Week Three, Day Two

Moving on from last nights extravaganza, cocktail party, story time for three grandchildren and Himself cooking dinner and dessert , here we are Monday, Monday , who remembers the Mamas and Papas singing this song? I certainly do.

So Monday, traditionally a wash day but not in this household, but we decided that maybe Monday should be a kind of household chore type day. Himself decided that the silver needed cleaning and three hours later it was done, brilliant. He has far more stamina than myself, I would have given up after a mere 30 minutes, only having to restart the following day. (But who needs all this silver anyway ?)

Me? I cleaned upstairs, made himself some lunch and did some needlepoint ( for Miss Molly) then time for exercise, then scrabble and a G and T ( for the quinine you understand) and then time to cook dinner.

I was prepared. Duck legs it was to be, the only downside was, that for some reason I had frozen 6 of them together, ah well, duck more than one night then !

This is yet another simple recipe which can be used for chicken or duck legs, or for chicken breast. The beauty of it is, once prepared just throw into the oven and sit back with that glass of wine, read a book and wait.

  1. A number of duck or chicken legs but these quantities are for just 2
  2. An orange squeezed, of a cup of orange juice, preferably with bits in
  3. A teaspoon of each sugar, salt, chilli powder, 5 spice mix
  4. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  5. 4 tablespoons of either sweet chilli sauce or Chinese plum sauce.
  • Heat the oven to 200C ( fan oven). Mix all the dry ingredients together. Score the skin of the legs and squeeze over half of the juice. Rub the dry spice mix into the skin. Put in a baking dish and cook for about an hour. Remove from oven. Mix together the rest of the orange juice and sweet chilli/ plum sauce and pour over the ledge. Return to the oven for about 10 more minutes.
  • Serve with rice, noodles, vegetables or salad.
  • London, Week Two, and beginning Week Three.

    Sunday, and what a beautiful day, we ventured out bright and early for a walk and the park, The Regents Park, was stunning and almost empty. The birds were singing, the blossoms, blossoming, almost perfect, except we couldn’t linger.

    Back home, almost before sunrise, at least that is how it felt, breakfast, cafe latte, time for crossword, followed by time for New jigsaw and then time for gardening, or as our Texan friends call it Yardening ! Maybe I should call it Terracing? But then that has a different connotation. Anyway Terrace sorted, for the time being at least, pigeon defences in place, until the next attempt by them, to build their new home out there, and they are such lazy house builders, just a few twigs!

    The plus point of this lovely day was the neighbourhood, had a cocktail part, there we all were on our respective terraces, drinks in hand shouting across the void!

    Meanwhile in the kitchen, Himself has been cooking up a storm.

    Fajitas for dinner! Onglet is in the sous-vide, Guacamole made, ready to go, onions and peppers sautéed and dessert made. How organised is he, even the washing up is done and dusted.

    Now we have to wait, story time for Bigger grandchildren and as well as cooking he has been writing his story ! J K Rowling, lookout, Himself is a coming !

    So today’s rendition is a recipe from New Orleans , the home of Mardi Gras, of Laissez Les Bon’s Temps Rouler ( let the good times role), unfortunately at the moment for New Orleans and Louisiana the good times are not rolling, this wretched virus is hitting them hard.

    They will survive and their cuisine, a mixture of all sorts, will also survive.

    So this recipe like many others from the Bayou city is calorie laden, but well worthwhile and what is more eminently freezerable .

    Bread Pudding with whiskey sauce.

    1. 1 loaf stale bread ( normally a baguette)
    2. 1 litre milk
    3. 3 eggs beaten with the milk
    4. 2 apples, peeled and finely chopped
    5. 1 cup ( about 8 oz) fine sugar
    6. 1 cup of dried fruit raisins, or whatever you have to hand, we used soft dried apricots
    7. Some butter for greasing the pan
  • Put the bread through a grater or pull apart roughly by hand.
  • Put the bread and all the ingredients into a bowl and leave it to soak in so that the bread mixture is really soggy.
  • Grease a loaf pan, and tip in the mixture, you might have too much for one pan, he did and used a round one for the second .
  • Bake at 175C for about an hour, until it is golden brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool, before tipping out onto a cooling tray.
  • Whiskey sauce
    1. 4 oz butter
      1cup sugar
      1 egg beaten
      Small carton of cream
      1/2 cup of whiskey.
  • Melt the butter in a pan, add the sugar, and when the sugar is dissolved add the beaten egg and whisk well to stop it from curdling ( if it does curdle push through a sieve) add the cream and whisky and whisk again.
  • So obviously, serve the pudding warm with the hot sauce poured over it, BUT, afterwards, slice the pudding, lay flat on a baking tray , pour over the cold sauce and put in the freezer. When frozen, , remove from tray and wrap in cling form . Bag and put back into freezer. To reuse, simply put one portion into a bowl and zap in the microwave for about a minute.
  • Another easy dessert. Not for me, ( I do like it BUT) anyway, enjoy it !
  • No time, to make the whiskey sauce, then serve it warm anyway but with the booze soaked ice cream from last night! What could be easier ?

