Baked garlic aioli (and just simply ‘Baked Garlic’ !)

Baked garlic aioli (and just simply ‘Baked Garlic’ !)

For the baked garlic on its own……

  • 2 large head/bulb of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the aioli

  • The baked garlic above
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 4 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 3 tbsp milk

Method:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/gas 6.
  • Cut each bulb of garlic into two, straight across all the cloves half way up.
  • Place both halves on a baking sheet and brush with a little oil.
  • Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until soft and golden.
  • You can serve the garlic as it is, and let peeps squeeze it out themselves, spreading it on their food as they wish. Alternatively, you can make aioli with it…..

Aoli:

  • Squeeze the soft garlic from the bulbs (best let it cool first, or you’ll end up in A&E with finger burns) into a bowl or straight into the food processor.
  • Separate the egg yolks from the whites (see ‘Tricks’n’Tips’)
  • Put the garlic, egg yolks and breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and vinegar into a food processor and whiz briefly until it forms a paste.
  • Keeping the motor running, slowly add the oils until the mixture forms a thick emulsion.
  • Add milk to give it a slightly lighter consistency if necessary.
  • Enjoy it!

Caramelised shallot sauce:

Caramelised shallot sauce:

This very cosmopolitan sauce can be used in all sorts of ways, with a great many different ingredients. It’s not difficult to make, but you do need to keep an eye on it as it will catch and burn if you are not careful.

Shallots are of the onion family but grow in bunches or clumps, rather than individually as we normally see onions growing.  There are round-ish ones and there are the more elongated ones, called échalote in France.  You can use either in this sauce, but I have to say that I prefer the more elongated échalote version for this purpose.

Find:

  • 8 or 10 shallots (see above)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (whatever sugar you have – don’t use a sweetener)
  • 2 + glasses of white wine
  • Tomato puree (a squeeze or a dollop)
  • 1 mug of veg/chicken stock (probably made with 2 veg/chicken stock cubes)
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • Butter
  • Oil
  • Frying pan

Method:

  • Top, tail and peel the shallots – the paper-like skin will come away easily, the next layer may be tough and it needs to go – and slice them along their length rather than chop them.
  • Fry them over a medium heat in a little butter and oil for a few minutes and then add the sugar to the frying pan. Keep it all moving for a couple of minutes to melt together.  Don’t allow it to burn at all or you’ll have to start all over again.  It should colour up quite quickly.
  • Add the wine and the stock, stirring all the time. Turn the heat up.
  • Add the tomato puree. Keep stirring.
  • Gently boil to reduce the sauce by one-third, then mix the cornflour with a little water in a mug and add that to the pan, stirring all the time. This will need to cook out for about 8 to 10 minutes, gently simmering, stirring frequently.  If the sauce is too thick, add more stock or wine but don’t thin it too much as it is not supposed to be too runny.
  • Taste, then season as necessary.
  • A good ground black pepper will lift the flavour beyond belief.

Really Red Sweet Pepper Sauce:

Really Red Sweet Pepper Sauce:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      15-20 mins.

Course:        Sauce

Serves:

Rating:         2:  Not difficult.

Find:

  • 2 long, sweet red peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • Olive oil
  • A little stock – meat or veg
  • A little water
  • Paprika
  • Redcurrant jelly/ blackcurrant jam
  • Saucepan

Method:

A very sharp cook’s knife is definitely required for the preparation of this sauce.

