Corn on the cob curry 

A really simple, mild but full of flavour curry. Served on a bed of brown rice.

My daughters don’t enjoy hot and spicy food but this curry goes down very well indeed.

The blend of peanuts and yoghurt ensure a creamy sauce that coats the accompanying rice well.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 corn on the cob – chopped in half and then split length ways

50 g gram / chickpea flour         3 tbsp groundnut oil

1 450 g carton of Greek yogurt

250 g unsalted peanuts – ground

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

500 ml water

Method:

Cook the prepared corn on the cob in boiling water for 6-8 minutes. Drain.

On high, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the flour – stirring continuously for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down to a moderate temperature and add the ground peanuts, Stir for a coupe of minutes. Add the yoghurt, turmeric and chilli and stir till mixed thoroughly.Slowly add the 500 ml of water stirring all the time to create a thick sauce. Add the corn on the cob and simmer until all heated through.

Serve on a bed of warm rice.

Pork and apricot casserole

This is a recipe I have made for years but more recently seem to have forgotten how wonderfully well the flavours go together. Having dug around in the freezer during an ‘eat from the freezer’ week (is it only our house or does everyone have a freezer purge / food amnesty once in a while?) I located four pork loin chops. I love making a casserole – very little preparation and the Aga does the rest. An ideal dish for a slow cooker.

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Sometimes I put an assortment of ingredients in to a casserole and then serve with simple vegetables. This casserole lends itself to simplicity – 3 flavours: onions, pork and apricots. It is then scrumptious with roast potatoes, honeyed carrots etc.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 large white onion  – finely diced

4 pork loin steaks – cut in to large pieces

1 large tin of apricots or 6-8 dried apricots cut in to chunks

Gluten free plain flour        Olive oil – 1 tbsp    Water

Salt and pepper to season

Method:

Heat the oil in a pan and soften the onions. Add the pork steaks and seal both sides. Add a couple of tbsp of flour and mix well. Slowly add water, stirring continuously until a thin gravy is created. Add the apricots and seasoning. Ensure the steaks are covered in liquid. Cover and place in the oven on a low heat for a couple of hours or until the pork is tender.

This dish also works well with prunes instead of apricots.

Cooking is therapy

Having had a day last week that was very different to the norm and not the sort of day I would like to repeat, it was wonderful to receive a postal delivery of dry ingredients that I had ordered prior to my op. I always get very excited when new, to me, flavours arrive.

This is my comfort zone, my area of contentment and my normality – cooking is my therapy.

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I use lots of spices in my cooking and have always been relatively confident playing around with combinations (with only the very occasional flavour disaster). My latest delivery contains sumac and za’ater – two spices I have not used myself although I have eaten many Persian and Middle Eastern dishes. So, while I recover and am relatively housebound I will enjoy spending my time conjuring up recipes. Watch this space …

Mint and Feta whip

This combination of flavours tastes absolutely gorgeous and compliments many dishes – my husband enjoys it with burgers and I think it adds a new level to a salad. Unfortunately no picture does it justice ..so here goes:20160723_171433Ingredients:

200 g Feta cheese chopped in to small chunks

150 ml sour cream         2 tsp paprika

2 tbsp honey           Handful of chopped mint

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a bowl and mix thoroughly until smooth.

Place in fridge until serving.

Cranberry salsa

I think the finest meal is one where you have the opportunity to have a multitude of different flavour combinations – probably why I love a roast dinner with all the extra trimmings.

A barbecue is one such opportunity – a plate can be laden with a multitude of little bits of this and that.

This is one such dish.

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Ingredients:

1 large white onion – finely chopped             Zest and juice of 2 limes

1 large green pepper – finely chopped          600 g of cranberry sauce

Mint – large handful chopped          Coriander – large handful chopped

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a large bowl and combine thoroughly.

 

This salsa is perfect with meat, fish and salads – an all round great accompaniment.

I put the salsa in to the empty cranberry sauce jars. It will last for at least a week in the fridge (if not devoured beforehand!)

