I made some beef sausage last night. I should have asked or read or followed somebody. I had beef. I had casings. I had the drive.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the casings. Brent passed by on his way to pick up Lucy, “Brent,” I say, “what do I do with this shit?” “You soak them,” he says, like he has made sausage. I actually don’t know. Maybe he has made sausage. Hopefully this won’t come up when we’re on The Newlywed Game ( T.V. game show ).
My first sausage:
It was a bit fatter than I was expecting. Things got a little heated and I had to stop. I was doing it wrong. Brent came back in from picking up Lucy from school. “Here’s my sausage!” I say, “I think I did it wrong.” “Stop. I know where you went wrong,” he says in an even tone. Evidently, I needed to roll the intestinal condom on the hoob-a-joob completely, then let the sausage unfold into slinky sausage magic.
I got the hang of it. A bit tough juggling the raw meat, toddler, casing, sausage spooge and glass of wine, but I managed. No toddler was used in the making of this sausage. She screamed and cheered and wondered what the heck I was doing.
We cooked it up for a taste.
It was a bit crumbly at the fat end. I might need to add an egg or something. The skinny end ( we have a nickname for this, but I’ll hold it in ) was not as crumbly.
A little Dijon and it tasted not bad. There is a lot of work ahead arriving at the perfect beef sausage, but this one was edible and almost enjoyable.
Two out of four Curtis children approved. Zélie loved it and wanted more. Though, maybe she would do anything to avoid going to bed. A sausage good enough to delay bedtime.
Lucy: Mom, I need to give you …. Dad? what’s the friendly word for criticism?
Lucy: Mom, I need to give you feedback. It needs sauce.
Otto detested it. He’s sick, so perhaps another go.
I made four kilos of beef curry. It took most of the day to cook, but a little part of the day to prepare. It warmed the kitchen while cozying you up inside with a fantastic aroma. I used a recipe given to me by a friend and fellow beef eater. It’s Peter Kuruvita’s Sri Lankan Beef Curry. I’ve made it so many times that I have a few variations to reduce labor, pots, pans and availability of ingredients.
First, some beef. I used the “beef bourguignon” cuts from our meat box. I cut the chunks a bit smaller as I have young kids with cute, little teeth. It’s easier for them this way.
I marinate over night in all the spices and the ginger. For a 1 kilo batch, the spices are:
When I’m ready to cook, I chop a pile of onions and a load of garlic. That goes in “Big Red,” our big pot that rules them all. The onions and garlic bubble gently in butter waiting for the meat.
In a butter-lard fat mix, the beef gets colored.
I don’t brown it. There will be enough flavor with everything else joining the beef curry party.
The meat goes in Big Red with the onions and garlic.
Then the tomato paste, a little can ( not the little, little can. The tall, little can ). Add some pepper.
Then some water. It looks watery, but don’t worry. After some patience, it will turn all curry like.
On this day, award winning food blogger Anneli Faiers from Delicieux was around picking up some beef and met Big Red. She gave him a stir and a sniff.
This is her “hungry face.” I think the curry was progressing nicely.
A few hours later, beef curry magic. I cooled it down and stuck it in the fridge for further infusion. Curry the next day always seems to taste better.
Some chutney, some Substance P perhaps some creme fraiche … lovely. I thought my four kilo beef blast would last and I could pull some out of the freezer when I felt like an easy “chuck it in the pot” day. It went. All of it. I managed to freeze a bit for later, but later came so soon. It’s beef day today, maybe I’ll pull out Big Red and do it all again.
Minty uses her Jedi mind tricks to do many things like buy Cadbury Dairy Milk, dried sausage and choose what we eat for dinner. Well, technically, fettucini or linguine or very flat noodles with meatballs. No matter, you make, you boil, you eat with sauce and stuff, ’nuff said.
I didn’t think to write up Spag with Meatballs until I was well on my way. Mostly because I’m sick. I feel like resting as this old dog would do.
or sun bathing like this young barn cat.
