Breakfast Is Served

You have to be quick at Chez Thompson if you want to breakfast like a king.

Every morning, just as it becomes light, me and Albie go out into the garden (I’m usually in my dressing gown) to fill up the bird feeder. Each day the birds are treated to something different. This morning it was almond crossiant, crusts from yesterdays cheese sandwich (with the odd bit of cheese) a couple of biscuits and some new potatoes from the stew last night. I put everything in a processor and blitz it to crumbs. Whatever left overs we have at the end of the day (that are suitable obviously) go into a bowl for blitzing the following morning. I mix all that with some wild bird seed and they love it.

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The Wood Pigeons are usually first to arrive, followed by the Starlings, Sparrows, a pair of Blackbirds, one tiny little Robin, some Collared Doves, a couple of Blue Tits and then finally a pair of Magpies. Its the same every single day, and i often find myself wondering if i should be serving lunch and dinner too 😉

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Crazy when you think i live in the middle of a town.

No cooking today, its “Date Night” so we’re out for dinner and a show.

Richmond Maids Of Honour

Back in Tudor times. these little tarts would have been eaten by Henry VIII…apparently. But they’ve died a death recently, apart from in Richmond where there is one Bakery who are still making them to the traditional method (I’m presuming the one that includes rennet, but if you search the web you’ll find loads of different recipes).

I saw Newans featured on Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Feast last week and decided then and there that i was going to give the Maids a bash. The first hurdle was finding a workable recipe, so i went for Delia’s version. But i didn’t realise just how hard it would be to get “Curd” cheese. Not “cream” cheese…”curd” lol. So in the end i had to settle for Quark (as there was no way i was straining cottage cheese for hours through muslin). I will definitely try them again, using curd cheese. Im sure they sell it in places like Fortnum & Masons or Selfridges Food Hall.

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Mine didn’t end up looking as pretty as Delia’s (or Newans) but they were very tasty. Like tiny little cheesecakes. Although my son said they could do with being a bit more lemony lol

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Perhaps this can be my next project…..make every Maids of Honour recipe i can find to see which one is the best lol. I could also do savoury ones, different flavours (like Jamie & Jimmy did), different cheese..ooooo…Ricotta…and i also need to take a trip to Richmond 😉

Dinner this evening was inspired by Nigel’s Lamb Stew from The Kitchen Diaries, but when it comes to Stew, i like to do my own thing.

Vikki’s Lamb Stew

  • 100g Pearl Barley
  • 1 large white onion, root left on, quartered
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 3 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • Small new potatoes (allow 2 or 3 per person)
  • 2 Celery stalks, but into chunks
  • A couple of Bay Leaves
  • Thyme or Rosemary (chopped)
  • Lamb Stock cubes (2)
  • Lamb (any cut you want, amount dependant on how many people eating)

I got a bargain in Waitrose…3 large pieces of fillet (that were meant for roasting) for a tenner! (not bad for a family of 6!) So i just cut each one in half.

Place the Pearl Barley in a saucepan and boil for 25 minutes (Nige suggests this, my gran just use to throw it in so who knows) and while thats cooking add everything else to a large casserole dish or slow cooker, crumbling the stock cube. Drain the pearl barley and add to the pot then add enough water to cover and whack it in the oven (or put the lid on the slow cooker). Nige’s recipe said to check and skim off froth, but i never had any lol.

Cook for at least a couple of hours (i did mine for about 3 1/2 in the oven) and serve with savoy cabbage and chunks of bread.

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Ok, so it doesn’t look particularly pretty, but, ooooo, was it tasty! 🙂 The Hubster has already requested any leftovers for his lunch tomorrow.

Chicken in A Crust

When the kids saw their dinner this evening they were convinced it was a pie (again), but no, it was Jamie’s Chicken in a Crust. Ok, so mine didn’t look as pretty as Jamie’s, and i cheated by buying a chicken crown rather than a whole bird. But the meat did seem really tender. Would i go to all that effort again? Probably not. I think you’d get the same effect if you roast it in one of those bags.

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I served it with Nigel Slaters Cheese smothered potatoes and a 3 Cheese bread from the machine.

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Which contained Pecorino, Dolcelatte and Mozzarella.

For dessert i made Tosset Cakes. Ive been watching Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night feast, and i love that they have been highlighting English classics that are in danger of extinction. I ended up with 32 cakes/biscuits (but the recipe will make more if you roll them out thinner).

