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nearly disastrous mixed berry scones

July 25th, 2011 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

mixed berry scones

I always use this Nigella Lawson recipe from Nibblous when I make scones. It’s an absolute cracker – they never fail to rise, no matter what you do. You can mix the flour up with wholemeal, add cheese, have them plain or cheesy, whatever.

Last night we fancied fruit ones, so I did about 60/40 wholemeal/white flour and put it in the food processor, weighed out the Trex and marg (it really is worth using Trex for scones and pastry – it gives them a real lightness), then turned the food processor on, and startedd adding the milk, until I got a nice doughy consistency. At which point, I saw the bowl with the fats in, still sitting on the scales …

Nothing for it but to put that in the food processor, and hope for the best. It looked OK, and I kneaded in half a bag of mixed berries by hand (the Magimix tends to pulverise such things). And, curiously, they were the lightest scones I think I’ve ever made. Which should prove something, although I know not what.

 

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leek, spinach and goat cheese flan

July 25th, 2011 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

leek, spinach and goat's cheese tart
Two fat leeks, a bit wrinkled, looked accusingly at me every time I opened the fridge. There was also about 1/4 of a bag spinach left, and some rather elderly eggs.

I trimmed and washed the leeks, and sliced them up, then sauted slowly in olive oil and butter; threw in some fresh thyme part way through. I was going to do some garlic, but I forgot! I shredded some spinach, and when the leeks were softened, I hurled in the spinach and turned the heat off.

Made some pastry with 6oz of wholewheat flour, 2oz of Trex, and 1oz of margarine, rolled it out and lined a rectangular flan tin (such a useful thing – much easier for serving than a round one). I beat three eggs with a dash of milk and some seasoning (I’d normally use cream, but we didn’t have any in). Poured the veg mix into the pastry case, then poured the egg mix on top.

Then, with what I will describe as a flash of genius, I crumbled half a pack of goat’s cheese that was lurking at the back of the fridge and sprinkled it on the top. Into the oven for about 25 minute at 200 in a fan oven. It really was lovely.

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twelve chicken legs

July 24th, 2011 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

I was in Tesco last Saturday – I don’t like Tesco one bit, but they were the cheapest place to buy a couple of slimline water butts, which we wanted for the garden, and so I whizzed round and bought a few bits while I was there.

They had a special offer on chicken legs – 3 packs of four legs for a tenner. Now, I know it won’t be great chicken, but times are hard, and there was space in the freezer, so I swallowed my principles and bought some.

I turned them into Madhur Jaffrey’s lemon and coriander chicken, one of our very favourite things.  With the additional of a bunch of coriander from our local Indian grocer (65p) and a couple of lemons which would have been, what – 80p?, and a few pence worth of spices, we made 14 portions of Indian chicken for under 12 quid. Seems OK to me.

The recipe link I’ve given you is just a guideline as always. We up the garlic quotient a far bit, use more spices, and this time used dried chilli flakes, as we had no fresh ones in. I do it in the slow cooker too, which works a treat. I do generally make this dish with chicken wings, but I’m here to tell you that legs work just as well.

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beautiful tea

July 13th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted in general

We have horrid water here in the East Riding – it’s very hard, full of calcium, and we get through a lot of Brita filters (and have to use softening tablets in the washing machine too).

We recently bought a gadget to give us Reverse Osmosis water (see Wikipedia for more info). Basically, you plumb it into the mains, and the water runs through three filters (on our system) then through a membrane, which filters out all the horrible rubbish that is in tap water – we use the water for our marine fish tank.

It struck me the other day that RO water might be nice to use for tea and coffee, so we gave it a go – and it’s wonderful! Both Pete and I drink our tea without milk, and now there is no more scum in the cups. And the coffee is so much nicer too. Our RO only does 50 gallons a day, which means it literally drips out, but we have bought a 20l barrel, which we fill every three to four days.

An excellent investment!

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what to do with leftover kebab #2

July 13th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted in recipe

This follows on, really, from here. We had even more left over this time!

I cut up an onion and some garlic, and fried them off in olive oil. Then I added a heaped teaspoon of Ras el Hanout and fried that off for a minute or two. In went the meat, cut into smallish pieces, then some chickpeas. I’d put the chickpeas in to soak the night before, and boiled them up in the morning, because I am too mean to use a can unless I’m caught short (as it were).

