Saturday, 22 November 2014

Christmas without Thermione! Turkey stock

OK, so for once Thermione doesn't feature.

I needed (well, wanted) to make some turkey stock for the gravy and this is what I did.

I bought a turkey leg - one that included the top bit as well, not just the drumstick part.  It was £4.49 which seems a lot for stock to make gravy but I got a lot more out of it than just gravy.

I also used some streaky bacon, a dash of old wine and some mixed vegetables (fresh soup mix veg) plus some seasonings - rosebary and bay - from the garden.

First I put the wine, the vegetables and the herbs in a roasting dish, topped them with the two parts of the turkey leg, grated over some pepper and then covered the turkey with the streaky bacon.
It then went into a medium oven to slow roast for a while - I think it was two and a half hours all in, maybe a bit more.  The meat was nearly falling off by the end.

As soon as it was all cool enough to handle, I took out the turkey and put the veg and stock into my pressure cooker (you could use an ordinary sauce pan for this bit), removed the bacon (which I crisped up and had crumb;ed over lentil soup), pulled all the meat off the bones and put all the leftovers into the pressure cooker too - skin, nasty bits - the lot.  Then I reboiled it under pressure for around half an hour.

Then I strained off all the bits which I discarded and let the stock bubble away for a while to reduce it down a bit before cooling and freezing.  I didn't add any salt (apart from what came off the bacon) because I will salt it the other end!

This made a lovely, jellied stock which should make a good accompaniment to the turkey on Christmas day when gravyfied.  I will boil up the giblets, etc, beforehand to add to it and there will be some left over to make soup at a later date.

As for the turkey, of which there was loads and loads, I gave half of it to my daughter for her cats who love it and the remaining half made a great turkey curry, some of which is in the freezer for meals later on.

So not bad value at all, was it?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Christmas with Thermione: Cranberry sauce

I've posted this once already but I rather like the 'Christmas with Thermione' thing and thought it might make a sort of mini-series in here.  So here it is again.  By the way, I've had it now, with a turkey dinner, and it was lovely.  A very soft sauce, not much jellied, really delicious . . .
I might use a cooking apple next time but I just used what I had at the time and that didn't include a cooker.  Also some spices.

Here's the recipe, made out of my head, but nothing original except that I have never used Thermione to make a preserve before.

I like smoothish sauces.  By that I mean no bits but not a clear jelly.  Smooth with texture.
This is what I did.

Ingredients to make one jar of the Bonne Maman size.
200g frozen cranberries (I'd use fresh but they're not in the shops right now)
1 eating apple, washed, any bad bits cut off (and I also remove the stalk and the blossom bit too), chopped.  No need to peel and core.
100ml (which is 100g weight) water
juice of half an orange and half a lemon
sugar (I used granulated)

Place the chopped apple and the cranberries, the orange and lemon juices (no need to thaw them) into the bowl and add a MCful of water (that's 100mls).  At this point you could also add spices.  I didn't, not this time, but cinnamon, mixed spice or star anise all would go very well.

Cook the fruit (and spices, if using) on 100 for around ten minutes on a slowish reverse speed, about 1/2 - reverse so that if you're using whole spices they won't get chopped to bits.  When that has finished, check that the fruit is soft and mushy, take out any whole spices and blitz for around 10 seconds on speed 6.

Remove the lid very carefully (it is hot!) and pour the lot into a fine sieve over a bowl.  Push the fruit through and discard what is left in the sieve.
(then put the sieve straight into a bowl of hot and soapy water because if you let it cool it will be the very devil to clean)
Now add the sugar.  To be honest, I didn't measure it, I just stirred some in and tasted, stirred more in and tasted, until it was 'right'.  As the mixture is hot, the sugar will dissolve quickly.

Pour the mixture back into the thermomix bowl. (I rinsed it out in between but I don't think you actually have to, it was just automatic to put it straight into water)
Put a saucer in the fridge if you use that method to check for set.

Cook on Varoma heat, reverse speed 2 for around 6 minutes, then check for set, removing the bowl from the base as you check.  If not set, cook for a couple more minutes and try again.  If adding alcohol (e.g. port), add it after setting and give the mixture a few more seconds of stirring.

