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Posts Tagged ‘Vicarage Recipes’

I just tweeted about this recipe, but I thought it would be good to have a less ephemeral version of it too. This is my absolutely favourite thing to do with blackberries.

I can’t remember where I first found the recipe, and they don’t resemble the cobbler that is a big scone that goes on top of a casserole or pudding. The end result is actually a sort of chewy sweet yorkshire pudding.

The sweetness of the cobbler bit balances the sharpness of the blackberries so well. They are very easy to mix up and make, and tonight we ate them straight from the oven with extra thick double cream.

Ingredients

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 250ml milk
  • 115g butter, melted
  • A 250ml cup of blackberries

Butter a 12 hole muffin tin (I find my standard metal one works best) and put the oven on at 180C. Melt the butter (I use the microwave on defrost, so it doesn’t splatter). Then mix the sugar, flour and milk to make a batter, and then the melted butter. Distribute the batter in the muffin tin – the holes will be almost full to the top. Then put the blackberries on the top of each cobbler – my blackberries were enough for 4 per cobbler.

Bake for 30 minutes, and then remove from the tin promptly. If you leave them in, they stick!

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I have been ill for a frustrating amount of lockdown – Covid (mild, self diagnosed, with the Engineer developing an alarming but confirming case of Covid Toe), toothache (still waiting for the dental hospital extraction referral appointment) and then a gastric bug. It’s been boring for us all, and the Vicarage kitchen has rather suffered from a lack of creative input.

But as I started to recover a couple of weeks ago I happily remembered a recipe that I used to use frequently when we lived in South East Asia, but had almost forgotten. It’s essentially a South Indian rice recipe, and I remember being provided with it on field trips when I worked in Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, when I was involved in a feasibility study for some enormous water pumping stations to supply the city.

Lemon rice is a gorgeous accompaniment to any Indian dish, but particularly anything barbecued, like tandoori chicken. It’s actually a pretty filling dish on its own, and because this version has peanuts, it’s a complete meal and so suits any family that has acquired a vegan *mother of teenagers face*.

I have made this using basmati rice and with Thai fragrant jasmine, but any type of rice would be fine. After our time in Malaysia and Singapore, our go-to rice is Thai fragrant jasmine. The Queen had not realised this, and had been buying standard long grain at university. Unfortunately, she had also realised that rice at home tastes much better and was distressed to find that we have basically spoiled her for cheap rice.

Ingredients

  • Cooked rice – I use 450ml of rice (3 rice measuring cups) for our family of 5 to ensure leftovers
  • Oil
  • 1 tspn mustard seeds
  • pinch of asofoetida powder
  • a handful of dried curry leaves, unless you can find fresh ones
  • 1/2 tspn grated ginger
  • 1/2 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tspn chilli flakes, or a couple of whole dried chillis broken into 2cm sections (adapt to your chilli capacity)
  • a handful of cashews – raw or roasted and salted are fine
  • a couple of handfuls of red skinned peanuts
  • 1 tspn turmeric
  • Good slosh of lemon juice – 3-4 tbspns I guess

All you have to do is heat the oil, and then add the rest of the ingredients together, apart from the lemon juice, and gently fry until the nuts are toasted and the mustard seeds begin to pop. Then add the oil and fried nuts and spices to the rice, with the lemon juice, and mix until you have a beautiful fragrant yellow rice dish. Try not to eat it all at once.

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Tonight in the Vicarage we had a favourite tea. Even the Engineer, the fussiest eater in the family, showed some definite enthusiasm when he saw what we were eating. It’s a great way to stretch a small pack of sausages out for several people, and is so simple it’s almost not a proper recipe. But here you are anyway. It might be a way to spin out some stuff you have in the cupboard. I’m no Jack Monroe (loving her #JackMonroesLockdownLarder on Twitter just now, where she makes recipes from people’s random pantry ingredients), but this is in the same spirit – made with everyday ingredients that you might just have in.

