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Monday, 28 September 2009

Guest Blogger on Chow and Chatter!

I met Rebecca from Chow and Chatter through the UK Food Bloggers Association (UKFBA), Rebecca is a qualified dietician, based in the USA, and her blog is full of interesting information about food and eating as well as delicious recipes. So I was delighted when she asked me to guest on her blog.

For the guest post I made Cranachan a mixture of toasted oatmeal, cream, whisky and raspberries and I'm continuing with another oatmeal recipe because oats are very traditionally Scottish and that is another connection with Rebecca.

Sauty Bannocks

6oz oatmeal

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon of syrup

1 egg

½ pint milk

Mix the dry ingredients. Stir syrup into the milk and add. Soak overnight. Next day add the beaten egg, if too thick more milk may be added.

Pour a little on a hot girdle, tilting the girdle to form a thinner round. Fire on both sides. Pile one on top of the other on cooling tray. Cover with a towel.

"Bannock" is an Old English word of Celtic origin. Bannock varieties can be named or differentiated according to various characteristics: the flour or meal from which they are made, whether they are leavened or not, whether they have certain special ingredients, how they are baked or cooked, and the names of rituals or festivals in which they are used. The original bannocks were heavy, flat cakes of unleavened barley or oatmeal dough formed into a round or oval shape, then cooked on a griddle (or girdle, in the Scots language). Most modern bannocks are made with baking powder or baking soda as a leavening agent, giving them a light and airy texture

The dry ingredients

The wet ingredients

on the girdle

Flip it over

Stack on a cooling grid but cover with cloth.

I served them for lunch with sausages and grated mozzarella

and rolled them up, but you can serve them with sweet stuff too.

and don't worry about the first bannock, it's probably always going to go wrong lol!

Thanks Rebecca for the opportunity to guest on your blog, oh and by the way 'Sauty' means soaked.

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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Fresh From the Oven - Stuffed Bun

I've joined 'Fresh from the Oven' an on-line baking community. Here is what the bakers say on the public blog:

"Welcome to Fresh from the oven. A bread baking community where we bake one loaf at a time. Challenges are announced on the group's private blog on the first of each month and then on the 28th of the month each member posts their bread on their blog."

For September, Ria of Ria's Collection challenged us to make 'Stuffed Buns' using a sweet bread dough and filling it with a mixture of chicken and spices.

Here are the circles of dough with the filling in them ready to be pinched up into a bun.

And here is what happened the first time I made the buns :(

My oven is quite hot and although I thought I had compensated enough, they were very burnt. The photo shows the tray of the buns that were edible, the other two that were on a higher shelf were totally inedible.

Nothing daunted, I decided to have another go and reduce the oven temperature to 160C and the time to 6 minutes.

I also filled the buns with a mixture of onion, sweet potato and green pepper along with the ginger and garlic that was in the original chicken mixture, I think I preferred it to the chicken.

Here is the recipe:

Stuffed Bun
Yields 12 buns

For the dough:

Dry yeast-1 tbsp
Warm water-2tbsp
Milk-1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Oil-1/2 cup
All purpose flour-2 cups
Sugar-1/4 cup
Egg-1, beaten
Egg white-1,for egg wash
White sesame seeds for sprinkling
Dissolve the yeast in warm water with 1/2tbsp sugar and 1/2 tbsp of all purpose flour. Leave aside for 10 minutes.
Boil the milk and allow to cool down till it is warm to touch. Add sugar, oil and salt.
Mix well with a wooden spoon till the sugar dissolves and add 1 cup flour and mix to a smooth paste.
Add the beaten egg, yeast and mix.Add the remaining flour and mix well till it forms a smooth dough.
Knead well for 10 mins.[We knead it using our hands]
Let it rest till it doubles in volume.
Punch down the dough lightly using your palm and divide them equally.
Flatten them into small discs and fill them with 1 tbsp of the filling. Re-shape them into a ball.Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.
Let it prove for another 20 mins.
Bake them in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 10 mins. When it starts to brown, give them an egg wash using 1 slightly beaten egg white.
Spicy Indian chicken filling
Boneless chicken-200g, boiled and shredded
Onions-4 big, finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste-1 tbsp
Chilli powder-1/2 -1tbsp [depending on your spice level]
Coriander powder-1/2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil-3 tbsp

