Sunday, 1 February 2015

Recipe Clippings February 2015

Many thanks to everyone who took part in the first Recipe Clippings blog event.  I'm delighted so many of you share my wish to make the recipes from the cuttings that we all collect.  Here is the link to January's Recipe Clippings where you can see the variety of recipes posted.

There are a number of ways you can join in and cook up the recipes from your #RecipeClippings

Make a recipe from a magazine/newspaper clipping or note:

  • post a photograph and the recipe, or a link to a recipe, on your blog and add to the InLinkz linky at the bottom of this post. Link to Farmersgirl Kitchen in your blog post and include the #RecipeClippings logo OR
  • post a photograph and description on Instagram tagging FarmersgirlCook and using #RecipeClippings OR
  • post a photograph and description on Twitter tagging @FarmersgirlCook and using #RecipeClippings OR

  • You may post recipes you have clipped from magazines, newspapers or have written down from friends and family.Please credit the author of the recipe or ask permission.
  • Please say where the recipe came from.
  • Maximum three entries per month.
  • I will re-share any posts and/or photos that are tagged
  • Recipes must be added to the linky by the 28th of each month.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Three Slow Cooked Citrus Recipes and an Omelette Arnold Bennet (don't ask!)

There's something rather nice about the sharp flavour of citrus after the rich foods eaten in December.  Many thanks to the four bloggers who joined the Slow Cooked Challenge for January, even though one naughty blogger cheated (no change there then!)

Slow Cooking champ Lucy from Baking Queen 74 brings us a lovely fresh Slow Cooker Malaysian- Style Veggie Curry with Lime

I would describe this, Slow Cooker Pork with Star Anise and Orange from Gingey Bites, as a hug on a plate.  A rich slowly cooked meal with warming spice and the sweet zing of orange, just perfect for the cold weather we have been having recently.

Lamb Shanks have such an amazing flavour and are made for slow cooking.  Sarah has been busy in her Kitchen Shed (Tales from the Kitchen Shed) again and brings us a recipe featuring that January citrus favourite the Seville Orange!  Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks with Seville Oranges and Marmalade could easily grace a dinner party plate or make a great alternative to a roast for Sunday lunch.

This is Dom's Omelette Arnold Bennet here is what Dom said on his blog Belleau Kitchen:

" I am entering this recipe into the Slow Cooked Challenge hosted so beautifully by Janice from Farmersgirl KitchenThe theme this month is soup but i've bent the rules of this challenge so many times I think Janice has given up caring... I will no doubt be making a soup at some stage this month but until I do..."

Soup?  No, Dom it was 'Citrus', even a wee squeeze of lemon on your smoked haddock would have done it, and then you didn't even add it to the Linky!!  You might wonder why I don't disqualify Dom, well it's because (shhh don't tell anyone) sometimes I cheat at Random Recipes ;-)

Next month there will be no theme, so bring me all and any slow cooked recipes, the linky will go up on Sunday. 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Macarons, Bites, Bags, Hot Chocolate and Freekeh on my Kitchen Table

It's time to share with you some of the goodies that I have been tasting, testing and enjoying over the last month, First up are these fantastic macarons from Cake-Cetera.

Just imagine a box full of 12 perfect macarons dropping through your letterbox, what a treat!

Pauline was inspired to set up Cake-Cetera after losing her mum to cancer. While her mum was in hospital she was shocked to find that flowers were banned from the wards. She found that most people brought in cake instead and so Cake-Cetera was born in late 2011.

Originally making and delivering cakes from home in Glasgow, Cake-cetera are delighted to now extend deliveries nationwide and are committed to bring you more amazing goodies direct to your door.

The box of 12 French Macarons I received for review were in perfect condition when they arrived, there were two of each flavour: Vanilla, Pistachio, Lemon, Coffee, Raspberry and Chocolate. The chocolate macarons are to die for and the other flavours were pretty delicious too.

Box of 12 French Macarons £12.00 with next day delivery £5.95 9/10

This time last year we were just about to start Operation Dry Rot, when our house was ripped apart and cooked for a month with the microwave, a single ring and my slow cooker.  One of the things I discovered during this time was Bannisters' Farm frozen Baked Potatoes which I highly recommend when you are pushed for time.

This time Bannisters' Farm have sent me some little mini nibbling potatoes, Bannisters' Farm Bites.  They are stuffed with all kinds of tasty things.  I loved the Cheese and Jalapeno Mini Loaded Potato Skins, they were really tasty, not too hot and went brilliantly with sausages.  These little stuffed potatoes would also make a nice canape at a party, and would be ideal at a barbeque.  Children are going to love them, particularly the less spicy Cheese and Smoked Bacon or Cheese and Onion.

