From the kitchen


Got to share tonight’s tea with you! I don’t usually go in for food sharing online, but this is one of the easiest, tastiest, inexpensive meals I’ve made for such a long time and it is definitely worth showing you.

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Baby potatoes with olive oil, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, and chicken breasts bashed out flat with a dollop of garlic and herb cream cheese in the middles, rolled up and held in place by stretched out strips of smoked bacon.

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Chopped up green peppers, yellow peppers, red onions, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes tossed in olive oil with a hint of salt and a squeeze of lemon.

I sealed off the chicken bundles in the frying pan with some butter and sage leaves so the bacon started to go crispy then transferred them to the oven in a roasting tray.

The small potatoes went in another roasting tray, and the vegetables went in when the chicken and potatoes were partially done.

And this is the result:

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Washed down with a nice glass of red wine, this has got to be the best dinner we’ve had since Christmas. Estimated cost of each plate – £4.50. Miles better than a carvery dinner!

 

 

Budget Gourmet – Sausage Casserole


You know when you want something tasty and filling but there’s not a lot in the cupboard? Well, try this one for size. It will feed four healthy appetites, and can stretch easily:

  • 8 sausages, any flavour
  • a chopped onion
  • a tin of baked beans
  • a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tins of new potatoes
  • chicken stock cube
  • a little water
  • seasoning to your own taste (salt, pepper etc)
Nice portion of sausage casserole....delish!!
Nice portion of sausage casserole….delish!!

 

  1. Cut the sausages into bite-sized chunks; dice the onion.
  2. Fry the sausages in a bit of oil (or butter, or margarine) until browned a little, add the onion and fry til softened.
  3. Add the beans, tomatoes and potatoes.
  4. Add the chicken stock cube dissolved in a little water (I usually put the stock cube and water into the bean tin to rinse it out so I kill two birds with one stone).
  5. Season to taste – depending on the sausages you used and the saltiness of the beans you might not want to add any extra salt.
  6. Simmer until the sausage pieces are cooked through and the potatoes are hot in the middle (usually about another 10 or 15 minutes). The longer you let it simmer the thicker the sauce will become as the beans start to break down. You might want to add a little bit more water if it gets too stodgy for your taste.
  7. Serve with bread and butter.

Options:

  1. Flavour will change with whichever sausages you use. I used Italian ones tonight which have garlic and chilli in them already, but I’ve used plain pork before now and added garlic and chilli powder at the frying stage.
  2. This recipe easily stretches to feed more if you need to – just add more sausages, another tin of beans or tomatoes, or more potatoes if you have them.
  3. You can omit the tinned potatoes and serve the casserole instead with mashed potatoes or rice. I haven’t tried it with pasta shells yet but I probably will do as and when the need arises. You will need shells so as to catch all the juices.
  4. Optional extras: you could add chopped courgettes, mushrooms or chopped peppers to this, or use leeks instead of onions. It’s a lovely versatile recipe and is a winner with my hungry lot.

It is difficult to price this recipe because so many of the ingredients are variable, but as a guideline if you use “standard” ingredients you could make this for around a fiver if you use Richmond sausages and supermarket own brand beans, tomatoes and potatoes.

Enjoy!

 

 

Wednesday Hodgepodge – Jan 26th


Welcome to my Wednesday Hodgepodge. As ever, thanks go to Joyce from across the pond for setting the questions!!

1.Will you watch the Super Bowl? If so who will you root for? If you are outside the USA what is the ‘big deal sporting event’ in your own country? I live in England so have got very little idea about the Super Bowl but the “big deal sporting event” here usually is something to do with football (or soccer, as Americans know it). There are several annual football events that are pretty big deals, the biggest being probably the FA Cup Final. It’s a tournament where league and non-league teams play each other in knockout rounds over the course of the season (Sept to May each year). Its popularity is because the big teams of the Premiership can be up against the smaller local teams – and there’s always a risk that one of the smaller teams can become what we call “giant killers” and knock out the big multi-million pound teams. For example, Manchester United (big team) could be up against Macclesfield Town (local team) in one of the earlier rounds and if they have a spectacularly bad day they could actually be knocked out.  Of course, by the time the Cup Final comes around in May the smaller teams have usually been knocked out, but not always.

