My husband just taught me this maneuver where you spread out a throw or blanket onto the couch with the entire surface as covered as possible. Then you lay down on the sofa and wrap the blanket completely around you with just your head exposed for movie watching. He calls it a couch taco. Sometimes that’s exactly what a cold winter night calls for!
I love picking up a chicken to roast. It’s such an easy meal, just glaze, roast, eat. But with only two people in the house, we usually have quite a bit of meat leftover. So, inspired by Yolène’s Leek and Carrot Quiche, I simmered up a batch of soup with leftover chicken from a roast.
The flavor comes from white wine and cream. Let the veggies simmer in the wine as long as you can, you’ll be glad for it at the end. If you like a thicker broth, pour the cream into a small bowl at the very end, whisk in a spoonful of the soup and a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Pour it back into the soup, and voila, a thicker soup.
Is there anything in the kitchen more beautiful than a well made tart shell? I don’t think so! Which is why I was so excited when my friend Yolène passed on her recipe for standard pastry crust. I’ve made several batches, and each time it bakes up so beautifully. There’s no need to pre-bake the shell (that’s what makes a pastry crust overcooked). Just press in, chill for a few minutes, and fill with your favorite tart or quiche recipe. The tartness of the lemon filling is complimented perfectly with the sweetness of blueberries. I’ve made it three times in the past week, to give to neighbors and serving at a holiday party.
If you have extra of the mixture, it freezes well. Pour it into a baggie, remove the extra air, seal it, and lay it flat in the freezer. It will keep for a few months. Although I have heard that raw eggs can be frozen for up to a year.
Ah, Christmas baking. I’m definitely putting my time in at the oven and hob (such an Irish word to use!). We hosted a small Christmas party for our team last night, which gave me the incentive I needed to try out a few ideas. This recipe for Cranberry and Lemon Thyme Shorbread was inspired by a favorite place of mine to have tea. Each cup comes with a little tiny shortbread cookie with a perfect dried cranberry placed in the middle. It adds such a tasty flavor to the classic cookie.
I grow lemon thyme, a hardy little herb, in my garden year round. It makes a beautiful shrub or border plant (mine is in a spare container, planted as an afterthought). The plant is easy to find at a garden shop, both in Ireland and in the States.
My original batch was made in bar form, for the second I rolled into a snake and cut into rounds. I prefer the second method, which is easier to cut and to freeze. If you aren’t a fan of cranberries, simply omit the fruit and keep the lemon. Or switch it out for your favorite dried fruit.