25 Feb 2013
LOVE LOVE LOVE SUNDAYS, THERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT LAZY SUNDAYS FOCUSED AROUND FAMILY AND FOOD.
2 free range chicken legs with thighs attached
8 small King Edward potatoes peeled whole
2 tbsp cornmeal or semolina
Sea salt and black pepper
2 whole Italian cloves of garlic sliced
1 bunch of broccoli florets
1 carrot peeled & rough chopped
ROASTING THE CHICKEN LEGS
Season and place the chicken legs in the roasting tin with the potatoes for 30-40 minutes. 10 minutes before the cooking time is up scatter in the slices of garlic to caramelise and infuse the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked brown off in a hot pan to crisp up the skin and add that extra level of flavour.
FOR THE ROAST POTATOES
Place a baking tin in the oven with a generous lump of dripping or goose fat until hot. Part boil the potatoes for 10 minutes in boiling seasoned water, drain, rough up the potatoes in the colander and then lightly dust with salt and some cornmeal or semolina. Toss in the hot fat in your roasting tin and bake for 45 minutes turning once
200g plain flour
200g beaten eggs
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp fat
Whisk the beaten eggs into the flour and season, add the milk and whisk until a smooth batter. Leave to rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, pre heat the oven to 200 degrees and put half a teaspoon of fat in each well of your Yorkshire pudding pan, place in the oven to get really really hot, pour in the batter as fast as you can and return the pan to the oven, what ever happens do not open the oven door during the 15 minutes cooking time or your Yorkshires will flop.
BRIOCHE BREAD SAUCE
6 slices brioche bread crumbed
Salt and Pepper
Pinch grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 shallot diced
1/2 garlic clove sliced
Gently fry the shallot and garlic in a bit of the butter then add the milk and bring up to almost a simmer and take of the heat to infuse, pass through a sieve and return the milk to the pan, add the breadcrumbs and the rest of the ingredients and stir in well.
CHICKEN STOCK & WINE GRAVY
Any roasting juices
300ml chicken stock
200ml white wine
100ml double cream
4 sage leaves chopped
Salt and pepper
Place the white wine in the saucepan and reduce by half, add the chicken stock and any roasting juices and reduce by half again, add the cream, sage and season to taste. If your gravy is a little too thin you can thicken with a little flour mixed into butter and whisk that in.
19 Feb 2013
LOVING OUR MINI MINI URBAN SMALL HOLDING AND A STEP TOWARDS SELF SUFFICENCY, ORGANIC FOOD WITH ZERO FOOD MILES
MY FAVORITE TIME OF THE YEAR WHEN ALL THE SEEDS ARE IN PROPAGATORS AND BULBS ARE JUST SHOWING THEIR GREEN STEMS AND THE GARDEN IS ONLY WEEKS AWAY FROM BURSTING INTO COLOUR, THE BIRDS ARE SINGING EVERYMORNING, THE SUN IS SHININING AND A HINT OF PROMISE IS IN THE AIR
LAST YEAR, YEAR THREE, HAS BEEN THE BEST FOR LIVE STOCK AND THE WORST FOR VEGETABLE CROPS BUT A GREAT LEARNING CURB WHICH GIVES US MORE PASSION TO TRY HARDER THIS YEAR AND GROW IT ALL...
THIS IS THE END OF OUR FIRST JOURNEY WITH OUR VERY FIRST PIGS, IN A FEW DAYS THEY LEAVE US TO FINISH THEIR JOURNEY AND BECOME ........... TODAY WE HAVE BEEN TO THE ABATTOIR AND MEET WITH THE TEAM, AND WHAT A FABULOUS LOVELY CALM FARM, WITH THEIR OWN FARM SHOP ON SITE TOO. THE TEAM WERE SO SUPPORTIVE AND VERY INFORMATIVE AND IN SUCH A RELAXED MANOR THAT WE NOW FEEL VERY OK WITH THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY, IT IS KIND OF WEIRD, CANT REALLY EXPLAIN, I THINK I HAVE WE HAVE FELT ALL THE EMOTION OF THE JOURNEY EARLY ON AND NOW WE ARE AT THE END IT IS CLOSURE.
OUR PIGS TIME WITH US IN PHOTOS
LEMONGRASS HAVING A SHOWER IN THE EARLY PROMISE OF SPRING SUNSHINE
SPRING IS VERY MUCH ON THE WAY AS LEMON IS VERY PLAY FULL TODAY
LOTTIE AND LEMON HAVING A HELLO NOSE TO NOSE
HOW GORGEOUS AM I
DON'T FORGET ME I AM GORGEOUS TOO
HELLO THERE BEAUTIFUL HOW DO YOU DO?