Heat oil, add the ginger garlic paste and saute till it gives out a nice aroma.
Add the onions. Saute them till soft and transparent.
Reduce the heat and add the powders and mix well for 2 mins.
Add the shredded chicken and mix well.
Keep it off the fire and let it cool.
Use it for filling the dough.


Saturday, 26 September 2009

Spicy Chicken and Apple Cake

Harissa-spiced chicken with bulghar wheat from BBC Easy Cook Magazine
with tomatoes roasted in olive oil
We all enjoyed it, not too spicy, I haven't cooked bulghar wheat like this before, I usually just soak it and then have it in a Tabbouleh type salad. I would definitely use it again, it doesn't go as soggy as couscous.

Rachel Allen's Dutch Apple Cake from BAKE

2 eggs
175g (6oz) caster sugar plus 15g (1/2 oz) extra for sprinkling
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
75g (3oz) butter
75ml (2 1/2 fl oz) milk
125g (4 1/2oz) plain flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 small or 1 large cooking apples
75ml (2 1/2 fl oz) double cream, to serve

20cm x 20 cm (8 x 8 in) square cake tin

1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F), Gas mark 6. Line the sides and base of the cake tin with parchment paper.
2. Using an electric whisk, whisk the eggs, 175g (6oz) caster sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until the mixture is thick and mousse-like and the whisk leaves a figure of eight pattern (this will take about 5 minutes).
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan with themilk, then pour onto the eggs, whisking all the time. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and fold carefully into the batter so that there are no lumps of flour. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.
4. Peel and core the apples and cut into thin slices, then arrange them over the batter. They will sink to the bottom(this is meant to happen). Sprinkle with the remianing sugar and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C, 350F, Gas mark 4 and bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.
5. Allow to cool in the tin , cut into squares and serve warm.

It is delicious, I served it with greek yogurt, rather than cream and the apples didn't all sink into the batter, some stayed on top and were nicely caramelised with the sugar.

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Sunday, 20 September 2009

Last night's dinner

I didn't take photographs of my meals this weekend. Too many things to do and I didn't think I would get them blogged because of the computer issues. However, thought I'd tell you what I age anyway!

Last night we had Spicy lamb with chickpeas well not quite, because I didn't like the look of the lamb in the supermarket, didn't have time to go to the butchers so got a piece of beef instead. This is such an easy recipe to make, you just have to start early and let it simmer gently.

I followed this with a recipe which has got me quite excited with the taste. It was Plums & blackberries in rosemary syrup which had a lovely flavour, not really reminiscent of rosemary at all, almost like ginger!

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A Chocolate Muffin in Farmersgirl Kitchen

Hurrah! DH has fixed things up so I can upload my photos to his computer as he says it may be next weekend before mine is back in service :o

Here is my DS1's 3 month old chocolate labrador pup, called Muffin! This was her first visit to our home, due to the age and nervousness of our cat, Jenny.
She is sitting right in the middle of the kitchen floor and behind her you can see some of my cookery books, I had those shelves made specially by the joiner (carpenter) and the theory is that I don't get any more books than I can fit on the shelves, so if I buy a new one, I'm supposed to get rid of one!

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Culiverter and a hiatus!

You may notice on the left of my posts I've put in a new widget called Culiverter, it will allow you to convert from metric to imperial and/or American cups. Note to Judy: I'm afraid it wont convert Mum to Mom or Sultanas to Raisins but hey I'm still looking for that widget, hee hee hee!

Now for the DH is upgrading my computer so it goes a bit faster, I've clogged it up with digital downloads, Photoshop Elements and many many photographs. I'm using his computer at the moment but I don't have access to all my STUFF! So there may be a bit of a gap in blog postings, he claims it will be up and running in a couple of days but you just never know with computers, I'll keep you posted.


Friday, 18 September 2009

Farmersgirl's Farm

We moved our cattle down to the fields by the river last weekend, it was a beautiful evening and it all looks quite idyllic. These are rare moments to capture between the rain and the wind!

Heading back home, that is our house in the distance.

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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Apple Pickle

I've been making Apple Pickle off and on for many years. The recipe comes from a little paperback book which was produced by a magazine called 'Home and Freezer Digest' I checked the publication date for the book and it is 1981 :o At the time there were very few food magazines and I loved that little magazine. Anyway, back to the Pickle, all the recipes in the book were provided by readers of the magazine and this one came from a Mrs Una Spear from Devon who got it from a friend.

1lb (450g) onions, peeled
1 1/2 lb (675g) cooking apples, peeled and cored
1lb (450g) stoned dates
1lb (450g) sultanas
1lb (450g) soft brown sugar
1 lev teasp salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 pint (550ml) ready spiced malt vinegar

1. Mince the onions, apples and dates in a large bowl
I used to have an electric mincer, but it doesn't work anymore, so I just chop them in my ancient, but still functional, Moulinex food processor (circa 1980)!
This is the vinegar that I used.

2. Mix in the sultanas, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper.
4. Cover with a cloth and leave for 24 hours.
Pack into warm, clean jars, cover, seal and label. Put the jars in a cool dark place for about 2 months before using. Makes about 6lb

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Monday, 14 September 2009

Gammon and Sweetcorn Pie

Another recipe from the Good Housekeeping 7 Fab Family meals for £33. The recipe on the website is for Gammon and Sweetcorn Parcels, but I decided it would be easier to make a big pie. The flavour of the leek with the parsley sauce, gammon and sweetcorn is really delicious. I used ready rolled shortcrust pastry because I didn't have time to make my own (lazy moo!).

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Saturday, 12 September 2009

Gammon with Parsley Sauce

The All About You website is featuring Good Housekeeping's 7 Fab Family Meals for £33, this recipe is meant for Sunday, but I usually have a special dinner on Saturday and something a little more simple on a Sunday. I have to say the gammon was really delicious and it was only an ordinary joint from the supermarket, the mustard and honey glaze really made the difference and the parsley sauce was delicious.

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Monday, 7 September 2009

Baked Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage

I got this cookery book last week and as well as being full of lovely cakes and pies, it also has some savoury dishes in it and one that caught my eye was this Butternut Squash Risotto.

3tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely grated or crushed
375g (13oz) peeled butternut squash (weight when peeled) cut into 5 mm-1cm (1/4 - 1/2 in) cubes
325g (11 1/2 oz) risotto rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli
125ml (4fl oz) white wine
900ml (1 1/2 pints) vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g (3 1/2 pz Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tsp finely chopped sage

To serve
Some extra shavings of Parmesan cheese
25g (1oz) pumpkin seeds, toasted (in the oven for a few minutes, or in a pan over a medium heat)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), Gas mark 4.
2. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof saucepan or deep ovenproof frying pan set over a low-medium heat, ad the onion and garlic, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes until soft.
3. Add the cubed butternut squash and the rice and stir for 1 minute before adding the white win. Allow the wine to bubble, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes until it has evaporated, then add the stock and bring to the boil.
4. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the rice is just cooked, with the tiniest bit of bite (it should not be soft and mushy), and has absorbed the stock. Add the grated cheese and chopped sage and season to taste.

5. Serve on warmed plates or in warmed bowls sprinkled with shavings of cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds.

We had it for supper tonight and it was really delicious. You may have noticed that there are no shavings of parmesan or toasted pumpkin seeds, I'm sure they would add a little something to the dish, particularly in terms of presentation, but the dish stands up well without them.

