Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Counting the Hours

It is surprising how much flesh can be left on a chicken carcase, and probably more if the carcases are first portioned raw, for there are many chunks of chicken attached to the main body of the bird that are not removed when we joint the birds. Normally expect to about 8 oz (225g) cooked flesh after the carcase (raw or previously roasted) has been simmered for stock. If more has been left on the carcase, then we will end up with more meat. These make very good chicken pies, or a Chicken and Sweetcorn Chowder. The scraps can also be added (cold) to a salad, or mince up and added to other ingredients to make Chicken Burgers.

Think today might even make a fruit cake for Christmas. Should have made it before, but then didn't feel like making anything at all in the kitchen the way it was. Now I can't stop cooking. Not that we need to eat a heavy cake around Christmas tea-time, especially after the massive lunch. But it is traditional. As are my childhood pre-war (and after war) memories of salmon sandwiches and trifle were also served at tea-time. At least fruit cake (especially after a drink of rum or brandy) will keep for ages, and B prefers to eat it with with cheese rather than as 'cake'. He is not keen on marzipan or icing either, so may top the cake with glace fruits and nuts instead, or not even bother. As long as there is a fruit cake, then B will be happy.

However, this is still a cookery blog, so will give a recipe so keep some of you happy. This is made with pomegranates, a fruit my dad used to love, but myself never got found the way to remove its seeds successfully. Since then have learned a good way to do this is to make deep cuts top to bottom and side to side at the flat base of the pomegranate, then plunge the fruit into a bowl of cold water. Using your fingers carefully prise the fruit apart at the cuts, the scoop out the seeds. The water prevents the fingers getting stained. The pulpy seeds drop to the bottom of the bowl and pithy bits float to the top. The seeds can then be drained and look really attractive scattered over a salad, or folded into couscous or rice dishes.

This recipe treats the fruit in a different way, and being a sorbet can either be made using an ice-cream machine or freezing the syrup in a shallow tray to make a 'granita', and then break up the ice crystals with a fork when it turns slushy. Finally leave it to freeze completely.
Pomegranate Sorbet: (F)
1 lb (450g) caster sugar
8 pomegranates
1 pint (600ml) boiling water
Put the sugar into a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Stir until dissolved, then set aside to cool.
Put one pomegranate to one side, then juice the remaining seven fruits by squeezing and pressing the skin vigorously to crush the seeds inside. Hold the squashed fruit over a bowl, slit the skin with a knife and the juice will pour out.
Mix the juice with the cold syrup and churn in an ice-cream maker until set (see above for the 'granita' method), Then scoop out, put into a container and freeze.
Serve in scoops, each scattered with a few seeds from the reserved fruit.