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Category Archives: Basics

Cedges Sushi – Rice

I’ve been obsessed with East Asian food for quite some time but until quite recently have always avoided Sushi. The raw fish thing put me off, I didn’t eat prawns until a few years ago, I dislike horseradish/wasabi and nori (the seaweed coating) never looked appetising. But recently I had a word with myself. When I cook salmon I keep it practically raw in the middle, I love sticky rice, I love king prawns and who said I had to smother everything in wasabi? So I tried some. And I liked it, actually no, I loved it. Naturally the next thing to do was to try and make it myself. In late 2017, I hosted a big Japanese inspired feast and sushi was the natural starter/appetiser to make for a crowd. It wasn’t hard to make and it was a massive hit.

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I’ve tried more Sushi since and researched some more unusual preparations.  I’ve been experimenting with varied textures, flavours and preparations. The main types of Sushi that I’ve been looking at are:

Maki –  traditional looking rolls with something wrapped in rice then wrapped in nori.

Uramaki – inside out rolls – something wrapped in nori then wrapped in rice and coated in something like sesame seeds.

Nigiri – A block of rice topped with something – usually thinly sliced raw fish or cooked prawn.

Sashimi – As a point of note – ‘Sushi’ does not refer to raw fish but the rice. So ‘Sushi’ does need to contain rice, it does not need to contain raw fish. Just the raw fish is called ‘Sashimi’. Often marinated to a point – a little like ceviche.


For the purposes of this first post, I am going to talk only about how to make the rice itself.  I am intending on publishing a couple more posts with recipes for my favourite maki and uramaki.

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The rice is the basis for the recipes to follow. This recipe makes roughly enough to make 16 large pieces of uramaki or maki.(2 rolls)


Ingredients:

200g Sushi Rice (or Pudding Rice which is the same but cheaper)
400ml Cold Water
2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp Sugar
1.2 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes


Measure 200g of Sushi Rice into a sieve and run under the cold tap for 30 seconds or so whilst swishing the rice around a little with your fingers to separate the grains.

Put the washed rice into a large saucepan (one with a lid) along with 400ml Cold Water.

Turn the heat onto medium and keep a close eye on it until the water is boiling.

Put the pan lid on and make sure it is well sealed – I tend to sandwich a square of kitchen roll between the pan and lid to get a better seal. Turn the heat onto the lowest it will go and set a timer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, turn the heat off but do not touch the pan – certainly don’t take the lid off. The rice then sits for another 10 minutes to continue steaming.

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Meanwhile, add 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar, 2 tbsp Sugar and 1/2 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes to a small bowl. Give it 20 seconds in the microwave and keep stirring until the sugar and salt has mostly melted into the vinegar.

Once the rice has finished steaming, separate the rice a little using a large metal spoon or fork – make sure not to stir and make it into a mush.

Add the sweet vinegar mixture into the rice and stir around to combine.

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The rice now needs to cool – to speed up the process, I spread the rice in a thin layer on a tray and leave it. Once cool to the touch, I put in a bowl, cover it and leave in the fridge until needed.

 

 

 

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Cedges Basics – Proper British Pancakes

Pancake day falls on Tuesday 28 February 2017 so I thought it was a timely week to resurrect  my ‘Feel the Fear’ only that was sort of irrelevant so I’ve re branded these posts as ‘Cedges Basics’.  Pancakes are not just for pancake day – I make them year round – they’re a super simple pudding or brunch.

Pancakes are not nearly as difficult as Blue Peter Presenters have made out over the years. Not even close in fact.  Watching them screw it up is however still quite funny….

The first rule of pancakes is to back the hell away from those mixes that now line every supermarket and convenience shop from late January until Shrove Tuesday. They’re just very expensive flour and a bit of dried egg. You only need 4 things to make pancakes (plus any toppings) – Plain Flour, Eggs, Milk and Salt. The recipe is in fact basically the same as for Yorkshire Puddings. It also takes 2 minutes to make the batter and a little patience to batch cook.

You can make these in advance for a larger group and keep them warm in the oven on low or heaven forbid, give them a quick nuke in the microwave before serving.

Serves 2 (Makes 6 Pancakes)

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Ingredients:

4 heaped tbsp Plain Flour
1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
2 Eggs
150 ml (Skimmed) Milk
Frylight


Measure 4 heaped tbsp Plain Flour into a medium mixing bowl and add 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes.

