How to Feed a Real Man!

It has occurred to me that I often write about the meals that I eat, all the delicious black garlic, spices, blue cheese, blah de blah and although I spend more time cooking the food my real man likes (his type of meal is not as spontaneous as mine – by a long thingy) I have never gone into details. 

As we are now in the midst of Great British Food Fortnight I think it is might be a good time to extrapolate on how I feed this British chap who is possibly a supertaster or maybe just a fussy git!

Either way he doesn’t like strong flavours or “foreign muck” such as garlic (although Britons have been growing and eating garlic far longer than they have potatoes) or chilli.  I on the other hand have very eclectic tastes in food and as eating is so important to us both I make sure that neither of us has to compromise. 

I cook 2 completely different meals every night, I love cooking so this is not a problem, rather the contrary!  Sometimes what he has even influences what I have for instance if he has steak I lop off a little and have a peppered steak saladbut we do eat very differently.

Here are some recent examples ...

Mince & Dumplings

He has this once a week and when he does I often have pasta as they are both stovetop meals. In this case I have a creamy tomato sauce, chorizo and some crunchy croutons on tagliatelle.

1 large onion – coarsely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
500g minced beef
1 tbsp flour
about 600ml good beef stock – hot

~   Fry the onion in the oil a large deep pan with a lid.
~   Cook till turning golden in parts, even a little darker in parts, to give good flavour.
~   Add the mince and break it up in the pan, tossing and stirring till starts to brown.
~   Stir in the flour completely.
~   Stir in the stock – you need just enough to come to the top of the meat, no more. Add a little water if necessary.
~   Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes/
~   Make the dumplings ...

225g self-raising flour or plain flour + 1 rounded tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
60g cold butter or margarine
100ml oz milk

~   Stir together the flour, salt and baking powder (if using).
~   Add the butter or margarine and “rub in” with your fingers until a breadcrumb texture is achieved.
~   Add the milk and mix in, by hand is easiest, add a little more milk if too dry or a little more flour if too wet – work just enough to form a soft dough.
~   Form the dough and roll it into walnut sized balls – makes about 12 so enough for 3-4 standard people or 1½ Geordies.
~   Drop the dumplings, spaced out a bit so they don’t touch, into the simmering stew.
~   Turn down the heat, cover the pot and cook for about 20 minutes till the dumplings are risen and firm.
~   Take the lid off the pot and allow to steam for a couple more minutes to dry out the tops of the dumplings.
~   Ready!

Now here’s an interesting thing, this is exactly the same dough as I use for scones, rock buns, griddle cakes, doughnuts, crispy sugary biscuits and more and so it qualifies as one of my key recipes - see here.


Most weeks my darling has a pie and sometimes two, but not at the same time – I do have some rules.  Sometimes chicken and leek made with leftover roast chicken, sometimes steak and kidney and quite frequently minced beef because after serving his mince and dumplings above there is plenty of meat left for another dinner.

When I make a pie I often have a tomato-ish soup (like this one with white beans) so that I can have cheese “rags” (pastry trimmings rolled with grated cheese and baked) with it – lots of other ideas for pastry scraps here.

Fry Up 

A fry up for him which typically comprises 2 sausages, 2 rashers back bacon, 1 slice black pudding, 2 lambs kidneys, a small piece of steak, onion rings, chips, roast tomatoes, mushrooms and sometimes peas.  In the picture, however, he has 2 slices of black pud as no steak available. With this he eats 4 slices bread and butter (well he is from Up North!).  Obviously the chips and onions rings are bought in and I am not entirely comfortable with this (feel like I’ve let the side own a bit) but he likes them that way.

I often have roast salmon and sweet potato chips when he has a fry up because I can cook the sweet potato and the salmon in the oven.

A Roast Dinner 

The blurry streak in the picture is a bit of knife action, he was keen to tuck in. In the traditional British way I tend to cook my man a roast on Sundays and I rarely participate. We recently picked up a reduced lamb rack, however, so whilst he had roast beef together with his standard mushy (aka sloppy) peas and six Yorkshire puds, potatoes and veg, I roasted myself half the rack together with potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and beetroot tossed in oil and also roasted alongside it. I deglazed the lamb pan with port, added lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper and had roast dinner my stylie (touch of the Jamie Olivers there!).

