Monday, 24 December 2012

Some of the nibbles

Cheese and parsnip gougeres, spiced nuts, salmon crackers and THREE different types of cheese biscuits

Christmas Eve!

Here is the Yule log in all it's glory,rather huge as I have used double the amount as we are so many.
In the oven is a sticky toffee pudding,and the sauce is ready to be heated .
What will we have beforehand for nibbles? A choice of salmon crackers (marinated salmon strips wrapped in filo pastry),parsnip and cheese gougeres,spiced nuts, figs with goat's cheese wrapped in Parma Ham? Tess will make the choice, and then there is more ( and different ) for tomorrow.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Weekend cooking.

Why haven't I any pictures? Because almost everything cooked has either gone off to the family,been frozen or been eaten.and what have I to show for it all?
Burns on my finger, getting a cake out of the oven, and the biggest bruise you have ever seen on my leg, from walking into the door of the oven,which has a very sharp corner.
I made loads of cheese biscuits. Now frozen
A coffee and walnut cake with American frosting,eaten yesterday with the family.
A savoury cake, with sundried tomatoes, capers and basil as well as cheese in the mix.very good for an aperitif with a drink. Frozen, and waiting for Christmas.
Dan Leopardi's Pistachio and orange Stollen,wrapped and put away for nearer Christmas.
An Amaretti and apple tart,which went to the family and was eaten last night.
Then a chocolate and fruit cake,so heavy with fruit that it will have to be eaten with a spoon.
I think I shall serve it as a new version of Christmas Pudding
That just about covers it, I am exhausted

Monday, 3 December 2012

Just to let you now that I have not been slacking.

A very busy weekend with guests who arrived on Thursday
So we had......
Smoked mackerel pâté ,pork with prunes in a cream sauce,celeriac and potato mash and sliced leeks. Some cheese .
Friday saw a salad of spinach, blue cheese ,pears and avocado for lunch,
and in the evening I made a Fish soup with home made Rouille, then Game casserole with Carrot and parsnip mash and green beans, followed by Clementine and orange jelly with mango topping and the Almond Tuilles , cheese ,all English a Stilton,a very tasty Cheddar and some Goat's cheese , plus of course, copious glasses of wine ,both red and white
We had home made croissants for breakfast, then Saturday lunch with some of the family here as well was a simple dish of leeks wrapped in ham in a cheese sauce .
Sunday I cooked blueberry pancakes for breakfast, and then in the evening ( with more guests) we ate a crayfish salad with a spicy red cabbage and carrot slaw and thinly sliced apple ,followed by a mushroom risotto with truffle oil,and. Some rocket scattered over the top, which I have to say, was delicious. I made some ciabatta,which was enormous,must have put too much yeast as it almost hit the top of the oven.
The fridge is filled with little containers of all I have to do is eat them, and NOT throw any away.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

My croissants, but not as quite good as Paul Hollywood's .

Needing lots of time,which I ran out of last night,so continued this morning.
Here they are, much smaller than the ones he has made, but they look OK. I had to roll and fold them so many times, but maybe that's because I am doing this one handed Have frozen the rest of the dough for another time,there seems to be an awful lot still to use.
A mess in the kitchen ...

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Saturday morning and it is only 10.15

Already made a carrot and orange soup,and now feeling retro,I have made what my Godmother always described as" super delicious Rock Buns".Plus a batch of shortbread ,which is so popular, it never lasts more than a day or two. I must make some for Christmas,to give away .
Now I have some game casserole to do,as a busy week ahead means I must do some serious planning ....friends will be staying,and not much time to be in the kitchen.
Monday morning sees another friend here for some pre Christmas cooking. She will do a chiffon pie, I will do a Yule log and some Tuilles,and we will probably do more .
Watch this space.

Monday and shared cooking.
I have made Tuilles,see picture,and a Yule log,which I cut half so we could share it, and Elizabeth has made a Chiffon pie,which took ages,and in fact the pastry was still,warm when it was time for her to return home. So it went off in two ,the chiffon in a plastic container,the pastry ,naked as it were. To be combined when she gets home.
The Tuilles were a devil, the oven was too hot at the beginning so the first lot were burned, but they still tasted good, far better results the second and third tries. So good, that I have eaten most of the burned ones......
And no, we did not manage anything else.

