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.