Monday, 8 October 2012

Boiled bacon and parsley sauce

Wonderful supper - give it a go;  quality is everything use a good piece of bacon, and milk and butter for the sauce and mash. Simple, filling, nutritious and easy.

Boiled bacon with parsley sauce, buttery mash and cabbage

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

How to ruin ratatouille - courtesy of Delia (again)

Here we go again!  Not content with putting cornflour in her lemon curd and pushing tinned fried onions, she now sest her sights on ruining out of all recognition one of the greatest Mediterranean dishes ever invented - ratatouille.

I shall start at the beginning; what she has here is oven roasted vegetables, not ratatouille. Ratatouille is a very traditonal Mediterranean dish of stewed vegetables - so is done on the top of the stove. It has tomatoes, onions and courgettes in it, garlic, oil and seasoning. There is no need to peel the tomatoes. If stewing the three main veg together, be prepared for it to go a little mushy it's what it does; if you like your vegetables firmer, then stew each separately and then combine. It's one of those dishes that improves from being made the day before and re-heated too.

As for Delia's 'recipe' - modern varieties of aubergine and courgette have had any bitterness bred out of them, even the older varieties are no longer bitter, so no salting and draining is required for the courgettes, and the aubergine if you really must include it. No peppers (they go into pepperonata, a completey different dish, but worthwhile making too), or basil, or God forbid, coriander seeds, crushed or otherwise.

Just saying lol. Rant over, thankyou for your indulgence :)

Quiche - the real deal

Sigh - another one of my bugbears!   The travesties that are wheeled out of the nations' collective ovens or bought in that purport  to be quiches.  Oh dear. Lol.

As you know, I like my food to be right, and not mucked about with - there are very few originals that can be improved on, in my book, and Quiche Lorraine is one of them. Why not go back to basics and give it a go with top quality ingredients - good quality free range bacon, the freshest eggs, the best double cream, freshly ground pepper and sea salt; good , rich  home made pastry, full of good butter and fresh flour. That's  it. No courgettes, no cheese, onions, spring onions, green peppers, tuna, sweetcorn (God forbid -  that stuff haunts me it does!), tomatoes, spinach............  The original quiche Lorraine had no cheese in it, it being an addition that came along later, and an alternative version was made with onions, but under a different name.

So Quiche Lorraine:

5oz white flour, sifted
3 1/2 oz  cold butter, cubed
cold water to mix

4 eggs
approx 200ml of double cream
4 rashers of bacon
freshly ground blackpepper and salt

Make pastry and roll out to line your tin - I use a cake sandwich tin with a loose bottom, to make getting the finished quiche out easier. Chill for ten   minutes or so, then prick lightly a couple of times with a fork and straight into a hot oven for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut bacon into small pieces and fry hot until cooked through but not crispy. Beat eggs, cream and seasoning together. Remove shell from oven, spread bacon bits over the bottom andpour on the egg custard. Return to oven for 20 - 30 minutes until well risen and golden brown and just set. Leave to cool, serve warm.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


One of my favourite home-mde biscuits, with a lot of history attached, mainstay of Scottish biscuit tins for many  years :) This is the best recipe you'll try, trust me. Not mine, but how my granny made hers, recipe just ahnded down over the years I suppose. Please - no rice flour, no cornflour, nothing fancy. I made some today for a friend, and I did put chocolate chips in them for him, but the basic shortbread recipe was used. Trick is not to have the oven too hot, and not to cut the pieces too thick or too thin, not to over work the dough or it will go oily, only ever use butter, absolutely nothing else. You can use plain or self-raising flour; I like self raising, as it makes a slightly puffier biscuit that cracks attractiely on the tops, giving a wee bit extra crunch.


8oz self-raising or plain flour
6oz butter
4o white caster or granulated sugar

Cut the butter intot he flour, then rub in, using  light touch; after  few minutes, the dough will start to feel sticky and claggy, add in the sugar, and bring it all together, kneading it ever so lightly with your hands.
Turn on to a floured board; several options now - roll it out carefully and use cutters; roll into susage shape , roll in extra sugar and slice; form into a neat circle, mark the edge with fork tines and maark into triangles and prick with fork for Petticoat Tails.
Bake in a medium oven until golden brown and firm, cool on a wire rack. Keeps well in an airtight tin if you can :)

Lots of variations are possible, although it is hard to improve upon the unadorned biscuits really. Try lemon or orange zest, chocolate chips/drops, cocoa, vanilla essence, finely chopped almonds, dreid fruit of choice. If you do go down this route, after making sure you'e used good ingredients for the biscuit itself, use vanilla essence, fresh zest, etc. Don;t spoil the shortbread ship...........
My chocolate chip of choice is Dove's Farm - organic and Fairtrade. OK , not the cheapest, but a few go a long way as they're good quality, makes a real difference.