WWW. Chicken Sage & Onion Pie and Chocolate-Chip Flapjacks.

Back to routine cooking again. And with it comes the wok.

Jon and I had something a little different this week. Rather than cook from scratch I used some leftovers and bits to cook a wholesome, rich meal and a tasty pudding.

Recipe 1: Chicken Sage & Onion Pie.

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Considering the success of sage and onion stuffing for roast chicken, I decided to try it as a flavouring for this pie. It was actually rather mild, but Jon liked the fact he could alter the flavour himself a bit more than usual.

Jon’s rating: 8/8.

Ingredients:

-300-400g/10.6-14.1oz cooked chicken

-3 small carrots

-200g/7oz broccoli

-1 medium onion

-400g/14.1oz potato

-400ml/14.1floz double cream

-5 leaves of sage

-1tsp salt

-1tsp pepper

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-small pot

-baking tray

Recipe:

1: Slice the carrots, onion and broccoli finely. Boil until softer, but not quite tender.

2: Dice the chicken and mix it with the vegetables in the baking tray.

3: Put the potatoes on to boil.

4: Finely slice the sage and add it to the chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle the salt and pepper on top.

5: Pour the double cream over the mix.

6: When the potatoes are softened, layer them over the chicken and vegetable mix.

7: Bake at 160C/320F for 30min, or until the potatoes are golden brown.

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Recipe 2: Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Flapjacks.

Another calorie dense Celt-cake, seeing how fond Jon is of them. Reduced the size this time, seeing as he doesn’t eat his sweets half as quickly as I do!

Ingredients:

-200g/7oz self-raising white flour or flour plus raising agents

-200g/7oz porridge oats

-150ml/5.3floz cold water

-3tbsp sugar

-3tbsp pumpkin seeds

-40-50g/1.4-1.8oz chocolate (I used a mix of sugar-free white chocolate, 90% dark chocolate and 85% chocolate with raspberry bits)

Utensils:

-mixing bowl and spoon

-greased or nonstick baking tray

Recipe:

1: Mix the flour, oats and sugar.

2: Stir-in the pumpkin seeds.

3: Roughly break the chocolate and stir it in.

4: Add any raising agents and the cold water. Mix well.

5: Pour into the baking tray.

6: Bake at 160C/320F for 10min.

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Wonderful Wednesday Wok. Fruits of the Forest Pie!

Because he’s off for Friday and is only working the morning tomorrow, Jon decided to come home for lunch today. So we had the Wok and an at-home lunch on the same day. Always makes me happy when that happens. πŸ™‚

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Recipe 1: Cottage pie.

Made entirely with cheap ingredients, as a bit of a challenge. Around Β£2 for the lot and it made 4 servings, so that’s pretty good. Jon gave it a 4/5 in terms of quality, but that’s not bad considering how little it cost and how filling it was!

Ingredients:

-800g/28.2oz potatoes

-300g/10.6oz mince

-100g/3.5oz bacon

-1 tin peeled plum tomatoes (400g/14.1oz)

-1 carton chopped tomato (400g/14.1oz)

-50g/1.7oz butter

-2tbsp herbs

-1tsp chilli

-1tsp pepper

-1tsp salt

-1/2tsp cinnamon

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Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-small pot

-potato masher or fork

-deep baking tray

Recipe:

1: Wash,Β  maybe peel, and slice the potatoes into small cubes.

2: Boil them.

3: Take the tomato, the bacon, 25g/0.9oz of butter, the chilli and the herbs. Mix together in the tray.

4: Put the bacon mix in the oven at 180-200C/355-390F for around 20min.

5: When the potatoes are soft, almost entirely drain them.

6: Mash the potatoes with the last of the butter, the salt, the pepper and the cinnamon.

7: Add the mince to the baking tray.

8: Spoon or pipe the potato evenly on top of the mince mix.

9: Bake at 160C/320F for around 1h.

There is no way to make this look more attractive. In many ways it's kind of worse than curry...

There is no way to make this look more attractive. In many ways it’s kind of worse than curry…

Recipe 2: Fruits of the Forest Pie.

Very, very easy and very cheap if you don’t use expensive jam or swap it for honey and a dash of fruit juice. As it stood, we had a jar of 100% fruit jam that I wanted to use. Also amazingly good. Jon gave it a 4.5/5.

Ingredients:

Makes 6 large slices or 8-12 smaller ones.

