Stew of the Week and Cat Update.

First, a quick cat update. Meet Wallace/Wally:

Distracting him was the only way to photograph him, as the phone filled him with rage.

Distracting him was the only way to photograph him, as the phone filled him with rage.

He is now settled in the house. Still a little sneezy, but very comfortable in the kitchen. A bit cautious in the living-room and pantry/scullery, but that’s for the best, seeing as he isn’t allowed outdoors yet (scullery exits onto patio) and he’s only allowed in the living-room under supervision.

He’s also one of the tamest and most obedient cats I’ve met in my life. He understands the concept of “no” pretty well, in that it seems to mean “cease, desist and when in doubt hide under a table”. He has very good command of his hideously large teeth and claws and can play with our hands and feet and legs without injuring us. He’s only just getting the idea of toys and seemed confused when I told him off for playing with a computer wire. He will also look to us for permission before climbing on anything or scratching anything. The one thing we can’t get him to do is wait for food. Once he knows a certain smell is “cat food”, he will devour it the second it’s before him. Not enough patience to get him to wait.

Anyhow, now for this week’s stew: White Chicken Casserole.

Ingredients:

-5 chicken quarters

-6 small-medium potatoes

-2 stalks of celery

-1 small courgette

-1 cup of beans and peas

-400g cream cheese

-150ml double cream

-2tsp paprika

-2tsp pepper

-2tsp salt

Utensils:

-large cooking pot and wooden spoon

-chopping board and knife

-fork

Recipe:

1: Put some water with paprika in the bottom of the pot.

2: Bring it to a boil.

3: Skin the chicken quarters and add them to the water. Slice the potatoes and add them also.

4: Cover with water.

5: Once softened, remove the chicken and deflesh the bones.

6: Add the chicken meat, cream, cheese, chopped courgette and celery.

7: Salt and pepper the stew. Leave to boil.

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Jon’s Birthday.

How it went, along with recipes and stuff, because I’m nice. :p

 

Around 6.30 I got up as usual, fed the chickens and the cat, cleaned the litter tray, washed last-night’s remaining dishes and tidied the hall.

By 7.30 I had made Jon a tea and returned to bed with it. We spent all morning watching random videos and cuddling.

At 9.30 we got up, I made a point of wearing some nicer, form-fitting clothes as opposed to my usual Sunday gardening attire. I then made him some Celt-fuel for breakfast.

Celt-fuel recipe:

Ingredients:

-1/4 chicken

-2 large eggs

-200g mixed vegetables (courgettes, carrots, cabbage; pre-cooked)

-butter

-salt

Utensils:

-frying pan

-poultry scissors

Recipe:

1: Cut up the meat from the chicken quarter and pan-fry it in butter.

2: Add the eggs and vegetables. Add salt and stir-fry.

After breakfast he played Diablo III for a while and had one of his favourite energy drinks.

We went to Sainsbury’s and got a load of sugar so as to jam our 12k of damson plums.

After that Jon did his weights whilst I started on the jam. Once the weights were done and Jon had washed, we went upstairs and I gave him a hot lather and shave.

Next it was some more games and a bit of a kung-fu film.

We then went for dinner at a local pub. Jon had a burger and I had a mixed grill. We had my cheesecake for pudding at Jon’s mother’s house.

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Cheesecake recipe:

Ingredients for the cheese:

-600g cream cheese

-100ml double cream

-5tbsp sugar

Ingredients for the base

-200g spelt flour

-100g white flour

-25g plain butter

-25g soft brown/palm sugar

-80g chocolate

Toppings:

-25-30 raspberries

-raspberry juice

Utensils:

-large mixing bowl and fork

-small mixing bowl and spoon

-1 baking tray (preferably loose-base)

Recipe:

1: Mix the cream and sugar in the large bowl until smooth.

2: Whisk until smooth.

3: Mix the two flours in the small bowl with the butter and brown/palm sugar.

4: Grease the tray. Push the flour mix into the base until the base is covered and it fills out to the edges.

5: Preheat the oven to 160C.

6: Keeping the chocolate wrapped in the foil, smash it with a rolling pin or heavy knife until the pieces are all 1cm or under.

7: Sprinkle the chocolate over the base so it’s fairly evenly spread.

8: Put the base in the oven until the biscuit is cooked and the chocolate is fluid.

9: Spread the chocolate evenly over the base. Place the base in the fridge.

10: Once cold, spoon the cheese onto the base and smooth the top.

11: Make any designs you would like on the surface of the cake.

12: Use the raspberries and juice to complete your design.

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After this Jon had to sort some work, so we missed out on movie night, but we’ll do that tonight!

Besides that, once Jon was home we had some wine and cuddled and talked before lights out.

WWW. Spicy Pizza. Also, we have a cat.

First of all, warm-blooded-rat-trap update 1: He’s home. Meet Wally/Wallace. He’s not good with adults, children, other cats or dogs. I accidentally scared him because the pheromone spray that’s supposed to be used in the corners of the room to soothe him actually sounds like a cat hissing. It’s taken a day to show him I am not hostile. However, now he’s settled he’s eating, fairly affectionate, not disturbed by my stinking of chickens and coffee and starting to get playful. We ended up with this fiend of a creature because the non stray/feral cats ran away from Jon, while Wallace wanted attention off him. He was also apparently supposed to take weeks to settle, yet 48h in he’s happy to go about his business in front of us and can’t get enough of being patted.

