Monday, 20 July 2015

Korean Bone Broth

Bone brooth - a super cliche if you read the Guardian, the stock you've been making from carcasses for years if you don't. One of the good things about bone broth is that you eek out all the tasty goodness from bones so you can make the most of the animal who a) gave its life for you and / or b) you paid for. Honour and frugality, the cornerstone of any good woman cook*.

Here are some of the good things bone broth does according to the internet ('Wellness Mama' to be precise): a source of minerals / good for the immune system / improve digestion / high calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus / high collagen content / apparently it can even eliminate cellulite! I'm not a nutritionist, so I'm not sure where the truth lies in that, but I do know that this is tasty and hearty and I do know that if it's been a long day then this will make you feel better.

This simple broth takes inspiration from a small Korean cook book which features basic Korean recipes and bad food photography. You're working with four main taste-makers: garlic (lots of garlic, a whole clove), ginger, chilli (or gochujang) and soy sauce.

Here's what I used:

Beef ribs
Stock veg - onion, celery, carrot (plus bay leaves and peppercorns)
Garlic (minced)
Ginger (peeled and grated)
Gochujang (a Korean sauce which is like super hot turbo ketchup, supposedly its as ubiquitous as ketchup is to us Brits in Korea) use chillies otherwise, but if you can get Gochu from an Asian supermarket then you should grab it.
Soy sauce
Thick slooply udon noodles
Spring onions

Here's what I did:

The cooking liquor of the meat is your soup. So I covered the ribs in water and added peppercorns, a carrot, a peeled onion and bay leaves, and boiled them for about 3 hours. When the meat was falling off the bone, I added sieved the liquor, removed the veg and other bits and pulled the meat off the bones in chunks using a fork.

In a separate saucepan, fry your garlic and ginger in sunflower or vegetable oil to take the raw edge off, and add your gochujang, followed by the soysauce, then add your stock / broth back and at this point you could add some chopped carrots and celery - perhaps also some mushrooms and cook for about 20 minutes. A little while before the end, you will need to add your noodles to cook through (packet instructions), and you will need to add the meat to heat back up. Garish with LOTS of coriander and spring onions.

Serve and slurp.

*Joking - dark ages.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Mary Berry's Bara Brith

Last week I was away on a gorgeous trip to North Wales. Having not had a distinct break from work since Christmas, this trip was just the tonic. We stayed in a beautiful house, right on the beach and went for wild walks and ate lovely food, and above all it was nice to be reminded to slow down and enjoy the view and the mountain flowers.

As an ode to Wales and a reminder to slow down once in a while, my boyfriend and I made a Bara Brith on Sunday. When coming back from a holiday on a trip, cooking something reminiscent of the trip can make the holiday seem to last so much longer.

The epitome of slow baking, the recipe we used (Mary Berry's, naturally) suggested that the currants and sultanas be soaked in tea overnight so that they go all fat and juicy. Waiting all night for the soaking really takes the impatience out of baking, you can relax for the evening; have a beer, and luxuriate in the fact that your hands will tied on the baking front until the next day. 

The baking itself is a doddle. You mix the fruit, flour, sugar, mixed spice and two eggs (yes, that's it), and bake for a really long time. We sat back and watched the tennis whilst the scent of the bara permeated the house. We ate ours in slices with a little butter and dreamed we were still kicking back on the Neolithic Coast of Anglesey, and not under the Heathrow flight path.

Queen Mary Berry's recipe was found here:

Lovely Rhosneigr - the view from our garden *sigh*
And some thoughts on eating in Rhosneigr: We were staying in a beautiful house with a well-equipped kitchen, so most of the eating was done at home. However we did treat ourselves to a few lunches and dinners out. And the best treat of all was the Oyster Catcher in Rhosneigr. This was restaurant was a hop across the sand-dunes from where we were staying. The restaurant is elevated so you can see out across the Llyn Maelog lake. The food is very nice - I had a 'smoked fish platter' which was listed as a starter, and chips. They source the fish locally, which would be a crime not to when you're within 5 minutes of both the sea and a lake. The puddings were also good - Most notably the rice pudding, controversial choice from James - but the right one - the creamiest rice pudding I have ever tasted. As we were treating ourselves, we also had coffee - making for a very pleasant lunch all-in-all. One of the nicest things about the restaurant is the ethos behind it - it's a chef academy where young locals can fulfil their dreams of becoming a chef, and as it's a social enterprise, all their profits go back into training their staff. The prices are approaching London prices, and we did chalk up a £50 bill for lunch - but hey, a treat is well-deserved and the service, ambience and food were worth it.