Recipe: slow cooked venison with Hasselback potatoes and cream sauce

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In between Christmas and New Year back in Sweden we cooked venison one night, using a recipe from a Swedish cook who also likes to go shooting so I really trust his game recipes.

The original recipe called for elk meat but it worked just as well with venison. The cut is near or around the rump; one that needs to cook slowly to become tender. So this will take a bit of time but it’s not difficult at all and definitely worth it. The tender meat and the creamy sauce (with all the jus from cooking the meat) is just amazing. Serve with Hasselback potatoes and broccoli and tarte tatin and vanilla ice cream for dessert. So yummy!

Slow cooked venison with Hasselback potatoes and cream sauce, serves 6

Translated from and adapted after Per Morberg’s recipe in the book Morberg Lagar Vilt.

1 kg venison rump (off the bone)

salt and pepper

1 carrot

1 onion

1/2 leek

3 tbsp tomato purée

300 ml game stock

200 ml red wine

2 bay leaves

1 sprig thyme

6 juniper berries

Creamy sauce:

the jus from the meat

500 ml double cream

3 tbsp blackcurrant jelly

salt and pepper

Trim the meat and rub in plenty of seasoning. Brown the meat on all sides in a large casserole dish.

Cut the carrot and onion in large pieces. Wash the leek and cut it into large pieces as well. Add it all to the casserole dish and let it brown for a few minutes. 

Add tomato purée, stock, wine and herbs. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat until simmering and let it simmer with the lid on until cooked through (until the meat is 65-70 C in the middle), approx 45-60 minutes (maybe more). Turn the meat and baste it a few times. Remove the steak from the casserole pan and cover with tin foil.  

For the sauce: sieve the jus and pour it into a clean saucepan together with the cream. Bring to the boil and let it slowly thicken. Stir occasionally. Add the jelly and season to taste.

Cut the meat into thin slices across the grain of the fibres. Serve with the sauce and Hasselback potatoes.

 

 

 

Recipe: Italian meringue covered fruit

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This is a perfect Friday night pudding as it’s quick to whip up (don’t let the Italian meringue scare you, I promise it’s easy!) and feels really fresh after a pizza or whatever Friday night cravings you may have.

Use any (seasonal) fruit and berries you like – they don’t get warm even if you use the grill to brown the meringue, but it’s even easier with a creme brûlée torch, and then you could also put the fruit in a glass so you can see it. Very pretty!

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Italian meringue covered fruit, serves 2

Mixed fruit, cut into pieces and berries (enough to almost fill the vessels you’re using), such as:

1 blood orange

1 apple

blueberries

raspberries

Italian meringue:

1 egg white

75 ml caster sugar 

75 ml water

50 ml caster sugar

To serve:

lightly whipped cream

Divide the fruit between two ramekins (or glasses if not using the oven) – they should be almost full. 

Pour 75 ml caster sugar and 75 ml water into a saucepan and bring it almost to the boil. Once the sugar has melted the syrup is done. Remove from heat. Meanwhile beat the egg white until fluffy with an electric whisk. Pour in some of the remaining sugar and beat some more. Pour in the syrup while beating continuously. Then add the remaining sugar and beat until you have a glossy meringue that is set enough that you can turn the bowl upside down without it sliding out. 

Use a spatula to cover the ramekins with the meringue. Put the grill on the oven to 250C and place the ramekins underneath it. Keep the door open and an eye on the ramekins as the meringue browns quickly and you don’t want it going too dark. Remove with mittens as the ramekins go warm (but the fruit inside doesn’t). Or skip this step all together and use a creme brûlée torch to brown the meringue. Serve with lightly whipped cream. 

Recipe: orzo with bacon, mushrooms and parmesan

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When I think of this dish an image comes to mind, of Nigella in her silk dressing gown, opening that famous fridge door to get herself a late night snack. The leftovers from this dish would be perfect for midnight snacking and all you need is a bowl and a fork. But it’s really nice for supper a regular week night when you want something fast, easy and filling on the table in 15 minutes flat. It does that and more.

The comforting flavours of earthy mushrooms and salty bacon together with the silky orzo pasta comforts you from within. And it’s that comforting feeling that is sometimes most important for me when I cook for myself on a day that just feels a bit meh. May it be from the incessant London rain, the fact that the weekend feels far away or a rubbish day at work – regardless of the reason you will feel better after a bowl of this. Promise!

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Orzo with bacon, mushrooms and parmesan, serves 3-4

200 ml orzo pasta (the one that looks like rice)

1/2 stock cube, vegetable 

200 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

ca 120 g bacon, cut into small pieces

150 ml creme fraiche

plenty of grated parmesan

salt and black pepper

Cook the orzo pasta in plenty of water. Add salt and half a stock cube to the water for extra flavour. Cook until al dente (approx 10 minutes or according to the time on the packet). Drain and pour the pasta back into the pan. Stir in some oil or a knob of butter so it won’t become one sticky lump. 

While the pasta is cooking, fry the mushrooms in butter and oil mon medium heat and make sure not to crowd them. If you have a small frying pan fry the in batches instead. Add the garlic towards the end of their cooking time. Add salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Then fry the bacon pieces on medium heat until crispy and brown. Drain on kitchen towel. 

