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.