Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Some new saucepans

I've treated myself - with the help of my brithday present from GB.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Baked Apple and Custard

Soft brown sugar
Mixed Spice

(Ready made custard)


I haven't mentioned quantities in the ingredients because I have this annoying habit of not measuring things! Also - it depends how many apples you want to do! I used about a pound and a half of apples for this.

Peel the apples and slice fairly thinly.

In a frying pan gently heat 4oz butter, a couple of tablespoons of soft brown sugar, and add a generous pinch of cionnamon, the same of mixed spice and grate in about a third of a teaspoon of nutmeg.

Add the apples and a handful of sultanas and cook over a gentle heat for about seven or eight minutes, stirring to ensure all the apples are covered with the liquid.

Pour into an oven dish and bake in a moderate oven for 35 minutes.

Serve straight away and add swirls of cold custard.

If preferred you can heat the custard but I like the mixture of hot and cold in this dish.)

Any left-over can be kept in the fridge and had another day.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Nutty Flapjacks


4oz Margarine;
4 fl.oz Clear Honey;
3oz Muscavado Sugar;
8oz Rolled Oats;
2oz Walnuts (chopped).


Melt the margarine, honey and sugar in a pan. Stir in the oats and walnuts and mix thoroughly. Put in a greased 7" x 11 " shallow tin and smooth the top with a pallette knife.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool in the tin for two minutes and then cut into fingers. Cool completely before removing from the tin. Makes about 20.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Kitchen Hints

Stuck paper - Paper that is stuck to wood can be removed by moistening it with baby oil After a few minutes it will peel away easily. The sticky residue left by those awful labels on new items can be removed by a patent ‘sticky stuff remover’ like this one available from Lakeland.

Burnt stew - If food burns in the pan never stir it up -tip it into a new saucepan leaving thc burnt bits at the bottom. Add more liquid if necessary and if it still tastes burnt add some more seasoning - pepper, chilli powder or Worcester sauce.

Burnt Saucepans - Put a tablespoon of washing powder into the pan, fill up to the burn mark with warm water and leave to stand for an hour. Wash in warm soapy water - pan will be as good as new.

Frying - Heat the pan gently before adding butter or oil - this reduces the chances of the food sticking. Sprinkle a little salt in the pan to slop spitting. Add a spoonful of oil if cooking in butter to stop the butter burning.

Beans and Pulses - When cooking dried beans and pulses do not add salt until the last minute as it toughens them.

Cabbage - A piece of bread or a dash of lemon juice added to the cooking water will cut down the smell of boiling cabbage. If you boil the water before adding the cabbage and cook for only ten minutes it won't go soggy.

Carrots - To improve tinned carrots - sauté them for a minute or two in l oz butter with a pinch of sugar, a squeeze of lemon, a dash of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

Celery - To crisp celery stand the stalks in iced water for half an hour before serving

Lettuce - When making a salad always tear the lettuce - cutting with a knife will make it go brown.

Salad Servers - Wooden salad servers are better than metal because they don't bruise the leaves.

Cheese Sauce - Make a cheese sauce more interesting by adding a sprinkling of dry mustard, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a dash of lemon juice.

Cider - When cooking with cider (and it makes an excellent base for a stew) use an enameled or porcelain-lined pan because an iron or tin one will turn the cider black.

Mustard - If you ever mix your own mustard do so with cold water and leave it at least ten minutes before serving to allow the flavour to develop.

Onion Stems - If you grow your own onions or spring onions, you can use the stems like chives for flavouring soups and stews.

Parsley Butter - Chop three tablespoons of fresh parsley very finely. Rinse a mixing bowl with hot water and. using a fork, work the parsley into 4 oz (l25 gms) of butter and a few drops of lemon juice. Chill until firm and serve with hot vegetables or fish.

Parsley - As an alternative to chopping it you can keep it in the freezer and then when you want it you can just crumble it into bits,

Sugar - One ounce (loz) of white sugar is a level tablespoon full.

Flour - One ounce (loz) of flour is a heaped tablespoon full.

