CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS…….mmmmmmmm

   Just recently (thanks to having headaches and not being able to move off the sofa) we have been watching a lot more food programmes on TV,  especially the Food Network channel, and a lot of chefs seem to have their own recipes for chicken and dumplings all of which are very different to how we would have ‘chicken and dumplings’ here in the UK.

   So after seeing many versions on TV as well as looking on the internet for recipes I kinda came up with my own, but, I didn’t make dumplings that went into the chicken, I made ‘biscuits’ to go with mine, which I let my little boy help me with with, so they were more like bricks after he’d finished pounding the dough!!  Bless, he loves to cook, but doesn’t yet know when to stop fiddling!!

  This is my version of chicken and dumplings.

For the chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken – roasted and pulled apart
  • 4 Carrots – peeled and diced small
  • 5 Celery sticks – diced small
  • 3 Small onions – diced small
  • Butter – 1/2 cup
  • Flour – 1 cup
  • Chicken Stock – 1 1/2 litres
  • Double cream – 3/4 cup
  • Garlic granules – 2 tsps
  • Celery salt – 2 tsps
  • Caribbean seasoning – 2 tbsps
  • Salt and pepper

For the biscuits:

  • Betty crocker Bisquick multi-purpose baking mix – 1/2 the box made up as per instructions

 

In a large pan, melt the butter and then add the onions, carrots and celery, cover and leave for around 20 minutes for the veg to soften, then add the flour and make sure all the veggies are coated.

Add the chicken stock, then the double cream, cover again and leave to simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.  After the 40 minutes, add the pre-cooked roasted chicken and leave it to heat through.

While you’re waiting for the chicken to heat up, make up the biscuits as per the instructions on the box for the scones (but minus the sugar), and bake.

Once the chicken is heated, serve it up in a bowl, I served mine with rice, and enjoy with the biscuits.

   My husband loved this (and I loved it too) and I thought my little boy would love it too as he helped me make it, and it normal helps him eat it if he made it, but not this time, he just nibbled on the rice and left the rest, oh, apart from the biscuits, which he did enjoy!

   I will show you a picture of how mine looked, but this was taken the next day ( I ended up, as usual, making loads ) as it doesn’t look as good as it did when I first made it, but it was delicious and I will definitely be making it again.

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   Up Next is my home-made pasta with my creamy tomato sauce…..another delicious meal, by me!!!

MY HOME-MADE MINCEMEAT.

  I’m sorry I haven’t written any posts in a while I have been battling persistent headaches and migraines and the last thing I felt like doing was any baking, but this last week I have been feeling better and have started to do some cooking/baking again, and the first thing I made was this years batch of mincemeat……

  I decided I needed to make more than I did last year so I doubled the recipe, which as it turned out made almost 10 jars!!!  And those 10 jars are now sat in the cupboard to ‘age’ for a minimum of 4 weeks before I can use any of them.

   I will write out the full recipe and instructions, but, I will say it takes a good couple of days to make this mincemeat properly, but that being said, the house does smell lovely!!

For the mincemeat (I doubled these amounts) it should make about 4 jars.

  • 400g Bramley apples – peeled, cored and diced
  • 250g Raisins
  • 250g Currants
  • 250g Sultanas
  • 200g Small diced candied peel
  • 200g Suet
  • 200g Soft brown sugar (muscovado)
  • 150ml Brandy (optional)
  • 1 Lemon – zest and juice
  • 1 Orange – zest and juice
  • 100g Almonds – broken small
  • 2 Tsp mixed ground spice
  • 1 Tsp grated nutmeg (or ground)

Wash all of the dried fruit under running water and leave to dry.

Peel, core and small dice the apples.

In a large oven proof mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT the brandy, stir them all together so no one ingredient is stuck together.  Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture overnight in a cool place.

THE NEXT DAY, pre-heat the oven to 120C.

Cover the bowl loosely with foil and bake in the oven for 3 hours.  Then remove from the oven.

The suet will have melted and the apples will have stewed, leaving the mincemeat covered in a thin watery fat, but this is how it should be.

As it cools, stir the mixture from time to time to coat everything in the melted suet.  Once it is cold, stir again adding the brandy, then COVER again and LEAVE OVER NIGHT.

THE NEXT DAY, stir the mincemeat for a final time, and then fill your jars.

Once the jar is full pack it down tight because you don’t want it full of air pockets.  Seal the jars and store in a cool, dry, dark place

Age the mincemeat for at least 4 weeks before you use any, but, the longer you leave it the better it will become.

 

   Here is a picture of mine, one picture is of the mincemeat in the massive bowl I made it in and the second picture is of all of my jars stacked up ready to into my cupboard.

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  I will be making so much with all of these jars (probably for the next year), it’s a good job my husband loves mincemeat!!!

Mincemeat Shortbread Bites.

At the beginning of the week I had a list of thing to bake and I am sad to say I have only made three of the things but I will be baking again once I have written this.  I made the mincemeat shortbreads which worked out really well and I made apple curd which didn’t work out so well, and I also made another batch of the brandy frangipane mince-pies, but this is about the mincemeat shortbread.

It really is an easy, straight forward recipe, but I did have one of those ‘this so isn’t going to work’ moments, when the dough was quite sticky and I couldn’t ‘press’ it in the tin and when it came to ‘crumble’ the topping on, this dough does not crumble, you have to just put bits of the dough over the top of the mincemeat, any way, that all said, my husband assures me that this tastes delicious (I haven’t tried it as I don’t like mincemeat).

Here is the recipe for this delicious bake:

Mincemeat Shortbread Bites:

  • 260g Plain flour
  • 20g Semolina
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 226g Butter – at room temperature
  • 70g Light brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 400g Mincemeat

Pre-heat the oven to 190C, and grease a 8.5 x 8.5 inch tin.

