Monday, December 30, 2013

Turkey Tetrazzini - a Family Classic!








In the early days of our marriage, Alan and I lived with his parents while we refurbished the house we had purchased. This was about 6 weeks.  And it was ok, really it was.  The in-laws did everything they could to make me feel at home. The fact that I had not lived with parents for about 16 years made it a bit difficult for me, but we did fairly well.

One day, I decided to go through my mother in law's cook book and stumbled across a recipe that became a family staple.  I have made this recipe regularly ever since and my daughter asked for a copy of it, so it seemed the right thing to document this historic passing over of a new family classic!

Not only is this a super way to use leftover turkey (or chicken), it is also just good eating. Recently, we have begun to buy ready cooked chicken breasts and used them, or even cooking chicken breasts, maybe not quite as tasty, but really fast for a good meal.

I apologize for the lateness of this post.  It is the perfect way to use leftover turkey and one of the highlights of our Christmas week.  But there was never time to post it this week.  And I looked up the safest length of time to use up leftover turkey and the suggestion is no more than 3 - 4 days.

Being in a hurry, as always in the week between Christmas and New Year, Alan came in and helped cut up the veggies!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I doubled the recipe, so this is more than the recipe actually calls for.
 
If you want the recipe without pictures, just scroll down and enjoy!

Turkey Tetrazzini

8 oz spaghetti
1 celery stick, chopped (I always use at least 3 sticks)
1 onion, chopped
1 can mushrooms (the original recipe calls for this, I have never used them)
3oz butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 (1/2 cup) milk
2oz cheddar cheese
2 Tbs sherry, optional (sherry?  no way!)
salt & pepper
8oz turkey, cooked and diced
Parmesan cheese
 
1.  Preheat oven to moderate, 350F, gas 4 or 180C
2.  Cook spaghetti, drain and keep hot
3.  Cook celery, onion and mushrooms (if using) in butter til tender.
4.  Add soup, milk, cheese and sherry (if using).
5.  Cook over low heat till cheese has melted.
     Add turkey and pour over spaghetti.
6.  Stir and place in casserole.
    Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (I never did this either) and bake in center
    of oven for 20 - 25 minutes.  Watch this because it might begin to get too brown before this time
    is up.
 
 Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Arthur.
Arthur who?
Arthur any leftovers?


Turkey Tetrazzini

8 oz spaghetti
1 celery stick, chopped (I always use at least 3 sticks)
1 onion, chopped
1 can mushrooms (the original recipe calls for this, I have never used them)
3oz butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 (1/2 cup) milk
2oz cheddar cheese
2 Tbs sherry, optional (sherry?  no way!)
salt & pepper
8oz turkey, cooked and diced
Parmesan cheese
 
1.  Preheat oven to moderate, 350F, gas 4 or 180C
2.  Cook spaghetti, drain and keep hot
3.  Cook celery, onion and mushrooms (if using) in butter til tender.
4.  Add soup, milk, cheese and sherry (if using).
5.  Cook over low heat till cheese has melted.
     Add turkey and pour over spaghetti.
6.  Stir and place in casserole.
    Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (I never did this either) and bake in center
    of oven for 20 - 25 minutes.  Watch this because it might begin to get too brown before this time
    is up.





Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baking day with my daughter!

Growing up with a single parent, I spent a lot of quality time with my Mom, doing simple things like baking Christmas cookies.  For some reason, this tradition had not naturally happened with my daughter and me.  Looking back, we just had a different lifestyle, including a whole family and responsibilities, not just the two of us. The other main difference - Christmas cookies are not that big of a deal in Scotland! 

When Whitney was in about the third grade, she came home one October and asked when we were going to make our Christmas cake?  What!!!  I had never ever thought of making a Christmas cake!  However, I called a good friend and got a really simple recipe.  Whitney and I made this delicious cake and fed it regularly with Scotch up until the day we could eat it - Christmas. 

Did I say Scotch?  Yes....and we had a great bottle gifted to us on the day of Whitney's christening, just to give you an idea of how much Scotch we actually drink!  The only problem.....Whitney hated the cake, and of course she would!  So after a few years of only my mother in law and myself eating this cake - she had one piece at the Christmas meal and I had the rest, I decided that this was one tradition my daughter and I did not really need to keep!  Once that bottle was finished, I have never made another Christmas cake!


But this year, life has slowed a bit and we both have more time for each other, so this was the prize (for me anyway).

Having a lifetime collection of favourite Christmas cookies, we were spoiled by choice with what we would do on our baking day.  However, there was no discussion about the first batch......Snowballs!

