Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Happy New Year to all my supporters!

Sorry I haven't posted anything recently, things got a bit out of hand....
The best thing I have made over CHRISTMAS was an icecream, 
Equal parts of whipped  double cream, Greek yoghurt and home made lemon curd, into which I folded grilled  and thinly cut slices of pineapple and the juice of four passion fruits. Frozen in a bowl,it fed 14 of us on Boxing night.
I also made a venison casserole, some seafood pancakes ,and an Apple and amaretti Tart ,with home made mincemeat underneath the apple slices,which were dusted with cinnamon and sugar.
Wonderful traditional Christmas dinner of Turkey and all the trimmings! Sprouts with chestnuts, carrot and parsnip pureé ,spiced red cabbage, and roast potatoes , delicious,and huge thanks to my daughter in law for. Cooking the meal.
May 2015 be a happy and fruitful one for us all.  I have 2 great new cook books,and will enjoy cooking some of the recipes

Friday, 5 December 2014

Look at what I have made!

Lovely Cranberry Stollen. 
Recipe from a Sainsburys Magazine pull out on Baking from YEARS ago. 
Actually, I think that the Stollen one can buy from LIDL is just as good as this was ! Rather heavy, and considering the time,effort and ingredients, it was not really worth making. Such a shame. I'm really disappointed .
Can't wait to try it.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Why do I want to eat salad on the coldest day of this year?

Because I have masses of vegetables ! 
So here's what I have done.
Chopped half a leek as finely as possible,and a handful of Brussels Sprouts...I  am always reading about them now,and they seem to be the vegetable of the month! Then two carorots,and a small green chilli. All the vegetables were incredibly difficult to cut finely, but with perseverance, they seem OK.
 To this I have added a dressing made with a teaspoon of grainy mustard, some runny honey,salt and a little olive oil,then perked up with some fresh lime  juice. Finally some basil leaves on the top,chopped as fine as I could cut them.
It's now marinating,and I shall have some for lunch.

I also made a soup from a red onion, half a sweet potato, half a red pepper and a small butternut squash. Simmered with some chicken stock cubes until soft,and then blitzed  with my hand blender. 
This tasted a bit bland, so as there was some lime juice left from the salad, I put that in as well.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Big problems

I have had my email hacked and am unable to get online. Will have to find a IT specialist who can help !   Jill

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The chicken liver terrine.

At last, a rustic mix of chicken livers, sausages, bacon ,with thyme, juniper berries, onions .plus the usual salt and cracked black pepper. This  was marinated overnight with a glass of Calvados and some Sherry. The next morning I added an egg and some  breadcrumbs to bind it all  together, then I wrapped Parma Ham  inside the tin,and filled it with the  mixture.
Put into the oven in a Bain Marie,and cooked for an hour at 185 o until any juices ran clear.
Then left in the tin to cool,and pressed down to compact it with some  tins.
Here is the result,which will be served with the damson chutney I made yesterday, plus some cornichons.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Today's experiment.

I thought I would bottle up some of the Damson Gin which has been sitting in the dark for over three months now.  The damsons were far too good to just throw away, so I have made some Damson Gin  Chutney
Here's what I did. 
First stoned the damsons,which were soft and luscious, weighted them ,added  the same amount of chopped onions,and two large cloves of garlic, then  put the onions and garlic in a sauté pan with some butter and olive oil ,and cooked them until they were transparent. 
I then then added the damsons, and enough sugar to make it sweet .but not too sweet. Poured in quarter of a bottle of red wine,and the rest of the damson gin that was left from the bottling. Stirred that around, added salt and pepper, a touch of chilli and a small star anise ,and let it simmer down till it was jammy , when I have bottled it to be ready for Christmas.
It has made three pots,which will be good to give away with  a bottle of the damson gin. That's 3 presents  done!   I made some lemon curd as well.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The perils of being one handed yet again!

Last night as well as preparing a chicken liver terrine, I made some strawberry jam,as there was half a punnet left from when my granddaughter stayed the night. 
250 Grammes of strawberries, the same of preserving sugar ,and the juice of half a lemon. Boiled the fruit up,it set well, and potted it . This morning I was  tightening the lid of the jar, when it slipped from my grasp, and  onto the floor, covering my shoe and halfway up my trouser leg. Of course most of it went onto the floor,so I have very little to show for all that effort.
 Luckily it didn't break,as broken glass and sticky jam would have been dreadful to clear up.
One of the many times that  I curse having had a stroke which  has left me with only one workable hand. 
Chicken liver terrine is now cooking. Will take a photo and give the recipe later.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Very busy morning.

