Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Hot Pot Hot Pot (So good they named it twice)

Strange title for a post, you might think, well there's a bit of history here.

My children (Bless 'em) grew up eating most things, we didn't really have the problems that you hear or read about, for which I am very grateful. And that includes some of my stranger attempts at culinary innovation.


There was always Hot Pot, none of them would eat it, which I always thought was not only a shame but also slightly weird, after all they liked lamb, and potatoes and carrots etc, Amy even admitted she liked butter beans. And Yvonne and I love Hot Pot, so it ought to be in their DNA.

So why does the particular combination strike fear and loathing into their hearts?

Now they have all left home I can now have Hot Pot whenever I like without the verbal accompaniment, or having to cook something else as well.

So today is that day, I have Lamb from Well Hung,

part cooked potato skins from the freezer,

along with all the other bits and pieces,

here we go.

I browned the meat and reserved the juices for the gravy,

Meanwhile I chopped carrot and onion, addded the beans and some peas.

 made up gravy with the meat juices, veg stock powder and a few of my secret gravy ingredients, added this and the meat together to the veg and mixed.

Then I topped with the potato skins and left it all to rest,

I'll cook it after I've done the bread this afternoon.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Custard Creams

I found (well Yvonne found) a recipe for Custard Creams online, after the triumph of the Sourdough Digestive I thought I would have a go.

It was a fairly straightforward recipe, except that I had to juggle the mixture a bit after putting too much milk in, but eventually I got the consistancy right and managed to get 40 biscuits from a batch of dough.

They baked really quickly, then of course I had to let them cool down before icing (Patience is NOT my strong point) Camera got a bit steamed up there!
Probably worth it though.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Dolls Bed

Yvonne has been sewing again, she's already made Elsa a patchwork dog,

and now she has made her a bed for her dolls. I brought the frame from a well known Sweedish emporium and again Yvonne decorated it in her own brilliant way. First she made a crochet blanket,

then a patchwork quilt,


pillow and sheets,

Put it all together and it looked superb.

The label says it all.

She'll soon be playing with it.

Finally; Yvonne has asked me to post this picture, just to prove to all concerned that she did once have thin thighs.

Thats New Orleans in the background. (if you can tear your eyes away)

Writers Block and more Memories.

I have a problem.

As you might know, and if you look to your right you will see, I have self published two novels as e-books.

They can probably best be described as science fiction, and sales; although slow are fairly regular.

I'm trying to write follow up novels using the same charactors and settings, but have a bad case of writers block at the present, I tried leaving it for a while, and doing other things but it wasn't really working.

Then I had two pieces of inspiration, someone asked me when the sequal to Freefall was coming out, and what was going to happen to resolve his questions, and I found out that there had been a lot of sample downloads of one of my works. Not sales, just sample downloads. It made me feel like it was important to carry on.

The situation has sort of improved, as I'm now getting the ideas but I still can't seem to settle to writing the stuff down, instead of typing I just fill notebooks with badly written pages that I can't decipher later.

Anyway as another distraction, here are some more memories,

The view from my cabin porthole in 1977. I was on the "Wild Curlew" and we were loading oranges in Duncan Dock

Nice ship, my cabin incidentally, was the one in the middle of three on the deck just below the lifeboat.

Next up, the view from the World Trade Centre, looking across toward Brooklyn. Still in 1977, hence the poor quality of the scan (taken from a 126 transparency)

and from the bottom,

There's been a lot of changes in both these places since then.

I really must go and type some more of the adventures of my hero and his mates, I can't keep distracting myself.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Pork Belly with a twist.

Here it is then; my take on Slow Roasted Pork Belly, with a use for just about all of it. (except maybe the squeak)

The Meat was from Well Hung in Buckfast, well worth a look as they deliver anywhere and its superb quality,

I know it's out of date, it's been in the freezer!

So I put the slices fat side up in a casserole and oiled/salted them,

 before covering with foil.

They had 2 hours in the oven, covered at 160°, at which point I drained off all the fat that had rendered down, (more about that later) then returned them, covered again for another 30 minutes.

