Nuts and Bolts

Tonight I was making a pre- dinner nibble and the book has a whole list of suggestions..

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This is the only one that has a real recipe involved..

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First off I couldn’t decide what unsweetened cereal would be good in this, the only one I thought would be suitable was all-bran, but then that doesn’t really fit with the nuts and bolts! I thought I should be using something round to be the bolt to go with the pretzel as the nut! I was going to use Cheerios but pretty sure they’ve been sweetened! So anyway I opted for all-bran with the pretzel sticks..

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I do love pretzels, and probably prefer them to crisps, so to mess about with them and have them bake in the oven does seem like an unnecessary process to me!

After 15 minutes there didn’t seem like too much of a change, they were slighty darker but I didnt have time to leave in any longer..

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I honestly didn’t get the differnce with the pretzel sticks, they are salty and baked anyway so seems slightly pointless adding more salt and baking them again!

The all-bran sticks did taste differnt! I don’t mind all-bran just as it is but once it’s been baked in the oven with some butter and salt it does taste a load better!

So this was something different to nibble with a pre dinner drink but to be honest I probably wouldn’t waste my time doing this again and would quite happily eat the pretzel sticks just as they are and save the cereal for breakfast!

Would I make this again? Doubtful..

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Fruit Cake

The family cakes chapter has loads of recipes in it and I think I have been concentrating too much on savoury recipes, so going to try do at least 2 sweet recipes a week! So today I picked this one, it’s one of the first recipes from this chapter and I think it sounds like a good cake to bake if you like a lighter fruit sponge..

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I do make a lot of sponges and usually it’s butter and sugar first, then beat in the eggs and then stir in the four, so when I come across a cake recipe that says to start like this I do always wonder why. Would this have turned out differently if I’d started with the butter and sugar rather than rubbing the butter into the flour..

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Then the fruit goes in and I don’t think its a lot of fruit so isn’t going to be a heavy cake..

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Then I mixed in the eggs and about 2-4 tablespoons of milk..

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Then it’s into the tin..

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After an hour it’s turned a nice golden brown colour, feels very firm and smells pretty good..

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I left it to cool for a bit and was a well deserved treat after a very long walk..

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It does have a bit of a crust but is very soft inside, both of which I loved. I like all kinds of fruit cake, and this one isn’t loaded with fruit but does have a decent amount and is a great cake, perfect with a cup of tea! I think the photo makes it look a bit dry but it’s really not. I think I make so much buttercream that when it comes to making cakes for us I like them naked!!

Would I make this again? Yes, great wee cake!

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Quick Bread – 1

It’s called quick bread – 1 because there is a quick bread – 2 recipe! I have made a couple other fast loaves using regular plain flour and yeast but this is a first, making bread with just self raising flour, but this comes from the family cakes chapter rather than the bread chapter..

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So as you can see there are very few ingredients to this, and I think what shows how easy this is that I had this made by 7:10 this morning and no I wasn’t up at 5, all in in took 40 minutes!

It’s just the flour and salt..

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….mixed with the water…

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So it says to knead gently which I gues goes against all other bread making. Normally the kneading stage can be quite exhausting and takes a good 10 minutes. For this I assumed I wasn’t to knead quite like a normal and loaf and after only 5 minutes of gentle kneading I shaped into a round and put onto an oven tray..

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It doesn’t look too smooth at this point and I was tempted to knead a bit longer but I wanted this in the oven!

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Well after 35 minutes it has risen and turned a nice golden brown colour but it is a rather odd shape..

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It’s like a cross between a spaceship and a pac-man shaped loaf!!

So we only gave it a few minutes to cool and then had some toasted for breakfast..

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It is quite soft inside but does have a bit of a crust, I quite like that though!

I do think it’s best suited for toast and I did really enjoy with my rhubarb and ginger jam..

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It’s maybe not suited for sandwiches but I think considering what’s in it and how quickly this was made its actually pretty good!

Would I make this again? Yes!

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Persian Chicken Pilau

I hadn’t actually planned to make this tonight but had a disastrous hunt for shrimps today! I was looking for a recipe to use up the last of the roast chicken so this ended up being the only one that I had all the ingredients for..

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This recipe is in the Middle East section of the recipes around the world chapter, but it’s very similar to the chicken and rice recipe I made earlier from the poultry chapter!

