November 21, 2008

Chicken in a Bag - Nanna-Style

Another dish adapted from the 'Vogue French Cookery' Book. It's really easy to do... and so few dishes! What's that all about? That's all about smart cooking, that is! Adapt the concept to other stuff for delicious meals (and spread the word about cooking in a bag while you're at it!)

One Large Oven Bag - like your Nanna used to use
One Chicken
One Bunch of Baby Carrots, stalks removed
6 Baby Potatoes, halved
One Punnet of Cherry Tomatoes
4 whole cloves of garlic
1 sprig of fresh herbs
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1 tbsp flour

Open up the oven bag. Throw in the flour and shake it around a bit. Don't get it all over yourself. Then put in the chicken. Any way will do. Now chuck in the carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, garlic. Add plenty of salt and pepper. A dollop of butter is good if you're a bit of a lush.

Now hold the bag with the opening upmost - and pour in the stock. Tie the bag closed securely. You don't want the juices to escape whilst you cook it. Pop onto an oven tray - roast for 40 minutes in a hot oven (400 degrees - or 200 depending on the C or the F thing.) Be careful not to steam yourself when you open the bag and serve!

It's the most delicious, no-nonsense, super easy, nutritious meal! The chicken will be super tender. My kids eat theirs betwixt two pieces of soft white bread! YUM! It's also really good with mushrooms thrown into the mix!

Chicken things from here

Truly Delightful Egg and Bacon Pie

My paternal nanna was the queen of egg and bacon pie. In my quest to recreate my childhood I began to make it too. Here is my recipe - based on one in Stephanie's BIG orange cookbook.

2 sheets of puff pastry (the frozen type is good)
8 nice free range eggs
3 rashers of bacon, chopped roughly
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper
30 g butter

Melt butter in a fry pan and add onion and garlic - saute until softened. Add bacon and cook until starting to crisp up. Set aside.

Line a greased pie dish with a sheet of pastry. Cut it to size and press down around top edge to secure. Pop in the bacon/onion mixture and the parsley. Crack in the eggs - they don't need to be beaten. Season with salt and pepper. Put another sheet of pastry on top to make a lid. you can decorate with little pastry chickens or piggys at this stage if you choose!

Pierce pastry lid with a fork a few times. Brush with egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp of milk. Bake in a moderate oven for 35 minutes until golden and puffed up on top. Serve with tomato sauce or chilli sauce.. or both and a crisp green salad. Delicious cold the next day too!

via here

felt egg and soldiers here

Clever Dinner for Silly Sausages...

Once the cat was out of the bag (so to speak) with the whole concept of oven-bag cookery, there was no stopping me. Sausages, potato curry.... I swear it'll be soup next.

Stay tuned for my 'dessert in a bag' - and why wouldn't lovely Summery stone-fruits tossed in some prosecco and brown sugar and baked be a delicious treat? Then a wee bowl of crumble in the centre of the table and a tub of ice-cream.. and away you go! Oh. I digress.. back to the sausages.

Rustic Sausages in a Bag
1 large oven bag
1/2 kilo of very good quality sausages (or you could use chorizo, don't skimp on the sausages though - as bad sausages are not worth eating)
2 tins of tomatoes (cherry or whole)
1 head of garlic cut down the middle
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion cut into chunks
1 tin of chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 red pepper cut into chunks
6 baby potatoes, halved
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1/2 cup of chopped fresh herbs (i like basil!) salt and pepper

Put the lot into the bag. Mix about a bit without spilling. Tie bag closed securely. Pop onto oven tray. Pierce two holes near the tied up opening to allow some steam to escape and prevent the bag from gaining pressure. Bake for about an hour in a 400degree oven. Eat with crusty bread and some fruity wine!

via here

Sausage Dog From Here

Sara's Sassy Saucy Spuds!

Crockery via here

Sara's Classic Bistro Style Gratin Dauphinoise -
French Gratin Potatoes


* 1.5 kgs waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
YOU MUST USE A V-SLICER!! You can get them from Victorias Basement QVB for about $40. It’s worth it TRUST ME
(such as Desiree, Golden Wonder, Maris Piper, Idaho or King Edward)
* 200 grams cheese, grated (gruyere or tasty) I try to use light
* 430 ml double cream (I try to use light here too)
* salt
* fresh ground black pepper
* 2-4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
* 2 sprigs fresh thyme
* 25 grams butter
* cheese, for topping (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/gas mark 2.
2.Take a heavy-bottomed dish or an ovenproof gratin dish, and grease it will with some of the butter. I use one about 10 cm deep, 40 cm long and 20 cm wide.
3. Layer the potato slices in the dish, slightly overlapping each other, seasoning lightly with the salt and pepper, and sprinkling a liberal amount of cheese on each layer.
4. Sprinkle cheese on the top of the last layer.
5. Put the double cream, garlic and sprigs of thyme in a pan and bring to them gently to the boil, then remove the thyme and pour hot cream over the potatoes.
6. Dot the top of the gratin with the remaining butter and some extra cheese if you wish, and bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs, or until the potatoes are soft, and the top is crispy and golden brown.

