marnanightingale: (cooking)
Having a fresh chicken carcass to hand last night, I turned out the stock bags in the freezer, decided the total haul (4 lamb shankbones, two small bags of veggie scraps and peelings plus the chicken) was adequate and made stock overnight.

My kitchen smelled like scotch broth this morning, but woe! for I have no barley, because [livejournal.com profile] iclysdale doesn't like it very much.

So I chopped up four carrots and two lonely little parsnips and tossed them in, toasted a bunch of kasha with cumin seeds and tossed THEM in (did you know that when you put hot grains into simmering stock it boils over? No, me either.), added a bunch of summer savoury and some bay leaves, and while that was simmering, browned a pound of the ground lamb with onions, and have put it all on to cook.

It smells and tastes promising as of now; very thick -- more pottage than potage -- I'll let you know.

ETA: It is VERY thick -- definitely pottage -- and shows a tendency to stick to the pot, and I added a second round of toasted cumin seeds, but it is very good indeed. I think I will do it again.
marnanightingale: (soul wellington)
Though this is still fairly easy. It's not fast, but it's easy.

Locate one large fairly heavy pot, with a lid. Then procure:

1 mature stewing hen, approx 2 kg.

1-2 bottles white wine -- we used a home made riesling that we quite like.

1 litre chicken stock or one can-diluted-with-two-cans-of-water therof, if you're out of homemade, which I am at the moment.

mushrooms, whatever sort you have, as many as you have

2-3 cooking onions, quartered

3-6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1-2 large carrots

one large handful dried roasted peppers

one large handful sun dried tomatoes

5 bay leaves

1 large palmful[1] savoury

1 large palmful toasted cumin seeds

salt and pepper to taste

1 T olive oil. Or butter, if you like.

Sautee onions and garlic and mushrooms in oil until golden, (or at least get them frying and leave them on lowish heat while you get the chicken debagged and the innards out and the cavity rinsed and the wings twisted into neat little packets and generally render it ready to go in.)

Add the chicken to the pot and pile the remaining vegetables and herbs and spices in on top. Pour wine and chicken stock and water over everything. Bring it to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and go do something else for about 3 hours.

When the chicken is cooked through and falling-apart-tender, remove it and the vegetables from the pot and serve them.

Freeze the broth immediately; you can use it for your next chicken. (Or any other sort of fowl you want to stew, or even for a rabbit, which is what I plan to use this lot for next).

As long as you make sure it always goes hot into the freezer you can keep reusing the broth, adding more stock and more wine as your whimsy takes you. So you do get the value out of the 2 bottles of wine. :) But make sure you freeze it immediately. Put it into the freezer before you eat, even.

[1] "as much as will fit comfortably in the little cup that your palm makes when you hold out your hand". Some people say 'handful' but to me that always sounds like as much as your hand can possibly hold.
marnanightingale: (soul wellington)
Because [livejournal.com profile] stultioquentia told me to.

Lazy Potato Soup:

1 package Knorr Fine Herbs

As much leftover mashed potato as you have available, or I suppose you could boil and mash some for the occasion, in which case do 4-6 potatoes.

1 cup milk.

Prepare soup according to package directions.

De-lump cold mashed potatoes with the milk.

Stir them into the soup.

Let it get good and hot through, and eat it.
marnanightingale: (soul wellington)
But it is very good.

1 package Knorr Vegetable Soup.

6 cups (1.5 litres) water.

6-8 potatoes, peeled or not as you like, and cut smallish (about like you do for mashed)

1 small cabbage or half a big one, chopped.
(Any sort, but only use red if you like royal purple food. Which I do.)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring water to boil, stir in soup mix, add potatoes, let cook 15 minutes, add cabbage, let cook 15 more minutes.

Eat, possibly with rye toast.
marnanightingale: (soul wellington)
I told Ian I'd post this for him:

[ETA removed]

Also, food!

We went to the Experimental Farm's Open House today and then wandered around in the Fletcher Wildlife Gardens.

While we were at the farm we helped a bit with the vegetable harvest. Specifically, we helped pull greens and stems off beets and escaped with a lot of said greens (the beets and most of the rest of the produce go to the food bank, but the greens don't keep more than a couple of days, so they go to compost)

... next year I'm going back with a wheelbarrow and enough friends to help me feast on all we don't freeze. And some string so we can make bundles and press them on other visitors, if we can get away with it. Why aren't beet greens sold commercially? They're no more trouble than spinach, and they are VERY good. But I only ever get them when I manage to find beets that are being sold untrimmed, and they are usually sparse and tough at that.

