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Steak and ale pie

15 May

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Hi there, don’t know if you’ve noticed but it’s mid-May! You can tell by the grey sky, sheeting rain and the fact I am regretting taking my coat to my mum’s to make more room in my wardrobe.

Basically, it’s comfort food weather. Sod your bikini body salads, it’s best to keep that little sleeping bag of going-up-a-size on until it warms up. I made this pie before spring sprang and then promptly dropped dead, but forgot to blog about it, so thanks to the shitty weather you’re getting it now. It’ll help, I promise.

I used the Grauniad’s How to cook the perfect… for this so it’s almost an exact copy based on it.

DISCLAIMER: I don’t want to hear your whinging about how this is a casserole in a hat, I get enough of this at home. Christ.

You need:

  • 800g of ox cheek – I did puppy eyes in Waitrose so the man at the meat counter cut it into chunks for me. A butcher will do this, or you’ll need a super sharp knife
  • 15g plain flour
  • 200g lardons
  • 250g chopped white onion
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 400ml Fullers Golden Pride ale
  • Four or five sprigs of thyme, leaves off the stems
  • Two sprigs of rosemary, leaves off the stems
  • A bay leaf. Just one. Then you’ll realise you already have three boxes of them in the cupboard
  • 1 tablespoon of dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
  • Ready-made shortcrust or puff pastry
  • A marrow bone for a funnel if you’re feeling proper fancy

Season the flour and coat your ox cheek in it, I find it easiest to do this with my hands. It’ll help the meat brown beautifully, but if you don’t have any don’t panic. Brown it off in a frying pan on the stove on a high heat using vegetable or rapeseed oil (or anything tasteless), but don’t bung it all in the pan or you’ll overcrowd it. Once it’s done chuck it in a large casserole dish.

Throw the lardons in the pan, turn down the heat and add the onions. Once they start to brown they all go into the casserole with the beef.

Pour over your ale and the stock (hot, please!), then in go the herbs, sugar, vinega and cocoa. Give it all a nice stir and then get it up to a simmer. If, like me, your casserole dish won’t go on the stove, just bung it in the oven with the lid on now, at 150°c/gas mark 2. It’s a pie. It’ll be fine.

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I cooked this for about six hours, stirring when I remembered, so the beef was incredibly tender. For the last hour or so I took the lid off the dish to let the liquid reduce – I stirred it more at this point to stop the top bits from crisping up too much.

I used a little blackbird pie funnel for this, but you don’t need to worry too much if you don’t have one. If you want to show off, which I usually do, use a marrow bone instead. As it cooks the marrow will melt into your pie filling and be delish.

Egg wash the lip of the dish and place your pastry over the top, crimping the edges with a fork. Brush egg over the pastry, add on any decoration and egg wash those too. This will make it shiny and lovely and make you look like you know what you’re doing.

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I made this for my boyfriend which is why it is so romantic 

This then goes in the oven at 180°c/gas mark 4 for around 50 minutes. I served it with LOADS of all-butter mash, broccoli and red wine. We’ll pretend we ate all the broccoli.

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Spicy Pulled Pork

20 Mar

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Alright, lads? Long time no see. Thought I’d pop in, check how things were, then probably head off with promises that’ll see you again soon. But I don’t really mean it, just like your dad when he popped out for some fags all those years ago.

Anyway. Here’s some good Mexicanny pulled pork. It goes well with enough frozen margaritas to knock out a chupacabra.

M. E. A. T. 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷

A post shared by Sarah Douglas (@sarahduggers) on

 

You’ll need:

  • 2kg shoulder of pork – it seems like a lot, it isn’t. Feeds three drunk people EASY. I usually use 3/4kg and rarely have leftovers
  • Bottle of Sol or Corona or similar
  • One of those little jars of chipotle paste, about 100g
  • Big heaped tablespoon of SMOKED paprika, don’t fuck about
  • Tablespoon of dried oregano
  • Half a tablespoon of cumin
  • Four to six cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with the flat of a knife

I serve mine with wraps or buns, cos lettuce leaves and posho supermarket coleslaw because like I have time to be chopping cabbage in my busy and interesting life.

This takes a bit of time, about 10 hours on low in a slow cooker. If you don’t have one, a big casserole in a low oven would do it, but then you have the ballache of not being able to leave the house.

