Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Chicken thighs baked on a celeriac, carrot and onion base

An experiment. I had a large celeriac in the fridge and wondered how I could use this with the chicken. So:
4 chicken thighs
1/4 celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks about 1"x2"
1 large carrot, peeled
1 large onion, peeled and cut into chunks
balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp
honey, 1 tbsp
white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp
vegetable oil 1tbsp

I put all the veg in a rectangular pottery dish and mixed in the honey, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper. Once I flattened the vegetable layer, I put the lightly oiled chicken pieces on top, skin side up. Then I put the dish in the oven at 180C for 40 minutes. The chicken was nicely cooked and browned. However, the veg were still too crunchy. I took the chicken off the top and kept it warm. I covered the dish with cling film and put it on high in the microwave for 10 minutes. If I did this again, I would parboil the veg for 10 minutes, before putting them in the dish and proceeding as before. The result was a slightly tangy and sweet flavoured vegetable.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

This a really tasty, non-meat lasagna. Although there are several steps they can be done in advance, and the dish assembled before cooking. It's essential to use the dried mushrooms for a full flavour. Also we use a lot more bechamel sauce than the original recipe suggested. The amount of grated parmesan can be more also.

Lasagna with mushrooms
adapted from the Second Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan

40g dried mushrooms
680g fresh mushrooms
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
60g butter
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
75g tinned Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
lasagna dough made with 3 eggs (see labels)
Bechamel sauce made with 1000 mls milk
60g grated Parmesan cheese

Soak the dried mushrooms for at least 30 minutes in lukewarm water to cover. After soaking lift out carefully and rinse to remove any grit. Cut into smaller pieces. Filter the mushroom water through a sieve lined with kitchen towel. Keep for later.
Clean then thinly slice the fresh mushrooms. Heat the oil and 60g butter in large saute pan and cook the onion until translucent. Add the soaked mushrooms, the mushroom water, the chopped tomatoes and the parsley. Allow liquid to evaporate then put in the fresh mushrooms and raise the heat to high. Add salt and pepper and cook on high heat until the liquid exuded by the fresh mushrooms has evaporated. Take off the heat, check for seasoning.
Preheat oven to 180C. 
Thinly smear lasagna dish with butter. Line the bottom of the dish with strips of pasta. Spread a thin layer of mushrooms over the pasta. Cover the mushrooms thinly with bechamel sauce. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan. Cover with another layer of pasta and repeat sequence, to a maximum depth of 6 layers of pasta. Over the topmost layer spread a thin layer of bechamel and sprinkle with the last of the Parmesan. 
Put the dish in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until nicely golden. After removing from the oven let rest for 15 minutes. Serve slices with a green salad.

This quantity of pasta and filling filled 2 rectangular pottery casserole dishes sizes 20cm x 27cm, depth 5cms. Once cooked and cooled they freeze well.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

No supper tonight. Went to friends for a delicious lunch.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Lamb chops, potato cakes, broccoli, cauliflower

Potato Cakes

Left over mashed potato (with previously added butter and milk)
Wholemeal flour

Mix in sufficient flour to make a coherent mass that will hold together to form patties. Break off pieces of the mixture and form into about 3x3" flat patties. Brown each side on preheated griddle. The are nice with some butter on top, or some melted cheddar cheese.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Herbed Beef casserole, mashed potato, cauliflower.

Another bulk cook standby cooked today by G, the excess to go in the freezer. I'm home late tonight, so am the grateful recipient of a prepared meal.

