Recipe: New England Boiled Dinner and the most perfect Parsley Mustard White Sauce for it

A New England Boiled Dinner, aka Boiled Dinner, is the greatest two-fer meals known to personkind. Not only do you get the delights of the corned beef, and the boiled veggies cooked in a beef stock that’s rich and deluxe because it was used to cook the beef; but you also get a final stock which you can freeze and use for risottos, soups and casseroles. That stock is even more enriched, from both the beef and the vegetables that are cooked in it.

So New England Boiled Dinners are two-fer meals: two dishes (the meal and the stock) for the price of one. And that gladdens my thrifty little heart.

The secret to ensuring you have edible corned beef/silverside as well as stock you can use after the fact, is you need to change the water. So there are two phases to cooking the beef:

  1. A cook that removes the excess salt from the beef
  2. The cook that imbues flavours and actually cooks the beef

The vegetables are also added in stages, to account for their different cooking times.

Ingredients

  • Corned Beef/Corned Silverside (usually comes in 1.5kg portions)
  • Herbs and Spices to infuse into the beef:
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 6 cloves
    • 10 pepper corns
    • 4 juniper berries (if you use these, you will want to use your stock for recipes including mushrooms as the berries can be strong)
  • Vegetables for Boiled Dinner
    • Baby Potatoes
    • Pickling sized onions, peeled
    • Cabbage Wedges / Brussels Sprouts (cut a cross into the head of the sprout to help it cook faster)
    • Baby Carrots
    • Turnips, sliced into 2cm batons
    • Yellow Squash, sliced into 0.5cm pieces
  • For the parsley mustard white sauce
    • 1 tbsp arrowroot (tapicoa flour) if you want it gluten free / 1 tbsp flour if you don’t need to be gf
    • 1 tbps butter
    • 1-2 tsp Keens Mustard Powder
    • 3 tbsp flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
    • 1-2 cups milk

First cook to remove the salt: Get a casserole pan or saucepan that will allow you to fit your piece of silverside in and cover it with water. Pop it on a medium heat, and bring it to the boil. Turn the piece of beef every 7 minutes to ensure each side of the meat is covered with water, to ensure the excess brine is completely washed off.

When the water comes to a boil, take the meat out and rest it (I usually use a large colander over the sink, to ensure all the first cooking water is washed off). Discard the water.

Rinse out and clean the pan, as there can be a scum built up on the sides and base. You want to remove this.

Second cook: pop the silverside back in the pan, and cover with water again. Pop onto the stove at a medium-low heat. Add the cloves, bay leaves and peppercorns (and juniper berries if using) to the pan.

Cover pan, and cook for 2-2.5 hours or until meat is fork tender. If you are running behind you can start adding vegetables at the 2 hour mark, but you will need a pan big enough to allow that.

Remove the meat, and start cooking the vegetables: remove the meat, and rest it on a carving board. Ensure it is covered: I usually cover in foil, and then pop a large salad bowl over it.

Turn the heat on the saucepan up to medium high, and add the baby potatoes.

Cook for 5 minutes, then add your onions, carrots and turnip. At about this time, you’ll start making the parsley mustard white sauce.

Cook for 10 minutes, then add your cabbage wedges or brussels sprouts. Cook for 5 minutes longer, then add your slices of yellow squash. Cook for 5-10 minutes longer, then your potatoes should be fork tender. If the potatoes are ready, then everything else is ready.

Turn off the heat, you can leave the veggies in the stock until you are ready to serve.

Making the parsley mustard white sauce: pop the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, and stir with a wooden spoon to melt it. Add in your tbsp of arrowroot/flour and stir to combine well. Cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly.

Start adding your milk gradually, 1/2 cup at a time. At this point, it’s best to switch to a whisk for stirring to ensure there are no lumps. As the sauce gets thicker, add another 1/2 cup of milk and whisk to combine. At this point, add your mustard powder. Keep on adding your milk: it should take about 15 minutes to finish it. As soon as it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, take off the heat and stir in the parsley.