Cut as much of the fat off the pork as possible with a very sharp knife. You don’t have to waste it: my friend George made this and turned it into some epic crackling. He may even give you the recipe for if you ask nicely enough.

Pop everything else in the slow cooker, give it a stir to mix it all up, put your pork in and, well, you may as well make a start on the tequila, you don’t have to do anything else.

After around eight or nine hours give it a stir and break the meat up. If it is still very wet then whack up the temperature and leave the lid off until it’s less of a stew.

Eat very neatly if you are my best friend Charlotte:

Or like a total mess if you are me:

Would like to be lying in the sun eating a pulled pork burger please

A post shared by Sarah Douglas (@sarahduggers) on

Proper Pizza

20 Jul

Right. Yes. I am awful. This is exactly the same recipe as I put up in 2013, but it is brilliant, and while my boyfriend has been away I’ve basically been living off defrosted pizza dough because I can’t be arsed to make anything just for me.

Craig’s been working on the Tour de France (I’ve used the cycling emoji more over the last ten days than the last two years), which is a totally amazing for him, but I’ve been bloody bored.

I’ve always thought I’d be great at living alone, but in fact I just pace around, sloshing glasses of red wine everywhere and desperately trying to talk to people. I ambushed our upstairs neighbour as she had a fag outside just to interact with an actual human. Poor woman.

Anyway. Pizza. This makes about six to eight portions, I tend to make a batch and then, as I said, freeze a load of it. It defrosts very quickly so it’s a good school night dinner, and who doesn’t love cold pizza for breakfast?


For the dough you need:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 330ml tepid water – stick your finger in it and it shouldn’t feel hot or cold
  •  7g yeast (one sachet or measure it out)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Half a tablespoon of brown sugar or honey

Mix the yeast into the water and then stir in the honey or sugar and oil. Give it a good stir.

Combine the flour and salt and pour in your wet ingredients. Mix well with a metal spoon until you’ve got a dough. It’ll be quite wet, but don’t worry.

Turn it out onto a well floured surface and start to knead. You need (HAHAHAHA) to do this for at least ten minutes. You’ll know when it’s done when you’ve got an elastic dough that’s easy to form into a springy ball.

Wipe a large bowl with olive oil and pop the dough in. Cover it with clingfilm making sure it’s air tight. Leave it somewhere warm for an hour or so until it has doubled in size. Here’s a photo from my first post (like I said, I am the worst). But do the clingfilm better:


So a generous one person pizza is a bit of that dough about the size of your fist. If you’re freezing it portion it off and stick each bit in a sandwich bag and chuck it in to sit until you need it.

Heat the oven as hot as it will go with an oven tray in there. Knead the dough you’re using, or the stuff you’ve defrosted, for a few minutes on yet another well floured surface. Roll it out as thin as possible and pop onto a lightly floured bit of tin foil.

Add your toppings, and carefully place the foil onto the oven tray. Cook for around ten to 12 minutes, until the cheese is nice and gooey.

(If you like your base crispy, stick it in the oven for a few minutes until it has started to brown very slightly. You might need to stick a fork in any bubbles that spring up.)

CHEESE ADVICE: The best cheese to use is the blocks of sort of dry mozzarella which you can get almost anywhere. It’s usually got a big thing saying PIZZA! on them. Normal mozzarella is totally fine to use, but you might find a lot of liquid comes out of it while cooking. The grated stuff is great, but it doesn’t melt and spread out as well


I like a bit of rocket on mine to pretend I’m healthy. Plus a load of chilli oil.

Flapjacks

4 May

Flapjacks

Flapjacks: nature’s way of telling you you’re too healthy. These are incredibly simple and make you popular at work because lets be honest, you can’t get by on your personality alone.

You need:

  • 300g of porridge oats
  • 300g (seriously, I know…) golden syrup
  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 100g rasins

In a pan melt the sugar, butter and golden syrup together over a low heat. Mix together with the oats and the rasins until everything is coated and nice and caramely.

Line a deep tin with greaseproof paper, pour in the mix (level it out a bit) and bung in the middle of the oven at 180°c/gas mark 4 for around 20 minutes, or until the top is nice and golden. It’ll seem quite liquid when it first comes out, but never fear. Leave to cool for about 15, 20-ish minutes and then cut into chunks before it firms up too much.

