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Week 25: 'Pumpkin' Pie

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
20/Jun/2013

This week's recipe was an attempt to do something with the diced butternut squash I had in the freezer.

Butternut Squash Pie

The filling was based on a recipe from Good Food magazine but I made half the quantities and made 4 individual pies instead of one large one. I also used a regular shortcrust pastry base instead of a sweet pastry.

Butternut Squash Pie

I have never tasted a 'genuine' pumpkin pie so I don't have anything to compare mine to. The filling had a slightly 'custardy' texture and the flavour was mainly a combination of squash and cinnamon. I'm not sure if I would make them again but I think I'd be interested in tasting a more authentic one.



Week 24: Prawn and Butternut squash Biryani.

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
09/Jun/2013

This week's recipe was a bit of an experiment and not a 100% successful one at that. I'll discuss that at the end but first, the recipe.

I tossed some uncooked prawns in a seasoned flour mixture which contained paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne and mixed spice. I left them to sit for a few minutes while I chopped and fried a red pepper, an onion and a clove of garlic. Next I added a handful of diced butternut squash. When the veg had softened I added the prawns and more spices: half a teaspoon each of ground ginger, curry powder and garam masala. Finally I added a portion of cooked rice and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.

The end result was something of a curate's egg. The spiced prawns were good - the seasoned flour had gone slightly crispy and created a good texture. The actual flavour of the biryani was also good. The only problem was created by the butternut squash. It was just too sweet and clashed a bit with the savoury flavours. I have used squash before and not found it a problem so it might have just been this squash was more sweet than I'm used to. It may be worth trying a sweet recipe, such as a variation on pumpkin pie, so that may be a future new recipe for me to try.



Week 23: Cranberry Muffins with cream cheese frosting

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
08/Jun/2013

Cranberry Muffins with cream cheese frosting



Week 22: Chicken mornay with courgette dumplings

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
27/May/2013

The inspiration for tonight's meal came from an episode of Man v. Food which we watched on TV earlier today, where they made a Hot Brown sandwich which contains turkey and mornay sauce, along with bacon. I decided to do a variation on chicken mornay and served it with courgette dumplings.

Chicken mornay with courgette dumplings

The mornay sauce contained a mixture of cheddar and pecorino cheese. The chicken breasts were flattened and fried in a little oil. These were topped with leeks, the sauce then finally capers. The courgette dumplings were made using grated courgette, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, finely chopped parsley, an egg, and seasoned with a little black pepper. These were baked in the oven until the outsides started to crisp off.



Week 21: Sourdough Pancakes and Pesto Bread

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
24/May/2013

I had planned to make a loaf of sourdough bread this week so I had my starter out in the kitchen and had been feeding it regularly (the starter usually lives in the fridge and I feed it a couple of times a week). I ended up with more starter than I needed so I thought I would have a go at making some Sourdough pancakes.

First thing this morning I stirred some milk, some more flour and a teaspoon of sugar into the starter and left it for a few hours. By lunchtime it was bubbling well again. I beat two eggs and added an teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda then stirred that into the starter, adding a bit more milk to get a pourable batter.

I poured a ladle of the batter into a small frying pan and cooked it on one side until the top was bubbling nicely. I then lifted the pancake out and put it face down into a second, larger, pan while I started the next pancake in the first pan. The second pan was big enough to hold two pancakes so they could be finished off and folded over with the cheesy filling.

At the weekend I made some rocket pesto, using ground mixed seeds, grated cheese and soft cheese. There was some left over which had been sitting in the fridge for a few days so I thought I'd see how it would go baked into a bread.

I made a standard loaf using a mixture of 50:50 bread flour and wholemeal flour and mixed the pesto in after all the other ingredients had been added. The dough had a slightly green appearance but the final baked loaf looked more normal, with some green herby flecks in. The actual bread was quite nice with a slightly cheesy taste.