Snowballs and I go way back, to our little house on Church Street.  Mom had this recipe (I can still picture the original recipe card now, but it was stuck in her Joy of Cooking and that didn't make the move over).  Luckily, I have a few copies of this recipe, including one in the cookbook my Home Ec class published. So it will never be in danger of being lost.  There was one problem though - when I first moved to Scotland and attempted to bake these, I had no idea how to convert sticks of butter to grams.  And you do not get sticks of butter over here.  So I guesstimated a few times and never got it right.  Years later.....I discovered an on-line butter conversion.  Suddenly, I have the freedom to bake any American recipe that calls for various sizes of sticks, tablespoons and cups of butter with confidence!

When I made this with Whitney, I had not planned on using it this year on my blog, but here it is, without any measurement conversions, sorry!

Snowballs

Preheat oven to 300F  150C
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs water
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups sifted cake flour  (I just use plain old normal flour!)
1 6oz (1 cup) chocolate chips, semi-sweet
1 cup pecans, finely chopped ( Optional)
Confectioners sugar (Icing Sugar)


Combine first 5 ingredients. 
Blend well.
Stir in flour and chocolate chips.
Form into 1 inch balls.
Roll in pecans.  (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't - I love them equally both ways!)
Place on ungreased cookie sheet.


Bake for 30 minutes.

Roll in sugar while warm.

Yield:  approx 5 dozen




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The older I get, the more I see

The power of that young woman, my mother.

 

 Sharon Olds quotes 

 

 


Monday, December 16, 2013

Early Morning Banana and Butterscotch Muffins

My husband has a job that causes him to get up a 3:45 some mornings. This is a zero hour contract and he expected not to work so many hours, maybe 8 hours a week. But just now, they are short staffed.......

Sounds bad doesn't it?  However, I am such an early riser, I wake up about 4am anyway. So I am enjoying the slow start to weekend mornings.  I just finished a book my friend in Edinburgh gave me called Sex and Stravinsky by Barbara Trapido. This is set in South Africa and took me awhile to get into, but it ended up being really good. Thankfully I didn't read the back of the book until this morning.  They compared it to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.  It was nice to be surprised by how it all came together at the end!

So now I am going to enjoy my porridge and berries, with zero point no fat Greek Vanilla Yogurt. This is my standard Weightwatcher's breakfast, and I honestly look forward to it every morning!

And after breakfast - I have decided to use up my old bananas and some close to out of date Butterscotch chips to make Banana Muffins for my poor and probably tired husband when he gets home!

In my never ending quest to clear out my cookbook bookcase, I am attempting to be sensible and make good choices on what ones to keep. This morning, I have made the painful decision to give up 3 cookbooks I have either never used or completely forgotten about!  Now the question is, do I offer them to my daughter to teach her how to hoard a lifetime supply of never used cookbooks or do the right thing and give them to charity? 2 of these are brand new and "could" be used as gifts!  (not by me, I am the only person I know with such an obsession for them!)

This morning, I have used the Joy of Cooking that Mom bought me in 1971.  I also have a more recent one, but still bemoan the loss of Mom's Joy of Cooking that my Dad bought her when they were first married.  But nothing I can do about that....

The way the recipe is set out, it gives the appearance that the person should actually know the idiosyncrasies involved in making muffins.  This struck me as very odd, and also thankful that I had a good Home Ec teacher back in the day.  It was only after I managed to get all ingredients together that I realized there is a section on the previous page that gives the instructions!  So I will add these as I write out the basic recipe!

First of all this is the basic recipe and there are suggested things you can add.  I had already made my decision to add 2 very ripe bananas and a half cup of butterscotch chips!

Muffins  (scroll down to find recipe without pictures)

The recipe says about 2 dozen, although I only got 14.  I am wondering if even muffins are bigger than they were in the 70's?

Preheat oven to 400F  200C

Have all ingredients at room temperature.  Sift before measuring:
2 cups cake flour or 1 3/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour  (340g)

Resift with:
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar  (76g)
2 teaspoons baking powder

Beat in a separate bowl:
2 eggs

Combine and add:
2 - 4 tablespoons melted butter (56g for 4 Tbs)
3/4 cup milk (225ml)

To mix:
Add the liquid ingredients to the sifted, dry ingredients with a few swift strokes.  The mixing is held to an absolute minimum, a light stirring of about 10 - 20 seconds, which will leave some lumps, ignore them.





If adding extras such as bananas, chips, nuts, etc, have these ready and mix them in gently to avoid over mixing the batter.

To bake, either use cupcake papers (I think with the extras I put in, it cause the muffins to be really sticky.  Doing this again, I would not use the papers.)  or grease the tins.  Fill about 2/3 full.  If there is not enough dough to fill every muffin cup, put a few tablespoons of water in the empty forms, both to protect the pans and to keep the rest of the muffins moist. 













Bake at once in preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes (I needed all 25)

"Life is too short," she panicked, "I want more." He nodded slowly, "Wake up earlier." ~Dr. SunWolf,

Muffins

About 2 dozen, although I only got 14.  I am wondering if even muffins are bigger than they were in the 70's?

