Florence Cornish Cooks                      

Florence Cornish Cooks

       
 
             

When I was in Chicago, I had the best Mexican food I have ever eaten in my life. I nearly cried it was that good. Big Star Taqueria in Little Ukraine, just East of Damon station on the El was the place from liker of Mexican food, to full on lover and obsessive.

Since then I have been on the hunt for tacos, tostadas, burritos and guac that will take me back to that happy place, where the beer was $3 a can and the tacos never ending. BUT. I live in a very cold country, so I more often than not, make it at home, close my eyes, and travel back to the Windy City.

WHICH IS HOW these little guys came to pass. Homemade taco shells are actually pretty easy is terms of the process but the effort, when presented with any number of pre-made wraps can be more than a little bit….well…the phrase ‘Who the hell can be arsed?!’ pops into mind. But, it’s quite a challenge to find small, cutey patooty mini taco shells that are made of CORNNNNN rather than dreaded WHEATTTTT. Reasons to love corn: 1. Pocahontas did. Watch the movie, she can’t get enough of that shit. 2. They taste nicer. 3. They are prettier to look at. 4. They are just all in all better. So go for our maize friend.

To make the tacos just smoosh together a handful of masa harina (corn meal to you and all other non Latinos), water and a pinch of salt. Pound out, divide into smaller than ping pong ball balls and roll out betwixt two pieces of greasproof paper.

Anything that involves coconut and shrimp is a winner in my book – ever since I dined on these delight at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. – one of the BEST chain restaturants of all time. (They play Forrest Gump all day long…I can’t handle that much cuteness). Make sure the shrimps are raw, then do your holy trinity of flour, egg, and coconut coating and fry for no more than a minute each.

Pile all this high with radish, lime juice, lettuce, sour cream, chillis, coriander…you name it, we pile it. And then crunch, crunch, crunch away. You will never look back. 

   
    Sep 25    
Coconut Shrimp Tostadas with Radish Ceviche
         
 
 
   
Coconut Shrimp Tostadas with Radish Ceviche
Coconut Shrimp Tostadas with Radish Ceviche
Coconut Shrimp Tostadas with Radish Ceviche
             
    Sep 25  

Coconut Shrimp Tostadas with Radish Ceviche

           
 
 
 
Grilled Buffalo Steaks with Pickled Blueberry Sauce.
               
    Sep 15  

Grilled Buffalo Steaks with Pickled Blueberry Sauce.

           
 
 
             

One of my biggest bug bears (where did THAT phrase come from – any etymologists out there, do feel free to tell me), is that when I tell people I love American food and I want to celebrate it for what it really is (delicious, fun and rich in history…OBVIOUSLY) they always give me the same cocked-head, squinty eyed, raised eyebrow response. “Oh yeah? Isn’t it all burgers and hot dogs?”

NO! NO NO NO NO NO…NOOO. American food is so diverse and so unique that it is hard to even put into words how much this question angers me. And I am a very angry person by nature. It’s what stops me from becoming obese, all that energy spent on inner rage. Apart from the Latina, the Chinese, the Ukrainian, the Jewish, the old English – I could go on – influences, one of the most important and divinely tasty cuisines that always gets pushed aside is Native American.

Turkeys, potatoes, corn, blueberries, corn again – all of these were harvested and introduced by Native Americans to the first European settlers to plonk themselves on the New World. And now, a segway to Disney. It’s not a cutesy, lovey dovey gimmick that John Smith asks Pocahontas where the gold is and she gives him a cob to start shucking! The Native Americans thrived long before any ship-sailing, pantyhoe-wearing, gun-toting White bloke ever came along, and they made some freaking TASTY ASS dishes too.

This is my homage to Native American cooking. Buffalo steaks are actually fairly easy to get your hands on. Some of the more, ermmm, Waitrose-y supermarkets have buffalo steaks, or you can always order it online from Laverstoke Park Farm (who have LOADS of the stuff, and loads of creamy, tantalising buffalo mozzarella too). I used one large rump for this dish, because I served it with a bunch of sides but just get as much as you think your carnivorous side can handle. So, a lot.

