Roast Chicken: The Gift That Keeps on Giving (or how to use up leftovers…)

Years ago I bought a book called ‘The Thrifty Cookbook: 476 ways to eat well with leftovers‘ (Kate Colquhoun). It appealed to me because I don’t like throwing away food just cos it’s gone a bit soft (fruit) or hard (bread)! It’s a great book to dip into if you have something you want to use up, or want to make go further. We roasted some plums this week using a recipe from the book , mainly because we had a pot of double cream that needed using up… When I bought the book the back cover stood out to me as it has this illustration of a roast chicken and all you can do with its leftovers, which I thought was a great idea:

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We don’t often have a roast in our house – if i’ve only got a Sunday off it’s a toss-up between a sunday brunch or lunch – and brunch usually wins. Every now and then the craving for a good ol’ roast dinner does pop up though, and last weekend it did just that (so we were greedy and had that AND brunch). We decided to buy a chicken and work our weekly food shop around what we could do with the leftovers – as per the thrifty book. For the actual roast we had a leg and a wing each, with chippolata’s wrapped in streaky bacon, crunchy potato’s, roasted root veg, broccoli, stuffing, and homemade gravy – it was immense.

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After the epic roast, we still had the whole of the chicken carcass left to use up during the week, so I picked off all the meat (which I find quite therapeutic, and it means I get to eat the chicken oysters as a perk of the job), and kept the bones. We had enough leftover chicken (and stuffing, and gravy!) for six sandwiches during the week, and we also made four servings of one of our favourite healthy meals ‘Mexican chicken stew with quinoa’ (as seen here) with the last of the chicken.

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Making ‘Bone Broth’ or Stock

‘Bone Broth’ is a bit of a trend in healthy/clean eating at the moment (as popularised by the Hemsley + Hemsley sisters), it’s basically just stock that’s cooked for longer to extract more nutrients from the bones – ‘A good, homemade bone broth is rich in easily digestible substances such as amino acids, gelatine (a source of protein that helps counter the degeneration of joints), glucosamine, fats, vitamins, minerals and collagen (which improves the condition of skin)’ taken from this guardian article. Making great stock is normally a good enough reason for me to buy a whole chicken in the first place, so I thought I might as well try the broth! Once I’d stripped the meat off the carcass, that and a couple of leftover carrots and an onion all went into the pan (with a few bay leaves), and simmered for 6 hours. If you don’t have 6 hours to spare for the bone broth, good chicken stock will only take around 2.

You can make stock/broth with almost any meat bones, and also from fish bones or leftover raw vegetables (even peelings) – the fish and vegetable stocks only need about half an hour to cook though as they are more delicate.

I can’t give you a verdict on the broth yet as we have frozen it in preparation for this weeks recipes – I will update soon though!

We are planning on making a Hemsley + Hemsley recipe using the broth this week: Healthy Red Lentil Dhal, but often i’ll use up some of the remaining chicken and the stock in a risotto – just add an onion and some mushrooms! A soup would be another good way to use up one or both ingredients – if you have leftover veg from your roast, they could go in too.

So if you’re thinking of having a roast this weekend, why not think about what else you could use the leftovers for and get thrifty 🙂

Panicking about Pancakes?

Just a quick one re the important food-related business we all have today (in the UK anyway) – Shrove Tuesday = Pancake Day!

I haven’t decided what to have with my pancakes this evening, but I have made a little pinterest board with some ideas on, so if you feel like doing something other than lemon and sugar take a look!

My pancake board

A couple of interesting-looking recipes from it below:

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Apple Pie Pancakes (photo & recipe by Averie Cooks)

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Goats’ Curd Pancakes with Pomegranate Molasses Roast Grapes (photo from Marie Claire, recipe from Anna Hansen’s The Modern Pantry)

I’m thinking of some sort of apple and caramel version, using the salted caramel sauce recipe from my last post and softening some apples in a little bit of butter, then piling on top of crepes or scotch pancakes…

The standard crepe-style pancake recipe I use is from BBC Good Food here

For some reason I don’t tend to eat savoury pancakes on pancake day, although I’ll happily have them any other day – I think it’s because pancake day is the only day where you get to eat dessert for tea 😉

I have included some savoury pancake recipes on my pinterest board in case the urge takes though!

Happy Flipping…

Bake-Off Wednesdays: Salted Caramel Blackberry Brownies

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The Bake-off’s back (sort-of – it’s a comic relief one)… and what better way to celebrate than with brownies? I had some excellent brownies baked for my birthday recently by my mother-in-law, and they reminded me that I still hadn’t put this recipe up which is a crying shame as it is so tasty. Well here it is:

Salted Caramel Blackberry Brownies

A lot of good words in one sentence.

When my sister, brother-in-law and nephew came to stay a while back, I wanted to bake them something, but my sister is a mega-picky eater so I felt like I couldn’t do anything even vaguely crazy – which made me want to even more 😉 Instead, I thought of a way to satisfy her, and me (and the rest of the family), by making a normal brownie with half of the brownie mix, and putting salted caramel and blackberries in the other half! Success. The brownie mix is really fudgey and tasty on its own which is great, but put a layer of salted caramel and some blackberries in the centre and it becomes ridiculously good.

