Sunday 31 March 2013

Sunday 29 May 2011

My Pork Ribs and Beans

Happy Spring!
This is my first post for 2011. Without much preamble, I include my recipe:

Lisa's Pork Ribs and Beans Hot Pot


1 pkg pork ribs (750 gms)
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil, for browning
1 large onion, sliced
7 cloves garlic, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 can barlotti or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 large handful cilantro, chopped finely (about 4tbsp, final)
1 spoonful chicken powder in 500ml water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp (or more, to taste) Tabasco or other hot sauce
1/2 packet Goya Sáson seasoning (orange pack, if available)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Heat the oil in a large skillet and, in batches, lightly brown the ribs on all sides. Transfer ribs to a pressure cooker as they brown.

2. When all the ribs are browned, add the sliced onion and 4 cloves of the garlic to the hot oil in the pan. Let sizzle for a minute or two, until they begin to take on colour and smell fragrant. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan and put in the pressure cooker with the ribs.

3. Deglaze the pan with a little water and add the juices to the pressure cooker along with the chicken powder/ water mixture.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, salt, pepper, chopped celery & green pepper, balsamic vinegar and Tabasco or hot sauce to the pressure cooker, cover and turn on the heat. Allow the pressure cooker to come up to pressure with gentle rocking. Set a timer for 15 minutes.

6. After 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and cool quickly under cold running water in the sink.

7. Remove the lid and return the cooker to the heat. Add the remaining (3 cloves) of garlic, chopped, the Sáson seasoning (if using), half the chopped cilantro and the can of barlotti or red kidney beans. Bring to the boil and lower the heat. Allow to simmer for another 20 minutes.

8. Taste the sauce for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or vinegar, if necessary.

9. Garnish with remaining cilantro. Serve with steamed rice and a salad (although I didn't have time to make a salad!)

Sunday 17 October 2010

• Kedgeree

Kedgeree, originally uploaded by Lisa Fagg.
Sunday Brunch. I just love Sunday brunch. Today I was feeling particularly industrious; not surprising given I've not cooked a proper meal since sometime last week! Once again, I roped Steve into being my 'sous chef' and we whipped up our first kedgeree. I'm surprised we haven't made this together before...

As usual, I looked up a recipe on the web and went with the top 'hit' in my search; it happened to be but it could have been anyone... right??

What follows is Jamie's recipe for Kedgeree; my interpretation was a little different as it turned out to be more a 'Smoked Haddock Biryani'
than 'Kedgeree'. The difference being I left out the curry powder and used my own spices (cumin seed, mustard seed, turmeric, chilli powder and asafoetida) as well as green chillis and my own homemade garam masala. Yum.

But I'm feeling too lazy to try and reconstruct my concoction here so...

Hereeeeee's Jamie:

"This is a traditional British breakfast from colonial India and it’s a lovely little dish, with a nice balance of spicy and smoky flavours. It makes a tasty lunch or supper too – so get stuck in!


• 2 large free-range or organic eggs
• 680g undyed smoked haddock fillets, pinboned
• 2 fresh bay leaves
• 170g long grain or basmati rice
• sea salt
• 110 pure butterghee
• a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
• 1 medium onion or 1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
• 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 heaped tablespoons curry powder
• 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
• 2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
• juice of 2 lemons
• 2 good handfuls of fresh coriander, leaves picked and chopped
• 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
• a small pot of natural yoghurt

"Boil the eggs for 10 minutes, then hold under cold running water. Put the fish and bay leaves in a shallow pan with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from pan and leave to cool. Remove the skin from fish, flake into chunks and set aside.

"Cook the rice in salted water for about 10 minutes and drain. Refresh in cold water, drain again, and leave in the fridge until needed. Melt the butterghee in a pan over a low heat. Add the ginger, onion and garlic. Soften for about 5 minutes, then add the curry powder and mustard seeds. Cook for a further few minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and lemon juice.

