recipes

Peanut Crunch – salty|sweet|good

IMG_0736This is the base of a slice I make all the time.  On this blog in 2012. It is on a yellowing and crumpled piece of newspaper. It has always been kept on the recipe book holder on the bench because I need it a lot and I can always find it there when I need it. The original recipe has a caramelish topping but I was experimenting and needed something really fast to take to a friend’s place and this is what I came up with.

Double everything and it makes a bigger slice.  Hint: you want a bigger slice.

  • 150 grams butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 desertspoon golden syrup
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup rice bubbles

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup over low heat. Chop peanuts in food processor. Mix flour, baking powder and rice bubbles together.

Mix everything together and place in slice tin which has been lined with baking paper. Bake until golden.

Just in case you want to ice this with the most delicious icing in the world – again double it.

  • 100g butter
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1tblsp golden syrup
  • 2tsp vanilla

Melt butter and golden syrup, stir in vanilla and icing sugar, pour icing over base while hot.

Kumara & Coconut cream soup

soupThe weather is foul, with a cold blustery wind whipping about the house, the ideal dinner tonight is soup. A hearty warming one.  I made this one up so it is an ‘add a bit of this and that’ kind of soup.  You can’t go wrong whatever you do.  I was making it for a crowd so this made a big pot.  Serve it with lovely crusty bread rolls.

3 large kumara, chopped into medium size pieces (a mix of pumpkin and kumara would be good too)

3 large onion – chopped and diced

3 cloves of garlic – chopped finely

Stock (any sort but chicken or veggie is best) – start with 2 cups but you might want more depending on how thick you like our soup – or water if you want.

1 can coconut cream  – light would be fine too

oil and butter – dashes of both

2 bay leaves

Cumin seeds both whole and ground – be generous

A couple of tablespoons of the spice paste of your choice

More of a guide than a recipe. Melt the butter and oil in a big pot. Add the onions and garlic and spice paste. When they are all melty and caramelised, add the cumin seed and bay leaves, add a little more oil and add the diced kumara and cook, stirring occasionally until it just starts to cook a little bit.  When the kumara is softish, stir in the ground cumin, add the stock, cover with a lid and let it all just bubble away for a goodly time. Taste.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Add water if you need to. Add more spice if you need to.  When the veg is all soft use a stick blender and wizz till smooth.  Add coconut cream and stir in.  Serve with some lovely bread.

 

 

 

Rosalba’s Thai Chicken Salad

photo (1)

Translated Thai chicken salad (for four people).  This recipe is fantastic.  My friend Rosalba is a treasure trove of awesome recipes and makes wonderful food for her friends and for events as well.  She made this salad for a meeting we held recently in Wellington and we all demanded she share the recipe with us, it was just that good.  I made it the other night when friends came around for a meal and they all raved about it.

Rosalba calls this “Translated” as she designed it for her senior girls Book Group about 4 years ago. We were looking at translated novels, and so she translated a recipe (with one of the Thai students) from one of her recipe books.

Salad ingredients

Red cabbage – about 2 cups when finely shredded

2 carrots

1 red pepper

4 spring onions

½ bag of bean  sprouts

½ cup coriander leaves

½ bag crispy noodles

pkt of snow peas – or some green beans

2 chicken breasts  (You could also make it with wood smoked salmon or pork fillet)

Dressing

3 Tbs sweet chilli sauce

juice 2-3 limes

2 Tbs light soy auce

2Tbs fish sauce

2  Tbs  sesame oil

1 Tbs oyster sauce

2 Tbs Olive oils

2 Tsp brown sugar (or palm sugar)

½ tsp chopped garlic and grated ginger (jarred stuff will do)

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and give a good shake.

Method

Rub the chicken breasts with soy sauce and leave for a couple of hours or overnight.

Slice thinly and stir fry – not too many pieces at once… this takes time.  Drain on paper towel, Set aside

Finely shred red cabbage

Peel carrots, and continue peeling them so you have thin slices. If necessary cut them into thinner strips

Slice pepper in thin strips

Slice Spring onions on the diagonal thinly

Blanch snow peas or beans and then slice thinly

You can pre-prepare all vegetables and the chicken and be pre-prepared, wrap in gladwrap and chill if you want to prepare this in advance of a meal and assemble later.

When you want to serve

Chop the coriander (and mint if you like that addition too)

Put all ingredients in large bowl… using only ½ the crispy noodles and leaving a little coriander for a garnish.

Pour on the dressing and mix gently – yes get your hands in and mix it gently but really well.