Pour into a clean, warm jar and seal.  Don't forget to label the jar when it has cooled.  Keep in a cool, dark place (I will keep it in the fridge)
Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen
Not my photo but it will look like this.


I might go back in this blog and look for other Christmas recipes that can be done in Thermione.  :-)

Christmas with Thermione: Bread sauce

This is definitely NOT my recipe.  It is from the one-and-only Delia's web site and I have used it for years.  It is truly delicious, if a bit of a faff.

However, with Thermione it becomes much less of a faff and the dishwasher deals with the rather messy results.

The original recipe is here  so I won't post the amounts, and this is what I did.

First of all I zizzed some bread into breadcrumbs.  I used what the recipe said but it looked a bit runny half way through so I added more.  Next time I will make more to start with and freeze any not used (or keep them for Boxing Day bubbles and squeak patties)

I peeled a large onion and halved it crossways.  I used nutmeg so in went a good grating.  Sometimes I use both nutmeg and cloves which works really well.

Into the bowl went the milk (semi-skimmed, although full fat would be nice), the bay leaf, the peppercorns and the nutmeg.  I also added a little salt but it can always be adjusted at the end, if necessary.

I brought it up to boiling point, staying in the kitchen because I wasn't sure quite how long it needed but I forgot to note how long it actually took.  It was on reverse speed 1 as I didn't want to smash the onion, etc to bits.
Once it had reached boiling, I took the bowl off the base, covered it with a towel and left it to steep so the flavours all developed.

When I was ready, I used a slatted spoon to remove the onion, bay leaf and as many of the peppercorns as I could.
Then I tipped in the breadcrumbs and some butter, put the bowl back on the base and gave it 20 mins at 90, stirring speed.  Then I checked and felt it was a bit thin so added some more breadcrumbs.  Off came the bowl again, back in went the onion and bay leaf and it stood until just before needed.

Finally I removed the onion and bay leaf again, added the remaining butter and some cream, zizzed it briefly and then reheated to 90, speed 1.  I checked the seasoning and added a bit more salt and a bit of white pepper.
(In the interests of frugality, I did wonder about re-using the onions in a soup but couldn't be bothered.  It's an option though, and the bread sauce bits that cling would help to thicken the soup)

It was scrummy!  That's the way for me from now on, for sure!  I shall make it the day before and just reheat it in the microwave, I think.  That means the very last bit - adding the butter and cream, etc - can be left until then.

And if you've never made bread sauce before - do consider it.  It's amazing with turkey (or chicken).

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Winter soup - an idea, not a recipe

What with it getting cold. those dark evenings and gloomy mornings and facebook messages about snow and sleet, thoughts turn to thicker, pulse packed soups that stick to your ribs and fill you for ages.

I had a packet of country soup mix in the cupboard - not the fresh veg kind I go on about but the dried pulse kind that has a range of stuff - pearl barley, lentils, dried peas, kidney beans, chick peas - you get the idea.

So I did the usual:  sauteed that fresh veg soup mix (about 200-ish g) in butter for ten minutes, added some crushed garlic, two stock pots, about a third of the packed of dried soup mix which I had soaked overnight, a good pinch of mixed herbs, a good pinch of mustard powder and a squidge of chilli puree from a tube.  Oh, and a good grinding of pepper.

I then topped it up to the 2 l mark with boiling water, brought it to a good boil for 30 mins and then let it simmer for an hour or so until all the pulses were soft.

Without zizzing, I ended up with a thick soup with sort of soft lumps.  I added a little bit more water but you could add milk instead.  I gave it just a short zizz because I wanted a bit of texture.

I did it in Thermione but you don't have to and I ought to have used my pressure cooker to save on cooking time.  Next time I will although I can just leave Thermione and get on with other stuff whereas I don't feel I can just leave the pressure cooker.

I now need to experiment with different stocks and seasonings.  I think gammon stock would be scrummy if it wasn't too salty, and I could add shreds of ham too.  Or turkey stock, of which I will have gallons after Christmas.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Chestnut and lentil soup

The 'inspiration' for this was two packets of vacuum packed chestnuts (Merchant Gourmet) that were < cough > ready to use (and some)!!