As it's getting nearer to Christmas,I have been thinking about what to make .
So, I have already started some Damson Gin,which is in large jars ,waiting to be bottled nearer mid December, and I have done Marmalade Vodka  too. 
That  is so easy, just some homemade marmalade  in the vodka, about a tablespoon,shake it up weekly ,and leave till it has infused,and then strain it,and bottle it. If you were to buy it  ,the price is around £36.00!
Also this morning I have made a large batch of mincemeat for mince Pies. 
Dried fruit,with extra golden sultanas 2large grated apples, trying to peel them one handed  is no joke. A little brown sugar, the zest and juice of a lemon and an orange, plus some flaked almonds,and then some suet. Added to this is a good tablespoon of mixed spice,and a teaspoon of Cinnamon,.then 
finally 25 cl of Oloroso Sherry. 
 I am having a friend for lunch ,we will have potted Shrimps,which I do myself,with lemon zest, powdered mace, chilli pepper  and unsalted butter.   Then Barnsley chops,lamb chops which are double in size, with potatoes, and finely sliced  leeks and Courgettes cooked together.
Finally we shall have a plum and apple crumble , the topping done this morningand for which I forgot one ingredient when I was half  way through rubbing the butter into the flour! 
when you are messy with only one hand ,it's a nightmare,especially as I got my glasses covered with butter and flour. Thank goodness the phone didn't ring.-
Here are the potted shrimps and a corner of the apple and plum crumble, I can't work out how to take 2pictures in sequence.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The lasagne! The aroma is totally gorgeous.


I have to go to Hospital for a MRI scan  to see how the tumour is progressing ( hopefully not growing  at all .) after almost a year of treatments, I am down to bi monthly visits ,which is far better  and they give me the medication via an injection ,rather then ditzy all day having an infusion through my veins.
When I return I have lunch to do for my two sons  who will then go off to watch Bristol City play football, at present they are top of  their league! 
We are having a Parma ham and porcini mushroom lasagne, which I prepared yesterday. 
I made a thick white sauce,and then loosened it with the water from the soaked dried porcini mushrooms,plus I used dried morelles   ,and wood ear mushrooms as well.
Then layer of lasagne, then some Parma ham, then grated cheese,( should have been pecorino ,but there wasn't say to be had,so I used Manchego and Parmesan instead. Build up the layers ,and finish with the grated cheese.  Will try and put up a picture providing it isn't wolfed down  too fast for  me to wrestle with the camera.

Friday, 31 October 2014

End of the month,and it seems I have done very little

Maybe it's because I have been giving all my energies to getting back as I was on 24 th September, when I fell and broke my foot. 
 This  has been a nightmare,as I have  had to employ carers again ,and move around the house 
in  the wheelchair.  However, after 5 weeks of bashing into the walls  ( newly decorated) and taking off  layers of paint, I am now walking very carefully with a stick again. The foot hurts a lot, but I am assured it will be less painful as time  goes  by.  I feel I am living on a snakes and ladders board!
When I manage something worth putting on the blog, I assure you all I will do it.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Wonderful vegetarian dish.

Of potato, brown mushrooms, spinach.
First I cut the potatoes to roughly the same size as the cut mushrooms, and boiled them for 10 minutes, then I drained them,added a little butter,and put in the mushrooms. After 5 minutes, I added the spinach, stirred it round till the spinach had wilted,and poured over a small bowlful of very creamy leek and potato soup.added some ground black pepper, and turned the whole mix until it was thoroughly coated in the sauce. It is out of focus ,sorry about that!
Absolutely delicious none the less.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Absolute disaster!

Last Tuesday I fell at a friend's home, walking up the drive to the car,  my foot felt painful, but since I could stand, I felt there was just soft tissue damage. 
However the following day, it was so painful to walk on that  I went to A & E, where they discovered I have hairline cracks on 2 metatarsals.  The upshot is that I must be non weight bearing  for the next month, am back in the wheelchair,back  with the Carers, and won't be doing much cooking as I can't stand!
Just when it seemed I was getting my life back again....... Full of ups and big downs. 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Today's salad , tomato,chilli, red onion chickpeas and Feta., with masses of basil and mint.Plus some blackberry liquor made last night.

