Thursday, 25 August 2011

Chorizo and Roasted Vegetables

After the success of my last post (Chicken in Peanut Sauce), I thought you might like my Chorizo and roasted vegetables recipe, it’s a good way to use up any bits of veg or meat that you have spare.

In a casserole, combine your chopped veg with chunks of chorizo, whole garlic cloves, sundried tomatoes and a sprinkle of mixed herbs. Mix in a small amount of Olive Oil (Not too much, as the sausage gives up oil as it cooks) and some Balsamic Vinegar.

Raw Veg

Half Cooked

Roast in the oven at about 180 degrees for about an hour, stirring after 30 minutes, until the veg are soft. Serve with bread to dip in the sauce.

Ready to Enjoy

This also works with chicken, prawns or your favourite sausages. And the proportions of veg can be whatever you have available.

By the way, a quick plug for my other site,, where I will be posting some short stories and other articles that I have written.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The other "Royal Wedding".

As I said last time, my eldest daughter was getting married, and I’m pleased to say the day went very well. We’re still waiting for the official photos but here are a couple to keep you interested.
Giving my Baby away

The other Women in my Life

The new Mrs W

The wedding featured some wonderful food, which I will be attempting to re-create, depending on the results I will share soon.

We seem to be at that time of year when nature offers up all the goodies at once, and it’s a bit of a struggle keeping up with laying in supplies to see us through winter, whilst still keeping on doing the (boring) things that need to be done, and finding the time to blog about it all. So since the wedding, I have made Elderberry wine, pickled onions and beetroot, and started converting blackberries to cordial.

After the success of my chicken and wedges, (and by the way thanks for all the compliments, I hope you enjoyed it as much as we do) I have a couple of other things to try.

Regular readers will know that I’m always on the lookout for cheap ways to eat well, with the object of zero waste, and using my potato peelings is just one way of getting the maximum out of everything that we have.

Last time I made the Homity pie, this time I thought I would try Corned Beef Hash, as I was using the Potatoes for mashed topping on a Cottage Pie.

So fry 4 large chopped onions with crushed garlic to taste, when softened and starting to brown reserve half for the pie and add the potato peelings, cut into small pieces, to the rest in the pan.

Fry until the potatoes are starting to go soft, then stir in one tin of corn beef cut into cubes (Tip: put the tin, unopened in the fridge overnight, the meat is easier to cube)

Fry this, stirring all the time, until the onions, beef and peelings are well mixed, then strain into an ovenproof dish and top with grated cheese. Bake at 200 degrees for about 25-30 minutes until bubbling.

Meanwhile add minced beef to the reserved onions and put in the same frying pan to brown the meat (saves washing up). Strain into a casserole, top with the mash and either put it in the fridge till tomorrow or freeze. That’s two days dinners in about 30 minutes.

 My beetroot this year have not been good, neither have my carrots, so I had to buy some beets for pickling, I found a 25lb bag for £9.50, after cooking and peeling I got 18lb of pickles, enough to last me through the winter, at a cost, including vinegar of about £0.70 per lb. (roughly half shop price)

I also pickled onions, salting them first to keep them crisp.

In the middle of all this Jason next door brought me a bag of mixed fish, Pollock and wrasse, which have now been gutted and frozen.

After all that I was in need of a Cream Tea, a local delicacy, if you’ve never tried one, you really ought to: - this one is from Fermoys Garden Centre, quite close to my house.

I digress:  Blackberry Cordial.

At this time of the year, the blackberries are starting to get a little soft and overripe, so a good use for them is in a cordial, basically just a sugar syrup with fruit flavouring, I use roughly the same method for all my cordials and that is,

An amount of fruit,

1.5 times that amount of water,

Sugar equal to the water.

So last time that was 700g fruit, 1050g water and 1050g white sugar.

Boil up the fruit and the water and simmer to reduce. As the level falls add the sugar, in three or four stages and stir well each time. When the mixture has reduced to about a litre and all the sugar has been used, take off the heat and strain using a jelly bag.

Bottle the liquid and freeze for winter use, keeps in the fridge for about a fortnight.

This is very good for sore throats as well as making a delicious drink when diluted.

After you have strained the juice out the pulp makes a good addition to plain yogurt, or rippled into ice-cream.

There are no photos as I’m sure you can all visualise blackberries in a saucepan, or a bottle of red liquid!

But the sunrise was very nice as I was picking them.

My tomatoes are very reluctantly turning red, I’ve hung banana skins in the greenhouse to increase the ethylene and try to give them a helping hand, and at least none of my neighbours have turned yet. And we now have cucumbers as well, and runner beans.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Chicken in Peanut Sauce with Potato Wedges

First, thanks for all you messages about Picasso, yes he had  a wonderful life, and this last year in Devon he was like a kitten again, springing about and laying in the sunshine. I’m sure I saw him, just out of the corner of my eye on Sunday morning, so I feel re-assured that he’s alright where he is, and he’s just popping back to let me know.

Back to the food-

Here is one of my favourite Chicken dishes, my middle daughter and her boyfriend will phone and order this before they come to stay with us.

I’m using Chicken breast fillets, only because they were half price, you can use any chicken meat (or lean trimmed pork).

500g Meat

200g Peanut Butter (I used Crunchy)

200ml Sweet Chilli Sauce

50ml Golden Syrup

Dash of Worcester Sauce.

Cut the meat into bite sized pieces and put into an oiled casserole dish.

Mix up the sauce ingredients and stir into the chicken.

Leave to marinate for 4-6 hours.

Cook for about 40 minutes at 180 degrees C, turning halfway through cooking.

Make sure that the chicken is fully cooked before serving, if in doubt give it another 10 minutes, the sauce will be crisper.

As an accompaniment, cut some potatoes into wedges,  put in a baking tray, add sliced onions and coat with oil and Balsamic Vinegar.

Bake for one hour at 180 degrees turning once,or until soft.With 10 minutes to go sprinkle with Sea Salt and Black Pepper.

I found a few Cherry Tomatoes, cut them in half added in some Sliced Mushrooms in oil, and Mixed Herbs

These went into the oven for the last 30 minutes.

There will now be a short pause over the weekend whilst  we have a family wedding, my eldest daughter is getting married in Nottingham on Saturday, my youngest has come over from Australia for the big day, its all getting a bit stressful, normal service will be resumed when we've all recovered.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Worst Day

There will be a bit of a change this post, I was going to tell you all about meeting my daughter, back from Australia, and about all the culinary things I had been up to, the Mint Sauce, Blackberry Wine etc etc, but I’m afraid that its all on hold.

I’m sure you remember the recent post about my cat Picasso, well we left him in kennels with the dogs whilst we went up to get George, and when we got back they said that, although he was his usual self, he had had some “tummy problems”, which is a squeamish way of saying…. Well you get the idea. Anyway we took him to the vet and he found A LUMP, sometimes I hate being a “responsible adult” cos you have to make decisions. There was no way at his age that he could stand the surgery, and he would have been in pain for a long recovery anyhow. So I did what I thought was the best for him, even though I regretted it as soon as it was said.

So now the house is empty, I went downstairs this morning and he wasn’t waiting for his breakfast, its awful. George said at the airport how she was looking forward to seeing him, she was only 6 when we got him and now she’s 21.

He was the runt of the litter, and part of our lives for 16 years; I can’t believe he’s not here anymore. There’s a big cat shaped hole in our lives. I do believe that I’ll see him again; he will be waiting for me somewhere.

I’m going to leave you with a few pics of him. R.I.P. Picasso 1995-2011.