Archive for the ‘food and cooking’ Category


Foody Friday

October 30, 2009


I had planned to tell you about the lovely sounding recipe I was going to try out this week in the slow cooker and it all went horribly horribly wrong.

I also haven’t baked sultana oatmeal cookies even though I still really want some.

So, to make up for my lack of culinary exploits this week I have a picture to show you. She’s from the wonderful “Good Food Shop” in York.

Isn’t she fun?!


Comfort – Foody Friday

October 23, 2009

There’s been very little cooking in the flat this last week. I’m still to get over whatever this virus is although its currently taking the symptoms of a stinking cough and cold so cooking has relied on tins, packets and preprepared foods.

If I felt up to cooking, I would be comfort eating, but even heating up a tin of soup seems to be hard work at the moment.

Last Sunday, between naps, I was reading an article on the Telegraph website about comfort foods. It was reporting that an academic study has been conducted to produce a “comfort food” formula. Apparently three of the best comfort foods are sausage and mash, beans on toast and macaroni cheese and there is actually theory behind this.

Apparently some foods have neuropsychological effects relating to smell, appearance and taste that they recorded and then worked out this formula from. They found that dishes with simple ingredients and uniform colour got better responses. I can see this theory having some validity.

The Fella is a fan of beans on toast and poached eggs on toast, scrambled eggs, bacon butties and crumpets as his comfort foods.
I’m more in the camp of macaroni cheese but my macaroni cheese isn’t that simple. The sauce made from scratch with wholemeal flour, herbs and mature cheddar. I use tricolour fusilli instead of macaroni and I add bacon pieces and carrots to the pasta. Its delicious, but I don’t think they would get good results from the comfort formula with it!

My sisters Lamb Lasagne is another comfort food (lamb mince instead of beef, spinach lasagne sheets, and homemade tomato and wholemeal white sauces) as is my mums bread and butter pudding (wholemeal bread, sultanas and demerara sugar).

Why are so many of these things homemade? Because my mum was on exclusion diets for ezcema and so certain things were cut out of the diet of the whole family and then there was the mad cow disease scare and we stopped eating beef hence lamb mince instead of beef in lasagne etc.

Other of my favourite comfort foods include porridge, museli and half dried chewy banana chips. Though I’m still obsessing about chewy sultana oatmeal cookies…and probably will be until I’m well enough to bake!

So, what’s your comfort food(s)?


Foody Friday

October 16, 2009


Blogging seems to be easier for me at day intervals and it gives it a routine so I am starting my own Foody Friday over here at Purplestocking HQ.

On Wednesday I cooked the rather lovely Autumn Sausage Casserole from A Year of Slow Cooking ( I LOVE this blog!)

I made a few changes to the recipe, using good quality pork sausages and omitting the brown sugar as I think it will be sweet enough with apple, carrot and sultanas (instead of raisins) in it. Its an American website so the recipe using cups, but as long as you use the same cup to measure things its fine, and I happen to own an American measuring cup.

1 lb sausages, cut into chunks and browned and drained of excess fat.(a pack of 8 sausages is about right)
2 apples, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, chopped (about one medium sized carrot)
3 cups precooked long-grain rice
1/2 cup sultanas
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper( I have a mill so I just did a few twists)
1/3 cup water.
Put all your ingredients in the crockpot and stir well. Cook on low for 5 to 7 hours or high to 3-4

It smelt lovely as it went into the pot and already looked autumnal. (Photo taken precooking.) I cooked it for 5 hours and was a gorgeous spicy caramelised brown colour when its cooked. The fella had extra for tea and “reserved” the rest for his pack up lunch!

When I went to our lovely local greengrocers,  Millies, to pick up the apples and fresh carrots for the Autumn Sausage Casserole they had a big basket of locally grown Butternut Squashes so I bought three small ones and also tried out this recipe;

Gingered Squash and Pear Soup which I found at Jo’s Second Act. I’m lusting after her autumnal table runner in the photo over there!

1 chopped onion
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 large butternut squash
2 ripe pears
4 cups low fat low salt chicken broth
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Cook off the onion and ginger with a little oil until onion is tender and transfer it to the crock pot. Puncture the butternut squash skin and microwave for a minute to soften the skin and then peel and chop into 1 inch chunks. Peel, core and chop the pears and add those to the crock-pot. Add the chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the pears and squash is tender. Cool slightly, then purée until smooth.

This soup is GORGEOUS, and I served it up with fresh baked crusty rolls and butter…though I cheated in the bread department; some of those half baked rolls from the supermarket that you finish off in the oven. I cooked it for about 2 hours on high. Make sure you remember to fit the lid on the blender properly though…guess how I know…

The rest got portioned up and frozen for future lunches.

Enjoy cooking these, and tell me what you thought!


Foody Thursday

October 8, 2009

I used my shiny new slow cooker for the first time on Tuesday. I used one of the recipes produced by CrockPot in one of the manuals available; I made Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken.

The beautiful smell of this cooking filled the house, rich and comforting, which was wonderful as having seen the doctor on Tuesday Morning I found out that my lungs are playing up and it will take at least 2 weeks before I’ll be able to take a deep breath without choking and coughing again.

Lemon Herb Roast Chicken
1 2-3 lb roasting chicken
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp butter, softened
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp frsh parsley
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp paprika

Place the onion in the cavity of the chicken and rub the softened butter into the the skin. Place it in the slow cooker.
Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken and sprinkle the herbs and seasoning over it. Cover it and cook it on Low for 8-10 hours or High for 4-5 hours.

I cooked it for 8 hours on low and it was moist and delicious with a very delicate flavour. I served it with Lemon and Coriander couscous. Next time I would put more lemon juice in, but then, I like strong flavours. It could also be nice with garlic added.

I used a small free range chicken – just over a kilo in weight – and it literally cooked in its juices and produced nearly a pint of stock for use at a later date.

I wish I had taken a picture of it to show you!

I’m posting this up as a contribution to Slow Cooking Thursday but I’m gonna talk about food in general on Thursdays  I think.