Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yorkshire Pudding

A Very Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has had a fabulous Christmas. Ours was quiet, but lovely, apart from a tornado warning (What the hell? This is December!) at 7am on Saturday morning. Our weather has been all over the place this past couple of weeks. Last week, Sunday – Tuesday, we had night time lows of 0°F and highs in the low 20’s. On Christmas Day we had a high of 62°F, and on Boxing Day 72°F.

(For more info on Boxing Day, check out my other blog: )

Saturday a cold front moves in bringing storms and wild winds, but fortunately, the tornado passed us by. Then the past few days, temps have been back in the mid 60’s. Weird weather! Anyway, here endeth the weather report for NE Oklahoma.

Today’s recipe is Yorkshire Pudding. Don’t be misled by the title, this is not a dessert it's a batter pudding, like a pancake batter, but baked in the oven, and served with roasted meats and gravy. In England, Yorkshire Pudding is traditionally served with roast beef, but it makes a great accompaniment to any roast meat. I made these to have with our turkey on Christmas Day, and they are totally yumptious. Hubby is a Yorkshireman, and even he admits that for a Lancashire lass I make a mean Yorkshire Pud.

Yorkshire puds are also great served cold. I use them to make sandwiches, which hubby calls "pudding pots," with any leftover meat and stuffing. Or they can be served as a sweet with jam, preserves, or lemon curd.

If you’re interested, here is a little history of the dish.

Hannah Glasse is credited with creating the first Yorkshire pudding in 1745, and the original recipe appears in her book The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy. Back then, meat was cooked on a spit over an open fire and a tray was placed under the meat to catch the drippings. Hannah Glasse hit on the idea of adding a pancake batter to the drippings and Yorkshire pudding was born.

Yorkshire pudding became very popular among the working classes who served it with gravy as an appetizer ― in reality a filler ― because meat was very expensive.

Yorkshire puddings traversed the Atlantic to the USA with the early pioneers and settlers. In this country they became known as Portland Popovers, individual muffin-sized puddings, and so named because the batter swells over the sides of the pan during cooking. The original Yorkshire pudding, however, was cooked in a large, shallow-sided baking dish and then cut into slices for serving.

Today, in England, you are more likely to find individual, muffin-sized Yorkshire puddings ― more akin to their American counterpart, popovers ― than their larger ancestor.

Yorkshire Puddings


2 cups all-purpose flour.
1 pint milk.
2 eggs.
12 teaspoons vegetable oil.

Note: Most Yorkshire pudding recipes require half these ingredients, but I like my Yorkshire puddings to really "popover" during cooking.

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Put flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Crack the eggs into the well and pour in half the milk. Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  • Pour in remaining milk and beat with a fork, or whisk, until bubbles form on the surface. Place batter in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • In a 12 case non-stick muffin pan add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to each case, and place in the oven until the oil is smoking hot.
  • Meanwhile, remove batter from refrigerator and whisk again until bubbles form.
  • When oil is hot, quickly add batter to muffin cases, and return pan to the oven.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Do not open oven door during cooking as this will cause the puddings to go flat.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Christmas Eve Eve

It’s Christmas Eve Eve. I hope you’re all ready for Santa, because if you’re not ready now, you’re not going to be. I, for one, have done all I’m gonna do, except cook Crimbo dinner. Here’s a festive joke recipe, I think it will give you a giggle.


With Christmas coming, here’s a fruitcake recipe that will help take the stress out of this normally stressful time.


1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups dried fruit
1 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
3 oz lemon juice
1 cup nuts
1 gallon Absolut Vodka


First sample the vodka to check for freshness. Take a large bowl. Check the vodka again to be sure it is of the highest quality.

Pour 1 level cup of the vodka and drink it. Repeat. Repeat again.

Turn on electric mixer; beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add water, eggs and 1 tsp sugar and beat again.

Make surr the vodka is still OK. Cry another tup.

Turn off mixers. Chuck in the cup of dried fruitt or something. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck on the beaterers, pry it loose with a Drewsciver.

Sample the vodka to check for consistancity.

Next sniff two cups of salt. Or something. Who cares?

Check the vodka. Now sniff the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever.

Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin 350 degrees. Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Whip the bowl out the window. Check the vodka again.

Go to bed. Who the hell likes *!#&*^$ fruitcake anyway.

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone. (hic)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Jo tagged everyone who reads her blog at and as it’s nearly Crimbo, I thought I’d enter into the spirit and play along. Feel free to join in, if you wish.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. I’m one of those sick individuals who actually likes wrapping presents.

2. Real tree or Artificial? It has to be real, messy, but I love the smell.

3. When do you put up the tree? The weekend before Christmas.

4. When do you take the tree down? On the twelfth day of Crimbo.

5. Do you like eggnog? No, it’s too sweet.

6. Favourite gift received as a child? A doll’s house.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My dad.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Mick, he’s easily pleased.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? No.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards. Mail.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? When I first moved to California, my mother-in-law always sent me tights (hose), in that ghastly shade of American tan. (Well, she was in her late 70’s then, bless her, and I suppose they were cheap to mail). The thing is, I hardly ever wore tights in California, and certainly not American tan.