For our lunch we had smoked mackerel pâté ,then a recipe from Jamie Oliver's 15 minute Cooking, ricotta fritters in a tomato garlic, and porcini mushroom sauce, which was delicious, except I forgot the basil that should have gone onto it at the end. Finally ,my easy lemon cream pot, whipped double cream, the same amount of Greek Yoghurt,plus some home made lemon curd folded in at the end, with some biscuit crumbs I used some Cantucci crumbs, but sometimes I use Amaretti crumbs scattered over. This can be frozen ,which makes a great standby pudding,as long as you take it out in time,and it isn't rock hard when you want to eat it.
Plus a glass or two of Rioja of course.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Sunday lunch

Plum cake, served warm with Greek yoghurt and plum and apple sauce.
Plus mushroom and leek soup with homemade parsnip bread. Followed by Dover Sole pan fried with potatoes, sliced leeks and baby tomatoes, basil and chives snipped on at the point of serving. Made a red pepper sauce, which I managed to spill most of it onto the work top just after I had blended and sieved it. The stick blender fell over and knocked the jug over as well.
The trials of being a one handed cook!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

This evening's offerings

Bread sticks. Straight out of the oven
I have used 250 Grammes of flour, and the rest is just guesswork . Salt, oil, water and fast action yeast.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Dan Lepard's Chocolate Chip Buns

Made half the quantity , as I just want to see if they are worth doing.
From the Guardian Weekend last Saturday. Are they worth making? Undoubtably yes.I had a tiny one to try, it was everything thing he said it would be soft and comfortingly delicious and not over sweet.
Half the recipe made four rolls and four round buns,enough to be going on with.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Today's effort. Parsnip, cheese ,thyme and sage bread

Effort it certainly has been since I managed to unsuccessfully juggle a bottle of olive oil , hoping to pour some onto my bread in the oven. falling , it broke into smithereens all over the floor .... There was glass and oil , such a mess, and me in danger of slipping over and then who knows what I might have done? I had to get a neighbour to help me clear it up.
Thankfully the bread looks and smells delicious and I hope will taste equally good. I am taking it to friends for lunch today I have only made half the amount given in the recipe.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

For vegetarians Don' t read the following post.

Last week it was very definitely time to pluck the pheasants that were hanging in my shed for four days, since it was unseasonably warm they certainly needed doing.
Imagine if you can.
I am sitting outside in the drizzle at a table with some warm water in a bowl beside me,and the bird inside a binliner which was inside an old washing up bowl, which was on my lap.
Now to start. One handed. Not easy!
The first bird was easy, but the second one not so, and I ended up with feathers everywhere . However I HAVE actually done them, even though I had to joint the second bird.
I did not take a picture if this!!

Today I have been using up bits that were in the fridge.i made a sauce of half and onion, some soft tomatoes, ditto three mushrooms plus garlic, herbs, some red wine( naturally) chillies and smoked sea salt, finally adding some bits of German Smoked Ham.
Then I soaked some noodles and mixed them into the sauce, hey presto. My improvised supper

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Just cooked my fantastic roast meal

Spatchcock poussin roasted in the oven for an hour, with garlic, lemon pieces and bay leaves underneath it, finally for the final five minutes ,a dusting of fennel pollen over the crispy skin.
My mouth is watering at the thought of eating it, and with it I have just wilted some spinach. That's enough.
Can't wait ........


Here are the chillies that were brought back from Italy. tomorrow I shall make roasted chilli jam, a recipe given to me by someone in South Africa.

Here are three of the nine jars made just now. The chillies were a complete nightmare to peel, even though I had put them under the grill to blacken the skins. They are also fiendishly hot, I had streaming eyes,and had to enlist a friend to help peel them ,as with only one hand I kept on getting chilli flesh all over my hand, not a good idea!
The jam is first blitzed in the processor then white wine vinegar added and finally dark brown sugar and white sugar . This is boiled up until it reaches setting point . However, I do have dinky little jars for them. The three are on a side plate, so you can tell they are very small. Shall I dare give some as Christmas gifts?

Sunday Breakfast

Blueberry pancakes,loads of coffee,croissants with homemade jams plus smoked trout and scrambled eggs. What's not to like?
We had the pancakes with some runny honey rather than Maple syrup, and they were fine.

