31 May 2013

Dublin Coddle (Updated)

I can't believe that just a few days away from the year's brightest twenty-four hours we are writing about an essentially hearty winter dish but the weather is so awful here in London it somehow seems appropriate so here goes...

Way back in November 2011 when we started this blog the very first post we wrote was about a childhood memory of the dynamics between my parents in the kitchen and centred around a dish my father used to make called Dublin Coddle. Like much of Irish cuisine the dish was based on traditional Irish peasant food using ingredients that were cheap and plentiful. The recipe was as close to the original as I could remember and I noted at the time of writing how much tastes and ingredients had changed and how the idea of offal boiled in milk would probably not be taken up by many on this blog's readers these days. Ever since that I have been intending to update the recipe to create a dish that we would all enjoy today. Well recently we did just that...


12 Cumberland sausages
12 Streaky rashers rolled
500 g button mushrooms
2-3 Lambs kidneys (optional)
500g Small new potatoes
1 Large Onion sliced
2 Bulbs Fennel cut into wedges
2-3 Cloves garlic
300 mls Chicken stock
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash Tobasco
Half cup milk
2 Tblsp Creme Fraiche
Fresh parsley for garnish


Place all the ingredients into a large casserole dish. (If using kidneys halve them and cut out any tough white sinew) Pour in the stock and a little water if necessary. Cover, bring to the boils and simmer for about twenty minutes or until you are happy that all the ingredients are cooked through, particularly the potatoes. Drain off the liquid to another pan and simmer until reduced to about a quarter or third of the original amount. Add the milk and creme fraiche, stir well and season. Return to the main dish and allow to simmer gently for a further few minutes. Serve with Irish soda bread and a garnish of chopped parsley .

Posted by incredibly fed

24 May 2013

Poached Pears in Ginger

This is a nice elegant dessert which is not too sweet or stogy and goes well if the preceding courses have been particularly... shall we say hearty! It works well after most dishes and is a lovely way to finish a meal, the ginger, like mint stimulating the digestive juices and refreshing the pallet.

IF offer a shot glass version of the poached pear dessert at part of the party menu. This is a mini version served in shot glasses and has proved to be an extremely popular dish to finish off drinks and canape parties!

IF Party poached pears in shot glasses


6 Fairly unripe Pears
2 "Inches" Fresh Ginger
Jar Stem Ginger
5 - 7 Tbsps Sugar
Ginger Snap Biscuits


Make syrup by heating water in a saucepan and dissolving the sugar. Slice the fresh ginger and add to the syrup. Peel and cut the ends off the pears so they stand upright, cover and simmer for a few minutes. Test with a small kitchen knife, the fruit should be al dente. Allow to cool and leave the fruit in the syrup for several hours if possible.

Drain the syrup and return to heat to reduce until thick enough to serve with the pears. Chop the stem ginger into small cubes and add to the syrup. Serve the pears with a table spoon of Mascarpone and crushed ginger snaps biscuits.

Posted by incredibly fed

17 May 2013

"Roast" Belly of Pork

"Oooooo this is the best pork belly I've ever eaten the crackling is just amazing!" My friend purred as he munched his way through lunch the other day pausing briefly only to  iPhotograph his repast for later broadcast on a well known social networking site. The two of us had recently reconnected after a long hiatus (an estimated twenty years certainly) thanks to the wonders of cyberspace and now meet for lunch whenever he visits from his adopted hometown, Barcelona. We both share a delight in all things culinary and this time we were at "Roast" that eatery perched in the rafters of Borough Market in south London with the wonderful view of the market stalls below. London's rather feeble answer to the Boqueria.

The menu is eclectic contemporary British and was a choice on my part intended to afford him a break from the cuisine of the Iberian peninsula. My first suggestion had been Jose Pizarro's nearby but quickly thought a dose of British contemporary would be more welcome so "Roast" it was, and boy was I right..!! As he continued to sing the praises of the pork to our Polish waiter I felt my delicious rump of lamb has been well and truly trumped and privately vowed to return to order the pork belly as soon as possible!

To finish off we chose dessert. Eyeing the selection of classic Irish Cheeses on the menu, Cashel Blue, Ardrahan etc, and not content to leave well enough alone we felt compelled to compliment their inclusion to the waiter "Ah yes" he said with a broad grin, "we like to keep the ingredients as BRITISH as possible!!" OH DEAR!

As we strolled back along the south bank the pork belly encounter reminded me that we had recently experimented with the cut and come up with a couple of ideas for in the IF menu. This one is very easy and works well.


1 kg Pork Belly
1 Tbsp Coriander powder
1 Tbsp Five Spice
1 Tbsp Cayenne powder
Half Tbsp Celery Salt
Half Tbsp Garlic Salt


Make sure skin is bone dry before starting to cook. (Some people rub vinegar into it and leave it uncovered in the fridge for several hours) Score the pork skin with a scalpel or very sharp knife. Mix powders and dry rub the meat making sure you penetrate all the score lines. Place on foil on a baking tray for 1 and half to 2 hours until skin is crispy. If you are still not happy with the crackling factor try leaving the meat under the grill for a few minutes to finish off.

Posted by incredibly fed

10 May 2013

Upper Crust...

