SPANISH SUPERMARKET STEW

Well, that’s my name for it.  When we lived in Spain, we used to do a big shop at Carrefour hypermarket, once in a while.  Carrefour is so big that we often spent several hours there and stopped for lunch.  One of my favourites was the beef stew and I think it was a little like this.

Ingredients:

Chunks of beef for stewing

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

4 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped, or if you really like garlic, put a whole bulb cut in two halves.

A small tin of tomato puree

Olive oil for cooking

A red bell pepper, cleaned and sliced

Salt and black pepper

Beef stock

3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar

A jar or tin of pre-cooked peas and carrots

1 tablespoon of gravy granules with 200 ml of water

Method:

Cook the beef in a pressure cooker if you have one

Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil (large saucepan)

Add the tomato puree, cooked beef, salt and pepper, vinegar and gravy made up with the water.  Add a beef stock cube and more water if necessary.  When everything is soft, add the red pepper, peas and carrots.  Adjust the thickness of the sauce with more or less stock.

Serve with either a baguette to dip or paprika potatoes sliced in the oven on a tray, cooked for about an hour on 180C.  Or Yorkshire pudding goes nicely with the stew.

Spicy French Chicken

 Ingredients:

A whole free range or corn fed chicken

A chunk of onion

A whole lemon cut in half

Parsley leaves and stalks

A few bay leaves blended with paprika

Salt and pepper

A knob of butter or two

A cup of water

A tablespoon of cornflour

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190C

Place the chicken on a rack over a roasting tray

Cover with the ground bay leaves, paprika, salt and pepper

Dot with butter and squeeze half a lemon on the chicken, then pop the lemon and onion inside the chicken to create steam inside.  Put the chicken in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.  Take the chicken out and cover with tin foil to rest for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour the residual juices into a pan, mix the cornflour with the water and pour that in the pan.  Simmer until you have a sauce.

Maybe serve with potato dauphinoise.  Rub a pyrex dish with garlic and olive oil or butter.  Add thin rounds of potatoes.  They should be floury, such as King Edwards, Desiree or Maris Piper Add 500 ml of double cream.  Bake with the chicken and decorate with flat leaf parsley.  The cream can split if the oven is too hot, so if you are lucky enough to have a second oven, put them at a lower temperature of 140C.

HEALTHY COOKING TIPS

  1. Choose lower fat alternatives, such as substituting low fat cheese for cream cheese.
  2. One third of your meals should consist of salad or vegetables.
  3. Remember to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
  4. To help you use less olive oil, try using an olive oil spray for cooking, or when making salad dressings.
  5. If you are trying to cut down on salt, use extra spices and herbs to add flavour to your meals.
  6. Want to cut down on fat? Swap frying or roasting with grilling, using a griddle pan or steaming your food.
  7. Choose a leaner cut of meat without fat such as poultry with skin removed, fillet steak. Cut off any visible fat.
  8. Choose wholegrain rice and pasta as they are higher in fibre than the white alternatives.
  9. When using cheese, maybe think about a mature Cheddar or a hard blue cheese, for more flavour, but use less of it, perhaps grating it.

TOMATO, YELLOW PEPPER AND CELERY SOUP

I made it watery but you might like to keep it chunky

Having had my second Covid 19 vaccination today, I fancied something nutritious to eat, followed by an afternoon with my feet up resting.  I didn’t have any side effects from the first vaccine, but that doesn’t mean I will escape this time.  So far, so good.

I didn’t know what to have for lunch.  We often eat our main meal at lunch time, but today is other half’s day at the office instead of working from home.  So I checked for any vegetables past their best in the fridge and popped them in the soup maker with a vegetable stock cube.

Ingredients

2 carrots, cleaned and chopped

2 celery sticks, cleaned and chopped

1 yellow pepper washed and chopped (discarding the pith and seeds).  Other colour peppers are fine.

1 clove of garlic (for healthy reasons)

2 cleaned spring onions (scallions)

2 soft tomatoes, washed and chopped

1 vegetable stock cube

2 cups of water or more according to taste

salt and pepper to taste

Lemon juice and crusty bread to serve

Pop all the ingredients (except the lemon and crusty bread) in the soup maker and set it for 21 minutes on blend.

A Few More Household Hints and Tips Part Four

Chopping boards need a clean?

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of salt on the chopping board.

Wipe down with half a lemon

Rinse in hot water, but don’t soak.

Does your iron look dirty?

Spread clean paper onto your ironing board and sprinkle with salt

Disable the steam button on your iron and make sure there’s no water in it

Turn the heat setting to maximum

Pass the iron over the salt to remove any dirt.

Dirty oven? Try this

Pour one cup of baking soda in a bowl.

Dab a wet sponge in the soda and apply generously to the dirty parts of your oven

Using a spray bottle, spray white vinegar on the paste

Wipe clean with another clean sponge.

Clogged drain? Why not try this?

Mix half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of salt, in a bowl

Pour the mix over the blocked drain

Then pour a cup of warm vinegar over it and leave for a few minutes

Rinse with at least 1 litre of boiling water.