Chicken Potatoes & Rosemary

Chicken Pot Roast

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chicken Pot Roast for 2

A dreich weekend, a head cold to boot and looking after our nephews called for a simple bang in the oven treat. Chicken was the staple of my youth, but there was not a herb in site let alone garlic, just bisto! 

Credit: Granny’s Recipe File

Prep: You’ll need a large bowl for tossing the ingredients together and a lidded roasting dish.  The recipe will scale easily, so chose an appropriate roasting dish. This is perfect for 2 in a small le Creuset

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Thighs
  • 3 medium roasting potatoes cut into chunks
  • 100g Bacon Pieces/diced streaky
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 Onion Quartered and then chopped again
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary, or few sprigs of thyme
  • Olive Oil
  • Juice of a Lemon
  • 2 tbsp Crème Fraiche

The recipe card recommends serving with a green salad, or braised cabbage like I did.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c
  2. In a large bowl, mix/turn over the potatoes with
    • Chopped onions
    • Diced bacon
    • Finely sliced garlic
    • Finely chopped rosemary or thyme
    • Good glug of olive oil
  3. Once everything coated with the oil tip into the casserole dish
  4. Place the chicken pieces on top, brush with a little oil if you want the skin to colour
  5. Place in the oven with the lid on for 40 mins
  6. After this make a judgement call,
    1. I took the lid off and placed back in the oven to colour the skin
    2. Could have taken the chicken out and roasted separately if the veg was well on its way.
  7. Take the chicken out and place on a plate
  8. Add the lemon juice and the crème fraiche to the potatoes and turn over

 

Beef Curry – Granny’s Way

Beef Curry Granny Style

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Slow cook Beef curry, with apple and raisins

Sunday and a blue sky chilly day, a chance to walk with the sun in our faces.  We made it over the top of Blackford Hill and along the Hermitage to the Lodge for a cheeky scone.  At the back of my mind the desire to try Granny’s curry which would definitely fit the bill of a warming wintry slow cook allowing us to get on with watching a Boys film from the recorded Christmas TV.  

Credit: Granny’s Recipe File

Prep:  Large casserole dish hob and oven friendly

Oven: 180°c or 350°f

Ingredients

      • 650g Stewing Beef diced
      • Rapeseed/Olive Oil
      • 2 large onions diced
      • 1 cooking apple, peeled and chopped
      • 1 tbsp curry powder
      • 25g plain flour
      • 1 (400g) tin of chopped tomatoes
      • 500ml Water
      • 1 tbsp chutney
      • 50g sultanas or raisins
      • Juice of a lemon

Directions

      1. Heat a glug of olive oil in the casserole dish on a high heat
      2. Sear 1/2 or 1/3 of the beef until brown on each side
      3. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place in bowl to add back in later
      4. Add another glug of oil if needed and repeat until all the beef is seared
      5. Once all the beef is seared, add another glug and soften the onion and apple
      6. Add the curry powder, stir through and cook for a minute or so
      7. Add the flour and again stir through and cook for a minute or so
      8. Add in the tomatoes and stir through
      9. Add the dried fruit, the beef with it’s juices, the lemon juice and the water, stirring through
      10. Then place in the centre of the oven for 2 hours

Post-Recipe Notes: Granny loved to add raisins to everything.  This a glossy, sweet and sour curry the apple disappears and there is a hidden back note to the dish.  Curry powder feels cheatsy, quick and easy to rustle this up before banging in the oven. 

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle

  • Servings: 9-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Granny's Lemon Crusty Cake, an infusion of citrus to a classic sponge

Pleased to find a classic easy cake recipe in Granny’s recipe file, hoping that one of the boys would help me as I start the journey of working through the box.   We’ll see though, there is another kind of box (starts with x) calling on this grey January day.  

An infusion of summer is introduced in this cake, a reminder to me of the lemons growing freely and openly in Sorrento……just the ticket for afternoon tea.

