Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Christmas presents

Dear Father Christmas , could I please have one of these

Thank you ( ps I have been very good )



I saw Rick Stein cook this recently, can't remember where, but this is the closest recipe I can find. The flavours are right up my street, very close to the Galician fish stew posted previously. As usual, there is a little messing with the ingredients just to make it mostly more flavoursome.

Serves 4

2 tbsn vegetable oil
90g Chorizo sliced
3 tspn paprika
4 fat garlic cloves crushed
2 medium onions chopped
2 green peppers chopped
2 celery sticks chopped
3 fat red chillies finely chopped
4 skinless chicken breasts chunked
enough raw prawns  for 4 hungry people ( about 300gms )
2 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
2 tspn chilli powder
500g long grain rice
about one to one and a half litres chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and fry chorizo gently until crisp - drain and set aside.
Add paprika and stir around for a few seconds, add onions, pepper, celery,  and chillis. Stir and fry really gently until veggies are nice and soft ( about 5-7 minutes ).

Add chicken, bay leaves, thyme and chilli powder.
Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add rice and stir around until all coated.
Pour stock in and bring up to the boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about  15 minutes or until pretty much all the liquid has been absorbed.
Pop chorizo and prawns into pan and cook until prawns are just cooked ( couple of minutes when prawns are pink! ) no longer.
Check seasoning and serve immediately.

This is quite spicy but so tasty with a lovely mix of textures.Definately a new favourite.


Tiramisu ( the easy way)

I was given this recipe more years ago than I care to remember but it never fails to please. I don't think that it' s terribly authentic but - who cares - it tastes lovely.

Serves 4 ish

Half a 250g bag of crunchy Amarretti biscuits
4 tbsn's strong coffee
2 Cadbury's chocolate flakes
1 pot ( 200g ) mascapone cheese
Half a pot bought vanilla custard

In a nice trifle bowl, break - but not too much - half the biscuits.
Gently pour over the coffee.
Crumble over the chocolate flake.
Mix the cheese and custard and pour over the biscuit mix.
Place into the fridge until half a hour before serving.
When about to serve, crumble over the remaining flake.
Pretend to guests that it took ages and enjoy!


Sunday, 27 November 2011

Trying to cook Jambalaya!

I have just got my foot in the kitchen but can't use the worksurfaces- tricky -  so chopping on a board on large pieces of cardboard. I am trying a new recipe for Jambalaya as it sounds dead easy , and tasty. If this works I'll post the recipe this evening.

Ooooh lovely new worktop.

New sink ( complete with washing up ) , quite hard to wash up without getting anything wet!!

Attractive. Just need new ceiling, lights, walls and floor now.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Living on fast food!

Well, speedy food anyway. With the kitchen looking like landfill, it's been a difficult week. Not much cooking going on and am suffering consequential depression. I didn't realise how much time I actually spend in my kitchen until it became out of bounds on Monday. On the plus side, it's starting to take shape. Unfortunately, most of the work has been of the wiring and plumbing variety so it doesn't look very much different, today however, the worksurfaces are being installed  ( and new shiny sink ) so by the time I get home tonight it should at least look like it's all been worth it.


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Debbie's kitchen nightmares

At long last my kitchen is taking shape.It's been a long time waiting and I want to say thank you to Mr Debs for the  ' broken egg and omelette speech' each time the mess overwhelms me. Having said that, Sam has his work cut out trying to make Pork a la moutarde today !

mmmmmm, not a lot of usable worksurface here

Which way did this come out again??

With the exception of yesterday wiping all my skirting boards, it must go down as one of the most boring weekends of all time.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

One of those days.

Having one of those Cancerian days ( feeling a bit crabby ) so listening to this

Sailing Away

While making samosa's for another charity sale.


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Just waiting for the recipe for dragon pie

Come on Mr Debs....we ate this last week, where's the recipe

Beef and Guinness casserole with mushroom dumplings

I love winter food. It's sticky and warm and filling ( and fattening ) and I welcome the opportunity to cook different meals according to season. I often think about living in a warmer climate but as the seasons change I love to embrace all the diversity which you would probably miss if you lived just for the climate. We are lucky living in the UK, our seasons are defined and our food is seasonal. Having said that, roll on English strawberries.

Serves 2

500g lean casserole steak chunked
16oz Guinness
1onion chopped roughly
6 largish chestnut mushrooms peeled
Splash Worcestershire sauce
Large splash mushroom ketchup
500mls Beef stock
Rounded tbsn redcurrant jelly
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cornflour to thicken

4oz self raising flour
2oz cold butter
2oz chestnut mushrooms finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
Little cold water
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 150c/275f/gas 2-3
Simply place beef, onion, mushrooms and all other ingredients in a medium ovenproof dish, stir and cover tightly. Pop in oven and cook gently for a couple of hours
After a couple( 2 ) of hours, take out and stir, add a little water if necessary and cover again. Leave for a further hour or so.

