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The Homemade Heart
Central Scotland
Recent Activity
Yes i really should put my carnivores to work , I hadn't thought of that! Sometimes when i have cooked a bigger chicken, Derek has retrieved small pieces of meat and I have mixed it with ham to make a risotto, or potato cakes, but more often if its a small chicken it does get thrown out. I am so glad you will be rejoining me at some point Christina, I really appreciate it X
Isn't is amazing what a visceral response we can have to food, even after many years. My husband still shudders at the memory of being forced to eat prunes at nursery school, over 45 years ago. It sounds like you have resolved to cook food that makes you happy, putting those bleaker food memories behind you x
I think your caveat 'done well' is the key. An indifferent tattie, nuked in the microwave, will never taste the same as one baked slowly in the oven! Happy to hear you are joining me this month Gina x
So lovely to hear from you lovely Linda, thank you for visiting! I haven't always been veggie, only for about 28 of the last 32 years (!) so i try not to mind about cooking meat for my family. I find lamb hard to cook, and sometimes trimming beef can really be a struggle, but I wear disposable gloves to cut up meat and that helps me a lot X
Thank you so much Sam, that is very kind of you. I am looking forward to using 'How I Cook', I have flicked through it and looks excellent. Fingers X'd for a good month of cooking x
Ha yes! I resorted to the more cowardly kitchen knife method of opening our baked potatoes! I know what you mean about parting with certain cook books, though it is good news for us charity-shop scourers! X
Thank you so much Louise. I always love hearing what other people cook x
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Welcome to the Cookery Calendar Challenge for September; running a little late this month, but just the same format as usual, which, if you would like to join the challenge this month, you will find on the Cookery Calendar Challenge page. My chosen book for August was Nigel Slater's 'Real Food', a nice hardback copy bought for a song in our local branch of W.H. Smith. Nigel Slater's writing is just fabulous, and it is for this flowing, gentle, insightful prose that I love his books. I have almost never cooked from any of the (many) Nigel Slater books I own, though I have read and been inspired by them all. His writing is poetic, but never pretentious. In Nigel Slater's books, it is ok to have a big, fat, baked potato for dinner, or a mushroom sandwich, or sausages. Real Food is divided into chunky chapters; Potatoes; Chicken, Sausages, Garlic, Bread, Cheese, Ice Cream, and Chocolate. In each chapter, Nigel introduces the main ingredient in his thoughtful, informal style, and then presents some suggestions, and recipes, to bring out the best in each. He advocates quality, sustainability, and provenance, but not in a hectoring fashion. He somehow inspires the reader to want to eat only the best quality produce that we can afford, and then do comparatively little to it. In this vein, my first selected dish was baked potatoes. I have a great fondness for baked potatoes, as they were always regarded as a winter treat when I was growing up. Not the potatoes themselves (not even in the north of Scotland, in the 1970's, was life that hard), but the baking of them. My parents ran a series of small fishing hotels in the highlands, so our ovens in the summer were used for preparing meals for the guests who stayed at the hotel. To take up oven space, and time, with some big fat spuds was not really an option in the summer. However, in the winter months, the gigantic Aga with its huge ovens was all ours, as was the massive kitchen table, which again, we couldn't really use in the summer , but in the winter months, it was this table we sat around, where did our homework, ate our meals, drew, read, argued and played with my baby brother in his high chair. During those winter months, we felt like a 'normal family', whatever our idea of that was, and Mum cooked us mince and tatties, or macaroni cheese, and lots of other homely dishes that we didn't eat in the summer. In the summer months, our dinners were a derivation of whatever was being served to the guests, or just a quick snack rustled from the larder. In the cold winter months (and they really were cold), baked potatoes, fat, floury, roasting hot, with creamy white insides giving forth hissing clouds of steam when cut open, slathered in butter, lots of salt, and perhaps some grated cheese, made a perfect dinner. My own dear family however, has never shared the same nostalgic feelings about baked potatoes, and there is an inevitable collective groan when they are presented for dinner. Even with Nigel's encouraging words in my ear, the baked potato dinner was not seen in the 'enough's as good as a feast' category by the family, and as I didn't have Nigel's confidence, to serve simply with some tasty cheese and lots of butter and salt, I reverted to form, and over compensated for the plainness by providing, or rather over-providing, fillings, salads, toppings and relishes. Thus a simple, economical dinner, became a pricey, slightly wasteful dinner, with lots of little dribs and drabs of fillings left over. I bet if Nigel had been on spud duty my carnivores would have had a different attitude... On to dish number two, and this time it was a simple roast chicken. I cook roast chicken quite a lot for the family, and