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A Right Roasting

14 Jul

I’ve always said that there are SOME things I can do. I can turn out a reasonable fry-up and my roast dinners aren’t too bad.

Actually, apart from the fact they are usually far too large and not presented that well, my roast dinner is probably my best cooked dish.

As long as the meat is something nice and easy like a chicken, rather than a slab of beef – which I would overcook and serve in dried out hunks.

But a Roast Chicken Dinner I CAN DO. Look:

Roast1

Proof!

Admittedly I’ve given up trying to make my own Yorkshire puds and my vegetables come ready prepared and easily steamed but still, it’s not bad.

I also make quite a good gravy using the meat juices. See, you’d never think that about me would you? Using meat juices.

I can also make roasties, I use the Delia par-boil method, give ’em a shake and straight into hot oil. Works for me.

Also a roast dinner HAS to have stuffing – either in slabs, balls or direct from the chicken’s arse. Also bread sauce is a deal breaker. I won’t eat or serve without.

However – and of course there is a however – I absolutely destroy the kitchen. I use every single pot and pan and usually something ends up on the floor.

Sometimes the whole family wonder whether a roast dinner cooked by me is worth the absolute devastation. I know I should clean as I go but I find everything kind of comes together all at the same time and pans, knives, serving spoons, jugs are all needed all at once and so kind of get left.

Roast2

For which I get… a right roasting.

Another Stab at Chicken Risotto… this time I’m done!

29 Apr

I love risotto – who doesn’t? But how on earth can anyone actually make it, at home, themselves, without going to a restaurant or getting it out of a packet? It just does NOT COMPUTE.

Anyway – I have a history with this favourite rice dish, in that I just can’t make it.  My previous attempt turned into cement that you could actually hold above your head in a pan without it moving a millimetre. You can read about that poor slice of sludge here!

My most recent attempt wasn’t much better, this was another try using chicken and this time some red pepper too. Despite doing the recommended pouring and stirring I still managed to miss the sweet spot when you can reasonably call your dish a risotto before the rice sucks up ALL OF THE MOISTURE IN THE WORLD and turns into porridge.
chick1It actually made a rather good chicken fried rice though. So all was not lost.

Although I managed to kill yet another poor pan. I worry they’re all going to leave home one day. Look at what I do to them here and here!

The pan just about survived to live another day – my desire to perfect a risotto however is DEAD. I’m done.

chick2

Davina’s Sugar Free Chicken Sinks

22 Apr

Regular readers will know I like to dip in and out of various eating plans with varying degrees of success quite often – basically if there is a bandwagon rolling by I will almost certainly jump on it (Remember Gwyneth Paltrow’s Detox Week? I do!)

I’ve been aware that we all need to cut back on sugar for ooooh years now and so happily snapped up Davina McCall’s new tome ‘5 Weeks to Sugar Free’ thinking it would help me do just that.
I don’t really have a sweet tooth – I’d much rather snack on crisps and nuts than chocolate and doughnuts – but still know there is plenty of hidden sweet stuff in the ready meals I have to eat regularly (because I would starve if I had to rely on my own cooking every day).

The recipes looked quite easy and because I already had some chicken and some yogurt thought a good place to start would be the Yogurt-Marinated Chicken (no flies on me). It really is quite simple, just add things like lemon juice, ginger, garlic, curry powder and onions to yogurt and marinade pieces of chicken in the mix overnight before baking in the oven.

How simple is that? Almost as simple as my meat and veg tray bake signature dish!

Anyway, me being me thought I would add something else to it – just to muddy the waters – and because I had one going a bit soft popped a red pepper in too. So I assume it was this that turned my expected crispy coated dish into a sunken mess?

Look at this, where has all this water come from? And why has it all congealed into one lump?

YogchickenThis is what it is meant to look like, sorry Davina:

FullSizeRenderWhat I managed to rescue from the chicken swimming pool actually tasted ok, but I couldn’t help thinking it lacked something in the presentation?

