leynos: (Cooking Mama)
Recipé time again. This is a synthesis of a number of different recipés for this dish I found dotted around the web. I've tried it several times and it works really well (as I'm sure Ruth will happilly testify). Especially if one is feeling under the weather.

Soupe à L'oignon

Serves 2, Preparation time: 60 mins (approx)


  • Two saucepans (one with a lid)
  • Knives
  • Measuring jug


  • 1 kg of medium sized onions
  • 2 OXO cubes disolved in 1/2 litre of hot water
  • 1/4 litre of white wine
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 15g butter (approx)
  • 2 tbl spoons olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • brandy/cognac
  • Accompanyment:

    • Two part-bake rolls
    • Grated emental cheese
    • Worcestershire sauce


  1. Peel and cut the onions in half, then cut the halves into strips roughly 8mm wide
  2. In one of the sauce pans, heat the olive oil and butter until melted
  3. Add the onions to the oil, season with salt & pepper and cover.
  4. In the other saucepan, bring the stock and white wine to the boil along with the garlic and bay leaf
  5. Add around 35 ml of brandy to each pan
  6. Turn the hob under the stock down to low, but keep the other one on medium/high.
  7. Stir the onions thoroughly every 5 mins, re-covering afterwords. Add a little water if they start to stick, but not too much. The aim here is to part fry, part steam the onions.
  8. When the onions have clarifed and browned slightly, add the contents of the other saucepan.
  9. Turn off the heat, re-cover and let the flavours combine for a few minutes.
  10. Heat the part-bake rolls according to instructions.
  11. When they are ready, split them in half and cover the open halves with emental, seasoned with a few drops of Worcestershire sauce.
  12. Return these to the oven until the cheese has melted.
  13. Serve.
leynos: (Cooking Mama)
Well, several secrets actually.

The key to the texture is onions. Lots of them. Chopped up into very small pieces and shallow fried in a saucepan with the lid on over a low heat for 40 minutes or there-abouts. Allow at least one medium sized onion per serving, more if you can.

I stopped using cream in my kormas some time ago. I found that the best combination is five desert spoonfuls of Lidl low fat (1.5%) yoghurt and one tin of coconut milk. This should yield enough korma for three hungry geeks. Don't pay more than a pound for a tin of coconut milk—the best place to get it as at an Asian grocers, e.g. Accha on Morrison Street.

To give a korma a liitle "bite", a worthwhile addition is kewra water. This can also be had from an Asian grocers. Use about a tablespoonful. Failing that, a tablespoonful of brandy will do at a pinch.

I haven't gotten around to trying to make Korma paste from scratch, but I find that Patak's Korma Paste produces great results. Hey, even the mockney pratt uses it, so they must be doing something right.

Any more suggestions are welcome.
leynos: (Cooking Mama)
Ruth had some guests over yesterday whom we owed dinner, so I got to try out some of my cooking experiments on them (mwahahah). Since one of the guests is vegetarian, we figured it would be easier just to cook one dish instead of two. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to attempt making pasta from scratch. So of course, I turned to Google which yielded this suggestion. Sounds easy enough I thought. Of course, I would also need some vegetarian pasta dough, and a sauce of some kind to go with it. I suggested carrot and orange soup as a starter, which everyone liked the sound of.

The shitake mushrooms came from Thai@Haymarket, but pretty much any Chinese/south east Asian supermarket will have them. The rest of the vegetables came from Tattie Shaws, undoubtedly the best green grocers in Edinburgh. A helpful gentleman had recommended Valvona & Crolla's double zero pasta flour but, sadly, they were out, so I had to make do with Allinsons Very Strong bread flour. Valvona & Crolla were also a bit limited in their selection of vegetarian cheese (no romano), so I went with a light Scottish dairy cheese for the sauce instead.

For making ravioli, I picked up a ravioli press from Lakeland.

I try to avoid kitchen gadgets to begin with, as I like to learn how things are done by hand first, but in this instance, I was grateful for the speed afforded by an electric whisk for kneading the dough, as it took me a few goes to get the ravioli out of the press correctly. By the third try, the press was turning out perfect little pasta parcels. It seems the answer is to cover the thing in flour. Actually, it can't be stressed strongly enough how essential a flour duster is for this task.

As a quantity guide, the linked pasta dough recipe makes enough for one ravioli tray and one tray does two people.

This was also my first experience of using a food processor—Ruth had a Braun stick blender in her cupboard that had seemingly gone unused, but worked perfectly. I'm now sold on the value of these things, so I will look into obtaining one for myself.

I served the pasta with steamed asparagus (again, mad propz to Tattie Shaws). Everyone was pleased with the meal, a huge relief as my estimate of preparation time was way off. One of Ruth's guests had brought her signature lemon drizzle cake, which I'd heard a lot about and definitely didn't disappoint.

