I almost had a kitchen disaster last week while preparing to entertain a senior cleric. Regular readers will observe that these days I am often in the company of senior clerics!!!😀
The Mhinisteir was due to have a meeting with him at the Vicarage and since we all had to eat, we invited him to join us for lunch. I had only seen him from a distance at the cathedral so was delighted when he agreed to join us.
The lunch menu consisted of carrot and coconut soup, roast chicken sandwich, mini blinis with cream cheese and Scottish smoked salmon, chocolate cake and shortbread. All made by own fair hands!
I decided to prepare the soup a day in advance and as I set out my ingredients, I realised I had run out of chicken stock. Thankfully, I had Marigold organic bouillon powder but I had never used it before to make soup as previously I had only used either homemake stock or Kallo organic stock.
As per instructions, I put 4 tablespoons of the bouillon powder in a measuring jug. Just as I was about to pour some boiling water to make up the stock, it dawned on me that I had almost half a tin of bouillon powder in the measuring jug. I thought to myself that surely it can’t be right and decided to read the instructions again. 4 TEASPOONS not tablespoons!!!!! Oh my goodness, what a disaster it would have been!!!
Anyway, the soup turned out beautifully. The lunch too appear to have been a great success based on the thank you note we received.
For 2 weeks in a row, I have had to dump all the milk that the milkman has delivered as they had gone off!
I cannot explain why this is the case. The weather is still warmish so I always leave the cool bag out for the milkman to deposit the milk which he has been doing diligently. I wonder if this has got anything to do with the delivery problem experienced by most of the UK.
It happened again on Monday morning! As most of you know, spoiled milk smells quite nasty! I decided not to report this to milkandmore as it will quite frankly be a waste of my time.
Years of rural living has taught me to always have a UHT whole milk in the cupboard and so that is what I used.
I have a dairy allergy so it is only the Mhinisteir who uses milk. He decided that we should pause our milk delivery until the autumn when the weather will be cooler. He really liked the new organic UHT whole milk that I had bought from Ocado and suggested that we use that for the time being.
A bit more about the organic UHT whole milk. It is called MOO and comes from Devon. The producers have their own cows! How fabulous!
The Mhinisteir and I are often mistaken for vegans or vegetarians. Why? I have no idea!!!
We both eat meat. However, we only buy meat from a butcher and it has to be free range/ organic meat which means our food bill is slightly higher but then we rarely go out to eat.
We both love a good fillet steak. About 12 months ago, I noticed that my butcher in Scotland had started selling centre cut fillet steak, grass fed of course. It is pricier than ordinary fillet steak but the Mhinisteir just loves it.
I like my steak medium while the Mhinisteir loves his cremated!!!
Just before cooking, I rub the steaks with olive oil and season with salt (no pepper!) and pan fry them in a smoky frying pan for 5 minutes on each side. I do not add any oil to the frying pan.
The steaks always turns out wonderful! I serve them with handcut triple cooked chips, tomatoes, mushrooms, salad and peppercorn sauce.
For the first time last month, I tried samphire. I have seen them in supermarkets but wasn’t brave enough to experiment with them. I used to be very adventurous with food in my younger days but these days I prefer to play it safe. Maybe it’s because the Mhinisteir doesn’t like to experiment with new dishes.
The samphire duly arrived with my other groceries from Tesco. The very young delivery driver got quite excited when he saw the samphire. He started giving me advise on how to cook them, not that I asked!!! Anyway, he told me to steam and serve it with a good piece of fillet steak. I already had other plans. I was going to steam it and incorporate it in my pasta with Scottish smoked salmon and that was what I did. It tasted heavenly. By the way, the Mhinisteir had something else to eat!
The delivery driver told me to add rock salt but I didn’t as I read somewhere that samphire is salty.
This week’s online supermarket delivery was from Waitrose. There is usually a shopping list stuck to the Vicarage refrigerator which the Mhinisteir and I use to add items for the shopping basket. One of the items that the Mhinisteir added read “Chicken Fry”. Regular readers will know of the Mhinisteir’s obsession love of Indian food.
I duly ordered all the items on the list and they arrived yesterday morning. The Mhinisteir had a quizzical look on his face when he saw the Chicken Fry. He said “This is Keralan Chicken Fry” to which I replied ” Yes, that’s what you had put on the list”. “No” He said. “It was the Crispy Chicken Fry that I wanted! How am I to know??? I didn’t even know there were two types of Chicken Fry. I wish he had specified it instead of just scribbling Chicken Fry on the pad! I simply typed in Chicken Fry on the Waitrose website and added the first Chicken Fry that appeared!
Anyway, he has magnanimously agreed to give the Keralan Crispy Chicken Fry a go!
I know this is not the weather for fruit salads but I had a sudden craving for it on Sunday! The Vicarage fruit bowl was filled to the brim with fruits. It gave me the perfect opportunity to make some fruit salad as part of our Sunday Lunch. The main course was Coq Au Vin.
I used pears, oranges, bananas, blue berries, strawberries and melon balls to make my salad. My secret ingredients were a pinch of salt and a small can of Schweppes lemonade!
I have never prepared fruit salad this way but it tasted heavenly with a scoop of Swedish Glace non dairy vanilla ice cream!
The Mhinisteir said he enjoyed it but I think he would have preferred a warm dessert like sticky toffee pudding!
With the nights drawing in and the weather cold, I have started cooking comfort food like fish pies and casseroles.
One Friday night, the Minister and I were tucking into our home made fish pie when I told him that my favourite ingredient in the fish pie was the salmon. In turn, I asked him what his favourite ingredient was to which he answered ” I like the sliced boiled egg”!!!! Boiled egg?????????? I might as well have served him boiled egg with white sauce covered in mash!!!!
Here in our part of England, we have had rain for most days for the last four weeks. Every time I look out of the window, it is either raining or it has just stopped raining! We don’t usually get this much of rain. In fact, as I write this, it has started raining yet again. I am slightly annoyed that I have not been able to go for my wee walks.
There was a bar of dark cooking chocolate lurking about in the pantry and I decided that this will be the day that I make something with it so here is the recipe for my dairy and gluten free Chocolate and Walnut Cookies.
150g – 70% Dark Chocolate (100g for melting, 50g to be chopped in chunk)
*dark chocolates are usually dairy free but please check the ingredients.
125ml – Olive oil
125g – Caster Sugar
1 – egg (beaten)
200g – Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
50g – Chopped Walnuts
1/2tsp – Sea Salt Flakes
Preheat oven to 180C and line a large baking sheet.
Melt 100g of chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave.
Beat the Olive oil, egg and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Add the melted chocolate. Stir in the chocolate chunks and the walnuts.
Stir in the flour and roll the mixture into 16 small balls.
Place the balls on the baking tray and press down to flatten a little.
Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Sprinkle the sea salt flakes as soon as the cookies are removed from the oven.