Serving: Uncover your corned beef, and carve it against the grain. It can be hard to tell the grain on these pieces of beef: carve parallel to the shortest side of the beef. Slices should be 0.5cm thick. Once you’ve carved enough, the carving board can be popped on the table for people serve themselves.

Use a slotted spoon or skimmer ladle or frying spoon to fish out your veggies from the stock, and place them on a platter for the table to help themselves.

I go a bit rustic with the parsley mustard sauce, in my house you serve yourself from the sauce pan, but if you are fancy and you have a sauce boat you can pour it off into that for the table to help themselves.

Leave the stock in the large saucepan to cool, then you can ladle it into containers and freeze it for use another day!

Meanwhile, you get to enjoy a dinner that keeps on giving! Et voila:

Recipe: Lazy Sushi Bowl

All rock, no roll

I like sushi. I even like to make it, but sometimes I want sushi in a rush without buying it or laboriously rolling it out. This lazy sushi bowl is a great compromise, with all of the flavours but minimum effort.

Deconstructed sushi

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of sushi rice
  • 1-2 tbsp sushi seasoning (a mix of rice vinegar and sugar)
  • 1 hot smoked salmon filet, pulled apart
  • 1 spring onion, green parts only, shredded
  • 1 lebanese cucumber, or 1/3 continental cucumber, sliced into batons
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • To serve:
    • Black sesame seeds
    • Pickled Ginger
    • Soy sauce

To cook the sushi rice, pop the rice in a saucepan and cover with 3/4 cup of cold water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Then turn of the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes.

Stir 1-2 tbsp sushi seasoning into the rice, and leave uncovered for another 10 minutes to cool slightly.

When the rice has cooled, spoon into your bowl. And top with the salmon, cucumber batons, diced avocado and spring onions.

Drizzle with a little soy sauce, then place some pickled ginger in the bowl and scatter some sesame seeds over the rice. If you have a nori sheet, you can cut up 1/4 of it finely, and place it in your bowl as well.

Very much a super lazy, unprepared person’s sushi lunch

Well (Gallery) Hung

Or maybe I want it this way?

I’ve waxed lyrical about my Gallery Hanging System (as evidenced by this post, and this one, and let’s not forget this one). And it came to the fore when I was looking for places to stash paintings that I was slowly finishing (some of these I started 15 years ago, some 10, some 6). I needed to get them out of the studio, both away from possible paint spray and also away from my constant re-tinkering.

After the original living room configuration, I rejigged it to fit in another two paintings I’d finished (my sister and my buddy Brettski’s 30th birthday presents…which they are getting in time for their 40th birthdays):

Configuration #2

It was a little weird having a bunch of eyes watching me as I lay on the couch and watched TV. Or slept through what I was attempting to watch on the TV:

This configuration is judging you RN

And this configuration was nice, but I’d already decided I wanted to give Adski some paintings as well (Adski is Brettski’s partner), so I had to find room for them as well. You can see them clustered around the TV:

Space is starting to get scarce…

So I tried another configuration:

Configuration #3

Configuration #3 was less eyes, more geek:

Configuration #3 with some paintings waiting to be finished and/or hung standing at the gate

When I got to catch up with Adski and Brettski, that removed some canvas real-estate. And I could reconfigure with a painting I had worked on over a weekend (but spent 3 years imagining how I could execute it):

Configuration #4

Configuration #4 will change once I take the portrait down to post it to the UK for my sister, but the post has been pretty buggy for her so I will wait a while longer. This also gives me time to think how I will rejig it next:

For now you will sit like this my pretties…

Recipe: Digestive Biscuits (aka Goldilocks and the search for the perfect digestive recipe)

Another thing I’ve done while I’ve been sick, is search for my perfect digestive biscuit (or Granita biscuit) recipe. Because there’s nothing better – as a person who does not keep contraband chips, cookies, crackers, sweets or snacks in her house – than knowing how easy it is to make her favourite biscuits from ingredients already in her own house…is there?