Last weekend I made some crunchy relish,the recipe says to use Tamarind, but, I didn't have any, so I sent a grandson to look for some in the Supermarket. As he couldn't find any,I used lime juice. This week I discovered Tamarind in the Thai section when I was shopping, so decided to make more ,with the correct ingredients. There are four main ingredients red cabbage, grated carrots ,some finely sliced ginger and red chillies. Plus sea salt,tamarind or lime juice, Nam Pla a Thai fish sauce , rice vinegar and palm sugar
It is quite noticeable how the jar made with the lime juice is much redder and brighter than the one where I have used the tamarind. The juice should be drained off before using but it keeps for ages in the fridge.
Oh I almost forgot, I made some marmalade as there were three Seville oranges in the freezer from early February, cooked with some lemons and a couple of sweet oranges it has made five jars, which should be enough for the family to have before the next batch in 2013.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Other people's recipes.

This week I have been using recipes from other sources rather than mostly out of my head.
I have bought Paul Hollywood's book How to Bake,and made three things from it. I love his blue eyes!
First, Flatbreads ,this same recipe was also featured by Nigel Slater, which I filled with chopped spring onions and mozzarella ,then cooked in a pan rather than in the oven, then a marble cake that surprisingly uses strong bread flour in the mix, and some Raspberry Muffins, which were delicious.
Tonight I have done Hugh FW's vegetable chilli,(recipe in today's Guardian) for my supper and will have the rest tomorrow with a friend.
Finally I tried Lorraine Pascal's zebra cake, but must have read the recipe wrongly as it was far too wet a mix, and therefore didn't rise up as high as it should have done .
However it looked a bit like hers, and even with only one hand that works, using a teaspoon to put the batter in the tin , it still came out in many layers when it was cut into , and I gave this to my granddaughter to take to back with her to University.
Things don't always go as one would wish them to.
Finally I used the last of a pot of basil to make pesto, it was enough to fill a medium pot, so that waits in the fridge to be used very soon,covered with a slick of oil to stop it oxidising and going dark .

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A summery pudding'

I made this last week when two friends came for supper.
We ate a lamb tagine with butternut squash, carrots, red onions,and prunes. spices were cinnamon cumin and salt with plenty of black pepper,the liquid from a large tin of tomatoes.
Then I went off for the weekend to Cornwall, taking with me an enormous fish pie . I cooked salmon, smoked haddock, a small monkfish tail and prawns with a sauce made from fish stock and mushrooms, as one of the party of four does not drink alcohol at all.
Then we had a late Summer Pudding, using plums,raspberries and blackberries plus some pears and a few red currants that had been in the freezer.
There was enough to have more another day.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Fruit jelly.wobbly wobbly .

Is this the last of the summer? I have made this using strawberries,yellow raspberries and blueberries . The jelly is rosé wine plus a little lemon juice and sugar
Also we will start with two fish pâtés and then some Beef Stroganoff to follow.
Wish we could be outside, but it will be too cold.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Curry for lunch.

My grandson Douglas stayed last night and this morning we made two curries for lunch. A vegetable one with potatoes, carrots and peas with Cumin and one dried chilli. Also a chicken and tomato one with black pepper corns, a stick of cinnamon some cardamom pods ,cumin and salt cayenne and Garam Masala.
His choices, and they were tasty and not too fierce . With them we made a Cucumber Raita and had some Pappadums and Naan bread .plus of course, a shared can of lager.

Sunday, 26 August 2012


Won't be doing much this week as I am away in Wales with some of my family, but if I do anything interesting on the cooking front I will keep you posted

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Courgette fritters

Grated courgette with garlic and mint.
Salt the coarsely grated courgette,and add some finely chopped mint ,some pink peppercorns for colour,quite a lot of garlic. And then leave to drain in a colander over a bowl.
Drain the liquid that has settled. In the bowl,and add a tablespoon of flour to the vegetables
Heat a nonstick pan with a little vegetable oil and form the mixture into oval shapes. I have got five from two courgettes. Fry them in the pan, flattening them as they go into the pan.They will brown nicely and need about ten minutes cooking in total.
Eat with Greek yogurt.
Delicious.crisp on the outside , and meltingly smooth inside.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Tribute to Mark Cavendish

Taken from the Waitrose Magazine and feeling so sad that he didn't make the Gold Medal today.
Peppers and Aubergine with chilli, capers and anchovies
Looks good , here's hoping it tastes as good as it looks.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Friday evening curry feast .

