Monday, 30 September 2013

Jamie Misses a Trick, and Special Fried Rice

I've been watching the Jamie Oliver series on CH4, the money saving one, and I've spotted something that has got me wondering.

When he does the roast chicken meal, he boils the potatoes then tips the water away. Later when making gravy, he uses water from the kettle?

Is it only me that makes gravy from the potato water?

Personally, I reckon that as the potatoes have boiled in it for 15 minutes or so, there must be some of their 'essence' (for want of a better word) in there. And it seems criminal to throw it away. Comments welcomed.

Back to the real world, and as you will have noticed, we had the chicken from our meat box yesterday.

There was enough meat left

for six portions, that's all in the freezer now.

As usual I boiled the carcass for three hours with carrot and onion,

and made 1.4 litres of stock.

I also gave the bones another picking after that, and got enough meat for a part meal.

Tonight's plan was for fried rice, starting with Peas, Onion and five spice powder.

While the rice was boiling, I added prawns to the chicken, with a bit of plum sauce,

I also prepared eggs for scrambling.

Unlike most recipes that you will see, I prefer to scramble the eggs separately, then fold in at the last minute.

When the rice has about five minutes to go, heat the peas and onion, adding the meat and prawns. Start the eggs off (I use a microwave)

When the meat/veg is warmed thoroughly, add the rice, after straining, and mix well.

Finally, fold in the egg, mixing well, and serve, topped with sesame seeds.

I like it with prawn crackers and sweet chilli sauce.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Ribs and Puddles

In the end, we got fed up waiting for the rain to stop and went out anyway. It was good puddle jumping weather, and once you got used to the idea, not a bad day. All in all it was nice to be out.
I had four spare ribs left over from something, and had marinated them overnight in a mixture of Tomato ketchup, Worcester sauce, Mustard and Brown Sugar.

Then I cut Potato wedges (using an apple corer) and splashed them with Balsamic. I let that soak in for an hour then coated in Olive Oil. If you put the oil on too soon, the potato doesn't absorb all the Balsamic.

They will need an hour in a 200 degree fan oven, as will the ribs, but do the first 30 minutes covered for both.

Next item was the sweetcorn fritters, here's my recipe.
30g fine Polenta,
50g White flour,
1 egg,
Enough Milk to make a thick batter,
1 cup Sweetcorn Kernels.
Mix everything except the sweetcorn, until you have a smooth, thick batter. Add the corn and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

When you are ready, heat some oil in a non-stick pan and put 2 tablespoons of the mixture into the hot oil. Spread them slightly and fry until one side is brown and the cake is starting to set.

Flip them and do the other side. Repeat until all the batter mix is used


Drain on paper, then transfer to a tray to keep warm.

Getting a bit ahead of myself there, returning to the ribs and wedges.
With 30 minutes to go, uncover the wedges and ribs and return to the oven. They will go sticky as the sauce sets.

Plate up and enjoy.

I had a picture of the bones as an aftermath, but have been persuaded not to post it, in case it causes offence, but you can believe me, the bones were shiny!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Work and back

Work is a lot busier than it was last year.I guess that means that things are getting better, as we are at a point in the scheme of things dealing with raw materials.

A variety of ships to drive,

and a lovely sunset over Dartford.

One last job, in the middle of the night, a large ship into Tilbury Lock.

and then home in the fog. Not pleasent, as I kind of like to see the front of the car when I'm headng down the motorway. (Slight exageration, but it was very patchy and thick in places)

Back in Devon, it has been warm and a bit humid all week. That had to end of course and at 0515 this morning, (Saturday) we had a thunderstorm, with a lot of lightening and sound effects.
It means that our day out is on hold, so I'm looking around for other things to do.

Cooking has been quite conventional over the last few days, just some home made tomato sauce with (Shock - ready made) tortellini, and garlic bread

and some Bombay Potato, (No tomato) to add as a filler to the spare curry that we froze after our power cut feast.

Again I used a ready made paste/spice blend, adding it to potato and onion in a frying pan. Oh yes and I fried it in Ghee, for a more authentic taste. Another tip, if there is any juice left in the pan, add raisins for the last couple of minutes, (or any dried fruit to taste) to soak it all up.

and that's about it, we have spare ribs marinating for our meal tonight, with Corn fritters, Onion rings and wedges. But that's another story.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Tomato Sauce and other Top Tips.