Heap on a big plate, and  garnish with the rest of the crispy noodles and coriander.

(You could put the coriander into a separate bowl.  I served this with chopped mint too)

Sophie’s Surprises (Ginger scented truffles)

This is another of Mum’s truffle recipes, see the post below for more, oh and the one below that!  These are truffles for your more mature audience.  The ginger makes a big statement.  A big christmassy statement!  I love em!

Double the lot I think.  And not just for Christmas, these are great with coffee and would be lovely after dinner.

1/2 packet of gingernuts, 1/4 cup icing sugar, 1/2 cup coconut, 150g cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of sherry (or green ginger wine), 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 100g preserved ginger, 150g of good dark chocolate (Whitakers if you live in NZ please)

Crush the biscuits in the food processor, add the icing sugar and whizz again.  Pour into a bowl and add the coconut, cream cheese, sherry and the ground ginger.  Wet your hands and roll the mixture into small balls and put into the fridge until they are firm.  Roll the balls in the melted chocolate and set on baking paper.

 

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Toffee Pop Truffles

As with the previous recipe these form part of the traditional Christmas repertoire for the Schaumann household.  My Mum has been making them for years and now we are all making them.  They are change your life good.  You can only eat them in moderation because they are frighteningly rich.  Although it should be said that the Aitchison children (some or all) have been known to clean up an entire batch of them when their poor benighted mother was out of the house buying their presents!

You can make minty ones (my fave) by using mint slices instead of toffee pops and rolling them in chocolate.

2 packets of Toffee Pops, crushed to fine crumbs in the food processor

125g cream cheese

1/2 cup of icing sugar

1/4 cup sieved cocoa to roll

Beat the cream cheese until soft, then blend in the biscuit crumbs and sifted icing sugar.  Chill the mixture until it is firm enough to roll, then form it into small balls, rolling each ball in cocoa to coat.  Store chilled.  These could also be rolled in chocolate of whatever kind you like.

 

Christmas truffles of minty goodness

Photos will follow later but this recipe is an urgent request from my daughter, hopefully tonight I’ll get the full complement of Christmas goodies on here. Poor blog, lying fallow for so long.

Oddfellow Truffles

1 packet of chocolate thin biscuits

1 packet of oddfellow pepperments

1 tin condensed milk

Before starting you need to realise that oddfellows are hard.  Very hard.  Very not good for your processor blade.  I will not take responsibility for any blades which are damaged (as mine was last year).  Crush the biscuits in the food processor, then crush the oddfellows.  Take out of the processor and examine the poor blade and say to yourself “well this is how you must suffer in the name of Christmas and scrumminess, sorry blade”  Add the condensed milk and mix.  Roll the balls in coconut (or be decadent and roll them in dark chocolate) and dribble white icing over the top (or white chocolate)

Salted Caramel Sauce

Oh My!  There is no way in hell that this is good for you but it is awesomely delicious.  The recipe comes from Delicious Magazine, March 2012.  It is a Nigella Lawson recipe and it has all the hallmarks of her.  It is luscious, silky, smooth and a little bit of elegant fun.  It takes about 5 minutes to make and is soooo worth it.  I recommend eating the leftovers for breakfast.  I had a thought after making it that it would make a lovely tart filling if it was slightly thicker.  Something to work on there.

75g salted butter, 50g brown sugar (I didn’t have any so used palm sugar), 50g golden syrup, 1/2 a cup of thickened cream – normal cream if you live in NZ, 1/2 – 1 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes.  Vanilla ice cream to serve and I used bananas too.

Melt the butter, sugars and golden syrup in a small, heavy-based pot over a medium low heat and simmer.  Swirl the pan occasionally for three minutes. The sauce should turn from gold to dark amber as it cooks – Keep an eagle eye on it, do not allow it to burn.  Carefully add the cream – take it off the heat for a minute or so to do this, add the salt and swirl again.

Give it a stir with a wooden spoon and taste to see if you ant more salt (I did), then cook for a further 1 minute.  Pour into a jug and serve with ice-cream.  Apologies for the terrible photo!

Salted Caramel Sauce with ice cream and bananas.

Peanut Crunch

One of my all time favourites, this is just delicious.  The photo isn’t the best.  What this makes is a peanut full slice which just barely clings together with the mixture.  It will be slightly different each time you make it.  Not really sure why.  The icing is really a crowning glory.  It’s fudgey and caramelish and just goes so well with the base.  Everyone I make this for loves it, and seriously, it takes 10 minutes to throw together, if that.