You’re done, go and purchase people’s love with them.

Flapjacks

15 Things…

29 Dec

15 things As someone who sees low blood pressure as a challenge, here are fifteen utterly innocuous things I’m making sure ruin my day.

1. Having to google the spelling of ‘innocuous’

2. The fact the only music on my phone is Now That’s What I Call Christmas after I deleted everything else to fit the whole album on so I could play it during Christmas Day, rather than letting my guests talk amongst themselves

3. Spending three minutes in Pret arguing with the girl on the till about the cost, having forgotten that for the price of a green smoothie I could fly to a tropical rainforest and just eat that

4. Green smoothies

5. Other people’s Facebook privacy settings

6. The strange rhythmic clicking my hair straightners have started to make

7. This Buzzfeed list that seems to equate girls having to wear proper school uniform with banning the burqa, as if rolling your skirt up so the builders redoing the English classrooms  basically have no choice but to look at your knickers  and wearing your shirt tied up just under your bra just in case Mr Quarmby suddenly realises he is in love with you is somehow a human right

8. The fact that Christmas is over.  Exacerbated by number two

9. Unrealistic expectations for New Years Eve, which I already know will simply involve me and my boyfriend getting into a small row at 11.49pm before having a no-tongues kiss at midnight neither of us is in the mood for

10. Other people also being allowed to use public transport

11. Sunshine

12. The hole in my coat pocket I keep forgetting about until I’m forced to shove my entire arm into the lining to retrieve my phone

13. The fact I genuinely just spent 99p getting a retro Tamagotchi app for no reason other than I felt a bit nostalgic, a feeling which disappeared after precisely three minutes and seventeen seconds (I’ve named the Tamagotchi Richard, despite it being a girl.)

14. How much I hate All About That Bass

15. The knowledge that every day that goes past, each late night, every unwanted sambuca shot someone brings back from the bar, that time I slept on a waffle weaved pillow, is quickly showing on my face. Forever. And that in reality, drinking loads of mineral water and clutching your boobs tightly to your chest as you jog does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I can hear the sands of time rushing past, almost as loud as that fucking clicking from my straightners

Mincemeat

11 Dec

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Wow, I really kept up that three posts a week nonsense, didn’t I? I can only apologise that you haven’t had any of my kitchen wizardry to fill your days with for so long. I know, I know: you’ve been lost without me.

So anyway. It’s nearly Christmas blah blah blah and Christmas means mince pies. You can just buy them from the shop but there’s never enough booze in them so let’s make the filling from scratch. Yaaaay.

You need:

  • 125g butter
  • 215g light brown sugar
  • 175g currants
  • 200g raisins
  • 150g sultanas
  • 175g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed peel
  • Half a cooking apple, chopped finely and cored, but leave the skin on
  • 50g skinned almonds, finely chopped
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • A teaspoon of mixed spice

Once it’s cooked you’ll need about 300 to 400ml of brandy.

Pop everything bar the booze into a large pan on a low heat until the butter has melted, and turn the heat up a fraction. Let everything cook for around 15, 20 minutes and let the fruit soak everything up, stirring occasionally.

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Let it cool completely, mix in the brandy and pop into a sterilised jar or some Tupperwear until you want to use it.

Boozy Eton Mess

21 Nov

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Terrible photo but I was busy eating and wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, God knows why though, it’s got cream and booze in it.

I randomly bought little meringues the other day – I know, I know, I should have made them but I’m not bloody perfect, leave me alone – so decided to throw together an Eton mess for pudding.

Next time I may soak the fruit in booze for a bit too.

You need:

  • Three meringue nests
  • A punnet of raspberries
  • Half a punnet of strawberries
  • 200ml double cream
  • Hazelnut liqueur, Frangelico or Fratello
  • Chopped hazelnuts

Crumble up your meringues into a bowl and throw in your raspberries, quarter your strawberries and add them too.

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In another bowl pour in your cream and a really good slug of liqueur. Whip up until it forms soft peaks.

Mix this in to your meringue and fruit until everything is coated and the raspberries streak through the cream.

Sprinkle over one or two teaspoons of chopped hazelnuts (you can buy these but I wazzed – technical term – some blanched whole ones in the food processor).

Pat yourself on the back, you’ve just won at desserts.

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