"Quarter the eggs. Add the fish and rice to a pan and gently heat through. Add the eggs, most of the coriander and the chilli and stir gently. Place in a warm serving dish. Mix the rest of the coriander into the yoghurt and serve with the kedgeree."

Sunday 3 October 2010

• Chicken

Pot Roast Chicken
Pot Roast Chicken, originally uploaded by Lisa Fagg.
Ah... Cooking! Tonight's dinner (about to sit down and enjoy this)

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Chicken Pot-Roast


1 chicken, weighing 4 to 6 pounds
2 onions
3 large carrots
3 leeks
3 potatoes
2 bay leaves
2 to 3 sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon soft butter
A glass of white wine
A glass of water
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Place the chicken in a large casserole, a clay pot, or a deep roasting pan with a lid. Slice the onions and cut all the other vegetables into chunks. Arrange the vegetables and herbs around the bird. Rub the butter over the breast of the bird and pour over the wine and water, then season well with the salt and some pepper.

2. Place the lid on the dish and put it in a preheated 375°F oven. Remove the lid after about 50 minutes and give the vegetables a good stir. Baste the chicken with the fat on top of the juices in the dish. Leave the lid off and return to the oven for 25 to 35 minutes, until the breast is nicely browned and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer.

3. To serve, transfer the chicken to a large warmed plate and carve it up fairly chunkily. Spoon vegetables from the roasting pot and plenty of buttery juices onto each plate beside the meat.

Note: If using a stewing chicken, turn the oven down to 300°F after the first half an hour, then cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours without removing the lid. Turn the bird over on its back halfway through cooking and give the vegetables a good stir at the same time.

• Cook Books

Cook Books, originally uploaded by Lisa Fagg.

Hello, Friends!  I'm back after a break from just about everything!  We're doing some re-thinking and re-organising here at the Fagg household.  Books have not escaped my culling knife this time...

I have too many cook books.  Even after this cull, I STILL have too many cookbooks. These books are going to make their way over to one of the charity shops on Mill Road sometime soon.  I thought, though, that I might give my friends and acquaintances first dibs on the books.

Look over the list below and just drop me an email (LAF42) and let me know which ones you want.  I can bring them into work and you can collect them from there.

Hope you find something you like - I hope I manage to include links to their Amazon (UK) pages so that you can read about them....
  1. Indian Food Made Easy by Anjum Anand
  2. Ken Hom Travels with a Hot Wok by Ken Hom (Hardcover - 18 Dec 1997)
  3. River Cafe Cook Book Green by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers (Hardcover - 4 May 2000)
  4. Glynn Christian Tastes Royal Thailand [Paperback]
  5. Soup by Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton (Paperback - 30 Oct 2003)
  6. Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book by Ben R. Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Paperback - 28 Oct 1994)
  7. Ken Hom's Simple Thai Cookery by Ken Hom (Paperback - 2 Feb 2006)
  8. River Cafe Cookbook: Bk.2 by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers (Paperback - 7 May 1998)
  9. Antonio Carluccio's Southern Italian Feast: More Than 100 Recipes Inspired by the Flavour of Southern Italy by Antonio Carluccio (Hardcover - 26 Mar 1998)
  10. Thai Cooking from the Siam Cuisine Restaurant by Diana Hiranaga, Somcha Aksomboom, and Somchai Aksenboon (Paperback - 1 Mar 1990
  11. Sensational Salads: Delicious Recipes from Around the World by Christine Ingram (Hardcover - 1 Jun 1999)
  12. Rick Stein's Food Heroes by Rick Stein, James Murphy, and Craig Easton (Hardcover - 5 Sep 2002)
  13. The Classic Barbecue and Grill Cookbook (Classic Cookbook) by Marlena Spieler (Hardcover - 25 Apr 1996)
  14. Food from Fire: The Real Barbecue Book by Charles Campion and Jason Lowe (Hardcover - 15 Jun 2006
  15. Ainsley's Ultimate Barbecue Bible by Ainsley Harriott (Paperback - 7 Apr 2005)
  16. Wagamama: Way of the Noodle by Russell Cronin and Michael Freeman (Paperback - 31 Oct 1994)
  17. Rick Stein's Seafood Odyssey by Rick Stein (Hardcover - 7 Jan 1999)
  18. Ainsley Harriott's Gourmet Express by Ainsley Harriott (Paperback - 9 May 2002
  19. Ainsley Harriott's Meals in Minutes by Ainsley Harriott (Hardcover - 12 Feb 1998
  20. Cooking with My Indian Mother-in-law: Mastering the Art of Authentic Indian Home Cooking by Simon Daley and Roshan Hirani (Hardcover - 18 Aug 2008)