Yet people need food and our kitchen needs to keep on keeping on.
Noodles ready. I made them with spelt. In French it’s called “épeautre.”
1 1/2 cups of spelt
mix and knead. roll in a pasta roller
Sauce on. Very simple. For kids, I try to avoid too many notes.
1 small onion
a bit of garlic
big can of toms
dash of allspice
Start the sauce. Defrost the beef. Make the noodles. Boil the water.
When things magically converge on a meal, boil the noodles. You can warm your balls in a low oven.
Wet your noodles with a bit of sauce and plate. Scoop some sauce and on go the meaty balls. Top with some parm.
Minty loved her Spaghetti with Meatball. Zélie said, “NO!” “NO! PEGGY MEAT BALL!!” That’s how she rolls.
We recently sold out our veal boxes. Thankfully, we managed to grab a t-bone to assess our quality. Every time we sell meat, the fry pan goes on and we sample to make sure the work put in for tasty meat is going along smoothly. Tasting a veal t-bone is a perk of farming grass-fed beef.
In France, it’s called a “cotes/filet a griller.” In any language, it looks delicious.
I fried in a fat that can take heat. Grass-fed tallow was ready to go.
After a gros sel, in to the hot pan for a right browning.
Then a flip. And another flip and another flip. I don’t eat veal rare, but I suppose you can.
Onions, shallots and garlic are ready to mop up the fond.
As the t-bone is resting, butter goes in for a meltdown.
The OSG absorb the butter as they mail-it-in as sauce. I think I added a dash of water, but wine or stock would seal the deal.
As we tasted, we had our best friend to the left of us.
Kitty to the right. Stuck in the middle with veal. A great lunch. It came out nice, this.
If you’re at the pub and someone shows up with hot meatballs, a rush of happiness fills the air. I love to make meatballs. Pair that with the Irish pub in Jegun to watch a lovely evening unfold. It’s so easy and straightforward. These babies are technically “Swedish Meatballs.” Though, after chatting to the two Swedish people I know, I’m guessing there is room for some artistic Swedish creativity when it comes to making balls out of meat.
When the balls were ready, they looked like this. I then rushed over to the pub for a giggle and some night life.
It is very simple. You need:
Mince or ground beef for the American crew ( I hear those crazy kids at Grasspunk do some mean mince )
Dash of flour
No chopping required. Put some mince into a big bowl.
You could ball them up like so, but first, add some spice.
And an egg. I added four eggs because I did a lot of meatballs.
Then a dash of Allspice. In France, they call it “quatre-épices.” Everything sounds great in French.
And some nutmeg.
And some pepper.
Duck fat in.
Ball them babies up and start browning.
If you do a lot of meatballs and your pan looks sad, change out the oil and start anew.
You could chuck in some beef broth and cream to let it bubble in an average oven. I’ve had bad luck with that, so I made a cream sauce instead.
A little flour to brown.
Then the beef stock.
Slowly. Nice and creamy.
Then the cream.
It’s a bit white at first, but when it snuggles in with the meatballs, it gets all browny browny.
The cream sauce is poured in with the browned balls.
In the oven for thirty minutes or so. Then, voila! Yummy meatballs for the pub!
This is actually a Heston Blumenthal chili recipe lazily executed by me. I customized it to suit the family. We use grass-fed beef from our farm Grasspunk. I actually don’t even remember the recipe. It goes a little something like this.
Chop some onions.
I finely dice my onions if I’m making this for my son Otto, otherwise he’ll pick each and every onion out griping at me the whole time. Tonight’s chili was for grownups, so I did big fat chunks as quickly as possible.
Then prepare some garlic.
I’m not a garlic basher. I think that’s a sad way to go if you’re a garlic. I like to chop off the top and peel. It falls off similarly to the garlic bash method. Then I thinly slice. One could crush the garlic into the chili. Mr. K will tell me that crushing is the best way. I will say, “no it’s not.” He’ll say, “yes it is.” Me, “no it’s not.” He, “yes it is.” “No it’s not.” “Yes, it is” We were in our late thirties at the time of that conversation.
