Salt Beef (from scratch) Sandwiches

OK, so a recipe for sandwiches!!! However, these do have the wow factor and takes a week to make as I made the salt beef from scratch. You don’t have to do that but I wanted to. John’s mum used to make the most amazing salt beef and I wanted to try and emulate it – it wasn’t quite of the same calibre but it was pretty damned good and tasty enough for me to decide to do it from scratch again. The cut of beef is also dead cheap and will feed a crowd. This sandwich is spectacular – the tangy pickles, the smooth Swiss cheese together with the succulent beef – truly a thing of wonder with a definite nod towards New York delis! Every sense in me immediately demanded a second sandwich…or a third! My kinda sandwich!!!

Serves 6 – 8

What you need…

for the brine

140g soft light brown sugar

175g coarse sea salt

2 teaspoon black peppercorns

½ tablespoon juniper berries

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs of thyme

1.25 litres water

for the beef

1.2kg piece of beef brisket

1 large carrot, chunked

1 onion, peeled and chunked

1 celery stick, chunked

1 leek, chunked

1 bouquet garni

6 garlic cloves

for the sandwiches (quantities depend on how many you’re making)

Sliced bread, buttered

Emmental slices

Pickled cumbers, sliced

for the sweet mustard

½ teaspoon English mustard powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

1 tablespoon runny honey

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

A pinch of salt

What to do…

Put all the ingredients for the brine into a very large saucepan and gradually bring to the boil, stirring to help the sugar and salt dissolve. Once it comes to the boil, let it bubble away for two minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool completely.

Pierce the meat all over with a skewer. Put it in a large, sterilised plastic box or bucket (something non-reactive) and cover the meat with the brine; it must be totally immersed. Pop a lid on and leave in cold room or fridge for seven days.

Take the beef out of the brine and rinse it, then put it in a pan with the vegetables, bouquet garni and garlic, adding enough cold water to cover. Bring the water to simmering point, then leave to poach REALLY gently for two and a half to three hours. Cook until the meat is completely tender (check with a skewer).

Cut into wafer thin slices.

For each sandwich, butter 2 slices of bread and sandwich together with a slice of Emmental. Heat a griddle pan until hot, then griddle on both sides until the cheese has melted. Meanwhile, chuck all the sweet mustard ingredients into a screw-top jar, pop the lid on and shake like mad. Set aside.

Open up the sandwich and assemble your sandwich – piles of salt beef topped with pickled cucumbers and sweet mustard and then the remaining slice of bread with melted cheese. Squeeze together and tuck in – bloody gorgeous and all of your senses will simply demand another one!

Tip…

This sandwich is great with either hot or cold salt beef.

Inspired by….

A combination of two recipes; one from Diana Henry and the other from Waitrose magazine.

How easy…

Not hard at all – just remember that you’re going to fancy a salt beef sandwich one week before you want to eat it!!!!

 

 

Chicken Liver Paté with Brandy Revisited

In prep for a family gathering this weekend, I’m revisiting a few old favourites. Friday night will be a couple of cocktails followed by paté, cheeses, dips, breads and olives whilst we all catch up, so here’s the first, made today but frozen until Friday morning. This is genuinely one of the most lovely patés I have ever tasted, surpassed only by one or tried in posh restaurants! Great for sharing and also for advance prep – I’ve made one sharing dish for Friday and a further three for future occasions. Very yummy!

For the full recipe, go to the top right hand corner search box on my home page and type in Pate – this recipe together with a couple of others will pop up. Enjoy!

Sidecar

 

A distinctly grown up and classy iconic cocktail, I had never had this before but can guarantee I’ll be having it again. It tastes like something that I should be sipping all dolled up to the nines somewhere terribly posh and….equally, as much as you know it’s alcohol and you can smell alcohol, the taste is sublime but not so obviously alcoholic – deeply sophisticated with a kick! Cheers!

Serves 1 very lucky person

What you need…

1 x cocktail shaker

Caster Sugar

40ml cognac

25ml Cointreau

15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

A strip of grated lemon peel

What to do…

Chill a cocktail glass and dip it into the caster sugar so that the rim of the glass is coated.

Tip all your other ingredients into a cocktail shaker that’s already loaded with ice cubes. Pop on the lid and shake like mad.

Pour into your glass and garnish with the lemon peel.

Sit back and enjoy your glass of sophistication with a kick!