  • Take a couple of the long red sweet peppers, not a normal capsicum pepper if you can help it – though this will do at a push – skin them (see Tricks’n’Tips) and cut it into slivers of 2 or 3mm width, perhaps 30mm long. Cut a red onion into the thinnest slivers that you can manage without incliding finger nails and put red pepper and red onion into a frying pan on a very low heat for 10 or 15 minutes.  They need to sweat, rather than fry or even sauté.  As they cook they should produce a little liquid – conserve it, don’t let it evaporate, as this is really flavoursome.
  • Add some tasty meaty stock or stock jelly (see ‘Tricks & Tips’) and just enough water to make the quantity you require. Remember that this is a sauce, not gravy – you really do not need much of this as it is there for flavour, rather than to have the food to swim in it.
  • Add some paprika. Now, how much paprika is up to you, but remember that paprika pepper is not a particularly hot pepper (not like cayenne pepper or chilli – WOW!) Paprika is mild and flavoursome, almost a sweet addition and will alter the colour of the sauce more than the spiciness of it.  Give the paprika jar a bit of a stir with a skewer first, as if has been stored it will probably have settled and be a bit difficult to get out of the container.
  • Put in about a levelled out teaspoonful, mix thoroughly and then taste. Use more if you would like.  It does need to give a kick, but not a blow to the head!
  • Season as you consider necessary, just leaving the sauce needing a tiny bit more salt for your taste – as when it is served, the first thing some people do is to add salt & pepper before they taste it! Add further paprika until the ‘weight’ of the sauce is about right.  By ‘weight’ I mean the effectiveness of the sauce to add to the flavour of the meat/general meal.
  • Please don’t put the spoon you’ve used to taste the sauce back into the sauce, use a clean one. Hygiene rules!
  • Ok now, this is where you’ll have to be brave. If the sauce is to accompany duck, pigeon or any other gamy, strongly flavoured meat, you’ll require a bit of a fruit bite.  Redcurrant jelly is a favourite for this and is very safe.  Blackcurrant jam is also a notable alternative.  A couple of tablespoons of redcurrant jelly really makes a sauce pop up like a jack-in-the-box!  It’s a lovely addition to all sorts of gamey foods, but it’s also really nice with good quality sausages.  Sausage & mash (see Cheap’n’cheerful) with Red’n’redcurrant sauce (what we can call this sauce with the addition of redcurrant jelly) is just lovely.
  • Just simmer this sauce on the lowest heat possible, uncovered, so that the flavours mingle & enhance. Taste it as much as you like but leave enough in the pan for the original purpose – the meal that you are cooking. (There is a danger of not leaving enough in the pan because you’ll like it so much!).
  • When it is served, just spoon all of the onions, peppers & liquid over the meat.   If there is any over, you made too much.  Save it for next time.

Beetroot & Ginger Relish:

Beetroot & Ginger Relish:

This recipe uses pre-cooked beetroot.

The Balsamic vinegar adds depth and sweetness.  Fills about 3 x 1lb jars.

Find:

  • 1kg Beetroot, pre-cooked and in those plastic packets/bags
  • 1kg onion, chopped
  • 2 tbs capers, chopped
  • 5 small (UK) cloves of garlic, according to taste.  Go on…. use more!
  • 2 apples, cored & diced
  • 1tbsp Olive Oil
  • 100g Golden Castor Sugar
  • 50g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
  • 50ml Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 pinch (at least) ground cinnamon
  • 2 pinch (at least) ground cloves
  • 100ml Balsamic Vinegar

Method

  • Coarsely grate/dice the onions, apple and chop the cooked beetroot, keeping it separate.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan and gently sweat the onion & apple for around 20+ minutes before adding all of the remaining ingredients except the chopped beetroot
  • Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, adding the chopped beetroot when the mixture is at boiling point.
  • Stir well until back to boiling point.
  • Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 2 hours, stirring quite often – don’t abandon it and piss off down t’pub………
  • After 2 hours, the relish/chutney should be very thick, perhaps resembling pickled red cabbage, but without too much liquid content. If it is too liquid, leave it to simmer on a very low heat  with the lid off until it is as you want it – it won’t hurt at all so long as you don’t allow it to burn (so you STILL can’t piss off down t’pub!).
  • Spoon into sterilized jars, top with a paper preserving disc and seal.
  • It needs to mature/season/improve/fester for 6 months. Definitely a top shelf chutney.
  • Should keep well for several months (even a couple of years) in a dark cupboard. Once opened, store in the fridge.
  • Make it in November one year and use it for Xmas the following year, as it perks up tired turkey a treat when it has matured!

Yellow Bell Pepper (Capsicum) Relish

Yellow Bell Pepper (Capsicum) Relish

This is a similar recipe to the red one, but as it’s yellow, there is a good amount of attention needed to retain the colour and not let it dull down to a dull camel-poo colour.

Prep:           20 mins

Cooking:      About an hour

Course:        Relish accompaniment.

Serves:

Rating:         2:  dead easy.

