Memory of an afternoon tea.

A year ago, we visited the Rabbit Hole tearoom with a friend who was visiting from Yorkshire. We had to book in advance. The food duly arrived in this cake stand with beautiful pots of tea.

Sadly, like so many other places, the Rabbit Hole is closed at the moment. Such a shame for a quaint and magical cafe in the centre of Stoke-upon-Trent, the town which the city of Stoke-on-Trent is named after.

Omelette for tea.

I would show you a photo, but I’ve eaten it!

Anyway I didn’t want to spend a long time preparing a meal, we have had simple food today.

This meal we had a mixed vegetable omelette with Stilton and coleslaw to go with it.

Ingredients and method

I fried up a whole chopped red onion. Then I added a handful of chopped olives to the pan. Then cut up three flat large mushrooms and added them. Then I added a couple of chopped celery sticks to the meal. I added a pinch of salt and pepper to the pan. While this mix was softening over a low heat I whisked up a few eggs and a bit of milk (depends on how hungry you are). I poured the eggs over the vegetables. As it cooked I moved the egg around so it didn’t burn on the pan. Eventually it was cooked through so then I took some Stilton cheese and crumbled a layer onto the omelette. Once it melted a bit I plated the food up with a spoonful of coleslaw and a hunk of chunky bread. Tasty..

Trifle time

It turned out very tasty and fruity. I use sugar free jelly and blancmange, but the amount of fruit I put in was very naughty.

As I whipped the cream I was a bit enthusiastic with the hand whisk and some od it went over my Christmas jumper! At least we were not going out so I can slob around in my pyjamas and dressing gown.

By the way instead of sherry I used fortified British wine that was very fruity.

Cheers everyone!

Just making a trifle

I usually make a trifle at Christmas, but I’m doing it for New Years Eve and Day this time (so it will be a two year old trifle!).

This is only the start, but it looked so pretty. I’ve put a pint of sugar free rasperry jelly (made up with half a pint if boiling water and a quarter of a pint of cold water and a quarter of a pint if sherry. (jelly is not the American version of jam, but is it called jello). I added chopped strawberries and whole blackberries to the liquid. Any slightly mouldy ones are going on the bird feeding table tomorrow, they have been washed and are back in the fridge.

Tomorrow I will add strawberry blancmange (a type of flavoured custard), as I don’t like custard which some people use. I make that up with a pint of milk and sweetener ( I avoid putting sugar in). Finally I whip double cream, (heavy cream?) about three quarters of a pint till it makes stiff peaks. I might add spare blackberries for decoration. I might take a photo tommorow when it’s finished. X

Mince pies

I was looking on line for the details of what traditional mince pies were made of. I found this on Wikipedia :

The early mince pie was known by several names, including “mutton pie“, “shrid pie” and “Christmas pie“. Typically its ingredients were a mixture of minced meat, suet, a range of fruits, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki › Mince_…

Mince pie – Wikipedia

Now they are a sweet pie with raisins and sultanas mixed peel, some form of fat which is vegetable based and possibly some alcohol.

Real Christmas treat.

Curry (with or without chicken)

I decided to make a curry tonight. It’s not a proper one and not pretty, but it was tasty.

Ingredients :

Four chicken thighs

Half a butternut squash

Half an onion

A small head of broccoli

A courgette (zucchini?)

Two fresh tomatoes

Half a large (or a small), sweet pepper

Three cloves of garlic

Olive oil

Half a jar of tomato and garlic pasta sauce

Two or three teaspoons of curry sauce

Small pinch of salt.

Method:

Roast the chicken thighs in an oven with the half butternut squash cut into half. Put on gas 7, or a medium high heat for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile chop up the onion roughly. Put on a low heat in a frying pan. Soften in oil and add crushed garlic. Cut the courgette into small cubes, add to the pan. Then cut two tomatoes up and add together with the curry powder. Cut up the half sweet pepper and add to the pan. Finally cut up and add the broccoli.

In the meantime the butternut squash should have softened in the oven. Remove from the baking tray and put the chicken pieces back in for about another twenty minutes (if you want a vegetable curry just don’t cook any chicken).

Cut the rind off the squash, then dice the pulp. Add to the pan, add the pasta sauce and cover with a lid. Simmer on a low heat while the chicken finishes cooking.

Finally take the chicken thighs out of the oven. Remove the skin and discard if you don’t like it. Carefully cut the meat off the bone (the chicken will be hot). Make sure the juices are clear, if it is slightly pink, you can put it in the microwave for a minute to make sure it’s cooked through. Cut up the chicken into bits and mix into the curry. Dish out onto plates. Add a small amount of salt to season.

I like this because of the texture of the squash. If you don’t want meat, it makes a pleasant meal. You could add a dollop of plain yoghurt. Also you don’t need rice with it so it’s less carbohydrate.

Serves two or three.

Ooo! Chocolates

They arrived today, from Leek, in the Staffordshire moorlands, in a big box. Bang, bang, bang on the front door this morning. I dashed downstairs and opened the door. The postman handed me a box marked fragile. What could it be? The writing on the address was very similar to that of a friend, so I assumed it was something from him. But no, there were six Chocolate boxes that I’d ordered for Christmas presents. They are handmade and in beautiful boxes tied up with ribbons. They will now be posted on to family. I might save a small box for us. X

Belgian chocolates

Oh no! Hubby bought chocolates for Christmas, a big box…. But then we decided to open them. I’ve had five and feel really guilty and a bit ill. Hubby’s eaten about ten! We should not do this. It’s not healthy. But I couldn’t resist the sweet and smooth flavours of them. I’m going to put them in the back of a cupboard so they can be enjoyed next week with our coffee.

When I was a child there used to be adverts of a man scaling a wall in the dark, climbing through a window and leaving a box of chocolates with a card… Not sure but I think it had the man’s silhouette on it? The tag line was ‘and all because the lady loves milk tray’. Chocolates were romantic in those days, not the cause of diabetes!

nasturtiums

I love the way they defy rain, it looks like the water droplets are being resisted by oil. And yet the leaves are not oily. The flowers (now long gone) and the seedpods are edible, I know. Not sure about the leaves. If you eat a ripe flower it tastes something like orange and pepper mixed. Beautiful as a decoration for salads or floated in a summer punch.

Why can’t summer stay all year round? I guess because sometimes you need the wind and the snow to let you know you are still alive and not just dreaming. Halcion days, something like that, does halcion mean kingfisher ( I have a vague memory).

Im sitting here typing in my front bedroom in a teeshirt, jumper, trousers and thick dressing gown and still shivering. Trying to save on gas and electricity. Not too cold in the rest of the house, but up here it doesn’t warm up easily. Anyway, I will dream of a nasturtium flower floating in a gin and tonic with ice… Nice!

When cooking in a double oven…

Make sure you switch the correct oven on!

My salmon in Arribiata sauce is still cold… Half an hour of heating the top oven, while the salmon sat getting slightly warm in the bottom one! Oh my days… I thought I was a bit tired, I even checked the oven was on and could hear the gas, but I can’t bend over very well so I can’t see the flames in the bottom oven… Grr! Oh well I guess I will enjoy it more when it’s done.