Sicilian blood….

oranges and lemons were routinely wrapped in tissue paper when I was a child and each paper carried colourful pictures and strange words hinting of far off lands which at the time seemed impossibly distant and exotic. Now, even though it is many decades later the magic persists and I find it impossible to walk past a store selling fruit wrapped in tissue paper without buying a totally unreasonable number of oranges, lemons, etc. .So last week when I made my regular weekly visit to my favourite greengrocers, Roots and Fruits, here in Glasgow I found it impossible not to buy some Galletto Blood Oranges from Sicily, wrapped as they were in their blood red tissue papers.

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Of course they made a colourful addition to the kitchen but they deserved a better fate than pure ornaments and the obvious answer was to use them in a salad, combining the sweetness of the orange with the saltiness of dry black Greek olives and the flavours of finely sliced fennel combined with a blood orange dressing (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/217313/orange-and-fennel-salad/).

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A great combination of flavours and a wonderfully refreshing summer salad. If you haven’t any fennel to hand try chicory whose bitter leaves work as a superb contrast o the sweetness of the orange segments.

Roast Duck Legs & Stir Fry Vegetables in a Rich Plum Sauce

This dish is one of my favourites not the least because of its simplicity but it also tastes and looks great! However, be warned, it is not a quick meal to prepare with the duck legs taking 90 minutes to cook but actual hands on time is very short and the wait is definitely worthwhile! Although many would regard it as cheating the dish relies on a ready made . Sharwoods Plum Sauce, a gloriously sticky, sweet and spicy concoction. Strangely the sauce is becoming increasingly difficult to find here in Glasgow but both the Coop and Tesco continue to stock it.

Ingredients

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The meat

2 x Duck legs (I used ones from Gressingham which are widely available. Don’t use wild duck as the legs are much smaller and contain a lot less fat).

For the stir fry

1 x Red Onion, medium sized 

1 x Red Bell Pepper

1 x Yellow Bell Pepper

1 x Pak Choi

6 x Chestnut Mushrooms

You will also need

Soya sauce

Olive Oil

Plum Sauce (Sharwoods)

Maldon Sea Salt

3-4 Star Anise

 and rice; white long grain, 1/3 of a cup per person.

Method

  1. Place the duck leg in an oven proof dish, sprinkle about a teaspoons worth of Maldon sea salt over the skin of the duck legs, add the star anise, cover with a tightly fitting lid (I first cover the dish with a sheet of aluminium foil and place the lid of the dish on top of this) and placed in the oven at 180oC to cook for 60 minutes.
  2. While the duck legs are cooking cook the rice in boiling water, depending on the type of rice that you are using this will take around 15 to 20 minutes after which time the rice can be tipped into a sieve and be left to drain with the sieve hanging over the pan used to cook the rice and loosely covered by the pan lid. When it is time to plate up the rice is gently fluffed up using a pair of chop sticks and rinsed with a litre or so of boiling water. I am sure that many people will think that this way of cooking rice is heresy but it works for me and adds a great degree of flexibility to the timing of the cooking of the other dishes.
  3. After 60 minutes in the oven the duck legs will have released any excess fat and water and this should be poured off before returning them to the oven, this time uncovered, for a further 30 minutes.
  4. KG150413641a1bWeb1During the final 15 minutes of cooking the duck legs roughly cut the peppers, pak choy and onion into chunks about 2 to 3 cm square and stir fry in a hot wok in a little olive oil.Stir fry red and yellow peppers with red onion
  5. Once the onion and pepper begins to soften add  thinly sliced mushroom and continue to stir fry all the ingredients in the wok. I  prefer to keep working the contents of the wok with a broad wooden spatula while more accomplished chefs will  undoubtedly keep things moving with a simple flick of the wrist.Stir frying peppers onion and mushrooms
  6. As the sliced mushroom begins to take on a little colour add a splash of soya sauce and the pak choy, again cut into 2 to 3 cm squares, and mix well.
  7. Remove the duck legs from the oven and place on a chopping board and using a couple of forks pull the meat off the bones in large chunks and add to to wok together with a third to a half of a jar of plum sauce and continue to work with the spatula so as to ensure that the sauce evenly coats all of the vegetables as well as the meat.
  8. Finally reheat and rinse the rice that you set aside earlier with about a litre of boiling water, allow the rice to drain for a minute or so and then plate up onto a warm plate.

Sharwoods plum sauce makes a wonderful addition to a duck stir fry

Enjoy!

It’s all a matter of taste: part II

In my previous post I said that one of my pictures had been commended in the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition but I was not allowed to publish it until it appeared on the competition web site on the 24th of April, well the 24th has come and gone and in fact it is now the 24th of May so it’s high time I posted “the Picture”
The photo was taken at the Scotland Street School Museum in Glasgow and was submitted in the “An Apple a Day” category and is therefore called:

An Apple for Teacher

KG130122008Web1The other pictures which I submitted are shown below.

