Spring - trees

Caribbean chicken

This recipe comes from Delia Smith's new book, How to Cheat at Cooking. I don't think it was one that was featured on the programme but as lots of others were, for free, I think it's okay to share it here.

Caribbean Chicken

Serves 4

4 chicken thighs and 4 drumsticks
1 heaped dessertspoon lazy ginger (the sort that's in a jar)
1 rounded dessertspoon ground ginger
2 rounded tablespoons dark muscovado sugar
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
Grated zest and juice of 2 limes

Pre-heat oven to 220C, gas mark 7.

Start by whizzing (with a mini-chopper or hand-held whizzer) the ginger, ground ginger, sugar, garlic, lime zest and juice, to make a paste. Make two diagonal slashes in each piece of chicken. Spread the paste all over. Put into oven-proof dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until cooked through.

You can serve this with whatever you like - Delia recommends rice and a salsa, which is what we did and it was lovely, but I'm sure it would be equally nice with new potatoes and a green salad or whatever you fancy really. I thought it might be too gingery for me as I'm not a great ginger fan, but it wasn't at all - it was tangy and delicious and very quick to make. There's also no reason that I can see that you shouldn't use fresh ginger instead of cheat's if you want to... but you probably wouldn't need as much.
bell tower

Freezer cooking

I have a chronic illness and I work fulltime. This takes a lot out of me and I am often too tired to cook when I get home. As I live alone, this means I often resort to takeaways while the food I've bought goes off. This behaviour is rather beyond my means and is not really very healthy.

I have this week off work and I've decided to devote Friday to doing a big freezer cooking session where I can freeze a selection of meals to reheat after work over the next few weeks.

I plan to make a vegetable heavy slow cooker chilli for one of the meal options, but I'm still deciding what to do for the rest. Does anyone have any suggestions for healthy economical meals which freeze well?

Intro & recipes

Hi everyone
Nikki mentioned this comm to me and it seems a good place so here I am. I've been vegetarian for nearly five years and it's forced me to learn a lot about cooking/food and I've ended up getting really into it. My family are omnivores though so anything goes really.
Look forward to getting to know you and sharing good food. :)

Here are a few of my latest creations ...

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  • rosie55

Old favourites

i recounted in my LJ today how I came to look at these recipes today and I thought I would post them on here in case anyone fancies something sweet to nibble.

Wyn's picnic slices - these are very  sweet, you only need small slices. My friend J, whose mother used to make a tray of this for her to take back to college with her, assures me it would keep for a long time - a couple of weeks, but it never lasts that long when I make it!

8 oz chocolate - (Wyn specified milk chocolate, I usually mix dark and milk, good quality chocolate, not the cooking chocolate supermarkets sell)
2 oz butter
4oz caster sugar
1 beaten egg
4 oz dessicated coconut
2 oz sultanas
2 oz glace cherries, chopped into  quarters or smaller according to how chunky you like your cherries!

Break the chocolate into pieces and spread it in the base of a lightly greased baking tin - I use one about 7x 10" and 1.5 inches deep. Put this into a moderate oven for a few minutes until the chocolate has melted and you can spread it evenly over the base. This doesn't need long, don't leave it in the oven for too long or the chocolate will be spoilt. Allow the chocolate to cool and set - I put the tin in the fridge for half an hour.
Cream the butter and sugar and add beaten egg. Mix in all the other ingredients and spread this over the cooled chocolate.
Bake in a slow oven 150 Celsius, Gas mark 2, 300 degrees F,  for approximately 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven, leave for five minutes and then cut into slices. Then leave it until it is quite cold then cut again with a sharp knife. Enjoy!

Mary Lye's Lemon cake
I have lost count of the number of times I have made this cake, a great family favourite but very simple and utterly delicious!

Grease and base-line a deep round 7" cake tin.

For the cake:
4 oz margarine or butter
6 oz self-raising flour
6 oz granulated sugar
2 eggs
5 tablespoons of milk
Grated rind or zest of a lemon (preferably unwaxed)

For the syrup:
The juice of the lemon
3 oz of sifted icing sugar.

Cream the margarine/butter and sugar, add the flour, beaten eggs, milk and lemon zest and beat until smooth. Put into the tin, spread evenly and bake at 165 Celsius, 325F Gas 3 for 55 minutes. leave it in the tin to cool.

Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together. Use a skewer or knitting needle to make lots of holes in the top of the cake. Drizzle the syrup gently over the cake, making sure the syrup soaks down into the holes. I do this with a teaspoon when the cake is almost but not quite cold. Then allow to cool completely and remove the cake from the tin.

I'd love to hear how whether anyone makes either of these and how they get on!
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  • rosie55

Quick chicken pilaff

s_c_enigma was asking today for recipes to use up some cooked chicken. Since I was copying out my pilaff/risotto recipe for her, I thought I might as well add it here, too.
A very easy and quick recipe to use up cooked chicken which is a great family favourite!

Quick chicken Pilaff
cooked chicken joints - 2-3
1 oz butter
4 lean bacon rashers, rind off, chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
8oz long grain or arborio rice
1 pint chicken stock, hot
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2oz sultanas (optional)
1oz toasted almonds
Grated Parmesan

Remove the meat from the bones and chop into bite sized pieces.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the bacon and onion, fry for five minutes or until the onion is soft. Stir in the rice, stock, salt and pepper to taste. Add the bay leaf and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove the lid from the pan and add the sultanas (if used - I don't use these) almonds and chicken. Cook gently for a further 5 minutes, uncovered. Spoon onto a hot serving dish, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and serve at once.
I used toasted pine nuts this week, instead of almonds - they were very nice in it. I toast my own, while the rice is cooking, but you have to watch them very carefully, they can burn easily!

And I also added my favourite Chicken and mushroom soup recipe which I posted on good_grub here http://community.livejournal.com/good_grub/3880.html last February.

Would love to hear whether anyone tries either of these and whether they enjoy it!
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  • rosie55

Rosie's Mushroom soup fest - in pictures!

Today has been horrible weather - cold wet rain coming, unusually for us, from the East which means it battering against the front of the house and the sitting room windows all day. The last of the leaves have gone from the weeping birch in the back garden, the first sharp frost has cut back a lot of tender growth and the winter flowering cherry is suddenly well into bloom. And all three cats have been here, barely setting paw out of doors all day. Not the slightest temptation for any of us to go anywhere! Brrrr! 
So, since the Co-op had a big pack of mushrooms on offer for about £1 the other day I decided to make mushroom soup for lunch to warm us up. I posted this recipe in good_grub last February so here's another way of showing it. Doing the 100_snapshots challenge (yes, I've finished now -they're all here http://pics.livejournal.com/rosie55/gallery/0001yswp if you want to browse! Just note that the tiles are part pictures only, you'll need to click on each small picture to see the whole pic properly!  I'm doing Project 365 now, I expect you can guess what that involves *bg*!) Doing 100 snapshots really has changed the way I use my camera and I'm now much more likely to use my camera to take unusual shots or to record something I'm doing. So here I present:-
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Hee hee! Hope you enjoyed my little bit of fun! Don't worry - won't make a habit of it!
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  • rosie55

Braised lamb shanks and apple crumble!

