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Braised Beef Brisket with Carrots

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They had rolled Beef Brisket on offer at the shops the other day so I picked up a small one to cook at the weekend.  We don't do read meat very often actually . . . and I really do like brisket.   It's one of our favourites. 

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It's not a beef roast you can cook in the traditional way, by dry roasting however.  Brisket is a cut which comes from the lower chest of the animal, where you would find the "pecs" of the steer, and since they don't have collar bones, they help to support at least 60% of the weight of the animal.   The brisket needs specialized cooking.

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Properly cooked however always results in one of the tastiest cuts of beef.  It needs slow braising, either on top of the stove, in the slow cooker or in the oven.  All of that connective tissue turns gelatinous during the long cooking time, resulting in a very succulent piece of meat. 

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In short . . . they make great pot roasts!   This is one of my favourit ways to cook it . . . Boeuf Aux Carottes . . . or Braised Beef Brisket with Carrots.  Browned on top of the stove and then oven braised with onions, bacon lardons, carrots, bay leaf and other aromatics . . . white wine . . . 

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The end result being a deliciously tender roast, with a fabulous au jus and wonderfully flavoured carrots that you could almost mash into the juices for an extra tasty gravy . . . 

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I like to serve it simply sliced, with some of the carrots along side and some other veg, and with some of the juices spooned over top.   Simple but . . . most delicious.

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*Boeuf aux Carottes*
(Braised Beef Brisket with Carrots)
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is a lovely meal that requires very little effort. You end up with meltingly tender beef with a rich broth, sweet and buttery in flavour from the carrots. I served it with a celeriac/potato mash and some lightly steamed haricots verts. (green beans)

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1.5 kg of rolled beef brisket (about 3 pounds)
1.5 kg of carrots, peeled and trimmed (about 3 pounds)
150g bacon lardoons (about 1/2 cup)
1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 fresh bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 small leafy celery stalk
500ml dry white wine, or unsweetened apple juice (2 cups)
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1 TBS of the olive oil in a large roaster on top of the stove. (Use one with a fitted lid) Add the brisket and brown it slowly on all sides. Once browned, remove it to a plate, salt it generously and then set it aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the roaster and add the carrots, 1 tsp of salt and cook, stirring them occasionally, until they are browned. This will take from 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Put the lardoons and onions into the roaster and then cook them over high heat until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, celery, beef and carrots. Pour in the wine or juice, and add water almost to cover. Bring to the boil. Skim off any foam that may surface, then top with the lid and roast in a pre-heated oven at 150*C/300*F. Roast for 3 hours, turning the meat over at least once during the cooking time.

Remove from the oven and take the meat out of the liquid. Let rest for about 15 minutes before cutting in thin slices to serve, accompanied with the carrots and lovely juices spooned over top. Delicious!
Marie Rayner
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Sticky Ginger Loaf

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Everyone needs a good Ginger Loaf recipe in their repertoire don't you think?   A loaf that is dense and  moreishly sticky.  A loaf that goes down well with a hot cuppa in the  morning, in the afternoon, and at night.  In short a delicious Ginger Loaf that goes down a treat no matter the time of day!

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I don't mind saying that this IS the perfect Ginger Loaf.   Truly.   It's so easy to throw together.  You just whisk the dry ingredients together, and then the wet, and then you mix the two together and pour it into a pan and bake.  Easy peasy.

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It smells absolutely heavenly when it is baking.  You will find yourself salivating in anticipation!  It smells that good!   But do be patient.  You want to let this one sit a while before you dig into it.   You want it completely cold and it's  even better if you can wait overnight . . . seriously.  AS torturous as that may well be!


Patience is a virtue you know, and a virtue that is always well rewarded.  I can't convince you of that however . . . you'll just have to take my word for it.  I haven't lied to you yet!

The only way this can get any better is if you slice it and butter it.   Mmmm . . . I know, I am such a glutton.  Sticky and sweet, densely moreish . . . and spread with butter.  If there is only one tasty thing in heaven . . . let it be this.  Please.

