Saturday, 7 December 2013
Can't seem to get away from food but at least this is not fattening.
Saturday, 30 November 2013
And this is my take on it....not a million miles apart but tasted wonderful ( if I say so myself ).
4 Large duck breasts
1 Sprig sage
1 Sprig Thyme
Enough vegetable oil to cover duck in a large heatproof pan.
750gms Waxy new potatoes, sliced, boiled and cooled
3 Cloves garlic crushed
Handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
Place duck in a large heatproof pan, pop in sage and thyme and cover with vegetable oil. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover with a greaseproof cartouche and leave to bubble really gently for 2 hours turning duck over halfway through.
After 2 hours simply place the pan - with the duck still inside - somewhere cool. I placed mine on the picnic table outside ( really cold day ). I had to keep an eye on my hungry cat of course but it cooled nicely.
Once cool, drain from the fat and pan fry in a little of the oil to a nice golden colour and then place in a pre-heated oven 180 deg/Gas 4 for about 15 minutes to cook.
In the mean time fry the potatoes and garlic in a little of the ducky oil until a nice golden colour, stir in the parsley and serve while piping hot.
Ok, it's not so fabulous as Michel's but it was far cheaper and everyone loved it. While I love classic recipes, it is quite hard to find some ingredients in a small town so you have to improvise. I served this with green beans and vichy carrotts and judging by the comments I'll be making it again.
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
- Mix the dried fruit with the sugar, cinnamon sticks, mixed spice, cloves, grated nutmeg and citrus zest in a largish sealable jar ( you can just pop it all into a large bowl and cover with cling film ! ).
- Pour over the vodka.
- Place in the fridge and leave for 3 days, stirring once each day.
- Line a sieve with a double layer of fine muslin and place over a large, clean jug.
- Pour the dried fruit and vodka mixture into the sieve and allow to drip through into the jug.
- Pour into a sterilized bottle.
Monday, 18 November 2013
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Given the time restraints of a new job, making jewellery which happens to look like food :), its no surprise that really something had to give. Anyway, I found myself missing this so much that it was time to resurrect it, albeit in a less intense manner and start blogging again.
Sam is now living in beautiful Devon and working as chef under Jim at The Trout..
Lovely food and a great pub! I miss him too much though, ah well, they have to fly sooner or later. I cook rather less than I used to so have decided to pick it up a little. I really don't have the time to devote to it any more unfortunately so I'm going to concentrate on learning a little more French cooking and posting my successes on here - might be a little flimsy on content of course! Today I have made a lovely panna cotta from Michel Roux jr's book ' Cooking With The Masterchef ' - nice little book but not enough photo's.
Sunday, 17 February 2013
These just do not last. Quite apart from the fact that they do get eaten so quickly, they dry out like mad so need to be eaten on the same day as baking.
Guess what I did this afternoon??
Saturday, 16 February 2013
I was aware after deciding to make these that a lot of people don't like the flavour of almond but, given their popularity, it was a chance worth taking so here's how it went for these little babies:
5 tablespoons butter ( about 2 oz )
1 cup milk
3 teaspoon instant yeast (10 gram)
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon cardamom, Ground (optional)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 lb. almond paste
½ cup milk
1 ½ cup double cream
3. Add the rest of the butter/milk, salt, sugar, cardamom and most of the flour (save some for the rest of the baking). Knead the dough until smooth and shiny. It should let go from the edges of the bowl. Allow the dough to rise under a cloth for 40 minutes.
4. Sprinkle flour over a board and place the dough there. Make 1 bun per person by rolling the dough against the board in your cupped hand.
5. Put the buns on a baking tray with oven paper and allow them to rise for an additional 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 440°F.
6. Brush the buns with the beaten egg and bake them for about 10 minutes in the middle of the oven. Let them cool on an oven rack under a cloth.
7. Slice the top off each bun. Take out a part of the crumb and put it in a bowl. Crumble in almond paste, mix and dilute with the milk to a rather soft mixture.
8. Distribute the filling in the buns. Whip the cream and put a large dollop in every bun.
9. Replace the tops on the buns and sift some icing sugar over semlor.
Now, other than Ikea meatballs, Swedish cuisine has pretty much passed me by so I had to get googling - and quick. This recipe seemed to tick all the boxes and I had almost all the ingredients to hand so today was the day to put on the music in the kitchen, chuck the cat out and get kneading. Oh boy, this was a lot of kneading...and with a particularly painful wrist......I made far too many having doubled the original recipe so ended up with enough to feed the whole neighbourhood. So here is how it went:
Makes 25 buns
35g ( 1 1/4 oz ) Yeast
100g ( 3 1/2 oz ) Caster sugar
300mls ( 1 1/2 cups ) Milk
1 Egg ( more about that later )
120g ( 4oz ) Butter
1 tspn Salt
1 tbsn Ground cardamom
750g ( 26oz ) Plain flour
25 Muffin cases
100g ( 4oz ) Butter at room temperature
50g ( 2oz ) Caster sugar
2 tbsn cinnamon
1 Egg beaten and mixed with 2 tbspns water
Preheat oven to 220c/425f
Crumble the yeast into a bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of milk. Melt the butter and add the remaining milk to it. Add all the rest of the ingredients to the yeast mixture and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth. Cover with a cloth and leave for about 30 minutes to rise.
Roll out the dough to a rectangle about 1/8 th of a inch thick and about 12 inches wide.
Spread the butter evenly on top of the dough.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the butter.
Roll the dough up length ways into a sausage shape and cut into 25 even sized pieces. Place into muffin cases on a large tray and cover with a cloth for an hour until they have doubled in size.
