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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Chicken and Cider Hotpot


This wonderful recipe came from my Sainsbury 2014 Calendar. There are a couple of things that I would do differently with this recipe. First, I should have browned my chicken a little longer, second I would use 2 apples instead of one and third I would use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Other than that, the recipe is pretty easy and it all goes in one pot. The 3rd section of the recipe does not say to stir the pot, but I found after about 10 minutes it was sticking so I stirred mine. I should have waited until the end to add the bacon, but I followed the recipe. I used Hornsby's Hard Cider (the dry version), but Stella would work if you can get it. Just make sure that whatever cider you do use is a dry one. Here is the recipe as printed.

Chicken, Bacon, Leek and Cider Hotpot

1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 chicken thighs
150g smoked bacon lardons
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, sliced thickly
4 Tbsp. plain flour
250ml dry cider
500ml chicken stock
1 red apple, peeled, cored and diced
600g baby potatoes, quartered
28g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
100ml crème fraiche

Heat oil in large, shallow ovenproof casserole. Place chicken thighs seasoned with salt and pepper, skin side down into dish and cook 3-4 minutes, until sin is crisp and golden. Turn over and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove and place to the side.
Tip bacon into pan and cook for 5 minutes until crisp, remove and place to the side. Stir in onion and leek and cook 5 minutes until tender. Stir in flour, cook 1 minute then pour in cider and stock.
Bring to gentle simmer and cook 3 minutes before stirring in apple, potatoes and 1 Tbsp. parsley. Top with chicken thighs and scatter with bacon. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook 30 minutes over medium heat, until chicken is tender.
Stir through crème fraiche. Heat through 1 minute and top with remaining parsley. Serve.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Taco Soup

This recipe comes from Dan's mom and it's one that Dan likes to make. It's pretty simple and foolproof. You can use whatever ground meat that you want and any type of taco seasoning.

Taco Soup

Brown 1 lb. Hamburger, drain fat. Add 1 Envelope Taco Seasoning, 1-15 oz. can Corn, 1-15 oz. can Chopped Tomatoes, 1-15 oz. can Tomato Sauce and 1-15 oz. can Pinto Beans. Use the liquid in the cans. Add a pinch of Sugar and a pinch of Soda before serving.
Top with crushed corn chips, sour cream and grated cheese.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Upper Crust Pie Bakery

Logo Uppercrust Pie Bakery

Shopping at Pryde's Old Westport kitchen store is one of my favorite things in Kansas City. The store is crammed with everything you could possibly need for the kitchen, plus. We stopped in to buy an electric kettle/hot pot because we knew they would have a good selection and we weren't wrong. While shopping, you can't help but be enticed by the wonderful smells coming from the bakery downstairs. The Upper Crust Pie Bakery is located on the bottom floor and they offer up an amazing array of cookies and pies. We have not had the pies yet, but they look incredible. As for the cookies, I have tried the Lemon Sugar, Snickerdoodle, Molasses, Peanut Butter and my favorite the Burnt Sugar Frosted Banana cookie. They offer other flavors like chocolate chip and oatmeal if that is what you like.
They have 2 locations: 115 Westport Rd KCMO (Pryde's) 816-561-4990 and 7943 Sante Fe Dr. Overland Park KS 913-642-2999
www.uppercrustpiebakery.com

Friday, January 24, 2014

Herby Chicken and Butter Bean Soup


I came across this recipe in the February 2014 edition of BBC Good Food. I made a few changes to the recipe, but I'm sure it's pretty close to the original. I know I complained some about how hard it was finding ingredients for my recipes while in England, but the same thing happens here. When I went to my local Price Chopper, there were no butter beans! If you need black beans, pinto beans, baked beans or pork and beans, then Price Chopper is the place to shop. I ended up at Hy-Vee where they actually carry butter beans and I was able to make the soup. This is a good soup, especially when the weather is so cold. Serve it up with a nice green salad and some warm bread.

