Fabada de Asturiana and morcilla follow-up…

For me, fabada has a major design fault – no matter what you do with chorizo, it still has the texture of leather,** Even soft, cooking chorizo, turns out that way, though it’s acceptable sliced very thin. The answer, then, is to make my own chorizo, with a texture that suits me – not really difficult.

**Like many sausages that are 100% meat, though I find Bratwurst and other German sausages (also all meat), perfectly acceptable, so my chorizo will be lightened by the addition of rusk, in the form of dried fresh breadcrumbs from my own bread (as opposed to breadcrumbs made from stale bread, which tastes different – the only bread worth eating stale is a baguette).

The other thing I discovered is that Continue reading

My take on Fabada Asturiana…

You need:-

300g dried beans, soaked overnight, use the traditional fabada bean, or cannellini, they’re much the same

4 torpedo-shaped shallots

1 scant tablespoon lard, home-made if possible

2 Packs fabada meats

½ pack of panceta

3 teaspoons sweet paprika (traditionally, this should be smoked, which I don’t like)

When everything is cooked, Continue reading

Kitchen therapy…

Felt appallingly ill this morning (and last few days, not helped by no more than 2-3 hours sleep a night). So as moping around feeling sorry for myself clearly hadn’t worked, I bit the bullet and headed for the kitchen. Only 5 feet away but some days a major challenge.

I came across a partial soup recipe I thought I’d like to try, but making it more of a stew – chickpeas (garbanzos in the colonies), potatoes, garlic, rosemary as the base, plus a secret ingredient or two. No idea what, so I’ll have to wing it.

I thought I could do something with that, adding Continue reading

A few thoughts on cooking for #spoonies…

**Spoonies – aka “The secret society of the sick”. The Spoon theory – how to explain to the non-disabled what happens when your get up and go simply gets up and buggers off!

Been here before, but it’s a theme always worth revisiting, by which I don’t mean repeating, as I get new readers

Sainsbury’s are running a TV ad claiming it’s possible to feed a family of 4 for under £50 a week. Considering what it costs just to feed me, I feel a tad cynical about that.

Yesterday morning, I spent a whisker over £30 in Sainsbury’s; later in the day I processed an online order at Tesco for about the same amount (mostly food, plus a very few non-food items). The only luxury (i.e., non-essential), item was a 500g tub of Green & Black’s Vanilla ice cream.

OK, I don’t eat Continue reading

On slow cookers…

I’ve bought myself a slow cooker (crock-pots in the US). A natty 3.5 litre black one from Morphy Richards. The current model, in the Accents range, has a translucent paint job (translucent black?), and costs £35. The previous model, identical apart from the paint – gloss black in my case – I got for £26 delivered, from Asda Direct (of whom, I have to say, I’d not previously heard).

I have physical problems cooking (ME/CFS, osteo arthritis, COPD, for new readers), so much so that, though I’m a good cook, I tend to live mainly on snacks and fried stuff, with occasional stews, bad news on so many levels. Last week, though, I made a Continue reading

Slaving over a hot stove…

No blogging today (apart from this), I’m cooking. As regular readers may know, I’m often not able to cook, which means I mostly get by on snacks. After resting yesterday, though, I feel up to hitting the kitchen today.

Normally, what I’m making would take a just couple of hours of intensive work  (there’s quite a bit of prep), but the exigencies of ME/CFS mean that the process may well take all day. The recipe hasn’t been modified to take account of this – I intended it to take a long time from the outset, as like many people with ME/CFS, the amount of time I can spend on my feet is very limited.

I’m making a hearty winter stew of Sicilian sausages with chick peas (I cooked those yesterday, with carrots and garlic), grilled and skinned red peppers, roasted butternut squash, garlic, red onions, celery, and chestnut mushrooms, with just a touch of cumin or perhaps Cayenne pepper, to counter the sweetness of the veg – I haven’t made up my mind yet, but it’ll probably be cumin, as it’s far less assertive. Ideally, this would be cooked long and slow in a cast-iron pot in the oven, but the thing is so damned heavy it doesn’t get much use these day, so it’ll be simmered, very, very gently, on the hob, in an ordinary pan – I always cook dishes like this in a large pan (depending on quantity, of course), and transfer to a smaller one when finished – I find it easier to have a lot of room in the pan. I’m not using any herbs, as the sausages are adequately herby (I actually wanted Toulouse, but couldn’t get any).

I like butternut squash, but that’ll only use half of it, so I think I’ll make soup with the other half, seeing that soup weather has arrived with a vengeance – it should go well with carrots and red lentils, with ground coriander and a touch of garlic, blitzed smooth with a hand blender the finished with chopped coriander leaves.

Tip: Soft herbs, like basil and coriander, can be frozen by mixing the unchopped leaves with olive oil, bagging and  – once bagged –  spreading the herbs out in a layer about as thick as a pound coin then freeze. You can just break off what you need and chop while frozen. Don’t stint the oil – too much is better than too little.

My recipes live in my head, but if anyone’s interested, let me know and I’ll post them here.

Tip: I had to buy far too many mushrooms as they weren’t available loose, only in a 300g pack – doesn’t sound much, but that’s a lot of mushrooms – but they freeze very well once cooked, so I’ll trim off the stalks, slice about as thick as a pound coin, and fry them hot and fast in just a splash of olive oil. Any liquid given off should be drained off as it forms and reserved for the main dish. Once fried off so they’re limp and dark – a matter of a couple of minutes – I’ll use what I need today and the rest will be bagged, cooled and frozen.

OK – I’m halfway through and knackered (for those who don’t know, ME/CFS and kitchen heat don’t mix – when I called this slaving over a hot stove, I wasn’t being ironic – I haven’t tackled a dish with so many stages for many years, but there comes a time when the effort justifies the results). One amendment – once roasted there’s not enough squash for two dishes, so it”l all go in with the sausages. The soup – postponed until tomorrow – will be a classic carrot and coriander. I have a surfeit of carrots, as I got half a kilo free with a bag of Maris Piper spuds, and soup is a good way to use them up.

And now, back to the fray. . .

Right, I’m finished. I will post the recipe, but a note for disabled cooks – it’s perfectly feasible to spread the preparation over 2, or even 3, days – doing it all in one go, even with plentry of rest stops, was too much. Once it’s cold, it can go in the fridge for 24 hours, to quietly fester – er, mature. Stews, casseroles and soups always benefit from being made a day in advance.