Happiness is homegrown

I don’t have a very large back garden – about a fifth of an acre  – but the space is put to good use. Because the house is up for sale, I haven’t planted the vegetable plot this year…probably should have done as we haven’t sold yet!!  The garden has a variety of fruit trees – Victoria Plum, Grenadier Apple, Egremont Russet and James Grieve  desert apples, Damson, Bartlett and Conference Pear, Gooseberry, Red / Blackcurrant bushes and Rhubarb. Each year these wonderful plants provide a vast quantity of fruit – so much last year that I had to buy another chest freezer! This year, due to the odd weather, the gooseberry bushes have borne little fruit and the plum tree is clearly resting after a bumper crop last year. However, all other trees are covered in ripening fruit.

The chickens indicated this morning that the red and black currants were ready for picking – red and black juice stained beaks were a real give away!  So… half an hour later 2 bowls were filled…still masses left to pick off the laden stems 🙂

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and so begins the making and baking…pies, cakes, puddings, cassis, flavoured vodkas, jams etc.

 

Rhubarb and ginger gluten free cake

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I think this is one of my favourite flavour combinations. Because there are pieces of ginger around the top of the cake it means you get a delicious ginger hit with every mouthful.

This works best with fresh rhubarb which is in plentiful supply at this time of year.

Preheat oven to 180c  / gas mark 4. Prepare an 18 cm round tin. I use Prestige cookware

Ingredients:

170 g gluten-free self-raising flour        150 g light muscovado sugar

170 g softened butter   4 eggs (3 if using non gf fl)

1 stem of rhubarb chopped and each chunk split in half lengthways then softened by roasting in oven.20160717_094255

3 pieces of stem ginger – 2 finely chopped and 1 chopped in to larger pieces for the top of the cake.

Method:

Mix all ingredients (except rhubarb) together until smooth.

Fold in rhubarb half the rhubarb and the finely chopped ginger..

Arrange the remaining rhubarb and ginger around the top of the cake.

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Bake in centre of the oven for about 20-25 mins.

Courgetti, spring onion and cheese frittata 

Perfect for a light supper on a hot summer’s day 🙂 . The wonderful thing about this dish is that it is delicious both hot and cold.

The number of servings depends upon what is served with the dish – serves 2 if on its own or with a small salad or 4 if served with additional vegetables and new potatoes. Gas mark 5 / 190 c   Oven proof pan

Ingredients:

1 spiralised courgette                      6 eggs – beaten and seasoned with pepper

2 spring onions finely chopped         handful of grated cheese    olive oil for frying

Method:

Gently fry the courgetti and onions for a couple of minutes. Add the grated cheese and beaten egg. Put the pan in the oven for 10 – 15 mins until the frittata is just set.

 

Chicken stock

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Put the carcass and remains of the chicken in to a large pan – I use my Prestige Pressure cooker.

Add a couple of pints of water. Put on the hob  – Pressure cooker middle weight and stream for 20 mins once pressure reached – only sufficient heat to cause a gentle steam. (in a pan – simmer for 40 mins.

Sieve the contents to separate the stock from the solids – if the chicken pieces are wnted – sift through the solids.

 

 

1 in 8

Well it seems that never smoking, drinking very little ( I mean very little) alcohol, never abusing my body with drugs, eating a very healthy and well balanced diet and leading an active life and being a sensible weight just isn’t enough. I found out this week that I have an unwanted companion – of the malignant variety. At this point I then felt I should smoke 20 cigarettes – normal or ‘herbal’, drink a bottle of whisky (don’t even like whisky – sorry all those people I have just offended) and eat a whole rack of doughnuts. Obviously, I didn’t!

After feeling sorry for myself and wallowing momentarily in self -pity I then started to think logically.

Because I have never smoked or done drugs, drink all most no alcohol, eat a very healthy and well balanced diet, lead an active life and am a sensible weight, I am in the  best position to beat the b…er!

My battle commences…