 

150g butter, ½ cup sugar, 1 desertspoon golden syrup, 1 cup peanuts, 1 cup flour, ½ tsp baking powder, 1 cup rice bubbles

 

Preheat oven to 180 degreesC.  Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup over a low heat.  Chop peanuts in a food processor.  Mix flour, baking powder and rice bubbles together.  Mix everything together and place in slice tin which has been lined with baking paper.  Bake until golden, approximately 15 min.

 

Make the icing while it is cooking with  100g butter, 150g icing sugar, 1 tblsp golden syrup.  Melt butter and golden syrup, stir in vanilla and icing sugar and pour over the base while it is still hot.  Cut when cool into long thin pieces.

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Sinful Citrus Slice

Well this is certainly not good for you.  But there are times when vast quantities of ‘not good for you’ slice is required.  One of those times is when you have to say goodbye to a beloved.  Raisin has died.  It is tragic.  He was deeply loved by all the Schaumann Smith Aitchisons brigade and we all miss him horribly.  A very good cat.  12 years of excellent catness.  Anyway in times of deep abiding sadness one should eat something comforting.  This slice is comforting.

Raisin, in his last days

Read all the recipe first – you might want to revise your quantities in accordance with the notes at the bottom.

 

1 packet of superwine biscuits (I use malt biscuits), 1 cup coconut, 100g butter melted, 1/2 can condensed milk, zest of a lemon.

Crush the biscuits and add everything.  Press into a slice tin lined with baking paper.  Makes basic slice.  But wait there is more.

To make it stupendous!  Crush up 1 block of Whittakers white chocolate and macadamia chocolate, add to the rest of the ingredients which you have doubled.  Seriously you can’t go back after you’ve made it with the chocolate.  It just becomes totally amazing.

Ice with icing made with icing sugar, butter, zest of orange, lemon and juice from them.  In my opinion it only needs a skiff of icing.  The photo below shows it with too much icing, it becomes a bit sickly if you have too much on there.

Gingerbread – winning warming flavour

A big slice of this is currently waiting on a plate beside me as I type.  It’s great stuff, the spicy flavour is just what you need on a wintery night.  I double this recipe, make two loaves and freeze one.  Perfect when your sister comes to visit, just like today, and you can whip the frozen one out and warm it though in the microwave, cut into thick wodges and slather with butter (or have with blue cheese if you like too, dried fruit is good, cream cheese – gingerbread goes with heaps of things).  If you wanted you could add some crystallised ginger to the mixture for extra spiciness. 

150g butter, 1 cup low fat milk, 1 cup golden syrup (or half golden syrup and half treacle), 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp baking soda, 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 1/2 tsps ground ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cloves

Melt the butter, milk, golden syrup (and treacle), and brown sugar in the microwave.  Stir until all mixed together.  Heat until it is all bubbling hot.  While it is heating sive all the dry ingredients into a bowl with the exception of the baking soda. Take off the heat and then stir in the baking soda (it goes irritatingly lumpy so give it a decent beating).  When it is fizzing stir into the dry ingredients.  Mix until smooth.  Pour into loaf tins and bake at 180 degrees C until the sides shrink away from the sides and the centre is firm and springy.  Don’t tip it from the tin immediately, leave in for a good ten minutes and then tip  onto a wire rack.

Tomato Kasundi

This is magnificently hot.  Hotter than a January Central Otago day. Hotter than hot sauce?  Well about the same as hot sauce. It is an Annabel Langbein recipe and it was recommended to me by my friend Judith who thinks it the best thing ever.  Thought I’d make it as the glut of tomatoes is ever present at the moment.  After I’d made it and frightened my taste buds a bit by it’s hotness, I had to find ways to use it.  It has a great deeply curry spicy taste.  So far we have had it with corn fritters, in guacamole, and to spice up a pasta dish.  Lots of uses and very tasty.

The quantities of the spices are really large.  Check your supplies before you start!

225g green ginger – grated, 100g garlic cloves peeled and chopped finely, 50g green chillies – I used red – sliced in half, seeds removed, 2 1/2 cups malt vinegar, 1 cup canola oil – I always use ricebran – 2 tblsp turmeric, 5 tblsp ground cumin, 3 tblsp chilli powder, 5 tblsp mustard seeds ground to a powder, 2 kg tomatoes chopped, 2 1/4 cups sugar, 3 tblsp salt.