Bannisters' Bites around £2.50 for 10 Bites 9/10

With food waste in the UK continuing to grow and consumers throwing away more fruit and vegetables than ever before, fresha®, the revolutionary new technology from Fresh n’ Smart®, is now offering households across the country a natural way of keeping groceries ‘fresha®’ for longer.

As the average family wastes nearly £601 a month on food fresha® bags aim to help reduce food waste and keep supermarket bills down. Using a special blend of natural minerals, it slows down the natural ageing process and helps to prevent moisture and bacteria forming on fruit and vegetables keeping food fresher for 25% longer. Thefresha® bag slows the ripening process naturally and creates a breathable environment for your salad, broccoli, bananas and much more. I tried the fresha® bags with three different vegetables.  I didn't do much with potatoes, no problems but they still started sprouting, mushrooms were not successful as they started to sweat, however I did manage to keep some spinach leaves in perfect condition for nearly two weeks.  So I think you probably need to choose which fruit and veg you save in the Fresha bags.  It would have been good to have a guide to which are most suitable.

Available online from with a RRP of £3.99,  packs of 20   7/10

These Cocoa Loco Citrus Infused Hot Chocolate Spoons were a Christmas present and perfect for the cold weather we have been having.  I rarely drink hot chocolate but this dark chocolate and lime flavour made with finest chocolate from the Dominican Republic could definitely convert me!  

Cocoa Loco Citrus Infused Hot Chocolate Spoons are £3.99 for three 10/10

Freekeh is the name for the roasting process (not the wheat) and is made from processed durum wheat, harvested whist still young, soft and green.  Traditionally the stalks are roasted and smoked over open wood fires to preserve nutritional value and green taste before being hulled providing Freekeh with its distinctive smoky aroma.  Freekeh has three times as much fibre as brown rice, is low carb, low Gi and will keep you feeling full for longer.  It can be used instead of rice or couscous in Middle-Eastern recipes, salads, vegetarian burgers, risottos, pilaffs and paellas.

Merchant Gourmet have made Freekeh really accessible by producing it in a 'ready to eat' pouch along with some other store cupboard staples: Grans, Red Rice and Quinoa Mix, Ready to Eat Spelt and Lentil Du Berry Porcini and Thyme.

I made a Freekeh pilaff with some peppers, mushrooms and left over lamb.  It was very tasty and very quick to use, I didn't get any smoky taste and, to be honest, I thought it tasted, and had the texture of,  the pot barley that we used to buy in  wholefood shops in the 1970s and costs around £2.99 for 1kg, although obviously it is not ready to eat.   I'd like to try the Freekeh in a salad as I can see how that would be really tasty and filling.

Merchant Gourmet Ready to Eat Freekeh costs £1.99 for 250g 7/10

I hope you enjoyed reading about the products that I've had on my kitchen table this month, I was not paid for these reviews and all opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Asian Spiced Shoulder of Lamb, Mango Quark Cheesecake and the Aldi Challenge

Asian Spiced Shoulder of Lamb with Chantenay Carrots and Garlic Cream Potatoes

The last time I featured Aldi products it was to showcase some of their top of the range frozen foods, this time I've been asked to take part in the Aldi Challenge. The Aldi Challenge is an initiative to ensure that every shopper can enjoy January, if you shop at Aldi  you will still have money to spare for enjoying new activities and eating well.

Here is my shopping comparison, I couldn't believe how much I saved.

  • The Rolled Shoulder of Lamb at Aldi was Scotch Lamb with the QMS mark on it and the comparative lamb at the major supermarket was 'British' Lamb with the Red Tractor.  Generally Scotch Lamb is more expensive than British Lamb. 
  • The ice cream I bought at Aldi was a named brand and the comparative tub of ice cream was top of the range own brand. 

I first saw this recipe demonstrated by Jacqueline O'Donnell, of The Sisters Restaurant, for Quality Meat Scotland.  She kindly gave me a copy of the recipe and says "this dish is worth all the effort in time for maximum taste" I would certainly agree with that. 

