Saturday, 20 November 2010

Christmas Pudding!

It being Stir Up Sunday I was up at the crack of dawn to do the final mixing of the pudding. Last night I had put together all the dry ingredients so all I had to add was the grated lemon zest, treacle, egg, brandy and a bit of milk. I followed Pink Whisk's recipe as a change from my own traditional family recipe. Pink Whisk gave instructions for cooking the pudding in 3 different ways, one of which was using the slow cooker. The great advantage of the slow cooker being that the house wouldn't be full of steam and also it would use less power and therfore be greener.

I halved Pink Whisk's recipe as a 1 litre pud would be too much for us. I tried different combinations of smaller bowls in the slow cooker to see what I could get in. 3 was the answer and so the mix is divided up into 3 bowls,  Anyway the slow cooker is doing its' stuff, there's no steam. You have to add two hours on to the cooking time so am now waiting till lunchtime to take my puds out!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Christmas Cake

Yes, I could put it off no more. The fruit had been steeped in brandy. The other ingredients gathered, the cake tin was time to make the cake!
I used Delia Smith's classic Christmas cake recipe but confess I did add more brandy to the fruit than she decreed in her recipe. Long slow baking resulted in a delicious aroma filling the house.
Once cool the cake will be wrapped and feed more brandy regularly.
Mincemeat next I think!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Curried Carrot Soup

What to have for lunch? It is a damp miserable autumn day so unlike yesterday which was warm and sunny despite the initial hard frost. We need something warm to fill us up. I have a large glut of carrots ( free from a good home) so I decided it had to be carrot soup but not the usual carrot and corainder or carrot and orange. A quick trawl through a few internet recipe sites revealed a host of curried carrot soups recipes.
Anyway I decided to just throw a few things in the pot and see what happens.

2 onions roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery and leaves roughly chopped
8 carrots roughly chopped
about 1 litre chicken ( or veg) stock
salt & pepper
2 tsps curry paste
olice oil
chopped coriander to garnish


1. Saute onion and celetry in oil for about 10 mins
2. Add curry paste and cook out
3. Add carrots and cook for another 5 mins
4. Add stock
5. Simmer until veg cooked
6. Puree in batches or use stick blender
7. Add seasoning as needed.
8. Serve sprinked with chopped coriander garnish and crusty bread

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Knitted dishcloths

I was reminded that I had said I would knit some dishcloths for some of my colleagues. So after my Sunday lunch of roast shoulder of pork and veg, I started on the first dishcloth.That is now finished. Just a few more to go...

Friday, 22 October 2010

Pear and Lemon Jam

I brought home about 2 kilos of pears.Another freebie! As I had  made spicy pickled pears recently I thought I had better search the internet for a few suggestions. 'Cottage Smallholder' had an interesting recipe for Pear and lemon jam. As I had all the ingredients in stock I am currently at the rolling boil stage of the jam!Jars are in the oven ready to be filled with the delicious smelling jam.

Now what to do with all the carrots I have also been given?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

More Preserving!

On Thursday a colleague brought in a very large bag of cooking apples. I took some, thinking I'll make some apple sauce for the freezer. Anyways, by the end of Friday, no one had taken any of the rest so I brought them home. Saturday morning after grocery shopping I cut them up, stewed them and strained them overnight in the jelly bag. This morning I turned the 'juice into apple jelly and mint jelly. Now stored in the makeshift larder...otherwise known as the GARAGE!.

I had bought 1 kilo of small, hard conference pears very cheap at the greengrocers for the sole purpose of making Spiced Pickled Pears  which are a really good accompaniment to cold cuts or with cheese( particularly blue cheese). You can also warm them through and serve with roast duck or goose.It's a Delia Smith recipe and is available online see the link below for details of the recipe. My 1 kilo of pears actually filled a 1.5 l jar.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Preserves and Pickles

I had to go to a bank to pay in a cheque for the beloved. The only branch open on Saturdays  is also situated on a busy suburban high street full of lovely shops icluding fishmongers, butchers and green grocers! Naturally I had to shop......! In the greengrocers I spied some pickling onions, cauliflowers ( 2 quite large ones for a pound) and ther nestling in a quiet corner of the shop QUINCES!!!!! I staggered home with all the necessary ingredients for not only pickled onions but also piccalilli and membrillo.
Onions are in their wet brine;, the veg is cut up and salted for the piccalilli  both  are  waiting for tommorrow when they will be subjected to the final stages.
The quinces are cut up and stewing for the membrillo which when done will be put in lined baking trays and left in the airing cupboard for a couple of days before storing in air tight tins.

I feel very virtuous!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Green Tomato Chutney and Chicken Pie

On Sunday I decided to harvest all the remaining green tomatoes before the frosts came. The green tomato chutney was made as the chicken roasted in the oven for Sunday's lunch.It's a nice feeling having a few jars of the chutney stored for use over the coming months. How I would love to have an old fashioned larder full of jams, pickles, chutneys and other preserves.
The chutney has a bit of a kick to it but is delicious with pate, strong cheeses and cold meats.Had some today with pate and  crusty bread..couldn't wait for it to mature!

