LOCAL LINKS


Subscribe to our monthly email


West Farleigh Sports Club for football, cricket & great parties


All Saints Church and the United Benefice


Our Village newsletter LifeLine on-line


Our Parish Council website


Find a local tradesman to help in home or garden


Loads of useful contacts 


follow me on facebook

Follow us

on Facebook

 

I love to cook!  As I put together my favourite dishes, or find new ones, I shall put them up here.  I hope you will enjoy looking at them, and perhaps they will give you some new ideas to try.  Please get in touch with me with suggestions or modifications

 

Here's a couple of new ones (or scroll down to see them all!)

Yule Log

Breton Chicken

Triple Tropical Treat

Chicken with a Parmesan crust

Stuffed Pork Loin

Italian meatballs in tomato sauce

Pineapple and Mango Part II

ABC Soup

Roast Pineapple

My Dad's Onion Soup

Chris

hollyvillas@hotmail.co.uk

Filter:

Latest Posts

Yule Log

Posted on 28th November, 2017

As we carry on with Chris's Kitchen, this month it's thanks to Helen Swan for this recipe for a Yuletide log which came from a cookery book she received as a wedding present.

 

CHRISTMAS YULE LOG

 

2oz SR Flour                          1oz cocoa                             

4 oz Castor Sugar                  1 oz cooking marg

3 large eggs                           1 tablespoon hot water

 

Whisk together eggs and sugar until thick.

Fold in sieved flour and cocoa with a metal spoon.

Fold in hot water and melted marg.

 

Grease and line with baking parchment a shallow swiss roll tin, 35x25 cm.

Heat oven to 190 fan, reduce heat to 170 fan and bake for 8-10 mins.

It need to be very soft but cooked.

Remove from oven. Trim off crispy edges if slightly over cooked.

Place another sheet of baking parchment on top of the cake.

Using the lining paper roll the cake and parchment firmly.

Leave to cool. When cool unroll gently and spread with chocolate butter cream.

Don’t worry if it cracks!! When you reroll it try and line up the cracks!

Coat with more chocolate butter cream and using a knife make it look like bark.

You can add a branch by making another swiss roll and cutting it in half at an angle.

Use half of it, eat the rest!

Have fun decorating it. If you want icing sugar snow, leave it until the last minute before you serve, as it will dissolve into the butter icing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My dad's onion soup

Posted on 14th February, 2017

My dad's Onion Soup

 

 

In truth, my dad didn't do a lot of cooking, but he was famous for his treacle toffee, peppermint creams and petites fours. He did, however, make an amazing onion soup adapted from my mum's recipe. Ie, we had no sherry, so he substituted port. Serendipity!

 

He used;

 

500g onions, a couple of celery sticks, garlic, a tbsp tomato puree, 500ml chicken or ham stock, 500ml thin onion gravy and a full glass of port, plus seasoning.

 

 

 

For the topping, you need a stick of crunchy bread and Gruyere cheese. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Slice and fry onions, celery and garlic in a slug of olive oil until they begin to go sticky and caramelise. Add the stock and adjust seasoning, simmer and reduce slightly.

 

Finally chuck in an oven-proof dish, tear or slice bread over the top, cover with generous layer of cheese and grill until bubbling and crusty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  And serve...

Chicken with a cheesy Paremesan crust

Posted on 7th February, 2017

Pollo con Parmigiano

or

Chicken with a Cheesy Crust

 

Now this is a very tasty and very simple dish to create. It iuses just a few easy to find ingredients and can be prepared quite quickly. I know you'll enjoy this one.

 

You need:

 

A chicken breast per head, plus a rasher of thick smoked bacon or ham, a shallot, some garlic, fresh vine tomatoes, a sprig of basil, olive oil and a mix of Gruyere and parmesan cheese.

 

You need to make a nice, tangy tomato sauce, about the same consistency as tomato puree, so you could use passatta as a fritto with the olive oil, garlic, basil and shallot instead of fresh tomatoes.

 

Method;

Flatten the chicken breasts between a couple of sheets of cling film and fry them, preferably with the bacon to make the most of the flavour. If you don't fry the bacon first, it is just a plappy layer!

 

Make the tomato paste by skinning, seeding and chopping the tomatoes, then add a goodly slug of olive oil to the finely diced shallot, basil and crused garlic with black pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook to a reduced paste.

 

Assemble;

 

 

 

 

       

 

         

 

 Place the bacon or ham on the chicken,

 

 

 

  

 

 

 Add agenerous layer of tomato,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


   

 

 And top with a layer of cheese and bung under a hot grill until the cheese is  bubbling and    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Serve with saute potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

 

 

Bueno appetito!

