Sunday, December 31, 2006

Recipe requests - and more

Thanks for your comments Heather and Mary. Both gladly received for I discovered, on scrolling back, that my ice-cream recipe posted a couple of months ago was missing some vital details - a whole gap of the posting had disappeared(will be corrected at a later date). So will be giving the recipe again today.
Mary requested the recipe for my Cheese 'n Chicken Pancakes and here I was puzzled. Couldn't even remember the dish, but discovered it in 'The (Shirley) Goode Kitchen' book (p43). Just shows I don't make them often, if at all. Now I will, for - memory serves me right - they do make good(e) eating.

Firstly, an update on yesterday's beans. With all three varieties, 100g of dried beans weighed 250g after an overnight soak. When cooked and drained, they still weighed 250g plus maybe a gram or two more. As with all beans, I boiled over a highish heat for 10 minutes then reduced each to a simmer to cook on. The butter beans took a maxium of 40 minutes total before ready, the other two (pinto and red beans) took about1 hour total. But always check, the older the bean the longer it takes to cook. Once drained and rinsed in cold water, I drizzled a little oil over the beans and divided each in half and put into small polybags for freezing. Normally I would cook the whole 500g bag and spread the cooked and oiled beans on a baking sheet to freeze, so that they could be broken up to free-flow before bagging up. A good tip is to just bang a bag of frozen beans (that have stuck together) on a table or unit top and they will separate themselves.
Tip: Home-cooked beans means fewer tins to throw out and more space in the cupboard. Plus keeping an assortment of beans in the freezer, including chick-peas (which are VERY versatile), means they are always to hand to add to casseroles or salads, or for making dips or even your own Boston Baked Beans.

Bananas. Why? Well, a couple or so deliveries ago I had put a bag of bananas on a kitchen chair and inadvertently pushed it under the table and forgot about them until a day or two later. As I buy the 'eat some, keep some' pack, normally 5 yellow bananas, and 5 green ones, these are normally kept in the hall either in or by the bowl of fruit and they do tend to ripen quite quickly. Under the kitchen table in the not-quite-dark and rather cooler temperature they seem to keep longer. The bananas in my last delivery over two weeks ago, were - this time deliberately - put on the chair, and left there. Yesterday I noticed the yellow ones have only just got to showing a brown spot or two, and still very firm. The green ones are just turning yellow. They are still in the bag which had been opened, but not sure if this protects them or not. Maybe it is the lack of light and/or the cool temperature that is keeping them so well. Whatever, this is something I will be doing in the future. If you have a problem with bananas ripening too quickly, then try finding somewhere cooler and darker to keep them. If it works for you too, let us all know.

Heather is having fun melting down her unwanted chocolates and is desperate for a good ice-cream over which she can pour her 'caramel' sauce. Although I do have an ice-cream maker (pushed at the back of the cupboard for the moment), this 'soft-scoop' version I sort of invented is really rather good, my husband loves it and so I make it often. Also, it uses up those 'free' egg whites. Today I will be making chicken pate, using the yolks in that and the whites for the following:

Soft Scoop Ice Cream:
Put 8 oz gran. sugar and 8 dessertspoons of water in a small pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then boil rapidly for 2 - 3 minutes when it should have reached the 'soft ball' stage. Test for this by dropping a little of the syrup into a saucer of cold water. As soon as it can be gathered up into a soft ball it will be ready. Remove from the heat.
Beat 3 - 4 egg whites until stiff (adding a pinch of salt or cream of tartar helps them to grow to a thick cloud). Put the sugar back over the heat and bring to the boil then immediately begin pouring a thin stream over the whites and keep beating until all the sugar has been used and the whites have turned into a very thick, almost set, meringue.
Tip: Wrap a damp teatowel (chilled in the freezer) around the bowl to help cool the meringue.
When cool, fold into the meringue 5 fl.oz whipped cream and 5 fl oz yoghurt. Spoon this mixture into ice-cream tubs or cover and freeze the bowl it is has been made in. No need to beat further, this will scoop out perfectly.
Tip: Using all cream makes it far too rich, adding yoghurt makes it perfect. The reason why it stays 'soft-scoop' is because of the amount of sugar used. The more sugar, the softer the ice-cream.

Basic flavour: beat a little vanilla extract into the cream, and use plain yoghurt.
Mint choc chip: add a few drops of green food colouring to the sugar and water, and a few drops of peppermint flavouring to the cream. The colour will lighten as it is beaten in, so add more green if needed. Finally stir in grated chocolate.
Ginger: add half ginger syrup to the sugar/water syrup, and fold in finely chopped preserved ginger into the basic recipe.
Rum and Raisin: Soak raisins in rum overnight, then fold this into the basic mix. Note: because of the alcohol, you could keep the sugar down to 2 oz per egg white.
Yoghurt and Honey: Omit the cream and fold in thick Greek yoghurt. Drizzle over runny honey to taste and fold in lightly. Some flaked almonds could also be added.
Strawberries and Cream: In season, puree around 5 oz strawberries and fold into the meringue with whipped cream (or a strawberry yogurt).
Tip: when making ice-cream the recommended way using custard, and beating it in an ice-cream machine, will make a hard ice-cream which needs thawing slightly before serving. This hard ice-cream is the best to use for Baked Alaska, or to be wrapped in pancakes and briefly fried. The addition of alcohol when beating will help soften the ice-cream, too much and it will never freeze solid at all.

Chicken 'n Cheese Pancakes:
8 ready-made pancakes
2 oz (50g) butter
2 oz (50g) flour
1 teaspoon dry (or made mustard)
1 pint (570ml) milk
4 oa (110g) Cheddar cheese, grated
1 onion, finely chopped and fried
8 - 12 oz (225-350g) cooked chicken, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato (pizza) sauce OR ketchup
Put the butter, milk, flour and mustard into a pan and heat slowly, stirring all the time until the mixture has thickened. Boil for 2 minutes. Add half the cheese. Put half this sauce into a jug and stir the chicken and onion.
Spread each pancake thinly with the tomato sauce, and divide the chicken mixture between the pancakes and roll them up. Place in a shallow baking dish and pour over the reserved sauce, topping with the remaining cheese. Bake at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for 30 minutes or until the cheese is golden. Serve with a salad.
Tip: This is the perfect recipe to use up those cooked chicken scraps taken from the carcase after making chicken stock. Always worth picking over the bones (making sure you remove all of them) and then freezein small quantities (say 4 - 8 oz).

Before I leave you, I hope you have a good evening of festivities and see the New Year in with gusto. May I wish you all, in advance, a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.
See you in 2007!