Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Something for Everyone.

I have come across a recipe for 'an exceptionally light and spongy Italian bread' which may not be too far from the one we are seeking, but you do need to use fresh yeast when making this, for it will not be nearly as light if using the dried or easy-blend yeasts. Fresh yeast is available from a baker's or a supermarket with an in-store bakery). As well as the bread there is also a recipe for crumpets (sometimes called pikelets - depending upon the region), which I often used to make and very successfully.

Pugliese Bread:
1 1/2lb (700g) strong white flour
1 tsp salt
half an ounce (15g) fresh yeast
1 tblsp sugar
3/4 pint (450ml) warm water
2 fl.oz (50ml) extra virgin olive oil
coarse sea or rock salt, optional
Sift flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Mix the fresh yeast with the sugar and 2 tblsp warm water to form a smooth paste. Pour this, the remaining water, and the oil into the flour*. Stretch and punch the dough and knead for at least 10 minutes, this can either be done by hand or using a mixer with a dough hook. The longer the dough is needed the better the texture as it only has the one rising. Although the dough at first seems very sticky, it gradually becomes silkier and smoother as it is kneaded.
Shape dough into a ball, put onto a greased baking sheet, cover with a large bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour and a half until doubled in bulk. When risen, make slashes in the top of the dough, and sprinkle with salt (if using). Bake in a very hot oven for 12 minutes at 230C/450F/gas 8 then reduce heat to 190C/374F/gas5 and bake for a further 25-35 minutes.
* At this point 8 oz (225g) pitted and chopped black or green olives could be added.
Note: Reduce the proving time by doubling the amount of fresh yeast to 1 oz/25g and add a 25g vitamin C tablet (ascorbic acid) to the water. Once made as above, leave to prove just the one time for 45 minutes after placing dough on the baking sheet.

To make crumpets you should use special metal rings, often called egg poaching rings. If these cannot be obtained, make your own rings by stapling together strips of card 1" x 12" to form circles about 3 1/2" in diameter. Cover these tightly with double thickness foil, smoothing the inside to remove creases. You will need 3 or 4 (or more) depending upon how many your frying pan will hold. You could use scone cutters, but these are too deep and you would need to push through the crumpets after turning.
Crumpets/Pikelets: makes 12
12 oz (350g) strong white flour
pinch of salt
1 x 7g sachet easy-blend dried yeast
10 fl.oz (280ml) warm milk
2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
6 fl.oz (175mil) cold water
Sieve the flour and the salt into a large bowl and stir in the dried yeast. Stir the sugar into the milk and beat this into the flour until smooth. Cover bowl with a clean cloth and leave for about an hour or until doubled in bulk, then mix together the bicarb and water and beat this into the dough.
Butter the crumpet rings and place onto the base of a (preferably) non-stick frying pan and when hot spoon into each enough batter to come halfway up (allowing room to rise). Cook over a low heat for 3 - 4 minutes until the batter looks set and bubbles have appeared on the top. Using a fish slice, turn the rings over and cook for a further 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from the rings, place on a cake airer and cover with a cloth to keep warm (or butter and eat immediately). Meanwhile re-grease each ring after use and continue cooking until all the batter has been used up.
The surplus crumpets can be left to cool and can be stored in an airtight container for several days, to be toasted just before serving.

This next recipe can be eaten as a hot pudding with custard or cream, or eaten cold with a dollop of creme fraiche at tea-time. The orginal recipe was made with rhubarb, my version uses canned pears.
Soured Cream Pear Squares: makes 15 squares
4 oz (100g) butter, softened
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
4 oz (100g) chopped mixed nuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon
9 oz (250g) dark muscovado sugar
1 large egg
8 oz (225g) plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of sugar
pinch of salt
2 x 142ml cartons creme fraiche
1 can pear quarters, drained and chopped
Melt 1/2 oz (15g) of the butter and stir this into the sugar, nuts and cinnamon. Set to one side.
Cream the rest of the butter with the sugar and the egg. When creamy stir in the flour and bicarb (best sifted together), the salt and the creme fraiche. When well blended, stir in the pears.
Pour the mixture into a greased and lined large Swiss roll tin (13" x 9" x 2"/33 x 23 x 5cm) and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 20-25 minutes until firm. Serve immediately if for a pudding, or leave to get cold and cut into squares to serve as and when. Will keep for 4 - 5 days in an airtight tin.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Nothing in the Cupboard but...

Tip: Don't throw away the ends of the Parmesan/Pecorino cheeses after grating, even the tiniest and hardest amounts left will still give flavour and, when added to something hot, will soften down in a very few minutes and eventually melt.

Now more about Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), which has been around a long time, but only fairly recently sold in this country. Could be called a real super-food as ( like soya beans) it contains all the essential amino acids, not to mention numerous vitamins. With a nutty flavour and chewy texture it can be used as a substitute for pearl barley or rice. But there are other, more interesting ways to use it, so here are some recipes:
Quinoa Cookies: makes about 25
4 tblsp peanut butter
3 oz (75g) butter
7 oz (200g) honey
4 oz (100g) golden syrup
4 1/2 oz (125g) quinoa
5 oz (150g) plain flour
half a tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 oz (100g) mixed chopped nuts (almonds/cashews(
few drops vanilla extract
Beat together the first four ingredients. Sift together the flour and the bicarb and mix into the beaten mixture with the rest of the ingredients. Put teaspoonfuls of the mixture on to baking trays lined with baking parchment (or Magic Carpet) , leaving room to apread, and bake for 12 - 15 minutes at 180C, 350F, gas 4 until golden. Leave on the trays until cool then s tore in an airtight tin.

As an alternative to porridge, try this fruity version:
Quinoa for Breakfast: serves 2 - 4
9 oz (250g) quinoa
18 fl.oz (500ml) water
2 apples, peeled and sliced
3 oz (75g) dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, apricots etc)
2 tblsp demerara sugar
Put the quinoa and water into a pan and bring to the simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a further 5 - 6 minuts until the the fruit has softened and the apples turned to a puree. Stir in a little milk or cream. Serve with a drizzle of honey on top.

This next is the type of salad where you could add other ingredients of your choice. Use feta cheese if you are not keen on the suggested.
Quinoa, Goat's cheese and Orange Salad: serves 4
9 oz (250g) quinoa
18 fl.oz (500ml) water
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 - 2 carrots, grated
2 spring onion, finely sliced
1 x 240g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 oz (50g) goat's cheese, crumbled
1 handful freshly chopped parsley
1 tblsp extra v. olive oil pepper
Put the quinoa and water into a pan and bring to the simmer. Cook for 12 - 15 minutes. Drain well and fluff up with a fork, put into a bowl, stir inthe orange zest and juice and leave to cool.
Once cold, add the rest of the ingredients, season with pepper (the cheese is usually salty enough), and stir to mix well.

Fr a muffin recipe full of healthy ingredients (one of which is quinoa) look no further than this:
Banana Muffins: makes 12
3 oz (75g) butter, melted
2 large eggs
5 fl.oz (150ml) plain yogurt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3 oz (75g) quinoa (cooked and drained)
pinch salt
6 oz (175g) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
Into a bowl put the butter, eggs, yogurt and bananas and whisk together. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and put this into another bowl with the quinoa and sugar. Stir together then add the wet ingredients (from the first bowl) and fold together until just mixed (it is OK if the mixture is a bit lumpy, just make sure there are no dry bits of flour showing). Line a muffin tin with (12) paper cases and spoon in the mixture. Bake for approx 15 -20 minutes at 190c, 375F, gas 5 or until firm on top. Preferably eat while still warmish.
Tip: if you have demerara sugar and a blender, it is always worth whizzing some down to make a brown caster sugar which would be perfect for the above muffins.

Opening up a vacuum pack of beetroot (we always eat this with cold meat platters), there are often a couple or so left which need using up. So - apart from the obvious cheese and beetroot sarnies, here are a couple of recipes to use up the oddments.
Beetroot Salad with Pasta: serves 4
approx 6 oz (175g) cooked beetroot, chopped
9 oz (250g) pasta shapes, cooked and drained
1 apple, peeled and chopped
juice of half a small lemon
1 tblsp olive oil
3 oz (75g) feta or goat's cheese, crumbled
Put everything into a bowl and toss together. Sorted!

For this dish either buy a pack of smoked mackerel or use the canned.
Smoked Mackerel, Watercress and Beetroot Salad: serves 4
1 pack watercress, stems and lower leaves removed
3 -4 smoked mackerel fillets, skinned and flaked
1 x 250g pack cooked beetroot
1 tblsp horseradish sauce
1 tblsp lemon juice
2 tblsp olive oil
Share the watercress between four plates and scatter over the flaked fish. Roughly chop the beetroot and place on top. Whisk together the final three ingredients to make a dressing then drizzle this over the salad.

Use up the oddments of watercress from the above dish and make this soup.
Watercress Soup: serves 2
1 tsp butter
1 small onion or leek, sliced
6 oz (175g) potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pint (575m) vegetable stock
1 - 2 oz (25-50g) watercress stalks and leaves
3 fl.oz (75ml) milk
freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a pan and add the onions or leek, cover and saute for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and the stock, cover and simmer for approx. 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Chop the watercress and add this, with the milk, to the pan (to keep its colour it does not need to cook on further). Remove from heat, liquidise (rub the puree through a sieve if you want it really smooth), return to the pan, reheat and season to taste.