Apologies for the out of focus photo.
 The salad has chopped red and orange tomatoes , marinated with olive oil and lemon juice, the red onion and chill are chopped finely. Then the herbs (lots of basil and mont ) are added when you want to eat, and the Feta cheese scattered on the top. With the remaining chickpeas, I made some hummus, but everyone knows what that looks like  the only difference was that I put lime juice instead of lemon juice. It is just so Moreish......
The Creme de Mûres,  I took some  very overripe blackberries , slowly simmered them, and added sugar to taste, then about a wine glass full of red wine,plus a small shot of Brandy ,I simmered it till it had
reduced and thickened slightly ,then bottled it. 
It has made 250mls, not much,but a little will go a long way.  Now of course, the bottle is  the  first picture instead of the salad.. Must remember to ask my grandchildren how to rectify this!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Today's experiments.

Is Jamie Oliver's Olive oil biscuits, made with a bread dough quite a lot of Olive oiland fennel seeds
I don't think they are quite right, as they are still a bit bready,and not very crisp,perhaps I didn't roll them out thinly  enough? The picture will show what I mean,but they taste interesting.  
I subsequently  put them back into the oven for a few minutes longer,and they do seem to be crisper now they are cold. More like biscuits than bread anyway.
Regret to say I have eaten three already!

As well as these biscuits,I have made a CEASAR Salad Dressing.  
Here's the recipe.
1egg boiled for 2minutes only, peeled..try doing that one hsnded,!
1traspoon of Capers rinsed
4 Anchovy fillets    Or more if you want a stronger taste.
1 teaspoon  of Dijon Mustard
1teaspoon of Worcester Sauce
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
1teaspoon of red wine vinegar
1/2teadpoon of black pepper
sunflower oil.
A little grated Parmesan 

Put all the ingerdients except for the egg and oil into a food processor and pulse. Add the egg, pulse again,and the add the oil a very little at a time until it thickens.  If it tastes too acidic,add a tiny bit of sugar and that will neutralise it.
It has made a whole medium sized pot, which hopefully will last in the fridge for a bit. 
It looks so ordinary that I haven't taken a picture.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Lucious chocolate ice cream.

Here ith is! Smooth and unctuous ,don't think it will last very long. 
Have made a raspberry ice cream and some Apricot as well. 
As there is a meringue mix with the chocolate and cream, there is no need to beat it at all,and it freezes smoothly.      I have used the same mix to make both the raspberry and apricot ices too.

Monday, 11 August 2014

What to make with egg whites.

I had a couple of egg whites in the fridge from a sauce  that only used the yolks.
So I beat  them up ,intending to make some meringues. Unfortunately there must have been some egg yolk in there  ,as they simply refused to firm up, by which tine I had already added some caster sugar.
I am loath to throw anything away......so ,what to do with them? 
Added about 150 Grammes of dark chocolate which I had melted in the microwave,and then beat in just under half a pint of double cream. 
The result is velvety and not too strong. It shouldn't need further attention,except to eat it! 
When it has  firmed up I shall take a photo of it.
Just the right thing to eat when the rain is pouring down.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

My delicious Smoothie.

Made with fresh ice cold water, some rather tired raspberries ,a banana,about half an unpeeled cucumber,and some Basil. Palest pink in colour,and tastes delicious!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Healthy lunch

Here we have roasted Mediterranean vegetables, plus some " big Couscous" . Not entirely sure about the couscous though,I really prefer ordinary couscous.
The vegetables are red onions,courgettes. Baby tomatoes ,aubergine, Fennel, red and yellow peppers,and goats cheese, plus basil, nigella seeds and some pomegranate seeds as well. Over the top I put a Harissa dressing, made with lemon juice, tomato paste, Olive oil and chilli flakes,certain ally perks it all up.
It tastes like   Summer on a plate!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Sunny Tuesday.

Wimbledon, the garden...I don't want to be cooking, so there's some melon that needs eating up,plus other vegetables in the fridge. I am mostly eating vegetarian at this time, it's too hot to bother with cooking.
I have done a melon, cucumber and tomato salad ,and dressed it with a difference . A Coriander , chilli pepper and the juice of a lime  and no oil  ,whereas I usually make a dressing of walnut oil and lemon juice. 
It definitely has a kick.  
Will put some chives to liven it up,and have a tomato and garlic salad to go with it .  Should be loosing weight ,as I have hardly eaten any meat in days
Also made a cake based on a recipe from Nigel Slater, using apricots in the mix, but have added  some chrystalised ginger ,and not used any ground almonds
3eggs, 4oz of butter and caster sugar, the zest and juice of a lemon,and 6 Oz of self raising flour.
Put the lot into the Magimix and pulsed it briefly  till amalgamated.
Oven @ 170o for 30-35 minutes. Dredged the top with Caster sugar,and poured over a mix of orange and lemon juice. Looks good!  I think Nigel calls it a " simple" cake.it is certainly easy to make.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Hereis the finished ( and ready) meal!

