CookingCooking techniques, recipes, recommendations and cooking equipment
Hello and a belated Happy New Year to you all in HPR land, Ken has recently made a call for more shows as the queue is a little light at the moment so I was pondering what to waffle on about.
You may know from a couple of my previous shows that as well as being into tech and Linux I’m also a keen Cook, and try and prepare as much of the food we eat at home from scratch as possible.
One of the keys to good dishes is a base of sweated vegetables such as onion, celery carrot and garlic which when cooked in olive oil, is called a Soffritto in Italian cookery. In other parts of the Mediterranean and Latin America where Europeans settled this base to dishes may include other vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms, and have other names such as mirepoix (/mɪərˈpwɑː/ meer-PWAH); but the idea is the same to give a base flavour to soups, sauces, risotto and stew type dishes.
Although not called the same thing this is also replicated in Asian cookery where spices and other aromatics are included such as ginger, lemon grass, chillies, cumin and coriander seeds.
While it is not obligatory to start dishes in such a way if you do use a base of flavours like this when cooking you will find that the finished dish has a more complex and deep flavour at the end, so if you don’t do this give it a try.
A simple starter is to make a tomato sauce for pasta using a base of finely chopped onion, celery, carrot and garlic soften all the vegetables in a pan with some olive oil, add a tin of tomatoes or jar of passata (sieved tomatoes) reduce for 10-15 minutes until all the flavours combine and use as a sauce over pasta with grated cheese.
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch of salt
Cinnamon Sugar Mixture Recipe:
- 1 part cinnamon (or less)
- 8 parts sugar
First off I have to admit to being a bit of a foodie and I love Sauerkraut but getting naturally fermented sauerkraut here in the UK in my experience impossible and if you can it tends to be expensive. So I went and had a look on YouTube for some instructions on how to do it, and my first efforts worked well. I’ve just made another batch and took pictures as I was doing it. So this is a how to show on making Sauerkraut.
Just to say that this is about making basic sauerkraut but you can add additional flavours with garlic, other veg and spices. At some point I will try chilli but this week I want the clean taste of a basic sauerkraut.
I use a large white cabbage which you need to strip any outer leaves that are blemished or dirty then quarter and cut out the hard core. Now before shredding weigh the cabbage as you need this to work out how much salt you will add for each Kilo of cabbage and other vegetables, if using. You need 20 grammes of salt, nothing fancy but use one without any any additives, just pure salt, I used a rock salt which cost £1.35 for 350g. You're basically after 2% salt to weight of Cabbage and anything else you are fermenting.
It’s also an idea to have about 100mls of a 2% brine to top up if needed to cover the veg in the jar if there is not quite enough liquid made during mashing.
Shred the cabbage and put into a large bowl with the salt, now the fun bit starts. You need to get your hands in and start to crush the salt covered shredded cabbage to start drawing out the moisture, this will take several minutes or longer depending on quantity, but you will feel the texture changing and the liquid starting to be drawn out quite soon after starting. Continue this process until the cabbage seems to have shrunk by about half and there is also a juice in the bottom of the bowl. You can cheat and do this for a few minutes then cover with food wrap and leave for up to an hour and the salt will have done some of the work for you, but you need to give it a good 5 minutes to start before you do this, and you may have to do a little more mashing before transferring to a jar.
At this stage find a jar or jars, large enough to hold all the cabbage with a little to spare, you can sterilise if you wish but a good clean in hot soapy water then rinsed and allowed to dry is sufficient as the salt kills and bad bacteria and encourages to good bacteria to grow. Put all your salted and mashed cabbage mix in the jar/jars well packed down with the juice ensuring that the juice is covering the cabbage by about 1cm (this is where the extra saline solution comes in if you don’t quite have enough.
Now put your lid on but not overly tight as this is a fermented product and if there is nowhere for the gas to go then you could have a pressure explosion in your cupboard (some people use wine makers fermenting valves but this is a little overkill and more cost than needed).
Tuck the jar away in a storage place that’s about room temp and leave for several days checking every so often to see how it is. If the brine has evaporated you may need to top up slightly. After about a week you should have sauerkraut, give it a try, if its sour enough this is when you take it and put in the fridge or cold cellar/garage to stop the fermenting. All you have to do now is start eating, oh, and make your next batch ready for when that’s gone.
How to make Jam/Jelly
Hi again HPR listeners, its the time of the year when I turn my hand to foraging and making Jelly from the local wild brambles.
The season has started early here in the UK so I’ve already produced over 60 jars of bramble jelly this year with more to come. Thankfully I have people who donate old jam jars for reuse during the year which I store for this very time of the year so I have not had any problems with jars for storage.