The most important thing to think of when cooking steaks is to get them to room temperature first. Cold steaks going to straight onto a hot grill will freak them out, make them shrink up and become super tough. NAH-HASTY. So, rub em in oil, salt, pepper and garlic and leave for about 40 minutes on the side. Then throw them onto a white hot BBQ grill with a satisfying mixture of finesse and caveman charm. 3 minutes on each side for rare, off the grill and straight into a foil jacket. Imagine the buffalo is like a marathon runner who needs to be wrapped in tin foil to keep all the juices in.

Blueberries = the bomb. So, in order to stop this dish being too much like a steak and a fruit salad all rolled into one, dump the berries in a small pan with some whisky (what else?!), red wine vinegar, balsamic and a bit of sugar. Cook down till sticky, glistening and jammy and dollop all over the steak – which at this point should be blushing like a girl who’s just been asked to prom. Winning. 

   
    Sep 15    
Buffalo Steaks with Pickled Blueberry Sauce
         
 
 
             

Pork belly, oh pork belly. You sneaky little cheap cut, you. You are in equal parts delicious and infuriating. I know I can get a whopping great slab of you down at Aldi for £1.99 so why, WHY when I go to my local, fancy pants, slate and meringue coloured walled pub for Sunday roast are you £13 a plate?! I know your game, belly, and the deals up.

If you’re going to make a cheeseburger, in my opinion, make it the bloody best one you can. Up the fat, salt and queso and prepare to slip into a food induced deliciousness coma. Or, if you feel that you are in fact slipping into a medical coma, maybe go for the vegan bean burger option instead (your loss, pal).

Pork and blue cheese are like two long lost twin brothers, separated at birth and desperate not to let go once they meet betwixt the warm embrace of a brioche bun. The ‘Rain Man’ of the burger world. These patties use a mix of good old pork mince and coarsely ground pork belly, smoked on a stove top hot smoker for a little extra kick. Smoosh them together in your hands with some pepper, nutmeg and a little egg to bind if its not coming together and grill ‘em like there’s no tomorrow. Crispy, crunchy outside and moist, sumptuous inside. God made pork, and then man killed him and made him delicious.

I used Harbourne Blue cheese for these fellas – which is actually a goat’s milk blue, so I really am jumping all around the farmyard here. Slip the little teasing patties into a buttered brioche bun and basically question if there is anything more you need in life.

One of the biggest crimes against humanity in recent years has been boring as shit BBQ veggies. No I DON’T WANT SOME LIMP LITTLE PIECE OF GREEN, (green!!!) pepper on a kebab stick. NOR DO I WANT ICEBERG LETTUCE SALAD. Seriously people, get your shit together. Move in corn on the cob, grilled to a speckled golden glory and smothered with 3 different types of butter. In this case, Orange and Maple…Ginger, Coriander and Spring Onion…or Rosemary and Garlic. D-VINE.

   
    Sep 3    
Blue Belly Burgers. Griddled Corn on the Cob with Three Flavoured Butters.
         
 
 
   
Blue Belly Burgers. Griddled Corn with 3 Flavoured Butters.
Blue Belly Burgers. Griddled Corn with 3 Flavoured Butters.
             
    Sep 3  

Blue Belly Burgers. Griddled Corn with 3 Flavoured Butters.

           
 
 
             

What is it to cook without something to look at and someone to laugh at?! My thoughts exactly. So, I put some stuff on YouTube! Here are the links to the vids, so have a watch and amuse yourself and how many times I fail to peel an onion with ease or the panic in Grace’s voice when she realises she is grating humongous chunks of parmesan. 

Enjoy! x

American Junkie - Lazy Girl Spaghetti

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89eTJ4YNVUE

American Junkie - Texan Chilli and Cornbread

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPBWTQrrCUw

   
    Sep 3    
American Junkie Hits YouTube
         
 
 
             

Beer can chicken is a real staple dish of Southern barbecue cooking. You find thousands of recipes for it, all following the same steps of opening a can of beer, drinking half (or pouring half away if you are feeling boring), shoving that open can up the jaxie of the bird (I KNOW it’s technically the neck cavity, but it’s so much more fun this way), and barbecuing it for an hour and a half.

