Monday, 1 October 2012

Too Much Going On.

It's a job I hate, but it had to be done, I refer to defrosting the freezer. With Yule approaching faster than I’d like to believe, it's time to make some room in the freezer for all the good things we will be feasting on over the holiday. And if that means a couple of hours of hardship, I guess it's worth it.
I must admit I had a pleasant surprise this time, as I found lots of food that I had forgotten we had, or had thought we had eaten, such as some smoked salmon, homemade pasta sauces, chicken stock and the ingredients for today’s meals, vegetable soup base and some frozen samosas and Onion Bhajia, together with a portion of Chicken Korma and rice.
When I say soup base, I mean a mixture of boiled root veg that has been liquidised, this one contains carrot, swede, potato and parsnip. I fried onions and cubed Chorizo, adding the base when the onions started to brown. As it rendered down I put in chicken stock, some tomato and garlic pasta sauce and sweet chilli sauce. (Both made from my garden)

The samosas were made with Chapatti flour and the filling of minced lamb and vegetables was flavoured with a spice mix from Gravesend Asian food shop. The Bhajia were made from another spice mix. 

Monday is baking day, lots to do, make a loaf, I want to try to make some Pasta and Gnocchi, also some Rye and seed Crispbreads and a saffron loaf. Lots to do so it’ll be a six am start. I also have wine to bottle and a new batch of Rose Petal to start making.
I can’t pretend that any of these recipes are my own, and I wouldn’t anyway, but as I carry on with my downsizing life, I modify what I learn from others to suit myself, and my cooking style evolves.
I have a packet of Rye flour that I brought to make bread with, but working on the principle that I never make the same bread twice running, it’s the turn of white today.
So I’m making an old favourite, the enriched sandwich loaf, that’s half and half strong white and plain flour, with added lard, honey and milk instead of water.
The rye flour will go to make the crispbreads, with added mixed seeds.
Before work last Friday, I popped in to see Naomi and Eamon and had a very nice Spag-Bol, made with fresh pasta. Naomi is now back at work and recovering well, although two and a half years on from her accident, there is still no sign of a settlement from the insurance. Anyway, she had used fresh pasta, and I was struck by the taste, so I decided to have a go next time I got the chance. Along with the home made Gnocchi, I thought that it would be nice to make my own. And I found some homemade sauce in the freezer from last year’s tomatoes that really should be used. I can fry bacon and Chorizo into it, and make some sun-dried tomato and garlic flatbread.
Unfortunately it all went a bit wrong, the saffron cakes looked superb, and went into the oven perfectly risen, but I had a bit of an issue when testing them after 45 minutes, I dropped one and the other cracked, they tasted fine but we had to eat hunks rather than slices, quite a shock to our delicate sensibilities! Please excuse the state of the silicone loaf tins they’ve had a busy life.

Ready to Bake

Disaster has Struck

The crispbreads were actually fine but I put to many seeds in and they were hard to form.

The white loaf burned on top in 30 minutes (it normally takes 35-40), the pasta was OK, I had to use the drying rack to hang it on after cutting.

The flatbread came out well.

 So all in all a mixed day, I think that I tried to do too much, but I wanted to see just how much I could do if I tried. For a while it felt like the bake-off.  
At least we can destroy the evidence, and then do the washing up. I also managed to rack the second gallon of Rose Petal wine,

and rescue the dried Elderflower, which was about to explode.

I have a load of old sauce bottles (Sainsbury’s basics), and was having trouble getting the metal lids clean and odour free. Then I discovered that the necks are Demi-Jon sized, so am investing in corks (£1.60 for 10) for them.

When the racked wines have settled I can bottle them for storage and all those bottles will not go to waste.
Yvonne has made a lovely necklace; she actually starts an intermediate beading course this week, so it will be exciting waiting to see what she produces next.

Pasta and sauce was also a success, the homemade pasta was boiled for about 3 minutes in water with salt and oil added,

 the sauce was stirred into frying Bacon and Chorizo pieces.

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