Dem digestive biscuits!

I tried a couple of recipes to find my perfect biscuits, this recipe was too floury (so it didn’t have the texture or flavour this particular Goldilocks was looking for), this one was pretty much there but rolling it out was a pain (so I left a lot of biscuit mix smeared on the counter) (plus the first time I made it, I forgot the sugar).

So I used the Moorlands Eater recipe as my base and improvised from there to make Food Processor Digestive Biscuits

Ingredients

Makes 24 biscuits

  • 200gm oats
  • 200gm wholemeal (aka whole wheat) flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 100gm sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150gm butter, diced
  • 2 small eggs, beaten

Pop your oven on at 190C°, and line 2 biscuit tins with parchment paper.

Pop the oats into your food processor and give them a pulse to chop them into a rough oatmeal. Add the other dry ingredients and pulse to combine them.

Pop the butter into the food processor and pulse to combine until the mixture is like breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and pulse until the dough sticks together. If the mix is too wet, add more wholemeal flour. You want a dough that combines, but is not sticky.

Spread a surface with wholemeal flour (don’t forget to dust your rolling pin!) and roll out the dough until it’s 3-5mm thick. Use an 8cm cookie cutter to cut your biscuits, and lay on your parchment covered baking trays. Gather the scraps, re-roll them out and cut into biscuits until you’ve used up all your dough. They can sit quite closely together as these biscuits don’t really spread.

All ready to go in the oven

Prick holes into the biscuits using a fork, then pop them into the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. If your oven has hotspots, turn the trays at about 7 minutes to ensure they cook evenly.

Cooling down on a wire rack

Cool your biscuits on a wire rack. They keep in an airtight container for ~1.5 weeks.

Et voila!

Ready to be eaten, just waiting on your cuppa

Searching for things to organise

Having marie kondo folded every s.i.n.g.l.e fabric thing in my house, I went looking for other small, easy to do organisation projects. And I settled on both a bone of contention and a continual source of amazing surprise: my freezer.

You may not be aware of this, but I don’t label food containers when I put them in my freezer.

I’m one of those people: living on the edge of whatever’s in their freezer.

For the most part, it’s self evident what things are: a bag of peas/corn/okra is pretty obviously a bag of peas/corn/okra, slices of bacon are pretty obviously bacon, and a container of kaffir lime leaves (or 6) are containers of kaffir lime leaves. But sometimes – just sometimes – it turns meal times into an adrenaline sport.

Did I pull out a container of bolognaise, chili con carne, curry or some other mystery meal? Is it carrot soup, pumpkin soup or orange sherbert ice cream?

And I am fine with not labelling things, but I want to keep better track of the containers of frozen mystery I have in my fridge freezer and those I have in the freezer in my laundry. Especially when I make stock: come in risotto or soup time, it can be handy if you know that you have frozen stock for the asking.

Version 1.0 was paper based:

Launch version

Version 1.0 was good, but limited. While I could cross out things and remove marks where I’d consumed one of several, I was limited in adding things by the size of the paper. So would mean frequent re-copying. Ugh.

Roll onto ebay, and I sourced A3 sized magnetic whiteboards and whiteboard pens and erasers, to give me version 2.0:

Version 2.0

Version 2.0 overcomes all the limitations of version 1.0, but you have to be careful getting stuff off the top of the fridge as you could obscure or rub off an item. Still, it is helping me keep track of what I have, ensuring I don’t duplicate buy and also ensuring I use up what’s there.

Verdict: quite nifty. And I still refuse to label my containers.

Welcome To The Jungle

It’s a Jungle in here

Based on recent blog updates, you would be forgiven for thinking all I’ve done is cook in the last six months. And you’d be partially right.

For the first time in my life, I’ve dealt with a major, ongoing, chronic debilitating health condition (over minor ongoing health conditions). And it’s taken 6 months, 1 endoscopy and 2 operations to put me on the road to recovery (oh, and one organ removal!). That’s why my summer-autumn, which are usually heavy DIY round the house months have been very quiet.

