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Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

Well, after staying up till the small hours, following the election coverage, I’ve been shattered all day, yet, because I’m so nice, I’ve pushed myself to cook something tasty and then blog about it for you all. I’m generous like that. Yes, I’ll work myself into an early grave just so I can get another blog out. Such is my addiction to writing this blog!

I spent ages mooching around Preston today, looking in the market, at all the stalls, had a couple of oysters at one of the stalls, that was lovely. I gave in, went to the library to look through some cookbooks to try and inspire me, went out with no inspiration, and inspiration finally struck when I was stood at a greengrocers, next to a butchers. The two things I saw at the same time, leek and chicken. So it was decided, Chicken and Leek Pie should be my tea tonight!

I know people will complain, just like when I made the Cheese and Onion Pie, but I didn’t make the pastry from scratch. I’m far too tired to much about with all that effort. I just got shortcrust pastry mince from the weigh and save shop in Preston. Nice guy, but tried to get me to buy carrot cake mix. I know it’s kinda hypocritical from someone using instant pastry mix, but I’ll not buy instant cake mix to which I only have to add water. He said that if I made it, I would just have to invite a girl round for the carrot cake, and she’d be mine… so if any girls fancy some carrot cake, leave a comment! 😉

Chicken and Leek Pie

Ingredients :

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 pint of milk
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • bay leaf
  • sprigs of thyme
  • sprigs of marjoram
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 20g butter
  • 20g plain flour
  • shortcrust pastry (either home made, ready made, or instant pastry mix)
  • 1 egg

Method :

  1. Place the chicken thighs in a pan, with the onion, bay leaf, thyme, and marjoram. Cover with a pint of milk, and simmer for an hour on the lowest light possible (to avoid the milk catching) with a lid on.
  2. Whilst the chicken thighs are poaching, slice and sweat the leeks in a little oil and butter. Season with salt and lots of black pepper. Once sweated, drain from the oil and butter, and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Remove the chicken thighs from the poaching milk, and shred, discarding the skin.
  4. Strain the herbs and onion from the poaching milk into a jug, skim as much of the fat which will settle at the top as possible.
  5. Make a roux, by gently melting the butter, and then adding the flour, beating vigorously to cook out the flour.
  6. Gradually add the poaching milk to the roux, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Check for seasoning, chicken and leek go well with a good bit of black pepper. Add some more marjoram.
  7. Line a pie dish with the shortcrust pastry, and add the chicken and leek filling. Then pour over the white sauce.
  8. Add a pastry lid, slash so that the steam can escape.
  9. Whisk an egg , and then use to glaze the pastry.
  10. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes at 200 degrees celsius/gas mark 4.

I’m having mine with chips, if I was feeling less tired, I’d probably make some mash and serve it with some asparagus… infact, when I made the cheese and onion pie, I was tired then, too! Hmm, I keep doing this to myself.

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I think it’s only fair that I take a break once in a while, even though this month long (almost) break wasn’t planned, I feel like I’ve earned it. It’s not as if I’ve been resting on my laurels during this break, my dad went into hospital (nothing serious, don’t worry!) so I’ve spent the past fortnight looking after him, as he had tonsils out, I was cooking, but I was cooking mush,  nothing exciting enough to blog about that. So yeah, even though I’ve enjoyed not worrying about cooking something to blog about, it’s nice to be back with a blog!

I didn’t actually expect to be back today, no. Until earlier I had no money, and no food in the house. But my dad decided to bugger off for a bit, and gave me some money to get some food, I hopped into Kirkham, and found there was a farmers and craft market in the square, and had a look around. It was pretty good, a bunch of hippy crap such as dream catchers, and joss sticks, and other crap to make people more spiritual (Ok, I’m a ruddy sceptic, get over it. But joss sticks won’t make you more spiritual, they’ll make your front room smell a bit pleasant after cooking something smelly, but that’s it)

One of the stalls was a greengrocers, a bit of a Del Boy, he bought gold for cash, heh. But on his stall he had 2 things which inspired my recipe tonight, wild garlic, and fresh beetroot! Now then, wild garlic, GET IT WHILST YOU CAN! It only has a season of about 6 weeks, and we’re currently in the 3rd week of the season! So get it whilst you can! It’s not cheap, but if you can forage it, it’s free.

So now I’ve walked the 3 mile hike up and down hills, come home, cooked my tea, and before I settle down to watch Doctor Who, I’ll share my risotto with you!

Beetroot and Wild Garlic Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 4 raw beetroots
  • Handful (6 leaves) of wild garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 250g Risotto rice
  • Splash of white wine, or dry vermouth
  • Chicken or Vegetable stock, kept warm
  • 50g Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 5 Sprigs of Thyme
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil

Method:

  1. Finely slice the onions, and gently sweat in a mixture of butter and olive oil.
  2. Add the thyme and continue to sweat down.
  3. Peel the beetroots, and dice into small cubes. Add the diced beetroot to the pan, and continue to sweat for a further 10 minutes, stirring to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the rice, and stir and gently fry for a few minutes with the onion and beetroot.
  5. Add a splash of white wine into the pan, at this point the kitchen will smell beautiful. I guarantee it.
  6. Turn the heat down to a low simmer, and slowly add the stock, ladle by ladle, stirring constantly, adding a ladle when the stock has been absorbed.
  7. When all the stock has been added to the risotto, the rice is tender, and the beetroot slightly al denté, shred the wild garlic and stir through the risotto.
  8. Grate about 30g of the Parmesan cheese and stir into the risotto.
  9. Serve with an extra grating of Parmesan on the top.