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*Sticky Ginger Loaf*
makes one large loaf
Printable Recipe

This has to be one of the tastiest gingerbread loaves I have ever made! Just be sure to use a large enough pan!

butter for greasing
185g plain flour (1 3/4 cup)
110g self raising flour (1 cup, plus 2 TBS)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 TBS ground ginger
3 tsp ground mixed spice (see my recipe in the
side bar on the right hand side of the page)
140g soft light brown sugar (scant 3/4 cup)
260g black treacle (3/4 cup) (In North America, use molasses)
185ml milk (12 1/2 TBS)
80ml olive oil (5 1/2 TBS)
2 large free range eggs

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a 450g loaf tin with butter and line with baking parchment, ensuring that the paper extends 3 cm above the tin.

Sift the flours, soda, ginger and mixed spice into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar until well combines. Whisk together the treacle, milk, olive oil and eggs. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Spoon into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to stand in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Store tightly wrapped and it will stay lovely and moist for days and days.
Marie Rayner
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Pumpkin Muffins

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I don't know what it is about autumn and pumpkin, but the two things just go together like peas and carrots!  Last weekend I was making pumpkin butter . . . this weekend it's these tasty moist muffins!  

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This recipe is the cumulation of years and years of trial and testing.  I wanted a muffin that was moist and spicy.  This recipe produces a muffin that is just that.   Tender, moreishly moist with just enough spice to make you want to have another one.  

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They're good keepers too.  They'll keep in a tightly closed tin for about 4 to 5 days.  They also freeze very well.  You can also double the recipe, which I normally do because there are two cups of pumpkin in one tin and if I am going to open a tin of pumpkin, I might as well use it all at once!

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To freeze, just place them onto a baking tray and freeze in the freezer, then pop them into a zip lock baggie, so that you can take them out as you want them.  About 35 to 40 seconds in the microwave and they are good to go.

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They make a great coffee break, or elevensies treat.  A fabulous after school snack.  A great addition to the packed lunch (especially if you split them in half and spread with some creamed cheese!).  And . . . they are the perfect breakfast on the go!

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They're quite versatile as well.  Try adding some sultana raisins or dried cranberries, white or milk chocolate chips, chopped nuts.  All go very well!   I do hope you'll give them a go.  I just know you will love them as much as we do!  Happy Autumn y'all!! 

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*Pumpkin Muffins*
Makes 12    
These are simple muffins, but don't let the simplicity of them fool you into thinking they aren't special.  They are moist and spicy and you will have a hard time eating just one! 

180g tinned pumpkin (or fresh cooked pureed pumpkin.
If using fresh you will need to let it drain overnight before measuring.  1 cup)
2 large free range eggs, beaten
125ml of water (1/2 cup)
125ml canola or sunflower oil (1/2 cup)
245g of plain flour (2 3/4 cup)
1/4 tsp salt
290g caster sugar (1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a 12 cup muffin tin well, or line with papers.  Set aside.

Whisk the flour, salt, sugar and spices together in a bowl.  Whisk together the eggs, water and oil.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet all at once.   Mix together well, without overmixing. 

Spoon into the prepared muffin tins, filling them 3/4 full.  Bake for 30 minutes, until well risen and the tops spring back when lightly touched. 

Let sit in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.   Delicious!
Marie Rayner
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A Coffee Morning for Macmillan Cancer Support

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The Tassimo Blogger Challenge for September was to put on a Tassimo Coffee morning for our friends in support of the world's biggest coffee morning by Macmillan Cancer Support. 
I don't know anyone who hasn't had their lives touched by cancer in some way.  What a worthwhile cause to give to.    My mother has had cancer twice now, breast and lung.  She is a survivor. 

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Today on September 27th Kenco will team up with Macmillan Cancer Support to help stage the World's Largest Coffee Morning.  I was planning on having some girls over to a coffee morning here (hot choccie for me), but as I haven't been well this week, I just wasn't able to pull it all together in time.  But . . . I am hosting a virtual Coffee Party and  you're all invited!

This is what's on the menu!   I hope you enjoy!  And don't forget to accompany it all with a nice hot cup of Kenco, if that's your wish!