Preheat oven to 400F  200C

Have all ingredients at room temperature.  Sift before measuring:
2 cups cake flour or 1 3/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour  (340g)

Resift with:
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar  (76g)
2 teaspoons baking powder

Beat in a separate bowl:
2 eggs

Combine and add:
2 - 4 tablespoons melted butter (56g for 4 Tbs)
3/4 cup milk (225ml)

To mix:
Add the liquid ingredients to the sifted, dry ingredients with a few swift strokes.  The mixing is held to an absolute minimum, a light stirring of about 10 - 20 seconds, which will leave some lumps, ignore them. 

If adding extras such as bananas, chips, nuts, etc, have these ready and mix them in gently to avoid over mixing the batter.

To bake, either use cupcake papers (I think with the extras I put in, it cause the muffins to be really sticky.  Doing this again, I would not use the papers.)  or grease the tins.  Fill about 2/3 full.  If there is not enough dough to fill every muffin cup, put a few tablespoons of water in the empty forms, both to protect the pans and to keep the rest of the muffins moist. 

Bake at once in preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes (I needed all 25)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013 - Crunchy Frostbite Cookies

Last year was the first time I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and it was so much fun, I was really looking forward to doing it again!  This is a world wide cookie swap with all participants giving a donation to Cookies for Kids with Cancer.

First of all, anyone interested in participating has to meet certain criteria, such as being a food blogger and having published so many posts in a definite time frame.  Once accepted, then there are deadlines to meet!  One of these was to post your cookies no later than 2 December. Which was not  a problem for me, being a Monday and all!  And Whitney and I had spent Saturday baking cookies,  although the ones I did for the Cookie Swap I did on my own!  I did these before Whitney came over because they were a complete new recipe for me and I needed to be sure they would be tasty enough to share and sturdy enough to survive the journey to other people's houses with the Royal Mail!

(If they did not meet my standards, I had an old and very favourite stand by to bake, but maybe that will be next year's swap!) 

There is an air of secrecy and expectation about giving and receiving these cookies.  Once registered, we are each given 3 others to share our cookies with. But this is like a Secret Santa, so all the energy and thoughts about this exchange goes silent for a few weeks!  Then - suddenly, there it is - the first package!   I always work to a deadline so I was very surprised when I received my first batch of cookies days before I had even purchased the ingredients for mine!







These were delicious Bailey's and Chocolate Chip Cookies from Quips and Dip.  These were Bailey's Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Not only did they taste wonderful, but Emma also packaged them beautifully.

The next package came on 4 December - from Come Con Ella.  These were amazing Brownie Roll Out Cookies.  Mehrunnisia says she got her inspiration from Smitten Kitchen and I cannot wait to try this recipe.  The cookies tasted like real brownies, but must be so much less in calories.  My Weightwatcher group has asked me to point these once I get the recipe!  I think they will end up being a wonderful snack!
Brownie Roll Out Cookies and Bailey's Choc Chips

The last package had difficulty getting to me.  The Postman attempted to deliver it on Thursday 5 December, but uncharacteristically, no one was home. Friday was the same. So I did not get them until Saturday.  These were from Katiesprog.  I have been unable to contact her to let her know her Raspberry and White Chocolate Cookies arrived!  I think the contact given is only a Twitter account, but I have struggled to get connected. So I do apologize that I have not been able to acknowledge arrival and thank her for these cookies.


I had decided to bake Crunchy Frostbite Cookies found on the myrecipes.com website, based on a Southern Living magazine recipe. Why I couldn't use one of my many cookbooks is beyond me, but I saw these and wanted to try them.  And I must admit they are a hit with my grandson, who   has told him Mum he wants to bake these for Santa. So she is waiting for me to publish this recipe too!

Here goes!

If you want this recipe photo free, just scroll down!





 An action shot of me! Taken by my daughter.

Crunchy Frostbite Cookies  

adapted from a Southern Living recipe found on myrecipes.com.

Just a reminder that this is an American recipe and I have tried to measure everything so anyone can do this.  However, my weights and measures might not be exactly accurate and I apologize for any errors!

2 cups (295g)  all purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons baking soda  (bicarbonate of soda)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar  (226g)
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (235g)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups (164g) uncooked regular oats
1 1/2 cups (58g) cornflakes cereal
12 ounces (340g) white chocolate baking squares, chopped* 
3 tablespoons shortening**
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

*I have never seen baking squares in any UK grocery stores I have been in, and have only thought to buy chocolate squares when I go home. So I just used the weight amount called for in White Chocolate bars.  Seemed to do the trick!

