Cooking with a Digital Air Fryer

I purchased one of these at the Bedford auction a week or so ago. It only cost me £26 and I’m quite happy. I pulled myself together and decided that I would try it.

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Last Saturday, I was invited by Gesine to her birthday lunch in a very nice pub and I had roast belly pork; the most gorgeous belly pork I have had for a long, long time the meat was tender and not over cooked but the crackling was absolute perfect nearly as good as in Denmark and I definitely could not fault it.

I bought a piece of pork that looked as if it had some nice crackling and I also bought a large sweet potato, as there was a recipe in the downloaded recipe book for “Sweet Potato Fries”.

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Here are the two pictures of the pork joint. Apart from getting the timing slightly wrong by 5-10 minutes the Pork was great and the crackling even better. I was though surprised of how much liquid there was in the basket, as I had not added any.

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The sweet potatoes only took 15 minutes and again a great success. Crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle.

Now comes the cleaning of the basket/drawer, I have poured 1 pint hot water and detergent into the basked soaking both the raised platform and the lower plate. I am hoping that this will enable me to clean the basket correctly.

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Chicken Brest on Skewers

Serves: 4-6 Prep: 15 minutes (plus 1h rest) Cooking Time: 15 minutes

This will make a lovely summer evening meal.
Served with a side salad and not too difficult to make.
I think this is a winner, especially as every thing can be made
in advance and the actual frying can be done just before needed.

  • 2-4 fresh chicken breasts
    150ml Lemon Juice
    75ml Olive Oil
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp pepper
    2 tsp brown sugar
    2 eggs

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  • Cut 4 Chicken breast into thin stripes
  • In a medium to large bow Add and Mix:
    · 150ml Lemon Juice
    · 75ml Olive Oil
    · 1 tsp salt
    · 1 tsp pepper
    · 2 tsp brown sugar
  • Soak all the chicken strips in this liquid.
    Cover with cling film and place in fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.
  • Remove from fridge and skewer 2 stripes onto one skewer,
    and place the skewer in a deep oven dish (1st and 2nd picture),
    making sure all the skewers are tightly packed but not stacked.
  • Whip 2 eggs, with a little salt and pepper, and pour this over the skewers,
    making sure each skewer is covered.
  • Take each skewer and turn them in breadcrumbs
  • Use a high edged frying pan, or a deep fryer, and fry the skewers (in badges) until brown,
    you must keep turning the skewers.
  • Drain on kitchen paper and serve.
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Breakfast

I came across this the other day when I was looking up how to make Bircher Muesli, and thought it might be of interest to my readers.

If you want to be fit for your daily work, job or household, you should get used to a rich, relaxed breakfast. that “heats up” the body function.

A good breakfast is varied and solid, not only contains nutritious things like bread. Butter. Egg and jam. but basically, also fresh fruit (or fruit juice) and vegetables (radishes, tomatoes, carrots or the like).

Milk in any form (muesli, drinking milk, quark, cheese) and, if possible, a slice of sausage or ham.

According to nutritional science, one third of the daily amount of food should be consumed with breakfast alone.

Nothing speaks against bringing a warm dish to the table for breakfast in addition to the hot drink – not even the lack of time, because there are enough options to conjure up something warm on the table in a very short time.

But even those who love a conventional breakfast have many options to provide variety. Different types of bread (whole grain or crisp bread), honey instead of jam, tea instead of coffee, cocoa instead of milk, quark instead of eggs these are just a few suggestions.

Bircher Muesli

Serves 2     –      Total Time: 30 Minutes

100g oat flakes
250ml milk
125ml cream or canned milk
2 grated apples
juice of half a lemon
50g sugar
1 tablespoon grated nuts.

  1. Pour hot milk over the oat flakes and leave to soak and cool
    for 15-25 minutes.
  2. Mix grated apples with lemon juice and add sugar.
  3. Mix the soaked oat flakes with the cream and the apple puree.
  4. Sprinkle the muesli with grated nuts and serve immediately.

Variations: Oranges (diced) or bananas (sliced) or use finely chopped dried fruit instead of the apples.
Sweeten with honey instead of sugar.
Whip the cream and sweeten, finally fold in as whipped cream.

For those who prefer firm flakes:

  1. Mix all the ingredients (bar the oat flakes)
  2. Add the oat flakes just before serving.
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Using a Microwave 3 Tier Steamer

Once Upon a time, not too many years ago, I bought myself a microwave two tier steamer. It stood in my cupboard for God knows how long and I thought, l am not going to use it, as I don’t really want to cook in the microwave.

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But, one day I needed to cook some broccoli quickly, as I had forgotten to cook them and my dinner guests were waiting. I thought “Oh well I’ll give it a try in the steamer”. The broccoli was already split into florets, so I put some water with some salt in the lower basin, I placed the washed broccoli in the first tier and put the steamer lid on, placed the steamer in the microwave for 3½ minutes on full heat. And you won’t believe it, but it was crunchy, it was cooked, it was lovely. I was surprised and nobody noticed, they just thought I was re-warming the broccoli.

