Friday, 15 November 2013

Weekend Man Food

Slow Cooked Chilli

This dish is a firm favourite here at NU. A big one pot dish, cooked at the weekend, will feed you in to the week. You won't get bored of eating the same thing either. Chilli is versatile and can be served in a number of ways.
We normally have it with rice at first then use up any left overs to make burritos with sour cream & guacamole.

If you have the patience the chilli benefits from being left in the fridge overnight after you've cooked it. The flavour always seems to improve.

The following was is based on a recipe I found on BBC Food, but has gradually evolved over the years to what you see here. 
Most recipes use beef mince only, but I prefer the deeper more rounded flavour that a pork / beef mix gives. I have also stopped using mince. The end result is much improved by using chopped braising or stewing steak and a fatty cut of pork like shoulder.

Feel free to improvise with the amount and type of chillies and the spices, the following is merely what works for me.


  1. 500g pork shoulder, roughly chopped
  2. 500g beef stewing steak, roughly chopped
  3. 2 or 3 onions, finely chopped
  4. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  5. 2 peppers, finely chopped
  6. 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  7. 4 chillies, finely chopped
  8. 1 bay leaf
  9. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  10. 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  11. 1 tbsp dried oregano
  12. 1 cinnamon stick
  13. 1 tsp black pepper corns
  14. 1 tbsp paprika
  15. 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  16. 1 dollop, tomato puree
  17. 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
  18. 250ml beef stock
  19. 1 x tin lima beans
  20. 1 x tin kidney beans
  21. square, dark chocolate, chopped
  22. handful, fresh coriander, finely chopped


  1. Gather all ingredients together first. Chop all the vegetables & meat. Measure out your spices and toast all the seeds & cinnamon for one minute in a small dry frying pan. Crush in mortar & pestle (or grinder) and mix together with other spices and herbs.
  2. Heat large pan with olive or rape-seed oil. Fry the meat until browned. Remove from pan and set aside
  3. Add all the vegetables and fry for 5-6 minutes until golden
  4. Then add the spices and mix in
  5. Return the meat to pan and stir to combine
  6. Add the tomato puree, stock and tinned tomatoes. Bring to the boil
  7. Reduce heat and leave to simmer, partially covered, for 4 hours or until the source has thickened up and the meat is on the verge of falling apart.
  8. Add the chocolate, kidney and lima beans and simmer till hot through
  9. Sprinkle with the fresh coriander and serve with riceYou can use any leftover to make burritos too. This is really good with a pale ale or ballsy Spanish red wine.

If anyone has any suggestions or comments on what they put in their chilli we'd love to hear it.

Have a good weekend chaps.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Quince Jam

After last week's abortive effort at Quince Jelly we are pleased to report the jam part of operations was a resounding success.
Jam making - not the most manly of pursuits I hear you say. However, autumn is the perfect time to stock your larder for the rest of the year, and in keeping with first principles here at New Utility, we try to make everything from scratch.
Yes, it is perhaps easier to nip out for shop bought jam, but it is never quite as good, or as satisfying, as your own homemade efforts.

Quince jam in particular is difficult to find in most supermarkets. A fruit that has sadly fallen out of wider use, quince have a beautiful rose like flavour and, being naturally high in pectin, are ideal for jam making.

To recap for those of you who weren't paying attention last week, quince resembles a hard golden yellow pear, but is actually a member of the rose family and has an amazing rose like perfume and taste.

The jam itself can be eaten both as normal on toast or as a savoury preserve with rich meats like venison or mutton. It will keep for over a year. The original rich golden colour will darken over time to a deep red.
Later in the year you can use any left overs in desserts - a quince jam tart is one of our favourites.

The recipe is simplicity itself - quince, sugar, lemon juice. That's it. Quince are a little labour intensive to prepare but it's absolutely worth it. This jam is some of the best I've tasted.

Quince. Sugar. Lemon Juice. This recipe is rather easy.


  1. 4.5lb / 2kg quince
  2. 1.75lb / 800g sugar
  3. 1 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Peel and core the quince. Cut in to chunks.
  2. Put the prepared fruit in a large bowl of water as you go, otherwise it will turn brown.
  3. Drain and transfer to a heavy pot. Fill with enough water to just cover the quince.
  4. Cover and bring to boil over a high heat. Boil for 30 mins.
  5. Drain off the liquid in to another pot if making quince jelly. (If not, discard.)
  6. Pulp in a food processor to the consistency of apple sauce.
  7. Transfer back to the pot. Add 230ml of water, the sugar and lemon juice.
  8. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly so the fruit doesn't brown
  9. Cook for about 40 mins, or until the jam melds, stirring frequently. All the excess liquid should cook off and the jam fall from the spoon in chunks when done.
  10. Leave to cool for a bit
  11. *Decant in to sterilised jars. When cooled completely, seal
Hard at work jarring the results. (Shortly before a round of toast spread with the left-overs.)

*10 minutes in a hot oven ought to do it.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Cocktail Hour

The Gin Sour.

