Monthly Archives: May 2012

Posh Gammon, Egg and Chips

My egg was a little strange, as the white had attempted to escape from the yolk, but it was still very good.

Hullo

I went to karate this afternoon with my hand all strapped up, which means that my right-hand side (the one doing all the punching) was pretty knackered.  Unfortunately, it’s not really possible to cook dinner with your left-hand side which your right-hand side sits on the settee, so A Man cooked tonight.  It was pretty simple, but bloody lovely!  He cut potatoes into wedges and cooked in seasoned olive oil in a hot oven until soft in the middle and crispy on the outside.  The gammon steaks (some of the 9p ones I bought a few weeks ago and stuck in the freezer) were grilled until the meat was cooked through and the rind ever so slightly chewy.  He brushed the steaks with a mixture of honey, wholegrain mustard and balsamic vinegar (although he claims it should have been brushed on a bit sooner so it could caramelise a bit).  This was served with boiled corn on the cob and duck eggs; mine poached and his fried.  Exactly what I wanted after a decent workout.

Much love

Gemma xx

 

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I’ve been neglecting my poor little blog for a few days, as the weather’s been great and I’ve been relying on salads for my evening meals, which (let’s face it) aren’t very exciting to blog about.
I re-hashed the cous-cous stuffed chicken as a summery way to roast the bird. Served simply with mixed veg roasted with salt, pepper, herbs and olive oil (I had onion, yellow pepper, fennel, baby carrots and beetroot) and some juice from the pan.

recipeforprocrastination

Greetings!

The other day, I was lucky enough to be able to buy an enormous organic chicken from the supermarket, which was marked down to £4 as it happened to be short-date.  I immediately chopped the legs off and shoved them in the freezer for future use, and then turned my attention to the rest of the chicken.  Technically not a crown (it still had the wings attached), I decided to roast it as if it were.  You can do this with a whole bird too, should you so desire.

With a crown, there’s a slight risk of the breasts drying out, hence my slightly over-zealous (but damned delicious) method of breast-moistening.  Not only did this produce superior chicken, but some of the best damned cous cous I’ve tasted in a bloody long time.  Even if you don’t eat it as ‘stuffing’ with the bird, it’s worth making anyway to…

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Mushroom Risotto

Gooood evening

At the weekend, A Man and I bought a massive carton of mushrooms.  You know the type – the supermarket cheapy cheap ones which don’t look particularly pretty but function perfectly well as mushrooms.  The only issue was what to do with them.

A Man suggested a risotto, which was a great idea.  I planned to make it yesterday, only to find I only had basmati or sushi rice.  Not ideal.  Risotto put off to this evening.  It uses a LOT of mushrooms.  I used about 2 thirds of that carton just for the two of us.

You don’t need to do the first stage of frying the mushrooms until dry, but it makes a mediocre meal taste really yummy.  On those lines, don’t expect this to be a quick meal.  The rice will take at least half an hour to cook; probably longer.  But it’s so worth it at the end!

Love love

Gemma xx

Mushroom Risotto

LOTS of sliced mushrooms!
Olive oil
Butter
Fresh sage, chopped
Diced onion
Around 75g arborio rice per person
Around 75ml white wine and 125ml stock per person, preferably warmed through
Salt and pepper
Cheese shavings to serve (Make sure it’s vegetarian cheese if you’re serving this as a veggie dish!)

  1. Heat some olive oil and butter in a frying pan until it starts to foam.  Add half of your mushrooms to the pan and stir.  The heat should be medium-high and you need to stir regularly.  Cook the mushrooms until they get reduce significantly in size, turn dark and start to lose their moisture.  You want a really concentrated mushroom mush (for want of a better word) and, depending on how ‘juicy’ your mushrooms are, this could take a pretty long time.  Once they’re cooked, remove from the heat.
  2. Heat some more olive oil, and fry the sage and onion for a few minutes on a medium heat.  Add the rice and stir well to coat in oil.  Add a little of the wine/stock mix and stir well.  Once it has been absorbed, add a little more.  You need to continue to add stock/wine every time it is absorbed and stir the risotto regularly.  It should be cooked on a medium-low heat; too high and the inside of the rice will be crunchy, too low and it will be gloopy.
  3. Add the other half of the mushrooms and stir through the rice.  Once it has been cooking for around 15 minutes, regularly check the rice to gauge how much longer it needs to cook for, adding stock as necessary.  You may need more stock than I have suggested, so use your instincts.
  4. Once the risotto has been cooking for around 25 minutes, stir through the cooked mushrooms and season to taste.
  5. Once the rice is cooked, serve immediately, with cheese at the table.  My favourite is Grana Padano, but whatever you have on hand would work fine.  This would also go particularly well with a rocket salad simply dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Feeling Lazy

Hullo hullo.

