Monthly Archives: December 2010

Toad In The Hole

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Cottage Pie


Strawberries & Cream Frappe

 

Frappe

 

 

I only recently realised that Frappuccino is a trade mark of Starbucks! I didn’t realise that unless it was theirs its just a Frappe.. I don’t really like the word Frappe as I’m not sure how to pronounce it!

I have a Vitamix blender & recently I have started making my own Frappuccino or Frappe whatever you want to call it! It better making them yourself as you can control the sweetness and not waste money, plus there is no Starbucks here!

Strawberry Puree

  • Punnet of fresh Strawberries (or I’m sure frozen would be fine)
  • 2 Tsp Caster Sugar

Blend in mini blender, set aside

 

Strawberry Puree

 

 

Frappe Ingredients

  • 12 Ice Cubes
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Strawberry Puree
  • 2 Tbs Heavy Cream
  • Spray Cream to garnish (I can’t find any in Kyrenia of course..)
  • Strawberry Syrup (from a squeezy bottle or make your own- I didn’t have enough Strawberries- boo!)

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in Vita Mix blender-
  2. Put the blender on Variable, Speed 1
  3. Quickly change to Speed 10 for a few seconds
  4. Put blender on High
  5. Blend until you can see the mixture thicken (if you leave it too long you will have Ice Cream!)
  6. Garnish with Spray Cream & Strawberry Syrup

NB

The Strawberry Syrup they squeeze over the top of the Frappuccino is what gives it some sweetness- if like me you don’t have any normal shops where you can buy things like that or if like me you run out of Strawberries & can’t make your own syrup I would recommend dissolving 2 tsp of Sugar in a little Water & adding this to the blender also 🙂

 

 

I also like to make Mocha Frappuccino/ Frappe- I use our Nespresso machine to make a Lungo coffee which is like a double measure, then I add the same amount of Milk & Ice as for the Strawberry version plus 2 tsp of Sugar & 2 tsp Cocoa Powder.. Again you really need one of those Coffee syrups if you want it sweet! But not everyone has a sweet tooth 🙂

I can’t rave about the Vita Mix more- its actually strange the things it does.. You can take some Mango, Ice Cubes, Lime Juice & maybe some Bacardi and in less than a minute create a sorbet.. Its brilliant! Its expensive but I don’t know that other blenders can freeze or heat things.. I haven’t tried making a soup in it yet but that fascinates me!


Tomatillo Taste

What does a Tomatillo taste like to you?

I have only tried it when I have been on holiday in Mexico & Miami, with it being served as Salsa Verde but now I am growing my own I have taken to trying any that fall off or get ripped off by the dogs.

So to me they taste like…… STATIC! Yes I know strange..


Simple Fish Pie

Fish Pie

Yes I know it seems like all I ever eat is pie.. But this is more like fish with mashed potato 🙂

Its a sad day when I make Fish Pie for one but that’s what I wanted for dinner and I was on my own so I decided to make an individual pie in one of my terracotta baking dishes, they really are handy as everything get cooked through and it retains its heat for a long time so even if you are a slow eater it stays hot unlike when you ladle a dollop of pie onto a plate and its cold in 5 minutes!

Hot!

Ingredients (for 1)

  • 100 Grams Firm White Fish (I used Hake which I don’t recommend! Pollock or Coley work well or Line Caught Cod)
  • 10 Smallish Prawns (not tiny Shrimp but not Jumbo either-I used Frozen)
  • 10 Mussels, out of their shells, cooked (I used Frozen)
  • 10 Capers, drained of their brine
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Parsley
  • 15 grams Butter
  • 15 grams Plain White Flour
  • 300ml Milk
  • 1 Portion of Mashed Potato
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 15 grams Cheddar, grated
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 5 grams MORE Butter!

Method

  1. If using frozen shell fish- allow these to thaw
  2. Place White Fish in a pan with Milk & Bay Leaf, season lightly. Poach over low heat with lid on until fish is JUST turned white
  3. Remove Fish to a plate and allow to cool. Reserve Milk for your sauce (discard Bay Leaf)!
  4. In a small saucepan melt Butter with Flour until you have a Roux
  5. Slowly add the Milk (used to poach the fish) whisking until it is all incorporated. Bring to the boil & reduce till a simmer, stirring till thickened.
  6. Remove from heat
  7. Flake White Fish
  8. Add White Fish, Prawns, Mussels, Capers, Parsley & remaining Butter- mix well (but gently you don’t want to break the fish up)
  9. Sprinkle over Paprika
  10. Season to Taste
  11. Prepare your Mashed Potato, I just add Butter & Seasoning. Then stir in 1 Egg Yolk!

