Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Perfect Guacamole

Why the 'perfect' guacamole, you may ask?

Well, you really only need mashed avocados and salt to make a guacamole, because there really is no 'traditional' Mexican recipe. Therefore, after years of trying and testing, I can safely proclaim that I have found the true alchemic formula - and it's green. And delicious.

The key to making the perfect guac, is to use the perfect avocado - and this is no mean feat. I now use the Haas variety instead of those shiny green-skinned ones. I have found that the while the Haas is an altogether less aesthetically pleasing avocado, the flesh is richer and less prone to hairy fibrousness like the others.

I buy my Haas rock-hard on day one and do not attempt to eat it until day six. Any earlier and its slightly rubbery, much later and it's gunky, over-ripe and covered in black mushy spots.

As to the other ingredients: Lime juice? Check. De-seeded tomato? Check. Spring onion? Check. Fresh coriander? Check. Fresh Chilli? Check. Black pepper? Check.

Here are some 'no way' ingredients: Cumin (too pungent); sour cream or mayo or cream or yoghurt (yuck); garlic (too strong and all wrong); Anything else in the world? (er, no).

So here it is, the perfect guacamole. How do I know it's perfect? Well, last night our good friends Ophelia and Kumar came over for a food-and-movie-party (the director's cut of the 1973 version of The Wicker Man - incredible) and I made Fish Tacos (recipe to follow soon), and between the three of them - my wife included- I barely got a look-in at the guacamole. Ophelia even licked the GD bowl!

Four avocados for a pound at my local Morrison's supermarket, means that this dish comes in at a very delightful 50p per serving. 'Perfect' indeed.

Serves 4


3 ripe avocados
3 large spring (salad) onions, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, de-seeded and finely chopped
Handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 large fresh red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
Juice of a large lime
Salt and black pepper

Mash all ingredients together until blended, but still quite chunky. Serve chilled, with tortilla chips (or in Ophelia's case, with nothing at all...)

Friday, 22 March 2013

Passover Cinnamon Balls

Another fantastic telephone conversation with my mother:

After the old dear told me that she couldn't be bothered to make cinnamon balls this year, and I told her that I would be bothered instead, she explained to me that she didn't know the recipe. After 40 years of making them every single year.

So, after a brief and vague discussion with her about ingredients and measurements, I just made them up as I went along. She did however, explain to me in great detail what an 'airtight container' to store them in was. Me: 'Just to recap Mum, how much air should I let into the container?' Mum: 'You're not too old to smack, you know.' (I am. I'm nearly forty one.)

Oh, and sorry mum, my cobbled together recipe is better than yours. How do I know? Because despite warnings that they could end up hard as bullets, mine are gooey and delicious, and exactly how I remember them tasting in the 1970's - just as all Jewish food should.

I was told to use caster sugar; since I didn't have any, granulated had to do.
I was told to beat the egg whites until stiff; a bare froth was all I could manage before getting bored and my hand hurt.
I was told to use two spoons of cinnamon - I always feel that the cinnamon needs to be a bit stronger than when my mum makes them (they're called Cinnamon Balls FFS!), so three went into mine.
I was told to bake them for twenty five minutes; twenty was all I could wait before whipping them out of the oven.

The thing is, the slight under-cooking has left them a tiny bit gooey in the middle - absolutely sublime.

The whole project took me less than a half hour from start to scoff. When my wife (Mrs Ribeye Jr) came home from work, she told me that my cinnamon balls were delicious and that they tasted like some unpronounceable Russian word from her childhood. No dear. They're cinnamon balls. Not 'Schroonabobbletopf.'

The whole guntz comes to about £2 for 16 balls. That's 12p per ball. Very thrifty.

Makes 16 balls


2 egg whites
200g ground almonds
150g granulated sugar
3 (slightly more than level) teaspoons of cinnamon
Icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 160c. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until a bit frothy and then add the almonds, granulated sugar and cinnamon. The mixture should look like damp grainy crumbs. With wet hands roll the mixture into 16 balls and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until the balls have slightly risen (it doesn't matter if they slightly crack). After cooking, gently prise them off the baking sheet with the end of a spoon and roll them in the icing sugar while still slightly warm.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Seared Sirloin of Beef 'Tagliata' with Rocket and Parmesan

Mrs Ribeye and I had a very scary conversation tonight. No, not about kids, or anything quite as mind-bendingly horrific as that (although deep down, we're actually excited at the prospect of becoming parents in the fairly very distant future), I'm talking about us giving up meat.

