Friday, July 13, 2007

July 13th 2007

Ohhhhhhh Friday the 13th!!! Hmm didn't realize it until I went to write this blog. Not really supersticious here, but find the number 13 actually lucky for me as that is the day my twin sons were born. I don't think it was on a Friday though.
It has been a bit of a busy week here. Cooking and gardening. The poor Courgettes that I was sooooo counting on have been hit by Mildew from all the weird weather we have been having.

We got some stuff from the garden centre and are trying to save the plants. We are also cutting off any infected leaves and hope that this will work. So far so good...

Recipes from France
Every time we take a coach trip to France or Belgium or visit another country I pick up some cooking magazines. I attempt (sometimes very badly) to translate the recipes. Some you can just about look at and figure out the way it should be cooked or what the ingredients are. I have had one or two successes in the past, but this wasn't one of them.

The recipe is for Cod fillets to be baked on some Courgette strips. You take some courgettes and using a vegetable peeler cut it into long strips. Overlapping the strips as shown. Then place on the piece of cod and some lemon zest, chopped red pepper sprinkle on some salt and pepper and sesame seed. Well I thought hmmmm maybe a little sesame oil would be nice. Nope don't do it!!! It is too harsh for the fish. I think next time I would prefer garlic and some onion, maybe a bit of parmesan....

Any way you wrap up the fish and sprinkle on more sesame seeds and chopped pepper and then a good splash of white wine and lemon juice. Bake in the oven ummm 180 for about 15 to 20 minutes.

I served it with some fried potatoes and mixed veg done in the microwave, some tomato salad and some lemon slices. It wasn't really horrible, but just not as nice as it looks if you see what I mean. I will try it again, but will do a bit of my own thing next time adding the garlic, some oregano and onion to the dish. I am still trying hard to learn to like eating fish so I do try to use strong flavours with my fish.

My next edible failure was a savoury cake recipe. I can read and understand some of the ingredients and measurements okay, but when it comes to some of the actual terms for the cooking techniques. Well this is where I have a bit of a problem. But then again I learn from each and every mistake.

The batter looked good and it is one that uses yeast.
And then here is where the problem came in.... The courgettes, they are supposed to be grated and I know the french term for that is rape, but it was what I was supposed to do once I had grated the Courgettes that the problem started. Courgettes are mostly water..... And what I should have done was grate them and then drain them as they made the cake way too moist after it baked. I will know better next time.

Anyway, you add courgettes, chopped ham and grated swiss(emmental) Cheese to the batter and then bake. Here again I am learning about my new cooker. It seems I have a fan oven that doesn't work like the old fan oven. The old one I would have to take the temperature down by at least 10 degrees and keep an eye on the time as it would cook in a lot shorter time. Nope not this new cooker, the fan assist on it seems to cook very very gently and where I used to turn the temp down I now turn it up. Also for the last 10 minutes I am finding I take it off fan assist and use the normal oven setting to get things to brown.

So it was a bit on the flat and very dense extra extra moist side. It was still edible and I will be trying this again. Once I perfect the end results I will publish my recipe.

Red Currants

Now on the other hand all this rain has been excellent for my red Currant bush. So much so, that I have gone onto the internet in search of recipes for using them. I came across this lovely tart.
Red Currant Tart
It is very quick and a very pretty way to use the little gems!!! Brian ate 3 pieces the first night and it was polished off the next night. So I think it was a hit.

We are having my Stepson and his lovely lady coming over for lunch in a week or so and I always like to fix something new for them and show off a bit. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I have one limitation and that is no dairy. My step son is dairy intollerant. So I try to find different things I can use instead. He can have goats milk, soya milk and margarines that don't contain dairy, so actually I am not that limited in my cooking. It is a bit of a challenge to come up with something he can have. They both love fish and are the reason I am trying hard to learn to like eating fish. And since I have gotten to know them and the meals we have had together I have learnt to like cod, sword fish, fresh tuna, monk fish, halibut, white crab meat(still not too keen on the brown meat), prawns and langostines. Not bad for someone that wouldn't eat any fish when she first arrived here in Britian almost 11 years ago.
So for our starter I have decided on this recipe that I found in Prue Leith's Cookery Bible. It is for Avacado Mousse with prawns. And as normal I can't leave well enough alone.
I cut the recipe into half for Brian and I to try before I fixed it for my guests. I used goats milk yogurt instead of greek and when the day comes I will be adding some white crab meat to the mousse mixture. The prawns now are my own recipe.

