Monday, 8 October 2007

Little Foodies Britain

Loving Britain!! We spent the weekend painting the kitchen diner and talking English (chortle chortle)!! Do you call it kitchen/dining room or kitchen diner? Whatever, it certainly needed it. We've lived with it for nearly 2 years now, bits of new plaster, bits of ancient wallpaper, bits of old plaster, bits of tiles - all such a mess. The walls could have done with being re-plastered before we did it but still the fact it's now all one colour is great, the difference is staggering! I'll post pics another day. We said a fond farewell to the ghost which I drew on the wall last Halloween, using an area where we'd torn some of the ancient wallpaper off, at least 20 million layers, that's to say it felt like 20 million layers. So I'm now writing from a very white, bright kitchen, though we didn't get to the ceiling, that's still bare plaster. Tomorrow, or maybe next week, or next year? I've come over all Spanish!

Food.... We've had a lovely Melton Mowbray Pork Pie. At least, I enjoyed it, it was a little too peppery for the children! Bought I'm afraid, I don't think I could make a Melton Mowbray pork pie that tastes as good as a decent bought one. Not something to be eaten everyday - I could feel my arteries hardening with each mouthful!

Creamy Broccoli and Stilton Soup
One medium size Broccoli head, washed and cut into pieces
4oz/100g Stilton, crumbled
One small onion, peeled and finely chopped
One medium size potato, peeled and cut into very small rough cubes
1 pint Hot Chicken Stock
Half pint of Milk
1 Small tub of cream
1 tablespoon of oil

Gently fry the onions and potato for a few minutes, add the broccoli and chicken stock and bring to boil for a couple of minutes. Add the crumbled stilton and milk, bring back to boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Blitz with a stick blender, add the cream, let it heat through for a minute, then serve. We mostly like our soup to be quite thick so you may want to add some more stock or milk.

Note: We used Cropwell Bishop Creamery - Blue Stilton, which was also delicious with some crackers.

Chicken Casserole and Horseradish Dumplings (Serves 4 easily)
This was on the table in 45 minutes, which for a hearty and warming meal from scratch was great!

6 chicken thighs (cut into 2 cm pieces)
1 large onion (peeled and finely chopped)
4 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
4 carrots (peeled and cubed)
3 parsnips (peeled and cubed)
1 pint Chicken Stock
Half of bottle of white wine (because I had some left over from the girlie night!)

Gently sweat the onions then add the chicken to brown. Add the rest of the veg and the white wine, bring to the boil, then add hot chicken stock, simmer gently while you prepare the dumplings.

For the dumplings
50g/2 oz Atora vegetable suet
100g/4 oz Self Raising Flour
2 teaspoons of creamed horseradish
5 tablespoons of water
salt and pepper to season

Add the flour and suet to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix the water with the horseradish sauce and then add to the suet and self raising flour - mix. It should all come together to form a pliable dough. Divide and shape into 8 balls. Check there is plenty of liquid still in the casserole (if not add a little more water), then place the dumplings on the top of the bubbling casserole and cover with a tightly fitting lid. Cook for 20 minutes, serve immediately.

Rhubarb and Apple Crumble (Could serve a small army, well, not quite!!)

You could make this in one very large ovenproof dish or divide it between 3 or 4. Eat one and freeze the rest, which is what we did. You can also have more fruit than crumble or vice versa. It's up to you.

350g Rhubarb (about 6 stalks) Washed and chopped into 1cm pieces
750g Cooking Apples (About 6 large apples) Peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
2 Cups Apple Juice
100g soft light brown sugar (I use whatever we have)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

For the crumble mix (I did this with the scales on grams, e-mail me if you want me to convert it)
300g Plain Flour
150g Unsalted Butter, cubed
150g Sugar (we use whatever we have in the house)
Pinch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 5
Crumble - Rub the butter and flour together until it becomes like fine breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and cinnamon and mix well, without it sticking together.
Layer the fruit in an ovenproof bowl. Mix the 100g brown sugar with the teaspoon of cinammon and then sprinkle over the fruit. Pour over the apple juice. Then sprinkle on the crumble. Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 35-40 minutes.

Mmmmm, delicious with double cream!

I also made some really good lemon drizzle cupcakes which I'll post about during the week. They were possibly the best lemon drizzle cakes I've ever eaten which is saying something as I used to be quite partial to Marks and Spencers lemon drizzle cake!


Kelly-Jane said...

Lovely British food :) There is something about a crumble that is so homey and comforting, yum! My Hubby's favourite pudding.

tash said...

Hurrah - someone who's holding the banner for British food, it's had such a battering it deserves perking up. I love rhubarb, it's an addictive thing, especially piled high with cream in a fool - delish! I've got quite a few eggs to use up, I'm thinking quiche... hmmm.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Yummy - the crumble sounds fabulous!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Atora vegetable suet - love it when I read a blog and don't know what something is and then there is google!
Amanda I think I would be wild for these dumplings! and so would my husband.

