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  

Saturday, 15 August 2015

My Saturday morning.

Anyone who reads this blog will know by now that I am a waste not cook, so today I was looking at some smoked mackerel pâté ,which lurked in the fridge. Too much to throw out, so what can I do with it?
Answer. To make a tapenade, but with slightly different ingredients.
 Black & green olives obviously, then some grainy mustard, a couple of Cornishons, some capers,garlic and parsley.a slug of oil,and the smoked mackerel pâté, but the extra ingredient has been some of my chilli in vinegar ,in fact the tail end of a pot! The colour is paler than the usual tapenade, but it tastes reasonable enough. 
I have also made 3 jars of Apricot jam ( the fruit is such good value in Lidl) ,
plus some ,Peperonata  and then a big pan of Caponata, some of which I had with a little broccoli for my lunch .
Very Sicilian! 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

I need to be inventive!

As last night some of my family came  down for the night on their way to catch a ferry in Plymouth to Spain .they brought with them much of their produce from their allotment, mainly COURGETTES!
I had friends for supper on Ftiday,and had cooked steak with Chirimchiru sauce,which is garlicky and hot, 3 cloves  of garlic chopped, ,3 spring onions chopped, flat leaf parsley, thyme,and oregano all chopped fine, then the juice of 1& 1/2 lemons, a slug  of Balsamic Vinegar, chilli flakes and smoked paprika and then mixed together . After  an hour you add enough Olive oil so that the mix is covered. Leave at room temperature till needed. 
Well of course I had masses left over, so the first thing I have made with some  of the  Courgettes is a sort of omelette ,with grated courgettes, a good tablespoon of the Chirimchiru sauce,a couple of chopped spring onions , lots of fresh mint, basil and parsley, to which I added an egg,and a tablespoon of flour. Cooked the sauce and onions first ,and then mixed in the rest.    Here it is.....tastes quite good surprisingly. 
 Next I have made some Raspberry jam, fresh as can be. And sieved  some raspberries to make a sauce which has gone into the freezer for another time.
Now I just have to  think of recipes using more courgettes.   
 Most probably a chocolate & Courgette cake, which is moist ,and you cannot tell there are vegetables in it.  Also courgettes in rosemary and cream,a lovely recipe from Jane Grigson's Vegetable book,  and then  a courgette soup., perhaps courgette and cheese scones? At least it's healthy,and organic!.  They  also brought me some sorrel  from which I shall make a sauce to have with salmon, it has a unique taste, not to everyone's liking though, being very tart,and as my mother used to say " takes the skin off your teeth".

Sunday, 21 June 2015

My best ice cream ever.

It's just so simple, I had some double cream in the fridge that was nearing its past it date, so I beat it till this, added the similar amount of Greek Yoghurt,and 2 tablespoons of homemade lemon curd,and then drizzled some Damson purée into the mix, the purée was in the freezer,so I took about 3 tablespoons out to mix.  Freeze,and it never needs to be touched after that,as it freezes without any ice crystals forming, smooth and totally luscious. I.  Oops, I completely forgot to add that I also put in the seeds from a passion fruit to the mixture. 
Result is as shown