Since then, I have experimented with the steamer and it also worked extremely well with carrots, leeks, cauliflower, sweetcorn washed and wrapped in kitchen towel, and my latest Steamed Salmon steak.

My meal off today is a piece of salmon, with carrots and leeks all in the steamer at the same time or served from the steamer within 4-3½ minutes served with a little melted butter.

This is how to make the salmon dinner:

  • 200-250g Salmon steak
  • A piece of baking paper
  • 1 portion Carrots, peeled, Julienned and rinsed
  • 1 portion Leek, cut in 1cm rings and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter for serving
  1. In the bottom tier: Half fill with water and add the salt.
  2. in the 1st tier: place the carrots and leeks (not mixed).
  3. In the 2nd tier: place the salmon skin down on top of the cut baking paper (slightly bigger than the salmon).
  4. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the salmon.
  5. Then put the steamer together place the steamer lid on top and place it in the microwave.
  6. Microwave on full power for 3½-4 minutes.

Serve with the butter. That’s it. Enjoy.

If you just want to steam the salmon on its own, place the salmon in the 1st tier and steam for 2½ -3½ minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon.

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About Chopped/Sliced/Diced Onions

I was watching the Hairy Biker in USA one morning while eating my breakfast.
One of their tips was to place the cut/chopped onions in ice water, to make them less potent.

I hadn’t heard that one before, so I Googled it and yes that’s a fact.

  • Is there a way to tame the raw onions bite as they seem to be everywhere especially in summer and salads?
  • There is, and it’s simple: soak them for 30 minutes in cold water.
  • How long can I keep raw onions?
  • Sliced, cut or diced raw onions can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days.
    Simply wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or keep them in a resealable bag.

About the common Onion

  • The abrasive quality in onions comes from the sulphur compounds, which are neutralized when onions are heated. But water can have a similar effect as it dissipates many of the compounds, and thus reduces their pungency. Just leave the onions in the water for ten or so minutes, and you’ll have remarkably less intense onions. You can also soak them in vinegar or citrus juice to add a new flavour to the onions.

Coat Them in Salt

  • For those that don’t want the crispiness of water-soaked onions, salting them can eliminate some of the sting while also giving them a softer texture. Simply coat cut onions in a generous pinch of salt, and let them sit for 15 minutes; this will draw out much of the moisture, and some of the compounds that result in the pungency. Afterward, you can wipe/shake off the excess salt if you desire.
  • This is also my tip for dynamic salad dressings; salt some chopped shallots, as the moisture will infuse the dressing with a mild onion flavour.

Add Vinegar or Water & Microwave

  • If you don’t want to wait the 10-15 minutes for the other tricks, this is the quickest route: put the chopped onions in a bowl with some water or vinegar, add some salt, and throw them in the microwave for ten seconds. Voilà!
  • For a compromise between raw and cooked, one advice is to cook the chopped/sliced/diced onions in water on the stove for a minute or two on high heat, which will eliminate the intensity while retaining the raw texture.

And if you simply don’t like onions, don’t worry:
there are plenty of alternatives, but I’m not covering that topic.

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Meatballs, Polpette and Rissole defined.

When looking for the definition of Polpette I came across these two descriptions:
Meatballs or Rissole.

A Meatball is ground meat rolled into a small ball, sometimes along with other ingredients, such as bread crumbs, minced onion, eggs, butter, and seasoning. Meatballs are cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in sauce. There are many types of meatballs using different types of meats and spices.

A Rissole is a small patty enclosed in pastry, or rolled in breadcrumbs, usually baked or deep fried. The filling has savoury ingredients, most often minced meat, fish or cheese, and is served as an entrée, main course, or side dish.

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“Pork bola bola” soup, a simple yet delicious Filipino soup. Meatballs on a Skewer.
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Meatballs being Cooked Danish Meatballs (Frikadeller)
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Swedish style Meatballs, served with all the trimmings. Italian Polpette in Tomato sauce with Spaghetti.

Meatballs are cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in sauce and/or soup. There are many types of meatballs using different types of meats and spices.
The term is sometimes extended to meatless versions based on vegetables (Vegiballs) or fish (Fishballs). You can also use Chicken or Turkey mince.

Retrieve a teaspoon full of the mince mixture (dough) and place it in the palm of your hand. Gently form that dough (by using your other hand as well) into a small ball (about 2cm in diameter). Place each ball on a tray, but keep them separate. Repeat until all the dough is used. Be careful not to overwork the dough, to avoid making your meatballs dense and tough, but the meatballs do need to be formed tightly enough that they won’t fall apart during cooking. You’ll get the hang of it after trying it once.

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PS… Wet your hands (between each ball) so that the dough doesn’t stick, and this also makes it easier to shape the individual balls.

