Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: Recipe

Peppered Steak in Red Wine


Ingredients

1 steak per person

4 heaped teaspoons of whole or crushed black peppercorns

4 tablespoons of olive oil

crushed garlic

300ml of red wine

 Method
For best results prepare your steak early and leave to marinate. Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a pestle and mortar.  Take a shallow dish large enough to hold your steaks comfortably side by side and pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil mixed with half a clove of crushed garlic into the dish. Coat each steak evenly on both sides with crushed peppercorns, pressing them in firmly. Lay the steaks in the dish and spoon the other tablespoon of oil and the rest of the garlic over them. Cover with Clingfilm and leave them on one side for several hours, turning them over once.
To cook the steaks use a thick based frying pan. Place it over a very high heat and let it preheat the hotter the better. Sear the steaks quickly on both sides for about a minute each side. Then lower the heat and cook them how you want them. 1 minute before the end of the cooking time pour in the wine and let it bubble and reduce down to a syrupy consistency to about one third of its original volume. This whole process will be very quick. Sprinkle with salt and serve the steaks as quickly as possible with the wine sauce poured over. Serve with chipped or sautéed potatoes and green salad, beans or peas.

Saucepan Boiled Fruit Cake

This recipe used to be a family favourite when the kids were all young. It’s a soft, moist fruit cake that can easily be adapted to become a celebration cake with the addition of treacle, alcohol, cherries etc. Another plus is that it does keep well if wrapped in foil or cling film.  I have the inclination to give it a go again.

Ingredients:

  • 12oz of dried fruit
  • 4oz margarine or butter
  • 1/4 pint of water
  • 4oz caster, granulated or brown sugar
  • 8oz self raising flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp mixed spice if you like it

Method:

Add the water, sugar, fruit and fat to a saucepan and bring to the boil stirring to keep from sticking. As soon as the mixture reaches boiling point turn down to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. At this point the mixture will be evenly mixed and the fruit plump and juicy. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Stir occasionally to stop skin forming on top or cover with cling film or greaseproof paper. When cool gradually add the beaten eggs, flour and baking powder, folding in and making sure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Bake in the centre of the oven for about an hour and a half. It does help to line the cake tin with greaseproof paper or as I do, wipe the tin round with margarine and shake flour so that the inside is coated evenly. At this point you could sprinkle with granulated sugar, decorate with almond slices or put a few candied peel slices on top. This cake also takes well to decorating with icing. All in all, a good all round stand by. My sort of cake.

Pumpkin Soup

Well, I’m told that Sainsbury’s are selling off the pumpkins left over from the Halloween mayhem. Laura is hoping to bring us back a bargain for 10p. I shall cut up the flesh and cook in a little water until soft then use my blender to make a puree. Add a chicken stock cube dissolved in boiling water and season to taste, Pumpkin is very bland so any type of flavouring could be added, even curry powder, but I prefer it as it comes with a shake of black pepper on top and plenty of crusty bread. I have added a potato and a stick of celery before when cooking the pumpkin flesh, it just depends on what I have in the fridge at the time. The Delia Soup Collection advocates roasting the chunks of pumpkin in the oven first. I haven’t tried that yet but may do one day.

Recipe:

I large pumpkin deseeded and peeled

Chop up the flesh, rinse and put into a saucepan with a little water

If preferred add a potato, carrot and chopped celery at this point

Add a little salt

Simmer gently until soft

Drain and mash or blend to make a puree

Dissolve a chicken or vegetable stock cube in boiling water

Gently add the liquid to the blended pumpkin stirring until you have a creamy consistency

Serve hot with a chopped chives or parsley garnish

Sprinkle with black pepper and serve with crusty bread

 

Pear and Lemon Jam

This was my first attempt at Pear Jam. Its a cobbled together version of the recipe I do for all my jams. I used two pound of pears which had been peeled, cored and cut up into chunks; I large lemon;  one pound of preserving sugar and some water. I put the pears into a pan with a little water and the juice and zest of the lemon. I cooked the pears until they were soft. Then I added the preserving sugar and brought to the boil until the mixture reached setting point. I am now waiting for the verdict from the family. I think that next time I may add a little powdered ginger when cooking the pears.

 

Plum Jam

This morning I made three jars of jam from some of the fruit collected from my Victoria Plum Tree bought from Lidl. They are really tasty straight from the tree but lovely made into jam so that we can have the taste right through the winter too.

