Beef Brisket Chilli aka Posh Chilli

Along side medicine and the tea room I do some consulting work on drones. Now, this is mostly boring but I do get an office. On the desk alongside the plans, a miniature jet engine and an old slide rule, lies a stethoscope. Now, this is important because recently it came up in an interview when I was asked about the most expensive item in my life……………..

“The stethoscope, for it has cost me my youth”

Doctors spend most of their youth stuck in lectures or commuting to and from placements. This is the reason most medics either have crazy hobbies or love elaborate long winded cooking. The chilli recipe below is a prime example of this, taking 2 days of slow cooking, it makes a great recipe to enjoy with friends. It’s not too spicy either………

 

Ingredients

  • 2kg Beef Brisket
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 Head of Celery
  • 3 Peppers
  • 2 Tins Kidney Beans
  • 1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • Spices – Salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, chilli, cinnamon
  • Moonshine
  • Camp coffee
  • Worcestershire sauce

 

Start in the usual fashion, collect the ingredients together in the kitchen and take a pretty photo for social media. If it’s not on facebook it didn’t happen after all.

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Chop the carrots, onions and celery roughly and place into the bottom of a large roasting dish, something like a Le Creuset is perfect. Then combine the spices in a pestle and mortar. The amount of each spice will depend on personal preference, but a tiny amount of cinnamon goes a long way.

Rub the beef in the spices mix and place into the pan on top of the veg. If you can’t be bothered to make a spice mix of your own you can always buy a packet………I won’t judge, I promise.

We haven’t quite got to the oven part yet I’m afraid. I told you, medics like long-winded cooking. My favourite chilli from my time in America was at this smoke pit near Reno where they used burnt ends to add smokey depth. Now, I’ve resisted the urge to build a smoker and instead added some moonshine, camp coffee and a dash of Worcestershire sauce instead.

Cook in a low oven  (the bottom of an Aga) overnight.

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Feeling well rested from a long night dreaming of homemade chilli, retrieve your beef from the oven and set aside. From the stock remove and finely dice the veg, these can be added back to the chilli later.

Roughly chop 3 peppers and gently soften in some oil on a low heat, then when cooked add in the veg from before. To this veg mix, add the kidney beans and a tin of chopped tomatoes.

Now the fun begins. Remove the butchers string from your beef brisket and cut into chunks along the grain of the meat. Then take out all the stress in your life….using forks or your fingers shred the beef.

Return the shredded beef to the Le Creuset along with more herbs and spices. As you can tell I’ve cheated and used a Colemans mix. Now add the stock and combine all together.

Then it’s back to the oven. Again its an overnight job, but then it will finally be done. I promise.

Time to eat

 

Right, after 2 days of slow cooking you should have made the decision of what you are going to have your chilli with……..I’ve gone simple with a jacket potato and a bit of cheese. I contemplated chilli cheese fries, but……………

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Anyway, well done if you make this at home, it takes a long time but is definitely worth the wait. I’m tempted to add it to the tea room menu, what do you think?

 

Mediterranean Chicken Kebabs with homemade pitta

‘I’ve never seen him this angry……. Well you say you hated beer, what did you expect’

Sometimes it’s good to act out. This happened whilst I was out having a drink with a surgical SHO  and his girlfriend. She was stunningly pretty, but nothing can excuse that comment – I just had to leave.

In true Cox fashion I jumped into my Alfa, put the hood down and ignored the texts and calls asking if I was returning. I was not!! About 30mins later I found myself in a country village; it was cold, dark and I was hungry. To my good luck the village had a wonderful little Mediterranean bar, so I got a kebab and a beer and ate them on the boot of the alfa – it’s like a table anyway.

