Preparing For Beef Curry, Sri Lankan Curry Powder

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Out there in the world they sell curry powder blends ( My favorite being “Tandoori Ass.” ).  While there may be some good ones, my feeling is that these powders do not add much value to a dish.  After one bite,  I’m left with the feeling that I’ve lost my money on some overpriced turmeric.  My first experience with building a spice blend for Indian dishes was when my husband made a chickpea dish from Madhur Jaffrey’s little golden cookbook.  That dish was so panty-droppingly good, I called it “The Dish of Love.”  From that moment on, we make curry powder from the basic spices ( most of which begin with the letter ‘c’ ).

I made 4 kilos of beef curry the other week.  I use a recipe given to me by one of our beef loving customers.  But before you even think of going there, you need to whip up a batch of Sri Lankan Curry Powder.  It’s very simple.  Add the spices in a cast iron skillet and brown.  Then blend it.  The only trick is to not burn it while browning.  Cumin is the usual culprit, so you can add that in later as the rest of the goodies begin browning.

Sri Lankan curry powder recipes don’t vary much, I settled in on the one our friend gave me from Peter Kuruvita’s beef curry.  It does the job. And it goes a little something like this:

  • 50g coriander seeds
  • 25g cumin seeds
  • 25g fennel seeds
  • Three cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 dried chilis

DSC_1385 Brown the spices until they smell like love.

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Pour into a big bowl and grind in a “spice” grinder.  I use a coffee grinder.  I grind in batches.

Starts like this.

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Ends like this.

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I usually do a double grind to make sure I didn’t miss anybody.

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Now you are set for beef curry a-go-go.  This blog post took longer than making that lovely curry powder.  I only wish I could insert a “scratch-n-sniff” button.

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Rose Veal Tendron

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It’s veal day today.  Our boxes are locked and loaded for customers.  When we return from the butcher with a carcass freshly packaged that we’ve carefully raised on the farm, the fry pan goes on and we taste.  We tasted the T-Bone first because … well … it’s a perk of tuning our product.  And because T-bone tastes good.  Veal tastes good.

All I captured of the T-Bone was this empty plate.  We ate the meat.  The dog got the bone.

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Next up was the Tendron A Griller.  Tendron is veal poitrine.  Pointrine is belly or chest.  Tendron is called “Tenderoni” in this household.  Mostly, okay all-ly, by me.  Call it my eighties upbringing.  Call my enthusiastic dedication to the hot boy band New Edition.  Whatever it is, the word “Tendron” is written and all I see is “Tenderoni.”  She’s my only love.

I fry it in a moderate pan loaded with lard.
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It looks like a chunk of meat in the package, but when you take it out, you see it is more of a strip.

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After a fry, I pepper it then cooks me some eggs.  Great for breakfast or lunch.  I had some local Saint Mont that rounded everything out.  … I had it for lunch, though in the country, red wine in coffee for breakfast is not unheard of.  I’ve not quite earned my stripes for that.

 

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The usual suspects were right by my side helping me along with the taste test.  Nothing motivates our fluffy sedentary animals like some fresh veal fried in a pan.

 

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And if you find a tenderoni that is right for you, make it official, give her your love.  Once you had a ‘roni you will never give it up.

Spaghetti with Meatball, Says Minty

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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.

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or sun bathing like this young barn cat.

DSC_0983Yet 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
  • two eggs

mix and knead. roll in a pasta roller

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Sauce on. Very simple. For kids, I try to avoid too many notes.

  • 1 small onion
  • a bit of garlic
  • tomato paste
  • big can of toms
  • duck fat
  • salt
  • pep

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Balls frying.

  • Ground beef
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dash of allspice
  • duck fat

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Start the sauce.  Defrost the beef.  Make the noodles.  Boil the water.

DSC_0978When things magically converge on a meal, boil the noodles.  You can warm your balls in a low oven.

DSC_0989 Wet your noodles with a bit of sauce and plate.  Scoop some sauce and on go the meaty balls.  Top with some parm.

DSC_0998Minty loved her Spaghetti with Meatball.  Zélie said, “NO!”  “NO! PEGGY MEAT BALL!!”  That’s how she rolls.

Bavette, Gets ’em Wet

DSC_0876A  simple cut for a fry pan.  I’ve sizzled up many a bavette and each time I wonder if maybe I could have finished up in a hot oven.  Yet each time, after a quick hot fry, it comes out juicy and tasty.

This is before:

DSC_0852It’s a Bavette.  100% grass-fed beef bavette from our farm.  In English, we call it a flank steak.

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Hot pan a go-go.  A minute or so on one side,

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Then introduce the other with the hot heat and some gros sel.

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The hot duck fat gets that beef to be yum with a few flips.

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After a rest, some pepper and a pat of butter, dig in.  I had no veg with this guy because I’m preparing Bambi.

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Bambi is soaking.  The kids had manchons de canard or Gascon Buffalo Wings as I like to call them.

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Kevin fell victim to the black seat of nap.

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Then we had cheese.  The kind of cheese that needs pink Champagne to make it real.  Though, lacking in pink bubbles, this bavette was big enough for the both of us and oh what cheese!

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Veal T-bone

DSC_0760We 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.

DSC_0737In France, it’s called a “cotes/filet a griller.”
DSC_0735In any language, it looks delicious.

DSC_0738I fried in a fat that can take heat.  Grass-fed tallow was ready to go.