Still – sugar free – go me! I must try something else one day.

Eggs do not a Stir Fry make

25 Feb

I have a problem with boring food, I always try to jhush it up a bit (well how do YOU spell that word?) which often leads to my downfall.

Take this recent stir fry that went on in my kitchen. To be fair it was barely even that, being just some noodles and raw broccoli in a wok with some oil and soy sauce. I was trying to be good, eating bland, basic food after a weekend of indulgence.

All was going well (boring) until I just thought I had better crack an egg into it all. Why? What’s an egg going to do? It’s hardly going to elevate my boring noodles into a sumptuous Pad Thai is it?

Well I did it anyway and then worried I would end up with raw egg in the broccoli florets and so overcooked the whole lot until it was little more than dry noodles with some crispy scrambled eggs over the top. The broccoli however managed to stay raw – how does it do that?

I ended up eating a Grab Bag of crisps, so indulgence continued…

IMG_2830 (3)

Not a Pad Thai. Sadly.

Another Classic

2 Apr

Ah my Signature Dish has let me down!

Well I might have let myself down by spending too long in the bath.
chickDoesn’t look good does it?
Tasted ok though, so I suppose presentation isn’t everything.

Sausage Surprise! (No Surprise)

19 Sep

In celebration of Jean leaving EastEnders this week I made my very own take on her signature dish of Sausage Surprise.

I don’t know what the dish or the surprise is so I just did what I usually do when I have some sausages and can’t be bothered:

  • I put them in a bowl with a tin of tomatoes and then put them in the oven for an hour.

surprise Continue reading

Alice Celebrates National Burger Day

28 Aug

Or I’m not sure if celebrate is the right word for this?

Yesterday was National Burger Day (special foodstuff, special day) and to mark such a momentous occasion I decided to get some out of the freezer. Well it was actually by co-incidence because it was all that I had but the timing of the date wasn’t lost on me.

(And I really do love a burger, I can’t get enough of these new, trendy burger joints springing up all over the place. Although I can’t resist telling these new young upstarts that some of us have actually been eating burgers for years)

And so I give to you… my dear readers… this:
burgs Continue reading

Red Sky In The Morning, Shepherds Pie Warning

19 Aug

If you want to know what happens when you don’t make (buy) enough mashed potato to cover your shepherd’s pie then let me show you…

It goes in like this:

Shep1 Continue reading

Oh dear, Olives!

24 Jul

No, don’t laugh,

I do actually feed my family this stuff.

Cooking up a bit of simple chicken with some green pesto (love me a bit of pesto) I wasn’t sure what to add to it, I had no suitable vegetables so looking in the fridge I seized on a pot of green salad olives.
Same colour – it’s got to work right?
Pesto1Wrong! Olives, pesto and chicken do not go together.
Well not when made by me.
I mean who enjoys really hot green olives?
I did however manage to make a colour co-ordinated oily mess. (I do like my colour themed meals)
Pesto2All of this was quite nice when the olives had been shoved to one side.

When it comes to adding inappropriate ingredients to meals I’m a pro – for the time I added a tub of peanut butter into some chicken see here!

50 Shades of Orange

4 Jul

I was talking to some chaps on Facebook the other day about how all real picnic food is yellow or orange – not like the beetroot dip and lamb parcels I saw in the M&S ad that made me cry this week – no the stuff you really want to

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eat outdoors – like scotch eggs, sausage rolls, brie, baguettes, champagne and crisps. All the same colour, all great al fresco. Same goes for buffet fare, it HAS to be the same colour, it’s the law.

Now I’m not big on presentation as most of you know but I seem to manage to colour-co-ordinate quite a lot of my food. I don’t plan it but it kind of works out like that sometimes. You know the sort of thing – white fish, mash and parsley sauce – all on the same plate, all the same colour, all sort of blending into each other.

I have a reluctant skill in putting together these colour combined dishes but I’m always happy to share and so here is my latest dried out midweek meal only made interesting because everything on the plate is within the same Pantone range:
orange

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