Puree the ginger, garlic and chillies with a little of the vinegar to make a paste.  Heat the oil in a very big pot or preserving pan.  Add all the ground spices and fry until they exude a fragrant aroma.  Add the pureed paste, tomatoes, the rest of the vinegar, sugar and half of the salt. (Check near the end of cooking to see if more is required.) Cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the oil floats on the top – about half an hour (I cooked it a lot longer).  Bottle in steralised jars while hot with a thin film of hot oil on the top of each jar to prevent the top from drying out.  cove with screw top seal lids.  Leave for a couple of weeks for the flavours to develop before using. Store in a cool place until you want to use it, it lasts indefinitely.  Makes about 2 litres.

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Cinnamon Oysters – go on just try them

A childhood favourite, I remember these as being very special occasion goodies. Recently we were going through the house of a very elderly lady recently on a house hunting expedition, and there they were in the garage sale going on outside, cinnamon oyster tins. The lovely lady selling them game them to us because they were about all that was left of the treasures and I was thrilled and delighted. Now that I have whipped up a batch of these and realised how incredibly quick they are to make, and how much people love eating them they are going to be made regularly.  Light, fluffy, a little air filled morsel with yummy cream filling.  Ooooohhhhhh.

2 eggs, 1/4 cup of sugar, 6 tblsp golden syrup, 6 tablespoons of plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, whipped cream to fill them sweetened with a little vanilla and icing sugar.

Beat eggs and sugar until thick. Add golden syrup and beat well, Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger together.  Fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.  Spoon small amounts of mixture into greased sponge oyster or finger tins.  Bake at 200 degrees C for 10 to 12 minutes or until the surface springs back when lightly touched.  When they are cold cut the oysters open with a sharp knife and fill up with whipped cream, dust with sieved icing sugar.

This is basically the Edmonds Cookbook recipe with more cinnamon in it.

 

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Classy Ambrosia

Nectar of the gods, ambrosia is heaven on a spoon

Summer deserts are all about fresh fruit for me.  This is a made up recipe, well it is really just a method and you can play around with it as you wish, adjust to whatever fruit you have available, you could make it with apricots (and apricot yoghurt), rhubarb etc.

In a nice big bowl put in the bottom good thick berry yoghurt, over the top sprinkle some marshmallows, over these layers add a pile of berries, it doesn’t matter what type and I used frozen this time but fresh is best.

In another bowl mix together whipped cream and a small pottle of cream cheese with a couple of desert spoons of icing sugar and some vanilla, this is your next layer then repeat the layers in so far as you have room.  Ending up with a good layer of the cream cheese mixture on the top.  Decorate with some spare marshmallows.  I have a new microplane chocolate grater so everything I make has grated chocolate on it at the moment, therefore this desert has grated chocolate!

 

Ginger Biscuits – so easy!

This ancient recipe has been around since well before my kids were mixing up biscuits in the school holidays, turning the kitchen into a floury, sticky mess, but this is one of the recipes we used to make together.  They are perfect for the beginning baker, melt, mix and cook.  The measurements are in old measurements on my original recipe so I have changed them to metric measurements.  Eat lots of them with big mugs of milky tea!  Tip: Castor sugar will mix in better than ordinary sugar, but it doesn’t really matter much in the end.

Morning Tea on a rainy summer day

Melt together, mix, then cool a little:  125g butter, 1 tablespoon of golden syrup, 1 cup of sugar.

Add:  1 beaten egg, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 3 teaspoons of ground ginger, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda, you can add some chopped chrystalised ginger if you like a stronger ginger taste.

Roll into balls, do not flatten.  Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes until golden.

Lime and White Chocolate Brownie

This recipe started life as my friend Carole’s chocolate brownie.  You might notice that the photo below of my version bears little resemblance to a chocolate brownie, I felt like a brownie, I only had white chocolate buttons and I happened to have a lime begging to be used, so voila Lime and white chocolate brownie was born.  It has a lovely soft centre and chewy edges. Yum!

This would make a great desert with yoghurt to cut through the sweetness or even some rhubarb.  We however ate it as the consolation prize for a very disappointing first course most of which ended up in the bin!  This saved the day!

Melt these together gently: 100g butter, 1/2 cup of white chocolate buttons.

Whisk in: 2 eggs, grated rind of a lime and it’s juice and 1 tsp of vanilla.

Stir in: 1 cup of sugar, 3/4 cup flour.

Pour into: a tin lined with baking paper.

Bake at: 180 degrees C for 25 minutes.

