8 January 2013

I cooked!

For the first time in the last fortnight or so, I cooked.

~ cue applause ~

I'm feeling lots better now and remembered my way back to the kitchen (which was an achievement, if you know my memory at the moment!) and I made a lovely Kedgeree.  Click on the link there and you'll find the recipe, if you're curious.

I didn't overcook the rice, the onions were cooked perfectly and okay perhaps I did overcook the fish just a tiny bit - but the rice needed draining.  ~shrug~  It was that or soggy rice.


Now, because we have passed so many days of lovely meals that I have been in no fit state to tell you about (other than occasionally on the Facebook page), I thought I'd do a quick run down on the best of them now.

However!  Before we get started, I have to tell you that hubby has a new camera!  Woo!
In my opinion, the photographs he took with the old camera were pretty darned good - but this new camera has been turning out amazing results.  The above photograph of the Kedgeree was taken with the new camera - it'd be interesting to see whether you can tell which are "new camera" photographs and which are from the old!

Don't forget that you can click on the photographs and open them up larger, for close inspection!

Now heading backwards in time, at lunchtime today I will admit to having a little practice in the cooking stakes and suddenly wanted poached eggs on toast - and only poached eggs on toast.  Have you ever had one of those moments?  (Not necessarily with poached eggs).  I just had to - and for once the eggs behaved, the toast was crunchy and with a teensy sprinkle of celery salt and black pepper they were a fabulously satisfying lunch.

Just look at that runny yolk.  Cor!

We've had a pretty torrid time of it just lately, coming down with this horrid flu bug one after the other.  I don't think we've ever used so many tissues or swallowed so many paracetamols!

Dear hubby took pity on me and took over all kitchen duties immediately he realised that I was almost sick unto death.  Now if you ask him, he'll tell you that he has made some real howlers of bad meals - but it's not true!

Just look at this creamy chicken & blue cheese pasta dish - does it get any better than this?  I don't think so.  It was perfect, non-confrontational, easy eating stuff that was exactly what the Doctor would have ordered, if he'd have known about it.

Because hubby knows about my liking for Cottage Pie (or Shepherd's Pie) and how it has often been utilised as medicine (and worked very well), it was on the menu list.  However, with a new twist!  While I was sitting sniffling in the car, hubby was purchasing three individual Cottage Pie dishes under the pretext of doing some essential shopping.  Sneaky, eh?

Lo and behold, at the appointed time, out came a gorgeously crunchy topped individual Cottage Pie with its side serving of an assortment of vegetables all designed to put a bit of a spring back into our family's step.

So, be prepared for some individual fish pies, lasagne's, moussaka's - oh, basically, anything that will look great in an individual dish!

Oh and of course - I haven't shown you our Christmas Dinner!

Ta daaaa!  Christmas turkey dinner!

I managed to get through making Christmas dinner by the skin of my teeth.  The fact that we’d cooked the turkey in advance, carved it and put it in the freezer in some stock, was just such a boon!  It was a fairly simple matter, thereafter, of making a gravy with the stock and putting the turkey in gravy into the oven to heat through.

In the meanwhile, the pigs in blankets, stuffing balls, potatoes and parsnips were roasting, the other vegetables were steaming and I was making bread sauce.  It was a simple matter of just serving everything at the right time, thereafter.

Yes, they are purple Brussels Sprouts!
I can thoroughly recommend this as a course of action for the future, so long as you don’t have to present a bronzed and roasted turkey at the table, of course.  I don’t think a casserole dish of carved turkey meat has quite the same appeal.

You might remember my Heritage Christmas Pudding that I’d made a little taster pudding of?  Well, it was superb by the time Christmas came.  I’d resisted all calls to “feed” it with booze and was very pleased with the rich, fruity flavours.  In fact, my Mum commented that it was a bit too boozy – which was odd, considering all it had in it was best part of a bottle of Guinness and a couple of tablespoonfuls of spiced rum!

This Christmas was the first time we’ve ever managed to eat an entire Christmas pudding over several mealtimes.   Ordinarily, the last few slices get tired of and wind up in the local birdies, but not this year.  Sorry birdies!

I’m quite looking forward to next year’s pudding, now!  I’m also going to have to do a few other types of steamed pudding, now that I’ve broken my duck so successfully.

A quick word about our Christmas breakfast.  We try to have something different each year - and after quite literally years of observing the American fancy for pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, we finally succumbed.

For ease (well, the next thing on the agenda was the present opening), we had bought some pancakes which it was a simple matter of warming up in the microwave.  In retrospect, I think a knob of butter would have been a good ruse to just help moisten the pancakes a little more.  The bacon was delicious as usual and the maple syrup was beyond decadent.  With a glass or two of Buck's Fizz, it started our Christmas morning off a treat.

So, looking ahead, what culinary challenges have I got lined up for myself?
Well, there’s the big old terracotta Tagine that I got for Christmas.   Once I've done the whole palaver of seasoning it (soaking overnight, baking in a cool oven for 2 hours), I shall have to find a suitable recipe and give a “proper” tagine a go.  I’m sure I won’t have trouble finding a recipe, as I also got Yotam Ottolenghi’s cook book “Jerusalem” for Christmas.  I’d found three recipes that I want to make, within the first five pages!

Then there’s the Rosti question.  My hubby has yet to find his rosti-making muse and has (apparently) turned out some undercooked efforts, which have burned edges.  This must have been before I met him, as I don’t ever recall such a thing.  However, I have accepted the rosti challenge and shall be grating and squeezing potatoes - and we've got some of our favourite Greenvale Farm Fresh Jelly potatoes - in the hope of creating something worth eating!  You’ll know if I get it right, as I’ll be somewhat cock-a-hoop and no doubt, telling everyone.

If you are currently confined to bed suffering with this horrid flu - I do so hope you get well soon.  Just think of this blog post as evidence that you CAN get better, because if I can do it - anyone can!

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