Chicken Potatoes & Rosemary

Chicken Pot Roast

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chicken Pot Roast for 2

A dreich weekend, a head cold to boot and looking after our nephews called for a simple bang in the oven treat. Chicken was the staple of my youth, but there was not a herb in site let alone garlic, just bisto! 

Credit: Granny’s Recipe File

Prep: You’ll need a large bowl for tossing the ingredients together and a lidded roasting dish.  The recipe will scale easily, so chose an appropriate roasting dish. This is perfect for 2 in a small le Creuset

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Thighs
  • 3 medium roasting potatoes cut into chunks
  • 100g Bacon Pieces/diced streaky
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 Onion Quartered and then chopped again
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary, or few sprigs of thyme
  • Olive Oil
  • Juice of a Lemon
  • 2 tbsp Crème Fraiche

The recipe card recommends serving with a green salad, or braised cabbage like I did.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c
  2. In a large bowl, mix/turn over the potatoes with
    • Chopped onions
    • Diced bacon
    • Finely sliced garlic
    • Finely chopped rosemary or thyme
    • Good glug of olive oil
  3. Once everything coated with the oil tip into the casserole dish
  4. Place the chicken pieces on top, brush with a little oil if you want the skin to colour
  5. Place in the oven with the lid on for 40 mins
  6. After this make a judgement call,
    1. I took the lid off and placed back in the oven to colour the skin
    2. Could have taken the chicken out and roasted separately if the veg was well on its way.
  7. Take the chicken out and place on a plate
  8. Add the lemon juice and the crème fraiche to the potatoes and turn over

 

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Beef Curry – Granny’s Way

Beef Curry Granny Style

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Slow cook Beef curry, with apple and raisins

Sunday and a blue sky chilly day, a chance to walk with the sun in our faces.  We made it over the top of Blackford Hill and along the Hermitage to the Lodge for a cheeky scone.  At the back of my mind the desire to try Granny’s curry which would definitely fit the bill of a warming wintry slow cook allowing us to get on with watching a Boys film from the recorded Christmas TV.  

Credit: Granny’s Recipe File

Prep:  Large casserole dish hob and oven friendly

Oven: 180°c or 350°f

Ingredients

      • 650g Stewing Beef diced
      • Rapeseed/Olive Oil
      • 2 large onions diced
      • 1 cooking apple, peeled and chopped
      • 1 tbsp curry powder
      • 25g plain flour
      • 1 (400g) tin of chopped tomatoes
      • 500ml Water
      • 1 tbsp chutney
      • 50g sultanas or raisins
      • Juice of a lemon

Directions

      1. Heat a glug of olive oil in the casserole dish on a high heat
      2. Sear 1/2 or 1/3 of the beef until brown on each side
      3. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place in bowl to add back in later
      4. Add another glug of oil if needed and repeat until all the beef is seared
      5. Once all the beef is seared, add another glug and soften the onion and apple
      6. Add the curry powder, stir through and cook for a minute or so
      7. Add the flour and again stir through and cook for a minute or so
      8. Add in the tomatoes and stir through
      9. Add the dried fruit, the beef with it’s juices, the lemon juice and the water, stirring through
      10. Then place in the centre of the oven for 2 hours

Post-Recipe Notes: Granny loved to add raisins to everything.  This a glossy, sweet and sour curry the apple disappears and there is a hidden back note to the dish.  Curry powder feels cheatsy, quick and easy to rustle this up before banging in the oven. 

Sweet Potatoe and Lentil Soup

#sweetpotatoes for the soup

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We recently came back from a weeks camping and on the route home we popped into the supermarket in order to pick up some staples for the working week a head.  Armed with zero recipes and preparation on my behalf the sweet potatoes called out to me.

This makes a nice hearty soup with left overs for the freezer for those mid week school nights.

Sweet Potatoe and Lentil Soup

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Large Onion
  • 250g red lentils
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes (400g tin size)
  • 2 tbsp bouillon
  • 1.2l boiling water
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled crushed/chopped
  • Glug of oil

Directions:

  1. Wash the lentils and then soak in 300 ml of water
  2. Dice the onion, and add to the oil in a pan, soften
  3. Add the garlic and stir in
  4. Stir in the Bouillon
  5. Pour in the boiling water, and then pour in the lentils with its soaked water
  6. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into rough bite sized pieces, add to the pan
  7. Add the tomatoes
  8. Bring to a simmer for 20 mins or so
  9. Choice here to make smooth or rustic, I used a Potatoe masher for rustic or you can use the hand blender for smooth.  The choice is yours!

