Happy Woman’s Day to all you hardworking ladies out there! I’ve been wanting to post this for ages, but other recipes, thoughts, musings and other tasks have grown and surpassed it for some time. But here it finally is, and about time too – it’s one of my favourites and this is a good reminder that I must make it again. This recipe undeniably always brings me to one of my dear friends in Michigan, who makes a beautiful meatloaf. Good times!
The other day I posted one of my favourite entries in C&T on my Facebook page. It was an assignment for a Blogging University course (which has now ended) that included a quote. I remember not knowing what quote to choose, but being a creature of habit, and thus feeling like a hobbit most of the time, I decided to go for one from Tolkien’s masterpieces. I got loads of positive feedback for that piece and the recipe I included in it is one that I make again and again. I’m sure you’ll agree that a walnut and banana loaf cake is one of the most comforting bakes around. That and a scrumptious cup of thick hot chocolate.
So you won’t find many recipes on this blog that venture too much out of my comfort zone. C&T started out, and still is I think, a place to share what I cook at home, primarily in a small kitchen, as the ones I had back in the UK. Now I have a somewhat larger room to play in. I am lucky and I like the space, though it wasn’t easy to adjust to it.
Christmas is around the corner and the preparations have begun. I haven’t really been in the swing of things this week, although my trees are up and so are the rest of the decorations. My beautiful mum has been over to help me, although I suspect she came over to keep me company first, helping me out second – something which I always relish. To me, she is truly one of a kind. I love her to bits. I’m having people over this year for the day and although I still feel the pressure (even though I know I don’t need to) she somewhat managed to ease my nerves. I hope to offer a little bit of that by the some of the recipes here on C&T.
This is our dinner today. Grilled steak, medium rare. Any more cooking and a good cut of meat is ruined. Or so I learnt from living in MI. All you need is a butcher you trust, from where you can get the freshest meat, and of course (this goes without saying, but still felt the need to include it here) where hygiene is top priority. It might seem like this is a mission of some sort, and it kind of is. I’ve heard some horror stories…
*But* when all the boxes have been ticked, then there’s no need to worry. We like a good rib-eye for the grill. *Thick*, please. Leave the thin slices of meat for Pizzaiola (the Italian recipe, generally using sirloin, which is also very popular in Malta).
So how do we do it? Easy. Rub the meat with a little vegetable oil, salt and lots of freshly ground pepper, and give the steaks around 3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness, on a grill pan, preferably a cast iron one, but any grill pan will do. Remember that once you remove the steaks from the pan they will still keep on cooking for a while so don’t be tempted to leave them more that is needed. Also you need to put the meat on a warm dish to let it rest. Serve with grilled veggies and potatoes. And if you’re going all out, with chips. Enjoy!
This brings back so many memories. If I were to ask you: what is the very first thing you’ve ever cooked, what would your answer be? Well, this recipe is where it all started for me. Granted, it’s not a cake and it’s definitely nothing sweet. This is how I learnt though. I never cooked before that point and I never read a recipe in my life. I just opened a book and found the easiest thing I could manage. And I never looked back.
The very first cookery books I bought looked like little leaflets. I never inherited cookery notebooks; that’s because my mum never had one. She is a good cook mind you, but I never showed any interest in cooking, and the recipes are all in her head. What I inherited from her is the love of one pot suppers. If seasoned well, you get plenty of taste with minimal effort. Perfect for busy days, without the need of buying a takeaway on your way home from work.
The following is my take on Dublin Coddle, a charming rustic little dish from one of my favourite places in the world. You will have around 4 servings here but you can scale it up or down depending on how hungry you are or how many people you want to feed. You need:
- 8 thick pork or beef sausages (or a mix of both)
- 4 back bacon rashers
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (or leave whole and unpeeled to squish them up later. They will taste so sweet!)
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 4 to 6 large potatoes, cut into slices (not too thinly)
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- pepper, to taste
- 1 to 1½ cup good chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- Preheat your oven to 180°C. In the meantime, place the oil into a shallow pan and quickly brown the sausages on all sides. Put them into a warm bowl and set them aside until needed. Cook the bacon quickly and also set this aside.
- Sweat the onions and garlic (if chopped) for around 5 minutes in that same pan. Arrange the uncooked potato slices in an ovenproof dish. Now place the onion mixture over the potatoes, together with lots of pepper and the dried sage. Add the sausages and bacon in the pan and pour in the stock. (Now is the time to add the whole unpeeled garlic cloves if you choose to use the garlic in this way.)
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve immediately and divide the parsley between each serving, with plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juices. I would go for soda bread though to make the meal completely Irish! (Click here for Paul Hollywood’s recipe.)
One of the easiest and heart-warming recipes out there. I love it. Enjoy!