July 28, 2008

winter comfort food

I'm back! This is my first post for weeks. With the house auction in mid-July I've been flat out keeping the place spotless for the twice-weekly Open-for-inspections. The house was sold - yay - so it's no longer pristine but all back to normal! What a relief being able to leave tea towels out on the rack, put the calendar back behind the kitchen door, not having to keep fresh flowers everywhere, and most importantly, being able to plan meals without worrying about whether there'll be any cooking smells.

We had our usual Sunday night family dinner last night. There's no way I'm cleaning the still-gleaming oven again before we move, which means no more roasts. So last night I made my new favourite winter recipe - Chicken and Chorizo Hotpot, which is really a sort of chicken cacciatore. It's a cinch to make - you just put everything in a roasting tin and bake it. The recipe is here.

There were 6 of us so I doubled everything. I've found the shallower the baking dish the crisper the chicken turns out. There might be too much liquid at the end of the cooking time, in which case you just drain it off and reduce it in a saucepan for a few minutes.

I served it with little fried potatoes, but mashed is good too. I forgot to take a photo of the finished dish but here are the leftovers....

For dessert I made Jill Dupleix's version of Sticky Date pudding. It's not only every one's favourite (even date-haters), it's perfect to make ahead and reheat. Here's the recipe.

I usually blitz the cooled date and water mixture for a few seconds with a stick mixer so that it resembles a lumpy batter, before adding it.

I reckon individual puddings look nicer than a slice so instead of baking it in one big tin I used a muffin tin, filling only 9 of the holes. Also this way any leftovers are easily frozen.

I've found the amount of sauce in the recipe is only enough for 6 serves as the pud soaks it all up, so make half as much again if you're using all the puddings.