Easy Like Sunday Morning Scones

4-2016-03-06 10.51.01

We decided to stay in and create our own coffee environment for Mother’s Day, a few options were presented from going to Dobbie’s Garden Centre with the masses or a walk to Morningside, instead we decided we would have a better time without the need for the hunt for that perfect scone coffee combo.

The eldest snuck out for the Sunday paper whilst I got the scones on the go.  We are in the process of trying to eat down  the various flours we’ve had on the go over a while so this was a perfect excuse to dabble if a bit risky to deviate from the prescribed recipe!

Essentially you need 500g of plain flour to make this a success, so feel free to just go plain!  Likewise with the liquid (you need 300ml of milk), I was trying to use some left over cream as well.

I was also given a few pointers before I was let loose

  • Be brief with the rubbing of the ingredients
  • Don’t over knead the dough
  • Be surgical with the cutter…..no wiggling!
  • Scones liked to be baked close together as if it makes them fight for the heat

Ingredients:

  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 200g 00 Flour
  • 100g Wholemeal Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate soda
  • 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 50g Butter, cold and cubed
  • 30g Trex, cold
  • 250ml milk
  • 50 ml single cream
  • Egg beaten for the egg wash

6-7cm crinkle cutter is needed along with a baking tray, we’ve taken to lining a roasting tin.

Pre-heat the oven to 220C, and prepare your chosen tray.

  1. In a large bowl sift the flours, bi-carb, cream of tartar together (if using wholemeal, just throw the husk back in).   The point of this is to get lots of air around the flour with the hope of getting fluffy scones!1-2016-03-06 10.19.59
  2. Add the salt and mix in, Add the cubed fat
  3. Rub the fat and the dry ingredients together to form bread crumbs.  If you have warm fingers a food processor is a saviour for this method and sticks to one of the guidance notes!  Really easy to pulse the fat and the flour together.
  4. If using the pulse method, pour the sand like mix back into the bowl
  5. Make a well and add the liquid all at once
  6. At this point, you can either get your hands stuck or use a spatula to get it under control.  Work quickly/briefly
  7. Turn out onto a floured surface, with a brief knead to form a dough.
  8. With a rolling pin, roll out to about 3cm
  9. Stamp out the scones, you’ll get anything between 11 and 15 scones depending on how thin/thick you rolled the dough, with a gather of the off cuts and a re-roll for the last few2-2016-03-06 10.26.03
  10. With a pastry brush, use the beaten egg to brush over the tops
  11. Put in the oven for 10-12 mins until golden3-2016-03-06 10.34.25 4-2016-03-06 10.51.01
  12. For that Mother’s Day twist, arrange in a nice bowl with a tea towel on top to keep warm….and don’t forget the coffee

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Roasted Squash, Bacon and Spinach Risotto

#squash #spinach #bacon #risotto

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Week 5 of the re-wire and at last the sparkies have finished.  They were a great couple of guys but the house has been turned up side down.  It feels like we’ve moved house and this time we don’t know where anything is.  Throughout though we’ve managed to keep the veggie box going and this week we were topically (Halloween) re-warded with a small squash.

When I saw it I knew immediately what I wanted to make and my mind sprung to getting my eldest in on the act, away from his screen with a lesson in the dark art of absorption.

Roasting a squash might feel like a faff.  Once in the oven though, you crack on with the risotto and the squash takes care of itself.

  • Small Squash
  • 225g Smoked Bacon, chopped into pieces
  • 300g Arborio rice
  • Onion diced
  • Garlic Clove, crushed
  • 1.2 Litre of stock (we used bouillon)
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Olive or Rapeseed Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Creme Fraiche
  • Spinach 200g or so

Peel the squash, half it and scoop out the seeds.   Dice both halves into good bite sized cubes.  Place on a roasting tray drizzle with some oil and place into the oven for 30 mins or so on 180°C.

Once your squash is in the oven, crack on with Risotto.

A good sized pan is needed for this as basically everything is going to end-up in it!

Fry the bacon in some oil, scoop out once cooked and put to one side, try to leave as much as the oil as possible.

Then soften the onion, crushed garlic in the oil on a gentle heat.  Add the spices at this point and cook for another minute.

Add the Arborio rice at this point.  I joke with my son here that the rice will start to talk to you when it’s ready for some liquid.

Add a ladle of stock.  Simmer and stir until absorbed and keep doing this until all the stock has gone.   The rice should be soft to the bite, you might need a little less liquid or a little more.  Use your judgement.  Stir in the creme fraiche and the bacon.  Add the spinach, this will wilt down which is a surprise in itself.

