Sunday, 23 October 2016
Oh I do so love when the cooler temperatures arrive and I can get down to the business of cooking comfort foods again. So does Todd. He does enjoy my salads, but he is a WW2 baby and he likes his stodge much more than those leafy greens and veg.
Saturday, 22 October 2016
I recently put together some little Halloween Gift bags for the children of a friend of mine. I wanted to do something special for them because just a few weeks ago on FHE (Family Home Evening) they had popped over with some lovely cookies for us. It really touched our hearts that they would do something like this for us and so I wanted to do something nice in return. And so I did what any mom or nan would do at this time of year, I made them some Halloween treats!
Friday, 21 October 2016
Christmas is coming, Christmas is coming and I am getting in the mood for picking up some gifts now for family and friends. One of my favourite places to get quirky, unusual and delightful well priced items is dotcomgiftshop! I've been buying from there for several years now and have always been well pleased with the choice and what I have gotten. They carry everything from dedicated Christmas items to gifts for women, men, children and yes, pets . . . household items, vintage look items, craft items,etc. I love their hobby section, but then as dedicated hobbiest, I would!
This is a fabulous apron. I just adore the vintage look print and the quality of it is excellent. 100% cotton duck, and very affordable at £12.95.
It is so cheerful! I love it. And they have a whole kitchen line which follows the same cheery design.
I recently ordered some kitchen items from them. I love their Japanese designs and their vintage kitchen items.
I love the quirky designs of these Japanese ceramic mugs. Just the right size, and these retro kitchen items, the sugar pourer and the salt and pepper shakers. Just what I was looking for. The mugs are priced at £4.95 each and the sugar pourer was £3.95 and the salt and pepper shakers were also only £3.95.
I also ordered myself an enamel basin. I had fallen in love with the photograph and the price was just right. £8.95 It arrived chipped however, but a quick e-mail to them, and lo and behold a few days later . . .
A brand new one arrived and in perfect condition!
This is now going to be my dedicated bread mixing/rising basin. It reminds me so much of my mother's basin which was my grandmother's before hers and I am feeling very, very nostalgic about it.
Some of the reasons I like dotcom giftshop are:
- The prices are very reasonable, providing fairly good value for money spent.
- Delivery is quick and reasonsable, often free on orders over £20 in the UK.
- They have an incredible variety of gift items to choose from, for any age and gender! As well as for the home, for the crafter, for the holidays, etc.
- They have a dedicated wish list, so you can pop your favourites into it for shopping later on. (I hate it when I have really liked something in an online shop and then can't find it again very easily.)
- All items are well packaged and usually arrive intact, but if they don't, they quickly replace anything which has been damaged in transit.
- I adore their Vintage lines of, well . . . everything! Sewing, kitchen, toys, crafts, etc.
In short, I love dotcom.giftshop and I think you will too. They make online shopping a pleasure.
Note - I was sent a free apron and a gift certificate to purchase anything I wanted. I was not required to write any review at all. They were simply sent to me because I had been a previous customer in the past and I have a blog. I couldn't help sharing with you however because I . . . to be totally honest, do love the shop. Nothing was required of me in the least. End of.
Todd is so happy that the cooler weather has arrived, not because he likes the cold, but because he knows there will be fewer salads on the menu and more meat and potatoes, and my Todd, he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy! Especially when it is a tasty entree like these Sausages with Apple & Mustard. How much more autumnal can you get!
Thursday, 20 October 2016
This is the perfect cake to make with the apples and pears that fall off your trees before they are totally ripe and is the perfect use for those hard ones you pick up at the Grocery store before they are ready to eat. In fact, I have had apples and pears that I bought in the shops that never quite ripen. Most annoying!
Wednesday, 19 October 2016
Its now Great British Bake Off Season here in the UK, and in honor of that each week Betty's will be sharing a delicious recipe, plus a video and their baking tips to go with each recipe. The kind of thing you won't find in any cookery book! Here is week Nine of their delicious hints and tips and recipe.
SACHER TORTE, the Betty's Way Part Two
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT1 X 15 cm deep baking ring
INGREDIENTSFor the chocolate glacage (Mirror glaze):
50g caster sugar (1/4 cup fine sugar)
100g liquid glucose (1/4 cup)
50ml water (scant 1/4 cup)
220g dark chocolate (8 ounces)
100g butter, chilled and diced (7 TBS)
for the Torte:50g apricot jam (1/4 cup)
METHODIn a heavy based pan, bring the caster sugar, liquid glucose and water to the boil until all the ingredients have dissolved into a syrup.
Take off the heat, add the chocolate and the butter to the syrup and stir until completely dissolved to achieve a glossy finish.