Although surplus tomato puree can be frozen, here are some ideas to use up the ends of tubes or the surplus from tins you might have decanted and put in the fridge (other than adding to stews, curries, gravies etc).
Stir-fry Speedy Sauce: Stir together 1 tblsp tomato puree, 2 tblsp soy sauce and 2 tsp honey. Add to stir-fried meat and/or vegetables towards the end of the cooking.

Marie - Rose Seafood Sauce: Stir some tomato puree, a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of paprika into some mayonnaise and mix with drained, flaked tuna or defrosted cooked prawns. Use as a sandwich filling or for topping hot jacket potatoes.

Pizza Toasts: Blend tomato puree with a pinch of dried herbs and spread over freshly toasted slices of French bread (or even a pizza base). Top with grated cheese and finish off under the grill until the cheese is golden and bubbling (if you wish you could add other cooked fillings between the tomato and cheese).

Pasta Sauce: Fry one finely diced onion and crushed garlic in a little oil and stir in one tblsp of tomato puree. Add half a tub of creme fraiche and some chopped fresh herbs (of your choice) and heat until bubbling. Season to taste and add to freshly cooked and drained pasta. Frying a little diced chorizo with the onion will make it spicy and utterly gorgeous.

Marinade: Mix together equal measures of tomato puree, brown sugar, wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper and use as a marinade for chicken thighs and drumsticks. Remove excess before roasting, but if you wish this can be used for basting.

Salad dressing: Into a bowl put 2 tsp tomato puree, 6 tblsp olive oil, 2 tbslp balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp Dijon mustard. Season to taste and whisk together. Drizzle over green salads.

Often we have a banana whose skin is fast turning mottled and brown and we think it should be binned. Even brown banana flesh should not be discarded as this part is exceptionally sweet and worth using up to make brownies, muffins or banana cake. Here is a recipe which can either be drunk as a smoothie or frozen as an iced lolly.
Banana Mocktail: (F) serves 2
2 bananas, cut into chunks
1 x 14oz (400g) tin/pkt coconut milk
pinch cinnamon
Put everything into a blender and whizz until smooth. Pour into glasses if wishing to drink, or pour into ice lolly containers, place in the lolly sticks and freeze until firm.

This next is a way to use up those oddments of dried fruits that might have been left after making the Christmas Cakes and Mincemeat, or perhaps (like me) a few bits left at the bottom of the packets. Amounts are approximate. When using leftovers it is hardly worth weighing them out. I just sling the lot together.
Syrian Fruit Salad:
2 oz (50g) each of dried prunes, apricots, figs, dates etc
2 tblsp each of raisins, walnut pieces, almonds and pine nuts
cold water
rose water
Put the dried fruits into a bowl, cover with water and leave to steep for a couple of days in the fridge. Then stir in the nuts and rose water just before serving.

So you have a lemon that needs using up, plus the crusts from the ends of a loaf of brown bread, and bruised cooking apples that fell from the tree. You are the lucky one as you have all the makings for this Irish pudding.
Brown Betty:
2 crusts brown bread, crumbed
the same weight of unpeeled cooking apples, chopped
2 oz (50g) gran or demerara sugar
zest and juice of one lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix everything together and bake in a buttered shallow dish at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for half an hour.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mincing Matters

This first minced beef recipe can be used in several dishes: used to stuff jacket potatoes, or become the base of a Cottage Pie, alternatively serve with pasta or pancakes. You will note that the short cooking time means that a lean quality mince should be used. It is never worth buying cheaper mince as it is too fatty, and takes far too long to cook. But if cost is an issue, cook the meat longer before adding the remaining ingredients. You could also use less meat and more of the rest.
'All Rounder' Minced Beef plus: serves 4
1 lb (340g) minced lean beef
1 onion, finely sliced
1 rib celery, finely sliced
1 x 425g can baked beans
2 tblsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp chilli or curry powder
4 oz (100g) canned or frozen sweetcorn
Use a non-stick pan and dry-fry the mince* for five minutes until browned. Stir in the onion and celery and fry for a further 4 minutes. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and heat through.
If serving in jacket potatoes or with pasta, a good topping of grated cheese adds extra flavour. If serving in a Cottage Pie, mix grated cheese with the mashed potato.
Note: *A chef's tip is to drizzle a little oil over the mince and work it through with your hands before frying, this prevents it sticking together into lumps and thus cooks through evenly.

This next dish makes use of green bell peppers which - if you buy a bag of assorted colours - are the ones least likely to be used. Again another meat filling which could be used in other ways - maybe to layer up between a stack of pancakes (recipe below) or to use as a filling for lasagne. Tip: When fillings seem a bit too chunky to use for dishes such as these, once cooked, blitz for a few seconds in a food processor to make them more spreadable.
Beef and Bean stuffed Peppers: serves 4
4 green bell peppers
2 tblsp sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
12 oz (350g) minced beef
2 oz (50g) mushrooms, chopped
1 can baked beans
2 tblsp tomato puree
salt and pepper
Slice the tops from the peppers and remove core and seeds. If necessary trim the bases very slightly so that they stand upright. Blanch the peppers in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and refresh in cold water, then turn upside down on kitchen paper to drain.
Prepare the filling by sauting the onion in the oil for 3 minutes then add the beef and cook/stir for 10 minutes until browned. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.
Stand the peppers upright in a casserole dish and fill with the meat mixture. Cover with foil and bake at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for 40 minutes. Serve with rice or noodles.
Tip: Remove the stalk from the cut off pieces and chop the flesh to add to the meat in the pan. Using these and more mushrooms you could get away with using less meat.

Pancake Layer: serves 4
8 ready made pancakes
1 batch meat sauce (any of the above)
5 fl.oz (142ml) thick yogurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 oz (25g) grated Parmesan (or 2 oz other hard cheese)
Take an ovenproof dish or roasting tin (one that will hold the pancakes flat) and grease it well. Place a pancake on the bottom and spoon over some of the meat sauce, cover this with a pancake, continue layering ending with the meat sauce.
Mix together the yogurt and the egg and spoon this over the top layer, sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake at 189C, 350F, gas 4 for 30-35 minutes. To serve, cut into wedges and serve with salads.
Variations: Instead of layering, share the fillings between the pancakes and roll each up into a tube. Lay side by side in a greased ovenproof casserole and pour over the yogurt sauce, topping with the cheese. Bake as above.
Another form of presentation is to spread the filling over the pancakes and then fold in half and half again to form triangles. Arrange in a single layer, pour over the sauce and bake as above. Alternatively, if able to fill the pancakes with freshly cooked hot filling, follow the variation but omit the sauce, put plenty of grated cheese on top and grill for 3 - 4 minutes.

This next dessert is a cross between a cheesecake and panna cotta and can be as rich or as low calorie as you wish. If on a diet, use sugar substitute, low fat yogurt and low fat soft cheese.
Very Berry Creamy Dessert: serves 4
1 x 12g sachet gelatine crystals
zest and juice of 1 lemon
7 oz (200g) soft cream cheese or firmish fromage frais
9 oz plain yogurt
2 tblsp icing or caster sugar
9 oz (250g) frozen summer berries, thawed
Pour the lemon juice into a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatine. Leave for 3 minutes to allow time for the gelatine to absorb some liquid, then stand the bowl in a pan of hot water until it has melted completely.
Meanwhile, mix together the soft cheese, yogurt, half the sugar and lemon zest until smooth. Pour in the melted gelatine and stir to mix well. Divide between four individual serving glasses (leaving room at the top for the fruit), cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour until set. Mix the thawed berries with the remaining sugar and spoon on top of the dessert just before serving.
Tip: Remove the frozen fruit from the freezer while the dessert is chilling, and leave at room temperature to thaw, this way the fruit won't collapse too much when served.

Because some of the ingredients in this next recipe consist of dried fruits, the overnight chilling gives them a chance to soak up some of the liquids, so the more you use the more like an instant cheescake filling it can become. Curd cheese not always easy to find so am substituting cottage cheese, with more details in the footnote. Given enough added dried fruit, natural (esp Greek) yogurt will also end up as a 'cheese'.
Russian Dream: serves 6
1 lb (450g) cottage cheese*
2 oz (50g) caster sugar
2 oz (50g) flaked almonds
2 oz (50g) raisins
2 oz (50g) dried apricots, quartered
2 tblsp lemon juice
half tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp. chopped preserved ginger
half a pint (225ml) double cream
Rub the cottage cheese through a sieve or give it a quick blitz in a blender/processor and mix together with all the other ingredients except the cream. Pile into a pudding basin and leave in the fridge overnight to set. Turn out onto a shallow serving dish (or spoon into individual bowls) and pour over the cream (lightly whipped if you prefer).
Note: *When planning to make a dish which requires curd cheese, buy cottage cheese in advance and freeze it. The freezing breaks down the lumps and it can easily be mashed down when thawed to make a very good substitute for curd cheese.
Another method of making your own curd cheese is to put plain yogurt into a muslin bag and allow to drain overnight - even longer depending upon how firm you wish your curd cheese to be.

