Saturday, 26 November 2011

Haven't done much recently!

Just the normal cooking, but have a friend here tonight, and so I am giving her .....
Orange and beetroot marinated samon (a sort of gravad lax) with a creme fraiche ,diil and orange zest dressing, plus some rocket leaves;
then a tagine of lamb with butternut squash, leeks,onions and peppers both red and yellow, olives and prunes,with some tomatoes to give it some bulk in the sauce.Plus Moroccan spices naturally I am very fond of Ras al hanout which is mild and aromatic,and I have been brought 3 lots this year, with friends and family visiting Marrakech.
Have bought a ficelle from Waitrose, far nicer than I could make! and then some fresh pineapple and raspberries for later, if  we have room after the cheeses!
I always try to get  cheese from Roger Wilkins out beyond  Wedmore  when I'm staying with Tess.
He was featured on Jamie Oliver's Great British Food this week, for his cider ,rather than  cheese  A wonderfully atomospheric place, looking out over the Somerset Levels, towards  Glastonbury

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Preparing for Christmas! .I don't know why this hasn't arrived on the blog.Must be doing something amiss..

Here is what I made over the weekend.
Spiced Oranges.
|Easily done, by first making a syrup with vinegar and sugar, and then simmering the thinly sliced oranges in this plus
Some Cinnamon sticks, Cloves,Mace and Black Pepper corns, until the oranges are transparent. Poy up, reduce the syrup until it becomes thick by gently simmering it ,and fill the sterilised jars.  I only managed 2 jars, and I thought there would be more.
Then I made some mincemeat,  using a pound of mixed dried fruit, 1 1/2 lemons , zest and juice,and some
all spice, cinnamon, powdered ginger.Added some vegetarian suet, soft brown sugar and dried cranberries,plus the remains of a packet of soft dried fruits that were in the cupboard, pineapple, mango and chopped them small.Finally grated4 hard eating apples and added the pulp tp the mix, plus a good slug of Austrian Rum and some Sherry. Covered the bowl and left it overnight, then potted up ,adding more booze to fill the jars to the brim. They will now be left to mature until nearer Christmas.Hopefully will taste yummy, certainally they will be good and boozy!

Santa's little helper,Sybil,,getting fatter now she has been with me almost 4 months.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Today's talk for Bristol Area Stroke Foundation.

And thanks to all who came up to ask questions and were enthusiastic (hopefully over the thingsI had made!)I have been asked to put the recipe for the savoury cake here, so this is it ..translated from a French cookery book FETA AND SUNDRIED TOMATO CAKE.
180 gms of plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3 eggs
100gms of grated Gruyere cheese
200 gms of Feta cheese 
4 pieces of sundried tomatoes
10cl of  olive oil
10cl of milk
5 cl of vegetable oil
2 or 3 handsfull of fresh herbs. I used basil and chives,but you could use parsley equally  well
pinch of salt  and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 180o
In a bowl sift together the flour and baking powder
In another bowl beat together the eggs,oils and the milk Season, but not too much ,as the cheeses are salty
Mix the  liquid ingredients into the flour ,turning the mixture delicately(French translation!) Cut the feta into small pieces,and add  them plus the Gruyere and herbs to the mix, until it is well blended
then put all entire lot into a loaf tin that you have already butered and floured inside.
Cook for around 50 minutes, or until a skewer piercing the cake ,comes out dry and clean.
Let the cake cool before turning it out.
I sometimes  serve this with drinks before a meal,as it cuts easily into small pieces. Good served warm as well.

I was not ENTIRELY happy with the rest of the things I cooked, as the Swiss Roll  was  left in the oven a fraction over time, and I couldn't possibly roll it without it cracking, so I just filled it ,and cut it into small pieces so that people could taste.  Also I made tiny sweet biscuits ,Banana bread and some caramelised red onion and thyme pizzas except the flour I used was too grainy, so I made more dough,but fogot to tell them that I had made the dough as well, might have seemed like boasting.
However it was good to show the things that I use to help me in my cooking,and I just hope that it will inspire others to cook as well. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Frugal cooking!

Well, I came home with a chicken,which the butcher split in two as it's easier for me to manage. Having roasted half  with some bacon, i wondered how many meals I could get from the half.
1. had the wing and a bit of breast with some salad for supper.
2. Stripped the flesh from the carcass,and made stock ,with some added vegetables I had a nourishing soup
3. Used the breast meat for a Goulash,as I  had a friend for lunch on the Sunday
4 Having made myself a dish of plain green lentils for Saturday evening( adding some excellent Cortonse olive oil, some chilli flakes and a little salt) it was absolutely delicious, but there was quite a lot left over, so I mixed them with the rest of the chopped up meat from the chicken,added some fried onions,parsley,and again chilli flakes, you must realise by now that i'm a chilli addict!  Formed tham into patties got 4, and then put them into the fidge to firm up. Then egg and breadcrumbed them, and fried  2 of them in a little oil . Eaten with a tomato salsa ,quite nice ,but could have done with a bit more flavour. In total, 6 meals were made from half a free range chicken, not bad I say!
Before we had the Goulash on Sunday, I made a small starter by cutting through some ripe figs in a cross shape, filling the cavity with goat's  cheese,and then wrapping the figs in Parma Ham, with a drizzle of oil over the top,and in the hot  oven to cook for about 15 minutes  Very easy,and she was impressed....