This year I couldn’t plan a months worth of work, because I was in no state to take on projects or do them.

To be fair, I actually did plan a month’s worth of work. My original plan was to finish study for the semester ✓, do some final finishing touches to DIY Dad’s roman blinds ✓ and then dig out the front planters to waterproof them ❌, repair the front planter (shorten it and tie it more securely to the wall) ❌ , make a floating shelf for the toilet (to keep the bulk toilet paper I keep buying IN the actual toilet, and not in my studio) ❌ and you know…STUFF. Just STUFF. Stuff that involved not being in chronic pain, stuff that involved not being exhausted from being in pain, and stuff that would have aggravated the organ causing all the “issues”.

You know what they say about best laid plans? Well, those best laid plans got shot right out of the water. And off the planet, and out of the galaxy, and into the next universe.

So instead I did lightweight stuff. Stuff that wasn’t a hassle if I needed to put it down and pick it up after a nap, or some painkillers. Stuff that I could take a couple of days, or a week on. I painted some canvases. I marie kondo folded all my teatowels. And then I marie kondo folded my tshirts. And then my jumpers. And then my pyjamas. Even my knickers got marie kondo folded.

I did light weight sewing, that took a week or so to do when it would normally take a couple of days. I made face masks (two different kinds), I made a skirt from a pattern (for the first time ever). And I bought foam and made cushions for the chair that’s been in my bedroom while I decided what pattern fabric to upholster it in since…forever. And by forever I mean 2011, when I popped some floor cushions on it as a temporary measure.

10 years on, and I didn’t go for any of the options I’d selected at the time (quelle surprise). Instead I went for a botanical canvas print with parrots all over it. A canvas print that I’d seen on a lonely fabric bolt left leaning where I was queueing at Spotlight:

Welcome to the Jungalow?

I can’t even remember what I was in there to buy, needless to say I walked out with 6 metres of this fabric and the goal to reupholster the chair.

To be fair, I had been mapping out a pattern for how I could repair it, and I’d already purchased the foam to do so. I just didn’t expect to fall for a discarded bolt of fabric I found while queueing at spotlight. But there you go.

So while everyone else was enjoying their Xmas-NYE break over-indulging in the sun, I was buying fabric and slowly (very slowly) sewing it together to reupholster the chair and the matching footstool:

It’s a jungle out there

There’s one more thing I need to do to the footstool to finish the job (I have to get DIY Dad to cut some ply as a base for it), but other than that: job done ✓

On the freecycling count this brings me to:

  • 1 daybed: project complete
  • 1 chair and footstool: project complete
  • 1 school desk: to be finished
  • 2 matching chairs: to be done
  • 2 sets of atomic table legs: to be done
  • 1 entertainment unit: do be done
  • 1 set of drawers: to be done
  • 1 original G-Plan sofa: to be done
  • 1 free standing mirror: to be done
  • 1 door: to be done

Recipe: S’mores Pots

Like many of my ideas, this came about because I needed to use up something. In this case: a jar of Dulce De Leche that I had bought for something else.

Combine a need to use up groceries with a love of teeny tiny jars and you get: S’Mores Pots.

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A jar of sugar rush and deliciousness

These are basically a layer of digestive biscuit crumbs, topped with a layer of salted caramel, then a spoonful of Dulce De Leche, then a layer of chocolate ganache, and then topped with meringue…which is all toasted under the grill.

Ingredients

Will make 5-6 jars worth (I used 170gm jars)

  • 8 digestive biscuits
  • 1 jar of dulce de leche
  • For the salted caramel:
    • 200mL of thick cream
    • 4 tbsp butter
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup caster sugar
    • 1 tsp flaked sea salt
    • 1/2 cup water
  • For the chocolate ganache:
    • 200mL thick cream
    • 180gm dark chocolate
    • 2 egg yolks
  • For the meringue:
    • 2 egg whites
    • 100 gms caster sugar
    • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Prepare the biscuit base: crush the biscuits (I used a mini food processor) and pop the crumbs in the bottom of each jar.

