Sunday, 30 March 2014

Cola chicken

Yet another from 'A Girl Called Jack' - the book!

I can't find a link anywhere and won't break copyright by copying out but I can give some info.

I used chicken thighs, some oil, some cola (the full fat version, not diet as the recipe said, but I will try it with diet at some point), mustard, bit of salt, bit of garlic puree and some chopped tomatoes.

Absolutely delicious, gorgeous, scrummy, thick, gloopy, intense sauce and moist, tender chicken - I will be making it again.

There's some sauce left over so I think I will make sausage meatballs and use it up that way.

Sorry - no photos.  I forgot.

No knead bread.

You might think that, with a thermomix to do all the hard work anyway, there's no point in hankering after a bread you don't have to knead.  You would have a good point.

However, the gumph I have read indicates that it is really rather delicious with an open texture and a great crust.  So I thought I'd give it a go.

The first bit is dead easy - in a big mix together the flour, yeast, salt and water.  No oil, no sugar.  Just mix it with a spoon until it's all more or less come together (takes a minute or so, no more).
Then cover the bowl with cling film and leave for between 16 and 24 hours - it's a very forgiving recipe and the time is not exact.

Then (and this is the gungy bit) you have to tip out the very, very soft dough and sort of 'sides to middle' it briefly.  What a mess!!!  That's the bit that would put me off!  Then you cover it and let it rest for half an hour while you heat the oven and a dish with a lid.  I used a pyrex dish with a saucepan lit that fitted perfectly but you could use foil.  You do your best to dollop it into the dish or whatever and I lined the dish with some parchment scrunched up in water and then shaken out.

Then it is baked, first covered then uncovered.

It looks very 'country' but I will wait for lunch time to cut it and see.  Looks OK though so I hope it tastes as good as it looks.
Gungy dough at the start of the whole process

And at the end

Another view.
Update after lunch.
Actually very nice indeed.  very sourdough-ish, artisan type taste and texture to it with a very open crumb.  My dad used to call those holes 'butter thieves'.  I will make it again but it won't be an every week thing like the usual loaf.
There's some left so I intend to slice, wrap and freeze it.  Without any fat it will go dry quite quickly.
Definitely a success!

Jack Monroe's cabbage griddle scones

I won't reproduce the recipe as you can find it here.

They're very nice, give an interesting difference to the breakfast plate and go well with the bacon I had with them.

I say 'them' but her portions can be huge.  I made half quantities of a mix that was meant to be for four scones and that made three scones, good sized scones too.   I've had one and the other two will either be frozen for later on in the week or perhaps I will have another one toasted with a poached egg on top for tea.

I slow cooked some streaky bacon first so I had a nice lot of bacon fat to cook them in and I had a dollop of mango chutney on the side.  Really very nice indeed ( and would be even nicer had I used better quality bacon) although when I make them again I will split and butter them or perhaps add some grated cheese to the mixture.  Value not-Parmesan should do the trick nicely!

They would be good for tea too, with cream cheese and chutney; a savoury version of a cream tea.

Definitely one to make again.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Easy peasy biccies

The explanation is on my other blog, Diary of a Teacher so no more waffle here, just a dead easy recipe for very delicious biscuits.

Ingredients to make more than you should eat!!!
225 butter at room temperature (nice and soft)
110g caster sugar
275g plain flour
ground spices (I used cinnamon but there was a reason for that) or finely grated zest

Preheat the oven to 170C or 150 fan or gas 3

Cream the butter in a bowl until soft and creamy.  Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
(that's that the recipe says - i just sort of mixed it all up well!)

sift in the flour and spices/zest and bring the mixture together to form a soft dough.

Using hands, roll the dough into walnut sized balls and place the slightly apart on a prepared baking tray (I used a teflon sheet).  Flatten them slightly.  bake in the oven for between 15 and 20 mins, until they are golden brown and slightly firm on top.

Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.

Resist eating
(OK so I added that one)

Recipe: sticky turkey and orange stir fry

I made this over the weekend and had it with home made pasta which was almost thin enough to look like noodles!  Not a lot of difference really, is there?  (don't shoot me, Diane!)

It was very nice indeed although I would make adjustments, not the least of which would be to remember the garlic and ginger!!  I added it later to the leftovers and it made a big difference.
The broccoli was from the garden - yum!
I would also have some orange segments in the mix, added at the last moment.  To avoid using a second orange, maybe use lemon or lime juice in the marinade instead (or open a mini carton of oj).
I used ordinary oil, partly because I just did but parly because I discovered that most of my cheffy oils were shockingly out of date (years out, not just a few months - ooops).
Next time I will use thickening granules, not cornflour.  I prefer the texture of the resulting sauce.
I didn't add spring onions because I didn't have any, I used red onion instead.

Despite all that, or maybe because of, it was delicious and I will make it again.  Here's the original recipe.

