Just a weekly bit of fun whereby I can natter about any culinary ‘inventions’, successes and disasters in the kitchen.
… I wanted a large chicken to roast, but I ended up with two tiny ones. Before you feel sorry for me, let me add that it pretty much got me out of doing Sunday dinner! As the chicken was teeny it gave Husb a chance (of which he has many, I know) to use the rotisserie. I am celebrating his delicious rotisserie chicken with a close up below. Cauliflower was on special offer when we did this shop, I had a couple of things in mind to use it but the rotisserie chicken gave me the opportunity to do one of my favourite things with cauliflower… cauliflower couscous salad. If you haven’t tried cauliflower couscous salad you’re missing out! I’ve never followed a recipe, I just use any non-leafy salad ingredients that I have, and often my own French vinaigrette, which is always in the fridge. So… I whizzed up half a raw cauliflower in the food processor until it resembled couscous then tipped it into a bowl. I added chopped cucumber, red onion, yellow pepper, and tomato. I changed up the dressing and just used lemon juice and olive oil because I was also adding sumac. After seasoning and adding the dressing and sumac it was ready to go with the chicken, and some tiger baton. Delicious!
… My fabulous foster mum used to make us a dish she called Chicken Suzanne. I think it was named after my foster sister, so it’s difficult to find the recipe if you lose it, which I did. I decided to try anyway so bought the ingredients as grapes were on special offer that week. I browned chicken portions in oil for as long as I could then set them aside. I then added flour to the residue and sautéed that for a while to try and get colour as Mum had always used wholemeal flour and I didn’t have any. I then added chicken stock made with the carcass from Sunday’s chicken along with lemon juice and lemon zest from one lemon. Nearer the time I added the chicken and continued cooking, adding the grapes just at the end. I served the Chicken Suzanne with creamy mash and green beans from the garden of one of C’s customers!
.. was a particularly bad day so we had chips again. I think that chip shop two weeks in a row. I am ashamed. I will do better!
… I made a cottage pie, which is the proper name for most shepherd’s pies! Cottage pie has ground beef in it and that’s what I used. I made a savoury mince by sautéing onions, diced carrots and latterly garlic, after dry frying the mince to get rid of as much fat as possible. When the onion mix was ready I re-introduced the mince, added a stock cube and sprinkled it with a couple of dessert spoons of flour. I cooked that off for a minute then added water to cook it down for a while. During the cooking period I peeled a load of potatoes (peeled because the skins were very blemished) and steamed them until tender. After making a stiff mash (if you make it normally it ends up very sloppy after baking on top of the mince) I left the mince to cool so the mash didn’t sink when put on top. When ready to I spooned the mash on to the mince, made a pretty pattern with a palette knife, brushed with a little beaten egg and baked for forty minutes or so. I served the cottage pie with a mix of fresh carrot, cauliflower, and runner beans, and instant gravy. What?! I just made a cottage pie!
… I rustled up a chicken Caesar salad using the other teeny chicken. At some point during the week I had bunged the chicken in the oven to roast. The recipe I followed uses a ‘cheats dressing’, consisting of mayo, anchovy, parmesan, garlic and a little warm water. I hadn’t made a proper Caesar previously, but this ‘cheats dressing’ in Lisa Faulkner’s recipe book is delicious. Anyway, romaine lettuce, anchovy fillets, shaved parmesan, the chicken, a sprinkle of fried cubed pancetta, and some croutons I prepared earlier with some farmhouse white bread cubed; then tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with rosemary sea salt, were added to a bowl before being drizzled with the dressing. Not the healthiest salad in the world but it may be the most delicious!
… I had leftover chicken Suzanne, so I took the meat off the portions and made it into a ragout type thing. I served it with basmati rice that I added peas to just before the rice was cooked. I may prefer the chicken Suzanne that way!
… Da Da Daaaa! Leftovers! I always try to make more than I need so I can have extra meals. When we cook from scratch it’s a real bonus! This time it was cottage pie. I reheated it in the oven so the top stayed crispy. One of the best ‘ready meals’!