Rachel’s Cooking Show (flash fiction)

Rachel’s Cooking Show

“Welcome back.” Rachel said smiling at the camera. “Today I’m making my no fail chocolate cake. In the last segment I mixed the cocoa, flour, and baking powder. Now I’m going to cream the butter and sugar. A microwave is good for softening the butter, but make sure you don’t melt it…”

They looked at her through the glass window.

“What do you suppose she’s doing?” asked one,

“She thinks she’s hosting a cooking show. A rather unfortunate case.” the other said, as they watched her beating an imaginary bowl. They then moved on to observe the next patient.

Joanne Fisher

When I’m cooking I sometimes like to pretend I’m hosting a cooking show, but maybe I’m not where I think I am…

This was written with the prompt about a cooking show provided by the Carrot Ranch September 9 Flash Fiction Challenge.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

It’s Pancake Day!

Today was Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as I prefer to call it. So I made me a nice stack of pancakes this evening. A year ago I started using soy milk as I realised I was lactose intolerant (and was sick of the constant stomach aches) and today for the first time I made pancakes with soy milk and found they were a bit different, but still nice. My pancakes are more like crepes, so I’m used to rolling them up once I’ve put a topping on them, but these ones didn’t roll up so well as the soy milk tended to make them more stiff, and of course the flavour was different.

While making the mixture I suddenly realised I had no baking powder, and so for first time since I moved in here I actually met my neighbours, while asking them for baking powder….

It wasn’t a bad way to spend the night making and eating pancakes, though I was rather full and sticky afterwards 😋

I was planning to write a story this evening, but the pancakes took up a lot of my time in the end.

Take care everyone, and I hope you’re all well ❤️

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Pizza Time!

I was feeling a little down today, so to cheer myself up I decided to make pizza. I didn’t have much in terms of ingredients, just half an onion (which I chopped up finely), a few cloves of garlic, tomato paste, a red pepper, some salami, and of course cheese.

I started making the dough fairly late (after 5 pm), and as I let it prove I then got the toppings ready (I took a photo but it turned out blurry). When I kneaded the dough a second time I was really pleased how it felt as it had that nice silky smooth texture to it that dough should have.

As I’ve only moved here recently, I’m still getting used to the oven, and it tends to get hotter then I’m expecting. The oven was on the usual temperature I use to cook pizzas and within 15 minutes it had slightly burnt the first one. I was lucky I checked it when I did. I think I’m still going to have to experiment further with using this oven. I lowered the temperature and the second one came out looking quite good (see first picture). In both pizzas I was pleased how the pizza base turned out. It had a good texture to it.

Best pizza I’ve made for a while 😋

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©️2020 Joanne Fisher

Tomato and Garlic Soup

I’ve been having mental health issues over the last week in the form of anxiety and panic attacks which is why I’ve been a bit absent from WordPress recently. The last couple of days I’ve been feeling better but I’ve also been quite busy so I didn’t really have any time to do much writing. Today for lunch I made my tomato and garlic soup, so I thought I would share the recipe with you.

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Tomato and Garlic Soup

 

Ingredients

3 medium sized tomatoes

3-4 garlic gloves (I really love garlic I sometimes add a bit more)

1/4  medium  sized red onion chopped

1/4 small red capsicum chopped

4-5 fresh basil leaves

1 chicken or vegetable stock cube

2 tablespoons tomato paste

a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce

3-4 cups of water

salt and black pepper

 

Directions

De-skin* and de-seed the tomatoes. Put the tomato, garlic, red onion, capsicum, and basil leaves into a blender with a little bit of water. Blend till smooth. Pour into a saucepan on a medium heat setting. Add the stock cube that has been dissolved in a cup of water. Then add the salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, 2 cups of  hot water, and the tomato paste. I add the tomato paste to make it a nice red colour and it also helps give the soup a more smooth consistency. Once it starts boiling reduce the heat until it is gently simmering. Simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more water if it starts to get too thick. Garnish with some chopped basil leaves and serve with toast.

Serves 2-3 people, depending on how much soup you want…

*To de-skin the tomatoes put the tomatoes in some boiling water and prick the skin with a knife in a few places. Once the skin starts to come away remove the tomato and put in some cold water for a short time. The skin should just peel off.

