Sunday, March 23, 2008

March 23rd, 2008

Hi all, sorry for not blogging more..... But this has been a bit of a hectic month. You can see some of the reasons why I haven't been here over on my other two blogs.
I have been cooking, but not like my big meals in the past. Trying hard to loose a bit of weight here, but not doing starvation dieting either. But the meals haven't been all that exciting.
I did attempt to make a watercress soup.... We ate it. But nothing really that great. Think it is something to work on or to give up on personally as I feel watercress is probably better eaten fresh.

Now I love a good fry up for Breakfast and do love a full English. I prefer savoury to sweet.... So I sometimes have some very unusual foods for breakfast. On this day I had some onion slices, asparagus spears, mushroom slices and some lean ham and cherry tomatoes all quick fried in a non stick pan with the tiniest amount of olive oil. Served on some wholemeal toast. Sometimes I top with a fried egg.

I have been watching the foodie shows on telly and Jamie Oliver's new series At Home, I am finding quite interesting. It combines not only cooking but gardening tips and hints too. In the episode I watched he made this lovely looking tart with asparagus. Mine is, well let's just say looks a bit more rustic. But the flavour is out of this world!!!! Thanks Jamie!!!
He starts out making mashed potatoes. You all know how to do that..... Boiled potatoes and then mashed with some butter and either milk or cream... Just the regular old everyday mash.
Then he takes and adds a couple of eggs (I think three) to the mash with some Lancashire cheese.... Mix well with some seasonings. I think next time I will definately be adding some garlic to this mixture and maybe even some sauteed onions. Next line your tart pan with some buttered phyllo pastry sheets. I used the whole pack, brushing with olive oil and butter and layering all around the tart pan. Next pour in your mash mixture and then top with some lightly blanched asparagus spears. Brush with some butter. Then into an 180 to 200 C oven for about 45 minutes. Making sure to put onto the lowest shelf. I started at 200 then turned down to 180 about midway through the cooking.

This tart is definately going to be made here again and again!!!! I will work on the presentation next time.

The tart was enough on it's own with a possible salad for a lovely meal, but I was already cooking another dish that night and said oh heck why not go for it. Yes, it blew the diet out the window but that happens and I will be good the rest of the week.
I had to try Katiez over at Thyme for Cooking's recipe for her Pork Medallions in White Wine Mustard Sauce!! It was sooooooo yummy!!!! I did make one alteration in using cider instead of the white wine.

Another reason for not cooking alot is it was my 50th Birthday this past month. So I have been taken out to eat a few times and have had other things to eat instead of normal healthy food.... Such as chocolates and chocolate cake!!!
My stepson and his partner took us out to eat at Caldesi's restuarant in Marleybone. That was one of the lovely meals out.... Then Hubby took me to Anacapri in Marleybone....another fantastic meal out. And we have been eating Hotel Chocolates as my friends got me their Deep Dark Chocolate Easter egg for my Birthday....... If you have never tried Hotel Chocolates and you love chocolate, you really should give them a try. I think it is the best chocolate in the whole world. I am willing to try samples of other chocolates anyone is willing to send me..... tee hee....

This is the top layer to the creamy filled eggs. The giant egg is just huge!!!!!!!!!! And Thick!!!!
And since it was my birthday I decided to bake my all time fav cake. A Hershey's Black Magic cake but with out the Hershey's cocoa. Oh well..... It was the first time I baked this cake in my new oven and well...... It didn't turn out perfect. Needs some more testing I think.... hee hee.
But it did taste lovely. I have put the the recipe link over on my main blog page. Along with how I make the frosting for this divine cake.

I prefer having this cake after it has been refrigerated. It is soooooooooo lovely.

Now for a recipe!!!
Okay it was late last night when I decided to fix supper. Looking through all the cook books for pork chop recipes.... But nothing much took my fancy. Had decided what to fix only to find the pork chops hadn't thawed out yet. Yeah I know I could have defrosted them more in the microwave or just cooked a bit longer, but by this time the pair of us were getting rather hungry. So I had a soup recipe I had been wanting to give a try....
The recipe comes from the Victory Cookbook by Marguerite Patten OBE

Oatmeal Soup
1 oz margarine
2 medium onions, grated or finely diced
2 Tablespoons medium oatmeal
1 pint cold water
salt and pepper
1/2 pint milk
3 medium carrots, grated
(I used butter instead of the margarine, you could also use olive oil)
I also used 1 chicken stock cube, some dried thyme, oregano and some fresh chopped corriander.

First heat the margarine in a pan and add the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes until tender. Making sure the onions don't brown. Blend the oatmeal with the cold water, tip this into the pan and stir as the mixture comes to the boil; season lightly. (This is where I added the stock cube and the dry herbs along with salt and pepper.)

It does thicken a bit. I stirred it quite frequently and simmered for about 15 minutes, her recipe calls for it to simmer for 30 minutes.

Next add in the milk and carrots and cook for a further 15 minutes.

For about the last 5 minutes of cooking time I added the chopped fresh corriander.

Served with fresh baked wholemeal rolls and butter.

I don't know if you have come across this cook book before, but I have a few of Marguerite's cook books. This one is about nostalgic food and facts from 1940 -1954 and covers what it was like to cook during the second world war. There are some very inovative recipes in these books. And I was quite surprised about the oatmeal in this recipe. And you know what, I think in future I will be adding Oatmeal to a few more of my soup recipes. It added body and flavour to the soup. This recipe was really yummy and I would say a very versatile recipe too. You could change it by adding other vegetables to it at the carrot stage and adjust your cooking times. Potatoe would be nice, as would broccoli or cauliflower and try different herbs too. Parsley or chives would be lovely. I love recipes like this that allow you to learn something and to inspire you to try new things with it too.
I think I may try another version later today with maybe potato as it is snowing outside and soup is lovely on a cold day!!!