Friday, 31 October 2008

My Mum's Beef Stew - The Best - Good and Filling

My Mum's Beef Stew is the best.  What with the cold weather and the way things are with money everywhere these days, this stew can feed up to eight people served with bread and potatoes. Apart from giving it a stir now and then it can look after itself most of the time too.  So please don't be put off by the long list of ingredients.

This amount will serve 4 very hungry people easily, but served with bread or boiled potatoes you could easily serve eight.
You can also freeze it in portions if you wanted to and all it would require once defrosted is reheating!
**It is cooked on the oven top over a really low heat.

**Important - Some pulses need to be soaked overnight, see the packet instructions. You can speed this up by boiling rapidly in plenty of water for ten minutes and then leave to soak for just a couple of hours.
If you do not soak them they could end up hard and inedible wasting the whole stew.

Print Recipe

You will need: 
1 tablespoon pearl barley - soaked and drained beforehand
2 tbsp of dried mixed pulses - soaked and drained beforehand
600g braising steak
Approx 800ml water
4 carrots - sliced
2 onions - sliced
2 stalks celery - sliced into chunks
400g can of
Heinz classic vegetable soup
400g can of Oxtail soup
1/2 a 62g packet of
Knorr minestrone soup mix - needed towards the end for thickening
1x 62g pack Knorr oxtail soup mix - also needed for thickening

1 small handful of macaroni or pasta shapes
Oxo beef cubes
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

How to do it:
Get a very large saucepan with a lid or a large casserole with a lid.
Trim the braising steak if you need to of any fat and cut into bite size pieces and put into the casserole along with approx. 800ml of water. Just see how far up your saucepan this water goes to. You may want a little more.

Remember, you will add flavour and thicken the stew more towards the end when you add the packet soup mixes.
Bring to the boil and remove any scum that might have formed from the meat with a spoon and discard.
Add the cans of vegetable and oxtail soup along with the carrots, celery, onions, pearly barley and mixed pulses.

Bring back to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Add the Oxo cubes, macaroni/pasta and stir.
Partly cover with a lid and simmer over a low heat for 3 hours stirring occasionally.

** DO not mix the packet soups as per their instructions. You want them only to thicken and flavour the stew. Instead - Mix them in a cup with little more than half a cup of cold water to form a thick paste - gradually add to the simmering pan stirring all the time to avoid any lumps.

Simmer for a further hour. There is no need to be exact with the cooking times - all you need to do is make sure the meat is cooked and tender.

Braising/Casserole steak should be cooked an at least 3 hours - the longer the better or it will be tough.
You shouldn't need to thicken any more.

Add another Oxo or a little more Worcestershire sauce if you need more flavour, which it really shouldn't do if you used all the soups mentioned.
Add a little more water if you need to (if it looks too thick).

Finally make the dumplings following the instructions on the pack. 'Atora' shredded suet mix is the best. When the dumpling mix is ready put the dumplings on top of the simmering stew to cook for about 25 minutes.

You don't need to serve with anything else apart from nice fresh bread, but if you want it to stretch further just serve with boiled potatoes.
This stew can be kept in a fridge and re-heated the next day if you want to, or it can even frozen. 

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Sausage and Bean Stew

I've found the recipe I was looking for yesterday!

I saw a recipe for sausage and bean stew in a magazine a while back. I made it over a week ago and have been looking for that magazine ever since. It turns out I must have missed it while flicking though my magazine mountain.

The Autumn issue of the magazine Woman and Home 'Feel Good Food' called this 'Spanish-style sausage and bean stew'.

I altered a few things from the original recipe. Having made it, when I make this again I will crisp the chorizo but put it aside and add it at the end. I think it looses it's crispness in the cooking.
But that said, all in all the end result was an easy peasey very tasty stew indeedy!

Here's what you need to serve 4:

1 tbsp olive oil
3 rashers of bacon - chopped
8 chunky pork sausages
1 chorizo sausage - sliced
1 large onion - peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves - peeled and crushed
3 tbsp tomato puree
1tbsp paprika
1 x 400g can of cannellini beans - drained and rinsed
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
a small handful of fresh parsley - chopped
salt and pepper for seasoning

How to do it:

In a large flameproof casserole dish, cook the bacon for about 10 minutes until golden. Remove and set aside. Now add the oil to the same pan and cook the sausages until they too are nice a brown. Remove those and set aside with the cooked bacon.