Inspired by…

James Winter, Who Put the Beef in Wellington?

How easy…

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Grilled Plaice with Mustard and Tarragon Sauce, Asparagus and Peas Revisited

This is such a lovely dish and because, for some unknown reason, I had a glut of plaice in the freezer, we enjoyed this dish twice again this week. The sauce is simply exquisite – a perfect foil for the fish.

This week couldn’t find fresh tarragon so used dried in the sauce but it was still lovely. Also, at the second sitting, I swapped lettuce and asparagus for buttered leeks and served the dish with oven-roasted chunked red potatoes that had been tossed in chopped garlic, dried rosemary, salt and olive oil – just yummy.

Where’s the recipe…?

To find the original, simply go to the search box in the top right hand corner of my home page and type in ‘plaice’ – it’ll pop up! Enjoy xx

 

Chocolate and Coffee Mousse with Rum

Silky, smooth and deeply, decadently chocolatey with a hint of rum, these very grown up chocolate mousses takes just a few minutes to knock up and even less time to demolish! Very yummy and deliciously naughty!

Makes 6

What you need…

125g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chunked

25ml espresso coffee

1 tablespoon rum

3 large, happy eggs, separated

1 tablespoon maple syrup

What to do…

Use a handheld electric whisk to beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Set aside.

Tip the chocolate into a heatproof bowl, add the espresso and rum and then sit the bowl in a steamer over a pan of boiling water (bain marie).

As soon as the chocolate has melted, take the bowl out of the bain marie and allow the chocolate mixture to cool for 2 minutes. Stir in the egg yolks and maple syrup.

Use a metal balloon whisk to fold 1 spoonful of egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Tip in the remainder of the egg white and then very gently fold into the mixture, again using the balloon whisk.

Divide the mixture between 6 pretty glasses, cups or bowls and pop into the fridge for 2 hours.

If you fancy, you can decorate your mousses with a little grated white chocolate, but otherwise just serve them as the come – deliciously naughty!

Inspired by…

Kirstie Allsopp

How Easy…

Really, really easy and quick.

 

 

End-of-Summer Pudding

Delicious, fresh and totally yummy: this stupendously easy pud is jam-packed with fruit and the flavours of summer-turning-to-autumn. A delightful Chambord-infused juice completes the joy and a dollop of crème fraîche is the perfect accompaniment. Seconds please!

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x 700ml pudding basin

6-8 slices stale sourdough bread, crusts removed

600g mixed soft fruit (I used strawberries, raspberries and blackberries)

100g caster sugar

2 tablespoons Chambord (black raspberry liqueur)

What to do…

Remove the stalks and/or stones from the fruit and tip into a wide heavy-based pan. Add the sugar, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low, cooking for a further 2 minutes or until the fruit is starting to soften and release juice.

Meanwhile, line the base and sides of your basin with bread to cover completely. Trim the bread if necessary so that the slices fit closely together. You should be left with 2 remaining slices, which will be used for the lid.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the fruit from its juices and pop the fruit into the basin. Measure out 4 tablespoons of the juice and tip it into a screw top jar. Set aside. Drizzle the remaining pan juice evenly over the fruit. Cover with the remaining bread (trim to fit). Wrap the whole basin in cling film and then put something heavy on the top (e.g. a small plate with a tin on the top).

Pop into the fridge chill and set overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, add the Chambord to the screw top jar, pop on the lid and shake like mad to mix together the liqueur with the sweetened fruit juice. Slide a palette knife around the inside edge of the basin, pop a serving plate on the top and then invert the lot – your gorgeous pudding will plop out delightfully onto the plate. Pour the Chambord-infused juice evenly over the pudding and serve this luscious pudding with a dollop of crème fraîche – just yummy!

End of Summer Pud p w

Inspired by…

Richard Bertinet, Delicious magazine

How easy…

Stupendously!

Absolutely OTT Six-Layer Chocolate Birthday Bonanza Cake

Six layers of really moist, chocolately sponge sandwiched together with fabulous butter cream that is in a luxurious league of its own because of the inclusion of melted dark chocolate: this cake, if I say so myself, is stunning – very yummy and very moreish. It’s also my favourite chocolate cake recipe that I use for pretty much all chocolate cakes (first blogged as the ‘365 Chocolate Celebration Cake). The silliness that is the decoration is just me playing with ready-made fondant, glitters, shimmers and other cake-decorating play things!