YUMMMMMMM! Via here.

Not-For-The-Faint-Hearted- Potato, Bacon and Cabbage Fry Up

nice felt vegies here

Colcannony Type Thing - or Bacon, Cabbage and Potato Fry-Up

2 Rashers of Bacon (or more if you're the bacony type) chopped roughly
2 Onions, chopped roughly
1 Kilo of Waxy Potatoes - peeled and cut into biggish 'dice' - keep it rustic
2 Cloves of Garlic - chopped higgledy piggledy
1/4 Cabbage - chopped roughly
About One Tablespoon of Butter and The Same of Olive Oil

Boil potatoes until almost cooked. Heat Butter and Oil together in a LARGE deep frypan
Add Bacon and Onion - cook until onion is soft and bacon is getting golden edges Add Potatoes and toss well.
Then add the Cabbage and mix well again.
Cook until cabbage is lovely and soft and buttery.
Add lots of freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt

Serve with A Big Glass of Wine.

Ari and I like to eat ours between slices of soft white bread - but that's just greedy.


Nige's Hey Presto! Rapsberry Jam

vintage jelly jar lids from here

This recipe comes courtesy of Nigella Lawson.

200g of raspberries
200g of white sugar
Two Pie dishes
One Oven
Basically - you just need equal parts of raspberries and sugar. Of course fresh raspberries are best - but they are scarce now.. so frozen it is for me!

Tumble the raspberries into one pie dish.
Tumble the sugar into the other.
Put both dishes into a Hot oven for 20 minutes until HOT HOT HOT.
(BUT don't let it burn!)
Carefully tip the sugar into the raspberry dish.
Gently stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

also posted here

Pip's Famous Pane Toscano

baguette earrings from here


How Pip Makes Bread
You DO need 10 cups of flour.
It makes 3 free-form loaves.

Make the starter first - it's easy.
1 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water - NOT too hot
3 cups of white flour (bakers flour or unbleached)
1 cup cold water
Add the yeast to the warm water. Wait till it goes frothy. Then mix in the flour and the rest of the water. I do this in the Kitchen Aid or Food Processor. Put in a DEEP bowl in the fridge - with plenty of room for it to grown. Leave until tomorrow.

Make the dough - it's easy.
This will make about 3 small loaves.
1 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water - NOT too hot
7 cups of white flour (bakers or unbleached)
1 tbsp sea salt
3 cups of cold water
a splash of olive oil
HALF of the starter you made (freeze the rest for a jump start to the next batch - you'll thank me later*)
Polenta or flour to stop the bread sticking to the trays
(* you'll need to defrost it to room temperature before use)

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water as before. Put the flour into a really big mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast/water mix, salt, cold water and starter (remember you're only using half of the starter we made). Now mix it all together - you can do this in a KitchenAid on slow (but be prepared for a few floury clouds!) - or by hand. I don't use my hands - just a wooden spoon and plenty of elbow grease - it's a really sticky dough.
Mix it until it's all clinging together and not just sticking to the sides of the bowl. But don't agonise too much - 5 minutes 'by hand' with a wooden spoon or 2 minutes in the Mixer sounds great. Tip it out onto a floured surface and shape into a rough ball - clean your bowl thoroughly - oil the clean bowl with olive oil and pop the dough back in. Cover with a towel and put in a warm, draught-free place.

TURN YOUR OVEN ONTO 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C.

When the dough has doubled - punch it down (just think of all the things that are making you cross and lay into it a bit) and let it rise again until doubled. Then turn it out onto a floury surface and cut into three (or you can do what Amy does. Keep the dough bowl in the fridge and just cut off what you want each time you need bread! The dough will improve with age and your bread will be slightly different each time!)

Sprinkle two good sized oven trays with polenta or flour and pop your just-cut freeform loaves onto them. Sprinkle the tops with flour for good luck and good looks. Bake in a HOT oven for 20 to 30 minutes - checking towards the end. If they are ready they will be golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. I often take them off their trays for the last 5 minutes for extra good crust action!


as seen here

Soup for Pretty, Smart People

bowls from here

Soup Paysanne a la Francine

You will need:
50g unsmoked streaky bacon (diced)
2 small leeks (whites only, finely chopped)
1 medium onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled & finely diced
200g potatoes, peeled & cubed
3tbsp olive oil
200g tinned peeled tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
a few leaves of fresh basil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
1.5 litres of water
herb of your choice for garnish

Heat the oil and fry (in a big pot) the bacon, onion, garlic, leek and potatoes over gentle heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Next, chop the tomatoes roughly and add to the pan with tomato paste, basil, sugar and salt & pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Give the potatoes a bit more of a mash in the pan.. then add the water, cover and simmer for half and hour.

Check seasoning and serve with a nice herby garnish!

Gobble it up!


