Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pork and Sweet Potato Green Curry

This is a family favourite of ours. It's an "African/Thai fusion" kind of thing I've come up with; it's spicy, savoury, sweet, unctuous, herbal, and delicious. I hope you like it, too.

Marinate together for 30 minutes:

  • 480 g (or 4 thick-cut) boneless pork loin chops, sliced into thick strips
  • 1 T. Kingfisher Brand Thai Green Curry Paste
  • 2 T. peanut (or coconut) oil)

After meat has marinated, prepare a large, non-stick skillet (with lid) over high heat, until smoking hot. Quickly add the pork, and allow to brown well on each side before turning. When the meat is mostly brown, reduce the heat to medium. Add, in this order, these things - stirring well after each addition:

  • 1 small green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium brown onion, cut into large dice
  • 1 medium hot red chilli, cut into fine rings (pop out the seeds and pith, if you want a milder curry)

Allow the vegetables to become "tender-crisp" (about 10 minutes), before adding in:

  • 1 t. minced fresh garlic
  • 1 t. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 can coconut cream (the real stuff, without thickeners)
  • 2 T. smooth peanut butter

Bring to a simmer, reduce to low heat, pop on the lid, tilted, and allow to simmer for about an hour.

At this point, you want to add in:

  • 1 large (or two medium) sweet potato(es), cut into large cubes

Return the lid to the pot, and allow to simmer on low heat - until the broth has thickened to about a third, and the potatoes are soft enough to pierce through.

Serve over steamed jasmine rice, or rice noodles, and garnish each plate with torn coriander leaves. 

Have Sriracha sauce on the side, for those who like it spicier! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"Welsh" Chicken Parmigiana --- SUPER SIMPLE, NO-FUSS!

This is an easy, modern, "semi-homemade" British recipe, that I have adapted from one of my American favourites. It consists of four basic elements; fresh or frozen chicken kievs, jarred pasta sauce, grated cheese, and pre-cooked spaghetti. 

Other additions can be put in, such as sautéed peppers and onions, mushrooms, etc. 

You may also use a different grated cheese; one of my favourite alternatives is Red Leicester. 

If you are gluten intolerant, you can nix the breaded fillets and go for plain; use another brand of sauce, that is *known* to be "free-from"; and substitute cellophane (rice vermicelli) noodles for the spaghetti. 

The brand of sauce I am using (Lidl's "Combino") has all gluten-free ingredients, with no thickeners. It doesn't specify on the label, as to whether it is GF, or not - but I see no wheat products warnings in the allergy information (only "nuts" and "sesame"). Use at your own risk!

This Parmigiana recipe is better than any you will eat in a chain restaurant, I promise ---- and it is super-easy to knock together in a short time, if you tend to keep these ingredients on hand. 

Serve this with a toasted garlic baguette, and a green vegetable.

A warning - the brands of products I use, have been chosen through a long process of trial and error! Do not expect for yours to turn out as good as mine, if you use another brand of sauce! I really don't like Dolmio, in particular (my apologies to the makers, and any fans who are reading), and none of their varieties are suitable for this particular dish! Their sauces are far tooooo acidic! 

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 2 fresh or frozen Chicken Kiev fillets (or plain, unbreaded fillets will also do, if you are gluten-free)

  • 1 jar of Combino brand (sold in Aldi stores) Chunky Vegetable pasta sauce (be sure it's this variety!)

  • 114 grams of shredded mature Welsh cheddar

  • Dried "Italian" or "garlic and herb" seasoning (optional)

Have ready:

  • Two servings worth of cooked spaghetti. Drain it well, add a drop of oil and toss (to keep it from sticking), and keep it ready in a warm place;


  • Two servings worth of rice vermicelli (cellophane noodles), prepared as directed on the package (these noodles are available at any Oriental grocery), drained well, and mixed with a tiny drop of oil. "Lung Kow" is my favourite brand.

  • Your favourite green vegetable (steamed broccoli, sauteed and seasoned green beans, etc.)
  • A loaf of crusty garlic bread.

To prepare it:

  • Preheat your oven to 150 degrees.

  • Open the jar of sauce, and dump half of it into the baking dish.

  • Now, sprinkle half of the shredded cheddar evenly, onto the sauce. If using the herb seasoning, sprinkle them over this layer.

  • Place the fillets on top of the layer of sauce.

