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guinness pie

Mostly oven time, but takes 4h + 2h refrigeration.


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large red onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 pounds brisket (preferably second-cut), chopped into bite-size pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • About 4 cups (2 cans) Guinness
  • 8 ounces freshly grated cheddar


  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2.25 teaspoons baking powder
  • 0.75 teaspoon salt
  • 4oz very cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Prepare the pastry: sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Quickly work the butter into the dough until it is the texture of coarse meal. Add ice water, a splash at a time, until a firm dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large, ovenproof pan with a lid, sauté onions and garlic in 2 tbsp butter until soft. Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms and remaining 2 tbsp butter and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are dark and the moisture released by them has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Add the beef, flour and rosemary to the pan and cook over high heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.

Add enough Guinness to just cover the beef. Cover the pan and put it in the oven for 90 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir. Return to the oven and cook for 1 hour more. If it remains thin, set the pan over medium-low heat, remove the lid and reduce the liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in half of the cheddar.

Take out the dough. Place it between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll to 0.75cm. Pour the stew into an 8-inch-square, 2-inch-high Pyrex dish or a deep 9-inch pie pan. Scatter the remaining cheddar across the top. Place the dough on top of the pie and pinch it closed around the edges using the tines of a fork, then slash the center lightly with a knife. Brush with the egg yolk, place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until the pastry is puffy and golden.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Boot up waffle iron.  Mix dry ingredients.  Melt the butter, then add milk, eggs and vanilla; mix with dry ingredients.  Cook.


Original post.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tea­spoons bak­ing powder
  • 1 tea­spoon salt
  • 1 tea­spoon sugar
  • 1oz (30g) butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup water

Pre­heat oven to 475ºF.  Mix dry ingre­di­ents.  Rub in the but­ter with the fin­ger­tips until it resem­bles fine bread­crumbs; do not over-handle.  Pour in the milk and water and mix lightly and quickly to form the dough.  Turn it out onto a floured sur­face, knead lightly and pat to a 2cm thick­ness.  Cut into cylin­ders with a floured cham­pagne flute.  Put the cylin­ders on a lightly greased cookie sheet, packed in close, and brush with a bit of milk.  Bake about 10 min­utes, or until done.  While bak­ing, whip some cream and find the jam.

Make tea.


  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • a dash of vanilla or a grating of lemon rind

Mix dry ingredients.  Separately mix wet ingredients; add to well in dry ingredients and combine, being careful not to overmix but avoiding clumps.  Make crepes, preparing crepe pan with butter.

While they’re making, whip some cream, wash berries, and squeeze lemons.  Powdered sugar optional.


Original post.  Note, this requires a special popover baking form.

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 quart bread flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ tbsp salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Mix all ingredients with a whisk for about 2 minutes (I use the kitchen mixer).  If time allows, allow to warm to room temperature before baking.  Brush the cups of the popover form with butter, and fill each cup to the rim with batter.  Bake 40-50 minutes or until browned.  Don’t remove prematurely or they’ll fall.

chocolate lava cake

Original post.

  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 tea­spoon salt
  • 18 tbsp cacao
  • 10.5 oz butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • vanilla to taste

Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Mix dry ingre­di­ents.  Pour in the melted but­ter and eggs.  Fill in bake form that has been but­tered and coated with finely ground polenta (should be <1″ thick).  Put into oven.  Bake only until center is still glistening; should remain a bit liquid on the inside.  Serve with barely sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries.

quick and good lentil soup

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb green lentils
  • 32oz stock
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 2 lemons, juice of
  • ras el hanout
  • thyme
  • marjoram
  • yogurt (to serve with)

Saute onion, carrots and celery in olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until fragrant. Add salt, garlic, tomato paste, and spices and cook for two more minutes, stirring.

Add tomatoes, lentils and stock, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add zucchini and cook until just tender. Remove from heat, and add lemon juice. Serve with (optional) yogurt and spicy stuff.

barak’s matzoh ball soup

  • 1 Fryer chicken
  • 1 Onion
  • 5 Carrots
  • 5 Celery stalks
  • 8 Large eggs (or 10)
  • Matzoh meal
  • Dried or fresh dill
  • Kosher salt
  • Oil
  1. Set a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Cut up a whole fryer, discard the back. Also remove any big globs of fat/skin that are easy to cut off, but do leave most of skin/fat on.
  3. Add chicken. Turn heat way low. Skim off foam on top.
  4. Cut up a whole onion into large chunky segments, plus 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks, also in big chunks, add all of this to the pot.
  5. Simmer covered for as many hours as possible. Minimum 2 hours, ideally 3-5 hours.
  6. Strain soup through a large soup sieve.
  7. Allow chicken pieces lots of time to cool off.
  8. This is when you should prepare the matzoh dough, so that the dough has plenty of time to chill in the fridge.
  9. From the cooled stuff you strained out of the soup, pick out only the finest cleanest chunks of mostly white meat from the chicken, tear the pieces gently by hand into bite sized chunks, avoiding veins, pieces of skin, cartilage, tendons, etc.
  10. Add these selected pieces of meat to the broth, discard everything else.
  11. When you are less than 1-2 hours from serving, let the broth with chicken meat warm back up to near boil at a very low simmer.
  12. This is also when you want to start heating a separate pot of water for the matzoh balls.
  13. Once chicken broth is near boiling again, add 3 carrots and 3 celery stalks, cut into neat bite size pieces. Let simmer for 1-2 hours (not more than that, to keep the carrots and celery just a little firm.)
  14. Now is when you want to take the matzoh dough out of the fridge, to start forming it into balls.
  15. This is also the point where you should slowly add to the soup broth lots and lots and lots of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.
  16. Drop the balls into boiling water, simmer covered for 35 minutes.
  17. Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer each ball into the soup broth.
  18. Add plenty of dried dill to taste.
  19. Stir for at least 15 minutes, then serve!