Sticky turkey and orange stir fry

2 tbsp soy sauce
finely grated rind and juice of 1 large orange
2 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
450g British turkey escalopes, cut into strips
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
175g broccoli, cut into small florets
2 large red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 tbsp each sesame oil and sunflower oil
2 tsp each minced garlic and ginger
4 spring onions, sliced
1 tbsp cornflour

In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, orange rind and juice, honey and mustard. Stir in the turkey and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and stir-fry the carrots and broccoli for 3 minutes over a high heat. Remove the turkey with a slotted spoon and add to the wok [reserving the remaining marinade]. Add 2 tbsp water, the minced garlic and ginger, spring onion and red pepper to the wok and stir fry for 4 minutes.

Mix the cornflour with the reserved marinade to a smooth sauce, pour over the turkey mixture and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until the broccoli is tender and the sauce thickened to a glaze. Serve with noodles or rice.

Edited to add I have just seen a comment from Marianne who, I think, is a new reader with a fairly new Thermomix.  Hi, Marianne, welcome.  I hope to see you again in here and that you are loving your Tmx as much as I am!  :-)

Monday, 24 March 2014

Roasted carrot and tomato soup.

This is from April’s Good Food Magazine with a few tweaks.  It’s a good foody mag, albeit a bit cheffy in places – do try it (if you don’t already).

Will freeze as it is.
To re-heat, add some milk and heat to just under boiling.  If it boils the taste will be fine but the texture will change.
Taste before adding salt – it’s fine for me but I don’t add much salt to my soups anyway.  I think the sugar is essential so don’t skip it!
I actually like it just as it is without adding milk but I guess the milk will make it ‘creamy’!

Ingredients to make enough for six
a good glug of oil
2 medium onions, peeled and wedged
three cross cuts of celery, not too thin
4 good sized carrots, scrubbed and cut into wedges
1 large or two medium floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 bay leaves
about 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
a carton of chopped tomatoes
1 vegetable stock pot
a good slosh of white wine
about 45mls red wine vinegar
about 1 tbsp caster sugar
milk to reheat

Turn on the oven to around 160 C
in a roasting dish place the onion, celery, carrot, potato, garlic, mixed herbs, bay leaves, oil and some black pepper.  Toss well so that everything is covered with the oil and place in the oven.  Slow roast for a good hour or more, stirring from time to time, until there are ‘roasty bits’.
Pour over the chopped tomatoes, the wine and red wine vinegar, the stock pot, some extra water and the sugar.  Stir well and place back in the oven for another hour, stirring now and again so that nothing actually burns!
Remove the bay leaves.
Place in a blender or processor with a bit more water and zizz until really smooth.  Taste and add salt if needed – the stock pot is rather salty so you may not need any more.
It makes a thick and delicious soup.  To slacken, add milk but be careful not to boil or the texture will change.

An afterthought as I was making some pasta.  Fry up some bacon or use some shreds of leftover meat, soften some onion, red pepper, mushroom or whatever veg you have that needs using up, add some of this soup (without the milk) and you have a wonderful pasta sauce!  Topped with parmesan or other grated hard cheese, it will be wonderful.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Recipe: tea loaf

I've posted this recipe before.  It's a bog standard recipe.

340g/12 oz mixed dried fruit, washed.
229mls/7 1/2 fl oz strained cold tea
114g/4 oz demerara sugar
230g/8 oz self raising flour
1 egg

Place sugar, tea and fruit in a bowl, mix well, cover and leave overnight.
Next day, add flour and egg, mix well and place in 2 lb loaf tin.
Bake at 350 F / 180C for 1 1/4 hours or until well done.  If necessary, cover during the last part of baking.

Turn out onto cooling tray.

However, today, instead of tea, I used a fruit tea - strawberry and raspberry (4 tea bags) and the fruit was mostly dried cranberries.  It's made the most delicious loaf which is why I'm posting it.  If I'm not careful, the first loaf will be gone by the end of the day!

I wonder how else I could adapt it.

Recipe: chicken and bacon stir fry

Ingredients to make a single, good sized serving
1 small chicken breast (or half a bigger one)
2 slices of lean back bacon (cut most of the fat off if you want).  I used smoked because I like it.
Half a yellow pepper (or red or orange)
1 medium sized mushroom
a very small glug of olive oil
a dollop of philly
a splash of dry white wine
a smidgeon of cream
chopped parsley

Slice the chicken, bacon, pepper and mushroom
Heat the oil and gently fry the bacon until it releases the fat.  Add the yellow pepper and gently saute.  Then ad the chicken and mushroom, turn the heat up and fry until the chicken is just cooked (it won't take long as the chicken is sliced).
Splash in the wine and bubble it away.  Then add the philly and cream and stir until; the sauce is bubbling and smooth.  Check for seasoning and add a little white pepper and some fresh chopped parsley.  I found no salt was needed as the bacon was sufficient.

You could serve with rice or pasta but I had it with broccoli from the garden and smooth, creamed mash.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Recipe: crustless quiche

I had that salty cream.
I had an egg yolk from the lemon mousse
I had sundry veg needing to be used up.
I had some leeks in the garden.
I needed to make a vegetarian option for Sunday lunch.

So . . . this is not exactly a recipe because the amounts are so variable - sorry.

