Golden Poppies our State Wildflower

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lancashire Hot Pot...Recipe for an old fashioned baked casserole, with pickled red cabbage, pickled onions and pickled beets

The idea of this is that it cooks in the oven "all day"...(the old ovens of My Grandparents where attached to the fireplace and cooked all day from the heat of the fire) This recipe if over 200yrs old

Originally it was made with lamb neck bones, but as you can see it can be made with any meat...as it cooks a long time, even tough  cuts of meat work.

Feeds 4 - 6 as a main course

2-3 pounds meat (ground chicken, turkey, lamb, pork; small (1/2 inch) cubed- stewing steak, fresh leg or shoulder of pork, lamb chops, pork chops, chicken pieces with skin removed)

3 pounds starchy potatoes peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick = 4 cups)

3 cups sliced onions

salt & pepper

1/4 stick butter

2 pints beef/chicken  stock/gravy

1 cup thinly sliced carrots

method #1
with the ground meat ..saute in a saucepan with a little butter until no longer pink, then remove from pan.
Add the stock or gravy to the pan and cook for 10 mins.
set aside

Method #2
with the diced meats and bone in, lightly flour...saute in a little butter, in a large skillet until brown on both sides, remove and add 1/2 the stock to warm through, add to the stock in saucepan and bring to boil, season with salt & pepper, set aside.

Lightly butter a deep ovenproof  2-3qt casserole.
Add an overlapping layer of potato slices on base, top with some of the meat and onions and carrots, season then apply another layer of potatoes, continue until last layer is overlapping potatoes.

Top the whole with hot stock, salt & pepper. Add the butter to the top of the casserole and apply a tight fitting lid or foil.
Place covered casserole On a cookie sheet ..PLACE IN MIDDLE PREHEATED OVEN 


REMOVE LID AND BAKE A FURTHER 30 MINS until golden brown.

Test gravy/cooking liquor seasoning, remove excess fat, and serve in the casserole .

Top with 2 tbsp minced parsley (optional)

This is a complete dish ..may be served with pickled onions, beets and red cabbage.

Pickled beets...slice steamed/boiled , peeled beets into 1/4 inch slices and, add salt and pepper and cover with malt or red wine vinegar...serve after 2 hours marinating, in vinegar

Pickled red cabbage: as above, using raw thinly sliced red cabbage

Pickled onions: thinly sliced brown onion, marinated in malt vinegar 1 cup plus 2 tbsp brown sugar. Marinate for minimum 20 mins before serving.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Fresh Fish Fillets in Cilantro Sauce..Mexican-Kuwaiti Fusion

Here is a Mexican Style recipe that is actually very similar to one I made in Kuwait City in the late 70's.
This is a very fresh tasting dish and great served with baked potatoes or steamed brown rice, Use good, white, flaky fish or fresh wild salmon

Serves 4 X 2 pounds fresh fish fillets cut into 8ozs portions, washed and rinsed in fresh lemon juice then rinsed in fresh water and patted dry.

1 cup minced onion
3 cloves garlic smashed and minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup ground toasted almonds
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
zest of 2 limes
1 1/2 tsp chopped pickled jalapeno or chipotle peppers
1/2 tsp salt
 1 cup  minced cilantro ( inc. stems)

In a  hot skillet heat the oil & saute the onions for 3 mins.
Add the garlic and cook further 2 mins without coloring.Add the almonds, jalapeno, lime juice and salt..heat through, remove from heat and add the chopped cilantro and mix well

Preheat oven 350f

In a well buttered/oiled 13 x9x2 inch ovenproof dish, lay the fish so they are not touching or overlapping.
Top with the onions-cilantro mix

Bake in middle oven, tightly wrapped in foil for 35-40 mins.

Until fish easily flakes with a fork.

Serve over hot rice or split baked potatoes., sour cream and lime wedges.this is Fabulous.

RECIPE: Mexican style Rice with Shellfish..


Here is a tasty lunch of dinner dish that can be made to impress dinner guests or treat the  family  to something a bit special

This recipe feeds 4

2 cups steamed brown rice
 1 x 8ozs crab meat ( canned or fresh, even imitation krabmeat will work)
1 x 8 ozs cooked shrimp
1 pound fresh shellfish..mussels, clams & etc. (optional)..if not using shellfish add extra crab and shrimp
1 cup minced onion
1 cup minced celery
3 smashed and minced garlic cloves
1 x15 ozs can chopped tomatoes in juice
dash hot sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup frozen, defrosted peas
2 tbsp sherry
1 bouillon cube
1 cup water
2 tsp ground paprika

1 tbsp olive oil

cooking liquor
In a large deep skillet:
heat the oil &  saute the onions & celery  for 5 mins
Add the garlic and shellfish if using...cook , lidded, until the shells open them remove them from the cooking liquor.
Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, hot sauce, bouillon cube crumbled, and cooked rice.
Simmer for 10 -15 mins until most of liquor has evaporated.
Add the cooked shrimp and crab, along with peas and paprika, stir together gently, heat through.
Check seasonings, add sherry and serve, topped with cooked shellfish still in shells.
Maybe be topped with chopped cilantro or parsley.
Serve with wedges of lime or lemon
also garlic mayonnaise

This is also a great dish to use cooked salmon or flaky white fish..even cooked chicken would work.

