Friday, 29 October 2010

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

An Autumnal Salad

A nice way with some of my favourite ingredients; smoked mackerel, celeriac and sour cream. The variety of textures really work well and tastes great.

Ingredients (for 2-3)
2 large carrots cut into thick matchsticks
1/2 a celeriac , peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
2 apples cored and cut into thick matchsticks
250ml sour cream
one clove of garlic crushed or grated
zest of a lemon and juice of 1/2 a lemon
4 spring onions finely chopped
handful of parsley finely chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper
3-4 fillets of smoked mackerel, skinned and flaked

Mix all the ingredients apart from the fish in a large bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to blend. Plate up then flake the smoked mackerel on top.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Roast Chicken

I love Sunday roasts and probably my favourite is a god roast chicken. I always buy a free range corn-fed bird as the flavour, and hopefully quality of life, is better. This week I roasted it with potatoes, turnips and red onions with streaky bacon slipped under the skin of the breast.

Good as the roast is I think the left overs are even better. As there are only two of us there are always plenty of leftovers. This week I made a chicken, chickpea and coconut curry with 2/3 of the leftovers and a chicken, leak, bacon and mushroom risotto with the rest. I didn't have time to make stock with the carcass, if I had I would have had had enough to make a chicken noodle soup as well. As it was there was enough for me to take into work for lunch as well as a pair of generous evening meals for two (as well as nibbles for the cats!).

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Beef Casserole

Autumn is here so it's time to start making casseroles and stews. This is one of my favourites and like all casseroles it gets better on the second night so I always make plenty! The red grape juice adds a nice sweetness to the juices.

Serves 4-6

500g stewing beef (leg or skirt is best) in 2cm chunks
2 fist sized turnips or the same amount of swede diced into 2cm chunks
1 large parsnip cut into 2cm chunks
2 medium onions cut into wedges
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 medium carrots cut into chunks
large handful of pearl barley
750-1000ml red grape juice
6-8 juniper berries crushed
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tblspn vegetable oil

Coat the meat in seasoned flour and fry in a large casserole or saucepan until browned - do this in batches. Remove meat from pan and add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes to pick up some colour. Add a little of the grape juice to deglaze the pan then add the meat, the herbs and spices, pearl barley and red grape juice, enough just to cover the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil pop a lid on then either simmer on the hob or put in a medium oven (150C) for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally adding more grape juice if needed.
20 minutes before serving make the dumplings (1/2 oz suet, 1oz flour a little water and creamed horseradish to make a soft dough per dumpling) and add them to the casserole to steam for 20 minutes or so. Serve in a bowl with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Baked Plums

Not sure I an actually call this a recipe it's so simple! We have had a glut of very nice plums in our organic vegetable box (from Abel & Cole who I can heartily recommend) in the last few weeks so came up with this to use them up.

Serves 2
6-8 plums cut into quarters and destoned
2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar (I always have a jar of sugar with an old or scraped vanilla pod in it)
splash or two of fruit juice

Bake in a moderate oven for 30 mins until the plums have softened and the juice has gone all syrupy. I tend to make this when I have the oven on for something else too save energy. Yummy served with natural yoghurt or vanilla ice cream. Works just as well with rhubarb (add a little grated ginger if you like).

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Afternoon Tea

As a treat for my wife and her friends on their return from a bead fair I put together a semi-traditional afternoon tea.
Smoked salmon on blinis
Smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber on home-made rye-bread with caraway and coriander seeds
Stilton scones
Fruit scones
Double chocolate muffins

Not much left at the end so must have been a sucess!

Not made scones since  was in Home Economics 30 odd years ago and I was very happy with the results very light with a good texture.