Ingredients

  • An onion, chopped
  • Garlic cloves – two or more as you like – also chopped
  • 1/2 tspn chilli flakes
  • 1 heaped tspn fennel seeds (these are great, but I know you might not have them in, so don’t worry if you don’t)
  •  Pack of sausages (there were six of them this evening to feed four of us) – each sausage cut into three or four pieces
  • Tin of tomatoes
  • Tomato puree (if you have it – I didn’t this evening)
  • Tin of beans – I used white kidney beans (cannellini), but borlotti, flageolet or red kidney beans would be fine, and if you don’t have beans you don’t have to use them

This is pretty straightforward – put a little oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic then the chilli and fennel and cook gently for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and the garlic golden. Then add the chopped sausages, like mini meatballs. I often use sausages from the freezer for this recipe and have found that they are much easier to cut into chunks if they are not entirely defrosted. Brown the sausages and then add the tin of tomatoes, a couple of tablespoons of tomato puree and the tin of beans, including the liquid in the tin. Add another half tin of water, together with salt and pepper, and bring the sauce to the boil. Then cover the pan and simmer for about half an hour.

We usually have this with penne pasta – it’s a pretty chunky sauce, and serve with a good grating of parmesan or other strong cheese. The chilli and fennel give an extra zing to the flavour. You could stretch it to six people if you added an extra tin of tomatoes or beans. Happy eating from your cupboards and freezers!

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Ages ago, when I was slightly more on top of life, I went through a phase of baking sourdough. I love the taste of the bread, and it keeps brilliantly. And if we’re all going to stuck at home for a bit, I think the relaxing rhythm of the baking would be good for us all. And a friend has just asked online for sourdough recipes, and I discovered most of this post lurking in my vast drafts folder.

There are loads of sourdough recipes online. So when I first had a go, I cobbled one together from the internet and a packet of bread flour, because I’d not yet bought a book. It works just fine. It looks long, but it’s actually pretty simple: make the starter over the course of a week, knead over a morning, an afternoon or an evening, prove overnight, bake in about half an hour.

I made my sourdough starter from the recipe on the flour packet, which was as follows:

Day 1: 75g flour, 75ml water. Stir to thick paste. Leave in jar with about 1l capacity in a warm place. The Vicarage kitchen was fine, so it doesn’t have to be super warm.

Day 2: Add the same again.

Day 3: And again. The mix was starting to bubble a bit and smell a bit yoghurty.

Day 4: And again. By now I’d realised that 75g flour is about 125ml, so I started using a heaped 1/2cup measure for the flour. This isn’t baking, so an exact measurement isn’t that important.

Day 5: And again.

Day 6: And again.

Day 7: And again. This is then enough to start making the sourdough. The starter was bubbling nicely by now and smelling full of lactobacillus. It tastes quite sour. Unsurprisingly.

So then I started with the bread itself. And all you need to add to the starter is flour, warmish water and salt. My recipe is a slow kneading one, which can be done over a few hours, but is pretty flexible if you’re in and out of the house. It can also be done in an evening though if you’re out all day. There are heaps of other techniques all over the internet. Basically, you’ve got some yeast in the starter, so you can make bread with it somehow. The yeast works better if worked slowly but I’ve made pizzas using a dough that’s only had a few kneads over an hour or two.

Ingredients

  • 200ml sourdough starter (original recipe said 150-250g but you need to scoop it out anyway and this is over 150g)
  • 500g bread flour (any sort)
  • 1 tspn salt
  • Around 350ml water (for the example loaf pictured here I used about 1/3 strong brown flour to 2/3 strong white and about 400ml water – the starter was quite stiff)

The key thing about sourdough is that you make quite a wet dough compared to the dough you’d make using instant yeast. I started first with strong white flour and exactly 350ml water. Trying it this way gives you a feel for the sogginess of the dough, but I don’t bother measuring now. You need more water if you’re using brown flour, or a mix. The recipe is very flexible. If your dough is super wet you’ll get a flat loaf with quite an airy texture. A drier dough gives me a denser loaf which holds its shape better. All delicious though.