What you need…

3 x 20cm round cake tins (ideally loose bottomed) liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper

1½ x sponge cake recipe from the 365 chocolate celebration cake

2 x chocolate butter cream recipe from the 365 chocolate celebration cake

for the decoration

1500g Renshaw ready to roll (fondant) icing

A selection of edible shimmers, glitters, silver balls, whatever your fancy to create and an absolutely OTT cake!

Super-long cake candles (Amazon)

Cake Ice Fountain (Amazon, Lakeland)

What to do…

Follow the 365 chocolate celebration cake recipes to create three chocolate sponges and butter icing.

When you are ready to assemble the cake, cut each sponge in half horizontally. Lay one sponge onto your cake plate and slather in a little butter cream. Keep adding sponge layers with butter cream until all the sponge layers are used. Trim the edges of your six-layer sponge cake if necessary (mine weren’t even) and then slather the top and sides in butter cream, creating a smooth even surface and edging on which to drape your fondant.

Roll out 1000g of the icing to about the depth of a £1 coin and drape it over the cake, tucking and folding to fit – I find this bit particularly difficult and ended up having a couple of bits that wrapped around the side and then a jigsaw on the top – it doesn’t matter! Smooth the icing to the best of your ability.

Roll out the remaining icing and use a plate as a template cut around to make a circle to sit onto your jigsaw top. Use butter cream as a glue to stick the circle to the jigsaw top and then decorate as you see fit! (I went a bit mad!)

Allow 24 hours for the fondant to dry.

Serve to an unsuspecting birthday girl, don’t ask her to blow out the firework in the middle and enjoy this totally delicious cake!

Tips…

I made two sponges one day and then froze them once cold. I made the third sponge a second day and again froze it. The day that I wanted to assemble the cake, I sliced the sponges in half horizontally whilst still partially frozen – much easier to achieve a straight and clean cut.

Inspired by…

365 chocolate cake and ‘The Essential Guide to Cake Decorating’ book

How easy….

I’ve got the sponge nailed now. Me and fondant icing however…..work in progress…

A Little Aside: Crushed Garlicky Potatoes

Ooooooh, so lovely, these potatoes are just so scrumptious, I can eat them all by themselves. Infused with loads of garlic and olive oil with just a smattering of parsley to garnish – they are fab and really dress up the humble new potato, especially as they are coming to the end of their season.

What you need…

250g new potatoes

3 garlic cloves, chopped

100ml milk

100ml olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Small handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

What to do…

Pop the potatoes into a heavy based sauce pan with the garlic, milk and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place over a moderate heat and bring to the boil, cooking for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the liquid is largely absorbed.

Use a fork to roughly mash up – you’re not looking for smooth mash but more a rustic chunky affair. Squeeze in the lemon juice, tip in the parsley, stir together and then serve. Marvel that rarely before have potatoes been this wonderful and ever so slightly addictive! Yum!!!

Tip…

This recipe works equally well with other potatoes: you just need to peel them first.

Inspired by…

John Torode

How Easy…

Well, it’s not hard is it?

No Churn Lemon Curd and Limoncello Ice Cream

Wow! Lemon Curd and Limoncello Ice Cream – where to start?! This glorious ice cream is rich and creamy whilst also lemon-tangy and refreshing. It’s sweet but not too sweet and then we have the not insubstantial quantity of the fabulous Limoncello Italian liqueur running through it – this element tips the ice cream into the realms of grown up and quite sensational. Enjoy on a hot summers day or to conclude a lovely dinner. Or – in the name of the blog – at just after midday on a Monday!!!! Any excuse! It truly is scrumptious though and dead easy to make!

What you need…

600ml double cream

397g (1 tin) condensed milk

340g jar lemon curd (homemade or shop-bought)

180ml Limoncello Italian lemon liqueur

What to do…

Use an electric hand held whisk to beat the double cream to form soft peaks. Pour in the condensed milk, lemon curd and Limoncello and use a balloon whisk to gently fold them in so that they are all evenly incorporated. Taste. Add in a little more Limoncello if required (!)

Pour into a plastic container, pop the lid on and stick it in the freezer for at least 6 hours.

Tip…

Once out of the freezer, it takes about 10-15 minutes to reach the consistency whereby you can easily scoop it out.

Inspired by…

Sharron from our local village newsletter.

 How easy…

Easy and fast enough to create regularly and at the drop of a hat!

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