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Belly Pork in the Pressure Cooker

Belly Pork in the Pressure Cooker

Well I finally used the multi-cooker as a pressure cooker. On out last trip up to El Gouna we dropped into the butchers there and I picked up a nice joint of belly pork. This is what I decided to do with it. I must…

Mango Magic

Mango Magic

It’s mango season here again, in Egypt. They’re everywhere and so the prices are quite reasonable (15 LE, about £0.63 a kilo).  We’re down to our last few tablespoons of mango chutney and as it forms a crucial part of the Prawn Pathia that my…

Smokin’

Smokin’

My Tower multi-cooker is not only an ELECTRIC pressure cooker (no exploding pans, food on the ceiling etc), but also has both hold and cold smoking functions.

The only problem with this lovely little machine is that the manual is awful.  No details of how to set times, pressures etc.

The smoking functions, however, are simple to use and very effective once you get to grips with it.  Another great thing about it that it uses tiny amounts of woodchips to do the smoking.  Useful when you live in a country with few trees and no real access to online deliveries.  The kilo of oak chips I bought whilst back in the UK should last a good while.

 

My experiment here is with 12 mackerel fillets.  I bought 6 mackerel (2kg) yesterday, from the fish souk in Sakalla, after having a fantastic (as usual) dinner with my wife at El Halaka, the restaurant opposite the fish market.  So cheap, so good.

This morning I cleaned and filleted them, with Cleo, our feline, waiting for the offcuts.

The fillets were all brined in a solution containing 3 bay leaves, 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds, 1 shot gin, 1/2 tsp all spice and enough salt to make a medium potato float slightly.

All fillets were hot smoked (pressure cooked with 1 cup of water) on the hot smoke setting at high pressure (release valve turned so it was flat on the lid)..

Tests on the fillets are as follows

  1. Hickory chips, 15 minutes
  2. Hickory chips, 20 minutes
  3. Oak chips, 15 minutes
  4. Oak chips, 25 minutes
  5. Earl Grey Tea, 25 minutes
  6. Hickory and Herbs du Provence

The votes from the tasters were that the 15 minute cook gave the juiciest mackerel whilst the Earl Grey was the tastiest.  So 15 minutes for Early Grey and forget the wood seems to be the consensus for mackerel smoking.


Notes

Prepping the cooker.

  1. Using the smoking bowl (the one with the metal spigot inside), align the red arrow on the top with the red arrow on the cooker and press down firmly.  This connects the electrics in the pot to the main cooker.
  2. Place 4-6 small wood chips in the metal smoker box, put the lid on and slide it onto the metal spigot in the bowl, ensuring that the side with the square hole goes on first and push it down the spigot until you cannot rotate it around.
  3. Add 1 cup (160ml) of water to bottom of the bowl.
  4. Put the rack with the solid square on the bottom of the base frame and place it in the bowl so that the square is on top of the woodchip pot.
  5. Put the mackerel fillets on a rack and place on the base frame.
  6. Put the lid on the cooker and twist to lock.
  7. Press the menu button until the Hot Smoke (bottom left) option is lit, then press the minutes button until it reaches the time you want (20 for example).
  8. Press the Start button.
  9. The cooking will begin once the cooker is up to pressure and will beep once complete.
  10. Turn the pressure release valve to release all the pressure from the cooker before opening.

Prepping the mackerel

  • Unless you’ve bought the mackerel fillets already prepared, don’t bother pin-boning them until after they are smoked.  The bones help keep the mackerel in shape and are much easier to remove after smoking and cooling.

Suzie Veed – welcome to the house

Suzie Veed – welcome to the house

I’ve just had my first 64° egg.  Closely followed by my second.  They won’t be my last. I love a runny egg, but the texture and flavour of a perfect poached/soft boiled egg with a touch of ground white pepper and sea salt takes some…

Sweet and Sour Carp

Sweet and Sour Carp

The original recipe for this came from a Russian/Phillipino family.  What makes it utterly fantastic is the use of the ginger as a vegetable rather than just a spice.  It’s one of the best sweet and sours we’ve ever had and Corinne loves it. Ingredients…

Simple Garam Masala

Simple Garam Masala

Many Indian and East Asian recipes use a garam masala.  Your choice of masala can greatly influence the taste of a dish.  Here’s a simple garam masala recipe that works great with most curries.

Ingredients

  • 6 heaped tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 6 heaped tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 4 heaped tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 5 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 3 teaspoons cloves
  • 3″ piece cassia bark or cinnamon
  • 20 curry leaves or 5 bay leaves
  • 20 green cardamom pods
  • 2 large pieces of mace

Method

Place the spices on a tawa or a large flat frying pan and roast over a low heat, stirring frequently while they toast.  Do not let them burn.

Place the roasted spices in a bowl to cool completely.

Grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder, or use a mortar and pestle.  A spice grinder will make life a lot easier at this stage.

Store in an airtight container in a dark, preferably cool, place.  Use within 3 months.

Prawn Balti

Prawn Balti

Originally from a restaurant in Birmingham, I’ve modified this recipe from a chicken balti recipe. If you want to use chicken rather than prawn, use a skinned and deboned chicken breast cut into 1″ cubes, but add it between steps 4 and 5 and make…

Tagen, Tagine, Tajine

Tagen, Tagine, Tajine

Depending on where you’re from or which dialect of Arabic you choose to use, it’s basically a casserole pot. We went hunting with Mum and Dad trying to find a Tagen, as Mum uses a Moroccan-style one at home, which has a conical lid.  There…

Indian Giver

Indian Giver

It’s always been hard to find a decent Indian meal in Hurghada.  Now it’s almost impossible as the Indian restaurant in the Marina has now shut down.

I’ve been gradually building up my collection of herbs and spices, with the assistance of friends returning from the UK and visitors.  As such, I can now throw together a base curry sauce that will then allow me to make almost any Indian-style curry without too much trouble.

As Jo brought a few bits out last year, I’ve promised her a batch of the base curry, but it looks like I’ll be changing that to make a Dhansak for her.  A new batch has recently been made and is sitting in the freezer awaiting use.

I also now have jars of home-made curry powders, tandoori powders and garam masala that will be put to good use.

 

All about the food

All about the food

As we’re not travelling around at the moment, I thought I’d share our experiences with food in Egypt and around the world. There are many challenges when cooking abroad, such as not being able to obtain the necessary ingredients, different names for different things, seasonal…