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Thursday 21 February 2008

Tagged twice!

Carolyn and Maria tagged me with this MeMe tag:

Here are the INSTRUCTIONS:
Select five people to tag

1) Rosie (Freycob)

2) DiO

3) Caroline

4) Hazel

5) Rachel

I wont be offended if you decide not to do this - its just for fun.

Next, send them an e-mail or let them know by commenting on their blog that they have been tagged. They are then encouraged to select 5 different bloggers and to tag them.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I had just finished a secondment to a management job and had to go back to my ordinary level. I found it frustrating not being in the know and able to influence decisions. My sons were 11 and 9 so I spent a lot more time doing things with them. Cross Country once a month with DS2 - OMG how I hated that.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
I was very worried about the situation at my work and although my job was secure, I had a lot of friends who were far less secure. Although there is more certainty now, there are still a lot of decisions to be made. I was also going to craft fairs to try to sell my felt handbags - never made enough to make it worthwhile.

Five snacks you enjoy:
Green and Blacks Chocolate
Biscuits and Mature Lockerbie Cheddar
A Banana
Thick hand fried crisps only in ready salted or salt and black pepper (I don't buy them, because once I start.....)
A slice of fruit loaf (try not to make this too often either, as I just eat it)

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
Build my own swimming pool and gym next to the house
Build a studio for all my craft projects
Build or buy houses for my boys
Let my DH stop work and go back to farming full time (buy him a new tractor)
Go on luxury holidays

Five bad habits:
Being intolerant
Not exercising
Oh dear that's quite enough!

Five things you like doing:
Machine embroidery
Reading cookery books

Five things you would never wear again:
Mini skirts
Long hair
High heels
Shoulder pads

Five favourite toys:
Bread Machine
Sewing Machine


Monday 18 February 2008

Sherried Carrot Soup

I got this recipe from the Recipe Card Swap on Bubblyfunk Forum
It is a lovely colour and tastes very nice, it would have been nicer had I used the butter and cream that was recommended but I stuck to a little oil and some milk as I am trying not to eat too much fat at the moment, still put in the sherry though lol. Mind you, I HAD to have doughnut today as it was someone's birthday and we always have 'buns' on birthdays - it wouldn't have been polite to refuse now would it? hee hee hee.

Serves 4
1 onion, chopped
25g butter
450g carrots peeled and sliced
1 potato, diced
750mil chicken stock
pinch ground ginger
pinch ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
150ml single cream
2tbsp dry sherry (optional)
chopped parsley, to garnish

1. Ina heavy based saucepan, melt the butter then fry the onion gently until soft but not browned.
2. Add the sliced carrots and diced potato, stirring until well coated with butter.
3. Add the stock, spieces and seaonsing to the pan
4. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes
5. put the soup into a blender of food processor and blend until smooth.
6. Return the soup to the pan, then stir in the cream and sherry and heat through without boiling.
Serve sprinkled with parsley. You can prepare ahead and freeze it after step 5.

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Sunday 17 February 2008

Irish coddled pork with cider

This recipe was in this month's BBC Good Food Magazine as a Treat for 2. I doubled it up to make it a family meal and replaced the cabbage with brussels sprouts which I cooked separately as I hate cabbage and sprouts which are overcooked. It was very nice indeed and I would definitely make it again.

small knob of butter
2 pork loin chops
4 rashers smoked bacon cut into pieces
1 carrot, cut into large chunks
2 potatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 small swede, cut into chunks
1/4 large cabbage, cut into smaller wedges
1 bay leaf
100ml/31/2fl oz Irish Cider (I just used English Cider)
100ml/31/2 fl oz chicken stock

Heat the butter in a casserole dish until sizzling, then fry the port for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned. Remove from the pan. Tip the bacon, carrot, potatoes and swede into the pan, then gently fry until slightly coloured. Stir in the cabbage, sit the chops back on top, add the bay leaf, then pour over the cider and stock. Cover the pan, then leave everything to gently simmer for 20 minutes until the pork is cooked through and the vegetables are tender (I put it in the oven). Serve at the table spooned straight from the dish.

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Sunday 10 February 2008

Carolyn's Banana and Raisin Loaf

I had those three black bananas in my fruit bowl, so I decided to make the Banana and Raisin Loaf that Carolyn had blogged HERE I am not showing you a picture because I burnt it slightly on the top - er well-fired. I got carried away doing something else and when I got to it it was a little bit browner than it should have been. I also used dates as, it seems I have run out of raisins. What I wanted to say, though, was - it was really lovely and I will be making it again.

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Spicy Parsnip Soup

I do a recipe card swap over on Bubblyfunk Forum
the theme for January was Soup and Linda sent my this Gordon Ramsey recipe for Spicy Parsnip Soup:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion peeled and chpped
2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
1 tsp ground giner
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp gram masala
4 large parsnips peeled and chopped
few knobs of butter
600-800ml hot vegtable stock or water
Sea salt and freshly gound pepper
200ml double cream (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a large pan and genly saute the onions for a few minutes. Add the garlic adn spices and stir trhough.
2. Add the parsnips and a few knobs of butter. Give the mixture a stir, cover the pan with a lid and cook over a low heat for 10 - 15 minutes until the parsnips are soft.
3. When the parsnips turn slightly translucent, pour in enough hot stock to cver the vegetables. Bring to the boil and season well. Add the double cream if using.
4. Liquidise the soup ina blender until well pureed. For a very smooth result, pass the soup through a fine sieve, back into the pan. Reheat and adjust the consistsency and seasoning addinga little more hot stock or boiling water if it is too thick.
5. Serve warm witha drizzle of olive oil and a grating of black pepper.

I did follow most of the recipe but I wasn't hanging around waiting for the parsnips to saute to a translucent state - life is too short to stuff a mushroom, as they say! So made sure the butter was melted and mixed it around, then bunged in the stock, stuck the lid on my pressure cooker and cooked it for 20 mins. Didn't use the cream and added some milk after I had pureed the soup with my hand blender. It was very yummy - so I don't think I lost anything by taking a short cut.

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Saturday 9 February 2008

Canadian Challenge on Cooks Journal

Maple Chicken HT MC Canadian 60mins Serves 4

4 Chicken Breasts on the bone
Plain Flour for coating
Salt and Black Pepper
50g/2oz Butter
1 tbsp Olive Oil
120ml/4flo.z. Maple Syrup
1 teasp dried Parsley
1 teasp dried Thyme
1 teasp dried Sage
1 teasp dried Savory
1 Medium Onion, thinly sliced
120ml/4fl.oz. Chicken StockInstructions1.
Preheat oven to 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4.

Season the flour with salt and pepper and in a bowl or plastic bag, mix well then use to coat the chicken pieces well, shaking the excess flour off.

2. Heat the butter and oil in a flameproof casserole until hot then add the chicken and brown on both sides.

3. Remove the chicken from the heat then pour the maple syrup over the top and sprinkle with the dried herbs.

4. Arrange the onion slices over the chicken then pour the chicken stock over the top. Bake for 40 minutes, basting two or three times during the cooking. Serve hot.

I made this Maple Chicken recipe tonight as part of the challenge for Cooks Journal. It was quite pleasant but nothing very special, not sure that I would make it again, I think there are probably other ways of using maple syrup that are more tasty - thinking pancakes mmmmm

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