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Dublin Coddle

Dublin Coddle



One place I haven't yet managed to visit yet since I moved over here to the UK, is the Republic of Ireland, which is what the Southern most part of Ireland is called.  A country in its own right it is not a part of the United Kingom, like Northern Ireland is and Dublin is it's capital.  It is on my bucket list however and God willing one day I will get there!


This dish today is a traditional Irish dish from the Republic, and in particular the capital. Dublin coddle, a warming meal of sausages and potatoes, dates back to the 1700s and is traditionally thought of as a city dish which would be eaten in the winter months.


It is said that an Irish wife could go to bed and leave it simmering on the stove for hours so that it might be ready when her husband arrived home from the pub and wanting his dinner.  Historically the dish is also a way of using up all the rashers of bacon and sausages on Thursday night before Friday, which in the Catholic faith the eating of meat is forbidden.



While researching this dish, I came across quite a few versions.  Some just included potatoes, onions, bacon and sausage.  Others included other vegetables like carrots, and some had the inclusion of barley.  One thing they all had in common was the cooking of it in a pot on top of the stove.


I chose to cook my bacon and sausage first so that they were nicely browned.  This was a visual thing, and for no other reason. I don't find the sight of unbrowned sausage or bacon very appealing to the appetite!  You don't need to cook them all the way through, just so they are golden.


The barley makes a lovely almost nutty addition.  You will want to check the stock levels as you are simmering it on top of the stove however.  You will not want the pan to boil dry and the contents to catch.  I added a few herbs and the end result was fabulously delicious!


*Dublin Coddle*
Serves 4

 
A Coddle is a traditional Irish dish usually associated with the city of Dublin. Hearty and delicious it is a stew-type of dish created with good pork sausages, salty bacon, pearl barley, onions, potatoes and herbs. 

1 large onion, peeled and chopped
100g pearl barley (about 9 TBS)
6 rashers of streaky bacon
8 large thick good quality butchers sausages
2 - 3 large waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch thick slices
500ml chicken stock (scant 2 1/4 cups)
1 bay leaf
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp savoury
a generous knob of butter
Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Crusty bread to serve




Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.  Place the sausages and bacon on a baking tray.  Cook them in the oven for 10 minutes or so until the bacon has started to crisp up and the sausages are coloured.  Remove and drain on paper toweling.


Take a medium flame proof casserole dish with a lid. (I use my enamel iron one).  Place the chopped onion in the bottom of the dish.  Top with the pearl barley.  Place the bay leaf on top. Cut up the bacon into squares and place over top of that and then the sausages over top of the bacon. Finish with a layer of potatoes.  Pour the chicken stock over top and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, savoury and thyme.  Cover and then bring to the boil over high heat.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, over low heat for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the lid and dot with butter.


Place, uncovered into the heated oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are golden.   Serve ladled into deep bowls, scattered with fresh parsley and with crusty bread on the side.



This was perfect for a cold Winter's day and a most delicious way to use up some sausages in my refrigerator that needed using up.  Todd really enjoyed this.  I wager any man will.  It's hearty and satisfying and very tasty!  They say a glass of cold Guiness goes very well.  Ithe Shona! 





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Marie Rayner
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Pork Chops & Stuffing

Pork Chops & Stuffing



This supper dish I am showing you today is one of my favourite kinds of supper dishes.  A dish in which everything is cooked pretty much together, making for less mess and less of a clean up. But that doesn't mean less flavour as you will see!  This is delicious!


It looks pretty tasty even before it goes into the oven!  I was inspired by a recipe I found on Tablespoon for easy pork chops and stuffing.  It used boxed stuffing mix however, which is not something that is readily available over here in the UK.  We do have stuffing mix, but it is not the same thing as the one which the original recipe used.


The packaged stuffing we have over here uses rusk crumbs whereas the North American variety uses bread crumbs, and is seasoned quite differently.  Most cooks would have been tempted to keep looking for a recipe to use, which required ingredients that were readily available to them.  That's not me. I am not most cooks.


I liked the basic premise and then I set to work making it work for me, using what I had and adapting the recipe appropriately.  This meant I had to make a stuffing from scratch, but  . . .  its not really that hard to do.  I also didn't have frozen broccoli, but really how hard is it to blanche fresh broccoli.  Not hard really at all.


By all means if you don't want to go to the trouble, then go to the original recipe and follow that one, but if you like cooking food without preservatives and additives, from scratch, Stay Right Here!