Pozole....Spicy Mexican style, Hominy Stew Recipe traditionally served on Christmas Eve

Pozole..this is a fine & spicy winter stew/hearty soup and is traditionally served on Christmas Eve (as well as other cold evenings) to warm the "cockles of your heart".

You may use lean stewing beef. lean stewing pork or even boneless chicken..all cut into 1/2 inch pieces

This recipe makes 6-8 servings

2 pounds meat cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups water
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tsp salt
2 x 15oz cans hominy rinsed and drained
1 x 15ozs can chopped tomatoes
1 x 4ozs chopped green chilies, drained

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cold water

Shredded cabbage 3 cups
1 cup sliced green onion
1 cup sliced red radish

In a large saucepan add the beef and  4 cups water , onion and salt, bring to boil , cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours ( for pork cook for 1 1/4 hours, for chicken cook for 45 mins)
Add the hominy and chilies and tomatoes in their juice..cover and simmer for 30 mins.

blend the flour with the cold water and gradually add to the beef mix, and bring to boil to thicken.Check seasonings, and cook 10 mins then serve in bowls topped with cabbage and vegetables..serve with lime or lemon wedges.
Variations you may add any kind of cooked or frozen-defrosted vegetables during last 20 mins of cooking.
Also serve with warm tortillas or tortilla chips. 
you may also add herbs of choice. (bay laurel, oregano, thyme)

Also finish with chopped cilantro or parsley

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Here are 2 Mexican style soups that are guaranteed to keep the cold out any  day!!

Garlic & egg soup..this makes 4 servings
6 cloves garlic smashed

1 tbsp olive oil

saute the garlic in oil for 10 mins then top with 5 cups beef or chicken broth
2 bay leaves

Bring to boil and simmer for 30 mins, lidded

Add 1 cup parsley OR cilantro for last 15 mins Strain into another saucepan.

Bring to boil and add 2 cups broth to 2 large eggs well beaten, stirring constantly and return to strained broth..serve at once over tortilla strips or  crusty bread, and shredded cheese.

OR poach eggs whole in the simmering soup

OR fry or poach and top the soup or slices of toasted bread and serve

Meatball & Chickpea soup  serves 8-10

2 cups cooked chickpeas
10 cups chicken broth

2 cups minced onion
1 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic smashed and minced
1 cup green bell pepper chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 shakes hot sauce
1/2 tsp ground coriander

Add everything together and cook for 1 hour on high simmer, lidded.
remove any scum.
test for seasonings and add  1 cup minced parsley or cilantro 2 cups thinly sliced carrots

Bring back to high simmer.

2 large eggs well beaten
2 tbsp milk
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup minced onions
1/2 cup chopped green of scallions
dash cinnamon
dash ground nutmeg
1 pound ground chicken or turkey

In a large bowl mix the  eggs and milk.
Add the breadcrumbs, onions and scallions, spices & salt and pepper to taste and add the ground chicken, mix with 2 knives or a fork, to keep them light.

Using a teaspoon form into approx 40 meatballs and add to the simmering soup, cook on high simmer for 15-20 mins until meatballs are cooked.

Remove any scum and test for seasonings..serve hot with crusty whole wheat bread and green salad


 Fresh Salmon-Pecan Loaf

feeds 4
if the Pilgrims ate this then I know why they would celebrate..this is fabulous, and can be made with any cooked flaked fish

3 cups cooked( grilled or poached) flaked salmon
1 cup cracker crumbs or dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup coarse chopped pecans ( walnuts or raw almonds)
1/4 cup minced onions
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup minced celery
2 tsp lemon zest ( optional)
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 large egg beaten
2/3 cup milk                                       

2 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven 350F

Combine all the ingredients, lightly in a large bowl mixing well but do not beat.

Shape into a loaf in a greased oven proof dish/roasting pan .

bake middle oven until lightly browned  ( approx 35 mins)

serve with baked potatoes or potato salad

Baked chicken with pecan-cereal stuffing..easy and almost carefree for those who prefer chicken to turkey

feeds 4

Preheat oven 350F
1/3 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced celery

saute for 5 mins then place into large bowl and add:
5 cups cornflakes
1 cup wheat germ( optional)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup minced parsley
1 tsp each dried sage and thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Mix well together, the flakes will break up as it is mixed.
Then place 4 mounds on a greased roasting pan.

Cut a 3 1/2 - 4 pound chicken into 4 pieces  2 breasts with ribs and wings attached and 2 whole legs and thighs, wash well then season with salt and pepper and place each one, cut side down, over a cornflake mound.
press down slightly and bake middle oven  60-75mins until golden brown
remove from oven and wait 10 mins before serving

Happy Thanksgiving, be it either traditional or non-traditional fare.