**For many years, I substituted butter or margarine for shortening.  But I usually ask visitors from the States to bring this to me.....personally?  I don't really think it matters which one you use!

Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.


Using an electric mixer - mix 1 cup of shortening with sugars, added slowly, until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well each time and then add vanilla.  After this is all mixed, add the flour mixture, gradually.  Following this, add the oats and cornflakes.






On a lightly greased cookie sheet, drop cookie dough by heaped teaspoonfuls, leaving space for them to spread.  Using a fork, flatten each one a bit.  

Bake at 325F/160C for 10 - 14 minutes.  Mine is a fairly slow oven so it was the full 14 minutes for me.















 Allow to cool before eating!


For the chocolate coating, carefully microwave the white chocolate along wth 3 tablespoons of the shortening.  Using a lower setting protected the chocolate even if it seems to take a bit longer. Stir as little as possible, but at least once.  Add the peppermint extract and mix that in well.
Dip what I would consider the bottom of the cookie into the chocolate mixture and place these on parchment paper, chocolate side down.  Let stand until chocolate is set.

I got about 40 cookies!
before the white chocolate dip!




















And here is one set of cookies getting ready to find a new home!





In looking at my contribution from last year - another Southern Living cookie recipe, dipped in white chocolate!  I wonder what next year will bring?

Many thanks to Lindsay and Julie for taking on this huge worldwide charity challenge and making it so much fun! 





Crunchy Frostbite Cookies 

2 cups (295g)  all purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons baking soda  (bicarbonate of soda)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar  (226g)
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (235g)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups (164g) uncooked regular oats
1 1/2 cups (58g) cornflakes cereal
12 ounces (340g) white chocolate baking squares, chopped* 
3 tablespoons shortening**
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

*I have never seen baking squares in any UK grocery stores I have been in, and have only thought to buy chocolate squares when I go home. So I just used the amount called for in White Chocolate bars.  Seemed to do the trick!

**For many years, I substituted butter or margarine for shortening.  But I usually ask visitors from the States to bring this to me.....personally?  I don't really think it matters which one you use!

Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.


Using an electric mixer - mix 1 cup of shortening with sugars, added slowly, until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well each time and then add vanilla.  After this is all mixed, add the flour mixture, gradually.  Following this, add the oats and cornflakes.

On a lightly greased cookie sheet, drop cookie dough by heaped teaspoonfuls, leaving space for them to spread.  Using a fork, flatten each one a bit.  

Bake at 325F/160C for 10 - 14 minutes.  Mine is a fairly slow oven so it was the full 14 minutes for me.

For the chocolate coating, carefully microwave the white chocolate along wth 3 tablespoons of the shortening.  Using a lower setting protected the chocolate even if it seems to take a bit longer. Stir as little as possible, but at least once.  Add the peppermint extract and mix that in well.
Dip what I would consider the bottom of the cookie into the chocolate mixture and place these on parchment paper, chocolate side down.  Let stand until chocolate is set.

I got about 40 cookies!








Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New cookbooks!

How frustrating must it be to be me!  Even in my desire to clear out my cookbooks and have only enough to fit my purpose built bookcase in our kitchen, I still cannot resist interesting new cookbooks. Especially when they were a fantastic deal at WH Smith!  I imagine these deals are meant to help people buying Christmas gifts. And that was the first reason I picked them up, but how could I possibly give these away?  Two of my favourite things - cake and soup!



I made my decision and purchased the "A Soup for Every Day"365 of our favourite recipes - from the New Covent Garden Food Company, and "Cake Days"  Recipes to make every day special, from The Hummingbird Bakery.  Although the cakes were very tempting, I was much more interested in new soups and how fun it would be to have a soup a day.  (Not that I would make a soup a day, but it will fun to try to work through it in the next few years!)

My first choice was easy, it was November 8 and I looked at that date.....Swede, Turnip & Parsnip Soup!  Sounded interesting so off I went to buy what I needed.

The funny thing is, I never heard of Swede before moving over here and my husband is convinced Swede and Turnip are the same things!  And where I come from, we have rutabaga - which is a swede according to the dictionary!  At a local vegetable shop yesterday looking for another turnip to make this soup again, all I could find was "swede" but it was labelled "turnip"!  So the confusion will always be with us!  Good luck finding exactly what you might need for this soup. But I think any mixture of these or similar root vegetables would work.
According to my local grocery store - in the upper left hand corner is the swede, and in the middle of the plate with the purple top is the turnip!

In the list of ingredients is "double cream".  In the UK, we have single cream, double cream and whipping cream.  When I first moved here, I had to figure out what these really were in terms of my own reference. The nearest thing I could come up with was single cream is similar to what we get in the US called Half and Half (half milk, half cream), double cream seems to me to be just what it says - cream.  I have no idea why there is a separate type of cream labelled whipping cream, since double cream can also be whipped!  But there it is! 

