Domestic Goddess my arse!

These are the recipes I'm good at... quick, simple, out of the store-cupboard and onto the plate fare. I never spend more than 30 minutes faffing in the kitchen. So there.

This will be my recipe & homemadey remedy diary.

If you have those 'OMG! It's lunchtime and all I've got is a parsnip and a packet of boil in the bag rice.' moments, then you're a kindred spirit and you know that bad planning is often the mother of great food. So welcome to fast slurpy soups and 'really?' salads made from what's left in the fridge.

Never, ever believe there isn't something wonderful to make from the last 3 ingredients in your kitchen. Unless those ingredients really are fairy liquid, eggshells and dead flies.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Celebrate Our Independent Bristol Shopkeepers | buy local

I am in the middle of writing a little call to arms, to encourage Bristolians to shop the Gloucester Road this Christmas. Here for the foodies are 5 reasons to venture up Britains' longest independent high street in plenty of time for the Seasonal Scoff-fest!

1. How about plump bangers, organic birds, free-range eggs and cheese as well as more delicious deli items than Harrod's Food Hall? Try M.J. Dalton at No. 409 for locally sourced pasties & pies, W.G. Stutt at No. 226 for more traditional offal, or Dave Giles at No. 170 for organic meat & wonderful ham. If that isn't enough for you, the legendary T&PA Murray also has an amazing cheese & deli counter - stocked with every type of cheese you can think of and some you can't.

Tip | Always check with your local butcher for the best time to put in your Christmas meat order and if you're after cheese from Murray's close to the big day - be ready for long queues.

2. Only two of the best bakery shops in Bristol! The wonderful Joe's - for proper old school baked goods alongside more fancy items like Bertinet bread and seasonal cakes. Joe's also bake proper job pasties and sausage rolls fresh every day and are rammed every lunchtime so get there early. I'll have a couple of bakewell tarts if you're askin'.

Further down you'll find The Breadstore at No. 45. There is almost always a queue outside this shop at lunchtimes and Saturdays - but it is well worth the effort. Our family survey of mince pies last year voted this bakery's mincers the best in town. I promise you we left no pie - uneaten...

3.Then there's The Real Olive Company shop. This Bristol based company have a little restaurant/cafe in town and you can find them at St Nicks too. On Gloucester Road they have a little deli shop chock full of deliciousness as well as wheat free bread offerings. Bonus! Apparently Saint Raymond Blanc himself is nicking their ideas.

4. You'll also find Vietnamese, Japanese & Korean 'supermarkets' selling goodness knows what in beautiful packaging. You'll find noodles and rice of every type and flavour, miso, tofu and specialist ingredients for authentic Asian cooking - along with all the pots, pans and chopstickage you'll need to stage an alternative Turkey free celebration.  Gloucester Road also has a wonderful  Indian sweet shop which some of us would like to keep a secret. You can also find Polish, Turkish and Italian delis too.

5. Finally for this list, which is not exhaustive I admit. There is a very intriguing  new shop* just opened somewhere near the middle of this amazing street, selling wine and all things somelier to the good people of Bishopston. I spotted the perfect pair of wine glasses for my Pa, and Podge's eyes were out on stalks at the great choice of really rather good reds.

*so sorry, forgotten the name and it is waaay too chilly to charge out and check. Will update asap. xx

Don't take my word for it - hop on a 75/76/73 this weekend and come and explore this great street - don't worry about where you'll have lunch - lord we're positively bristling with coffee shops, cafes and restaurants and did I mention that on a Saturday T&PA Murray set up a bbq outside the butchers and sell burgers in a bun with onions and mustard.

You won't find Starbucks, Macdonalds, Costa Coffee, The Gap, Next, Primarni, Thorntons blah blah blandness.

What is not to love?

Sacreligious Porridge

I eat loads of porridge, and I don't have the time or the inclination to stir stir stir every morning - or the will to deal with the pots mid morning either. So I do it like this - and I implore you to have a go before you dismiss it out of hand.

All those of faint heart or traditional sticklers turn away now...

In a microwavable bowl (oh yes!) put:

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats - any will do but I like to use big organic flakes 
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 x teaspoons raisins
Now sling it in the microwave for 2 mins on high. You can adjust the proportions of juice and water once you get the hang of it. I do it all by eye now. If you like a creamier porridge then just use milk and water or all milk.

After you fish the porridge out of the machine, you can add more stuff. Please take care of your paddy paws - it'll be hot and hot things first thing can be tricky.

I chop in bannana or blueberries and sometimes some toasted sunflower seeds and pine nuts. Toasted sesame would be lovely and you can use honey too if you like - then there's yoghurt, fromage frais, creme frais to consider.

Porrige is excellent stuff - and it will keep you going until lunchtime. 

In the summer I soak my porridge overnight and dispense with the microwave - which makes it super quick and easy before work. 

