Porridge

Breakfast of champions #porridge and kiwi #365 20/365

A post shared by The Cook (@edinburghcook) on

My eldest is starting to eat us out of house and home…an example of this is breakfast, he’s started getting through 4 Weetabix a day!  Not really a problem apart from cost and the feeling of being visited by a locust as he inhales the buscuits.  I find breakfast cereals really annoying in terms of cost, actual nutritional content and the promise of keeping hunger at bay.  Porridge though, passed down through the generations, a warming soul food.  Not too expensive and a genuine life saver in terms of keeping my boys happy.

Oats have got to be one of this worlds gifts, a humble ingredient and so versatile especially in this simple recipe.  We are a hundred percent milk house, you can use a blend of water and milk and adjust to taste, a pinch of salt if needed, a drop of honey to add sweetness. I love chopped banana and blueberries. Easy to make this your own.

Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File

Ingredients

  • 50g porridge oats
  • 250g milk (or 150g milk/100g water)

Directions

  1. In a microwave bowl, weigh 50g of the oats
  2. In the same bowl pour in the milk to the 300g mark  (You could measure 250ml from jug).  Just easier on the scale to pour from the 2 litre bottles we buy
  3. Mix together and put in the fridge overnight (optional)
  4. Microwave for 1.5 mins, stir
  5. Microwave for 1 minute, stir
  6. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir

Alternatively bring to a simmer on the stove, stirring all the while, you want to it to barely speak to you with a plop and a burp.

I now leave my boys to it, they have adapted their technique to their own preference.  The youngest doesn’t like to soak overnight, and the eldest likes to soak and has changed his own  variables

Bolognese – Authentic Edinburgh Cook Style

Bolognese EdinburghCook Style

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: Prep: 20 mins Cooking:  2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Bolognese

Bolognese when I was a boy came from a Colman’s packet, a dry substance that was mixed with hot water and mince that had been browned for 5 minutes or so served with a bland starchy spaghetti. My sister and I desperately trying to convince my dad that it would be great idea, worth a change and add some variety to our menu. I can’t remember how we convinced him, but we did and it was horrible! Maybe it was us, we weren’t cooks, the sauce I remember was so watery and tasteless, we put a brave face on and made out it was great! We didn’t get to try again, probably a good thing!

As a student I moved onto jars of Dolmio probably buy 1 get 1 free and then later after graduation more sophisticated jars of pasta sauce with bake in the oven magic skills. At some point though I became aware that these jars came with sugar, salt and all manner of preservatives. I’m pretty sure they came with the word authentic across the label, or just like mama used to make. Somehow I became aware that all that was really needed was a tin of good quality tomatoes, some seasoning, good mince and some slow cook time.

I’ve come across many variations of a Bolognese recipe all claiming to be authentic and I’ve tried a few of them, hoping to come across the secret sauce, the be all and end all of all Bolognese recipes to end them all. I’ve come to realise that the authentic Bolognese is your own recipe…the one that works for you and your family.

Mine, I adapt for the mood, it’s always made with view of having enough to freeze, use up the onions and the carrots from the veg box, even the odd chilli and then I add kidney beans as well…..please don’t shoot me….I know it’s not traditional authentic…..it works for us though! I hope you get something from my recipe!


Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File
Prep: This roughly covers 12 portions, we get 3 meals for 4 in terms of freezer prep. Good sized casserole dish, heavy based pan.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 100g pancetta or bacon (I use ham ends from the butcher), diced
  • 2 Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 2-3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1kg mince (Our butcher now does minced pork, so I use 500g of pork and 500g beef)
  • 1 tblsp dried oregano
  • 300ml red wine (could use white)
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100g split red lentils (controversial! Optional)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 150ml whole milk

To serve, up until recently we were big fans of Spaghetti or Fusilli. My recent discovery being that Spaghetti is a British/American take on the dish. More traditional would be Tagliatelle or Pappardelle and mixed into the pasta rather than served on top in a big dollop.