I am completely into curries, so here is what we ate
Alloo bonda. A cooked potato with chilli
And mixed spices in a chick pea flour batter and fried, a bit like a pakora. See picture three.

Kofta, minced meat, roasted spices cinnamon stick,cloves,cardamom,and
peppercorns. Then ground with roasted cumin and coriander seeds plus quite a lot of chilli powder, and mixed together with 3 tablespoons of plain yoghurt and some salt. This was made into torpedo shapes rather like a rugby ball. Then fried in sunflower oil till brown and then braised in yoghurt some tomato passata and water for half an hour. See picture two.

Then a fish curry, salmon and prawns with courgettes and coriander and coconut milk, lemon grass, and a little chilli, a much milder curry. Picture three shows this
I also made a cucumber raita,and some Dahl .made with red lentils fried garlic and tomato.

Finally , but the FIRST picture you see there is a picture of it all on a plate, at the beginning of this posting .0ops I forgot, I made a carrot salad as well, with fried mustard seeds, lemon juice and salt added to the grated carrot.
Now feel so full up, that I don't need anything else at all . even tomorrow.
Apologies for the order of the pictures
But you get the idea.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Smoked haddock Roulade ,with tomato and pepper sauce and spinach with garlic and pine nuts.

This is what we had for supper tonight. First we had a cold Mushroom soup , made with half a pound of chestnut mushrooms sweated with a sliced onion and half a litre of beef stock added, then blitzed with the stick blender and some Greek Yoghurt added to taste.
Then the roulade with spinach andgarlic plus some pine nuts. Finally nectarines in red wine, on a slice of almond and apricot cake Some raspberries added for colour and acidity.
At last, an evening when we could be outside , enjoying the balmy air. What a change.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry

When I took the Partridge breasts from the freezer yesterday I thought I could smell ripe meat. Today , they were completely high, and having cooked a very small piece,to taste, I threw them into the bin. that is something I hardly ever do being a frugal cook.
Thank goodness for the Microwave, as I have quickly defrosted a ribeye steak which is quite enough for two.
The sauce I made earlier with chestnut mushrooms and spring onions had Prosecco in it, so I have added some red wine to it as well.
Carrots and French beans will add some colour plus the ratatouille.
Haven't poached the peaches, we can eat them raw and have some good Stilton, Cheddar and Goat's cheese to finish the meal.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Weekend cooking.

One friend tonight, and another for lunch tomorrow.
So what is on the menu ...
Melon and Parma Ham, with crushed basil sea salt and oil, green and thick.
Then a pot roast of beef as it is still unseasonably cold. With that I shall serve sliced potatoes cooked in the oven with olive oil,garlic,and rosemary. Either some spinach or some ratatouille which I made a couple of days ago.
I have some focaccia in the freezer, so we can have that too.
For pudding a slice of lemon drizzle cake with mango and blueberries plus Greek yoghurt. Should do the trick.
Not sure about the wine as I have a feeling she prefers a white.

Tomorrow I have found some Partridge breasts in the freezer, which I shall gently fry , and make a white wine sauce with mushrooms, and spring onions they will not be not too strong to overpower the Partridge.Maybe a little rice with this, and some French beans.
Then I have been watching some peaches in the fruit bowl which even after 8 days have not ripened properly,so I shall poach them in spices cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon peel plus wine is left over(hopefully) from tonight and that will be enough.
No doubt a glass of two of red wine, probably my favourite of the moment St. Jaques D'Albas 2004 from the Minervois, which is drinking beautifully right now.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A message for Melody.Hi there, I am not very good with working things out,on this ipad,I.e. how to send you a message!Thanks for your kind words,very heartening.There is so much that I want to tell people, I am hoping to get to do some demonstrating soon at a Charity in Bristol.If you send me another message with a contact either email or phone,then we could get going!Best wishes to both you and your mother.Jill I have just looked on the site you suggest,that seems like one interesting item,and could be useful, but I am not so sure that I would be able to work the different components one handed .

Very little done over the past week.

Because I was clumsy enough to spill a mug of boiling tea all down my front, resulting , as one can surely imagine, in some scalding.
I am a great believer in the healing power of Lavender oil so that was much in use. I'mpleased to say that it is no longer painful,but the marks will take a bit of time to disappear.
Such are the things I have to put up with .

