Monday, 8 February 2016

Bottom of the Fridge Greens Soup

Storm Imogen is blowing in and it is most definitely soup weather.  To warm myself up with the front door wide open all day as we are having the hall and landing painted I have rustled up a soup to enjoy in a draughtfree corner.

As I remind my mother-in-law, who has just bought a soup maker, soup can pretty much be made with any vegetable however bendy!  Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall talks about the holy trinity of soup bases being onion, carrot, & celery.  I do aim for this, but at the end of the day it comes down to what I have left, and a handsized potato to stretch it all a little further.

Today's soup, with smokey paprika, is loosely based on a Portuguese Soup, Caldo Verde

1/4 cabbage
Broccoli stalks
1 large onion
1 large celery stick
1 large potato
1 large garlic clove
2 vegetable or chicken stock cubes
1 litre boiling water (or half milk for a creamier soup)
1tsp smoked paprika

Roughly chop all the vegetables and fry gently in the oil for a few minutes.  If using broccoli stalk, I find I need to quarter it length ways and cut out the softer inside otherwise the soup can be too fibrous.  Add the crumbled stock cubes, paprika, and top up with boiling water so the vegetables are covered by about 2cm of water.  Simmer for 20 minutes then blitz in a liquidiser or with a stick blender.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

I am trying to remember to use my slow cooker at least once a week, so here is last week's recipe.  This week's is still WIP.

Chicken Cacciatore or Italian Hunter's Chicken (as opposed to Chicken Chasseur which is French Hunter's Chicken!)

Serves 4
8 chicken thighs
1 tin chopped tomatoes
500ml red wine
4 anchovy fillets (optional)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped or crushed
2 large bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Handful black olives
1 tbsp olive oil

Turn the slow cooker on, with the lid on, to high to warm up.

Fry the chicken in the olive oil until lightly brown.  When brown, lift out leaving the oil in the frying pan and place in the slow cooker. 

Fry the garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and anchovies (if using) in pan you just fried the chicken in.  When the garlic begins to brown, add the tomatoes, olives and the red wine.  Bring to the boil then pour over the chicken. 

Poke the chicken under the liquid as much as you can, put the lid on and leave to cook for 5 hours on high.  Check for seasoning just before serving.  I guess this would probably be served with polenta in Italy, but I serve it with mashed potato, pasta, rice, garlic bread...

I am entering this into the Farmersgirl Kitchen and Baking Queen 74's Slow Cooked Challenge 
The Slow Cooked Challenge

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Kipper Pate

Knocking up kipper pate for New Year's Day.  Sadly our overnight guests had to cancel first thing this morning as their young son is ill, so I'm making one portion for our family lunch tomorrow and one for the freezer.

1 pack boil in the bag kippers
125g soft cheese
1 medium garlic clove
Lemon zest (optional)

Boil the kippers according to the instructions on the packet.  The pack I bought did say microwave but this tends to dry them out too much in my opinion so I prefer to boil them.

When cooked/heated through (about 15 minutes) cut open the bag and tip into a food processor along with the soft cheese, garlic and lemon zest if using.  Puree, spoon into a pot, pop on a lid and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to chill.

Serve on toast or as a pasta sauce.  Beware that there are little flexible bones in kippers.  These are fine to be eaten but may put off fussy eaters.

Turkey, Leek & Noodle Soup

First of the Christmas turkey leftover soups. 

1 small onion
2 leeks
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large handfuls cooked turkey, diced
100g broken tagliatelle
1.75 litres chicken or turkey stock

Peel, trim, and finely dice the onion, carrot, garlic and celery and fry gently whilst you clean and finely slice the leeks.  I used the food processor to finely chop everything.  Once you've added the leeks put a lid on the pan and sweat for 20 minutes, checking from time to time to make sure they are not sticking.  If they do, add a ladleful of stock and carry on steaming.

After about 20 minutes, when the leeks start to loose their raw onion smell and start to sweet instead, add the rest of the stock, turkey and noodles.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until both the vegetables and pasta are tender.  Taste for seasoning as I was somewhat surprised that I had to add two chicken stock cubes to the turkey stock I was using to give it the right depth of flavour.

Monday, 28 December 2015

My Leftover Turkey Compilation

Picture may date from 2013 but I thought it worthwhile to trawl through my recipes and update a compilation of leftover turkey recipes as I need it every year!

In no particular order:-

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Ratatouille & Bulgur Wheat Soup

Not much to this soup.  It is quite simply all that lent itself to lunch today whilst I started making  Christmas cakes, and feel weak with tiredness with a cough that kept me awake several hours in the night. 

Only a day of market baking followed by an afternoon of making Thai curries for 40, then I can rest.

About 1 mugful of ratatouille or 200g
250ml boiling water
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
1 handful of bulgur wheat

Mash the stock cube with a fork then add everything to a small saucepan.  Bring to the boil then simmer with a lid on for 15 minutes or until the bulgur wheat is tender.  Lunch is served.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Slow Cooker Beef in Red Wine

It's tipping it down outside, but I'm happy as I've just found the remains of Sunday's beef stew and eaten it.

I did find another portion a few weeks ago at the bottom of the freezer and wondered if I could recreate it.  But Dad took Sunday dinner into his own hands, as he does, and has managed to make a similarly tasty stew without knowing it.

With a slow cooker I think the trick is to leave most vegetables out. We just steamed some to have on the side later.

1kg stewing beef, shin (off the bone is cheaper), or ox cheek cut into bite sized pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp plain flour
2 bay leaves
1 stick of cinnamon or a star anise (this gives a lovely warming tingle)
500ml red wine
Beef stock cube
Boiling water to top up
Cornflour to thicken

Toss the beef in the flour and brown in a frying pan.  Place into the heating slow cooker then fry the onions and garlic, adding more oil if needed and fry until beginning to brown then add to the slow cooker.  Heat the wine in the frying pan with the crumbled beef stock cube and scrape all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.  Pour over the beef once it has come to the boil.  Add the bay leaves and cinnamon or star anise if using and top up with boiling water so there is about 2cm covering the top of the beef.

Leave to cook on high for at least 6 hours.  And something I've only recently learnt, try not to peek!  It lowers the temperature and makes the cooking time even longer, and shin and ox cheek all the tenderising help they can get!

After 6 hours, when tender enough pour off the liquid into a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Mix 2 heaped teaspoons of cornflour with a little water until it is the consistency of single cream and add to the simmering sauce to thicken.  Return to the sauce to the meat in the slow cooker and season to taste. 

Dad served ours with roast potatoes and parsnips as it was Sunday, but it works just as well with boiled or mashed potatoes or even pasta.