At a Loss!
Saturday's already here! Where did last week go? Did we have it or was it skipped over? Beats me...this time last Saturday, I had a guest here. It doesn't seem like seven days ago...and yet, on the other hand, it seems like a year ago! Time...strange phenonemum! I wonder if it can be altered...umm? The last couple of days my two cats have taken to sleeping in, so I've not been able to make the bed until they decide to rise and shine! They're still curled up as I write...the bed can wait! I've just finished reading today's paper. I think I'll go and splash a bit of paint around shortly. I've started a large painting that I promised I would do for my friend who visited me last weekend. It's only in early conception stage at the moment. The rest of it is in the lap of the gods!
What I'm going to eat this weekend is also in the lap of the gods! The freezer will be raided later, perhaps...or I might make another pizza for myself. Who knows? If I don't, no one else will know! I'm in one of 'those moods' today...not sure what I feel like...food-wise, that is! I still feel like a human being when I touch myself...let's make that clear from the outset!
I guess I should post a couple of recipes as that seems to be my habit on the weekend...so, let's go! No more procrastinating....
Chicken Breast with Herbs & Goat's Cheese: Melt 30g butter and combine it with 250g goat's cheese, 1 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, chives, sage), 2 crushed cloves garlic, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Gently lift the skin on 4 boned chicken breasts. Push some of the goat's cheese mixture between the skin and the flesh. Pat skin back into place, then spoon a little more mixture into the centre of the chicken underside, fold around to encase and tie chicken fairly loosely with string into a neat parcel. Melt another 30g butter in a pan and brown chicken over medium heat. Remove from pan to an oven-proof dish. Cook in a 180C oven for 10-15 minutes. Increase heat under the frying pan (on top of stove) and pour in 1/2 cup brandy to deglaze. Flame, then boil stirring for about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock. Boil until reduced by half, then pour in 1 cup cream. Heat through. Gradually whisk 2 tablespoons flour, mixed to a paste with 1 tablespoon butter, into the sauce until sauce is slightly thickened. Season to taste. Place cooked chicken breasts on serving plates, pour sauce over, garnish and serve.
Carrots & Apples (Just to be different!): Scrape 750g small carrots and cut into halves length-wise. Heat 30g butter in saucepan, add carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in 100ml each chicken stock and dry cider. Simmer carrots uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until just tender. Peel, core and slice 2 medium Granny Smith apples. Add to pan about 6 minutes before the end of cooking time. Splash in 20ml Benedictine at the same time. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve. If you don't have any Benedictine...and my guessing is you haven't...throw in some brandy...or just forget about it all together!
Spiced Apple & Rum Cake: Prepare a pastry: cream together 185g butter and 1/3 cup sugar. Add 1 egg yolk, 2 tablespoons water and grated rind of one lemon. Work in 2 cups sifted plain flour and a pinch of salt to form a soft dough. Take a quarter of the dough, roll it into a ball and place in the freezer...yes...the freezer...do as you're told! Press remaining dough out flat on a dish and refrigerate for 1 hour...no...not the freezer this time!
Filling: press 250g cream cheese through a sieve and then beat it to make it soft. Add 1/3 cup sugar. Beat until light. Beat in 2 eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla.
Apples: Peel, core and quarter 4 cooking apples. Cut them into thin slices. Place apple in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup raisins, 2 tablespoons dark rum, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir gently to incorporate.
Roll out pastry (the one from the refrigerator...no...not the one from the freezer...have patience!). Line a greased 20cm springform tin. Spread half the cream cheese mixture onto the base of the pastry. Add the apple mixture on top of that, draining off any excess liquid. (You're allowed to drink the excess liquid!) Press down firmly. Add the remaining cheese mixture. Finally....take the pastry out of the freezer...grate it coarsely and sprinkle it over the top of the cake! See...your patience was rewarded! Bake in a moderately slow oven...170C for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until filling is firm.
Serve warm, if you like...or cold, if there's any left over...you make the decision...I'm not in a decision- making mood today!
Maybe my mood will change when I win tonight's Lotto! The power of positive thinking has to work one of these Saturdays!