November 27, 2008

Pumpkin Pie

Robin, 26 November 2008, main post (Thanksgiving Eve)

3 biggish eggs

2/3 c brown sugar, packed down hard

2 c fresh cooked pumpkin (it’s really worth cooking your own, instead of getting it out of a tin, and it’s dead easy, you just have to remember to allow the extra lead time)

1 tsp ground ginger

1½ tsp gr cinnamon

½ tsp gr allspice

¼ tsp gr cloves

¼ tsp gr cardamom

¾ c heavy cream

¼ c half and half

One-crust pie crust lining a deep 9″ pie plate (you are making your own pie crust, aren’t you?)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Beat eggs till light.  Then beat the sugar in a little at a time–I do this by hand, crumbling and sprinkling with the hand that isn’t holding the spoon/electric beater.  You can do this quite quickly but I think it works better than just dumping a dense mass of brown sugar in your bowl and hacking at it.  Stir in pumpkin, then stir in cream.  Pour into your crust.

Bake at 425° for 12 minutes, then reduce to 325° and bake for another 40-50 minutes till the filling is set.  (This is so dependent on your oven.  The original recipe tells you to start at 450° but 450° turns things black in my world.  Unless I want charcoal, I don’t go above 425.°)  I’m not a big fan of testing it with a knife, but the pie should be more or less all the same colour right through the centre,  no dark damp spot, and you can also tell if it’s done by touching near the edge lightly with a finger and then the centre.  They should have the same texture.  (Warning:  touch lightly and I mean lightly.  Not only will you make a mess if it’s not done–which is what I have against sticking a knife in it–but wet filling will stick to your finger.  Wet hot filling, comprenez?)

The original recipe tells you to decorate with pecan halves.  This is very pretty, but I don’t (didn’t) do it.  I prefer to praline my pecans first:  they go a treat with pumpkin pie that way, although you hate yourself in the morning.

Spell for Banishing colds

NotLonely, 24 October, Recipe Thread

1 chicken
4 carrots, quartered
2 onions, quartered
2 sticks celery, cut in chunks
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped

Put in large pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to boil. Cook till dead.

Drink the liquid throughout the day, reheating only as much as you need at a time.
Eat the solids when you feel up to it.

Kill-or-Cure Cold Remedy

NotLonely, 24 October, Recipe Thread

2 cm cinnamon stick
a few peppercorns
2 cm fresh ginger, grated

Add to a litre cold water. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

1 tsp dried or 1 sprig fresh (each) thyme, sage and marjorum or origanum
1 tsp fenugreek seeds

Stand for 5 more minutes.

Strain a half cup at a time and dilute (half and half – it can be strong) with hot water. Drink as hot as you can bear with brandy, honey, orange zest and lemon juice to taste. My man drinks an aspirin first.

Take litres of water to bed, dressed warmly, and get under the blankets.

Drink a few cups of remedy throughout the day, reheating only as much as you’ll drink at a time.

Favourite Carrots

Mori-neko, 19 October, Recipe Thread

First you take some carrots (peeled or not as you prefer, but washed at least), and cut them into coins as thin as you can (1/8th to 1/4 inch is about right).

In a pan over medium-low heat, melt some butter (how much depends on how many carrots. For 5, we generally use about a tablespoon), then toss in a handful of brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Basically, you’re making a caramel. Add in a bunch of black pepper (sometimes we add some cayenne too).

When it’s all melted together add in the carrots and a bit of water (to loosen the sauce so that it’ll cover the carrots). Cook until the carrots are done.

Chicken with Leek and Mushroom

Mrs Redboots, 19 October, Recipe Thread

In my family, this is known as an Interesting Dish of My Own Invention.
Which is what we had for supper tonight, as I found I had chicken breast fillets, rather than whole chicken breasts:

Serves 2
1/2 pack chicken breast fillets (200 g)
1 large leek
1/2 pack mushrooms
1/2 tbs olive oil
About 150 ml milk (? 5 fl oz)
A little water
1/2 tbs cornflour (cornstarch, if you are American)
1/2 tbs reduced-fat creme fraiche.
Seasoning to taste (I used salt, pepper, dried shallots, herbes de provence and a splash of Worcestershire sauce)

Cut chicken and leeks into bite-sized chunks and mushrooms into slices. I think the dish would have been nicest if I’d par-boiled or steamed the leeks first, so do that. Meanwhile mix milk, cream, cornflour and seasoning very thoroughly.

Put olive oil into a wok and stir-fry the chicken for a few minutes. Add the vegetables, and when it starts looking a bit dry, add a sploosh of water. Then reduce the heat, add the milk mixture, and stir until it all thickens up nicely. Continue to cook, stirring all the time, for about five minutes, adding more water as necessary.

Jewels and small coins

Susan from Athens, 19 October, Recipe Thread

A stir fry for two people as an accompaniment to grilled chicken or salmon. I christened it because the vegetables are jewel bright and the multitude of seeds look like small coins.

1 long seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into 3cm segments, each of these quartered
1 red pepper, de-seeded, cut into thickish short strips
2 tbs vegetable oil for stir frying (I use olive, but peanut is better)
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tbs grated ginger
1 tbs sesame seeds
1 tbs flax seed
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbs soy sauce
a few drops sesame oil

Mix the wine with the soy sauce and half the ginger in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat a wok (or a cast iron frying pan), and once hot, add the oil, swirl around and stir fry the cucumber and pepper until the cucumber just begins to change colour, but no more. Add the garlic and the other half of the ginger and stir to distribute evenly, until the scent rises aromatically, then the seeds and stir until they start to pop. Pour the wine mixture over, cook for another two minutes. Remove from heat, dot with drops of sesame oil and serve with grilled chicken or salmon.