Yorkshire Puddings

I have given the recipe for these before and might even do it again – they are so quick, so easy and very cheap!  I cook the Yorkshires whilst the roast meat is resting.

Three important points …

~   You MUST use plain flour and no raising agent or it won’t work! Strange but true.
~   Make the batter at least an hour before you need it.
~   The oil in the pan must be seriously hot before you add the batter.

1 heaped tbsp plain flour
a little salt
1 large-ish egg
a little milk

~   Beat together the flour, salt and the egg till smooth.
~   Whisk in enough milk to make a runny batter, as runny as runny double cream.
~   When ready to cook turn the oven up to (220ºC/425ºF/200ºC fan/gas 7)
~   Put ½ tsp of oil into each little muffin hole in a muffin pan for individual yorkies or a little more oil in one dish and put in the oven for a few minutes till hot.
~   Pour the batter into the pan and immediately put in the oven.
~   Do NOT open the door for about 10 minutes and even then do it with caution.
~   They are ready when seriously puffed up and golden but sadly they do tend to go down a bit once out the oven.

Good idea – if you stand the Yorkshires on a preheated baking tray in the oven the will have crisper bottoms.

The mushy/sloppy peas are a Northern tradition – I buy a box of dried peas, cook the lot and then freeze in single servings.

Toad in the Hole

A popular real man dinner this uses the above the Yorkshire pud batter – see here for more detail and an anecdote! I use a full batch of batter but only 4 sausages when cooking this just for himself.

Toad in the hole is loveliest, to my mind, served with onion gravy and English mustard but my guy likes “plain” gravy (chicken or veg stock), mashed potatoes, veg and no fancy stuff, like mustard, whatsoever.

When he has this I usually have ... whatever I like!

His and Her Pizzas

See here for my pizza base recipe which works really well. His pizza uses two thirds of the dough and I top it with 250g minced beef (I lightly fry this and drain off the fat before putting it on the pizza base) and 2 pork sausages relieved of their skins and broken into pieces.  A mixture of cheddar and mozzarella finishes the job.

My pizza can have all sorts of wonderful stuff, usually leftovers of some kind, on it.

You may imagine that my real man is on the plump side but au contraire! He is very private and doesn’t want me putting his photo or even his name on the internet but here is a photo of his torso which, as a cunning disguise, I have turned into a pencil drawing using the wonder of Photoscape (a brilliant and free photo editing program) which will give a clear idea of his build. Lucky me!

Incidentally I took the above photo to commemorate the day when he weighed himself on some supermarket scales which said that he is obese. Must be the weight of his shoulders!

The Great Cornish Food Festival

My friend Carol and I visited The Great Cornish Food Festival yesterday and I have to say I was a little disappointed!  It seemed smaller than usual and some major players,in my opinion; Healey’s wonderful ciders, Vicky’s superb bread and the fascinating Nature Kitchen weren't in evidence. Hopefully this is because they are all so successful now that they didn’t have time! Of course some of my favourites were still there; Deli Farm Charcuterie and wonderful Davidstow Cheddar for instance.

Speaking of cheese I was delighted to taste a new version of Lynher Dairies’ Cornish Yarg, a delicious semi cheese, invented by one Alan Gray (coincidentally – NOT – his name is Yarg backwards) some 30 years ago. 

Until recently Yarg has always been wrapped in nettle leaves but now there is a wonderful new version is wrapped in one of my favourite ingredients – wild garlic. Gorgeous.

On another stall I tried a piece of black bread the flavour of which I couldn't identify and no wonder – it was sepia (squid ink!!!) and cranberry. What a surprise!

I also had a brief chat with Nathan Outlaw – Carol knows him – he seems a nice guy.  I have a feeling one of our chefs went to work for him after we left Cornwall – if you ever dine at Nathan’s and see El Rupo’s Kentucky Chicken Soup on the menu then he got it from our Rupert!


debs said...

mmmm been missing home cooked food!we are coming overasap!xx

judy said...

Thanks Suzy...terrific as usual!! The Americans might need the translation of "mince" to "ground beef" though ;)

Katerina said...

These are all terrific meals and not only for men! Thanks for coming and linking up at The Weekend Social. All posts get pinned on our pinterest board! Please be sure to come back next week starting Thursdays at 9PM EST on! I hope to see you there!