Cappuchino Brownies.  Moist and delicious with a mild coffee mocha flavor and a rich white chocolate frosting.

Lemon Drops.  Oh boy, these are very moreish, with lemon curd and almonds.

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Easy Jam Biscuits.   These are a real favourite around here!  Very nice with a hot cuppa!  

Lemon and Jam Slices.   We love jam.  We love Lemon.  Together they are absolutely heavenly!

Lemon and Pistachio Cake.  Oh boy, this is the bomb.  What's not to like about a moreishly drenched lemon cake stogged full of nuts!!

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White Chocolate Drizzled Orange Cake.  Oh boy.   You make this with orange curd and it's gorgeous!

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Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies.  Crisp and buttery and impossible to resist.

So while I know that this is really only a virtual Coffee Morning, I do hope you will hop on over to the Macmillan Coffee Morning page and make a donation.  I can't think of a worthier cause.

Marie Rayner
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Lemon Curd Delights with English Provender Co.

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I was recently sent a lovely jar of English Provender Lemon Curd to enjoy!  I love it when something like that happens.  I adore Lemon Curd.  This is National Cupcake Week and naturally people who are into cupcakes will be baking lots of cupcake goodies to help to celebrate it.  (Not that we need to have a reason to celebrate to bake and enjoy cupcake goodies!)

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The English Provender Co. has put together a delicious cupcake cheesecake recipe that includes using this lovely lemon curd.   Oh so scrummy!

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*Lemon Curd & Cherry Mini Cupcake Cheesecakes*
Makes 14 - 16
The English Provender Co. has put together a yummy cupcake recipe that includes cooking with EPC's velvety smooth Lemon Curd.  Lemon Curd ladies . . . need I say more?

200g Ginger biscuits (3.5 ounces, or a generous quarter pound)
60g melted butter (4 1/4 TBS)
500g cream cheese (2 cups)
250g mascarpone cheese (1 cup)
100g caster sugar (generous half cup)
1 jar of English Provender Lemon Curd (300g, or 1 1/3 cups)
2 eggs
20 cherries, pitted and simmers in a pan for 10 minutes with a splash of water
(If not in season, use 150g drained cherry compote, or tinned cherries)

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4.  Crush the biscuits in a food processor, or in a sturdy plastic zip lock bag with a rolling pin.  Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter and spoon into the bottoms of 14 to 16 cupcake cases set in a cupcake tin.

Using an electric whisk, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, lemon curd and sugar together.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Beat until smooth and then divide the mixture amongst the muffin cups, pouring it over the biscuit bases.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 150*C/300*F/ gas mark 2 and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn off the oven but allow them to sit in the oven to cool for a bit.  They will still be slightly wobbly, but they will firm up in the refrigerator.
Once completely cold, place in the tin in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to serve them, peel off the cupcake wrappers and dollop the top of each cheesecake with some cherries.

You may or may not follow The Great British Bake Off.  It's one of my favourite shows.  Next week The Great British Bake Off bakers will be faced with the task of making sweet pastry, which includes Mary Berry’s famous choux pastry recipe. These are delicate choux buns filled with crème patissiere and finished with icing.  Scrummo!!

The English Provender Co., have very kindly provided me with a delicious version of Eclairs so that I can bake right along with all of the contestants. If you, yourself,  feel up for the challenge, why not try The English Provender Co. Lemon Curd Éclairs with Raspberry Icing recipe. These sweet yet creamy choux pastries are filled with zesty lemon flavour and a hint of fruitiness from the raspberry.  Don't they look fabulous???

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*Lemon Curd Eclairs with Raspberry Glaze*
Makes approximately one dozen
Printable Recipe

These sweet yet creamy choux pastries are filled with zesty lemon flavour and a hint of fruitiness from the raspberry.
For the choux pastry:
50g unsalted butter (3 1/2 TBS)
50ml milk (scant 1/4 cup)
75ml of water (scant 1/3 cup)
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 TBS caster sugar
125g plain white flour (1 1/4 cup)
3 medium free range eggs
For the Lemon Curd cream:
400ml double cream (13 1/2 fluid ounces)
1 jar of English Provender lemon curd (generous 1 1/3 cups)
For the icing:
4 TBS raspberry puree
(place about 150g frozen raspberries in a sieve and squeeze out the juice, discarding any seeds)
200g icing sugar (generous 1 1/2 cups)
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*f/ gas mark 6. 