In an attempt to make this a bit more healthy and less fattening, I used another product of which I have no idea of a substitute in the US - Elmlea Double Light.  On the label it claims to have "50% less fat than double cream", and of course, every little bit helps! 






In addition to new cookbooks, I am also a sucker for new kitchen gadgets and bought myself a wonderful treat a few weeks ago.  This was the first time I really benefited from it - a Teefal Fresh Express chopper. 

Although it might chop vegetables a bit less than "roughly", since the soup is going to be liquidized anyway, what does that matter?  And the time saved is wonderful.  (In both chopping and cooking!)






I have copied the recipe at the bottom without photos for ease of using.

And apologies, again, it seems like my life is just one big hurry, so I did not convert measurements.

Swede, Turnip & Parsnip Soup

Ingredients

25g Butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped 

(with soup what does exact measurements matter?  I had 3 carrots left, so I used all of them)

225g swede, peeled and roughly chopped

175g turnips, peeled and roughly chopped

(same with the turnip, why throw a bit away? Just use the whole thing if it is small enough anyway!)

150g parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped

725 ml (3 cups) vegetable stock

nutmeg, freshly grated

100 ml double cream 

 

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion, carrot, swede, turnip and parsnip, then cover and cook gently for 10 minutes, without browning.

 

Add the vegetable stock and nutmeg, then season to taste.

 

Cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

 

Blend until smooth, then add the cream.

 not much cream anyway, but using the healthier version made me happy ;-) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Season to taste, reheat gently, then serve.

 

Delicious!

 

"To stay youthful, stay useful."  Amish Proverb

 

Swede, Turnip & Parsnip Soup

Ingredients

25g Butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
225g swede, peeled and roughly chopped
175g turnips, peeled and roughly chopped
150g parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
725 ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
nutmeg, freshly grated
100 ml double cream 

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion, carrot, swede, turnip and parsnip, then cover and cook gently for 10 minutes, without browning.

Add the vegetable stock and nutmeg, then season to taste.

Cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Blend until smooth, then add the cream.

Season to taste, reheat gently, then serve.




Friday, November 8, 2013

Apple and Oat Crumble

While visiting our friends in Jedburgh, I had the pleasure of picking apples from a tree for the first time in my life!  It isn't that I had never seen an apple tree, in fact, we had one in our backyard for awhile. But I just never thought of going out there and even finding out if my apples were edible! 

A gorgeous part of Scotland we had never visited before!
 
But on this particular weekend, Isabel offered to send some apples home with me and out we went to get them!  And I got way more than I thought we could handle.  I was advised how to wrap them in newspaper and store them in a cold room.  Easier said than done right now in our house.....things are all every which way right now as we try to come to grips with whatever it is we want to do with this house!  And at this point, I could not even get to the door of the garage. So I searched and discovered the coldest room in our house is my new office. This was once my Mom's bedroom and she always said it was cold.......she was right! 

With our son now being home from London, it seemed the perfect excuse to bake something. So I decided to see how those apples I put in the room in September were doing 5 weeks later. And they were perfect.  (I have used some of the apples before this, but they had been kept in the kitchen)

I am also trying to get rid of some of my cookbooks, so I am testing which ones I like most.  I decided to try "Bake" by Rachel Allen.  And the recipe was a huge success!  So that is one book I will probably keep!

And I apologize, I forgot to measure into cups after the flour.  I just enjoyed putting it all together and didn't remember to make that adjustment. 


APPLE AND OAT CRUMBLE

Serves 6   (very cleverly done, it is suggested you use 6 ramekins, so of course it serves 6. No danger of a huge serving and then it only serves 4! Unless of course you are a member of this family.  In reality, this served 4 - one of us ate 2 ramekins at a time!  In their defense - 4 of the ramekins were small......

3-4 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into big chunks  ( I took this too far and should have cut smaller "big" chunks!)

1`tbsp water

2 - 3 tbsp. caster sugar

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream  ( I used 0% fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt)

For the crumble:

150g (5oz, or 3/4 cup) plain flour
1tsp ground cinnamon ( recipe says optional, but cinnamon goes so well with apples!)
75g (3oz butter) chilled and cubed 
25 g (1oz) porridge oats  (oatmeal)
75g (2oz) light brown sugar

1 litre (1 3/4 pint) pie dish or six ramekins

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F or Gas mark 4.

2.  Place the apples, water and sugar into a saucepan set over a gentle heat and cook, stirring every minute or so to prevent it sticking, for approximately 10 or so until the apples become a soft pulp.  (Mine took longer than 10 minutes, possibly from being cut in too large of chunks, or else my heat was too gentle!)  Taste and add more sugar if necessary (I didn't think it was).  Transfer to the pie dish or the six ramekins and allow to cool slightly.




