionalists please note: it probably wasn’t proper pesto either since apparently you need garlic. I had no garlic bulbs in (fx: sound of jaw hitting floor) but it was lovely nontheless.

Half the basil bush made a few tablespoons of pesto, enough for two plates of pasta/pesto/chicken. That’s better than I was hoping – many recipes or guides suggest you need a whole basil bush for one plateful of pasta.

Another invention in the ice-cream maker, this time a very rich chocolate and Calvados (apple brandy) ice-cream.

You’ll need an ice-cream maker, 2 eggs, split into yolks and whites, 150g caster sugar, 250ml milk, 150ml double cream and 120g plain chocolate (I used French patisserie cooking chocolate, 75% cocoa)… and a slosh of Calvados 😉


  1. Before making this, ensure the bowl from your ice-cream maker has been in deep freeze for a day or two otherwise it won’t freeze it properly (it needs to be really cold!).
  2. Pour the milk and cream in a saucepan and slowly bring to boiling. As soon as it starts to boil properly add in a splosh of Calvados.
  3. While that’s coming to heat, whisk the egg yolks and 50g of the caster sugar in a bowl.
  4. Pour the boiling milk/cream mix over the egg yolk/sugar mix, whisking all the time.
  5. Return the mix to a pan and add in the chocolate broken into little bits, whisking again to make sure it all merges together.
  6. Add a little splosh more Calvados!
  7. When it’s nice and creamy and the alcohol has boiled off (important or it won’t freeze), take off the heat and pour into a bowl to cool down.
  8. Now we need a meringue type thing to make it a bit more chewy – use an electric whisk to mix up the remaining 2 egg whites and 100g caster sugar until the mix stands in stiff peaks (but isn’t too dry).
  9. Take a dessert spoon and while whisking the chocolate-cream mix, add in three dessert spoonfuls of the meringue mix to the now-cooling bowl.
  10. When that’s merged, use the electric whisk to remove any final chunks in the chocolate mix and put in the fridge.
  11. Once cooled, pour into the ice-cream maker and leave it to churn.

Because it’s so chewy I’ve found that leaving it overnight in the freezer (once churned) gives it a bit more stiffness. You have to be really careful with the alcohol though because it lowers the freezing point of your ice-cream, hence why we add it to the hot mixture so it has chance to evaporate the alcohol off.

There was enough meringue mix left over by the way to make three quite substantial meringues in the oven – something to go in there while the ice-cream is churning maybe 😉

This lunchtime me and Lou had sushi at Yo! in Leeds. I believe the previous record for dishes consumed stood at 13 plus miso between two people – today’s outing was 14 cos of a requirement to eat myself to happiness. Plus miso. Plus two puddings. Nom nom nom!

(Not bad for £24 – their 50% offer has sadly now expired but they’re pretty good with web-printed specials.)

I was especially chuffed to find Wagyu Beef on the conveyor – still not quite Kobe Beef but close.

Wandering up into Clapham Junction this morning to find breakfast I discovered Jack’s Cafe, where for £3.50 I got a full English breakfast and unlimited mugs of tea. Well worth a visit if you’re at a loose end first thing in the morning.

Me and N are in Stratford-upon-Avon this weekend, mainly to touch Mr Tennant’s bottom (well, according to Nicky). Last night we arrived mid-evening and needed feeding so wandered into the town to see what was available.

Our first two choices were booked up (or at least would want us to wait 2-3 hours for a table), but our meanderings led us to a restaurant called Carluccio’s on Waterside. Well, I say “restaurant”, it’s more of a shop with a bloody big Italian cafe in the back of it.

We had a full dinner – I opted for chilli prawns to start, calves’ liver, and rounding off with a pear and ricotta ice-cream. Nicky went for bread, rib-eye steak, ice-cream. We washed it down with a bottle of the ‘house’ red, a reasonable Sicilian red ‘Sicani’.

Not bad. Although the prawns were pricey for what they were (£7.95 for a side-plate of five plus rocket salad) they were quite tasty. The liver was cooked to perfection and for once Nicky asked for ‘rare steak’ and actually got rare steak. In fact on the main course the only valid wah was the rosemary potatoes being undercooked, a complaint mitigated by the absolute perfection with which the spinach was wilted.

Pear and ricotta ice-cream. Who’d have thought it? Going to try making that one myself I think…

A nice touch was asking whether we’d like a mild or strong blend for our coffee (we usually prefer stronger blends and I find the usual ‘Italian Restaurant’ fare to be a little too mild for my tastes).