First on the issue of hygiene, before filling all the jars have previously been de-labelled and on the day of production are given another wash in hot soapy water, rinsed and placed in the oven and cooked for at least 15 minutes at 150° Centigrade (300° Fahrenheit) to sterilise them. All the lids are also boiled in water and kept hot until just before use for the same reason.
The first thing I do in making jelly is wash the collected fruit (Blackberries) and put it in a pan with a little water to start cooking, then mash with a vegetable masher to start the process of breaking down the fruit. I also add 1 Lemon cut in half to each 1½ Kg of fruit both for the acidity and the pectin in the pith of the lemon (this helps setting the jelly as it cools). If there are any available I add wild plums to the mix in about a 10% ratio of plums to the Brambles as these are also rich in pectin.
Once the fruit has boiled and broken down leave to cool, then remove the lemon skins ensuring you scrape the inside to get the gelatinous pulp into the pot as this contains the pectin. Now the fruit needs to be strained to remove the seeds etc. and just leave the juice for making the jelly.
Once this has been done reduce the juice by about a third to concentrate it a little then measure the remaining juice to calculate how much sugar you will need for making the jelly. I use 1Kg sugar to each Liter of juice (1lb/US Pint)
Put the juice in a pan large enough that it only comes half way up after the sugar is added as you need room for it to expand as it boils, bring the Juice back up to a boil and add the sugar stirring until it's all dissolved. This will have cooled it all down again so continue heating the juice and sugar mix until it starts to boil. At this stage you need to keep the juice boiling until it has come to Jam temp (105°C/220°F). If you have a Jam Thermometer you can use that to find the jam/jelly point. I don’t so I use a mixture of visual clues (boiling with lots of small bubbles on the surface) and using a cold plate kept in the freezer to test the Jelly as it cooks until its ready. You need to boil the juice for 10-15 minutes after it gets to temperature then put a drop of the juice on a cold saucer and leave for a minute, after which run your finger through the blob of juice and if it ripples up and stays there without closing the gap created you have Jelly. If not boil for a further 5 minutes and repeat until you have a setting jelly.
Editor's Note: above adjusted in accordance with the comment 2017-08-19
At this point remove pan from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. During this time you can drain your lids and lay them on a clean towel with the inside facing up ready to put on the jars (I’m using recycled store bought jars and lids. If using preserving jars follow the instructions with these.
As this is a jelly you don’t need a fancy jam funnel as it pours well from a jug, just ensure it is clean and dry as the high heat of the jelly will ensure it is sterile on use, but if you're paranoid about infection sterilise it the same way as your jars in preparation.
All that remains is to remove a few jars from the oven, fill with the Jelly liquid, having given it a stir as you fill your jug. Put on the lids of the jars ensuring they are on tightly. If they have the security pop up button as the jelly cools if the lid is on correctly this will be sucked down showing a good seal.
Place the filled jars somewhere to cool, then label with a date and what it is, and you're set to enjoy your own home made jelly until it runs out, or give away as a home made gift to friends and family.
If you want more info about making jams and jellies YouTube is full of how to videos.
I have heard out here a few recipes so I figured I would throw one out here that goes over real well when we make it.
- 1 Lb. Keilbasa (your choice)
- 2 TBSP Ketchup
- 2 TBSP Brown Sugar
- 2 Table spoons jelly (I have used orange Marmalade, Grape Jelly and various flavors of Jalapeno or pepper jelly)
- Crock Pot (Slow cooker) or sauce pan
- In crock pot add Kielbasa sliced in 1/2" pieces
- Add jelly
- Add Brown Sugar
- Add Ketchup
Turn crock pot on medium for 2 hours checking and stirring every half hour. Should be ready in 2 hours.
In sauce pan on medium heat stirring continuously until mixture liquefies and the Kielbasa look done. Probably less than 20 minutes this way but you have to watch it or it burns. This is why we use a slow cooker.
I make 5-7 lbs at a time for a party and usually it is all gone by the end of the party. So I take it that it is a hit. This also is pretty good over rice. Almost Asian style.
- Scalded whole rye flour.
- Dried bitter orange - 2 pieces, i.e. about half of the peel from one bitter orange.
- Cinnamon powder
- Baking trays and bread pans.
Dough after rising one hour:
Loaves after rising:
Finished bread (photo from another occasion):
Recording device: Zoom H2n
The $250 Cookie Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2½ cups blended oatmeal
½ tsp. salt
12 oz. chocolate chips
1½ cups chopped nuts (your choice)
Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together in separate bowl. Combine with the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Add chocolate chips. Roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 10–12 minutes at 375°F.