3. 
Next, make the crumble.  Place the flour and cinnamon (if using) in a large bowl, add the butter and, using your fingertips, rub it in until the mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs.  (Don't rub in too much or the crumble will not be crunchy.)  Add the oats and sugar and mix to combine. 




4. 
Sprinkle this crumble mixture over the slightly cooled apples and bake for 15 minutes for the small crumbles or 30 - 45 minutes for a large one until cooled and golden.  Serve warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or vanilla yogurt (in a feeble attempt to make this sound healthy!)





                                                                                                /before going into the oven

                                                 
                                                                the finished product

Here is the recipe without the pictures.


APPLE AND OAT CRUMBLE

Serves 6   (very cleverly done, it is suggested you use 6 ramekins, so of course it serves 6. No danger of a huge serving and then it only serves 4!)

3-4 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into big chunks  ( I took this too far and should have cut smaller "big" chunks!)

1`tbsp water

2 - 3 tbsp. caster sugar

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream  ( I used 0% fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt)

For the crumble:

150g (5oz, or 3/4 cup) plain flour
1tsp ground cinnamon ( recipe says optional, but cinnamon goes so well with apples!)
75g (3oz butter) chilled and cubed 
25 g (1oz) porridge oats  (oatmeal)
75g (2oz) light brown sugar

1 litre (1 3/4 pint) pie dish or six ramekins

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F or Gas mark 4.
2.  Place the apples, water and sugar into a saucepan set over a gentle heat and cook, stirring every minute or so to prevent it sticking, for approximately 10 or so until the apples become a soft pulp.  (Mine took longer than 10 minutes, possibly from being cut in too large of chunks, or else my heat was too gentle!)  Taste and add more sugar if necessary (I didn't think it was).  Transfer to the pie dish or the six ramekins and allow to cool slightly.
3.  Next, make the crumble.  Place the flour and cinnamon (if using) in a large bowl, add the butter and, using your fingertips, rub it in until the mixture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs.  (Don't rub in too much or the crumble will not be crunchy.)  Add the oats and sugar and mix to combine. 
4.  Sprinkle this crumble mixture over the slightly cooled apples and bake for 15 minutes for the small crumbles or 30 - 45 minutes for a large one until cooled and golden.  Serve warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or vanilla yogurt (in a feeble attempt to make this sound healthy!)


"The most important things in your home are people." Amish Proverb


 


 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chocolate Street

Corbyn and I had a lovely afternoon together doing things he absolutely loves - one was painting.  We had never done this before, but I had bought a rock painting set a while ago. Every time Corbyn felt ready to try his hand at it, we had run out of time.  So I promised the very next time he was there we would do it first. And we did.  All we got done was the base though because it had to dry before we could go any further.  I guess the poor kid is going to have to learn real patience because the fun part of rock painting will be the next time! 


 
 
 

We had better luck with the other thing Corbyn requested.  And that was baking!  I am beginning to wonder if he truly enjoys the act of baking!  I used to think baking was only a means to an end for Corbyn.  We are continuing to work through the "My Baking Journal"  I got for him a few months ago.  And since it is easier to just work through the book rather than make a decision - the next project was "Rocking Rocky Road", or as Corbyn remembers it "Chocolate Street". 



Corbyn got to wear my moose apron again, he seems to have taken that on as his own!  And he has a stool that helps him be the correct height to be able to reach the bowl and help stir.  He is still very wary of the hot stove, and I do not mind that at all. 







I love how he checks the recipes to make sure we are doing everything right.  The only thing is - I know he can't read yet!  So he is sort of bluffing, but he does it very well!










Corbyn may not be able to read - yet - but he can recognize numbers and he loved measuring out the ingredients and watching for certain numbers in a certain order. 
 
 
ingredients all present and accounted for!
 
Chocolate Street    AKA   Rocking Rocky Road
 
125g butter ( I used unsalted)
 80 g sultanas
200g dark chocolate
   3 TBS golden syrup
150g rich tea biscuits 
100g mini marshmallows
   2 tsp icing sugar (powdered sugar)
 
1.  Line a 24 cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper.
2.  Melt the butter, chocolate and syrup in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat.
3.  Remove from the heat and set aside 125 ml of the mixture in a bowl.
4.  Place the biscuits in a sealed plastic freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin into small pieces.
5.  Add the biscuits, sultanas, and marshmallows to the pan and mix well. 
6.  Transfer the mixture into the cake tin then pour over the remaining chocolate. 
7.  Place in a fridge for at least 2 hours.
 
