As many of you will be aware the Tour De France passed through my home town on Sunday, sadly due to a small monster taking possession of my bed by kicking me in the back I was in no fit state for standing around for hours and had to be content watching on the TV. However I did get to enjoy some cycling earlier in the weekend at the Huddersfield Criterium. Basically it is a series of races where they ride on a circuit for a set length of time, in this case two adult races lasting 45 minutes and one hour plus in between them a junior race which lasted 30 minutes .
I had just finished work and it was raining so I did not stay to watch the full event but I sincerely hope they make it an annual event.
The Autumn or Fall for my Transatlantic friends has descended and it is once more time to dig out my family Parkin recipe and get some made and going gooey in the tin ready for Bonfire night but really it is perfect for any winters evening. Click on my assistant to link back to the page where I show you how to make this family favourite…
Another one of those really easy dishes that don’t really require much in the way of preparation and save on the washing up, here’s what you need…
Okay so basically you need pork sausages, potates, carrots, parsnips, onions or shallots, garlic,apples and any other veg you personally want to include plus a bunch of Thyme.
The ultimate combination pork sausage and apples, my preference is pink lady apples but everyone has their own favourite and it would work equally well with braeburn or dessert apples, first thing to do is slice and dice all the veg including the apples removing the cores, if you want to leave your potatoes and root veg in larger chunks it is worth part boiling them first just to get them started. I like to skin my garlic and chop each clove in half but for those who are not so keen on it you can leave it out.
Once everything is chopped place it all in a big casserole dish or roasting tray…
Spread a few sprigs of thyme around the dish and drizzle with oil, as you can see I am using the Thyme infused oil I made from the thyme left over the previous time I made it for extra flavour. The into the middle of the oven for around an hour at gas mark 6
As you can see some parts do get a little crispy so it is important to go give it all a stir round half way through. Once it is finished remove the woody thyme stalks and transfer to a serving bowl.
Then let every one dive in, in my house I serve with gravy and yorkshire puddings, and I have to be honest there is always a fight over the sausages no matter how many I put it, it is my daughters dinner of preference when she stays over.
First things first thank you all so much for your kind words my dad is on the mend now and though we may never know exactly what caused the complications am just thankful they have been sorted, poor little Charlie continues to put up an incredibly brave battle against not only the Cancer but also the Pneumonia which is holding up his chance of a possible miracle (a slim one we know but miracles can happen) for anyone on twitter Charlie’s parents have a twitter account also for his charity Cords 4 Life UK please give them a follow on @CordsforLife all we can do is pray and help raise awareness so others do not have to suffer this agony.
This is a soup that is so easy it is ridiculous, it takes a little time but is well worth it and the time it does require it manages fine by itself so you can do other things. Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup.
First things first halve, de-seed and score a butternut squash. Place the two halves on a baking tray…
then either drizzle with olive oil or for special occasions I smear with butter and pop in the oven gas mark 6 until roasted time will depend on size of your squash.
While that is roasting you can get the other half of the soup under way by peeling some sweet potatoes and boiling the kettle to make some veg stock.
Now I confess I haven’t used any actual measurements today as basically I was using up the sweet potatoes what I would say is that consider the actual size of your squash and match with potato then use enough stock to get it to the consistency you want, this soup can be very thick be warned so having extra stock handy to thin it can be useful.
Boil up the sweet potato and simmer until lovely and soft then once your squash is ready grab it from the oven.
Tip away and drain any excess oil/butter then scoop out all the flesh.
Be careful doing this I know saying it is hot sounds obvious but the steam coming off it can get you just as much as the squash itself. Once you have all the flesh out add it to the sweet potatoes and blitz it all up. For an everyday healthy soup season and add more stock if required to thin it then enjoy but for a special treat add some single cream to make it even more delicious. This really is a favourite in my house and is great to freeze – if you can hold onto some long enough to get it in the freezer.
Okay today I am sharing my mum’s Parkin recipe this is partly from a self reason that whenever I write it down I lose it so if I publish it here I will know where to find it. Parkin is traditionally made for Bonfire/Guy Fawkes Night here in the UK. Yup we have special food to eat while we stand in the cold watching an effigy of a man burn. But it is so good why only eat it one night a year plus I found three bags of oatmeal in the cupboard so here we go again it is really simple to make.
First gather those ingredients…
4 cups of Plain Flour (think that is all purpose flour in the US – use the one you would use for pastry rather than sponges)
4 cups Medium Oatmeal
1 cup sugar
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp bicarb
4 oz margarine
6 tbsp golden syrup
2 cups milk
Mix together all your dry ingredients
Then add the margarine or butter if you prefer until it resembles breadcrumbs,this is the rather messy bit
then after rubbing in that lot make a well in the middle and add the golden syrup and milk..
Then give it a good stir or have your assistant do it…
Once you have ensured all the dry mix is well and truly stirred it it will look a little like porridge but the smell will be amazing already
Next step is grease and line your tin, you can either use loaf tins or I prefer using a bigger tin and making a big slab – I do have one tip here for you if like me you like having proper butter at home when you finish it or unwrap it to put it in the butter dish save the wrappers just fold them up and keep them in the fridge and when you need to grease anything just grab one use and throw – it save using extra greaseproof just to rip up and use and it means you are less likely to over grease.
