Vera Morris - writes crime novels and short story books - Love reading crime - love writing crime

Prawns in a spicy tomato sauce. Quick, easy and delicious!


Saute garlic and tomatoes in virgin olive oil, until soft, add raw prawns, cook for 2 minutes or until pink all over. Add basil, tarragon or whatever herb you have handy, and green Tabasco sauce to taste. Serve with crusty bread. Yummy!  




















A Beef Stir Fry

Grilled red peppers, sliced onions and thin strips of fillet steak.

In a wok fry beef briefly in a little oil; I use groundnut oil. Put aside. Fry onions for a few minutes add sliced grilled red pepper, then add beef. Cook for one minute.
Add seasoning to your taste. Soya sauce, black pepper, Tabasco - it's up to you. Add enough water to make a sauce and simmer briefly.
Serve with Basmati rice.

Quick, nutritious and you need very little steak.  








A good excuse for a chocolate muffin.

My Polish friend and her new baby came for coffee. I made some chocolate muffins from a recipe from Muffin Magic by Susannah Blake. The Triple choc-chunkies are, like all her recipes, easy to make and the recipes are reliable. I substituted the white chocolate with more dark chocolate. The baby wasn't allowed any!

  







Have a tasy lunch! Bruschetta - red peppers and goat's cheese.
 
Grill peppers and remove blackened skins and slice. If you can get some Italian toasting bread from the Puglia region, this will make the meal! The durum wheat from this district is golden and the bread has a chewy texture. Toast the bread and rub it with cut cloves of garlic. Season. Dribble on virgin olive oil. Heap red peppers and goat's chees. A few more drops of oil and some herbs, whatever is handy.  I'm feeling hungry!   I
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Recipe for Jambon Morvandelle.
This redipe is from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
It can be made with thick slices of shop-bought ham, but if you've time you can cook your own ham and use it for the many recipes in this book. It's also delicius cold. I don't cook it many times a year, but always at Christmas. The whole ham is braised with wine, vegetables and herbs. Over the years I've made changes to the recipe; cut down on amount of wine, used a ordinary red instead of a white burgandy (what a waste!) and omitted the stock, becuase I don't think it's needed. But, hey! Do your own thing.
For six people
One to two slices of ham per person, depending on appetite and greedniness, about 1/4 inch or 1/2 cm thick.
Brown the ham lightly for about 1-2 minutes on both sides in hot butter or oil or mixture of both. Put in casserole.
2 tablespons of chopped shallots
Cook slowly in remaining oil/buuter for 2-3 minutes. In original recipe flour is cooled here for thickening later. I don't do this.
Ham stock, if cooking own ham, or beef boiullon
Madeira - original recipe says 1/4 pt but I use much less. it's up to you!
Tomato paste - 1tbl.
Pepper
Bring stock to simmer. Add to shallots with Madeira
Beat in tomato paste and pepper. Don't add salt as ham stock will be salty.
Single or whiping cream. original recipe says 1/2 pint for six people recipe but I use 1/8th pint approx.
Bring liquid to simmering point and beat in cream. taste for seasoning.
Original recipe adds cognac at this point but I don't bother.
Cover and simmer for about ten minutes.
I like to serve spinach with this and usually I add sauteed mushrooms as well.
Various stages and the finished dish with sauteed potatoes and cabbage. 
This dish freezes well so make a shed load and have a treat and an easy meal in the middle of the week.
I love food and I like cooking
As a child, and indeed until the age of seventeen, food didn't interest me. I wanted to spend the summer holidays working in Felixstowe, Suffolk, where I'd lived as a child; I put an advert in the local newspaper offering my services. The owner of a hotel offered me a job as a cook in the hotel kitchens, helping his wife. I knew nothing about cooking, my mother hadn't trusted me in the kitchen. With the sublime optimism of youth I accepted the post. The poor lady asked me to make some custard, she was horrified when I confessed I'd never made it. However I was a quick learner and a willing worker; those six weeks introduced me to a range of dishes and techniques. I bought my first cookery book that summer in Felixstowe. It was the only cookery book in the bookshop. I still have it. Fare Wisely and Well by Ambrose Heath. The recipes are very brief; there are no list of ingredients, no weights, and no temperatures. Just the book for a fledgling cook!
Here's one of Mr T's favourite puddings. Also when nephew S visits this has to be on the menu. He takes what's left home!
Crème Caramel
This recipe is from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Berthole.
This book has been my cookery bible since the 1970s0
{Remember Merle Streep as Julia Child in the film?)
This is my simplified version. Lovely to eat anytime, but if someone has lost their appetite this seems to appeal. It's nutritious and easily digestible. One of Mr T's favourite puddings.If you haven't got the time there are some good ones in supermarkets.
Ingredients.
For caramel
4oz granulated sugar
1/2 pint of water
Small, heavy saucepan
Put sugar and water in pan, on medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Boil, moving pan now and then, until it turns light brown. Don't let it get too brown or it will taste bitter. You need to use it quickly so have your dishes or dishes ready. I use small individual fireproof dishes, but you could make one large one. Pour the caramel into the dishes. 
Warning! This is very hot. Don't let your child help you with this one! 
For the Crème
1 pint of milk - full cream.
3 eggs
3 egg yolks  (The extra yolks are needed if you are turning the crème out)
2-3 oz granulated sugar
2-3 drops of vanilla extract (optional)
Heat milk to below simmering point in a saucepan. 
Beat sugar with eggs and egg yolks in a bowl until well mixed, light and frothy.Keep beating as you pour in hot milk.
Add vanilla extract.
Pour into moulds on top of caramel.
Heat oven to 150 C - fan. You want the water to never quite simmer. this way the custard will be smooth. If it gets too hot the custard will be grainy - but still delicious!
Put the moulds in a tin and pour boiling water to come halfway up moulds.
Cook for between 20-30 minutes. Test with a knife; if it comes out clean the custard is done.
When cool cover with foil and put in a fridge. To serve run a knife round edge of dish, reverse into serving dish and give a quick shake. You'll hear a plop and the crème will appear with its lovely caramel topping and surround.
Fresh from the oven
Ready to eat.
Gooseberry Upside-down-pudding.
How do I find gooseberries? Try frozen food section of your local supermarket or see Gardening blog!
This pudding freezes well. I cut it up into smaller pieces but if you've a big family there's no need!
Ingredients
450g. or !lb of gooseberries. I use frozen gooseberries. We have one gooseberry bush and this gives us plenty of fruit.
For the goo
2-3 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon of salt less butter
For the sponge
100g or 4ozs salt less butter or margarine
Same weight of caster sugar and self-raising flour
2 eggs
Method
Butter a 8-9inch tin. Melt butter in a pan and stir in brown sugar to make a thick goo.
Put goo in bottom of the
tin and spread. Put gooseberries on top.
Make a Victoria sponge in the usual way. Put on top of gooseberries and spread evenly. Place in middle of at 175C for 45-60 minutes. It's done when top bounces back when you touch it and needle comes out clean. Leave to cool, then turn out. Lovely with Creme Fraiche.
You can make the sponge deeper by increasing the amounts. For 3 eggs use 6ozs of other ingredients. 
Hope you enjoy it.  
     
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