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Im not really sure what i was expecting, but after eating a couple i was a bit bored…so gawd knows how long its going to take to get through this lot lol

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Following Doctors Orders…

Ok, i give in! Ive spent most of the day in my jim jams with the heating whacked up and the meal i’d planned for this evening has been shuffled further down the week. My trip up to London to see a friend has been cancelled *pouts* and The Hubster will be bringing in Fish & Chips with him tonight.

But i make a lousy patient 😦 I can’t just sit for hours on end, i have to be doing something lol. Soooo, I spent this morning finally sorting through all my recipe cuttings that had accumalated in a folder, and stuck them into scrapbooks.

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The big red one is savoury dishes, the grey one, cakes and the smaller one is for desserts/sweet things. Quite proud of myself 🙂 But i didn’t have the energy to index them… A job for tomorrow i think.

For breakfast this morning i had the poached apples, cold from the fridge. Nigel’s right, they are lovely cold, really refreshing, better than when they’re hot i’d say!

This made me think, i can’t be the only person who keeps recipe cuttings…So how do you store yours?

 

Double Cheat’s Chicken Pie

Today i was inspired by Nigel Slater‘s Cheats Chicken & Leek Pie which appears in The Kitchen Diaries II

Nigel’s “cheat” is the fact that he uses ready bought puff pastry, but i went 3 times better than that! I didn’t have to cook my chicken, or make a white sauce 😉

Vikki’s Easy Chicken Pie

  • The meat from one cooked Chicken
  • 1 pack smoked Bacon
  • 1/2 Onion chopped (i had to grate mine…shhhh…dont tell the kids)
  • 1 small can Campbells Condensed Chicken Soup
  • 2 packs ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Seasoning

Fry the chopped onion in a small amount of olive oil (or one cal spray) until cooked, but not browned, then add the bacon to cook through. Put in a bowl with the chicken and soup and mix. Taste and season, but you really shouldn’t need any salt 🙂

Lay a sheet of the pastry on a greased baking sheet and spread the chicken mix over the top leaving a gap round the sides. Lay the 2nd sheet on top and use a fork to crimp the edges together. Brush with beaten egg and bake in the centre of the over at 180 until golden brown.

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You could add mushrooms or, as in Nigels recipe, leeks, but i have to go for what the majority likes in this house 😦

I served it with peas and roast vegetables (the kids had chips cooked in the Actifry with no oil).

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Then for dessert i did Nigel’s Poached Apples…but we were so full up from dinner that the apples went straight in the fridge and guess what i’ll be having for brekkie tomorrow 😉

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Meal Planning Monday

Its Monday again…the days seem to be flying by. If only they would take this bloody virus i have with them. Mentally I’m not functioning properly (lack of sleep) and physically I’m drained. But, like i was saying to someone the other day, us “mums” aren’t allowed to be ill are we *sighs*

Ok, back to business…

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Pop over to Mrs M’s if you’re in need of inspiration 🙂

Last week there were 2 planned meals that didn’t make it to the plates due to The Hubsters Op that i didn’t write on the calendar *whoops* and then Saturday it was a case of just not fancying what i’d planned  (so we had hotdogs lol). Then of course there was my daughters request for chocolate cake. I wouldn’t mind but i don’t even like chocolate cake lol

So this week I’m planning:

  • Monday – Nigel Slaters Chicken Pie and Poached Apples (both from The Kitchen Diaries)
  • Tuesday – Nigel’s Lamb Stew & Cider Bread (both from The Kitchen Diaries). I’ll also be trying my hand at Maids of Honour using a Delia recipe.
  • Wednesday – The Hubster is in charge of dinner as i’ll be up London all day.
  • Thursday – Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in a Crust (as seen on Jamie & Jimmy last week)
  • Friday – Date Night…The Hubster and I will be at a show…I’ll get the kids Pizza’s they can cook themselves.
  • Saturday – Nigel’s Quick Spiced Beef  and Almond, Marzipan & Berry Cakes (both from The Kitchen Diaries).
  • Sunday – The Hubster is in charge 😉

Hopefully this will be the week that i discover the joys of sleeping in my own bed (rather than the sofa) but first things first…Drs this morning…it would be nice to actually taste food again at some stage lol