Find:

  • 1 kilo yellow bell peppers
  • 350g white onions
  • 3 big cloves garlic
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 50ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon

METHOD:

  • Halve the peppers, cut round the stalk stem and take out the seed head, then slap it onto the chopping board to knock out the remaining seeds, and then cut each half into quarters.
  • Use a food processor and blitz ‘em. If you don’t have a food processor, then stand there and chop them into the smallest pieces that you can.  Put them into a colander, sitting on a bowl to sit for a while.  Let the excess moisture drain into the bottom of the bowl.
  • Peel and quarter the onions together with the garlic and then process them in the same way, into small chippings. Put those in the colander with the peppers.  Leave them to sit for half an hour if possible (the more moisture drains away, the less runny your finished relish will be).
  • Pop the drained peppers, onions, garlic and vinegar into the saucepan and put it onto the heat. Cut the lemon into quarters and pop that into the saucepan as well.
  • Keep stirring because you do not want it to catch, overheat and spoil the colour. When it comes to the boil, turn it down to minimum, pop a lid half on and let it sit there happily bubbling away to itself for 30 mins.
  • When the 30 mins is up, remove each bit of lemon, scraping the flesh into the saucepan and discarding just the peel; the pips will cook down. (I made 4kg batch as my first trial of this recipe, so I had to count out 16 bits of lemon peel – and the 16th was not easy to locate!)
  • Weigh out the sugar and add it to the saucepan.
  • Put the sugar into the mixture and stir very well to let the sugar dissolve.
  • Bring it back to the boil and put it on the smallest ring at the lowest setting. Put the lid half on and let it do its stuff.  About every 10 mins give it a good stir and see how it’s doing.  Most of the liquid needs to evaporate.  The colour will darken with the time it is on the cooker, so go for the combination you want.  Colour, dryness of the mixture and taste.
  • Remove it from the heat and spoon it into sterilised jars (see Tricks’n’Tips) whilst it is still hot. Fill to within 2mm of the rim of the jar.  Put a preserving disc of greaseproof paper in the neck of the jar before screwing on the lid.  It’ll keep for months, unopened.
  • Once opened, this relish will be ok in the fridge for a month or so, but it isn’t something that will hang about for long simply because it tastes so nice!

Red Bell Pepper (Capsicum) Relish

Red Bell Pepper (Capsicum) Relish:

Makes about two medium-sized jars of finished relish.

Prep:           20 mins

Cooking:      About an hour

Course:        relish – used for pepping up cold meats, etc.

Serves:

Rating:         2:  Easy.

Find:

  • 1 kg red bell peppers (or any other type of red capsicum pepper)
  • 330g onions
  • 3 big cloves garlic
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 50ml red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • Ground chilli flakes to taste.  I don’t like too much!

 

METHOD:

  • Halve the peppers, cut round the stalk stem and take out the seed head, then slap it onto the chopping board to knock out the remaining seeds, and then cut each half into quarters.
  • Use a food processor and blitz ‘em. If you don’t have a food processor, then stand there and chop them into the smallest pieces that you can.
  • Put the resulting chopped mess into a colander, sitting on a bowl to let the excess moisture drain off.
  • Peel and quarter the onions together with the garlic and then process them in the same way, into small chippings. Put those in the colander with the peppers.  Leave them to sit for half an hour if possible (the more moisture drains away, the less runny your finished relish will be).
  • Pop the drained peppers, onions, garlic and vinegar into the saucepan and put it onto the heat.
  • Cut the lemon into quarters and pop that into the saucepan as well. Keep stirring because you do not want it to catch, overheat and spoil the colour.
  • When it comes to the boil, turn it down to minimum, pop a lid half on and let it sit there happily bubbling away to itself for 30 mins.
  • When the 30 mins is up, remove each bit of lemon, scraping the flesh into the saucepan and discarding just the peel (the pips will cook down).
  • Weigh out the sugar and add it to the saucepan.
  • Bring it back to the boil and put it on the smallest ring at the lowest setting. Put the lid half on and let it do its stuff.  About every 10 mins give it a good stir and see how it’s doing.  Most of the liquid needs to evaporate.  The colour will darken with the time it is on the cooker, so go for the combination you want.  Colour, dryness of the mixture and taste.
  • Remove it from the heat and spoon it into sterilised jars (see Tricks’n’Tips) whilst it is still hot. Fill to within 2mm of the rim of the jar.  Put a preserving disc of greaseproof paper in the neck of the jar before screwing on the lid.  It’ll keep for months in a coolish cupboard, unopened.
  • Once opened, this relish will be ok in the fridge for a month or so, but it isn’t something that will hang about for long simply because it tastes so nice!