Spicy Green Dipping Sauce

In the last two weeks I’ve made this 4 times!  It is that good!  It has been served with spring rolls, corn fritters, crayfish and as a salad dressing.  Zingy, tangy and so easy to whip up as long as you have some palm sugar and some fresh herbs I think everyone should have this in the fridge for all occasions.  I’ve taken to having it sitting in a bowl handy.  It goes really well with cucumbers, tomatoes and avocados too!

If there was ever an argument for getting yourself a very efficient, sharp microplane this is it.  Making it so much more efficient for grating the palm sugar.  If you didn’t have any palm sugar, which is in all the supermarkets I shop at, you could use brown sugar but properly brown sugar not the pale brownish sugar I see all the time.  Palm Sugar tastes like Russian Fudge, really, it does!  YUM.

40g of palm sugar, 2 tablespoons of lime juice (or lemon), 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, a spoon of out of the jar chilli, and some grated ginger (to taste) (out of the jar if you want), crushed garlic (out of the jar again or freshly mashed to a pulp with the side of a knife).  A handful of finely chopped coriander and an equal amount of finely chopped fresh mint.

Grate the palm sugar into the juice, then add the fish sauce and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the rest of the ingredients. Set aside for a little while for the flavours to blend nicely.

Corn fritters anointed with Spicy Green Sauce

White Cake

On Sunday I turned 50.  There, I wrote it.  Hard to believe I’m so extremely old, anyway when you are this old you can choose your own birthday cake.  I chose a White Cake.  I’ve made it before, for a friend’s birthday and I always remembered how gorgeous it was.  I had found the recipe in a Taste Magazine and then lost it.  Then, the other day hunting through some papers for something else I found it.  It has taken me an age to find it online anywhere now so I am posting it here in case I lose it again.  It is the most wondrous cake!

This cake is moist with the subtle flavour of almond and vanilla.  The chopped up almonds give it a bit of body and crunch which makes it really unusual.  It is a big celebration cake and while this recipe is for two cakes, you could make one big one.

The cake: 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar, 250g butter, 1tsp vanilla, 2 and 1/4 cups self-raising flour, 1tsp baking powder, 300ml milk, 1 cup finely chopped almonds (blanched), 6 egg whites beaten to stiff peaks

Cream the sugar, butter and vanilla.  Sift together the flour and baking powder, three times. Yes three times.  It is traditional and important.  Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternatively with the milk and then stir in the almonds.  Gently fold in the egg whites.  Pour into two greased and floured cake tins, and bake at 190 degrees C for 30 minutes.  Insert a skewer into the cake to test whether it is cooked.

Icing:  60g butter, 250g cream cheese, 3 cups icing sugar, vanilla or lemon juice.  To make the icing, cream the butter and the cream cheese.  Add the icing sugar and vanilla or lemon juice to taste.

To assemble:  sandwich the 2 cakes together with some of the icing. Cover the top and sides with icing, smooth and chill.

From Taste magazine, August 2006

Oaty Chocolate Chip biscuits

I make these a lot, I play with the recipe and add such morsels as dried apricots, raisins, dried apple, I sometimes put only white chocolate chips, sometimes a mix of white and dark chocolate chips.  These are old fashioned measurements you can probably figure out the metric measurements or just basically make them up as you go along.

I often make these to take somewhere as a plate and always double the recipe if I’m doing that.

1/2 a cup of butter, 1/2 a cup of castor sugar (ordinary is also fine), 1/2 a cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla (I always use more), 1 cup plain flour, 1 cup rolled oats (be generous), 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 cup chocolate chips.  Optional is 1/2 to 1 cup rice bubbles – I like the crunch and the extra texture and nuts are good too.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla and beat well.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour, rolled oats, salt, baking powder, soda and chocolate chips.  Add these to the butter mixture.  Place in balls (wetish hands are best for rolling them cos they are mightily sticky) on a baking tray leaving plenty of room for spreading.  Bake at 180 degrees C for about 8 minutes or until golden and let them cool a little on the tray so that they aren’t so bendy.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Eat rather a lot of them with a great coffee or a cup of gumboot tea.

 

 

Hearty Ginger Wine Casserole

This is in the oven at the moment, on a freezing Dunedin day it is always the best thing to put something in the oven which will warm your insides and your outsides in one swoop.

The interesting ingredient in here is Ginger Wine.  Stones for preference.  It also has some of the gorgeous smoked garlic you can buy at craft and food fairs here, but you don’t really need that as any garlic will do.  There is also some brown sugar in here because I want a caramelish taste and it makes a silkier texture.