GINGER NINJA HAVING A LAY DOWN AFTER A GOOD RUB DOWN
GINGER LOVES ROLLING AND LEAPING WHEN WE ADD FRESH STRAW TO THEIR BED, LEMON GOES IN AND TOSSES HALF OF THE STRAW OUT FOR THEM TO PLAY IN
LAZY MID MORNING REST AFTER DOING THE HOUSE WORK
LEMON TELLING GINGER OFF AS HE WANTS TO HELP WITH THE HOUSEWORK AND SHE DOES'NT LIKE HIS HELP SO SHE KEEPS THROWING HIM OUT AND HE KEEPS RUNNING BACK IN, SUCH FUN TO WATCH THEM
OUR GLORIOUS PIG ARK AND RUN ON DAY ONE AND WITHIN 4 WEEKS IT WAS A PROPER PIG RUN ALL TURNED OVER AND MUDD
LOVE OUR GLORIOUS GIRLS THIS IS THEIR NEW EXTENSION RUN OF 50FT CONTAINED SO THAT I CAN TRY AND KEEP THEM OFF MY VEGETABLE BEDS
NAUGHTY CHICKENS RAIDING MY STRAWBERRY POT!!!
SUCH FUN CAT FLAP TRAINING FOR OUR GIRLS, WE EXTENDED THEIR OUTDOOR SAFE RUN WITH A OUT DOOR RUN AWAY FROM OUR VEGETABLE BEDS AND PUT A OLD CAT FLAP IN THE FENCING FOR THEM, IT ONLY TOOK A FEW HOURS AND HEY PRESTO! THEY GOT IT, CLEVER GIRLS...
REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEARS IMPROVEMENT AND LESSONS TO BE LEARNT WITH GROWING OUR MAIN STAY CROPS AND RAISING MORE PIGS.
18 Feb 2013
BEAUTIFUL SLOW COOKED BEEF IN RED WINE FOR MY VALENTINE
1kg chuck steak diced
1 bottle claret
1 clove garlic sliced
2 marrow bones (optional)
2 large cloves of garlic skin on
3 shallots finely chopped and softened
3 fresh bay leaves
small bunch of fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh oregano
8 stalks of fresh parsley
BROWNING OFF THE CHUCK STEAK
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp butter
1 shallot fine diced
6 small baby onions peeled whole
6 rashers sweetcure bacon fine chopped
MARINATE THE CHUCK STEAK IN CLARET AND HERBS OVERNIGHT
This really does make all the difference and it really is only a hint of effort that then rewards you with great depth of flavour. Gently soften the chopped shallots and chopped garlic, place in your braising tin or bowl, add the beef, bouquet garni, marrow bones, whole cloves of garlic, and red wine then cover with cling film and settle in the fridge overnight or all day.
BROWNING OFF THE BEEF
Take the marinated beef and pour off the red wine through a sieve, pat dry the beef on kitchen paper and reserve the rest of the ingredients with the wine in your braising tin ready and waiting for the sealed beef. Heat the butter and oil in a pan and sear the beef until caramelised on all sides,sprinkle with the flour and cook out then remove and place in your braising tin, take a little of the stock red wine and de-glaze your pan and add back to the tin. Then to add the next layer of flavour pan fry the shallot, sweetcure bacon and whole onions gently for 5 minutes and add to the braising tin. Place in your pre-heated oven 150 degrees for 4 hours to cook slowly and mature, this will ensure a gorgeous beef bourguignon dish with all the old fashioned flavours of simple ingredients.
FOR THE DAUPHINOIS POTATOES
8 King Edward potatoes super finely sliced
2 cloves of garic grated
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
150g Parmesan cheese finely grated
300ml double cream
Salt and Black pepper
Use a mandolin or finely slice your potatoes waffer thin, then in a deep dish layer the pototoes on the botton and sprinkle over a little Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, grated nutmeg and grated garlic, repeat this process all they way to to last layer where I like to make sure there is a little extra Parmesan cheese to finsih off the top layer that will brown off and have that cripsy cheesey finish, then mix the cream and milk together and pour over the whole dish and bake in the oven 180 degrees for 1 hour, cover with foil after 45 minutes only if the top is browning off to much.
