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Cheeky Cow!

Mike, our butcher, had got a couple of Ox Cheeks in. I’ve never had them before but I thought I’d give them a go.

I’d read about them and understood that they needed a nice slow cook. Apparently they make an absolutely wicked chilli, or should that be cheeky chilli!Ox Cheek 1

 I think the bit of Irish in me had attuned to the fact that St Patricks day was approaching so I decided to cook these cheeky chappies in Guinness (other stouts are available…)with a few flat mushrooms, carrots and onions and serve them with a good dollop of Champ, that comforting dish of mashed potato with spring onions and lots of butter!Champ 1

I have to say that I was not disappointed with the results. After quite a few hours of cooking I had a gorgeous dark gravy and the cheeks were moist and succulent and had a lovely beefy flavour that reminded me of a cross between beef shin and Ox tail.

Ox Cheek 8

 

 The Cheeks went a long way too. They are quite rich due to the gelatinous nature of them so a little seems to go a long way. You shouldn’t pay a lot for them either which makes them a real bargain.

With the leftover meat, champ and gravy I made some potato cakes with the meat in the middle, baked them in the oven and served them with some peas and the leftover gravy… I’ll tell you something, leftovers don’t get much better!

I would recommend anyone to give Ox cheeks a go. They are a very forgiving meat to cook as long as they are cooked for plenty of time, they are cheap and extremely tasty. Don’t be put off by the look of them or the part of the animal they are from. They really are delicious which is probably why all the celebrity chefs are coming out with recipes for them… lets hope they don’t succeed in pushing up the price of these cheeky little morsels!

Ox Cheek 2

Recipe (to serve 8 adults)

 2 Ox Cheeks (about 900g – 1 KiloOx Cheek 3

1 large or two medium onions chopped

2 garlic cloves chopped

4 large carrots cubed/sliced

8 – 12 flat mushrooms sliced

Plain flour (some)

About 400ml beef stock

2 x 500ml bottles of Guinness

1 or two star anise

1 Tablespoon muscavado sugar or other dark sugar

Pinch of thyme

Good pinch of salt to taste and a really good grind of black pepper

For the Champ

 2 kilo peeled potatoes

2 bunch spring onions (12-16)Champ 2

50 gram butter

200ml milk

 Method

 When we had this we prepared it the day before we were going to have it so that it could be put straight in the oven to be ready for teatime. It’s a good idea to do if you have a busy day.

 First off dice your onions and finely chop your garlic and fry gently in a large oven proof pan. Add the carrot, thickly sliced and continue to gently fry.

 Prepare your Ox Cheek by taking off the outer thick bits of fat and any thick bits of membrane. Don’t worry too much about the state of your cheeks being perfect, after a long slow cook they’ll be fine.

 Once the onion has softened and the carrot is stating too take on a bit of colour add your cheeks to brown.

 Heat your stock ready to go in the pan.

 Once your cheeks are nice and brown sprinkle over some flour to roughly coat everything in the pan. Continue to cook gently for a couple more minutes.Ox Cheek 3

Add your stock a little at a time while giving everything a bit of a stir. You should end up with a thick paste. If it’s a little lumpy don’t worry as after a long cook it should cook out.

Now pour in your two bottles of Guinness. Remember to do a quality control taste on each bottle before adding!

 Ox Cheek 4

Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Ox Cheek 5

 

Ox Cheek 6

 

Once the liquid has come to the simmer you can either take off the heat, cool and refrigerate to cook the next day or it can be put in the oven to finish off.

The Stew can be cooked,covered, on 165°C for three hours or 150°C for about six hours. We put our stew straight in the oven from the fridge. We put it in a cold oven set to 150°c where it stayed for three hours and then we turned it up to 160°c for another three hours, after which it was cooked perfectly. The cheeks were lifted out of the gravy to rest while the gravy was put in the oven uncovered to reduce slightly.

As for the champ, well thats dead easy. Peel and cut your potatoes into approximately 1 1/2’’ chunks. Plonk into a pan and just cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes and put on a very low heat until the steam almost stops (meaning all the excess water has evaporated and you’ll have nice fluffy potatoes).

While your potatoes are finishing, put the onions, milk, butter and seasoning in a pan and warm gently allowing all the flavours to infuse.

When your potatoes are ready give them a good mashing and then fold the milk, butter and onion mixture into the potatoes.

Once your ready to plate up the Ox cheeks can be sliced or pulled apart with a fork. Simply put a dollop of Champ into a dish, place some Ox cheek on top then ladle some gravy over the top. We finished our dish off with a little purple sprouting broccoli.

 Ox Cheek 9

A nice cheap meal that really tasted like something you should be paying a lot of money for in a trendy ‘Gastro’ pub.

Happy St Patricks Day everybody… enjoy your Guinness, in moderation… of course!