Steaming – If you steam anything (like puddings or vegetables) put a marble in the pan - it will rattle and warn you if the pan boils dry.

Smelly Hands - If you get something on your hands that makes them smell and won't just wash off - such as fish - rub some dry mustard powder on them and then rinse off under warm water.

More fishy stuff - Wash utensils in cold water after using them for fish, especially smoked fish - it gets rid of the smell.

Egg Whites - Rub the cut side of a lemon half around the inside of the mixing bowl before cracking in egg whites and when you whisk them you'll get a much better volume - the acid stabilizes the foam. Ideal for meringue mixtures.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Satsuma Beef

Preparation Time – about 15 minutes plus 30 minutes marinading; cooking time 15 minutes. Serves 2 to 3.

1 piece of rump steak - about 12 oz (375g)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 shallots, cut lengthways into chunks
7 fl oz (200ml) water
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons red wine, sake, or dry sherry
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1-2 tablespoons sugar
3 satsumas, peeled and segmented (or mineolas if satsuams not available)
1 bunch coriander, chopped, to garnish

for the marinade –
grated rind of 1 orange
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon sugar


Slice the beef into thin strips against the grain. Put the strips in a ceramic dish. Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour over the beef, stirring to coat thoroughly. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat a wok or heavy frying pan. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, swirl ir around the wok, add half the beef and stir-fry over a high heat for 3 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate using a slotted spoon. Add another tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the remaining beef ion the same way. Transfer to the plate.

Heat the remaining oil in the wok, then add the shallots, water, soy sauce, wine / sake / sherry. Sprinkle in the chilli and sugar and season to taste. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced.

Return the beef to the pan and toss vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes until all the ingredients are combined and coated with sauce. add about two-thirds of the satsuma segments and toss quickly to mix.

Serve hot, garnished with the remaining satsuma segments and the coriander.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Cauliflower Cheese and Bean Bake

A vegetarian dish from TV chef Brian Turner.
Serves: 6
Preperation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes

• 1 x 500g/ 1 lb 1½ oz cauliflower
• 40g/ 1½ oz butter
• 40g/ 1½ oz flour
• 250ml/ 9 fl oz double cream
• 125ml/ 4 ½ fl oz Milk
• 175g/ 6 fl oz Lancashire cheese
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 1 dash of tabasco sauce
• Salt and pepper
• 40g/ 1 ½ oz Parmesan cheese, grated *see my footnote
• 1 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1 x tin of tomatoes
• 1 x tin of cannellini beans
• 1 x tin of chickpeas
• Sprigs of parsley to garnish

• Sweat the onion and garlic until softened.
• Pour in the tinned tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
• Add the cannellini beans and the chickpeas and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
• Pour into a greased pie dish.
• Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Cut the cauliflower into even-sized florets and plunge in the boiling water. Cook until just tender before draining in a colander and reserving about 125ml of cooking liquid.
• Melt the butter in a medium saucepan set over a low heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring all the time, for about 2 minutes. The flour should take on a slightly toasted aroma. Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas 4.
• Pour in the cream and bring the sauce to the boil, whisking out any lumps as it heats. Add the milk, whisk once more to combine, and remove from the heat.
• Add the Tabasco sauce, mustard and seasoning, followed by the cheese. If sauce is too thick add 2 tbsp of the cooking liquid from the cauliflower.
• Arrange the cooked florets in a dish, heaping them up into a dome. Gently pour the sauce over, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
• Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cauliflower has heated through and the cheese topping has melted and browned.
• Garnish with a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley.

* Parmesan - I dislike Parmesand and consequently use some other hard cheese to top it or perhaps a bit of Red Leicester or Cheddar. If using Parmesan always use fresh Parmesan and grate it yourself - it is less obnoxious than the pre-grated stuff you can buy in a tub. That smells and tastes like baby-sick!

Monday, 6 June 2011


I'm making an attempt to resurrect my blogs.  I don't have a recipe to hand but I do have some advice - courtesy of Norton Priory:-