A little simplicity

Baked spuds with low-cal fillings this week 🙂 Prawn cocktail (with the sauce made from 4 tbps low-fat Greek yoghurt and 2 tbsp mayo — it works pretty darn well!) and cheesy baked beans done with low-fat cheese triangles [1] and sliced spring onions sprinkled over the top. Yum!

I don’t really have the time to do traditional jacket spuds in the oven, and that process uses a lot of ‘leccy, so to get my potatoes baked, I used the time-honoured(ish) method of carefully washing all the soil off, piercing several times with a knife and bunging it through the microwave on full power (about 7 minutes per 200g of potato). Perfect!

[1] Not an approach I’d’ve thought of on my own, but it’s not bad ^^ The book recipe says to put a triangle on top of each potato after decanting the hotted-up beans over them, but this still keeps the cheese concentrated in one place, so when I do this one tomorrow I’m going to hot the beans up in a saucepan, stir the cheesy triangular goodness until it’s lovely and melty, and add a spoonful or two of mustard to give the whole thing a bit of a kick 😀

A twisty classic

Various sorts of sausages from my local butcher (pork and herb, pork and leek, pork and sun-dried tomato — that place does the BEST meat products!), mashed spuds of various sorts (specifically, creamy mash, mustard mash and something called ‘champ’ that involves sautéed spring onions), a splash of gravy on the side — yum yum YUM! It’s especially good for colder weather such as England is getting at the moment (even though I got my boiler serviced today. Ehehehehe.).

This talk of soss and mash reminds me of an amusing little interlude in Goldenhand where Nicholas Sayre is explaining about mashed potatoes to Lirael (mash not being a dish known in the Old Kingdom) and he accidentally sends a roast potato shooting across the table. I won’t say much more in case of spoilers, but I felt like wurbling about this bit ^^

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via Why philosophy must be multicultural — The Philosopher’s Eye

I’m not chicken!

I just did sticky chicken this week 😀

I used chicken thighs (per the recipe), though I had to manually debone them because I bought them from my local Co-op rather than the butcher (I’d forgotten how much they cost… turns out thighs are less than half as expensive as chicken breasts ^^). This netted me 10 thighs (the recipe as written only calls for 8) so I upped the quantities of ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and honey in the glaze by 25% apiece and gave the thighs ten minutes longer in the oven than the recipe stated. They came out a tad blackened on top, but that didn’t detract from things at all ^^

The recipe in the book was technically ‘sticky chicken with coleslaw’ but I don’t like coleslaw at ALL so I had my chicken thighs in tortilla wraps with iceberg lettuce and a touch of mayo. Yum yum YUM! The juice from the cooking — consisting of stray glaze/sauce mixing with chicken fat and meat juices which leaked out of the thighs during cooking — didn’t go to waste either. It’s basically dripping, and it goes brilliantly on toast!

A taste of Cornwall (sort of)

Low-cal Cornish pasties this week 🙂

The recipe called for ‘500g plain white bread mix’ for the pastry/dough for the pasties — I couldn’t find anything which seemed to match this description, so I used 500g plain flour and 2 generous teaspoons of baking powder instead. Possibly because my kitchen was a bit cold and/or I forgot to let it rest (or possibly just because I hadn’t used the bread mix instructed in the recipe), the dough was delightfully stiff, which meant I had great fun kneading it vigorously and squashing it firmly with the rolling pin. No matter how hard I pressed, I simply could not get it any thinner than half a centimetre (which was the thickness instructed in the recipe anyway, so that worked out ok). In the end, I was able to make three delightfully chunky pasties, three small leftover bread-biscuit things and three portions of meat-potato-onion blodge from the filling I had left.

Ah, that filling! The recipe calls for 400g feather steak or lean braising steak, to be cut into 5mm wide pieces and then snipped up as small as possible with kitchen scissors — more or less ‘make your own mince by hand’. Unfortunately, due to work running later than I expected on grocery-shopping-day, my local butcher was closed by the time I was able to get out to the shops, so I settled for a 500g pack of supermarket mince. The other modification I made was using about 355g potatoes instead of 125g potatoes and 200g diced swede (I’m not too fond of swede). Modged up together with one chopped onion and all the ground white pepper I had left, this little lot did give a decent amount of filling — but, as I indicated earlier, I somewhat borked the filling-to-casing ratio.

The pasties and so on still turned out ok, though — good and chunky (nice workout for my jaw muscles!) and with a pleasant sinus-clearing kick from the pepper (very important with winter drawing in). Ehehehe

Next time I make pasties, though, I’m going to dial down the potato content a notch (so that the filling is easier to modge together by hand) and go classic pastry for the crust — 2 parts flour to one part fat, rub in to breadcrumb stage, form into ball with minimum amount of water and very gentle handling, allow to rest for about half an hour, roll out very carefully… etc