this time I went for the best (or almost the best, it was only a week night after all), and roasted it, served it with new potatoes, cut into chunks, and roasted red onions. It was rather a small chicken, as only Derek and Jacob were eating it. Being a veggie, I don't eat chicken, and Isaac doesn't really like chicken unless it is enjoying at least a nodding acquaintance with some breadcrumb coating. I thought the little dish looked rather pretty and appetising, and the carnivores enjoyed it. I must confess I can never face retrieving every last morsel of meat from the bones of the chicken, so once the meal is over, the carcass is swiftly disposed of into the food waste bin. Though not a squeamish vegetarian, denuding a chicken carcass is beyond me. I really like 'Real Food'. Like an inspiring teacher at school, who somehow teaches you without your ever noticing, Nigel helps you make the right decisions in the kitchen and cook with calm ease, which is what we all want on a week night when we just want to feed the family decent food with not too much fuss. My chosen book for September is 'How I Cook' by Skye Gyngell. I picked up this lovely hardback in the charity shop recently, drawn to its pleasing size, the very charming photograph of slightly tarnished silver cutlery on the front, and the double ribbon marker. Yes I really am that shallow. If you joined me last month, thank you. If you would like to join the challenge this month, this is what to do: The challenge is simple: the first week of every month, select a cookery book from your shelf, and cook two new recipes from it. The recipes can be for any meal. Cakes and bakes are excluded, but puddings are included. Don't worry about photographs; if you haven't taken a photograph of the dish, post a photograph of the recipe book you used. Similarly, you are welcome to share a recipe if you wish, but there is no pressure to do so. This project is more about the process of reconnecting with your cookery book collection, than about recipe sharing or food photography. At the beginning of the following month, blog about the recipes you have used, and announce your chosen cookery book for the month ahead. This is an ongoing project, it's never too late to get involved, and everyone is very welcome. I would appreciate a link back to this Cookery Calendar Challenge post in your post. Grab the Cookery Calendar Challenge badge to display on your blog too, if you like (just copy and paste the code on to your dashboard to display). You can also join via Instagram using hashtag #cookerycalendarchallenge (you will find me on Instagram @penny.homemadeheart ) An InLinkz Link-up Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2017 at The Homemade Heart
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Hello Jayne, thank you so much for visiting and leaving such an interesting comment. I do hope you come back with your recipes in October, I would love to hear what you make x
It would be delightful if you joined next month, but no pressure! I actually love fish curry, and fish stew. X
That is funny Christina! Yes I agree about the little tomatoes, I eat a few from the bowl on the counter every time I walk past x
Wise woman! X
I have a feeling i may have his Veg somewhere, must have a look for it and see if I waem to it a little more x
I do know what you mean Amy! Love Nigel though, and can't really understand why I haven't cooked from his books more! X
This sounds like the perfect book for you! X
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Welcome to the Cookery Calendar Challenge for August. If you would like to join the challenge this month, please take a quick look at the Cookery Calendar Challenge page, which will tell you everything you need to know. My chosen recipe book for July was Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall's 'Light and Easy' Here it is lurking innocently amongst a pile of other recipe books on my (overcrowded) shelf. This book is very 'worthy', as I suspected, but also rather jolly too, with beautiful end papers, and delightful colour pencil illustrations throughout. However I feel these little touches are there to sweeten the pill; make no mistake, Hugh is out to elucidate, educate, and generally bang the drum. There are 9 chapters, from Breakfast through Baking, Meat, Salad and finally, Treats. There is a lengthy introduction, where Hugh explains that we are all eating too much wheat and dairy, and encourages the reader to think more widely about alternatives, and use his book as a resource for eating more healthily. So far, so laudable. My first selected recipe was Green Bean, Tomato and Lentil Salad. Lots of my favourite ingredients in this one; I love puy lentils, and the squeak of green beans against my teeth never fails to bring pleasure. For this recipe, puy lentils are simmered with bay leaf and garlic, then drained and tossed with oil and a little seasoning and set aside to cool. The green beans are briefly cooked in boiling water, rinsed and set aside, and then combined with the lentils, halved cherry tomatoes, olives, and a simple dressing is made with oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard and seasoning. Knowing my dear family as I do, I wouldn't dream of subjecting them to this legume and veg-heavy dish, and instead made it for lunch when a friend visited. It was full of texture and flavour, and made a filling meal when served with some crusty bread (oops, sorry about the extra wheat Hugh). As we are both vegetarian, we thoroughly enjoyed this