Posted on 5 Comments

Hands, Knees & Bumpsy-Daisies….

Reyt Good All Purpose Seasoning by Ome Made

After a week of banged heads, broken teeth, teeth going through lips, split chins, bumps and grazes I’ve decided never to take our Kids out of the house again!

 

Trying to get 4 children (one badly injured) with 4 scooters on a bus with only a £20 note to pay the bus fare with so that we can get home, get in the car and get to the dentist to fix Lil’MrM’s tooth was, I have to say, a bit of a trial. Why do these things always happen when ‘Ome’s not there??!!! I’m good at these kind of situations when it’s someone elses kids but I panic & crumble when it’s my own. But to give the Kids their dues, they were fantastic whilst Mummy had a total breakdown. Oh the joys of being a parent!

 

I then retreat into my veg patch, large glass of wine well within reach and thank the last of the garlic, the sorrel, beans and courgettes that need picking, the beetroot and swede that have survived their late start and flowering pumpkin plants for not causing me any grief, stress or tears.

 

I have to admit I did feel a bit tearful when I decided I’d have to chop down the borage plant. It almost signals the end of summer.

borage blog

It was so easy to grow it was astonishing. From 1 plant hundreds of flowers have been picked since May and added to salads, frozen in ice cubes and ice lollies, added to drinks (Pimms for us!) and generally used as Pick-Your-Own snack for the kids. Happy memories of summer.

 

It’s not all sadness though because when cut down, chopped up a bit and dug into the veg patch it will serve a further purpose by enriching the soil in readiness for more plants to grow as strong as the borage was.

 

Come next spring I can guarantee borage will be the first on my list to be sown in time for warmer weather, water fights and ‘Ome Made Pimms on the lawn!

 

 

Kit x

Posted on Leave a comment

‘Ome-Made Pizza

So, I was going to do a post on pizzas at some point but not necessarily now… and then I get a tweet from someone saying they tried following my pizza recipe but it didn’t quite turn out right?

Right, so which pizza recipe was that then because I don’t recall putting one on here!

Maybe they were looking at someone else’s site?

No worries though! “I’ll put a fail safe recipe on the blog for you” I tweeted back.

So here is my guide to making a basic pizza, that’s a piece of bread topped with tomato sauce and cheese, I’ll save the poncey ones for later!

pizza blog 2

We will start with the pizza base. You can make a pizza base from a basic bread recipe. So if you have a favourite bread recipe that you are comfortable with try using that first. Otherwise give this one a go.

Pizza Base recipe (enough for 3 medium or two large pizzas)

You will knead… sorry need!

  • 500g Strong white bread flour (you simply can’t use plain flour, well you can but it will go crumbly round the edges, soggy in the middle and just won’t be right!)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried yeast (or 1 x 7g sachet)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ table spoon olive oil (or sunflower/vegetable oil if you have no olive)
  • 320ml/½ pint lukewarm water

Method

  • in a jug or bowl add your sugar and yeast to the water. give a quick mix and leave for 10 – 15 minutes (it should start to foam and bubble, if it doesn’t your water was possibly too hot, your yeast is old or your water is too cold. Don’t be tempted to dissolve your salt in the water as salt will kill the yeast)
  • in a large bowl (use a larger bowl than what you think… Trust me!) mix your flour and salt and then drizzle your oil in.
  • make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in your yeast/water mixture. Pull in some of the flour into the liquid to form a thick paste and then leave for another 10-15 minutes to allow the mixture to ‘Sponge’.
  • Now mix in the rest of the flour. You should end up with a nice smooth dough. If the mix looks too dry add a little bit of water. If the mixture looks too wet and is sticky add a little more flour at a time until it you get a nice consistency.
  • You now have to knead the dough. Sprinkle a work surface and the dough with either bread flour or even better fine ground semolina (semolina gives a lovely silky finish). Put the dough on the work surface, hold the near edge of the bread with one hand and with the other push the dough away from you. The idea is that you are ‘stretching’ the mixture. At first the dough will pull apart but after 5 minutes or so the mixture will become more elastic as the gluten develops. If the mixture is still sticky keep sprinkling with flour (or semolina)
  • when you have a nice stretchy dough knead it into a nice smooth ball rub some oil over the surface put back into the bowl and either cover the bowl with a clean tea towel or cling film. The dough now needs to rise for about an hour.