MY WONDERFUL HUSBAND'S VALENTINE DINNER
17 Feb 2013
SWEET STICKY YUMMY LIP SMACKING FALL OFF THE BONE BRAISED RIBS
2kg spare ribs
100g brown sugar
1 bottle crabbies
water to top up if needed
150ml dark soy sauce
1 stick lemon grass
1 red chilli de-seeded
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
This is a really simple recipe, place all the ingredients in a deep roasting tin with the ribs, if the ribs are not 3/4 covered with the crabbies liquid then top up with a little water. Cover the tin with foil and place in a pre-heated oven 170 degrees for 2 hours, then remove the foil and cook for a further 30 minutes to reduce the sauce.
If the sauce is still loose, rather than keep the ribs cooking and making the meat tougher, I drain off the stock and reduce in a pan for a few minutes to the desired consistency and then return the sauce back to the ribs in the roasting tin.
Fabulous moorish wonderful ribs...
14 Feb 2013
Such fun, spent today teaching our girls how to use their new cat flap Clive has installed!
Our glorious girls have had the run of our garden but now the vegetable season is upon us we need to contain them a little, as they have already broken in to our winter cabbage bed and stripped it bare!!! So we have now given our gorgeous girls a new outdoor run of 50ft so that should keep all of us happy for the growing season.
Love our girls and they are such quick learners, in and out of the new cat flap with no effort.
New outside contained run.
50ft of rustic garden for the girls to love for the summer.
We are really pleased with this new run for the girls, we have always given them the whole garden for a few hours every day, but they do create havoc, and eat young shoots, so we have now comprised by giving them a great run away from all the vegetable and garden beds so that maybe we too can eat some leeks and spinach and salad !
10 Feb 2013
JUICY INDIVIDUAL ROAST BIRDS
Roast potatoes 60 oven minutes + 10 minutes par-boil
Birds 35 oven minutes + 15 minutes resting
Gravy 10 minutes make during resting time
2 whole partridges plucked
8 rashers of sweetcure bacon
GRAVY STOCK VEG
1 carrot rough chopped
2 onions quartered
2 sticks of celery halved
1 leek quartered and halved
salt & pepper
Drape the sweetcure bacon over the tops of the birds and place in your hot roasting tin on top of the bed of seasoned roasting vegetables that are for the gravy. Roast at 180 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer. Remove from the oven and pop under the grill just to crisp up the bacon if needed. Remove from the pan and wrap well in tinfoil to keep warm and finish cooking slowly keeping all the juices in the meat. Place the roasting tin on the stove add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer just to de-glaze the pan.
For the next stage scroll down to find the gravy method and ingredients.
4 King Edwards peeled & halved
2 tbsp cornmeal
salt & pepper
100g beef dripping
Par-boil in boiling slated water for 10 minutes, drain and then leave for a couple of minutes to dry, toss in the colander and sprinkle over the cornmeal and season. Place the dripping in your roasting tin to heat hot and then toss in the potatoes turning them so that they are fully covered in the dripping. Place in your oven to cook, after 20 minutes turn the potatoes and repeat this again another after another 20 minutes, this is to ensure a fully crispy crunchy potato with a fluffy centre.
50g pancetta diced
2 tsp butter
1 shallot fine diced
1 clove garlic fine diced
1 red chilli fine diced
300g fresh spinach
100ml double cream
50g Parmesan grated
1 pinch grated nutmeg
Pan fry the shallots, garlic, chilli and pancetta in the butter gently for five minutes, then add the spinach and stir once it has half wilted add the cream and bring to a simmer, add the parmesan and nutmeg, stir in well, taste and season if needed, unlikely due to the pancetta, serve immediately.
All the roasting juices
300ml chicken stock
100ml red wine
1 tbsp quince jelly
1 tbsp butter
1 glug of cassis
Take the roasting tin pan that you have de-glazed with the chicken stock and push through a sieve with the back of a spoon, now bring that gorgeous stock that has been flavoured with all the roasting juices to a simmer. From the resting birds add any juices into the stock, add the wine and reduce by 1/4, add the cassis and then to thicken add the quince jelly and whisk in the butter, these last two ingredients will help thicken the gravy and give a glossy rich texture too.
6 Feb 2013
CRISPY PARMESAN & ROASTED PEPPER LOADED JACKET SKINS
Lovely simple quick supper, when baking and I have a spare shelf in the oven I often pop in several potatoes because it makes sense to use all of the oven whilst it is on. This means I then have to hand jacket potato's for lunches and suppers and lots of accompaniments ready to go in seconds like crushed baked potato's, wedges, skins, potato salad, fishcake base, topping for Shepard's pie, cheesy baked mashed potato, garlic potatoes and patata bravas.