In a bowl mix the flour, semolina and salt and leave to one side.

In a mixer beat the butter until smooth, then add the sugar and again beat until smooth, the beat in the vanilla extract.  Gently stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Evenly ‘press’ (I ended up spreading it with a spatula) about 2/3rds of the shortbread mixture into the prepared tin, then, spread over the mince meat leaving a 1/4 inch border.

‘Crumble’ the rest of the dough over the top and lightly press it into the mincemeat.

Bake for 35 – 40 mins or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cut it into small squares, then leave it to completely cool in the tin.

And here’s how mine looked, yes my pieces were quite big, but after it being tasted, smaller squares were highly recommended.

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I will definitely be making these again and maybe trying different flavoured ‘insides’ as it were, and maybe making a chocolate flavoured shortbread.  Yummy!!

Sugar Cookies….For My Brothers Anniversary!

Well these beautiful biscuits were a bit of rush in the end, but worked out really well.  I have started baking gifts for people, because I think it can feel more personal, very cheesy, but a ‘made with love’ feel.

So it was their wedding anniversary this week, and going with the love theme, I made them 10 heart shaped sugar cookies, that I decorated with a pink royal icing, and packaged in tissue paper in a decorative tin for them.  And they really liked them, so, RESULT!! for me.

The recipe for the sugar cookies I found here: http://www.joyofbaking.com/SugarCookies.html The recipe made loads of biscuits, so not only did we make the heart shaped ones, I made some Thomas the Tank Engine ones, some cow ones, and with all the left overs, I made a big mincemeat filled sugar cookie pie thing, which my husband assures me was delicious.

I have lots of baking planned for the coming week, including apple curd, date fingers and lemon curd ice-cream cake, so here’s to a busy baking time!!

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Yes I was going for the ‘rustic’ look to my icing.  Yummy Yummy!!

Brandy Frangipane Mince Pies With Home Made Mincemeat.

Well I hope to have started as I mean to go on, by getting baking and planning what to be baking next.  After writing my Hello, Hello!! post yesterday, I got the urge to start baking, so, an impromptu baking session began at about half past 8 last night, and I decided I would make use of some of my 4 jars of home made mincemeat and found a lovely sounding recipe for frangipane mince pies at http://planetpenny.co.uk/?s=brandy+frangipane

The recipe uses a slightly sweet shortcrust pastry, and mine could have been sweeter but I only had golden caster sugar in the cupboard as I ran out of white caster whilst making some mini lemon drizzle muffins on Monday evening, yes, another evening baking session, why I get the urge to bake at night I really don’t know, anyway, back to the mince pies, so you have a sweet shortcrust, which the recipe said I could make 36 pies from but I was afraid the pastry would stick to my table so I only made 24, with thicker pastry.

You put your pies cases in the patty tins in the fridge while you make the frangipane.  I also added a good glug of brandy to my mincemeat, just for an extra boozy flavour.  Once you’re frangipane is made and your mincemeat is brandied enough you begin to assemble.  A small teaspoon of mincemeat goes in first, which I kind of smoothed down, then a teaspoon of frangipane goes on top that I smoothed down too and tried to make sure the edges were sealed so my mincemeat didn’t escape.  Then, you are supposed to put almond flakes on top, but I completely forgot, and you bake them for 20-25 mins at 180C, until they are golden brown and looking delicious.  When you take them out of the oven put them on a rack to cool and dust with icing sugar.

Now, you are probably going to think this a little bit odd, but I don’t like mincemeat, so I haven’t eaten any of these, but, my husband loves it, and thinks these are delicious, so much so that he ate about 4 instantly!!  These really are easy to make and you don’t just have to stick with brandy and mincemeat combo, I am sure to be making these again with all sorts of fillings and flavours of frangipane.  Here is the basic recipe:

For the pastry:

  • 125g Butter
  • 50g Caster sugar
  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 2 – 3 tbsp water.

For the frangipane:

  • 200g Butter
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 50g Plain flour
  • 200g Ground almonds
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • Flaked almonds

You will also need a jar of mincemeat.

For the pastry I mixed the flour and sugar and then rubbed in the butter, once rubbed in, I added the egg yolk and some water.  I then put it in the freezer for about 10 mins before I rolled it out.  Try to roll out the pastry dough in to 36 circles and use them in 3, 12 hole patty tins, then put the tins in the fridge while you make the frangipane.

For the frangipane, In a mixer beat the butter until soft, then add the sugar and beat again until pale and fluffy, and then beat in the eggs.  Mix in the flour, ground almonds and brandy.

Then take your pastry cases in tins from the fridge and used a small teaspoon of mincemeat, topped off with a teaspoon of frangipane, smooth it down and sprinkle on some flaked almonds.

Bake in you oven at 180C for 20-25 minutes.  Once golden and looking good, remove from the oven and dust with icing sugar.

Here is a picture of some of the ones I made.

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Please, enjoy making, and, eating these.  Thank you!

Hello, Hello!!

Hello and welcome to my blog.  I will be writing about all my baking escapades which will include photos and recipes.

As the title suggests I do indeed have a tiny kitchen, and by the time I’m in there with all my ‘stuff’ out, and then my son comes in dragging a chair with him to stand on, I literally have no room to turn around or open a drawer…..and yes it does drive me insane…..my husband will testify to this, as I moan A LOT about it.

I have always loved baking and cooking, but have decided I want to do a lot more of it, and thought that this would be a good way of keeping track of what I have done.

I have some jars of mincemeat that I made last year that I want to use, so I have been looking at making something with that, and I would like to make some ‘pretty’ biscuits.  So, watch this space.