Herbed Beef Casserole

1 kilo stewing steak
4 carrots
4 onions
400g tin tomatoes
140g tomato puree
2 sticks celery
salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried tarragon
300-400mls beef stock from a Knorr cube
mushrooms if liked

Warm rapeseed oil in large pan. Add chopped carrots and onions and soften. When soft remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Add cubed beef and brown. Return onion and carrots, add chopped celery and mushrooms. Add tinned tomatoes and tomato puree. Add herbs and seasoning. Add stock, bring to boil and simmer 2 hours minimum, but its a very good tempered dish and can stay on for longer.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Chile con carne, peas and rice. For afters; victoria plums bottled last August. Last year was a bad year for plums. Frost and a cold spring meant that there were hardly any plums on my trees. So these were plums that I bought and them bottled. The man at the fruit farm where we bought the plums said that the poor harvest was due to wet weather damaging the finer rootlets of the tree, so preventing the fruit setting.

A redo of 16 February. We had the pasta from the night before which I'd cut into wide strips and frozen. They cooked well straight from frozen. I'd forgotten the lovely silky texture of home made egg pasta. With that we had previously made mini burgers. I like the flavour of an equal weight of minced lamb and minced beef. In addition a carton of courgette bake pulled from the freezer. This is my favourite way of using up a glut of home grown courgettes and tomatoes in season. As`well as an accompanying vegetable the bake makes a delicious sauce for pasta.


Lamb mince 500g
Beef mince 500g
Thick slice of bread, crusts removed, soaked in milk to cover
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic

Soften the finely chopped onion and garlic in oil. Place the 2 meats in a large bowl. Add the bread which has had the excess milk squeezed out and the cooked onion mixture. Mix all well together- most easily done with your hands. Have a preheated griddle or frying pan on the stove top- no need to grease it. Pinch off suitable sized pieces, flatten slightly and cook gently on each side until brown. This makes at least 18 2.5-3" diameter burgers. The excess freeze well.

Courgette Bake

No precise quantities for this. Its a good way of using courgettes which are on their way to marrows. Cut courgettes into pieces about 2"x2" thick. Halve or quarter tomatoes depending on their size. Peel and roughly chop onions. Put all the veg into a large roasting tin. For a roasting tin of size 14"x12"x2" depth, I use 2 large onions, enough cut up courgette to fill most of the tin, and probably about a dozen medium sized tomatoes. To the veg add a generous glug of olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, and salt and pepper. Mix so that seasonings and liquids are well distributed and roughly level off contents. Put in preheated oven at 180C. cook for about one and a half hours, turning every so often, until most of liquid has evaporated. (freezes well)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

This recipe is adapted from a recipe on the freshloaf website.
Since I finished baking them in the evening we had one each as dessert. I tried making pain au raisins from a different recipe before, but the dough was far too wet. These turned out very nicely.
Pain au lait
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoon) active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 cup water
3 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons powdered milk
4 tablespoons sugar
3 eggs
6 tablespoons butter, softened

If using active dry yeast, proof it in 1/2 cup of warm water for 10 minutes. If you are using instant yeast, as I did, it can just be mixed in with the dry ingredients in the next step.

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, powdered milk, and sugar. Add the yeast, water, and eggs and mix until ingredients are combined. Add the softened butter and mix or knead until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. You should have a fairly sticky, satiny dough.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Punch the dough down, return it to the bowl and cover it again, and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day divide the dough in half and, while still cold, roll out each piece into a large rectangle, approximately 10 by 12 inches. I put a different filling on each piece.

1: I spread the dough with Black and Greens Chocolate hazelnut spread. I left a 1" margin which I brushed with egg wash. The rolled up log was sliced across into about 10 pieces, each flattened slightly and brushed with egg wash. Let rise. Follow cooking directions below.

2:Pain au raisins

For this I made creme patissiere and soaked a handful of raisins in a mixture of brown rum and water.

Spread the rectangle with the creme patissiere again leaving a 1" margin. Sprinkle the drained raisins over.