12. Favourite Christmas Movie? The Great Escape. I know, I know, it’s not a Christmas movie, but they used to show it every year in England at Christmas, so I always associate it with the holiday.

13. When do you start shopping? Usually, end of October through November. I like to get everything sorted out before Thanksgiving. I can’t bear the madding crowds of Black Friday onwards. This year things didn't go according to plan. :-(

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don’t think so, though I may have put some in the bin.

15. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas? Turkey with all the trimmings.

16. Lights on the tree? Of course, but not the flashing ones, I hate those.

17. Favourite Christmas song? There are a few, all ancient, but I like them anyway. Do they know it’s Christmas by Band Aid, Mistletoe and Wine by Cliff Richard, I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday by Roy Wood, and White Christmas by Bing Crosby. For carols, I think Silent Night.

18, Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home. Christmas in England is always so much more fun than the US, but I hate travelling in winter, and I hate flying anytime.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? No.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither, I don’t put anything on top of the tree.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The crowds, and the commercialism.

23. Favourite ornament, theme or color? A few miniature sweaters I knitted myself, which hang on the tree on mini hangers. For some reason, the cats take special delight in knocking these off the tree.

24. Favourite for Christmas dinner? Turkey and all the trimmings.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? For a publisher to show some interest in my book.

Okay, enough of all that Christmas humbug, on with the recipe.

It’s been pretty cold around here this past week, with highs in the low 30’s F (approx. 1-2°C). Monday they are forecasting snow, with a high of 27°F (minus 3°C), and a low of 15°F (minus 9°C). Brrrrrrr. Soup is definitely the order of the day.

I have been making this cream of mushroom soup for so long that I have no idea where the original recipe came from. The original does use a full stick of butter, and a cup of cream, I use slightly less butter, and half the cream, and it is still creamy and delish. Served with lots of crusty bread, it’s a meal in itself.

Cream of Mushroom Soup


1 lb. mushrooms
6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, fairly finely chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
Black pepper, to taste
½ cup heavy whipping cream

  • Remove stems from mushrooms. Slice mushroom caps, and chop stems.
  • Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over a medium heat.
  • Add sliced mushroom caps to pan, and sauté until mushrooms are tender, approx. 5 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushroom slices to a plate and set aside.
  • Add onion and mushroom stems to same pan and sauté until onion is translucent.
  • Stir in flour and ½ cup of broth until flour is blended. Gradually add remaining stock, stirring constantly until thickened.
  • Transfer onion/mushroom mixture to a blender and puree.
  • Return pureed mix to pan, add mushroom caps, season with a little black pepper, and reheat for 5 minutes.
  • Add cream, and heat gently for a further 5 minutes, do not allow to bubble.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kohlrabi and Chicken and Vegetable Bake

This strange looking vegetable, which bears a striking resemblance to a sputnik, and looks like something that might have landed from outer-space, is a kohlrabi. I first read about kohlrabi on David Hall’s blog at: and wanted to give it a try. Of course, it isn’t available in our sleepy backwater, so hubby grew some from seed, and planted it this fall as it doesn’t like our hot summer temps.

Kohlrabi proved to be a huge success, particularly as the Oklahoma bugs left it alone and devoured all our cabbages and Brussels sprouts instead. This fall and winter I have used this veggie in all sorts of soups, stews, and casseroles. It has the flavor of a cabbage heart, but is milder and sweeter, it also has undertones of turnip and celery, and the texture of a rutabaga or swede. In fact the name kohlrabi is German and means cabbage/turnip.

Today’s recipe is based very loosely on one in the BBC Good Food magazine, as I changed the type of chicken, most of the veggies, and the herbs.

Chicken and Vegetable Bake


2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup flour, seasoned with black pepper
6 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat
2 lbs. red potatoes, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 bulb of garlic, separated into cloves, topped and tailed but unpeeled
½ a kohlrabi, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
1 red pepper cut into chunks
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 beefsteak tomato cut into wedges
1 orange cut into segments

  • Pre-heat oven to 400°F
  • Coat chicken thighs with seasoned flour.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet over a medium high heat, and fry chicken until crisp and golden brown on both sides, approx.8 -10 minutes.
  • Heat remaining oil in a roasting pan. Transfer chicken to roasting pan, along with potatoes, garlic, kohlrabi, peppers, and rosemary. Roast for about 20 minutes, until potatoes start to soften.
  • Add tomatoes and orange segments and roast for a further 5-10 minutes, until chicken and potatoes are thoroughly cooked.
  • To serve, bring the roasting pan to the table and let everyone help themselves.