Place the butter, milk, water, salt and sugar into a saucepan and bring this mixture to a boil.   Sift the flour.  Once the liquid reaches the boiling point, add the sifted flour to it and beat it well, for about 30 seconds.  The dough should leave the sides of the pan.  Remove the dough from the pan and allow to cool a little.  Return to the pan and beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Line a large baking tray with some baking parchment.  While the mixture is still warm, pipe or spoon it onto the baking tray into 12 long lines.  Place the tray into the heated oven.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180*C/350*F gas mark 4.  Bake for 20 minutes, until crisp and dry.
Remove and allow to cool.
Whisk the cream until you have soft peaks.   Stir in the lemon curd.  Don't be tempted to over beat the cream or the mixture will be the wrong consistency as it will thicken up when you add th elemon curd.   Wisk the raspberry puree and icing sugar together until you have a thick and runny consistency.
When ready to serve, cut the eclairs in half horizontally and fill with some  of the lemon cream.  Spoon the icing over top of each eclair and leave to set for an hour or two before serving. 

As a Lemon Curd Lover, I never need an excuse to indulge in this fabulous treat.  I often make my own, but I am happy to say that this English Provender Co version is very good indeed.   Very good.   Loving it muchly.  Oh, and do hop on over to their page, they have a constest going on at the moment to do with winning a Downton Abby Inspired Weekend!  Love, LOVE!

Many thanks to Poonam and English Provender for sending me this beautiful jar of lemon curd.  We are enjoying it a lot!
Marie Rayner
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The Top Ten in The English Kitchen


I've been a bit under the weather this week.  I spent almost all of last evening in the ER and so didn't get anything much new cooked to show you.  Things should be back on track shortly, but for today I thought I would share with you my top Ten most view recipes on the blog.   You are in for a real treat!  A click on the recipe title will take you to the relevant page!

Coming in at Number 10.  Black Current Drizzle Cake
A lovely buttery loaf cake covered with a sugared glaze of black currents, and studded throughout with the same.  


Number 9 is Oven Baked Breaded Pork Chops.
Tender bone in pork chops, breaded and baked in the oven.  They practically cook themselves and always go down a real treat!

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Number 8 is Braised Red Cabbage.
This a great recipe to have in your repertoire.  It goes wonderfully with all sorts, roasts and chops and Holiday Dinners.  Turkey, Ham, Pork, Beef, Duck, Goose.  They all suit!


Delicious Number 7 is Baked Corned Beef Hash.
Oven baked version of an old Family Favourite!  Good for a simple supper, or a hearty brunch dish!

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Surprisingly Number 6 is my recent post of Windfall Crumble Cake. 
It hasn't been on here very long, but it's proved to be very popular, and no wonder!  Moist, buttery, stogged full of fruit and has a delicious crumbly oaty topping!  Perfect with a nice scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream!


It's never too early for Number 5 . . . Holiday Danish!
 Flakey croissant dough . . . rich and creamy cheese filling . . . spicy and sweet mincemeat . . . baked until golden brown and then drizzled with a creamy sweet icing drizzle. 

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No surprise here, Number 4 is Potato,  Cauliflower and Cheddar Bake. 
A delicious vegetable casserole, using potatoes, onions and cauliflower.   It's like a version of cauliflower cheese without the creamy sauce, but gilded with lots of scrummy cheese.


A perfectly autumnal Number 3.  Spicy Plum Chutney.
A deliciously spicy mix of plums, garlic cloves, onions, apples, sultanas, star anise, cardamom pods, sugar and 300ml of the white wine vinegar.  Perfect with cheeses and cold meats.