It’s a matter of preference. For this chili, I like the subtle garlic flavor with the thinly sliced texture.
Duck fat in. Butter nub in.
Ready to gently bubble the onions and garlic into translucent bliss. Onions and Garlic go in the pan you want your chili to end up in.
A star anise is added.
I quadrupled the recipe, so you will see a few stars in there. I think you can over anise, so one is sufficient. Two is too much.
While that works, brown your mince.
Our mince comes in burgers. Two pack is .250 kg. Crack ’em open and put them in your browning fry pan that is full of duck fat. We love our duck fat. Tallow or lard will also be lovely.
They look like this at first.
Then after a bit of a tonging.
Then the duck fat is doing its job.
Then when it’s brown, add the wine.
The Madiran is for the chef. The bucky-fiddy Cahors is for the chili.
Onions look lovely. Time for tomato paste.
Mix it all about. Let that make friends until the paste goes “brick red.”
I believe that’s what the original recipe said. Because every time I get to this step I start singing, “she’s a brick [beat beat beat] house. Shake it down. Shake it down. Shake it down now!”
Add beef broth. Do some salt and pep. Then, partially cover and let it be. Let it be chili for some minutes.
Give is a taste. More salt.
Scoop or slop into a bowl. Add some cheddar cheese, some creme fraiche, some more Substance P. Sit down. Enjoy.
This is the recipe I follow: I need to know the quantities of stuff and then the order they go in. The rest I remember. You can also add beans. Beans don’t go well in our family.
For whatever reason or in a quick dash for a piece of paper, on the back of my chili recipe is a recipe for cement. I think that making cement and eating chili are a nice combo. You can also read some French lesson I failed.
I suppose these are technically Fried Vietnamese Spring Rolls, though beyond using Vietnamese rice wraps and Vietnamese rice noodles, I sort of went with it Gascon style.
Get the filling started. Boil the water for the noodles.
Local Grass-fed Mince
Grass-fed beef broth, what, like two cups?
Load up the pan with some duck fat and chuck in your mince.
Add verte-blanc-orange when things seem all browny.
After the mirepoix gets acquainted, add a splash of fish sauce, the beef broth and begin prep for the wrapping.
Pull out a galettes de riz sized bowl and fill it with warm water. By this time, your noodle water should be ready. Get the colander ready and then boil your noodles. Quick! take them out. They don’t need long.
With the noodles done and the filling done, you should be ready to roll.
Rice wrap has a quick bath in warm.
Then, put on a plate for beef-noodle innards with a roll to follow.
First beef filling.
Then, some noodles.
A snuggy roll. Snug it in nice and tight.
Then a tuck on both ends. Line them up on some parchment paper ready for frying. This time, in duck fat. Ah yeah!
This sort of food works much better when friends and family help out. I found it to be a lot of work all by myself. I imagined this dish coming about in a time when family members lived close and popped by for some tea. They see you cooking and start mumbling criticisms about how you’re doing it all wrong. You look around for something to distract the taunting, see rice wraps, tell them, “hey! why don’t you stuff it!” Then the afternoon unfolds in merriment and gossip with a lovely fried dumpling at the end.
We served with Yummy Sauce and Substance P goob. Yummy Sauce is something that involves most of MSG’s friends and neighbors, namely, fish sauce, anchovy and tomato pastey, that I picked up at the market from the Asian stall dude. Substance P goob is: soy sauce, Substance P and a dash of Yummy Sauce.
I was going to finish with a lovely shot of Gascon Spring Rolls on a perfectly photo fluffed plating with garnish. When I turned around to grab a roll for its plating, they were gone. All I have is this little buddy I sampled before frying the lot. Noodles hanging out, next to day old Einkorn bread, snuggled against fish sauce, P goob all over the place. It was fantastic!