Risotto. Comfort food extraordinaire

Just back from being a guinea pig for a group of Physios and other health care professionals. Was so pleased to be told by two of them that they have patients who read this blog. That is really heartening, as I never know who reads it or if they find it interesting
I have just made this Risotto,using chestnut mushrooms and spinach. I had some Pernod in the cupboard and used that instead of wine before I added the vegetables. The spinach went in at the end as it cooks so quickly. I also had a bit of smoked Applewood Cheddar that I put in instead of Parmesan and gave the finished dish a depth of flavour.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Feeling like bread making

So I have made a brioche loaf this evening.
500gm of strong plain flour
1 Teaspoon of dried yeast
1Teaspoon of honey
The same of salt
3fl oz of warm water.
4 eggs beaten
175 gm softened butter
Sift the flour and salt together
Mix the yeast, honey and warm water together
Make a well in the flour and add ALL THE REST TOGETHER
Knead the messy dough for 5 minutes, and leave to rise in a covered bowl for 30- 40 minutes, I warn you here and now, it's a messy buisness but by putting the eggs and butter in the mix together makes it a bit easier to work.
Knock the dough back and then put into a loaf tin and leave for a further half and hour glaze the top with either milk or egg yolk
Set the oven to 180o .
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes , when the top should be brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base,turn out of the tin and leave to cool.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Another day, and other meals .

Today some of my family returned from
London on their way home , and stopped for a quick lunch. I gave them salads. A spinach , bacon and blue cheese and a Waldorf salad of apple, celery and walnuts. Also some cold ham and chicken . Fresh fruits after, pineapple,mango, some blueberries and strawberries. They made a good mix, especially with ice cream or thick jersey cream.
This evening I have friends, and I am giving them Piedmontese peppers and griddled courgettes, with home made Foccacia then Coronation chicken. I first browned an onion , added curry powder and some Aubergine chutney , cooked the chicken with wine , water and herbs and when all was cool, cut up the chicken and added two big tablespoons of homemade Mayonnaise plus the same of Greek Yoghurt .
Left it to marinate for the afternoon , then finally I shall add some browned flaked almonds and some chopped coriander. With this some rice and wild rice perfectly plain, and a green salad.
For pudding I have done peaches in red wine and spices with Cinnamon, cloves and a bay leaf in the liquid.
No cheese , but there is some if they should want it.
Wines. Prosecco and a German Reisling Should be enough.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Exhausted by it all

Everything was eaten up, as you can imagine, but I was so tired that I went and had a lie down which is unheard of for me. Then I never took a picture of the fantastic cake stall which appeared at 4.30 of course it was pouring with rain, as it had been on and off all the afternoon, but we carried on under umbrellas and getting fairly soaked .

Meringue roulade
5 egg whites at room temperature
275 grammes caster sugar
A teaspoon of corn flour
A dash if white wine vinegar

Beat the whites till firm and then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time , beating until it becomes glossy with the last spoonful of sugar, fold in the corn flour and vinegar. Put into a greased and lined flat tin and ob the oven at 180 degrees for 17 minutes, when it will have a crisp crust but still be soft underneath . Take out of the oven and leave to cool, then turn out onto a piece of greats proof paper , cut a little off the long edges and then fill with whipped cream and fruit of your choice. As it was jubilee, it was filled with strawberries and blueberries , the cream sweetened with a spoon of lemon curd.

I used 9 eggs for this . Two courgettes thinly sliced, some leek similarly sliced and precooked. Then over a very low heat mix the beaten seasoned eggs with the vegetables and cook until the mixture is done on the underside , but still a little runny on the top. Put this under the grill to cook the top, but watch that it doesn't get too brown.
Serve cut into slices, I managed to get 16 slices from the one I did.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Today's work

Here is a meringue Roulade, a frittata, some tabbouleh and three crab tartlets.
Now I have made a mistake and deleted the second photo.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Jubilee cooking.

