Jean Anderson’s Sweet Red Pepper Paste (Massa de Pimentão)

Pimentão

This blog was inspired by Food52 and a recipe by Jean Anderson taken from her cookbook “The Food of Portugal” (or is it Brazil given the spelling of pepper?). I suspect that many of you will already be familiar with Food52 but if not be sure to check out their web site with its wonderful recipes, inspirational photography (consistently well lit and styled but never, as is so often the case, over propped) and not to forget the amazing array of kitchen and dining “essentials” that they sell. I count myself lucky that they are not based here in the UK or I would be even more cash strapped than I am today faced with such temptations. I have always been attracted to what can be best described as kitchen paraphernalia but as I have become more and more involved with food photography my collecting of plates, cutlery, glasses, pans, etc, etc seemingly has no bounds! After all, it will all find its way into a shoot sooner or later!

slicing & salting red peppers

But to return to the recipe; peppers have long been a favourite of mine both to photograph and to eat so this recipe was clearly a “must try” all the more because of its simplicity. You can find the recipe here but essentially it involves little more than cutting the peppers into strips and placing them in a bowl with sea salt between each layer and leaving uncovered for at least 12 hours.

Sliced & salted red peppers

Any excess liquid is then poured off and the peppers roasted at 125oC for about two to two and a half hours after which the skins are removed

roasted and skinned red peppers

and the pulp homogenised together with a clove of garlic and a little olive oil.

sweet red pepper paste

By the time all of this was done the air in the studio was heady with the smell of roast peppers and I had a satisfactory stash of paste set aside to use over the weekend as a marinade and sauce as well as a number of new pictures taken along the way.

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.

Oysters au naturale

 I tend to find that people either love them or loath them but for me oysters are an all time favourite and a perfect late brunch accompanied by a dash of Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon juice together with some slices of fresh bread (butter optional) and of course a glass or two of crisp white wine; a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is ideal or for a really special occasion a dry champagne! I suspect that oysters are more frequently eaten in restaurants than at home and there are certainly many great seafood bars and restaurants in Britain including Riddle & Finns in Brighton Randall & Aubin in Soho or for somewhere really special try the J Sheekey Oyster Bar in Covent Garden  and off course there are the Loch Fyne Restaurants which are now found widely throughout the UK. Alternatively if you are flying there are always the Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bars which provide a tranquil oasis combined with a touch of luxury before you board your budget airline flight!  In all of these place oysters perform a star role but they are so easy they should be not only for restaurants after all there is no cooking!

Oysters all too frequently have a bad reputation being associated with food poisoning but if you get them from a reputable supplier who has a high turn over and a reputation for quality and freshness the risks are no greater than for any other uncooked food. In Spain, Portugal and France finding top quality oysters is easy with even the large supermarkets such as Auchan having superb fish counters but in the UK you are best finding a specialist fish monger. The Pacific Rock Oyster is the most widely available oyster in the UK but it is possible to find the native oyster especially in the south of the UK; though I must confess that I actually prefer the rock oyster but my all time favourite are the French Fines de Claire. Whatever sort of oyster you end up getting you are always faced with one seeming “insurmountable problem” i.e. how to open them! There are countless tools and even chain mail gloves that you can buy to protect yourself during the process but the chances are that you already posses the best possible tool; namely a small screwdriver!

OYSTERS AU NATURALE

Prep time 15 minutes Cook time n/a Total time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 Oysters per person
  • 1 Lemon cut into large wedges
  • Tabasco sauce (McIlhenny Co.)
  • Bread – a French stick or Ciabatta loaf is ideal.
  • Salted butter
  • Crushed ice (optional)

 Method

  1. Oysters are best eaten the day they are bought but they can be kept for up to 24 hours in the fridge. As with mussels if any of the oysters are not tightly closed when you come to use them they should be discarded.
  2. Rinse the oysters under the cold tap and use a stiff brush to remove any loose pieces of shell, grit, etc then place in a colander to drain.
  3. To open the oysters place each oyster in turn on a wooden chopping board with the flat side facing uppermost. Holding the oyster firmly in one hand work the point of the screwdriver into the hinge at the pointed and of the shell and then lever the shell open. Once the shell has opened a little hold it open with your forefinger and thumb and slide the blade of a small sharp knife between the two shells so as to cut the abductor muscle that holds the two shells together.
  4. Remove the flat top shell and place on a serving plate (see photos), this will help stop the lower shells containing the oysters and the liquor from tipping over. Alternatively use crushed ice to form a bed upon which to arrange the oysters.
  5. Then use the tip of the knife to remove any broken flakes of shell which have fallen into the lower shell containing the oyster and arrange on the serving plate.
  6. Add a couple of lemon wedges to the plate, serve with Tabasco sauce, freshly cut bread and butter together with a glass or two of Sauvignon Blanc.

Share and enjoy!

Copyright: All photographs and text in the blog “Brunch at Goodies” are subject to copyright. © Keith Gooderham 2011-2012. All rights reserved. Do NOT copy material without requesting permission to do so. If you would like permission simply contact me.