You won't regret it.  This stuffing is moist and delicious, flavoured with celery, onion and dried cranberries along with a mix of herbs and seasonings.  The pork is simply seasoned with salt and pepper and browned before laying on top of the stuffing and broccoli, the broccoli being fresh broccoli, simply blanched prior to baking.


Altogether this was very delicious, the pork lovely and moist . . .  the stuffing filled with lovely flavours and the broccoli perfectly cooked.  I served it with sweet potato fries because I had some which needed using up and they went very well, but so would mash or rice, or boiled or baked potatoes of any kind.


*Pork Chops & Stuffing*
Serves 4

Easy and delicious, from scratch.  Tender juicy pork chops on a bed of savoury cranbery stuffing, along with your favourite crispy tender broccoli.

4 bone in Pork Loin chops, each about 1/2 inch thick
(slash fat edge prior to cooking to prevent curling)
oil
salt, pepper
2 cups broccoli florets, blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes
For the stuffing:
2 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot peeled and grated coarsely
60g of butter (1/4 cup)
4 cups of dry bread cubes (about 5 thick slices of stale bread, cubed and dried
in a hot oven for about 10 minutes)
a handful of dried cranberries
1/4 tsp each dried thyme, parsley and sage
a dash of nutmeg
salt and black pepper to taste
chicken broth as needed  




First make the stuffing.  Melt the butter in a skillet.  Add the celery, onion and carrot.  Cook until tender over medium heat.  Remove from heat.  Place the bread cubes into a bowl. Toss with the vegetables/butter mixture and dried cranberries.  Add the herbs and spices, as well as salt and black pepper to taste.  Add chicken broth just to moisten. 


Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a shallow casserole dish large enough to hold all the chops in a single layer.  Place the stuffing in the bottom of the dish and top with broccoli florets. 


Dust the chops with salt and black pepper.  Heat a bit of oil in the skillet you softened the vegetables in.  Add the chops and brown them on both sides, for two to three minutes per side.  Lay the chops on top of the broccoli in the baking dish.  Cover tightly with foil. 


Bake for 30 to 40  minutes or until the pork is no longer pink inside.  Serve hot.



As I have mentioned in  previous posts,  I was sent some pork to try out near the end of December by The Black Farmer, some of his new range of fresh pork raised without anti-biotics. Leading the way in being the first mainstream brand to introduce the products, The Black Farmer has worked closely with partner farms to establish farming and production methods in response to the rising resistance to antibiotics. The selection of fresh British pork cuts from RSPCA assured pork can be easily identified by the blue Antibiotic Free swing tag. Today I cooked the loin chops that I had been sent.  They were as lovely as the rest of it has been. 

The Black Farmer range comprises a Shoulder Joint; Fillet Medallions; Loin Steaks; Loin Chops; Belly Joint and Belly Slices. The Black Farmer Pork Range is available exclusively from the Online Grocery Ocado Shop.  


About The Black Farmer 
The Black Farmer is one of the UK’s leading gluten free brands marketing a range of higher welfare, award winning pork sausages, chicken, burgers, meatballs, pork cuts, bacon, eggs and cheese. Launched 12 years ago the brand has gone on to great success with its products available in all the major UK high street and online retailers. The brand’s founder, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones is in his own words ‘a poor boy, done good’. He was born in Frankfield, Clarendon, Jamaica and then, after his parents came to the UK in the 1950s, was raised in inner city Birmingham. For a number of years Wilfred worked as a chef before pursuing a career in television. In 2000 Wilfred fulfilled a lifelong ambition to buy a small farm in Devon. This inspired him to develop and launch The Black Farmer – a name coined by his Devon neighbours. His Premium Pork sausages are one of the country’s leading brands of super premium sausages.

Note - Although I was sent these products free of charge for the purpose of review, I was not required to write a positive review in exchange.  Any opinions are quite simply my own.  




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Marie Rayner
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Chicken Cheats

Chicken Cheats



There are certain things from Costco that I try to always keep in my freezer.  Things like the All Beef Hotdogs, cod fillets, and chicken.  I like the crispy crumbled chicken breasts.  They are really nice, just on their own served with veg or in a sandwich, etc.


We can get quite a few meals out of a package of them, truth be told, as there are only the two of us in the house, so they are quite economical for us.  I always like to season them a bit prior to baking.  Sometimes I will just use cracked black pepper and sometimes I will sprinkle them with cajun spice, or whatever flavours I am in the mood to be eating.  They are really quite an adaptable ingredient to have in your store-freezer!