Am I exhausted, This morning I have made
Two savoury cakes, one had chopped artichoke,mushroom and black olives with blue cheese, the other is with sundried tomato, goat's cheese and basil
I will post the recipes after the weekend. Then I have made two fairly large focaccia breads one with just rosemary and sea salt, the other with leek and black olives.
Next I did a batch of cheese biscuits,made with whatever is left of the bits of cheese that seem to need using up.
Finally I have done some mayonnaise
I thought I had cracked the separating of an egg by dropping it whole into a shallow bowl, and then fishing the yolk out with a slotted spoon. All went marvellously till I came to the fourth egg, when of course the yolk broke in the bowl of whites.So scooped as much out as possible as tomorrow I have to make meringues for the jubilee party on the road, actually this is for a picnic for three of us, as apparently there will be 150 people attending.
The last thing I will make is a frittata of courgettes and leeks that I will take to share with the aforesaid 150 guests If it rains, we can't be in the road ,and will decamp to the local church hall , but No alcohol allowed, so it will be cozy under a gazebo that will be in the road.
Needless to say I am now going to sit down and read the paper .
How could I forget, I have done an enormous tabbouleh to take to share as well.
I have made mayonnaise by using the stick blender, and using up some of the yolks left from separating the eggs for tomorrow's meringue roulade , which will be filled with cream and strawberries and blueberries, very celebratory.
That's enough for anybody.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Have been away

For almost a week,the weather went from winter to summer in a day,with food to match! My fabulous friends are in the process of opening a restaurant in two weeks time.
So I haven't been cooking at all, but will get back to it next week as we have a street party ,with all that will entail .

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Today's menu, mainly Vegetarian !

What are we having first? I have butternut squash that has been waiting for me to do something with it, so we will have soup(as it is unseasonably cold still) made with roasted squash some chilli flakes ,garlic, vegetable stock and Coconut milk. Puréed ,and thinned a little as it is still vey thick.then served with chopped coriander and a swirl of cream.
Then Bucatini with soya beans, asparagus tips and tomatoes. With a dressing of Olive oil, garlic very finely chopped,salt and pepper and a lot of fresh chopped Basil added . The vegetables are marinated for the time that the pasta is cooking then the precooked green vegetables andcherry tomatoes are added cold to the hot pasta, and then some freshly diced Goat's cheese is added at the end, just before serving. With of course ,masses more Basil.
For pudding, I have made a Ricotta and honey tart, with candied home made orange peel,orange flower water, a couple of eggs beaten into the mix, then poured into the already cooked tart,and some pine nuts scattered over the top,thenin the oven for 45 minutes at a moderate heat.I have done a fruit sauce,as there were some frozen summer fruits still in the freezer.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Tonight's Menu

We will be having Stuffed Mushrooms with leek,tiny scrap of ham,the mushroom stalks and a few more,parsley and then some breadcrumbs to fill them. I have put some Roquefort cheese and bashed up hazelnuts on the top. This will go in the oven just before I put in the main course, which is a Salpicon of game with chicken livers,briefly sautéed with another leek and some three cloves of garlic( you can tell I have rather a lot of leeks!)red wine added to give it some liquid and then a Gougere made with extra cheese l shall use some Comté in the mix,and use the same recipe as for making Éclairs. Cheeses,and then fresh fruits to follow.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Forgot to write about dinner two days ago.
First we had some Caponata made with red and yellow peppers,tomatoes and sliced onions.
Then we had the last game bird still in the freezer,a Mallard duck,very small ,just enough for two.I pot roasted it in some red wine and onions some
celery and a few baton some streaky bacon over the breast to stop it drying out too quickly.
This was in the oven for just under the hour plus some new potatoes previously par boiled and then smashed and the resulting potatoes roasted in some goose fat.They were really delicious,and i had never done them like that before Some lightly cooked spinach was all we needed .
Then I stewed some plums with Star Anise and a little sugar and white wine and served them with some Greek Yoghurt to which I added some dark soft brown sugar,it tasted of caramel.
In all, a good evening meal!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

What's in my fridge today?

When I looked in there,I found half a piece of Celeriac and half a large leek plus some Mangtout peas which definitely needed eating up.
Peeled the celeriac and some potatoes and put them to boil then sliced the leek finely,and added some to the potatoes and celeriac before I mashed the whole lot up.
Briefly stir fried the Mangtout , plus the remaining sliced leeks, then browned some Hazelnuts in a little oil and grated some orange rind.
Mixted that together plus a splash if fantastic Orange Balsamic Vinegar over the top,and I expect you've guessed.... Some chilli flakes!
Now I will take a picture of it ....