I have been a bit lax on the posting front recently.  This has been primarily due to a lack of exciting kitchen activity.  I have been throwing things together which have been massive cheat meals!  The intention for Saturday lunchtime was a shop-bought quiche and salad; a plan which was somewhat scuppered by the fact that I’m incredibly clumsy and splattered the quiche all over the kitchen floor, annoyingly after it had been heated through and the smell was making me hungry!  Saturday’s dinner was tortellini with a chilli-tomato sauce and salad, Sunday’s was Moroccan lamb chops with cous cous, yesterday we had veggie mince enchiladas from a kit and today we celebrated the great weather with salad, sausages and a baguette.

However, I did make one thing this weekend which required a little baking skill, rescuing some overripe satsumas from the bin by making Nigella Lawson’s clementine cake.  It was made infinitely more delicious with the addition of a lot of crystallised ginger.  Yum!  My only other creation of the weekend was a glass of absinthe.  Unfortunately, when we came back from Amsterdam we only had hand luggage so I couldn’t buy a big bottle.  *sniff sniff*  Next time….

Love love

Gemma xx

It’s no trick of the light – it really was that colour 🙂

We had the other 2 pasties from the freezer for tea tonight. Yummy!

Thank you to all my readers for helping me to reach 3,000 views!

Love love
Gemma xx

recipeforprocrastination

Hullo!

Today has been a day of frustration.  Since yesterday afternoon, I have spent about 7 hours pinning and hemming a dress which still isn’t finished, and have consequently done very little else.  I needed some comfort food, and that’s just what I made.

I bought a cheap cooked chicken yesterday, which was good for very little because it was so dried out!  But in these pasties the meat is enveloped in thick, creamy sauce so it doesn’t matter so much.  The meat almost disintegrated into tiny strips, which it probably wouldn’t have done if it was more moist.  I used this Jamie Oliver recipe for leftover turkey, changing a couple of bits.  I didn’t have any leeks, which was a shame as I love leeks.  But as I had plenty of other veg to have with it I don’t think it really mattered.  I had gammon and ham stock…

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Mmmmm, Sushi!

Hello!

I have a confession to make.  I love sushi.  It’s portable, it’s beautiful, it’s totally different to the everyday sort of food I normally eat and it’s heavily associated with raw fish, all of which are things which are massive plus-points for me.  I first made sushi in university, and it’s something I like to do occasionally as it’s lots of fun.  It’s also, however, very time consuming; hence I don’t do it very often.  If you’ve not made it before, I found this website to be really helpful when I first made it.

When I was in Oxford over the weekend, I took the opportunity to go to the MK Oriental Market on St Clements.  I love this shop!  The staff are friendly and its small size is deceptive as it’s really very well stocked.  There’s nowhere near where I live to buy sushi ingredients, so I picked up some rice, pickled ginger and wasabi (I already had a large packet of nori in my cupboard).  I wish I’d thought to pick up some miso while I was there too, but I’ll have to have a proper trip next time I’m in Ox.

A lot of people are scared of eating sushi because they think it has to involve raw fish.  It doesn’t.  While I love raw fish, the sushi I made tonight didn’t involve any.  You can use raw or cooked ingredients, and some of my favourite sushi includes stir-fried veg with ginger.  The great thing is that you can play with the ingredients so that you have what you like.  Tonight I did some with strips of cucumber and shredded salmon skin which had been dry-fried on both sides until crispy; and some with spring onions, runner beans and mushrooms sliced finely and stir-fried with garlic and galangal.