Now that I know I can make pasta, it feels that another one of life's little mysteries has fallen by the wayside. The whole experience was definitely a little exhausting though. Next time, I think I will split the preparation over two days if possible.

Easy Gravy

Feb. 8th, 2009 08:19 pm
leynos: (Cooking Mama)
Makes enough for one and a bit, so for 2-3 people, double everything, etc. This is also a bit of a work in progress, so feedback is welcome.

Prepare some beef stock by dissolving an OXO cube in half a pint of water.

Finely chop two large shallots (or four small shallots).

Fry the shallots in butter until they begin to brown, then add about a tablespoon of port, and let this boil for about a minute to get rid of the alcohol.

Take the shallots off the heat, then in a saucepan, melt a tablespoon of butter. To this, add a tablespoon of plain flour and blend the two together.

Let this mixture cook for a minute or so, then add the shallots.

To this mixture, add a teaspoonful of balsamic vinegar and the beef stock.

Stir well, season with salt and pepper, then allow to simmer over a low heat for about five minutes, or until it has reached your desired consistency.

I had this on my bangers and mash last night. It was g00d.
leynos: (Cooking Mama)
[livejournal.com profile] gominokouhai and [livejournal.com profile] stormsearch confirm that this recipe does indeed work:


Although when they say "serves 4-6", surely they mean "serves 8-12." Unless you have an inhuman appetite for chocolate. (And when I say inhuman, I mean it. This is coming from a card carrying member of chocoholics anonymous).
leynos: (Jack Off Jill)
I think I've discovered the secret to perfect fried rice. Here's what I did:

Firstly, use short-grain rice. I.e., the stuff that's sold as sushi rice. It's cheaper if you get it from the Chinese supermarket. Up to this point, I'd been using basmati, but it just doesn't compare. Honest.

After you've cooked the rice (whether that be using a rice cooker or saucepan), let the cooked rice sit for at least five minutes. I'm not sure why this is, but the longer you let it sit, the better.

Now, mix one egg (per cup of rice), with a good dash of light soy sauce, i.e., the stuff you get from a Chinese supermarket.

In a large non-stick saucepan, heat some peanut oil or similarly high boiling point oil. (Alternatively, use a well-seasoned wok).

When the oil is ready toss in the rice. Keep it moving, and fry the hell out of it on a high heat for a good 30 seconds or so.

Now, expose a little of the saucepan's surface in the centre of the rice and pour in half an egg's worth of the mixture prepared earlier.

When this begins to set, mix it in with the rice until it has fully set.

Repeat the previous two steps until all the egg has gone.


Et voila, fried rice to make the local Chinese take-away jealous.
leynos: (Wolfteam)
Well, the last time I tried making duck with ginger and spring onions, the duck didn't really seem to take on any of the flavour from the other ingredients, so... This time, I'm marinating the duck breast overnight with sake, spring onions and grated ginger. I've also got me some pak choi to add to the finished product. Let's see how it goes.

Sea Bass

May. 25th, 2008 08:58 pm
leynos: (Cooking Mama)
And that, ladies and gentleman, is why I drink in the Blue Blazer. Any other pub, you'd be listlessly trying to apologise for not liking football to a heavyset man with no neck. Here, the heavy-set man with no neck gives you a concise and well-taught lesson on Chinese cookery that actually produces results (whilst you enjoy some splendid whiskies together, I might add).

It goes a little something like this:

  • Peel and cut a two inch long piece of ginger into staves, and slice three spring onions
  • Take one sea bass (well, he said sea bream, but I was limited by what Sainsbury's had), cut into the skin and rub with salt.
  • Fry half the ginger in a little oil until it briefly, then fry the fish on both sides with the ginger until the skin begins to crispen and brown.
  • Keep the fish warm and discard the burnt ginger
  • Fry the rest of the ginger and spring onions until the spring onions begin to wilt
  • Add a quarter pint of vegetable stock and a teaspoon of corn flour
  • Let the sauce reduce and thicken
  • serve with rice and green veg of your choice (and in my case, a pint of heffeweißen)
If I'd known it was that bloody easy, I'd have been doing this years ago.

leynos: (Default)
What can I say, I had chocolate cravings, and I couldn't be bothered walking to the 24 hour garage.


I can happily confirm that they are indeed both really easy and extremely delicious. They also have that crispy surface and gooey texture.

By some strange co-incidence, I also had exactly 70g of Green & Black's cocoa powder left.

I will take one to my doctor tomorrow and tell him it's a coping mechanism.


Aug. 19th, 2007 08:38 pm
leynos: (Ladytron)
I had another go at making this chocolate cake recipe from E2. I now also know that one cup is equal to roughly a quarter of a litre, and not as was previously thought, the capacity of a teacup, so a reasonable volume of cake mixture resulted. The resulting chocolate cake is indeed scrummy.