Still using the same unwashed pan, cook the chorizo for a few minutes and then add the onions and garlic. Cook for a further 7 minutes or so. Don't let the onion brown too much.

Return the bacon and sausages to the pan along with the tomato puree, paprika and the tin of tomatoes. Leave to simmer uncovered for about 40 minutes. You want the mixture to reduce and thicken a little.

When it's all looking lovely, season with a little salt and pepper to your taste and stir in the beans. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. I served mine with mashed potato with sliced, cooked greens stirred though them.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Bread and Butter Pudding

Well, I got up early today to post a rather nice sausage and bean recipe on here that I made the other day - all set with pictures but can't find the recipe! It's in one of these hundreds of magazines I have here.
Anyway, I've spent way too long looking for it, so will leave that for another day as I have to go to work!

So, instead of sausages you have bread and butter pudding instead!

I have slightly altered one from Delia Smith. She used currents and I don't like them! Her recipe can be found here.
My only concern is that hers says it serves 4-6 people. I say it serves 2-4 but we eat a lot I suppose!

You will need:
8 slices of bread
Approximately 50g butter
55g sultanas
275ml milk
60ml double cream
50g caster sugar
3 eggs
freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F Gas 4
**You will also need a 2 pint (1.2 litre) enamel or stoneware baking dish, well buttered.

How to do it:

Butter the bread and cut each slice of buttered bread in half – leaving the crusts on. Now arrange one layer of buttered bread over the base of the baking dish, sprinkle some of the sultanas, then cover with another layer of the bread slices and the remainder of the sultanas.

Now, in a jug or bowl, add the milk and the cream. Stir in the caster sugar. Now whisk the eggs in a small basin and then pour into the milk mixture.

Pour the whole lot over the bread, sprinkle over some freshly grated nutmeg, and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Serve warm.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Stuffed Peppers - Piperies Gemistes

I think I will have to change the name of my blog to something like - 'Jan wants to Eat and Cook All of Peter's'
Yes I HAD to make these stuffed peppers that Peter over at Kalofagas had made a while back.

Now, this time he'll be pleased to hear I did not alter one thing from his recipe apart from the quantities.
However, due to the shops around here once again, not having anything exciting in them, I had to use dried dill and dried mint.
The only so called 'fresh' mint they had was almost, very nearly dead and as for fresh dill, they had none. So, not wanting to be traveling here there and everywhere I used dried herbs apart from the parsley.
The result was really yummy sweet peppers that I could eat all day.

I served them with a big bowl of Greek salad and some nice freshly baked bread......Deee-lish!

Preheat your oven to 190C/375F Gas 5

To serve 2 you will need:
350g ground beef
4 red pointed peppers - washed, tops cut and inside cored
1 medium onion - diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
a small handful of fresh parsley - finely chopped
1 tbsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried mint
100ml of good tomato sauce (Pomodoro)
40g Arborio rice
salt and pepper to taste

How to do it:
Wash then cut the tops off your peppers. Hollow out the peppers to rid them of any ribs or seeds.

You will need a large skillet for this, heat under medium high heat.
Pour in the olive oil then add the onions and garlic and lower to medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes to soften the onions.

Add the parsley, dill, mint and and tomato sauce and simmer until most of the liquid is gone and you have a thick mixture. Now take off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add the rice and beef to the onion and herb mixture. Mix all the ingredients well using a wooden spoon.

Add about 1/2 a tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper and give it a good mix.
**To taste for seasoning, take a spoonful of the mixture and fry it. Adjust the seasoning in the mixture to your liking.

Using a spoon, stuff your peppers and place in line the bottom of an oven proof roasting dish. Pour 1/2 a cup of water over the peppers and place them in a preheated 375F oven for 1 to 1.5 hours.
**After one hour my rice wasn't quite cooked, so in the end mine took 1 hour and 20 minutes precisely, until perfection was reached!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Chicken Giouvetsi

After seeing this recipe a while ago, by Peter over at Kalofagas I wanted to make it. The trouble is he makes too many yummy dishes for me to keep up with.
My list of 'must makes' is humongous!