Assemble the torte by slicing the sponge in half horizontally. Tyrn upside down so the flat base becomes of the top of your torte.
Spread all the apricot jam over the middle of sponge, then add 2 to 3 TBS of the chocolate glacage before sandwiching together.
Place in th baking ring.
Now to press it down. Cover the torte with a sheet of baking parchment and place a large pan on top of it. Place some tin cans inside the pan for extra weight.
Place in the refrigerator, wighted down, for 2 hours, or ideally overnight.
To fnish the torte gently reheat the remaining glacage over a low heat until it's fluid, but not too runny.
Remove the pressed torte from the baking ring.
Place the rote on a cooling wire with a sheet of paper beneath the wire.
Pour the glacage over the torte, allowing it to flood naturally over the top and sides. Leave to partially set for 15 minutes.
Use the excess chocolate glacage from beneath the cooling wire to fill a piping bag, then pipe the word Sacher onto the top of the torte. Leave to set.
NOTES IN THE MARGINSTempering Dark Chocolate
CHOCOLATE'S IN CHARGEMake sure you're feeling happy and relaxed - it's a delicate task which can be affected by a bad mood! As we like to say, "Chocolate's in charge".
Switch off your phoe and prepare your working area fully. You won't have time to move things around or respond to calls.
Be aware that the weather can afect your chocolate work. It's very sensitive to temperature.
IT HAS A MEMORYChocolate has a memory - it will take on the qualities of the surface it touches. A shiny surface makes a shiny chocolate, so use a glass bowl to warm the chocolate.
Glass it good for another eason: cereamic and metal are better conductors of heat and can over-heat the chocolate.
If using a bar, break the chocolate ino similar sized pieces so they melt easily.
Use more chocolate than you need. The larger volume means it changes temperature more slowly, giving you more time to work with it at specific heats.
NEARLY THERE IS THERE ENOUGHCreate a bain marie with a couple of centimetres of water simmering in a pan under the glass bowl. Don't let the water touch the bottom of the bowl.
Work the chocolate with the back of a wooden spoon against the bowl.
Keep checking the temperature, but make sure your thermometer doesn't touch the surface of the bowl itself, or the temperature measurement may be wrong. Keep it moving around the chocolate, as some spots can be hotter than others.
Heat to 45-48*C, but remember - nearly there is there enough. Take it off at around 39-40*C as the temperature will continue to rise. If it does need a little more heat, use the bain marie in ten second bursts to stay in control.
WORK ITNow bring it down to a tempered temperature of 25-27*C.
Work the chocolate by movvin it around on a flat surface, gradually taking the temperature down. A marble or granite surface is best. Plastic or wood can dull the chocolate, so avoid that if possible.
When the chocolaate reaches 25-27*C, scoop it back into the bowl, place back over the bain marie and take it back up to 29-31*C. It's now ready to use.
Come back next week for the final part of our recipe for Sachertorte and to find out how to use your tempered chocolate to create stylish decorations. For more Betty's Baking Secrets visit www.bettys.co.uk/baking-secrets
Labels: Betty's Baking Secrets
You can pick up some tasty little goodies in the grocery store, and I'm not just talking about food. For years now I have been collecting little recipe cards, pamphlets and booklets that I thought had tasty recipes in or on them.
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
I was particularly interested when I was recently offered the chance of reviewing a new cookery book entitled, Ferment Pickle Dry, by Simon Pottley and Gaba Smolinska-Pottley. (Published by Frances Lincoln) There is something very Mother Earthly about wanting to grow what we eat and also to preserve what we eat, a deep seated desire which probably hearkens back to the very roots of mankind's beginnings.
Of course today we can go to the shops any time we want and pick up whatever we want, in season or not . . . but I think a certain sense of joy and accomplishment has been lost along the way. As a dedicated foodie, I want my food to mean more.
The authors of this very special book are passionate about growing, preserving and cooking using traditional techniques which they share and teach at their Walthamstow workshop, The Fermentarium.
Well organized and presented, this book is divided into three sections, or methods of preservation . . . Fermenting, Pickling and Drying.
Fermentation involves a metabolic change that converts sugars to acids, gases or alcohol. Many of the fermented foods you are familiar with have a distinctive sour taste that is down to the lactic acid produced by fermentation – foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut and kimchi. Most of us enjoy the fermentation of sugar to alcohol that creates beer, cider and wine.
Pickling uses an acid solution to preserve the produce within it by killing or vastly inhibiting the growth of the bacteria that cause food to spoil. In some cases, pickles are also partially fermented, and salt also contributes to the preservation process.
Drying foods simply means removing moisture, either by use of the sun, or man made heating. Since most of the bacteria and yeast that cause food to spoil or change thrive in moisture, dried foods discourage such spoilage.