Friday, October 26, 2007

More from the Store

Today's recipes are again mainly using up bits and bobs, but in a way that no-one would notice that they are virtually 'bin-fodder'. Instead turning out to be almost gourmet-on-a-shoestring. We start with a recipe that uses up cauliflower, being reminded of this as yesterday Beloved craved another Cauliflower Cheese, which as you know I make the quick and easy way, using creme fraiche with grated cheese for the sauce (he seems to like it very much indeed).
Being a large cauli there was some left over, so perfect for this next recipe in which one of the original ingredients was a tub of ready-made cheese sauce. When will these manufacturers stop believing we are all helpless? This has been changed into a thick white sauce and follow the method. As ever keep a few oddments of hard cheeses unwrapped in the fridge, and when drying up, grate them down as fine as you can, then box them up ready for use. Use these instead of - or mixed with - Parmesan or Pecorino.
Cauliflower and Walnut Cheesy Souffles: serves 3
1 oz (25g) butter
2 tblsp finely grated Parmesan (or see above)
7 oz (200g) cauliflower florets
12 fl.oz (350ml) ready made white sauce
3 oz (75g) mature Cheddar or Red Leicester cheese
half a tsp mustard powder
half a tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper.
3 eggs, separated
2 oz (50g) walnut pieces, chopped
salt and pepper
Butter three large ramekin dishes and divide the finely grated cheese between them, shaking each to coat the sides. Cook the cauliflower in boiling water until just tender and drain thoroughly (alternatively put the small florets in a plastic bag, leaving the end open, no water needed. Lay this on the microwave turntable and cook on High for about 7 minutes by which time it should be tender).
Grate the 3 oz of cheese fairly coarsely and stir into the white sauce along with the mustard powder and the cayenne. Season well (be generous with the pepper) and carefully stir in the egg yolks followed by the walnuts.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold one tblsp into the cheese mixture to slacken then carefully fold in the remainder. Spoon half into each ramekin, top with the cauliflower, then cover with remaining souffle mix. Run your thumb around the edge of each dish - this helps the souffle to rise up evenly - and put in a pre-heated oven 200C, 400F, gas 6, then once the door is shut, reduce the heat to 180C, 350F, gas 4 and bake for half an hour, by which time the souffles should be golden and slightly wobbly. Cook for an extra five minutes if needed and serve immediately.

For this next dish use a can of those ready-cooked new potatoes, the ends of a lettuce, some need-to-be-used spring onions, and tuna from the storecupboard. The anchovies turn this into posh nosh, but can be omitted. New Potato and Tuna Salad: serves 4
12 oz (350g) new potatoes (fresh cooked or canned/drained)
3 tblsp mayonnaise
1 tblsp green pesto sauce
lemon juice or water
freshly ground black pepper
2 Little Gem lettuce, or half an Iceberg
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and chopped
2 x 185g cans tuna, drained and flaked
4 anchovies (opt)
Mix together the mayo with the pesto, adding a little lemon juice or water to slacken to a pouring consistency. Season to taste with the pepper.
Tear the lettuce apart and put into the bowl with the spring onions. Slice the potatoes and add these to the salad followed by the tuna. Pour over the dressing, toss to coat everything, adding snippets of anchovy if you wish.

Packet stuffing is usually bought around Xmas. Often two sachets to a pack, one gets left at the back of a drawer or cupboard. Here are a couple of interesting ways to use it, either with the Xmas meal, or another occasion.
Bacon wrapped Stuffing Bangers:
Prepare the packet of stuffing as per packet instructions, making it fairly firm (adding an egg if you like). Form into small sausage shapes and wrap each with a rasher of bacon, holding in place with a cocktail stick (you could spear two per stick). Roast for 20 or so minutes (200C etc) until the bacon is crisp.
Stuffing Balls en surprise: (F)
Make a flat circle of stuffing, place a tsp. of cranberry sauce in the centre and work the stuffing round to make a ball. Roast in the oven as above.
Tip: A reminder that stuffing balls (plain or filled) can be made weeks ahead of the Xmas season, to open-freeze and bag up when solid. Thaw out and cooked on the day.

The following makes use of soft cream cheese (Philadelphia or own brand type) which might want using up. Use either the plain or garlic and herb.
Quick Mackerel Pate:
1 can smoked mackerel, drained
1 tsp horseradish sauce
juice of half a lemon
cream cheese
freshly ground black pepper
Mash the mackerel with the horseradish sauce and lemon juice and work in as much cream cheese as you have available, but not more than 3 oz (75g). Season with the pepper to taste.
Jacket Potato Filling and Toasted Melts:
Mash together flaked salmon or tuna with sweetcorn and cream cheese, season with pepper and use to stuff a hot jacket potato. Alternatively, pile the mixture on toast, sprinkle over grated cheese and grill until bubbling.
Quick Pasta Sauce:
Stir the cream cheese (garlic one is best), into hot drained pasta, until melted and coating the pasta.

Again, this next dish makes use of canned fish and potatoes, and other 'oddments' from the fridge or windowsill (by this I mean herbs). A dish both suitable for warmer days or a winter buffet.
Salmon Terrine:
1 medium size can of salmon
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
8 oz (225g) canned new potatoes, drained and sliced
3 oz (75g) finely diced cucumber
1 tblsp finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper
2 tblsp mayonnaise,
tomatoes, sliced
lettuce leaves
cucumber slices
Put the drained salmon into a bowl, flake with a fork and add the chopped eggs, diced cucumber, the potatoes and the parsley. Season to taste and stir in the mayonnaise. Press into a greased and lined loaf tin and chill in the fridge for several hours until firm. Place lettuce leaves to cover a plate and turn out the terrine on top. Garnish with slices of cucumber and tomato.

Unsweetened desiccated coconut is one I always keep in store as it can be used in both sweet and savoury (usually curry type) recipes.
Crunchy Topped Orange Coconut Sponge:
4 oz (100g) marg. or butter
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
6 oz (175g) self-raising flour, sifted
2 eggs
grated rind of one orange
3 tblsp orange juice
for the topping:
2 oz (50g) marg. or butter
2 oz (50g) brown sugar
2 oz (50g) desiccated coconut
1 tblsp orange juice
Cream the margarine and sugar together until very light an fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and fold in the flour, small amounts at a time, alternating with the orange juice. Spoon into a greased and floured 8" (20cm) sandwich tin. Bake at 190C, 375F, gas 4 for 35 - 40 minutes until firm in the centre.
To make the topping, cream everything together and spread on top of the baked cake. Grill under a low heat until golden and crispy. Cool on a cake airer.

With most cakes we almost always have the makings in the storecupboard, but we don't always have the correct size or shape of tins. The following recipe should be cooked in a ring mould, if you don't have one (I bought mine from a jumble sale), place a small metal container covered with foil in the centre of a normal round cake tin (wide end down for ease of removing cake), before greasing and lining the whole tin/container with parchment or greaseproof paper.
Honey Cake: makes 8 - 10 slices (F)
5 oz (140g) self-raising flour
1 oz (25g) cornflour
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
6 oz (175g) butter, softened
3 oz (85g) runny honey
3 eggs
to make the icing:
4 oz (100g) icing sugar, sieved
1 - 2 tblsp crushed and sieved frozen strawberries
Beat together the butter, sugar and honey until very pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift together the flour and the cornflour and fold into the creamed mixture. Spoon into a greased and floured or lined (8 "/20cm dia) ring mould and bake at 170C, 325F, gas 3 for about 30-35 minutes until risen and firm. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then ease around the edges with a palette knife (carefully removing the centre container if separate from the tin) and turn out onto a cake airer. Leave to cool (it can be frozen at this point). To make the icing, mix the icing sugar and enough pureed strawberries together to make a firmish but runny icing and drizzle this over the cake (best standing on a cake airer over a plate). Leave to set. Place on a cake plate to serve.
This cake will keep in an airtight container, in a cold place for up to a week).

If, like me, you buy cream every week, then all (or almost all) the ingredients for this next dessert you should have in stock. A variation on a Creme Brulee, this can be made up to three days ahead, but really better made the day of serving. The sugar topping can be sprinkled over and either blasted with a cook's blow torch, grilled to caramelise, or follow the easier directions given with this recipe.
Chocoholics Cambridge Cream: serves 4
7 fl.oz (200ml) milk
13 fl.oz (375ml) double cream
half a tsp vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
2 oz (50g) caster sugar
1 heaped tsp cocoa powder
4 oz (100g) dark chocolate, grated
6-7 tblsp of sugar for the caramel topping
Put the milk, cream and vanilla into a pan and bring to the simmer. Remove from heat, then, using another bowl (one that fits the top of the saucepan just used) whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cocoa. Slowly whisk in the creamy hot milk and keep whisking until thoroughly blended. Stand the bowl over the pan of simmering water (you don't need to wash the pan, just add a couple of inches of boiling water) and cook the custard for about five minutes, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. Around that time it should coat the back of the spoon. If not cook for a minute or so longer.
Put four large ramekin dishes in a roasting tray and divide the grated chocolate between them, pressing firmly and as flat as possible, over the base. Pour over the custard trying not to disturb the chocolate, then fill the tray with hot water until half-way up the dishes.
Cook in the oven at 150C, 300F, gas 2 for about 35-40 minutes until set but still wobbly. Check after 30 minutes as some ovens cook faster than others, it is important not to overcook to the stage where they are fully set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool - at this point they can be kept in the fridge for up to three days. To make the topping, put the sugar into a small pan with a couple of tablespoons of water and boil to a golden caramel, then very carefully pour this over the top of the desserts and leave to set.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Selection of Soups and other Recipes

With winter crawling ever nearer, today I am offering up a few soup recipes, especially those that can be made with those veggies that need to be used up. As with many soup recipes, use the ingredients as a guide and add or subtract according to what you have. It may not end up tasting as it should, but often it could taste better.
A tip: always read through a method first as often half measures are used at the start of making, and by not reading carefully it is so easy to throw in the full amount before the error is discovered. This I have done myself (often), so now I am much more careful. I have highlighted the 'half' in bold this time to bring it to your attention. Ever after, you are on your own.
First I start with the classic Chicken Soup - known as the 'Jewish Penicillin', in this instance made with fresh chicken (it could be an old boiler), although the carcase of a roast chicken could be used instead - with perhaps less curative effect. It freezes beautifully, so worth making plenty ready for the winter sniffles. And yes, it does take some time to make, and of course you could shorten this, but to get the most nutrition from the ingredients, do it the correct way.