Jambalaya

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As well as writing poetry and articles I also love cooking. This is my own version of Jambalaya that I’ve perfected over the last few years. I like really spicy food, so please bear in mind with this recipe if you don’t like your food so hot you will need to tone down the spices when making this.

For the ham I tend to buy either ham steaks or ham ends from the supermarket which I then cut up into chunks for this recipe. I also like using chorizo, but you can use any similar type of spicy sausage for this. As a variant you can also mix some chopped up cabbage into it, though it becomes more like Spanish rice at that point…

 

Ingredients

 

2 medium onions cut into cubes

3-4 celery stalks sliced

4 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 red capsicum sliced

1 green capsicum sliced

2-3 large red chillies finely chopped*

250g ham chopped into chunks

2 chorizos sliced

1 cup of rice (I use basmati because I like the texture, but any long grain rice should do)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste (helps give it a smoother consistency)

1 cup of chicken stock (or a chicken stock cube dissolved in a cup of water)

2-3 cups of hot water

1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

A few splashes of hot sauce**

2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

salt and black pepper (for seasoning)

oil

coriander leaves (optional)

 

Method

 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Saute the onion until it is soft and clear then stir in the ham and chorizo until they are browned. Add the celery, capsicum, garlic, and chillies and stir for a couple of minutes and then stir in the rice and keep stirring it for another couple of minutes. Then add the chicken stock and the tomatoes, and after stirring again, add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, salt and pepper, hot sauce, and Cajun seasoning. Stir in some of the hot water and then reduce the heat so it is gently simmering. You can either add in most of the water and cover it and then stir it from time to time adding more water when needed, or you can keep it uncovered and slowly add water as it is needed while stirring it every few minutes. Either way works though I tend to do the latter. You can also choose to add the rice once all the stock and tomatoes have been added. I’ve done both and didn’t notice a difference.

Simmer it for around another 20-30 minutes. Keep checking to see if the rice is cooked, once it is it’s ready. Be careful not to add too much water, though the rice should eventually soak up any extra liquid. Serve with coriander leaves as a garnish. It should serve 3-4 people, depending on your serving size.

*When cutting up chillies be sure to wash your hands afterwards as the capsaicin from the chillies will eventually start burning your fingers. And also don’t rub your eyes directly after cutting them as it will sting like crazy. I know this from personal experience, as I have done this at least twice now…

**My favourite hot sauce is Crystal Extra Hot Louisiana Hot Sauce, though any hot sauce should do.

 

Lentil and Kidney Bean Nachos with Homemade Guacamole

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I made this for dinner tonight and thought I would share my recipe. Lately when I have made nachos I have made them as a vegetarian meal though I used to make them with beef mince and kidney beans.

 

1. Nachos

 

Ingredients

1 large onion, sliced

3-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 red chillies, finely chopped

1 capsicum (either red or green), chopped

1 tin of lentils, drained

1 tin of red kidney beans, drained

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 cube of  vegetable stock

2 tablespoons tomato paste

A few splashes of Worcestershire sauce

A few splashes of hot sauce (optional)

Some hot water

Oil

Grated cheese

Corn chips

 

Method

 

Put a little oil in a saucepan and heat. Add the onion and saute. Once it is soft add the garlic, capsicum, and chillies and stir for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes and a little hot water, then after that the drained lentils and kidney beans. Lastly add the crumbled stock cube, the tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce and stir. Then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. Let the nacho mix simmer on a gentle heat for at least 30 minutes. While it is simmering you can make the guacamole (just don’t forget to stir it occasionally). Once it is ready add to plates of corn chips and then sprinkle grated cheese on top. You can also put it under a grill till the cheese melts, but you don’t have to. Serve with guacamole and/or sour cream.

 

2. Guacamole

 

Ingredients

2-3 avocados

1 small red onion, finely chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tomato, de-skinned, de-seeded and chopped*

Lemon juice from half a lemon

A few splashes of your favourite hot sauce

Salt and pepper (to taste)

 

Method

 

Scoop out the avocado into a blender or a bowl. Add all the other ingredients and blend till smooth (either with a blender or a stick mixer). Serve with nachos, or use as a dip for corn chips.

 

*How I de-skin tomatoes: put a tomato in a saucepan of boiling water and make a few cuts with a sharp knife. Once the skin starts to come away, remove the tomato and put it in a bowl of cold water for around a minute. The skin should just easily come off after that.