Friday, 24 August 2012

George is coming down today, it’s a bit sad really as she is going back to Australia at the end of the month, so we wont see her again until next March. But as long as she is happy I guess that’s the thing. Yvonne made her a quiche,
 and I did some morning rolls.

 After watching the “bake off” this week, I was inspired to make a plait, but bottled out a t three strands. Still it came out alright.


The salt fish stew was a real surprise, very tasty and not at all like I thought it would be.

I fried the onion, pepper, garlic and some tomatoes up for a few minutes,
adding home made pasta sauce and reducing.

I cut the soaked fish into pieces and mixed it into the sauce, covering with breadcrumbs,
before baking in the oven. I had not seasoned it as I thought it would be salty enough, just drizzled some Blackberry Balsamic over the top. As it happened, it needed a little salt to bring out the full flavour. There was even enough to leave a portion in the freezer, for next time I’m at work.

I’m actually up to 15000 words on the novel now, and spent about two hours yesterday evening putting punctuation in, I type so fast I’m always forgetting to type <Shift 2> every time someone says something. There’s probably a shortcut for it on Word but I haven’t found it yet. The trouble is, I can see the story in my mind, and it’s playing out in real time, the characters are writing it for me and I can’t keep up with their conversations. It’s weird, but I don’t know what’s going to happen next. When I have finished a bit to my satisfaction, I will put it up on my other blog for comment. Meanwhile there are a couple of short stories there, if anyone is interested. is the place to go.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Dog Pictures and Food

As promised, here are a couple of pictures of my dogs, Fliss the Black one and Tizer, (the other one).

Also here are a couple of pictures of Merlin, the puppy that we walked for Guide Dogs.

Puppy, 6 Weeks old



Now on to the food.

This morning, I made a wholemeal loaf with the flour Amy got me from a windmill local to her in Nottingham.

I used Paul Hollywood’s recipe, with Lard instead of Butter.

I also made some Samosas, using Chapatti Flour, and a mix of minced beef, potato, carrot and Peas and spices.

And a focaccia with cheese filling and chopped pickled onion on top.

The sack of Beetroot that I had ordered turned up and I pickled most of it, ready for winter.

Yvonne kept some back for a Chocolate and Beetroot cake, that she will make tomorrow.

I checked out the Raspberries, there will be a good crop soon.

Monday, 20 August 2012

100 Not Out

So here it is my 100th post to this blog, cue fanfare, lights and fireworks. If you’ve been her from the start, well done. If you’re new, take a look at some of the highlights of the past 15 months, there’s a lot of foodie stuff in here. And if your interested, take a look at my creative writing blog, the link is on the right, at the top. There’s not a lot there at the moment, just a couple of short stories and a short critique, but more will follow, especially if an interest is shown.
I’ve just been down to a local nature reserve, with my dogs, hunting the wild blackberry. Last year I got 3lb for jam 3lb for wine, 3lb for cordial and 4lb for the freezer, plus a load for immediate consumption. Back in January, I noticed with horror that the bushes had all been cut down. I wasn’t too worried, as I cut the brambles in my garden back each year, and still get fruit the following summer. However, although the bushes have grown back, they are only about 2 feet tall, and have NO berries on them at all. Not even any flowers. I don’t really know why they were cut down, they weren’t obstructing the paths. Nothing has been put in their place, and clearly a valuable habitat for wild animals and birds has been removed. Wouldn’t it have been a better idea to trim them up, or do half this year, and half next?
Which leaves the problem, where am I going to get my berries from this year?
I have the ones in the garden, but will not get enough there for wine and jam, clearly I need to look further afield.
We are having a better crop of roses, so it looks like I will be making a second batch of Rose Petal Wine, you only need 6 pints of flowers for a gallon and I’m half way there after dead-heading this morning. The first demi-john has almost finished fermenting, so can be racked off shortly, that will be ready to drink next summer. Now that we’ve been here two years, the wine that I made last year is all drinkable, and I’m pleased to say has come out mostly alright. The Pea Pod was a bit dry, but I added some Young’s Wine Sweetener (Cheat) to make it more drinkable.
I have just ordered a sack of Beetroot, to be pickled and stored, a lot cheaper (and nicer) than buying jars of ready made. Also I know exactly what is in the jar, (Beetroot and my own Vinegar mix, containing balsamic, wine and malt vinegars with spices.)
Tuesday will be bread baking day, a wholemeal loaf a cheese and onion focaccia and of course the pickling. I trimmed up 3lb of onions and salted them this afternoon; in the morning I will rinse and dry them before packing.
Tomorrow I will let you know how I got on.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Hello again and I’m afraid that there is little to report from a Devon where it is still raining quite a bit. Where the Blackberries are growing well, and you can feel the approach of autumn, normally I would be pleased, as I love that time of year, but somehow it feels a bit like I’ve been cheated. Cheated out of summer, we seem to have gone from spring to autumn, without the bit in the middle. Since I had to dig up all my waterlogged veg in July, and apart from the Blackberries all that’s grown with any success are the weeds, it's not an unreasonable thing to feel like I missed summer, almost like when I was at sea and would go away for four to six months at a time.
Food wise, I have not really tried anything new and exciting, I have made easy bread (No kneading, just mix and leave overnight)

