“Honey, Thyme and Lime Butter Corn” from “On the Side”

I made a version of this for the first Thanksgiving I cooked myself. Thyme and corn make a really nice combination, and if memory serves people liked it. (In the end, this corn dish got supplanted by the shoepeg corn peanut soup that I now make instead, but that’s a story for another time).

As I tasted this while cooking it, I thought, “This will be good.” I thought that, up until the point that I added some honey. That’s where things went wrong. As you are adding more sweetness to SWEET corn (the clue is in the name), it’s a bit redundant and unnecessary. It actually was just too sweet for all of us.

Otherwise, I would make this again only if I stopped following the directions just before adding the honey.

(For what it’s worth, we had this with beefburgers, using Ruby Tandoh’s method, which is still ACES.)

“Honey, Thyme and Lime Butter Corn” from “On the Side”

“Smokin’ Chicken Chowder” from “Save With Jamie”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith a teenager home sick with a sore throat, there was only one thing for it: some chicken soup. Studies have shown that the chicken soup cure really might work, though I’m not sure if Smokin’ Chicken Chowder would be the sort of soup that would hasten healing.

“Save With Jamie” actually has two chicken soup recipes in it– this one and another one called “My Jewish Penicllin.” You would think if I was looking for a chicken soup cure I’d go with the latter, but it was going to take some time, attention and love, so I went for “Smokin’ Chicken Chowder”  instead.

I need to disclose that I went slightly off piste with this recipe from the very start. The basis for this recipe is a chicken carcass from a roast chicken (or “Mothership Roast Chicken,” as Jamie calls it), but as I haven’t made that yet, I didn’t have one on hand. You use the chicken carcass to make a chicken stock, and also to strip off any remaining chicken meat for the soup.

One important note: if you do have a chicken carcass to hand, I definitely recommend making your own chicken stock. I might not faithfully make chicken stock every time I’ve got a chicken carcass, but I’m always glad when I do and feel virtuous, thrifty and healthy for days afterward. But please, if you’re going to make chicken stock, do yourself a favour and don’t follow Jamie’s instructions exactly. You could do what he says and just throw the carcass in with some water and simmer to make the stock. But it would be so much better if you do that but also add a carrot or two, a peeled and quartered onion and some peppercorns, if you’ve got some handy. Your chicken stock will be so much better. You can thank me later.

For the leftover chicken that I didn’t have, I used some cooked chicken breasts that were for sale at our local Cooperative. I figured Jamie would endorse that move because I was using chicken that had the bright orange “reduced” sticker on it, which cuts down on food waste and also was the ingredient I needed. Shopping for the win.

So in short, if you don’t have leftover chicken, you can use regular chicken stock and cooked chicken breast, widely available at supermarkets. I used 1 litre of chicken stock, which nearly covered the ingredients. You might want to add more or less than that, depending on how thick you like your soup.

A word to the wise: I found when that the streaky bacon didn’t render enough fat to fry the carrots, onion and potatoes in– the pan was way too dry for that– so I added some olive oil at that point, which did the trick.

I reluctantly pureed part of the soup, as per instructions, but I feared I would have another “Soup That Looks Like Sick” on my hands, a la Bill Granger’s Sweetcorn Soup. But as I only pureed about 400 millilitres of soup, it looked ok. But bear in mind that you cover this one with crushed cream crackers, parsley and bacon, so maybe there’s enough garnish on there to distract you from the soup underneath.

Would I make it again? Yes. Crucially: would my family happily eat it again? Yes. It’s not the most exciting of recipes, but it was delicious and healthy (only 292 calories per serving, and would be even less if you didn’t add the cream). If you need to, go ahead and use chicken stock and cooked chicken breasts. I don’t think those shortcuts detracted from the taste at all.

“Smokin’ Chicken Chowder” from “Save With Jamie”

“Corn Muffins” from “The Primrose Bakery Book”

Nicholas (8–But not for long!): Yum! These are nice.

Maureen: What do you like about them?

Nicholas: I like the sweetness.

Maureen: Yes, I suppose you would, since we’re eating them with chilli. What do you think Andrew?

Andrew (12): They’re good.

Maureen: These are nice. I thought they’d be sweeter, since you add honey and sugar, but they’re not at all.

Continue reading ““Corn Muffins” from “The Primrose Bakery Book””

“Corn Muffins” from “The Primrose Bakery Book”

“Turkey and Ham Pie” from “Feast”

Tim: Well look at Andrew. There’s one empty bowl already.

Andrew (12): Yes, this is very good.

Nicholas (8): I think this is just a rip-off of chicken pot pie.

Tim: No, it’s not. It’s different. The chicken pot pie we usually have has leeks and peas. This one has turkey, ham and sweetcorn.

Maureen: Do you like it? Do you want me to make it again?

Tim: Well, that would mean you have to make turkey again, and you know how I feel about turkey (Editor’s Note: He hates it). But if you’re going to use up the leftover Thanksgiving turkey, this is nice.

Andrew: I think chicken pot pie is better.

Maureen: Why?

Andrew: Because it has chicken, rather than turkey.

Maureen: You’re all insane. You can’t really taste the difference between chicken and turkey when it’s swimming in double cream and butter. I think this is a delicious way to use up leftover turkey. It was easy enough to do on a weeknight, since Nigella does all of her pastry in a food processor, and I thought it was really good.

“Turkey and Ham Pie” from “Feast”

“Sweetcorn Soup” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”

We love a corn soup in this house. The Shoepeg Corn Soup (I’m using all capital letters to give it the respect it deserves) I make every Thanksgiving is the one of the highlights of that magnificent feast. So when I saw this recipe, I was eager to give it a try, particularly since Soup Season –autumn and winter– is nearly upon us.

First the good news: It is very easy to make. I used fresh corn, but I doubt if you used a good frozen corn you could tell the difference. Like all soups, much of the work is in the front end, in this case, getting the kernels off of the cobs. So if you used frozen corn it would be that much easier. Even Bill seems fairly relaxed about which type you use because he does say in the introduction to the recipe, “You can’t beat the earthy taste of fresh corn but I won’t tell if you cheat with the frozen or tinned kind.”

It tastes delicious. I ended up eating this mostly for lunch. When I added freshly chopped spring onions, it was a delight. I went off piste and added some roasted cashews as a garnish, and that made it even better. It would appear from the photo that Bill himself put in either fresh coriander or parsley to perk it up, but the recipe didn’t call for that.

So it’s easy and delicious. If I said there was good news, there must be bad news to go with it. They are, after all, the ying and yang of trite sayings. So what’s the bad news? Well, I hate to tell you this dear reader, but without the lovely garnishes on top, it looks absolutely gross. Unfortunately it looks like a big bowl of sick.

The recipe calls for you to puree half of the soup. I think I removed even less than that, maybe a third, but still it looked awful. This is the reason why it was never served to the boys. While it would have provided a great deal of entertaining dialogue for our Cookbook a Month readers, I don’t think I could have handled the outcry. So it was left to the adults, who are able occasionally to look past the superficial and see the true beauty inside, to eat this. And we liked it. We just kept our eyes shut while we ate it, or added a lot of garnish (see above).

I’m going to give this soup another try. This time I might skip the puree step altogether to see what happens. If nothing else, I won’t have to eat my lunch blindfolded.

“Sweetcorn Soup” from “Bill’s Everyday Asian”