We had fun bashing the biscuits and pouring everything together.  Corbyn loves sultanas and was happy snacking on them while we got it all together.  He even patiently waited that minimum 2 hours.  Then, the time came to taste the rocky road.........and he didn't like it at all.  Corbyn stated that it tasted like vinegar. Of course, I have no idea when he has tasted straight vinegar, but he also told his mother the same thing.  In this journal, the children using it are encouraged to rate their baking out of 10 - Corbyn gave this a 1.  And, the really sad thing - I didn't like it either.  However, in this recipe's defense - everyone else who tried it loved it. 
 
I think the problem is Corbyn doesn't like dark chocolate and I don't like sultanas or marshmallows.  Maybe folks with a more mature palate like Rocky Road, but Corbyn and I are together in this! 
 
 
 
Good Living
is an act of intelligence,
by which we choose things
which have an agreeable taste
rather than those which do not.
Brillat-Savarin


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Another High School Memory - Chicken Paprika

To continue the journey through my high school recipe box, the next one is Chicken Paprika from about 1971. 

I have fond memories of cooking this recipe!  I know that sounds odd but this must have been one of the first recipes I found on my own.  (Yes, I did live on my own during my senior year, but that is another story!)  It is easy and delicious.  The really funny thing is my best friend asked me to make it for her dad one time.  It was only recently that I told someone this and they asked me why?  I never questioned why she asked me that.  I am extremely lucky that she and I have never lost touch after all these years, so maybe I should just ask her now!

This card looks really old.  I have no idea where I cut the recipe out from, but it is taped to the index card.  And "back then" no one cared about acid free products to protect precious paper items!  The tape has gone all dark and obscures the edge of the paper.  This makes it very hard to see the number exactly.

Luckily, Alan also enjoyed this, so we will probably not wait over 40 years to make it again!  


Things I might have done wrong this time - I used chicken breasts and not chicken pieces.  They were there so why not?  Next time, I will use what I always used when I was in high school.

And I also picked up the low fat (50% less fat) Crème Fraiche.  Out of habit, I picked up the lowest fat I could find and Crème Fraiche is usually a good substitute for sour cream.  Next time, I will use the real thing. 

And I used egg and spinach tagliatelle for the wide noodles - widest ones I could find!  They were actually ok!

Chicken Paprika

1 chicken cut in serving pieces
1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
2 tsp   paprika  ( I used smoked paprika this time around)
2 Tbs butter or margarine
1/4 finely chopped onion  ( I can't be bothered to measure onions so I just use a whole one)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream  
(sour cream can be difficult to find here, so I substitute Crème Fraiche when necessary)

1/2 8oz package wide noodles

Sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp of the paprika.  Heat butter in skillet; add chicken pieces and brown on both sides.  Add onion; cook 2 minutes.  Add water, cover and simmer 30 minutes, until tender.  Remove chicken to serving platter and keep warm.  Add remaining 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp paprika and sour cream to mixture in skillet.  Heat, stirring constantly, do not boil.  Spoon sauce over chicken. Serve with wide noodles. 

Yield:  4 servings


Sorry for not having a finished photo to show you, one of those times we were Hungry and I forgot!  I also must apologize for not converting this recipe into metric, another excuse of being in a hurry and also out of the habit of converting. I will do better next time!  Honest.  


Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Very Special Hand Written Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe

On April 14th, I posted the fact that I was giving myself a new challenge to work through my old high school Home Economics recipe box and published a delicious Ginger Bread recipe.  And that was not really part of my high school memory.  But this box has travelled with me through the years and things have gotten randomly stuck in it! 

So now, 5 months later, I realized I let myself and you all down by not pursuing this challenge in earnest!  And I have actually been looking forward to the next one anyway.  Another decision was not to rifle through the box picking and choosing, but to go in the order they sit.  Luckily the recipes are in no particular order, so we are not doomed to me doing a variety of casseroles before I even get to cookies! 

In fact, this next recipe is one I have had since at least 1971, and was at one time, one of my staple cookie recipes.  It is hand written by a friend and on the back says "To Pat, From Dianne  (Remember Me!)

For years, I would look at the back of this recipe and think how silly Diane was for worrying that I would not remember her.......but now I look at it and wish I could remember her!  That makes me feel really bad because I should (but I don't anymore).  When we graduated from high school, there was no such thing as facebook or even email but we all made promises to keep in touch and always be friends.  How exactly did we think that was going to happen?  I am now in touch with my high school graduating class thanks to a facebook group, but I am still not sure who this particular Diane is. 

Alan and I were going away, just for one night, to visit friends we had made on our Norway cruise,

 
and I wanted to bring them something special. Or was I really just looking for an excuse to bake these cookies?  Ok, so I didn't follow the recipe, exactly?  Things have moved on since I was in high school!

I must admit, though, that I have never had to give someone cookies with a health warning - for some reason, these cookies did not turn out right.  And it was obvious to me but I thought I could outsmart the cookie dough.  So instead of making them drop cookies, I rolled them into balls.