Total bill for aperetif-starter-main-dessert-coffee for two, plus a bottle of wine: £75.50. A little pricey for what is essentially a cafe with plastic tables, but in the context of ‘dinner in Stratford-upon-Avon’ it seems to be average. Back to the hotel for a Remy and a Baileys, collapsing in the corner in a contented heap.

The Italian shop at the front looked interesting. I think we may wander that way a little later.

Last night I stopped at Orac’s flat and we went out for dinner in Finchley. Our usual haunt was out since I’d already had fish+chips this week so he took me to ‘Izgara’, a Turkish restaurant on Hendon Lane.

I’d had a big lunch so I wasn’t in the mood for a starter and such, and jumped to the main course. Lots of interesting things on the menu alongside stuff which sounded like the sort of kebabs you get in takeaways; nothing could be further from it though. No elephant’s foot here, the meals were large and very well cooked. I went for a ‘lamb liver kebab’ – odd I know! I’ve had curried liver tikka before but this was more like a grilled liver with Turkish herbs. Very nice, and a huuuuuge plateful I couldn’t finish. Matt went for his ‘usual’, the #1 kebab which is basically sliced lamb steak.

I shall look forward to returning there for a larger meal soon 🙂

I went into Wakefield this morning to do some shopping – I favour the market over getting stuff from Sainys and co, because I actually feel they give a toss. Dropping by for some tripe this morning I was saddened to note that Hey’s Tripe Shop on the outside of the market hall is closing today. I was even more saddened to note that they were given 2 days’ notice by the owners, who presumably will be concentrating on their other business. Given that the Leeds stall closed a while ago (or hasn’t been open while I’ve been visiting), the nearest tripe shop is now Dewsbury.

Without being histrionic, this is another death-knell for Wakefield – another local specialist stall closing down. Half of the market is now car-parking as seen in this photo. Back in April 2006 I noted the lack of fishmonger in Wakefield. At least Cryer and Stott will be moving to the new market hall in May.

On another note the Ridings Centre is undergoing a facelift, with more chain-stores in the bottom where the ‘Garden’ food concessions were originally. Given that today there were at least 6 units empty with ‘To Let’ signs, one wonders if this is going to compete with the forthcoming Trinity Walk development (WMDC site here) at all.

Note: I did try to get information about the Trinity Walk development and other local stuff from the Wakefield Express website, but just came up against a brick wall with error messages and articles which ‘don’t exist’ despite the search system forwarding me. I eventually resorted to Google…

For Nicky’s birthday last night we’d got a plan to join some friends for dinner at Rustico, an Italian restaurant which has been attentive and good food in previous visits. To be fair we hadn’t booked, they were very busy when we turned up, and the waiter said he’d get us a table for 8:30pm – not a problem, there’s a very good pub across the road. Returning at 8:30pm there were no tables ready for us, three tables full of people hadn’t been seated in front of us, and we were herded upstairs to a bar with no space and a very confused waitress – total chaos and Gordon would have gone mental in the kitchen. Plan B then.

Out of the window and across the road we saw “Magdalene’s”, a fairly new restaurant specialising in ‘Mediterranean cuisine’ (it’s pretty much next to the Talbot & Falcon, where Cantors used to be). A short walk over there for a recce and we got a table within a minute. Salvation!

Magdalene’s menu is primarily Greek and Turkish, with a couple of interesting house specials alongside more traditional dishes – and no predictable kebabs! I started with ‘keftedes’, herbed meatballs in a tomato sauce which tasted freshly-made; it’s always nice to be able to identify ingredients but it not detract from the dish as a whole. They probably batched the meatballs but they were very well cooked, remaining firm without being tough or overcooked.

My main course was ‘Sarsem fish’, small pieces of halibut, salmon, king prawns and calamari cooked with red onions and asparagus, and flambeed in ouzo. The flambee was evident in the slight crispness of the calamari on the outside but not to the point of them being singed to rubber, and complemented the sauce (it’s easy to get sauces wrong on calamari, it being a subtle flavour). Served with rice to soak up the sauce, the portion amount was just right with not too much or too little, leaving with a simple feeling of well-being rather than over-stuffed.

(It being Nicky’s birthday we couldn’t get away without a pudding, although I didn’t partake. Nicky’s vanilla cheesecake was home-made, and Alice’s chocolate cake was very light and fluffy apparently.)

The service itself was excellent – our attentive and friendly waiter Taf was never far away, and the price was right. We were served quickly even though restaurant was about three-quarters full. Very much recommended, we’ll go there again.

(They have a website which, had I seen it first, would probably have put me off… so quite glad I didn’t see that first!)

I’ve updated my recipe archive with yesterday’s creations of Seafood Cocktail and home-made Marie Rose sauce and Christmas pudding.


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