Matzoh Balls

Below is a large recipe making ~50 balls (and in parentheses mega recipe making ~65 balls).

  1. Slightly beat 8 large eggs (10 eggs) (don’t over beat, just a gentle blending).
  2. Gently and slightly blend in 8 tablespoons oil  (or 10 tablespoons).
  3. Mix 2 cups matzoh meal + 4 tsp kosher salt  (or 2.5 cups, and 5 tsp).
  4. Slowly add dry mix to oil/egg mix, again stir very slightly, stop the moment they are blended.
  5. Add 8 tbls soup stock (10) and mix just until uniform.
  6. Cover in fridge for at least 20 minutes (60-90 minutes is best).
  7. Bring salted water to a boil.
  8. Take matzoh dough out of fridge, and quickly form them into small round spheres. Try to handle them as lightly as possible, each one should be barely a teaspoon amount (they expand a lot).
  9. Drop balls into boiling water.
  10. Cover and reduce heat when back at rolling boil.
  11. Cook (covered) for 35 minutes.
  12. Use a slotted spoon to add them to the soup!

ottolenghi’s gigli with chickpeas

  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ~7 anchovy fillets
  • 1 lemon, skin finely shaved, and juice of
  • 2 400g tins of cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • gigli pasta
  • 50g baby spinach leaves
  • 15g flat-leafed parsley
  • za’atar to taste

Start a large generously salted pot of water to boil.

Put olive oil in a saute pan on high heat. Add onion, garlic, cumin, thyme, anchovies, lemon skin, salt and pepper. Fry 3-4 minutes until soft and golden.

Reduce heat to medium high, add chickpeas and sugar, and fry for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas brown and begin to crisp up.

Add chicken stock and lemon juice and simmer 6 minutes, until sauce has reduced a bit. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cook the pasta.

Stir spinach and parsley into the chickpeas; their residual heat should wilt the spinach. If it doesn’t wilt, heat just enough to.

Combine with the pasta. Serve into 4 bowls. Sprinkle za’atar on top. Finish with drizzle of oil and parmigiano.

polenta con scampi (aka shrimp & grits)

  • peeled shrimp
  • shallots
  • polenta
  • peeled san marzano tomatoes
  • smoked paprika
  • white wine
  • chorizo
  • parsley, lots
  • butter
  • olive oil

Slice shallots thinly and cook very slowly in butter until browned and starting to crisp.  Cook discs of chorizo separately and pour the fat into the shallots.  (Fried chorizo can be served with prime or added to the dish at the end.)  Put in shrimp, coat thoroughly with smoked paprika, and cook, turning once to turn them white.  Take out shrimp.  Deglaze with white wine.  Add tomatoes, mash.  Cook slowly and reduce.  In a pot, make polenta.  Chop up parsley and green onion.  Put green onion into sauce.  When polenta is done and sauce is reduced, put shrimp in.  Pour polenta onto serving dish; make a well in the center.  Put the shrimp with sauce in the well, and cover with parsley.  Serve.

chicken marbella

Original post.

  • 4 chick­ens, 2½ pounds each, quartered
  • 1 head of gar­lic, peeled and finely pureed
  • ¼ cup dried oregano
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pit­ted prunes
  • ½ cup pit­ted Span­ish green olives
  • ½ cup capers or caper­ber­ries with a bit of juice
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ cup chopped Ital­ian pars­ley

In a large bowl com­bine gar­lic, oregano, salt and pep­per, vine­gar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves.  Add the chicken pieces and coat com­pletely with the mari­nade.  Cover and let mar­i­nate, refrig­er­ated, sev­eral hours or overnight.

Pre­heat oven to 350°F.  Arrange chicken in a sin­gle layer in one or two large, shal­low bak­ing pans and spoon mari­nade over it evenly.  Sprin­kle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.

Bake for 50 min­utes to 1 hour, bast­ing fre­quently with the sauce.  Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thick­est point, yield clear yel­low juice (not pink).