Tip the mixture into your lined tin and level it out
Then into the oven cook for half an hour on gas mark 4 then turn down to 2 until its done which will be about another half hour.
Remove from oven and place on rack to cool before removing greaseproof paper.
Divide up into squares…
Then place in a tin. A metal tin is better I am experimenting as I only had a plastic one by wrapping tin foil round them. The longer you can leave it in the tin in theory the sticker it gets but that is if it lasts that long – it can seem a little dry to those not used to Parkin but it also tastes lovely served warm with custard over it.
So that’s my mums Parkin recipe please if you decide to try it out let me know what you think.
Well as promised we have a little trip into my kitchen today. Now let me be quite clear if you are expecting Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey you are going to be sadly mistaken, its just me and my assistant the monster cooking food we love. So here we go…
First select your vegetables, I confess I decided not to add the onion as I decided that it would be too much with the leeks. This is a great idea for the end of the week, not matter how much supermarkets tell us the quality of food has improved I think we all know that veg does not last as long as it used to. If you are lucky enough to have green fingers and a garden or allotment then you have a head start on the rest of us though we are going to attempt veg again this year lets just hope for less rain.
So you have your veg now choppy choppy choppy time…
I like to have everything ready before I start I hate cooking then half way through needing to stop to weigh something or dig it out of the cupboard. Now you will notice I am using my soup maker but you really don’t need one I use it because I love gadgets and persuaded the other half to buy me it for Christmas last year and given the price tag he would not be happy if I didn’t use it so if you don’t just grab your biggest pan and throw the veg in.
Now at this point throw in a knob of butter – I don’t really understand why only that my Soup book says so for every recipe I have tried so I just do it automatically now. Then add around a litre of vegetable stock. I personally like the knorr stock pots but any stock cube will do just remember to put in enough to cover the veg but so that it does not bubble over – boiling soup travels far further than one would expect as I learnt from experience.
Keep any spare stock on one side you can always add it later if the soup is on the thick side. Next bring to the boil then simmer until all the veg are soft.
Now comes the fun bit blitzing it all up. At this point you may wish to add extra stock or water depending how thick you like your soup. Now the advantage of the soup maker is that I just hit a button and it blends it for me, if you are using a pan you need to either transfer it to a blender or use a hand blender, personal taste now comes into play but I am not a fan of lumps in my soup so I blitz mine until smooth. Then taste time at this point season to taste and I decided to throw in Rosemary and Thyme (which worked really well taste wise but possibly could have done with being added about ten minutes earlier just to soften the thyme a little more) .
Give it a another quick blitz to chop the herbs up then serve with crusty bread.
Really simple and really tasty, fills a couple of your five a day and any spare can the thrown in the freezer for another day or taken to work for lunch the next day. Anyway hope this was interesting for you I will try to cook some more interesting things at some point but I can say that I have Tasty Tuesday posts lined up featuring Parkin, Roast Butternut Squash Soup (so simple its ridiculous) and Sausage and Apple Pan Roast
Thank you all for you kind birthday wishes I have had a lovely day. I have spent a couple of hours at the computer this afternoon while the family was out giving me that lovely gift of a couple of hours peace and quiet which am sure any of you with or that have had small children will appreciate the value of.
I decided as its my birthday and obviously the start of my next round of challenges 50 things before 50 I would do a little housekeeping on my desk and in my blog.
First you may have noticed a slight colour change I really was not feeling the pink anymore so have gone lilac maybe each year on my birthday I will change colour unless when I finally upgrade the blog to my own name I find a new layout I really like.
Now I am sure most of you will have heard me mention when it is quiet at work I end up scribbling on bits of till roll, discarded receipts, anything handy until I can get home and get round to making a proper note. Well here is proof…
Now before I would work on them straight away or they got lost amongst the note books or in the bottom of my handbag so I had a bright idea…
Each idea is scribbled on a memo and folded up and popped in the jar for a later date…
I was going to leave the outside completely blank but given some days I have limited time I decided a hint on the outside of what the idea is suited to was acceptable.
Then it was off for dinner and it seemed even the food knew it was my birthday as my pork crackled perfectly for a change…
Then of course came cake…
You know I would have shared with each and everyone of you if possible.
I realised my blogging schedule has a major flaw, having weekly round up on a Saturday was not working. Saturdays are a busy day for me with work and family and I really needed posts that could be prepared ahead of time so I have tweaked my schedule a little so let me fill you in.
Tuesday now houses all my photos of days off in various places in one place Away Days, Flights of Fancy will be just that whatever thoughts take my mind hostage at any given time. A new feature will be Tasty Treats, I love cooking and eating out so this will be foodie posts either of my own cooking or restaurant reviews or just something tasty I have found.
These will alternate with the Udolpho posts and you will also get MsKatykins turn at reviewing if not on tuesday then at some point during the week.
Weekly round up will now take place on a sunday when I have more time plus most weeks there will be a bonus post where I shall either share a blog that I have really loved from the previous week or the new Fact Vs Fiction where I want to examine how world events or fiction can change our opinions or influence our writing.
I am planning some new headers for each day and to tidy up my about and novel pages aswell as updating a few others.
I am not going to set targets this week that will be resumed in the next weekly round up.
I have had a lovely birthday but chocolate overload means an early night 😀