Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Inside/outside living. But mostly inside

One of the results of losing all perspective in John Lewis while doing my wedding gift list the other day, is that now I have two of everything; one slightly less nice than the other one. But still, I have got two of most things - some things which you don't even really need one of. And yet, I haven't got a kettle, because it broke two days ago and I've been having too much fun boiling water in an egg pan for tea to go and get a new one.

Not really. Just too lazy. They don't sell kettles in Waitrose; at least, not in my Waitrose.

We've managed to only end up with one barbeque though and it's sitting outside, pristine and unused because by the time I've got home from the shops with barbequing supplies, it's raining so hard that the neighbours' cats are sailing little boats across the patio.

And so it was on Saturday. I bought a large rack of spare ribs by chance from the Farmer's Market in the hope that at some point this week we would have a sunny evening and barbeque them up. But no. So last night I decided to do them in the oven instead, to at least try out an easy-looking barbeque sauce I found in The River Cottage Meat Book.

It was brilliant and went like this:

2-3 large garlic cloves
1 level teaspoon salt
1 tbsp English mustard
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
ground pepper
2-3 tbsp of vinegar

1 Combine everything except the vinegar in a bowl. I was unable to do this without making a giant mess but you might be able to be tidier. Add the vinegar last, stirring in between 2 and 3 tablespoons of it until you get an emulsified sauce

2 Spread over your rack of spare ribs. Leave to marinate for as long as you can, turning and re-spreading if you're in that kind of mood. An hour's fine - all day is even better

3 Cook on the barbeque for 10-15 minutes or in the oven for 20 minutes at 210C

To go with it, I made some sweet potato wedges with a lime and lemongrass creme fraiche dipping sauce, a recipe from Plenty, Ottolenghi's new book (brilliant but entirely vegetarian... I mean, not that that's a problem or anything!!!!! You probably already knew that - but I didn't because Ottlenghi: The Cookbook, wasn't.)

For the wedges

Cut your sweet potatoes into 8 segments (people eat about 1/2 a sweet potato each as a side) and lay on a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle over salt and dab with more oil of your choice (either olive or ground nut) and bake at 210C for 25 mins

For the dipping sauce

Combine a few tablespoons of creme fraiche with the juice and rind of 1 lime, a pinch of salt and 1 very finely-chopped small stick of lemongrass. Although this was nice, it was a bit pudding-y and next time I'm going to do it with yoghurt

I ALSO, because I was a bit hyperactive yesterday, made a rice salad, out of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.

This is how I did it, which is not faithful to the exact recipe, but it was really nice:
(for 2)

40g quinoa
40g camarge or red rice
A handful of shelled pistachios
1 small onion, chopped
zest and juice of half a large orange
salt and pepper
about five dried apricots, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice

1 Put the grains on to boil for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, toast your pistachios on a baking sheet in the oven at 200C for 8 minutes. I know this sounds like a stupid hassle but it's worth doing as they don't taste of much otherwise. Fry the chopped onion very gently for about 10 minutes.

2 Once the grains, nuts and onions are cooked, combine everything a bowl and serve; you may find you need to add quite a lot of salt. You're supposed to wait until this gets down to room temperature but mine was sort of warm. It was still nice.

I've only just now realised, looking at the photos, that I made an entirely brown and orange supper. Christ... there's always something.


  1. the ribs look fantastic! Love your blog.

  2. They WERE - they worked first time, which I always think is the mark of a great recipe.

    Thanks for coming! See you again xxx

  3. my ruby red risotto turned out orange last night... maybe there was a colour embargo on food last night?

    your post is making me so hungry... is wrong to eat ribs for breakfast?

  4. Nice! Nothing wrong with brown and orange, so long as it tastes good. We had a barbecue (outside) on Saturday evening. My wife made some delicious scallops, inspired by the memory of the heavenly scallops with ponzu she and I ate straight off Roka's huge and impressively theatrical railway sleeper robata grill at Taste of London a few years ago. She left them loose on their half shell and sprinkled some lime juice, chopped fresh coriander (direct from the allotment – get me), chilli flakes, salt and pepper on them to marinate for a while beforehand. Then we put them straight on the barbie, still on their shells (which get very hot – health & safety warning), and cooked them just till the white and coral clouded over. Bit more lime juice and ... bliss! I want them again NOW!

  5. Snap! I did exactly the same recipe for ribs this weekend - and it is very very good. Last summer I did ribs but boiled them first with star anise, peppercorns and other stuff ( I cant find the bloody recipe now which is very annoying) and THEN used the all day marinade and BBQ-ed them. This made the meat flake away properly like the ribs at the Chicago Rib Shack ( RIP - the old one) used to. If anyone knows of such a recipe please do let me know. Great stuff.

  6. Sorry, did my comment above break your recent 'don't garnish ...' Top Tip? You decide and delete as appropriate.

  7. Ha! No don't be silly. I never mind when people do it to ME, which is mostly why I do it to other people all the time. And anyway, this is a place for sharing. I mean, not too much, but sharing nonetheless

  8. Definitely a winner with yogurt! Have put some paprika on my wedges to give them a bit of a kick!

  9. Great idea!! I'm doing that next time x

  10. If you've got two ice cream machines then I know someone who'll take one off your hands...