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a full oven, and a plum crumble

October 14th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted in recipe

a full oven

Further to the last post on energy saving cooking, here is the oven full of cauli cheese, roast potatoes, and plum and apple crumble.

I poached the plums in water with a teaspoon of five spice for about 8 minutes, then put them in an oven proof dish, bubbled the liquor down a bit, then added two cooking apples (peeled, cored and chunked) and cooked them off until they softened a bit. Into the dish they went, and a crumble topping went, er, on top –  6 oz brown flour, 2 oz porridge oats, 3 oz marg, 3 oz sugar. 40 minutes or so at 180. Lovely.

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Sunday cooking

December 6th, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

I’m desperately trying to make some space in the freezer for the festering season, and also the weather here is utterly vile, so I had a bit of a Reactive day yesterday.

Chicken Pudding

I had a rather small tub of chicken pie filling – chicken left over from a roast, with bacon and veg in a white sauce. It wasn’t really enough for a respectable pie. So I chopped up a big leek, and sautéd it down in some olive oil. Half the leek went into the soup pot (more on that later) and the other half to bulk up the pie filling.

Then I made a suet crust with 6oz wholemeal flour, a bit of baking powder, 3oz of low fat veg suet (I know, I know, but it’s healthier), and some water. Lined a greased bowl with 2/3rds of it, popped in the filling, rolled the rest out to a lid. Topped with a piece of folded tinfoil, secured with a rubber band, courtesy of the postman, and bunged it in the slow cooker for 5 hours. We ate it accompanied with buttery sprouts and a really, honestly, tiny number of potatoes roasted in duck fat. And there’s half a pud left for later this week!

Plum and wizened apple crumble

I had a punnet of plums to use up, and three very wrinkled apples from the fruit bowl; they weren’t particularly nice apples to eat, but I couldn’t bear to just chuck them. I cut the plums in half, and laid them flat in a shallow pan; sprinkled them with some five spice powder, added half an inch or so of cold water, and then – in a spirit of experimentation – a tablespoon of Amaretto liqueur. These plums were quite hard, so it took about 12 minutes to soften them, turning them occasionally, and while they were cooking, I chopped the apples into fairly small dice. I did core them, but peeling them seemed like too much hard work.

I transferred the plums to an ovenproof dish, then bunged the apple into the liquor and softened it over a fairly high heat, so that the liquid reduced. Poured the resultant gloop over the plums.

Crumble topping was standard for this household – 2 parts wholemeal flour, 1 part porridge oats, 1 part sugar, 1 part marg. Blitz in the Magimix, pour on top of the fruit, pat it down. Bake at 180˚ for about 45 minutes. Serve with double cream. This pud will do us three evenings, as we try not to eat too much sweet stuff.

Meat loaf

We haven’t had a meat loaf for ages, and it’s a really nice thing to eat on a cold winter evening (it’s -5˚ here in Hull as I type, and it’s only just 4 p.m.!).

I’m not really a purist about these things, I just bung in what I have. So there was a pack of sausage meat, seasoned with sage and onion, that I got from Fields of Anlaby when I collected the goose last Christmas (!), a pack of pork mince, and a pack of beef mince. Probably about 700g in all. I found a pack of stuffing mix in the pantry, which bore a legend of “best before Oct 07″ (oh dear). We opened it, and sniffed it, and it seemed OK, so I made it up with boiling water.

Pete finely chopped a couple of shallots, and then manfully mixed the meats and the stuffing by squidging with his (clean) hands, and he bunged in some tomato ketchup and some Lea and Perrins Worcester sauce. We pressed the mixture into two silicon loaf “tins”, put them in a bain marie, and baked at gas 4 for about an hour.

I left them overnight to cool right down, and today I turned them out of the silicone, and cut each one into three – that 700g of meat has made 12 portions; they don’t look big, but they’re solid meat.

Wrapped the portions in tin foil, and put them in the freezer (well, five of them – we’ll eat one tonight, probably). They can come out, and be cooked in the foil for a nice quick supper. Eat with a nice gravy, or even baked beans if you’re in a rush – who needs supermarket ready meals?!

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a quick almond sponge topping

September 21st, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

Greengages exotic?
Personally, I wouldn’t call greengages remotely exotic, but clearly Morrisons’ mileage varies. I picked these up at the weekend, and made an almond sponge topping for them.

I halved the greengages and poached them in a little water for about 10 minutes, turning about half way through. I didn’t bother with any sort of sweetening, but you might want to add a bit of honey – we don’t have a particularly sweet tooth. If I’m poaching plums, I often add star anise, or some cloves and cinnamon.

