What I'm cooking and eating

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Gran's Peach and Orange Conserve

I was making apricot and nectarine jam the other day - the nectarine was to make up the weight, as Someone (who had better be nameless, but wasn't me) had been eating the apricots - when I remembered that my grandmother had made a very delicious peach and orange conserve.  So I emailed my mother to ask for the recipe.  She says that it was her recipe, not Gran's, but either Gran used to make it, or she took ownership of it (she was that kind of person), as I think of it as Gran's.

So this was Mummy's recipe, which I have made today (I did think of taking photos, but no matter how careful you are, making jam is a sticky business and I really don't want a sticky phone), and is delicious:

8 peaches
5 oranges
100 g  blanched almonds
3 lbs sugar (1.36 kg) sugar.  I used 1 kg preserving sugar, then made it up with ordinary granulated.

Peel the peaches (the easiest way to do this is to pour boiling water on them and leave for 1 minute, after which the skins should slip off easily) and then cut into chunks, discarding the stones.
Cut the oranges in half and discard any stones; then puree the whole thing (skin, pith, pulp and all) in a food processor.
Roast the almonds (I used a dry frying pan) and cut into smallish pieces (you can do this while the jam is boiling)

Put fruit and sugar into a preserving pan, and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.  Bring to the boil, and allow to boil until setting-point is reached.  Stir in the almonds, pot, seal and enjoy!

(For Dorian E Gray)

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.