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Avgolemono Sauce

In Buffalo we used to use this with all sorts of things, dolmades, fish even Brussel sprouts.

Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, strained
  • 1 cup hot chicken stock

Whisk the yolks until pale and frothy. Slowly add the lemon juice and whisk for another minute. Add one third of the stock in a steady stream, constantly whisking. Add remaining stock. Transfer mixture to a small saucepan and heat gently. Whisk while heating, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil. Serve immediately.



Boston Baked Beans

Ingredients

  • 500g dried beans
  • 2 tablespoons of molasses [treacle] or brown sugar
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • dash of vinegar
  • 500g belly pork
  • 3 onions

Soak the beans overnight in lots of water. Traditionally, navy beans are used for this dish, these seem hard to obtain in the UK so I use black-eyed beans. Next day, rinse the soaked beans well. Simmer in just enough water to cover them for 30 minutes or so until the beans are less hard.

Reserve the water the beans were cooked in.
Cut the belly pork into pieces and fry unti brown.
Lower the heat and blanche the onions.
Combine the beans and the rest of the ingredients in a baking dish.

Cover and bake in a slow oven for 6-9 hours.
If they become dry, add some of the reserved bean water.
Uncover for the last hour of baking.



Sweet and sour red cabbage

Ingredients:

  • 500g red cabbage well ok half a cabbage
  • 250g cooking apples
  • 250g onions
  • 125g mixed dried fruit
  • chopped dried apricots or fresh cranberries [optional]
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown soft sugar
  • 3 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • crushed garlic clove
  • 25g butter
  • 1 tsp nutmeg or mace
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Shred the cabbage finely then arrange in alternating layers with the apples, onions and other ingredients, except the butter and the vinegar, until you have none left.

Pour in the wine vinegar and add dots of butter on the top. Put a tight lid on the casserole and let it cook very slowly in the oven for 2-2½ hours, stirring everything around once or twice during the cooking.

Pre-heat the oven to 200° C, reduce to 150° after 30 minutes.



Sweet and sour beetroot

I had lunch at Yotam Ottolenghi's restaurant in Islington the other day. It was an excellent lunch, and the whole place full of inspiration for new meals. I've also bought his cookbook and follow his recipes which are often published on The Guardian website.

At the restaurant, you construct your lunch by selecting a combination of what are described as salads. I can't think of a better word for this though salad hardly does justice to the delights that are delivered to your table.

One of my choices was sweet and sour red and white beetroot with pickled quince. This is my version which I've enjoyed, though its a long way from the original. I have omitted the quince, as I havn't got any, but their taste was very sweet, not unlike pear so I think that when he says pickled he probably means boiled in syrup.

I've used carrots and parsnips instead of quince.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large beetroot, or several small ones, about 2 cups in total
  • 1/2 cup cooking apples
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1/2 cup parsnip
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • chopped dried apricots
  • 4 tablespoons dark brown soft sugar
  • 4 tablespoons strong vinegar
  • crushed garlic clove[s]
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbs butter

Roughly cut the beetroot into fairly large pieces. Cover with water and boil them to death. Usually for about 45 minutes, keep the volume of water to a minimum but don't allow to boil dry.

Meanwhile prepare the other vegetables aiming for all to be between 15-20mm thick.

When the beetroot is tender, cut it into smaller pieces so as to be about the same size as the other ingredients.

Add the remaining vegetables, apricots, vinegar and sugar and boil until the vegetables are al dente.

Serve hot to table with a knob of butter.

As usual, the quantities are not exact but aim to have about the same volume of 'other' vegetables as beetroot. The main trick is to keep the volume of liquid to the minimum that will just cook the vegetables. Throw away some of the liquid that the beetroot was cooked in if this looks like being too much once the vinegar is added. Dilute with water if it appears to be too thick.

beetroot

Ready for table



Stuffing

Sylvania

In 1963 I sailed to New York from Liverpool on the Sylvania to take up my place as an undergraduate at the State University of New York, College at Cortland.

USA bound

Life on board consisted of brisk walks round the decks, the odd game of ping pong until the wind snatched the ball overboard. [Usually about 3 minutes], formal dinners in the evening followed by informal gatherings in the bar. I made the acquaintance of another F1 [Student category US visa] and we spent most of the time together. He joined the boat at Cobh and was heading to UCLA.

Usually dining with us were two 'older' ladies who always had much to say. One declared that she 'was not doing as well as usual at her sport', on enquiry her 'sport' turned out to be bingo!

On the gala evening, we had roast turkey with all the trimmings which included of course stuffing.

Gala night menu

Our steward took great delight in enquiring of these two worthies, in a very loud voice, 'Would madame like stuffing?' followed by a second round a little later 'Would madame like MORE stuffing?'

Well no matter how much you actually want, here are my two recipes, one for each end of a thanksgiving turkey.

Chestnut for the bow and parsley and thyme for the stern.


Chestnut Stuffing

Ingredients

  • chestnuts
  • oatmeal
  • onion
  • celery [optional]
  • parsley and thyme [optional]
  • salt and pepper

I like a mix of chestnut puree, available in jars, and fresh chestnuts.