On to the topping: this is great if you’re trying to keep your carbs down, as ground almonds are far less carby than flour.

Whizz 5oz ground almonds, 5oz margarine and 4oz sugar (anything will do – last night I used a mix of granulated and demerara, as that’s what came to hand), and two eggs, in the food processor.

Ladle it on top of the fruit, smooth it out a bit, bung in the oven for 50 minutes at gas 4 / 180˚. If you have some, sprinkle the top with slivered almonds, as they give it a lovely texture.

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a sort of goulash

September 6th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted in recipe

goulash-ishWe had friends coming for supper on Sunday evening – lovely, as I love cooking for people, and don’t do nearly enough of it since we moved! I wasn’t sure what I wanted to cook, but I went to the butcher and bought some beautiful lean pork, and there was a big bag of mixed peppers in the fridge, so that was a start. I wanted to use some beans too, to pad it out, so found some dried butter beans on the pantry shelf on Saturday morning, stuck them in to soak, then cooked them in the slow cooker overnight.

I started off by deseeding and slicing thinly four peppers, red and yellow, and a huge spanish onion, and cooking them down in some olive oil. I added some cumin seeds and a splash of honey and some garlic, and it was heading towards Middle Eastern. Then in went some paprika, and we were off with goulash. More paprika followed, some fennel seeds, some caraway and then a jar of roasted peppers, sliced up. These give a lovely depth to a dish, and when cooked in the slow cooker, they sort of melt into the sauce. A carton of chopped tomatoes, some rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and seasoning, and the sauce was done.

This all went in the slow cooker (now devoid of its butter beans), and I diced and browned the pork, hurled it in the cooker, and then we just left it completely alone apart from the odd stir for about seven hours. The butter beans must have been very old – I know they accompanied us from Somerset – because they needed another 40 minutes on the boil, so they were added a bit later.

The dish was gorgeous – it made six servings, and four have gone in the freezer, as unfortunately our friends had to cry off due to illness.

supper 5 sept 2010We followed it with Molten chocolate cakes with raspberries and cream. There’s two of them left too. <parp>.

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blackberry and apple crumble

September 1st, 2010 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

blackberry and apple crumble

At our old house in Somerset, we had stacks of brambles at the bottom of the garden, and I really do miss them – I must make an effort this weekend to go out and find some blackberries.

However, Sainsburys yesterday had a couple of punnets of cultivated blackberries (not at all the same, but still) in their reduced section, at 99p per punnet, so I grabbed them. I knew there was a cooking apple in the fridge that needed eating, so we were hot to trot!

The Magimix now has a nice shiny new blade, as I lost the old one – no, I don’t have the slightest idea how that could have happened; we’re always very careful with it, as it is exceeding sharp, but there you go – lose it we did.  I imagined it would turn up as soon as I bought a new one, but there’s still no sign of it, which contravenes all laws that I know of.

Anyway, I digress. I peeled, cored and chopped the apple, and dumped it in a pan with the blackberries, a tiny bit of water (about 1/4″, I guess), and a couple of teaspoons of honey, and cooked that down until the fruit was soft, then decanted into an ovenproof souffle dish.

Into the food processor went 6oz of wholemeal flour, 3.5oz of butter and 3oz of caster sugar (any sugar will do – I’d normally use demerara, but the jar was empty and I couldn’t be bothered to rummage for the spare packet).

Whizzed these into a breadcrumb like consistency, then added 2oz of porage oats, and blitzed. Poured the mix on top of the fruit, patted it down and cooked at gas 5 for 40 minutes.

Served with cream. This will do the two of us three days, as we try not to devour such things too quickly.

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gooseberry sponge pudding

July 16th, 2009 | 6 Comments | Posted in recipe

gooseberry pudding

A friend of mine regularly sells produce from her garden to support the LibDems, and this week she was offering gooseberries.  I bought 10lbs (for a fiver!) – 6lbs have gone to make wine, 2 bags full in the freezer, and the rest I put into a pudding last night.

The goosegogs went into a bowl, and I put in a good sloosh of elderflower cordial (gooseberries and elderflower are a match made in heaven) and a little honey. I didn’t even bother to top and tail them!

I beat 5oz of marg and 5oz of sugar until it was light and creamy, then added 2 eggs and 5 oz of ground almonds bit by bit (egg, then half the almonds then egg then rest of the almonds) and a couple of teaspoons of vanilla essence.