Sunday 22 August 2010

• Waterbeach - Madingley Route (34 miles)

"Today's route was a slight variation on our ride of three weeks ago. Again we headed north to Waterbeach and then struck out west. Just before Cottenham, we departed from our previous route and rode 3 miles north on "Long Drove" before turning south for a straight run through as far as Dry Drayton. At this point we cut through to Coton via Madingley before returning home via Grantchester and Newnham to complete our 34 mile circuit." - Steve

It all sounds so straightforward when put that way, doesn't it? This was no ordinary ride, though; I was testing my new handlebars!

Lately I've been suffering from a malady common to cyclists - I lean too heavily on my handlebars (probably because I need to strengthen my 'core' muscles...). With too much of my weight on my hands, my ulnar nerves are pinched and pressed on to the point that my hands first begin to tingle and then go "uncomfortably numb". All of this is very unpleasant (and, indeed, dangerous!) and, so far, shows no sign of letting up. I resolved to do something about it:

For a while now, I've noted that long-distance cyclists (I mean REALLY LONG distance cyclists; eg. people who set out one day and wind up back where they started - several years later, having circumnavigated the globe) have lately been seen using 'Butterfly' or 'trekking' handlebars. So, after much (much!) deliberation, I decided to swap my drops for one of these.

When I say "much deliberation" I mean that I thought about the change-over for at least a year and then made an appointment with my ever-faithful (and ever-patient!) cycle shop here in Cambridge, Howes Cycles, and then at the last moment I CANCELLED on them.  I just wasn't sure this radical move would do the trick.  Weeks later, however, I decided that I'd never know if I didn't take the plunge.  And so I did.

Weird.  The whole experience was slightly weird; I took my bike into the shop one morning and picked it up in the afternoon (NOT weird).  To my surprise, I was reminded of a time when I took my beloved Yorkshire Terrier, Charley (now deceased) for his first grooming.  I chatted with the groomer and then left Charley in her capable hands.  When I returned to the shop some hours later, I was greeted by an animal that recognised me but who looked nothing like my dog Charley!  He was shampooed and dried and clipped... he even sported a little blue ribbon, tied around a tuft of fur gathered between his (well-groomed!) ears! (Yep, weird)

Although my beloved Dawes Galaxy (c. 1997) didn't have a little blue ribbon like Charly did, this struck me as being nearly as radical a change in appearance as Charly's transformation was.  Moreover, the brakes and gear levers were in entirely different places to their former positons, which complicated matters. My well-honed reflexes for shifting and, importantly, BRAKING, needed to be re-trained... or else!

So we went for a short ride yesterday to get me used to the different positions and make adjustments to the handlebars and saddle.  Today we planned a longer jaunt...

... TBC ...

Monday 2 August 2010

• Waterbeach-Hardwick loop (31mi)

Waterbeach-Hardwick loop 31mi, originally uploaded by Lisa Fagg.
"Our long weekend concluded with yet more changing plans. Originally conceived as a 50+ mile day trip to Ely, the inclement weather forced us to reconsider. Our revised route, of only 30 miles, headed North from Cambridge as far as Waterbeach. We then headed West through Landbeach to Cottenham before turning Southwest for a more-or-less straight run through to Hardwick. From there, we returned home on familiar roads, through Grantchester to complete our circuit of the city." -- Steve