I mix my dough in a pyrex bowl, using a silicone spatula. Then I leave it, covered with a cloth for ten minutes. No kneading. And then I do a series of kneadings and leavings as follows:

Mix dough, leave 10 minutes, in your bowl, covered with a clean teatowel or a muslin cloth, if you have some lurking.

Knead by folding over about 15-20 times. It will be sticky, so oil your kneading surface, and the inside of the bowl before placing it back, then leave it for another 10 minutes, covered. I have a plastic scraper that I use to gather everything back together and avoid lots of dough getting left on my board.

Knead 15-20 times on oiled board, leave 10 minutes in oiled bowl, covered. You really need the oil.

Then repeat again 4 times, leaving your dough for:

30 minutes

1 hour

1 hour again

1-2 hours NB All these times are pretty flexible, and you can probably get away with missing one or two of the kneads out.

Finally knead 15-20 times and leave the dough to rest on your board, covered with the cloth. Whilst that is happening, wash and dry your bowl. When your ten minutes are up, take your cloth, cover it liberally in bread flour and place it in the bowl, where it will serve to shape your bread in its final prove. Then fold the dough into a vague round shape, using lots of flour and pop it in the bowl (which should be about the same size as the dough, with a bit of room for rising), scatter over some more flour and then pop another cloth or some other cover on (I have a silicone cover that is super useful for this sort of thing).

If you don’t use enough flour, it will stick to the cloth, which can be quite a stressful experience as you try to extract it onto a very hot baking sheet. So ladle on the flour. This is how I did it for my first few loaves. Then I had a birthday and a banneton for a present (a 1kg banneton is perfect for this recipe) which is a bit easier – you just flour the banneton and top it with a cloth. The cloth and bowl combo worked fine though. My bowl has a capacity of about 2l.

Then pop your bowl or banneton in the fridge and leave it overnight, or a couple of nights. It will rise very beautifully.

Then, when you are wanting to make your bread, pop a baking sheet in the oven and whack the temperature up to the highest it will go. This is about 250C on my oven (I think – it’s past 240C anyhow). Also place handy a sharp carving knife or similar, a small deep baking tray eg a cake tin, with a glassful of water in it and some polenta or more bread flour. Retrieve your now risen loaf from the fridge.

Once the oven is hot, take the baking sheet out and put it on a slip proof, heat proof surface (I use the top of the cooker). Sprinkle the tray with polenta or flour and then invert your bowl or banneton on the sheet. It will start to spread out. Cut a deep cross in it, about half way through the dough. Then pop it in the oven, followed by your water filled tin on a shelf below.

Cook for 15 minutes at your top temperature and then turn the oven down to 200C for 20 minutes. And then take out of the oven, cool and eat warm with butter. If there’s any left it is delicious in any way and especially makes the world’s best toast.

I have to go now and resurrect my starter. See you back here in a week with a loaf?

IMG-20130917-00180 (1)

One I made a *lot* earlier than this blogpost

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It’s turned rather chilly this week. We’ve started lighting the wood burning stove in the evenings, but during the day the Vicarage can be a bit nippy. My usual lunch solution in cold weather is a bowl of soup. But recently I have been branching out into hot salads. I’m not sure if that’s the correct technical term, but I’ve been frying and roasting veg in various combinations, to warm firstly the kitchen, and secondly the Vicar and me. This recipe is easily constructed from ingredients I almost always have in the fridge and pantry.

Today’s combination was a fried option because we only had half an hour to spare before the Vicar had a meeting scheduled. It was prepared and cooked in fewer than 15 minutes, and consumed in even less time than that.

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Ingredients (serves 2)

1 red onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2/3 rashers bacon, sliced into strips

a handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped in half

1 tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2/3 tbspn cream or creme fraiche

Fry the onion and garlic gently in olive oil until softened. Then add the bacon and cook, then the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are soft and juicy add the beans and the cream and grind some pepper over. Heat through and serve, with crusty bread if you’re really hungry, but this is very filling without.

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This is a Vicarage favourite (apart from with the Engineer, who has a Thing about fish). Very simple and quick to make, and great with rice or noodles and stir fried veg. It’s loosely based on a recipe from a great little series of recipe books (Periplus mini) I bought in Singapore, but alas unavailable in the UK.

Ingredients

These are per person – and are very flexible. I just tend to slosh the soy about and add a bit less juice, then scatter sugar/honey and ginger over.

  • a salmon steak (smaller or larger, depending on budget and fish consumption preferences)
  • 2 tbspns light soy sauce
  • 1 tbspn lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tbspn runny honey or brown sugar
  • 1 tspn grated fresh ginger

Pop your salmon steaks in an oven proof dish (ceramic or pyrex, not metal) and pour over the sauce ingredients above. Leave to marinade if you have a few minutes, otherwise pop straight under a hot grill for 8-10 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and a little blackened on top.

We ate it with steamed rice and some cabbage stir fried with garlic, soy and a little sugar.

IMG-20140107-00298

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This recipe is a Vicarage favourite that crosses the seasons – it’s hearty enough for winter, but the light sauce means that it suits a chilly day in June aswell. It’s also speedy, cooking in about 20 minutes. So if you can pre-prepare most of the veg, you can get it on the table within half an hour of getting in from work, or the swimming lesson or whatever. It was swimming for us yesterday – and the Queen and the Joker had to get to Kids Club, fed, in less than an hour after our return.

Ingredients

  • Pork steaks (I chopped the ones I had in half and so fed six of us, with seconds, from a pack of four) or chops
  • Bacon, about 4 rashers, chopped
  • Large onion, roughly chopped
  • Potatoes and vegetables – select from carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, leeks – all chunked. I use a smallish potato per person plus a couple of each of about 4 other vegetables to feed six of us.
  • Cabbage, sliced – I used about half a Savoy
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbspn vegetable (or chicken) bouillion powder or a stock cube
  • 200ml cider

Using a large pan or cast iron casserole dish, fry the pork in butter to brown and then set aside. Then add the bacon and fry until a little crispy. Then fry the onion until soft and add the vegetables and fry them a little too. Then add cider and enough water to almost cover the veg. Add your bouillion powder and bay leaves and bring the liquid to the boil, then turn it down to a simmer. Pop the pork steaks back on top, cover the pan and set your pinger to 15 mins. After 15 minutes, pop in the shredded cabbage and leave for another 5 minutes or so, until the vegetables are all tender. Serve in soup plates if you can, with spoons handy to slurp up the lovely broth or chunky bread to mop it up if you’re very hungry.

If you’re lucky, there may be some leftover veg to have with hunks of bread for lunch tomorrow…

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One of the things I love about my Vicarage cooker (my treat when we moved here) is its small slow oven. The slow oven is a bit titchy – only big enough for one large pot or only a single baking sheet of meringues, but I am using it more and more for winter casseroles. Tonight I cooked sausage casserole – one of our top favourites which has a few variations but is always very popular with the kids (and grown ups too).

I make this using Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference chipolatas. I’d recommend using good quality ones as cheap ones can come out rather spongey. And you only need to use a single packet to feed a family and can get that for about £2 if there’s an offer on.

The Vicar's dinner

Ingredients

  • 1-2 onions, finely sliced
  • Pack of sausages
  • 2 cups (500ml) lentilles vertes or green lentils
  • Bay leaves, mixed herbs
  • Red wine (about a glassful) and stock
  • Optional – tin of tomatoes, chunked carrots

Brown the sausages in your casserole dish and then remove them to a plate or bowl whilst you pop in a little oil or butter and the onions. Leave the onions to get nice and soft then return the sausages, chopped up into bite sized chunks, to the pan. Tonight I chopped the sausages with a spatula before I removed them and fried the onions, otherwise you can slice them with a knife once removed – I recommend pinning them to the chopping board with a fork rather than fingers (I speak from experience of burnt fingers and escaping sausages).