Chicken Soup: makes 6 helpings (F)
1 chicken
1 leek, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
1 small swede or turnip, chopped
2 tblsp mixed fresh herbs, chopped
5 1/2 pints water (3.15 litres)*
salt and pepper
Joint up the chicken and place in a large pan with the water* (freeze the carcase to make the next batch along with some chicken winglets). Cover, and simmer very gently for ten minutes, checking every few minutes to skim off any scum that may have arisen. Add the chopped herbs and all the vegetables except the carrots. Continue to simmer, for an hour and a half. Again skimming as and when necessary.
Using a slotted spoon, take out the chicken and pull the flesh from the bones. Put this into a container, cover and chill overnight. Cover the soup and simmer for a further half an hour, then remove the vegetables (at this point I see no reason why they couldn't be blended with a little of the stock to make a soup for that day). Cool the stock and chill overnight. The next day remove any fat that has settled on the top (use this for frying - Beloved also likes it on toast sprinkled with salt). Put the stock back into the pot, add the carrots and simmer until they are tender. Cut the pre-cooked chicken into pieces and add these. Season to taste and serve.
(Traditionally fresh or frozen peas and some small pasta (vermicelli) are added towards the end of the cooking time.) Said to be even better eaten the day after making.
Note: * If you have no pan large enough, use less water and half dilute the stock/soup with more water when it comes to serving or reheating.

This next soup makes good use of parsnips which need using up. Only core the top half if the parsnips are old and woody, the thinner end should cook through well enough. For an economy version, using your finest grater, use up those oddments of hard cheese you may have in your fridge. In fact keep the oddments especially for this purpose.
Roast Parsnip and Cheese Soup: serves 5 - 6 (F)
1 lb (450g) parsnips peeled and quartered
2 oz (50g) grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
2 tblsp olive oil
1 oz (25g) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tblsp plain flour
2 pints (1.2 litrs) chicken stock
salt and pepper
4 tblsp double cream
Cook the parsnips in salted water for 4 minutes. Drain and sprinkle over half the cheese. Put a roasting tin on the hob, put in the oil and butter, and when hot place in the parsnips, turn in the oil and place in an oven 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 40-45 minutes, basting several times. When roasted, remove parsnips with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour the buttery oil from the pan into a frying pan and use this to saute the onion. When soft, stir in the flour, cook for one minute then stir in the stock until it begins to thicken. Add the parsnips, and boil for ten minutes. Cool slightly then puree in a blender, food processor, or push through a sieve (chill and freeze at this point). Stir in the remaining half of the cheese, reheat, season to taste and serve in individual bowls with a swirl of cream.

This next is a great one to use up a white cabbage which can often go a bit brown and sorry around the edges, just trim off the bits and you will surely find something inside that can be used. Hard white cabbage is so inexpensive and keeps for quite some time in the fridge, it is always worth having some in store. Don't discard the core, grate it up and add to the soup.
Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup: serves 3
half a small white cabbage, finely shredded
1 1/2 pints vegetable or chicken stock
5 fl.oz (15cl) tomato juice or canned tomatoes
2 apples, peeled and grated
1 onion, grated
2 tblsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
Put the stock and tomato juice into a pan and bring to the boil. Add the cabbage, apples and onion, cover and simmer gently for half an hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and just before serving stir in the lemon juice and sugar to taste.

My final soup today is made with mushrooms and lettuce (the core end will do), both often left wilting in the fridge. So don't throw in the bin, throw in the pan.
Mushroom and Lettuce Soup: serves 4
3 oz (75g) mushrooms, diced
5 oz (150g) lettuce, cut into 1" (2.5cm) chunks
1 tblsp sunflower or corn oil
1 1/2 pints (3/4 litre) water
Put the oil into a pan and stir-fry the mushrooms until they begin to soften. Add the lettuce and stir-fry for 2 more minutes. Add water and bring to the simmer. Cook uncovered until the lettuce is soft. Add salt to taste and serve hot.
Note: Based on a Chinese vegetarian soup, make it more traditional by adding 2 oz (50g) soaked cellophane noodles to the soup. If not vegetarian, throw in a few cooked prawns as well. Sweetcorn too if you want to make a meal of it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Unusual Combinations

Today I am putting up recipes which in some ways are a little bit more unusual, giving you the opportunity to put on thinking caps and come up with some variations of your own.

The first recipe is one for a soup which not only makes use of oddments in the storecupboard, fridge and freezer, but also has unusual croutons (see also the footnote).
Pea, Lettuce and Pesto Soup: serves 4
1 lb (450g) frozen peas
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 3/4 pints (1ltr) hot water
end of a lettuce, finely shredded
2 tblsp green pesto
1 x 300pk fish fingers*
Put the peas and potato into a pan with the hot water and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Using a slotted spoon remove about a third of the peas and potatoes and set to one side. To the pan add the lettuce and cook for a further four minutes then cool slightly and blitz in a processor or blender until smooth. Return to the pan. Place over a low heat and add the saved vegetables, reheat and stir in the pesto.
Grill the fish fingers until cooked and golden, then cut into chunks. Serve the soup in individual bowls scatterin over the fish 'croutons'.
Note:* Salmon goes well with peas, so why not make your own fish croutons using canned (or even fresh) salmon, just egg and crumb the chunks and fry until heated through and crisp.

Nowadays, so many grains are on the market that one can be substituted for another, so in this dish either rice, millet, pearl barley, or quinoa can be used, or a mixture of some or all - but if doing so, take note of their individual cooking times and start with the one that takes the longest (possibly the barley), and add the rest accordingly.
Spicy Vegetable Broth with Grains: serves 4
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tblsp mild curry paste
1 tblsp water
1 1/4 pints (850ml) milk
1 lb (500g) mixed vegetables*, diced
6 oz (175g) grain of your choice (see above)
Into a pan put the onion, curry paste and water, stir, cover and gently simmer for five minutes. Pour in the milk, and - when hot but not boiling, add the vegetables and chosen grain, and cook until all are tender (if necessary add grain first, then vegetables according to which takes the longest to cook). Serve with crusty bread.
Note: The mixed vegetables can be from a frozen pack, or dice up your own using a mixture of carrots, celery, potato, parsnip, squash, string beans etc.

For an apple pudding with a difference, look no further than this. A seasonal dish, perfect for autumn days. With a top layer of cake, followed by apples in a caramel sauce, there seems to be no reason why it wouldn't work just as well with pears.
Toffee Apple Surprise Pudding: serves 6
3 oz (75g) butter, melted
5 oz (140g) self-raising flour
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
7 fl.oz (200ml) milk
1 egg, beaten
2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
for the topping:
5 oz (140g) dark brown sugar
250ml boiling water
2 oz (50g) walnuts, pecans or almonds, chopped (opt)
Put the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl. In another bowl mix together the milk, egg and butter, when well blended, stir into the flour mixture. Arrange the apples in a shallow dish, spoon over the cake batter, making sure the apples are covered, smoothing the top with a knife. For the topping, put the sugar into a bowl, pour over the boiling water, stir to dissolve, and pour this over the top of the pudding, scattering on the nuts. Bake for about 40 mins at 180C, 350F, gas 4 until the pudding has risen and the top golden. Use a large spoon to serve so that you scoop up the sauce which has now settled at the bottom. Serve with - here I give you a choice -: creme fraiche, double cream, custard, ice-cream or Greek yogurt.

With Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas coming up, this is something different for the small fry and something I loved to dip into when also tiny (if I ever was). The important thing to remember is that everything used in this recipe should be perfectly dry. Once made, it will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container.
Lemon Sherbet Fizz: fills 6 - 12 cones
zest 12 lemons
few drops pure lemon oil or essence
6 tblsp icing sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 tsp citric acid
Line a baking sheet with non-stick parchment and spread over the lemon zest making sure it is in an even layer. Dry this out in an oven 110C, 225F, gas 1/4 for about 12 - 15 minutes, then remove, and leave on the tin to cool completely. Put this into a small blender or use a pestle and mortar and grind with the lemon oil/essence to a fine powder. Tip into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix together wellm grinding down further if you wish. Keep in an airtight container until ready to serve, preferably in paper cones. For dipping, use liquorice sticks or chunks of fruit (banana, kiwi, mandarin segments, apple wedges, pinapple cubes etc. If using cocktail sticks to spear the fruit, cut off the pointed ends for extra safety, but don't leave small children eating alone and collect the sticks once used. )

Crunchy Sugared Walnuts: serves 6 - 8
4 oz (100g) caster sugar
2 tblsp water
4 oz (100g) walnut halves
2 tblsp caster sugar
Put the caster sugar into a pan with the water and heat until the sugar has dissolved then boil over a high heat until turning golden. Remove from heat and stir in the walnuts, and the extra caster sugar. Working at speed, place the walnuts individually onto a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving spaces between, and leave to set. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Seasonal Treats

The biscuit recipe given below makes an excellent base as it is strong enough to hold a shape and can also be sandwiched together. Soft fillings should be added after the biscuits have been baked and cooled. For Jammy Dodger type biscuits, cut out whole rounds from the rolled dough, then take half of these and cut a small round out of the middle - this is done before baking. Once baked and cooled, cover the underside of one whole biscuit with jam, then top this with a biscuit with the hole. Fill the hole with more jam if you wish. Other biscuits can be left complete and sandwiched together (similar to custard creams). Suggestions for fillings will follow the recipe.

This dough can be shaped in a variety of different ways by altering the consistency which is done by increasing or decreasing the amount of egg used. For a softer dough, able to be pushed through a biscuit press or piping bag, use 2 eggs. For a firmer dough, that needs rolling, use just the one egg.
Creamed Sugar Dough:
(175g) butter, softened
(300g) caster sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp grated lemon rind (or other flavouring)
(350g) flour
pinch of salt
Cream together the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift together the flour and the salt, the stir this gradually into the creamed mixture. When too stiff to stir, mix in the remaining flour by hand. Roll out to about 1/4" (5mm) thick and cut into chosen shapes. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for about 10 minutes. Cool on a cake airer. To fill, spread the underside of one biscuit with chosen filling then place a biscuit on top, underside down.
Softer dough for piped biscuits, which contain more egg need cooking at a slightly higher temperature 190C etc, for about 15 minutes until pale golden.

suggestions for biscuit fillings:
dried fruits: apricots, prunes, dates, figs - blitzed with honey to make a paste.
icing sugar, bound with water or butter or liquid flavouring
ganache: a blend of melted chocolate and cream whipped together
jam or lemon curd.

Halloween 'Pumpkin' Heads: makes 6
6 oranges
3 packs different coloured jellies: orange, lime, blackcurrant
Slice just over an inch from the top of each orange and scoop out the flesh and membranes. Make face shapes in the orange shells by cutting out eyes and a zig-zag mouth. Make up the jellies using a threequarters of the recommended amount of water (or half if you want a firmer jelly), then - once set, chop finely and use to stuff the 'heads', replacing the lids if you wish. These can be prepared in advance (up to a couple of days) and kept chilled in the fridge. If handing them out at the door, pre-wrap in clingfilm.

Halloween Biscuits:
Use the above biscuit recipe, pipe spider's webs, bats, scary faces onto the cooked biscuits using a black icing (can be bought in tubes or as icing pencils). If you wish the biscuits can first be covered with a thick white water icing, left to dry before drawing on the special effects.

Scary Little Monsters:
Either buy a mini chocolate Swiss rolls and cut across in half to make chunks, or use muffins or fairy cakes (paper cases removed). The idea is to roll out ready-made white fondant icing into circles (approx 4 " but depends on the width and depth of each cake). Spread a little jam on the top and sides of the cake (helps the fondant to stick), then lay over the icing as you would do a tablecloth. You need enough for it to drape down to the base of each cake. Make folds or pleats by pressing in the sides so that at least part of the icing sticks to the cake. (The aim is to make it look as though someone is playing ghosts with a sheet over them). Use a couple of small chocolate drops or raisins for eyes, fairly near the top of the cake.

Just love this next one.
Witch's Worm Brew:
In a blender, blitz together a punnet of hulled strawberries, a few ice cubes and the juice of an orange or two (could use the oranges from the 'Pumpkin Head' recipe above). Pour into a cauldron (a glass bowl will do), and drop in plenty of worm sweets, draping one or two over the sides of the bowl to make them look as though they are crawling out. Serve immediately.

Toffee Apples:
1 tsp butter
1 lb (500g) sugar
2 tsp water
wooden skewers*
apples, washed and dried
Place the sugar, butter and water in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat to medium and boil for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then reboil for 15 minutes more.
When the toffee is ready, place a skewer into each apple and dip into the toffee, covering well. Stand the apples end down on waxed or parchment paper to harden. Wrap in clingfilm.
Note: The recipe says that wooden skewers can be obtained from your butcher. Otherwise I suggest using those flat lolly sticks - make a slit in the apple and push in. The toffee should stick to it and help it stay in the apple.

Vegetarian Chestnut Sausages: serves 4
2 carrots, grated
1 courgette, grated
7 oz (200g) cooked, peeled and chopped chestnuts
1 egg
3 oz (75g) fresh breadcrumbs
1 tsp mustard powder
handful chopped parsley
Mix everything together, roll into sausage shapes and chill in the fridge until firm, preferably overnight. To cook, dip in egg, roll in breadcrumbs and fry in shallow oil until golden.

The 'I can't be bothered to bake' Cake: serves 8 (F)
3 x 9" sponge flans
4 egg yolks
3 oz (75g) caster sugar
1lb 2oz (500g) mascarpone cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 x 284 carton double cream, whipped
4 - 6 tblsp coffee liqueur
3 fl.oz (75ml) strong black coffee
4 oz (100g) plain chocolate, grated
7 oz (200g) white chocolate curls
Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until very pale and fluffy. Stir in the masacarpone cheese, the vanilla, cream and half the liqueur. Add the rest of the liqueur to the coffee.
Place one sponge layer on a plate, drizzle over some of the coffee/liqueur, spread a third of the creamy mixture over the cake and sprinkle over half the plain chocolate. Put on the next cake layer and repeat, topping with the final cake. Spread the final third of the cream mixture over the top and sides of the cake and sprinkle over the white chocolate shreds. This can be made a day ahead of time and kept chilled in the fridge. Very similar to the Sicilian Cassata, posted up last year, which does freeze, this Tiramasu round version should surely freeze.
Tip: Instead of buying flan cases, cook up a batch of your own sponge bases and freeze them. If the frozen sponges are fairly deep, they can be easily be cut through to make two thinner layers. Alternatively, using a cling-film lined cake tin, assemble the above cake using split trifle sponges instead of bought flans. Having said all that, the cake could also be assembled (using the trifle sponges) in a lined loaf tin - this makes it easier to slice off what you need.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Take Your Pick

In recent week pulses and grains have been mentioned as (when eaten together) they are a great source of cheaper protein, so here is a worthy soup recipe, full of nourishment and cheap with it. Instead of weighing, a mug (holding 6 fl oz) is used as a measure.
Lentil and Barley Soup: serves 5 (V)
6 fl.oz (175ml) measure of chopped onion
6 fl.oz (175ml) measure of chopped celery
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
2 oz (50g) butter or margarine
2 pints (900ml) vegetable stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
6 fl.oz (175ml) measure dried red lentils (rinsed)
6 fl.oz (175g) measure pearl barley
half tsp dried rosemary
half tsp. dried marjoram/oregano
freshly ground black pepper
8 fl.oz (225ml) measure of grated carrots
8 fl.oz (225g) measure grated Cheddar cheese
Put the butter into a large saucepan with the onion and celery and saute until tender. Add the stock, tomatoes, lentils, barley, and herbs. Season with pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes adding up to 8fl.oz (225g) more water if needed. Add the carrots and cook for 15 minutes longer. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle over the grated cheese.

This recipe is a way to use up canned fish. Although the recipe uses canned salmon, it will work perfectly well using canned mackerel, sardines, pilchards. Intended to make a certain number of fish balls, the mixture can also be formed into flattened fishcakes. They can be frozen, in which case I would probably use an instant mash rather than 'proper' potato as it does freeze so well.
Salmon Fish Balls: serves 4
3 medium potatoes, peeled, and boiled
1 x 200g can salmon, drained
1 oz (25g) each peas and sweetcorn
1 egg, beaten
Mash the cooked potatoes with a little milk until smooth, but not too soft. Flake the salmon and mix this into the potato with the peas and sweetcorn. Roll into balls and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or make a day ahead and keep chilled (or open freeze then bag up).
When ready to serve, roll the balls in the egg and then the breadcrumbs and fry in shallow oil for 5 - 6 minutes until golden all over and heated through. Drain in kitchen paper and serve with what you will. Especially good eaten with dips: tomato ketchup, plain mayo, or a blend of both.

The following sandwich spread makes use of the ends of roast beef - or if you use a slicer to cut the beef with the intention of freezing, it makes good use of the small scraps that always seem to collect up near the slicing blade. Although the recipe uses beef, it could be made with almost any cooked meats, adjust flavourings and seasonings to taste. As the recipe is given in cup measurements, again I am going to alter this to fluid ounces so that you can use a glass measuring jug that all cooks have in their kitchens.
Leftover Roast Sandwich Spread: makes nine sandwiches
4 x 8fl.oz (225ml) measures of cubed cooked roast beef*
8 fl.oz (225ml) measure of sweet pickle
1 small onion, quartered
4 fl.oz (125ml) tomato ketchup
2 fl.oz (50ml) mayonnaise
2 tsp vinegar
good pinch salt
1 tsp sugar
freshly ground black pepper
18 slices bread
Put the beef, pickle and onion into a food processor and blitz until coarsely chopped. Into a large bowl put the ketchup, mayo, vinegar, salt and sugar and add pepper to taste. Mix together and stir in the beef mixture. Blend together well, cover and chill for one hour. Spread on 9 slices of bread, cover with remaining slices.