Boil the fresh chestnuts for about 15 minutes. [This was Donato's family's usual method for preparing chestnuts and especially so after one exploded in the oven and burnt Flora on the cheek]

To one measure of chestnuts, add about a third of a measure of oatmeal and about a third of a measure of onion/celery.

Mix the ingredients and add enough boiling water to bind them loosely. Stuff and roast.

Parsley and Thyme Stuffing

Ingredients

  • dry bread
  • oatmeal
  • onion
  • celery
  • parsley and thyme and/or other herbs
  • salt and pepper

Mix the dry ingredients, pour boiling water over them to bind them and stuff your bird.

Note that I don't put any fat into the stuffing and keep the added water to a minimum so that the stuffing absorbs the juices from the bird as it cooks.



Caribbean Vegetables

Caribbean Vegetables

Ingredients

  • yams
  • sweet potato
  • tomato
  • garlic
  • small onions
  • okra
  • plantain, peeled and cut into disks
  • potato
  • parsnip

Collect together as many different sorts of Caribbean vegetables that you can. Throw all in an oven dish with finely chopped hot peppers, some high temperature oil and bake at high temperature for about an hour, stirring the while.

The first time I did this I bought the 'scotch bonnet' type of peppers and they looked so pretty I decided to use two of them. The result was so hot I could hardly eat it!!! If using scotch bonnets, half is quite enough!!



Potatoes

My mother used to say that she loved potatoes, and put it down to her Irish roots. Certainly she needed convincing that a meal without potatoes was a 'proper meal'.

Betty, who always had a knack of not quite getting english expressions right used to describe a meal as being 'with meat and two potatoes', she also used to call 'coal', 'cold' and who is to say that she was far off the mark with either?



Homefries

This is the staple of every American diner and would hardly seem worthy of a recipe but it is not well known in Britain and can be surprisingly annoying to get right.

frank and Mary's diner

Doug and Eileen heading for Breakfast in America

Home fries

This is what I do:

Par-boil some potatoes. The amount of boiling determines the nature of the final product as does the variety of the potato. Raw potatoes produce chips, overcooked ones, bubble and squeak. What is needed is something in between with some of the potato disintegrating with the rest staying whole. The result should have some nice golden brown bits throughout and this is the problem at home. Rarely, have I had access to a burner that is hot enough to do this in a finite time, so the subterfuge described below is needed.

Pour some high temperature oil into a frying pan [eg corn or nut oil, not olive oil or butter. Artery clogging lard is probably best but I don't live that dangerously], sprinkle in some cumin and grind in black pepper until you are tired. Place over a high heat and then add the potatoes. If the heat is high enough all should be well and the stuff will brown up nicely and you turn it a few times with a sharp metal spatula. If the heat isn't enough, clouds of steam will be formed and it will sulk in the bottom of the pan. If this happens, cover the pan with a lid to raise the temperature. This will also produce lots of steam from the spuds and from time to time, take off the lid and shake the condensed water into the sink. You have to get rid of the water and this shortens the process. Once the water is driven off, the temperature will rise and the potatoes will fry. On Cribbit, I have to do the potatoes in batches as the burner there is very slow.



Potatoes au gratin

When I was very first married, we used to call this Potatoes au Groton after a small village near Cortland which hosted the Groton Rod and Gun Club, but that is another story.

Ingredients:

  • potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 2/3 pint milk
  • butter
  • flour
  • pack of bacon bits [far better than 'posh' bacon, Summerfield, Asda, Morrison's usually have this but you may need to search for it]

Peel the potatoes and slice into disks about 0.5 cm thick. Parboil for about 5 minutes. They should no longer be crisp but not falling apart either.

Splash some olive oil in the bottom of an ovenproof dish and put in a layer of potatoes. Add bits of chopped up bacon, onion rings, small blobs of butter and small blobs of flour. Grind pepper over the lot.

Repeat until you run out of potato or the dish is full. Grate some cheese over the last layer and I like more onions than in the other layers here too as they will brown up nicely when it is baked.


A recipe for some sort of baked potato can be found here

Garlic

We had a good crop of garlic this summer and lots of things to use it on.

garlic1

Sj gathers a few heads together

garlic2

I get a few more

Our first plan was to follow an idea of Sarah's for garlic stuffed globe artichokes.

garlic2

Hardly need a recipe for this, just stuff anything with a space in it with garlic cloves

garlic3

Bake in the oven, enjoy!

We also stuffed a chicken with herbs and mostly garlic cloves.

chickengarlic

Bake in the oven

chickengarlic2

Roast on the spit


Roasted almonds

Just the thing for party nibbles.

Photos from Margaret and Terry's village celebraion.

Ingredients

  • 500g blanched almonds
  • sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Spread the almonds over a baking tray and sprinkle with enough oil to just coat them all. Grind the salt and sugar together in a pestle and mortar or use icing sugar. Sprinkle over the oily nuts. [The quantity of salt depends on how healthy you want these to be, 2 teaspoons is enough]

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for around 15 minutes, but keep an eye on them so that they don't burn. The nose is the best indicator that they are done.


almonds
Hot from the oven


almonds In a rustic bowl
In a rustic bowl



Flavoured Sugar



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