Of course, football isn’t the only popular sport in England and we are a big nation of rugby and cricket lovers too.  The biggest rugby tournament is the Six Nations (contested between England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and since 2000 Italy) and we are big fans of the Test series of cricket matches. We love beating the Aussies at cricket but none more so than when they are competing for the Ashes.  If you want to know more about the Six Nations and the Ashes then my good friend Wikipedia is better at explaining them than I am!!

2. Is ignorance bliss? No – it’s usually a case of planting timebombs. In my experience, if you don’t know about it at the time it’s only going to blow up in your face later.

3. Which of the seven dwarfs are you? (and just in case your Disney is a little bit rusty, here they are-Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy) It depends at what stage of my monthly cycle I am…..some days I can all seven in the space of 7 seconds! Mainly though, I’m HAPPY 🙂

4. When you are riding in the car with another couple how do you organize the seating? (Men up front? Women up front? Couples sit together?) And thanks to Lori at Mountain Woman at Heart for the question! Everyone go say hi to Lori. It’s all a question of hierarchy and seniority.  Generally speaking, the older and the more male they are the chances of them sitting in the front increase significantly. Unless someone else has a bad back, like my Mum.

5. What is beauty? Beauty is what you feel when you look at the person you love. It is the feeling you get when you see early morning mist at sunrise. It’s the warm glow you have in your heart when your soul-mate smiles at you. Beauty is what you see when you see God in everything.

6. If someone asks you to bring an appetizer or a dessert to a party in their home, which would you choose? I’d choose to take my world-famous Black Forest Trifle.

7. What is your crowd pleasing go-to appetizer? Not sure about appetiser, but whenever I make Paella no matter how much I make there never seems to be enough!!

8. Insert your own random thought here. Even when your heart is breaking with grief and misery there is room for laughter and joy. My Aunty’s funeral had a bit of a (major) hiccup today when the hearse broke down on the way to the cemetery.  In the midst of the anguish of losing her was the laughter and drawing together of the family supporting each other through the unthinkable.

Wednesday Hodgepodge


DO YOU LIKE YOUR NAME? WERE YOU NAMED AFTER SOMEONE? IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN HOW DID YOU SETTLE ON THEIR NAMES?

I believe I have grown into my name as time has gone on. I didn’t particularly like it when I was a kid, but it’s grown on me as I’ve turned into an adult and now I’m approaching middle-age.  I used to get called Pam or Pamela as a kid, but nowadays I get called Pammy a lot – which I definitely DON’T like! There is a special variation that only my Dad calls me – Pamelle – which is something I do like. I think that’s because it’s my Dad’s special name for me.

I was named after another girl in the street. My mum heard her being shouted for her tea one night and she liked it so it did for me apparently! My daughter was named Emma because my Mum said randomly (when I was about 6 months pregnant) “I do like the name Emma”. My first thought was “why didn’t you call me that then?!” but hey ho, I wanted to make her happy so my daughter was called Emma to please her. We both liked Emma too, so it wasn’t a hardship! My son was called Ethan because well, I don’t really know! My husband and I weren’t getting on too well during my pregnancy and I think I just wanted to be awkward when he said he wanted to call him Thomas. To be contrary I said “No, I want him to be called Ethan” just plucking a random name out of the air. We argued about his middle name too so in the end we compromised and he is now called Ethan Thomas Andrew, which if you take the first and second letters spells ETHAN….spookily! (We are on fantastic terms now I hasten to add and my son is coming up to being 12 years old).

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?

Good question!! I think the simple answer is to be successful in life you have to have achieved a certain level of comfort and acceptance within yourself and are happy with your life’s journey. For me that means raising happy and well-balanced kids, sharing my musical talents with younger people at band, having a job that benefits other people (which I currently don’t have but after my operation I will be able to get back to) and being happy with who I am and the contribution I make to other people’s lives.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE OR JEOPARDY?

I’ve never seen Jeopardy and have only seen the UK version of Wheel of Fortune, so I guess that’s my answer!

