The kitchen is almost finished. The cupboard doors where hanged (...hung?) And look amazing. And I kind-of got the kitchen back, except that part of it had to be used as a workshop whilst the handrail on the staircase was being replaced. So there was more sawdust snow...but that's fine. It's done now and in true 'Little Women' style is waiting for next Christmas to be decked with ivy. The other end still needs finishing but the log cupboard under the stairs is also finished and now in use. We spent an evening painting them both and organised a two man (well one man and one woman) chain-gang to fill it up. It looks perfect. A kind friend lent us his scaffolding so that we (Ahmad) could finish painting the out of reach bits. The other end still needs finishing.But it's all coming along.
There has been some cooking in the kitchen but I have to admit to having eaten more coffee-shop soups and sandwiches and Indian takeaways in the last few weeks than I probably have in all my life. Thankfully there are good examples of both locally.
We've had lots of the usual fresh produce. A spot of fridge and vegetable basket foraging that produced sweet potatoes that I oven baked with red onions, sea salt, black pepper and a little olive oil, topped with slices of mozzarella cheese for an unctuous sweet/salty supper, served up with fresh spinach, avocado and pomegranate salad.
I've actually had the unthinkable ready made pots of soup, discovering some really good ones by the Yorkshire Provender. So far I've tried the Silky Butternut; Beetroot; and Rustic Veg and Ham with Lentils ( I overlooked the ham). They are made from fresh seasonal vegetables and not too highly seasoned...(And no, they aren't paying me to say that...and the pots are great for freezing my own homemade soup or stew)
Ahmad made a tangy dip from aubergine and kashk a kind of salty dried yoghurt, and his amazing thin crust pizzas. Spelt for me, and wheat for him. And whatever state the kitchen is in, I always seem to be able to roast a chicken and some vegetables.
Finally in need of something light and refreshing I made a citrusy oriental style broth with chunks of juicy white cod. I've written the recipe below.
So cooking hasn't been very exciting but I'm storing recipes up and have lots that I long to make and hopefully will do once I get back into the swing. I'm still going to make a Christmas cake even though it will probably be in March the way things are going...oh and one for the bird like this one too. They are my daily companions through the kitchen window, like the (green woodpecker edit: that should be green finch, it seems that I got my green birds mixed up...still cute and green though) munching sunflower seeds this morning.
Refreshing Lemony Cod and Pack Choi Broth
Ingredients for four people:
- A piece of cod (about 12oz)
- Three spring onions (scallions)
- A stick of celery
- One large mushroom (Portobello or a few small ones)
- Some sugar snap peas or other fresh green vegetable or herb, coriander would be good
- Vegetable stock, there's a good recipe here.
- Two small pack choi
- A small piece of ginger
- One clove of garlic
- A small yellow capsicum
- Fresh lemon or lime
- A little sea salt or you could use soy or tamari sauce. I wanted a light coloured and seasoned broth myself so avoided using it, just opting for salt.
- A little oil for cooking
- Finely slice all the vegetables except for the peas and pak choi.
- Make the stock and then allow to cool a little.
- Pour a tiny amount of oil into a wok or saucepan and add the onions. Cook for a few minutes then add the garlic and ginger and cook a little longer being careful not to burn.
- Add the stock to the wok plus the juice of half a lemon. Check the seasoning and then place the fish onto the pan and allow to cook for about nine to ten minutes on a slow simmer until the fish is almost cooked.
- Finally add all the other ingredients and cook for three or four minutes depending how crunchy you like your vegetables.
- Add fresh coriander or flat leafed parsley and serve whilst hot.
love and elderflowers,