What I'm cooking and eating

Monday, 18 August 2014

Chicken Stock

I always feel it is a fearful waste of a chicken not to make stock from the bones.  And yesterday we had a chicken, so today:

Bones of a roast or otherwise cooked chicken - remove as much of the meat as you can, and save that to eat another time.
1-2 onions, peeled and quartered
1-2 large carrots, ditto
The green parts (the bits you usually discard) of a leek or two
A stick of celery is traditional, but we don't like the flavour of cooked celery, so we don't use that.
Lots of seasoning - salt, pepper, a couple of cloves, some mushroom ketchup, Worcestershire sauce.... whatever.  I usually add a chicken "Stock pot" gel.
Up to 2 litres boiling water

Put everything in either a slow cooker and cook on auto for about 8 hours (which is what I did) or a pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.  Strain the liquid, and discard all the solids.  Use in soups, risottos, etc - or you could poach another chicken in it.....

Sunday, 17 August 2014


Haven't taken any photos, I'm afraid, but nachos aren't terribly photogenic.  They are, however, delicious.  Quantities are approximate.

1 large packet tortilla chips
60 g cheese - I like the kind with chillies in it for this, but plain is fine, too
1 tbs milk

Melt the cheese and milk together in a saucepan, stirring all the time, and then pour over the chips. 

That's basically it, but to make it a proper meal, serve with any or all of the following:

Guacamole, either bought or home-made*
Sour cream dip
Fresh salsa, again, either bought or home-made.  I made a nectarine/tomato salsa, as follows:

2 large tomatoes
1 red onion
1 nectarine (or peach, of course)
1 chilli pepper 
Bunch of coriander (cilantro)
1 tbs lime juice
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper

Peel and chop all the vegetables and mix together with the rest of the ingredients.   This is nicer if you make it an hour or so before the meal, to give the flavours a chance to mix.

* Or you could chop the avocado into the fresh salsa, which is what I was going to do, only my avocados weren't ripe, so I popped out and bought some guacamole.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Simple tomato sauce

1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes (or quantity to suit you)
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
1 tbs each olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, possibly a little oregano or marjoram.

Pierce the cherry tomatoes and put in a saucepan with the other ingredients.
  Cover, and cook gently until the juices run.
Transfer to a blender or food processor and work until smooth.
Bring back to the boil.

Delicious with fresh pasta, and a dollop of pesto on top.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Cucumber Slush

Half fill a blender goblet with ice, add a chunk (about 3 cm) of cucumber, cut slightly smaller, and a sprig of mint if you have it (I didn't).  Cover with chilled water and process until slushy.

 If you don't like cucumber, or don't find this sweet enough, why not try melon?  Or even mango or peach?

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Courgette Tart

This has a bit to do with the recipe in the current Tesco magazine, and a bit to do with David Lebovitz' tomato tart recipe, and a bit of my own invention!

1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry (or okay, make your own.  Be like that.  See if I care!  Me, I use ready-rolled).
½ quantity pesto (roughly)
½ tub goats' cream cheese
1 egg
½ roll goats' cheese (Lidl's Petit Chebra is what I tend to use)
1-2 courgettes, cut into thin slices.  I used a gourd-shaped one that was on special offer in Sainsbury's as well as ½ an ordinary one

Spread the pastry out into a baking tray.  Put the pesto, cream cheese and egg into a food processor
and blitz until smooth.

Spread this mixture on to the pastry base, then top with the sliced courgettes and bits of goats' cheese from the log.
Bake in a hottish oven - gas mark 6, 200C (180 C fan) - for 25-30 minutes. 

You can, of course, use tomatoes or other roastable vegetables (butternut squash?) in place of courgette.

I do wish I had discovered earlier how easy it is to put photos on my blogs - you can get them straight from your Android phone!  So if I think of adding my recipe while I am making it, I can photo-blog it.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Dundee Cake

I could have sworn I'd posted my version of this famous classic, but obviously not

200 g prunes, no stones.
150 g demerara sugar + extra for sprinkling
3 eggs
45 ml liquid (see note)
500 g mixed dried fruit ("Cake Fruit" in the supermarket), plus nuts if liked
250 g self-raising flour

Pour boiling water over the prunes and leave to soak for at least an hour (longer if they are very dried!).  Drain, reserving 45 ml of the liquid (see note), and place in bowl of food processor with the eggs, sugar and liquid.  Process until smooth.

Now transfer to a bowl, and fold in the flour and fruit (and nuts, if using).  Place in a greased, 7" cake tin.  Decorate the top with blanched almonds, if liked, and sprinkle with the extra demerara sugar.  Bake in a very low oven (Mark 1, 125 C) for 2½ hours.

Note: Although I usually the prune liquid, you can use more or less any liquid you like: milk, beer, cider, cold tea....  And if you use beer, you get to drink the rest of the bottle, which is always a Good Thing.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Aubergine pasta

One cannot, I find, eat asparagus every day at this time of year, although I do my best! I may post some recipes using asparagus later on. But today I decided to have a break, and make aubergine pasta, which is fairly quick, very easy and delicious.

1 aubergine, diced into ¼" chunks
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp coconut oil (or 1 tbs olive or rapeseed oil)
1/2 tub soft goats' cheese or other cream cheese, as liked (cheese and chives very good, too)
100 g small pasta

Put the aubergine, garlic and oil into a frying-pan that has a lid, season it, and cook on a very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat down even lower, as low as it will go, while you cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. When the pasta is cooked, stir it into the aubergine, and then mix in the soft cheese. Stir it through until the cheese has melted and coats everything, and then serve. Yum.