A spicy beef chilli in the traditional tex-mex style
750gmbeef mince10-15% fat
2clovesgarlicminced or pressed; large cloves
2green peppersoptional; sweet peppers, not chilli peppers!
2tbsprapeseed oilor other vegetable oil
2cansred kidney beans(400gm can)
1canblack beans(400gm can)
3canschopped tomatoes(400gm can)
100gmtomato puree(double concentrate)
4tbspmild chilli powder** see notes
2beef stock cubes
¼tspblack pepperfinely ground
50gmsliced jalapeño peppersoptional; use pickled jalapeño, not fresh
Put the oil, onions and garlic (and green peppers if using) in the stock pot over a medium high heat and saute until softened. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Put the beef mince in the pot and brown thoroughly. Add the onions and garlic to the mince and stir.
Add all of the dry spices and the stock cubes and stir thoroughly.
Add the vinegar, chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Rinse the cans of tomato with a bit of water in each can and combine to make one can full of water. Add to the chilli and stir.
Drain the beans in a colander and rinse. Add the beans (and the jalapeños if using) to the chilli and mix thoroughly.
Simmer the chilli over a medium low heat for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
Serve in bowls with a large dollop of sour cream on top.
The ingredients listed as ‘optional’ can be added or not according to your preference — we always add them. You can make the chilli less spicy by reducing the amount of mild chilli powder you use and by omitting the jalapeño peppers.
Pimp your chilli:
Want to mix it up a little? Try these optional ingredients:
Add 25gm of finely grated dark chocolate. This will add an extra richness to the chilli — you’ll never taste the chocolate!
Substitute an equal amount of chopped rump steak for the beef mince for a different texture. You’ll need to add an extra hour of simmering time to make the steak fall apart tender — and stir regularly to prevent sticking.
Like things a bit smokey? Add (or substitute) a tablespoon of chipotle or ancho chilli powder to the chilli.
Missing going to your favourite curry house? This simple curry recipe will give you a taste of that curry you’ve been missing without any fuss. It’s easy to make but delivers lots of flavour. As with all curries, you’ll find it even better the next day.
I’ve always found a brioche bun to be a perfect compliment to pulled pork. Getting good brioche buns has always been a problem though. An excellent recipe may well have solved that.
We came across a YouTube post mentioned by Bunch of Swines on their Facebook page. It’s a bit different than most brioche recipes. Much less butter and the addition of Tangzhong.
Tangzhong is a Japanese technique where you cook a small portion of the flour and liquid (water or milk) briefly before combining the resulting thick paste with the remaining bread ingredients.
This technique breaks down the starches in the flour allowing them to absorb more water. It can allow the flour to absorb twice as much hot water or milk as yeast dough normally does. And it is able to hold on to the extra liquid throughout the kneading and baking processes. This means:
The dough is less sticky and easier to knead;
The dough is likely to rise higher, due to more water creating more internal steam;
And since it retains more moisture during baking, the bread is moister and stays soft and fresh for longer.
The YouTube post is well done and very informative, but doesn’t give you an actual recipe to follow — you’ve just got to watch the post. I’ve put together this recipe from the post by Joshua Weissman :
These light, buttery buns are a perfect match for burgers, pulled pork or for the best ever bacon roll.
1/2cupwhole milkat 95° F
1tbspinstant yeast9 gm
2 ½cupsbread flour
1tspfine sea salt
2 ½tbspgranulated sugar
1wholeeggat room temperature
Put the ingredients into a sauce pan and whisk together. Put on a medium heat and whisk constantly until it reaches a thick paste. Only takes a few seconds to reach a choux pastry-like consistency. Put into a bowl for use later.
Heat the milk to 95° F and stir in your yeast. Let stand for about 8 minutes.
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl and give a good mix. Put on your dough hook and put the bowl on the mixer. Put the mixer on a low speed and add the yeast mixture letting it mix for a few seconds.
Now add the tangzhong paste followed by the egg and egg yolk (best if at room temperature, not chilled). Increase the mixer speed slightly (remain below medium) and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the sides as required.
Add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time allowing it to incorporate before adding the next tablespoon. Continue to let the mixer knead the dough until all of the butter is incorporated and the dough is nicely smooth. Expect this to take about 10 minutes.