Continuing on last week's sour theme, today we discuss the Gin Sour. A very traditional cocktail, popular before Prohibition, this cocktail's precise history is uncertain. It was mentioned as far back as 1862 in Jerry "The Professor" Thomas' The Bar-Tender's Guide.

Again, it is worth mentioning that most modern recipes skip the egg white. Presumably over 'elf & safety concerns, but I urge you not to. The addition of egg white makes for a much smoother cocktail.

The original used soda water in the simple syrup, to my mind making the cocktail half Gin Fizz half Sour. The recipe here uses normal simple syrup.

Traditionally, gin sours were made with Old Tom gin - a sweeter style of gin popular in the 18th century and one that is making rather a comeback today. Fear not if you don't have it, one of the more botanical gins like Hendricks will work just as well.


50ml Gin
25ml Lemon Juice
15ml Simple Syrup
egg white (I normally use 1 egg white for 2 cocktails)
Lemon wedge to garnish.


Short glass, chilled


Dry shake the egg white, gin, lemon juice and syrup.
Add 2 cubes of ice and shake hard.
Strain over ice in to a short glass
Garnish with a lemon wedge & serve

Chin chin!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Quince Cordial

Or How Not To Make Quince Jelly...

Last week I awoke from my morning slumber to find over a kilo of quince sitting on the door mat.

One of my neighbours volunteers for an organic fruit & veg collective, KBHFF. Each week they're issued with up to 8kg of random foodstuffs. Not knowing what to do with her share, Peniila very kindly donated the fruit to New Utility.

Quince is a very old fruit. Luminous yellow in colour, in shape they resemble a small hard pear. Actually a member of the rose family, quince give off a wonderful perfume. However, their hardness means quince are a trifle labour intensive to prepare - requiring a boil to soften up. 

It is worth it. They have a fantastic rich, rosy, piquant flavour and, in my view, it is a shame they are not more popular.

Naturally high in pectin, quinces are perfect for jam & jelly making. In boiling the peeled and cored fruit for the former you're obviously left over with some cooking liquor. It is the liquid from this "first boil" that is used to make the latter. In theory.

Looks like Quince Jelly, actually isn't.


2 measures (by quantity, not weight) of left over liquid form boiling the quince.
1 measure sugar (by quantity, not weight).
Lemon juice.


In a heavy pan add the sugar to the liquid.
Heat up until boiling, stirring frequently so the sugar dissolves and does not stick to the bottom.
Boil over a high heat for approx 30 mins until the liquid melds in to a syrup. Quantity will reduce by roughly half.
Pour in to sterilised jars and leave to cool before sealing. The jelly will set as it cools.

Pretty straightforward I hear you say. Indeed, I've made quince jelly before with complete success following the exact procedure above. However, this time around I could not get the stuff to properly meld, and therefore properly set. I was essentially left with a litre of loose syrup. If anyone has any ideas as to why I'd be glad to hear them.

Not a chap to be defeated, I decanted said liquid in to spare bottle and intend to use the stuff as cordial. Early thinking is that I might try a Quince Gimlet, or "Quinclet."

What I ended up with...

The jam phase of operations was however an unqualified success, on which more soon.

Monday, 4 November 2013

The Bakers Boy Cap

... or News Boy... or Gatsby.

Whatever name it goes by this type of cap is something of a classic. Time was a chap would not think of leaving the house without some form of titfer covering the brylcreemed bonce.
Popular from roughly 1890 to 1930 the Bakers Boy was just the hat to do it, worn not only by boys but working men across Europe and America.
Ah, the halcyon days prior to nanny state anti smoking legislation. Two likely lads c 1920. (Public domain image)
Hurdling the class divide, the cap was also a favourite of the wealthy sportsman - with very full cut versions worn for golf or motoring.

Rightly these caps have seen something of a resurgence in popularity in recent years. A relative of the flat cap, what distinguishes the Bakers Boy is that, unlike its cousin, the cap is divided in to eight panels, with a button on the crown. In cut the cap is also much rounder and fuller.

Left to right: examples in Harris Tweed, Tweed / Cotton mix and Donegal Tweed.
I have a bit of a thing for these caps and have actually been banned by Management from purchasing more. 
I wear mine year round and have them in various weights form winter friendly Harris Tweed to a lighter summer weight tweed/cotton mix. They look fantastic with both more formal "walking out" attire or working rig.

Bates Hats - sadly they had to leave their own historic 21A Jermyn St premises, but thankfully are still trading in Hilditch & Key at no. 73.
Bakers Boy caps are very popular, with several brands jumping on the trend. 
If, like me, you prefer accurate examples that have been properly cut & sized you could do no worse that have a word with David Saxby in London. He makes his own from an array of different tweeds and would be happy for you to choose your own.
Bates Hats in Jermyn Street made the Donegal Tweed cap shown here. I quite like the slightly slimmer cut and larger peak of this cap, and alternate it with the fuller "golfer" type caps in my collection.
Those on a budget should have a look at the Harris Tweed example made by Failsworth*.