Today's wonderful smoothie

Is a mix of the following.....
One banana half an orange,quarter of a cucumber plus a stick of that I added some left over stewed plums and of course ,some water to thin it down.
Result? Rather insipid looking colour, but the taste is fresh and interesting,the stick blender was struggling a bit with the cucumber and celery, but I had chopped them beforehand into little pieces.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Very healthy drink!

Just made a delicious smoothy with a banana, pineapple and a kiwi plus some fresh coriander,blotzed with my stick blender, which you must realise I use all the tome! Mixed with a glass of water, I have enough for at least 3 drinks. I have made it taste far nicer by adding some finely grated fresh ginger to it.
Over the weekend I had friends here,and gave them seafood risotto, with prawns, brown shrimps and crayfish tails. Then for pudding ,we had a sorbet of mango and pineapple on a slice of pineapple and some strawberry sauce poured over it. I hate the word coulis ,I just sieved some strawberries having blitzed them with my stick blender and added sugar to taste .plus a little lemon juice.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

What is cooking today

Here are the scones I have made since I found some slightly sour cream in the back of the fridge they taste good and the sourness has disappeared completely. Iwill also make a goulash as I have some pork pieces and loads of red and yrllow peppers,and of course, the sour cream will be a part of the dish! I use the sweet smoked paprika from LA CHINATA,which is so tasty.
Have taken a picture of the scones. Hope I can make them appear!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Questions answered

I have had some readers of this blog ask me the following questions...
How do I beat batter?
That sounds a bit like a tongue twister!
I have a bowl with a handle, which is so useful,the weak hand supports the handle of the bowl ,which is resting on a damp cloth to stop it slipping.then I can beat away, either using an electric hand whisk, or a balloon whisk,which is VERY TIRING.
getting the batter from the bowl to a tin is mostly messy, you must try and keep the bowl steady,while you scrape out the mix. Chocolate brownies are the messiest!

How do I make ice cream?
I usually use my stick blender,with the mixture (not too much at a time, or it will go all over everything) Or else I use my Magimix,with the usual blade attachment,and freeze it for an hour until it starts to crystallise ,when I remove it from the container,and give it another beating,and then freeze again.
A very good ice cream can be made with the same amounts of double.cream and Greek yoghurt, you beat the cream till it holds it's shape, then fold in the yoghurt,and add your chosen flavour
Lemon curd, a thick fruit purée ,or anything you think would taste delicious..
it dosen't need beating at all, and freezes beautifully, but do remember to take it from the freezer a good hour before you want to eat it!
Another method is to make a cooked meringue,which when cool is folded into some lightly whipped double cream,and again flavouring added at the end. this method also has the added advantage of not needing beating

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Trying to get to grips with the iPad.

Well, I have been flat out ,having friends found here, or else going out for the past eleven consequtive days. So what's been on the menu?
More chicken and leak pie made with filo pastry, a duck, spicy sausage and tomato and white bean casserole(this before it became so unseasonably warm).Various interesting salads,especially a BEETROOT, SWEET POTATO AND SMOKED MACKAREL SALAD. made with roasted vegetables, some red onion added to the mix, some limejuice and then the whole lot tossed in a horseradish and cream sauce while it was still warm.
Served with some rocket leaves for colour.

Lots of red fruits, mangoes, pineapple for dessert, home made breads,made with a flour that had seeds in the mix, but to my taste ,somewhat heavy.
lots of Easter biscuits,
Recipe below.
250grammes of plain flour
175grammes if butter
150 grammes of caster sugar
4-5drops of oil of Cassia(more if you
I've a stronger taste)
1egg,well beaten
100 grammes of currants.

cream the butter and sugar till it is pale,then add the oil to the egg,and mix them into the sugar and butter.
Add the flour, and then the currants.
This will make a VETY SOFT dough.

Take a quarter of the mixture at a time ,and roll out ,using plenty of flour,you need the biscuits to be the thickness of a pound coin.
Place the m onto a baking sheet,using a fluted citter.
Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes,and then bake in a hot oven. 180 degrees,for 12 to 15 minutes, but watch them carefully ,as they burn when you take your eye off them

This amount should make around two dozen biscuits. They won't last long.....

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

New iPad,so trying to find my way round it!

