Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sausages with Colcannon and Roasted Pumpkin

Okay, so I found this pumpkin recipe somewhere online and it's not fully mine, but I had to share it because it was delicious, and managed to get rid of at least one of the fresh pumpkins we've had hanging round the house since Halloween. The Colcannon I made on Halloween, but forgot to write down the recipe, so I BS'd it last night and it still tasted great! Just had a little extra kale because of some unfortunately rotten potatoes. Did you know that they don't sell bags of red potatoes in California? You have to buy them individually. It sucks.

Pumpkin Ingredients:

One 2-3 pound whole fresh pumpkin
6 shallots, peeled and quartered
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano
1 Tbsp fresh sliced sage leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp coarse ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Chop the ends off the pumpkin and cut it in half, and take out the seeds. Then slice it up into wedges as you would a watermelon. Toss them in a large roasting pan with the shallots and garlic. Mix all other ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the pumpkin as if it were a dressing, then toss to coat. Roast in the oven for 60 minutes, but make sure you toss the pumpkin every 20 minutes of that time. Serve immediately. You will have leftovers if you're not feeding a ton of people. Sorry, but I totally forgot to take photos of the process here.


4-5 red potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 pound (minimum) fresh curly kale, ripped into 2-inch strips and the stems pulled out

1 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup onion, chopped small
salt and pepper

Place the cubed potatoes in a pot and just cover with water, then set to boil. Once boiling, turn down to medium heat and cook for about ten minutes or until they are fork tender.

Using the chicken broth in place of water, steam the curly kale until wilted, about 5-6 minutes once broth is bubbling, on medium heat. Drain potatoes and add the milk, butter, and some salt and pepper. Toss in the steamed kale and mash like you're mashing regular potatoes. When thoroughly squished, add the onion and mix well, adding more salt and pepper if desired.

If potatoes are too thick, add a little of the chicken broth from the kale pot. Serves 4.

I served this up with store-bought sausages (which I just steamed in a frying pan with some water for 20 minutes, then fried with the lid off for another 15 minutes). A very tasty, filling meal!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tyler Florence Roast Chicken

Well, mostly... I got his recipe from a cookbook my mom sent me and it looked so simple I had to try it!


1 whole chicken, 4-5 lbs.
1 whole small garlic bulb
1/2 lemon, cut in half
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 or 3 bay leaves (fresh if you've got them)
kosher salt and black pepper

Rinse off the chicken inside and out, removing the giblets (you can toss them or give them to your cat). Set on rack in roasting pan and season well inside and out with plenty of salt and pepper. Cut the garlic bulb in half horizontally and stuff inside the cavity along with the lemon, bay leaves and thyme.

Roast at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes (depending on exact weight of bird), or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Soul Cakes

Soul Cakes are an echo of the sacrificial foods of the Celtic festival of Samhain held in early autumn. These little cakes were traditionally set out with glasses of wine on All Hallows Eve (31st October) for the souls of the dead. On All Saints Day (1st November) children would go "souling" calling out "Soul, Soul, for a Soul Cake: pray you good mistress, a soul cake". You can read the Wikipedia entry, at least part of which I wrote myself, here: Soul Cakes.
I try to make these every Halloween, so we can have a treat and leave some out for our dead ancestors in memorium. I realized this year that I made mine a little too big; if you can get the dough a good consistency, try rolling it out and cutting circular cookies so you can get more out of a batch.

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup caster/superfine sugar
4 cups plain flour, sifted
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons currants
a little milk

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale in colour and fluffy in texture. Beat in the egg yolks. Fold in the sifted flour and spices. Stir in the currants. Add enough milk to make a soft dough. Form into flat cakes and mark each top with a cross. Brush the tops of each lightly with the leftover egg whites. Bake on a well-greased baking tray in a hot oven until golden (350 degrees F for about 17 minutes worked on my big cakes).