Monthly Archives: January 2013

Look! It’s been snowing.

Hello there.

As you will undoubtedly be aware, it’s been snowing.  You get many many bonus points if you can tell me where the innocuous phrase in the title came from.

I had to work from home yesterday, as my trains were cancelled, and A Man also worked from the Warminster office as riding 50 miles on a motorbike with snow on its tyres would not have been an especially sensible idea.  This meant we were able to meet up for a lunchtime walk, and take some pretty photos of the park.

Let it Snow

I love this man’s olde-worlde sledge!

WARNING – THIS POST IS ABOUT TO GET CHRISTMASSY 3 AND A HALF WEEKS TOO LATE

Thanks to Charles Dickens, snow in the UK is commonly associated with Christmas, despite it actually hardly ever happening.  The fact of it being snowy outside led me to make a somewhat rash decision.  Bring out the Christmas pudding!

By all rights it should have been flamed, but I was a little too tipsy to be trusted with a ladle full of rum and a match.

By all rights it should have been flamed, but I was a little too tipsy to be trusted with a ladle full of rum and a match.

I made 2 Christmas puds this year in November, both 2 pints and one with a silver sixpence in.  The first we took to our friends’ house for our annual Christmas dinner and as I had no idea which pud had the sixpence, there was no question of microwaving to warm it up (not to mention, it always tastes better when steamed).  Unfortunately, a combination of drunkenness, a too-small pan, boiling dry and stupidity, the plastic pudding basin melted.  The pud was luckily salvageable and very tasty but didn’t even have the sixpence so I knew it was in the one at home.

The sixpence is hiding right in the middle of the wedge, so at least we know where it is now!

The sixpence is hiding right in the middle of the wedge, so at least we know where it is now!

As we were visiting family over Christmas we never got the opportunity to have the second pudding.  I decided that, to be safe, I would reheat the pud in the same way I cooked them: wrapped in a muslin, and steamed in the slow cooker sitting on a saucepan.  It worked really well and the pudding was surprisingly light.

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The recipe was more or less the same as last year’s, but I used the following fruit instead:

4 oz Dried figs
3 oz Prunes
5 oz Apricots
6 oz Currants
1 lb Sultanas

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After last year’s embarrassingly alcoholic pudding, I recorded how much rum I fed the puddings: 1 capful once a week for 5 weeks.  A little more wouldn’t have hurt, but the amount used was pretty good.

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Christmas pudding served with its perfect accompaniment of lots of clotted cream.

I’ve also still got the Christmas cake in the cupboard, without marzipan or icing, again because we didn’t really have an opportunity to eat it.  I’ll save it for another post, but I’m seriously considering keeping it in the cupboard until next year, and having a 13-month matured cake – that’s got to be good, right?!

If you’ve read this far congratulations.  Have a mince pie (yup, I’ve been cooking those too!).

Much love

Gemma x

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Fusilli con Pollo

Evening

I’ve been experimenting again!  Again using my gorgeous new casserole.  I’m not entirely sure where this idea came from beyond the thought process of: these are the things I have in the fridge; I haven’t had pasta for a few days; let’s try that.  It worked out really well, and I made just enough to have leftovers for a yummy pasta salad for my lunch later in the week.  Win!

I’ve not gone crazy with the photos tonight.  Lucky you!

Love love

Gemma xx

Fusilli con Pollo

1 chicken leg per person
Olive oil
Red onion
2 cloves garlic
Mushrooms
Yellow pepper
Cavolo Nero
Fresh tomatoes
Small amount of Chicken stock (I used a few home-made concentrated stock cubes which I had frozen in an ice cube tray)
Half a lemon
Fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
Teaspoon of sugar
Fusilli

  1. Procure some chicken legs.  Ours came from the whole chicken A Man attacked with his cleaver the other day.
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  2. Heat the oil in a pan.  Brown the chicken legs and remove from the pan.  Turn the heat down to low.
  3. Dice the onion and finely chop the garlic.  Fry for a few minutes.  Slice the mushrooms, pepper and cavolo nero stalks and add to the pan.  Chop the cavolo nero leaves and set aside.  Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan with the cavolo nero leaves.  Add the stock and lemon juice and stir well.  Make wells for the chicken legs and replace in the pan.  Cover the pan and cook for at least half an hour or until the chicken is cooked.
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  5. Cook the pasta until it is al dente.  Drain and set aside.
  6. Remove the chicken  from the pan, stir through some fennel seeds, salt and pepper and a teaspoon of sugar.  Add the pasta and stir well.  Replace the chicken in the pan and cover until required.

 

Chorizo Stew

Oh hi there!

Happy new year.  Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.  Ours was fab and I’ve created an experimental dish to use my favourite present – a beautiful teal coloured cast iron casserole dish given to us by my parents.  It’s bloody heavy but that metal helps to distribute the heat evenly across the dish.  The enamelled surface is great because you get a crust of deliciousness which can be easily scraped up into the sauce thanks to how non-stick it is.  The lid condenses all of the steam back into the sauce, and it’s virtually silent when it’s boiling.  And thanks to how pretty it is, you can feel proud to take it to the dinner table. 🙂  In short I adore it!

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A Man’s dad gave us a mandolin which has already been used to make coleslaw and to slice a gammon joint.  I foresee a dauphinoise or gratin in my future…

I also bought A Man a new knife – a rather dangerous looking beast of a cleaver.  We’ve agreed that I’m banned from using it, because given the ease with which it cuts through an entire chicken I’d be quite likely to go straight through my finger.

The sword and shield of the kitchen!  A Man's  chopper and the lid of the casserole.

The sword and shield of the kitchen! A Man’s chopper and the lid of the casserole.

My other kitchen-related present was a trio of teapots.  I’ve got a feeling that I’ve become a bit predictable…

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That’s a glass teapot for fruity teas, a Le Creuset teapot for posh teas and an “It’s always Time for Tea” teapot because, well, it’s true.

The stew I made with some little sausages made with garlic and paprika.  They were from Morrisons and I would thoroughly recommend them – they were yummy!  I was really pleased with this meal and the only thing I would change would be to add some spice (I dropped some of my chilli jelly into the leftovers for next time we eat it).

Much love

Gemma xx

Chorizo Stew

Olive oil
Red onion
Garlic cloves
Chilli (optional)
Fresh tomatoes
Fresh parsley
Green pepper
Cavolo nero
Chorizo sausages
White wine
Brown rice to serve

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  1. Heat a good splash of olive oil in a wide pan.  Dice the onion, crush the garlic and chop the chilli finely if using.  Fry gently in the oil.


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    This photo’s out of sequence because I didn’t go snap-happy until slightly too late. Deal with it!

  2. Dice the pepper and add to the pan.  Finely chop the stalks of the parsley and cavolo nero and stir in.  Chop the tomatoes and leaves of the parsley and cavolo nero to add later.
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  3. Brown the sausages with the onion.  Cook for several minutes.
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  4. Add the cavolo nero leaves and cook for a couple of minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and a small glass of white wine.  Cover the dish and leave to simmer for 30 – 45 minutes.

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    Action shot!

  5. Taste the sauce and season as necessary.  Cook the rice.  Remove the lid and allow the sauce to reduce slightly.  Add the parsley just before serving.

    Open wide!

    Open wide!