Yes, it is a bit of a cheat, I know . . .  but I would be lying if I didn't admit that sometimes even the most seasoned chef's like to cheat a bit!  These frozen breaded fillets can also make a great basis for other things! Kind of like a pizza crust  . . .


They need never be boring.  You can partially cook them and then top them with a multitude of things and finish them off, and nobody will be complaining!! 



If you keep a store cupboard filled with lots of lovely bits, dressings, cheeses, sauces, etc. the world is your oyster!



This is a seriously simple way to dress things up and keep everybody happy. You could even make a bit of a party of it and let everyone top their own with their own choices.


Once topped and baked, they are ready to serve with any variety of sides . . .  potatoes, rice, vegetables, there is no end to what you can do.


Cranberry sauce and toasted soft goat's cheese  . . .  seriously scrummy . . .


Ranch style with ranch dressing, cheese, bacon and spring onions  . . .


Parmigiana with a good marinara sauce, parmesan cheese and mozzarella . . .


Hunters chicken with BBQ (I like the Paul Newman one) bacon, cheese and spring onions  . . .


Chicken Caesar with caesar dressing, parmesan and four cheese blend, with a bit of bacon and spring onion on top . . .


And those are only a few ideas . . .  marmalade with some apricot stilton . . . (can you imagine!) . . . salsa with some jack cheese and pickled jalapenos . . .  how about Mozarella and pizza toppings like olives, mini pepperoni, etc.  The world really is your oyster and these are truly a fabulous canvas for whatever floats your boat!


*Tasty Ways to Dress Up Breaded Chicken Breasts*

Note - Season all of your chicken with some garlic and onion powders, seasoning salt and black pepper prior to baking.  Bake for approximately 2/3 of the baking time allotted on the package and then proceed as follows for your choice of flavours. 

Chicken Caesar -  Spoon a heaped TBS of Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing on top of each.  Top with 2 TBS grated Parmesan Cheese and 1 TBS each chopped spring onion and cooked bacon.
Chicken Ranch -  Spoon a heaped TBS of Creamy Ranch Salad Dressing on top of each.  Top with 2 TBS Grated Cheddar Cheese and 1 TBS each chopped spring onion and cooked bacon.
Chicken Parmigiana - Spoon 2 TBS well flavoured marinara sauce over each piece of chicken. Top with a slize of Mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Hunters Chicken - Spoon 2 TBS of your favourite BBQ sauce over top of each.  Top with 2 TBS Grated Cheddar Cheese and 1 TBS each chopped spring onion and cooked bacon.
Cranberry Chicken -  Spoon 2 TBS of your favourite Cranberry Sauce over top of each.  Top each with 2 slices soft goats cheese.
Bake for the remainder of the cook time for the chicken until the chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.  Serve hot with your favourite accompaniments, pasta, baked potatoes, rice, etc.

Of course you could just pound, bread and fry your own chicken breasts and they would probably be even better, but when you are pressed for time and inspiration, these are fabulous! I am all out of them now so guess who will be making a trip this week to get some more?????  You got it Pontiac!  Mois for sure!  Bon Appetit! 



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Marie Rayner
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Apricot, Oat & Walnut Cookies

Apricot, Oat & Walnut Cookies



Some days you just want a cookie . . . or biscuit as they are called over here.  That inner child in you just crys out for something sweet . . . something which feels like a reward.
A tasty treat that is equally at home with a glass of cold milk . . . or with a cup of something hot, for dunking . . .


Something comfortable and comforting.  It doesn't even have to be chocolate . . . in fact there are days when chocolate just doesn't cut it . . . you want something more . . . something homey . . . with just a touch of sophistication . . .


Something which wraps you up in a nice warm hug like a loving Grandmother's cuddles and kisses always did . . .


Something which  feels indulgent and yet at the same time wholesome . . . we don't always want to feel totally naughty . . . sometimes we just want to be a tiny bit naughty . . .



 These lovely oaty moreishly wholesome biscuits fit the bill on all counts . . . they are the type of old fashioned treats that your Nana might have baked . . . and maybe she did.


Chock full of rolled oats, toasted walnuts, chunks of apricot and gently sweetened with creamy honey . . . these are biscuits to come home to . . . biscuits you want to sink your teeth into and then just float away on a sea of remembrance of honey comforts and a gentler . . . kinder time.


*Honeyed Apricot, Oat & Walnut Cookies*
Makes 4 dozen
 

Soft and golden, and studded with toasted walnuts and bits of dried apricot. 