Having a. New machine to write on is qiuite a challenge. I still haven't worked out how I put photos onto it, but I'll get there soon.
I made a great chicken and leek pie last week, using fill pastry. Rather than shortcrust
Tomorrow I'm doing a fish pie, using salmon, seabream, cod and smoked haddock ,in a slightly cheesey sauce and with spinach leaves added to the sauce. mashed potato with lots of chives,a salad, and then sliced strawberries and mango,as one of my friends has given up puddings(except for fruit)for Lent.
In the evening, 2 more friends come for supper,where we will have braised pork with of onions and red cabbage,probably with some carrots for colour.
I might try to concoct some Filo baskets with smoked salmon,cream and egg yolks,they would be nice made in muffin cases.we will see.
Apologies for no pictures, but hope that you understand!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Busy cooking on Saturday.

I have been busy nearly all day yesterday, as I had a friend for lunch and another for supper.
I want to share the recipe for venison which I cooked in the evening


800 grms of leg steak
2 onions and 3 cloves of garlic chopped
2 carrots ,2 sticks of celery and half a bulb of fennel roughly chopped, bay leaves, thyme, sage leaves,a aprig of rosemary ,plus some parsley and finally  3 extra cloves of garlic , some choped parsley and basil to be added later.
Red wine and olive oil for the marinade,
Half a pint of game stock or beef stock ,plus pepper and salt.
A handful of sultanas, some pine nuts and some choped candied orange peel , 4 squares of dark chocolate and 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.  3 Amarreti biscuits crumbled. This is added for the final 10 minutes of cooking .

Cut the steaks into 3 cms pieces and put them plus the vegetables and herbs into a bowl ,and pour  over the marinade so that the meat is covered. Leave for up to 12 hours
 Drain the meat from the marinade and vegetables ,but keep everything , as you will use it to all..

Brown the meat in hot oil,and make sure all pieces are browned all over, then add the onions and garlic. Cook until  they become translucent, and then add all the vegetables,pour over the marinade and bring to a simmer.Add the extra garlic and the chopped herbs and seasoning..
Cover and cook for 1 and a half hours.

In a separate pan , To 8 tablespoons of water add the currants, the pine nuts and the peel, the chocolate ,
 and finally the vinegar.Allow the chocolate to melt, then pour it  into the venison , crumble over the biscuits. Cook for another 10 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle.

I served this with Polenta,to which I added some tomato and basil.

Really good if cooked one day, and served the next.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Even though it's cold, I feel like eating salads

Especially as I seem to have added somewhat to my weight just recently!
So Imade a salad from the following ingredients.....
half a leek, chopped finely
a handful of both rocket and lamb's lettuice
Half a little gem lettuice, shredded
Half a hard pear, sliced in half moons
about a third of a cucumber in fine batons
There was some puttanesca sauce left. so I mixed in some more olive oil, and poured that over the greenery, chopped some fresh mint,and then scattered the mint and some sunflower seeds over the top.
 it was very tasty.

Then I made another one,
Some cooked py lentils,with a soy, honey and balsamic vinegar dressing poured over them while still warm,  Two red onions cut into half moons  and some sweet potato in pieces,both  tossed in olive oilsalt  and cinnamon before roasting in a hot oven for 30 minutes.Leave to cool . Salad made with some rocket leaves, and goat's cheese crumbled over  the lentils and vegatables plus a little salt and a grind of black pepper,if needed.

Finally ., my fix on chilli. I really do love chilli!

Some nests of fine egg noodles,(I used two)  Put in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, and leave to cool.
One red  red chilli very finely chopped, 2 shallots finely chopped, a handful of Coriander leaves,
Sesame oil, Soy sauce ,some honey to taste and the juice of a lime. Enough to mix in well, but not be too wet.
Good on it's own ,or with roasted meats.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

My most useful pieces of equipment.

Well I could show you them, but as usual, I don'rt seem to be able to get the pictures from the folder into the blog. This is the second try.... here's hoping!  God, it's round the wrong way, but this is the spike that I use for cutting vegetables and hard fruits.have to put a dampcloth underneath to keep it from slipping.
The next is the body clamp, which I use by fixing it onto the worksurface,and pushing my body
against it(that's why it's called what it is!) The T bar presses against the jar or whatever it is that needs opening, just watch that it doesn't twist round.  Apologies for the inept ness .