Monday, November 25, 2013

MEXICAN STYLE CHICKEN SOUP..Sopa de Pollo a la Mexicana..Great soup for cold weather

Makes 8-10 servings

1 x 4 pound frying chicken, remove as much skin as possible, and any loose visible fat.

OR 4 whole chicken legs

OR 1 cut up fryer..2 legs, 2 breast ribs attached

6 cups chicken stock or water
1 1/2 cups  1/4'd onion
5 stalks celery chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 x 15ozs canned chopped tomatoes
2 tsp crushed dried oregano
2 shakes hot sauce (optional)

2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup thinly sliced zucchini or Mexican white squash
1 cup defrosted frozen peas
1 cup defrosted frozen sweetcorn or 
1 can white hominy drained

 1 cup minced Cilantro

2 avocado, sliced ( optional)

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, cook the chicken in the stock, with the 1/4'd onions, salt & pepper ( simmer for about 1 hour, until very tender).

Remove chicken from the broth and strain into another large pan, discarding the cooked onion.
Add the canned tomatoes and their juice, the carrots, oregano,hot sauce and sliced onions, simmer covered until the carrots are tender.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle remove any skin and bones and chop the meat into bite sized pieces.
Add the chicken to  the broth along with the peas and sweetcorn..simmer for 15-20 mins.
test seasonings adding more salt & pepper
Just before serving add the minced cilantro and avocado slices

This is a beautiful soup..almost a meal in a bowl, with crunchy hot bread or  cheese-cornbread

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Baked Scotch Eggs..Chicken Croquettes.. Fried Oysters or Shrimp..PARTY NIBBLES

And now for something completely different:
HOT PARTY FOODS...the weather is chilly and the last thing your party guest need is a boring old bowl of chips and dip..instead try these:

Oven Baked Scotch Eggs These are normally fried, but baking produces a dish just as good with less oil

Serves 4-6

6 hard boiled eggs, peeled

2 pounds sausage meat (pork, beef or chicken is fine)
2 cups dried/toasted breadcrumbs
4 tbsp grated/processed onions
4 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp prepared horseradish
3 tsp prepared mustard

2 large eggs beaten
1 cup milk
 more dried breadcrumbs to coat
seasoned flour

In a large bowl, using clean hands, mix the sausage meat, ketchup, onions, horseradish and mustard.
Add enough crumbs to make a solid mix..the patties have to stand upright.

Dived the mix into 6 portions and gently wrap around each whole boiled egg.

Dip these in the flour, then the eggs and milk mixed, then finally into the breadcrumbs.

Place into a lightly oiled ovenproof dish/roasting pan
Bake middle oven for  35 -45mins until golden brown and crisp..
these may be served warm or at room temp. these are great British Pub Food..serve with pickles

Chicken Croquettes

serves 4-6                                      

3tbsp butter
3 tbsp all purpose flour plus extra for dredging
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground herbs (thyme, sage or tarragon)
hot sauce ( optional)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups minced cooked chicken
2 large eggs beaten
1 cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs or cornflakes

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and add the 3tbsp flour.
Stir to make a light roux.
Add gently the 1/2 cup milk and cook over high simmer until mix leaves the sides of the pan.
remove form heat and add seasonings.
Stir int he cooked chicken and mayonnaise
Put into a dish and cover and chill for 1 hour when cool.

Shape the chicken into 6 balls or logs

Dredge in seasoned flour, egg & milk wash and then the  cracker crumbs, shaking off excess.

Fry in 2 inches hot oil for 3-5 mins or until golden brown.
remove from oil and dry on wire rack ..serve whole...you might want to make the balls smaller..bite sized so you would get 12

These are great with any dips

Fried Oysters or Shrimp/Prawn

1 x 12 ozs jar fresh shucked oysters
1 x16ozs peeled and deveined shrimp
1 large egg beaten
1 tbsp water
2tsp hot sauce
2 cups very finely crushed saltines or cornflake crumbs
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt

Hot peanut or grape seed oil.... 2 inches deep in heavy bottomed saucepan or skillet

Pat the seafood dry with paper towels

Combine the water, egg & hot sauce in a bowl.

In another bowl combine the cracker crumbs and cornmeal with salt.

Dip the shellfish in the egg mix, then roll individually in the crumb mix, shake off excess and fry in very hot oil 1-2 mins or until they turn golden brown.

