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If You Make It Rain She Will Be Under The Weather….

I am down one child this week. The Ru is with his father as his wonderful nanny Pavlina is on vacation. I am kind of getting used to having two children. Ooo having two is so easy! The girls are also “best friends” apparently. They are playing card games together and whispering conspiratorially. Hmm I think I should be concerned. It almost feels like the quiet before the storm…

The diversity of this weeks culinary creations has been spectacular. Mostly due to the random requests from the girls which I have been happily fulfilling as they have been so adorable.  I really am worried, this cannot be maintained….

I made twice cooked Szechaun pork and served it with noodles. I always use pork belly for this dish. I poach the belly pieces in water with roughly chopped (unpeeled) ginger, star anise, an onion (cut in half unpeeled) and some Szechaun peppercorns. After 20 mins or so I take out the pork cut It into bite size chunks and then throw a marinade on them. The marinade varies as to what elements I have in my cupboard, but the basis always remains the same. I always have in my cupboard, soy sauce, chilli oil, fermented black beans and sugar.  Thats the basis and then I throw in, sesame oil, more crushed peppercorns. maybe some fresh chilli, crushed garlic and crushed ginger. I marinate the pork for  a minimum of 20 mins.

I then fire up the wok and fry the pork (leaving the marinade aside) for 8 mins or so then decant and throw in some chopped veg, some cashews, the left over marinade and some pre cooked noodles, add a bit more soy if needed. Voila.

For dessert the kids requested crumble..Uhh ok, Szechuan pork and crumble has never really been on my list of great menus but I am here to serve (apparently). I leave you the recipe. I cannot recommend that you serve it after the pork dish but I won,t judge you either if you do…

Have a great week

Rachelle X

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Strawberry Peach and Almond Crumble 

(Serves 4)

I wanted to make a strawberry and rhubarb crumble but couldn’t find any rhubarb, I added whole almonds (which were therapeutically battered with a rolling pin) to the crumble mix. I am happy with the result, the kids were happy with the result, I served it with creme fraiche sweetened with a little icing sugar and vanilla extract.

Ingredients

  • 400g Strawberries (cut in half)
  • 4 large peaches (quartered)
  • 60g whole almonds (beaten with a heavy object till nubbly)
  • 220g oats
  • 200g plain flour
  • 3 tbs cold butter
  • 120g sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • A few nobs of butter to go onto the fruit
  • fat pinch of sea salt

Directions

Turn on the oven 180C

In a medium size bowl place the flour, oats, almonds and salt. Mix really well then add the 3 tbs of cold butter, with your finger tips rub the butter in until a nobbly sand texture. Set aside.

In a 12 x 6 x 2 inch dish (you can do individual portions too) place your strawberries and peaches. I then take about a tablespoon of so of butter and mix it with the vanilla extract, then place nobs of the vanilla butter on top of the fruit.

Scatter the crumble mix on top and place in the oven for 25 mins until the fruit is bubbling and the crumble golden.

Serve with your a la mode of choice.

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I Have No Lid Upon My Head

Hang on a sec Lola, I just want to take a picture, it looks really good. “Mum its toast! I hate your job, I wish you had another job, I don’t care if we have no money, I don’t care if we become homeless…”  Well I guess its an improvement on the whole dead, spitting on grave scenario we had a couple of weeks ago.

I did photograph the toast and in order to placate the 8 year old, I asked her what she would like for dinner. I will make whatever you wish my love, oh love of my life, darling child of mine..You get the picture.

“I want sushi, I was going to say chicken nuggets but now I want sushi” Well ok sushi it is.. pretty easy, I have the nori and the mat, just need to get a couple of bits for the filling..Done.

I haven’t made sushi for ages. I forgot how much fun it is. I really is not hard, not hard at all. I guess the most difficult thing is rolling the first one. But once you have done one you can totally bang them out. I usually do veggie ones. If I am feeding proper people, I will buy sashimi grade fish, but most of the time I make up my own fillings. I love California Rolls, I became totally addicted to them when I was living in San Francisco. The best sushi place ever Yoshi’s in Fillmore Street. Fabulous food. It makes me sad to think about it. Totally miss San Francisco.

Well I will leave you with my recipe for California Rolls (and the photo of the infamous toast). Please make them and they will make you happy!