No surprise that its in the top two  Number 2.  Fudge Brownie Pie.
With it's rich brownie base, marshmallow filling and decadent fudge topping, this is a winner all round!  Even the Toddster doesn't turn down a piece of this one! 


Drum roll . . . and coming in at Numero Uno . . . Nigel's Hot and Sweet Plum Chutney.
You know if it comes from Nigel Slater it has to be really, REALLY tasty!  And this is.  Not to mention being simple and easy to make!

I'm always surprised when I check to see what the most popular recipes on here are.  Some are expected really, but others, well, who knew they'd be so popular, but then again . . . I have never been known to post any recipe that isn't incredibly tasty!  Enjoy and I'll be back tomorrow with something new and tasty to spoil you with!

Marie Rayner
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Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Cobbler

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 We were having company for supper tonight and so I wanted to bake a tasty casserole that would make everybody happy.    I had taken chicken breasts out of the freezer last night and they were to be the basis for my casserole.  

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I also took out a package of lean back bacon that I thought would go very well in the dish.   The smokiness of bacon goes really well with chicken I think.  It's a lovely combination.   I also had a package of mushrooms that I wanted to use up while I still could.  I had bought them for something else, but the something else never got made.  (Doesn't that happen to everyone?)    

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In any case I ended up making a chicken cobbler with the chicken, bacon and mushrooms . . . a kind of a chicken stew, flavoured with onions and herbs . . . thyme and summer savory . . .   

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I added some sliced carrots for a bit of colour and sweetness.   Chicken breasts on their own can be quite bland, but they are a beautiful canvas for whatever you put with them . . . after browning the meat, onions, and mushrooms, I added some chicken stock and then put the whole lot into the oven to braise for half an hour.  

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While that mixture was braising I make an herbed drop scone/dumpling mixture to drop onto the top of the chicken stew.   Sprinkled with cheese and then banged back into the oven until the dumplings were golden brown and crusted and oh so cheesy.  

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We ended up having to cancel our company as I ended up not being very well, but the Toddster surely enjoyed this meal.  It was right up his alley.  He loves a hearty casserole and this fit the bill perfectly.  I sent the leftovers down to the Missionaries for their supper . . . I think they enjoyed it too.  

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*Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Cobbler*
Serves 6 to 8
A delicious chicken casserole, filled with tender chunks of chicken breast, back bacon, mushrooms and carrots, and topped with a cheese crusted dumpling topping! 

5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut
into 1 inch cubes
a bit of olive oil
1 packet of back bacon, cut into cubes (smoked or unsmoked as you wish.  About six slices)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 package of button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (about 2 cups)
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
700ml of chicken stock (a scant 3 cups)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried summer savory
fine seasalt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  

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For the cheesy herbed dumplings:
350g plain flour (2 1/2 cups)
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
300ml of buttermilk (about 1 1/3 cups)
2 TBS finely chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, tarragon or chives)
25g of strong cheddar cheese, finely grated (a scant 1/3 cup) 

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Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  

Heat a bit of oil in the bottom of a large stove top to oven casserole dish.  Add the bacon.  Cook and stir over medium heat, until lightly browned.  Scoop out and set aside.   Add the mushrooms and cook until lightly browned.  Add the onions and cook, stirring until the onions begin to soften.  Scoop out and set aside.  Add a bit more oil if necessary.  Add the chicken cubes and brown them, seasoning them lightly.   Return the bacon, onions and mushrooms to the pot along with the thyme and summer savory.  Add the carrots and give the whole thing a good stir.  Cook for a few minutes longer, then add the chicken stock.  Bring to the boil, then cover tightly and bang the casserole dish into the oven.   Bake for about half an hour. 

Increase the oven heat to 230*C/450*F/ gas mark 8.  Whisk the flour, bicarbonate and salt together in a bowl, along with the herbs.  Make a well in the centre.   Pour in the buttermilk a bit at a time, stirring to combine completely.  Drop by tablespoons on top of the hot chicken mixture.  Scatter the cheese over top.  Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, uncovered.  Reduce the oven temperature to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6 and cook for a further 20 minutes, until the topping is crisp and golden and the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through.   Serve hot.
Marie Rayner
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