  • Take your leftover sauce, and pour it around the fillets, just getting some onto them, but leaving them mostly exposed (so the exposed breading crisps slightly in the oven).

  • Sprinkle the leftover cheese sparsely and evenly on top of the fillets and sauce.

  • (Sprinkle with more Italian dried herbs, if using)

  • Cover with the lid, and bake on the centre rack, at 150 degrees Centigrade, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Put a serving of noodles onto each plate. Slide a smothered fillet on top of each nest of noodles. Spoon the remaining sauce around the fillets.

  • Serve with the vegetable and bread.

ENJOY the best (and easiest) pseudo-Italian dish, ever.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The wasp trap that changed the world.....LOL

So, I come back to my long-neglected blog, and find that one of my posts has over 13,000 views! I had no idea that my simple wasp trap would be such a big hit! I'm glad that it has been so helpful, for so many, all over the world. Thank you for reading my unintelligible chicken scratchings!

A lot has happened, since the last time I wrote here! It has taken over two years, but I'm ready to buckle down with this "blogging" business! I'm confident that my new-found knowledge of British housekeeping is sufficient to provide a constant stream of fresh ideas!

Let me just say this; from a housewife's standpoint, this has been one of the most difficult adjustments I have ever had to make - learning to keep house, in a foreign country! It's been filled with trial and error, label-reading, and visits to the online thesaurus, every so often! I have noticed my old routines and recipes gradually being replaced by the British accomodations. 

It has been a joyful and wondrous journey, learning to use the superb, fresh produce of Wales. We are truly the nation's breadbasket, here; I have never seen such fantastic farmers' markets, in all of my life! Wales is the most bountiful place I have ever known- yet, sadly, most working-class people live on convenience foods. It puzzles me greatly. I hope to change that, by getting people interested in fresh food, and how to cook it easily! Even on a shop worker's budget, it can be done. I promise!

Speaking of which, I have so many good, new recipes to share with you all! I have mastered the art of substitution, so I will be sharing a few revamps of American favourites, with British ingredient subs. This should please all of the other expats, in the audience - and it will make it easy for the European home cooks to try some American recipes, that they might not have been able to figure out, before!

Anyhoo - here I am, I am back! Prepare for TONS of good things to come from this little digital publication!

P.S. See my newest graphic arts blog at Tinsel & Tarnish (it is 18 and over, but only because there may be some art with nudity), and be sure to visit my crafty Facebook page at Ddewines Coch. I've been up to a lot, since we last met! So much, that crafts are the only way I can manage to stay sane! :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

New location = new things to see, do, and learn about!

                                    Castell Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire

Croeso, gentle readers! I apologise for my long absence from blogging! So much has happened, since I last wrote an entry. I have finally joined my beloved in Wales, UK, and we were married in July. I am now living here, in this beautiful and interesting country, and preparing to apply for British citizenship in two years' time.

So, needless to say, I am having to re-learn/renovate my shopping methods, and every other skill that took me years to get down-pat in the States! Things are pleasant, but in many respects, very different, in the UK! Thankfully, it has been very easy to plunge myself headlong into my journey to discover the heart and soul of Wales. The scenery and history are without compare, and the food.....oh my goodness...THE FOOD! So many good things to eat! Nearly everything is locally sourced, and so fresh! A trip to the local market is like discovering the forty thieves' cave!

I am going to enjoy sharing my new-found Welsh domesticity with you, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I enjoy sharing.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Something yummy this way comes!

Greetings, dear readers! I know it's been a few weeks since I have posted a new blog entry. My apologies-- I've been very busy with other tasks and projects!

Today, I am going to share a lovely personal recipe for marinated feta cheese. Not only is the cheese itself delicious, when prepared this way; you can re-use the leftover oil for a bread dip, or as the basis for a delicious homemade salad dressing.

Feta Cheese Marinated in Olive Oil and Herbs

1 lb. feta cheese in brine (look for the stuff that comes in big blocks, soaked in liquid)
16 oz. Filippo Berio original olive oil (not extra virgin, that is too bitter for this recipe)
1 T. fresh thyme, stems removed and leaves left whole
1 T. fresh summer savory, stems removed and leaves left whole
1 T. fresh marjoram, stems removed and leaves left whole
1/2 oz. fresh chives, chopped finely
5 fresh sage leaves, bruised and left whole
4 large fresh spearmint leaves, bruised and left whole
4 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 dried or fresh cayenne (small red) peppers, slit down the middle and left whole
1/2 t. whole black (or whatever colour you prefer) peppercorns, slightly crushed 