Quick Chick's Coq au Vin

rooster magnets via here

Quick Chicks Coq au Vin a la Pip and Rin
serves 6 hungry people

12 chicken thigh fillets
4 rashers of streaky bacon - chopped roughly
6 peeled golden shallots - sliced roughly
1 clove crushed garlic
200g swiss browns or other flavoursome mushrooms - sliced
1 1/2 cups of red wine
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of tomato passata or puree
olive oil
1 tbsp butter
black pepper
sea salt
sage if you have it

(To serve with this...
Crunchy greens, mash and lovely crusty bread)

Heat olive oil and fry chicken until a little browned on each side (you may need to do this in batches). Remove and add bacon, garlic, shallots, mushrooms and a tablespoon of butter. Fry for about 5 minutes until caramelising and golden-ish. Add chicken, red wine, chicken stock, tomato passata and bay leaf. Cook uncovered for 20 mins. Garnish with sage if you have it - and plenty of pepper and salt to taste. Serve with lovely creamy dreamy mash and some crunchy beans, snow peas or spinach!

Yum. Try it.. it's nice.

If you don't eat chicken.. you could try it with really really good golden potatoes (like kipfler or bintje or some dutch creams) and good quality mushrooms.. and just have it with crusty bread and a lovely side of fresh tomatoes and crunchy beans!


Nanna-Style Tomato Sauce (To Put on Pies Not Pasta)

Nanna-Rific Tomato Sauce

10 kilos of ripe tomatoes- chopped roughly
2.5 kilos of granny smith apples - cored and peeled and chopped roughly
30g of ground ginger
30g of whole cloves*
30g of whole allspice*1 tsp of mace
30g cayenne pepper
1 litre white vinegar 1.5 kg sugar 8 tablespoons of salt 2kg chopped onions* bundle these up in some muslin or calico with string to keep closed and pop in - you need to take it out once cooking time is up, though.

You'll be needing a 20 litre pot for this!
Put all ingredients into a very large pan. Boil for 3.5 to 4 hours. Blend or sieve to make for a smoother consistency. Bottle in sterilised jars. Make adorable labels with smiling tomatoes on them. Give to people for Christmas! Bravo!
(If you like - add a few cloves of garlic, cumin seeds and some chilli for a bit more gusto!)

sauce bottles from here

Mary Had A Little Lamb and Vegetable Curry

lamb badge via here

Simple Lamb and Vegetable Curry500g diced lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp good quality curry powder mixed with 2 tbsp water
3/4 cup tomato passata
1 tbsp soy sauce
250ml beef stock
500g butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced roughly
500g potatoes, peeled and diced roughly
200g green beans, topped, coarsely chopped
2 fresh tomatoes diced
2 tbsp olive oil

Heat 1/2 the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Brown half the lamb pieces. Then remove and brown the remaining lamb. Set the browned lamb aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in the pan over medium heat. Fry the onion until golden and fragrant. Add the curry powder/water mix and stir-fry until fragrant.

Add the tomato passata, stock, soy, potato and pumpkin. Cover and bring to a simmer. Add the lamb and cook, partially covered, for 25 minutes. Add the beans and cook for 5 minutes until just tender.Stir through the diced tomato. Voila!

You could add some frozen peas at step 4 if you wanted to make it super vegetabley!

Pump Up The Jam - Tomato Jam

vintage tomato thermometer via here

This is the tomato jam they used to serve at Stephanie's in Hawthorn long, long ago. Du-re got me hooked on this - and then it disappeared forever from my life, when Stephanie's disappeared. So sad - and we definately need to bring back the jam

I'm making regular Nanna-style tomato sauce at this very moment - but I'm going to make this tomato jam this week too.

I'm in a total preserving, bottling, pickling frenzy! I am just feathering my nest, I think... well, bottling at least. I have sweet, romantic notions of a pantry super-lined with bottles and jars of good stuff - just waiting to be popped open and enjoyed.

Anyway... here is the recipe for the tomato jam i am GOING to make!

Tomato Jam
4kg of ripe tomatoes
200ml light vegetable oil
4 tbsp cumin seeds, lightly roasted
2 tbsp mustard seeds, soaked overnight in 400ml of white wine vinegar
200g fresh ginger grated finely
20 cloves garlic
10 red chillis (perhaps a bit less - i think 4)
2 tbsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp sambal oelek
250g palm sugar
100ml fish sauce (or you could add 50ml of light soy and the juice of one lemon to make this vegan or vegetarian - I'm doing that so I can give some to Gemma and Hollie and Molly too. You're important!)

OKAY - First place the tomatoes in a roasting pan with the oil. Cover with foil and roast for 4 hours at 180 degrees. I think I'm going to do this in a pressure cooker - to speed it up - my pressure cooker is huge and will preserve all the juices. Plus - my oven is tiny and portable. It can't do this!

Pass the roasted tomatoes through a food mill - or blend and then sieve.

Process remaining ingredients until pastey. Cook this paste over a low heat in a heavy pan for 1 hour. Add the pureed, roasted tomatoes and cook for a further 2 hours. Bottle in sterile jars.