Sunday, 31 January 2016

Lentil and bacon soup

250g red lentils
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, finely chopped
Squeeze of garlic puree
6 rashers of bacon, chopped
1.2 litres vegetable stock

Fry the onion and carrot, with a squeeze of garlic puree, in fry lite for a few minutes, then add the lentils.

Coat the lentils and pour in the stock. Cook the lentils for 25-30 mins until tender.

While the lentils are cooking fry off the bacon until crisp.

When the lentils and vegetables are soft add the crispy bacon to the soup, reserving a few pieces for the top of your bowl of soup, if desired. (I forgot!)

Delicious, warm, cosy and very filling.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

The one with the disastrous bread

Try as I might, I just can't seem to get bread right very often. It either looks like a train wreck but tastes good - or it looks ok but is actually not cooked inside, or simply tastes weird.

I've seen lots of slow cooker breads over the years, and thought hey why not try one myself.  Why not indeed.

Firstly, I got distracted and forgot to add the yeast - I remembered after 10 mins of kneading, so I then tried to knead the yeast in... Perhaps I should have just started again?

I managed to get it all incorporated, kneaded again for five minutes (I was getting tired), then popped the dough into my loaf tin and inside the slow cooker.  I adapted a recipe that I'd found, but used their method - and that didn't call for proofing. Possibly another mistake?

Now their recipe reckoned their bread was done in an hour. Mine was nowhere near. So l left mine in for 2 hours 20. No specific reason for the exactness of that time, it was simply how long the bread had been in when I got back from the school run.

I took it out; crust on top. Firm. Tapped the bottom of the bread, sounded hollow. So I switched the slow cooker off and left my loaf to cool.

As our chicken soup warmed back through I cut off some slices and found it was still doughy. Really doughy. Practically inedible doughy.

So back to the drawing board for a fool proof loaf that I can get right every time!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Meal Planning Monday, first one of 2016

Monday -       Homemade chicken nuggets and savoury rice
Tuesday -       Sausage and mash, with broccoli
Wednesday -  Coconut chicken/ chicken curry
Thursday -      Cheesy pasta
Friday -          Bolognese and garlic bread
Saturday -      Fish fingers and chips for kids
Sunday -        Pork loins, roast potatoes, carrots and peas

I did a roast chicken on Sunday, so our week this week involves using up plenty of leftover roast chicken.

On Saturday Phil and I will be having something just for us, after the kids have gone to bed.  It's my turn to cook us a grown up meal - but I've no idea what I'll do yet.  We enjoyed the tapas we had together that Phil made, so I might get the tapas cookbook out and have a look at something to do from there, or maybe a curry of some sort from one of my indian cookbooks.

On Tuesday I'm back at hospital for my dressing changing (I had a fat lump removed on 30th December), but other than that it's a quiet week for us.  I'll be picking up the 3 year old's nursery school uniform - she starts on the 12th, and some new winter boots - better get the littlest measured then too.  I hope the weather starts to improve a bit, this rain is getting dull.  There's only so many puddle jumping walks we can do.  

I've been thinking about introducing a baking day into our week (or is that too twee?!) and making some scones, biscuits or a cake to have as a treat during the week, or to send into Phil's work for the troops - working outside in this weather is miserable stuff.  

I'll hopefully be linking up with Mrs M and the other meal planners, and this week aim to read and comment on all the other meal plans, hopefully get some inspiration for the weeks to come.  We've a lot that we want to do this year, so need to tighten our belts further, use less meat and eat more fish, I want to make better use of our local market, so need to get into a routine of us going every week and then going to story time at the Library after.  Use it or lose it applying to both.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Turkey in creamy, white wine sauce

Firstly - Happy New Year!  One of my resolutions is to do more with this blog, and to stop being frightened of cooking things that aren't slimming world friendly all the time.

For our Christmas dinner meat we bought a turkey crown, big enough to feed 4-8, for the 6 of us.  We had our Christmas Dinner on the 27th, but a smaller version than normal - just turkey, stuffing, pigs in blankets, parsnips, carrots, mash and gravy.  I only served up half of turkey, and then we lived off turkey sandwiches for a few days - but despite all those sandwiches we still had a large amount left.

I forgot to buy coconut milk, so couldn't do our customary turkey curry - so I came up with this instead.

Leftover cooked turkey
2 large mushrooms
1 large carrot
garlic puree
1 small glass of white wine
half pint chicken stock
100g butter
100g plain flour
1 pint full fat milk
dried herbs to season (I used thyme and parsley)

After scouring our fridge for veg that needed using up I decided to chop up 2 large flat mushrooms, we'd had two the previous evening stuffed with cheese - yum, and peeled and chopped a carrot.

I roughly chopped the leftover turkey into smaller portions, then chucked that into a large pan to saute on a high heat along with the carrot and mushroom, and a tiny squeeze of garlic puree. I left that to cook for a few minutes to absorb the garlic, and then added the glass of white wine.  While the alcohol was burning off I made up the stock then poured it in, and turned down the heat.  Whilst that was simmering I made up the white sauce.  Melting the butter, then adding the flour, stirring well until the butter absorbed in, then cooking off for a few minutes.  Finally adding the milk in small bursts, stirring like crazy to avoid lumps.  When all the milk was added I left it to simmer gently and searched the cupboards for suitable dried herbs to add to the main pot, keeping an eye on the white sauce, to not boil or become too thick.  When the sauce had thickened enough - enough to give a resistance when stirred, but not so much you can't get your spoon through - I then added that into the main pot.

And that's it - obviously for people not catering for small children then salt and pepper can be added.

We ate ours with rice, and it was delicious.