Roux

White Sauce

Assembly

  • Preheat Oven to Gas Mark 6
  • Grease your individual casserole dish with Butter or Olive Oil
  • Spoon in filling
  • Using a piping bag pipe over Mashed Potato (or spoon it on then fork over the top to create peaks)
  • Sprinkle over grated cheese
  • Bake in the oven for approx 25-30 mins till Golden & Bubbling (remember your ingredients were all cooked through anyway!)

NB

This was a simple fish pie using the ingredients I had in the fridge, freezer & cupboards.

If you want to make a special fish pie I would (and do generally!) add the following:

  • A Flaked Smoked Fish Fillet- I normally use Smoked Haddock but you could use Smoked Salmon
  • 1/2 a Chopped Boiled Egg Per person
  • 2 Chopped Cornichons Per Person
  • Some Fresh Dill/Tarragon or Chervil

Please note my piping is atrocious in the photos I need a new piping set & I was using a children’s one! If you pipe the mash it goes really crispy, ditto the egg yolk makes the mash really crisp!



Festive Sugar Cookies

 

Christmas Cookies!

 

 

This year I have struggled to find a Christmas Tree, I’m used to seeing them everywhere in London, even Cost Cutter Supermarket! But clearly in Northern Cyprus they aren’t so popular and as I really don’t like faux Christmas Trees I ended up buying an actual tree– it is in a big pot & it isn’t very symmetrical (especially after I snapped two branches squishing it into the car!) but after Christmas I can plant the tree in the garden, smug in the knowledge I am not chopping down trees for my own frivolity (ha!) and in future it can be used with outdoor lights to make the garden look pretty!

Anyway the tree is a bit spindly and it is sitting on a Granite table over a Marble floor so I am a little concerned about putting glass decorations on it (they make up the bulk of my decorations) so I thought I would make a batch of cookies to fill in the gaps and hopefully look a bit prettier than the Lebkuchen I made last year (although my friend still has one saved for her tree this year- what a loyal friend, it really is quite bad but at least I can make up for it with one of these ones!)

I was actually a bit stupid & baked a couple of trays full before I realised I hadn’t pierced a hole in any of them! So now I have some for hanging and some for eating (although they are a bit sweet for me!)

Ingredients

  • 190g Butter, room temperature, cubed
  • 270g Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence or Almond Essence (use 1/4 tsp if you have Extract)
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 390g Plain White Flour, sifted
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to gas mark 3, 170 oc
  2. Beat Butter, Sugar & Vanilla until light & fluffy
  3. Add Egg & mix well till everything is incorporated
  4. Add Flour, Salt & Baking powder, mix till well combined
  5. Dust work surface with flour & roll out dough using a rolling pin
  6. Use cutters to make your desired shapes
  7. If they are for hanging use a skewer to make a hole near the top of each cookie
  8. Arrange on foil or grease proof paper lined trays
  9. Bake for 10- 12 mins or until golden around the edges
  10. When slightly cool transfer to a wire rack

If you want to ice them Royal Icing looks good, especially if you dye it pink!

Ingredients

Royal Icing

  • 1 Medium Egg White
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 250 g Icing Sugar, Sifted
  • *1/4 tsp Glycerine Syrup *
  • Food colouring, I used Red for some pink cookies

Method

  • Whisk Lemon Juice & Egg White in a large bowl
  • Gradually begin adding Icing Sugar, whisking well to combine each time you add more
  • Whisk until you can form soft peaks
  • Add food colour if desired
  • If it is too runny add some more sugar!
  • * Add Glycerine*- this stops the icing drying if you are working slowly (like me)

NB

I used a knife to smear on some icing- think I need a bit of practice but once I tie on some nice ribbon they will make a nice edition to the tree 🙂


Chicken & Mushroom Pie

Chicken Pie with Suet & Flaky Pastry

 

Sometimes I just feel like eating a simple pie- in fact most of the time I’d rather it without loads of Herbs, Spices & Wine.. I want a pie like they sell in the supermarket! So I make this..