Serve with any dips & lemon-lime wedges..these are delicious

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lemon Broiled Chicken, Tuna-Cauliflower Casserole; Pastitsio; RECIPES Cooking for 2 with Lower calories..before the Holiday Party Nibbles kick in

These are easy recipes that have been around for over 50 years and are to help you maintain your figures..and maybe "fill you up, with a little something more healthy" before you indulge in all the wonderful fare at upcoming Holiday Parties.
Especially For my Friend Julie, in Dublin, Southern Ireland who today tried to convince me that a cake made with a fresh lemon juice frosting is lower calorie...lol


1/2 cup elbow macaroni..cooked
1/2 pound ground chicken or turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 tomatoes chopped
2 cloves garlic smashed
1/4 cup grated cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup skimmed milk
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 egg beaten

in a heavy bottomed skillet...spray a non-stick spray then add the tomatoes  & onions, "saute" /sweat until the onions are opaque,add the ground chicken and stir to break up any lumps, 1/4 tsp salt.. cook for 5 mins on high.
Add  cooked macaroni, garlic, thyme, cinnamon and half the cheese, mix well and then pour into a sprayed oven proof casserole dish..smooth the top.
In a small saucepan heat half the milk , meanwhile in a screw topped jar, mix the rest of the milk with the flour and rest of the salt, add this to the pan and bring to boil, stirring, cook for 1-2 mins. 

Remove from heat and mix 2 tbsp sauce mix with the beaten egg, return to the pan and stir well and add the remaining cheese.
Pour this over the pasta mix.
BAKE ON A COOKIE SHEET FOR 25-30 MINS or until a a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and wait 10 mins for contents to settle before serving.

Variations add any extra cooked vegetables before baking

Lemon Broiled Chicken

2 small chicken breasts, skinned, butterflied(halved lengthwise) and de boned
1/2 cup minced scallions
zest of 1 lemon ( keep the lemon for the juice later)
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp mixed herbs ( basil, marjoram, thyme, lemon pepper, celery seed, dill seed, your choice)
1/2 tsp salt

black pepper

In a ziplock plastic food bag add all the ingredients and allow to marinate overnight, in the fridge.

  Next day

remove from the bags and bring the marinade to a boil in a small pan, then allow to cool to room temp.
Brush the chickens with the cooked marinade and grill each 2-3 mins per side
Remove from grill and squeeze over the juice of 1 lemon and 2 tsp chopped parsley
serve with a green salad or brown rice

Tuna-cauliflower Casserole
you may substitute broccoli for cauliflower

1 small head of cauliflower  3/4 - 1 pound..cut into small pieces, cooked in boiling salted water.


in a sealable jar combine and mix:
2 tbsp all purpose  flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup  evaporated skimmed milk
shake well, then empty into a small pan and bring to low boil , allow to thicken then add
2 tbsp cheese
2tbsp chopped scallion
1 tbsp dry white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp minced parsley
salt & pepper to taste
Mix well to combine everything then add
 1 x 6ozs can drained, &  flaked, water packed, tuna
Fold this into the cauliflower then turn into a sprayed 1 qt casserole
top with another tbsp grated cheese
BAKE on a cookie sheet 20-25 min until bubbly

Remove and wait 5 mins before serving
You may substitute canned salmon for tuna.

These are some great supper and lunch recipes and you can stretch them even further by adding more cooked vegetables..enjoy!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chicken or Turkey Shepherd's Pie; The BEST Chicken Burgers Ever RECIPES, back stories DR WHO?, and name dropping

I have just been watching a docudrama of the making of the first Dr Who series in London at BBC TV Center. It brought back all  the happy memories I have of working as part of the large kitchen brigade there, in the early 70's
There were something like 36 head cooks working 24 hour shifts that catered to thousands of meals per week; as there was always something being filmed or created.
I have even stepped into the original T.A.R.D.I.S. and been on the set, when John Pertwee played the Dr.

Such happy times and one of the most  requested dishes was traditional Shepherd's Pie...requested by movies and pop stars galore; we could never make enough.

Here in California where people are eating a little more healthy, my Chicken or Turkey Shepherd's Pie is always in demand.
Traditional Shepherd's pie contains mutton or lamb; it if contains beef it is called Cottage Pie, I have no idea what the term is for Chicken..except Delicious comes to mind.

The  early 19th century way of making this pie was to grease a pie dish and line the base & sides with mashed potatoes, add a filling of minced cooked lamb( generally the meat leftover from Sunday Lunch, so this was a popular dish served on Mondays) and gravy, some chopped onions and topping with more mashed potatoes. Then it was brushed with egg wash and baked for 30-40mins in a moderate oven 350F

Here is my recipe for Chicken or Turkey Shepherd's pie, California Style

 serves 4

1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 tbsp neutral oil

Saute in a saucepan for 8 - 10 mins until they release their moisture.
Add 1 pound finely ground RAW chicken or turkey (do not use pure white meat as it is too dry, use a 50:50 ratio)
And cook for 5 mins, stirring well, try not to brown the meat, or vegetables.
Cover the meat and vegetables with hot chicken stock and add 2 tsp ground/dried sage.
Simmer with a lid for 30 mins, removing any scum that floats to the surface.
Thicken with either cornstarch mixed in stock or all purpose flour mixed in stock.
Check seasonings, adding salt and pepper.
Add 1 cup defrosted, drained garden peas or sweetcorn.
This should be a very rich, thick, gravy with meat and vegetables

Pour into a buttered,  deep 2 qt oven proof casserole.