Roll the the dough up into a large log and then slice it into about 10 pieces. Place each of the pieces onto a parchment-lined or well greased baking sheet, press down on them with the palm of your hand to flatten them, and then paint them gently with the egg glaze.Let  rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour until they are puffy. Preheat the oven to 180C and bake for between 15 to 17 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Creme Patissiere

1/2 pint milk

2 egg yolks

2oz caster sugar

3/4 oz plain flour

3/4 oz cornflour

vanilla essence

Heat the milk to just below boiling. Cream the egg yolks with the sugar until pale, mix in the two flours then the milk. Put back into the pan and bring slowly to the boil stirring continuously with a whisk. Continue until it thickens, add vanilla essence and let cool.

from: Leith's Cookery Bible

Egg Wash

Beat one egg with one tablespoon milk

I have submitted this post to YeastSpotting

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Well I managed to delete yesterdays post, when I only wanted to delete a picture from it. Oh, well, I'll have to redo it tomorrow. Home late today and tired. We had chili con carne, previously frozen from a bulk cook, frozen peas and white rice. a good comfort supper.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Lasagna tonight made with leftover ragu, fresh lasagna, mushrooms and cheese sauce. It was good, but there wasn't quite enough of the meat sauce. There was too much pasta for this size dish, so I have cut this into strips and frozen them.


Butter a 25cm x 18cm x 6cm depth baking dish. Cover bottom of dish with part of a lasagna sheet. Spread a layer of ragu on the pasta. Cover with another pasta sheet. Put cooked mushrooms and some cheese sauce on this layer. Cover with another sheet. Repeat ragu, pasta,  mushrooms and cheese sauce. Cover with a final sheet of pasta and pour cheese sauce on top. Put in preheated oven at 180C for 25 minutes. Let cool out of the oven for 15 minutes before eating.

Pasta dough

Break 3 small or 2 large eggs into a bowl. Add  flour gradually (we use organic white bread flour, which is the only flour we have), using a spoon to mix at first, then mix with your hand and continue to add flour until it eventually forms a ball. Work the ball, still gradually adding flour, until it loses its stickiness and becomes pliable. We then feed it through a hand-cranked pasta machine. Put it through on the lowest setting several times, then once through each of the higher settings. You should end up with a nice long piece of dough. At this stage you can cut it or put it through other settings. To make lasagna have a large pan of water simmering. Put each sheet in separately and cook for 3-4 minutes until it rises back to the surface. Take the sheet out of the pan and put to cool in large volume cold water. Drain and lay flat on a tea towel. Repeat with all of the sheets.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Chicken Liver Salad

250g chicken livers
100g bacon
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
Romaine lettuce or other crisp lettuce
Wine vinegar

Chop onion and soften in the oil. Add chopped garlic for 2-3 minutes, then remove onion and garlic from pan. Put bacon pieces in hot oil and cook until done. Take bacon out of pan. Put liver in pan. add more oil if necessary. Cook until just firm, then return onions and bacon to pan to heat through.  Add about 2 tablespoons wine vinegar and let bubble for a minute. Tear lettuce into small pieces, put in a nice bowl and pour the hot chicken liver mixture over. Mix well. Serve with croutons scattered over.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Grilled breaded haddock,mashed potato and broccoli

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Tonight ragu with spaghetti, and baked apples. The ragu, one of our staple dishes, made by G. G is the one who bakes all our bread and also has a number of staples that he makes. I tend to do more of 'what can I do with what's in the fridge?', or' what can I do with the veg from the garden?' So in winter we're often eating dishes that have been cooked in bulk from garden produce.


60 ml sunflower oil
100g bacon
4 onions, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 sticks celery, diced
900g beef mince
225g chicken livers, liquidised or
finely chopped
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
60 ml tomato puree
2 bay leaves
oregano, - to taste
salt, - to taste
pepper, - to taste
dry cider
In a large metal casserole, fry the bacon in the oil till golden. Add
the vegetables and cook till starting to soften. Remove to a bowl.
In the casserole, brown the mince, add the chicken livers and brown.
Add the tomatoes, heat through and return the vegetables and bacon to
the casserole.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Use more pepper and oregano (or
marjoram) than you might first think. Add enough cider to give liquid
up to the top of the solid ingredients.
Bring to the boil, turn heat to the lowest possible, cover and cook
for as long as possible - overnight or all day.

