Monday, July 19, 2010

Jellied Ham

My grandma used to have us screaming from the kitchen when she made this using a whole pig's head. I kid myself I can remember back to my childhood and what it tasted like though in reality, I'm sure I never was brave enough to even try it. She had enough natural gelatine from the head to make her 'jelly meat' set very firmly but I add a few extra leaves to make sure I get a good wobble. Following her lead, I set it in a bowl and scoop it out rather than in a classic terrine which is turned out and carefully sliced but you can do that, if you prefer.

Serves 4
1.5kg unsmoked gammon knuckle
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
few parsley stalks
few peppercorns/star anise/cloves/whatever whole spices you like
sprig of rosemary/thyme/bay leaf
4 sheets of leaf gelatine
5 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp capers
2 bunches of parsley, finely chopped

Place the gammon and the flavourings in a large pan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 - 21/2 hours until the meat is fully cooked through, skimming the surface from time to time to help keep the stock clear.

Strain through a colander into a large bowl. Set the gammon on a board and leave to cool. Line a fine sieve with some muslin and pour through the stock. If it's a little cloudy, rinse out the muslin and pass it through again. Pour 750 ml into a pan (use the remainder of the stock and bit of the gammon for a classic pea soup) and bring to the boil then turn off the heat, stir in the vinegar and leave to cool a little.

Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes.

Cut the fat away from the gammon then tear or chop the meat into small pieces. Place in a serving bowl with the capers and parsley.

Squeeze the water out of the gelatine and stir into the hot but not boiling stock. Once dissolved, pour over the ham. Mix gently together, leave to cool then cover and chill overnight. Serve with stacks of hot, buttered toast.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This New Record Is Quite Nice

David Rotheray with Kathryn Williams: Crows, Ravens and Rooks (Proper Records, 2010)

Here's an unexpectedly lovely song. Mr Rotheray (steady ladies, he's [probably] married [or, at the very least, seeing someone]) used to be in Beautiful South - a band who never really troubled my consciousness much, tbh - and has returned from, frankly, Christ knows where, with an actual folk music album that features not only the lovely Kathryn, but Alasdair Roberts, Eliza Carthy and a "host" of others, all singing what are, from what I can make out, decidedly nice tunes. Having said that, what do I know? Anyhow, all this is out in the middle of August, which is great news, eh?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Preserved Lemons

It's Scrap's school summer fair tomorrow and somehow, I am in charge of the cafe. We've got a barbecue, home-made scones and cakes, organic strawberries and cream and a very carefully planned rota. The stand I always wish I could work on (apart from whack-the-rat) is the home produce - this year, as well as my usual cheat's jam, and Scrap's elderflower cordial, I've made them some preserved lemons, small jars each with one whole lemon in. They take a least a month to soften so give yourself a bit more time than I did, if you've got a deadline.

Place a tablespoon of coarse sea salt in some small, sterilized jars. Quarter the lemons but don't cut through the base so they remain joined. Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt into each lemon then press it back into shape. Push a lemon into each jar and tuck in some dried herbs and whole spices. Top up with freshly squeezed lemon juice (I had plenty left over from making Limoncello, I'll post the recipe next week). Leave for 6 weeks, turning every once in a while.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Baby's Oatcakes

8 months old and still no teeth, Baby's gums are giving her gip. Oatcakes take minutes to make and are good for gnawing. Add salt, fennel seeds, chilli flakes, cumin seeds or grated Parmesan for the grown ups.
Whizz together 120g oats, 100g plain flour and 80g unsalted butter. When well blended add 4 tablespoons of cold water to make a firm dough. Roll out fairly thinly and bake at 180C / Gas 4 for 10 minutes or so. Cool then keep in an air tight box.