The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Gills rough spuds and Gordons belly

There had been a nice discussion on the BBC message board about Patatas Bravas and Gill the painter had come up with a menu using them as a back up to Gordon Ramsey  pressed belly pork, it had been mooted around that this Sundays lunch would be slow roast shoulder of lamb, how wrong Moot was!

While shopping at the market on Saturday morning (we needed the freshest of fish for that evenings Sashimi) we also got a slab of pork belly, weighing in at 1.5kg (it still had the bones in so was about the 1.3kg recommended by Gordon.

While I was doing the filigree work on the fish, I had left Linda to try her hand at scoring the pork skin, her knife skills are coming along well, I shall have to watch my back!!!!
scoring the skin

Oiled, salted and put on the garlic with the thyme

Just for our friend Kalle, the Swedish salt

She decided to use a Swedish salt (I did suggest it may taste of beetroot, but that pearl of wisdom fell on stony ground). This was rubbed into the surface making sure that it went into all of the cracks, nooks and crannies, a good sprinkling of fresh ground pepper and a rub of olive oil. I didn’t watch the rest of the procedure, as I had much more pressing work to be getting on with, I didn’t hear any cursing and swearing (is that normal for a GR recipe???) I though she was managing quite well without the benefit of me sticking my oar in.

Basting number one

Basting number two

Out and ready to press

She did keep bobbing up during the evening to go and give it a baste and did once inquire why did she have to put heavy tins on top, I believe I replied in the vein of “because bloody Gordon said so”.

Next morning, while I was writing up my Sashimi blog, she started making her Patatas Bravas.

First making the sauce

Shallots, garlic, chili, smoked paprika.

Then in went the pork for its final roasting

The spuds went in to be finished off and out the came all crispy!

The finished pressed GFs belly pork

And the smokey pugnant spicy sauce.

All served with a nice walnut and eichel blatt salad

It made a nice , no, it made a wonderful lunch time meal!

All I can say is thanks Gill, Gordon and Linda it was a very nice meal

Sashimi and a spicy salad

We (well that is Linda) have decided that we shall be starting to live a little healthier, so we started this weerkend, it was a laksa and chicken last night and we are continuing with the Asian theme tonight with a Sashimi and spiced salad and sticky rice.

It is very important that you use only the very best fish, if it smells, it isn't fresh and you don't want to eat it (not even coated in batter).

Also you will need a very sharp knife (I always sharpen mine just before using it), clean your work surface with lemon juice before use and keep a cloth dampened in lemon juice or vinegar to clean your knife and board.

I am making a tuna and parrot (sorry to keep repeating that) fish tartare with toasted sesame seeds (thanks for the basic recipe Elisa), Tuna, Parrot fish (Chlorurus enneacanthus), scallop Sashimi and Kamchatka crab claws.
Best quality fish from the Kiel fish market

A nice pair of claws

Started with making the roasted cashew nuts for the spiced salad.

crushing the roasted cashews for the spiced salad

The spiced salad consists of:

Diakon radish

peeled, sliced and made into straws.(some went into the salad and some thin slices used as an accompaniment.

150g of  bean sprouts (without e-coli I hope)

A small handful of the crushed toasted cashew nuts.

A small handful of rice noodles, softened in boiling water, then added

1/2 stalk of lemon grass crushed and sliced fine

1 spring onion roughly chopped

A handful of iceberg salad leaves chopped (only added at the last minute)

Salad sauce consisting of:
1 dessert spoon of lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce,
1 table spoon of clear honey (runny)
2.5cm of ginger grated
1 dessert spoon of fish sauce
chili oil (depends on how hot you want it) to taste.

(This was also made as a dipping sauce)

combine all of the salad ingredients with the exception of the salad leaves, add the salad sauce and cover until ready to serve, then mix the chopped salad leaves, they will then still be crispy.

Next made the Tuna and Parrot fish tartare in toasted sesame seeds


Tuna diced
Parrot fish diced (any firm white fish will do, but it isn't every day that you get the chance of this one)
1 spring onion very finely sliced
1/4 a stick of lemon grass very finely sliced
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
small handful of chopped coriander
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of seseme oil (100%)
a splash of fish sauce
a good twist or two of pepper
toasted seseme seeds to finish

Toasting the seseme seeds
Dicing the fish
A squeeze of lemon juice
Chopping the lemon grass
Mixing the tartare ingredients together and leaving to mature
Form into bite sized rolls and cover with the toasted seseme seeds, next time I shall wrap them in seedweed as they did tend to break apart. Though this in no way detracted from the taste!!!