 

However, I did manage to find the time to make a pizza for dinner. There are far too many tarts and with Jon’s birthday coming up, there will soon be crumble and cheesecake, so I opted against making another pudding.

Ingredients for the dough:

-450g self-raising flour

-1tbsp olive oil

-1tbsp paprika

-1tsp ginger

-cold water as needed

Ingredients for the filling:

-300g tomatoes (crushed or paste equivalent)

-100g strong cheddar

-30-50 marjoram leaves

-40g chorizo

-50g ham

Utensils:

-mixing bowl and fork

-greased flat baking tray

-rolling pin

Recipe:

1: Mix the flour, paprika, ginger and olive oil.

2: Add water, continually mixing until the dough is dry to touch but elastic and soft.

3: Roll it out with a rolling pin into the shape you want it, then throw or spin it a little to stretch it fully.

4: Place on the tray and allow to rest.

5: Roll up the crust. You can add a crust filling if you like.

6: Spread the tomato over the centre. Add the marjoram leaves.

7: Grate or slice the cheese and cover the centre.

8: Add the toppings.

9: Bake at 160C for 1h.

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Return and Recipes! [Stew of the week and jam tarts.]

So, with all that has been going on, I’ve hardly had time to think of blogging! The baking, wok and reading continued, but no time to write about it all and I daresay it would be more dull than usual if it were just a basic, typo-riddled recipe every two days.

On the plus side, we’re getting a cat to deal with our variety of garden rodents (mice and rabbits and rats, oh dear!), so I’ll update you on him weekly, starting Thursday after he’s had a day to settle. I’ve also had time to finish a few books, made £250-ish a week instead of the usual £50-100, been doing some painting, had another meatfeast, tidied the garden, etc.

On the minus side, two of the hens fell ill and had to be put to sleep, I apparently can’t drive any vehicles on-road at all (for now) as my attention-span is too short and my attention to details is too broad, so I’m an accident liability and the therapist stressed and confused me so much she made my depression worse, so I’m back to my usual coping mechanisms and almost recovered.

The pluses of the minus side? I can now save my bike-money for babies, am away from that therapist and the other two hens are doing well and getting tubby for Winter.

Everything is looking up again from here and I’ve adjusted enough to my new schedule to reintegrate weight training and blogging.

 

We have also concluded that making one big stew a week out of cheaper ingredients is helpful to the budget, so I’m aiming to make at least one a week. Here’s this week’s:

Stew of the Week: Smoky Hellmince, Carrot and Bacon Surprise.

Accidentally burned the base of this, but once transferred to another pot it actually has a kind of nice smoky flavour.

Ingredients:

-1kg carrots

-400g swede

-300g rice

-600g frozen beef and pork mince

-300g bacon

-300g mixed frozen vegetables

-4tbsp paprika

-2tbsp pepper

-water to cover

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-large pot

Recipe:

1: Wash and chop the carrots and swede.

2: Add all the ingredients to the pot in this order: water, vegetables, meat, rice, seasonings.

3: Boil until cooked-through.

The next recipe is for jam tarts from scratch. We collected so many elderberries and were given a load of plums, so it was definitely worthwhile to make some jam!

Ingredients:

(Makes 24 small tarts and one large flat stripy one.)

-600g fruit

-500g sugar

-500g plain flour

-500g butter

-cold water as needed

Utensils:

-one pot, stirring spoon, jar and funnel for every fruit variety you want to jam separately

-chopping board and knife

-mixing bowl and rolling pin

-24 tarts worth of cookie trays and one large baking tray

Recipe:

1: Boil the kettle and fill the jar with boiling water. Close tightly and put to one side.

2: Wash your fruit. Slice any larger fruit into 2″ segments, leave berries whole.

3: Place the fruit in its pot. You shouldn’t need extra water yet.

4: Heat them through, stirring all the time. They should start bubbling away nicely. DON’T LEAVE THEM FROM THIS POINT. I’ll say when it’s safe to turn your back again! 🙂

5: When the fruit has basically dissolved into lumps of fruit and fruit paste, gradually add the sugar. Keep stirring. The fruit should release more fluid. Now is the time to boil it down until it’s thick.

6: Take it off the heat. It no longer requires 100% of your attention!

7: Check your jar. It should still be so hot you can’t touch it without a glove or teatowel. Pour the water away.

8: Once the fruit is thick but pourable, place the funnel into the jar and spoon it all in. Tighten the lid ASAP and place in the fridge to ensure it seals and is sterile. Check the pop-tab on the lid of the jar once cool. Once it is locked in like they are at the store, your jar is sealed.

9: Mix the flour and butter until crumbs form. Add water until your dough is soft but not sticky.

10: Grease your trays.

11: Use half the dough to line the 24 cookie spots and roll out half to fill the baking tray.

12: Spoon your jam/s into the tart bases. Maybe do something creative with the huge one!

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13: Bake at 170 for 20min for the small tarts and 25 for the huge one.

14: Leave to cool before removing from trays.

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