Saturday 7 April 2007

Recipe: Paupiettes of Pork

For Four:

Ingredients: 1 Pork Tenderloin, trimmed of any fat or membrane; 6 Anchovy Fillets; 6 large fresh Basil Leaves; 1 Egg; 1 tablespoon of Milk; 25g grated Parmesan; 50g Plain Flour. Butter (for frying)


1. Slice the Tenderloin into 12 even slices, crosswise. Using a meat tenderiser, beat each slice until it is quite thin (about 6 mm), and has probably doubled in size.

2. In the centre of each slice place half an Anchovy Fillet and half a Basil Leaf. Fold each slice over, to contain the Basil and Anchovy, and then press the sides together to seal (I generally beat round the edges lightly with the tenderiser, to make a better seal)

3. Beat Egg and Milk together in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish put the Parmesan and Flour, thoroughly mixed together.

4. Dip each Paupiette first in the Egg and Milk mixture, and then in the Flour and Parmesan mixture. Make sure they are well covered on each side.

5. Fry in melted butter, 3 minutes on each side.

Goes well with any green vegetable - Spinach works well, or lettuce braised in butter with Broad Beans, for example.

Wednesday 4 April 2007

Cook's Perks......

There was an interesting article recently in the New York Times, about cooking with wine. I have to confess, I had no idea it was quite such a rarified subject - and I'm not entirely sure my memory agrees with that of the journalist who wrote the piece, with regard to the advice given by the late-great Julia (Child). Journalist has Mrs Child advising that a 'good' wine should be used for cooking, and the image is conjured up of serious consideration being given to which precise vintage from the Child cave was going to be solemnly opened for the purpose. In practice, my memory of l-g-j's approach was that you should chuck in a generous glassful of pretty much whatever you had on the go at the time (which, in her case, was never going to be undrinkable plonk, anyway!), and that should do nicely. I recall somebody telling me of attending a recording of her show on one occasion - when in fact, a number of shows would be recorded back-to-back in the course of an entire day - and by the end of the process, Julia was comfortably pickled. The ensuing incident in which a duck carcase flew from her grasp right across the kitchen and her remark that she was grateful to have a 'self-clean floor' gave rise to such a flood of eager enquiries about the supplier of such floors that the following week she had to issue a shamefaced acknowledgement that her remark had actually been 'ironic'. Oh, well.....

In short, on the cooking-with-wine front, I entirely agree with the verdict that vermouth should generally be used when a recipe calls for white wine - more economical, in general, and the flavours are nicely complicated - and I can see little point in buying especially 'poor' red wine to cook with. After all, as the cook, you're more likely than not to want 'Cook's nip' as kitchen work progresses, and why on earth would you condemn yourself to something you'd never have bought to pour into a glass in the first instance!

Tonight's Menu:

Celery Risotto

Roast Beef (Mrs Kafka's method - succulent and caramelised), with Carrots roast in Duck Fat.

Tartes aux Citron.

Sunday 1 April 2007

Recipe: Beef & Porcini Strudel...

For Four.

Ingredients: 7 sheets Phyllo Pastry, each 12"x6"; 30g Butter, melted; half a cup of dried Porcini; 250g minced Beef; 1 small Onion, diced finely; Salt & Pepper; half a teaspoon of ground Nutmeg; 2 Eggs; generous teaspoon of Truffle Oil; 2 tablespoons Cream.


1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.

2. Soak the dried mushrooms 20 minutes or so in a cup of very hot water.

3. Lay four of the Phyllo sheets out on a tea towel, to form a large rectangle; the sides of the sheets should be slightly overlapping. Brush the Phyllo with melted Butter. Lay the remaining sheets of Phyllo on top, facing in the opposite direction, so that the seams of the first 4 sheets are covered by the top layer of Phyllo. Brush this in turn with melted Butter.

4. Mix together the minced Beef, chopped Onion, Eggs and seasoning.

5. Drain the mushrooms, retaining the soaking liquid. Rinse any grit from the mushrooms, then chop and add to the Beef mixture, along with the Truffle Oil.

6. Spread the mixture over the Phyllo rectangle, leaving two inches uncovered all round the edges. Fold all of the edges in over the filling, and carefully roll up to make a 'sausage'. Place this, seam-side down, on a greased baking tray and brush with the remaining melted Butter.

7. Bake the Strudel 45 minutes in the pre-heated oven. Meanwhile, strain the mushroom soaking liquid through kitchen paper and then reduce it in a small saucepan until about 5-6 tablespoons remain; stir in the Cream and check for seasoning.

8. Once the Strudel is baked, remove from the oven, and slice into 1 cm thick slices. Serve two slices per person with a spoonful of the cream sauce.

NB. Delicious served cold on the following day!