Place about half of the herbs and spices in the bottom of  a large mason jar. Drain the liquid from the feta, and chop the cheese into 1/2 inch cubes. Place them into the jar. Add the remaining herbs and spices, then gently pour the oil into the jar, enough to cover all. Now, place the jar into the refrigerator. Gently turn the jar upside down, then back right side up, every so often, to mix the ingredients. Don't shake it, or the cheese may disintegrate and cause the oil to become cloudy. Let this marinate for a week or two in the refrigerator. The oil may become somewhat solid, but that's OK, as it will liquify again when you bring it out to serve. Serve as an appetizer with crusty bread, olives, pickled peppers, giardiniera, etc. After the cheese cubes have been eaten, the remaining oil can be strained, mixed with a bit of nice vinegar, and used as a delicious salad dressing.


Monday, June 14, 2010

The very best meatloaf, REVEALED!


This word has been known to strike fear into the hearts of young and old, alike! Often, when people prepare meatloaf for dinner, they are doing so to be thrifty. Thrifty does not necessarily have to mean boring, or bad! When I think of all the terrible meatloaves I've eaten in my lifetime, it's enough to make me cringe! I've had it dry, flavourless, crusty, spongy, drowned, and greasy. Most restaurant meatloaf is TERRIBLE. Never order the meatloaf! It's usually a badly-prepared and overcooked knock-off of Salisbury steak, swimming in vile packaged mix gravy, or covered in some type of stewed tomato goo.

I'm quite confident, that I make the best meatloaf on this planet, after having perfected my technique for over 10 years. If you follow this recipe, yours will be just as divine!


2 lbs. raw ground round (beef)
1/2 c. whole milk or half-and-half
1 1/4 c. quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 c. applesauce
2 eggs
2 T. bottled barbecue sauce (any brand will do)
1 sachet Lipton's Beefy Onion soup mix
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1/8 t. baking powder (such as Clabber Girl)
1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper

1/2 c. Heinz tomato catsup
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. dry mustard

In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, milk, oatmeal, applesauce, eggs, BBQ sauce, onion soup mix, garlic, baking powder, and pepper; mix well.

Spoon into a loaf (bread) pan. Bake for about 50 minutes at 350 degrees F., or until the juices run clear, and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Before the last 10 minutes of cooking, combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, and spread over top of the meatloaf. You may also finish cooking under the broiler, if you want an extra-carmelised topping (this is what I do). Total baking time is about one hour.

The oats give it a nice meaty texture, and soak up any grease that might otherwise be left floating in the pan. The pectin in the applesauce keeps it moist. The baking powder lends a bit of loft, so it's not like a rock.

I solemnly promise that this meatloaf will be tender, flavourful, and delicious....and the best you have ever eaten!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Homemade Vietnamese Iced Coffee...save the $3.95 you'd spend at St**b**ks!

As spring steals into summer, the temperatures are becoming too warm to enjoy one's usual hot caffeinated beverages. To hell with iced tea! I think it's quite foul, spent, cheap, and bitter-tasting, especially when over-brewed and overly-sweetened. Coffee, on the other hand, is absolutely divine, when it's made fresh, sweet, and creamy, and served over ice.

Sadly, a freshly-made iced coffee from the local cafe franchise can cost dearly (upwards of $3)! I'm about to show you how to make something exactly like it at home, for a fraction of the cost-- no more than 50 cents per serving! If you don't love me already, you will, after you taste this! The recipe serves 4, but it can be used for single servings, as well. Or, if you drink a lot of coffee, you can make the coffee mixture ahead of time, and keep it in a thermos, to pour over ice at your leisure.

You will need 4 tall coffee cups, if you're making this for other family members/company. If only for yourself, one tall cup will do.


* 4 cups water (1 cup per serving)
* 1/2 cup fresh dark roast ground coffee beans (2 tablespoons per serving)
* 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (2 tablespoons per serving)
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon per serving)
* cracked ice

Brew the coffee grounds with water, using your preferred method to make strong coffee. Spoon 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk, and 1/2 t. of vanilla extract, into each coffee cup. Pour 1 cup of fresh hot coffee into each cup, and stir to dissolve the milk. Fill the rest of the cup with cracked ice, and stir. You may add a sprinkle of cinnamon, if you like. You may also add a squirt of flavoured syrup. Whipped cream is also nice.