Advocaat, French toast and Pigs in Blankets

Posted on 5th February, 2017

Eggy bread with a seasonal difference!

 

Bread dipped in beaten egg is very tasty, but best as an occasional treat. I reckon Christmas counts as a special occasion!

 

This version includes a slosh of Advovaat and, if you choose, a tbsp of rum to give the flavour a gentle nudge...

 

The bacon of choice is smoked streaky done nice and crisp. I have substituted a rasher of back cut into lardons and sprinkled on top when serving.

 

You need:

 

White bread, an egg per person, a tbsp Demerara sugar, 20/25ml Advocaat, a tbsp (or two) rum, two rashers smoked streaky bacon per person.

 

Beat eggs with the other ingredients and give each slice  a good soaking. Fry over a medium heat in butter (it's Christmas!) until toasty golden. Grill bacon until crispy.

 

 

 

 

Serve hot with tea here, but we have a glass of Buck's Fizz to get the day going with a swing!

 

 

 

 

The best Pigs in Blankets - ever!

 

I read somewhere that the average English Christmas meal is the second most calorific in the world. I believe the Irish are in the lead. However, this little addition to your meal should push the competition a bit closer! Let's face it, you can always go easy the next day...

 

This recipe is very simple, but, my goodness, it's a winner. Try it.

 

You need;

 

 

 

 

 

Sun dried tomatoes - the magic ingredient!

 

 

 

Ingredients;

A pack of pork sausage meat

two rashers smoked back bacon

A pack of smoked streaky bacon

Three large chestnut mushrooms

Half an onion

Apinch of salt and a goodly scratch of black pepper

And the magic ingredient, four or five sun dried tomato halves.

 

 

Method;

Finely chop the mushrooms and onion and coarsely chop the back bacon and sun dried tomatoes.

Mix well with the pork stuffing and season with a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. 

Hand shape a bit bigger than a cocktail sausage, this mix makes about 20.

Wrap in half a rasher of streaky bacon and arrange on baking tray

Give them about 20 mins at 180C, turn them over and continue for another 10 mins until browned.

 

 

Nom nom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers, and a very Happy Christmas to my reader.

Chris

 

 

 

Delicious chicken liver pate

Posted on 5th February, 2017

Chicken Liver selection

 

Chicken liver pate is easy to make, easy to serve and just about every one likes it.

 

Here is a basic recipe to make the parfait, and some variations to make as a batch. You can reduce the butter - a bit, but it will make the pate less unctious and utterly yummy!

 

 

 

You will need;

 

Two packs fresh chicken livers

Two Shallots finely chopped

A clove of crushed garlic

50ml dry sherry or Madeira

Three bay leaves

A pinch of dried thyme

A scrape of nutmeg

Salt and black pepper to taste

 

Plus;

150g clarified butter (microwave until separated, keep clear, dispose of white sediment)

100g softened salted butter

Two egg yolks

 

 

 

Method;

 

Trim livers of weird bits and veins and soak in mix of milk, water and a pinch of salt for least 45 mins to drain the blood.

 

Place chopped livers in a pan with ingredients, a splash of olive oil and half a cup of water except butters and egg yolks, and simmer for about 20 mins until fluid is reduced.

 

Allow to cool, remove bay leaves, then attack with blender or processor adding egg yolks and clarified and softened butter until silky smooth. The pate will solidify as it chills.

 

Voila!

 

 

Decision time...

 

At this stage you have a choice; make a terrine or try the variations below.

 

If you make a terrine, you will need three small or two large eggs, a pack of smoked streaky bacon, a loaf tin and grease proof baking parchment.

 

Line the loaf tin with the parchment then lay the rashers across as you will fold them over the mix. Hint; give the rashers a quick blast in your George Foreman if you have one, or under a hot grill to put on a bit of colour and taste.

 

While you are processing the pate, you need to add the eggs to the mix. Do them one at a time, though, as the pate can split. When incorporated, pour into the prepared tin, fold over the rashers, cover with foil and bake in a medium oven for 45 mins in a Bain Marie. Allow to cool before removing from tin. 

 

 

 

Or for some tasty variations using the basic parfait;

 

 

 

Marmalade and Brandy. Well the marmalade is a ready source for the orange, and while some recipes call for Cointreau, I think its all a bit too sweet, so go for the Brandy. 

 

Hoik out a good teaspoonful plump strands of marmalade peel from a couple of tbsps of jam, rinsing off the jam in water to seperate the peel. Chop and add to the pate with a tbsp of brandy, but too much and it ends up a bit wet.