Crack 2 Eggs into the flour and add a little of the 150 ml (Skimmed) Milk.  Whisk together to form a thick paste – try to beat out as many of the lumps as possible – the thicker the mix is at this point, the easier it is to get the lumps out.

Tip – Saying that, a few lumps are not the end of the world, don’t stress about it.

Add the rest of the milk a little at a time until all combined.

Tip – At this point a lot of recipes will tell you to leave the mixture to ‘rest’. You can do – there is no problem preparing the batter in advance but I’m yet to establish any actually benefit of leaving it.

Tip – You can at this point move the batter to a jug for easy pouring, otherwise make sure you have a ladle handy.

Take a small frying pan and put onto a high heat until it is just starting to smoke then turn the heat down to medium.

Spray 3/4 sprays of Frylight into the pan, trying to coat the whole surface.

Take a ladleful of batter and pour into the centre of the pan with your dominant hand whilst starting to swirl the batter around the pan with your other hand.

Tip – If the pan is still a little too hot and the batter starts to cook through before it has spread to the pan edges, hold the pan away from the heat until the batter has spread then return to the heat. 

When the batter is no longer liquid on top of the pancake (only 30 second of so), use a flat spatula to gently tease the pancake away from the pan. It is ready to flip once the pancake can be shaken around the pan loosely.

Flip the pancake – you can either do this by practicing throwing the pancake up in the air and catching it or if you’re not trying to show off, use the fish slice.

Give the pancake another 30 second or so on the second side then put onto a plate and serve.

Repeat with the rest of the batter until all of it is used up.

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The classic topping is sugar and lemon but go to town with whatever you fancy. Nutella anyone?

Cedges Basics – Removing Avocado Flesh

Not one of my snappier titles, I will grant you, but this is my guide to getting one step closer to that magical ingredient…smushed/smashed avocado, hopefully without cutting yourself or making a royal mess!

Just to entice you…here are a few uses for said smushed/smashed avocado…



Firstly I only ever buy hass avocados, these are the darker, wrinkly-er skinned variety rather than the smoother green skinned variety – most places, including the supermarkets stock both.  Most supermarkets also stock a ‘ripe and ready’ pack and a ‘ripen at home pack’ – essentially the equivalent of selling both yellow and green bananas. They’re dearer but I do tend to buy the ripe and ready versions, and these sometime still need a day or two out of the fridge to reach optimum ripeness. The others can take weeks although putting them next to some bananas will help them ripen quicker.

So once you’ve decided that your avocado is soft enough to be yielding and ripe,  but not too far gone and brown, you can play avocado roulette (I won with the one in the pics, I caught it in the 6 minute window of perfect!) and start digging in:



Step 1

Use a sharp knife to cut the fruit in half length-ways, running the knife around the stone.

Step 2

Split apart (you may need to twist it gently as you pull the two halves apart) and using a little height and force, hit the stone in its centre with the knife blade.

Step 3

Twist and pull the knife and the stone should come out still attached to the knife.



Step 4

Using the knife tip, score the avocado flesh in each half right through to the skin (taking care not to go through the skin) into little squares.

Step 5

Use a desert spoon to scoop the flesh out.

Step 6

Ta-da!!! Add some lemon or lime juice to the cut avocado fairly quickly to stop it from graying.

Cedges Basics – Proper Yorkshire Puddings

I love Yorkshire puddings. With a roast (any roast!), with sausages, giant sized and filled for a meal or warmed though and covered in golden syrup for pudding.

Aunt Bessie has made a good living from flogging pre made yorkies and I have to admit that the newer version which includes a frozen batter in a foil tray which bakes and rises in the oven aren’t bad (they’re also a better option calorie wise when counting or trying to reduce them) but nothing will ever beat a proper Yorkshire pudding.

I’m also quite anti the kind that you now get in pubs up and down the land – the kind with a massive domed rise, are super dark and are quite tough and dry. This kind use a stupid amount of eggs in the batter and are for purposes of bulking out a £17 sunday roast but don’t make for great eating. Yorkshires should be soft with a little bit of crispy and golden brown with a hole in the middle.

And they’re not that hard either!  They’re so easy I generally just eyeball the recipe – once you know the consistency you’re looking for, it’s super easy.

Any leftover batter can be used to make pancakes – the batter is exactly the same.

Makes 12

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Ingredients:

12 tbsp Vegetable Oil
4 heaped tbsp Plain Flour (or White Spelt Flour)
1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
2 Eggs
150 ml (Skimmed) Milk

A 12 hole muffin tin


Preheat the oven to 220c or equivalent.