I usually cook large stoned fruit quite well in a little water and lemon juice then when the stones are floating on the top I put the whole lot through a seive and combine it with a little preserving sugar. There is pectin in the stones so no need to add more. Stir the fruit pulp and the sugar until the sugar is melted in then turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Keep stirring until the setting point is reached, not long with plums, and then pour into your jars using a funnel.

Madeira Cake

Today I made one of my favourite cake recipes. Its a variation on a classic Madeira Cake. All that is needed is three eggs one part soft butter, one part sugar and one part self raising flour and the batter can be adapted to the size of your baking tins. I use a smallish loaf tin and the following recipe:-

  • 150gms sugar
  • 150gms soft butter
  • 150gms self raising flour
  • three large eggs
  • level tsp of baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • One medium lemon

Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Blend the salt into the flour. Add one third of the flour and one egg and fold in then beat the mixture. Add the next third of the flour and the second egg and mix in as before. Add the baking powder to the last third of the flour, add it to the mixture along with the third egg, and some of the zest and the juice of the lemon. Beat the mixture until of a soft dropping consistency then pour into your baking tin. I sometimes grate some lemon zest over the mix before putting it in the oven. Cook in the middle of the oven on 180 for about 35-40 mins. If your Cake tin is bigger you may adapt the measurements accordingly. I have also used a clementine for a change and golden syrup on another occassion. It is a very useful and reliable recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup

We have loads of jobs to do in the garden but rain has stopped play today. We have had torrential rain since the early hours of the morning so couldn’t carry on outside. We have come indoors and I am making Butternut Squash Soup.

  • One medium sized Butternut Squash
  • One small onion
  • One potato
  • One/Two chicken stock cube
  • Seasoning to taste

Cut the butternut squash length ways and scoop out the seeds and the stringy flesh. Peel and cube. Cook with a little water until soft and put on one side. Cook the potato and onion until soft. Combine them all and mash to a smooth pulp. Add the stock cube disolved into a pint of water to the butternut, potato and onion. Season to taste and cook on on low heat stirring all the time or even put into a slow cooker on medium heat until you are ready to serve. Serve with crusty bread for a warming treat. I have seen recipes that add carrots, apple, orange or even curry but we like it simple.

Courgette and Mushroom Gratin

 

We had the usual glut of courgettes this year and I have used some of them in this recipe, given to me by Marie, my Yoga teacher.

3 table spoons of olive oil

2 medium Courgettes thickly sliced

3 large flat mushrooms sliced

4 large ripe tomatoes sliced

2 teaspoons of dried Oregano

3oz grated cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 200. Heat the oil in a pan and add the sliced courgettes and mushrooms and cook through for a few minutes until golden. Add the tomatoes and heat through. Arrange the mixture in a baking dish and sprinkle over the oregano and cheese. Season to taste. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Remove the foil and finish off under the grill. I have tried this replacing the cheese with Carbonara sauce. It is lovely. Thanks Marie.

Pumpkin Pie

Made my first ever pumpkin pies this morning using just a quarter of a largish pumpkin. I did a search for a recipe as I had no idea what went into it apart from pumpkin and pastry. I used a block of frozen shortcrust pastry and lined two tart dishes. I pureed the pumpkin and added ginger and brown sugar. When the mixture was cooled I added four small beaten eggs and half a tin of condensed milk and poured the mixture into the pastry case. They took 50 minutes to cook and do look like they should. I will report on taste later. Update – add a lemon or more spices next time as it was quite bland.

Gooseberry Jam

Last night we went to the plots and while Rob laid a wood chip path in the fruit tunnel I picked the rest of the fruit. The gooseberries are past their best now really. We have already picked and frozen a lot of the red so I decided to pick some green ones and make some jam.

gooseberry-jam-005-300x225.jpg438_3_380.jpg

Put the gooseberries and a little water into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently until the skins are soft . They will not soften after the sugar has been added. I always sieve the cooked fruit in the case of berries and currants. This also means that you can leave stems on as they will be left behind in the sieve.  After sieving put the pulp/juice back into the pan and add the sugar. Use fruit and sugar in equal amounts. Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until it has dissolved completely. If you boil the jam before the sugar crystals have dissolved you will get crystallisation during storage. Bring the jam to a rapid but steady rolling boil, stirring continually in a figure of eight movement to keep the jam from sticking. Do not leave unattended. It should take about fifteen minutes to reach setting point. Pour the jam into the heat proof jars using a jam funnel. I always stand the jars in the sink just in case of spillage or breakage. Enjoy.