I did dabble with Peter's recipe (I'm not sure he will approve - bet he says I've used too many ingredients)!
I knew I wouldn't be able to get Kefalotryi cheese. Romano should be easily available, but Sainsbury's failed me as they'd sold out!
I was not going to be put off from making this. Once I get a thing in my head to cook, it has to happen that day! So I just crumbled feta over the top instead.
I used a sweet pointed pepper as they have more flavour than bell peppers and I wasn't sure if a Cubanelle pepper is the same or not.
What are shops doing these days? Unless you live in London or somewhere major, there's just nothing fancy in the shops here!
I looked on the net for other versions of this recipe and found one here which used cumin, garlic and Brandy. So mine ended up being a mixture of the two recipes.
The result was absolutely delicious, thank you Peter for such a great recipe. My pictures do not do this dish justice. I still say it's my camera's fault and that's why my plates look green instead of white!
To serve 4 you might want to use a whole chicken - jointed. Or add more chicken pieces.
What you need:
1 tsbp oil
7 boneless chicken thighs - skin on
1 large onion - diced
3 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
1tsp cumin
1 tbsp of Brandy
1 1/2 cups of Kritharaki (orzo)
1 x 400ml can of good quality plumb tomatoes
a good squeeze of tomato puree - about 1 tbsp
800ml of chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled feta

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F Gas6
Get yourself a nice big skillet and heat the oil over medium heat.
Fry your chicken skin side down for about 10 minutes until nicely golden in colour. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Now add the onions and peppers to the same pan and saute for about 5 minutes. Now add the garlic and cumin and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so until everything has softened nicely and it all smells delicious.
Stir in the Brandy and add the Kritharaki and stir for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes.
Now add only about 600ml of the hot stock and tomato puree. Bring to a boil whilst stirring. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
**The rest of the stock can be added during cooking if needed. I must have used 700ml by the end of cooking.
I did it like this as having never made this dish before, and as I used a tin of plumb tomatoes I wasn't sure if I was going to end up putting in too much stock and it turning out too runny.
Transfer to a large oven-proof dish. Place the pieces of chicken on top and bake uncovered for about 1 hour or until most of the juices have been absorbed and the top has nicely browned. You will need to check during cooking that it isn't getting too dry - if it is then add a little more of the reserved stock.
Serve hot with some fresh ground pepper and crumbled feta.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Chicken and Leek Pie

As you will know by now I'm not too amazing when it comes to pastry.
I didn't even make this pastry, it came ready made from the shop, but still I can't seem to get it right.

Don't get me wrong, it tasted fine, just didn't look too good.

The edges, seem to come away from the pie dish! But not to fuss, as I said it tasted nice.

I did get tricky with my 'pie' wording though, don't you think?

Now the recipe is from a Marks and Spencer recipe card that they've started to put in their food halls.

Seeing as I work there and am addicted to all things foodie, I picked one up on Monday and felt compelled to make this pie that very day!
I had some cooked chicken in my fridge left from Sunday's dinner - perfect.

Here is my slightly altered recipe to serve two greedy people.

You will need:
270g cooked chicken
1 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks - trimmed and sliced
3 rashers of bacon - sliced
250g mascarpone cheese
100ml of double cream
a good 3 tsp of English Mustard
small handful of fresh parsley - chopped
1 egg - beaten
300g of ready made shortcrust pastry

**Plus you will need 2 tablespoons of boiling water

How to do it:
Preheat your oven to 190C/375F/Gas5 (170C for fan ovens)
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the bacon and the leeks on a low heat until soft and cooked. You do not want to brown the leeks though. I say about 10-15 minutes on a low heat will do the job nicely.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked chicken, mascarpone, cream, mustard, parsley and 2 tbsp of boiling water.
Give it all a good stir. Season well with salt and pepper and have a taste.

Once your happy with the seasoning, add just half of the beaten egg - be sure to keep the other half for later.

Spoon the mixture into a 1 litre pie dish. Roll out the pastry and lay over the filling.

Trim the edges and then crimp to seal, trying to make a better job than I did!

If you feel tricky then you can make a decoration out of the left over pastry.

Now brush the pastry with the rest of the beaten egg and bake in your preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes until golden.
Make sure the filling is hot before serving.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

How to Make Authentic Kung Pao Chicken

Far easier to make than you'd perhaps think, anyone can cook Kung Pao Chicken.
Tender chicken in a tasty sauce that makes your lips tingle mixed with peppers and onions that are still slightly crunchy.
Far better than anything you'll find from a Chinese takeaway.

This might look a bit of a performance to make, but once you have all the ingredients ready it's cooked in no time and is well worth the effort.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash with Harissa and Chilli

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F or Gas 6

Get yourself a nice big butternut squash. Wash it, dry it and then carefully cut in in half.