In each section, you will find a very varied selection of recipes taking inspiration from the preserving traditions of countries all around the world. For each of these recipes, the authors also provide ‘partner recipes’ which offer clever and delicious dishes making use of the various preserves.
In the Ferment section, plain live yoghurt is used in blackcurrant yoghurt ice cream, fermented gherkins & grapes are used in a sour grape pickletini and in fermented gherkin & nasturtium caponata, long-fermented pizza dough is used to make peppe rosso 10-inch pizza onto which several fermented toppings are also used, cabbage & apple sauerkraut is used in sauerkraut bubble & squeak, preserved lemons feature in preserved lemon cous-cous and amazake is used in drunken rice pudding. This section also includes guidance on sourdough starters followed by a selection of sourdough bread recipes. Everything sounds positively delicious and looks simple enough to execute.
The Pickle section includes a vast array of pickled fruits and vegetables. Pickled cherry tomatoes feature in a Greek salad, pickled plums are used to great effect on a pickled plum flammekueche, pickled oranges lift a dish called pickled oranges, spice cuttlefish & squid ink linguine. The honey-pickled garlic starts my taste buds to tingling, and the recipe for pulled pork with swede mash, grilled nectarines & honey-pickled garlic sounds positively heavenly. I also love the sound of miso pickled mushrooms and miso pickled eggs both of which are used in misozuke and soba noodle salad. There are also recipes for herrings pickled in a variety of different ways. Most recipes in this section are savoury, but there are also dried fruit pickled in brandy which are shown to be used in a decadent coffee meringue cake. *Nom* *Nom*
The Dry section includes funghi, vegetables and fruit. I have my own dehydrater, which I sadly haven't used but I am looking forward to breaking it out to make dried wild mushrooms, which are a premium price ingredient in the shops, and there are recipes for using them in both wild porcini soup and dried mushroom sauce. The variety of vegetable ‘barks’ such as sweet potato crackling (which then features in a potato crackling fritata) sound very intriguing. A honey-glazed Chinese beef jerky has also sparked my interest. Many dried herbs are used to great effect in a variety of infusions and teas. I have a fondness for herbal teas. There are also methods for drying fruit and then using them.
There are a fair amount of photographs, (Photography by Kim Lightbody) not as many as I normally like, but the ones that are there are great!
Preceding the recipes, the introductory chapters of the book provide suggestions for basic equipment needed, a guide on how to sterilise and seal correctly, and an introduction to a few key ingredients. These, together with the straightforward recipes, make this a suitable book for those new to preserving, as well as those who simply want to expand their repertoire. I, myself, am looking forward to getting stuck into some of the recipes and methods! I have a bunch of apples and pears that I want to dry, and those apple and pear crisps are sounding pretty tasty!
This is a lovely book which teaches you how to preserve foods using the ancient methods of fermenting, pickling and drying. Its packed with recipes showing you how to use your newly preserved ingredient in everyday meals. From pickled oranges transformed in a squid and linguine dish, to dry kale and pickled celery incorporated into a vibrant stir-fry, the duel recipes in this cookbook will ensure you never end up with jars of forgotten and unloved preserves.
Ferment Pickle Dry, ancient methods, modern meals
By Simon and Gaba Poffley
Photography by Kim Lightbody
Publish by Frances Lincoln, September 2016 (£20)
Hardcover, 256 pages, colour
Many thanks to Frances Lincoln for sending me a copy to review. I was not required to do a positive review. Any opinions are my own.
Labels: cookbook review
We had a windstorm a week or so ago and our tomato plants all blew over. I was force to pick them all. Most were green. I had thought to make some green tomato chow, but alas time got away from me and they ripened in the bowl before I could get that done. That was okay however because I love tomatoes and I am never at a loss as to what to do with tomatoes!
I quite simply love tomatoes and have been collecting ways to use them for years and years and years. This recipe today comes from a small green notebook which is filled with lovely home style old fashioned recipes, laboriously copied by myself years ago from books I took out from the local library. Unfortunately I was not quite so good at keeping a record of which book they came from. I can date this notebook to the years I was living in Meaford, Ontario, and I think it might have been from a book called Canadian Cookbook by Elizabeth Baird, but I could be wrong, so do forgive me if I am. In any case it is a delicious recipe.
Monday, 17 October 2016
When I was really small my mother used to bake us delicious goodies several times during the week . . . there was always fresh baked cookies in the cookie jar and the occasional pie and cake. She went back to work when I turned 11 though, so all the baking stopped . . . or homemade baking at any rate . . . .at least until I was trusted and allowed to experiment in the kitchen on my own.