Herby Chicken & Butter Bean Soup

4 chicken thighs
1.5 liters chicken stock
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
3-4 sprigs each rosemary, sage and thyme, leaves picked and chopped
2 tsp. each ground cumin and coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. anise seeds
400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle both sides of chicken thighs with salt and pepper, place on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. When the chicken is cooked, remove meat from bones and shred.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large sauce pan. Add onion and cook for 10 minutes until starting to carmelize. Add carrots, herbs and spices and stir for 2 minutes to toast the spices. Add the stock, shredded chicken and butter beans, cook, covered for 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender and blitz the soup, leaving partly chunky. Add thawed peas, heat through and serve.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Proper Pancakes w/Caramelized Apples


Dan and I said while we were in England, a person could make a lot of money by opening up a pancake house there. Of course the English love their traditional breakfast, but some proper pancakes every once in while wouldn't kill you. We actually found a place that served pancakes on Sundays the last weekend we were there, but they were served on ice cold plates and cold by the time they reached us. The flavor was good, but how hard is it to warm a plate? I came across a recipe for pancakes while we were in England, but the serviced apartment we stayed in did not have all the proper tools for cooking. I bought certain things, which we then donated to a thrift shop on our departure, but I knew I could not keep buying kitchen items for a 3 month stay. I decided to work on the recipe and this is what I came up with. They are really good! No need for butter or syrup to top these because the caramelized apples are perfect as a topper.

Proper Pancakes w/Caramelized Apples

for the pancakes:
135g/ 4 3/4 oz. plain flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. caster sugar
130ml/ 4 1/2 fluid oz. milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla paste
Cooking spray

for the apples:
1 apple, sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Turn the oven on to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Lightly whisk milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla paste in medium bowl. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture and beat with a fork until batter is smooth. Let stand a few minutes. Heat a non-stick skillet that has been sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat. When the pan is heated ladle batter into pan and flip when the top bubbles. The batter may seem thick, but that is what you want. Place finished pancakes in warm oven until ready to serve. (Also warm plates in the oven.)
When the pancakes are prepared, add butter, apples and brown sugar to same pan. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Serve apples on top of pancakes.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Perfect Roast Beef w/ Tomato Gravy





This recipe comes from Jamie Oliver's website, www.jamieoliver.com. I changed it up just a bit, but pretty much followed the recipe to a tee. Jamie's my favorite, so I don't mess around too much with his recipes. Anyway, I made this meal last night from ingredients that I bought at Kirkgate Market Leeds.


Perfect Roast Beef
  • 1 kg quality topside of beef
  • 1 medium onion        
  • 2 carrots     
  • 1 red chilli
  • 3 bay leaves       
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme        
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 pint cream sherry



To prepare your beef:
Take your beef out of the fridge 30 minutes before it goes into the oven. Preheat your oven to 240°C/475°F/ gas 9. There's no need to peel the vegetables – just give them a wash and roughly chop them. Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled.

Pile all the veg, garlic and herbs into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Drizzle the beef with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper and fresh thyme leaves, rubbing it all over the meat. Place the beef on top of the vegetables and add the sherry to pan.

To cook your beef:
Place the roasting tray in the preheated oven. Turn the heat down immediately to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook for 1 hour for medium beef. If you prefer it medium-rare, take it out 5 to 10 minutes earlier. For well done, leave it in for another 10 to 15 minutes.

When the beef is cooked to your liking, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the beef to a board to rest for 15 minutes or so. Cover it with a layer of tinfoil and put aside while you make your gravy. Slice the beef thinly for best results.


Tomato Gravy

1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup cream sherry
2 Tbsp. English mustard (I used Colemans)
Juices from beef dish

Add all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer 10 minutes. Pour over sliced beef.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Matt's Sherry Cake



This incredibly easy and tasty cake comes from Delicious Magazine's November 2013 edition. Of course, I do not have any of the proper tools in this flat for baking, but I have been trying. This one was done by hand since there is no mixer. If I can do it by hand as easily as I did with such great results, anyone can do it. The flavor is so rich and the sherry gives it an incredible taste. I could not find any proper vanilla extract so I used vanilla paste instead. It's a lovely little goo filled with hundreds of vanilla seeds, no more extract for me. My favorite ingredient was the bicarbonate of soda for bubbly batters. Enjoy this recipe, it's a good company cake!

Matt's Sherry Cake

125g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing cake tin
225g self-rising flour, plus extra for dusting cake tin
125g caster sugar
2 medium free-range eggs
1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp. vanilla paste
200ml sweet sherry

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius. Grease 23cm cake tin with butter, then dust with flour.
Beat together butter and sugar in a stand mixer or by hand until fluffy and pale. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then, using a metal spoon, gently fold in half of flour, the bicarbonate and vanilla. Add the sherry and fold in along with remaining flour.
Pour into cake tin and bake 35-45 minutes until risen and cooked through. Allow cake to cool in tin, then turn out onto wire rack to cool fully.