-200g/7oz plain flour

-150g/5.3oz butter

-100ml water

-3tbsp sugar/honey/concentrated grape/other sweetener

-200g/7oz mixed berries

-100g/3.5oz raisins/sultanas/currants

-2tbsp berry jam

-1 egg

Utensils:

-2 mixing bowls

-1 fork or cutter

-1 spoon

-1 rolling pin

-1 small, sharp knife

-1 brush

-1 baking tray

Recipe:

1: Mix the flour, sweetener and butter together until crumbs are formed.

2: Add the water little by little until the consistency of the dough is firm to the touch, elastic and not sticky. You won’t need all the water.

3: Place the dough in the fridge to cool.

4: Mix the berries, jam and raisins together in a bowl. Don’t worry about rehydrating the raisins, they will rehydrate themselves when cooking!

5: When the dough is cooled, take it out and break off 2/3 of it. Work the dough until it’s pliable again.

6: Roll it into a ball and roll it out until its as big as the pan, plus the height of the sides, plus about 1cm.

7: Grease the pan.

8: Carefully lower the dough into your pan. Press it into the corners.

9: Place in an oven at 160C/320F for 10-15min.

10: Whisk the egg.

11: Take the pie base and brush it all over with the beaten egg. Place back in the oven for 5min.

12: Fill the pie with the berry mix.

13: Take the other 1/3 of the dough and work it.

14: Roll it into a ball and roll it out so that the sections will go across the pie.

15: Using your sharp knife, slice the dough into a quadrilateral. Slice it into 6 or 12 strips.

16: Lay the strips over the top of the pie, weaving them.

17: Squish the strips onto the side of the pie and add egg to ensure they stick.

18: Glaze with more egg.

19: Bake at 160C/320F for 50min.

You can save the remaining egg for scrambled eggs or an omelet.

A more photogenic dish.

A more photogenic dish.

Mmm, pie!

Mmm, pie!

 

And that’s what Jon had for lunch today. He was very pleased. πŸ˜€

Recipe Corner. WWW and Seeded Burgers.

Phew! Between traveling on Monday, general business yesterday and gardening today, it’s taken forever to get to writing this. On the other hand, the first update photos of the garden and the finished sewing-project will be up soon. So yay!

As promised, I have added the measurements in ounces and fluid ounces and the temperature in Fahrenheit (rounded to the nearest 5).

Recipe 1: Seeded Burgers.

These are the ones I made for Dad and I for a lunch. I used some seed packs he got, that sounded nice. They’re here, but I can’t find anywhere actually still selling them. If you find anywhere that still stocks them, then please tell me because they were awesome. I used a Thai mix for half the mince and an Italian mix for the other half. Both were good, but could have done with a bit of a boost in terms of flavouring.

Ingredients:

-500g/17.6oz mince

-1 Thai seed packet

-1 Italian seed packet

Utensils:

-mixing bowl

-oven tray

Recipe:

Nice and simple.

1: Pre-heat the grill or oven at 180C/355F.

2: Divide the mince in half. Evenly mix one seed packet into each half. Possibly add some more seasoning to them.

3: Divide each half into two normal burgers or three small burgers.

4: Cook at 180C/355F for 25min.

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5: Serve as you wish. We had ours in crusty rolls with salad, and then with chips later.

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Recipe 2: Mixed Fish Pie.

A far easier fish pie than the smoked haddock one, but just as satisfying, and probably a lot easier to feed to fussy mouths.

Ingredients:

-900-1000g/31.7-35.3oz mixed fish (we used a 350g cheap pollock-based mix, a 250g pricier fresh mix and two tins of tuna chunks)

-600-700g/21.2-24.7oz potato

-300-400/10.5-14.1flozml milk

-75g/2.6oz butter

-30-50g/1-1.8oz rice flour

-salt

-pepper

-herbs

-onion powder

-smoked paprika

-Thai spice mix

Utensils:

-pot

-frying pan

-baking tray

-whisk/fork

-sieve

Recipe:

1: Boil and drain the potatoes. Mash them with 1/3rd of the butter. Put to one side.

2: Dice the fish and fry it in a little butter with salt, pepper and some Thai spices.

3: Once the fish is entirely cooked, remove it from the liquid it released and the butter and place it in the baking tray.

4: Take the pan with the water and butter in it. Add the milk, the last of the butter and put the mix back on the heat.

5: Stirring continually, sift in the flour.

6: Once the sauce has thickened, add a lot of pepper and some salt. Pour it over the fish.

7: If necessary, reheat the potatoes a bit.

8: Mash-in the smoked paprika, onion powder and some salt.

9: Pile over the fish.

10: Pre-heat the oven at 150C/300F.

11: Cook at 150C/300F for 45min.

12: If necessary, raise the temperature to 200C/390F near the end, to brown the potato.

 

Recipe 3: Banana Bread.