Why a kebab – well the girl was a personal trainer – so that, plus beer seemed like a moral win. Of course, I suspect that she might approve mildly. This is no normal Kebab; made with fresh ingredients, homemade pitta, chicken thighs and of course cooked on a rotisserie which helps remove fat (ish)…………

Chicken Shish

This is nothing like the 3am kebabs we remember from Uni, less greasy and a lot more tasty

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Ingredients

  • 8 Chicken thighs
  •  Olive oil
  • 2 lemons – Zest and juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • Honey

Start the day before you intend to make the kebabs, it allows the meat to marinade overnight.

Start by prepping the chicken thighs. You can either use breast or filleted thighs if you don’t fancy removing the bone yourself. Otherwise, use a pair of scissors, a knife and your fingers to remove the bone.

Cut the chicken into chunks and add to a large bowl. Then marinade, combining the spices, garlic, oil, lemon and honey. Use your hands to get the chicken fully covered.

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Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to infuse overnight.Whilst this happens phone a few people about buying a LHD MGTF and parts to convert it to an RHD………..

Right, it’s time to make a BBQ, everything’s better cooked over the coals after all.

Cooking the kebab couldn’t be easier. Just put on the BBQ when the fire’s ready (BBQ rules apply) and start cooking. It should take around 20mins. The alternative is to cook  in the oven at 200C for around 15-20mins on an oiled baking sheet.

Once the chickens cooked, take off the heat and carve into strips. All you need to do is have something to eat them in.

Pitta Bread

I’ve been making Pitta bread for years, it goes so well with Hummus. In fact I might well blog that later for you all – I stole the hummus recipe of TS during one long night.

 

 

 

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Ingredients

  • 9oz white bread flour
  • Fresh yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 160ml water
  • 2 tsp olive oil

(olives to nibble on)

Start by mixing the flour, salt and yeast in your mixer. Add  1.5tsp of oil, I’m using a garlic infused oil for extra taste..

Bring the dough together and then add the remaining oil and water a little at a time till the dough is soft and smooth. Then knead for around 10mins.

You should end up with a pliable soft dough, which needs to proof for an hour or doubled in size.

Once doubled, knock back the dough and divide into 6 equal balls. Roll out into an oval approx 4mm in thickness.

Bake on a pre-heated tray in the top of the Aga or an oven at 250C for 10mins or golden brown.

Lets Eat

All that remains is to take some of the succulent chicken and stuff the pittas with lettuce, peppers, onion and homemade chilli sauce.

To finish the picture, all you need is a beer, some chips and the boot of the Alfa to eat it off.

A night at Searcys- Harissa mayo, chips and champagne

I like to think our tea room is a bit unique. Although it’s only open two days a week, the food doesn’t get rolled over. If it doesn’t sell, it gets eaten by us or given to the wildlife (foxy and badger do well). Now some argue this isn’t good for the accounts, but it’s better for the costumers and gives me loads of stuff to use for blogs. This week we had about 4 jackets left over on Sunday, so I decided to make some wedges.  The only tricky bit was what to have with them.

Well, I’m a bit of a superstitious person. If I’m test flying I give the ground team my mobile and if I’m in London I always have champagne and chips with spicy mayo at Searcys at St Pancras Station. This started when I took and passed my first surgical exam!! With results of the second exam out and a pass achieved, I thought I might give making the spicy mayo a go. It’s flavoured with harissa and amazing with chips and a glass of Verve.

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Harissa mayo

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Ingredients

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon White wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon each of caraway, cumin and coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons chilli flakes
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • Jacket potatoes – for the wedges

 

Start by checking you have all the ingredients ready and also a friend on hand to help. Luckily dad’s around.

Start by separating the egg, you only need the yolk so you can either throw away the white or use it in something else. Transfer this to a bowl and gently whisk to break up.  Now the fun begins, add the oil a drop at a time and whisk till fully mixed.

 

Mayo at this point will split if you add the oil too fast and it doesn’t get incorporated. You can save it by adding another egg yolk if it does split.