Ingredients to serve four-ish
150mls cream (normal cream won't be salty so you will need to season
1 egg and one egg yolk (or two eggs)
leek, sliced thinly into rings
half red or yellow pepper
three or four mushrooms, sliced
four pieces of sundried tomato, sliced (because I had some)
mixed herbs
mustard powder
smoked paprika
salt (if needed)
some grated cheese (strong is best because you get more flavour for your calories)

You can use any veg, the ones above were what I had.  Broccoli would be nice, peas, corn - oh, there's lots you could use.
If it is not for a vegetarian, you could add bits of ham, fish, meat, whatever . . .

Melt the butter in a pan.  Add the sliced leeks and fry gently.  Then add the yellow peppers, then the mushrooms and sundried tomatoes.  Stir occasionally and allow to fry gently until soft.  Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Beat the eggs into the cream.  Season to taste (I've listed what I did but, again, there's huge flexibility).  Mix well.
Add the cold vegetables and the cheese to the cream mixture and stir in.

Line an ovenproof dish with parchment that has been run under the tap and crumpled up, then shaken to remove most of the water droplets.  Pour the mixture into the dish.  Sprinkle over some grated cheese.

Bake in the oven at around 180C for about half an hour or so.  Eat hot - it's scrummy.

Recipe: easy lemon mousse

This is a very quick and easy recipe which I found by Googling.  I've just made it and it was no trouble at all.  I used the cream I made yesterday (the proper cream, not the salty  cream, of course).  The cream it made was just the amount needed for this recipe which is useful to know.

You can find the recipe here.  I've just found this blog, Penny's Recipes, and it seems to have some rather good recipes - do go and visit, if you like recipes you will like this blog.  I won;t reproduce it here because a) it's just one more click away and b) it isn't mine anyway!
I will just say it takes 150mls double cream, a bit of caster sugar, one egg white (I shall use the yolk in a quiche thing) and a lemon so there's nothing exotic of hard to find.

I whipped the cream before adding the sugar and lemon because, being a new venture, I wasn't sure the home made cream would whip.  It did though, so that's a question on my list answered.  I suspect I will make my own cream whenever possible from now on.  I wonder if it can be made with long life milk and whether it will taste any different.  If so, I can always keep the ingredients in store.  I must try.
Anyway, it made no difference as far as I could tell, adding the lemon and sugar after whipping rather than before.

Also, it says to serve 2 but I popped the mixture into ramekin dishes and it has made enough for three with a good scraping of the bowl.  
Another to go on my make again list!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Thermomix cream

It's a doddle.

100g unsalted butter, cubed
100g milk

Place both in the thermomix.
Heat on 90/3 minutes, speed 2 to melt the butter into the milk

Zizz at 8 for 30 seconds to emulsify the mixture.

That's it.  The cream is hot so needs to be chilled.  At first it has a pouring consistence, but if you leave it a bit it can be whipped (the instructions say - I haven't tried that bit yet).

DON'T do what I did though.  I grabbed the butter without looking too carefully and made my first lot with salted butter.  Now I have to make something savoury to use it up - quiche, perhaps?  Doh!!!

English muffins

Oh, they're gorgeous.
I followed the Paul Hollywood recipe which can be found quite easily here so I won't reproduce it in this blog.

I fried some in butter in a pan and the rest I baked.  Both ended up soft and yielding, a far cry from the tough, rubbery ones you can buy in packets in the shops but the oven baked ones just don't look right as you can see in the picture.  They look more like un-sugared doughnuts!

Unfortunately for my supposedly healthy eating, they taste delicious and now I have indigestion.  The rest have been wrapped up and popped in the freezer.  Now, which recipe shall I try next . . .

This and that

No recipes, not yet, just a few bits and bobs.

We're doing a theme entitled Long, long ago and have chosen a vague time of around 110 to 120 years ago, in other words, Victorian times.  It's more an 'experience' theme, as is suitable for five year olds.
We learnt the circle game Do You Know The Muffin Man last week and it struck me as we played it that they would think of muffins as cakes, not the enriched dough bread that is an English muffin.  Also, there's the whole thing of street cries, etc.  They're five, I can't go into it too far, but I think they would enjoy watching that scene in Oliver with the song 'Who Will Buy' and I reckon they would LOVE to make real muffins.

So I have to do some research.  I have to dig out muffin recipes and try them at home.  I might also have to make some American muffins as well, to compare and contrast.  But the important research is English muffin recipes because, to my shame, I don't think I have ever made any.
So I've started with the Paul Hollywood recipe which we saw them make on Bake-Off.  I've cheated - I used Thermione to make the dough which is a bit naughty and I won't do that in school.  There are several likely sounding recipes online so I will have to have a go at several, not only to check the recipe but also to find out how many I can make from one batch.  Oh, dear.  What a hardship, eh?  They will just have to feeeze well  The recipes all seem to indicate that you fry them in a pan or on a skillet, but I am going to try baking some, just to see.  In class, it would be a lot easier (and safer) to bake.

And now I'm getting ideas for our Family Assembly too!!

Watch this space!