There were, inevitably, more chickpeas than would fit in the pan.

I added about 2/3 of a carton of passata, and a slug of cider (as that bottle is still in the fridge and, you know, I don’t want to waste it ..). Tasted it, and it was a bit sweet, so I added the juice of half a lemming. Simmered it all for about 20 minutes, ate with rice. Made a nice lunch (as previously noted, we tend towards main meal at lunchtime on Tuesdays, due to Morris practice).

[Edited to add]
It made loads, and so I lobbed in the remainder of the chickpeas that were leftover, and put it all in the freezer!

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courgette and spring green stir fry

July 11th, 2011 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

We bought *loads* of veg at the weekend – trying to lose weight and keep carbs under control (yay! 4lbs lost last week!). We also bought some rhubarb – well, you have to when it is local, don’t you?  The threat of a rhubarb crumble (albeit one made with brown flour and porage oats) meant that I wanted something very light for a main course.

Chopped garlic and fresh ginger nice and fine. Cut a courgette into thick matchsticks. Cut an onion in half, and then into thin slices. Very thinly sliced some rather weary spring greens left from last week.

Into a wok with hot groundnut oil went a heaped teaspoon of sesame seeds, the garlic and ginger, and stirred round until cooked. Heaped in the courgette and onion and did the same. Put some noodles on to cook (they only need 3 minutes).

Added the shredded greens to the wok, and stirred about until cooked, then a splash of rice wine, and a dessert spoon of oyster sauce. When the noodles were cooked, I drained them and stirred them into the veg mixtures.

The rhubarb crumble was lovely too :)

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pasta, pancetta, passata (how alliterative)

July 7th, 2011 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

And here’s what I did with the half carton of passata!

I go Morris dancing on a Tuesday (yes, really – I do), and I prefer to eat at lunchtime on those days. Still not done any shopping, so …

Chopped onion and garlic, softened off in olive oil. Added a packet of pancetta cubes and a little dried chilli. Bunged in the passata, and rised the carton with some cider (well, it was in the fridge and needed using up!).  Let it cook down while we rustled up some pasta.

Stirred in fresh basil leaves at the end, and smothered in grated parmesan. Very nice.

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cauliflower and potatoes with mushroom rice

July 7th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted in recipe

I’ve been a bit “meh” about cooking of late; trying to lose weight leaves me uninspired.

On Sunday, we had planned nothing foodwise. Pete had gone for a nap after garden-related exertions, and I went for a rummage in the fridge, to find:

one very tired field mushroom
half a lemon
a cauliflower that definitely needed eating
some cooked potatoes

So … cut up the cauliflower and put it on to simmer for about 8 minutes.

Put a piece of cinnamon stick and some cumin seeds in hot oliver oil, stirred them about a bit, then added the mushroom, chopped into smallish chunks, and a finely chopped shallot. Left that on a low heat till the mushroom was cooked, then added 80g of basmati rice (we don’t eat much rice – see above – wah), mixed it in, then 160g of cold water and half a teaspoon of salt. Brought to the boil, lid on, very low simmer for 13 minutes, then about 13 minutes standing (or 20 or 25 – it won’t hurt).

Very finely chopped quite a lot of garlic and ginger, and put it in a wide flat pan with some hot groundnut oil. Added crushed cumin and coriander seeds, then hurled in the cooked potato, cut into smallish dice. Cooked that off until the spuds started to crisp, then added the cauliflower.

Stood and looked at it for a bit, then opened a carton of passata, and added about half of it, with a splash of water. Simmered over a very low heat until the rice was ready.

Very nice, but it could have done with a little salt (I try not to salt food as a matter of course).

It did, of course, leave me with half a carton of passata …

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who pays for the 2 for 1 offers?

July 3rd, 2011 | Comments Off | Posted in tescowatch

When you go shopping in a supermarket, and fall upon those “two for the price of one” offers, I’m sure you are delighted at the bounty of Tesco et al. But think again.

Big supermarkets are appalling for suppliers to deal with, and due to their purchasing power, there are very few other markets. Read more in the Guardian. This is one of the reasons I try not to use supermarkets, although it becomes increasingly difficult.

[edited to add] The comments are pretty bloody depressing too.