After an hourish, brush with the beaten egg and water mix, sprinkle with sugar and bake in the centre of the oven for about 5-7 minutes.
Allow to cool.
These look lovely but, I forgot the flippin egg! It was far too late once I had realised so I had to just muddle through and hope for the best. I don't know how much difference the egg would have made - but - they were pretty dry ( although tasty ).
Would I make these again, I don't know. It was a lot of work and I can't be sure that omitting the egg accounts for all the woes with these.
Thursday, 14 February 2013
Saturday, 2 February 2013
Now, it's a poor day that will see me taking cooking tips from a former fruit and veg salesman but what I don't get is this - why do the slebs put up with it? Don't get me wrong, I like Masterchef, I really liked Masterchef the professionals but I'm getting a bit flippin fed up with these two fellas, it's all gone rather flat and predictable.
Come on BBC lets find someone else to mix it up for a change.
Sunday, 20 January 2013
Here is a link to the original recipe:
and a lovely photo of the finished product
Absolutely fab served with mustard mash and sprouts.
Saturday, 19 January 2013
Now, I don't really know anything about quilt making so it seemed the best thing to trawl through the endless pages on the web until I found this particularly wonderful site:
Thank goodness I have the excuse of terrible weather because I have spent rather a long time on here today gleaning as much information as I possibly can pre sew. As it turns out I need a couple of essential items before I can start so all the time spent researching can only be a good thing.
Of course I can't help thinking that if it took me 7 years to make a door curtain I could well be drawing a pension by the time my quilt is completed.
Sunday, 13 January 2013
I've made a good start so far but I think it may become a bit of an addiction as I am already always thinking about how I can get stuff for almost nothing or even better for FREE. I think that if Sam were still living here he would have me diving into skips in the dead of night, ahhhhhhhh miss you Sam xx
Anyway, along with recipes etc this year I'll be blogging money saving ideas as I find them - lucky I don't like shopping really as that's one habit I don't have to break.
Serves 6 ( if you're not too hungry)
Spray olive oil
6 Good quality meaty pork sausages
4 Celery sticks chopped at a fancy angle
3 Carrots peeled and chopped into discs
2 Fat garlic cloves peeled and crushed
2 Medium onions peeled and sliced
6 Boneless skinless chicken thighs chopped in half
200g Lean gammon chopped
2 x 400g Tinned tomatoes
150mls Red wine ( or water if you prefer )
300mls Cold water
1 Tspn Dried chilli flakes
1 Tspn Caster sugar
3-4 Sprigs fresh thyme
1x 400g tin Cannellini beans drained and rinsed
1 x 400g tin Butter beans drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
Flat leaf parsley chopped to serve.
Spray a large frying pan with enough oil just to stop your sausages from sticking and fry until starting to colour - I like to remove any skins at this stage as they go a bit floppy after being casseroled ( yuk ), add the onions and garlic into the pan and fry for about 8 minutes taking care not to burn the garlic.
Add the chicken to the pan and cook for a further 4 minutes, stir in the gammon, celery, carrots, tomatoes, red wine and water and then add the sugar, chilli flakes, bay leaf and thyme. Stir well, cover and bubble gently for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes add the beans, season and cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Just before serving sprinkle chopped parsley on top.
Minus the parsley of course.What was it like - well - it was quite nice. I don't think it tasted like cassoulet particularly but it was flavoursome and for 464 calories per portion it was better than a lot of calorie controlled dishes out there. I would say that the portions here are a little on the skimpy side though and it would have to be served with a good deal of something low calorie veggie wise to beef it up.
250g Plain flour
200g Unsalted softened butter
200g Caster sugar
40mls Whole milk
1/2Tspn Vanilla extract
3 Large eggs
3Tspns Baking powder
2 Tspns Cocoa powder
Icing sugar to dust
Pre-Heat oven to 180c / 350f / Gas 4
Line a 1kg loaf tin with parchment paper
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, 180g of the sugar and the vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the baking powder, flour and 2 tablespoons of the milk carefully until all mixed.
Spoon two thirds into your loaf tin and then add in the cocoa, remaining sugar and milk to the cake mixture left in your bowl.
Spoon the chocolate cake mixture on to the top of your vanilla cake mixture and swirl really gently together. Don't be tempted to mix together too much as this will just give you a chocolate cake with no swirling!
Place into your oven for 55 minutes, at that time put a skewer into the centre to see if it is cooked. If the skewer does not come out clean place cake back into the oven for a further 5-10 minutes and try again.
Once cooked remove the cake from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool. Once completely cooled dust with a little icing sugar to pretty it up.
Will post a picture of the inside as soon as I get to cut it.
Thursday, 10 January 2013
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Clearly ignore the beef casserole recipe here.
1 Pack chicken thighs - de - boned, skinned and chopped into bite size chunks
1 Large leek trimmed and sliced
2 Medium carrots peeled and sliced
2 Sticks celery washed and chopped
1 Tin butterbeans drained and rinsed
2 Large savoy cabbage leaves de-veined and shredded
A handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
Double cream ( 2 tablespoons optional )
Salt and pepper to taste
Spray a little oil into a flameproof pan and fry chicken pieces until slightly browned. Remove from pan and set to one side.
In the same pan fry the celery, carrot and leek until slightly softened, add chicken back into the pan, add the butterbeans and stock to cover. Bring to the boil and them simmer - covered - for about an hour and a half.
Add cream if using, cabbage and parsley, thicken and season with salt and pepper, add dumplings cover and cook for a further 30 minutes. Lovely.