Week 20 part 2: Spätzle with prawns and mussels

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
18/May/2013

I have cooked with spätzle a few times before but each time the recipe has been very similar, using onions and cheese along with whatever meat is being used in the meal. Now to be honest tonight's recipe is also a variation on the same theme. The inspiration came from here. We decision to cook this was made at the last minute so we I made a version using the ingredients we had in the house.

I cooked the noodles in a pan of boiling water, sliced an onion and a leek and cooked them in some olive oil, and grated some pecorino cheese. We had cooked prawns and mussels so they got mixed in at the end along with a splash of lemon juice and some freshly ground pepper. It was a quick and easy meal to make.



Week 20: Bananabread and Butter Pudding

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
17/May/2013

A few weeks ago I made a couple of loaves of banana bread and froze one. This week I defrosted the second loaf and when I ate some it was a bit dry. I thought I would have a go at a bread and butter pudding.

Bananabread and Butter Pudding

I didn't butter the slices first but simply placed them in the dish and poured over a custard made from cream, milk, vanilla, a tablespoon of sugar and a couple of eggs. I cooked it for about three quarters of an hour at gas mark 4, until the custard had set.



Week 19: Two Pies

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
05/May/2013

Late last year I had a go at making turkey pies using a hot water pastry. This week I had a go at a more typical pie, using a shortcrust pastry.

Chicken and Stuffing Pie

The filling was made by mixing cooked diced meat with stuffing - one pie used chicken, the other had pork and bacon. The pie shown here was chicken (with a 'C' on the lid). The pork and bacon pies had a 'P' on the lid so I could tell them apart after cooking.

Chicken and Stuffing Pie

The chicken pie was probably the better of the two. The stuffing helped hold the filling together and stopped the chicken from drying out. The meat in the pork and stuffing pie was slightly over-cooked and had gone a bit chewy but the pie was still ok.



Week 18: Leek, Bacon and Sweet Potato Quiche

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
30/Apr/2013

A few weeks ago I decided to branch out from experimenting with different breads and try making some pies and quiches. My first attempt was a Leek, Bacon and Sweet Potato Quiche (using up spare/leftover food from the fridge and freezer).

The pastry recipe came from the BBC website. I had a look through some of the many recipe books at home and was surprised to find that there wasn't a single quiche recipe in any of them. I found a few recipes online and used them for inspiration. I cooked the leek and bacon, then diced the sweet potato and boiled it in water. The filling was some milk, egg, grated cheese and a little salt and pepper, beaten together then mixed with the rest of the filling.

The pastry was baked blind first then the filling was poured in and the quiche was put back in the oven.

Leek, Bacon and Sweet Potato Quiche



Week 17: Peanut Ginger Chicken

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
21/Apr/2013

We regularly buy a ginger and coriander marinated chicken from the supermarket but usually did it with fried rice and had kind of run out ideas for it. I did a bit of googling for recipe ideas and thought I'd have a go at Ginger Peanut Chicken Pasta. I did my usual thing of just reading through the ingredients then making up my own version.

I fried an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, added 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp chilli flakes and a splash of lemon juice and soy sauce. I then mixed 1/2 cup of milk with a heaped tablespoon of peanut butter and a teaspoon of cornflour and stirred it to get it as smooth as possible. Meanwhile I cooked the chicken in the oven and boiled a pan of spaghetti. When the chicken was cooked I added the peanut/milk mixture to pan and heated until it had thickened. It worked out quite well.



Week 16: Hot Cross Buns

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
14/Apr/2013

This week's new recipe is yet another from the River Cottage Bread book. I followed their recipe as closely as possible. When it came to making the cross on top, I mixed the flour and water using the given quantities but it was far too runny and impossible to use in the piping bag without it all immediately running out of the nozzle. I mixed in some extra flour to make it a bit thicker and it worker better.

Hot Cross Buns

The hot cross buns were very good when eaten fresh. When they were a couple of days old, they had started to go a bit hard and dry and needed to be toasted, but they proved to be very good that way, with a bit of butter melted into them.