It's oatmeal, I don't know how much we need in terms of notes.
- 2 cups water
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup steel cut/pinhead oats
- 1/8 teaspoon total allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon
- 1/4 cup brown/demerara/whatever sort of sugar
- 1/2 cup raisins
- boil water and salt
- heat on medium, add oats, spices, sugar
- stirring regularly, cook for 6 minutes, or until you get tired of stirring.
- remove from heat, add raisins.
- let sit for a few minutes to cool/finish absorbing water.
Frank describes his recipe for Five Seed Bread, inspired by Kerry Greenwood's first Corinna Chapman mystery novel, "Earthly Delights."
List of Ingredients:
- 1 cp. (237 ml.) warm water
- 1 packet yeast
- 1 1/2 cps. (213 grams) white flour, approx.
- 1 1/2 cps. (213 grams) rye flour, approx.
- 1 tbs. (14 grams) each dill seed, fennel seed, sesame seed, caraway seed, or to taste
- 1 tsp. (5 ml.) coriander (the reference in the story referred to coriander seed, but I didn’t have any of that, so I ad libbed)
- 1/4 (1 ml.) tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. (2 ml.) light brown sugar
- Kerry Greenwood: http://phrynefisher.com/Kerrygreenwood.html
- The Corrina Chapman Cookbook: http://mysteryreadersinc.blogspot.com/2012/03/kerry-greenwood-cookbook.html
- US-Metric Equivalents: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/equiv.htm
How to Make Kamboucha Tea
Makes about 1 gallon
Ingredient US Metric water 3 1/2 quarts ?? white sugar 1 cup ?? black tea 8 bags (or 2 tablespoons loose tea) ?? starter tea from last batch of kombucha or store-bought 2 cups ?? scoby 1 per fermentation jar N/A
Optional flavoring extras for bottling: 1 to 2 cups chopped fruit, 2 to 3 cups fruit juice, 1 to 2 tablespoons flavored tea (like hibiscus or Earl Grey), 1/4 cup honey, 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh herbs or spices
- Stock pot
- 1-gallon glass jar or two 2-quart glass jars
- Bottles: Six 16-oz glass bottles with plastic lids, 6 swing-top bottles, or clean soda bottles
Note: Avoid prolonged contact between the kombucha and metal both during and after brewing. This can affect the flavor of your kombucha and weaken the scoby over time.
1. Make the Tea Base: Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea and allow it to steep until the water has cooled. Depending on the size of your pot, this will take a few hours. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pot in an ice bath.
2. Add the Starter Tea: Once the tea is cool, remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea. Stir in the starter tea. (The starter tea makes the liquid acidic, which prevents unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence in the first few days of fermentation.)
3. Transfer to Jars and Add the Scoby: Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon glass jar (or divide between two 2-quart jars, in which case you'll need 2 scobys) and gently slide the scoby into the jar with clean hands. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of cheesecloth or paper towels secured with a rubber band.
4. Ferment for 7 to 10 Days: Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and where it won't get jostled. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the kombucha and the scoby periodically.
It's not unusual for the scoby to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways. A new cream-colored layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. It usually attaches to the old scoby, but it's ok if they separate. You may also see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles collecting around the scoby. This is all normal and signs of healthy fermentation.
After seven days, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.
5. Remove the Scoby: Before proceeding, prepare and cool another pot of strong tea for your next batch of kombucha, as outlined above. With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. As you do, check it over and remove the bottom layer if the scoby is getting very thick.
6. Bottle the Finished Kombucha: Measure out your starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for the next batch. Pour the fermented kombucha (straining, if desired) into bottles, along with any juice, herbs, or fruit you may want to use as flavoring. Leave about a half inch of head room in each bottle. (Alternatively, infuse the kombucha with flavorings for a day or two in another jar covered with cheesecloth, strain, and then bottle. This makes a cleaner kombucha without "stuff" in it.)
7. Carbonate and Refrigerate the Finished Kombucha: Store the bottled kombucha at room-temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate. Until you get a feel for how quickly your kombucha carbonates, it's helpful to keep it in plastic bottles; the kombucha is carbonated when the bottles feel rock solid. Refrigerate to stop fermentation and carbonation, and then consume your kombucha within a month.
8. Make a Fresh Batch of Kombucha: Clean the jar being used for kombucha fermentation. Combine the starter tea from your last batch of kombucha with the fresh batch of sugary tea, and pour it into the fermentation jar. Slide the scoby on top, cover, and ferment for 7 to 10 days.
