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    Friday, July 31, 2015

    Best Blinis That I Have Made - Topped with Yummy Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon

    Our friend Annette had the misfortune to break her leg, so she has ended up in hospital till it is mended. Once a month a group of us have lunch including Annette, we normally choose a cheap and cheerful restaurant and try and find something different each month.
    Seeing as Annette is laid up we decided to take lunch to her.

    I made some little chicken sandwiches, very yummy but the piece de resistance was these beautiful light Blinis
    I know normally Blinis are made with yeast, but here is a recipe, that just uses Baking Powder.
    I think the secret is the amount of BP, plus the resting time in the fridge, before cooking. The mixture really starts to  kick in. They are so light and delicious
    I found it on The Australian Woman's Weekly website
      1 cup (150g) plain flour
      1 tablespoon caster sugar
      3 teaspoons baking powder
      pinch salt
      2⁄3 cup (180ml) milk
      1 egg
      50g unsalted butter, melted

    100 gms Cream Cheese
    2-3 Pickled Gherkins finely chopped
    Zest of a lemon 
    Sea salt and Black pepper

    Smoked Salmon

    Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
    Gradually whisk in combined milk and egg, then half the melted butter. 
    Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.
    It's a living thing
    Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
    Lightly brush the pan with a little remaining butter.
    Drop two teaspoons (10ml) of blini mixture into pan.
    Cook for a minute or until browned lightly underneath and bubbles appear on the surface.
    Turn, cook for another  minute, or until blinis are cooked.
    Repeat with remaining butter and blini mixture.

    I made my blinis a little bigger so they took longer than that to cook
    See how fluffy and light they are
    Meanwhile just blend together all of the topping ingredients
    When they are cool
    Top with Cream Cheese mix
    and Some Smoked Salmon 

    If you don't have any smoked, just fionely chop a tomato and add to the cream cheese mix
    Equally as good

    So after I wrote this blog, decided I needed a cure for Cabin Fever
    Popped into my local with my Kindle and had a nice chilled Glass of wine


    Sunday, July 12, 2015

    Lamb Tagine - Perfect for The Cold Weather

    Dinner at our House on Saturday. The weather is so cold. It is Winter of course,  so we need nice warming food. A few weeks  ago I found on my blog... an excellent Fish Tagine, recipe courtesy of Anthony Worrall Thompson.
    I have made that more than once recently. went down a real treat with guests
    Would you believe, he has also got a recipe for a Lamb Tagine?
    So I gave that a go
    Thumbs up from the crowd.
    I bought my meat from the Supermarket and they only had Lamb Shoulder chops.
    I cut off as much of the meat as possible, then I left the bones in.... for extra flavour plus, some of that meat close to the bone is The Best, So don't throw that away


        1 tsp cayenne pepper
        2 tsp ground black pepper
        1½ tbsp paprika
        1½ tbsp ground ginger
        1 tbsp turmeric
        2 tsp ground cinnamon
        1 x shoulder of lamb, trimmed and cut into 5cm/2in chunks (about 1.1kg/2½lb meat in total) 

        2 tbsp olive oil
        2 tbsp argan oil...Optional I didn't use it

        (Argan oil is a Moroccan oil from the argan tree. 
        You should be able to find it in specialist food shops.)
        2 large onions, grated, I chopped them finely in the food processor    
        3 cloves garlic, crushed
        570ml/1 pint tomato juice, or Passata
        2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
        115g/4oz dried apricots, cut in half
        55g/2oz dates, cut in half
        55g/2oz sultanas or raisins, I used craisins
        85g/3oz flaked almonds
        1 tsp saffron stamens, soaked in cold water
        600ml/1 pint lamb or beef stock
        1 tbsp clear honey
        2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
        2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

    Preparation method
    Place the cayenne, black pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon into a small bowl and mix to combine.
    Place the lamb in a large bowl and toss together with half of the spice mix. 
    Cover and leave overnight in the fridge.

    Next day
    Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas2.

    Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp of argan oil in a large casserole dish.
    Add the grated onion and the remaining spice mix and
    cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes so that the onions are soft but not coloured.
     Add the crushed garlic for the final 3 minutes.
    In a separate frying pan,
    Heat the remaining oil and brown the cubes of lamb on all sides then
    You will need to do this in batches
    Add the browned meat to the casserole dish.
    De-glaze the frying pan with ¼ pint of tomato juice and add these juices to the pan.
    Add the remaining tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, 
    apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas, flaked almonds, 
    saffron, lamb stock and honey to the casserole dish.
    Bring to the boil, cover with a fitted lid, place in the oven and
    cook for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.
    Place the lamb in a Tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle over the chopped herbs.

    To accompany this dish. I made a colourful rice dish
    for 6 people
    2 tbs olive oil
    1 red onion finely chopped
    3 cloves garlic crushed
    1/2 yellow pepper, finely chopped
    Sea salt and Pepper
    2 1/2 cups Basamti Rice 

    Handful of shelled pistachio nuts 
    Cup of craisins
    1 tablespoons powdered Chicken Stock dissolved
    in Warm Water approx 5 cups

    Handful parsley leaves, chopped
    Grated Zest of 1 orange

    Heat the oil in a pan 
    Add onions and yellow pepper cook till soft
    Season with Salt and pepper
    Add garlic, nuts and craisins
    Toss then add rice and cook till slightly toasted

    Add water. 
    There should be enough water so that if you touch the top of the rice
    The water should come up to the first joint of your finger
    Stir and bring to the boil
    let simmer away till holes start to form (about 4 minutes)
    Turn the heat off and
    Cover with a tight lid
    Leave for about 12 minutes
    Remove lid
    Fluff up with a fork and turn into serving dish

    Scatter herbs and orange zest over the top
    Some of the satisfied customers
    It warms the Cockles of your heart!!!