Belated WWW.

Sorry it’s so late. Just getting back into the swing of things and working around a new puppy, improved nutrition for when we’re TTC (around February or March, wish us luck!), new students and loads of writing, I’ve not had much time for recipes or fitness posts.

However I have completed my Beginner Homemaker book and got the timetable mostly in order, so regular recipe and fitness updates can return.

Recipe 1: My best pie crust.

Between a music festival and lots of jam to get through before berry season, I’ve been making many pies and I think I have worked out my best crust recipe yet.

Ingredients:

Makes enough for over one pie, so freeze or make snacks with the rest.

-2 cups plain flour

-3 eggs

-150g butter

-5tbsp sugar

-1tsp salt

Utensils:

-mixing bowl

-fork

Recipe:

1: Mash the eggs, salt and flour together.

2: Fold in the butter and sugar.

3: Knead until uniformly yellow. Fold in half, stretch and fold again at least 10 times.

4: Place in the fridge.

5: Bring to room temperature before halving the dough. When you roll it, roll it out nice and flat.

Recipe 2: Chicken pan stew.

Another new staple, can be mixed up with different seasonings but really makes for a wholesome and tasty dish on its own.

Ingredients:

Serves 4-6.

-6 deboned chicken thighs

-200g bacon

-2 onions

-2 carrots

-400g pureed tomato

-400g presoaked lentils

-400-800g presoaked butter or cannellini beans

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: Chop the carrots and onions finely.

2: Place in a pan with tomato and lentils and bring to a boil.

3: Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and add the chicken and beans. Let both rest on top.

4: Turn the chicken once cooked on one side.

5: Once both sides of chicken are cooked, lightly salt and pepper.

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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WWW. Chicken and Peas, Home-Made Ice-Cream.

Been a little run down lately and the FF is on hold until my arm is better, so here’s what we had on Wednesday.

Recipe 1: Chicken and Pea Fry.

An excellent way of using leftover chicken and veg or of just putting together a meal when you’re in a rush.

Ingredients:

-4 chicken drumsticks

-300g peas

-300g beans

(can swap peas and beans for legumes of any variety)

-5-6 leaves of lettuce

-4 medium carrots

-2 rashers of bacon

-30g butter

Utensils:

-chopping board and knives

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: Slice the chicken from the bone and roughly cube it.

2: Dice the carrots.

3: Heat the oil in the pan.

4: Seal both sides of each piece of chicken before adding the carrots.

5: Cook the chicken and carrot right down before adding the legumes.

6: Turn the pan to a lower heat. Slice and add the bacon and lettuce.

7: Once the lettuce is wilted, serve.

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Recipes 2 and 3: Strawberry Jam and Ice-Cream.

Jon doesn’t normally like strawberries or anything related to them, but he enjoyed this so that’s a success.

Ingredients:

-400g strawberries

-10tbsp sugar

-300ml double cream

Utensils:

-mixing bowl (microwave safe)

-funnel

-fork

-jam jar

-plastic tupperware (freezer safe)

Recipe:

1: Mash the strawberries.

2: Add the sugar.

3: Microwave until thickened.

4: Pour the excess fluid into tupperware.

5: Use fork and funnel to put the thickened jam into the jar. Secure the lid tightly and place in the fridge.

6: Mix the cream into the strawberry fluid. Freeze.

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Time-Saver: Microwave Jam.

Yup. Jam. In the microwave.

This is brilliant for several reasons. Firstly, it lets you easily use a small haul of fruit that you don’t want to eat raw, for example due to bitterness or dryness. Secondly, it takes no time at all: it means you can make a small amount of jam without feeling like you wasted the time cooking and washing-up. Thirdly, it’s delicious.

I made it because I wanted to see if it could be done and also had some crabapples, wild raspberries that were a little dry and early blackberries.

So here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

-fruit

-30g of sugar to every 100g of fruit

-any spices you may want

Utensils:

-1 small microwaveable bowl

-1 fork

-handheld blender (optional)

Recipe:

1: Mash or blend the fruit in the bowl.

2: Add the sugar, stir.

3: Microwave on the defrost setting. Keep an eye on it. It will probably take 10min for anything under 500g, but it could take less depending on your microwave!

4: When the fruit juices are looking syrupy and thick, but still pour confusingly easily, place the bowl in the fridge. Maybe let it cool first if you made a lot, so as to not disturb your fridge temperature.

5: Serve.

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Persimmon jam is ridiculously easy.

So, recipe corner!

Now, what’s more seasonal than to gather a pile of lovely fruit and veggies from the harvest and preserve them to last through the Winter? And, of course, everyone’s favourite is jam. Jam as pie-filling, jam tarts, jam on rolls, jam alongside a nice slice of meat. Pretty much everyone loves a good jam. Even I (a passionate avoider of sugars, common wheat, conventional cakes and pre-made sauces), love a nice jam once in a while.

So why not make our own?

Now, there are plenty of seasonal jam and preserve recipes. Blackberry, apple, orange, cranberry, pear… But something I hadn’t previously considered was persimmon jam. You see, Kaki Persimmons are seasonal in Winter too. And, as seasonal fruit tends to do, you find them very expensive at the start and end of the season and being sold dirt-cheap in markets and Asian stores the rest of the season.

So, upon going to my local market and finding a tray of persimmons for £2, I had to have them.

Half my hoard. About 20 persimmons total, each the size of a large apple.

Half my hoard. About 20 persimmons total, each the size of a large apple.

But I found, when I got home, that some of the more robust fruits had been bullying the slightly overripe persimmons. Whatever to do with four bruised and soft persimmons?

As the title suggests, my idea was to jam them.

Considering how gelatinous persimmon flesh is, it somewhat amazes me that I’d never tried to preserve them. But, now I had thought of it, I decided to go ahead.

Recipe.

Ingredients:

-4 overripe/bruised persimmons

-5-8 spoonfuls of honey or sugar

-1 spoonful lemon juice

Equipment:

-small knife

-sauce-pot/small pot

-stirring spoon

-bowl

-fork

-blender

Instructions:

1: Peel and core your persimmons. Make sure any seeds are fished out.

2: Mash them in a bowl with a fork until they lose all form.

3: Stir-in the honey/sugar and lemon.

4: Pour the mix into your pot and put it on a low heat, stirring all the time. (This is to remove excess juice via evaporation. Being gelatinous, a drier or a pressed persimmon may jam on its own, so a raw alternative is perfectly possible.)

5: Set jam to one side to cool. Once cool, if making it with honey, stir some more in.

6: Blend out any unevenly large pieces.

 

The advantages of using honey or sugar are both obvious.

Sugar:

-cheaper

-aids jamming

-preservative

-adds sweetness without having a distinctive flavour

-vegan (if unfiltered)

Honey:

-antiseptic qualities (if raw and added AFTER boiling)

-adds a new dimension of flavour

-good if avoiding plain sugar

-you can use less of it

It’s up to you to decide which suits your needs/tastes best.

Finally, the end result looks like this:

Persimmon jam, honey edition.

Persimmon jam, honey edition.

So, if you want something a little brighter, you can add a natural colouring or a few drops of beetroot juice.

Hope it turns out well!

So, what jams and preserves do YOU like making over Winter? Any ideas on what to do with 250-400ml of persimmon jam? :p