Week 15: Soda Bread and Scottish Oatcakes

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
09/Apr/2013

A couple of quick recipes this week, both coming from the River Cottage books (which I seem to be using rather a lot these days). One was more successful than the other. The first is soda bread. This is incredibly quick and easy to make. I didn't have buttermilk but used watered down full fat milk instead. The great thing about soda bread is that you only knead it for long enough to make sure it is fully mixed together.

The resulting bread tasted as good as a bought bread and we ate it within about an hour of starting it, with a bit of butter.

The second recipe was scottish oatcakes. Unlike the staffordshire oatcake, which is more like a pancake, these are hard dry biscuits. I made them using a mixture of plain flour, porridge oats and pinhead oatmeal. I didn't follow the recipe exactly and the biscuits came out a bit crumbly so I might try again but follow the original recipe a bit more closely.



Week 14: Deep Pan Pizza

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
01/Apr/2013

This week's recipe was inspired by an episode of Man v. Food we watched last week. They were in Chicago and ate a traditional deep pan pizza. We decided to try one as part of our traditional weekly pizza night.

The Base

We started off with our normal pizza base recipe, using ¾ bread flour and ¼ yellow cornmeal. The dough was made in the usual manner and allowed to at least double in size. I then flattened it out, spread it with butter then folded it over a few times. I put the base in a 9 inch cake tin and pressed it into the edges and about an inch up the side.

See more ....
with cheese

One of the things mentioned in Man v. Food was that the deep pan pizzas are made upside down. The first thing on the base is the cheese. Here I used sliced mozarella.

with chicken and veg

The next things to go on were fried vegetables and cooked chicken. The veg were: roasted red and green peppers, diced and fried onion, leek and courgette.

with spicy tomato sauce

The sauce then goes on top. I used a spicy tomato sauce which was based on the one from the Mexican Lasagne. I simmered a pan of passata and added crushed garlic, chilli flakes, cumin, paprika, salt, sugar and balsamic vinegar.

topped with pecorino cheese and cooked

The pizza was nearly finished. I topped it with grated pecorino cheese then baked it in the oven, at gas mark 7, for about 20 minutes.

The finished product

The pizza was full of flavour and unlike anything you normally get from a take-away or supermarket. It is definitely something worth doing again. The base would work well as a kind of 'tear and share', especially if made with garlic butter or a similar flavoured butter, possibly with grated cheese or diced mozzarella folded in too.



Week 13: Moroccan Meatballs with cous-cous

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
25/Mar/2013

The second recipe this week is based on one from the BBC Good Food website (original link no longer available). Their recipe used lamb meatballs but I already had some homemade turkey meatballs, cooked and in the fridge from yesterday.

Since the meatballs were already made, the meal was incredibly quick to prepare. I chopped one clove of garlic an fried it in a little oil, then added a tin of tomatoes. I added the spices (1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ginger, a pinch of salt, a pinch of chilli flakes) and left the sauce to simmer while the cous-cous cooked in a pan of hot chicken stock.

The meal left the kitchen smelling very aromatic and spicey even though the sauce was quite lightly spiced.



Week 13: River Cottage Sourdough

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
24/Mar/2013

There are going to be 2 new recipes this week. The first is a sourdough loaf, made following a recipe in the River Cottage 'Bread' handbook. As usual with sourdough breads, this one took 2 days to make.

Last night I made the sponge by mixing sourdough starter with water (300ml) and flour, (250g) stirring together and leaving overnight to ferment.

This morning I added a teaspoon of salt, about a tablespoon of olive oil and the rest of the flour (300g) and mixed everything together, kneading for about 10 minutes. This was quite tricky to do because the dough was very sticky but the mix does need to be quite wet for this recipe.

The next 4 hours were repeated cycles of knocking back and reshaping the dough every hour which left it very soft and elastic. After that I shaped it into 2 loaves and left them to rise. I baked the loaves on our pizza stone, starting off at gas mark 9 then turning down to gas mark 3 after 10 minutes.

River Cottage Sourdough

The resulting bread has a firm crust with a soft inside with lots of air bubbles. The bread had a slightly crumpet-like texture flavour, which I liked.