Friday, December 23, 2016

Avocado fillings and more

Before, and ever since writing The Oldie Cookbook and Cooking in Docklands Past and Present, I have created and developed simple recipes and put them into my computer for an extended cookbook for publication.
But that won’t happen. Cookbooks are now written by the young and/or famous who crave, and must be, on television. So that counts me out.
I have even given up adding my blog recipes to that extensive cookery tome of mine, blogging recipes when I feel like writing them and leaving it at that.
Now, with my weekly turn at cooking, Margreet often says “write it up”. I sometimes do.
We rather like avocados as a first course, filling them with what comes to mind and hand at the time.
Margreet favours recently chopped-up anchovies in oil and vinegar as a filling.
With this in mind, and a form of fishiness in the filling being a nice change, I have been using oyster sauce, mixed with chopped-up cornichons and capers – the latter two supplying the vinegar element. Should you try this, be careful not to overdo the salt content. Margreet may add to the mix some Tabasco sauce and chopped up shallot.
Incidentally, chopped capers and cornichons with oil, vinegar, pepper and salt, makes an excellent dressing for a salad of finely sliced fennel bulb.
Margreet finds that our own Hammersmith red wine is a little too dry as we ferment it right out. So I may use a bottle of it as a marinade for a beef stew when using shin of beef.
For this, cut up the (marbled) shin into small lumps (you will need a sharp knife). Cover the meat with the red wine (any) and leave it for as long as you like (hours to days).
When ready to concoct this rich stew, pour off the wine and keep it handy.
In an iron casserole or like pot, fry chopped onions and garlic in oil until they reach a transparent state.
Coat the meat in flour and add it to the onion/garlic mix. Add pepper and salt and a stock cube (or two). At this stage I like to add a bit of liquid gravy browning. This added colour enhances the dish. Stir the ingredients around for a while.
Now return the wine marinade, adding water to well cover the contents of the pot.
Now for the first of two special ingredients. Add lots of pitted black olives. I de-stone Kalamata olives as those already without stones are not nearly as good.
The next special part is to add lots of small and tight Brussels sprouts. Rinse them first.
Bring the dish to the boil, leaving it on very low heat for a couple of hours – or more.
Serve with mashed potato. 
You may never have enjoyed sprouts as much as these.
As I am writing about cooking matters, here’s a popular breakfast item.
Cut a pitta bread in half. Open up the pocket (I do this with the back of a knife).
Warm the halves in a toaster, but don’t allow the bread to become crisp.
In a shallow pan, on medium heat, melt butter, and on this butter put a dollop of Dijon mustard. Add pepper and salt.
Now break a large egg on to the mix and, with the back of a fork, break up the egg and keep stirring until the right consistency has been obtained (keep it moist).

Slide the egg mix into the pitta’s pockets – and eat in the fingers.