Normally I use Frozen Short Crust Pastry for the base & Frozen Puff Pastry for the lid but as I had a bit of time on my hands I decided to try out Delia Smith‘s ‘Quick & Easy Flaky Pastry’ which I mentioned before in my Pie, Mash & Liquor post. It really is a good recipe & very simple- I will use it again. And I made a simple Suet Pastry for the base.. I love Suet Pastry as I love Dumplings!

Ingredients

For the Flaky Pastry

http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/pastry/quick-and-easy-flaky-pastry.html

 

Frozen Butter

Sifted Flour

 

 

Grated Butter

 

 

Flaky Pastry- Ready

 

 

For the Suet Pastry (Pie Bottom)

  • 350g Self Raising Flour
  • 190g Shredded Suet (Atora is the brand available here in Tempo! Beef or Vegetable)
  • Cold Water (use your judgement!)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Method

  1. Sift the Self Raising Flour & Salt into a large mixing bowl
  2. Mix in the Suet
  3. Add a few drops of cold Water mixing with a knife
  4. Keep adding water until you have a sticky dough
  5. Now use your hands to finish the dough- it should be smooth, neither sticky nor dry & leave the bowl clean (add a drop more water or a sprinkle of flour to correct if necessary)
  6. Allow the pastry to rest, covered in the fridge for 30 mins
~When you need the pastry it should be rolled to approx 2 or 3mm thickness~

Suet

Line with Suet Pastry

For the Pie Filling

  • 300g Chicken, Skinless Boneless Thighs (I only had Breast & it tends to dry out)- cubed
  • 1/4 White Onion, Chopped finely
  • 4 Standard White Mushrooms, Chopped
  • 25g Butter
  • 25g Corn Flour
  • 1.5 Cups Milk
  • 1 Tbs Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tsp Yeast Extract (Marmite)
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tsp Chicken Bouillon Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Glucose Syrup
  • Salt & White Pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat Butter, Fry Chicken until it loses most of its pink colour
  2. Add Onions & Mushrooms, Fry for a few minutes until softening but do not allow to colour
  3. Sprinkle over Corn Flour, mix well
  4. Add Chicken Bouillon & Onion Powder, mix well
  5. Add Milk, bring to the boil till sauce thickens, reduce heat to low
  6. Add Cream
  7. Add Yeast Extract & Glucose Syrup, mix well
  8. Season to taste
  9. Leave to cool slightly before filling Pie

 

Fry Chicken

Add Cornflour

Add Heavy Cream

Add Yeast Extract

Finished

 

Assemble Pie

  1. Pre heat oven to 200 oc/ Gas Mark 6
  2. Grease Pie Dish with Butter- I used 2 Terracotta Dishes which each hold a Man Sized Portion of pie!
  3. Roll out Suet Pastry & Line Pie Dish- Making sure the dough hangs over the lip, trim off excess
  4. Spoon in pie filling, don’t fill right to the top!
  5. Roll out Flaky Pastry, cut out a circle (or square!) a bit bigger than your pie dish
  6. Wet the Suet Pastry covering the lip of the pie dish with some Cold Water
  7. Cover with Flaky Pastry lid, seal well around the edges & prick a few holes with a sharp knife
  8. Brush with Milk or Egg
  9. Cook in Oven for 30- 40 mins, until brown & piping hot
  10. Either lever whole pie out of dish to serve on a plate/spoon some pie out onto a plate or eat directly out of individual dish

 

Fill Pie

Out of the Oven

 

 

NB

Leek instead of Onion is a nice alternative


Red Wine & Onion Gravy

Sausage, Mash & Onion Gravy

Ingredients

  • 2 White Onions, Sliced
  • 1 Tbs Butter
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Red Wine
  • 1 Beef Stock Cube
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 1 Tbs Corn Flour
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

  1. Heat Butter & Oil
  2. Fry Onions until soft, approx 5 mins
  3. Add Sugar and continue frying until onions are brown & caramelized, keep stirring so they don’t burn (or they will be bitter!) approx 20 mins
  4. Stir in Corn Flour till Onions are coated
  5. Sprinkle over stock cube & stir well
  6. Add wine & de glaze the pan
  7. Add hot water & bring to the boil
  8. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the gravy has thickened & become shiny
  9. Taste & season

 