Make a big pot of good coffee or your favourite tea and you are ready for ANYTHING I tell  you... 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

See in the dark carrot soup

Brrrr.... time to ditch the lunch-time sarnie and channel your inner Soup Dragon. We had this delicious pot of carrotty goodness for lunch today. The best thing about this soup is the fixings. You can change it from a well behaved,  mild mannered lunch companion to a fire spitting, hell cat you wouldn't dream of introducing to your granny, with the sprinkle of a few kitchen staples. Oh, oh, oh it's magic... you know- oh oh... 10 points if you can name the band! Oh and we scoffed it so quick I didn't take a pic but it looked as good as it tasted!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Chilli marmalade drizzle

This is super quick, tastes bloody marvelous and can be used for all sorts of things - make it drizzly for pouring over cornbread muffins that might not taste as delish as you planned. (ahem) or make it a bit thicker to go with cold meats or your lovely plump steak. It also goes good with sausages veggie or piggy.

Dig out the following:

1 red onion
butter and or olive oil to saute
2 - 3 tablespoons of orange marmalade any kind but bits in makes it look fancier
chilli flakes or fresh chilli chopped teenyweeny
water from your kettle
lemon juice

How do you do it Luli?

Glad you asked. It's easy as...

Chop your onion really small and saute it in a little butter or olive oil, or both if you like. Add the chilli flakes/chopped fresh chilli to taste. The longer you take over this little condiment the more it will reward you with caramelly yumciousness. But don't worry it tastes good even if you do it quick.

Add the marmalade and melt it down gently, to start caramalising the onion and chilli. Add some lemon juice (I like quite a lot but be careful not to overpower the other tastes - we're going for harmony and lemon juice can be a bit bossy).

Now you just add a little water, while you continue to cook - for as long as you can be bothered. More water makes a sticky, drizzle and less makes a sweet oniony jam.

This will probably make enough for one lot, but I reckon it'll keep in a screwtop jar in the fridge for a little while. 

Cornbread missiles & chilli marmalade drizzle

I once made a batch of these that went horribly wrong - so I knocked together a chilli, marmalade drizzle to disguise the bland tasting muffage and turned up to Nat and Birdo's party with a pile of sticky, rock hard uncakes.

We ate a few for form sake and lobbed the rest over the balcony onto Hunter Street (?) below. It wasn't big or clever but it was hell funny. You can use any good recipe for savoury cornbread muffins, I've included one of my favourites nicked and adapted from an old american recipe - I can't now remember where I picked it up, but it works pretty well and uses cups - I use a teacup. (That's a fib, I don't measure any of it and do it by eye - I've just dragged this old recipe out to help you along).

Friday, 12 November 2010

Allottment Swoop - visiting from a previous tumblr post...

Our dear friend Kath has got an allotment. Most weekends I imagine our Kath can be found happily digging and pulling and planting and kerfuffling on her little veggie patch - helping mother nature make real food. Over the year we have pinned our expressions to ‘mildly interested’ while listening to tales of muck shippments, allotment politics and the correct way to lay out your onions.

Damnit Cibo! pumpkin and chorizo soup

We were so hungry we woofed this down before I thought to take a photo. I will do better next time ... Here is a recipe for a super fast soup inspired by the usual lack of anything useful in the fridge and our utter desolation that our favourite lunch spot has stopped offering 'all you can eat' italian wonderment for under £7.00. NOFAIR!

Ingredients (roughly speaking)

The curvy business end of a small butternut squash, deseeded and chopped smallish
(I did peel this one for speed but you don't have to)
Two carrots, sliced
One small red onion, chopped (I often use celery and onion in combo but - oh oh no go on the celerio)
About 4cm of a chorizo sausage, sliced and diced (you can use more, I didn't have any)
cup of organge juice
table spoon of swiss bouillon powdered stock
half an apple chopped
Olive oil and butter or just olive oil (I didn't have enough - desperate times...)

Now what?

Chop your onion and put it into a large pot with the oil and melting butter on a medium heat - sweat for a few minutes, but don't worry to much if they colour up.

In the meantime chop up your carrots, pumpkin and apple and pop them into the pot to sweat it out a bit too. After a few minutes add a cup of orange juice.

Boil a kettle full and while you're waiting chop up your chorizo and chuck that into the pot, if you like chilli you can add this to the heat now.

Pour around a litre of boiling water into the pan and add the bouillon. Cover the pan and adjust the heat so that you have a lively party bubble going on. You can leave the veggies to get to know each other for around 15 - 20 mins. Enough time to let them go soft and reduce the stock.

Whiz the lot up with a hand blender and adjust the seasoning to taste. (You won't need any salt but you might like a little black pepper).

If you want to get fancy and you're the kind of goddess that has fixings in the fridge at all times - you can add creme fraiche or greek yoghurt and a few extra slices of chorizo.

We scoffed ours with a couple of frozen sausage rolls that I stuck in the oven to cook while I slung the soup together. It all tasted lovely and we were glad that it was too cold and we were too busy to go out for lunch.