Sunday, 27 July 2014

Birthday Tea

Yes, I'm another year older and still not sure what I want to do when I grow up!

Here are the essentials for a birthday tea for a ** year old, Bays Beer, (It's evaporating already)

Rump Steak,

Two of your five a day, oven cooked of course.

A Chocolate and Orange Cheesescake, thanks Yvonne - and Thanks Nicole Cody at for the recipe.

with home made Clotted Cream, thanks Me.

Not forgetting Crinkle Chips and Beer Battered Onion Rings. (the whole Onion ones not those minced, orange things.)

It doesn't get any better than this.

The great Clotted Cream Challenge Part 2

This morning  I took the dish out and left it to cool. The cream seemed very runny, but perhaps that was because it was still hot.

Now it needs 8 hours in the fridge before the final verdict.

Meanwhile, I strained the Blackberry infused vinegar,

then added dark brown sugar, weight for weight. I boiled it for about 20 minutes, at which point it started to thicken, so I let it cool and bottled it. That's ready to liven up grilled meats or salads, or even on Ice-cream.
The cream had grown a clot, which I scraped to one end of the dish,
Looks like it's clotting well! I don't know how much to expect from a pot of cream, probably not much more than that, there's enough for a few scones there, or maybe a Devon Split.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

The great Clotted Cream Challenge Part 1

Norma over the road just brought Yvonne and I some Scones and Clotted Cream.
They went really well with my Blackberry Jam,

cream first of course, well we are in Devon, not the other place. And I know that it's supposed to be Strawberry Jam but in true Organic Gardener style the slugs got there before me.

I do like Clotted Cream, but since we moved here I eat less of it, probably a good thing but I got thinking, could I make my own? And how easy would it be?

The answers are Yes and Very.

So here's how.

Take a 500ml pot of Double Cream and pour it into an earthenware dish,

cover well with foil,

and put it into the oven at 80 degrees for 12 hours, I'm going to leave it on overnight.

Meanwhile, I took some of my freshly picked Blackberries and covered them with the wine vinegar I have been making,

in 12 hours I'll turn that into a glaze for chicken or lamb, or anything else.

Don't miss Part 2, when we'll see if the magic has happened.

Friday, 25 July 2014

A Night Out

Yvonne and I went out for a meal last night, to the Breakwater Bistro in Brixham. It's only a 15 minute walk away, which means I can drink Beer with impunity, and a lovely setting as well.

Bays Beer and Yvonne, What more could I want?
I'm not sure if a birthday at my age is a celebration? but I suppose it means that I'm still here, and after the last year I can't help feeling that's an achievement.

The food as ever was excellent, a mixed seafood starter was the highlight, the Calamari cooked to perfection (I do hate it rubbery) with Whitebait and Scampi.

Followed by a Mushroom Strogonoff (Yvonne had Mushroom and Onion tart) and an Ice-cream Sundae each, I was stuffed, the walk home helped me come to terms with it. I still felt full next morning.

I've seen complaints about the place on Trip Advisor, I don't recognise it from them, the service is great, the food well cooked and the overall atmosphere is great. And its not pretentious and expensive. So all in all a great evening.

Like I said, next morning I still felt full, and we both decided to have a light meal, and I made up a fruit cous-cous for myself.

Basically it's cous-cous made up with veg stock (100g cous-cous plus 150g of water) with the following added:-

Chopped Dried Apricots, Chopped Dates, Sultanas and Chopped Mixed Nuts.

 Served with a salsa made from Tomato, Cucumber and Onion

and topped with Sweet Chilli Sauce.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Cider Bread

I'm a huge fan of Nigel Slater, and for one of my Fathers Day presents, I had a copy of "The Kitchen Dairies, Vol II". I've flicked through it and not seen a recipe that I haven't liked.

(I also had a fantastic parcel of Beer, Strong Cheese and Chutney all the way from Australia.  I love my girls!!!!!!)

Anyway, back to the story, one of the first things I saw in the book was a recipe for bread made with Milk and Cider, sounds like my sort of thing I thought, rather eerily I then found a bottle of Bays Cider in the local shop, "buy me" it screamed so I did, and now of course I must marry the two.

Bays, incidentally is a local brewer, the Beers are fantastic so I'm sure the Cider will be.

Back to the bread, if you've seen the book you will know it uses Spelt and White flour, with the Milk and Cider to get a distinctive flavour.

Well that was the 5am job today, and after following the recipe (not one of my strong points) I ended up with this,

I think my oven must be on a slope because all my loaves seem to have risen more at one end, while I wait for it to cool so I can sample it I'm planning my next project.

