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Cheese-chilli bread to die for

3 Oct

This was an experiment due to an excess of cheese in the fridge, mostly.

Cheese, chillli, garlic, bread, crusty,

A golden slab of cheese and chilli bread – a successful experiment

I didn’t measure anything, so if you need precise quantities, I’m sorry… Bad blogger. But the ‘recipe’ is marvellously flexible and forgiving, so even if you’re a precision chef, give this a whirl.

I started with cheese – about 300g of mixed cheese lurking in my fridge – a feta-like salty number, and rich creamy cheddary type (but choose your cheese – a salty one means you don’t have to add extra salt) chopped into smallish but uneven chunks (it will melt in the oven).

About 300g of general-purpose white flour – I added another couple of shakes once the first lot was mixed, because the dry mix seemed to call for more flour.

Two green chillis – one was bland, one turned out to be quite hot – chopped small. A couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary and some thyme; three cloves of garlic, crushed; two heaped tablespoons of sour cream (greek yoghurt would be fine), a bit of salt, a good grinding of black pepper. Add it all to the cheese and flour mixture and stir; whisk two eggs and add them to the mix, then pour in a slosh of milk and stir thoroughly, adding milk gradually till it’s a nice sticky heap – not runny, but not stiff. Malleable but not pourable. At the last minute add a 10g packet (two level teaspoons) of baking powder and mix in thoroughly.

Line a tin of your choice with grease-proof (baking) paper, and pour in the mixture. Stuff into the oven on a medium heat and check after 50 mins – if it’s tanned and firm to the touch, it’s ready.

Eat while warm, or if you’re patient, let it cool. Great with soup, salad, or a treat on its own.

Try not to sneak down to the kitchen at midnight to scoff the lot.



The great chicken plan

10 Jul
English: Chicken and rabbit meat pie

Ah, yes, and chicken pie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s cunning. It’s cheap, easy, delicious and cheap. Did I mention easy? This is my once-a-week thing.

Step 1 – acquire chicken.

Step 2 – put chicken in big pot and fill with water.

Step 3 – bring to boil then simmer for 2 hours on low-ish heat.

Step 3 – let it cool in the pot

Step 4 – when cool, take most of meat off bones for humans and put in fridge

Step 5 – take all the rest of the meat, gristle, skin, unidentifiable brown bits from inside, put in another container in fridge.

Step 6 – put bones, now reduced to small heap, in third container, in fridge.

Step 7 – pour delicious rich stock into container and put in fridge.

Now you have:

a) tender meat for making into risotto, pasta sauce, pate, potted chicken, sandwiches, salads, stir fries, fricassee, etc.

b) stock for soup, risotto, etc

c) bits of meat that you would discard that your pets will eat with enormous pleasure

d) heap of soft bones for stray dogs or foxes – or if none of those hungry creatures are local to you, for the dustbin.

Result: every day I have soup for lunch, made from the chicken stock, a little seasoning, any leftover rice, barley, pasta, potato, white sauce, cream cheese etc that’s in the fridge, and a bit of fresh or leftover veg. Cram in small saucepan, heat through till everything’s yummy, and eat.

I also have the makings of creamy chicken risotto, quick sandwiches, salad of chicken bits, leaves, cucumber, celery, fresh herbs, with olive oil and fresh lime juice dressing; there’s my delish coronation slaw, too (more later).

Cats are veryvery happy with their bits, and hungry dogs get the bones – soft enough not to splinter and choke them.

Everyone wins (except the chicken).

Scarlet soup

16 May

The family was coming to my house for Christmas for a change. I love planning food for parties and guests, and had dreamed up an irresistibly delicious menu for Christmas Day. My mother’s menu never varied for 35 years, and as she was a great cook, it was always a treat, but now I was in charge of the kitchen, I wanted to find at least one variation. A starter was in itself a family innovation, but I wanted something simple to make and simple to eat. The rest of the Christmas lunch was going to be rich and indulgent, and mostly brown; so I wanted something pretty, fresh and tangy, and something that took only minutes to make.

Soup was the answer, and what I produced for them went down with inarticulate cries of delight, every scarlet atom scraped from the bowls in record time. What had I concocted? Lobster bisque? Moroccan rose petal broth? Hardly. It was cheapest, quickest, simplest soup possible, which works as a dinner party starter or a summer lunch

Here’s the recipe, if you can call it that. Ten minutes from tin to table. This makes a good amount for a light lunch – serve with crusty bread, and if you’re hungry, a chunky green salad to follow.

1 tin of tomatoes per person

juice of half a lemon per person

pinch of salt

freshly ground black pepper and a leaf or two of fresh basil to serve

Empty tins into saucepan; heat the tomatoes gently until steaming but not boiling. Squeeze the lemon juice into the pan, and whizz the soup with a hand blender till the tomatoes are lump-free.

Pour into bowls, drop a basil leaf in the middle and grind a good screw of black pepper over the top. Serve immediately with warm crusty bread.

Watch it vanish.