Posts Tagged ‘nutmeg’

Recipe: Potatoes Dauphinoise With Long Pepper and Grains of Paradise

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

With the nights drawing in and the leaves turning a rusty orange colour, I had promised Sophie that I would make Potatoes Dauphinoise, one of her favourites.  This is a tasty, homely dish that is full of the richness from the cream and milk.  I prefer a Maris Piper potato for this, as well as for roasting potatoes in general, so I have used them here.  You can use any potato as long as it does not get too floury and collapse.

For seasoning, I used the classic garlic and onions, but instead of simply pepper and salt, I have gone more exotic and used Indonesian long pepper and Ghanaian grains of paradise, plus some nutmeg.  These are all old, classic spices, but the long pepper and grains of paradise are certainly much less used these days.  Then I sprinkled over some delicious, bright red paprika from Murcia as a final garnish.

Potatoes Dauphinoise is delicious with almost any main course, but I think it goes better with meats than fish, because of its richness.

Steenbergs Recipe For Potatoes Dauphinoise Before Baking

Ready For Baking – Steenbergs Potatoes Dauphinoise With Long Pepper And Grains of Paradise

Steenbergs' Recipe For Potatoes Dauphinoise With Long Pepper And Grains Of Paradise

Potatoes Dauphinoise With Steenbergs Long Pepper And Grains Of Paradise

Recipe for Potatoes Dauphinoise with Long Pepper and Grains of Paradise

900g potatoes, about 4 large Maris Piper potatoes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic, finely chopped
425ml double cream
150ml milk
15g butter
1 Steenbergs long pepper
½ tsp Steenbergs grains of paradise
½  tsp Steenbergs organic nutmeg or mace powder
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of Steenbergs organic Spanish paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Peel and slice the potatoes thinly, then parboil for about 4 minutes, then drain.
3. While the potatoes are boiling, butter a large ovenproof dish.
4.  In a pestle and mortar, crush the long pepper and grains of paradise until quite fine.  Mix in the nutmeg powder and a pinch of sea salt.  Crush again lightly to break down the salt crystals.
5.  Arrange a layer of the potatoes in the ovenproof dish, then sprinkle over some of the onions and garlic.  Next season with some of the spices mix.
6.  Place a layer of potatoes over the garlic-onions-seasoning.  Repeat the sprinkling over of onions and garlic, then season.
7.  Alternate such that you end with a layer of potatoes.
8.  Mix the milk and cream and pour over the potatoes.  If you need to add some more liquid, simply add  little more milk.  Cover with foil.
9.  Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes until golden brown.
10. Sprinkle with the paprika before serving.

A Recipe For Meatballs In Tomato And Red Pepper Sauce

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Cooking at home differs from fancy cuisine in restaurants in that it is about compromise.  While a top notch chef does not need to compromise on ingredients and quality, at home you need to juggle your precious time with what you have got available in your storecupboard and can find in the shops.  Also, you need to take into account what your family will and won’t eat; in a restaurant, the customer can chose his/her own menu to suit their mood and likes/dislikes from the menu, you have got to make one meal that satisfies everyone.

This recipe came out of that need to compromise.  My sister’s two girls do not really like potatoes and will eat pasta forever, while Jay wanted meatballs.  So I came up with meatballs in tomato sauce with spaghetti.  While everyone ate the pasta, some ignored the meatballs but enjoyed the tomato and red pepper sauce that they had been cooked in.  Success all round.

Ingredients For The Tomato And Red Pepper Sauce:

1tbsp cold pressed organic olive oil
1 medium sized onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, topped and tailed, deseeded and roughly chopped
½ tsp natural sea salt
½ tsp coarsely ground organic black pepper
2 bay leaves (I used fresh from garden)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves (I used fresh from garden; if using dry use ½ tsp)
2 tins / 800g / 1lb 12oz chopped organic tomatoes (near enough 2lbs)
2tbsp white wine (optional)
1tbsp soured cream

Ingredients For The Meatballs:

500g / 1lb 2oz minced beef steak (organic and locally sourced, if possible)
1 small onion, finely chopped (or even minced to hide from fussy kids)
50g /  2 oz breadcrumbs (ideally use bread that’s gone slightly over rather than fresh, as they are more flavoursome plus it’s less wasteful)
1 egg
½ tsp organic nutmeg powder
½ tsp organic mace powder
½ tsp natural sea salt
½ tsp freshly fine ground organic white pepper
1tbsp organic sunflower oil

Ingredients For Tomato Sauce

Ingredients For Tomato Sauce

1.  In a decent sized pan, add the organic olive oil and heat under a medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes, then add the chopped red pepper and cook, stirring regularly for another 3 minutes.