Chocolate Chip Spice Bars

Chelz_Catlover, 19 October, Recipe Thread

1 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 350/180 degrees. Hand mix all ingredients well, then place into a bread pan, spread evenly. Then sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Place the bread pan in the oven for 25 min NO MORE OR IT WILL COME OUT HARD AS CONCRETE. It will come out looking half cooked but will harden as it cools, only cut when completely cool.

Missy’s Rainbow Chilli

Melissa Mead, 19 October , Recipe Thread

Ingredients: !/2 lb. Ground beef
1/2 pkg each frozen chopped onions +peppers
Canned beans (red+white kidney, pink, black, pinto, Great Northern, small red+white, Black-eyed peas+any others you like. (NOT pigeon peas, though.)
Spaghetti sauce (some kind of meat/garlic/onion flavor), spices(garlic, onion+chili powders, cumin, paprika, black pepper+dill.)

WARNING:This is not a formal recipe. Ingredients + measurements are subject to change without notice.)

Directions: Fry+drain beef. Boil+drain veggies. Put about 1/2 to 2/3 of them in a crock pot,+the rest in a big bowl. (Or adjust the measurements to make just a pot full-I always have a use for the extra.) Begin heating the pot as soon as the bottom’s covered. Start dumping in beans. Use at least 1 can of each kind. Stop an inch or 2 from the rim. Stir. Add sauce, leaving enough room to stir. Stir again. Dust onion, garlic + chili powders+ cumin over the whole surface,+the rest over half. Stir again. Taste with a clean spoon. Add more of spices to taste. (I use a LOT of cumin.) Between additions-you guessed it!-stir some more. When you’ve got it how you like it, stop, heat it up, and enjoy!

It freezes well + gets even better reheated.

Tart of Darkness

AncientHarp in the forum Recipe Thread: November 9, 2008

I thought this might be appropriate for the new release of Sunshine… I found it on Recipezaar:

Text from website:



For the coulis

* 225 g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
* icing sugar

For the tarts

* 2 sheets phyllo pastry (11 x 14cm)
* 25 g unsalted butter, melted
* 2 teaspoons golden caster sugar
* 150 ml balsamic vinegar
* 1 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
* 500 g strawberries, halved

To serve

* icing sugar, for dusting
* mint sprig, to decorate


1. Heat oven to 200C/400°F.
2. Process the raspberries in a food processor until smooth and push through a sieve. Add enough icing sugar to sweeten to your liking.
3. Spread one sheet of pastry out on your work surface. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar. Place the second sheet on top and brush with more butter.
4. Cut the doubled up pastry into eight squares. Take one square and place another on top rotated 90 degrees so you have a star shape of pastry.
5. Press your pastry stars into 10cm tins and bake for 5 – 6 mins until golden.
6. Place the balsamic vinegar in a large pan and bring to the boil until reduced by half. Add the pepper and strawberries and cook over a very low heat for 3 – 4 mins until just softening, leave aside to cool.
7. When ready to serve place a case on a plate and fill with the balsamic strawberries and juices. Dust with the icing sugar and decorate with the mint. Serve the raspberry coulis at the side.

Risotto without the Cheese

b_twin_1, reposted in main post “Comfort Food”

31 October 2008


b_twin_1 says:

All done in under half an hour….


Start with –

1 wodge of butter (oh okay, you want a measurement … about 1-2 tbs)

1 spanish onion

2 cups Arborio rice

4 cups chicken stock, hot

Herbs – I usually use parsley, oregano, garlic  (and whatever I feel like grabbing from the drawer or garden)

Additions –

(whatever is in the fridge)

Vegetarian option = Pumpkin or Mushroom

Non-vege option = Bacon or Chicken (pre-browned or cooked) or cooked gourmet sausages (our butcher does some great gluten free pork  or lamb & rosemary ones)

Broccoli / Peas / Corn


Take a heavy based saucepan/pan (I use a cast iron Chasseur) and toss in the finely chopped onion (and fresh garlic and bacon if that is what you are using) with the butter.

After the onion starts to soften I add the herbs.  Then I put in the rice and swish that around a bit to heat up and get coated with butter.

I then add the chicken stock.  All in one hit.  But it is HOT (ie. just off the boil).  Stir that all around and put the lid on the Chasseur.

When the liquid starts to simmer I toss in all the veggies and anything else.   Then I put the lid on.   And turn the heat down very low.

I stir it maybe once or twice in the next 10 minutes or so.  It varies a little each time as to when it is “done” but it is usually about 15 minutes.  I look for it to have absorbed the liquid but still be “slippery” looking and not gluggy.  Gluggy means too much liquid or too long.


Robin adds:

I love pine nuts, so I will put slightly toasted pine nuts in at the last minute in a herby risotto and–further on the lazy domestic stock front–a couple of tablespoons of hummous stirred in with your couple of tablespoons of pine nuts will totally make this a main dish, although if I’m planning on hummous I’ll probably leave the onion out.  (I use an enameled cast iron pot:  easier to clean if I get it wrong, and it sticks.)