Step 2 Making the tomato/pizza sauce

You will need

  • 2 fat cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 100ml/3½fl oz white wine or cider vinegar
  • 3 teaspoon sugar
  • small tin (140g) tomato puree
  • 1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • seasoning to taste

Method

  • Gently fry the garlic and onion ’till soft.
  • Add the vinegar and sugar, turn up heat and reduce the liquid until it’s a thick syrup.
  • stir in the tomato paste and fry for a minute.
  • add all the other ingredients, stir to mix and let cook for 20 minutes.

Assembling The Pizza 

  • Knock back the risen dough (knock the air out of it by giving it a brief knead) and divide the dough into two or three depending on how many pizzas you want to make.
  • On a work surface dusted with semolina (or flour) flatten a ball of dough into a circle with the palm of your hand. Roll out the dough in a rough circle to just short of the size you want it, it wants to be about 5mm thick for a nice thin crispy pizza. If you want a thicker pizza leave the dough a little thicker.
  • Place the dough on whatever you are cooking it on. I use either pizza screens (with the holes in) or a good heavy baking sheet is fine. If using a baking sheet grease it with oil and give it a dusting of semolina or flour first.
  • Pull the dough disk to the shape and size you want. If you have made a nice elastic dough it will keep resisting, push it down onto the sheet gently to help it along.
  • You are now ready to top. First of all you want your tomato sauce. Put a dollop in the middle and work out towards the edges leaving about 1cm free.
  • If you are just using Mozzarella cheese (you will need about 500g/1lb in total) the cheese can be put  on. If you are topping with anything else then sprinkle a layer of cheese on the pizza before putting your other ingredients on (don’t overload the pizza!) and then finish with some more cheese.
  • to finish the pizza off give it a grind of black pepper, sprinkle with some dried oregano and then give it a light drizzle of olive oil.
  • If you like a thicker base allow the pizza to stand for 40 minutes to allow the base to prove again. If you like a thinner and more traditional Italian style base then put in an oven at 220°C/428°F (if using a fan oven lower the temperature to 200°C/392°F).
  • Give the pizza 12 minutes and then turn and give another 10 – 15 minutes. When golden and bubbling take out the oven. leave for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

I sometimes brush some melted garlic butter over the pizza about 5 minutes before it comes out of the oven. This gives it an amazing finish!

Ome Made pizza blog

As for toppings? Anything goes. Our favourites are sliced chilli peppers, black olives, chorizo, sliced red onion and thinly sliced mushroom (not too many, they’ll make the pizza soggy). I tend not to put fresh tomato on as again it tends to make the pizza soggy.

You don’t have to use processed, grated mozzarella either. Try tearing strips off fresh mozzarella for the top of your pizza (don’t worry about having areas with no cheese on, we prefer them that way!). Goats cheese makes a lovely topping too, try a goats cheese and rocket topping for a sophisticated touch!

Happy Pizza making and eating!

Posted on Leave a comment

To Sow or Not To Sow…

Right! I realized the other day that I wanted to try growing some swedes & beetroot…… Looking at my ‘Bible’ of ‘What to Sow, Grow, Plant-Out & When’ laminate on the fridge (yup, I am that sad!) I realize I’m possibly a tad too late. Never fear, my almost convincing & almost believable ‘logic’ kicks in.

Now, apparently, to grow said two items of rooters you usually sow the seeds, straight into the ground outside, up to the end of July. Well, it’s now August…quite a way into it. So I’m figuring if I sow the seeds into pots, leave them on a sunny windowsill & let them have a ‘speedy start’, then plant them out, I may well get away not doing what my ‘Bible’ laminate says.

So this I did & lo & behold, two days later my little seeds  are sprouting!veg planting guide blog

It’s now been a week since I did this (If it hadn’t worked this would be a MUCH shorter blog entitled ‘Don’t Let Hungry Kids into Your Garden, They Think It’s An All-Day-Buffet’ or ‘Where Have All The Raspberries Gone Kids?’).

I’m giving them a couple more days to allow the roots to strengthen (the seedlings NOT the kids) & then I’ll be planting them out into the patch.