Deep Pan Stilton and Ham Omelette: serves 4
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 oz (100g) cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz (100g) chunky ham, finely diced
6 egg, beaten
4 tblsp milk
2 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
2 oz (50g) Stilton cheese, crumbled
Brush a frying pan with the oil and place in the tomatoes. Scatter over the ham. Beat together the eggs and milk, stir in the parsley, season to taste and pour over the ham and tomatoes. Top with the cheese and fry gently for 15 minutes until crusty on the base and the egg is just about set. Remove from the hob, place under a pre-heated grill and finish off heating the top of the omelette for about 5 minutes, by which time the egg should be fully set and the top golden. Serve in wedgeswith hot new potatoes and a good dollop of caramelized onions. Or if you prefer (and the day is warm), serve hot or cold with a salad.

Hot and Spicy Nuts:
1 oz butter
1 lb (450g) whole nuts, shelled (brazil, almond, hazle, peanuts)
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp English mustard powder
1 - 2 tsp caster sugar
pinch salt
Melt the butter in a frying pan and put in the nuts, fry gently for five minutes until the nuts are golden. Mix together the remaining ingredients, sprinkle over the nuts and toss until coated with the spicy mix. Cool then store in an airtight container for up to four weeks.

For chocolate lovers here is my final dish of the day. Cake makers will realise the cake batter weights are the ones used when making basic cakes (same weight of butter, sugar, flour and eggs):
Two-Tone Chocolate Steamed Pudding: serves 8
3 oz (75g) dark chocolate
3 oz (75g) white chocolate
6 oz (175g) butter, softened
6 oz (175g) light muscovado sugar
3 eggs, beaten
6 oz (175g) self-raising flour
Melt the dark chocolate and the white separately in bowls standing over simmering water. Beat the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs a little at a time. Fold in the flour, then divide the mixture into two halves. Stir the dark chocolate into one half, the white into another. Have ready a well greased and base-lined 2 pint (1 ltr) pudding basin and spoon alternate dark and light mixtures into the basin. Swirl together with a skewer and smooth the top. Cover with pleated greaseproof and then foil and steam for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, checking water level, adding more boiling water if necessary. (To microwave: do not overwrap in foil. Cook on High for 5 minutes, then stand for 5 minutes). To serve, turn out onto a shallow serving dish and pour over the following sauce:
chocolate sauce:
4 oz (100g) dark or white chocolate
5 fl.oz (150ml) double cream
1 tbslp brandy (optional)
Put the chocolate and the cream in a pan and heat gently until smooth and glossy. Stir in brandy if using. Serve hot, poured over the steamed sponge.
Variation: Instead of spooning and swirling the two chocolate mixtures together, place alternately in layers to give a stripy effect when cut.
Tip: Steamed puddings can also be cooked in the oven. Place in a roasting tin, adding enough boiling water to come halfway up the basin. Make sure no paper or foil is touching the water. Overwrap the lot (basin and tin) with a double thickness of foil, sealing tightly. Cook at 160C, 325F, gas 3 for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Serve as above.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More In Store

A request for Garibaldi biscuits, stumped me for a while,but managed to find two very different recipes - it remains to be seen which is preferred. One was found in an old recipe book, the other, although called Garibaldi, is not really the way to make them at all, and - if wishing to make 'the real thing' I would suggest using the traditional method. The main thing about the true Garibaldi biscuits is that they need to be rolled thinly, so that the fruit is seen as lumpy through the pastry topping. Traditionally they used to be cut into triangles, other recipes suggest squares or rectangles.

Traditional Garibaldi Biscuits:
2 oz (50g) currants
1 oz (25g) butter or marg.
4 oz (100g) self-raising flour
pinch salt
1 oz (25g) sugar
2 tblsp milk
Chop the currants, and set aside. Put the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and rub in the fat. Using a fork, stir in the milk and mix together to make a firm dough. Roll out to one eighth inch thick and cut in half. Spread the currants over the top of one half and cover with the second piece. Roll out to press firmly and cut into triangles. Brush with water, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for fifteen minutes. Cool on a cake airer. Store in an airtight tin.

This next version uses the same weights throughout - apart from the fruit which is roughly twice the basic weight - so an easy one to remember.
21st Century Garibaldis:
4 oz (100g) butter
4 oz (100g) icing sugar
4 oz (100g) plain flour
4 fl.oz egg whites
7 oz (200g) currants
Mix together the butter, sugar and flour until smooth (this can be done in a food processor), then add the egg whites and fold in the currants (I see no reason why it can't all be done in a processor up to this stage). Wrap in cling film and chill for one hour. Roll out to half an inch thick (again this seems too thick, suggest making them thinner) and place on greased and floured baking sheets, not touching. Chill again for half an hour then bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 180C, 350F, gas 4 until golden. Cool and store as above recipe.

A few more fish dishes using foods from your stores.
Salmon Delight: serves 4 - 5
1 egg
6 fl.oz (175ml) milk
half pint measure fresh breadcrumbs
1 lb (450g) canned salmon
half pint measure grated cheese*
1 tsp grated green bell pepper
1 tblsp lemon juice
half teasp each celery salt and garlic salt**
quarter pint measure dry bread crumbs
2 tblsp butter, melted
Beat the egg and milk together and add the soft breadcrumbs. Drain the canned salmon, removing any skin (leaving in the bones for the calcium content). Flake the salmon, mash the bones, adding to the bread and milk mixture with the cheese, pepper and seasoning. Place in a 9" (23") square baking tin. Mix together the dry crumbs with the butter and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 30 mins at 190C, 350F, gas 4 . Serve as-is, or with a tomato sauce, or even a white sauce which contains chopped hard-boiled eggs.
Note: This (Americn) recipe gives processed Cheddar as the cheese, but I would imagine any type of grated hard cheese would do. Some cheese could also be mixed in with the breadcrumbs for the topping, instead of using butter.
As regards using celery and garlic salt. Fine if you stock them, if not just use a little - and I do mean only a pinch - of ordinary salt.

This next dish is suitable for a light lunch, at home or at work. But thinking about it, could easily make a good late-evening snack. Worth making a good batch of filling to store in the fridge.
Zippy Tuna Pockets: makes 3 servings
6 small pitta breads
1 can tuna (around 175g), drained and flaked
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
1 gherkin, chopped
half a rib of celery, finely chopped
2 tblsp mayo or salad cream
1 tsp made mustard*
6 lettuce leaves (pref. Little Gem)
Into a bowl put the tuna, egg, gherkin, celery mayo and mustard. Divide into three small containers and chill overnight. This will keep in the fridge for up to three days and make three servings.
To eat at home, assemble by tucking a lettuce leaf into each pitta, and stuff with the tuna mixture. To eat at work, take the pitta breads in one plastic bag, the lettuce leaves in another, and one individual pot containing the tuna mix, then assemble when ready to eat.
Variation: Instead of the gherkin, used some canned and drained pineapple pieces. Any surplus pineapple can be frozen.

For this dish you need huge (jumbo) pasta shells (but read footnote) and your choice of canned fish: crabmeat or salmon. A make-ahead dish which is intended to be cooked from frozen.
Jumbo Stuffed Shells: serves 4 (F)
12 jumbo pasta shells*
8 oz (225g) canned crab meat or salmon
4 oz (100g) cream cheese, softened
2 fl.oz (50ml) milk
1 tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tblsp chopped chives
1 tblsp white wine
Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Drain well. Meanwhile drain the chosen canned fish, chop or flake. Into a bowl put the rest of the ingredients and blend together, then stir in the fish. Spoon about 2 tblsp into each shell. To freeze, place shells on a baking sheet, cover with cling film and then freeze Once frozen remove and bag up. Use within 2 months.
To cook, put a layer of a rich tomato (pizza type) sauce in the bottom of a shallow ovenproof dish and place frozen shells on the top. Cover with foil and bake at 190c, 375F, gas 5 for 35-40 minutes until heated through.
Tip: If you cannot obtain the huge pasta shells, then cook flat sheets of lasagne, drain well, coil into a large circle (the lasagne could be cut in half lengthways if too wide), and fill the centre with the above mixture. Then follow freezing and cooking directions as above.

Another store-cupboard stand by. Great for kids, and teenagers.
Small Fry Corned Beef Sausages: serves 4 (F)
1 lb (450g) potatoes
2 oz (50g) butter
2 tblsp tomato ketchup
200g can corned beef*
2 eggs, beaten
4 oz (100g) breadcrumbs
2 tblsp sunflower oil
Peel and cook the potatoes until tender, drain well and return them to the pan. Add half the butter and all the ketchup and mash together. Leave to cool. Mash up the corned beef and mix this into the potatoes. Using floured hands, shape into sausages, dip into the egg, then the breadcrumbs (at this point they can be frozen). To cook, put the remaining butter in a frying pan with the oil, heat and fry the sausages until heated through and golden brown. Serve with salads, or even as part of a breakfast dish.
Tip: *For ease of slicing I keep one can of corned beef always in the fridge (slices more thinly when cold), but for the above dish I would use a can from my back-up stock of corned beef kept in my normal storecupboard (at room temperature) as it will mash so much more easily.