With a slot­ted spoon, trans­fer chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serv­ing plat­ter.  Add sauce and sprin­kle with pars­ley.

fish stew

Original post.

  • An onion.

Fry in olive oil.  Add:

  • Cumin seed
  • Corian­der seed
  • Sev­eral sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fen­nel seed
  • Sev­eral cloves gar­lic (pressed or finely chopped)
  • Saf­fron
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pernod.

When onions are golden add:

  • 1 can of San Marzano DOP toma­toes (can be chopped before­hand, and can sub­sti­tute fresh Roma toma­toes if suf­fi­ciently good ones are available)

Cook down for a good 20 min­utes.  Then add:

  • Chicken broth or fish stock till the base is as thick or thin as you like.
  • When that’s cooked about 20 min­utes, add assorted seafood.  Typically:
  • Monk­fish
  • Salmon, in chunks cut from a steak is easiest
  • Spot prawns
  • Clams
  • Mus­sels

I use the prawn shells and heads to make the stock.

For extra joy, I also add sea scal­lops at the end, which I’ve seared in but­ter and flamed with Pernod.

This should be served with a crusty bread.

fennel gratin

Original post.

Take bulbs of fresh fen­nel and wrap them tightly in tin­foil with no leaks.  Roast them in the oven at 375°F for a good while.  Open them care­fully over a bowl, as you want to save any liquor that may escape.  The bulb should be soft and juicy all the way through.

Cut each bulb in half length­wise and put into a ramekin, cut side down (or use a baking dish).  Don’t leave too much sur­round­ing space.  Mix any juice with lots of heavy cream and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; pour over the fennel.  Put these ramekins or baking dish back into the oven at 400-450°F.  When done, run them under the broiler if needed to lightly char the upper surface.

seafood risotto

Original post.

  • prawns
  • bay scal­lops
  • lemons
  • pars­ley
  • but­ter and olive oil
  • shal­lots
  • gar­lic
  • anchovies
  • arbo­rio or vialone nano risotto rice
  • white wine
  • parmi­giano reggiano

Peel and devein shrimp, keep­ing the peel­ings in a small pot.  Just cover the peel­ings with water, and put on gen­tle boil to make a sim­ple stock.

Grate the peel off the lemons, mak­ing a bed from the peels in a bowl.  Juice the lemons, and set the juice aside.  In a heavy risotto-friendly pot, sauté the shrimp in but­ter and olive oil.  When just done, pick them out and put them in the lemon peel bowl.

Drain the scal­lop juice into the stock, and sear the scal­lops, using a bit more but­ter as nec­es­sary.  The point of using small bay scal­lops here is to max­i­mize the carameliz­able sur­face area with­out need­ing to cut them open, which I’ve found can dry them out.  Toss the caramelized scal­lops into the bowl with the shrimp, and pour the lemon juice over them, then olive oil on top to pro­tect.  Mix in plenty of chopped pars­ley.  This oil won’t be cooked, be sure to use your good stuff.

Chop up the shal­lots finely and fry in the risotto pot, again adding but­ter as needed.  Here I vio­lated a rule and added crushed gar­lic as well (the rule being to avoid the use of onion/shallot and gar­lic in the same dish).  When trans­par­ent, add a cou­ple of anchovies, and con­tinue to turn over until this fla­vor base is light gold.  Add the risotto rice and stir, sear­ing it.  When ready, pour in white wine, stir­ring with empha­sis.  Pour your­self a glass too.  When it has bub­bled away and turned creamy, begin the usual lengthy process of slowly adding stock and stir­ring, mak­ing sure the risotto doesn’t stick and keeps the right con­sis­tency.  Keep adding water as needed to the stock pot.  At this point you’re talk­ing with your friends while stir­ring, and you’re on your sec­ond glass.

When the risotto is done, swirl in the lemon/oil/shrimp/scallop mix­ture.  There should be enough fresh olive oil in there to make it unnec­es­sary to do the usual trick of drop­ping a bunch of but­ter in at the end (“man­te­care il risotto”).  Although tra­di­tion­ally one doesn’t use Parmi­giano with seafood risotti, I thought adding a bit at this stage didn’t hurt at all.  Another rule bro­ken.  I found com­fort in this won­der­ful cook­book from the south of Italy, in which Wanda Torn­abene con­fesses to also break­ing this rule on occasion.

For gen­eral advice on mak­ing risotto, con­sult Mar­cella Hazan’s bible on clas­sic Ital­ian cooking.

red sauce

Original post.

  • an onion
  • if very good fresh sauce-friendly tomatoes are available, use these; otherwise, tinned San Marzano tomatoes only DOP from the Sarnese-Nocerino area.
  • a stick of butter

Cut the onion in half and combine it with the tomatoes and the stick of butter, preferably in a wide, shallow pan.  Simmer slowly.  Use a masher to macerate the tomatoes as you go, and if there are skins, remove them.

When the sauce is done, remove the onion, and serve with pasta.

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