We had a reasonable number of overripe and near-overripe bananas, so I decided this would be our “pudding” food for the next few days. Also, using Gari means it’s lower in carbs, which makes it easier on my body.

Ingredients:

-4 overripe bananas

-200-300g/7-10.6oz Gari

-300-500ml/10.5-17.6floz milk

-30-50g/1-1.8oz raisins

-2 eggs

Utensils:

-mixing bowl

-fork

-cake/tart trays

Recipe:

1: Mash the bananas into a pulp with a fork.

2: Mash in the flour.

3: Add the milk. Mix thoroughly and allow ten to twenty minutes for the flour to absorb the milk.

4: Stir again. Mix in the eggs and raisins.

5: Preheat the oven to 150C/300F.

6: Cook banana bread at 150C/300F for 1h, or until a fork comes out clean.

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And the fish pie and banana bread are what Jon had for lunch today. In his words, the banana bread is “very nice”, but he can only have “a bit of it in one go”. Still, if he enjoys it then it’s a success. πŸ™‚

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Tomorrow I will definitely post the finished essay on the unexpected experiences of being a housekeeper and soon there will be an update on the garden and a post on my hand-made bag with a plan for making your own, if you think it’s cute and/or useful. I’m starting to find hand-sewing really therapeutic. Whenever I’m stressed or bored or my hands are a bit shakey from too much caffeine, or spending too long in the garden, sewing calms me right down.

Anyhow, TTFN and happy hunting!

Recipe Corner. Easy Peasy Pickled Ginger.

First recipe of the day. I have some corned beef heart to get back to before I can consider it a success. πŸ™‚

This recipe is entirely vegan, all raw and can be made fully Paleo by swapping the sugar out for raw cane, honey, grape extract or a suitable pre-formed yeast.

I started making this when I realized I had chopped too much ginger for the stir-fry I did last week. So, I popped it in one of my handy jars (always save jars and keep them around!) and sat about wondering what to do with it. At first I considered a curry-paste, but my jarring skills aren’t quite advanced enough to pull that off, despite the fact both the plum jams I made over a month ago are still solid, mouldless and unfermenting. Then I pondered another jam, but had to remind myself I’m not quite THAT fond of ginger. Finally, I decided to make sweet and spicy pickled ginger.

Now, I know I’m a ridiculously huge fan of preserving/jarring/canning/jamming things, but, firstly, preserving foods is an awesome skill to have and, secondly, naturally fermented, pickled and salted foods are excellent for you, as they take care of the little guys in your gut and make sure their population meets the right quotas for perfect health. They can also release certain nutrients from foods so as to make them more biologically available and preserve other nutrients so you can enjoy the health benefits of a specific fresh, raw plant all year round. So the more fermented stuff you eat, the better, really. πŸ™‚

Ingredients:

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-200g ginger

-4tbsp salt

-4tbsp sugar

-1tsp chilli powder

-75ml lemon juice

-200-300ml vinegar

-warm water

Utensils:

-a jar with a pop-tab on the top (the ones that say “press here” or “freshness guarantee”)

-kettle

-knife and chopping board
Recipe:

1: Peel half the ginger. Chop very finely.

2: Slice the rest of the ginger into pieces of varying size.

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3: Put the ginger in the jar.

4: Add the salt. Put on the lid and shake the jar until the salt is spread over the ginger.

5: Add the sugar. Put on the lid and shake the jar until the sugar is spread too.

6: Add the lemon juice and chilli. Put on the lid and shake again.

7: Leave to rest for a few.

8: Add the vinegar.

9: Boil the kettle.

10: Add the boiling water and, quickly, before the boiling water canΒ  mix with the vinegar, screw the lid on tightly. Within five to ten minutes the tab on the top should have been sucked back down. This means the jar is sealed.

Just sealed.

Just sealed.

11: Leave the jar somewhere you can keep an eye on it. Whenever you see it, take it and shake it, so that the salt and sugar sediments are loosened and mixed with the liquid. Eventually, they will fully dissolve.

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12: Leave the ginger to pickle for a few months. Remember not to open until at least 3 months in!

Later today I’ll either write a post on corning of heart or on what my kitchen is equipped with and why. πŸ™‚

TTFN and happy hunting.

Wonderful Wednesday Wok. Stir-fry, Meatloaf, Oats.

I finally seem to be getting somewhere with that painting. It’s redone and currently being framed so I can take it to the gallery. Fingers crossed, I’ll be able to sell it.

The chicken run and coop are also almost entirely dusted and scrubbed. Next the fungicide and the wood-sealer and then it’ll be ready to set up.