2.  Add the herb and spice flavours – sea salt, organic ground black pepper, thyme and bay leaves.  Stir and cook for another 1 minute.

Frying Base Ingredients For Tomato And Red Pepper Sauce

Frying Base Ingredients For Tomato And Red Pepper Sauce

3.  Add the white wine and chopped tomatoes, mix together, cover with a lid, then raise temperature until tomatoes just start boiling.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes.  Leave to cool.  While cooling, taste and adjust flavourings if you feel it is needed.

4.  Remove the bay leaves.  Then using a food processor or hand held blender, chop the sauce to a fine puree.  Stir in the soured cream until thoroughly mixed through.

Pureed Tomato And Red Pepper Sauce

Pureed Tomato And Red Pepper Sauce

5.  The best time to start making the meatballs is while the tomatoes are hubbling away for 15 minutes.  Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mixed through completely.  Cover and put into fridge for about 30 minutes to let the flavours flow through.

Mixture For Meat Balls

Mixture For Meatballs

6.  Take from fridge and scoop out dessert spoon sized amounts of meatball mix and roll into balls and put onto a plate.  You can then put these into the fridge to cool again for 30 minutes which will make the meatballs firmer and less likely to collapse while cooking, but this is not necessary.

Shaped Meat Balls

Shaped Meat Balls

7.  Warm an oven to 100oC  / 212oF.  Bring the tomato sauce to the boil and allow to simmer. 

8.  In a heavy bottomed frying pan, tip the organic sunflower oil and heat until hot.  Lightly fry all the meatballs until golden brown and cooked through.  Put the cooked meatballs on a baking tray in the oven to keep warm while you are cooking the others.

Frying The Meat Balls

Frying The Meat Balls

9.  Put the meatballs delicately into the tomato sauce and cook in the sauce for 15 minutes.

Meatballs In Tomato And Red Pepper Sauce

Meatballs In Tomato And Red Pepper Sauce

10.  Serve with pasta or rice and, perhaps, garnished with a little finely chopped parsley.

Meatballs In Tomato And Red Pepper Sauce With Spaghetti

Meatballs In Tomato And Red Pepper Sauce With Spaghetti

Nutmeg And Mace Spice In Photos

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Nutmeg and mace are two of those mysterious spices that are really, unusual in where they come from.  They also have many strange stories attached to them – they used to be thought of as part of a cure for the plague and are reputed to be a key ingredient of Coca-Cola as well as being mildy hallucinogenic.  I have collected together some photos (of varying degrees of quality) to show some of the parts to this story.

Nutmeg is a tree that grows a sweet fruit a bit like a cross between and apricot and a mango.  The outer flesh is used for making jams and chutneys.

Nutmeg Tree

Nutmeg Tree

Nutmeg Fruit With Mace Showing Through

Nutmeg Fruit With Mace Showing Through

Nutmeg Fruit Cut Open

Nutmeg Fruit Cut Open With Mace Blades

The nutmeg is picked and the mace threads are taken from the outside of the nutmeg shell, and dried to get the mace.

Nutmeg, Mace And Cocoa Beans

Nutmeg, Mace And Cocoa Beans

The nutmeg is the seed that is within the shell; a bit like an almond or brazil nut within its outer shell.  The shells are broken and the nutmeg removed and dried on drying racks.

Nutmeg On Drying Racks

Nutmeg On Drying Racks

After drying the nutmegs are sorted and graded by hand, then stored in hessian sacks, or other sacks that allow the nutmegs to breathe to prevent them becoming mouldy.

Checking Nutmeg Quality

Sorting Through Nutmeg By Hand

Sorting Nutmeg

Sorting Nutmeg

Hessian Sacks Full Of Nutmeg

Hessian Sacks Full Of Nutmeg

They are then shipped from source in Indonesia, Grenada or Sri Lanka to spice merchants around the world for use in food manufacturing, creating food flavours or packing as spices – whether whole or in powder form.

Packing Nutmeg At Steenbergs Spices

Packing Nutmeg At Steenbergs Spices