Allow to cool for 20 mins

Top  GENTLY, with well buttered, mashed potatoes.

BAKE ON A COOKIE SHEET  30-45 mins until top is golden brown.
Remove from oven and wait 10 mins before serving.

This was a big favorite of the movie director, Sir John Schlesinger, and when he was staying at his home in Palm Springs, I regularly made him this and had it delivered, on dry ice.

Variations..you may add grated Cheddar Cheese to the top
Mushrooms may be added to the vegetables
At the Beeb to stretch the meat sometimes we added oatmeal, which apparently was a Scottish idea and also something that came out of WW2!

The BEST ever Chicken Burgers.
.....this began as a way of enjoying hamburgers more, without all the cholesterol.They almost ended as the only thing a certain Rock Star wanted to eat...lol

serves 4-6

you will also need hamburger buns, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, mustard, low calorie mayo, horseradish, sweet pickle, BUT please NO Cheese.

2 pounds ground chicken ( 50:50 ratio dark and white meat)

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup parsley off stalks
1 cup dried bread crumbs
2 large egg whites

salt & ground black pepper

In a food processor...pulse the onion and parsley with the egg whites until everything is smooth.
Fold this into the ground chicken ( I find it better to work with clean hands for this).
Add 1/2 the bread crumbs and  salt & pepper...now stir with a fork or table knife..adding more crumbs until the mixture is firm to the touch.

Cover in plastic wrap  and chill for at least 1 hour but no longer than 2 hours.

With clean hands shape into burger sizes. Do not over work, these should be light burgers, not compressed. Cook on griddle or in a lightly greased heavy bottomed skillet..or wrap in waxed paper and foil and freeze for later use (these can be cooked from frozen if thin enough).

These are fantastic

Variation season with garlic salt in place of plain salt

This may also be cooked as a meatloaf but you will probably have to add some extra crumbs so it will stand without compacting.

They may also double as meatballs if cooked and then simmered in a good Marinara sauce and served with pasta.

Mexican Style Stuffed Roast Turkey aka GUAJOLOTE RELLENO; ADOBE STYLE Pork Chops; SHREDDED PORK Chihuahua Style MOCHOMAS :RECIPES

Stuffed Roast Turkey  GUAJOLOTE RELLENO

serves 8-10

Using fruit and vegetables native to the Southern Western Americas.
The choice is yours but this turkey is stuffed, you may also make the stuffing and bake in a buttered casserole dish, which cuts the roasting time of the turkey by 1 hour.

1 pound finely ground pork
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic smashed and minced
4 tomatoes (About 2 cups) seeded and chopped
2 cups chopped plantains (or green tipped bananas - under ripe) 
1 cup chopped tart green apple cored but not peeled
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
2 tsp canned, chopped, rinsed green chilies 
1 1/2 tsp salt
 1 8-10 pound fresh turkey
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Chicken broth


In a heavy bottomed skillet, cook the ground pork, in a little butter; add the garlic and onion..stirring to break up any lumps until all is cooked well.
Drain off any oil.
Sir in tomatoes, banana, apples, almonds and raisins. Add the chopped chillies salt and cook for 3 mins.

remove from heat and allow to cool.

Add this to the neck and/or the cavity of the well washed and  cleaned bird.

Tie the legs securely and tuck the wing tips under the back.

Place the bird breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan.

Brush the breasts with melted butter and cover with foil.

After 3 hours until the legs and continue roasting/basting.
cook for further 20 mins then remove the foil form the breast ..roast now without basting for 45 mins.

Remove from oven and wait 20 mins..then place the bird on a cookie sheet to rest.

Remove as much of the fat from the roasting pan.
Add the white wine and approx 3-4 cups chicken broth..bring to boil, stirring the "fonds" from the bottom of  the pan.

Mix the flour with 1/2 cup cold stock in a jelly jar and shake to blend then pour into the roasting pan and bring to boil, thicken gravy, test for seasonings and serve with the bird.

carve the bird.

ADOBE STYLE PORK CHOPS   Chuletas de Puerco Adobadas

serves 4

1 x 15 ozs can tomatoes
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic smashed and minced
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp ground chili powder
1 tbsp neutral vegetable oil (safflower, sunflower seed)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin

4 x1/2 inch thick pork loin chops

garnish sliced raw onion, sliced red radish, sliced avocado

Place first 10 ingredients in a blender and blend until onion is fine.
Place the washed and dried chops in a casserole dish and pour the onion sauce over, to cover the chops.
Marinate overnight tightly covered with cling/plastic wrap.