Although this can be eaten as soon as made, it will keep chilled for up to three months, so one to make now for the Christmas period (or make in December to include in a hamper).
Red Onion Marmalade: makes 4 x 500ml jars
4 lb 8 oz (2kg) red onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
5 oz (140g) butter
4 tblsp olive oil
5 oz (140g) golden caster sugar*
1 tlsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
75cl bottle red wine
12 fl.oz (350ml) sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
7 fl.oz (200ml) port**
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the oil. Tip in the onions and garlic and toss so that they are coated in the butter. Sprinkle over the sugar, thyme and season to taste. Stir well and reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered for about 40-50 minutes until the onion juices have evaporated and the onions are soft and sticky enough to be mashed to a pulp when pressed against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Pour in the wine, vinegar and the port and keep simmering, this time over a high heat, for a further 25 or so minutes or until the onions are deep red in colour and the liquid reduced by two thirds. The easy way to find out if ready is to draw the spoon across the base of the pan leaving a path that fills up with syrupy juices. Remove from heat, leave to cool in the pan then pot up into sterilised jars and seal. Store in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Serve with cold meats, pates, cheeses etc. Add a little stock and it will turn into a lovely onion gravy to serve with bangers and mash.
Noe: *demerara sugar whizzed down in a blender, makes a good substitute for golden caster sugar, alternatively, use white sugar. As port, once opened, does not keep that long, next time a bottle is started, freeze some away to use in a recipe such as this.

Got a surplus of heavy whipping or double cream? Then why not turn (or should I say 'churn') it into butter.
Home-made Butter:
8 - 16 fl.oz (225 - 450ml) heavy cream
Put the cream into a food blender and whizz. The cream will go through peaking stage to suddenly turning into buttery clumps as the fat separates out. Drain - reserving the buttermilk, and work the butter with butter pats (as if we all have these, although I personally do), or could use a palette or fish slice, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Form into blocks, wrap in clingfilm or parchment and store in the fridge.

Flavoured Butters: (F)
To make flavoured butter, simply beat additional ingredients into softened, creamed butter, form into a roll, wrap in clingfilm or parchment, and chill or freeze until required.
garlic and herb butter:
2 oz (50g) softened butter, 1 clove garlic, crushed; 1 tblsp lemon juice; 2 tblsp chopped parsley; and salt and pepper to taste.
lemon and herb butter:
as above, omitting garlic and adding zest from one lemon, and just 2 tsp lemon juice.
mustard and mint butter:
2 oz softened butter, half tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tblsp chopped fresh mint, salt and pepper.

Surplus lemons can either be grated and squeezed, to be frozen for later use, or make this flavoured vinegar which is especially good used when making mayo or salad dressings or even drizzled over oily fish such as smoked mackerel or canned sardines.
Lemon Vinegar:
3 lemons
1 pint (500ml) white wine vinegar
3 small springs lemon balm
Wash and dry the lemons. Peel the rind very thinly. Squeeze the lemons and put the juice into a sterilised bottle and add the lemon peel. Top up the bottle with the vinegar. Wash the lemon balm, dry and add to the contents of the bottle. Cork or seal and shake well. Leave to stand in a cold place for 3 weeks. Strain through muslin, pour the clear liquid back into the bottle and store in a cool place. Use as required.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Something for Everyone

This recipe is for those who have surplus dried milk powder in the cupboards:
Home-made Margarine:
5 tblsp liquid skimmed milk
2 heaped tablespoons powdered skim milk
half a tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sunflower (or olive?) oil
Place all ingredients except the oil in a blender. Switch on to the lowest speed and slowly pour in the oil until the mixture is thick. If you feel you need it thicker (it will thicken more after chilling in the fridge) add more milk powder. Cover and chill.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Healthy Eating, Cheaper Bills

For a pudding dish I offer an Indian speciality. It has to be said, in the Goode household we do love plain old semolina pudding with just a swirl of jam or chunk of chocolate stirred in, but when I cooked this rich semolina pudding, it was sublime.
Satyanarayan Sheera: serves 4
5 oz (150g) butter*
5 oz (150g) semolina
5 oz (150g) sugar
5 oz (150g) banana, mashed
15 fl.oz (450ml) warm milk
half a tsp cardamon powder
2 tsp raisins
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the semolina. Fry until it becomes pink and fragrant. Reduce the heat and stir in the sugar until it has dissolved. Add the banana and mix into the semolina, then add the milk. Place a lid over, but not quite covering the pan, and cook until the mixture is dry and the semolina is cooked. Remove from heat and add the cardamon powder and the raisins. Serve warm.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Warmer Dishes for Cooler Days

Recipes today are 'warmer-uppers' geared to a hint of what's to come, weather-wise, although we have had some balmy days recently.
Eat the following as a chunky chowder, or puree to make a smoother soup.
Cauliflower and Smoked Haddock Soup: serves 4
2 oz (50g) butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
black, white, paprika or cayenne pepper
3 1/2 pints (2ltrs) hot vegetable stock
1 lb (450g) smoked haddock
9 oz (250g) floury potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
Using a large saucepan, melt the butter then add the onions, celery and garlic and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Season with the pepper of your choice. Cover, and leave to cook for a further five minutes. Meanwhile poach the haddock in the hot stock for 3 minutes, then remove fish and place to one side. Add the potatoes to the pan of vegetables, cook for one minute more then pour in the hot stock, raising the heat to a good simmering level, half-cover the pan and cook on for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender (at this point it can be cooled slightly and blended to a puree). Skin and flake the fish, removing any bones, and add to the pan (or puree), and simmer until piping hot. Check the seasoning and serve at once.
Tip: to cut down the cost, use less fish and include a small can of sweetcorn.

This next recipe gave one 3 lb roasted chicken as the main ingredient, stripping the hot flesh from the bones. Far too much to serve just two I thought, so suggest next time you roast a chicken, use the spare meat from the drumsticks, underpart, winglets and as much of the breast as you can filch, and use to make this. The bonus is - it will freeze. Instead of one dishful, why not make individual ones?
Chicken, Leek and Herb Pie: serves 2 adults (F)
freshly cooked chicken (as much as you can spare)
18 fl.oz (500ml) chicken stock
2 oz (50g) butter
2 leeks, washed and sliced
2 tblsp plain flour
zest of 1 lemon
handful parsley, chopped
3 tblsp creme fraiche
salt and pepper
9 oz (250g) puff pastry (from a bought block)
milk to glaze
Put chunks of the chicken meat into a 1 litre pie dish. Melt the butter in a pan and fry the leeks until beginning to soften. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Gradually stirring in the stock and cook until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest, the parsley and creme fraiche. Season to taste. Pour this leek sauce over the chicken and leave to cool*. Roll out the pastry to 2" (5cm) larger than the pie dish. Dampen the edges of the dish and lay on the pastry, tucking under the surplus to make a double edge thickness. Press all round the edge with a fork to seal (at this point it can be frozen - defrost overnight then bake as usual). Brush surface with milk then bake for a good half hour at 200C, 400F, gas 6.
Note: *the recipe uses hot sauce poured over freshly cooked hot chicken. NOT a good idea to pour hot sauce over previously saved COLD chicken. If cold chicken is to be used, then let the sauce get cold before spooning over, and allowing five minutes longer to heat through thoroughly, tenting the pastry with foil once it has turned golden and then reducing the heat slightly.

Now a recipe for muffins that, for once, will keep happily in an airtight container for up to two days. The sparkling water (or why not lemonade) gives that 'light as a feather' texture.
Blackberry and Apple Muffins: makes 8
12 oz (350g) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 oz (100g) soft brown sugar
4 oz (100g) butter, melted
124ml carton sour cream*
2 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
5 oz (150g) blackberries
2 eating apples, peeled, cored, chopped
6 tblsp sparkling water, lemonade etc
demerara sugar for sprinkling
Mix together the flour, baking powder and sugar and stir in the butter, cream, eggs and lemon zest. Fold in just enough to combine. Don't over mix. Carefully stir in the fruits and finally the sparkling drink.
Spoon into paper muffin cases sitting in a muffin tin - they should be nearly full - sprinkle generously with the demerara and bake for 25 -30 mins at 200C, 400F, gas 6. Best served just warm. If storing (in a cool place), reheat in the microwave on High for 20 seconds.
Note: using a sparkling drink to bind the mixture opens the door to discovering up all sorts of variations. How about using pineapple as the fruit and ginger ale as the binder? I leave the research to you. Could be fun.
* sour cream, creme fraiche, Greek yogurt, fromage frais, all should be able to be substituted for each other, or can be combined to use up the ends of cartons.