I then cut the meat off the rind, there was hardly any fat left. and put them back

Next I covered them in home made sourdough stuffing mix (crumbs and dried sage and dried onion), tipping a little of the fat over it all and mixing well, so they resembled chicken nuggets.

I covered them with more foil and returned them to the oven for 45 minutes, to cook the moistened stuffing.

I also did some of my roasties, using the rest of the reserved fat instead of my usual Goose fat.

Served with gravy and a selection of veg and to wash it all down; a glass of last years Elderflower wine. What could be better?

How can I top that tomorrow?

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Pork and Marmalade Burger

One of the advantages of baking bread for other people is that you always have enough for yourself. In order to ensure I have the the right amount of whatever to sell, I make extra dough and then keep the excess for myself. 

A while ago, I spotted some Pork Mince reduced as it was nearly out of date. I split it in two (there was 500g) and froze it, now I'm making burgers with half to go in the buns.

I've used Marmalade as a glaze on Gammon before, so I thought it might be an idea to try it in a burger, as long as I get the proportion right, I figure about 15% (37g in 250g of meat) should do it.

And I managed to get some nice looking Tomatoes at Annies Fruit Shop in Totnes yesterday.

Anyhow, In the end I had 264g of Mince,

and added 39g of marmalade,

which I then mixed and shaped into burgers, and floured them up.

I decided to oven cook them as I didn't want them falling to pieces in a frying pan, they had 30 minutes at 180 fan in the end, turning a couple of times.

Meanwhile I got some of my part cooked potato skins from the freezer and heated them for the same time.

The burgers were cooked after 30 minutes, so it was just a case of plating up,

And in case you're wondering, the taste was amazing.

Tomorrow is slow roasted Pork Belly, can't wait.


This week has been busy, Monday was spent preparing for this weeks baking as I wanted to get ahead and had changed my delivery date.

Tuesday was spent delivering , then I had to go to the dentist (Ouch)

Weds morning at 5 I was baking again, this time for my Daughter and her family, we drove to Nottingham on Wednesday and returned on Thursday.

Back from Nottingham, Friday was spent organising myself for the Baker Boys Project and starting Rolls for Millie, to be baked on Saturday. 

Bur first a spot of wildlife spotted on the neighbours arbour eating the birdfood,

Not bad considering I was about 20 metres away, with the zoom on full.

As I said, on Friday I met the people from the Baker Boys and sorted out next weeks entertainment. I took a sample loaf, Liam (my contact) enjoyed it.

Saturday morning I finished the rolls for Millie and Me pop up bar and BBQ , to be delivered after 9, when I must also get the Oats order for next week.

Sunday I have an order to make for customers in Gravesend, where I will be going on Sunday afternoon, to work Monday.

When I get back on Tuesday, I have to start the Oats Sourdough for Thursday, along with whatever else they want.

Like I said, a treadmill.

Friday, 22 August 2014


I was at my daughters earlier in the week, and she pointed out to me that if you are viewing this blog on a smartphone or tablet, you get the mobile version.

This does not include the links on the right hand side of the web version, so you will not be aware of all the related content.

To remedy this youy should scroll to the bottom of the page and select "web version."

I will incorperate this in a header as soon as I can.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Memories, Part 1.

I've been sorting through a load of old pictures from my past, and digitising them, I thought maybe I could share some of them,

Here's one to get you started, Cape Horn taken in 1980 from the "La Primavera" the ship I was on at the time.
We were sailing from Vancouver to Santos with a load of fertiliser, and the charterers wouldn't pay for the Panama Canal, or the Magellen Straits Pilotage.
Fortunately the weather was good, although a couple of days later we got caught in a Pampero, a local storm off the River Plate.
Next, and from the same voyage, we went up the Amazon, heading for a place called Munguba on the River Jari, one of its tributaries. There were random houses on the side of the river, surrounded by jungle.
We loaded China Clay in Munguba, and went to San Fransisco.

It doesn't seem like over 30 years ago, but the quality of the photo's gives it away, old Kodak 126 film.

Maybe I'll put some more up later.