 

Mushroom. Roughly chop about four or five chestnut mashrooms and soften in butter to reduce the bulk and draw the flavour. I like to add a few strands of soaked porcini mushrooms to really intensify the flavour.

 

Italiano. Simple chop olives and add with a big pinch of Italian herbs and a finely shredded sprig of basil.

 

Bacon. Really simple. Really tasty. Finely chop a rasher of smoked bacon until crisp and stir into a portion of pate.

 

Walnut or Chestnut. Nutty but nice! Oddly works to add a goodly palmful of chopped walnuts to the mix. If you have any cooked chestnuts they will work adding a new texture if you reduce about half to a paste and chopping the rest before adding to the pate.

 

 

If you have any ideas for flavouring a pate, please let me know, and I'll add it to the list.

 

 

Bon appetite!

 

Chris.

The basic Carbonara - yum!

Posted on 5th February, 2017

Just how many ingredients do you need?

 

While thinking about my next offering, I was working on an idea for a fun, different Christmas morning breakfast, and started working on variations of French Toast - pain perdu in French, or eggy bread as it as better known,  In essence, bread dipped in a beaten egg. Seemples! Look at my post for some recipes.

 

Then I thought about the number of ingredients that you sometimes find in a recipe, and found one in Jamie's Italian with no less than 27!

 

That got me thinking about how few could one get away with using just eggs? Well, there's a hard boiled egg, one. Eggy bread, two, then ham egg and chips, three (although I do think peas add to the dish). Four was a bit more of a problem, until I came across carbonara which comprised just pasta, lardons, onion and egg yolk.

 

 

This is it, the basic carbonara;

 

Fry the lardons until they begin to brown, then add the finely diced onion and allow them to sweat down. I strongly recommend you use fresh tagliatelli here as it is really silky and lends itself to this dish perfectly. Tong the pasta directly from the water as you need a bit of sauce to ease the dish, mix well off the heat and stir in the egg yolk. That's it! Finito Benito.

 

Serve immediately with a glass of Orvieto.

 

 

Messing with it, like we always do!

Now, like all basic recipes, there's always room to mess with it, but the secret is to limit the damage by adding as little as is necessary to develop the taste.

 

Here are five;

A teaspoon of pesto and a scratch of parmesan cheese.

A sprinkle of toasted pine nuts and a splash of quality olive oil.

A 50mm length of finely shredded leek added to the onion/lardon fry

Two finely sliced chestnut mushrooms, or better still, soaked dried porcini.

Chopped sun dried tomato and a small chilie added to the onion and lardons.

 

 

 

A couple of tasty cheesecakes...

Posted on 1st October, 2016

Two cheesecakes to get your creative juices going!

 

Cheesecake is a really simple and versatile dish that allows you to experiment with flavours and textures. My first was a recipe from Marcus Wareing for Fry's Turkish Delight chocolate bars. It is wonderful! It really works a treat.

 

I offer two here, the first based on Marcus' basic mix, but using mango for the filling.

 

 

                                                                                

 The basic ingredients are; Rich Tea  biscuits, soured cream, Philly, unsalted  butter, honey, Demerara sugar, gelatine  and cocoa powder.

 

 

 And a large, ripe mango.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peel, chop and place mango flesh in a pan and reduce to a chunky paste. Allow to cool and add two gelatine sheets to firm it up a bit.

 

Crush 150g biscuits then add 80g melted butter and 25g Demerara sugar and a desert spoon of cocoa powder to make the base. 

 

Layer this in a loose bottomed pie dish and pour the mango on top. You need to let this chill for a bit in the fridge.

 

Make the cheese from half the Philly, half the soured cream and two goodly tablespoons of honey. Whisk to smooth and add three sheets melted gelatine. Pour into dish and chill till set. Decorate with chips of dried mango. 

 

 

 And it should look like this...

 

    

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the second cheesecake, I'm used half a tub of Mascarpone cheese instead of the Philly and only needed one sheet of gelatine to set it. There was another magic ingredient that you really, really should try - pomegranate syrup. I used two dessert spoons to sweeten, colour and flavour the cheese.

 

 This is a Lebanese product that is amazingly versatile. I use it as a  base for a bbq marinade, as a salad dressing, in stews, drizzle over  ice cream, add to punch and so on. The flavour is tangy, sour-  sweet with a bit of burnt sugar in the backgriound. A little goes a  long way. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The filling for this cheesecake is damson jam and the base is the same biscuit base as above. (I actually made too much so I didn't want to waste it - and there were a few bits left over from the mango cheesecake anyway!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This pudding has a bit more "bite" to it with the sharpness of both the damson and pomegranate. The mascarpone provides a slightly firmer texture to the cheese.