Take the dough from the mixer bowl put it on a lightly floured board. Gently stretch and fold it in from each edge to make a nice ball. Pull from one edge and then rotate 90 degrees and continue for two rotations. Turn the dough over and gently pull the dough toward you keeping it in constant contact with the board to fold it into itself. Rotate 90 degrees and keep doing this until you have worked it into a nice ball shape.
Put into a bowl lined with lightly greased baking parchment and cover with a damp towel. Place in a warm area for 1 to 1½ hours to rise, until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and put in on a lightly floured board. Divide the dough into six even pieces using a scraper. Each piece should weight about 105gm.
As before, gently pull and fold each piece of dough into the center creating a ball. Put onto the board and pull the dough across the board (keeping the dough in contact with the board always), turn 90 degrees and repeating. Do this four times until you have a nice tight ball of dough.
Place the dough on a lightly greased baking parchment in a baking tray giving plenty of distance between each ball (at least 2 – 2½ inches).
Place a lightly greased piece of baking parchment over the top and cover with a damp, warm towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm location for 1-2 hours until doubled in size again.
Brush the dough lightly with the egg wash. Bake at 350° F for 16-18 minutes until a deep golden brown. If the tops start to become too brown, then covert with foil.
Place on a wire rack to until completely cool and then wrap in cling film or foil to keep fresh. Use within two days or freeze immediately.
In my first effort with this recipe I found the buns browned too quickly. I’ve watered down the egg wash slightly and reduced the oven temperature by 25 degrees. I covered them with foil at 11 minutes to stop them browning further.
I also found the buns to be a little bit dense. Now you want a certain level of density to handle the juicy burger and sauces, but this could be a bit lighter. I believe the key to this will be to do use smaller portions and let them rise longer to the desired size. The extra rise should ensure a lighter texture.
But how did it come out? Was it a perfect burger bun? Despite the recipe notes above, they were still really good. Have a look:
A native dish to Spain, potatas bravas are one of the most common tapas dishes. This dish dates back to the mid-16th century but no one knows the exact date. They were popularised in Madrid but are found in virtually every bar in every corner of Spain.
They are simply potatoes cut into irregular pieces about 2 cm across and deep fried with spicy tomato sauce called ‘bravas’ sauce poured over them as they are served. The sauce is made from tomatoes, vinegar and chilli and from there every recipe is different.
The key to this dish is the sauce, so we are going to start with that so the sauce has time to develop its full flavour.
The quintessential tapas dish. Easy to make and equally tasty. For best results, use a fluffy potato — same as you would use for chips (fries) like maris piper, king edwards and russet.
Side Dish, Tapas
2tbspolive oilextra virgin
3tbspred wine vinegar
1tspsmoked paprika(more for sprinkling when serving)
2tbspFrank’s hot sauce
125mlchicken stockdouble concentrated (1 cube in 250ml water)
1tsppotato starch(or other thickener)
1500mlsunflower oil(or any frying oil, not olive oil)
Pour half of the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Once the oil has heated, add the garlic and grated onion. Saute for about five minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients except for the passata and chicken stock. Bring together and simmer for a couple of minutes.
Whisk in the passata. Once fully incorporated, whisk in the chicken stock.
Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir the potato starch into 1 tbsp of cold water. Slowly add the starch to the sauce while whisking constantly. Simmer for a few minutes until the desired thickness is reach.
Pour the sauce through a fine sieve over a heat-proof bowl. You’ll need to do this a bit at a time, stirring the sauce in the sieve to push it through. Empty the sieve of any bits with each filling.
Set the sauce aside — on to the potatoes!
Cut your potatoes into large chunks — it's easier to cook them this way and cut them smaller after the pre-cook.
Put the potatoes in a pan with cold water and a few pinches of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until a fork goes into the potato with a bit of resistence – usually around 10 minutes. You don't want to over cook them as you will be frying them later and they will fall apart if overcooked.
Drain the potatoes in a colander and run them under cold water to stop them cooking. Set aside to cool.
Once cooled (and just before you’re ready to fry them, chop into 2 cm pieces. (cut small ones into four pieces — larger once chop up more)
Put your oil into a deep pan or wok (mine was 28cm across) and bring up to temperature – that's 325° F or 160° C. Add your potatoes in small batches and fry until golden brown and crispy.
Drain on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet lined with kitchen roll (paper towels).
When ready to serve, put into a tapas bowl and drizzle with warm bravas sauce. Sprinkle with a bit of smoked paprika and serve.