The proper name for these is Sticky Toffee Cupcakes but I could not resist using my alternative name for the original pudding which was posted towards the end of last year I believe. Early on anyway.
Ticket Office Cupcakes: makes about a dozen.
1 oz (25g) sultanas
1 oz (25g) no-soak apricots
1 oz (25g) dates, stoned
1 tsp baking powder
5 oz (150g) self-raising flour
1 oz (25g) muscovado sugar*
1 tblsp golden syrup*
1 egg
1 oz (25g) butter, melted
5 fl.oz (150ml) hot water
for the topping:
2 oz (50g) each butter, caster sugar, plain chocolate
3 fl.oz (75ml) double cream
Using a food processor whizz together the fruits, baking powder and just a little flour to prevent them sticking together. No food processor? Then just chop together finely.
Put the fruit mixture into a bowl with the sugar, syrup and melted butter and fold together. Then add the very hot water, the remaining flour and whisk together.
Divide the mixture between 12 paper cake cases (best to use two cases per cake to give added strength unless able to stand in a muffin tin or something similar). Bake for 15 minutes at 200C, 400F, gas 6. While the cakes are cooking, make the topping by putting the ingredients into a saucepan and heating until dissolved, then bubble away for a bit until slightly thicker and darkened in colour. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Once the cakes are cooked, remove from the oven, cool slightly then spoon over the topping. If the cakes have risen too high, then ease away the paper cases from the top of each cake so surplus topping has somewhere to drain into. Pity to waste any slithering over the sides.
Note: if not dark muscovado sugar, then use demerara or granulated and black treacle instead of golden syrup. If not black treacle, than suggest buying some for the season for its use is coming up.

GypsyToasts, luxury style: serves 2
1 egg
5 fl.oz (150ml) milk
1 oz (25g) sugar
2 slices fruit bread, pannetone or just brioche
1 oz (25g) butter
pinch cinnamon
2 tblsp apricot compote (or jam)
2 tblsp flaked almonds, toasted
Beat the egg with the milk and 1 tsp sugar and pour into a shallow dish. Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture to coat each side.
Melt the butter in a frying pan and when hot, fry the dipped bread for 3 mins on each side until golden. Remove each to a warmed serving plate, sprinkle over the cinnamon and remaining sugar and top with a spoonful of warmed compote (it doesn't have to be apricot, use another if you wish), and finish with a sprinkle of toasted almonds.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Lazy Days, Busy Days...

For the first time I am writing two posts on one day. It is now late evening onTuesday- ten o'clock to be precise. So ignore any time or date that may appear on the posting, as this will be a draft and published tomorrow (Wednesday) as per usual (with recipes and so forth added on the day).
Round about the time of the salmonella scare everyone stopped making home-made mayonnaise with raw eggs, and instead went back to using old recipe using hard boiled eggs. The original recipe used cream, some the more recent ones changes the cream to fromage fraise.
Here is my version.
Home-made Mayonnaise:
3 hard-boiled egg yolks
1 tblsp cold water
salt and white pepper
5 fl.oz creme fraiche (or cream, or fromage frais/yogurt etc)
half a tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
3 - 4 teaspoons white (pref. wine) vinegar
Put the yolks into a small bowl with the water and using a pestle, or the end of a wooden spoon, mash together until like a paste. Season with a pinch each of salt and white pepper, and stir in the mustard (if using) and the creme fraiche. When quite smooth, stir in the vinegar. Don't be concerned if it is a bit runny, cover and place in the fridge for a couple or so hours and it will have firmed up. Covered it will keep for 2 - 3 days in the fridge.

Chocolate Pretzels: makes 25
4 oz (100g) unsalted butter, softened
2 oz (50g) sugar
1 oz (25g) cocoa
2 1/2 tblsp hot water
8 oz (225g) plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Dissolve the cocoa in the hot water, then let it cool to room temperature before beating into the creamed mixture. Then first beat in half the flour, then beat in the rest, finally beating in the egg and the vanilla. Shape the dough into a cylinder about 7" x 2" (18 x 5 cm), wrap in clingfilm or greaseproof paper and chill in the fridge for half an hour until firm.
Slice the dough into 1/2" rounds and roll each between palms to make a rope about 14" long and 1/4" dia. Shape each rope into a pretzel shape (details below) and place 1" apart on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 189C, 350F, gas 4 for about 10 minutes until firm to the touch. Cool on a cake airer before glazing.
Glaze pretzels with the following:
6 tblsp milk
5 oz (220g) sugar
2 oz (50g) milk chocolate
2 oz (50g) bitter (dark 70% plus) chocolate
6 oz (175g) golden syrup
1 scant tsp butter
Put all the ingredients except the butter into a small heavy pan (or a bowl over simmering water) and stir/cook until the sugar has dissolved and the chocolate melted. Stir in the butter and remove from heat. Leave to cool until lukewarm then dip each pretzel, one at a time, into the glaze to coat thoroughly. Dry for at least 15 minutes on a cake airer over waxed paper.
to shape pretzels:
drape the 14" rope into a loop with the ends crossed about halfway up. Then take the ends and cross back over left to the right or vice versa (in other words, not back to where it was, in the other direction) so that there is a twist in the middle (like half a knot) then spread the ends apart to just about the width of the loop. Take the top of the loop and bring it back down to lie over the straight ends, near to the tips. Then pinch the tips to the loop to secure.

Yesterday I sampled some fromage frais for the first time and was sadly disappointed. It just seemed a sloppy version of creme fraiche and not even pleasant, but could - I suppose - be used for raita, dips or with other, firmer cream cheeses. My cheesecake book, which has just been noticed when I looked for another, gives this info which might be of use:
Curd Cheese: a medium-fat soft cheese, with a maximum moisture content of 70% and a mellow, slightly acid flavour. Excellent used in quiches, cheesecakes, dips and spreads. Does not have a long shelf life.
Cottage Cheese: a low-fat curd cheese with a clean, mild flavour and a soft, granular texture, making it suitable for babies. Combines well with many foods including salads, fruit, vegetables and biscuits. Also used in cheesecakes.
Cream Cheese: has a high fat content with a rich creamy flavour ideal for spreading on biscuits and bread. Blend with equal amounts of curd cheese for best results in cooked dishes.
There is no mention of fromage frais or Quark, which is another soft cheese alternative.

A request for marinades led me on to my 'Sauces and Marinades' booklet. Strangely there are few marinades dealing specifically which chicken, but the book gives quite a bit of useful info which gives us a chance to invent our own:
"The primary purpose of a marinade is to tenderise and add flavour to meats before they are cooked. Often leftover marinade can be used to make a basis for brown sauce and a beer marinade is good in a stew (just remember that raw meat has been soaking in it so a case of use it or lose it. Or freeze it?).
A marinade mixture always contains acid - wine, vinegar or lemon/lime juice - this tenderises and penetrates into the meat fibres. With this are combined all sorts of vegetables, herbs and spices, the more the merrier, plus a small amount of oil to keep the meat moist.
Combinations depend upon the food: fish is good with lemon, olive oil and herbs. Beef can take juniper, mustard and beer.
Marinating can be done at room temperature for quick results but only advisable for a few hours at most. Best to marinate in the fridge where the marinade will act more slowly and thoroughly. Timing depends upon the food and its size. Thinly sliced raw fish will be flavoured and slightly 'cooked' by the citrus juice and ready in an hour or two. Loin of pork could be left for up to 3 days in the fridge for a mellow flavour.
When marinating, completely cover the food with the marinade and all sorts of ingenious receptacles can be devised, such as packing everything together in a small plastic bag. The important thing is to remember to avoid using metal containers because of the acid content of the marinade".
(I love this next bit...) "A marinade has many functions including disguise. Transforming pork into wild boar, and lamb into venison by soaking several days in a wine marinade is a well-known restaurant ruse. Once cooked and sliced it is said that even a connoisseur can have trouble distinguishing genuine game from fake." Have to admit that I have cooked chicken in the juices and gravy left over from cooking a pheasant, and it really did taste more like game bird than the real thing.

Dry Marinade: for roast or grilled chicken
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
1 tsp dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf, crushed
6 peppercorns, crushed
2 tblsp sea or rock salt
Pile all the ingredients together and chop, chop, chop until reduced down to almost a paste. Spread this over the surfaces of the meat and leave for one hour only (due to the salt content it should not be left longer). Scrape off and discard before cooking.

White Devil Marinade: enough for one jointed chicken
4 fl.oz (120ml) olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
12 black peppercorns
1 tsp crushed dried red chillies (optional)
Crush the peppercorns with a pestle and mortar (or strong plastic bag - in which case base with a rolling pin or heavy frying pan (think of the person you hate the most and enjoy the bashing - cooking can be so theraputic) - then add to the rest of the ingredients. Pour over the chicken pieces and marinate for 1 - 3 hours. Wipe the joints dry before grilling. Season joints with salt and pepper and while cooking, baste several times with the marinade.

Oriental Barbeque Sauce: enough for 2 chickens/5 lb (2.25kg) meat
2 fl.oz (60ml) black treacle
2 fl.oz (60ml) soy sauce (pref. dark)
juice of one lemon
1 inch piece of root ginger, peeled and crushed
2 fl.oz (60ml) water
2 fl.oz (60ml) oil
Put everything, except the oil, into a small pan and heat until the treacle has dissolved. Simmer until thick and glossy (takes about five or so minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in the oil.
Turn this into a sweet and sour sauce by substituting 2 oz (60g) brown sugar and 2 fl.oz (60ml) sherry for the treacle.
Brush over pork chops, spare ribs, ham steaks and chicken joints before grilling or roasting, baste off and on with any surplus marinade.