• Batch Size: To increase or decrease the amount of kombucha you make, maintain the basic ratio of 1 cup of sugar, 8 bags of tea, and 2 cups starter tea per gallon batch. One scoby will ferment any size batch, though larger batches may take longer.
• Putting Kombucha on Pause: If you'll be away for 3 weeks or less, just make a fresh batch and leave it on your counter. It will likely be too vinegary to drink by the time you get back, but the scoby will be fine. For longer breaks, store the scoby in a fresh batch of the tea base with starter tea in the fridge. Change out the tea for a fresh batch every 4 to 6 weeks.
• Other Tea Options: Black tea tends to be the easiest and most reliable for the scoby to ferment into kombucha, but once your scoby is going strong, you can try branching out into other kinds. Green tea, white tea, oolong tea, or a even mix of these make especially good kombucha. Herbal teas are ok, but be sure to use at least a few bags of black tea in the mix to make sure the scoby is getting all the nutrients it needs. Avoid any teas that contain oils, like earl grey or flavored teas.
• Avoid Prolonged Contact with Metal: Using metal utensils is generally fine, but avoid fermenting or bottling the kombucha in anything that brings them into contact with metal. Metals, especially reactive metals like aluminum, can give the kombucha a metallic flavor and weaken the scoby over time.
• It is normal for the scoby to float on the top, bottom, or sideways in the jar. It is also normal for brown strings to form below the scoby or to collect on the bottom. If your scoby develops a hole, bumps, dried patches, darker brown patches, or clear jelly-like patches, it is still fine to use. Usually these are all indicative of changes in the environment of your kitchen and not a problem with the scoby itself.
• Kombucha will start off with a neutral aroma and then smell progressively more vinegary as brewing progresses. If it starts to smell cheesy, rotten, or otherwise unpleasant, this is a sign that something has gone wrong. If you see no signs of mold on the scoby, discard the liquid and begin again with fresh tea. If you do see signs of mold, discard both the scoby and the liquid and begin again with new ingredients.
• A scoby will last a very long time, but it's not indestructible. If the scoby becomes black, that is a sign that it has passed its lifespan. If it develops green or black mold, it is has become infected. In both of these cases, throw away the scoby and begin again.
• To prolong the life and maintain the health of your scoby, stick to the ratio of sugar, tea, starter tea, and water outlined in the recipe. You should also peel off the bottom (oldest) layer every few batches. This can be discarded, composted, used to start a new batch of kombucha, or given to a friend to start their own.
• If you're ever in doubt about whether there is a problem with your scoby, just continue brewing batches but discard the kombucha they make. If there's a problem, it will get worse over time and become very apparent. If it's just a natural aspect of the scoby, then it will stay consistent from batch to batch and the kombucha is fine for drinking.
How to Make Perfect Steel-Cut Oats
Steel-Cut oats are amazingly good—delicious and nutritious—but they're kind of a pain to cook because they're so hard and require so much simmering. It can take up to 30 minutes to cook them on the stove top and you have to stir constantly to make sure they don't boil over or stick to the pan. I tried doing them in a rice maker and in the microwave, neither of which turned out well. Then I tried the slow cooker and found that this is the perfect way to make steel-cut oats exactly right every time with hardly any effort.
- Steel-cut oats
- Water (4-to-1 water-to-oats ratio)
- Salt (¼ teaspoon for each ¼ c. oats)
- Pure maple syrup to taste
- Butter to taste
Just put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 4 hours. The water and oats should be combined in a 4 to 1 ratio. When I make this using American measurements, I used 1 Cup water for each ¼ cup of oats. In the metric system this is about 240 ml water for each 40 grams of oats.
Not for the first time I'm following in the footsteps of Frank Bell. Frank did an HPR episode entitled "A Beginner with a Wok", episode number 1787, on 2015-06-09. On it he spoke about his experiences stir-fry cooking using a wok.
Frank got a lot of comments about his episode and there seemed to be an interest in the subject. I have been interested in Chinese, Indonesian and other Far Eastern cookery styles for some time, and do a lot of cooking, so I thought I'd record a show about one of the recipes I use.
My son visits around once a week and eats dinner with me. I offered to cook him my version of Chow Mein, which since he is vegetarian, needed to use no meat. This is my description of the recipe I used.
I loosely based this version of Chow Mein on Ken Hom's recipe in his book Chinese Cookery, page 226. This is from his 1984 BBC TV series, which I watched. I also learnt many of my preparation techniques from Ken Hom's books and TV shows.