I will give you my version of the recipe and if you want the original let me know and I can email it to you.
Prue 's Avacado Mousse...
8 grams or 1/2 packet of powdered gelatine
1 ripe avacado
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1/2 cup /1/4 pint /145ml goat's milk yogurt.
Ligtly oil two small ramekins. Put 3 Tablespoons of water into a small sauce pan and sprinkle over the gelatine powder. Leave for about 5 minutes until spongy. Peel and mash the avacado until smooth. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to the avacado. (I think this is where I will be adding some white crab meat. I guess you could also used some small prawns or chopped up bigger ones too.) Place the gelatine over a lowish heat until liquid and clear. Then stir into the avacado mix. Fold in the yogurt using a metal spoon. Pour into prepared ramekins and refrigerate till set. Dip the ramekins into very hot water to help unmold. I turned mine out onto a bed of lettuce leaves topped with the prawns and served with some cherry tomato halves.
(These could be made the day ahead.)

Now for the Prawns. Her recipe calls for prawns in a french dressing. This is my own recipe for the Prawn part of the dish.
Take about 4 or 5 large prawns per person, I used frozen cooked large tiger prawns. Thaw and devein. Then add to a small bowl the prawns some finely chopped red pepper(capsium) about a tablespoon or so, same amount of chopped onion, spring onion would be nice. A dash of dried chili flakes, or finely chopped hot chili pepper, not too much unless you like it hot. Zest and juice of 1 lime. Honey to taste. 1 Tablespoon olive oil or you can use rape seed oil. A splash of white wine, any that happens to be open or that you are drinking at the time. Let this all marinate for about an hour. Serve the prawns over the mousse, drizzling some of the marinade liquid over the lettuce leaves.
Enjoy!!! Serve with some wholegrain crackers or some nice crusty bread.
Brian and I both enjoyed it last night. We found it quite fresh tasting and really yummy!!! Hopefully so will my stepson and his young lady. I can't wait to try it with the crab meat addition.

Leftovers Challenge
Okay I decied on Wednesday to roast a whole chicken. A lovely treat especially mid week. The cats start to hang around when it reaches a certain point in the oven when the aroma of the roasting chicken makes it's way through the whole house. Jingles will almost become aggressive as he waits in the kitchen beside his bowl for his share of the chicken. Cheeky on the other hand sometimes will eat it and sometimes won't. He is a very strange cat at times when it comes to food. Jingles is definately my foodie cat. He will sometimes sit and watch me cook. He does try different things too. Silly cat!!!
Anyway, what I want to know is how others use the leftovers. I sometimes make chicken soup, and definatley have chicken sarnies for a day or two. And Jingles enjoys the occasional tidbit that comes his way. And sometimes I make a chicken casserole like the one below.

So how do you use leftovers???? I would love to know and also would love to try new and different recipes for using leftover chicken. So if you could either post them on the comments, email me or post on your blog I would be ever so grateful!!!


Cynthia said...

Hi Pat, thanks for visiting my blog and helping me to discover yours! You make some really hearty and comforting meals. And thanks for your kind compliments. Truly appreciated.

I see that you are an LOTR fan too! :) What about HP? looking forward to release of the book next weekend?

I've added you to my feeds so that I never miss another of your posts.

Have a good weekend.

Pat said...

Hi Cynthia, Thanks for visiting my blog also and for putting me in your list. Yes, a big LOTR fan and Harry Potter too books and movies.

Crafty Gardener said...

Pat, all the recipes look yummy as usual. 13 is a lucky number in our house too, as oldest daughter was born on a 13th. It wasn't a Friday, but a Saturday.

Pat said...

Thanks Linda, Oh sounds like we have loads in common. LOL

Cottage Smallholder said...

Hi Pat, I do hope that your courgette plant perks up soon.

The savoury cake really appeals to me. It look lovely even though you say it is flat. The fish too, courgette parcels are a great touch.

Pat said...

Thanks Fiona, I can give you my recipe for the cake, but like I said it isn't quite right yet.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Lots of lovely things again. That doesn't sound right about your oven why don't you get them to take a look at it while it's still under warranty and so new.
Looking forward to the recipe when you perfect the savoury cake. I love fish and thankfully the boys seem to love it too.
The avacado mousse sounds good with all your changes and as for leftover chicken we make lots of different things with it.
Soup, Curry, Stew, Risotto, Pasta, Pie (yum, roast chicken pie). We always get atleast one chicken a week. It's so versatile.

Pat said...

Thanks Amanda! I think I may try the savoury cake again today. I have a few courgettes I can use. May use some cheddar cheese this time though. Thanks for the chicken ideas too!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I could have sworn I had commented this post, Pat!
I guess that the rich red color of the currants hypnotized me. ;)

Love the savory cake, too!

Pat said...

Thanks Pat!! I will try to work on the recipe soon. Wasn't able to get it done yesterday. Maybe tomorrow or Friday.