Category Archives: Food

Seafood in Dill Cream Sauce with Black Spaghetti

I found a packet of black spaghetti in my excellent local farm shop, and I pounced upon it with great enthusiasm.  Black pasta is dyed with squid ink which gives it a very faint fishy flavour, an ideal and dramatic complement to a fish sauce.

I wanted to use crayfish for this recipe but there was none to be found, nor lobster neither, which would have been a lovely treat, so I settled for king prawns instead which is still a treat.

This dish needs to be served really freshly cooked so that nothing goes soggy,  so prepare the ingredients before you start cooking.

SEAFOOD IN DILL CREAM SAUCE WITH BLACK SPAGHETTI

Seafood in cream dill sauce with black spaghetti

Utensils:
1 x large pan for the spaghetti
1 x medium pan for the sauce
1 x small pan for the courgettes

Ingredients:
8-10oz / 240-300g Black Spaghetti
2oz / 60g Butter
1 x small onion – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
2 small Courgettes – cut into fine Julienne strips (skin on for colour and texture)
4 floz / 125ml White wine
4floz / 125ml Cream
3 ½ oz/ 100g Cream Cheese
½ tablespoon fresh Dill – finely chopped
4-6oz / 120-180g Prawns / crayfish / lobster – cooked

Method:
Cook the spaghetti as per instructions – probably about ten minutes
Melt the butter in the small pan
Add the courgettes and cook briefly until just cooked through.
Drain the butter off into the medium saucepan and keep the courgettes warm
Add the onion and garlic and cook on a medium heat until just soft
Add the wine and cook on a high heat to reduce down just slightly
Add the cream and whisk for one minute
Add the cream cheese and dill and whisk for one minute
Add the shellfish and courgettes and cook until everything is hot
Season to taste and serve on top of the hot, black spaghetti

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4 Comments

Filed under Entertaining, Food, Recipes

The body knows what it needs

One of my very own lymphocytes taken using a Box Brownie. Incidentally I was delighted to discover that when I downloaded this image my computer 'scanned it for viruses'

I do think that often our bodies know what food they need and sometimes crave something that will rectify a deficiency.  A yearning for milk or nuts or oranges can be an instinctive way of topping up our minerals, Vitamin C, salt or protein.  A craving for chocolate and Richard Armitage is a sure sign of the body’s need for endorphins. I expect.

Last week both the boys had three days off school with diarrhoea and vomiting. Boy the Elder vomited occasionally but loitered palely on the sofa with a volume of Keats and a lace handkerchief, whilst Boy the Younger positioned himself on the lavatory with a bucket between his knees.

I rarely get actual symptoms of anything, but feel like death as my body goes into battle with whichever primordial set of viruses the boys bring home, probably generously donated by the parents who refuse to let their children stay at home when they’re poorly.

This week, I was clearly not only awash with lymphocytes but I had also run out of my migraine tablets.  This resulted in my spending all of Sunday night, and most of Monday, moaning in pain as the rainbow triangles darted in front of my eyes whilst trying to decide whether I was going to vomit because of the virus or the migraine and whether the stomach cramps were going to confine me to the bathroom indefinitely.

As it was, I was spared the bog and bucket fandango, and the application of boiling hot water bottles to the back of my neck and head alleviated the migraine sufficiently for me to drive the boys to school.

However, it is now Tuesday night and, although I was fine this morning, I was obliged to lie down for an hour before Scouts to re-charge as the nausea had set in again.  My giblets were gurgling and rumbling like a dysfunctional lava lamp and I felt as though I needed to eat something to appease the God of Wind.

As I collected Boy the Elder from Scouts, I was handed a small piece of apple cake which they had made during the session.  The smell of freshly cooked apple called to me, the light, fragrant sponge sang to me and I knew that the only thing that would make me better was a piece of apple sponge and custard.

I ran into the Co-op, grabbed an Eve’s Pudding for One and a tin of Ambrosia Custard, shoved it into the microwave and chowed it down.

I am cured.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  You’re never alone with custard.

6 Comments

Filed under Food, Health and Fitness, Nutrition & Sensible Eating

Joy of Soup

Red Winter Soup

One of the lovely things about the darker nights and colder weather is that home-made soup is on the menu more often.

Tonight we had Red Winter Soup which packed full of Vitamin C to help ward off colds.

In our local Co-op this morning I found four tins of Chestnut Puree in the bargain bucket for only 34p each so I bought them all for future use in Chestnut and Bacon Soup

Pea and Ham Soup

With root vegetables becoming seasonally cheaper, lovely lentil and vegetable soups can be recycled for days.
Make a huge pot and on Day 1 cook some chops or chicken pieces in it.  On Day 2 add some sausages and on Day 3 eat it on its own with good bread and a chunk of decent cheese.

Raid your local butcher or delicatessen and ask them for ham bones for hearty Pea and Ham Soup.

There are still patches of new nettles out there

And of course, let us not forget that Halloween is coming up.  Don’t just carve pumpkins, scoop out the flesh and use it for Pumpkin Soup.

And the beauty is that most soup can be made from Storecupboard Ingredients!   Put Soup into the ‘Search’ box for more souper recipes.