Herringbone Harris Tweed cap form Failsworth.

With the Festive Season looming, there is perhaps no better time to drop a heavy hint or two to your Significant Other. (Assuming of course they have not adopted the entirely fat-headed "no more caps, please darling" policy..)

*They still seem to be building a website. In the meantime you can purchase their caps here.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Chaps Can Bake Too...

Spiced Banana Cake.

Left recently with a glut of over ripe bananas Management suggested I ought to try banana cake.
Not having made it myself before I settled on a Hairy Bikers recipe.
I've spiced it up a bit with extra cinnamon and cloves, and dispensed with the vegetable oil in favour of a little more butter.

Don't let the loaf tins fool you. It's actually a cake.
(The original had pecans in, but as my dearly beloved is lethally allergic to nuts I skipped them. If you're minded too you can add chocolate chips rather than raisins.)


  1. 5 or 6 very ripe bananas
  2. 150g/5oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  3. 335g/11½oz caster sugar
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 450g/1lb plain flour
  6. 2 tsp baking powder
  7. 1.5 tbsp ground cinnamon
  8. 2 tsp ground cloves
  9. ½ tsp salt
  10. 225g/8oz rasins


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Grease and line two medium (or three small) loaf tins.
  2. Mash the bananas in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the mashed banana mixture until well combined.
  4. Mix the flour, baking powder, ground spices and salt together in another bowl and lightly fold into the banana mixture. Add the raisins and fold together lightly.
  5. Spoon the cake mixture into the loaf tins and bake in the oven for 1½ hours, or until risen and golden-brown. Check after one hour and reduce the oven temperature slightly if the loaves are browning too quickly on the top, or cover the loaves loosely with aluminium foil.
  6. Leave the banana bread to cool in the tins, then turn out and serve in thick slices.
Goes perfectly with your tea on a Sunday morning.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Cocktail Hour

The Bourbon Sour

After the recent glut of Gin based beverages it's time to surprise our livers with another favourite spirit of mine - bourbon. I bow to no man in my appreciation of sour cocktails, and the Bourbon Sour is an absolute favourite.

The rather lovely barmaid at Ruby swears by Four Roses, however as I have Makers Mark at home that's what I'm using. The sweetness of the bourbon, particularly the vanilla note to Makers Mark, offsets the sharpness of the citrus perfectly.
Some sour recipes skip the egg white. I would urge you not to - it adds an extra smoothness to the finished article and is worth the minimal faff of separating an egg.


  1. 50ml Makers Mark
  2. 30ml lemon juice
  3. 15ml simple syrup
  4. 1 egg white
  5. ice
  6. lemon wedge


  1. shaker
  2. short glass


  1. Dry shake the egg white first. (This improves the texture.)
  2. Add the lemon juice, bourbon, syrup and a couple of ice cubes.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain over ice in to a short glass.
  5. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Bottoms up chaps! Enjoy.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Weekend Man Food

Pot Roast Pig Cheeks With Chorizo.

I make no apology for featuring another pork recipe this week... I do live in Denmark after all.

Slow cooked pork goodness.
I don't need to explain what part of the pig the cheeks come from, but being part of the head they are technically offal. Do not let this put you off. Pig cheeks are some of the tastiest meat I've ever had, with a much richer flavour than other parts of the animal.

A sinewy cut, cheeks respond wonderfully to a long slow cook. Unwanted by the ignorant masses, cheeks are thrown in to the mincer by most butchers, but given a bit of notice they will be happy to prepare you some.

To Irma's (Danish supermarket) immense credit they have started stocking pig cheeks at the weekends - presumably after they've butchered enough pig during the week. Grabbing them immediately I set about researching how to cook them.

This Spanish influenced recipe is my version of one I found here.


  1. 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  2. 3 or 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  3. 2 small onions, finely chopped
  4. 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 150g chorizo, chopped in to largish chunks
  7. 1 tbsp paprika
  8. 2 tsp mixed herbs
  9. 8 pig cheeks, cut into large chunks
  10. 1 tin lima beans
  11. 300ml chicken stock
  12. 250ml red wine
  13. 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  14. small bunch parsley, chopped
  15. rapeseed oil, for frying


  1. Heat oil in a large heavy pan and fry the chorizo until the fat in the sausage starts to run out.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Fry until soft and golden.
  3. Add the paprika and fry for another minute. Take out of pan and set aside.
  4. Add a dash more oil and thoroughly brown the meat.
  5. Return the vegetables and chorizo to the pan. Add the mixed herbs.
  6. Add the wine. When reduced by half add the stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil.
  7. Turn down heat, partially cover, and simmer on the stove for 4 hours, or until the meat is just falling apart.
  8. Add the lima beans and leave to heat through.
  9. Before serving mix in the chopped parsley.
  10. Serve with rice or potatoes. Wash down with a robust Spanish wine.
This recipe is really quite delicious, a carnivores dream.

Have a good weekend chaps!