Then all I can say is watch this space! There may well be swede & chilli mash & beetroot soup when harvest time beckons….. or,  tears before autumn… hmmmmm…

 

Kit x

Posted on Leave a comment

Venison Chilli

Our Butcher sometimes gets some very nice wild venison in. When he does we always make sure that we get some venison neck in, we usually buy quite a bit for the freezer. Venison neck when cooked long and slow is great. It makes fantastic curries but this was a first for us. I can honestly say though that this chilli was one of the finest I’ve ever tasted!venison chilli blog

We put this in the oven at 165 C and then turned it straight down to 115 C and there it stayed for a good eight hours! I don’t see why it couldn’t be cooked for less time on a higher heat though? I would say that at 165 C for four hours would be fine, any less I would expect the venison not to be quite so melt in the mouth.

This recipe gives a medium (to us!) heat level. Although our kids like spicy, too hot and they start to grumble. Kit and myself simply added some ‘Ome-Made Chilli Sauce to ours.

If you can’t get venison neck you could always do this recipe with chuck steak or even beef shin would give a good result. There is no reason why you can’t even stick to the traditional minced beef.

You will notice that the recipe makes a lot but if your going to have the oven on for that amount of time you may as well do extra! It freezes and reheats well so gives some hassle free meals in the future.

Venison Chilli (makes approximately 12 portions)

1 kilo/2lb Diced venison (or meat of your choice)

500g/1lb dried beans (I used red Kidney beans and pinto beans) soaked over night or couple tins of beans of your choice

4 big fat cloves of garlic, choppedvenison chilli cooking blog

3 medium onions

3 teaspoons ground cumin

3 teaspoons chilli powder (I used 1 standard hot, 1 new Mexico and 1/2 of bhut jolokia but not everyone has these hanging about in there cupboards)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 large glass of red wine (or anything else ‘moist’, beer, lager or even cola), don’t forget one for yourself too!

2 tins (280g in total…ish) tomato puree

1 400g tin chopped tomato

2 tablespoon sugar (granulated will do)

3 beef stock cubes or 1 tablespoon beef bouillon or some strong beef stock (approximately 1/2pint/280ml)

50g of seriously dark chocolate (at least 70% but I used 85%)

Plenty of freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

 

Method

Drain and rinse the soaked beans put in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil for ten minutes then drain.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan

Fry the garlic and onion until soft

Add the spices and continue to fry for a couple minutes, if they are catching add a splash of water.

Add your meat to the pan and brown, stir in the oregano and season with salt and pepper.

Add your wine or beer (if you haven’t drunk it all yet!) and whack the heat up to reduce the liquid to a nice thick consistency.

Reduce the heat and add your tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes or so now add your tomatoes, sugar, stock cubes (or stock) and par-cooked beans (if using tinned add an hour before serving) and enough water to cover everything + 1/2 inch, bring to the simmervenison chilli chocolate blog

Break your chocolate up roughly (remembering to taste to check for quality!) and sit on top of the chilli, let it melt slowly before stirring it into the liquid. now put a lid on the pan and put into a pre-heated oven at 165 C/330 F and then turn down to 115 C/240 F where it will stay for eight hours (or less if you decide to cook on a higher temperature, see above)

Go and enjoy the rest of your day knowing that all you have to do for tea now is cook a bit of rice!

 

 

Posted on 2 Comments

Pimms, Friends & Slow Cooked Lamb

 

We hadn’t seen a friend of ours (an old neighbour) for a while, and we still had half a bottle of Pimms in the pantry that he had bought up on his last visit!

We seemed to be having a good run of weather so we thought it was time to invite him round for Pimms and a bit of decent nosh.Pimms! Blog

We decided to do slow roasted lamb, Middle Eastern style with Turkish salad, Tzatziki, ‘Ome Made Chilli Sauce and pitta breads.

I started the lamb off in the oven but finished it off in the smoker which gives it an incredible flavour. There’s a video on the Blog and You Tube (OmeMadeByUs) of me preparing the lamb (if you want a chuckle!)