Cross posted to good grub and my LJ, apologies to those who receive it twice!
Having posted yesterday on the first signs of autumn here in the Cotswolds, mention there of lamb and blackberries put me in a cooking mood this morning. Not exactly a "follow this recipe to the letter" mood but more a "bung a bit of this and a handful of that in and see what comes out " mood!
Our excellent local butcher had some lamb shanks yesterday,   which are fairly new to me. They seem to be a fairly modern cut of meat and don't appear in any of my older cookbooks, but I knew they worked best with slow-cooking. So I dug out my favourite biggest cast iron casserole dish and browned some chopped onion, celery, carrots and shallots in olive oil. Then I popped three fat cloves of garlic and some chunky rock salt into my pestle and mortar, added some black peppercorns and snipped in a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary and bashed it all up. Very good for stress relief, all that bashing - and it smelt absolutely heavenly. I mixed a little more olive oil into that and added that to the veg which was already browning. After a few minutes, I took all the veg out and kept those warm while I browned the lamb shanks, then removed those and put the veg back in the bottom of the casserole and put the lamb shanks on top. I added about three quarters of a pint of beef stock with a squirt or two of tomato puree and a glass (okay, two glasses!) of Cotes du Rhone, tucking a a couple of bayleaves down the side. I brought this up to the boil  on the gas, put the lid on and popped the whole lot into a lowish oven and left  it alone for a couple of hours.
After that, I brought it out and took the lid off and let it simmer on the hob for half an hour to reduce slightly, and served it with mashed potato. I didn't bother with any other veg, as there were plenty in it but calabrese or cabbage would have gone very nicely if you wanted something green. It did go down very well at lunchtime, the meat just falls off the bone and I imagine it  will taste as good if not better tomorrow. It is one of those dishes where you need a spare dish on the table for all the bones, etc but it was so easy,  cooks slowly away while you are busy with other things and is delicious.
A bramble has crept into one corner of our garden (M doesn't usually allow weeds!) and we were rather surprised last week to notice a spray of blackberries lurking behind the honeysuckle. They lurk no longer! This morning they were gathered and popped into a crumble. For many years, I have made my crumble mix in my Magimix food processor, which was a wedding present so is now 25 years old. And still going strong - how nice to have something so reliable. However, the handle switch on the bowl broke a couple of weeks ago and I need a new bowl, the third replacement. When I looked up the spares company I was amused to see the comment that these machines are between 25 and 30 years old but they still keep a full range of spares because there are so many of them still around. Until the new bowl arrives, however, a lot of hand work is going on. It is years since I "rubbed in" cake or crumble mix - I had quite forgotten how silky the butter feels as you rub it into the flour between your fingertips and how satisfying it is to see the bowl of flour and butter chunks transform in moments into buttery crumbs, ready for the sugar to be swished in. And I have to say, it was the nicest crumble I've made for some years. Perhaps I should handmake it more often! And I sprinkled that over bramley apples and the blackberries, for the first crumble of the autumn.
Pootling around the kitchen this morning  I cleaned and re-hung this plate (this week we have had the ceiling replaced and new lighting fitted so everything was taken down while that was being done). It is very dear to my heart because it was painted for my mother by one of her artist friends. It has such a lovely autumnal feel to it, look at the detail on those blackberries and the swirl of autumn leaves - you can almost hear the papery sound of them rustle, I think.  A little work of original art and a little bit of my mum, keeping me company in the kitchen as I cook.
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Teriyaki Salmon

My son decided he wanted to cook yesterday, and we both quite fancied salmon, not having had any fresh fish for a while.

I found this recipe on the BBC site, courtesy of Anthony Worral Thompson.

So I give you:-

Teriyaki Salmon

Salmon fillets (I had 3 large ones)

For the sauce:-
2oz soft brown sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper

Mix all these together to make a sticky sauce and marinade the salmon for about 5/10 mins.

Heat a frying pan with a little olive oil, adn when hot add the salmon fillets, skin side down. Cook for about 4-5 mins each side, or until ready.

We did roast vegetables with this dish, and put the salmon fillets, once cooked, onto a warm plate in the oven which made the sauce crisp up on the fillets.

When plated, pour the rest of the sauce over the top of them, and serve with whatever you want. As I said, we did roast vegetables and new potatoes.

It's really really delicious.
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Readers under Trees

Poached salmon for supper!

Fresh salmon is a great favourite with us and we like it poached. When we lived in Surrey, newly wed at the time, we had a fishmonger who came to the village and sold fish from his van. He suggested this method of cooking salmon pieces and we have used it ever since. I try to get tail pieces - bone free and nicely shaped. The salmon cooked this way is moist and delicious - we love it with new potatoes and peas or, tonight, just with some salad, potato salad and a little brown bread and butter.
Take a large heavy pan or dish. It must be a heavy pan, preferably cast iron, which does not cool too quickly. I used my Le Creuset oval dish today but for a larger quantity I use my big cast iron casserole which has a lid.
In the bottom, place a slice of lemon for each piece of fish you want to cook and some fresh herbs - dill or parsley. Place the pieces of salmon on top of the lemon slices and season with a little ground black pepper. Fill your electric kettle and bring to the boil. When the water is boiling, pour it into the dish so that the salmon is well covered, almost filling the dish then put this on the stove a gentle heat until the water just comes back to a simmer. Turn off the heat. If you have a tight fitting lid, put that on. If not, fit tin foil tightly to seal it. Leave to cool. By the time the water is cool, at least a couple of hours - the fish will be cooked to perfection! When you are ready to eat, remove the fish from the water, let it drain and serve - it's best at room temperature or just above, with a squeeze of lemon juice, hollandaise sauce or mayo, any spare is perfect for quiches or pie, however you like it! 

The beauty of this on a warm day is that you don't have to hover over a hot stove or grill - prepared in minutes ahead of time and left to itself until you want to eat.
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