It’s been a rather successful week!
After my photo shoot, Kate uploaded a sneak peek to her Face Book page. I really wasn’t expecting it! I logged onto FB & there were lots of notifications!! I actually wasn’t ready to reveal myself to the world just yet BUT I had such a lovely response of well wishers that it was the right thing to do. Having the decision taken out of my hands was probably a good thing as I would still be dithering & besides, it wasn’t me that posted the shoot so hopefully it didn’t look like it was all me me me. I know Face Book is like a public diary of events & I DO post a lot on there, but that’s simply because I do do A LOT of things! I know for a fact that it does create eye rolls but surely that’s the point of Face Book? Not the eye rolling part, but the public declaration of what you’re up to! At least I’m not one to post personal feelings…. ‘what’s up babes?’ followed by ‘I’ll PM you’ Please. Go phone a friend & go for a private coffee! You’re welcome here, I have nice coffee.
I’ve less than two weeks until my course at Le Cordon Bleu now..,
I feel a mixture of excitement & nerves. My new chef shoes arrived last week. I shan’t ever be wearing them in public. Ever. Even if all of the shoes in the universe disappear & these are the only ones left in the world. Nope. They are like Crocs with steel toe caps but I’m sure they do the required job.
Here writing my blog along with Mable,…
….my trusty assistant & confident. She just keeps quiet & nods in all the right places. I like her. Shame her tea making skills are not up to scratch though.
She’s keeping me company whilst….
……the washing machine & tumble dryer are working overtime. Step-son brings his entire teams football kit home yesterday & announces they have to take it in turns to wash it. The entire thing! In the past it’s just been his own kit. What this roughly translates into is can you wash the kit for me please as I’m sure he’d need a satnav to find the machine. Seriously how many people are in a team? I thought there were 11 but I’m sure I’ve counted around 20 tops plus shorts plus socks! The socks even have an L & R on them. Quite concerning that these young men don’t know their left from their right……’It can’t be tumble dried though’ I own neither a washing line (my garden is far too designer to have a washing line & ruin the vision) nor an airer as I hate washing all over the house. I tumble everything. Yes, even in the height of summer! Yes, it’s a killer on the bills. No, I don’t really care. So in the tumble it all goes. My Husband has been primed to buy a complete new kit if it shrinks or the youth team will be over the moon with their new kit. It didn’t shrink. I am the queen of the tumble drier (takes a bow)
The kit is both summer & winter, hence why I thought there were now 40 players in a team. How do you know what’s been worn? Sniff it all or wash the whole lot? Wash the whole lot won.
Back to food, the real reason I am here.
This week, before I start the downstairs loo refurb, I’m going to try out a few dishes. The first is a chicken croquettes ceaser salad. I often make turkey croquettes at Christmas. Usually on Boxing Day as it’s a traditional recipe I got from my Step-Mum, who’s Spanish & we always had these at Christmas. Certainly beats the cold meat & mash meal. Served with a lovely salad, hot or cold, always a hit. I’m going to use chicken thigh for this recipe as I prefer the taste of thigh, along with parmesan & romaine lettuce. The second is a sticky toffee pudding. I don’t think you can go wrong with this good old fashioned British favourite. I always find it in some shape or form on most menus. I’m basing this one on one we ate recently at La Brasserie in the Sofitel, Gatwick. Hats off to the chef there, David Woods. The menu & food are amazing. Not what you’d expect for an airport hotel but it certainly got our holiday off to a great start. I liked the fact that he served it with crème fraiche so I’m going to do the same. The slightly sour taste of crème fraiche cuts through the sweetness of the sponge & sauce. Personally I like this. Too much sweet with sweet can be so sickly. I also want to create a perfect round toffee tuile to top it.
I prefer to make this recipe using left over cold chicken……
……from a whole roasted chicken, but if not, then just roast around 100g of chicken thigh or breast. I prefer thigh as I think it’s tastier. 100g will serve around 3 croquettes for 4 people. In the meantime, put 500ml of chicken stock on to warm. Of course fresh is always best but a cube wouldn’t be the end of the world. Leave the cooked chicken to cool & shred. Next make a roux from 10g unsalted butter & 50g of plain flour. A roux is a thickening agent then used to make one of the mother sauces in French cuisine. In this case, béchamel. Melt the butter & once melted & bubbling slightly, add the flour in one go off the heat. Incorporate the flour into the butter then back on the heat to cook the flour for around two minute to make a roux blanc. Stir continuously & leave to cool. Once cool, the warm stock can be added to make a béchamel. It’s important to add warm/hot stock to a cold roux or vice versa. Start with just a little stock to dissolve the roux & then add the rest on a high heat & whisk continuously until it thickens. At this stage add crushed garlic clove and around 25g parmesan. Leave to cool & then blitz in the blender until smooth. Add the cooked chicken & some chopped parsley. Stir & taste for seasoning. Leave to cool in the fridge. Once cool you need three separate bowls containing breadcrumbs, whisked egg and plain flour. Take the cooled mixture and shape into 12 balls, dipping each one in the flour, egg then breadcrumb mix. Leave on baking paper in the fridge to cool until needed. When you are ready to serve, heat some oil in a deep saucepan or use a deep fat fryer, frying each croquette until golden. I served mine with wilted then blitzed spinach to make a sauce, a few leaves of romain lettuce, parmesan shavings and a dollop of ceaser dressing. Enjoy. Lovely served cold too as a canape.