Thursday, 30 May 2013

Sugar Rush

It had to happen, after the sugar rush of Yvonne's birthday, comes the guilt and determination to eat more healthily, question is, will it last more than a couple of hours?

For her birthday meal, we went to the Pepper shack in Brixham, it's a Caribbean themed restaurant and I have only ever heard good things about it. Now I can understand why. It was superb, here is a glimpse of the desert, Banoffee Pie with Mango and Coconut ice-cream. Yum.

We went to the Forest Inn at Hexworthy for Sunday lunch, and that was good,, then for a walk on the Moor, before Naomi and Eamon went home (Naomi had to work Bank Holiday Monday)

So for Monday, I made a Chicken and Chorizo stir-fry with spelt, basically just chopped meat and veg cooked in the oven for 40 minutes and the spelt (cooked like cous-cous) on the side.

Tuesday was a white fish and salmon pie, chop the fish into chunks, add a cheese sauce, plus lots of grated cheese and mash on top.

We went to Teignmouth on Wednesday, where we succumbed to more cake, Oh Dear! Well it was only £1.40 a piece, and it was lunch!

Had a nice walk along the prom,

My new oven arrived on Thursday, I'm looking forward to not having to wedge the door shut, and having a constant temperature.

I was just putting out the Tomato plants.

As well as those, I had some plants left over, and managed to squeeze them in between the greenhouse and the cold frame

Back to work at the weekend, then it will be Grapefruit marmalade and Elderflower wine.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Yvonne's Cake Part 2

So after the inspiration of Totnes open studio's, we returned home and I proceeded to make the cake.
I used the flaky biscuit recipe, which involves grated frozen butter, flour, yogurt and bicarb, I added chocolate chips, and managed to grate my thumb as well! Fortunately I kept that bit out of the cake, and baked two slabs, instead of individual biscuits.

These I cut to be the same size and cooled.
I covered one with clotted cream,

and one with the jam I made earlier

I then assembled the cake, breaking the top slab in half in the process, this will be good for portion control, half for me and half for Yvonne!

I made a paste with Icing sugar and water and covered the top, grating chocolate to finish (no finger this time)

And there you have it, I've just heard from Naomi, she is on the way with Eamon, so we can sample it when they turn up.

Custard Slice Part 1

Its Yvonne’s birthday, so I decided to make her a cake, but not just any old cake- Oh no, I have to do it the hard way.

Now I know she likes the custard slice, so my idea was to do her one filled with clotted cream and raspberry jam.

I had raspberries in the freezer from last year, so the first job was to make the jam.

There is an easy way to do it, measure out equal amount of fruit and sugar and slowly heat,
keep it moving until it starts to produce liquid, then stir gently to avoid breaking up the fruit too much. Bring it to the boil for about 5 minutes and test for setting with the back of a wooden spoon. (I use a thermometer at 105 degrees C)

Jam done, the clotted cream is ready, just the pastry to do. I’m going to use Peter Rinehart’s biscuit mix, so I froze my butter yesterday (makes it easier to grate) but that’s a job for this afternoon.


Meanwhile here’s an update on the jungle. (Garden)

The forget-me-nots had almost finished in the orchard (well 5 patio fruit trees)
and I wanted to do something a bit more permanent in the area. The flowers look nice but when they go over there is just a blank area and the weeds take over. So I pulled the flowers up and laid weed control fabric.
Then got a big bag of gravel and spread it out. There was enough to top up the paths in the back as well.

We are off to Totnes, its open studio’s today so a chance to support local artists. Last year one of them told Yvonne that she should get creative, and could see her selling work in the future. At the time she was just starting her first beaded jewellery course, and since then she has indeed sold her work, in shops and privately. Also her greetings cards in shops. So today we will go back and see this lady, and give her the news.

In the next post, I make the cake, and Naomi and Eamon come down for the weekend.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

I don’t know about yours, but my freezer can be a maddening place. There seem to be containers of half remembered things, and as I have never been one for labels, the contents can be a mystery, until defrosted.

I did find a tub of sweet and sour sauce, probably from the Asian supermarket in Gravesend, and some of the crispier of the Pork that I slow-roasted last Sunday. I added fried onion and pepper to it; it can be warmed in the oven this evening.


In all the excitement of making bread for sale, I’m not making any for ME. Hmmm so today I did a quick sourdough, quite simple really

700g active starter
700g Strong white flour
300ml warm water,
20g salt.

Mix, knead and prove for a couple of hours, then shape and rise for about three.

 Bake as usual.


The advantage of using more starter than usual is the reduced proving time for the same taste.

I have a lot to do in the garden, but am a bit nervous about putting runner beans, tomatoes etc. out, in case there are more cold nights. But they are all ready to go.



I found a recipe for making your own clotted cream, maybe I’ll have a go, but until then I need some for Yvonne’s birthday cake, I have to make it without her spotting what I’m up to, it will be a puff pastry jam and cream slice, with chocolate topping (maybe) I guess I’ll have to do it on her birthday, early in the morning. Naomi and Eamon will be here but they won’t get up early.

Devon show tomorrow, I went last year and it rained all day, Yvonne stayed here as she had hurt her ankle, hopefully I will be a good day for both of us.
Here is the pork, after five hours in the oven,

I let it rest, took the skin off, turned the oven up,

  and finished the crackling at 220 degrees for about 20 minutes.

The bottom of the joint crisped up nicely, that will make a nice sweet and sour, I think I have some sauce in the freezer, next time I'm home after work I will look for it.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Pigeons and Roast Pork

First, I have to put a couple of pictures of Yvonne up here, as she feels that she is under represented, so here she is, first looking enigmatic at Vennford Reservoir,

and then at the BMAD bike festival in Paignton a couple of weeks ago.

We have had some pigeons eating all the seeds, nuts and fat balls out the front for the last few weeks, none of the other birds can get a look in. As you can see they have grown fat on this diet (although not as large as the ones at Tilbury Grain Terminal, who can hardly fly) and quite tame.

Sunday is always a day for a roast, at least if I am not working, and today I have obtained a nice piece of local Pork.

I will be roasting it slowly for several hours, and to start I scored the rind,

seasoned it and put it in at 220 degrees for 30 minutes, uncovered.

Now that the skin is starting to crisp, I covered it and put it back at 150 degrees for about 4 hours.

Meanwhile I cut up the last of the bread for croutons, basting in Balsamic Vinegar and Oil.

They went in for around 30 minutes, until they look burnt (it's the vinegar) and slightly crisp.

 They get harder as they cool.

There was a 2 for 1 breakfast offer at our local Garden centre, I had the healthy scrambled eggs version.

A bit of a celebration for passing my medical! But as there are 3 of my 5 a day there, with tomato, beans and mushrooms, I can feel virtuous.

Don't miss part two, with the results of the slow roast pork.