In a large covered skillet, cook the chops in the sauce  35-45 mins or until tender.
remove the chops from the skillet to a  serving platter, cover with sauce  ( having skimmed off the excess fat) and garnish with vegetables.
Serve with steamed rice or potatoes

Shredded Pork Chihuahua Style MOCHOMOS

serves 4-6

2 pounds pork shoulder, skinned and boned, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp salt

garnish 2 cups guacamole, tomato slices,shredded lettuce, warm tortillas

 In a large lidded saucepan, place the pork and water, add the salt and onion and bring to boil.
Simmer for 1 hour until the meat in very tender.
remove lid and boil rapidly until most of the water has evaporated..15-20 mins, be careful not to let it burn.

remove the cooked meat from the pan and cool enough to touch, then using 2 forks, shred the meat.

In a large skillet, add some cooing oil and fry the meat until it resembles golden shreds, serve immediately with vegetables and warm tortillas.

Variations add herbs of choice and hot chilies or hot sauce to the boil

Fish and Chips ..a bit of Lancashire history, Recipes; Tempura batter, Victorian Pineapple-Apple Fritters..The first North of England Fast Food I ever ate

I was raised on Fish and Chips, which my mother usually purchased on Fridays or sometimes as a special treat, on Saturdays.

The Fish and Chip shops were "temples" of polished chrome and glass, with the air thick with aromas of steaming Steak & Kidney puddings, pans of mushy peas and heavy deep vats of boiling fat (solid fat was used in those days 1950's Britain, usually a mix of beef dripping and lard).
They were generally owned by a husband and wife team and operated out of what would have been the front room of their home.
The husband did most of the manual work while the wife served the customers.
The only condiments offered were salt and malt vinegar.
These were also the days before the invention of Styrofoam trays so the fish and chips were wrapped in parchment/greaseproof  paper folded into a bag for easy eating on the street or wrapped in newspaper for carrying home.

The fish were usually fillets of Atlantic cod or hake ( also known as Silver Hake)..later on the questionable Fish cake arrived.

The batter was always crisp and crunchy and the chips nicely soft and very hot.
These are not the pre cooked, skinny shaped and processed French fries, these are thick cut potatoes, freshly cut that day. Stored in enamel buckets of salted water, that were drained and quickly tossed in boiling fat, & cooked until they turned a golden brown in one frying.
Then shaken into a drained 'holding pen"..salt being only added when they were being wrapped for sale, and then, only at the customers request.

The fish and chip shops were popular by workers at local Cotton Spinning mills.
Since the Industrial Revolution, had brought American grown cotton aka King Cotton, to our shores.It was discovered that the local water was nice and soft..which made the cotton manufacturing, a great product..some of the World's best "Egyptian' cotton towels and sheets were manufactured in Chorley Mills.
Fish and chips meant they could have a nutritious hot meal when they finished their long shifts..some Mill girls brought their own, large enamel bowls & kitchen towel to cover to the Chip Shop before they began a shift and then picked them up fully loaded  with their order at either lunch ( Northern dinner) time or Dinner ( NorthernTeatime)

At Home Cooking

The chips are best made from starchy potatoes.
THINLY peel then and then cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges/sticks and allow to soak in well salted cold water for about 4 hours.
Drain very well.

They are fried in batches, in  deep saucepans ( aka chip pans) filled with boiling fat or oil today use grape seed or peanut oil as they behave best at very high temps. or solid vegetable fat.
The fat has to be at least 4 inches deep, with the same amount of height free to the top of the pan rim to allow for the oil to boil, rise and spit when the fresh potatoes are added. (many home fires have been caused by boiling fat, overflowing the chip pan & catching fire).

Fry the potatoes at high heat, stirring gently with a wire spatula (spider) occasionally. (the old fashioned chip pans had a fitted wire basket with a long handle so they could be shaken as they fried).
remove to a well drained area..wire rack over a cookie sheet...serve immediately with salt and malt vinegar.


The cod fillet is cut into 6-8 ozs portions, and is best soaked overnight in salted clean fresh water ( this is because, much of the fresh cod contains worms, naturally that live among the flesh, which have to be removed before cooking..the salt in the water draws them out), hake can be purchased and cut and used straight away.

Season some all purpose flour with salt and white ground pepper


in a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon NOT a whisk, stir together
4 cups/parts all purpose flour
then gradually add
 5 -6 cups/parts ice cold water, 
stirring to avoid lumps and working the gluten in the flour.
Add   1/2 cup (1/2 a part) malt vinegar
1/2 cup (1/2 part) vegetable oil, and stir well to combine
Salt and pepper to taste

The batter should have the thickness double cream..it should drop slowly from a wooden spoon and coat the back of the spoon. (THIS IS TRUE OF ALL THESE BATTERS ON THIS PAGE)

Cover with a cloth and allow to rest for 30 mins.

To prepare:

Dredge the fish fillets in the seasoned flour, and set aside, shaking off excess.

Stir the batter to check the Constancy, and drop one at a time a fish fillet in the batter to coat, gently remove the excess by scraping against the side of the batter bowl.
Very carefully place the battered fish fillet in the deep boiling fat, of the "Chip Pan".
avoiding burning fingers and do not drop in or it will splash up. Put the fish in  aiming 'away from you".