Make the salted caramel: whisk sugar and water in a saucepan over medium low heat. When the sugar is dissolved, add the butter and bring the mix to a rolling boil over medium heat. Cook until the mix turns a deep golden brown. Remove from heat, then add 200mL thick cream. Half fill your jars with the salted caramel.

Add the dulce de leche: pop a teaspoon of dulce de leche into the jar.

Make the chocolate ganache: melt the chocolate with a pinch of salt, and cool. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Whisk the egg yolks into the melted, cooled chocolate. Then fold in the whipped cream, 1/4 at a time.

Finish filling the jars with ganache. Don’t fill the jars to the top (you need space for meringue.)

When you are ready to serve:

  • Take the jars out of the fridge, they need to be at room temperature because you are going to pop them under the grill
  • Make the meringue: whisk the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar together until they are at firm peaks
  • Dollop the meringue on top of each jar
  • Fire up your oven grill, and pop the jars under to toast the meringue

Et voila!

Super toasty s’mores in a convenient jar

Recipe: Kaffir Lime Ice Cream Cake

Bloody delicious

Ingredients

  • Kaffir Lime Icecream layer
    • 400mL thick cream
    • 250mL milk
    • 1 cup caster sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 8 kaffir lime leaves
    • 2 tbsp lime juice
    • 1-3 tsp citric acid
  • Vanilla topping layer
    • 200mL thick cream
    • 3-4 tbsp icing sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Toppings:
    • Granita/Digestive crumbs
    • Lime zest (and if you can get the zest of kaffir lime fruits even better!)

Infuse the flavourings: Heat the milk with the kaffir lime leaves and lime juice, stir well. Once well combined, take off the heat.

Make the custard: whisk the caster sugar and egg until pale and thick. Pour in the flavouring mix, stir well and return to the pan. Heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Take off the heat and cool. At this point, sieve in your citric acid and stir well to combine. Taste it after 1 tsp, if you want it more tart then add a second tsp and mix well then taste, and if you want it even more tart add a third tsp.

Create the ice cream: Whip the cream until soft peaks, then fold in the custard. Taste once again. You may want to add even more citric acid. Once you’re happy with the balance of flavours, churn in an icecream maker and then pour into a 21cm spring form cake pan that has been lined really well with baking paper and gladwrap (you need to make sure none of the mix will leak out the bottom of the pan). Pop into the freezer on a level surface and chill until firm.

Whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla essence for the vanilla topping layer to soft peaks, then pour over the kaffir lime ice cream layer. Pop into the freezer on a level surface and chill until firm.

When ready to serve:

  • Scatter the granita/digestive crumbs and the lime zest over the top of the cake
  • Cut the cake using a knife in boiling water

Et voila!

Mouthpuckeringly delicious

Recipe: Dark Chocolate, Dulce De Leche and White Chocolate Layered Ice Cream Cake

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A delicious slice of heaven….

This recipe was to celebrate my friend JB’s big birthday (one of those birthdays with an 0 in it). He loves icecream, so what better to do that an icecream cake?

I had a jar of dulce de leche sauce languishing in my fridge that was bought in enthusiastic times for another recipe, so this gave me a vehicle to use it up (see my recipe for S’mores Pots for other ways I used it up).

[Sidebar: I really hate it when you buy an exotic ingredient herb or spice for a recipe which only comes in a largish package but the recipe only uses, say, a tablespoon of 400mL worth of product or 10 grams of something you could only buy in 100gms minimum. An exotic ingredient which then languishes in your fridge or pantry until either: you remember it and find a way to use it OR it goes out of date and you can worthily throw it out OR it spoils/pantry weevils get it. Recipes like that are the WORST. The w.o.r.s.t.]

[Sidebar sidebar: especially if you can’t remember what you bought that exotic ingredient for, so you can’t even remake the original offending recipe N to the power of N more times to use it up. Assuming you liked the outcome of the original recipe. Ugh! THE WORST.]