Wasabi Crusted Filet of Salmon 
It is claimed though it has to be said without much actual evidence that we inherit the term "Upper Crust" from the fifteenth century when the aristocracy would be entitled to eat the superior or best part of the baked bread loaf or pastry pies whilst the ordinary folk were left with, in the words of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood the dreaded soggy bottoms or overcooked dregs which sat nearest the fire.

Whatever the origin a good crust can transform your dish and does not necessarily need to be a pastry fabrication. Crushed nuts work well particularly Pistachios mixed with bread crumbs and will lend a definite Moroccan, Middle Eastern or Persian accent to your lamb for example.

Here at IF we are obsessive about not waisting food and that goes for stale bread as well, which last week we mentioned was useful for stuffing. The dried out odds and ends of loaves and baguettes make great breadcrumbs and will keep indefinitely. Just whizz the stale bread for a few seconds and you will have a very useful resource on hand in the cupboard with which you can coat almost anything. Mixed with Parmesan you can create the classic Wiener Schnitzel for example or chicken escalope.  But we have found a particularly good candidate which will make fantastic and unusual crumb and will add interest to either fish or meat.

Wasabi Crusted and French trimmed Rack of Lamb
The secret ingredient here is those little Wasabi peas which are usually served as a nibble with drinks. Simply place them in a blender and press the pulse button for a few short bursts. Add some bread crumbs and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and mix and there you are. As simple as that.  We generally use a little dijon or English mustard as "adhesive" but you can try beaten egg or just the egg white too. Simply brush on the glue and then apply the crumb generously and bake. On Salmon for example the crust can be applied before any cooking and will have the added advantage, by virtue of protecting the fish from direct heat, of helping to  keep it moist.

The lamb dish pictured here is really delicious and definitely has that certain luxurious "wow" factor. It is one of the nicest and most delicate cuts of lamb and as such should always be served pink. The pistachio or Wasabi crust and "French trimmed" lamb look very impressive and your dinner guests will think you have spent hours in the kitchen. You can buy the rack of lamb already prepared and the crust takes just a few minutes to prepare. Each rack will serve two people. We suggest searing the meat quickly to seal in the juices and then coating it with the crust in advance and then holding it until you are nearly ready to eat. You can pop it in the oven for just over 20 minutes as your guests arrive and then allow it to rest whilst the starters are being served.


Rack of lamb ( Serves two)
30g Course Ground Pistachio nuts (Roasted, Salted) or Wasabi Peas
20g Bread crumbs
2 Tbsp Oil and butter
2-3 Tbsp Dijon mustard


Pre-heat oven to 180 C. To make the crust pulse the nuts or peas in the blender until blended but not too powder like. Combine in a bowl with the bread crumbs and oil and mix well.
Remove any excess fat from the rack of lamb, season and place on a hot pan to brown all over. Remove from heat. Make an incision between each of the bones and brush with dijon mustard then cover the top of the rack with the crumb. Place on a roasting tray taking care that none of the crust falls onto the tray as this will burn. Place in the oven for about 22 - 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes or more. To serve cut between the bones where the incisions were made earlier. Portion out on plates taking care that each serving is roughly similar.

Posted by incredibly fed

3 May 2013

Get Stuffing...!

Aubergine rolls stuffed with sausage meat, breadcrumbs, herbs and spices.
Technically speaking Lucinda was my first cousin once removed (my father's first cousin). In fact because of a significant age difference she fulfilled the role of my grandmother - having first brought up my dad, partly as a result of his own mother's overloaded matriarchal duties and partly because of her life long single status and consequent lack of any off spring.  I remember her as an elegant white haired lady who was born in the Victorian era and who was a great cook. Throughout my childhood we often baked together and consequently it is to her I owe much of my love of all things culinary. Curiously Lucinda always hesitated to use the word "stuffing" preferring instead the term "concealment". A legacy I suppose from her own prudish Victorian childhood. "Stuffing" it seems always carried somewhat vulgar connotations!  Today the term concealment would be met with glazed stares of incomprehension so for the purposes of this post let's proceed unencumbered by such linguistic niceties.

So giggles aside what springs to mind when we speak of stuffing? Is it the annual ritual taxidermy performed on  the Christmas turkey or goose or the pre - Sunday lunch surgical performance on the roast chicken, or joint of pork or lamb ?

Stuffed field mushrooms.

Despite its connotations we at IF happen to believe that stuffing is highly underrated ( if that's not an oxymoron!) Sausage meat is the obvious and perhaps the most convenient choice. Lamb, chicken, beef, pork or venison sausage meat all make a good stuffing base. Alternatively flaked fish such as salmon mixed with cooked rice is a great start or for a totally vegetarian option couscous with nuts and sultanas is delicious. Meats and fish can be used either cooked or uncooked. If using uncooked just blitz them in the blender using the pulse button and flavour with your choice of herbs or spices. Lighten the mix with a fistful of breadcrumbs. We keep a jar of crumbs on the go all the time - a great way to use those odds and ends of loaves, baguettes etc that always seem to get left uneaten.

 To the left we show large field mushrooms topped with a mix of sausage meat and bread crumbs while above we show equally delicious aubergine rolls - (which have in both cases been pre-cooked for a few minutes before the concealment was added and baked again for approximately 30 minutes).

Posted by incredibly fed