Do in small batches..the fillets will float to the surface when they are fully cooked. 2-3 mins.

After every batch, remove and loose particles from the pan, and allow the fat to get hot again.


any white fish, 
also fresh salmon (best thing to do with salmon/any oily fish, is first to sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and then gently wash it off with water, pat dry and then proceed as for hake, this removes any oily after taste..the same method can be done with fresh tuna).
Clam strips
Lobster tails,
Plaice & Skate wings
Goujons of sole 

Other batters:

4 parts flour
milk to make a batter ..using a wooden spoon
salt to taste

this is best for slices of raw potatoes or apple fritters

Tempura batter for vegetables and shrimp
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil ( grape seed  or peanut)
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup cornstarch

In a medium bowl mix all the dry ingredients, add the vegetable oil, stirring with a wooden spoon, and gradually add the water, stirring into a smooth batter.
The batter should coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Make sure all the vegetables are lightly dusted with cornstarch before dipping in this batter, and deep frying

Mushrooms may be cooked whole, sweet potatoes cut into slices & most other veggies cut into bite sized pieces & etc.
Shrimp should be peeled and de veined

This is also excellent for small pieces of any fish fillet

For larger pieces of food allow the batter to have some time to dry on the surface a little.

Pineapple-Apple Fritter Batter..this is a Victorian recipe

the fruit slices should be dry before dredging with flour and then batter

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp milk or fresh cream
1 egg yolk 
2 egg whites
pinch of salt
3/4 cup warm water..not hot.

In a medium bowl mix the flour, egg yolk and pinch of salt.
Stir in in the melted butter and milk .
Gradually add the water.
Allow to rest for 1 hour

Then fold in the the whipped egg whites and dip in the  the dredged fruit pieces and deep fry until golden brown..sprinkle with powdered sugar and and serve with a fruit sauce/ice cream.

It's FRY DAY..Friday...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

EASY MEALS with food in pantry/fridge:Toad in the Hole, Yorkshire Puddings, Bacon Pie, "Cousin Jim" RECIPES

Storm waves hitting Brighton Pier ..a typical British Summer's day!

 Traditional Old English Farmhouse Fare

Now don't get scared this is not about cooking frogs and toads..it comes from a supper dish where sausages cook in an egg batter and resemble frogs or toads looking up from a pond.

Yorkshire Pudding is not sweet, it is a batter that is cooked in very hot fat in the oven and is traditionally served before any roast, with gravy.
This way the Sunday roast fed more people

Toad in the Hole serves 3-4

1 pound sausages (any kind)

1/2 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 large egg beaten
salt  &  pepper
Hot oil

either roasting pan 9x6inches, 8x 8 inches or small, individual  pie dishes, foil ones will not work well.

The batter  Has to be beaten with a spoon to create gluten ( this is a trick I learned from Annie Steele the Yorkshire born wife of Mr Tommy Steele at their home in Ham, Surrey..working the batter slowly with a spoon makes the pudding dryer and stands up better) and also has to be made 30 mins before cooking.

add the egg to the milk

in a large bowl, stir the flour and seasonings, gradually add the milk and egg gradually, stirring and beating to stretch the gluten.
When all the milk has been added, cover with a cloth and allow to rest.

Cook the sausages in a skillet with some oil, or bake in hot oven

Preheat oven 400f

place the  baking pans/ tins on a cookie sheet with 1/4 inch oil in oven to heat for 10-15 mins

either chop the sausages up into 1/2 inch dice or just cut in half.
Remove the hot pans from the oven, add the sausages.
Beat the batter and fill the pans half to 3/4 full and put back in very hot oven for 20-30 mins.
The should be puffed up..and will fall a little on being removed from oven.
Remove from small tins and serve with hot gravy, if cooked in a roasting pan cut into slices and serve with gravy.

Yorkshire Pudding traditional

For traditional way of serving prepare the batter as above recipe, & cook without the sausage.

Serve with a traditional roast or before it with gravy.

Also add some lightly sauteed leeks/or onions in top before serving.

Bacon Pie also known as a bacon Cake in North of England Farmhouses

2 sticks butter
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
iced cold water

1/2 pound cooked bacon ( chopped) or cooked sausage meat crumbled

1 cup sauteed leeks or onions

Rub the fat into the flour and baking powder to fine breadcrumbs and then add water by the tablespoonful until a light pastry is made. allow pastry to rest 30 mins

Preheat oven 375f

Roll the pastry out into a circle 1/4 inch thick.

place the onions and bacon on one half of the pastry.
Fold the pastry over to make a crescent shape and roll out the top to remove all air.
Crimp the edges 
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 30-35 mins or until golden brown

Serve hot with mustard or relish

"Cousin Jim"  I have no idea where the name came from but in some North of England villages this was a supper dish served on Tuesdays.