I made it and it was a little thin so I added some lentils and cooked it up again.  Very nice!  I might freeze this one for a lunch over the Christmas holiday  although I might have some of this before then - like today!.

Ingredients to make a lot
about a third of a fresh veg soup mix (I used the one from Morrison's, of course)
one onion, peeled and chopped
one medium potato, peeled and chopped
a blob of soft butter
two knorr vegetable stock pots
two packets of merchant gourmet vacu packed chestnuts
some red/orange lentils
a good grinding of nutmeg
some garlic (I used crushed garlic in a jar - about half a tsp)
boiling water
(I also had some white wine left, just a bit, so I added it)

Put the veg and the butter in the Thermomix bowl and give them a gentle reverse spin so that the butter coats the veg.
Saute at 100, reverse speed 2, 10 minutes

Add the remaining ingredients and top up to the 2l mark with boiling water (and add wine at this point if you're using it).  When I use commercial stock, I tend not to add any more salt but it's really to taste and you can add some at the end if you feel it is necessary.  I don't.

Cook at 100, speed 2 for 15 mins.

Allow to cool a bit.
Zizz on 10 for around a minute, going up to speed slowly and bringing back down again slowly.
Check seasonings and adjust if necessary

It's very smooth, very 'creamy' and really rather nice.  Definitely good for Christmas.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Ham pie and ham soup

The background is that I was staying with Mum and Dad.  Mum's a great cook, makes lovely traditional food, always cooks too much, loves to feed people . . . you get the idea, I am sure
The first night I was there she cooked a baked ham.  A gorgeous, long, lean, easily sliced ham (from Morrison's which, in my opinion, has the best reasonably priced and easily available hams around).

SO - first night we had it sliced with a sweet and sour sauce.  Next day we had it with a salad for lunch.  Third day we had ham sarnies for lunch.

Then we had ham pie for dinner.  I made the innards like this.

Some shop bought puff pastry (Mum's not daft!)

Some oil or butter (preferably unsalted)
A thick slice of ham, torn into chunks by hand, all visible fat removed.
One onion, peeled and chopped
Half a yellow pepper, chunked
Half a parsnip, peeled and chopped
Three mushrooms, sliced
a medium potato, peeled and chopped (an afterthought as the sauce was rather salty but it worked really well)
Ham stock (from cooking the ham, just make sure it's not too salty!)
Some mustard powder
Some mixed herbs
Some flour to thicken
pepper (no salt needed)

What I did
Heat some oil or butter in a pan.  Add the onion, parsnip and potato, stir well, turn the heat right down and gently saute (covered) until the vegetables are softening.

Add the yellow pepper and the mushrooms and continue to saute for a few more minutes.

Remove the veg from the pan with a slatted spoon, if possible, and set aside.

Mix some plain flour with some oil or unsalted butter to make a roux.  Put it in the pan and cook it out for a few minutes, stirring constantly.  Make sure it doesn't catch.  Add the ham stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring well (I used a whisk) and continue to heat to thickening point.
You are aiming for a thick-ish sauce.
Add the mustard powder, pepper (I used white pepper for this) and the herbs and stir in well.
Add the vegetables and the chunks of ham and continue to simmer it all.  Keep tasting and keep your fingers crossed that it isn't too salty - it shouldn't be with the potato in it.

I have to admit that at this point I would eat it just as it is but Mum used it as the filling for a pot pie and we ate it with peas and carrots.  She only used a bit of the sauce in the pie; the rest she just diluted a bit and used as gravy.

Me?  I would add rice or orzo when I added the meat and veg to a thinner sauce and simmer it until it was cooked, the starch creating its own thickness.  A sort of not-in-any-way-a-risotto!

There was some filling left, also some gravy, peas and carrots so we piled it all into one pot and it made soup the next day for lunch.  We just zizzed it all up and slackened it a bit with some milk because it was very thick.  Gorgeous.

And there was still some ham to slice.  It was quite a joint!