•500g green tomatoes chopped
•500g  onion chopped
•250g sultanas
•250g brown sugar
•1 tbsp Salt
•1 tsp cayenne pepper
•1 tsp ground green cardamom
•500ml  cider vinegar


 Put all the ingredients in a stainless steel pan and bring to the boil.Then turn down the heat and simmer until reduced to a thick pulp(approx 1 hour).Pour into sterilised jars and seal. Store in cool, darl place.

Today saw the second outing for the chicken. The carcass was stripped, some mushrooms fried off in a bit of butter and then mixed with the remaining gravy. As I'm feeling poorly I resorted to frozen pastry to top the pie.The pie browned nicely in the oven while my beloved cooked some mash.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Lancashire Hot Pot

Feeling poorly today so had to leave work early. Popped in to supermarket on way home for cold remedies and saw stewing lamb. Lancashire hot pot sprang to mind. Comfort food is what I craved.
Took my purchase home; popped some pills, rested for a while and then set to work.
1kilo stewing lamb , cut into large chunks
2 large onions , sliced
4 carrots , peeled and sliced
25g plain flour
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
500ml lamb or chicken stock
2 thyme sprigs
a few rosemary leaves chopped finely
1 clove garlic chopped
900g potatoes , peeled and sliced
salt and pepper

 1.Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Heat some oil or dripping or butter in a large shallow casserole dish, brown the lamb in batches, lift to a plate.

2.Fry the onions, garlic and carrots in the pan with a little more oil until golden.

3. Layer carots, onions and meat in casserole. Sprinkle over flour, Worcester sauce and stock, salt and pepper, herbs. Pour over stock.Arrange the sliced potatoes on top of the meat, then drizzle with a little more butter. Cover, then place in the oven for about 1½ -2hrs.

3.Remove the lid, brush the potatoes with a little more butter, then turn the oven up to brown the potatoes.
Once in oven I curled up on the sofa and nodded off for a couple of hours. Woke to an amazing smell wafting from the kitchen!Delicious, served up in bowls with peas.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Thrifty Cooking

It's getting towards payday! The money's spent till then so we are eating what we already have in. The roast chicken made 3 meals..excellent value from one chicken. Tonight we had the roasted vegetables (the ones I cooked off on Saturday) made into lasagne. Very tasty indeed.
Tomorrow night I have late meeting so the third chicken meal will come into play.It's all ready in the fridge....just needs reheating.
Have resolved to be very thrifty all through October so that I have some money left at the end of the month!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

A Woman's work is never done!

Washing done and dried on the whirly gig in the nice sunny weather today!
Shopping.....a thrifty end of the month shopping trip to Morrsion's (£20.62)bagged
minced steak
shoulder of pork joint  £2.90
braising steak £ 5.31 well over a kilo in weight so will do at least two meals...waht a bargain price
stew pack ( swede, onions, parsnip and carrots)...only 50p
plums ..again only 50p
frozen puff pastry
and a packet of fruit pastilles!

Beef in red wine is cooking away on the hob. Will have tonight with root veg mash.
Left over veg found at bottom of fridge has been roasted with some ripe tomatoes from the garden and some home grown basil into a Mediterrean veg to  have early next week with chicken from freezer or to make into a vegetable lasagne.
Tomorrow we'll have the shoulder of pork slow roasted with the parsnip roasted alongside some potatoes, apple sauce from freezer, corn and some steamed leeks.I might make some stuffing from various bits and pieces in garden, fridge and freezer.
That leaves the ironing and the cleaning to do........

Friday, 24 September 2010

The weekend starts here!

Had my hair cut, blow dried and straightened. Fish and chips for dinner. Washing done. Wine o'clock has arrived!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Aran Cardigan

Making headway with the left front. Lunch today was left over spag bol with the addition of some mozzarella and baked in the oven till piping hot and browned cheese. Delicious! Cut up the 2 salmon sides into portions for freezing. 2 tail end joints plus fillets. I froze them individually so we can take out the number we need easily. Tonight we had salmon cooked in oven en papilotte (just with the addition of dill, lemon and seasoning) with potato croquettes. An easy meal as the hob was outof action just while the bits and pieces went through the dishwasher for a bit of a clean.
Uploaded photos for printing out at the store ready for scrapbooking next week. Email received saying photos were ready for collection so will need to collect tomorrow or Saturday.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Aran cardigan

Left front is cast on and rib complete. Spag bol is cooking. The weather this afternoon was quite wintery...the rain came down and the rain came down. Winter fav was called for so spag bol it was.
The rain and wind has not done much for my lovely tomatoes which were ripening nicely. The branches weighed down by the vines of cherry toms or by the large beefsteak ones are looking weary. I hope it won't result in them not ripening...still green tomato chutney is delicious and a good store cupboard ingredient.
Yesterday I noticed that the blackberries along the road to the station were getting quite ripe and there were loads on hte bushes. If the weather is better tomorrow I may go out with a tub and harvest  some to freeze and or make jam.

Aran cardigan

The back of the cardi is finished! Hopefully the left and right fronts will be relatively easy. Will cast on in a while after another cup of tea ( Earl Grey) and thoughts about what to cook for dinner.
Have got beef mince, chicken portions, some fish in fridge together with assorted veg. Am thinking about meatloaf with tomato sauce or possibly stuffed peppers.
Will perhaps look at a few cookbooks for inspiration while the kettle is on!