Credit: Granny’s Recipe File

Prep: Grease and line a 22cm x 22cm square cake tin

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 175g Butter
  • 125g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Eggs – beaten
  • 175g Self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Lemons – the zest of

Topping:

  • 2 Lemons – the juice from the zested lemons
  • 125g Caster Sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy
  3. Whisk in the beaten eggs a little at a time
  4. Gently fold in the flour, baking powder and the zest
  5. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 20 minutes, the cake should shrink a little from the sides and spring back lightly when touched

Topping

  1. For the infusion, mix the lemon juice and granulated sugar to a runny consistency
  2. Pour/Brush over the cake while still hot in the tin, and leave to cool

Post-Recipe Notes:  I’ve been given the back story to this recipe, the recipe card mentions Verbier 88…which brought back tales of a family sharing a chalet on a skiing holiday.   This recipe came from the customary afternoon tea that that gets served up on return from the slopes.  This a take away recipe from the Chalet Girl.

This comes with a high sugar warning……..I didn’t quite manage the crunch, I was too scared to go for the full amount on the topping!  Just goes to show…..make your own cake so you know what goes into your food!   Aside from that…..it’s delicious.

Sweet Potatoe and Lentil Soup

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#sweetpotatoes for the soup

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We recently came back from a weeks camping and on the route home we popped into the supermarket in order to pick up some staples for the working week a head.  Armed with zero recipes and preparation on my behalf the sweet potatoes called out to me.

This makes a nice hearty soup with left overs for the freezer for those mid week school nights.

Sweet Potatoe and Lentil Soup

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Large Onion
  • 250g red lentils
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes (400g tin size)
  • 2 tbsp bouillon
  • 1.2l boiling water
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled crushed/chopped
  • Glug of oil

Directions:

  1. Wash the lentils and then soak in 300 ml of water
  2. Dice the onion, and add to the oil in a pan, soften
  3. Add the garlic and stir in
  4. Stir in the Bouillon
  5. Pour in the boiling water, and then pour in the lentils with its soaked water
  6. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into rough bite sized pieces, add to the pan
  7. Add the tomatoes
  8. Bring to a simmer for 20 mins or so
  9. Choice here to make smooth or rustic, I used a Potatoe masher for rustic or you can use the hand blender for smooth.  The choice is yours!

Easy Like Sunday Morning Scones

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We decided to stay in and create our own coffee environment for Mother’s Day, a few options were presented from going to Dobbie’s Garden Centre with the masses or a walk to Morningside, instead we decided we would have a better time without the need for the hunt for that perfect scone coffee combo.

The eldest snuck out for the Sunday paper whilst I got the scones on the go.  We are in the process of trying to eat down  the various flours we’ve had on the go over a while so this was a perfect excuse to dabble if a bit risky to deviate from the prescribed recipe!

Essentially you need 500g of plain flour to make this a success, so feel free to just go plain!  Likewise with the liquid (you need 300ml of milk), I was trying to use some left over cream as well.

I was also given a few pointers before I was let loose

  • Be brief with the rubbing of the ingredients
  • Don’t over knead the dough
  • Be surgical with the cutter…..no wiggling!
  • Scones liked to be baked close together as if it makes them fight for the heat

Ingredients:

  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 200g 00 Flour
  • 100g Wholemeal Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate soda
  • 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 50g Butter, cold and cubed
  • 30g Trex, cold
  • 250ml milk
  • 50 ml single cream
  • Egg beaten for the egg wash

6-7cm crinkle cutter is needed along with a baking tray, we’ve taken to lining a roasting tin.

Pre-heat the oven to 220C, and prepare your chosen tray.

  1. In a large bowl sift the flours, bi-carb, cream of tartar together (if using wholemeal, just throw the husk back in).   The point of this is to get lots of air around the flour with the hope of getting fluffy scones!1-2016-03-06 10.19.59
  2. Add the salt and mix in, Add the cubed fat
  3. Rub the fat and the dry ingredients together to form bread crumbs.  If you have warm fingers a food processor is a saviour for this method and sticks to one of the guidance notes!  Really easy to pulse the fat and the flour together.
  4. If using the pulse method, pour the sand like mix back into the bowl
  5. Make a well and add the liquid all at once
  6. At this point, you can either get your hands stuck or use a spatula to get it under control.  Work quickly/briefly
  7. Turn out onto a floured surface, with a brief knead to form a dough.
  8. With a rolling pin, roll out to about 3cm
  9. Stamp out the scones, you’ll get anything between 11 and 15 scones depending on how thin/thick you rolled the dough, with a gather of the off cuts and a re-roll for the last few2-2016-03-06 10.26.03
  10. With a pastry brush, use the beaten egg to brush over the tops
  11. Put in the oven for 10-12 mins until golden3-2016-03-06 10.34.25 4-2016-03-06 10.51.01
  12. For that Mother’s Day twist, arrange in a nice bowl with a tea towel on top to keep warm….and don’t forget the coffee

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Millionaires Shortbread

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The recipe is nice and easy and broken down into 3 fairly obvious stages. The base, the middle and the end!

