Tag Archives: Potatoes

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:



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.


For which I get… a right roasting.


Even Oven Chips Are A Problem

1 Aug

Anyone know how to oven cook chips (specifically french fry style) so that they don’t end up burnt to a crisp on the ends while still slightly wet and raw in the middle?
Would love to know how you cook evenly throughout so all are the same amount of crispy.
chipsLook, why does one always go black?

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:

Alice CAN Cook Christmas

27 Dec

So the Big Day is over, I hope yours was wonderful and you are still

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feeling the benefits of some good food and drink and playing with your toys.
I feel as if I am 90% cheese and 10% chocolate currently, and running solely on Cava.

But I am also buoyed up slightly by a rather successful Christmas Lunch, cooked by my own festive hands.
It was rather a no-frills affair, without any celebrity chef intervention and not completely perfect but even my husband had to admit it was pretty good!

I got up early (earlier than my son) to peel some veg and get the bird out of the fridge – we had gone for an 8kg Kelly

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Bronze from the local farm which had been prepared so the giblets had already been taken out and bagged up thankfully (we boiled them up for the dog).

After hearing a lot about being able to leave a cooked turkey for an hour after taking out of the oven I decided to get it done and worry about the rest of the stuff later so it went into the oven early – I was still only on my first Bucks Fizz!

Here it is going in – note the butter under the skin – I understand this is a way of keeping the breast from going dry. I wasn’t sure how to do it so just hacked away until I made a couple of holes and stuffed some in. I also put a cut lemon and a whole onion in the cavity, and some salt and pepper over the back. I know myself well enough to just keep it simple… no more Nigella bucket birds for me!
Xmas2I read the instructions after it had gone in (I know I know) and they suggested that you should put the bird in UPSIDE DOWN for a bit first. Erm, too late for that. I hoped the foil and butter would keep it moist instead.

Three hours later I took it out, replaced it with some hot goose fat and par-boiled reindeer potatoes and went to the pub.
After a refreshing glass of wine I left son and husband there for a bit and came back to get the vegetables on (I’d bought as much ready prepared as I could) and make some gravy and bread sauce. I’d also cleverly stirred some chestnut puree into a stuffing mix to give the sage and onion a seasonal edge.

Yes I was mildly drunk but I felt calm and in control, the carols were on the radio and I took a few deep breaths. Maybe the trick to this cooking lark is to keep it simple and relax? Who knows…

As it all started reaching a cooking crescendo I unwrapped the bird for carving. And here it is:
xmas3Yes I know it’s a bit scorched and a hole seems to have appeared in the side (see that lemon?) but it was still rather juicy! I know the skin isn’t crispy but I think that is because I used foil?

I had steamed most of the veg – apart from the whole baby carrots – which sadly meant the whole baby cauliflowers were raw and rock hard, but as we pointed out you could eat them raw and at least they were hot. So… all was not lost. Everything else was just sort of perfect.
xmas4I didn’t wrap those ‘pigs in blankets’ myself.
And I know you can’t see the gravy and bread sauce but that is because I served it on the table in jugs/bowls decorated in holly. How festive

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is that?
The gravy was good too, despite being as black as pitch, I used something called ‘Browning’ I had never tried before – half a bottle of the stuff – so it kind of ‘blackened’ rather than ‘browned’ but still.

After eating this we never managed to get through the Heston Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding – in fact it is still in my cupboard. Might keep it for next year now.

We enjoyed ours, I hope you enjoyed yours.
Merry Christmas xxx

One Year On… A Poem!

21 Aug

So Alice Can’t Cook is one year old.
It’s the first birthday of my blog and if I may be so bold?
I shall celebrate with a rhyme or three…
Remembering the best and worst of my cookery

So I’ve served raw eggs to an unborn baby
Made a risotto so solid it could have plastered a wall, maybe
My roasted vegetables just won’t roast
But now and again I can have a bit of a boast

My self-imposed Veg Box Challenge was really trying
The hideous shrunken-head celeriac had me crying
I created some fruit compote that ended up in the sink
And a toxic hummous that kicked up a stink

Jamie Oliver’s Fritters won the vote but still got burnt
I’ve been a student but still haven’t learnt
There has been SO much trouble with eggs and rice
But thankfully I have a failsafe dish that usually turns out quite nice

Toad in the Hole nearly burnt the kitchen down
And even an easy kids recipe made me frown
A slimy festive turkey had me skidding across the floor
But my Christmas kit cakes had them crying out for more

Just don’t talk to me about curry!
I either make it like soup or a nasty slurry
My pretend birthday cakes reveal me to be a bad mother
But this years castle creation has made me think not to bother!

I’ve made my dog sick and my son scream
But weirdly my really difficult salmon dish turned into a dream
In the past year I’ve laughed and I’ve cried
I’ve served crap food but still no one has died.
Thanks for reading this year, for all your helpful comments and the laughs!
Alice Can’t Cook (still)…
But She’s Getting Better x

Skive Breakfast? Bingo!

15 Aug

Ah, a day working from home.
You boot up the computer first thing, still in your pyjamas, and send your ‘early email’ just to let everyone know you are up and about and definitely working.
Everyone else leaves the house and you get on to the real business of the day… No, not what daytime TV to watch! What to have for breakfast.

A home alone weekday breakfast is different from the usual yogurt or piece of toast you throw down your throat before you wipe the surfaces and leave for work. You have time to think about it, squeeze some items you’ve got in the fridge, put the oven on, change your mind, make a mess, create…

My favourite working from home breakfasts include:

  • Potato Waffles – smothered in salt and vinegar
  • Mushroom omelette – here is a classic example of one of mine
  • Fried Egg Sandwich
  • Oven Chip Sandwich
  • Baked Beans on Toast with Cheese (natch)

Here are some of my fried eggs, just about to go into a lovely sandwich. Presentation just does not matter when you are on your own (and still in your dressing gown)
Recently I have found a brand new contender for this list. The potato frittata. Yes, the shrink wrapped tapas tortilla (I have heard you could make them yourself but who would do such a thing?) Simply squeeze out of its wrapper into a hot frying pan, add plenty of salt and pepper and then shove between two massive slices of granary bread. Seriously!
(Look, even a shop bought one came apart on me!)

Serve with a huge, steaming mug of tea in front of the telly, where you can watch all of those funny adverts you’d never normally see for things like Foxy Bingo. I’m often quite tempted to sign up, I used to love

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playing Bingo with my Nan when I was little!

But as soon as you’ve finished you remember that you’re meant to be at work and maybe why something lighter like a yogurt or a piece of toast would have been more appropriate…

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