That’s all good stuff but why not give it a little shake up – and add in some molasses, spices and general filth?! So, this recipe follows the same basic steps but using a can of cider akin to those you would find in any homeless person’s clutches. Once the bird is standing upright and proud, drizzle all over him (I like to think of my dinner as male or female, defo a man in this case) an ebony, glistening, speckled laquer that can only be described as black-gold… WELL it’s paprika, Cajun spices, garlic, cayenne, cumin, coriander, fennel seeds and treacle but you get the idea. If you can get hold of molasses, these work even better but I was feeling lazy – as is the case almost every day – so treacle works just as well.

If you are going to do this on a barbecue, there are 2 main ways of doing it. Number 1: This is the old-school way. Pile up  the coals only on one side of the bbq and heat till they are glowing red, which will take about 40 minutes to get ready. Place the bird, standing up on the can on the side without the coals, plonk the lid on and leave for about 2 hours – stab it to see if you are salmonella-free and if the juices are looking a bit dodge, just keep on cooking.

Number 2: The fail safe way. Place the bird on the can in a roasting tray and cook in a 180 celsius oven for 1 ½ hours. Then, shimmy the chicken off the can and finish on the bbq, charring the outside to a gorgeous, crispy, almost tar colour.

Normally, I hate salad. And I hate people who LOVE salad. But there are some salads I will go for. Normally, only if they have a shit tonne of cheese and / or bacon in them. Croutons help too, but don’t tease me now. This salad is pretty fine though. Blitz the blue of your dreams with a little buttermilk, salt, pepper and sugar and pour all over some leaves. Now for the dirrrrty pecans. I feel like Xtina would like these. Toast nuts, melt butter, mix with Cajun spice, wild rosemary, salt, pepper and some brown sugar, mix nuts with butter, leave to cool. BOOM. The dirtiest of snacks, the tastiest of side dishes. 

   
    Aug 27    
Cider Can Chicken. Blue Cheese Salad with Dirty Pecans
         
 
 
   
Cider Can Chicken. Blue Cheese Salad with Dirty Pecans. 
Cider Can Chicken. Blue Cheese Salad with Dirty Pecans. 
             
    Aug 27  

Cider Can Chicken. Blue Cheese Salad with Dirty Pecans. 

           
 
 
             

Ahhh sausages…The most euphemistic treat of the pork product world. Pork swords, links, meat sabres, piggy sticks…call them what you will, I love em. They also freak me out somewhat, especially since that whole thing about cheap meat and legal content came out and someone described them as being chock full of ‘eyelids and bumholes’. Nah-ha-sty. But, as with so many things in life, the solution is simply to throw money at the problem, and buy good quality bangers instead. THANK FUCK FOR THAT!

So, home smoking. This is one type of smoking I DO like (chortle chortle). It’s actually ridiculously easy to home-hot smoke stuff so y’all should do it. All you need is a big pan, a steam insert, some foil and wood chips. Make sure the pan is one you / your housemates / your family aren’t particularly attached to because chances are you’re going to leave some smoke stains on it. Make it a big-un and cover the bottom in a layer of tin foil. Sprinkle on some woodchips (I like a mix of Hickory for street cred and Apple for sweetness. Just like me, really), cover with another layer of foil, then the steamer, then place the meat on that steamer, lid on, heat up and off you go for about 10-15 minutes till the flesh is unfathomable delectable.

Here we are then, with our lovely smoked Cumberland sausies, buttered brioche buns and nothing to top them with. These fellas need a relishy friend but condiments are more often than not, the invention of a sick, twisted heathen so I went with a fruity alternative. Get peaches, about 2, and make sure they are ripe by just nudging the sides ever so gently. If they sink in and almost sigh, perfect, if not, LEAVE THEM. Dice, bowl, mix with a green chilli, coriander and lime juice as well as salt and pepper. Flipping DE-LISH. Enjoy. 

   
    Aug 20    
Home Smoked Hot Links with Peach Chilli Salsa