Preheat oven 350F

in a large ovenproof casserole:
Season each layer with salt & pepper

grease the inside of the casserole and add

1 layer of  thinly sliced onions

Top this with any cooked meat or bacon

Top this with thinly sliced raw potatoes

Dust the top with flour and then add boiling water or stock to cover.

Cover with a lid of foil, or pastry and bake, on a cookie sheet for 45 mins to 1 hour..until everything is cooked.

Easily feeds a crowd for pennies.

Yes there is a lighthouse somewhere under there..Storm UK 2014..also a nice English Springtime photo.


Supergirl Turkey & Rock Star Chicken, Gravy, Sage & Onion Stuffing and British Bread Sauce

When I was working as a freelance chef in London England, (mid 70's) I worked a Thanksgiving for Ms Faye Dunnaway and her husband.
The house she had rented, for the duration of the movie she was starring in "Supergirl", had a great space for working but the oven was too small for the enormous turkey she had purchased. So, much to her horror I explained I would have to amputate the legs and cook them separately, and then skewer them back into place for it to be carved at the table.
When the bird was carved it was the best she had  ever had.

Fast Forward 20 yrs on Palm Beach, Florida..I was working for a Rock and Roll singer and he loved my roasted chicken so much that he wanted to have it every day...this is the secret to success for all domestic fowl and some game birds:

Wash the bird well in salted fresh water, and drain.

Marinate the bird overnight in grape seed oil, ground paprika and herbs of choice, I prefer thyme or sage, not both...Store well wrapped in the fridge.

The day of cooking

Preheat the oven to 400F..shelf in middle

In the roasting pan..(allow 2 onions per 4pounds of bird)..lay 2 onions with skin, in the bottom of the pan and fill up to 2 inches deep with good chicken stock or water.
( you may also use celery sticks & carrots..the skin of the bird should not touch any metal in the roasting pan).
This is known as The German way of roasting, although all the German's I have worked for have never heard of it..steam roasting works really well.
Place the bird back side down (Breast side up)...do not use the marinade..throw away, because of salmonella).
Also, notice I do not use any salt, as this draws precious moisture from the birds.
For chicken add 1 tbsp grapes seed oil or cover the top with slices of bacon
For turkey push 1 pound butter( softened) between the skin of the breast, then lightly massage with oil before placing in roasting pan breast side up.

Cook chickens 20 mins at 400F..do not cover
Then reduce heat to 375F and cook 20 mins per pound if single bird or 25 mins per double birds

For Turkey cook 30 mins at 400F then allow 20 mins per pound at 325F..check the bird after 2hours and you might have to protect the breast with foil.

When the chickens are ready.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 mins.
Remove carefully from the pan.

Making the gravy

Allow juices to settle in pan, and pour off any fat.
Add hot chicken stock to the roasting pan, and using a wooden spoon, stir well especially on the bottom of the  pan, over medium heat.
Bring to high simmer.
Remove any fat from the surface
Thicken with either cornstarch or  all purpose flour (either shaken in a capped jelly jar)..when the gravy is thick enough, strain into a saucepan and check seasonings..serve hot with the bird.

For game birds reduce the heat to 325F and allow 15 mins per pound.
Also gravy for game birds sometimes includes red currant jelly/claret
all these recipes are for an unstuffed bird...as I find it safer to cook the stuffing separate.

Sage & Onion Stuffing..serves 6
2 cups chopped brown/Spanish onions
1 cup chopped celery
4 rashers bacon (chopped) or 1/4pound sausage meat
2 ozs butter
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs 
Salt & Pepper
Chicken stock 
2 tbsp dried rubbed sage OR 2 tbsp fresh chopped

Saute the bacon/sausage meat in the butter, until it renders the fat out, add the chopped onions and celery and cook until sweated, stirring well..approx 15 mins.
Add the dried breadcrumbs and sage and stir well to coat.
Add  1 -1 /2 cups chicken stock and simmer gently to allow the liquid to reduce by 50%.
Add salt & pepper to taste, place in a butter 1 qt dish and bake uncovered 350F for 30 mins or until top is lightly browned.
remove from oven and serve with the bird.

Baked Stuffing

This is better eaten hot..so it can be prepared (stored in fridge) then baked while the turkey/chicken is "resting"... before carving.

Bread sauce also a  UK tradition with roasted birds
1/2 pint milk/ 1 1/2 cups
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs..use only white  & not the crusts
2 tbsp butter
1/2 an onion(peeled),and studded with 3 whole cloves (the spice not garlic)
1 bay leaf
salt & white pepper

Place the clove studded onion in the milk and gently bring to boil.
Add the breadcrumbs and butter and simmer for 20 mins, uncovered.
It will thicken but should have the consistency  of thick cream, dilute with extra milk or fresh cream.
remove from heat and remove the onion.
Season to taste and serve along side the gravy.

So now you have all the makings of a great Sunday Roast or maybe a special dinner