Now, anyone who has been following Potless will know, that the wife and I have been weaning ourselves off the flesh for some time now. We stopped eating meat on weekdays about a year ago, favouring the fish and veg diet (not 'pescatarianism' - we're not wankers), and only eating meat between Friday night and Sunday night. However, we have started to think that we might be able to give up meat altogether.

Why though? Well, it's because we both agreed that after eating less meat, we feel that it tastes kinda... dirty. I initially thought that the dirtiness came from substandard quality purchases - the McD springs to mind - but we joined Costco a few months ago, and the meat we have been buying from them has been tip-top. Therefore, we can only think that we have unwittingly become pescatarian wankers.

It can happen to the best of you. If you want to start wanting less meat, the key is to start actually eating less meat. The same goes for sweets and sex.

So, why on earth am I writing about my latest tagliata dish? A plate piled high with almost raw, bloody beef? Well, Mrs Ribeye and I have decided that when do decide to eat meat on the very odd occasion, it has to be the best. And trust me, this dish is THE BEST.

From now on, meat will feature in our diets about once every 2-3 weeks. And when it does, it will rock our world. Today, I chose the most succulent 28-day hung Aberdeen Angus beef and seared it for seconds on each side until it formed a crust on the outside, but was meltingly raw and tender within. Heaven. The thing is, it was so full of carnivorous delights that I feel that I can hold myself for a month or so until my next dose. I suppose my wife and I are kind of like a boa constrictors in that way.

Cost-wise, a little meat goes a long way, when you cut it wafer thin and make it a sort of garnish for a rocket and parmesan salad. A big (300g) sirloin steak is about a fiver between two of us, which means that this dish comes in at a very reasonable £3 per serving. It's back to veg again tomorrow... In a weird way, I can't wait.

Serves 2


1 large sirloin steak - about 300g
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon dried mixed Italian herbs (or herbes de Provence)
2 large handfuls of fresh wild rocket
1 tablespoon lemon juice
50g block parmesan cheese, shaved
Rock salt and black pepper

Marinate the steaks in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the herbs and set aside until they reach room temperature. Heat a pan until blisteringly hot. Fry the steaks on both sides for a minute or two until crispy and then set aside to relax for 5 minutes. Pile the rocket onto the centre of each serving plate and dress with the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice. Top with the parmesan. Slice the steak thinly and arrange around the salad leaves. Season fairly heavily and serve immediately.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Seared Scallop Salad with Ginger and Sesame Dressing

I haven't been blogging for a while, because my 'real life' has taken over and sucked every last drop of creative writing energy from my soul.

However, in a fit of pique, I put pen to paper (actually finger to keyboard) and decided to fire up the old Potless machine to tell you about a very piggy weekend Mrs Ribeye and I had a few days ago.

On Friday night, I told Mrs Ribeye that any of our usual weekend festivities (er, pub with mates to be exact) would be put on hold for a well deserved night in. As an inducement in lieu of external entertainments, I explained that we could spend our money and efforts on a stay-at-home-night-out. Which meant extravagant wine and food.

So, today's dish was the starter to our main course of chorizo and cheddar quesadillas with sour cream. Slight problem: Both dishes (delicious on their own and eaten in moderation) don't go together particularly well - which meant a night feeling sick and eventual dreaming of being waterboarded with dairy products.

Next time, this salad will be a main course, and the quesadillas will be a main course... on a different day entirely.

Scallops are really reasonably priced these days. I bought eight big fat fresh King daddies from Morrisons for just over a fiver. What a bargain! And they were totally delicious! And I loved them (as did the missus)! And they looked so pretty! And I wish I hadn't eaten quesadillas straight after them!

The dressing is so so easy. Basically stem ginger in syrup (from a jar) with garlic and a few store cupboard ingredients, which makes the dish taste quite Japanese and exotic and very special. From beginning to end, the whole dish took 5 minutes to cook, and 3 minutes to eat. Oh, and at £3 per serving, a bargain too.

Serves 2


8 king scallops, shelled, with roes still attached
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and black pepper
3 pieces of stem ginger from a jar, finely chopped, with a tablespoon of the syrup
Half a clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon each of rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce
2 large handfuls of salad leaves

In a blisteringly hot pan with the olive oil, sear the scallops for a minute on each side until crispy on the edges and still slightly raw within. Season the scallops as they are removed from the pan and set aside while you make the salad. Mix the dressing ingredients together and dress the salad leaves. Place a pile of leaves on each serving plate and dot with the scallops. Serve immediately.