 

Now, onto the WWW. This week I decided to make him several of his favourites. He enjoyed the meatloaf, despite the fact we were using hellmince in it, so he got some of that for his meat. He likes beansprouts and peppers, so I made him a spicy vegetable stir-fry to go with it. Some potatoes for extra starch. And, as he likes oats a lot too, I made him some oat-based biscuits, pretty much flapjacks. True love is making someone delicious food they love which you can’t share because it would make you ill and being happy they’ve got delicious food they love. :p

 

So, three recipes again.

Recipe 1: Meatloaf.

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This recipe will work with even mince from less appreciated cuts, that’s fairly flavourless or that has minced offal mixed in for a micronutrient boost.

Ingredients:

-500-800g of fatty mince

-6 eggs

-2 peppers

-1 large onion

-4 tbsp flour (any kind)

-paprika, salt, pepper, herbs, onion powder and chilli to taste

Utensils:

-baking tray

-fork

Recipe:

1: Put the mince in the tray. Don’t bother to grease it, it should do this itself. Take a fork. Smash the raw mince until it’s more of a paste than a mince.

2: Finely dice the pepper and onion. Mix them into the mince.

3: Add the eggs one by one and stir them in until the mass is even and thick.

4: Add the spices and stir them in.

5: Slowly sift the flour in, pausing to stir so no lumps are formed.

6: If the mix is still stiff to stir, add another egg, melted butter or water.

7: Pre-heat the oven at 200C.

8: Place the meatloaf in the oven (perhaps with a few small potatoes to bake around the side) for 15min.

9: Turn the heat down to 180C and cook the meatloaf for a further 40min.

10: Leave to rest for a few before slicing and serving.

 

Recipe 2: Spicy Stir-Fry.

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When I first mentioned that I was making a stir-fry for the Wednesday Wok, Jon was disappointed. He commented that a “vegetable stir-fry doesn’t sound like it has much meat in it”. He warmed up to the idea when I mentioned the meat was going in separately. He also likes beansprouts a lot, so I got them for him and wanted to use them yesterday.

Ingredients:

-1 medium-size carrot

-1 pepper

-1 small onion

-150-200g beansprouts

-10g butter

-1tsp chinese 5 spice

-2tsp mixed herbs

-paprika, chilli, salt, pepper and thyme to taste

Utensils:

-1 large wok or frying pan

-spatula

-cutting board and knife

-vegetable peeler

Recipe:

1: The only proper way to stir-fry carrots is to slice them finely. If you don’t have a fancy-named tool like a spiralizer or a saladshooter, then you can just use your standard hand-held potato peeler. Slice the carrot as though you were peeling it to the core. If the bits are too long, you can always shorten them by chopping them next.

2: Slice the pepper and onion into long thin strips.

3: Heat the butter in the wok/pan and add the stronger spices.

4: Add the sliced vegetables and cook on a high heat (Gas Mark 6) for 5min.

5: Lower the heat a little (Gas Mark 4 or 5) and add the beansprouts, 5 spice and herbs.

6: Cook for a further five minutes before removing the wok/pan off the heat.

 

Recipe 3: Chocolate Oaty Bites.

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Jon likes oats. A lot. So I asked him what he’d want in a sort of flapjack. The answer was: honey, chocolate, maybe seeds and eggs if I could. Sadly, the heat at which I was working the mix meant no eggs, but the rest went in just fine.

Ingredients:

-300g porridge oats

-1 cup warm water

-4 tbsp honey

-40g dark chocolate

-75g mixed seeds

Utensils:

-mixing pot

-spoon

-baking tray

Recipe:

1: Mix the oats with the warm water until a sort of chunky porridge has been made.

2: Stir-in the honey.

3: Crush the chocolate into small pieces.

4: Stir-in the chocolate and seeds.

5: Grease the baking-tray.

6: Either spread the mix out on the tray to be cut up later for square flapjacks, place it into round cupcake trays for round snacks or serve it onto the tray in tablespoonfuls to make small biscuit-like pieces.

7: Bake at 150C for 30-40min.

8: Leave to cool before eating.

 

And that’s what Jon got for lunch today. πŸ™‚

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Wonderful Wednesday Wok. On Smoked Paprika and Veg Pots.

First of all, I know I haven’t been putting up my daily paintings lately, even though this week’s plan is nothing BUT painting (all in all I think I owe you four). But you’ll see what I’m doing later. It’s a secret.

Also, I DO owe a book review (“The Picture of Dorian Gray”), which I forgot due to the paintings, so I’ll do that tomorrow.