The blackberries are nearly ripe, so that means Bramble Jelly, Jam and maybe some blackberry vinegar. Also wine if I can get enough.

I also made some digestive biscuits with the sourdough starter that would normally go to waste, funnily enough I then saw an idea for the same thing on another website that I hadn't seen before. Weird or what?

Anyhow these came out rather well, maybe a bit more salt next time, but they were so good that I experimented with a few chocolate covered ones as well.

Maybe the chocolate was a bit thick, but who's counting.
The bread has cooled a bit, so its time to take a look,

and of course a taste, slightly caramel and sweet, it would be nice with cheese, its a pity you can't smell it from the blog.

While the bread was cooling I went out with my trusty bucket and picked a few Blackberries from the bushes by the garage. There seem to be loads this year, in 20 minutes I had 3lb,

 most went into the freezer, they will be added to until I have enough for Jam, but I kept some back.

I added the same weight of sugar

 and boiled them for a couple of minutes,

That should be rather nice in yogurt.

We found a bird feeder that sticks to the window, the birds ignored it for a while but now seem to like the fat balls it contains.


Thursday, 17 July 2014


You would assume, that as I bake bread most days at around 5am, we would eat a lot of bread. In fact I very often find that I haven't made any for us, so I then have to do an extra bake mid afternoon, or on a day when I had nothing planned. However there are some recipes that make two loaves or more than the requested number of rolls, when that happens then we get the other,

One such was a recent Panini order, I scale them at an even weight to ensure they all cook correctly, and had two left over.

I cut them and sprinkled a few drops of Balsamic, then covered with Passata, Basil, Cheese and Fresh Tomato. They went under the grill for a couple of minutes and were delicious.

As I said last time, I'd started to make Rose Petal wine on Tuesday, well today I strained the petals off and added sugar and yeast.

It's now residing in the Airing Cupboard, and has started to ferment already.

I needed the saucepan for jam, after picking the berries and adding the ones from the freezer, I had 4.5kg of fruit. Not as much as I had hoped for but I did prune the bushes quite hard last year.

In the end I made 21 jars of Jam, not too bad,

we'll soon have the Blackberries so I can restock the freezer for the winter and make some bramble jelly!

Meanwhile, as I had finished with the saucepan, I started another batch of Rose Petal Wine, that will give me something to do on Saturday.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


At last I've got a few days off, so I can start to use up all the Rose Petals from the freezer and make some wine.

3.5 litre jugs full go into each gallon of boiled water (excuse the mixed measures, it should be 6 pints but I only have litre jugs) and then you leave it to soak for 48 hours. It looks a bit unappetising but bear with it.

After the 48 hours you simply strain it into a demi-john adding a teaspoon of wine yeast and 3 lb (1.36kg) of sugar, then leave it for a month or so to do its thing before bottling. It'll be worth it.

Friday will be jam day, I've got all the stuff now so can pick the berries on Thursday evening and make it all on Friday morning, there's not enough for individual batches so it will be a mixture, what our Australian friends would call Hash Magandi, only hopefully not quite as varied. At least it'll all be fruit!!! and at the moment will be Redcurrants, Blackcurrants and Blueberries, maybe some of last years Blackberries from the freezer as well to make the bulk up.

Salmon Sandwich

At work, I made a sandwich with Smoked Salmon, Ikea Dill sauce and the Pea and Potato bread, wow it was good.

I will drop the samples round to Millie tomorrow, (Salmon not included)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mark 2 Pea Bread

After the first attempt, I got comments from all my loyal tasters, (Volunteers always wanted) and implemented two of the more sensible suggestions, more Peas and some fried Potato.

So here it is, the mark 2 Pea Bread in all it's glory,

I just need to run it past the panel and then if all goes well I will release the recipe later this week, of course it might be easier for you just order one direct for your fish finger or tuna sandwiches, prices on request.

By the way, here's the crumb, and you can see the peas and pieces of potato nicely spread out.

Black Pudding, Love it or hate it?

You have my daughter to thank for what comes next. Amy told me that she had a bacon sandwich on Black Pudding and Tomato bread, well it got me thinking. I already make a Sundried Tomato bread, so all I would have to do would be fry up some Black Pudding and Pancetta and incorporate it into the bread.

So I got some Black Pudding and fried it up,

crumbling it into pieces. Then I fried Pancetta and mixed it in.

Next job was to make the dough and add the mixture,

then roll and cut,

Rise and bake.

I took a sample down to Millie and Me, and was told it was a "triumph".
I also suggested the Pea Bread, (remember that?) with added whole peas and fried potato as the basis of a fish finger sandwich, now I'm experimenting to make it come true. But that's a story for later.