Sunday, 27 October 2013

Roast Pork

This is my 200th post, I never thought I'd get this far!!! I wonder if anyones still watching?

Todays project is Roast Pork, I have a leg joint from Well Hung Meat, part of my box, and will give it the respect it deserves, roasting it with apple and topped with stuffing. No crackling in this recipe, because its slow roasted I'm doing it seperately.

So the first job is to remove the skin from the joint, while the oven is heating up.

 At the same time peel your potatoes and prepare the peelings for part cooking.

The Pork skin is splashed with my home made wine vinegar and rubbed with a little salt. Then its cut into pieces and put on a rack. Into a hot oven for 20 mins, along with the peelings.

Meanwhile the meat is rubbed with a little oil and put in my trusty casserole on a bed of apple,


topped off with breadcrumbs (mixed with some dried mixed herbs)

Then it's ready for the oven. Wieghing 1.2 Kilo's , it'll need about 2hours at 160 degrees, by which time the apple will have rendered down into the juices.

As many of you will know, I dislike giving too precise times and temperatures, instead I think its better to keep an eye on it, having a rough idea of what should happen. That way, you can be flexible enough to modify either or both if the desired result is not obtained.

We are eating at about 4.30 so I put the oven on to max at 1pm with the peelings and pork skin in.

And heres the crackling in all its glory,

the fat has dripped into the tray, so is returned to the meat in the casserole.

The potatoes and parsnips have been boiled, and are ready to roast,

After an hour, the apples are mush, and the stuffing is moist,

Time to get the potatoes in, with a little Goose Fat.
30 Minutes to go, get the veg on, steamed of course.
I took the meat out of the oven, and tried to lift it out of the casserole for a photo. It was so well cooked that it fell apart, so instead of carving it, we had lumps.
The breadcrumbs and apple made a superb sauce, along with gravy made with the potato water and a little stock.
And there was enough left for Yvonne to have a meal tomorrow, with two portions for the freezer.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Losing my Virginity

Hah! That got your attention didn't it? Well if you've arrived here via a search engine, and are presently huddled in a darkened room feeling excited, I'm sorry to disappoint you.

I'm referring to my first time using Fresh Yeast.

I know, at my age, (**) but there is a story involved here so bear with me a while.

I'm not really sure if this post belongs here or in the Bread Blog, but I think I'll leave it here for a while.

I have never been able to source a suitable supply of fresh yeast, either too much or too little, and rather than waste it, or run out, I never bothered.

My next door neighbours brought me some back from a well known supermarket today, they saw it and thought of me.

I had given them some Mince pie Teacakes earlier, but was touched by the gesture and offered to pay them. They suggested that I make them a loaf with it.

There is actually a sensible amount in the pack, 4 x 30g portions, so enough for 4kg of flour.

After a bit of research, I started to make dough with it, and after proving in the oven, ( I described the process here it looked beautiful, with a well developed structure, and silky feel.

I shaped a loaf, and some rolls, and left it for a second rise, while the oven warmed up.




I baked with steam for 20 minutes (Rolls) and 35 minutes (Loaf)

I offered the choice to Jean next door, and she had the Rolls. Now I have 3 bakes left, I'll probably do one tomorrow!

I think I'm converted.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Sausage and Chips goes Posh

Well maybe that's a bit over the top, but it's not your average version.

I start with Onions, Shallots and a Pepper. Cut them into chunks and drizzle with Balsamic and Olive Oil.

The Balsamic is Chocolate infused!

In between, I found time to make a White Loaf, it sang as it came out of the oven.

Back to the main event, the veg need about 30 minutes in a 180 degree fan oven, with a turn to soften them up.

Then add the sausages for another 25 minutes or until cooked through.

I'm doing the frozen, part cooked potato skins I have in the freezer,

 (posh term for peelings, cut thick and roasted before freezing) for 25 minutes as well,

and some julienne carrots.

The sausages are Evergreen Farm, Sage and Red Onion, and are amazing.

Step Back in Time

I had been telling everyone that I was going to see Camel in concert, they were to perform the Snow Goose live and Yvonne and I were really excited. It's one of our favourites and I play the album regularly. Anyway to my total amazement, hardly anyone that I told about it remembers them. Either that makes me really old, or my contemporaries missed one of the bigger bands of the 70's.

Either way, the concert was sold out, and the place was full of older music fans of a certain type. To our relief, we were not out of place.

And as for the music, it was just sensational, easily one of the best sets of live music that either of us can recall, (and between us we've seen a few!) The Snow Goose lasted over 40 minutes, and sounded even better than I thought it could, a credit to the band, whose members have had their problems over the years. A real Tour De Force.

As you can see, Salisbury is an intimate venue, and after a short break, the band came back and did another 90 minutes of old favourites, such as Lady Fantasy, The Hour Candle, Song within a Song, Fox Hill and Tell Me. They finished off with two encores, including a very poignant piece in memory of Peter Bardens, a founding member, no longer with us.

