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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Blog-a-long June 2007, Favourite Recipe

Well here we are again, I've left my blog-a-long post until the last day of the month!!!! *rolls eyes*

The reason I've had trouble this month (I always seem to be making excuses).... is purely and simply that I LOVE FOOD!!! and I can't choose my favourite! I love cooking, and I love eating, it's as simle as that! My preference is definitely for main courses, and for fairly unextravagent traditional (ish) food. I'm not very good at making things like curries.... but good "family food" - just show me the kitchen!!!

So I've chosen two recipes.... one is a more wintry one and one a more summery one! I'm sorry I'm not very good at weights and measures I'm afraid I tend to work in handfuls and mugs, but hopefully you'll get the gist!!

Firstly the summer one: Stuffed Marrow: (Should serve 4, but doesn't usually last us that long)

1 Marrow
1 Onion
1 punnet mushrooms - or mix of mushrooms
dried porcini
mixed herbs
approx 1/2 pint milk
good quality long grain brown rice
grated cheddar cheese
1 egg

Make 1 pint of stock using a small handful of dried porcini mushrooms and half boiling water water/half milk. Season the stock with plenty of black pepper and a small handful of mixed herbs Leave to stand and infuse for a while.

Take Marrow, cut in half and de-seed.

Gnetly Fry mushrooms and onion in olive oil until soft then add 1 large mug (approx half volume of liquid stock) of good quality long grain brown rice. (This is important and I would never have known how different rice brands can be - I personally use Infinity Organic rice, which cooks with a lovely nutty flavour). Mix the rice into the mushroom and onion until coated in juices and oil, then throw in the stock. leave to simmer gently for 1/2 hour or until the liquid is fairly well absorbed into the rice. Leave to cool slightly and beat in one egg and a generous handful of grated cheddar cheese.

Heat oven to around 180 deg C. If you like to eat the marrow skin (I do!) then clean thoroughly and rub with a little butter. Lay each half of marrow on its back and stuff with the mushroom rice mixture. If this seems a little dry you can add some water into the bottom of the dish to help soften the marrow during cooking. Top with more grated cheese and cook in oven for around 20 - 30 mins until marrow soft and rice topping crispy on the top!. Enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine!!!!

Winter Recipe: Vegetable Pasties

(Makes one large pasty for 2 people - should have enough filling to freeze half with the other half packet of puff pastry and make another one night when you want home cooked food without the effort)

1/2 pack puff pastry
swede (You'll probably only need half a one)
1 Large leek
2 or 3 carrots
(any other root veg you like)
mixed herbs
Small amount of strong veggie stock - needs to be enough to cook through veg but not leave too much liquid over or pastry will be soggy. I usually use around 1/3 pint. stock can have a little marmite or bovril added if you like these.

Cube up veggies into around 1/2cm squares, slice leeks.

Stir fry all together slowly with large handful of mixed herbs. When softened add stock. Simmer very gently until veggies cooked through (prob about 20 mins) and liquid mostly boiled off a little gravy is ok, but you don't want too much to soak into the pastry - if it gets too dry without cooking through add a little more liquid. Allow to cool.

meanwhile roll out puff pastry to large rectangle on a floured baord (I usually make one large pasty and cut into half each, otherwise I find you end up with all crust and no filling!!) and place on a greased baking tray (do this before you fill it - believe me it's the best way!!) Use half the veg mixture to fill the centre of the pasty, fold over the pastry and seal edges. Brush top with milk or beaten egg to glaze and pop into fairly high over (around 180 - 200 deg c) for 20 to 30 mins until pastry is all puffy and glorious! I serve this with olive oil roasties in chip shapes ('cos I don't deep fry here I can't stand the smell!) mr Noo's favourite!!!!

I should have made these this week then we could have had photos!!! Oh well I'll try to remember to take photos next time I make them!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

We've gone all dark and mysterious here

Just for a couple of weeks until the New (and *snuffle*.... last) Harry Potter book arrives. If anyone else loves it the template was from here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Time Traveller's Wife and Garden abundances.

I am currently listening to The Time Traveller's Wife as an Audio Book from Audible. You pay a monthly subscription charge (£7.99 for one book or £14.99 for 2) and for that you can choose any book from their website. The Time Traveller's wife is an unabridged version - at 18 hours long!! - and is an excellent listen! I've vaguely thought about buying the book several times, but it looked like one of those books I may or may not get around to reading! - I used to read a lot in the summer months whilst sitting in the garden, but now I tend to be knitting or crocheting, and you can't do both!!!! - An audio book is a fab idea. And in this case it's a far better way to get the story. It is read by two narrators, a male taking the role of Henry and a female the role of Claire. I don't know if I would ever have gotten "into" the book if I'd read it, but listening makes it so much more real. It's basically a love story, but with a twist! I'm half way through now, and have got to that point where I want to be listening to it all the time!!!! A definite recommendation.

I also wanted to show you these today. This is the area at the back of my garden where the chickens will one day live! I always get to the same state at this time in the year...... in the spring I turn it over and weed it thoroughly and then other things take over and it gets left just one week too long........ and then..... these grow.....................
all by themselves...... and let's face it you couldn't dig them up could you????!!!!! In effect they're weeds - I've never planted or sown them, but it just goes to show that a weed is a flower in the wrong place - and these....... well they can stay for (yet) another year!!!!!!

Finally, this weekend's courgette harvest! - It's started!