lunch, and I was full up for several hours afterwards. My second dish was Fish and Tomato curry; another easy and very flavourful dish. A brown onion is fried off in olive oil; ginger, garlic, curry paste and cinnamon are added, and fried a little, then the mixture is loosened off with passatta and coconut milk, and seasoned with salt, pepper and sugar. The fish is cut into smallish pieces and cooks in the sauce. The curry is served with rice, and finished with a scattering of nigella seeds and a squeeze of lime juice. Very delicious and full of flavour; the carnivores enjoyed it and awarded it a single green tick (single green tick= nice, would eat again). Hugh's suggestion of 500g of white fish feeding 3-4 people was unrealistic for my hungry family, but doubling quantities was not a problem. Overall, I find this book hard to criticise; the recipes are all full of flavour, and, as the title suggests, 'light and easy'. I just can't escape the uneasy feeling that I am being Food Hectored, and as I can't stand being told what to do by anyone, in any walk of life, I don't think that Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall and I are ever really destined to get along in the kitchen. ...even though the recipes are good. ...even though all the advice is scientifically sound. ...even though Hugh is no doubt one of the most well-meaning people on the planet. ...even though I would probably lose two stones if I ate solely from this book for a month (actually, there's an idea...) For the present, Hugh will stay on my kitchen shelf, but I secretly suspect that in a recipe book cull at some point in the near future, he will probably be heading for the local charity shop. Alternatively, I could try to act like a mature adult and cook some more from this book before I make up my mind. My chosen recipe book for August is Nigel Slater's 'Real Food'. I own quite a few Nigel Slater books, but rarely cook from them, reading them more like food-novels than recipe books. This month should change that I hope. If you joined me last month, thank you. If you would like to join the challenge this month, this is what to do: The challenge is simple: the first week of every month, select a cookery book from your shelf, and cook two new recipes from it. The recipes can be for any meal. Cakes and bakes are excluded, but puddings are included. Don't worry about photographs; if you haven't taken a photograph of the dish, post a photograph of the recipe book you used. Similarly, you are welcome to share a recipe if you wish, but there is no pressure to do so. This project is more about the process of reconnecting with your cookery book collection, than about recipe sharing or food photography. At the beginning of the following month, blog about the recipes you have used, and announce your chosen cookery book for the month ahead. This is an ongoing project, it's never too late to get involved, and everyone is very welcome. I would appreciate a link back to this Cookery Calendar Challenge post in your post. Grab the Cookery Calendar Challenge badge to display on your blog too, if you like (just copy and paste the code on to your dashboard to display). You can also join via Instagram using hashtag #cookerycalendarchallenge (you will find me on Instagram @penny.homemadeheart ) An InLinkz Link-up Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at The Homemade Heart
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That is very funny! Sometimes D goes to the shops for ingredients for a meal at the weekend and manages to spend as much as I do on shoppingfor a week! I have to rinse, rinse, rinse tinned chickpeas, usually with my eyes closed as that gummy water around them makes me feel so queasy, but once they are rinsed I am ok. X
Well,according to my carnivore you couldn't find a better use for it! (Though they also love a slice of black pudding with a poached egg, perched on top of a smoked haddock risotto!) x
Well I can only vouch for the dressing/marinade, which was lovely, but the n looked very nice too! Thanks as ever for visiting Amy X
I think they are just honest, but we are a pretty open bunch here, so I just need to take it on the chin (then cry in to the dirty dishes later!) . My oldest is away at the moment, and already there is a change in what I am making for the rest of us, so each individual definatly brings their influence to bear on what is cooked and eaten. I see lots of changes ahead (food no doubt the least of them) as the boys grow uo and leave home. X
Well that is encouraging, I hope I end up feeling as positive about 'Light and Easy' by the end of the month! X
Oh that's funny Gillian, as I get older I find that level of high passion rather exhausting, whereas when I was 19 or 20 I would have been right in to it. Will see how I get on. Yes to the dressing with baked potato and green salad, that would be delicious X