So dinner tonight was:

Broiled lambchops with dijon mustard and tamari marinade and some cumin seeds dropped on to toast when I turned the chops.

This worked out really well. Possibly next time less mustard; it was VERY rich. I think it would be perfect on a larger chunk of lamb, like a shoulder, or on venison. I don't know why tamari and mustard, btw. It seemed to make some sort of sense at the time... next time I need to take them out a few minutes AFTER the smoke alarm goes off, though; I like rare lamb, but this was a bit TOO rare.

Beet greens sauteed with bacon and a bit of the tamari-mustard sauce added in.

These were amazing. I had no idea how they'd turn out and they were mindblowingly smoky and rich and flavourful. And all the greens we could eat, for once.

Bread machine bread made with (ooops) expired yeast.

It made a goodish sort of crumbly, soda-bread biscuit, and tasted fine, but you couldn't call it bread.

Salad composed of red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and dill all from Byward Market, with a can of tinned french-style green beans added because I wanted to see what it would do. Also the juice of one lemon.

Verdict: not bad at all. The green beans look funny but taste well. Something to remember for winter.

Iniskillin Late Autumn Riesling. As I can't drink reds at all, I tend to drink "heavy" whites with red meat. This was lovely. Possibly a BIT sweet, but it worked well with the food and we finished the bottle after.

Also there is an indignant skunk in front of my house, and I am very tired, as I often seem to be lately.

Normal programming or something very like it will resume shortly.
marnanightingale: (travel)
If one needs for some reason[1] to wash a knapsack of the trekking variety, that is to say large, complicated, and covered in straps, the best procedure seems to be as follows[2]:

1) Remove anything removeable that is not fabric (metal stays, plastic backboards, clips, carabiners) and wash them by hand if necessary.

2) Break the bag down to its reasonable component parts (remove any zip- or clip- off daypacks, beltpacks, etc)

3) Turn each piece inside out and tuck in all the straps, clips, cords, etc. Don't zip it shut, though, or it won't get clean. Just leave them inside. They'll stay all right.

4) Machine wash cold, gentle setting, very minimal detergent, say an eighth of a cup, and the highest water setting possible; bags don't rinse well and you don't want the padding full of detergent residue, because it will attract dirt and break down the material. If the problem is odor-related, lemon juice or vinegar work well as additives.

5) Handwashing, aside from being awkward, does not spin out the load, and leaving the padding to dry on its own from a soaked condition can lead to mildew.

6) Hang to dry somewhere with lots of airflow or direct sunlight or both.

[1] Stupid cat.

[2] Seems. No warranty expressed or implied.
marnanightingale: (Default)
OMG there's an actual garbage truck out there.

Our garbage might actually be LEAVING NOW.
marnanightingale: (Default)
Ian went to the market and brought home many, many fruits and vegetables. Then he lay down for a well-deserved nap, leaving me staring with mingled horror and delight at the haul and pondering what would have to be done to house it.

So far I have picked over the raspberries, which is one of those finickey little domestic tasks that must be done if you're going to cope with a whole flat of them and not wake up on day two to discover that they've developed a fine sheen of white fuzz.

Ian, normally the most domesticated of gentlemen, recoils in what I take to be some sort of instinctive horror at the whole class of food-sorting activites; picking over fruit is, if I correctly understand his responses, a) fiddly, b) a process involving some manner of dark magic, c) guided by a ranking method he finds utterly opaque, and d) therefore, clearly my province.

You fill a clean sink with lots of cold water, and gently tip the raspberries in.

In the other sink, you have a colander, and a bowl.

Firm raspberries go into the colander, for freezing once they are quite dry.

Soft, ripe raspberries go into the bowl, for dessert that night.

Broken or downright squashed raspberries have no life expectancy at all; they are the ones that make your whole flat go fuzzy in hours if you leave it unsorted.

Best just to eat them as you find them, really.

The raspberries look like pave-cut rubies with the water on them, and they feel good in your fingers, bumpy and solid and light. Once in awhile you find a perfect one, and eat it, feeling only very slightly guilty. A flat takes about a half hour; you want to be very gentle, and that means only picking up a small handful at a time.

There are far worse ways to spend half-an-hour. Especially when I know it means there will be raspberries in January.

Now I must go clean out the fridge, which I do NOT enjoy, but there it is. It needs doing, damn it, and has been put off too long.

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