Aimée said...

Oh, it all sounds so good Amanda! Love rhubarb and your crumble looks like ideal comfort food.

Kelly Mahoney said...

Looks delicious! I was in England in high school and loved the food.

KJ said...

Hooray for the crumble!!! Yummy comfort food. It doesn't get much better. Yours looks delicious.

Joanna said...

Great stuff ... why do we have such an inferiority complex about such great food?


Big Boys Oven said...

OMG! such lovely dishes, so warm and so inviting!

Truffle said...

What wonderful treats. That stilton soup sounds deliciously rich and I love pork pies. The crumble looks fabulous too and oh that casserole! I'll have seconds of everything!

Baking Soda said...

Love to read all this, I was never one for pudding but since I discovered the crumbles/betty's/ cobblers...I've gained 10 pounds, eeh I join in the after dinner feast I mean. Hmm rhubarb!

Cynthia said...

You've been busy in the kitchen I see. My best friend loves pork pies but like you said, not to have everyday.

I could do with some of that chicken casserole right now.

Valli said...

Simply the best!! Rbubarb & apples!!!

Deborah said...

What a meal! It looks delicious!

Pat said...

Amanda, you have my tummy growling with hunger now!!!! That all looks soooo yummy and comfy especially on a day like today,rainy and cold.

Margaret said...

I'm a Melton Mowbray girl - born and bred! No longer live there though. Glad the pork pie said Melton Mowbray - was it Dickinson & Morris by any chance. I only like the pastry!!
Melton Mowbray is also Stilton cheese country - for me though it has to be Colston Bassett from Nottinghamshire, otherwise I won't eat it. Lovely postings.

Angel said...

Wow everything looks so tasty.
I didn't even have an inkling of what would be considered "British food." I remember a British friend giving me apples and cheese (which I thought very strange but turned out tasty) and something called bubble and squeak I think. The cobbler looks delectable I will definitely have to try out the recipe.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Kelly-Jane, your hubby's got good taste.

Hi Tash, what sort of quiche?

Hi CC, it was very good!

Hi Tanna, Atora vegetable suet, it's just ever so slightly less fattening than the original stuff... I love google too!

Hi Aimee, the rhubarb is so good this year too.

Hi Kelly, pleased you loved the food.

Hi KJ, definitely comfort food. Not too great for the scales!

Hi Joanna, I wish I knew the answer to that. It's mad as we really do have a huge plethora of great recipes.

Hi Big Boys Oven, thank you and thanks for visiting.

Hi Truffle, you're welcome any time!

Hi Karen, you do make me giggle!

Hi Cynthia, I wish I'd had the chicken casserole tonight instead of what I did cook! Revolting! I've had to eat a ton of chocolate to take the taste away! :)

Hi Valli, agreed, it is such a good combo!

Hi Deborah, we didn't eat it all in one meal but thinking about it, it would have made a great 3 course meal. Maybe a little stodge heavy but still good.

Hi Pat, wasn't it just revolting today! I got absolutely soaked several times.

Hi Margaret, I love the pastry too. It was a Waitrose Melton Mowbray pork pie. I don't think I've tried a Dickinson and Morris one.

Hi Angel, I'm not too keen on cheese and apple but know lots of poeople who love it. There was a craze for a while for brie and grape sandwiches. I never really got that either.

Thank you all for your comments.
Amanda x

Marie said...

Great recipes and pictures! You have been a busy gal!!! You can't beat good old British food in my opinion. I love it!

Gemma said...

That all looks delicious, you're definitely showing off the best of Britain!

Cottage Smallholder said...

Those horseradish dumplings sound wonderful and the soup looks yummy too.

I like British food particularly all the wintery dishes. We use Gary Rhodes "New British Classics" a lot for inspiration.

Roz said...

Amanda Hi, so many comments, and you are sooo good at replying each one. How do you do it! I was thinking of you the other day, as I was in the kitchen with my 2 and a half year old. I'd told myself that I'll involve him more when I cook at home. Normally we do the rice crispes cakes/fairy cakes stuff etc, but I wanted to be a bit more ambitious. I started to regret my decision shortly after he tried squeezing tomatoes down the kitchen sink plug! Rhuberb/Apple crumble with DOUBLE cream, Lemon drizzle cake....yum yum yum!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Marie, it's good to hear that from someone originally from across the pond!

Hi Gemma, thank you!

Hi Fiona, I thought of it just at the last minute when I was making them. They were really good, subtle but you could definitely detect the horseradish.

Hi Roz, How do I do it? Ignore the housework! Shh! Don't tell my husband. Actually I think he guessed that one already. Hope all is well in your new home.

Thank you for your comments.
Amanda x


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