Asian Spiced Shoulder of Lamb Serves 6 -8

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1.6 kg boned and rolled Scotch lamb shoulder
2 onions, halved and cut into half moons
2 tbsp grated fresh root ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 red chillies, both de-seeded, one chopped and one thinly sliced (I used one dried chilli)
1 tbsp soft brown sugar, plus 1 tsp
3 star anise
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, then bruised
2 litres lamb stock (I used 1.5 litres in the Slow Cooker as it doesn't evaporate the same)
1½ tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp fish sauce
Juice 2 limes
big handful mint leaves, torn
handful basil leaves

1. Using a large deep oven proof dish, slow cooker, Aga or warming drawer
2. Place the lamb and all the other ingredients into which ever appliance you are using for cooking, 
3. Put in the oven at 140C for 4-6 hours or 8-10 hours in the slow cooker/crockpot.
4. Once it is fork tender,  remove the lamb from the dish and lay onto several layers of cling film, roll up tightly. For best results refrigerate the lamb overnight, wrapped in cling film.
5. Allow to rest whilst you reduce the stock in the pot by at least 2/3 adjusting the flavour to your liking  I also chilled the stock overnight before reducing, this meant I could remove a thick layer of fat.
6. Use all the same ingredients, however you always have to taste & try to get the balance right in Asian/Vietnamese cooking
7. To serve slice lamb very thickly, through the cling film, then remove the film and any string holding the rolled lamb together.  As I had chilled the lamb, I then placed the slices in an ovenproof dish, spooned over a little of the reduced stock, cover with foil and reheat in the oven for 20 minutes at 160C.  
8. To serve, carefully lift the lamb slices onto the plate and and spoon the reduced sauce over the top serve with either rice or potatoes.

I served the Asian Spiced Lamb with Chantenay carrots and potatoes sliced, dotted with garlic butter and covered with single cream. The lamb fell apart and tasted fantastic, the flavours of all the spices had amalgamated and it was the flavour of the lamb that dominated. I have also used this technique of cling film wrapping with brisket cooked in the slow cooker and it works equally as well, it's a really dinner party winner too as you can prepare the meat the day before.

Mango Quark Cheesecakes 

250g quark
1 tbsp single cream (optional)
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 mango
2 small brioche rolls

1. Cut pieces of the brioche to fit base of 4 large or 6 small ramekins. Mix all ingredients except mango until fully combined and pour evenly into the ramekins.

2. Cut the mango and add a few pieces to each pot. Cover the pots with foil and bake in a Bain Marie (roasting tin filled with enough boiling water to come half way up the side of the ramekins) at 160C for 30 minutes until firm.

3.Remove from the hot water, remove the foil and cool, then chill in the fridge for at least two hours. top with the remaining mango and serve.

This recipe is all my own,  I used the mango and brioche rolls from Aldi and some other ingredients I had in the fridge and larder.  This is a light cheesecake which is not too sweet with most of the sweetness coming from the ripe mango. 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Pesto Chicken Macaroni Soup - Recipe Clippings

This is my entry for the January Recipe Clippings blog event, read more about it on the Recipe Clippings page.  I haven't quite got round to cutting out this recipe for future reference, it's part of 10 ways with Chicken Soup in the February 'Eat In' magazine.  There's a base soup recipe which you then change to make the different recipes, I chose to make the Pesto, Chicken, Macaroni Soup.  I replaced the macaroni with wholewheat fusilli and reduced the amount of pesto by half otherwise no changes.

Pesto, Chicken Macaroni Soup
Serves 4

1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 carrot, quartered and sliced
2 celery sticks, finely sliced
2 waxy potatoes, diced (skin on)
500g chicken thigh fillets
2 chicken stock cubes
2 dried bay leaves
240g macaroni
200g green pesto

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a high heat.  Saute the onions, carrot, celery and potatoes for 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the chicken, stock cubes bay leaes and 1.5 ligres boiling water.  Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface, for 30 mintues or until the chicken and vegetables are cooked. Discard the bay leaves.
3. Remove the chicken to a chopping board and cool slightly, finely shred, then return to the soup with the macaroni. Cook for 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in the pesto. Season and serve.

The soup was really filling and had a lovely flavour, it was ideal to take to work for lunch and is hearty enough to make an excellent main meal with lots of crusty bread. 

#Recipe Clippings

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

3 Super Creative Sandwiches and a Pizzette!

Have you seen the 2015 food trends hot list?  Creativity, contract and convenience are the new watch words on the food scene this year and as we are becoming a nation of grazers, quick, portable and smaller Portioned foods on the go are replacing traditional meal occasions.

Adventurous sandwiches are tipped to become a hot trend in 2015 and Warburtons have asked me to come up with three creative sandwiches made with their Sandwich Thins to share with you.

Warburtons are a family bakery established in 1876 and actively run by the fifth generation of the Warburton family.  Warburtons Sandwich Thins come in four different types: White, Half and Half, Brown and Seeded and as an extra bonus, they are only 100 Kcal per thin.

First up is a real gourmet sandwich, this would be equally good for vegetarians without the chicken as there is so much flavour in the rest of the ingredients.