    London, Week Two, Day Five.

    Another busy day, even though we had finally finished Jigsaw puzzle #1, I honestly do not know where the time goes.

    Number #2 daughter was duly impressed with my first attempt at face masks, I have ended up making them for Finchley and Flackwell Heath, hence I’ve made 6 more. This was done after altering my Waitrose order , yet again. Ordering for my neighbour as well, as myself, and then stuff that I had ordered suddenly disappeared, and then a little note pops up” you can’t have more than three of those“ ( and I didn’t have any!)

    Consequently, I was still using up egg whites, and decided to make more granola , I used to make it a while ago, but I really like it, hence the need to make more to fill my container.

    Again this is stupidly simple, no need to measure, just throw it in..

    You will need, a couple of egg whites, beaten.

    A cup or a handful of nuts, mixed, and chopped.

    A couple of handfuls of either oats or I used muesli ( this was not posh muesli) as being inherently lazy, it had some nuts and dried fruit already in the ingredients.

    Heat some oil in , maybe 1/4 of a cup in a saucepan, add about the same amount of maple syrup, add the chopped nuts and then the oats/ muesli and finally the beaten egg whites. Mix well together, spread onto a baking sheet and cook in a medium oven for about 20 minds until golden brown. Leave to cool, before putting into a storage box, or maybe Just Eat!

    I use it on top of Yoghurt, Yummy!

    London, Week Two, Day Four.


    IMG_4517Today, turned out to be a busy day. Apparently,  maybe, we should be wearing masks after all. Can’t go out and buy masks, that would be very socially incorrect. The day therefore was spent making masks. Four to be precise, two for himself and two for me ( always one being washed or disinfected).This was design on the hoof, fusing together two of the layers with iron interfacing,  adding a dart here and a dart there, to ensure a snug fit, fairly happy with the result. ( and now maybe I will have a production line going for other family members.)IMG_9065

    Consequently, today became another recycling day, Himself still had some of his delicious pasta followed by some clementine cake for dessert, and for me another salad, whilst I still had salad goodies in the refrigerator.

    So today’s cooking extravaganza proved to be, Brown Sugar Banana Nut Bread a Sourdough Loaf and some Home Made Granola ( still using up those egg whites)

    Banana Nut Bread as the bananas looked like they needed some TLC and the Sourdough Loaf, just because I had starter in the refrigerator and the Granola, because of those Egg Whites.

    IMG_9066The Brown Sugar Banana Nut bread is slightly different from usual, as it is made with brown sugar, which gives it a real rich colour and flavour.

    • 4 ripe bananas cut into chunks
    • 125 grms softened butter
    • 200 grms soft brown sugar
    • 2 medium eggs
    • 1 tsp of cinnamon powder and of vanilla essence ( optional)
    • 250 grms plain flour
    • 100 mls milk
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder , and pinch of salt.
    • No Baking powder but Self raising flour, no worries, just use that flour instead.
    • a cup of chopped nuts, Walnuts, Hazelnuts or Pecans are best ( stir these in by hand at the end before baking)

    I always use the ” All In One” method of making cakes, pastry, which is basically throw everything into a food mixture and blend well. This method was created by Stork Margarine in about 1969, and I started to teach it then to the wayward, couldn’t be bother kids that I had to teach, and it worked because it was easy !

    SO set the oven to 175 C, grease a loaf tin if you have one, (a round one, or even a soufflé dish will suffice).

    put all of the ingredients into your food processor  ( or into a mixing bowl and hand whisk) and process until well blended. Stir in the nuts, and scrape all into you greased tin. Bake in the middle shelf for about 40 minutes. Test by inserting a skewer or toothpick into the centre of the loaf and if it comes out clean, then it is cooked, if not leave in for another 5 minutes and test again.

    Tip out of the tin onto a cooking rack,  and leave to cool before slicing. I wrap in some cling film and keep in a cake tine, but  after delivering some to neighbours and some to our porters, it disappears very quickly.




    London, Week Two, Day Three.

    IMG_4293Today is a recycling day, not in the classic sense, of putting out the cardboard, plastic, bottles etc. Living where I do, everyday is a recycling day, but I mean FOOD recycling. And by that I mean something that has been cooked earlier on in our, “Bunker” will be dug our of the freezer, defrosted and served again. And so it was.

