Dec 7, 2009

chicken soup & sour lemon cake

i can hear you... you're asking: can't she make anything but soups?! well, this isn't just any soup, it's the longer version where you start with a whole chicken, veggies, spices and water and make stock first. not interested? hmm, you could still make this with the same ingredients and use stock from a bottle or cube. but let me tell you, home made stock is something else...

i've been browsing martha's book cooking school now and again, and had decided to actually try to get a recipe done as it's written down. i had chosen a basic chicken soup and that was my intention when i got the chicken and some veggies from store. then i saw some lovely brown button mushrooms that i absolutely had to get, chicken and mushrooms go together well, right?

anyways, started by cutting the chicken to 8 pieces according to cooking school lesson. (little sidenote here: if i can't find any finnish chicken in the store, i won't buy any. how crazy is it to import chicken all the way from south america!!! same thing with any other meat, you should support your local farmers and economy. i feel so much better now that i got my little preaching done). back to soup...

i used 3 stalks of celery, 15 cm of leek (the greenest part, dried tops cut off), 2 carrots, 1 parsnip, ½ rutabaga, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, 2 small onions, some red chili (left whole), stems of button mushrooms and some parsley sprigs i dug out of freezer. all but chili here roughly chopped

3 small bay leaves, ½ tsp black peppercorns and 1 tsp of coarse salt, the only salt added to whole batch

chicken pieces on the bottom, veggies and spices on top

all in a merry medley in pot after i added approx 3 l of water

after about 30 mins i took out the chicken as it was cooked thru, let it chill for a while before tearing it to pieces

i added the bones back to pot and simmered them with veggies for another 50 mins

while the stock was simmering away, i browned the mushrooms in 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil and chopped quite finely 4 carrots, 2 parsnips, 2 stalks of celery and minced 3 cm piece of chili (seeds removed)

after the stock had been simmering for the 50 mins, i first strained all the solids out, the strained it once more thru cheese cloth to get a really clear stock. at this point i took out one liter of stock to freeze for later. i poured the stock into a slightly smaller clean pot, added chopped veggies and chili, browned mushrooms and cooked for 15 mins, turned off the heat and added the chicken that i had cut to bite size pieces, let the pot sit on the hot stove for 10 more mins until chicken was warmed thru, added some parsley on top... i ate a big bowl and had it not been so late in the evening i would gulped more, so good! alas, but i didn't manage to follow the recipe...had to go and fiddle about, maybe next time?

on the same cooking school day i had decided to bake something (it was getting close to certain someone's mom's birthday), but by the time it came to actually start the baking, i wasn't in the mood anymore. instead of backing out on the baking i tried to remember a simple and tasty cake i could do as not baking seemed not an option. fortunately i remembered donna hay's sour lemon cake. i'd love to give you the recipe but as it's not published on the web, i can only tell you what went in: melted butter, eggs, sugar, creme fraiche (full fat, sorry), finely grated peel of 2 lemons, lemon juice, flour and baking powder

this is super easy to make, just mix the wet ingredients and lemon peel, then add the dry, mix well and pour into floured cake pan (i used semolina)

what, no pic of the baked cake? no, the battery of my camera went dead in the evening and then i kinda forgot to take one in the morning... or i could blame the migraine i got in the very early morning, or the fact that i wasn't feeling too well, or that i had slight fever. fortunately i only had to spend one day horizontal and under covers. right now i'm at the cottage, have been crafting with littlest niece. will show you what we made tomorrow

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