Thursday, 22 November 2012

Catching up.

Excuse the delay, there has been a bit going on here. I’ve been adding to this post in draft form on a daily basis for just over a week, and I have had to edit it before posting as it all says “Today” when clearly it’s not. I’m also having camera problems, my main camera is not producing good close-ups and the camera on my phone is a waste of time for anything that’s not outside in good sunlight and a few feet away.

After the visits of Amy and Harry, closely following that of Naomi and Eamon, my larder was a bit depleted, of all the food that I had made, well the two litres of Baileys has about half a litre left, the two jars of Garlic pickle, Naomi and Eamon took one home with them and we had most of the other with a ploughman’s on Monday evening. Amy and Harry want me to POST them some in a plastic container as soon as I make more. All the Ice-Cream has gone as well, and the saffron buns. It looks like a trip to the shops is required to re-stock.

About a week ago I made a wholemeal loaf, and some cheese and pickled onion rolls. The pickled onions I found that were soft; I chopped them in the Kenwood, and added Black Treacle and a bit of sugar, thickening into a paste on the hob. This I mixed with the grated cheese for a filling for my rolls. It diluted the sharp taste a bit and they came out really nice.

 As usual I added semolina to the dough (20g to 500g of flour) and modified the liquid (320ml water and 50ml Olive Oil) to give a softer crumb, with a crunchier top.
I use Paul Hollywood’s wholemeal recipe but lard instead of butter.

I took the last of the pasta sauce I made from my own tomatoes from the freezer for supper, I will fry bacon with onion and peppers and mushrooms add the sauce and the pasta and cook until the pasta is soft. Good tip from somewhere, Nigella I think, if your sauce is a bit runny, cook the pasta in with it. It will reduce and thicken nicely, and save you some washing up.

I got a large piece of beef cheap, and it’s been sitting in the freezer for a while now. I will roast it on Sunday, with all the usual trimmings, there will be enough left for many meals, in fact after cooking and carving, I got enough for14 portions, all for a cost of £11.

After all my angst about Xmas and the rampant commercialism of it all, I did some thinking about presents and settled on an idea for a new hobby.

I’m going to be a Cheesemonger, or is that a cheese maker? I guess it depends on whether I make it for myself, or sell it. I have wanted to do it for a time, but thought it would be complex and expensive. After a bit of research, it doesn’t look as hard as I thought, so I found a cheese making kit online and Yvonne said she would get it for me for Xmas.

I had to check up on the need for a press, I know that you don’t need one for soft cheese, and I had the fruit press that I found in a charity shop, it all rested on the size of the moulds, and fortunately they fit in it. So that’s one expense spared. Now I have visions of producing all sorts of cheesy comestibles, no doubt the reality will be somewhat different. Watch this space for news in the New Year. There is such a good supply of top quality milk in Devon that I can’t wait.

As I said before, it must be the area, because I was never this creative before coming here, apart from the cross-stitch I did little in the way of hobbies, bread making was a job, but now that I’m not doing it to sell, and I’ve been on the course I do it so much better, I make wine and jam/pickles and write this blog. Also, I’m writing short stories and am starting the cheese project.

We had a good day shopping in Exeter yesterday, although my views on the commercialism of the season will be well known to regular readers, see post ."Bah Humbug" I accept that there are still things that have to be done. So I would rather get it over with. And now I have.

Good news is that we will  be together at Xmas, we were just waiting on Amy’s shifts, I’m off and so is Naomi, so we are all off to Amy’s. I am in the process of making Xmas food gifts, so I can do a few extra bits to take. I’ve been saving points on my fuel purchases this year and have a good amount for treats!

I tried using my oven as a proofing cabinet for the sourdough I made today,

and it worked spectacularly. I got 6 rolls, 2 loaves and 3 baguettes from the 3kg of dough which I made at 7.30. Thanks to the oven it rose much better than it does in the kitchen. I formed it up at 11.30 and put it back into the prepared oven. I will bake it when it has doubled again or at about 8pm.


Well in the end it was baked before midnight, and one stuck, so did not make a pretty loaf. But it was only for home consumption, and it will be eaten in chunks with soup so the shape is immaterial.


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