This recipe makes more sauce than you will need for the potatoes. How much extra will depend upon how much sauce you like! But this sauce keeps well and is great on smoked sausage, pork chops and more.
Since we can’t travel this Spring we’re travelling virtually. The last trip was to Turkey. This week we’re headed to Spain for some tapas.
Angela has put together the decorations complete with traverna sign, flamenco dancer and a string of decorative garland — we do need to work on the pictures as they didn’t do the look justice.
We’ve got a full menu planned: gazpacho, croquetas, patatas bravas, albondigas, courgette con queso and gambas al ajillo…and of course, a pitcher (or two) of sangria!
One of our favourite tapas are Albondigas or Spanish meatballs. These meatballs are covered in a luscious, spicy sauce that is a classic taste of Spain. For us, this is the centerpiece of a great tapas meal.
These take a bit of time, but are really easy to make. And you can do much of the prep the day before.
One of our favourite tapas dishes. The pork and beef meatballs in a smokey, spicing tomato sauce are a great part of any tapas meal
500gmbeef mince(10-15% fat)
500gmpork mince(15-25% fat)
4clovesgarlicminced or pressed
2tbspcoriander, freshfinely chopped
3slicesstale white or sourdough breadblitzed
1tspfine sea salt
1tspground black pepper
2canschopped tomatoes(400gm cans)
170gmtomato paste(small 6 oz can or most of a tube)
3clovedgarlicfinely minced or pressed
1tbspdark brown sugarpacked
½tspfine sea salt
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix by hand until combined. Don't over mix it or the meatballs will become dense.
Wrap the meatball mixture in cling film and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour – overnight is fine.
Using half of the oil, saute the onion and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat until the onion is soft.
Add the dry ingredients to the onions and saute for 2 minutes.
Add remaining oil and the tomato paste and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes, honey, brown sugar, thyme and water. Stir the sauce to combine the ingredients and simmer over a medium low heat for 30 minutes.
Cooking the meatballs
Take the meatball mixture out of the refrigerator. Take about 50 grams (about 1 ½ tablespoons) of the mince mixture and roll it into ball. Do not work the meat any more than is required to keep the meatballs light. Continue until all of the mixture is made into balls.
Being sure not to crowd the pan too much, brown the meatballs on all sides in a large skillet. Set each batch aside once browned.
Put the browned meatballs into a baking dish and cover with the sauce. Put into an oven at 350° F for about 20 minutes.
Serve in traditional tapas dishes with a sprinkle of paprika and a side of toasted garlic bread.
This recipe will serve 8 persons as a main or 15-20 persons as a tapas dish.
It seems that tacos have become the new burgers in London. From a growing number Mexican restaurants to street food pop-up sites, tacos are more popular than ever. And have they changed!
Gone are the Tex-Mex favourites of old. Now it’s all about gourmet tacos that meet the definition of taco only by being wrapped in a tortilla! Smoked bavette with chimichurri, beer-battered sea bream with salsa veracruz, pig’s head cochinita pibil (what is that?) and even buttermilk fried chicken are the toppings at the best rated taco joints in London.
And that is all good. I love the new flavours, but I still enjoy the old Tex-Mex version too. Crispy shells, spicy mince, cheese, lettuce, salsa and sour cream — Yum!
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Take this to a party and it may be the only dish you ever get asked for. This dish is a fiesta of fresh flavours — it’s like a taco in a bowl.
I can’t have a party (or go to one) without this dish now. It is absolutely everyone’s favourite. The good news it is it may be one of the easiest dishes you ever make. And if you do take it to a party you can count on more party invites.
Mark Twain famously said, “Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern corn bread.” That might be a bit of a stretch, but this versatile bread certainly has a following. There are even annual competitions and national festivals for this simple bread. There are lots of recipes but if you’re after proper Southern-style cornbread, it has to include coarse ground cornmeal and buttermilk.
This recipe is one of the easiest and comes from Quaker Oats (one the larger cornmeal producers in the USA). It uses a mix of cornmeal and flour so purists will argue this isn’t a proper Southern recipe, but it’s what I grew up with and I still love it.
If you haven’t had Biscuits & Gravy then you have missed out on one of the best breakfast dishes the ol’ south has to offer! This is gravy like you’ve never had it before. The first time I mention this to someone they look at me like I’m crazy. But after they try it they want nothing else for breakfast (and sometimes lunch)!
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