Arbroath Smokies

Arbroath SmokiesThis picture was taken last August in Edinburgh at the “Foodies Festival” where Iain Spink was doing a brisk trade in selling freshly smoked Arbroath Smokies. The fish, locally caught haddock, are filleted, dry salted and tied in pairs over a wooden baton before being smoked in a half whiskey barrel covered with hessian. After 30 to 40 minutes the fish are ready to eat, warm, smoky, moist and sweet – truly mouth-watering experience.

Partick Fishwife

Partick Fish Wife I have been visiting the biweekly Farmers Market at Partick in Glasgow’s West End for many years and for all that time Macmillan’s have been there come rain or shine but always with a smile and the best of Scottish seafood.

Voluptuous Red Peppers

Voluputous Red PeppersFood is not just a matter of taste it engages all the senses, smell, touch, even occasionally sound and of course always  sight! These bright rounded peppers look good in their own right but also hint at all the other things that they can contribute to from crisp salads to roasted and stuffed peppers.

Man Cooks Breakfast!

Man Cooks Breakfast!This picture is really just a bit of fun but there is also some truth in it as anyone who has seen me at work in the kitchen will attest with every pot, pan and utensil being used and every surface covered with the fallout from my cooking!

The Voluptuous Red Peppers shot is my personal favourite picture and when it was posted on Flickr it had an amazing 6800+ views, most of which occurred on just one day! However, different audiences react in very different ways to the same image. Clearly it’s all a matter of taste, if you have the time I would love to hear which picture you like best!

It’s all a matter of taste

Last year Pink Lady, the apple brand, launched an annual international food photography competition with the winner not only being awarded the prestigious title of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year but also walking away with a cool £5000 in prize money. With such an incentive it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that entries in its second year have increased by 70% with some 5500 images submitted. As the competition becomes better known around the world this number will no doubt continue to grow, after all 5500 images is small beer compared to the 49000 entries submitted to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Anyway 5 of the entries to the Pink Lady competition were from me. Sadly 4 of them failed to get even an honourable mention but one was “commended” and it will appear in the competition’s on-line gallery on the 24th of April until then I can’t even tell you the title of the work let alone let you see it! However, here are my remaining entries at least two of which I think were far better than the picture that ended up being selected. I would love to hear what you think:

Arbroath Smokies

Arbroath Smokies

This picture was taken last August in Edinburgh at the “Foodies Festival” where Iain Spink was doing a brisk trade in selling freshly smoked Arbroath Smokies. The fish, locally caught haddock, are filleted, dry salted and tied in pairs over a wooden baton before being smoked in a half whisky barrel covered with hessian. After 30 to 40 minutes the fish are ready to eat, warm, smoky, moist and sweet – truly mouth-watering experience.

Partick Fishwife

Partick Fish Wife

I have been visiting the biweekly Farmers Market at Partick in Glasgow’s West End for many years and for all that time Macmillan’s have been there come rain or shine but always with a smile and the best of Scottish seafood.

Voluptuous Red Peppers

Voluputous Red Peppers

Food is not just a matter of taste it engages all the senses, smell, touch, even occasionally sound and of course always  sight! These bright rounded peppers look good in their own right but also hint at all the other things that they can contribute to from crisp salads to roasted and stuffed peppers.

Man Cooks Breakfast!

Man Cooks Breakfast!

This picture is really just a bit of fun but there is also some truth in it as anyone who has seen me at work in the kitchen will attest with every pot, pan and utensil being used and every surface covered with the fallout from my cooking!

Commended

Image 5

Sorry but I can’t show you this image or even tell you it’s title until it is published on the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the 2013 on-line gallery on the 24th of April!

I posted the Voluptuous Red Peppers picture on Flickr a week ago and  since then it has had an amazing 6800+ views, most of which occurred on just one day! This picture has been a personal favourite ever since I first took it but it is often difficult as a photographer to be really objective about your own work, there are just too many associations with the image to allow a really unbiased view. But even different audiences will react in very different ways to the same image. Clearly it’s all a matter of taste, if you have the time I would love to hear which picture you like best, just use the voting form below and of course any comments are very welcome!

Neigh Worries!

Local butchers are not being slow to cash in on the ongoing horse meat debacle. I saw this sign at weekend  outside Andrew Reid’s on Great Western Road in Glasgow’s West End.

Neigh Worries

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Pasta With Love

Tagliatelle by “Pasta With Love”

Given that tomorrow is Valentines’ Day the title of this post my be regarded as a little contrived, however, the title has made itself in that it is the name of a small startup company which has been making a big impact on the farmers market scene in both Glasgow and Edinburgh ever since they first started business a little under a year ago. “Pasta With Love” is the work of a young couple, Duncan and Ness Fildes, who are clearly on a meteoric trajectory after winning a Great Taste Gold Taste Award for their linguine only three weeks after they started to trade!