Finally fold in the roasted squash.

 

Autumn Term and a Warming Stew

Enjoying the colours!

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There is a definite change in the air, the turning of the colour on the leaves and the last few days has seen an omni present dewy dampness in the morning that is burnt off in the September sun.

This is one of my favourite times of the year from a cooks perspective.  The foodie will notice the change on the cover of magazines, long gone are the healthy salads ready to make you virtuous before the day is out ready to hit the beach in your skimpy speedos.  Now is the time to hit the comforting autumn bounty, the central heating is on after all.  With squashes and apple delights adorning the magazine racks.  To pick one up makes you feel comfortable just to the touch.

The weekend saw me caught between the headlights on so many fronts and trying to cope and keep the family nurished is a priority.  If you find yourself in this situation then putting something in a slow cooker is ideal with minimum stress.  This version completely disregards sealing the meat, a faff at the best of times!  Although I can hear a million voices cry out in anger…..I just didn’t have the time.

  • 2 medium sized onions diced
  • 1kg Stewing Lamb
  • 2 tins of pulses (Chefs choice, I use chick peas and canneloni)
  • 250g chopped mushrooms (I quarter them)
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprika (or a spice mix that gives a little warmth)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 50 grams red split lentils
  • 50 grams brown split lentils
  1. Soften the onions in a glug of olive oil
  2. Add the spice to the onions and stir in for a minute or so
  3. Put everything in the slow cooker at this point, except the split lentils
  4. High heat for a good 2 hours
  5. At this point give it a good stir and use your judgement.  Think about how you like your stew, I find a good hundred grams of lentils at this point is the ideal thing to both soak up and thinken the juices.
  6. I leave in the slow cooker for another hour or so on low heat in order to cook the lentils

This easily does the four of us two meals, great for freezing and good for a quick reheat mid week. Serve with potatoes or couscous. Or as a chunky soup with a big chunky slice of bread.

Butternut and Bacon Risotto

Butternut and Bacon Risotto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A comforting bowl of Risotto.

Autumn is a lovely time for cooking and a great excuse to bring-on the heart warming comfort food that make the shorter nights bearable. I’d planned on making a risotto for Sunday night tea, but purely bacon and mushroom. The squash was an after thought after I didn’t manage to use it in a soup, but what a discovery…..roasted and stirred into the risotto at the end creates the most amazing tasting sauce that’s thick and unctuous and just what you need to chase the cold nights away. Risotto is so versatile, once you have a basic recipe you can mould it to your needs.

Credit: EdinburghCook

You need a good sized pan that will take a litre of stock, mushrooms and rice and allows a good stir….on this occasion I chose a pot that was too small! I managed though!

Ingredients

      • 1 leek, chopped into small pieces
      • 1 clove of garlic
      • 6 rashers, good quality smoked bacon
      • Knob of butter
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • 300g Arborio(Risotto) Rice
      • 1 Glass of wine or sherry
      • 200g Chestnut Mushrooms, quartered
      • Optional – Butternut Squash, roasted see below
      • Optional – Butter Beans (Which I had left over from cooking too many – use tinned for ease)
      • 75-100g Gruyere or Parmesan grated
      • 1 litre of stock (I used Bouillon). Hot.

Directions

Roasted Squash

      1. Chop the squash in half and scoop out the seeds
      2. Rub a little olive oil on the flesh of each half
      3. Place on a roasting tray and into a hot oven (180c) for 40 mins
      4. Allow to cool and then you can scoop out the soft flesh
      5. I had quite a large squash so only used half for the above recipe and used the other half for soup.

Risotto

      1. Chop up the bacon into bite size pieces and fry the bacon in the olive oil until it starts to colour, decant the bacon onto a plate. Try to keep the juices in the pot.
      2. Add the butter and melt, stir in the leek and soften, crush the garlic and add to the leek.
      3. Add the rice and coat, in the leek, butter and garlic. The idea is to the heat the rice right through so that’s ready to start absorbing all the liquid we are going to throw at it
      4. Pour in the wine, and stir…this will be quickly absorbed
      5. Add a ladle of the stock, and stir until absorbed….repeat this until you have a little of the stock left……I find this process quite satisfying, and if you like a glass of wine whilst you cook….this is the perfect time!
      6. Add the mushrooms
      7. Stir in the butternut squash
      8. Stir in the butter beans if using
      9. Add the extra stock if you need it
      10. Add you bacon back in
      11. Stir in the cheese and serve