DSC_0740After a gros sel, in to the hot pan for a right browning.

DSC_0743Then a flip.  And another flip and another flip.  I don’t eat veal rare, but I suppose you can.

DSC_0742Onions, shallots and garlic are ready to mop up the fond.

DSC_0747As the t-bone is resting, butter goes in for a meltdown.

DSC_0748The 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.

DSC_0768As we tasted, we had our best friend to the left of us.

DSC_0770Kitty to the right.  Stuck in the middle with veal.  A great lunch.  It came out nice, this.

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Hot Chocolate for Late Night

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We live in the heart of Gascony.  This means duck, wine, beef!, floc and Armagnac.  I love Armagnac.  These farmhouses get cold in the winter and nothing warms your body like a hot, hot chocolate with a splash of Armagnac.  It’s a bit chilly now, but not that bad.  Though we like to practice and prepare our winter habits in advance especially after a long day and especially when Die Hard 2 is up for viewing.

  • Cacao Powder, 3 soup spoons
  • Suger, five soup spoons then taste
  • Milk, 1 litre
  • Cream, 1 cup
  • Armagnac, shot per cup or less

DSC_0778We have a big jug of Armagnac.  I pour it into something that will pour it into something smaller as to not lose any along the way with silly overpours.  The cup on the right is for the cook.  I have my Gascon Hot Chocolate neat, hold the chocolate.

But for the boys, it’s nice to sip some sweet after a day of work on the farm.

Milk and cream heat up in the pan.  Add the sugar.  Add the cacao powder.

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Whisky whisky.

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Check out the browny-ness. Does it look inviting? No? Add a dash more chocolate powder magic. And maybe some sugar.
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Pour some Armagnac in a mug. Add the hot choc. You can also not add the Armagnac and be equally warmed.
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Sit back, enjoy the action man movie and warm up. If you get the Strawberry Shortcake mug, don’t panic.
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Naked Tomatoes

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A customer of ours generously gave us some lovely tomatoes. Gorgeous things with amazing colors and shapes. I cut them up and stuck them on a plate. I could have stopped there. My basil was whining so I chopped some up and added a bit of salt, pepper and vinegar from down the road. A bit of a coldy chill in the fridge and this should be a nice treat with the lettuce they brought over.

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Meatballs For The Pub

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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.

DSC_0489It is very simple.  You need:

  • Mince or ground beef for the American crew ( I hear those crazy kids at Grasspunk do some mean mince )
  • Allspice
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Beef broth
  • Dash of flour

No chopping required.  Put some mince into a big bowl.

DSC_0373You could ball them up like so, but first, add some spice.

DSC_0434And an egg.  I added four eggs because I did a lot of meatballs.

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DSC_0409Then a dash of Allspice.  In France, they call it “quatre-épices.”  Everything sounds great in French.

DSC_0426And some nutmeg.

DSC_0430And some pepper.

DSC_0431Duck fat in.

DSC_0442Ball them babies up and start browning.

DSC_0444If you do a lot of meatballs and your pan looks sad, change out the oil and start anew.

DSC_0450You 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.

Butter in.

DSC_0455A little flour to brown.

DSC_0463Then the beef stock.

DSC_0467Slowly. Nice and creamy.

DSC_0468Then the cream.

DSC_0471It’s a bit white at first, but when it snuggles in with the meatballs, it gets all browny browny.

DSC_0473The cream sauce is poured in with the browned balls.

DSC_0477In the oven for thirty minutes or so. Then, voila!  Yummy meatballs for the pub!

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Mince: Gascon Spring Roll Edition

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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.

Filling:

  • Local Grass-fed Mince
  • Duck Fat
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Fish Sauce
  • Grass-fed beef broth, what, like two cups?

Load up the pan with some duck fat and chuck in your mince.

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DSC_0233Add verte-blanc-orange when things seem all browny.

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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.DSC_0248

With the noodles done and the filling done, you should be ready to roll.

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Rice wrap has a quick bath in warm.

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Then, put on a plate for beef-noodle innards with a roll to follow.

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First beef filling.

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Then, some noodles.

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A snuggy roll.  Snug it in nice and tight.

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Another flip.
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Then a tuck on both ends.  Line them up on some parchment paper ready for frying.  This time, in duck fat. Ah yeah!

DSC_0279This 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.

DSC_0270We 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!

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Chile Relleno Surprise

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Surprise! It’s not actually chile relleno, but rather a lovely layered relleno pie to the tune of my fav Puebla dish. And probably the only Puebla dish I’m aware of.

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I saw these gorgeous peppers that spoke to me. I wasn’t sure where to go with them. Stuffed with cheese in an eggy mess was the first thing that came to mind.

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You ever skin a pepper? It’s very simple.
– A quick roast on a pan ( I used some lard. That’s how I roll. ).
– After ten minutes of hot heat oven action, sweat it in a bag. — Prepare some cheese or chop something while you wait some minutes.
– Pull one out and peel off the skin. It’s very thin. Like a Kimono bursted.
– You are left with soft, silky peppers.

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With last night’s mushies and green beans, I layered like this in a lard coated loaf pan:

– pepper
– mushie bean mix
– zuch
– roughly mixed egg
– cheese, easy going melty stuff

: rinse and repeat

The last layer is pepper followed by cheese

I cooked in an average oven until browny and melty.

Cheese:
If in France, a young Gouda and/or Comte

Otherwise, Jack or Moz