The salads ready for eating,  Peperonata, Caponata, tian of Aubergines,courgettes and tomatoes and a green Bean,Mangetout and courgettes ,the courgettes done in ribbons ,dressed with Olive oil and mint.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Mediterranean feast.

I haven't been in the kitchen to cook for ages it's been too hot, but today, as it's far cooler I have had a burst of energy,and made some Peperonata, some Caponata and a Provençal Tian of Aubergine, onions ,courgettes and tomatoes.
Now I am going to try and take a picture of the Tian( which I haven't made in years) before it goes in the oven.
I sautéed some red onions, a clove of garlic and the chopped aubergine in olive oil,till it was soft but still recognisable, then sliced tomatoes and Courgettes thinly to cover the top. It will go in the oven for the final cook,when the topping of vegetables should be soft. I have taken done of the peel from the Courgettes,it is not an easy thing to do onehanded,as the peeler kept on peeling my nails,and I don't want nail parings in the finished dish.
The Caponata is the usual Sicilian dish of Aubergine, celery ,tomatoes, capers, olives and pine nuts, stewed with a little oil,salt , and white wine vinegar,and a spoonful of sugar . Some flat leaf parsley will just go on the top for colour and flavour.
 Sicilians sometimes add a spoonful of sultanas as well, but I think that makes it too sweet .
Then the Peperonata is just tomatoes, red peppers or a mix of yellow and red , with chopped onion,a little garlic,and  gently cooked on the hob till the tomato juices have evaporated almost to nothing. 
Leave to get cold. Now I have three Mediterranean dishes , I shall have to ask somebody to come  and eat  it all.
The two pictures show first the caponata,without the capers or parsley as I have had to send a friend out to get me some capers ,just when I thought I had everything! 
 The second one is the Tian before it goes into the oven. 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Tuesday lunch.

Now this seems the wrong way round!  In case you wonder what on earth this is.... Salmon,with a tomato and garlic sauce, plus Chinese elements.,sesame oil, sesame seeds and some teriyaki marinade fish sauce, sesame, rice wine and a little salt and sugar. Then fried,and garnished with the tomato sauce, Mangetout pease,broad beans( which I had picked for me by friends at the weekend,and I podded  them, and removed the skins myself) and a few spring onions for garnish. 
We will have Jersey Royals potatoes,and I have done a huge plate of grilled vegetables, courgettes, aubergine,and red peppers,which can either be before ,or with the fish.
Finally I have made an Apricot Frangipane Tart which I had already put into the dining room. 

Saturday, 31 May 2014

My latest delicious treat.

Last weekend I had friends round here,and we had a Chinese takeaway. There was some of the Peking Duck left,so I was thinking what I could do with it.  So I decided to make a potted  meat, something my Mum used to do when we were children.
Diced a red onion,and a clove of garlic, sweated them in a pan with a little olive oil until they were transparent, then added a glut of red wine,and let that simmer away.
 Put in the meat,plus a small fillet of gineau fowl, as I was cooking a breast of the bird ,some Thyme,and a couple of slices of Parma Ham. Let this all amalgamate plus some salted butter and added seasoning, mostly pepper,as the ham was quite salty.  Oh, I forgot the most important and maybe unusual ingredient, there were some  Marron  Glacé left from after Christmas, so they were crumbled in as  well, to give a touch of sweetness.
Then it was whizzed in the food processor with some more butter ,and potted into two small containers. It was really tasty,and I have had it twice,with friends who have fine for lunch this week.
Can't show a picture, as it was all eaten!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Homage to Europe.

Here is my lunch today, a mix of delicious bits and bobs, some  Chorizo slices,way out of date by 3months, but perfectly OK, two shallots, a red pepper, some  Jersey Royal new potatoes,just boiled for about 8 minutes,and some spinach that needed eating up. 
Put in the pan with a tiny drop of oil,pepper and salt, and here you are! 