We also had lots of Pimms which was great because we had plenty of fresh Borage leaves and flowers to put in (so much better than cucumber!)borage blog

So here’s the recipe for the lamb;

Slow Roasted Lamb Middle Eastern Style

1 x whole shoulder of lamb (leg works as well, but I prefer shoulder for slow cooking, you could also get a half shoulder but the leftover meat is great to use in other dishes)

Marinade (don’t be scared to experiment with these ingredients, they’re only a rough guide)

garlic 3 – 6 cloves (depending on taste) finely chopped/crushed

ginger – 1 inch piece finely chopped

chilli powder 1-4 teaspoons (again depends on taste)

Cumin powder 3 teaspoons

cinnamon 1 teaspoon

all spice/pimento 1 teaspoon

dried mint 1 teaspoon

2 teaspoons of saltlamb flatbread

lots of black pepper (grind until it hurts!)

Juice from a lemon (and zest) or two table spoons bottled lemon juice

1 tablespoon oil (I tend to use olive for this but anything goes)

Method

Mix all the marinade ingredients together (you can use ready bought Ras el hanout mix instead of the individual spices if you want).

Slash the meat with a sharp knife so the flavours penetrate the meat and then rub in the marinade… vigorously! Go on slap it on! The meat would benefit from being left in the marinade overnight if you have chance to prepare the dish a day in advance.

Put the meat in a roasting pan with a couple tablespoons of water and then cover tightly with tin foil (it’s sometimes a good idea  to use two pieces)

Put in the oven at 165 C/330 F  to be ready after 6 hours or 145 C/290 F to be ready after 8 hours (either way you could leave it for a couple hours longer and it will still be fine).

This is a great dish to do if you are out for the day or at work and you want to come in to have something practically ready to eat!

This has to be one of our household favourite meals. It’s like an up-market kebab! I don’t remember having Pimms before my late night kebab when I was younger though!

Posted on Leave a comment

Smoking!

you may have noticed that there are a few references to slow cooked smoked meats on the Blog. You wouldn’t be wrong.

I recently acquired a big American style smoker/BBQ and it’s been getting a fair bit of use.slow roast lamb blog

I love proper American food, I’m not talking McD****ds or K*C here but big hunks of meat coated in secret dry rubs and cooked slowly for hours on end. Pulled Pork, sticky ribs, slow cooked brisket even a humble chicken simply seasoned and cooked in the smoker for three hours is transformed into something remarkable.

And then served with sour cream, chilli sauce, bbq sauce with a multitude of different “slaws” to go with it, quality.

I even like a simple beef burger, ‘Ome made of course! Given the right treatment, a nice cheese or two to top, gherkin, onion, tomato and some nice crisp iceberg and some lovely, mustardy mayonnaise (which has to dribble down your chin!) and of course a good squirt of ketchup. Burgers can, and should, be good and a real treat to eat.

Anybody remember a certain burger I created?

So yes there maybe some recipes for smoked meats or BBQ food on the Blog, that doesn’t mean that a conventional oven can’t be used. However I can recommend getting a smoker, it is such an enjoyable and slightly addictive way of cooking!

Posted on Leave a comment

‘Ome-Grown Onion & Garlic the lazy way.

Growing your own fruit & veg can seem very daunting & hard work but, believe me, it isn’t!

I put my hands up & admit I am the laziest gardener ever. I break all the rules but somehow manage to get results.

I found the easiest way to get started is to choose something to grow that doesn’t take much maintenance….for me tomatoes wasn’t it! What the hell are the side shoots I’m meant to be pinching out?! Why are the tomatoes the size of bumble-bee baubles??!!! Why aren’t they turning red???

So I started with garlic & onion. Dib a few holes in your ‘plot’ in September, October or November, stick in your onion & garlic thingys & then leave alone. Depending on how cold it gets (I seem to find that the colder the winter the better the crop) you’ll be harvesting your crop in June, July & August time. The only hard work is pulling out a few weeds in springtime. You can grow loads as well as when you pull it up you can tie it together with string & hang it outside. When it rains it will wash all the muck off & when it’s dry & sunny it will dry the outer skins & then it can be stored in a cool, dry place. See, hardly any work or fuss or stress.Ome grown garlic blog

The satisfaction of cooking with your own freshly pulled garlic & onion is fab. Also, try pulling up a garlic thingy in February or March time (this is called ‘Wet’ garlic), chop it up & add it to any naan bread you are making…AMAZING!

Finding that I actually enjoy growing, cooking & eating our ‘Ome-Grown stuff & I became brave & moved onto the hardened gardeners stuff……..I’ll be getting a poster of Percy Thrower to adorn my bedroom wall next 😉

 

Kit x