4 April 2011

Umami on Toast

~  Menu  ~

Sautéed Mushrooms in a Rich Beef Sauce
A sprinkling of Gran Padano
Toasted Mediterranean Bread
Red wine - obviously

I have to admit that I slightly planned this lunch last night when my real man said he didn’t want mushrooms in his Steak & Red Wine Casserole (which I have made again, its one of the few meat dishes I like).  I had bought a pack of button mushrooms for 20p reduced because of the out of date fiasco but they were more than fine so no hurry to use them up.  As soon as he pooh-poohed the mushrooms I decided what to do with them and kept back a couple of spoonfuls of beef gravy accordingly.

Today I sautéed the mushrooms in a little olive oil and when they were all golden and perfect I stirred in the leftover gravy (which was not ordinary run of the mill type gravy but wine rich gravy with threads of tender steak and slivers of soft onion in it) and piled the lot onto a couple of slices of toasted Mediterranean bread which has sun dried tomatoes and olives and stuff in it.  Just as I was about to eat this tempting lunch I thought “umami”, as one does, and decided to grate over some of the very dried out Gran Padano left in the fridge.



Umami, just in case you don’t know but I think you do is apparently the fifth taste after the four usual ones; sweet, sour, salt and bitter.  It is the flavour that is deeply savoury and wonderful which is found in cheese, mushrooms beef and even in dried tomatoes which were in my bread.  Whilst preparing this repast I thought and thought and thought - what drink really goes well with all these ingredients?  And then the answer came to me, red wine of course.




Incidentally I have just found out you can buy Umami in a tube!!!  It's called Taste No. 5 Umami Paste and I want some. 







Cornwall is full of sunshine though a bit windy.  Stuff bursting out in flower all over the place including fields of tame daffodils which I think are grown for the bulbs as they never seem to cut the flowers. 


We are getting sorted out and used to be being here but for my poor darling it’s not all good - this is his first day back at work.  Bless him – he’s only 49.  So tonight I am making him his favourite meal – Mince and Dumplings which is a doddle …

Mince …

1 medium onion
1 tbsp olive oil
500g ground beef
1 or 2 beef Oxo
2 tbsp flour

~   Coarsely chop the onion and cook in the oil till starting to brown.
~   Add the ground beef and stir and cook till it is changing colour.
~   Crumble in the Oxo and sprinkle over the flour.  Stir all together.
~   Pour over enough boiling water to come just to the top of the meat but not cover it.
~   Bring to a boil stirring as it thickens, turn down the heat and simmer for about half an hour.

… and Dumplings

225 g self raising flour OR plain flour and 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
a pinch or two of salt
 50 g cold butter or margarine – see below
80 ml 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, till you have a soft dough. 
~   Add a little more milk if too dry or a little more flour if too wet – you need a soft but not sticky dough. 
~   Lightly knead just a few times to bring the dough together.
~   Roll the dough into walnut sized balls (makes about 12-14 so enough for 3-4 standard people or 1½ Geordies) and drop them into the simmering mince, spaced out a bit so that they don’t touch. 
~   Turn down the heat, cover the pot and cook for about 20 mins till the dumplings are risen and firm. 
~   Take the lid off the pot and simmer for a couple more minutes to dry out the top of the dumplings. 



My guy loves this meal – he doesn’t want garlic, or black pepper or any of that fancy southern muck in the food and, you know, its actually quite good as it is and is even a bit umami-ish. 
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2 comments:

Jenny Eatwell said...

Gosh, I can just imagine how that lunch tasted - umamilicious! I do that - when an ingredient that I've already bought is rejected for one reason or another, instantly start thinking as to how I can use it in a lunch dish. In fact, thinking on, I'll have to include a kilo of mussels on the shopping list. Nobody likes them except me! *grin*

Ian Clark said...

Made the mince and dumplings, was so suprised at how easy and delicious it was. Dumplings came out just like mum used to make, light and fluffy and i didnt even measure the ingredients, thanks sudden lunch!!