Lobbed the mix on top of the fruit and scattered with quite a lot of slivered almonds, as I’d opened a new bag last week, and some of them didn’t fit into their airtight jar and I wanted to use them up.

Baked at 180˚ for 50 minutes.  Gorgeous.

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peach cobbler

June 15th, 2009 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

I’ve wanted to make a cobbler for ever, but have never actually done it.  We were a bit overrun with soft fruits (we’re really bad at eating them), so I decided to have a bash.

Cut up the peaches and nectarines, took out the stones, and put them in an ovenproof dish.  I tossed them in some plain flour, and drizzled with honey.  With hindsight, I should have added just a bit of water, but hey ho.

Then made the cobbler crust with 6oz plain flour, pinch of salt, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp caster sugar and 3 oz marg, blitzed in the Magimix to a breadcrumb texture.  Then added 5oz of soured cream (which I had gone out and bought *specially*! – I’m pretty sure yogurt would do fine).

Made little scone-ish shapes, quite thin, and laid them over the fruit.  Dusted with caster sugar, and baked at 200/gas 6 for about 30 minutes.  ’Twas delicious – we shall be having that again.

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plum and apple porridgy crumble

May 5th, 2009 | 3 Comments | Posted in recipe

We had some plums going scrotal in the fruit bowl, so I cut them in to quarters and destoned them, and put them in an ovenproof dish. They didn’t look enough, somehow, so I got a Bramley out of the fridge and peeled and chopped it, and into the dish it went.

Added a drizzle of honey (I much prefer fruit cooked with honey to sugar), a couple of star anise, a decent grating of fresh ginger, and about 1/2″ of water, and zapped it in the microwave for 4 minutes to kick start the cooking.

Made a crumble topping of 6oz plain flour, 2oz porridge oats, 3oz demerara sugar and 3.5oz of margarine, blitzed to crumbs in the Magimix. Patted it down on top oF the fruit, and baked at gas 4 for 45 minutes.

Needless to say, I got all the bits of star anise in my portion, but it was worth it. Trust me.

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when the off licence gives you rhubarb …

April 27th, 2009 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

We have a wonderful off licence in our village – we go in there and order wine, they deliver it, we give them a cheque. Works beautifully. I popped in there last week, and they asked where P was – “planting a rhubarb crown”, I said. Which he was. At which point, they invited us to pop over and collect some of their rhubarb crop the following day. P did so, and came home with many sticks.

We made half into a crumble – standard sort of thing, with grated fresh ginger and honey (rather than sugar) in the filling, and a topping substituting 2 oz of hazelnuts for 2 oz flour. Lovely.

With the rest, I made a steamed sponge pudding – very nearly, but not quite, one of my rare slow cooker miscalculations.

I cooked the rhubarb with a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar and a teaspoon or so of ground ginger a gentle heat for 2-3 mins until it was just starting to soften. Put that in the bottom of a greased 2 pint pudding bowl.

In the food mixer, creamed 125g each of butter andcaster sugar. Added 2 eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla essence, 175g plain flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder (I never bother with self raising flour).

Put this mixture on top of the rhubarb, then covered it with a double thickness of greased tin foil (mind those alien rays!) and secured it with a red rubber band, courtesy of the Royal Mail.

Put it in the slow cooker, topped up with boiling water from the kettle and left it for about 3 hours. Which wasn’t quite enough.  It was lovely, but could have done with a bit longer – probably another 45 minutes or so.  If you were cooking it on the hob I think it would want about 90 minutes.

Turned it out carefully, onto a place on a baking tray, for fear of hot rhubarb spillage.  Which there was.

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pineapple upside down cake

April 7th, 2009 | Comments Off | Posted in recipe

This always seems to me like a very 80s thing, and indeed I got the recipe from a cookbook printed in 1977 (The Dairy Book of Home Cooking).

We had half a pineapple left from making pork and pineapple, and decided an upside down cake would be a good thing to do with it.  It was already chopped up, and I decided against the glace cherries too, but it was jolly nice nonetheless.

Take 2oz of soft brown sugar and 2oz butter, and melt together in a pan.  Tip the resultant gloop into the bottom of a greased, 20cm round cake tin.  Put the pineapple on top.

Put 8oz self raising flour, 1 tsp of vanilla essence, 2 eggs, 4oz butter and 4oz caster sugar into the food processor and blitz.  I guess you could use a food mixer – cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla essence, fold in flour.

Transfer it to the cake tin, bake at 180/gas 4 for about 1hr 10 minutes.

Very retro :)

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