Continue adding the oil a drop at a time (hence the need for dad) until the mix starts to thicken up. Then add the vinegar – it helps to stabilise the mayo.

 

Now, using your assistant again add the remaining oil in a continuous slow stream whilst frantically whisking. What results is homemade mayo – you can add some mustard, salt and pepper to make lively normal mayo or……..add harissa paste to make something special.

 

Harissa is sort of like a spicy North African ketchup alternative. It’s made by combining Caraway, Cumin and coriander seeds and gently toasting in a dry pan for a couple of minutes. These are then added to the chilli and ground up in a pestle and mortar.

 

Then add the finely chopped garlic and grind again in the trusty pestle and mortar. You can add a bit of oil to form a paste at the end.

 

All that remains is to combine the mayo with the Harissa paste and fold together.

 

Let’s eat

Make a few wedges with the left over jacket potatoes by chopping into 8 and cooking on the Aga in a bit of oil. Season with some salt and pepper.

 

Serve the wedges with a little ramekin of the mayo, a few olives and some perfectly chilled champagne (Jennie gets Verve, Alice-Moet, Holly edged towards Rothschild but when it’s just me – Pommery)

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Bonfire Toffee

I have a soft place in my heart for bonfires; I find the soft glow, the wood smoke and the occasional crackle of the fire romantic. Now, the foods of bonfire nights are rather varied, each year I vary what I make for my party. In FY1 it was pulled pork and mini Mac & Cheese, for CT1 it was hotdogs. This year I’ve been making corndogs, just because………but each year there is always one item on the menu, bonfire toffee.

Bonfire toffee is a bit of a Halloween and bonfire night tradition. It’s a hard candy made with black treacle, golden syrup and sugar. Usually served in small grease proof bags, it needs to be eaten on the day. If you can’t be bothered to make it, shame on you………… shop bought bonfire toffee tends to bitter, homemade is far better. Plus, unlike my normal blog posts, this only takes about an hour to make.

Bonfire Toffee

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Ingredients

  • 8oz Dark brown Sugar
  • 65ml Water
  • 2oz Black treacle
  • 2oz Golden Syrup 
  • Sprinkle of cream of tartar

As usual, start by collecting all the ingredients together and taking a pretty picture – add a kitten into the background if required.

Weigh out the sugar and add to a large pan, combine with the water and melt together on a gentle heat. Try to resist the urge to stir the sugar, it will cause it to precipitate out and you will have a horrible grainy mess.

Whilst the sugar melts, measure out the Golden syrup and Black treacle. This will produce a wonderfully sticky mess which then needs pouring into the sugar mix. Then, the temperature needs turning up……

Add the cream of tartar and heat. You can occasionally swirl the pan to get an even heating, the temperature that you are aiming for is 140C. This takes around 30mins to achieve.

When 140C has been reached you want to hold the toffee mix at the temperature for a few minutes. Whilst the toffee boils, quickly oil a large tin, this will allow the toffee to be  turned out easily when cold.

Pour the boiling toffee mix into the prepared tin and leave to cool completely.

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Lets eat

All that remains is to turn the toffee out of the tin. Hit the base a few times to break it up.

Then retire to the bonfire with a few pieces, a pretty girl and enjoy the fireworks.

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Cuban Burgers, D-types and the Mille

“She held my hand and told me to be kind and gentle”

These sadly weren’t the words of a lover to me, but a close friends advice in my final year at Medschool. You see, during that year I had become a bit of a dictator; I had rewrote the curriculum, won a major Wellcome trust grant, deposed the head of the Academic Society. This was alongside becoming a favourite of the Urology team, getting a job offer and a myth about a Jag.

I love myths, this one related to a crashed D-type somewhere in Cuba. Well, I say myth, it’s currently on its way to my workshop. During my trip to rescue her, I stumbled upon a little bar by the beach. Here I had my first Cuban burger. These are a heady mix of lean beef, spicy chorizo, chillis and served in a soft Cuban roll with a side of skinny fries and topped with pulled pork if you’re feeling hungry

Now, I’m just finishing another long run of night shifts on the assessment unit, so fancy a treat. Time to make a few Cubanos and get some food.