“Pasta With Love” are to be found at the Mansfield Park Market in Glasgow every second and fourth Saturday each month and they also attend the markets at Queens Park, again in Glasgow as well as at Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Market. For more information visit their FaceBook page and see also Caroline von Schmalensee’s excellent article about “Pasta With Love” in her blog the “Edinburgh Foody”

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Tagliatelle with cheese sauce, tomato, mushrooms and bacon

This is a simple and quick dish packed with wonderful flavours and makes a perfect meal. For an even easier version use smoked Bavarian ham (Lidl) instead of bacon, a great taste and no need to cook it, though it is fantastic on pizzas!

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Serves 2 ready in 15 minutes.

Switch on the oven and set to 190oC, put a large pan of water, half full, on to boil, adding a glug of olive oil to the water; extra virgin (Is there any other? This will help stop the pasta sticking together once it has cooked). Wash a dozen or so freshly plucked basil leaves and 4 to 8 ripe tomatoes, depending on size, before slicing the tomatoes; crossways is best and leave to one side. Place 4 or 6 rashers of smoked bacon (pancetta or streaky bacon is fine too) in a baking tray lightly coated with olive oil and put in to the oven. Take 6 or so chestnut mushrooms, brush off any dirt and cut off the base of the stems before slicing vertically and placing in a frying pan with a good glug of oil and sauté. By this time the water for the pasta should be boiling, remove the saucepan lid and add the pasta, approximately 300g will be ample and boil for 3 to 4 minutes (4 to 5 minutes if cooking from frozen). While the pasta is cooking finish off the mushrooms by adding a dash of dark soya sauce and stir well. As soon as the pasta is ready tip it into a colander and allow to drain, covering with the saucepan lid. Return the pan to the stove and tip in 250ml of four cheese sauce (widely available from most supermarkets, alternatively make your own but we are keeping things simple!), reduce the heat to medium, tip in the pasta and mix thoroughly with the sauce. Put the plates in the oven to warm, (pasta hates cold plates!) while removing the bacon. Cut the bacon into stamp sized pieces and together with the mushrooms add to the pasta – cheese sauce mix and stir in. Take the plate from the oven and plate-up not forgetting to add the sliced tomato and basil! Season to taste and enjoy!

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Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.

Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and Restaurant Closed!

Before I start a nationwide panic I should say that I am referring to The Loch Fyne Oysters at Cairndow and not the nationwide chain of Loch Fyne Oyster Bars!

After days of snow, ice rain and wind Saturday dawned bright and clear and from my kitchen window I could see Ben Lomond capped with snow in the distance. The highlands were calling!

Ben Lomond and the mountains beyond

The roads were dry and the driving was easy as I headed north across the ErskineBridge and on through Dumbarton to the shores of Loch Lomond. From there it was on up to Tarbet and across to Arrochar and onwards along the A83 towards Rest and Be Thankful, though as I approached the climb up to Rest and Be Thankful there was a sanity check with a car lying upside down beside the road, a victim of a patch of ice which had formed where water had being draining across the road and frozen. Driving more carefully I made my way towards the summit, working my way through the road works which seem to be a permanent feature of this road where landslips regularly close this vital link to the west and north of Highland Scotland. At the summit I turned off along the B828 heading for Lochgoilhead and then turning off before reaching Lochgoilhead and heading along the B839 for the Dunoon road before rejoining the A83 for Cairndow and Inverary. Apart from giving a quieter and more scenic route to Loch Fyne my real purpose was to prospect for some new locations for taking photos along the streams and in the oak woods that are so much a feature of this route and while I found some good sites they will have to wait another month or two as the winter sun is still too low to reach into the deep valley bottoms to make photography really worth while. However, while I wasn’t to get any new pictures I was at least assured some oysters once I reached the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar. However, as I approached the shop the normally busy car park was almost deserted and the restaurant was clearly empty! Heading into the shop the reason soon became apparent the restaurant was indeed closed while the shop was preparing to close on Sunday in preparation for a two month long refit. The plan is that they will reopen in time for Easter. Luckily I had got there just in time and they still had oysters though I am at a loss as to know what I am going to do for the next two months!

Shop, Smokery and Restaurant, Cairndow has it all.

Clearly I will be counting the days not only for my regular supply to be re-established (mail order is still a possibility for the whole Loch Fyne range but at this stage at least ordering half a dozen oysters by mail order would seem a little decadent even for me!). It is also going to be very interesting to se how the remodelling works out. It has always seemed to me that both the shop and the restaurant fail to make the full use of their potential and while there is no doubt the demand for a full formal restaurant (the place is always busy) I think that there is an opportunity for a brasserie style restaurant offering a wide range of small dishes (just as Harvey Nichols does at their Forth Floor restaurant in Edinburgh) backed up by an extended range of products, especially seafood, in the shop. Anyway we will just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile I carried my oysters home and had a very special brunch of oysters au naturale together with a dash of Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon accompanied by a few slices of Ciabatta and a glass or two of Sauvignon Blanc.

Loch Fyne Oysters naturally!

Loch Fyne Oysters naturally!

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2013. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.