For the dumplings, simply rub butter into flour until breadcrumbs, add mushrooms, onion and salt and pepper, bring together with a little cold water. Work as little as possible, just form into 4 dumpling roundels.

After a further hour , or whenever it is to your taste, thicken with a little cornflour and add dumplings. Cover and place back in the oven for 30 minutes.

The dumplings have a sticky gooey texture, perfect with lots of gravy and a glass or two of red wine.

It would be easy to say to brown the meat, caramelize the onions etc before cooking but, in my experience, it isn't always necessary.


Friday, 11 November 2011

Cheesey beer bread

I first saw this recipe on a Hairy Bikers programme a couple of years ago and made it then. It's a fantastic recipe and always turns out really well. Yesterday was one of those dreary, grey not quite winter days and so perfect for bread making.

Makes 2 loaves

4 tspn Sugar
2 tspn Dried yeast ( I used 2 sachets )
450mls/16oz Dark beer ( I used Guinness )at room temp
520g Strong White bread flour
320g Wholemeal flour
200g Strong cheddar cheese - grated
75g   Parmesan - grated
50g Powdered milk
One and a half tspn salt
1 tspn Mustard powder ( I used a dollop of English mixed in with eggs )
2 Free range eggs beaten
1 Free range egg white to glaze

In a bowl, dissolve the sugar, yeast and beer and set aside for 5-6 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the flours, cheeses, salt, mustard and milk.
Add the eggs and beer mix into the flour mix.
It gets REALLY sticky at this point.
Mix well in the bowl and turn out onto a floured surface.
Bring together and knead firmly for a good 10 minutes until elasticky.
Form into 2 loaves and place on a large baking tray, score each loaf with a cross.
Cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm draught free area for a couple of hours until doubled in size.
Make coffee and buy random stuff on Ebay.
Heat oven to 200c/ 400f/ gas 6
Brush loaves carefully with egg white and place in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes until golden. ( Brown in my case )
Turn out and stop teenagers from cutting huge slices just before dinner.

This bread has quite a heavy texture but tastes so good. It also toasts beautifully.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Toffee Apple Crumble

Following my apple cake weekend last week, I decided to have an appley day again today. There are so many apples about and my local market were selling them so cheaply.Unfortunately we ate it before I photographed it but here is the recipe anyway:

Serves 5-6
8 Apples ( 5 if cooking apples )
6 tbsn dulce de leche

200gms plain flour
80gms  oats
150gms cold unsalted butter
120gms caster sugar

Peel, core and chop ( just into rough chunks ) apple and place into saucepan with a splash of water.
Bring to a bubble and just simmer for 4-5 minutes - not until too soft.
Place into an ovenproof dish and dot with dulce de leche.
Mix oats into flour and rub in cold butter until rough breadcrumb texture.
Add sugar to crumble mix and place on top of apples.
Bake in a preheated oven 180c for 30-40 minutes.

Serve with single cream while still warm.
This was really nice and a bit random as I just bought the apples and kind of threw it together. Tasted lovely though.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Funky knives

Just bought these for Sam ( birthday today x ) are these the funkiest knives ever? I love them


Sausage Casserole

I'm posting this recipe having cooked it a while ago but really for my colleague Rachel.It's a really great recipe and very yummy. Photo is from bbc food as I wasn't blogging when I last made it.

Serves 6
1-2 tbspn Sunflower oil
12 Pork sausages
6 Rashers streaky bacon cut into strips
2 Onions thinly sliced
2 Garlic cloves crushed
Half to one teaspoon hot chilli powder or smoked paprika
1Large tin chopped tomatoes
300mls chicken stock
2 tbsn tomato puree
1 tbsn Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsn dark muscovado sugar
1 tspn dried mixed herbs
2 bayleaves
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
100mls white wine ( optional )
1 Large tin butter beans ( or mixed beans )
Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat a tablespoon of the oil and fry sausages until nice and brown, drain, transfer to a large ovenproof dish  and set aside.
Fry the bacon until brown and add to the sausages.
Fry the onion gently for about 5 minutes - add a little more oil if necessary. Add garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until all golden brown.
Sprinkle over chilli or paprika and cook for a few seconds.
Stir in tomatoes, chicken stock, Worcetershire sauce, tomato puree, brown sugar and herbs.
Pour over the wine ( or water if you're not using wine ) and bring to a simmer
Pour mixture over sausages and bacon and heat to a simmer.
Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
Drain the beans and rinse well under cold water, add to the mixture and cook for a further 10 minutes stirring until thick.
Season to taste and serve with crusty bread.

Just a couple of things, I added chilli and paprika because I love the flavour of both, I used ordinary pork sausages not expensive ones as we often find he flavour and texture of better quality sausages kind of, well, porky. Too porky! Sounds odd but sometimes cheaper sausages just taste better.