10 Comments

Filed under Food, Leftovers, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Seasonal, Storecupboard

Some tips on growing vegetables in pots and a gardening retrospective

This evening I was waxing lyrical to a couple of friends about the ease and virtue of growing vegetables in pots.  I love home grown vegetables but sometimes there are simply not enough hours in the day to be digging and composting, improving the soil followed by yet more digging and raking. Sometimes there is more to life than a fine tilth.

The easy and effective solution to this is to grow vegetables in pots.  One can grow practically anything in a pot and the great benefit of this type of gardening is that each pot can contain a completely different soil type to get the best out of your veg.

Carrots like poor, sandy soil, so a big pot of earth mixed with sharp sand will produce a fine crop.
Cauliflowers like rich, firm, deep soil whilst
onions and garlic will grow in practically anything as long as the soil is well-drained.
A dustbin full of soil can produce half a dozen corn on the cobs.
Beans and peas (legumes) prefer a rich, light, slightly limey soil and don’t like the cold.
If you like new potatoes with your Christmas lunch, pop a few seed potatoes in now

Even better, crop rotation is easy, as all you have to do is change pots.  I always keep a notebook in which I write details of what I’ve planted in each pot and this allows for a bit of experimentation.  It is important not to grow the same plants in the same soil as the soil will become depleted and prone to disease.

There is also much scope for companion planting as you don’t have to use up valuable veg growing space with flowers.
Simply pop a pot of marigolds next to your carrots to repel aphids and carrot root fly –
onions also repel carrot fly,
oregano fends off Cabbage White butterflies,
sage is a deterrent against flea beetles, slugs and cabbage moth
and a shotgun soon sorts out the squirrels. I jest of course – a catapault is far less ostentatious.

Give it a go and pop in a few onion sets and spuds and see how you get on.  Seed packets and small plants (sets) nearly always have clear instructions on how close plants should be and it may be that you just plant one cabbage to a pot, or a couple of seed potatoes.

Have a look at the sites below to see how I fared.

https://wartimehousewife.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/garden-update

https://wartimehousewife.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/garden-update-2

3 Comments

Filed under Food, Plants, The Garden

A delicious Sausage Stew

This is a recipe for a delicious, nutritious, easy and cheap sausage stew which is just the job for warming you up on a chilly day.  This recipe serves 6 easily and uses storecupboard ingredients.  If, as in my case, there are only 2 or 3 of you, eat the stew with the sausages on day one, then eat the rest the next day either on its own with bread and cheese or add some lamb chops, chicken legs or bits of black pudding.

SAUSAGE STEW

Utensils:
1 x large saucepan or casserole dish suitable for the hob
1 x chopping board
1 x vegetable peeler

Ingredients:
a little oil
8 good sausages
1 medium onion – chopped
1 small swede or half a big one – peeled & cubed
3 medium parsnips – peeled & cubed
3 medium carrots – chopped into chunks
2 medium potatoes – chopped into chunks (I leave the skins on)
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 pint of stock – I made half beef and half chicken
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
1 tablespoon mixed herbs
1 flat tablespoon paprika
1 tin of baked beans
seasoning to taste

Method:
Heat the oil in a saucepan
Add the sausages and cooked until nicely browned
Add the onions and soften a little, adding a bit more oil if necessary
Add all the other ingredients except the baked beans
Cook on a low heat until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally (probably about ½ hour to 40 minutes)
Add the baked beans and cook for a further five minutes
Serve in big bowls

8 Comments

Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes, Seasonal, Storecupboard

Fish Cakes and Apple Crumble

Dinner last night was a pleasing combination of two old favourites.

Fish Cakes using up some leftover mashed potato and

Apple Crumble with my first gift of autumn apples

Although how such skinny boys can eat a cooked breakfast, have a two course lunch, a snack mid-afternoon and then a two course dinner is beyond me.  All height and feet I expect.

13 Comments

Filed under Food, Leftovers, Seasonal

Chicken Fritters

Tonight I needed to cook dinner, I really couldn’t be bothered and I had next to nothing in the cupboard.
But I did have half a cooked chicken and some dry goods.

I thunk and thunk and wondered what the outcome would be of making a crispy batter and shallow frying the chicken.
This is what I did and jolly nice it was too with a nice spicy aftertaste.
This serves 4 as usual.

CHICKEN FRITTERS

Dinner from bugger all

Utensils:
1 x medium mixing bowl
1 x whisk
1 x large frying pan
1 x fish slice
1 x slotted spoon
Kitchen roll / paper towel

Ingredients:
4 small chicken breasts or the equivalent cooked chicken
If using raw chicken – ¼ pint chicken stock
4oz self raising flour
½ teaspoon parsley
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ pint milk
vegetable oil for shallow frying

Method:
If using raw chicken, poach lightly in the chicken stock until cooked through and drain
Cut the chicken into chunks or strips
Put all the dry ingredients together into the bowl and blend well
Gradually whisk in the milk until it forms a thick paste
Put the chicken into the paste
Heat the oil in the frying pan until it is very hot
Fish the chicken bits out of the batter with a slotted spoon
Fry quickly in batches in the hot oil turning until the chicken is golden brown on both sides
Drain on the kitchen paper and blot to get rid of any excess oil
Serve immediately

4 Comments

Filed under Food, Leftovers, Regional, Storecupboard