One thing I forgot to get was Lancashire Crumbly Cheese, which is brilliant, crumbled on the top of a beetroot risotto, if slightly unconventional!

Hooray for pink food!

Hooray for pink food!

Nom

Nom

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So here it is, a second recipe post in one day!  I know, I spoil you! This is the point where I usually witter on about stuff, and try to be funny… but I’ve already blogged once today, and I spent all my wit on that one. A foolish move, yes, I know. I’ve just had my tea, watching Masterchef, but there’s not much funny things I can say about that. The nettle soup was nice, as was the main.

I guess I should just start talking about this lamb. Firstly, I would like to talk about cheap cuts of meat. If you know me well at all, you will know how much I love cheap, traditional cuts of meat, and when I saw breast of lamb in the supermarket, I thought, “oof, there’s a nice cheap cut of meat, ideal for slow roasting”, well here’s some news… it’s not. I would suggest any other slow roasting cut, perhaps shoulder of lamb would be ideal. It’s definitely a recipe for slow roasting though. So just bear that in mind!!

I’m going to post the two recipes as separate, just to make it easier for me.

Greek Style Minted Lamb

Ingredients :

For the marinade

  • Greek Style Yoghurt
  • Handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Obviously, a joint of lamb of your choice will be required, too.

Method :

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together. Score the lamb so that the marinade can seep into the meat.
  2. Marinate the lamb overnight.
  3. The following day, seal the lamb in a hot griddle pan, until it takes on some colour.
  4. Transfer to a pre-heated oven, at 120 degrees centigrade, for at least 2 hours. Although you can cook it for longer if you like. Maybe 3 hours at 100 degrees centigrade.
  5. Take out to rest for at least half an hour before serving, covering it with foil to retain some of the heat.

Saffron Potatoes

Ingredients :

  • Potatoes, sliced thickly (I suggest a good all rounder, nothing too floury, nothing too waxy)
  • Red onion, sliced thinly
  • Rosemary, ground with a pestle and mortar
  • A generous pinch of saffron
  • Butter!
  • Chicken stock cube
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method :

  1. Bring water with saffron and rosemary to a boil in a pan. Plunge the sliced potatoes in for ten minutes, and then remove the potato.
  2. Add the chicken stock cube to the saffron and rosemary infused water.
  3. Arrange the potato and onion in layers in a suitable dish. Season, and add a few knobs of butter to the top.
  4. Pour over the stock, to just above the top layer over potato.
  5. Cover with foil, and bake in a low oven for about 1 hour. With the foil removed for the last 20 minutes.

So there you go. Two recipes, aren’t I lovely at sharing stuff?

I’m just going to leave you with a picture of how my tea turned out tonight. Not sure when I will blog next, I may blog tomorrow, or sometime over the weekend. I just don’t know!

You can't really see in this photo, but the potatoes went a lovely golden colour from the saffron!

You can't really see in this photo, but the potatoes went a lovely golden colour from the saffron!

Till next time!

Kris,

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Hello you. Yes, I’m talking to you, yeah, you with the eyebrows. No, not you Alistair Darling, but I’ll have a word with you later on… here’s a quick blog. Remember I said I was going to post three blogs this week, as a little promise to myself, well I’ve now accomplished this… and I’m going to post another blog later this evening.

I’ve just got back home from nettle picking. Hooray for spring. The reason I did this, is because I was bored. So bored. I’m ill so I can’t go see my friends, because they may catch something, but I figured a walk in the rural area in which I live should help. The idea of going nettle picking came after I asked my friend, Catherine, what I could do to pass time. She suggested I drew something. I tried to explain that I am so bad at art, that I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. I’d be expecting the artist mafia to sneak into my room whilst I was asleep, and that I would wake up next to a portrait of a horses head. No! I wasn’t having that. So nettle picking it was!

Nettles are one of the first plants you learn to recognise as a child, and as a child, I was terrified of the bastards. I once fell into a huge nettle patch. I figure that eating them is a way of revenge, and not an act of being a yoghurt-knitting hippy (even though, deep down inside… I am. I go foraging, I love using leftovers and I pounce at anything made from Elderflower!)

So here is the recipe…

Stinging Nettle Soup

(serves 4 as a starter)

Ingredients :

  • 100g hand picked nettle tops (i.e. the top 4 leaves, maybe the top 6 if it’s a very young plant)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced.
  • 1 litre of stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable Oil

Method :

Sweat the onions in a little oil

Sweat the onions in a little oil

Whilst sweating the onions, rinse the nettle tops in cold water

Whilst sweating the onions, rinse the nettle tops in cold water

Add the nettles to the onions, and allow to wilt. Then add the stock

Add the nettles to the onions, and allow to wilt. Then add the stock

Blend, and season with salt and pepper to taste

Blend, and season with salt and pepper to taste

And there you have it. Stinging Nettle Soup!!

As this recipe involved a walk in the rural areas, it’s helped me realise that spring is definitely here. Here are three things that I saw…

  • 1 frog. I almost stood on it! Eek!
  • 2 bumble bees. I almost stood on one! Eek!
  • 3 ladybirds. I almost stood on one! Eek!

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if you plan on making this soup, and you go out into some rural areas to collect nettles. Make sure you look out for all the wildlife, and that you don’t stand on anything that doesn’t really come off too well from a squishing from your size tens!!

Also, remember, if you go out nettle picking, to wear a pair of stout rubber gloves, and if you’re not sure if it’s a nettle, then just shove it in your eyes. If you’re in absolute agony, it’s probably a nettle, and therefore good for the pot.

Anyway, I’m off to do some tofu weaving now!!

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