180g of butter, softened (3/4 cup)
95g of granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
2 tsp finely grated orange zest (optional)
170g of creamed honey (1/2 cup)
1 large free range egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange extract
160g of old fashioned rolled oats (2 cups)
175g of plain flour (1 1/4 cups)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
60g of toasted chopped walnuts (1/2 cup)
75g of chopped dried apricots (1/2 cup)

For the optional glaze:
125g of icing sugar, sifted (1 cup)
whole milk
1/2 tsp orange extract 


Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Line several baking sheets with baking paper.  Butter the baking paper, or spritz with low fat cooking spray. 


Rub the sugar and orange zest together if using, until you can smell the orange.  Cream the sugar, honey and the butter together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the extracts and the egg.  Stir together the flour, baking soda and salt.   Add this to the creamed mixture along with the oats.  Mix together well.  Stir in the nuts and the apricots.  Mix well. 


Drop by the tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets, at least one inch apart.   Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.  Scoop off the cookie sheet onto wire racks to cool.  Once cool, whisk the drizzle ingredients together until smooth and dribble the resulting glaze in a decorative manner over the tops.  Store in an airtight container. 



I really dislike these cold dark days.  The light has been really poor no matter the time of day and its hard to get a decent photo of anything.  If it wasn't so cold out or raining, I could go outside but brrr . . .  not doing that.  Don't let the dark photos put you off from these tasty cookies.  They are really delicious!  Perfect with a hot drink for elevenses! Bon appetit! 

 


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Marie Rayner
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Buttermilk Banana Bread

Buttermilk Banana Bread



I always try to buy enough bananas so that the Toddster can get his fill of them, and I will have some leftover blackened ones to bake with.  I confess I am not overly fond of eating fresh bananas, but bake them into a muffin, cookie or a bread and I am all over them!


The exception for the eating fresh rule is eating them on top of my rice crispies.  And I always need a sprinkle of brown sugar on top. Not sure why that is . . .  its probably something that goes back to my childhood.  Rice crispies, banana and brown sugar just makes me feel all yum yum.  I love them.


Is there such a thing as too many banana bread recipes???   I think not!


And this is one of my absolute favourites.  It smells all heavenly when it is baking  . . .


Its moreishly moist from the amount of banana and then the buttermilk  . . .


Its stogged full of lovely toasted pecans.  I always like to toast my nuts before using them. It just makes them taste . . .  well . . .  nuttier, for some reason.


This is beautiful on its own  . . .  with no embellishment, just the bread . . . sweet, moist and banana-ee.


Its lovely cut into thin slices and spread with softened butter too  . . .  and it is gorgeous toasted under a grill until its edges start to caramelize, flipped over and caramelized on the other side  . . .  and then, yes  . . . . spread  with butter or honey butter . . . wowsa. I am such a glutton!


*Buttermilk Banana Bread*
Makes 1 large loaf
 
 
When your bananas are black on the outside and looking like they are destined for the compost heap, they are perfect for banana bread.  Be sure to use a metal pan for this (not cast iron or glass).  To do otherwise will result in a heavy, overdone on the outside, soggy inside bread. 

450g to 525g mashed overly ripe banana (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups,
or 3 small to medium bananas or 2 large)
2 large free range eggs
95g granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
100g soft dark brown sugar (1/2 cup packed)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
120ml buttermilk (1/2 cup)
280g plain flour (2 cups)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
125g butter, melted (1/2 cup)
60g coarsely chopped toasted pecans (1/2 cup) 


 Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F. gas mark 6.  Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin and dust it lightly with flour, shaking out any excess.


Combine the mashed banana with the eggs, both sugars ad vanilla in a bowl.  Beat in the buttermilk and butter.  Sift the flour, soda, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.  Add the banana mixture and beat until well blended.  Stir in the chopped nuts.  Spoon into the prepared baking tin, smoothing the top.


Place the tin into the preheated oven and immediately REDUCE the oven temperature to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Bake for one hour and fifteen minutes, or until the top is risen and nicely browned, the loaf is beginning to pull away from the sides of the tin, and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Let cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to unmold. Carefully turn over and cool completely before cutting into slices to serve.  As with any teabread like this, letting it stand overnight improves the flavour and helps it to cut neater.


Note - this is really lovely toasted and buttered. Just saying  . . .




A slice of this with a hot cuppa is a real treat on a cold winter's day.  Perfect for chasing away the winter blues  . . .  Bon Appetit!



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Marie Rayner
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