Rachelle x

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California Rolls

I totally forgot to buy the crab sticks for this but had some smoked salmon at home so used that instead. I will not be winning any awards for the neatest Sushi maker. They are totally delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of sushi rice (or pudding rice if you can’t find sushi rice)
  • 1 packet of crab sticks, torn or cut into small sticks (or use crab meat if you want or smoked salmon)
  • 1 Avocado – cut into sticks
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice (for the avocado)
  • Half a cucumber – cut into sticks ( I scrape out the seeds with a small spoon)
  • 1 small packet of sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of mayo
  • 1 packet of nori
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Soy Sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger for serving

Serves 2-3 people

Method

Ok first cook your rice. Put the rice in a large colander and rinse thoroughly under a cold tap. The put the rice in a large saucepan and fill with water. I know everyone talks about measuring 3 times water etc etc. Can’t be bothered with that, just make sure there is plenty of water. Season with some salt and bring the rice to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook for another 10mins or so until the rice is slightly aldente (got a bit of a bite to it). This rice is a short and fat and sticky. I tip it out into a colander and rinse through briefly with cold water. Purest will be horrified at what I do next but do I care? Take a piece of foil big enough to lay the rice out. I use foil, because you will probably have rice left over so you can wrap it up and chuck it into the fridge.

While the rice is cooking chop up your veg and have it ready on the side. Make sure you sprinkle lemon juice on the avocado to stop it turning brown. Take your crab sticks put them in a bowl and mix them with the mayo.

When your rice is laid out, sprinkle over the rice wine vinegar.   Then take a chopping board and lay out your sushi rolling mat, longest side nearest you. place a piece of cling film on top of the mat, this will stop the rice from sticking to the mat. Place a piece of nori shiny side down on the mat. Wet your fingers and spread an even layer of rice over the nori, leaving a seam of nori showing on each long side.

Then sprinkle on your sesame seeds. Pick up your rice covered nori and turn it over so the rice is now on top of the cling film. This sounds easier then it is, but just flip it and a bit of rice may fall off no problem. Once you have flipped a couple you will be a pro.

Then about a third up from you (ie not in the middle) lay a strip of Avocado, Cucumber and crab meat. Grab the edge of the mat closest to you, keeping the fillings in place with your fingers, and roll it into a tight cylinder, using the mat to shape the cylinder. Pull away the mat and set aside. Cover with a damp cloth. Repeat until all of the rice has been used. Cut each roll into 6 pieces.

Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.


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The Big Muddy

Ok ok, I promise I will stop with the Springsteen songs. Such a great track though….Its the beginning of a new week. This week took a bit of a toll on me but I survived and have managed to tackle some pretty grim tasks. I have also totally managed to ignore some really hugely important life stuff. I know that ignoring the problem will not make it go away. I am doing it anyway. Don’t care. Don’t want to deal, Not doing it. I am a grown woman and if I want to act like a 6 yr old then that’s my prerogative. In fact this week I have been particulary in touch with my inner child. Rufus and I seem to have spent a bit more time together this week. He is totally rocking my world right now.

I have just edited my shots from the week and even though I felt so very uninspired I did make quite a bit of kid friendly food! I announced that I would make homemade chicken nuggets expecting a round of applause, or at least a small whoop. Lola groans loudly…”can’t we just have crappy frozen ones..You know like from Iceland” I ignored her comment. The Iceland thing again, I never go there, have never shopped there ever! Lidl, Aldi yes. Anyway I ignored her and made a batch. Right I demand if you have kids, or not. Make them. They are healthy quick and so moreish.

I apologise for the rubbish shot of them. I am trying to learn how to use the Canon digital camera my friend lent me (I’m kinda hoping it is a long termish loan) Well long enough for me to learn how to use it properly. I can’t seem to get the whole iso, f-stop focus thing. For your amusement I have posted a photo of a sticky spicy roast chicken dish that I did.  Hmmm all you food photographers out there, don’t start sweating yet!!

Oh yeah I made a heart shaped banana bread, the kids ate it before I could shoot the baked version. I was not happy! Tilda took a couple of shots of the family too!

Have a wonderful week

Lots of love

Rachelle x

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Chicken Nuggets

They take half an hour to make from start to finish. They are so healthy and delicious.

Makes 18ish

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts (free range please)
  • 1 tablespoon of mayo
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 150grams of panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper

Pulse the chicken breasts in a food processor and pulse a few times until the chicken is in bits and a tiny bit gloopy add mayo and garlic and pulse again.

Tip the bread crumbs in a bowl and in your hands make small dumplings of the chicken mixture (around the size of a ping pong ball). Roll the nugget in the breadcrumbs put on a baking sheet. Continue till all the chicken mixture is used. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 10mins or so to let the mixture rest. Meanwhile turn the oven on to 190C.

Place in the oven for 20mins or so until the breadcrumbs are brown and the chicken is cooked through. I served these with peas and chips.

Enjoy x

 

 

 


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