Skinning the parrot fish for the sashimi
The Sashimi ready to eat (cover with cling film and put in the fridge)

Split the crab legs
watch your fingers the knife is sharp

The Sushi rice,

200g of sushi rice cooked in 350ml of water
Bring to the boil covered for 2 minutes, simmer on a very low heat until all the water is absorbed, remove from the heat put a folded "clean" kitchen towel under the lid and allow to sit for 10minutes.

In the mean time make the sushi vinegar.
3 dessert spoons of rice vinegar
2 dessert spoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of salt

Put into a small pot heat through until the sugar and salt disolves, and pour it into the rice and mix well, cover and leave until ready to use.

So after that it is easy, just eat it!!!
From 12 O'clock crab claws,s tealight (non-edible as hot) dipping sauce, tuna, parrot (fish) and scallops, centre soy sauce and standing off side a very nice picpoul de pinet (Saint-Peyre)

Some shavings of diakon radish

you must start somewhere!!!
And I did

And that was out healthy Saturday evening meal, tomorrow it is a change of tack, we are having pressed belly pork and Patata Bravas, ah well the best laid plans??????

An onion soup, French or otherwise

There had been a discussion on the website about caremalisation of onions for a onion soup in a slow cooker, I had never tried this so arriving back from an outing (boys weekend). I had followed this while away (the hotel complex had a full PC suite with full www connection and free) and while out on Saturday happened upon the Saturday market in Sudenburg, this is a not one of the most exciting sectors of Magdeburg.

But I came away with a small sack of onions and 2 kg of soup bones and breast, I think the rest of the lads did find it a little strange, touched their heads the forefinger and said "Die Spinnen die Briten"! (A saying from Asterix and Oberlix).

We had a fridge in our apartment, very nice indeed 3 double bedrooms and full lkitchen and living room with Sat Tele. I think that during the summer and school holidays these are family apartments (we had all inclusive). We had arrived on the Sambazug, this is a fantastic way to start your weekend, these weekends are done in the main for kegel, football clubs etc. The Sambazug has a bar and a dance compartment and it collects the weekend jolliers along the route, before eventually arriving at the Magdeburg Hbf (Main station).

But that has little or nothing to do with my onion soup other than that is where I got my ingredients and am now thought more of a crack-pot than before.


2kg of onions
90-100g of butter
2 tablespoons of oil (neutral vegetable)
2 teaspoons of herbal sea salt (if you have any, if not table salt will do, at a pinch LoL)
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
a few sprigs of thyme
1 (level) teaspoon mustard powder
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Enough good beef stock to bring it to the consistancy that you wish (see below for recipe)

Caramelising the onions.

So on Sunday afternoon, I got home, unpacked my case and started to peel the onions, out came the moulinette and I shredded the onions into the base of my Cuisinart 6.5ltr slow cooker, I had put some oil into the base along with half of the butter (45g), I then picked some thyme added that along with some herbal sea salt from the Ile de Noirmoutier that I had got from the saline’s of Vendée last year. A sprinkling of brown sugar on top, the rest of the butter, the lid on and the SC switched on low and the timer onto 10 hours.

The onions and the moulinette

a bowl full of shredded onions

Adding the Sel de Mer with herbs

Topped with butter and thyme, lid on and leave to caramelise down.

Making the beef stock

I fried the beef bones before transfering to the oven to roast along with a browned onion, halved and the skin still on.

I sliced the white of a large leek a couple of carrots, some parsley stalks and teaspoon of pepper corns, put these into my pressure cooker. On top of this went the roasted bones and a slice of shin (the pressure cooker was pretty full) I poured 300ml of vegetable stock  over this and filled up with cold water, brought to the boil and skimmed, I did this at regular intervals, then put the lid on, brought up to blood and cooked for 1.5 hour. Cooled and left over night.

Giving the beef bones a quick brown along with the onion halves

The bones and onion halves into a roasting pan and into the oven

The leek, carrots, parsley stalks and a slice of leg

top up with water and add the herbs

pour in 300ml of vegetable stock (this one should be before the last photo)

Heat and when it comes to a rolling boil skim the scum as it rises to the top

Next day I decided that the onions could do with a little more browning so I switched the SC on for another 2 hours.

The final caramelised onions

Next morning I took the hardened dripping from the top of the cold stock and poured it all through a strainer, though I did make a nice beef sandwich with some of the shin meat, it had lost most of its flavour as it was meant to.

