Saturday, 12 March 2016

No posting for some time

As I am in Hospital, having broken the same ankle I broke in 2013,
Life throws such rubbish at me it's hard to keep positive.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Salmon cured my way.

I have been given some sea salt flavoured with smoked Apple wood, and brought back from South Africa by friends. 
What to do with it? Quite strong tasting,  so I was inspired to try a type of gravad lax ,using the salt,and some other flavourings. 
Grated orange rind,and  Rosemary sprigs. And of course, some sugar.
I bought a tail piece, which on reflection,was not the right cut, since it doesn't give much area to slice. 
Scattered the orange zest over plus a couple of rosemary sprigs, then salt and sugar mixed together, and the salt /sugar mix over both sides. 
Then I wrapped it as tightly as I could in cling film, and then in foil. Put it in the fridge on a plate with a weight on the top. ( I used a 1kg bag of sugar wrapped in a plastic bag) I then turned the fish daily for 3 days, and was amazed at the liquid that came out. 
Today I have taken it out, rinsed off the excess salt ,and tried to slice it, but it had shrunk somewhat, and being onehanded, it was quite difficult to slice. So I haven't posted a picture ,as there is so  little! 
Only enough for canapés , but I will do it again, it's promising. 

Sunday, 13 December 2015


This is what I have made for my family over the past couple of days.

Cheese biscuits...Around 5 dozen,as they always disappear fast. 
one lot quite hot, with chilli, and the other I put chopped black olives in the basic cheese mix. They are really delicious. Made with the left over scraps of cheese, and equal amounts of flour and butter,and various seasonings, depending on how I feel, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, chopped nuts, chilli flakes,
or whatever.           Somehow the photo of the apple and pineapple cake has come here, so sorry!

3 & a half dozen  mini tartlets 
filled with goats cheese, pecans and spring onions . The pastry is made by melting butter stirring that into the flour ,and then adding the white of an egg, which makes the pastry very soft and malleable, so pressing the pastryinto the tiny tins one handed takes quite a while. 

A dozen mince pies , home made mincemeat, and a short pastry with orange zest and juice for flavour. 

Sticky toffee pudding...need I say more? 

Caramelised Apple Pudding. 
Make the caramel, exactly as if one was doing a tarte Tatin, but cover the apples with a batter,rather than pastry. It's still in the oven, so I can't see if it has worked.
Oh rats! The Apple has stuck to the pan, so now it's an apple and pineapple upside down cake,as I have caramelised some  slices of fresh pineapple, put them on the top ,and it now looks even better. 

A fruit cake,
 made with apricots, dried mango, sultanas and marzipan. I used spelt flour rather than the wholemeal stated, so it's quite gooey! The marzipan( which I bought) exploded inside the cake, so there are lots of little eruptions in unexpected places.

And I made some chocolate discs, quite thin with ginger, or dried fruit on the tops. 

Later on, I shall do a main course for both families ... But not yet
And anyway, I need to do some replacement shopping! I'm right out of so much !   
Now for a cup of tea, and at last, a well deserved sit down. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Damson gin.

Today I have bottled up the Damson  Gin that  I set to seep back in late August. 
Only made 4 bottles of 125 mls  though.
 However , I had the damsons ,and made some damson chutney with them. One red onion, finely chopped, a good pinch of salt, the same of mixed spice, pepper,and a shake of Turkish Chilli peppers., they are not too hot,and add a  warmth to the mix. Let it all soften in the pan with the fruit, add cider vinegar to just cover the mixture, and enough sugar to taste. I never like an over sweet chutney, and as usual, the picture is somewhat lopsided. It has made 2 jars. 
plus a little Olive oil, then added vinegar  and sugar to taste. I don't want it too sweet. 
Will keep till Christmas easily.  

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Chocolate brownie tart with Saffron poached pears

From last week's" Cook " in The Guardian ,a really lovely recipe from Ruby Tandoh.
Not a good pic,as I still find it so hard to get the thing in focus ,try and hold the iPad steady, and then take the picture with only the left hand ( the camera button is ,of course, on the right,) 
Pears ,chocolate, what more can anyone want? It's all on a slant, but I'm sure you get the picture. I have got a friend to take a better one, so am trying to put it here as well.   Without success far! 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Friends for supper.

I don't seem to have had anyone round for ages, so last night I made a mushroom soup,with both fresh and dried mushrooms, a clove of garlic and some beef stock , rather than use cream as we were having a very rich main course. 
Since I have recently  returned from my first trip abroad in 2&1/2 years , I went to Normandy, 
Poulet Vallée D' Auge was in the menu, so apples and cream and of course, Calvados  were the main ingredients. 
Fried in unsalted butter, first chopped shallots, then the sliced apples, they were removed in order to fry the chicken breasts. Around 150 mls  of chicken stock was then poured over the chicken ,  then it  simmered  for about 20 minutes. 
Finally, a tub of Créme Fraiche ,plus a good slug of Calvados,salt & pepper to taste, chopped parsley over the chicken, and hey presto! It was done.  Absolutely delicious. 
Finally I made a damson ice cream, with fresh raspberries and home made shortbread. 

I took a photo of the Chicken dish, but now I can't remember how to transfer it from Photos into the blog! Will have to ask someone to help me......

Friday, 21 August 2015

Friends for lunch, plus 2 Border Collies.

Four for lunch yesterday,and I cooked what I thought was loads of food 
Rare beef, on  the griddle, done the night before ,and sliced thinly just before lunch, 
then I did a Peperonata, red peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes coked until the tomato juice was thick
 Caponata, the Sicilian dish which has aubergines, celery, onions, tomatoes, black olives, sultanas,capers and pine nuts, the liquid coming from Cider vinegar and a little sugar, so that it is sweet and sour .
I griddled some yellow and green courgettes,and drizzled  over a walnut pesto ,a change from pesto Genovese. 
Some roasted carrots and beetroots, with a cumin ,salt and oil base, then 10 minutes before  they are fully cooked ,a honey and lemon juice dressing is poured over ,that caramelises the vegetables. Soft goats cheese,plenty of chopped dill and Higella seeds finish off the dish,which can be found in Persiana,my newest cookery book.
Spinach, avocado,bacon and blue cheese was another salad ,
and finally my favourite palate cleanser, lightly cooked mange tout and raw cucumber slices  with Sesame oil and salt. 
A Foccacia,which was a but thin,since  I stretched it to fit a large tin, ( should have used more flour) my fault,as I never weigh the flour ,just tip in what I think will be enough! 
Then after cheeses ,and coffees , with homemade chocolates ( you see what special friends they are,) we had an ice cream ,made with whipped cream, some Greek Yoghurt, crumbled meringues and a little icing sugar to taste ,and with a good slug of KirschWasser, which has been hanging around far too long in the cupboard. Fresh raspberries, stewed apricots if required,or eaten just as it is. 
Not much left  to speak of, and No pictures