Apparently, it's been 47 months since I last played Animal Crossing. I'm hoping to see Hallowe'en and Thanks Giving this time (I have a US copy of AC).
leynos: (Default)
He kidnaps people and subjects them to his cruel bizarre cooking experiments.

A while ago, I kidnapped [livejournal.com profile] gominokouhai and [livejournal.com profile] stormsearch and forced them to endure my attempt at making pork stroganoff. By way of compensation, I promised to reveal to them the recipe. So here it is as prepared that fateful night:


  • 450g pork tenderloin, diced
  • 15g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 tbsp of sherry
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms
  • 250g creme freche
  • half a medium sized onion finely chopped
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika

First of all, warm the sherry in a milkpan, then soak the porcini mushrooms in it and leave to one side.

Fry the onions and shallots until soft and starting to brown, then add the pork and fry until browned. Add the soaked mushrooms (and sherry), the chestnut mushrooms and paprika. Fry for a bit longer to let the flavours blend. Lastly, add the creme freche and the thyme.

Serve on a bed of rice or whatever else you think will go well.

Last night, I subjected Ho-Il to my evil chicken and fennel stir-fry. This is something I have practiced on myself a few times to get it just right (gotta love Liddl and their 35p fennel). Also gives me an excuse to abuse my super happy fun wok. It goes a little something like this:


  • 2 chicken breasts cut into strips
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp sugar (I used light brown)
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice (might want to use a little less than that)
  • A good dash of light soy sauce

Put the chicken into a bowl and pour in the rice wine. Mix it with the spring onions, and leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Stir fry the onions and fennel until the fennel has softened up a little. Add the chicken, and stir fry some more. Now, add the sugar and soy sauce, and you guessed it, stir fry some more. Finally, add the five spice and give it all another stir for a good measure.

Serve on a bed of rice. (Sad fact: I have a 10 kg bag of rice in my kitchen).

I'd show you a picture, but it's usually eaten so fast that I don't have time to snap one.

I found Excel Saga volume 1 in CEX today for six squids. I hear it's quite messed up.
leynos: (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu)
Lu and Michael came over this evening, and we all had dinner together. For starter, they had brought dim sums, which were delicious. I made spaghetti bolognese again, which didn't turn out as good as last time, but was still perfectly palatable. As a fun experiment, I suggested gulab jamen for dessert. I had bought some mixture at a Pakistani supermarket earlier in the day, and since I now have a wok for deep frying, I felt that tonight was the night to fulfill one of my lifelong ambitions.

They turned out fantastic. :)

We also watched Nightmare On Elm Street, which Ho-Il had leant me about a year ago, and I had never gotten round to watching, and played a good deal of Ridge Racer 7 (oops, I forgot to mention that I now have a PS3).
leynos: (Cooking Mama)
I followed [livejournal.com profile] stormsearch's recipe suggestion:

Er... That's:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • A handful of apricots
  • A handful of dates
  • A sprinkling of sultanas
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • A dusting of nutmeg
  • Lots of Pinot Grigio

In the oven at 150 C for 3 hours or there-abouts.

Servers 2

It's very sweet, so I may have to tone something down next time I try, but otherwise, very tasty.

This week, I've also made lamb casserole (which just seemed to get better with each passing day) and the spaghetti bolognese of death (with spectacular spaghetti provided by [livejournal.com profile] scotm

I want to try making a risotto soon. (And yes, I'm still eating my dinner at my desk. Why do you think I was so insistent on a comfy office chair?)

The rest of the evening was spent reading volume 15 of Fruits Basket to Mozart piano concertos.
leynos: (Wolfteam)

Kitty discovers the suede beanbag

My two seater sofa will be getting delivered on Thursday. It had better fit this time. I'm still waiting on my high def DVD player and the SCART switch boxes, but everything should be all set up by the end of next week.

I've also ordered four official Gamecube joypads, Gamecube Mario Kart and Gamecube Smash Brothers from a liquidation company in America. This should be a laugh.

It'd be nice to try and pick up four Konga drums at some point, and get ahold of that four player Tetris for the SNES. Although I think my next project should maybe be obtaining ten Saturn pads for a bit of Hi-Ten Bomberman. VGI have a boxed set with a multitap and two pads at £90 as a starter.

I've been spending a bit of time lately playing Phantom Brave on the PS2. It's full of all the crazy mental ideas you'd expect in an NIS game.


Lidl were selling fennel for 35p a bulb today (roughly one tenth the price of the stuff in Sainsbury's). So I bought some (along with some dirt cheap asparagus and rocket) and roasted it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as per the suggestion of the first Google hit for "roasted fennel", and the result was fantastic.
leynos: (Cooking Mama)
For anyone interested, here's the recipe for the cheesecake I baked for the party:


I used digestives for the base and mascarpone for the cream cheese. Pretty much all of the ingredients were sourced from Lidl, with the exception of the vanilla extract.