As with all my casserole recipes this is a method rather than a recipe.  Use what you have in your cupboards and fridge, don’t panic if you don’t have any one particular item that I’ve used just make it up as you go along.

On reflection I decided that this would work with chicken or pork as well.  Maybe adjust the stock to match.Cut about 750g of chuck or blade steak into pieces (or chicken or pork if you are going that way).  Put into a bag with 2 heaped tablespoons of flour, a good grinding of black pepper and a big shake of salt and give it a good shake.  You can do it in two batches if necessary.  You want the meat well coated, no red bits showing.

Fry the meat, in batches so that there is only a single layer of meat at a time, in a mixture of oil (I use rice bran) and a knob of butter, until it is nicely sealed and golden brown.  This is actually the most important step in making a really good casserole, if you don’t do this properly you get a less rounded taste IMHO!  Remove from the pan and dump into a casserole dish which either has a lid or can be lidded with foil.  Add more oil and butter if you need to, some onions cut into 8ths lengthwise and some shallots if you have them and most importantly about 6 cloves of garlic (less if you aren’t a fan of that much garlic loveliness)

Into the casserole dish add:  2 carrots, 1 stick of celery and any other veg you have available. Chickpeas, zucchini, red or green pepper, some beans or whatever is lurking in the bottom of the fridge would be great.

On top of the veg  throw in, a generous sloshing of green ginger wine, a generous slosh of dirty red wine, 1 dessertspoon of brown sugar, a small dollop of tomato sauce or ketchup. Add one or two stock cubes or the new concentrated stock which is more like a jelly and far more delicious (depending on the meat you are using, beef or chicken).  Add some thyme, I have fresh in the garden and I like a generous amount but you decide how thymey you want it to be. Add a good grind of pepper.  Stir around, taste, adjust to your preference adding more salt if you think it needs it.

Cover and bung it in the oven at 200 for 10 minutes or until it is really hot, and then reduce the heat to 160 for ages.  Chuck steak likes long slow cooking so be prepared for a long wait while it gets all melt in your mouth and yum.  If you are using chicken or pork it would take less time to cook.

I’m serving mine with some balsamic potatoes but you could just as well serve it with rice, couscous, mashed potato or another starch of your choice.  Hunker down and wait for the weather to improve.

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Chicken and dumpling soup – its good for the soul

I had an earache.  It was the weirdest feeling, it was in both ears and I felt all woolly. Seemed like a chicken soup night to me.  I’m always going to prefer Asian flavours in this circumstance so I made this up on the spot. That makes it more of a method rather than an actual recipe and you will have to do lots of adjustment to taste as you go, and just before serving adding anything you think will help the flavour – go mad, go crazy add as much or as little as you want.

 

The key ingredient is the dumplings, I buy them frozen from Countdown, I’m sure you can get them other places.  You can panfry them for Gyoza but I love them in soup.  Go check out the frozen food cabinets.

As soon as you decide to make this go out to your freezer and get some of these yummy dumplings (or gyoza) and cook them in the microwave according to the instructions on the packet.  They will cook a bit in the soup but you don’t want them to go all manky and soggy and fall to pieces.

Put about a litre of chicken stock into a pot and begin to heat it up. (You have the option of defrosting your carefully pre prepared chicken stock or using a litre container that you bought – try to get a low salt one because there is plenty of salt in our lives without adding more, and this is why you are not allowed to use stock cubes for this soup.)

Grate into the stock a 3cm (ish) peeled knob of ginger this will depend on your taste but I’m a ginger kind of girl.

Add about 2 tsp of sesame oil, 2 tblsp of mirin, 1 tblsp of soy sauce (light is better but whatever you have will be fine)

I like a limey flavour and I have some Boyajian oils in citrus flavours and I add a little of that but you could substitute some lemon or lime juice.

Chop up a red chilli (discard the seeds) (or add half a tsp from a jar which you handily have in the fridge) and add to the pot.

Let this mixture simmer away, while you grate or slice a carrot into long slivers, and slice a spring onion to match.  Add the carrot to the broth and half of the onion.  Let it simmer away for a little bit – about 3 minutes.  Add the dumplings and simmer till they are heated through and cooked. If you have some greens throw them in (could be Asian greens or some spinach, broccoli would be good, steam it and add).  Adjust the flavourings.  Add some grindings of white pepper and a little salt if you really need to.

Serve with the rest of the green onion on top and sit in a big comfy chair and enjoy.

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