Sushi is best eaten on the day it’s made, but I made this batch for my lunch tomorrow and Thursday.  I’ve managed to keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days; the veg ones keep better than the fish.  Of course, there are lots of different types of sushi – here I’ve just made simple Futomaki, but I’ve done Nigiri, Inside-Out Rolls and the incredibly beautiful Shikai-Maki before.  I’ve also made pickled ginger before, but it’s sitting in the fridge at my parents’ house 🙂

Much love

Gemma xx

Sushi (makes 3-4 rolls of around 6 pieces each)

200g sushi rice
250ml cold water
Couple tablespoons rice vinegar (although I used cider vinegar to no detriment)
1 dessertspoon sugar.  If you’re worried about the look of your sushi, use white sugar!  I used brown so mine’s a slightly funny colour…
1 tsp salt
3-4 sheets nori (roasted seaweed for sushi)
Your favourite filling
Soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger to serve

My not-so-beautiful sushi sitting in my beautiful lunchbox to take to school tomorrow. Wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce at the ready in the little pot in the corner. I’m so cool!

  1. Rinse the rice well in running water until the water runs clear.  Soak the rice in a pan with a lid with the cold water for 10 minutes.
  2. Bring the rice and cold water to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Cook for 10 minutes.  DO NOT LIFT THE LID OF THE PAN! Turn the heat up to full for a few seconds and switch it off.
  3. Remove the lid, place a clean teatowel over the rice and replace the lid.  Leave the rice to steam for around 20 minutes.
  4. Spread the rice onto a wide board.  Dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar and sprinkle over the rice.  Using a spatula, turn the rice over and over to fully coat in the vinegar mix and cool the rice.
  5. Lay down a piece of nori.  It is easiest if you have a bamboo sushi rolling mat, but a clean teatowel works too.  Spread some of the rice over the bottom of the nori.  I find this is easiest with my hands.  Have some vinegar ready in a bowl, as it helps to stop the rice from sticking to your hands.  Try and spread it thinly – I managed to clump it all up to one side, so my fillings are all on the skew.
  6. Add your filling on top.  Gently bring the bottom of the nori over the rice and filling by lifting the mat or teatowel.  Roll the nori over, pressing together as you do so.  Wet the top edge of the nori with vinegar and roll up completely, pressing together well.

    Stir-fried veg, all rolled up

    Crispy salmon skin and cucumber

  7. Very carefully wet the blade of a sharp knife with vinegar.  Trim the ends from the roll, then cut into small pieces.  I’m sure I read somewhere that it’s supposed to be cut into 6, but I don’t remember where I read it or why that’s the case.
  8. Serve with wasabi mixed with soy sauce, and a slice of pickled ginger between pieces to cleanse your palate.  Yummy!

Buttered Muslin Roast Turkey Leg, with bonus leftovers recipe

Good evening

A Man came home from his sojourn tonight.  I decided that I ought to get tea ready for when he got back, and decided that a roast would be a nice welcome home.  We bought a turkey leg the other day; a joint which is cheap at the best of times at about £2.50 per kilo, but this one was short date and even cheaper at half price.  I’m not a massive fan of turkey, but it’s perfectly acceptable as long as it’s the dark meat.

I’d heard of this method of  cooking turkey which involved draping a buttered muslin over the meat to keep it moist.  Granted, this is more to prevent drying out of the breast, but I figured that as I had made butter recently and had stuck the soaked muslin in the freezer for such an occasion, I would give it a go.  If (like most of the country!) you don’t regularly make butter, you can instead melt some butter and soak the muslin in that.  It was really easy and did make for a very tasty dinner, with the advantage of some tasty leftovers too!  A great advantage of cooking the meat this way is that it guarantees the herbs stay on the skin.

Love love

Gemma xx

Buttered Muslin Roast Turkey Leg

Whole turkey leg
1 square of muslin soaked in butter
Dried herbs (I used rosemary, sage and thyme)
Onion granules
Salt and pepper

One turkey leg wrapped up all snugly before being thrown in the direction of the oven.

  1. Preheat the oven to medium-hot.
  2. Lay the muslin out flat and fold a couple of times until it is the required size.  Sprinkle well with herbs, followed by onion granules, salt and pepper.  Lay the turkey on top and wrap around, tucking in the muslin where necessary.
  3. Cook in the preheated oven for one – 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the turkey leg.  If desired, remove the muslin during the last 20 minutes of cooking.  Serve with roast potatoes, your favourite veg and gravy.
  4. With the leftover meat, I just cut it into chunky pieces and threw it in the slow cooker with some onion, tinned tomatoes and a good dollop of laksa curry paste.  Cook on low for around 4 hours and serve with naan bread.  It was really really simple and really really good!  I also made some great stock with the bone and a chicken carcass which was sitting in the freezer.

Very easy and delicious turkey curry with garlic and coriander naan bread.