Remove the hardened dripping when cold
I next put the stock into a clean pot and added some more beef breast as I was also going to make some beef soup for the freezer. I boiled this up and lowered the heat allowing to simmer, skimming the scum off as it came to the top.

Making the soup
I washed the Pressure cooker and added the caramelised onions to the bottom, poured on a glass of Pinot Grigio (I happened to have a half a bottle in the fridge, I don't anymore) and let the alcohol boil off.

I slowly added the hot beef stock from the pot bubbling next to it; I now added a good bit of pepper and a 1/2 teaspoon of mustard powder (I will see later if it can take a bit more) (note, it did;-)).

I now had a wonderful Onion soup and a fantastic Beef soup. I fried a slice of sour dough rye bread in a little goose fat until crisp, piled it with a topping of Edam and Parmasan, quickly under the grill to melt a little and floated this on top of the soup.

Boy did it taste good and I found a use for the remainder of the pinot grigio

N.B. The soup can be made as thick or as thin as you wish the choice is yours, also the caramelisation of the onions can be done on top of the stove over a low heat, but in this case I wanted to see if they could be done successfully in the slow cooker. The 2 kg reduced down quite considerably (I did not weigh it afterwards and if the truth be known I didn't weigh it before, the 2kg  was a bit of a guess).

The quality of the beef stock makes all of the difference and it is really worth while making your own and concentrating it down.The use of the pressure cooker did speed up the making of stock and by adding another load of beef breast to the clarfied stock made this even more flavoursome. After making the onion soup, I stripped the breast meat of fat, gristle, sinus, fried a shredded leek and 2 carrots in a little oil, added this to the remainder of the stock and cooked for a few minutes, then added the breast meat and that was another smashing soup for the freezer. (I had to thin it down with water as the concentation had made it really powerful).

Here is a link to friend of ours website with his classic French Onion soup recipe.

If your ever at a loss for a recipe, try having a look at Ians website (he also does a fantastic B&B, well worth a visit, it is one of the best in France (I would actually say the best that I have had the pleasure to stay at).

I would also like to thank the wildfood board members for sending me on this exploration into the unknown, it's always warming when something you have never tried before actually works!

A Steak and Kidney Pud and a Pie thrown in to boot!

Sunday 11 September

I was up early (06:00 though this is my normal workday arising) as I was making a steak and kidney pudding and though it was unplanned a steak and kidney pie with suet crust (I had loads of filling and loads of suet pastry left over for the pudding).

I was going to make the great Keith Floyds, from his Great Britain and Ireland cookery book! I then thought I would pep it up a bit and make a herb suet pastry, that I often use when making savoury pud, I got the ingredients together and made the suet pastry for my game puddings. I of course took no notice of the quantities and how many it would make. ahem! It will normally make 6-8 individual ones (depending on the thickness of the pastry). This meant I had double the amount of everything! So that is the story behind the making of the steak, kidney and mushroom pie.


Suet Pastry

400g of plain flour

200g of suet

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 dessert spoon of mixed herbs (I used fresh from my balcony herb garden) rosemary, sage, thyme, mint and oregano.

200ml of cold water

Pinch of salt and pepper

Mix all of the dry ingredients together, add the water and bring together into a ball.


1kg of braising steak (mainly chuck and rump about 50%-50%)

500g ox-kidney

Snipping out the hard core with kitchen scissors

The kidney

A small handful of dried Herb de Provence (if you have a big hand use the wifes)

½ large onion or a whole medium one (depends what you have in the house) diced

3 large mushrooms (sliced)

1 garlic clove crushed and chopped

A few splashes of Lee & Perrings

Salt and pepper

Place all in a bowl and dust with a little flower (this thickens the gravy)


300ml Vegetable stock (Marigold) or good beef stock.

Trimmings from the meat

About 3 cm of the with from a leek

Half a carrot diced

A bit of celeriac finely diced (or a couple of stalks of celery chopped)

Bits and pieces from the mushrooms

A small glass of red wine (that was all that was left over from last night)

Put into a pan and heat through, let it bubble for ½ hour while you do the rest of the things.

Roll out the pastry about 2-3mm thick cut out a circle that you think is big enough to line your pudding basin (the rest is for the pie crust of the pie that you had not originally planned). Cut out ¼ and set this aside (it will be the top). Now fit the suet pastry into the pudding basin pushing it down into the bottom and join the seams, this is easier than you think, it is a bit like playing with plastercine (playdough, I think it is called now-a-days). Leave the pastry a bit proud of the basin (this will help to seal the top)

Fill the lined basin with the filling mixture; packing down well, the filling should be domed higher than the top of the basin. (It will compact even more as it cooks).