IF YOU COULD OWN ANY SINGLE OBJECT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I would love to own an employee ID badge to show that I had a job and that I belonged somewhere.

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT INSPIRES YOU?

Without exception I can’t ever fail to be inspired by big skies. Do you know those skies with masses of towering clouds where the sun shines down like fanlights? That sight always make me think about God and how I may be small and insignificant in the world but I still matter to Him. Whenever I see big blue skies I can feel myself calming down and being able to think clearer, which is usually when inspiration strikes! I love being at the seaside for the same reason – big skies and an empty nothingness of sea stretching away can’t fail to inspire me.

MEATLOAF YAY OR NAY? IF IT’S YAY, HOW DO YOU MAKE YOURS?

I’ve never had it but I’d like to try it someday. I’m interested to hear what everybody else has to say about how they make it!

WHICH IS MORE ADMIRABLE – THE ABILITY TO ORGANISE AND BE METHODICAL OR THE ABILITY TO ADAPT AND MAKE DO?

Adapt and make do.  No matter how organised and methodical I am life always has a knack of upsetting the applecart so without the ability to adapt and make do I think my stress levels would be astromonic.

INSERT YOUR OWN RANDOM THOUGHT HERE…

There are as many shades of love as there are colours in the spectrum. If only people just learned to love in all of them the world would be a much happier place.

Monday curiosity


I borrowed this from Curious as a Cat (see my blogroll for the link). A bit different for a Monday morning.

1) Do you know any recipes by heart? If so, write one down off the top of your head.
I know how to make plenty of “family dishes” but until I came across this question I hadn’t really thought of them as recipes.  I guess my favourite at the minute is Cauliflower Cheese so I will share it with you here: Take off the outer leaves from the cauliflower head and break it up into florets (or buy a pack of cauliflower florets already prepared). Put them in a pan of salted water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. I prefer my cauliflower to be slightly firm so it breaks up nice in my mouth. I don’t like it to be too mushy (yuk!). When it’s ready drain the pan and leave the cauliflower in it whilst you make the sauce (as it stands it will lose steam and therefore dry out a bit).  Take a knob of butter (approx 1oz but I never measure it), melt it in a saucepan and add a tablespoon of plain flour (again, probably about an ounce but I don’t measure it). Stir it in quickly so the melted butter absorbs the flour. Mash it round the pan a bit to cook it and when it starts to smell like biscuits add a splash of milk. Mix and mix until it’s smooth and add more milk. Repeat the mix and milk stage until you’ve used about half a pint of milk and mix it til there are no more lumps (I sometimes use a whisk depending how impatient I am). Let it simmer for a couple of minutes and it should be the consistency of thick cream. Season it with salt, pepper, mustard powder (if you wish) and thrown in a handful (or two) of grated cheese. Check the seasoning and taste and adjust it as necessary. You can use any cheese – cheddar is good because it melts easily, but you can use any old bits of cheese sitting in the fridge to use them up. Put the cauliflower in a shallow dish, cover with the cheese sauce, sprinkle the top with a bit more grated cheese if you wish and put it under the grill to finish off. I like the bits of stringy cheese on top when it’s melted again and gone brown. We have it as a side dish with a roast dinner, or with fish, or sausages, or with a jacket potato…..delish!!!

2) Of the people you know, who has the best style? My sister-in-law Debbie. She always looks elegant and comfortable no matter what she wears. She has lovely hair, wears lovely clothes, keeps a beautiful home and is so cool and laid back she’s an inspiration.

3) If you could be any book character, who would it be? I would be one of Temperence Brennan’s lab assistants. I love archaeology and am fascinated with the way humans have evolved so to work with her would be fantastic.
4) Show and Tell. What comes to mind first when you see this picture? Or, tell a story if it reminds you of one.

This reminds me of Oxford for some reason. It looks nothing like any of the spires of Oxford at all, but it does bring to mind its skyline. It also looks like the top of a fairytale carriage – Prince Charming would look fantastic sat underneath this roof!

 

If you use this post as a basis for your own please link back to mine and leave a comment so I can read/compare your answers. Thanks!!