Spring sunshine is always welcome, it can uplift the spirits; but it can also show up the windows that need cleaning and the dust hidden in the corners. Is that really a piece of Christmas wrapping paper I can see tucked behind the sideboard in the dining room? The beginning of another season of guests is just round the corner.

Daffodils in full bloom

We have been taking advantage of the milder weather to work in the garden. In particular, to plant vegetable seeds. Warwick takes pride in producing many of the vegetables, fruit and herbs used here in the kitchen. Last year, we were particularly successful with our crop of leeks. Being a ‘careful’ yorkshire woman, I wanted to make sure none went to waste. So I am madly including them in my dishes. Some were used for a pot of leek and potato soup, others were used for the chicken pot pie we served to the Irish Georgian Society last Saturday. See below for the recipes.

Leek and Potato Soup

2 large onions
Centre core of head of celery, including leaves.
2 cloves garlic
6-8 Leeks; depending on size and availability.
6-8 Potatoes, peeled.
Chicken stock; fresh or use a good quality stock cube*
Parsley, sprig fresh thyme, chives. Washed in cold water.
Butter, olive oil
Salt*and Black pepper.
* If using a commercial stock or stock cube taste before adding additional salt. Many commercial products contain significant quantities of salt.

1. Peel onions and potatoes.
2. Remove outer/damaged leaves of leeks.
3. Wash well in clear, cold running water
4. Cut vegetables into large chunks.
5. Sauté onion, leeks, celery and garlic in heavy based skillet /saucepan until soft but not brown.
6. Add potatoes to onions and leeks, toss together.
7. Add stock, sufficient to cover well, add roughly chopped herbs.
8. Bring to boil and simmer over low heat until potatoes are very soft or are breaking up.
9. Using a soup gun or food processor puree the vegetables.
10. Add additional stock and cream until desired consistency is achieved.
11. Adjust seasoning to taste.
12. Reheat before serving
** N.B. Be careful not to burn bottom of saucepan when reheating

Chicken Pot Pie

1 large Chicken
2 Onions
3 Cloves garlic
3 Sticks celery
2 large Carrots
4 Leeks use outer leaves in stock keep centre for pie filling
Parsley stems* use leaves for filling.
2- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons Black Peppercorns
Fresh Marjoram
Bay leaf

1. Put chickens in a large saucepan Cover with water.
2. Cut vegetables into chunks. Add to saucepan with chicken.
3. Bring to boil.
4. Simmer until chicken is cooked. Approx 1-11/2 hours
5. Chicken is cooked when internal temp. in thickest part of chicken is 75◦C
6. I always check with temperature probe.
7. Remove chicken from saucepan and allow to cool.
8. Reduce stock by boiling until liquid is reduced by half.
9. Put through sieve to remove vegetables.
10. Cool sieved chicken stock quickly by sitting saucepan in sink of cold water and ice cubes. Once cooled, refrigerate until required. If not needed same day the freeze in clean, shallow plastic boxes. Mark box with date of production.
11. Meanwhile remove flesh from bones of chicken and cut into large dice. Reserve.

Chicken Meat Cooked Diced
1-2 large Onions Peeled and diced.
2 cloves Garlic Peeled, crushed
4 large Carrots, Peeled and cut into small batons or slices
8 oz Mushrooms Washed and quartered
Core of a head of celery, (Including leaves.) Chopped
1-2 Green and Red Peppers Diced or cut into small strips
2-3 Leeks Sliced in rounds
Chicken stock Use stock retained from cooking chicken
Parsley, thyme, marjoram Chopped
Salt & Black pepper
Butter and olive oil
Glass Dry White wine*

Pre-heat oven to 160◦C

1. Sauté mushrooms until they have release most of their water content and are beginning to brown.
2. Remove from pan and reserve in a separate heatproof casserole.
3. Cook carrot batons in boiling water 3-4 minutes. Add to casserole
4. Add peppers and celery and leeks to casserole.
5. Add diced/sliced chicken to casserole
6. Sauté onions and garlic in a little butter and dash of olive oil until soft and golden brown. Add sufficient flour to absorb fat and fry to cook flour. Add retained stock, bring to simmering point to thicken and cook sauce. You may need to add additional roux to thicken sauce.
7. Add chopped mixed herbs, wine and a little cream
8. Adjust seasoning to taste
9. Pour sauce over ingredients in casserole.
10. Put casserole in pre-heated oven.
Make savoury scones.

1lb Self Raising Flour or
1lb Plain Flour and 2dessertspoons Baking Powder 4 oz. Butter or Margarine
2 Eggs well beaten
Chopped Parsley
Pinch salt
Milk or water to mix.

1. Sieve dry ingredients together before adding fat.
2. Rub fat into flour until mix resembles cake crumbs.
3. Make a well in centre of mix and add three quarters of required liquid
4. Add beaten eggs and a little milk toss together with either knife fork or fingers.
5. Add more milk until mix will easily combine together.
6. Turn onto floured board. Roll quickly or press out by hand to about ¾ inch thick.
7. Cut out with small cookie cutter.
8. Brush with beaten and egg and a little milk.
9. Place on top of chicken casserole.
10. Bake casserole until scone topping is cooked and scones are golden brown.

Noddy in the Ladies Walk wood

Noddy in the Ladies Walk wood

Visit of Irish Georgian Society to Mornington House