Shortbread

  • 280g plain flour
  • 170g butter
  • 100g sugar

Caramel

  • 379g condensed milk
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 100g butter

 Topping

  • 280g milk chocolate

Pre-heat the oven to 150C, and line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin with parchment.

  1. Rub the flour and butter together to form bread crumbs.  A food processor is my saviour for this method.  Really easy to pulse the butter and flour together.
  2. Pulse in the sugar
  3. Pour into the baking tin and press down using the back of a soup spoon.DSC_0052
  4. Place in the oven for 30 mins until it starts to turn colour
  5. Take out the oven to cool
  6. Melt the butter, condensed milk and syrup together until smoothDSC_0053
  7. Bring to the simmer for 5 mins,  I found I had to stir it to stop it catching on the pan.  It will thicken and turn golden
  8. Leave to cool slightly before pouring over the biscuit base and spread evenly.  Leave to coolDSC_0055
  9. Time for chocolate…..usual melting chocolate rules apply, melt the broken chocolate pieces in a bowl set over (not touching) simmering water.   Stir every now and agin and once the lumps have gone pour over the set caramel and spread evenlyDSC_0058
  10. Leave to cool, chop into the desired squares and enjoy

The Black Box

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I’ve had two black box’s in my life.  The first, my first record player.  A beast of a thing that no child could carry and sat in the corner of my room.  I used to think little people lived in side.  Amazingly for a 1950’s bit of kit (it would have been a good 30 years before I got my hands on it!) you could stack it with 6 records to play in a row.  I’ve just found a you tube video and the clunk click as the record drops, and the needle moves into place takes me back.

The second an inherited black box of recipes from my mother in-law when she passed away.  A treasure trove of recipes and notes that she’d meticulously copied for herself and recipes that had been written down on the same index cards passed on by friends.

The recipes really belong to my wife and food is a powerful thing in terms of evoking memories.  At the time the box was too great to tackle, to have a look and explore would have been painful.   Now a good few years on, the memories are of fond ones rather than sad.  The box has sat by my desk for some time as I had the notion to transcribe them, modernise and bring into our way of cooking.

For some this box would just be a standard index card system with recipes that no doubt feature highly across the web if you were to search for them.  For me though it’s a journey, the box wobbles and whispers.  What will I find in there.  Do I start at the beginning and work my way through or is there a method that I should apply.   Deep down I’ll be looking for the baked Alaska recipe that was presented effortlessly when I met my future in-laws for the first time.  Or the apple betty that is spoken about as legend between brother and sister.

Roasted Squash, Bacon and Spinach Risotto

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#squash #spinach #bacon #risotto

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Week 5 of the re-wire and at last the sparkies have finished.  They were a great couple of guys but the house has been turned up side down.  It feels like we’ve moved house and this time we don’t know where anything is.  Throughout though we’ve managed to keep the veggie box going and this week we were topically (Halloween) re-warded with a small squash.

When I saw it I knew immediately what I wanted to make and my mind sprung to getting my eldest in on the act, away from his screen with a lesson in the dark art of absorption.

Roasting a squash might feel like a faff.  Once in the oven though, you crack on with the risotto and the squash takes care of itself.

  • Small Squash
  • 225g Smoked Bacon, chopped into pieces
  • 300g Arborio rice
  • Onion diced
  • Garlic Clove, crushed
  • 1.2 Litre of stock (we used bouillon)
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Olive or Rapeseed Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Creme Fraiche
  • Spinach 200g or so

Peel the squash, half it and scoop out the seeds.   Dice both halves into good bite sized cubes.  Place on a roasting tray drizzle with some oil and place into the oven for 30 mins or so on 180°C.

Once your squash is in the oven, crack on with Risotto.

A good sized pan is needed for this as basically everything is going to end-up in it!

Fry the bacon in some oil, scoop out once cooked and put to one side, try to leave as much as the oil as possible.