Recipe taken and adapted slightly from Edd Kimber here

Salted Caramel Blackberry Brownies

makes around 20 brownies (depending on how greedy you/your recipients are!)

180g plain flour

3 tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

300g dark chocolate 65-75% cocoa solids

150g unsalted butter

220g light brown sugar

150g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the salted caramel filling:

150g granulated sugar

125ml double cream

10g salted butter, softened

Pinch of sea salt (to taste)

Handful of blackberries (optional)

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For the sauce: Put the sugar in a pan over medium heat and heat until it turns a dark brown colour – keep an eye on it, as it will burn if you’re not careful. Remove from the heat before it starts to smoke and pour in the salt and half the cream. The mixture will bubble and spit at you (rude) so be careful! Once it’s calmed down, add the remaining cream and the softened butter. Put back on the heat and stir until smooth. Set aside.

For the brownies:  Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a brownie tray and line with baking paper.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.

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Put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and pale in colour.

Whisk in the cooled chocolate/butter mixture.

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Add the flour/cocoa powder/salt mixture and fold until just combined, don’t over-stir – you want some air left in the mixture.

Pour half the mixture into the prepared pan and level out.

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Dot the blackberries over the mixture, then add a thin layer of salted caramel sauce. Carefully spoon over the remaining brownie mixture and level it out.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean (a few crumbs are fine).

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Enjoy the fruits of your labour – try not to eat them all in one go!

If you want to make normal brownies just leave out the sauce and blackberries, if you want to do half and half just halve the mixture for each type 😉

P.s. If you want to donate to comic relief you can text BAKE to 70005 (for a £5 donation)

El Celler de Can Roca Part 4: Sweeeet

I do apologise for the extreme tardiness of this post, particularly in relation to parts 1, 2 & 3 (found here, here and here if you need reminding!)

This is the last of the El Celler de Can Roca posts, and it’s dedicated to desserts. Writing this before tea is slightly torturous but I’ll do my best…

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I wish I could post a video of this first dessert, but I haven’t worked out how to 😦

“Sourdough ice cream with cocoa pulp, fried lychee and Jerez vinegar macaron”.

The reason it needs a video is because it moves. That’s right, MOVES. The actual dessert is only the little spiky white ball, the rest of it is a strange latex blob which appears to ‘breathe’ and moves up and down whilst you’re trying to eat the dessert on top! It’s supposed to symbolise the fermenting of the sourdough ice cream, in case you didn’t realise. Mine didn’t actually work unfortunately, but it turns out the OH has issues with eating something that looks alive, so we swapped and I got the full experience after all – phew. It was very tasty, quite fruity with the lychee, nice and light with the ice cream and tiny bits of macaron. I didn’t notice too much of a yeasty flavour which I was pleased about, just a bit of sourness. We had Sake with this dessert which I’m not a massive fan of, but it wasn’t too bad with the ice cream.

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“Caramelised Apricot”

The next dessert had a lot to live up to looks-wise, but I think it delivered. A perfectly spherical piece of blown sugar, to represent the apricot which, when you cracked open, spilled out a caramelised apricot cream. I could have eaten this ten times over, delicious! We had a lovely honey-tasting dessert wine with this course too which added to the deliciousness – ‘Casta Diva Cosecha Miel 2010‘.

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The last dessert was called “Chocolate Anarchy”. It was basically every type and style of chocolate you could find on a plate. It was good, but I personally could have done without it, as I don’t LOVE chocolate (give me a cheeseboard any day), and I found it quite rich for the last dessert of the evening. I would have preferred to have stopped at the apricot, but if you’re a chocolate lover then I’m sure you would’ve been in heaven. The most exciting for me with this dessert, was the wine – a sweet Pedro Ximénez dessert wine from 1962 (info on it here) – I’m pretty sure that’s the oldest wine I’ve ever drunk! It was thick and treacly, and sweet and lovely. We also had a small wine glass of black coffee too, which added a nice note of bitterness.

The Sweet Trolley

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Turns out the desserts weren’t quite the end – we had petit fours in the guise of a Willy Wonka-style sweet trolley which was rolled up to each table for you to choose what you wanted. I was massively stuffed by this point, but not one to pass up on free food (and it all looked pretty cute), so we had a selection of most of it, and by we, I mean me – the OH gave up after one. They were all really nice though – I loved all the jellied fruits (top of photo moving down), mini chocolate tarts, madeleines, little tubes of apple filled with custard, mini cookies, truffles with gold leaf, and pineapple infused with mint.

And we’ve finally come to the end of the meal… We turned up around 8.30pm and left just before 1am… a full evening’s experience!

Lots of people have asked if it was worth the money, and I personally think it is – as a SPECIAL occasion. It all comes down to what you like to spend your money on though I think – one of my main enjoyments in life is going out for a nice meal, with wine and good company, so I’m happy to pay more (once every 10 years maybe!) for a real restaurant experience that I’ll never forget.

The service was excellent, the space was beautiful, the meal was crazy but amazing. It was a good night.