Remove and discard the seeds with a spoon.

Score it with a sharp knife in a criss cross pattern.

Pour a little olive oil onto each half and rub all over both sides (skin side too) of the two halves.

Now add 1 teaspoon of Rose Harissa (I always use the brand Belazu) to each half and rub it into the cut marks - you don't want to put it on the skin side - though as it would be way to mucky and messy.

Now sprinkle over some dried crushed chillies.

Put on a shallow sided baking tray and roast for about 45-50 minutes of until nicely cooked through. You should be able to insert a knife very easily.

**After aboout 30 minutes use a spoon to baste the butternut with the nice juices that will have collected in the part where the seeds once were.

The flesh will be nice and spicy, scrummy and most of all, delicious.

**I have made this before but added some crumbled feta cheese a few minutes before it's ready to come out of the oven, which makes a real nice lunch.

PS: My plate is white - but seems to have come out green!

PPS: I really need a new camera for Christmas
Mr Bennett!!!!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Tomato Macoroni Cheese

Loving the book 'Cook School' by Nick Nairn.  Looking through it I needed to make his Macaroni Cheese recipe - immediately upon seeing it in the book! 

A word of warning! This book has too many nice and very yummy recipes in it.
I must point out that this 'adapted' recipe of mine could serve four. I know we eat a lot, but we did only have salad with that must be okay I think in counteracting the calories? don't think so?!!
***Both the original quantities and some ingredients have been altered by me and I say these quantities will serve two hungry people.

Print this Recipe

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6

You will need:
For the tomato sauce;3 tablespoons olive oil
1 x 400g can of plumb tomatoes

1 whole red chili pepper - pierced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

120g macaroni - I used the brand Marshalls
For the Cheese Sauce:
70g butter
65g of plain flour
450ml whole milk
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
160g strong matured cheddar - grated

plus salt and pepper to taste
How to do it:
Heat the oil in a small saucepan, add the pierced chili pepper (pierce it to release it's flavor and to add a little heat to the tomato sauce) fry for just a few seconds and then add the tomatoes.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes until well reduced. Remove the chili and discard. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.

Meanwhile, (back at the ranch - old joke, sorry, can't help myself) cook the macaroni in plenty of boiling salted water for 8-12 minutes depending on the packet instructions. When pasta is al dente, drain, return to the pan and set aside.
Now get the cheese sauce on the go;
Melt the butter and add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. While still on the heat, whisk in the milk in about 3 goes and bring to the boil.

Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard and two thirds of the cheese into the sauce and season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Pour the tomato sauce into the pan with your cooked macaroni in and give it a stir.

Butter an ovenproof dish well and then pour in the macaroni and tomato mixture.

Pour the cheese sauce on top of the lot.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

There is nothing to serve with this dish except a nice green crispy salad.
Oh and a glass or two of wine, of course.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Flavoured Butter

Flavoured butter is sooo easy to make! You can add almost anything you like to it. As I was doing steak, I fancied blue cheese and walnut butter.

While I was in a flavoured butter mood, I also made one to use tomorrow.
The one below has sun dried tomato, capers, gherkins and black pepper in it.
You can make as much or as little as you need. Make just one portion if you want to.

Some other nice things you could put in your butter (but not all at once of course) include; finely grated lemon rind, tarragon, sage and onion, garlic, just crushed red and black peppercorns, thyme........I could go on and on and on!

For the tomato butter, you will need:

  • A piece of greaseproof paper - approx 8 x 6 inches should do
  • 100g unsalted butter - at room temperature
  • 2 sun dried tomatoes - soaked in water for about 15 minutes and dried
  • 1 tablespoon of capers - mine were in sherry vinegar so I just dried them. If you have the ones that are preserved in brine or salt then you will need to rinse them well. Whatever, be sure to dry them on kitchen paper towel.
  • 5 cocktail sized gherkins - I started with 6 but I ate one!
  • freshly ground black pepper - to taste

How to do it:

Get yourself a small bowl and put all the ingredients (apart from the pepper) in and give it a stir. A wooden spoon is best for this. Now season with black pepper.

Lay your greaseproof paper out on your kitchen worktop and smooth it with a wet hand so it becomes pliable. Dollop the butter in the center.

Now, just roll it up like your making a Christmas cracker by twiddling the ends.

Now just put your little 'butter cracker' into the fridge until it has set.

Once set it can be used as and when you fancy. Depending on what you've put in your butter I should think it will keep for a good few days.