Divide 12 tbsp Vegetable Oil between the 12 muffin tin holes.

Tip – Its a lot of oil. You can use less but the best yorkies come about by using a shedload of oil – fact. My Nanny Vi made the best yorkshires in the world and she certainly didn’t skimp on the fat.

Tip – You could alternatively use lard, vegetable shortening or sunflower oil. I wouldn’t use olive oil here.

Put the tin in the oven to heat through.

Tip – Oil can overspill in the oven – I find its a good idea to put the muffin tin into a larger roasting tray to make removing it from the oven easier and catch any drips.

Measure 4 heaped tbsp Plain Flour into a medium mixing bowl and add 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes.

Crack 2 Eggs into the flour and add a little of the 150 ml (Skimmed) Milk.  Whisk together to form a thick paste – try to beat out as many of the lumps as possible – the thicker the mix is at this point, the easier it is to get the lumps out.

Tip – Saying that, a few lumps are not the end of the world, don’t stress about it.

Add the rest of the milk a little at a time until all combined.

Tip – At this point a lot of recipes will tell you to leave the mixture to ‘rest’. You can do – there is no problem preparing the batter in advance but I’m yet to establish any actually benefit of leaving it.

Tip – You can at this point move the batter to a jug for easy pouring, otherwise make sure you have a ladle handy.

Check if the oil in your muffin tin is ready but removing the tin from the oven and dropping a couple of drops of batter into one hole. If its starts spitting and cooks the batter bit straight away, its ready. if it just floats there and doesn’t do much, return the tin to the oven and give it another 5 minutes before checking again.

Once hot, you need to work quite quickly to divide the batter out into the 12 holes – each wants to be filled about 3/4 full.

Put the tin and batter back into the oven as quickly as possible and close the door. Do not reopen the door. Opening the door will result in a sad rise.

You can check how they are looking after 15-20 minutes. I like my yorkies crispy on the top with a little bit of doughy-ness at the bottom, so like with most things, I probably take them out quite early – when golden brown. If you like them crispier, leave them for longer – probably a total of about 25 -30 minutes.

Tip – I am being deliberately vague with timings. All ovens are different and never more so than with Yorkshire puddings. Just keep checking and take them out when they are where you want to eat them.

Use a fork or spatula to release them from the tin.

Once ready serve immediately.  They can be reheated in the microwave – especially for pudding but they are far superior fresh out of the oven.


Update:

I was contacted by a member of my surrogate family – Mark Anderson, to say that he’d tried my recipe and it’d gone rather well *blushes*! Here are the results:

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Amazing – The proof truly is in the pudding!

Cedges Basics – Poached Eggs

I have a bee in my bonnet. That’s a lie, my bonnet is practically made of bees. But this particular bee is concerned about the widespread fear of poaching eggs.

It’s really not that hard. I promise.

You don’t need to worry about vinegar in the water, creating elaborate whirlpools, doing a handstand while it’s cooking or buying little pouches (these coddle the eggs not poach them anyway but that’s another bee right there).

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This is what you need:

A shallow pan filled with properly boiling water.
Tip – Use a boiled kettle – life’s too short

FRESH EGGS. Got that? Fresh. The fresher the better.
Tip – This is the only true way to stop egg spread

A decently holey fish slice.
Tip – A flat spartula works with you better than a holey spoon

Confidence.

That’s it.


Wait for the water to boil.

FYI I could fit 4 at a time in this size pan

Crack the eggs in – you’re using a shallow pan so in a decent size frying pan you could do up to 6 at once.

Tip – Try and remember the order you put them in – perhaps start at the top and work clockwise.

Watch them. They won’t take long – maybe 2 to 3 minutes. If any yolks are sticking just out the water, you can flick water over then until they go opaque. Don’t touch them otherwise.

When they’re at your preferred level of done, turn the job off and shove the fish slice under the first egg you put in and lift it out. Hover with it above the pan for a couple of secs to drain and serve it.

Tip – This is where confidence comes into play – fiddling around and being all gentle will most likely end up breaking the egg yolk whilst it’s still in the water – disaster! Also it’ll take too long and your other eggs will be overcooked. Just go for it.

Repeat for the rest of the eggs in the order you cracked them into the pan and bingo!

Tip – A little bit of sea salt on the finished eggs will make a world of difference