I have written out a long set of notes to accompany this episode and these are available here http://hackerpublicradio.org/eps/hpr1946/full_shownotes.html.
Apologies for the sounds of a mouse scroll wheel in the audio. I was trying a new microphone position and didn't realise how sensitive it was to these sounds.
- HPR episode 1787, "A Beginner with a Wok", by Frank Bell: http://hackerpublicradio.org/eps.php?id=1787
- Wikipedia article on Ken Hom: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Hom
- Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery:
- 1986 edition (ISBN-13: 978-0060960599): http://www.amazon.com/Ken-Homs-Chinese-Cookery-Hom/dp/0060960590
- 2009 edition (ISBN-13: 978-1846076053): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chinese-Cookery-Ken-Hom/dp/1846076056/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1450957458&sr=1-15
- Wikipedia article on the Green bean: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_bean
- Wikipedia page on Mange tout: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mange_tout
- Wikipedia page on the Snow pea: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_pea
- Wikipedia article on Agaricus bisporus, the Chestnut mushroom: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agaricus_bisporus
- Wikipedia article on the Bean sprout: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bean_sprout
- Wikipedia article on Quorn: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quorn
- Lao Gan Ma website: http://m.laoganma.com.cn/product.aspx
- Wikipedia page for Lao Gan Ma: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lao_Gan_Ma
Ken Fallon was asking for bread-making advice on a recent Community News recording. I've been making my own bread since the 1970's and I thought I'd share my methods in response. Frank Bell also did an excellent bread-making episode in 2013.
I have prepared a long description of my bread-making process, with photographs and a recipe, and this is all available here: http://hackerpublicradio.org/eps/hpr1827/full_shownotes.html
- Full notes: http://hackerpublicradio.org/eps/hpr1827/full_shownotes.html
- Frank Bell's HPR episode on bread making: http://hackerpublicradio.org/eps.php?id=1327
- Kenwood Chef: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenwood_Chef
- Panasonic SD255: http://www.chrisrand.com/panasonic-SD255-breadmaker-bread-maker/
- Wholemeal bread recipe: http://hackerpublicradio.org/eps/hpr1827/Wholemeal_Bread_Recipe.pdf
Frank describes James Beard's simple and almost infallible recipe for making Hollandaise sauce with a blender.
The recipe from the _Theory_and_Practice_of_Good_Cooking_, used copies of which can be readily found via a web search. According to Amazon.doc, new copies are also available. Frank's copy is a first edition dating from 1977, though it's been used too much to be a collector's item.
Merriam-Websters defines "stir-fry" as "to fry quickly over high heat in a lightly oiled pan (as a wok) while stirring continuously." (Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stir-fry)
Talk about stir-frying. Not an expert by any means, but think I've learned enough to share a bit.
Frank bought a wok, quite on impulse, and has been experimenting with stir-fry recipes and has found it surprisingly easy--much easier than, say, making a souffle or oysters Rockefeller. In this podcast, he discusses what he has learned and in the context of narrating the preparation of a meal.
- http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/shrimp-vegetable-stir-fry (Note: The first step in this recipe is to make your own teriyaki sauce. You can use a commercial sauce instead.)
OggCast 2014. we cook dinner, I drink beer, a time is had by all. I'd like to amp this, but Audacity won't let me, so listen carefully.
Broam, Briptastic, and FiftyOneFifty talk about the meal they are making for Saturday Night at Oggcast Planet Live 2014 from when they thought about it until dinner was served, as well as that day's fun at Knoebels theme park at Elysburg PA and the plans to visit the ghost town of Centralia the following day.
Using a Weber grill to cook all your food.
- Weber Grills: http://weber.com
- Basic Grill Model: http://www.weber.com/grills/series/one-touch/one-touch-silver-225
- Chimney: http://store.weber.com/accessories/category/cook/1466
- Lighter Cubes: http://store.weber.com/accessories/category/cook/1324
- Grate for use with a Wok: http://store.weber.com/accessories/category/cook/cookware/1390
Frank Bell prattles on about baking bread while he bakes two loaves of honey wheat bread.
- Table of US, Imperial, and Metric equivalents: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/equiv.htm
- Picture of honey wheat bread under construction; http://www.pineviewfarm.net/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Frank_Bread.jpg
- Frank's generic bread recipe: http://www.pineviewfarm.net/weblog/2011/11/well-bread/
- Sour dough starter: http://breadbaking.about.com/od/sourdoughbreads/r/basicstarter.htm
- Kon-Tiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kon-Tiki