Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pork Spaghetti

This was me riffing off the many chicken spaghetti casseroles out there that I knew my husband would not eat!  And I had pork, not chicken, so there you go.  I did cheat in this being literally "from scratch" I used condensed cream of mushroom soup as a shortcut.


  • Olive oil
  • diced celery
  • diced onion
  • 1 LB pork (I used spare ribs), chopped
  • 4 roma or plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can water
  • 2 cups pecorino Romano, shredded
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 LB package spaghetti cooked according to package directions.
  • parmigian reggiano, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Saute the the celery and onion in olive oil until it begins to soften.
  3. Add the pork and brown.
  4. Add the tomatoes, soup, water, cheese, nutmeg, and pepper and stir together as the cheese melts.
  5. Combine with the cooked spaghetti and pour into a large casserole.
  6. Cover with aluminum and bake for 1 hour.
  7. Remove aluminum, sprinkle with parmesan, and cook for 5 more minutes.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cornish Pasties

Makes 4 pasties

  • 1 pound pastry, frozen or homemade
  • 6 oz rump or sirloin steak
  • 6 TB peeled cubed potato
  • 2 TB chopped onion
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • 1 TB milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut the steak into small cubes, and cut the peeled potato into similar-sized cubes.
  3. Chop the onion fine.
  4. Mix all together in a bowl adding plenty of salt and pepper, and 1 tsp water.
  5. Roll out the pastry into a square about 1/8 inch thick.
  6. Using a large saucer as a guide, cut 4 circles about 6 inches across.
  7. Divide the filling in 4 parts, and lay one on one half each circle.
  8. Fold the other half across, and seal by dampening the inner side of the edges and pinching together.
  9. Make crimped edges with the edge of a narrow wooden spoon, or a pencil.
  10. Brush them over with the egg yolk beaten with the milk.
  11. Lay the pasties on an oiled baking sheet and bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes.
  12. Then turn down the oven to 250 F and cook for a further 45 minutes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce with Sausage



  1. Dice the celery stalk, carrot, onion and garlic finely.
  2. Meanwhile in the microwave, melt the butter.
  3. Add the diced vegetables, stir well to coat with the butter and microwave for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste, nutmeg, thyme and microwave another 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the wine and microwave another 5 minutes.
  6. Add the milk and stir well to combine, pour into the slow cooker.
  7. Drain the diced tomatoes and add to the slow cooker.
  8. Chop the sausage (I actually used scissors and just snipped it directly into the pot) and add to the slow cooker.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Cook on high 4 to 6 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.
Serve with 1 LB pasta and parmigiano reggiano. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Short Cut Slow Cooker Curry

This is my "I'm in a hurry and I have some left-over meat" curry.  I've sort of combined two recipes and a couple of techniques that I've learned to love after being addicted to curry for several years.  The first recipe is a completely unauthentic Betty Crocker recipe from a book in my vintage cookbook collection, the second is from 50 Great Curries of India, and is a starter recipe that the author says is similar to what modern Indian women keep popped in the refrigerator to be added to to make all sorts of curries.

 First in a blender I combine 1 chopped onion, once small can of tomato sauce, 1 cup of milk or coconut milk, 1 cup of your choice of broth, 1 tsp garam masala, 1.5 tsp, curry powder (for the best curry power make sure that coriander is the first ingredient)1 tsp garlic powder, and a little salt.  The resulting combination should look sort of like thin cheese dip.

 Next I add whole spices, a couple star anise, 4 or 5 green cardamom pods, and 1 Indian bay leaf.  And some salt to taste.

I roughly grind a half teaspoon of coriander, and a half teaspoon of cumin and add it to the pot.

Then I toss a combination of frozen veggies from the freezer.  In this case I used a whole bag of cauliflower and half a bag of peas.  I tend to think of peas more as an herb than a veggie, so I don't want them to over power the curry.

 Then I toss in whatever left over meat, I'll be using--in this case I cubed a humongous pork chop that was part of my freezer full of left overs from my Mother-in-Laws New Year's Dinner.  I add a tsp 

for heat and then I stir everything up in the crock-pot and cook for 3 or 4 hours on high, or 6 to 8 hours on low.  A couple hours in, I'll check for salt and heat, and possibly add more salt or sriracha.

This is one of my curry in a hurry recipes.  But it was too unauthentic to use without a lot of fiddling!

I usually serve my curry with another unauthentic recipe, in which I mix Mexican Sopa Seca and Indian Pilao:


6 TB butter
2 cups rice
1 onion
1 tsp garlic powder
4 cups broth
3 Indian bay leafs
6 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
Salt to taste 


On medium melt the butter and then fry the rice and the onion until golden, add the broth and the flavorings and bring to a boil.  Once it comes to a boil turn it to low and let it simmer for a half an hour or until the rice kernels have separated.

I utilize the sopa seca technique because I have never mastered traditional pilao and this one comes close for me!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Perfect Herbal Cuppa

(This cup is one of my mid century thrift finds!)

If you don't like herbal teas, I suggest just simmering this on the stove and letting the fragrance waft throughout the house.  I was breathing easier just waiting for the tea to finish.


1 peppermint tea bag
1 chamomile tea bag
1 sprig rosemary
1/3 cup rose hips


  1. Bring to a boil in 2 quarts of water, and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 10 to 20 minutes--depending on how long you can wait.
  3. Pour into a tea pot and enjoy.

I steeped my herbs twice, I just made sure that I steeped the whole 20 minutes for the second batch.  

Note: I get my rose hips at our local Indian market.  Much more inexpensive than going to a health food store.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Forgotten Skills of Cooking

A pot of Irish stew has been bubbling on the stove all weekend. My husband bought me this book for Christmas last year and it has become a favorite. I've learned how to make home-made butter with no equipment other than a mixer, as well as the basics in sausage making--which has lead to a lot of experimentation with herbs and spices. If I ever need to know how to pluck a chicken or butcher a pig this book will come in handy.

Amazon.com: Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways ...