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Saturday, 29 January 2011

Pork Goulash with Dumplings

On these cold winter's days, you need something warming and substantial for your dinner, so when I saw this Pork Goulash with Dumplings in BBC Good Food Magazine, I thought it would be just the thing. It also allowed me to use up some vegetarian suet I had in the cupboard and a chance to use the smoked paprika my son bought me for Christmas.

It was very good and very easy to make.  Having the dumplings meant there was no need for potatoes or rice and I served it with braised red cabbage loosely based on Nigella's recipe in Feast.
Those kind people at the BBC have also put this recipe on their website, which save me from typing it all out again, you can find it HERE 

You will note that their dumplings are much smaller and a neater than mine, but I expect they tasted much the same!

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Sunday, 23 January 2011

Exploding Marmalade!

It's been some time since I made marmalade, two or three years at least.  I used to make it every year and in bigger quantities than this too.  However, I just fancied making some and got a bag of seville oranges and a lemon, some sugar and I was ready.

I've been using the same recipe since the early 1980s, it comes from 'Home and Freezer Digest' magazine which was one of the few foodie mags available in the UK at that time.

Seville Orange Marmalade
Makes 9lb (4kg)

2lb (900g) Seville Oranges
4 pt (2.3l ) water
1 lemon
4lb (1.80kg) sugar

1. Wipe and cut the oranges in half, squeeze out juice and pips.  Put pips in a muslin or stockinette bag and tie. Put orange juice in pan with water and lemon juice.

Now the recipe differs slightly from what I do next, life is too short to slice up all that peel.  My mum used to put her's through a mincer (hand turned as well!) but I use the food processor.

3. The recipe says: 
Slice peel thinly and add to pan with pips.  
Farmersgirl says:
Chop peel into chunks and whizz in the food processor.

Simmer about one and a half hours until peel is soft and liquid reduced by half.

4. Take out bag of pips and squeeze out any liquid into pan.  Stir in sugar over low heat until dissolved.  Boil rapidly to seeting point (generally I give it at least 30 minutes rapid boiling before I start to test for set).
5. Cool for about 10 minutes in pan, stir well, pour into warm, clean jars, cover seal and label.  Store in a cool, dry place.

So why, I hear you ask, is it Exploding Marmalade?  Remember I said, it had been a while since I made it?  Well, I really thought that I had previously cooked the chopped up peel in the pressure cooker under pressure, so that's what I did.

The peel must have risen up and blocked the steam valve, because even when I thought I'd got all the steam out, I hadn't so when I opened the handle, there was a minor explosion!

Oh yes, and all over the floor too!  However you will have gathered that I didn't lose it all, there was still enough  left in the pan to make 6lb of marmalade, it just doesn't have quite as much peel in it as usual!

PS I later realised that the recipe that I had previously made in the pressure cooker is one which uses whole frozen seville oranges and you chop them up afterwards - doh!

PPS I didn't get covered in any of this, I opened it at arms length as I could hear that it wasn't happy, and it didn't really take that long to clean up, the house smelled of oranges all day!

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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Date and Walnut Scones - A Scone Challenge!

The Bakelady's Blog has put up a Scone Challenge and as I find scones really quite easy to make, I thought it would be good to have a go.

There are many different recipes and ingredients to include in a scone, but I fancied date and walnut.  I scoured my cookbooks, but couldn't find a date and walnut recipe, so ended up combining a couple of Good Housekeeping recipes from the 'Complete book of Home Baking' i.e Spiced Walnut Scones and Date and Yogurt Scones.

Date and Walnut Scones
50g (2oz) stoned and chopped dates
75 g (3oz) walnut pieces
250g (8oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Mixed Spice
50g (2oz) butter
50g (2oz) light brown soft sugar
1tbsp demerara sugar
about 170ml (6fl oz) milk

Place the flour in a bowl with the baking powder and mixed spice, stir until well mixed, rub in the butter (or whizz in a food processor). Stir in the sugar, dates, walnuts and sugar.

Pour the milk into a well in the middle of the flour and mix with a palette knife to a soft dough.

Roll out the dough and using a cutter, cut out 8 scones, re-rolling the dough if necessary.  Place on a baking sheet, brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with demerara sugar.  

Bake in the oven at 220C for about 18 minutes until well risen and golden brown,  Cool on a wire rack.

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Saturday, 15 January 2011

Mad about Macarons

I'm a member of the UK Food Bloggers Association (UKFB) and I host the 'I've Blogged' group, which allows Food Bloggers to let other members know when they have blogged a new recipe or food related post on their blog.  We recently made 100 members and I had a giveaway of a River Cottage Diary.  However, as it was over the holiday period only two bloggers signed up to win the diary.  In the end I sent one to each of them, congratulations to Choclette and The Kitchen Maid.

However, after the giveaway was closed I was contacted by Jill Colonna, another member of UKFB who has written an amazing book 'Mad about Macarons' and Jill kindly offered me a copy of her book to give away on my UKFB group. 

What is so amazing about this book is the detail that Jill goes into to help you make the perfect Macaron.  There are all kinds of different versions in a variety of colours.

and the book even includes recipes for savoury Macarons, like Thai Green Curry Macarons.

Jill has even thought of including some recipes for what to do with the egg yolks that are left when you have made your macrons!

If you would like to take part in the giveway, come on over and join the 'I've Blogged' group at UKFB.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Fruity Pork Steaks

I made this Fruity Pork Steak recipe from BBC Good Food for supper tonight.  It was very tasty, but I was really disappointed in the pork steak itself, it was seriously tough, which rather spoiled the delicious sauce. 
I made the alternative version with pineapple instead of apple I also used some of my SIL's Plum and Wine Jelly rather than redcurrant jelly.
Making the sauce
 I think I would use pork fillet next time and I'm not sure I would bother with the chicken stock, to intensify the flavours of the sauce.

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Friday, 7 January 2011

The mother of invention

Yes, necessity is the mother of invention.  Which is how I came to make this risotto pie.  Just what exactly was in the fridge?  Some left over risotto (not enough for three though) a pack of all butter puff pastry and sitting on top of the fridge, some eggs, and as always, some cheese.  So I rolled out the pastry, mixed the risotto with two beaten eggs, reserving a little to glaze the pastry.  The risotto and egg mix went into the pastry and was sprinkled with some crumbled Texford and Tebbit blue cheese, the pastry was folded over this mix, washed with the remaining egg and baked in the oven until puffed and golden.  

Quite, quite delicious and not something  I would ever have considered if it were not that these ingredients were left over in the fridge!

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Thursday, 6 January 2011

What's in my

I found this great site through Twitter, it is basically an online index of a selection of popular cook books, so you register which books you own and then search for recipes you want - brilliant concept.  Here is what they say in their press release:

New tool could revolutionise how we use cookbooks
A new website is launching today that aims to revolutionise the way people use cookbooks. is a free online tool that makes the link between digital search and real-life books. It shows users exactly where to find ingredients and recipes in their OWN cookbooks, helping them make the most of the books they already have in their bookshelves.
A powerful search tool, lets users search by dish name, dish type or up to five individual ingredients. It has details on the book and page numbers for over 28,000 recipes in its online library, and what ALL of the ingredients are in every one.
Registered users can select a personalised ‘bookshelf’ to tailor the results of the search to the cookbooks they already own.
According to co-founders Chris and Linda Newton:
“We aim to provide a unique way for people to really make the most of their own cookbooks. Beautifully illustrated and filled with mouth-watering recipes – cookbooks are wonderful things to possess, so what a shame to see all of these lovely books hardly ever being used! is the convenient and easy way to cook whilst still getting the enormous pleasure of using your cookbooks.”
The library is constantly growing, with a view to having every cookbook published in the last 5 years in the database by the end of 2011.

They are currently looking for suggestions for cookbooks to include in the site, so get over to What's in my register and make some suggestions.


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Baked Stuffed Trout

One of our neighbours is a keen fisherman and gave us this huge trout, it was about 15 inches long and pretty substantial, not like the one's you buy that feed only one person.  I meant to take a picture of it before I started, but forgot, sorry!

The recipe I used comes from BBC Good Food website,  Stuffed Baked Trout click through to get the recipe, it is very simple and uses things that most of us have in the larder.  Many other recipes that I saw used fennel which would have been nice, but I didn't have any!

I served the trout with this variation on potatoes Daupinois, I sliced the potatoes thinly and seasoned between the layers with salt & freshly ground black pepper.  Then I mixed 150g of left over  Philadelphia Cream Cheese with enough milk to give a creamy consistency and poured this over the potatoes, then baked in the oven until the potatoes were cooked and the top of the dish was golden brown.

There was quite a lot of couscous and we could probably have managed without the potatoes, but the trout was delicious and moist and the creamy potatoes and lightly cooked brussel sprouts went very well with the finished dish.

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Monday, 3 January 2011

Foccaccia con Olive

I fancied making some bread yesterday, something nice to go with soup at lunchtime.  So a quick flick through my favourite bread book 'Bread' by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferringno from Dorling Kindersley (great photos!) and I found a recipe for Foccaccia con Olive, my version is a variation on this. 
I didn't have any olives left, but what I did have a tub of Olive Pate which my SIL had brought with her at Christmas.  It was ideal to smear all over the top of the foccaccia.  I also made my dough in the bread maker but cooked it in the oven, best of both worlds in my opinion.

Foccaccia con Olive (Hearth Bread with Olives)
2 tsp easy blend yeast
500g (1lb) strong white flour
1.5tsp salt
75ml (2.5floz) olive oil, plus additional olive oil to finish
75ml (2.5fl oz) dry white wine (I just used more water)
200g (7oz) pitted black olives (or half a tub of olive pate)
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

Put all the dry ingredients in the bread machine, add the water and olive oil and set the machine to 'dough'.

When it has finished turn it out onto an oiled baking sheet and press into a round, spread the olive pate onto the dough and leave to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.  Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped underneath.  Sprinkle with additional oil if required.  Cool on a wire rack.

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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year from Farmersgirl Kitchen

Wishing you a very Happy New Year, may your kitchen be filled with food and friends and, as we say in Scotland, 'lang may your lum reek'!

Oh you want a translation... literally it means 'long may your chimney smoke' but I guess I'm really wishing that you always have a warm and happy life.