This is the blue cheese and walnut butter I made to go on my steak - yum!

Just make in the same way as above:

  • 100g butter
  • 1 and a half tablespoons of chopped walnuts
  • 20g blue cheese - I used Roquefort cheese, so depending on the cheese you use you might want more. Roquefort is outrageously strong!
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Oh dear, my steak seems to be hidden under a pile of chips!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Sausage and Guinness Casserole with Mustard Mash

Nothing like a good sausage casserole - delicious and filling, perfect for cold winter days.


Print Recipe

This amount will serve two greedy people. But you could add a couple more sausages and it would easily serve four.

To serve 2 greedy people you will need:
1/2 a tablespoon of vegetable oil
6 good quality pork sausages - mine were pork and leek
2 large onions - sliced
2 celery sticks - chopped
2 carrots - peeled, sliced length ways and cut into 2 inch sticks
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of English mustard - Colman's is best
8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon - chopped
2 tablespoons of plain flour
440ml can Guinness
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
250ml beef stock - I used 1 Knorr stock cube in 250ml hot water
3 tablespoons of tomato puree
150g chestnut mushrooms - halved
salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste


Preheat your oven to 170C/325F or Gas 3
You will need a casserole dish that, ideally, can go both on the oven top and also in the oven. Just saves on the washing up!
Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the sausages and brown them all over. Don't fuss about them cooking through as they will have plenty of time to cook later. Remove and set aside.
Now, in the same pan, add the bacon. Cook until it starts to brown and crisp up nicely. Once done, remove and set aside with the sausages.
Using the same pan, add the onions, carrots and celery and sugar.

Cook stirring until the onions have softened - about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple more minutes.

Now stir in the flour and add the Guinness and bring to the boil. Now add the stock, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and mustard.
Return the sausages and bacon to the pan. Season with a little salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

Put the casserole into your preheated oven and cook on a low heat - you just want it simmering - not boiling. I left mine in for 1 and a half hours until the carrots were nicely cooked through.

I made some mustard mash to go with it - just mashed potato with some wholegrain mustard stirred though.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Spicy Lamb Patties

These patties are just baby sized spicy lamb burgers that I made up as I went along.
I did wonder about the amount of Harissa paste that I put in being too much - but it turned out just fine.

Even if I do say so myself they were really yummy!
This was not the dish I was going to make last night (long story) but I couldn't get the correct olives for what I was going to make - so will leave that until I can.

Anyway, so there I am with some minced lamb, but now not knowing what to make with it.

I had some pitta bread and Greek yogurt too and so Tzatziki had to be made!

Also I had some Turkish red pepper sauce in my fridge - perfect!

For the patties you will need:

500g minced lamb

approx 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

1 onion - chopped

1 garlic clove - finely chopped

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons of garam masala

1/2 teaspoon of cumin (as garam masala already contains cumin so only use this amount)

1 and a half tablespoons of Harissa paste (I used the one by Bart spices)

salt and pepper to taste

How to do it:

Using a mixer put the onions in to make them very finely chopped. Remove and set to one side in a large bowl.

Now add the minced lamb to the mixer and whizz for a few seconds - just so it's a little finer. Remove and add to bowl with the onions in. Season well with salt and pepper.

Using a fork add the garlic, breadcrumbs, egg yolk, chopped garlic, garam masala and cumin and Harissa paste. Now give it all a really, really good mix.

Now take a small amount of the mixture and shape with your hand into small patties. This amount of ingredients should make 12 patties. You can fry a very small amount of the mixture and taste to check for seasoning.

Fry the patties in a frying pan. There should be no need to add hardly any oil. Just wiping the pan with a teeny piece of oil, using kitchen paper towel should be enough.

Fry - turning half way through for about 5 minutes each side - or until the patties have browned nicely and are cooked through.

I served mine in warm pitta bread with some shredded white cabbage, cucumber, tomato, sliced onion and shredded lettuce.

The Turkish red pepper sauce is quite hot so only a small amount is needed. if you don't have time to make some - if can be found in some large supermarkets.......although I've never found it yet (in the UK) that is. You could, I suppose use any other pepper sauce - like Jamaican Hot pepper sauce.

I also made some Tzatziki too.