Chicken, Avocado, Mozzarella, Pepper and Spinach
1 chicken breast, 2 avocados, 1 Mozzarella ball and about half a jar of peppers and a handful of baby spinach will make four sandwiches. 

1. Spread both sides of the Warburtons Sandwich Thins with mayonnaise.
2. Cover with slices of cooked chicken breast.
3. Top with slices of ripe avocado (if you are not going to eat the sandwich straight away, dip the avocado slices in lemon juice to prevent browning)
4. Add some slices of mozzarella and drizzle with a flavoured oil (optional)
5. Now add some Antipasti roasted peppers (drain most of the oil off on kitchen paper first)
6. Top with a few baby spinach leaves and cover with the top of the Warburtons Sandwich Thin

Sandwich two is ideal for children but would also make a great breakfast or post-exercise snack.  I used the Warburtons Brown Sandwich Thins for this healthy and filling snack.

Banana, Honey and Almond Butter Sandwich Thins
1. Spread one side of the Sandwich Thin with Almond Butter (peanut or other butter would also be good)
2. Top with a sliced banana, drizzle with honey and place the top of the Thin on top and cut in half.

Serve with milk and a comic!

Now for something warming, we ate these melts for lunch but they would also work for breakfast or supper, using chicken sausages means they are lower in fat, the beans add fibre and you don't need much cheese to create the 'melt' effect.

Sausage and Bean Thin Melts
Serves 3
4  cooked sausages (I used Heck Food Chicken Italia sausages), sliced
200g baked beans
50g mature cheddar

1. Heat the oven to 200C
2. Place the thicker base slice of the Sandwich Thins on a baking tray.
3. Top with sliced sausages, beans and thin slices of cheese.
4. Add the top of the thin.
5. Place another baking tray on top and put in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melting and oozing out of the sides.

My thoughts on Warburtons Sandwich Thins

  • They make excellent toast, we had some Thin toast with soup
  • Warburtons Sandwich Thins are handy to keep in the freezer and I was able to defrost them quickly in the microwave. They don't take long to defrost even without the microwave, if you lay them out on a wire rack. 
  • I took the Chicken, Avocado etc sandwich to work for my lunch and, although the oil from the peppers had seeped through to make the base a little damp, the Thins did not disintegrate as some breads would have done.  The sandwich still tasted great, but I would recommend eating them fairly soon after making. 
  • I did go a bit Sandwich Thin mad at the weekend and even turned them into 'Pizzettes', or little pizzas, usually I would use muffins (English Muffins) so these were a nice change and make a thin and crispy Pizzette.

I was supplied with Warburtons Sandwich Thins, received expenses and payment to develop these sandwich ideas. However, I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own. 

Monday, 19 January 2015

Easy White Chocolate Eton Mess Ice Cream

Ice Cream in January, with all the snow and ice? What am I thinking about?  Indeed, I am shivering just looking at the picture, however it's nice to have a change from the rich fare we have been eating in December.

This particular ice cream is the result of me defrosting the freezer, you see I found a small carton of strawberry puree from summer 2012!  I let it thaw and had a taste and it was fine, but needed to be used.  I also had a single white chocolate meringue left over from New Year, a teeny tiny bar of Green and Blacks White Chocolate and  a tub of Creme Fraiche in the fridge, it was either Eton Mess or Eton Mess Ice Cream.

Easy White Chocolate Eton Mess Ice Cream

250g ripe strawberries
100g caster sugar
300g Creme Fraiche
1  left over meringue crushed into chunks not powder
25g white chocolate

1. To make the strawberry puree, hull the strawberries and crush them with the sugar, either in a food processor or with a fork, it will take you a bit longer but you do get some nice chunky bits of strawberry.

2. Mix the strawberry puree with the creme fraiche, cut the chocolate into chunks and mix it into the strawberry mixture.   Put in an ice cream maker to churn or put the bowl into the freezer until the ice cream is firm.  I would recommend using a shallow flat dish as it will freeze quicker.

3. Take the ice cream out of the freezer every 30-45 minutes and break up the ice crystals by whisking with a fork.  The third time you do this, the ice cream should be firm enough to mix in the crushed meringue, then leave it to freeze until firm.

4. To serve, take the ice cream out of the freezer and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes until it is soft enough to scoop.

As I used half-fat creme fraiche, the ice cream was more crystallised.  You get a better result with full fat products but it is still delicious. 

I'm entering this ice cream for the double-bubble blog event We Should Cocoa/Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream being jointly run by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog and Kavita at Kavey Eats.

I am also entering this for the No Waste Food Challenge run by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary.  The strawberry puree I used was rescued from the freezer and the single meringue was left over from New Year.
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