Then soften the onion, crushed garlic in the oil on a gentle heat.  Add the spices at this point and cook for another minute.

Add the Arborio rice at this point.  I joke with my son here that the rice will start to talk to you when it’s ready for some liquid.

Add a ladle of stock.  Simmer and stir until absorbed and keep doing this until all the stock has gone.   The rice should be soft to the bite, you might need a little less liquid or a little more.  Use your judgement.  Stir in the creme fraiche and the bacon.  Add the spinach, this will wilt down which is a surprise in itself.

Finally fold in the roasted squash.

 

Autumn Term and a Warming Stew

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Enjoying the colours!

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There is a definite change in the air, the turning of the colour on the leaves and the last few days has seen an omni present dewy dampness in the morning that is burnt off in the September sun.

This is one of my favourite times of the year from a cooks perspective.  The foodie will notice the change on the cover of magazines, long gone are the healthy salads ready to make you virtuous before the day is out ready to hit the beach in your skimpy speedos.  Now is the time to hit the comforting autumn bounty, the central heating is on after all.  With squashes and apple delights adorning the magazine racks.  To pick one up makes you feel comfortable just to the touch.

The weekend saw me caught between the headlights on so many fronts and trying to cope and keep the family nurished is a priority.  If you find yourself in this situation then putting something in a slow cooker is ideal with minimum stress.  This version completely disregards sealing the meat, a faff at the best of times!  Although I can hear a million voices cry out in anger…..I just didn’t have the time.

  • 2 medium sized onions diced
  • 1kg Stewing Lamb
  • 2 tins of pulses (Chefs choice, I use chick peas and canneloni)
  • 250g chopped mushrooms (I quarter them)
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprika (or a spice mix that gives a little warmth)
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 50 grams red split lentils
  • 50 grams brown split lentils
  1. Soften the onions in a glug of olive oil
  2. Add the spice to the onions and stir in for a minute or so
  3. Put everything in the slow cooker at this point, except the split lentils
  4. High heat for a good 2 hours
  5. At this point give it a good stir and use your judgement.  Think about how you like your stew, I find a good hundred grams of lentils at this point is the ideal thing to both soak up and thinken the juices.
  6. I leave in the slow cooker for another hour or so on low heat in order to cook the lentils

This easily does the four of us two meals, great for freezing and good for a quick reheat mid week. Serve with potatoes or couscous. Or as a chunky soup with a big chunky slice of bread.

Tattiehash or Tattyhash

tattiehashletter_webOne of my first posts of a previous long forgotten blog was a tribute to my gran, I’m going through a consolidation and clean up exercise. It is only fitting that I re-peat and include this recipe for completeness. It’s the only recipe that I feel was passed down to me and only out of student desperation and a longing for some home cooked food did I ask for it. My Grandad who is still rocking at 97, has no recollection of any recipe collection so although this a very simple home cooked scran it’s dear to me.

So this, the first recipe that I remember asking somebody for whilst I was away from home at university was Tattiehash. In this particular case from my Grandma where I’d written to her to ask for the recipe. I’m sure google was a twinkle in somebodies eye back in 94, but back then the best person to ask about the north west of England fair was my gran and I really wish she was here now.

So without further ado, transcribed from the reply:

Have you had a go at making Taty ash yet, (sorry I should have said potato) grandad told me off for saying tatty ‘funny fella’. Well I will write it out for you the way I make it.

Peel one onion and slice it up
Put 1 tablespoon oil or lard into stew pan
Gently fry onion with this for about 10 minutes, give it a stir up now and again
Now if using uncooked meet add this sliced up to the onion and stew with water added for another 10 mins then add sliced up potato. I would say bout 3 potatoes depending on size.
If using corned beef, dice that up 1/4lb and put in about 10 mins before end of cooking, season to taste.
In all it will take about 1/2 an hour, give it a stir up from the bottom now and again and add a drop more water if too stiff. I also put an OXO cube in when I add the meat, dissolved of course in a drop of boiling water. I hope you can understand all this, but after the first time I am sure you will find it easy. Good luck (test potatoes before switching off). Let me know how you go on

There are a couple of things in there that would have struck me as obstacles, the guessing on potatoes and the size. There is also no water quantity! The things she took for granted and knew on instinct…..which is part of good old fashion cooking.