 

 

Hope you enjoy them!

Cheers.

 

Chris

Poulet Chasseur!

Posted on 1st October, 2016

Or Galinha Cacador of you're Portugese.

 

Chickens seem to be found pretty much everywhere and there's always some sort of fungus to be found. Hunter's Chicken is therefore a dish enjoyed around the world, with variations according to cultural tastes and ingredient availability. It's generally reckoned to be a brown sauce (like trad. Bolognese).

 

I've looked at European variations and have created the following dish using those ingredients that I found in Tesco's. There are no strange things in it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You need; chicken thighs, mushrooms You should get a pack of dried porcini for the marinade and fresh for the dish), red wine, onions, tomatoes, garlic, anchovy fillets, black olives, rosemary and bayleaf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soffritto of onions, garlic and mushrooms. Soffritto means "cook slowly" - gently for half an hour to get a little colour in it, but not enough to make the garlic bitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The marinade. having soaked the dried porcini for a few minutes, chuck them into a jug with four of five large mushrooms (three field, half a tub of chestnut, that sort of quantity) half a bottle of red wine, three cloves of garlic, anchovy fillets, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Whizz to a smooth paste and pour into a large bowl over the chicken, rosemary and bay leaf for as long as possible. Overnight is good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The chicken should be browned in a pan with a splash of olive oil (NOTE. I did that, but this pic shows raw. I took another pic, but deleted in error while compiling this blog. Idiot!) then added to the strained marinade in a covered oven-proof dish and baked at 180c for an hour and a half - or more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it looks like this. Taste is really yummy, earthy. I can only exhort you to try it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serve with tagliatelli or chunky, crunchy bread. I suppose boiled spuds and peas would be nice, too! What ever. Bon appetite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers

Chris 

Back to basics Bolognese sauce

Posted on 1st October, 2016

Spag bol revisited.

  

I have been making Bolognese sauce for years, and like all recipes it has been tweaked and added to as new and different ingredients become available. So now it generally includes chestnut or dried porcini mushrooms, olives, basil, oregano or maybe tarragon, toasted pine nuts, mixing in a handful of minced pork, simmering in milk (it really works), pesto, passata and sundried tomatoes and on and on. 

Soffritto!

  

Soffritto, Italian for "slow cooking" is known as the holy trinity of Italian cooking and it comprises onion, celery and carrots in a 2;1;1 ratio.

  

The vegetables are finely chopped and slowly, slowly simmered in olive oile with a knob of butter until smooth and pale. The mix can be kept wet with a large glass of white, not red, wine.

White wine and beef stock

  

White is the wine of choice. Red is too bitter and harsh. Believe me on this!

The meat

  

A pack of good quality beef mince, about 125g finely chopped chicken livers and three rashers of smoked bacon - or lardons if you prefer.

  

Fry the bacon to well coloured, add and brown the mince then lob in the liver.

  

Add the stock and simmer for half an hour before chucking in the rest of the ingredients. 

Flavourings

  

KISS! Keep it simple.

  

Tomato puree, salt, pepper, bay leaf, nutmeg, star anise (Oh yes!), garlic and a sprig 'o basil are all you need. Any more and it's back to the bad old days.

  

(Note flashy showoff use of Honduras red peppercorns and pink Himalayan rock salt!)

And eat...

  

The thing about a Bolognese sauce is that it is traditionally a brown sauce, not a red sauce laden with tomato. 

 

Consensus of opinion is that is is great. Different, but very tasty and with the chopped liver adding an unctiousness.

 

Step away from the pesto and tinned toms!

What to do with a mango and a pineapple...

Posted on 1st October, 2016

Tesco were doing a special with some fruit including mangoes and pineapples. Too good to miss, I thought.

 

 

 

 

First thing to do was fry the pineapple in a goodly scoop of butter and brown sugar. You really need to get some caramel going to bring out the flavour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peel and chop the mango flesh and reduce it to a luscious, aromatic paste. 

  

Make a short crust flan using your favourite recipe. You could cheat and buy  ready-made pastry, althought I'd never do that!

 

 

The topping is a packet of ground almonds sweetened with two or three tablespoons of honey, one of plain flour, a couple of eggs, butter and vanilla. You may need to add a drop of water if the mixture is too dry.

 

 

Load your flan with the fruit and top off with the almond paste.

 

Bake at 150 for about 40 mins until set.

 

 

Serve with creme fraise if you are a Southener or properly floating in bowl of custard if you are a real pudding-eater!