1 jacket potato
50g Parmesan cheese fine grated
20g Parmesan fine grated for topping
50g soft cream cheese
1 tsp butter
1 roasted red pepper, diced (from a jar)
1 red chilli fine diced
1 small handful raw baby spinach
Salt and pepper
100g sweetcorn (toasted optional)
Take the cooked jacket potato and cut in half, scoop out the potato and re-heat, meanwhile place the jacket potato skins in the oven or under the grill to crisp up. Once the scooped out potato is hot add the butter, cheeses, red pepper, spinach and sweetcorn, taste and season with salt and pepper. Now remove the potato skins from oven/grill and fill with the potato mix, finish off with the remaining Parmesan, sprinkle over the fresh chillies and pop under the grill until golden and brown on top.
Serve with some crisp dressed salad and sour cream.
5 Feb 2013
THE BEST EVER MAC 'N' CHEESE
Love this dish but it has been made so poorly by so many that it has one of those reputations that it doesn't quite deserve! When made simple and traditionally this is a whole dish of comfort, naughty yes so just eat it occasionally, it could be worse it could be made with a cheats cheese sauce using double cream as the base instead of the classic roux!
(makes 8-10 portions)
50g plain flour
1 small onion fine diced
3 cloves garlic sliced
4 rashers of streaky bacon finely chopped
2 chillies fine diced
Salt and pepper
900ml full cream milk
100ml full cream milk (for later)
250g strong cheddar
500g bag of macaroni
In a casserole to oven pan heat a little of the butter and a dash of oil and gently pan fry the onion, garlic and bacon for approx 8 minutes until the garlic is caramelised but the onions are still translucent, this adds a nutty flavour to the dish. Add the rest of the butter and melt then add the flour and stir in to make your roux, cook this out for approx 10 minutes on a low heat to intensify the flavour, now start to add the milk 200ml at a time and incorporate well, once all the 900ml of milk is used cook the bechamel sauce for 15 minutes on a low heat, season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper then add all the cheese, reserving a third of the Parmesan for the finished dish.
Meanwhile bring a large pan of water with a pinch of salt up to the boil and cook the macaroni until al-dente, drain and add to the cheese sauce, coating all the pasta, add the last 100ml of milk to loosen the sauce slightly as this will thicken back up in the oven. Sprinkle on top the remaining Parmesan cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven 180 degrees for 30 minutes
While the Mac 'n' Cheese is baking to its gorgeousness grill or pan fry the sweetcure bacon rashers crispy, then once cooled reserve for serving as rashers or slightly crumble them in your hands and sprinkle the full of flavour bacon crumbs over the top of your dish, this makes the flavour go further.
SUMPTUOUS JUICY, SWEET & SPICY SANDWICH WITH HOMEMADE MAYO
1 8oz chicken breast
2 slices of cheese (dairy lea slices)
4 rashes sweetcure bacon
Iceberg lettuce fine sliced
2 tbsp honey
homemade mayo (optional recipe below)
1 tbsp Jerk spice (optional recipe below)
1 ciabatta loaf
FOR THE JERK SPICE
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tbsp fresh coriander
1 tsp coriander seeds crushed
2 tbsp black pepper corns crushed
1 tsp grated nutmeg
3 tsp allspice
6 cloves garlic peeled
4 scotch bonnets
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 limes juiced & 1 zest
Place all the ingredients into a blender and pulse to a fine paste.
Slice the chicken in half and place each half in a large food bag, with a rolling pin bash the chicken until equal in thickness all over and approx the size of a 4oz burger. The top half of the chicken will need more bashing. Now add some off your jerk paste to marinate the chicken. Depending on what strength of flavour will depend on how long you marinate, If I am organised I do this the night before and have a really deep flavour with a great kick of heat and other times I marinated for 15 minutes and this still has a strong flavour but a little less developed.
In a non stick pan heat a tiny splash of rapeseed oil and pan fry the chicken burgers on a medium heat turning twice, when three quarters cooked I like to steam the chicken by adding 100ml water to the pan and placing a lid on to finish cooking, add your cheese and let it melt for a few minutes. Meanwhile grill the sweetcure bacon until crispy. Now you are ready to assemble. Toast the ciabatta slices, spread on a generous amount of mayo on each slice, place your chicken breast on the bottom slice and drizzle over 1 tbsp of honey and then top with the bacon, some more mayo and then the iceberg lettuce and finish of with the top slice of ciabatta bread and enjoy.
2 egg yolks
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 pinch salt and pepper
300ml vegetable oil
Place the all the ingredients except the oil in a blender and whisk until pale and fluffy, then drizzle in the oil very slowly to emulsify and thicken the mixture, taste and adjust your seasoning if required. This is a great base for making any flavoured mayo like, garlic or chilli or roasted peppers etc...