 

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Dj’s SҠool DiИɳɘr Experience

 

So, for 1 week only, Dj requested to have school dinners. He was mainly tempted by the change from  the ‘normal’ menu to ‘International Food Week’.

A week of dishes from 5 different places in the world.Dj Blog 7

We asked him if he’d like to write a blog on his experience & he jumped at the chance.

Everything that follows (apart from the actual Menu bit) is word for word that Dj wrote….we just corrected the spellings & some punctuation  to make it easier on the brain for you good people.

 

Dj Blog 1

Monday: French

Croque Monster, avec Pomme Frites et Harico

Tart Tatin with Ice Cream

I liked the cheese & ham baguette but the bread wasn’t as good as Daddys’.

I didn’t like the chips or the beans because the chips were soggy & the beans are out of a tin, unlike daddys, he makes his own.

The pudding was nice & my friend went mental on it.

*******

Tuesday: Caribbean

Chicken Stew with Rice & PeasDj blog 2

Sticky Ginger Bread

I liked the sticky bread but if my Daddy made it, it would be better, & I didn’t like the chicken stew & rice & peas because the peas weren’t in the rice & the chicken was soggy.

The pudding which was sticky bread was nice.

I don’t thinks that’s a Caribbean.

*******

Wednesday: Portugese

Portuguese Cheese Flan with Half Jacket, Coleslaw & Sweetcorn

Vanilla Biscoitos with Ice Cream

Dj blog 3Today I had a cheese flan with half a jacket potato.

I liked none of it because the cheese was cold & yucky!

The jacket potato was yummy but it didn’t have any butter on. The sweetcorn was nice like any other persons.

The pudding was fab & my friend liked it & I loved it too!

& there wasn’t any coleslaw.

*******

Dj blog 4

Thursday: Indian

Chicken Curry with Boiled Rice

Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce

Today I had curry & I liked the curry & I don’t mean the rice & today the chicken was better than Tuesdays because the chicken that was in the stew was soggy but todays one was better.

The pudding was really nice & it was ice cream with chocolate sauce.

*******

Friday: Italian

Dj Blog 5Margarita Pizza with Potato Wedges & Sweetcorn

Iced Lemon Sponge

Today I had margarita pizza with soggy chips.

I liked the margarita pizza but Daddy’s ‘Ome Made pizza is 10 billion, trillion times better.

Todays pudding was sponge with grated lemon in & I liked it but Daddy’s ‘Ome Made lemon drizzle cake is better

*******

 

Dj Blog 6

That’s the end of my Blog.

Thank you for reading it.

Love Dj  XXXXXX

************

After reading Dj’s blog we know that some of you lovely people will be thinking ‘Yeah, well your Kids are lucky (& probably spoilt) to get nice food at home all the time’, & yes, you’re right!

We do tell our Kids that they are VERY lucky to have a Daddy who can cook them fabulous dishes at home (sometimes Mummy does too!).

We also make our Kids realise that for other children this maybe the ONLY good plate of food that they get in a day. For some busy/working full time parents it’s easier & they know their child is getting a meal at school. For some parents it’s the affordable option & a lifeline for their children.

Could it be better though?

This is just Dj’s 7yr old  view of what he thought was going to be a fabulous week of school lunches. He did a fab job of sitting down everyday  after school & writing (most) of his thoughts on paper.

We can’t help feeling he was a tad disappointed with the meals….apart from the puddings!!!

 

Great  work Dj!!! XXXXX

 

 

 

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Curried Bakers Oven Lamb

Here’s a traditional English dish given an ‘Ome Made twist, to be fair it was Kits’ idea. I was just going to do the plain English dish of lamb shoulder baked on top of layers of potato and onion, which in it’s own right is delicious. Add some spice, herbs and a curry sauce though and it takes the dish to a completely different level… This really was scrumptious! This is a fantastic dish to prepare the day before so that you can bang it in the oven the next day, forget about it and get on with all those things you need to catch up on, take the kids out or… go to the pub!

  It really is simple. You will need a full or 1/2 shoulder of lamb. Some White potatoes, onions and garlic. I also used some dried mint, fresh coriander and some red chillies.

 

 

First of all slice some potatoes (skin on) thinly and some onions. These need to be layered in a deep buttered baking dish. I did about four layers adding seasoning as I went along. On the middle layer I put a heap of chopped fresh coriander, a couple of chopped red chillies and some dried mint. On the top layer I sprinkled some more mint and some black cumin seeds.

 

 

I then fried some mild curry masala in a little oil and added some chicken stock and let this cook for twenty minutes or so. Next prepare the lamb. With a sharp knife make a few slits in the meat and push in some pieces of garlic. Now rub the lamb all over with some Kashmiri Chilli powder and some ground cumin. Sit the lamb on top of the layered potatoes and onions and give it a good grind of black pepper and a good sprinkling of salt. Pour your curry sauce into the corners of the baking dish. You want enough so that it comes about 1/2 way up your potato and onion layer.

