Sunday, 15 November 2009

Roasted Partridge with Roasted Carrots and Redcurrant Sauce.

I love this time of year food-wise generally, but I particularly love the variety of meat we're offered when the colder weather draws in and the leaves are turning golden. There's autumn lamb, pheasant, venison, beautiful duck, and what we decided on last week, partridge. We popped in to the butchers at the end of the day on Sunday looking for something a bit different, and settled on a couple of partridges. They were inexpensive and ideal for a quick meal, as they are so dainty and cook in no time at all - just under thirty minutes in the oven after searing. We had fairly simple vegetables with them, roasted carrots (mmmmm, I loooove roasred carrots, really sweet and caramelised, delicious!), and some lovely boiled new potatoes and cabbage. We also had a simple redcurrant sauce with it, which was just some sweated onions and garlic, redcurrant jelly, a splash of red wine and a little stock.

A lovely quick dinner that took all of 40 minutes, and beautiful meat that needed nothing much done to it for a deeply satisfying Sunday night meal.
Just a short blog post this week, I'll be back soon with what I hope are some more delicious cooking exploits!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Delicious Lasagne and Apple Pie

Autumn just makes me want to snuggle up on the sofa with a giant mug of tea and lots of warming food. The colder weather and drizzly days are such a great excuse for whipping up a load of comforting food and indulging in some really cosy nights in. I love baking on a wet and rainy Sunday afternoon, filling the house with delicious smells and eating home made scrumptiousness!! This weekend we had a busy Friday and Saturday, and Sunday was really gloomy and rainy, so it seemed the perfect day to hole up in the kitchen and make lasagne and apple pie - possibly two of the most warming, comforting dishes ever to have been invented. I mean, having a creamy, rich and meaty lasagne followed by sweet apple pie with melt-in-the-mouth pastry for dinner can only make things better...and a perfect end to the weekend!

The lasagne was a giant dish of hearty goodness, layers of deep tomato and meat sauce, cheesy bechamel and pasta, topped with even more cheese. I softened some onion and garlic, then added the beef mince and browned it off. After that I squeezed in a tablespoon or so of tomato puree and cooked it out for a couple of mintes, a splash of red wine, a tin of chopped tomatoes, about half a tin of water, and seasoning. Then I let it simmer for about 45 minutes for a really deep flavour. For the cheese sauce I made a simple bechamel and added a generous couple of handfuls of cheddar cheese. Then I assembled the lot layering the meat, then pasta, then cheese sauce, and repeat finishing with the cheese sauce and an extra sprinkling of cheese. Bake for about 30-40 minutes in an oven at 180 degrees until the pasta is soft (I checked it by skewering it with a butter knife, and took it out of the oven when the knife slid through easily). And then a lovely big portion each, Yummmmmm!!!

Then on to the apple pie :-)

I used a pastry recipe from Valentine Warner's book 'What to Eat Now, More Please!' which was really lovely. Pastry is always a slightly nerve-wracking prospect I think, but this one was really buttery and short, and deliciously melt-in-the-mouth. Not overly sweet, it complemented the cinnamon flavoured apples beautifully, and an extra sprinkling of vanilla sugar on top was perfection! I didn't have a pie dish, so I used a cake tin, which worked just as well, and made for a deeper pie, which can never be a bad thing!! For the apple filling I followed a Hummingbird Bakery recipe, which I've used before for brownies, cupcakes and a chocolate cake. The Bramley apples are sliced and cooked in butter, cinnamon and caster sugar until slightly softened, then placed in the raw pastry case, and baked for about 35-40 minutes at 180 degrees until golden brown. Leave to cool for a while, then we had it with a healthy dollop of custard.

Needless to say we put away a hefty amount of pie in one sitting, and were completely stuffed... and happy!!!