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Easy Chicken Liver Pate

Makes 3 ramekins         Soaking time: 1 hour          Prep & Cooking Time: 10 minutes

I have made a couple of changes to my old recipe.
The two major ones are: a) soak the liver in milk, salt and water for about 1 hour to draw out most of the blood, which could make the livers bitter and
b) cover the ramekin dishes with melted butter/lard or a mix of.
I used Sherry & Brandy, and because I evaporated too much of the liquid I added another gass of sherry, and it was very nice.

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  • 300ml milk plus 1 heaped tbsp salt
  • 50g Goose Fat (or butter)
  • 400-450g Chicken Livers (trimmed)
  • 1 large Spring Onion (approx. 2cm) finely chopped
  • 1 large clove Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 small tsp Salt and Black Pepper (to your taste)
  • 1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves only or
    a couple of 2-3cm lengths of sprays
  • 75-100ml Red Wine (or Sherry or Chicken Stock)
  • 1-2 tbsp Brandy
  • 50-100g butter, melted (for the finishing touches)
  • 1-2 Bay Leaves (for decoration)
  • Some fresh Cranberries (for decoration)
  1. Remove the sinew from the chicken livers and halve the larger pieces. Place in a bowl with the salted milk and a little water, enough liquid to cover the chicken liver totally to soak for 1 hour.
  2. Place the thyme leaves or stalk pieces into a mortar. Add the salt and grind – the salt will help removing the thyme leaves from the stalks. Don’t overdo it. Then remove all the stalks and add the pepper.
  3. After 1 hour drain the liver from the milk. Rinse and dry the liver.
  4. I prefer to use a wok as the heat surface is smaller but the cooking is easier to deal with. Melt the fat in the wok (or a frying pan) over a medium heat; add the onion and the garlic; fry until softened, but not coloured.
  5. Add the herbs and fry for ½ minute
  6. Add the chicken livers and fry for 1-2 minutes to seal, constantly turning the livers so that they do not get brown.
  7. Now stir in all the liquid and let the live cook vigorously for 3-4 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated/boiled away.
  8. Place everything in the food processor or use a stick-blender and blend until smooth.
  9. Transfer the pâté into 3-4 serving ramekin or small dish flatten the top surface with a teaspoon. Spread the melted butter between the ramekin dishes. (This is to prevent the pâté from oxidising and discolouring).
  10. Set aside until cooled to room temperature then cover with cling film and place in fridge.

Decorate with a couple of cranberries and a bay leaf when serving.

The pâté can be frozen and will keep for up to 3 months.

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Nearly Ratatouille

Serves: 4-6         Prep Time: 10-20 minutes         Oven Time: 45 minutes

I didn’t have all the ingrediencies required for a ratatouille but I think my take of this dish suites most home cooks. Its not difficult and it gets rid of the small need to be used vegetables in your fridge.

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  • 1 portion lardoons
  • 1 Red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Shallot onion, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ Celeriac, coarsely chopped
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 1 sweet red pepper, quartered long ways and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 4-5 thin slices Ginger
  • 2 Courgettes quartered long ways and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 4 Carrots, quartered long ways and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3-4 garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil, for blanching
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1 tin chopped Tomatoes
  • Salt, Pepper and Mixed Herbs to taste.
  • Optional – a little Saffron and or Sweet Paprika.

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Chop/prep all ingrediencies and keep in separate bowls.
  3. Add the oil to the big oven dish, and blanch the lardons, before they crisp up add the onions, chopped garlic, red pepper and ginger.
  4. After 3-5 minutes stir in the carrots, celeriac and leeks. Fry, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  5. Then pour in the wine and chopped tomatoes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sprays of thyme and maybe add some mixed herbs.
  7. Top the lot with the courgettes, gently turn the courgettes under the contents of the oven dish. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven. Check the taste, and add extra if needed. This is also where you add the saffron and paprika. Gently turn everything in the dish making sure its all covered in liquid and return to oven without the lid, for another 15 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Bolognaise Leftover Supper

Serves 1         Prep. time 5 minutes         Oven time 40-45 minutes
I had a small portion of bolognaise sauce leftover, and didn’t want to cook pasta so I decided to make stuffed open sweet pepper to be served with baked potato and onion.

  • 1 small portion of leftover bolognaise sauce
  • 1 large Sweet Pepper, halved length wise
  • 1 large potato, quartered into boats
  • 1 large shallot, halved length wise
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for the oven tray and to brush potatoes and onion
  • 2 tbsp grated cheese

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  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, in the meantime:
  2. Clean the two halves of Sweet Pepper, fill the cavity with the bolognaise sauce
  3. Place everything in a sparsely greased baking tray as in the picture.
  4. Brush a little oil on each potato boat and the two onion halves.
  5. Sprinkle the potatoes and onion with salt & pepper
  6. Cover the tray with foil, and place the hot oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the foil, and sprinkle the Sweet peppers with the cheese.
  8. Return the baking tray to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

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And serve. It’s delicious.

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