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Welcome to the Cookery Calendar Challenge for July. If you would like to join the challenge this month, please take a quick look at the Cookery Calendar Challenge page, which will tell you everything you need to know. My chosen book for June was 'The National Trust Cookbook'. Over the years, there have been many National Trust cookbooks; this particular edition is the most recent, from 2016. The National Trust currently has around 200 cafes, and each café has some dishes or treats associated with the location, for example Churchill's stew is served at Chartwell; Beatrix Potter's family plum cake is served at the café at Hill Top. This makes the book quite fascinating, and as someone who always loves to hear the stories behind food, the stories and recipes combined really appealed to me. The book is divided seasonally. Within each section there are soups, savoury dishes, puddings, and bakes. There are many delicious, homely recipes within this book, and a high proportion of vegetarian dishes. It is a good, solid, reliable book, which I enjoyed reading, and cooking from, and one which I think is destined to become a favourite. My first chosen recipe was Roast honey-mustard chicken. Chicken breasts are marinated in a yogurt mix (recipe below), and the marinade is then spooned over the chicken breasts in a roasting tin, where the marinade becomes a sauce, or coating. The chicken is served on a salad of new potatoes, green beans, red pepper, courgette, all of which are steamed or fried, depending on what suits, making a colourful, crunchy, warm salad. There should be chickpeas in the salad too, but I omitted them as they are considered the work of the devil by the carnivores of the family, though personally I absolutely love their flavour and texture. To me, this was a perfect family dinner; it was healthy, colourful, easy to prepare, and looked, I thought, rather pretty when dished up. It was also ideal for the resident vegetarian (me) as I could eat the warm salad without the chicken. It enjoyed a lukewarm reception from the family (about the same temperature as the warm salad in fact). I would say a grudging single green tick (single green tick= 'ok, would eat again'). This was a little disappointing, but it wasn't an outright rejection, and I did gain a super-simple, delicious recipe for marinade, which I could happily eat with a spoon, it is so good. Marinade This marinade could also be used as a dip, a baked potato filling, or a salad dressing. 2 tsp wholegrain mustard 4 tsp runny honey 1 tsp white wine vinegar 2 tbsp natural yogurt 1 garlic clove, finely crushed 2 tsp vegetable oil 2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley salt and pepper Whisk all the ingredients together until well combined. My second selected recipe was another seasonal warm salad, though as they were served a couple of weeks apart, this was not quite as repetitive a it sounds! This dish had lots of winning ingredients as far as the carnivores were concerned: black pudding, bacon, and fried bread croutons, served on salad leaves (nice and easy, just tip them out of the bag), topped with blue cheese, and scattered with quartered hard boiled eggs. The bacon lardons were fried off with sliced leeks, and the black pudding was meant to be fried too, but I grilled it instead, and only reluctantly fried off the bread croutons in a little oil - just a bit too much frying for my liking. There was a simple vinaigrette dressing for the salad too; the whole dish presented a variety of flavours and textures, with plenty of protein for hungry carnivores. Thankfully this dish went down well, and earned a respectable single green tick. I suggested that next time I might bake the croutons in the oven rather than fry, but this was met with emphatic cries: 'No!' 'They're my favourite bit!' 'Don't bake them, they will taste boring' Quite a successful month for the Cookery Calendar Challenge, thank goodness, I felt I needed a bit of a break after the rejections from May and June. My chosen book for July is Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall's 'Light and Easy' I feel I have circled round Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall rather warily for years. He is so fervent about food production and so on (all very laudable of course), that I feel a little overawed by his persona and values (this springs to mind). The Cookery Calendar Challenge is the perfect opportunity to dust off this worthy volume and actually use a couple of Hugh's recipes. If you joined me last month, thank you. If you would like to join the challenge this month, this is what to do: The challenge is simple: the first week of every month, select a cookery book from your shelf, and cook two new recipes from it. The recipes can be for any meal. Cakes and bakes are excluded, but puddings are included. Don't worry about photographs; if you haven't taken a photograph of the dish, post a photograph of the recipe book you used. Similarly, you are welcome to share a recipe if you wish, but there is no pressure to do so. This project is more about the process of reconnecting with your cookery book collection, than about recipe sharing or food photography. At the beginning of the following month, blog about the recipes you have used, and announce your chosen cookery book for the month ahead. This is an ongoing project, it's never too late to get involved, and everyone is very welcome. I would appreciate a link back to this Cookery Calendar Challenge post in your post. Grab the Cookery Calendar Challenge badge to display on your blog too, if you like (just copy and paste the code on to your dashboard to display). You can also join via Instagram using hashtag #cookerycalendarchallenge (you will find me on Instagram @penny.homemadeheart ) An InLinkz Link-up Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2017 at The Homemade Heart
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Thanks Jennifer, lovely to see you here X
Wow, two hours of yoga is long! Good luck finishing your current quilt X
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2017 on A quilt for yoga class at The Homemade Heart