As I only needed a small amount, I used the following:

150g Greek Yogurt

1 clove garlic - chopped really finely

4 inches of cucumber - peeled, seeds removed and grated with a cheese grater.

a smidgen of white wine vinegar (say 1/4 teaspoon and no more)

1/2 a teaspoon of dill - finely chopped (I'm afraid to say I used dried dill - but it was just fine)

a glug of extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to season

How to do it:

Once the cucumber has been peeled and grated, press it between some kitchen paper towel to squeeze out the moisture and put it into a small bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the olive oil and salt and pepper.Mix it together and then season carefully with a little salt and pepper . Add the olive oil - just a teeny bit and mix once more......Job done.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Blackberry and Apple Crumble

Okay, nothing too amazing
about blackberry and apple crumble - but I took pictures so now you just have to see the finished result!

In any case, you have GOT to like 'anything' crumble.
Even me, who would rather eat two dinners than a dessert likes crumble!
I was in Tesco's (big supermarket chain in the UK) when I saw this BARGAIN in their freezer section - 500g of blackberries and apples for £1.00 pound!!
Crumble came to mind.
But not being a desert kind of person - I couldn't remember exactly how to make it.
So, on the phone to mother, this as was me (live from Tesco supermarket).......Mother - how do you make crumble??!
Can't remember exactly what she said but it was something like this - and whatever, it turned out rather nice indeedy.

To serve 2 Greedy people (or 4 not so greedy people)

You will need:

500g mixture of apples and blackberries (defrosted if frozen)
2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar

For the crumble:
200g plain flour
50g soft brown sugar
50g sugar
100g margarine
sprinkle of nutmeg

How to do it:
Preheat your oven to 200c/400F

Lightly butter a oven proof dish

Put all the crumble ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Rub the mixture between your fingers (like your counting bank notes).....Oooh - what's that like - I've never got any lol.
Until the mixture starts to look like breadcrumbs. When it does - your done! Dont fuss if there are a few bigger breadcrumb like bits in the mixture - it'll still be fine.

Put the fruit in the buttered dish and sprinkle over about 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar. Now pour all of the crumble mixture on top of the fruit.

Add another sprinkle of soft brown sugar and a little grated nutmeg to the top.
Put it into your preheated oven for about 40 minutes - or until the fruit is cooked through and the top is nice and golden.
I served mine with ice cream.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Mustardy Tomatoes and Colcannon Mash

The other night I had no idea what to cook - so looking at what I had that needed to be used up, I decided on colcannon mash.
I also had some tomatoes that were in need of having 'something' done to them!

For the mustardy tomatoes:

½ a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tsp English mustard
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
a small knob of softened butter
3 or 4 vine-ripened tomatoes - sliced in half
a little oil for brushing

Mix together the above ingredients. Brush your tomatoes with a little oil and season with some pepper. Grill for about 4 minutes until they begin to soften. Now, spread the mustardy mixture over the top of them and return to the grill for another few minutes until nicely cooked. Baste with the pan juices and serve immediately.

For the Colcannon

I used 5 medium sized potatoes - peeled and cut into chunks

120g of cabbage, thinly sliced

1 leek - sliced and chopped

A good amount of butter and some full-cream milk

White pepper to taste

How to do it:

You will first need to cook your cabbage and leeks. Put a small amount of water into a frying pan and bring to the boil. Add half a teaspoon of salt and the thinly sliced cabbage. Cook over a high heat for 4-5 minutes, until just tender, but not mushy. Adjust the salt adding a teeny bit more if needed. Drain the cabbage and set to one side.

Using the same frying pan as you did for the cabbage. Season the leeks with salt and pepper and fry them gently in a small amount of butter for about 10 minutes. You don't want them to brown, just to be cooked through and very soft.

Once the leeks are cooked, turn off the heat and add the cabbage to the pan - ready to heat up again a bit later on.

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water. Partly cover with a lid and simmer for about 12-15 minutes (the time will depend on the variety of potato used and the size you cut them). Once you can insert a sharp knife into them and the potato falls off the knife easily - they are done.

Drain the potatoes and add two large knobs of butter and a little milk. Mash with a potato masher adding more milk and butter if you need to. Season well with pepper.

Put a lid on to keep warm whilst you turn the heat back on under the pan with the leeks and cabbage in. Once they are heated through, stir them into your mashed potato. Serve immediately.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Cajun Spiced Chicken with Bacon and Cheese

Okay there are probably a good few calories in this meal - but hey.
Now and then it doesn't matter - you'll be fine!
Now this is a 'Jan' recipe!


Cajun chicken on crusty baguette - sound good?