Mix the creme fraîche into the pasta, then add the mushrooms and bacon. Mix well and add in some grated parmesan. Season to taste. Serve in bowl and top with even more parmesan.  

Nights in, dinners out and a weekend in Norfolk

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Last week started with three nights at home. So lovely and much needed. I went to bed early, read a good book and watched a new cosy series called New Amsterdam. Love a hospital drama!

On the Thursday night it was a friend’s birthday dinner at Joe’s Brasserie and we had such a fun night!

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IMG_5710.jpegOn Friday afternoon we drove up to Norfolk for the weekend. We had a date night dinner at cosy The White Horse and the next day we went for a long walk on the beach and met a seal.

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In the evening we had a friend staying over and we went to the local pub for dinner. The next day the boys played golf in the rain while I read indoors, and after their game we all had lunch together at the club house. In the afternoon we cosied up on the sofa and watched the last two episodes of True Detective season 3. Loved it! In the evening we drove back to London.

 

Recipe: nachos with chicken and chorizo

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Sometimes I can really crave nachos. And most of the time I long for the ones I had at Yankee Stadium a few years ago. Although probably really processed the tasted divine!

But the next best thing are definitely homemade ones, and these with chicken and chorizo are absolutely delicious! Also, the secret is in the cheese sauce so although it takes a bit of labour it’s SO worth it!

Nachos with chicken and chorizo, serves 2

ca 150 g salted tortilla chips

75 g chorizo, cut small

1-2 fried chicken thigh fillets, cut small

oil for frying

2-3 handfuls grated cheese

Toppings:

1 batch cheese sauce

1 batch proper guacamole

1 jar creme fraiche

Garnish:

Chopped tomato

Sliced spring onions

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Fry the chorizo in oil on medium heat until they’re crispy. Add the chicken and let it absorb the chorizo flavoured oil.

Cover the base of an oven-proof dish with a thin layer of tortilla chips, top with cheese, chorizo and chicken. Repeat with another layer. Place in the oven for the cheese to melt, approx 5-10 minutes. 

Pour the cheese sauce on top (make this while the nachos are in the oven), guacamole, creme fraîche and the chopped vegetables.

Cinema, girl’s night and a sunny weekend!

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The week before last I went down to the New Forest for work on the Monday and as usual it was rainy and grey. Such a shame as it’s so beautiful there otherwise. In the evening I had leftover lasagne for dinner in front of True Detective. Perfect for a Monday night.

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On the Tuesday I did some errands and met up with old colleagues for drinks and nibbles at our usual place in the evening.

Wednesday was burger and cinema night. Saw Vice which was so so good!

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Thursday was a gorgeous day with blue skies and sunshine and I spent the day working in a café with the sun shining in from the window. Such a treat!

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In the evening I met up with two girl friends for wine, nibbles and a takeaway. So lovely to catch up!

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I cooked a lot at the weekend, and we saw both Roma (amazing film!) and the Oscars. And we enjoyed some sun of course!

London: meat and bone marrow at Pitt Cue

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London restaurants. There are seriously too many to visit, unless you’re a food critic, which sadly I’m not.

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I have so many restaurants on my list to try and it pains me when they close before I got to them. This happened with the very talked about Pitt Cue Co who brought BBQ to Soho back in the day.

But luckily they didn’t close for good, they opened a restaurant further east instead. One where you can book a table – which made it so much easier to go!

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The Soho restaurant was tiny and always had a long queue, which was the main reason I never went. I tried so many times but the waiting time was always around 2 hrs and that’s just too long when you’re hungry.

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The menu here looked great so it was rather tricky to decide on what to order, but I think we did a good job of it! Laura had the grilled aubergine with wild rice and almonds.

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And as you can see, she was very happy with it! Lovely dish!

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For me, the words ‘bone marrow’ jumped out at me and I just had to order the grilled sourdough and bone marrow.

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Look at that beauty! It was just gorgeous; pillowy, salty and full of flavour. Yum!

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For the main course Laura had the Aylesbury duck breast (cooked to perfection) with pickled endive and jus.

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I had the onglet with marinated tomato and it was just perfect! Love this cut of meat! It has so much flavour but is really tender at the same time.

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We also had some sweet potato to share, but half way through my steak I so regretted not ordering the bone marrow mash. (Mainly because I had already had the sourdough with bone marrow, but honestly that’s a silly reason when the food is this good. As somebody once said; you only regret the food you didn’t eat. So true!) So I gave in and ordered it and it was probably my best decision, like, ever. This mash (actually it’s more like a silky cloud of potato purée) is just heaven. The bone marrow on top is to-die-for delicious and I would have been so happy with just this for dinner (although the rest was delicious too!).

Moral of the story; do not not order a dish because you’re trying to be good or think there is such a thing as too much bone marrow. Order, eat and enjoy it and have salad the next day to balance it out.

Oh, and GO to Pitt Cue and eat all the deliciousness without queueing for a table!

Pitt Cue, The Avenue, 1 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YP