Fry Onions

Add Sugar to Caramelize Onions

Flour & Stock Cube

Onion Gravy- Done

 

 


Thai Chicken Stir Fry with Chilli & Basil


Ingredients

Method

  1. Heat Oil, add Chicken Pieces & Fry for a few minutes until they lose most of their pink colour
  2. Add Garlic, Onions, Carrots, Chillies & Beans & Fry for 2 minutes- don’t let the garlic or onions colour
  3. Stir in Cornflour, mix well
  4. Add Soy Sauce, Oyster Sauce & Sugar
  5. Add 1/4 Cup Water, stir, bring to the boil until sauce has thickened to a ‘gravy’
  6. Reduce heat & simmer until Chicken & Veg are cooked through
  7. Stir in torn Basil Leaves
  8. Check Seasoning & add Salt if necessary
  9. Serve with Rice

Ingredients

Stir Fry

'Gravy'

NB

If you want more ‘gravy’ with the stir fry you can add more corn flour/water

Omit the Chilli if you don’t like spicy food!

Close Up


Chicken Stock, Chicken Soup & Chicken Sandwich Recipes

Soup & Crusty Bread

Last week I was feeling a bit under the weather so I decided to make a nice Chicken Soup, including my own Chicken Stock

Ingredients

For Chicken Stock

  • 900g Raw Chicken Necks (or you could use any other cheap parts- Wing Tips etc)
  • 1 Onion, quartered
  • 1 Carrot, Snapped in half
  • 2 Celery Sticks, Snapped in half
  • A few sprigs of fresh Parsley
  • 8 Black Peppercorns
  • Pinch of Rock Salt (Kosher Salt)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Water
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil

Method

  1. Heat Butter & Olive Oil in a large pan
  2. Add Chicken Pieces & fry until golden
  3. Add Vegetables, Herbs, Salt & Pepper
  4. Add enough Hot Water to just cover ingredients
  5. Bring to the Boil & skim off any ‘scum’ that rises to the surface
  6. Reduce heat & Simmer for approx 1.5 hrs with the lid on
  7. Taste & add more Salt if necessary
  8. Allow to cool & pour through a sieve (discard veg & chicken bones)
  9. This can be used immediately, frozen or stored in the fridge for 3 days (once cool you can scrape off any fat that solidifies on the surface)

Chicken Necks

Bubble Bubble

Skim Skim Skim

Ingredients (serves 4)

For Chicken Chowder Soup

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, Cooked & Shredded (I poached mine in the same pan I was making the Stock in)
  • 25 Grams Butter
  • 25 Grams Corn Flour (or Plain White Flour)
  • 2 Bacon Rashers, diced
  • 1 Potato, diced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Chervil
  • 1 Small Tin Sweet Corn Kernels, drained (I didn’t have any but I wanted to add them!)
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

  1. Melt Butter in a heavy based saucepan
  2. Fry Bacon till brown
  3. Add Potatoes & Onions, fry gently for 2 mins (do not allow to colour)
  4. Add Flour & mix well to coat ingredients in the pan
  5. Add Stock slowly, mixing well to avoid lumps
  6. Add Milk & Cream
  7. Bring to the boil stirring well until thickened
  8. Reduce heat to low & cook until Potatoes are done
  9. Add Chicken & Sweet Corn, stir well
  10. Season to taste
  11. Garnish with Parsley & Chervil or Chives if you have some!
  12. Serve with Crusty Bread

Chicken Breasts (for soup)

Potatoes

Close Up

NB

After cooking I used my Stick Blender to roughly blend my soup- the blended Chicken & Potatoes made it quite thick so I added a little extra Water

Sandwich

I had some leftover Chicken as my 2 Chicken Breasts were HUGE and I didn’t want to put it all in the Soup so I used this to make my sandwich filling for the next day- Chicken, Bacon & Avocado.

Ingredients

For Chicken Sandwich

  • Shredded Chicken Breast (leftover from Soup Making)
  • Crispy Bacon, diced (also leftover from Soup Making)
  • 1/2 Ripe Avocado, diced
  • 3 Basil Leaves, Torn
  • Mayonnaise, to bind mixture
  • Salt & Pepper, to Taste
  • Iceberg Lettuce, Shredded
  • Toasted Crusty Bread

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients well
  2. Fill Toasted Bread slices
  3. Enjoy 🙂

Friendly Creature 🙂