Baked Apples

Core, stuff with raisins and brown sugar, make a shallow cut all around. Put in baking dish with more sugar, pour over a little rum, and add water to about 1" depth. Bake at 140C for about 90 minutes.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Pizza -olive oil yeasted dough- G's recipe which he's been making for years. It makes a lovely crisp, tender dough.

400g white flour
260-270mls liquid, say 100mls olive oil and hot but not boiling water
10mls dried yeast (Quick yeast) added to liquid
5mls salt
Mix salt and flour in pottery bowl. Add yeasty liquid and stir. Mix with spoon and then hands until homogenous. Knead it for a minute or two. Let rise in bowl until about doubled.(may need gentle warmth in winter.) Once risen split in half, roll out and use to line 2x32cm pizza tins. You can then put on your chosen topping. Bake in preheated oven at 180C for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Potato bake

Cut unpeeled potatoes into roughly 1-1.5cm wide slices or chunks. Slice peeled onions. Put onions and potatoes into pottery baking dish so the layer of vegetables is about 5-7 cms thick. We like more potato than onions, but we do this by eye. Season with salt and pepper, then lubricate well with olive oil and mix all together. Cover, and put in microwave on high for 20-25 minutes. With this we had grilled pork sausages, lightly cooked cabbage, drained and seasoned with soy sauce, butter and balsamic vinegar. And,to set it off, tomato chutney.

Tomato chutney

5lb tomatoes

1lb onions

3 cloves garlic

2tsp salt

2tsp paprika

2tsp cayenne pepper

2tsp crushed mustard seed

8oz sugar

3/4 pint wine vinegar

Peel tomatoes. chop into rough pieces and put into preserving pan with the chopped onions, garlic and a little vinegar. cook slowly until the tomatoes have turned to pulp and the onions are soft, but still retain some texture.

Then add all the other ingredients and continue to cook until the chutney is thick and well blended. This chutney benefits from a long slow cooking.

Pot into sterilised heated bottles. Can eat straight away, but keeps for months.

Recipe modified from: Jams, Pickles & Chutneys. David and Rose Mabey 1975. I bought this book very cheaply in a local library sale. It's the only recipe I've (or to be more exact, my husband) has made from the book. I often find with cookery books that I only do a few recipes. Often nowadays I do an internet search for a recipe.

Monday, 9 February 2009

I'm going to my choir, and G is going to a computer class, so early snack supper tonight; white buns (made by G), spread with orange lentils with a bit of cheese on top.

Orange Lentils

1 large onion peeled and chopped     400g tin tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, crushed        1/2 tsp ground cumin
25 g butter 2 tablespoons red wine (or cider)
2 tablespoons oil 225g mushrooms, wiped and sliced
175g split red lentils sat and pepper
275mls water

Fry the onion and garlic in the butter and oil in a medium sized pan for 5 minutes, then stir in the lentils, water, tomatoes, cumin and wine, and let the mixture simmer gently uncovered for 30 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5-6 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
Good with baked potatoes, also as part of vegetarian meal. Freezes well.
Original recipe from The Bean Book, Rose Elliot

Sunday, 8 February 2009

February 8 2009

The purpose of this blog is mostly to record what we have for supper, and sometimes lunch, most days. We get into habits of eating, and it will be good to look back and see what we have especially enjoyed and then forgotten about. Also, to be able to keep a record of my recipes.

Tonight we will be having an easy supper: spaghetti with roast tomato sauce. The sauce was made last September.

Roast Tomato Sauce

Cut fresh tomatoes in half. Fit snugly into roasting tin. Scatter with chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with lots of olive oil. Put in oven at 180degC until well cooked and starting to blacken. Let cool a little, then puree. Use as a sauce for spaghetti or on bread. Its quite a strong flavour. Excess puree freezes well.

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