Fennel Pulled Pork

As you can tell from the previous blogs, I like pulled pork. Whilst on the trail of my mythical Jag I kind of fell in love with an aromatically flavored Fennel Pork. It again is cooked overnight in a low oven, so those with Agas are at a distinct advantage.

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Ingredients

  • Pork Shoulder
  • Fennel seeds
  • Mustard seeds
  • Coriander Seads
  • Onions, Celery and Carrots
  • Course sea salt and pepper
  • Caster Sugar
  • Thornbrudge Jaipur IPA (or a good pale ale)

 

Start by making your dry rub. Combine the fennel, mustard, coriander, salt, sugar and celery salt in a pestle and motor and grind to a coarse powder. This relieves some of the pent up stress of finding parts of a Jag race engine.

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Next it’s time for a bit of chopping. Layer the bottom of a large Le Cresuet with onion, carrot, celery and a bit of bay leaf if you have any. On top of this place the shoulder of pork.

Massage the dry rub into the Pork and then add a hearty glug of Worcester sauce and a pint of a good quality beer.
As you can tell I’ve been drinking a lot of Juipur recently and it made sense finish the Keg off.

Cook in the bottom Aga (approx 100) for around 12-18hrs depending on the Pork – if you stick a fork in and it falls apart it’s done.

Cuban bread

Having first had this in a little bakery in Havana and falling in love, I persuaded the owner to teach me how to bake them. She used an old enamel cup to weigh the flour out so I’m being true to this. They are sort of an enriched dough, but lack the eggs of a brioche style. Soft and slightly buttery, you can see why they make a fantastic sandwich.

Ingredients 

  • 2cups strong white flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tea spoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Start by weighing out the ingredients and then combine in the bowl of the mixer.
Using the doughook slowly add the water till a soft dough has formed. Then keep kneading at a medium pace for around 5mins.


The same principle can be used to hand knead the dough, it will help with any bingo wings which are starting to form as well. 
Let the dough rest in an oiled bowl for around 1hr or until doubled in size. In the mean time I would suggest fixing yourself a rum based drink or working out where to get more Jag parts from.


After an hour, your dough should be nicely proved. Knock the dough back and turn out onto a well floured surface.
Divide the dough into 4 and shape into balls, taking care to tuck the bottoms under to aid in the rise.


Prove again for around an hour until doubled in size -more Rum would be my suggestion here.


Cut a cross into the top of the rolls and bake at 190C till brown and delicious -around 15mins. In the last 5 mins you can sprinkle with flour for effect.

Cuban Burger

Basically a burger, but so so much more

Ingredients

  • 1lb. 70/30 lean beef coarsely ground
  • 1 small onion
  • 4oz Chorizo
  • 1 small chilli
  • Parsley, sage and a sprig of thyme

 

I’m not going to lie, I don’t know if the Cuban burger is one which originated in Cuba, or was a bit of an American import during the roaring 30’s. Either way it’s delicious. A mix of smokey chorizo, good quality beef and a kick of chilli.

You can either mince the beef yourself, using something like chuck/brisket or get your butcher to grind it for you as I have. Start by dicing the chorizo into small pieces, approximately the size of a pea.

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After this, finely chop the chilli, onion and herbs. You can leave this coarse, if you prefer a chunkier nature to your burger.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and, using your hands, mix together and divide into 4 balls. This gives you burgers somewhere a smudge over 1/4lb………….

Although I have a burger press, the rustic nature of the burgers at the bar on the beach would be disrespected if I were to use it. Therefore using the palm of your hand, flatten into discs.

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All that’s left to do is cook them in a hot pan with a dash of oil. Flip over after around 5mins when a good char has been achieved.

