baubles, babble, bubbles and liquidation

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Another early-to-bed, who-knows-when-to-rise Friday sliding into Saturday. Finally watching the accumulated episodes of season 2 of Fargo. I’m liking it, but every season has its actor who needs more time and training with a dialect coach (this time it’s Jeffrey Donovan and Kirsten Dunst, who are both overdoing it, and last year it was Martin Freeman, at least the first few episodes. For him, there was a better excuse).

The day was full of work and phone calls and annoying things like the engine on my not-old-enough-to-give-out treadmill blowing out, which also tripped the breaker for the entire house. Disappointing, and worthy of complaint.

But there were nice things, even if they weren’t earth shattering. Chains of events that unfolded in a funny way… I saw a recipe that is basically a “nest” of julienned sweet potato hashbrowns into which you break eggs and let them cook, sent it to Mr Firewall (who is obsessed with sweet potatoes), and when he joked that he’d need a bigger pan (paraphrasing Chief Brody, of course) I realized I could use this unused Tesco voucher to get him a new pan. When I signed in on Tesco’s website, I found that I had even more vouchers than I thought. And then was able to double the value with some kind of voucher “boosts” and got 10 GBP off and ended up spending a total of 10 GBP for 60 GBP worth of merchandise).

Topping off the good stuff, I had good news that my intervention/assistance led to someone getting an unexpected job interview. If anything, that turned my day around. Just in time for bed.

Pseudo Thanksgiving – Menu 2013

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The whole shebang

The whole shebang

In the end I made some semi-Indian-spiced stuff. It’s post-Thanksgiving 2013, pseudo-Thanksgiving. Pics are a bit dark but we were going for atmosphere. A nice spread and some white wine, loads of candles, great company. And rodentia!

The weird mix served for my non-traditional little Thanksgiving:

Tandoori-ish chicken & roasted Bombay potatoes.

Tandoori-ish chicken & roasted Bombay potatoes.

And yes, that is a lemon shoved up the chicken’s backside (see recipe at the end of post).

Sweet potato casserole and a nice bowl of pumpkin soup

Sweet potato casserole and a nice bowl of pumpkin soup

You too can make sweet potato casserole.

A bowl of amazingness

A bowl of amazingness

Pumpkin curry soup recipe. Try it; you will like it.

Star of the show: puking squirrel, ready for his close-up

Star of the show: puking squirrel, ready for his close-up

Recipe – roasted chicken and potatoes

Roasted chicken – inspired by and adapted from Jamie Oliver

Get a two- to three-pound chicken. Prepare it for marinating.

Mix up the marinade:

1 tablespoon crushed fresh garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon of canned tomato puree or 1-2 small tomatoes, finely chopped (which I had to do because I ran out of canned tomato – how in the hell is that possible? It’s one of those staples I always have on hand!)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt

When you have mixed all the ingredients together well, rub them all over and inside the prepared chicken and put it all into a plastic bag to marinade in the fridge overnight.

On cooking day, take the chicken out and put it on a baking rack over the top of a deep roasting pan. Heat the oven to 200C (400F). Put the chicken on the rack and in the pan underneath put the gravy ingredients:

Gravy:
2 small onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stick cinnamon
5 whole cloves
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons flour
500 ml vegetable stock

Chop the onions and place in the roasting tray. Throw in the cinnamon stick, cloves, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce. Let heat, add the flour and whisk. Pour in the stock. Put this under the chicken. It should cook the entire time the chicken is cooking (1.5 hours total)

To start, roast chicken for about 30 minutes before taking out and inserting the boiled lemon from the potato boiling pot (see below).

Roasted potatoes
About 10 small potatoes
salt
1 whole lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (which, being clumsy Erika, I kept spilling everywhere)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 bulb garlic
2 chopped small tomatoes

While the chicken is cooking in the first 30 minutes, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Halve any larger potatoes, then parboil them in a large pan of salted boiling water with a whole lemon for about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and steam dry. Stab the lemon a few times and insert it into the back end of the chicken. Put the chicken back into the oven for another 10 minutes while preparing the potatoes.

Use another roasting tray or a saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, seeds and spices quickly. Throw in the halved garlic bulb with chopped tomatoes. Add the potatoes and mix well. Put into a roasting pan, if not already in one, and place in the oven.

Roast the potatoes for 40 minutes (continue cooking the chicken for these same 40 minutes).

Once the chicken is cooked, move it out to rest and peel off any dark, charred bits (mine does not get that dark) and carve as desired. Get your potatoes out of the oven and put them into a serving bowl.

Sweet to the sweet by the sweet – Sweet potato casserole

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All right then, amigos. My Thanksgiving this year is a bit… on the measly side compared to the marathon feasts (epic in both the extent of preparation and in the amount and diversity of what was produced) of past years. God knows I love my marathons! The glory will return one day. With only one actual guest for the big dinner, I’m going for only the things that are her favorites – sweet potato casserole (recipe below or sweetly provided with sweet sweet potato stories here) and pumpkin curry soup. And dessert of course.

Preparing all the goods while listening to Jean-Louis Murat and then my spring-summer 2013 mix.

When did I become this woman, so comfortable with cooking and “spoiling” my guests (according to the guests – I don’t concur with this assessment)? All I can say is that I like people to be well taken care of.

Sweets for my sweet

Sweets for my sweet

Sweet potato casserole
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 or 4 large), scrubbed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus a bit more for buttering the pan
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200C). Put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce each one 2 or 3 times with a fork. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F (175C). Scoop the sweet potatoes out of their skins and into a medium bowl. Discard the skins. Mash the potatoes until smooth. Add the eggs, butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture until smooth.

Butter an 8-by-8-inch square casserole dish. Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pan and sprinkle the top with the pecans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until a bit puffy. Serve immediately.