To the onions and sausages add the lentils, bay leaves and herbs and wine and stock (I use hot water and vegetable stock powder). This evening’s casserole also included a tin of chopped tomatoes. The liquid needs to be added to a generous level above the lentils and sausages – say 5cm/2″ in your pan. This gives space for the lentils to swell and liquid to evaporate.

 Bring to the boil and then simmer for at least 1/2hr on the hob, or pop in a slow oven at about 140ºC (Gas Mark 1) for a couple of hours or more. The slow cooking method has the advantage of keeping the Vicarage kitchen warm, so this is obviously my preferred option.

I tend to check the casserole every hour or so if it’s in the oven, just to make sure that there is still enough liquid. If you’re adding carrots it’s best to do so about half an hour before the end of the cooking time, otherwise they can get a bit soggy. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving and add a little extra liquid if needed to ensure a bit of sauce to soak into the essential accompaniment of mash.

As you can see, I served the casserole with mashed sweet and normal potatoes, and some braised red cabbage. This is a great winter warmer and excellent value for money. We had leftovers that will do well with a bit of chunky bread for lunches whilst the kids are at shcool.

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This is a brilliantly quick and easy cookie recipe given to me by Mrs Rev Ted, whose husband was the Vicar’s boss when he did his curacy. So she was my training incumbent, and this recipe was an essential part of my vicar’s wife training. It’s speedy, just like Failsafe Flapjack and is also flexible so you can fill them with whatever you have to hand – chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries etc.

Ingredients

  • 3oz butter or margarine (soft is fine)
  • 3oz soft brown sugar (or caster sugar if you don’t have brown)
  • 3oz demerera sugar (or granulated)
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 6oz self raising flour (or 5oz self raising flour, 1oz cocoa, 1/4 tspn baking powder)
  • 4oz chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries, or whatever you fancy

Cream the butter and sugars, then beat in the vanilla extract and egg. Finally add the flour (or flour, cocoa powder and baking powder for chocolate cookies) and your chocolate chips or raisins.

To bake them I line 3 baking trays with reusable silicone liners (you can use baking paper or grease your trays well) and use two teaspoons to make walnut-sized blobs of mixture. I can make about 40 standard biscuit-sized cookies from a single batch of this mixture. Bake them for 12-15 minutes at 180ºC (Gas 4, Fan 170ºC), until they have turned golden (you can only see this when they don’t have cocoa in them!) and have risen. They will flatten out again and harden a little whilst cooling – wait a few moments before transferring to cooling racks with a palette knife. If you slightly undercook them you can get a chewy cookie texture, or leave a little longer for a crunchier bite.

Options I have tried successfully for these cookies include double choc chip (cocoa in the mix with white choc chips) and cranberry and choc chip with a plain mix.

Double Choc Chip Can Do Cookies

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This Thursday evening we are hosting the staff and governors of our church school here at the Vicarage for ‘mulled wine and mince pies’. That’s what our invite said, anyway. But as many of the staff have to drive home, we will also be serving a wonderful non-alcoholic alternative, given to me by another Vicar’s-wife-in-training, when the Vicar was at theological college. Her original name for it was spiced cider, but that is not very helpful, as it really is non-alcoholic, so I’ve renamed it Spiced Cranapple. It is mulled winey in flavour and not too sweet, as some non-alcoholic punches can be. Serve it at your carol service or at the Vicarage and enjoy!

Enjoy the warmth

Ingredients
1l cranberry juice
1l apple juice
250ml (1 cup) orange juice
5 cloves
3-4 cinnamon sticks
2 tbspns sugar
1 orange, halved and sliced into rounds

Combine all the ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes to allow spices to infuse. Can also bring to boil and transfer straight to thermos pots and leave to infuse that way for church events (and keep leftovers warm for Vicarage use the rest of the week…mmmmm).

Anyway. Best get on with the pastry now. Not sure how many mince pies I’ll need for Thursday but I definitely need to start making them today.

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