Monday, 29 August 2011

Autumn Display

My spring/summer floral display needed updating...

The autumnal colour palette....

the mess I created....

the end result - my autumn/winter floral display

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Kashmiri Chicken

Kashmiri Chicken

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
6 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods
2 large shallots, sliced
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
300ml crushed tomatoes
7 chicken thighs, skinned
salt and sugar, to taste

Heat the oil in a pot and add the bay leaves, cloves, green cardamom and black cardamom. Fry for about 15 seconds.

Add the onion and fry until golden-brown.

Add salt, garlic, ginger, paprika, chilli powder, cumin, coriander and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until oil is released from the ingredients - around 10-15 minutes.

Add 200ml of water (or chicken stock) and bring to the boil. Season with salt and sugar.

Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook, covered, until the chicken is tender and cooked through - around 30-40 minutes.

Remove the lid and add a splash of boiling water if the sauce is looking too thick. If the sauce seems too watery, remove the chicken and cook over a high heat until the volume of liquid has reduced, then add the chicken back to the pot.

Garden Updates

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Garden Updates

Up the Garden Path

I love clearing up the garden and preparing it for the next season. There’s something refreshing about clearing the ground and digging it over.

Today's chores involved a lot of maintenance - weeding, deadheading, taking off brown leaves, that sort of thing.

A back-breaking task of deadheading the dried up blooms of Alchemilla mollis.

Clearing up the small woodland area at the edge of the garden.
I managed to transfer some of my aggression to those poor trees.

My herbs - rosemary, bay and thyme - doing wonderfully well in the garden.

My ever-present garden buddy, Lolita, keeping me company while I'm up to my neck in muck.
She's usually with me as I worked outside; she would often lazed in the sun and watched me tackling my new project.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Casserole Day

Simple Beef Casserole

500g diced beef
30g plain flour
Salt and black pepper
4 tbs sunflower oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 carrots
2 parsnips
1 small turnip
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1 vegetable stock cube
400ml unsweetened apple juice
400ml chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of rosemary

Prepare the vegetables, wash , cut and set aside.

Place the flour in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper . Add the diced beef, toss to cover the meat in the flour.

Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish and saute the meat until golden brown all over, remove and set aside.

Return the casserole dish to the heat and saute the vegetables, garlic and shallots in the remaining oil until golden brown. Add the beef, coriander and the remaining flour left over from dusting the meat, saute for about 5 minutes.

Deglaze the casserole dish with the apple juice, tomatoes and vegetable stock.

Cover the casserole dish with a lid and bring the casserole to a gentle simmer, add the bay leaf and rosemary, stir and cook the casserole over very low heat for 40 - 60 minutes.


I made a batch of scrumptious melt-in-the-mouth German cookies.