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Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Casserole Queen

I'm a bit of a casserole queen, I love to cook everything in one pot if I can and I like to make a couple of casseroles on a Sunday so that I have something in the fridge that just needs heated up when you get home. Casseroles often taste better reheated anyway. I always go for fresh green veg and Savoy Cabbage is really nice just now, just a couple of minutes in boiling water and it keeps it lovely fresh greenness and a little bit of bite, lots of black pepper and the meal is made.
Here is the recipe for this tasty casserole:
Chicken, Leek and Barley Stew
Serves 4
Prep 10 mins
Cook 1 hour
25g/1oz pearl barley
2tbsp vegetable oil
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 medium leek, trimmed rinsed and sliced.
100g/40z closed-cap mushrooms, wiped clean
4 (250g/9oz) chicken leg quarters (I actually used de-boned chicken thighs for this)
2 tsp tomato puree
1tbsp chicken gravy granules disolved in a jug of 600ml/1pt hot chicken stock
sprig of fresh thyme
fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs to garish
Crusty Granary bread to serve
1. Place the pearl barley ina large saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to the boil; drain; rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Return the pearl barley to the pan; cover with fresh water. Gently simmer for 20 minutes; drain.
2. Preheat oven to 170C/Fan 150C/Gas Mark 3. Whilst the barley is simmering, heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan; add the carrots, fry for 4-5 mins until browned. Transfer to a casserole dish using a slotted spoon. Add the leek and mushrooms to the frying pan; fry for 3-4 mintues. Transfer to the casserole dish.
3. Add the remaining oil to the frying pan. Add the chicken quarters; fry for 8 mins, turning once until golden all over. Transfer to the casserole. Stir the tomato puree into the chicken stock. Pour over the chiken and vegtables. Stir in the barley and thyme. Season.
4. Cover the casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Bake for 1 hour until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Garnish with parsley. Serve with Granary Bread.
Bella Cookbook, March/April 2004
So that is the recipe, however, to reduce the fat I actually browned the chicken in a non-stick pan with no extra oil, then cooked the carrots, leeks and mushrooms in the juices from the chicken - and it was delicious, less oily and less fat.
You may have noticed that a previous recipe came from the same magazine. I have a large collection of Bella Cookbook magazines. It had great family food, basics and challenging recipes, I was very sorry when it was discontinued.

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Sunday, 28 October 2007

Roast Pesto Pork with mushrooms

This is what we had for tea last night. I was out at a needlefelting class all day, so left DH to cook this dish - I love Pesto!

Serves 4
Prep 5 minutes
Cook: 40 - 45 minutes
1 (700g) pack baby new potatoes
4tbsp oil
225g/8oz open-cap mushrooms
225g/8oz cherry tomatoes
4 (150g/5oz) pork loin chops
4tbsp pesto sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Fan170C/Gas Mark 5. Place the potatoes in a large oven proof idsh; add half the oil. Toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes; gently toss together. Lay the chops on top; season well with salt and black pepper.
3. Mix together the remaining oil and the pesto sauce. Drizzle over the chops and vegetables.
4. Roast for 20-25 m inutes until the chops are cooked through adn the potatoes are tender.
If baby new potatoes are not available, use larger potatoes peeled and cut into chunks.
This recipe comes from Bella Cookbook March/April 2004, Issue 2

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Thursday, 25 October 2007

Fave recipes from My Learn to Cook Book

This is probably my favourite recipe, I was fascinated by all things French and this pan fried sandwich seems so exotic.
Another recipe which seemed strange and difficult, remember we only had tiny iceboxes in our fridges in the 60's and 70's, so icecream was a real treat. I have made Baked Alaska but always find it a bit of a disappointment.

This is one of my favourite illustrations, the book is full of these gorgeous paintings by Martin Mayhew.

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My first cook book

Here is my first cookbook, given to me by my great-aunt Kate. It was published in 1967 and it couldn't have been much after that she gave it to me for Christmas. It has the most fantastic illustrations and interesting recipes. I'm not saying I made many of them at the time, but it certainly sparked my love of cookery books and the feeling that reading them was just as pleasurable as cooking and eating the food.


Monday, 22 October 2007

The Cooks Journal

I've just joined 'The Cooks Journal' Forum so I think I had better start using my What's cookin' blog a bit more regularly.

So what have I been cooking? We had Chilli Con Carne tonight, just a basic beef mince, tomato, chilli and kidney beans, served with brown rice and cauliflower. It was quite a rich sauce, probably because I included some passata I had left over as well as the tin of tomatoes.

Last night we had a lovely butternut squash and butterbean gratin which had brown breadcrumbs, chopped walnuts and rosemary for the topping, it was delish!

I also made an apple crumble but cheated and used packet crumble mix!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Gingerbread Men

I'm just sticking this on here just now. Will post the recipe after the recipe swap on Bubblyfunk Forum

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Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Christmas Treats with no cooking

These are really easy to make, absolutely lethal on the waistline and a firm favourite with children and husbands. 'fraid the ingredients are in lb and oz as these come from my old notebook of recipes, you can see it has been well used!

Homemade Bounties
8oz dessicated coconut
7oz good quality cooking chocolate
1 small tin condensed milk
2tbsp icing sugar

Mix together in a bowl the coconut, icing sugar and condensed milk. Heat the cooking chocolate over a pan of hot water until a runny considtency. Form the coconut mixture into firm balls, dip into the chocolate and allow to cool on greaseproof paper.

Do not lick your fingers until the very last bountie has been made!

Chocolate Yule Log
4oz (100g) plain dark, good quality cooking chocolate
4oz (100g) plain dark chocolate
2oz (50g) butter
7oz (200g) digestive biscuits
4oz (100g) raisins
2oz (50g) chopped tasted hazelnuts
2oz (50g) glace cherries, quartered

To decorate
4oz (100g) plain dark chocolate
1 tsp icing sugar

1. Put the chocoate and cooking chocolate in a large heatproof bowl with the butter. Stand the bowl over a pan of hot water and stir until chocolate melts.
2. Remove the bowl from the heat. Put the biscuits ina polybag and break them up with a rolling pin until in small chunks.
3. Stir into the chocolate with the raisin, hazelnuts and cherries. Mix together well.
4. Spoon the mix onto a sheet of foil. Fold Foil tightly round the mixture and squeeze it into a thick log shape. Chill until set hard.
5. To decorate: unwrap log and put on a serving plate. Melt remaining cholate in a bowl over hot water. Spread chocolate over log to cover it completely. mark the cholate with a fork so it looks like bark. Leave it to set. Sift a little icing sugar 'snow' over the log. Add a sprig of holly or other Christmassy decoration.

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Saturday, 6 October 2007

Diet Update

Good news. Lost another pound this week, I am feeling that my clothes fit comfortably again.