Lets Eat

All that remains is to assemble the burger. I find that it’s best to toast the rolls to give them some structural integrity. Then just add a good smear of mayo, the burger, some cheese, the Pulled Pork and the bbq sauce. Serve with a side of crispy potatoes, coleslaw and obviously a token salad leaf…………….

 

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Oh, I nearly forgot. The car, well I promised the friend who gave me the advice that I would run the Mille Miglia with her when we both became consultants. Should have the D’ restored by then……..

BBQ time – Vension Burgers

I just bought a microbrewery to celebrate Bake Off – but more on that later.

According to my friend who works as a BBC weather presenter – it is summer, and that can only mean 1 thing – BBQs. I have many happy childhood memories of these.  One of my favourites was the annual trip to a small country pub called the Beeheive for the August bank holiday. The pub would put on a big BBQ, we would take dads Alfa Spider, there would be Maypole dancing and Morris men. Infact it might have been at one of these I had my first pint, held in one chubby teenage hand whilst the other was grasping a burger.

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Well, with the offer of a perfusion PhD in America on my desk once again, I thought I would relive the memory…………but in slightly more fancy style – venison burgers, ciabatta rolls and wild garlic mayo!!!!!

Ciabatta Rolls

  • 1lb Strong flour
  • 1tspn Salt
  • 5g Dry Yeast or a knob of Fresh Yeast
  • 50ml Olive Oil
  • 300ml Water
  • 6 Poaching Rings

Ok, so I realise that ciabatta is a bit of a controversial bread choice for a burger, but I have reasons. I regularly take my F1s out for dinner and at one meal Harry started eating his burger with a knife and fork. He claims the bun wasn’t strong enough, I claim  he needs to man up. Anyway, ciabatta is strong so no need for a fork.

Start by weighing out the flour, salt, yeast and combining in the kitchenaid. To this add the oil and water.

The dough is relatively wet, so it is much easier to make in a mixer with a dough hook. If you want to make it by hand, just remember to oil them and be patient.

Mix on a relatively high speed for 10mins until a highly stretchable dough has been made.

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As the dough is so wet it needs a frame to prove in. Otherwise it would just be a bit of a mess. The poaching rings from my pulled pork blog once again have been pressed into service. Place on a well floured baking tray.

Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for around an hour or until it has doubled in size. When well risen, and you have managed to sink a few Gin and Tonics, it’s time to bake. Make a cross cut onto the top and  transfer into a preheated oven at 200C.

Bake until golden brown – this varies due to size, but around 20mins.

Venison Burgers

Nothing goes with Venison quite like gin, well juniper to be precise. Sadly, I can’t lay claim to having discovered this having stolen the idea from Hide burger a few years ago.

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Ingredient

  • 1lb Venison mince
  • Juniper berrys
  • Gin
  • 2 small white onions
  • Sage, Parsley and Pepper

Start a few hours before you are planning on eating by soaking the juniper berrys in Gin. This allows you to impart the subtle flavours of Gin into your burger. Lets face it, who doesn’t like Gin.

Finely dice the onion, herbs, Juniper and combine with the Venison mince. Season with a twist of salt and pepper. Now to the fun bit of forming.

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Divide the burger mix into 4 and mould to shape. A burger press can be really helpful to get the shape just right. Leave in the fridge for 30mins to firm up.

Now, there are lots of different ways to cook a burger; steam, oven, pan but BBQ has to be king. Given this blog is in honour of the Beehieve, only a BBQ will do. Cook for around 5mins on each side, brushing with oil to stop sticking.

Time to Eat

Right, time to relive the glory days – Burger anyone?

Lightly toast the ciabatta bun then assemble the burger with a generous helping of wild garlic mayo, Bloody Mary Ketchup and a handful of salad. Finish with a side of homemade slaw and a beer.

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P.s I’ll mini blog the Mayo and Ketchup for you all soon x