a busy domestic blog of knitting, sewing and all kinds of needlecrafts, cooking my garden produce and preserving it

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Half and half muffins

 I pulled the first of our rhubarb today - about 8oz - and decided to make muffins. Unfortunately, not everyone in the house likes rhubarb, so I had to make choc-chip ones as well.

I made up a standard muffin base - an egg, 4 tblspn oil, 4oz sugar, splash of vanilla essance, teaspoon bakingpowder, 10oz SRflour - then halved it into two bowls.

 Into one half, I put oats and chopped up rhubarb with a sprinkling of ginger

In the other, 1teaspoon cocoa and chopped up chocolate (no choc chips in the house!)

Ta da!
Muffins for all!!
(though one has mysteriously disappeared already.....)

Friday, 27 April 2012

Jam tonight!

I bought some of my favourite oatcakes - Stockans of Orkney - earlier this week and that evening I went to the cupboard in search of jam to spread on them - and none was to be found!

Considering the stash of fruit filling the freezer, I thought it was time for jam-making.

There's more redcurrants than other fruit, so I used a lot of them mixed with raspberries and some blackberries.

The most troublesome part of jam-making is sieving the pulp to remove seeds but i don't like them in jam so make the effort.

I didn't end up with as much as I would have liked - just 3 jars but at least I have some jam for my oatcakes.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Trying out another way to eat the broccoli!

As I've said before, we have a surplus of purple sprouting broccoli this Spring and I'm tracking down more interesting ways to use it up. Recently I came up with a variant on pan-fried lemon pepper chicken, so I decided to try that again with another twist of using pork and different seasonings.
I marinated chopped up pork fillets in lemon and orange juice with a chopped up chunk of stem ginger and small chilli - the orange and ginger seemed appropriate flavours to add to pork. Pan-fried the meat with garlic and leeks, added the remaining marinade and a slice of quince paste. When it was cooked thoroughly, I threw in the blanched broccoli to soak up the flavours.
The sauce wasn't as brightly pink as in the chicken recipe - probably due to the quince paste - and it wasn't as spicy. Good, but not as good as the original chicken idea.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Fridge Clear-out Soup

Today I decided it was time to give the fridge a clearout - and found the last bit of the last homegrown pumpkin, leftover chicken stew from earlier this week and a half-used jar of roasted pepper spread.

I'd been going to make pumpkin chilli but had a rethink - and ended up with a sort of Moroccan soup.

Dice the pumpkin flesh and cook it in the chicken stew with some diced onion and a clove of garlic. When it's soft, squash with a potato masher.
Add a chopped up red pepper (mine had been lingering in the fridge while we were on holiday last week, so not looking too good), half a chopped chilli (aiming for a little heat not burning the inside of my mouth) and squashed up seeds from a cardamom pod. By this point, more water needed adding. Once the pepper started to soften I added a tin of chick peas and a heaped teaspoon of the roasted pepper spread, and just let it all heat through again.
It was delicious - spicy without burning my mouth. I'll have to make it again sometime.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

At last!!

Here it is at long last - my crochet waistcoat finished!

Even when I thought I'd reached the end last week, I discovered so many dangling loose ends still to fasten off!

I'm very pleased with how it's turned out but I'm not ready to tackle another crochet project - back to knitting for now!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Pan-fried purple broccoli and chicken with pink lemon sauce

We're suffering at the moment from a glut of purple sprouting broccoli. As quickly as I pick it, more grows. We've eaten lots boiled, just as it comes; tried it in stir-fry; added bits to tomatoey pasta sauces....

So last night I tried to hunt down a new recipe. I couldn't find quite what I was looking for but the various ideas I found led me to try adding it - with chilli, pepper and other bits and bobs - to a lemon chicken recipe.


marinade chicken breasts in the juice of 2 lemons and the grated rind of one.

Blanch the broccoli for 2 minutes - this loses some but not all of the purple

I fried a chopped-up leek (hastily pulled from the garden), half a yellow pepper and a chopped up chilli briefly. Then added the sliced up chicken. After browning it lightly, I tipped in the remainder of the marinade and then rinsed out the bowl with water to get all the lemon zest. Added a grind or two of black pepper.

When everything was cooked, I threw in the broccoli to wilt for a minute or two, then, the secret ingredient, 3 tablespoons of demerara sugar. When I've cooked chicken on its own this way the sugar has bubbled up to a sticky glaze. Maybe I'd added too much water this time, or the broccoli was too damp but the sauce was a little runny -

a marvellous colour though...