 

For now: WWW! πŸ™‚

This week was a bit simpler, but for the sake of extolling the virtues of simplicity. [Disclaimer: Not wholly true. Also because of painting.]

I made roast chicken, a fresh vegetable mix and, although I’ll be making some rice pudding later on in the week, for today I gave him a cookie and his usual morning bananas, squash and coffee.

 

Now, please give me a few minutes to praise three marvelous, yet underrated spices.

1: Smoked Paprika.

Paprika, using the Western European definition*, is a powder made from ground dried peppers. Sweet paprika is made from bell peppers. Spicy paprika is either made from chili peppers or from a combination or bell peppers and chili peppers. Paprika is usually red, but you could make paprika from green peppers if you wished to. [*In some Eastern European languages, like Polish, “papryka” is a bell pepper, so that’s why I mention it!]

Many people are familiar with the taste of normal paprika, as it’s commonly used in a variety of traditional European, American, African and Middle-Eastern cuisine and used globally in some form or another. In fact, it’s been incorporated into the traditional cuisines of most countries, even in recipes where it didn’t initially exist. It adds a sweet, slightly piquant flavour to most food. Sweet paprika is often used when a bit of spice is desired, but without the heat or burn of fully chilies. Spicy paprika is used where heat is called for, and it carries the flavour more evenly through a broth, gravy, stew or paste than fresh or dried chilies can. Both also offer the advantage of keeping longer than even dried chilies.

However, smoked paprika adds another dimension entirely. It is usually made out of bell peppers and, on top of the sweetness and slight spiciness, there is a smokey, barbequey flavour. It’s hard to describe beyond that, but it’s marvelous (if I haven’t said so already).

Smoked paprika is best used on:

-all red and white meats

-fried protein dishes

-making sausages, pates, meatloaves or burgers (meat and veggie)

-grilled dishes

-anything involving cheese

2: Powdered Onion and Onion Salt.

Dried onion that has been powdered and maybe mixed with salt.

This is also brilliant. Basically, depending on how much you put in it will add the flavour of French onion soup or the je-ne-sais-quoi of junk Chinese food (besides the MSG). That is pretty much all you need to know.

Powdered onion is best used on:

-savory dishes where you would ordinarily use onion

-anything baked or roasted

-combining with breadcrumbs and savory batter

-most fried things

-anything sort-of-Asian

3: Ground Cloves.

It seems everyone but bakers and ham-makers underestimates the power of the mighty clove. It has an acrid taste, like concentrated real ales with a touch of earthy or nuttiness. Something to be used in very small quantities, usually to impart flavour before being discarded. Cloves are the other thing you find in an Indian dish (alongside cardamoms and bay leaves) that you bite into and have to spit out, confused that this strange piece of wood was intentionally put into your meal. But cloves are brilliant. They can intensify spicy or savoury flavours, contrast with sweet ones and take the edge off salty ones.

Ground cloves are to be used very sparingly. But they are preferable over whole cloves in two aspects:

1, Whole cloves stay whole in your food, and that’s just gross.

2, Ground cloves don’t take as long for their flavour to impart. Being a powder, it just dissolves into the fluid or paste you’re making.

Ground cloves are best used on:

-pepper crusts for meat

-in curries and rich stews

-in jams and preserves

-baked goods

 

Now, that out of the way, you will now understand why the main recipes were so simple. When you use ingredients and spices artfully, the tastes do all the talking.

 

Recipe 1: Spiced Roast Chicken.

(for one)

Ingredients:

-1 chicken thigh

-1/8tsp pepper

-1/4tsp salt

-1/2tsp smoked paprika

-1/4tsp onion powder

-1/16tsp ground cloves

Utensils:

-baking tray

-knife for slicing

Recipe:

1: Coat your chicken, over and under the skin, in the spices.

2: Cook in an oven at 160C for 45min.

3: Slice and serve.

 

Recipe 2: Seasoned Vegetables.

(big pot)

Ingredients:

-150g courgette

-5 large carrots

-500g potato

-300g celeriac

-2tbsp onion powder

-2tbsp pepper

-1tbsp salt

-1tbsp smoked paprika

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-large pot, stirring spoon

Recipe:

1: Slice the celeriac, potato and carrots and put on to boil for about 15min.

2: Slice the courgette. Add alongside the seasonings.

3: Simmer for 1.5h. Top up water as needed.

4: Serve with some form of flavoured fat stirred in (gammon lard, goat’s butter, salted coconut oil, etc).

 

And that’s what I served Jon today. What did he think of the seasoning? 4/5, but could have been a 4.5/5 if I’d put more of the stock in with the veg. Live and learn. πŸ™‚

 

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