Anyway, once again, thanks to everyone for coming along. It was cool getting to watch someone else playing Rez for once, too.


Apr. 22nd, 2007 12:16 pm
leynos: (Jack Off Jill)
My Uncle and aunt invited me over for dinner last night. The evening turned out rather well, surprisingly. They'd made spaghetti with meatballs, and my cousin showed me Monkeyball on the Wii and a strange ITV show called Primeval that he currently seems to be addicted too. After dinner, we all watched Doctor Who and The House of Sand and Fog which was showing on the BBC.

Yesterday, I also sorted out cable Internet for my new flat and paid the balance on my sofa.

On Friday, I met Lu and Michael for coffee. Since I only had an hour, we met in town. The only place I could think of in town where we'd have a remote chance of finding a seat and holding a conversation at a sensible volume was the Whisky Society members' room, which turned out to be quite a sensible choice. (Besides, I'm paying for membership, why not use the bloody thing).

That, and they make pretty decent coffee there too.

From Lu, I bought Harvest Moon for the Gameboy Advance, which I played a little of over Saturday.

Today, I will hopefully get a decent amount of packing done (if I don't spend the whole day lying in bed eating chocolate). And it's steak diane for dinner tonight.
leynos: (Default)
Hmmm... That'll teach me not to show up at a viewing without having first checked ahead.

Ahem. Anyway, I've lost the bidding on another two flats. The most recent one went for £102,000. That's a ridiculous 47% above the asking price. And that was without any carpets and in dire need of a new kitchen. A quick check of my budget spreadsheet tells me that I can't afford to spend £102,000. Let alone spend that and the £20k or so it would have cost me to get it into ship shape condition.

The second flat I viewed on Thursday was identical structurally, and in the same area, but fully decorated. The prospective buyer wouldn't have had to do anything to the place what so-ever. In other words, I haven't a hope in hell of getting it. Oh well.

Earlier, I also missed a similar flat on a fixed price sale. I put my offer in at 8:45am, the day after it was listed. And it had already gone. This business is insane.

Call me mad, but I'm going to view a couple of flats in the Hailes tomorrow. I liked living in Sighthill. Honest. I only ever got threatened with physical violence once. And it's just across the road from the local Lidl.


My experiment for today was to see if using mince from the local butcher would yield a better tasting chili than on one made using frozen mince. I also added a level teaspoon of cumin seeds.

The results from the first night seem to suggest that, yes, it does make quite a bit of difference. Three quid's difference? Well, since it does three meals, it's not so bad when you average it out.

Also, I somehow never seem to manage to spend less than ten quid when I visit Sommerfield. The bottle of 1664 Premiere and the trip to the olive bar didn't help I guess. Tasty though.


Fruits Basket volume 13 is out of the way now. Must find volume 14. The suspense is killing me. Will something happen between Kyo and Tohru? And will Ou-chan's crush get a sodding clue?


I just found out that Club Noir is on in Edinburgh this month (24th March). And it's at Calton Studios this time. I must go.


Mar. 7th, 2007 09:37 pm
leynos: (Default)
Red Sea Foods were selling some fantastically fresh looking okra. So I had to buy some. Sautéed it with mustard seeds, some tomato puree and plenty of salt. Lovely.

My airsoft rifle arrived today. It looks the part, but there's one critical flaw. The battery doesn't fit. Waaaa! I think I was a little over ambitious there. Now I have to either admit to having wasted £40 on metal gears, or try and find a 9.6V battery that does fit. Grr.
leynos: (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu)
Boring bog standard chili (works for me) (details provided for [livejournal.com profile] spudtater). Most of the unique details come from my sister. Although my habit of adding peppers and sweetcorn to my chilies was inherited from my Mum.

recipe )
leynos: (Wolfteam)
Some good things that happened:

a) I made a chili to my sister's recipé, and it turned out yummy. Secret ingredients: chocolate, lemon juice and an OXO cube.

b) I acquired Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for six quid. Finding time to play it has been another matter altogether. One night this week, I must go to bed early with my DS for company.

c) I've been enjoying copious amounts of NCIS. It's teh r0x0r. Characters that can I care about, a sense of humour, witty dialogue, and storytelling that manages to be fantastical without requiring suspension of disbelief. And Abigail is damn hot.

d) I've also been enjoying The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham. I have a creepy thing for end of the world novels.

e) Edge wrote an impressive retrospective feature on Jet Set Radio Future this month that pretty much pinned down exactly what made the game so brilliant. To quote: "Jet Set Radio Future is not a game, it's a place."


Part of me says, "That's so wrong." The rest is wondering why I can't think like that.


leynos: (Default)

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