Last year, I had such a poor crop of tomatoes that this year I grew twice as many plants. They have almost taken over, but we have had a bumper crop. It got to the point where we couldn't eat them fast enough, so I decided to make some puree to freeze.

One Mornings picking
Getting out my trusty liquidiser, I added a few drops of Olive Oil and whizzed the lot up.

It actually made 2 litres of puree, that's 5 double portions of base for soup, pasta sauce, pizza topping, casserole or whatever. And there are loads still to come.

However my freezer is full again, mainly Blackberries, and with the Raspberries starting to ripen, I need room. I don't want a bigger freezer, as I would just fill it with stuff, just a bit of room in this one.

After work on Tuesday, a very nice day on the river,

 we had sausages baked in onion and mushrooms, served with roasted tomato and some couscous.

First slice your onion and mushrooms, toss in Oil and Balsamic (to taste)

then put in a 180 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Give them a stir and add the sausages, after rubbing them with Oil. Put it back in the oven for 25 minutes.

Add a tablespoon of runny honey and mustard to taste, give it a stir and put it back in the oven. Then put your tomatoes, halved and oiled, in for 15 minutes.

Use the time to make your couscous.


Here's a top tip, anything you prepare with water, (Boiled potatoes, pasta, couscous etc) add a teaspoon of veg stock powder to the water. Gives it a whole new taste.

Here's another, I always add a spoon of either Horseradish or garlic paste to beef mince or stewing beef when I fry it, to bring out the flavour. Horseradish for stews or Cottage Pie, and Garlic for Bolognase.

Its been really humid here, and for a change today I took the dogs up Yardes Lane, as its shady and cool, theres a stream that runs down the middle of the lane in places and its a magical place to be, you can feel the energy of the trees and the earth surround you.

see what I mean? Although you aren't far from civilisation, there are cows grazing and its very pastoral.

And when you get to the top, there a view across Torbay

Then a steep hill to walk down to get home. I know its been hot and dry this summer, but the stream had gone, just a bit of damp ground.

Time has gone quickly, and I have to go back to work tomorrow. But I have 11 days off after that, we were going to decorate the front room but now Yvonne is not well so we will have to leave it.  

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Totnes (Twice!)

I think Yvonne has summed it up pretty well. We found this sign for sale in Totnes on Friday, on the first of our visits. We wanted to go to the regular market, and also the Sunday food market, so on Friday we just looked in the shops that would not be open on Sunday.

We popped into the Cat Therapy Cafe for a cuppa, it does what it says,

you sit and drink your coffee or tea and the cats mill around, it was very relaxing, and I think we will be back. Yvonne wanted to sneak a cat out, but you are searched on the way out.

Lunch was taken in Woods Bistro, a panini filled with Chorizo, melted cheese and Jalapenos, Yvonne had roast veg on Ciabatta with Goats Cheese.

Due to the Sunday Market, we had Roast Gammon on Saturday,

and I used up some of my  Sourdough starter, making a hybrid loaf (used a little dried yeast to give it a hand)

The end was eaten warm, with lots of butter, purely for research of course.

Meanwhile, after 2 hours in a 160 degree oven, the gammon was basted with honey and mustard, then given another hour. At that point it fell off the bones,

I also picked the first of the late Raspberries,

and took the dogs down the cliff path for a walk,

a warm day, but just a slight nip in the air.

Sunday, we returned to Totnes, got some Rump Steak for tea,

I peeled the potatoes thickly yesterday, and baked the peelings in oil for 20 minutes as the oven heated up for the bread.

today, they will be finished off as crispy skins, along with Mushrooms and all the usual Steak trimmings.

Lunch was from Red Earth Kitchens, the most amazing Millionaires Shortbread either of us have ever tasted, and Scotch Eggs, also a regular favourite. Linda and her team make some amazing stuff, also available at the West Country Deli in Brixham, well worth a try. They don't have their own website, but get loads of mentions, and rightly so.

I have to mention Yvonnes latest card creation, a thank you for the jewellery rebuilding done by Norma,

and the jewellery,

Next time, news of the ever expanding blanket.