 and stewed a lot of berries. I brought some cooking apples to bulk them out.

I had a quiet day at work on Friday, just one job, up to Barking,

there was a Norwegian on the ship who used to work for the same company as me, thirty years ago, and we had a good chat about old times, with lots of “Do you remember?”

I did make a chorizo and potato stir fry with tomatoes, peppers and chilli on Saturday, it came out a bit fierce, so I stirred in some Mango Chutney to calm it down a bit.

Upcoming highlight of the week will be a salt cod dish I have planned for Thursday, I found the fish in Gravesend, and the recipe is from a Spanish cookery book I have had for years. When I looked properly at the packet, the fish itself comes from China!

Having complained about the weather, the sun has come out, and it's a lovely, warm afternoon. Roast Beef is in the oven, with the stewed fruit to follow, and all is well with the world. I’ve found a couple of bottles of Elderflower champagne and they are chilling, as am I.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Pork and Peanut Butter Burgers

Well following on from yesterday, here is the Mango Flan,

And it was very nice.

Now onto the main event, Pork and Peanut Butter Burgers, actually, there is some sweet chilli sauce involved as well, but that makes it into rather a long title.

So I’ve skinned 6 sausages and broken up the sausage meat.

 I then added 2 tablespoons of Peanut Butter and a good splash of sweet chilli sauce. I like the taste so I put a lot, but it's a personal thing I guess. As long as it doesn’t come out to runny, it's fine.
Get your hands in and mix it around, (or put it in the Kenwood!) and make it into burgers   I actually found that 6 sausages and the other bits made a pound of mixture so I split it into four burgers, 2 in the freezer and 2 for tonight. Now they just need frying or grilling and putting in the rolls.

I’m using yesterdays Tiger Rolls for these, together with a salad including some of the only tomatoes to survive the weather, I had to buy leaves as all mine have been either washed out or munched, and the replacements aren’t ready yet. I made a couscous salad with Tagine Paste, raisons and cashew nuts to go with it.

The burgers wesr fried in the end

The next plan was for ginger biscuits, and crème fraiche ice cream.

The ginger biscuits were a bit soft and chewy, but they tasted alright on the ice cream.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Tiger Rolls

I was at work on Saturday, a quiet day as it happens, just this one up to Charlton,

but before that I was in Gravesend buying my lunch when I smelt the distinctive aroma of Tiger Bread. And I thought to myself, how hard can it be? A bit of research later, and a trip to the Indian Supermarket for Rice Flour and Sesame Oil and I was ready to have a go on my return home. I also got 5kg of Mango Chutney for £7.99 – Result.

So as well as roast beef today, we are having a Mango and Blackberry Flan, using Mango Chutney on a puff pastry base,

topped with mango brought on Friday and some fresh blackberries from my garden.

That will need about 20 minutes in the oven, it should be nice with some ice cream.

I made Tiger Rolls. I got the recipe for the paste here

and made normal white dough, substituting 25ml of Sesame oil for water.

The paste went on halfway through the second rise,

and they had 20 minutes in a 220 degree oven.

Tomorrows project is a Pork and Peanut butter Burger, stay tuned.