Instead of removing the pulp and pith and all that fuss I decided to peel both the orange and lemon and simmer the rind on its own..

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I was using most of the leftover chicken from last night so decided to half everything else..

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So then I just cooked the rice and mixed with the raisins, pistachios and fruit peel..

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Then I put half the mix on a warm plate and piled on the chicken..

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Then topped with the rest of the rice mix..

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Going by the title of this I’d expect some pomegranate or something over the top, but just like this it’s actually really great.

I didn’t really enjoy the chicken and rice recipe that much, I think the rind was just too strong, but in this recipe the rind is really nice with it which I’m assuming is because it has been boiled for a few minutes. Overall this was a great dinner and a good use for any leftover roast chicken.

Would I make this again? Yes, really like this

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Pickled Orange Rings

I actually made this yesterday when I was having an orange kind of a day!

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I only had 4 oranges left so I halved this to make with three. First off I sliced into rings..

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Then I covered with water and left to simmer for 45 minutes and by then the rind was really soft..

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Then I added the sugar, vinegar and spices to the water and left to simmer. It did seem like a lot of ground cloves and the smell was really strong.

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After 10 minutes I added the orange rings, it says to leave them in until the rind becomes clear, but I had to assume it’s the inner rind and not the actual orange bit. I did think I’d left them simmering a tad too long as a few of them had completely broken down.

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I potted what I had into one large sterilised jar..

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Then I had the remaining liquid simmering for about another 10-15 minutes before I thought it was done, then I let it cool before I poured it over the slices.

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So tonight we were having roast chicken for dinner so I served a slice of pickled orange on the side..

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The smell from this is amazing, I had been worried about the amount of cloves but I think it’s fine, and think it works quite well with the orange. It was nice with the warm chicken but do wonder if it would be better with a cold ham, will try that next…

Would I make this again? Yes, much nicer then expected!

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Orange Curd

I was so surprised how’s easy it was to make lemon curd, so when I found myself with an abundance of oranges in the fridge I decided to try this..

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So like the lemon curd I just put all the ingredients in a bowl on top of a pan of boiling water..

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I did opt to leave out the candied orange peel as all I had was the mixed dried peel stuff I use in baking which I didn’t think was right.

I did think this took way longer than the lemon curd to thicken, but it did eventually..

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I had been a bit worried because in the lemon curd it was 4 lemons to 4oz of butter and sugar and then in this recipe it was just one orange with the same butter and sugar quantities. Am pretty sure an orange isn’t 4 times the size or volume of 4 lemons. Maybe that’s why the mixture took longer to thicken.

I made this earlier in the day and tried it on a slice bread this evening..

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I was worried that it wasn’t going to thicken the same as the lemon curd but after a good few hours in the jar the consistency had totally changed, it was thick and jelly like you’d expect a curd to be.

The flavour is not as strong as the lemon curd, it’s much more subtle. I did like it but do wonder if it would’ve been better with two oranges..

Would I make this again? Yes, was really easy and nice enough..

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Beef Roll

I had mince and was originally going to make meatballs for dinner but then I remembered about this recipe, doesn’t sound very exciting but I suppose it’s something different to make with mince!

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I’m never sure what the recipe means by fat bacon, is it just regular bacon or the fat from bacon? I just used regular back bacon and rather than mince I just cut up with scissors.

I used 4 smallish potatoes and perhaps didn’t dice them small enough..

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The only chutney I have in the fridge is an apple and rhubarb chutney, so that had to do!
I think the best way to mix this is just to get your hands in..

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It is ridiculously soft and I couldn’t keep in a sausage shape with my hands, so had to use the greaseproof paper to actually shape it..

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Then I wrapped in tinfoil..

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After an hour in the oven it’s hard to really tell if it’s ready so I just trusted the recipe.

Well I know I’ve made some dodgy looking food from this book but this really is terrible looking! When I unwrapped the paper the whole thing just fell apart and looks awful!!

I was not able to slice it, I had to just spoon it onto plates..

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I had some homemade tomato sauce in the freezer so I just defrosted some of that and poured it over, but it really doesn’t make it look any better..

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If you take away the fact that it looks nothing like a roll it’s actually quite nice! I suppose it’s all a meal on it own! I can really taste the rhubarb chutney and I think that actually works in it. Even my daughter loved this and was giving it a thumbs up!

Would I make this again? Probably not, it did taste nice but just a bit messy and weird!

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