 

 

Now cover the whole baking dish with a double layer of foil, creating a tight seal.

 

 

When your ready to cook pre heat your oven to 200°c. Put the lamb in the oven and then turn the temperature down to 165°c Which means the lamb will be ready after about four hours (but should be fine up to six). If you want to cook it for longer (or your having a really long session in the pub!) then you can cook the lamb on 145°c. The lamb will then be ready after six hours but be even better after around eight hours. To finish the dish off, remove the baking dish from the oven. Carefully remove the lamb to a warmed plate or dish. The meat should be falling off the bone. The layered potatoes then need to go back in a hot oven to brown and start to crisp up. If the liquid is above the potatoes just spoon some off ’till you can see the top layer. Put the baking dish back in the oven for about twenty minutes.

 

 

To serve, pull apart the lamb, spoon out some potato into a dish and place the lamb on top, spoon a bit more of the curry sauce over. A nice dollop of natural yoghurt goes nicely with the dish but that’s all it really needs.

 

 

A tasty, warming and comforting dish for a lovely lazy Sunday. Give it a go!

 

Don’t forget you can buy ‘Ome Made Curry Masalas at www.omemade.co.uk

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Having A Good Wine…

We do like a good wine in our house. we generally drink more red than anything else because Kit doesn’t like white (Which means sometimes I get a nice bottle of white to myself!)

Occasionally we will stumble (probably the wrong choice of word there in a wine review!) across a wine that ticks all therex Mundi 1 boxes. A wine that you just can’t get enough of.

One such wine, our current favourite, is Rex Mundi
available from Laithwaites (www.laithwaites.co.uk).

It hails from France and uses a  Shiraz and Merlot grape blend. For a French wine it has more of a New World feel about it. If I didn’t know I would have sworn it came from Chile or Argentina.

It comes from the Roussillon region of France, home of the Cathars who lived in awe of the evil god Rex Mundi who corrupted the faithful with promises of earthly pleasures and the forbidden delights of mortal flesh… Ahem!

Anyway… this wine is dark… very dark. It packs so much fruit flavour into one sip that you just want to quaff the lot. It’s juicy and very plummy with a hint of liquorice and you get a little hint of sweetness which just makes it even more irresistible.

This wine is very versatile. It really is a quaffing wine and can be enjoyed by itself. It also goes nicely with roast meats, will P1080840stand up to spicy dishes and goes gloriously with cheese and chutney (especially ‘Ome Made beetroot and Chillli Jam).

Laithwaites charge £8.99 a bottle, £44.94 for six bottles (7.49 a bottle) or 89.88 for a case of 12 (7.49 a bottle).

At £8.99 a bottle this wine is well worth it and tastes a lot better than other wines at that price.

At £7.49 I would say is a bargain price for a wine that tastes this good… believe me 6 bottles wouldn’t last you long.

This is a great wine to have in for when friends come round, I couldn’t see anyone turning their noses up at this.

It looks fantastic too. The labels and the story behind the name of the wine is a great talking point.

I would seriously suggest to anyone that likes red wine to try a bottle or two of Rex Mundi.

Bums aloft! Cheers!

 

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Introducing…. Bob!

We have a new addition to the household!

Born on the 27th February 2014 we would like to introduce you to …. Bob!

Birth of Bob 2

Bob is a sourdough bread starter, or will be providing I can keep him alive for long enough!

I’ve made bread starters before but I’ve never kept them after they’ve made their first batch of bread. Bob however I intend to feed and nurture and see how long I can keep him going.

I have to say I’m not feeling confident. You see it’s all a bit scientific. Flour to water ratios, temperature, how much flour to feed, blah blah blah. I can’t be doing with all that so I’ll be truthful and say… I’m winging it!

For those of you who fancy having a go at ‘winging it’ too you will need some flour. I used some  strong white flour and a little malted grain. I used the malted grain because it has whole grain in it which, if I understand right, has more of the natural yeasts present which are needed to get your bread going. The malted grain also contained rye which again is supposed to make a good starter.

I put the flour in a tall kilner jar and then added water to make a paste the consistency of single flour. I then put the lid on and left it.

A couple of hours later he looked like this…

Birth of Bob

This is not good…

If I was a puritan I should probably have ditched the mixture and started again. However I’m ‘winging it’ so I chucked in a bit more flour, gave it a mix and left it.

On day 2 it looked better but still had water separating so I added more flour again. It did smell nice, a bit like beer, which is good… I think?

On day 3 he’s looking like this…

Bob day 3 full

Now to me that is looking quite healthy…

I guess only time will tell, watch this space…