We got home at about 1am, I had to bake at 5.30 so had little rest, but it was well worth it.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Christmas is Coming.....................Run!

Followers of my Bread Blog will know that I am developing a range (Well 2) of Festive Breads for one of my customers.

I thought that I would move a little away from the bread aspect and try my hand at some cookies, with a mincemeat twist.

On the Internet, I found a recipe and amended it slightly (as you do) to take into account the ingredients I actually had in the house.

The mix looked good,

and was made into cookie shapes,

Note the Geometric precision of the arrangement

 and put into the fridge for 30 minutes to settle the butter.

I baked at 180 degrees for about 10 minutes,

and they looked like this. Now I do have "issues" with biscuits, they come out of the oven soft and semi-liquid, and I always have that feeling that I haven't cooked them long enough. Although these were starting to brown round the edges.

I tend to pace up and down till they cool and solidify, as if by magic. I guess it comes from being more used to Bread being solid when it is cooked.

So I made a coffee and tried to be patient.

But it was worth it.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Round Up

I thought that I would put this here, as more people read this than my bread blog, the link is on the page but it's

About a week ago, the South Devon Tourism and Hospitality Awards 2013 were announced,


 and one of the Cafes that I bake bread for, Millie and Me in Brixham,  were up for an award in the ‘Taste of the Riviera’ Cafe / Tea Room category.

Hopes were high, and I was at work, but by the time I came home I found that they had won a SILVER award, and I like to think that I played a small part in their success.

Of course it's wonderful, and richly deserved as the place has fantastic coffee and amazing cakes, such as the Banoffee Cheesecake, as well as the Cream Teas and savoury snacks.
Yvonne and I go in there for coffee when we are in town, and find it hard to resist the wealth of good food on offer. So we often don't!

Meanwhile, Totnes Good Food has come around again, that means Evergreen Farms amazing Steak for Supper tonight, and sausages and Scotch Eggs for the freezer. Also a piece of Caramel Shortbread from Red Earth Kitchens, and whatever else takes our fancy.

Devon is really a foodies paradise, and I now find that I buy over 90% of my food locally, it may cost a little more but you don't need to be told what meat you're eating.

We had Roast Chicken  yesterday, and it tasted like Chicken used to a long time ago,

Chicken, Home made Stuffing and Roast Potatoes and Parsnips, ready for the oven.
I also braised some shallots in Chicken Stock, before roasting them for ten minutes, and they complemented the steamed Carrots and Cauliflower. Gravy was made from the Chicken stock, and the potato water (which as usual had vegetable stock powder added)

We had the first taste of this years Elderflower wine, which has matured nicely, dry and crisp and almost free.

It was raining at 6 this morning when I took the dogs round, and quite windy, but by 7.30 had cleared up a little, not that it would have stopped us going. If it's dry, we can have our lunch in a little park by the Castle.

I must give a plug to my daughters home in Australia,

a pretty amazing place. Georgina will be back to see us all in the New Year and we can't wait.

Well that was a success, we went round the market, got some amazing food, had lunch by the castle and it started raining as we walked back to the car.

We have some beautiful Rump Steak for tonight, some Scotch Eggs, Sausages and various other bits of food. And we had a Pork and Apricot Sausage Roll and a piece of Millionaires Shortbread for lunch. Thanks Linda.

And here's the steak, first marinating in a little Balsamic,

and then frying with crushed garlic.

 It's probably the best Steak that either of us has ever tasted.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

An Old Haunt, Part 2

After not going to Tower Bridge for a while, I have now been again, and this time even better, at night.

All those years ago, I can still remember the first night training trip I did to Tower Bridge, on the Passenger Ship Seabourn Pride.


I remember the collective gasp from the passengers as we rounded the bend at Wapping and caught our first sight of the bridge, lit up like a Christmas decoration. I could feel the joy and wonder in the air. And I realised that this simple act of bringing a ship up river could make so many people happy.

So now, when I do it, it still gives me a buzz.

Back to the story, the Waverley is still with us on the Thames and I got to pilot it up river on Friday night, arriving a t Tower Bridge at 22:30.
It wasn't as nice an evening as last week, in fact it was howling wind and lashing rain, but there were still a good number of passengers onboard, those in the restaurant looked a bit worried when the pilot cutter came alongside about a foot from their heads, but I gave them a wave as they choked on their dinner.

After an uneventful passage up river, and on time, we arrived off the bridge, again there was that moment, as it came into view from the drowned throng on the forward deck, and I managed to get a couple of pictures as well.

Bit out of focus, raindrop on lens.

And once we were through, a shot of the bridge behind us, closed again.

I tried to get a shot of the Shard, but not too successful.