|The view from my bedroom this morning|
|The garden from the sunroom at noon today|
So ratchet the central heating up to the max, get a good DVD for Saturday night and have a nice warming dinner. This offset the worst impact of our "blizzard" - in essence about three or four inches of powdery snow which didn't thaw as the temps are too low - and made us feel like Scott of the Antarctic.
Going outside prompted "I may be some time" comment from the wittier among us, and a trip to the hilly hinterland of Lismore, Ballysaggart on the foothills of the Knockmealdown Mountains, to collect teen daughter and her pal from a friend's house necessitated having hubby drive as I was too chicken to chance it.
|The book - in Jamie's blokey style|
I decided to make a new dish for dinner last night and went to Jamie Oliver's wonderfully back-to-basic home cooking book "Jamie's Ministry of Food" for inspiration. As I wanted a chicken one-pot dish with rice, I went for the Chicken Stroganoff with leeks and mushrooms and tweaked it a little. Normally I use chicken in curry, or in a tomato-based Spanish-style stew, or for fast food like Fajitas or just plain old Roast Chicken, which is one of my favourite and hard to beat for comforting winter Sunday roasts.
This chicken stroganoff was simple to make, and quite plain. I added garlic, mixed herbs and some non-MSG Season-All (a type of sprinkled BBQ seasoning from the Schwartz spice range, which are good quality with no nasty artificial stuff.) This gave it a bit of a kick and I think the original would have been just too bland for my and hubby's taste buds which have been primed by years of Asian cuisine to the upper end of the hot'n'spicy scale.
|Just had a nice slice of the cake - yummy!|
Here are both recipes with some photos of each.
Chicken Stroganoff (Based on Jamie Oliver's recipe)
|Creamy chicken stroganoff with leeks and mushrooms|
|Jamie's recipe - click to enlarge pic|
- Olive oil and butter knob (25gm/1oz) to cook
- 600gm/1.5lbs diced chicken breast
- 1 large leek, quartered, sliced and rinsed well
- 220 gm/half-pound sliced button mushrooms.
- 1 tsp. dried mixed herbs.
- 1tablesp. chopped parsley.
- 1teaspoon seasoning sprinkled over chicken - can be BBQ, Cajun, Season-All, try the Schwartz range or any good quality natural seasonings.
- 1 glass white wine.
- Half glass water.
- 250 ml/half-pint single cream.
- Salt and Pepper to season.
- Half-tsp. paprika powder (optional - I wanted a bit of a kick).
- Small squeeze of lemon juice (optional - add at end if wished).
Method (varies from Jamie's but I like to brown the chicken first).
- Sprinkle seasonings and dried herbs on chicken, heat oil and butter and add chicken.
- Cook stirring well over high heat until browned all over.
- Add leeks and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
- Add wine and water, chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste, cover and simmer for 10 mins.
- Add cream, simmer and stir, reduce if liquid is too thin, but no need to add roux or any flour thickener.
- A delicate and tasty flavour, this is delicious served with Basmati Rice and Garlic Bread!
Pastry for Base (Standard sweet shortcrust pastry used on numerous other recipes in this blog)
|before baking - apple mix in pastry case|
- 1lb/450gm plain flour8oz/225gm chilled butter (preferable to margarine).
- 2 oz/50gm sugar (or caster sugar or icing sugar) - optional if sweet pastry desired - otherwise omit.
- 1 egg - optional if you want rich shortcrust pastry - otherwise omit.
- A few tablespoons of cold water to bind.
|Ready for the oven|
- Add butter to flour, chop up with knife and rub in with fingers to crumbly texture.
- Add sugar and egg (if using) and water to bind stiffly.
- Minimally handling, knead lightly on floured worktop/table.
- Roll out enough pastry to line a deep pie/flan dish.
- Bake blind - put dried beans on greaseproof paper on top of pastry base.
- Bake for 10 mins at 200C/390F, then lower heat to 150C/300F and remove beans and paper, bake further 10 mins. Cool.
|Finished Apple, Cherry and Pecan Cake|
- 4oz/100gm flour (self-raising or plain with 2-3 teaspoons baking powder)
- 4oz/100gm sugar
- 4oz/100gm butter
- 2 eggs
- Almond or Vanilla Essence (as preferred)
- Put all ingredients into mixing bowl and whisk together, if using electric whisk.
- Otherwise, using a wooden spoon, cream butter and sugar well, add essence and beaten eggs and flour and baking powder (if used) alternately until a dropping consistency is reached.
- Add a little boiling water to get right consistency.
2- 3 Cooking apples peeled and sliced - lay on base of cooked pastry case
Sprinkle sugar liberally on apples, then cinnamon.
Cover with Victoria Sponge cake mix
Decorate top with whole glacé cherries and whole pecan nuts as wished.
Bake in preheated oven 200C/375F for 15 mins, reduce heat to 150C/300F for another 20-30 mins or until firm and golden - watch out it doesn't burn - if edges done before centre move down a shelf and cover with greaseproof paper - loosely.
Cool on wire rack and dust with Icing Sugar.
Delicious with Ice Cream or Whipped Cream