Goes without saying freshly grated parmesan adds that true authentic taste!

Directions

  1. Heat the oil, and gently brown the bacon
  2. With the heat at a gentle setting, add the veg to this and soften the onions, garlic, carrots and celery with the idea of creating a Soffrito, a soft base of veg
  3. At this point I tip this into a bowl and put to a side….just so I can really get stuck in with the meat. You can crumble the mince straight into the pan if you like.
  4. Turn the heat up slightly and using a wooden spoon break the mince down, browning it as you go. The mince needs to have lost all its colour.
  5. Once browned throw the veg back in if you went for the separate bowl option.
  6. Add the Oregano, stir through.
  7. Add a pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper
  8. Add the Wine and stir through, bring to a simmer.
  9. Add the tomatoes and the purée, stir through and bring to a simmer then lower the heat and pop the lid on for an 1hr 30mins. You just want the ragu to talk to itself for an hour so. Keep an eye on it…I like to nurture it.
  10. At this point I stir in the milk….some people add a bit of dark chocolate. The milk adds a subtle creaminess that I like
  11. At this point I gage whether it’s too runny and add the lentils in, simmer and stir for 30 mins. This both soaks up the liquid at the same time as bulking out the meal for the boys who just seem to be eating more and more! You could just take the lid off and simmer slowly for 30 mins to thicken up

Monday

AutumnChoked up with cold this morning, a sign of the November cold nights or the close encounters of messing around with my 2 year old nephew!

I had a productive weekend in the kitchen, set my self a recipe list on Friday evening and by in large made my way through it.

Finally got myself organised and tried Nigel Slaters Christmas cake. Hoping for an early December tasting. We typically go for a good house keeping recipe, year in year out and never fails us…always room to try something new. The addition of ground almonds, hazelnuts and an orange twist will be adding to the excitement.

I was also going to try Nigel’s no nonsense brownie…..however the boss sidetracked me and suggested I try Green and Blacks version. If your looking for a good sized brownie to feed the masses, this is the one. None of your little square baking tins, this one fills the battleship roasting tin!

On the savoury side, I made a new soup inspired by Peter Jackson and a variation of Nigel’s Osso Bucco that just hit the spot for a Saturday night meal for two.

Set my eldest a challenge on the Sunday night tea front. I was browsing through the options when his eyes lit up on spaghetti carbonara, I thought I’d tap into this excitement with a shopping challenge. Gave him his list, a mere 4 ingredients and whilst I did my messages he hunter gathered bacon, eggs, mushrooms and a packet of spaghetti. The mushrooms were my idea to try and make it a little more healthier.

I also got around to writing last weeks recipe up Lamb Topside Stew

The First Recipe

tattiehash letterWhen I left for university I wasn’t hapless when it came to food.  I could boil an egg just as well as the next guy, and better than my dad who was the only person I’ve known who’s burnt a boiled egg!  I knew how to grill a chop, boil a potato and cook rice.  A sauce was a luxury item that you bought in a jar and as a student you could make last over a couple of meals.  Looking back now….I knew how to survive, I learnt to shop for myself and I remember the long walk back from Tesco with too much to carry back to my digs after the first shop.  I learned to use a basket rather than a trolley after that day!

The first recipe I consciously remember asking for was from my Gran whilst at university in Sheffield.  This was long before e-mail and I wrote to ask her for it!  She must have thought it strange as this was probably something that was second nature to her.

Back in 94 though, I needed a prescriptive guide that would teach me to cook and if I could crack Tattiehash the world would be my oyster on the culinary front.  My Gran did send me the recipe and I had to interpret a couple of things and in a micro movement that gave the game away….for that small moment I became a cook and I created a little bit of alchemy.   It tasted ok, and now armed with a box of OXO cubes I made it a few times.

I wish back then I’d paid more attention to her notes, and whether she had a recipe collection.   I’d be all over it now!

Do you remember your first recipe?