Saturday, 19 April 2014


Well, here it is, a disaster as far as I am concerned as I broke the cake cutting it in half,and the put the ganache on when it was not quite set enough,so some of the decorations have slid at an alarming angle.
I am also making a rhubarb and strawberry fool. Have glazed a ham for tomorrow, using a glaze of marmalade,grainy mustard and Demerara sugar. Can't lift it as my wrist is now too weak, so thank goodness for family who dropped by !
Then I am doing sauces for a friend who is having a party tonight to celebrate her birthday, 70 people, and I will make a herb sauce ,using parsley, dill,watercress,  tarragon and a little mint with a mayonnaise base , and an avocado and spring onion sauce with crême fraiche and Greek yoghurt, both to have with the salmon steaks that she is cooking. 
Next treatment at Oncology is on Tuesday,

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

I have been so lazy, not keeping up with the blog.

Not because I have stopped cooking, but I am finding that holding my iPad and trying to simultaneously take a picture is becoming more difficult,as my right hand is not behaving as it has done in the past.
I have cooked Yotam Ottolenghi's Spicy  Venison Casserole, with butter beans from the Saturday Guardian about 3 weeks  ago. 
A tremendous amount of chillies,went into the making ,and I really thought it would be overwhelming, but I froze it,and of course, the flavour detiorarates over the freezing process.  He said serve to it with a Guacamole ,made again with a lot of chilli, plus sour cream ,which I thought somewhat over the top but did it exactly( a change for me!) as he said.  Overall, a bit of a disappointment,as I thought it would be more tasty.
Also I have made a leek, chickpea ,feta ,lemon and dill recipe ,again from the Guardian but this tine only 2 weeks ago,in their Cook Section.  
You simmer three leeks in vegetable stock for about 5 minutes, having cut the leeks into pieces.then add a tin of chickpeas, warm them,and pour over a dressing made from runny honey, juice of a lemon, olive oil and 2 large  cloves of garlic,which have been crushed ,plus salt and black pepper. Chop a bunch of fresh dill and mix in.  
It is SO DELICIOUS that I have made it twice already

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Tarte Tatin,made with butternut Squash and red onions ,and rosemary,plus Feta .

Well, I have made it exactly as it was written in the Guardian Cook section from last Saturday's paper.
Even got a friend to take a photo, but now I can't find it! Seems to have completely disappeared . We had it for lunch ,three of us demolished it completely,with a green salad.
I am so frustrated that there isn't the picture to show  how good it looked. You have to believe me, the taste was divine.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Parsnip, sage and Parmesan bread

    Here it is at last, straight from the oven. I have made it a bit too wet,so it has spread more than I wanted it to. Really is delicious,and so EASY!  And eventually, I have managed to take a picture,I think it shows the bread well enough.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Tortilla Espagnole

  Made with shallots, spinach and potatoes, so not quite authentic ! Now I can't get the camera to work why do they have to keep on changing the whole thing? Most frustrating.and now I have olive oil on the lens... It's hard enough bring onehanded, but this is ridiculous.  I just can't hold it ,or take a photo. Totally defeated.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Worn myself out

By thinking ( as usual) that I can do everything as I used to before all this happened. 
Sunday lunch was rump steaks with a mushroom and garlic red wine sauce,plus braised red cabbage made with chopped leeks, a touch of Allspice, sone brown sugar, salt and enlighten orange juice to moisten it while cooking.
We also had French beans and Mangetout Peas, and wedge potatoes done with a tiny bit of oil in the oven. 
Then I made some Apple Strudels, trying to unroll the Filo pastry was very difficult,so I was glad that I still have a carer to help me! Chopped three Bramley apples into small cubes, mixed them together with a handful of breadcrumbs, caster sugar, some candied peel ,flaked almonds and some Cinnamon.
Brushed three  sheets of filo with melted unsalted butter,placed the filling on one side,and then rolled it up ,tucking in the sides so it made a parcel. Brushed the top with more melted butter.
Baked in a hot oven for around 3/4 of an hour, but check to see that it isn't burning! 
After that I made a cake , no wonder I was exhausted.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Chicken, ham ,leek and mushroom pie. What to do with some left over roast chicken and a bit of ham!,so I have made this pie, with I' m afraid not home made pastry.

Please note, I got the pie out of the case by placing it rather precariously on a tin of fruit ! Tasted good, but I made too much sauce which then spilled out over the work top. Will probably eat ithe rest cold tomorrow.