The result was not what I had hoped - they were really, really hard!  But they tasted fantastic! So I felt ok about sharing them!  And it was good that I gave most of the batch away;  Alan and I loved them and risked our teeth to eat all of the ones I kept, in no time at all!
In addition to rolling them - I used cinnamon chocolate chips purchased on our last trip.  I had never tried these before, but will now have to request these anytime someone comes over for a visit, they are divine!  AND I used hand picked pecans given to me by a special friend when we were in Geneva a few weeks ago (Alabama, not Switzerland!). 
 
 
I have confidence in this recipe though, it was my main cookie recipe for years, so if you try this, please let me know if your's turned out the way they should!
 
 
 
 
 

Chocolate Chip Cookies



Cream ;until light and fluffy 
              1/2 cup shortening (if you can't get shortening, butter or margarine will do)



              1/4 cup granulated sugar
              1/2 cup brown sugar (recipe does not stipulate dark or light, I used dark)
              1/2 tsp vanilla
Fold in and beat
             one egg, well beaten
Sift together:
            1 cup plus 2 Tbs of flour (plain)
            1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
            1/2 tsp salt



Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and stir in 1/2 cup chopped nuts and 1 package* chocolate chips. 

*the size of American chocolate chip bag that I used was 11.5 oz (326g)  and the ones I find in UK grocery stores are much smaller - 100g or approximately 3.5 oz.
Drop by spoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet.
Bake in moderate oven 325F about 10 minutes.
Yield:  about 50 cookies (I got 48 this time)
To Pat
From Diane
(Remember ME!)
 
 
 
"An honest cook serves her food burnt side up"  Amish proverb


Friday, September 20, 2013

Vegetarian Red Beans & Rice (Slow Cooker)

I have been away to the States and working on the blog to go with that trip -  From Tea to Sea not finished with it yet, but I got really hungry for Red Beans and Rice and decided to search for a recipe using the ingredients found in my cupboard.  That is the only reason this is vegetarian!  I don't normally stock ham hocks in general, neither do I usually have red beans though.  That was a result of our last trip to the US and, even then, being hungry for them.  I bought some, brought them home and 7 months later got around to cooking them. 

The recipe used came from another website - slow cooker red beans and rice, and it has all the nutritional aspects of this worked out, including Weightwatcher's pro points at 6 per serving.  And this serves 6.

It was simple and much faster than I ever imagined, so here is what I did!


It was just luck that I had everything I needed for this recipe. I did have to substitute some things, but they worked out ok - red pepper instead of a green one.  yellow onion instead of a red one and lazy garlic instead of fresh........but I thought the main substitution was using Creole instead of Cajun seasoning.  I was lucky to have this in the house - since it is not normally found in Scotland.  But I had purchased this in New Orleans when we were there last year!

I really do not know the difference between Creole and Cajun seasoning and wondered if this substitution would not work.....But it has been almost 30 years since I actually had Red Beans and Rice so I probably do not really remember what it tastes like.  But then I saw a different recipe which said you could use either one, so it is not a massive change!

 


Since this recipe is for a slow cooker - there is the decision between having to clean a slow cooker, or using a liner!  If there is nothing I hate worse than using plastic to cook with, it is cleaning a slow cooker, so there was no soul searching.  Easy wins any time!  I never knew about these liners until Mom told me years ago!  They are not found in the UK, at least nowhere I can look.  I even asked a friend to look for them in Canada and she couldn't find them there!  But I make sure I always pick up a few boxes when I am in the US
This is probably old news to most cooks, but sometimes just watching something can change your life!  Or in this case, how I deal with peppers!  Watching a kids' show with Corbyn, the lady demonstrating showed how to push the top of the pepper in, instead of cutting it out, and I have done it that way ever since!  There is less waste and it just feels good to do it! 
 
 

Since I have already given credit to Slender Kitchen, I am just going to cut and paste their recipe since it was so easy and fast, and I can't improve on that!   However, I would like to say that I only used the smallest suggested amount of salt since I really try to limit salt.  But this was not enough and I am having to add salt every time I eat it.  So the next time I try, I will add 3/4 tsp .....and continue to experiment until I find a level I enjoy. 
 
Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice
Servings: 6 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup
Nutritional Info: 200.1 calories, 1g of fat, 38.6g of carbohydrates, 12.6g of fiber, 10.5g of proteinWeight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 6 *
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of long grain brown rice
  • 2 cups of dried red kidney beans
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup of chives
  • 1-2 tbsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. of smoked paprika
  • ½-1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups of boiling water
Instructions
  1. Add everything to the crockpot and stir together.
  2. Cook on low for around 6-8 hours. Cooking times may vary slightly depending on your crockpot.
* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

"Red beans and ricely yours."
Louis Armstrong signed his personal correspondence this way.