Saturday, 24 November 2007

Roast Chicken

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I have no idea what is going on at the moment. Everything seems so hectic and it doesn't even have anything to do with Christmas yet. I've not been doing much notable cooking over the last few weeks, that's why my posts have been so sporadic. I did buy a chicken to roast last weekend, with the intention to make it on Sunday, but we ended up going out so I made it during the week instead. This recipe is really easy though and doesn't require much effort at all, but still guarantees a well flavoured, moist chicken.

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The original recipe calls for lime juice, but it also works well with lemon or orange. This is the perfect recipe for anybody who is roasting a chicken for the first time, but also good enough for company.

Honey & Lime Roast Chicken

1 chicken
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 lime, quartered
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp paprika
2tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.

Rinse your chicken well, inside and out and dry thoroughly with a paper towel.

Rub salt and pepper into the cavity.

Stuff the cavity with the quartered lime, onion and the garlic.

Rub the olive oil all over the chicken and season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in a roasting tin and place in the middle of your preheated oven.

The roasting time depends on size of chicken. You need to calculate it as follows: Roast for 20 mins per lb plus an extra 20 minutes for the whole chicken (example: 4 lb chicken: 4x20+20=1hr40mins).

Using the juices from the roasting tin, baste the chicken every 30 mins to stop it from drying out.

While the chicken is roasting mix the lime juice, honey and parika in a small bowl.

30 mins before your chicken will be done take it out of the oven and brush with the lime& honey glaze.

Cover the roasting tin loosely with tin foil. The chicken should already have a lovely golden colour and covering it will stop the honey from burning. Return the chicken to the oven to finish roasting, at the end of the roasting time make sure all juices run clear by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh.

Monday, 12 November 2007

More Soup

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I hope you're like me and don't get bored of soup quickly, because that's exactly what I've been cooking again. During the autumn and winter month we often have soup every week or so. It's warming, quick and most of the time even a cheap meal. Even with the added cream one portion of this soup has only about 250kcal. If you wanted to reduce that amount even further, just leave out the cream, the soup is still yummy without it. I like to serve it with croutons if I'm having it for a quick lunch or with some fresh crusty bread if I want something a bit more substantial.

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Parsnip Soup

2tbsp butter
900gr parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground corriander
2pints good quality vegetable or chicken stock
1/4 pint single cream
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
chives, for garnish
croutons (optional)

In a large soup pot, melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the parsnip, onion and garlic and cook over a low heat until softened, but don't let it brown.

Add the cumin and corriander and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring continuously.Add the stock, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the parsnip is cooked.
Puree the soup with a stick blender or food processor until smooth.
Add the cream and re-heat, making sure that it doesn't boil again.Granish with chives and croutons and serve immidiately.

Friday, 9 November 2007


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I have no idea where this week has gone. Well, one thing I do know is that I haven't had much time to cook. It's been one of those weeks where I was glad I had some home-cooked meals in the freezer to just quickly heat up when I got home from work. I also have to admit that on Wednesday I even resorted to opening a tin of Ravioli. Oh well, at least it brought back some fond childhood memories. Saying that, my mum is a great cook and it wasn't often that we got fed Ravioli.

The one thing I have made this week is soup. Not only do I truly believe that everyone should be eating soup at this time of year, because it warms your heart and soul, as well as your stomach, but my 87-year-old friend Jock has just come out of hospital and I wanted to take him something that he can easily just warm up. He loves soup, so I thought that's what it'll be.

This particular soup is one of the quickest that I know to make and it uses ingredients I usually always have in my kitchen cupboards. It's great if you want a quick warm lunch or a soup as a starter. It can be on the table in less than 15 minutes.

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Butter Bean Soup with Sundried Tomatoes, Pesto and Parmesan

900ml good quality chicken or vegetable stock
2 cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white kidney beans or butter beans or haricot beans, drained and rinsed
4tbsp sun-dried tomato puree
5tbsp pesto
2cloves of garlic, chopped finely
5tbsp freshly grated parmesan
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the beans and stock in a large pan and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and stirr in the sun-dried tomatoe puree, pesto and garlic. Cover and simmer for five minutes.

Remove from the hob and puree until smooth using a stick blender or a food processor. If you like you can keep some of the beans whole by removing them and adding them back after processing the soup.

Return the pan to the hob and simmer for another 4 minutes. Add the parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with some crusty bread.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Halloween Graveyard Cake

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As I said on Wednesday my Halloween cooking didn't really happen until today. I've been invited to a Halloween party at my friend's house tomorrow and thought I'd bring a spooky cake. This isn't so much a recipe, but instructions so you can make your own graveyard cake when you have a spooky event to attend.

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Just bake your favourite chocolate cake on a large, deep rimmed baking tray and cover it with a chocolate frosting. To make it look more like it's covered with soil, place about six bourbon cream biscuits in a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin until you have a bag full of fine crumbs. Sprinkle those over the whole cake. All you have to do now is decorate it with gravestones and all kinds of other halloween sweets like winegum worms and bats, squirty skulls and sugar bones. You could also use marzipan pumpkins and ghosts, there really is no limit, just have a look what you can find in the shops.

I really enjoyed myself doing the gravestones. All you need is some malted milk biscuits, a glaze for the biscuits and some writing icing in adifferent colours. To make the biscuits look mor like gravestones just use a small sharp kitchen knife to carve one end into an oval shape. Glaze each biscuit and allow the glaze to dry before decorating them with the writing icing. Alternatively you can place some small Halloween sweets into the wet glaze, they will stick once the glaze has dried.

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