    Consequently, I had time to bake. And I had a bit of a dilemma, I had 8 egg whites to use ( left over from the pasta of the other evening. As I have said previously I am not an avid baker, but there were and still are recipes or ideas that I am longing to try. So today we have some cookies  ( using some of the egg whites) that are a cinch to make, even more of a cinch to eat and easy enough that little ones can make them for you. Come on kids, make some cookies!

    All you need to make these cookies are three ingredients, YES, just three.

    • 1 Cup nuts, I used a mix of hazelnuts and walnuts
    • 2 medium size egg whites
    • 1/2 cup fine sugar, caster is best.

    Heat the oven to 180 C. Toast the nuts and then when cool  blitz in a food processor until coarsely chopped.

    Beat the egg whites until stiff and then carefully stir in the sugar and then the nuts. Use greaseproof paper to line a baking tray, spoon the mixture onto the tray leaving about 2″ between them. Bake for about 18 minutes they will be golden brown. Using a spatula, carefully lift the cookies off the tray ( they will be soft), transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool. I would say store them in a tin or box, but I don’t think that they will be around for long.

    I still have egg whites, so more baking/cooking to come !!

    London, Week 2, Day 2, More fish from ISH

    cc51b4eb-5117-4618-a140-9b071ac5e408 Fish on Friday, that is what it always was  when I was at college, but only if you were a Catholic, when fish was in short supply. But loving fish as I do, maybe I can be forgiven for telling a little white lie. Actually I didn’t tell a lie at all, I just nodded my head, when asked !

    So here in Lockdown with my recently acquired bounty of fish from ISH the online fish retailer, I decided that it would be Fish Monday.

    I chose Cod, and found a hint of a recipe that tickled my fancy. Pan fried Cod with an Indian inspired crust of fresh coriander and spices along with Fatoush a mediterranean salad, maybe a bit more middle eastern but many of these dishes blend from one culture to another.

    Why the mix of cuisines?  Simply put, that is what was in the refrigerator.

    For the cod

    • 2 tsp of each  mixed together, cumin, paprika, turmeric
    • 1 tsp chilli flakes added to the above
    • 4 cloves of garlic chopped
    • a handful of fresh coriander  chopped.
    • 2 large pieces of cod, with the skin on
    • 1 + 1 tablespoon of olive or sesame oil
    • pinch salt

    Heat some of the olive oil in a small pan and add the garlic sauté gently, do not let it burn, add the chopped coriander along with the spices and salt. Cook for a few minutes. pat the cod dry, and heat some more oil in a larger pan. Put the spice mixture on top of the pieces of cod and when the oil is hot add the fish to the pan. Cook on a fairly high heat so that the skin is crisp BUT do not let it burn. Keep an eye on the fish and you can tell when it is cooked through as the flesh turns white and not at all translucent.

    Serve with a salad and I also still had some babaganoush form the other evening so served that as well. Easy, not at all time consuming and really nice to eat.

    London, Week two, day one.

    Sunday, my day off, Himself is taking over the kitchen!  Having a PhD in Chemistry, one would think that it would come naturally to  him, but he is learning and is enthusiastic which is the main thing.IMG_3888

    Watching an episode of Master Chef the other week, he was inspired. Someone made ravioli with egg and sausage meat as the filling. The egg bit I could handle but not the pale, insipid looking sausage meat. Consequently we went on a hunt for a recipe that had egg as the filling for Ravioli and came up with RAVIOLI BERGESE ( EGG YOLK RAVIOLI).

    After a quick hunt in the freezer, yes I had ricotta cheese and yes I had spinach in the refrigerate and so it was all systems go.

    He has made pasta many times, but not for a while, out came the food processor, out came the pasta rolling machine and out came the giant ravioli cutters.

    Making pasta is fairly simple, the more you do it, the easier it becomes, Getting the consistency of the dough is the most important part, a bit like goldilocks in a way, too much liquid, too wet, too little, too dry, but the right amount becomes JUST RIGHT.  and the difference between the three, just a few drops !

    Anyway, if you do like making your own pasta, here are the ingredients for the filling.

    • 6oz fresh baby spinach, cooked and drained
    • 8 oz ricotta cheese
    • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
    • zest of half a lemon.

    Blend all of the above in a food processor until well blended.

    Roll out your pasta cut into squares or rounds and pipe a round of filling onto half of them. Brush the other halves lightly with water, crack an egg yolk into the centre of the piped filling, quickly put the top half on and press around the edges to seal.

    Cook in boiling salted water for only about three minutes, so that the pasta remains el dente and the egg yolk runny.

    Serve with a white wine butter sauce. Yummy !IMG_3888