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Sunday, 6 September 2009

Hedgerow Harvest - Sloes

Now, it may not be immediately obvious from the contents of my blog, but I do actually live on a farm! One of the advantages of this is that we have an abundance of hedges and hedges mean hedgerows and hedgerows mean lots of lovely goodies in the autumn.

I usually pick loads of brambles (blackberries) but this year it has rained so much that they are not worth freezing. I might get a few for a crumble or pie, but it has been a disappointing year as far as brambling has been concerned. So I was very pleased when DH came in last night from digging about in the field, trying to find out where all the water was coming from and diverting it away from places he didn't want it to be, to say that he had seen some berries that he thought might be sloes in one of the hedges inside the field.

This morning there were a few little jobs that I had to help with, so as I was outside with my wellies, fleece and woolly hat on already (yes, it is really miserable here today) I went into the field and picked those sloes. This is not an easy job, I was stung by nettles, jagged by thistles and scratched by brambles as well as having to avoid the huge thorns on the Blackthorn bushes themselves.

So, I hear you ask yourself, what are you going to do with them? Good question, I dont' want to make sloe gin, I can't face making jelly, I've done dripping jelly bags before but that was before I had a wooden floor in my kitchen! So I've manage to find a chutney recipe which should be fairly straightforward and we eat more chutney and pickle than we do jam or jelly. I'll post up the results when it's made.


Saturday, 5 September 2009

Strawberry Sponge

I was watching Economy Gastronomy on TV and they poached some strawberries with sugar and served it with shortbread. When I was in the supermarket I saw some strawberries that had been reduced in price and it reminded me of this recipe. However, I didn't want to make shortbread, I thought it might be nicer with a sponge base to soak up the juices from the strawberries.

You could use any sponge recipe, you only want one sponge, so generally you would half the quantities for a sandwich sponge. Here is what I used:

60g butter
60g caster sugar
75g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1 egg
Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the egg and beat it into the creamed mixture.

Have you heard of a Spon? It's a two-sided wooden spoon, both sides are concave and the theory is that they are better for beating, it was invented by a guy in Auchtermuchty, which is where my mother lives and she gave me two of these at Christmas. It is very good for beating cake mixes.
Here is the finished sponge.

I put a whole punnet of strawberries in a pan with a tablespoon of caster sugar.

and simmered them gently until the juices started to run but the berries were not to soft.

Then I put the sponge into a dish (not on a plate as there is too much juice) and arranged the strawberries on top.
Serve with cream, greek yogurt, icecream or, like me you could use creme fraiche.

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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Pea, mint and goat's cheese quiche

My son's girlfriend is a vegetarian so when she visits I use this as an excuse to try out some new recipes (not that I need an excuse!). I saw this quiche recipe in Late Spring 2009 issue of BBC Easy Cook and thought it would be nice for lunch.

500g shortcrust pastry (I cheated and used frozen pastry)
300g frozen peas
3tbsp olive oil
handful of mint leaves, chopped
2 eggs
284mltub double cream
4 spring onions, finely sliced
200g mild goat's cheese, crumbled

Turn the oven to fan 180C/conventional 200C/gas 6. roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a round about 5cm larger than a 25cm tart tin. use our rolling pin to lift it up, then drape over the tart case, so there is an overhang of pastry on the sides. Gently push the pastry into the corners of the tin. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

While the pastry is chilling, cook the peas in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold water. Use a hand blender to puree the peas with the oil then stir in the mint and season.
Lightly prick the base of the tart with a fork, line the tart case with a large circle of greaseproof paper, then fill with baking beans. Bake the tart case for 20 minutes, remove the paper and beans, then continue to cook for 5-10 minutes until it is biscuit brown.
Meanwhile beat the eggs in a large bowl. Gradually add the cream and stir in the onions. Season.
When the case is cooked spoon and spread the peas over the base, pour over the egg mix, then scatter over the goat's cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until set and golden brown, Leave to cool in the case, trim the edges of the pastry, then remove and serve in slices.

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