To view, before grated chocolate was sprinkled artfully all over it

Back on track, so I decided to make a layered icecream cake. Actually I made 2 layered icecream cakes, as this recipe will make 2 x layered icecream cakes if you use 21cm round cake tins.

Ingredients

  • Dark Chocolate Layer
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 300mL milk
    • 300mL thin cream
    • 100gm dark chocolate
    • 1/4 cup of caster sugar
  • Dulce De Leche Layer
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 300mL milk
    • 300mL thin cream
    • 100gm Dulce De Leche
    • 1/4 cup of caster sugar
  • White Chocolate Layer
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 300mL milk
    • 300mL thin cream
    • 100gm white chocolate
    • 1/4 cup of caster sugar
  • Between layers (optional):
    • Milk chocolate buttons to scatter
    • Dulce de leche to drizzle
    • Pecans to scatter
  • To serve:
    • Milk chocolate buttons
    • Grated dark chocolate

The technique for each layer is very similar as you are making a custard based icecream. And by similar, I mean the same:

  1. Heat the flavouring (The chocolate or dulce de leche) with the milk, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Whisk the sugar and eggs until pale and thick.
  3. Stir the milk-flavouring mix into the sugar-eggs mix, then return to the pan
  4. Cook over gentle heat, stirring all the time until it thickens to the point it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Take off the heat, pour into a bowl and cool.
  5. When the custard mix is cool, beat the cream into soft peaks and then fold into the custard mix
  6. Churn in an ice cream machine until frozen.

Make the dark chocolate layer first, pour it into a round springform cake tin that you have lined with baking paper and gladwrap. You need to line the pan VERY CAREFULLY to ensure the mix doesn’t leak out. Stick it in the freezer on a level surface.

Make the dulce de leche custard next (you can keep it in the fridge until you are ready to add the cream and churn it). When the dark chocolate layer is firm to touch, drizzle/scatter any ingredients you are including between layers (pecans, dulce de leche, chocolate buttons) over the dark chocolate layer and return to the freezer, and churn the dulce de leche layer.

Layer One is Complete

Pour the dulce de leche layer into the pan and return to the freezer. Make the white chocolate custard next (you can keep it in the fridge until you are ready to add the cream and churn it). When the dulce de leche layer is firm to touch, drizzle/scatter any ingredients you are including between layers (pecans, dulce de leche, chocolate buttons) over the dulce de leche layer and return to the freezer, and churn the white chocolate layer.

Layer 2 is complete

Pour the white chocolate layer into the pan and return to the freezer.

Aerial view of cake about to be served

When you are ready to serve:

  • Scatter over the milk chocolate buttons and grated chocolate
  • Remove from the spring form pan
  • Use a knife dipped in boiling water to cut slices

Sideview of cake with layers

Et voila!

Pretty mothaflippin delicious

The birthday boi was very happy with his cake, so was Sa Mère De Amazant Monsieur H! The second cake was the dessert for her birthday lunch.

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Ice Cream

Although I’ve already made one pumpkin pie icecream recipe, I went looking to create another, easier recipe. Especially now that I have oodles of pumpkin pie spice to use up. So I developed this recipe, a combination of cheesecake icecream and pumpkin.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake icecream topped with Granita crumbs

 Ingredients

Makes about 2L of icecream

  • 600mL thickened cream
  • 500gm cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tin pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • To serve:
    • 4 granita or digestive biscuits, crushed (serves 4-6 people depending on how generous you are with your crumbs)
    • Maple syrup to drizzle

Whisk together all the ingredients, then churn in an icecream maker and then freeze in your chosen receptacles. It really is that simple.

It does make a firm icecream. I tend to freeze it in the plastic takeaway containers (part of my reuse approach), and then take it out on a chopping board and cut off a slice when I want to serve.

To serve:

  • Lay your slice of icecream in a bowl
  • Top with granita/digestive crumbs
  • Drizzle with maple syrup

Et voila!

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Beaucoup deliciousness