Wednesday, 11 July 2012

I’m suffering from a severe case of not really knowing what to write about at the moment, it feels like my life has stalled and that I’m just marking time. I’m not really sure what the hold-up is, but I have felt for some time that I am supposed to be doing something different, especially with all the spare time that I now have. It’s an ideal opportunity to develop my ideas in a new direction. The trouble is, I can’t see which direction to move in. I certainly don’t want to go back to full time working, and shifts are right out. The fact that I can’t think of what to write would seem to preclude a career in the printed word, and my cooking will never make my fortune, so what to do?

When I was young, I wondered what I would do and see, and I guess it must have been the same for my parents, watching me grow, not knowing what I would become.
Now that I’m a father myself, I have felt that sense of wondrous anticipation for my children, and dare I say it for their children as well.

I wonder if one day, a part of me will stand on an alien shore, bathed in the glow of a giant red sun, with their whole world shades of pale rose. Will there be some connection then, can I believe that a part of me will be there through my nucleotides?
And what will he (or she or they) achieve, will their lives be meaningful, of course in the great scheme of things all life is meaningful, and you never know what the results of today’s actions will be, but I think you get the picture.

We went to Babbacombe Theatre to see Colin Fry last Saturday, a really good evening with a tremendous atmosphere, and a very rewarding experience, in many ways. Not that we had a message specifically, but the whole thing only served to reinforce our beliefs. And the one thing that comes out over it all is that this isn’t everything that there is, it’s only the start. What we think of as the end is merely the end of this bit.

 Funnily enough, talking about the atmosphere in the theatre, there was even more of a crackling tension in the air at the nearby pub where we had a drink before the show. And a lot of the people in the pub were at the theatre later.

 I feel that I have strayed away from the food based theme of this post, but wanted to get that out of my system.

We have actually had a few days without major rain, still a few showers but no flooding downpours. Anyone who has been to Singapore will know about the 3pm shower, we had a few of those over the weekend.

I’ve cooked lots since my last post, some of which suffers from the miss-naming problem. Yvonne’s favourite is “Shepherds Pie” but made with Beef mince so it really should be “Cottage Pie” I guess. However in our family the content is immaterial, in fact if I made it with Lamb mince I suspect that it wouldn’t go down so well. This time I had a secret ingredient to add to the mince, Chilli Chocolate! It gives a much rounder flavour and a bit of a kick as well, so if you try adding it to your version, whatever it’s name, it might be an idea to reduce the garlic a bit.

On the subject of Lamb mince, we both like Moroccan style spiced lamb, with Apricots, currents, pistachio nuts and couscous; I actually use a ready made Tagine paste to flavour it and some home made pitta breads add the final touch.

Bread wise, I have made Pizza dough,

Freeform Pizza


and a no-knead wholemeal loaf,

all coming out well, the baguettes were from a Dutch website, The Weekend Bakery, which is a good source of inspiration. Check it out here:

I also made some choc-chip shortbread, using Yvonne’s grandmothers’ recipe, which substitutes half the flour for semolina, it makes it a lot crunchier.

Because I had to dig my potatoes early, I now have a huge surplus, and I’m looking at ways to use them up. Also I always buy frozen pastry as I can’t do it myself (Pathetic isn’t it), today’s mission was to make a Homity Pie, that’s a mixture of potato, onion and cheese in a pastry flan case.

The easiest way to get the right amount of raw potato is to fill the container before you start prepping,

Just enough Potatoes

the onion and cheese will go in the gaps when you assemble. Until I realised this I used to either have too many or not enough. This time I used a mixture of red and white potatoes, cutting them into small pieces and boiling until soft. Meanwhile I chopped and fried onion and garlic. I rolled out the pastry and filled the baking dish.

You can blind bake pastry without baking beans if you prick the pastry with a fork before you cover it in foil.

About 15 minutes covered at 180 degrees then 5-10 minutes uncovered to brown.

When the potatoes are cooked drain and allow to cool. Add the onion and garlic and a sprinkle of mustard powder and mix well. Don’t worry if the potatoes break up a bit, they will be fine.

Put the mixture in your pastry case and top with grated cheese.

Cook it at 180 until warmed through and the cheese is melted and bubbling. Any spare pastry can be made into easy cheese biscuits, just roll out the pastry, sprinkle with cheese and laminate a few times before baking.

 My blackcurrants are rotting on the bush, where there has been so much rain; the bunches of berries have got soaked and there has been no warmth to dry and ripen them. So it looks like my jam making is on hold for a while, until I can mix what I can salvage with any Blackberries that have survived the carnage at Sharkham. (All the bushes were cut down in January this year) At least last years Elderflower wine is ready to drink.

1 comment:

  1. you are making my mouth water (in a very respectable foodish way of course LOL) :-D