Strain the gravy, and pour into the pudding (there will be enough left over for later).

Notice the remainder of the filling languishing nonchalantly in the rear

Roll out the ¼ for the top, form into a ball and roll out on a floured surface, place on top of the pudding and fold the sides together, thumb and finger, turning into a rope edging (it does look pretty!

Cover the top of the pudding with a round of grease proof paper, then fold a pleat in a square of foil quite a bit bigger than the top of the pudding basin, wrap this to below the lip on the bowl and tie with kitchen string.

I have a trivet, that I put in the base of the pan (it means that there is always water in the pan under the pudding basin).

Now put the basin on the trivet and pour in boiling water so that it comes up 2/3 of the height. Bring back to the boil, put the lid on and steam for 3 or 4 hours (it doesn’t matter one little bit).

In the mean time I turned my attention to the remains.

The Steak, Kidney and Mushroom Pie

I softened ½ of the remaining ½ of the onion and some wild boar ham (it can be any raw ham, but I just happened to have some wild boar ham handy) in a little goose fat (it can be oil for the more healthy living amongst us), added a teaspoon of tomato paste, cooked through, then the remainder of the filling, a hand full of dried herbs, some diced carrots, celeriac and leek. In with the remainder of the gravy that you saved from the pudding. Bring to the boil lid, on and turn the heat down low, simmer for a couple of hours, adjust the seasoning at the end (I added a ¼ of a teaspoon of Colman’s mustard powder).

When ready pour out into a pie dish, roll out the remaining suet pastry and plonk on top, it will find its own level, push the sides down, brush top with milk and put into an oven, middle shelf at 180°C for about 30 minutes, check and raise then temperature up to 200°C until the top is golden brown.

I served it with Dauphinoise Potatoes or to be really cheffy Pommes Dauphinoise

This is a much malined dish, please note!!!!! Their is no cheese in it, there shouldn't be any cheese in it, there never was any cheese in an authentic Pommes Dauphinoise.

400g Floury potatoes
1 clove of garlic crushed and chopped
25g butter
330ml cream (or half cream and half milk)
salt and pepper
Nut meg

Cut some floury potaoes into quite thin slices, put into water until ready (this stops discolouration), Rub a oven proof bowl with a bit of the crushed garlic, rub around with butter and start layering the base with the potato slices, dot with butter,

a sprinkling of garlic and pour over some single cream,

a good grating of pepper and a sprinkling of salt. Carry on with thos procedure until all of the potatoes are used up (try and make the top layer even and over lapping a bit like roof tiles, this does impress the girls), Dot the top with butter pour over the remainder of the cream and a scraping of nutmeg, put the lid on or cover with foil if the lid is broken. Pop into a pre-heated oven  180°C for about an hour, check with the point of a sharp knife, when it goes in with little resistance it is cooked. Turn up the heat to about 220°C to brown the top (you can pop it under a grill to do this)

I also made a Cauliflower Mornay

Please note, there is meant to be cheese in a Cauliflower Mornay that is why I put it in!

1 nice head of cauliflower cut into large florettes
1/4 of the remaining onion, diced
Another couple of slices of that wonderful wild boar schinken diced
1 tablespoon  of goose fat

70g grated cheese
10g butter
10g flour
150ml caulifower cooking water mixed with
250 ml milk
grated nutmeg

Adding the onions and wild boar ham

A grating of netmeg

Cook the cauliflower until it is just done, still got bite (please, please don't boil it until it is falling apart, then there is more goodness in the water than in the Cauli). strain through a colander and place in a layer in an oven proof serving dish. Heat the goose fat in a frying pan and soften the onion add the schinken and fry quickly when it starts to crisp pour over the cauliflower,
Now make your sauce, heat the butter in a small saucepan, add the flour and cook together for a couple of minutes, slowly add in the liquid a little at a time, stirring continually, making sure there are no lumps. when you have added half of the liquid there should be no chance of it splitting or clumping, so pour in the rest but keep on whisking, bring it to just below boiling and allow to thicken, it is ready when it coats the back of a spoon, now add the cheese (I would have loved to have had Greyere but alas edam had to surfice) and continue to stir until it is all combined. Pour over the Cauli and grate some more cheese and some nutmeg  over the top and pop under the grill to colour a little.

That's it, a Sunday Lunch fit for a ? well just let us say King Richard would have been proud of it


Have a nice week!