Friday, May 07, 2010

Not as Difficult as You Think

One comment to reply to - this from Kathryn. Great that you are teaching someone how to knit, and I liken this to the butterfly flapping its wings leading to great tornados the other side of the world. By this I mean, if we teach one craft to someone else, this can spread - until hundreds are doing it. Would like to feel that hundreds are now cost-cutting since they started reading this blog, but doubt I have that much impact.

Yesterday morning I started my 'two hour challenge', beginning at exactly 10.00am (after having sorted the freezer, put the laundry on to wash and watered my plants). Had already decided what I would be making: spag bol sauce for supper, trifles for B, chicken stock, and orange and ginger marmalade. In the end these turned out to take only just over one hour to do the lot and by then I gave up for the only things I would then have tackled would have been cakes, biscuits and maybe a cheesecake, but as B already had the remains of a Bakewell tray-bake plus a complete apple pie to eat (and I am not touching carbos) decided it would be a waste to cook what was not necessary.
At least this proves that given some thought, quite a lot can be done in a short time.

But for those who would like to know what was accomplished' - here are the timings:

10.00 am. Began by collecting most of the ingredients needed, and put them on the kitchen table. Put a pen and paper close by so that I could keep writing down what was done, and the time it took.

Using the microwave and a pint jug, melted a raspberry jelly in a little water, opened a can of fruit cocktail and drained this.
Finely diced a large carrot, a rib of celery, and one onion, put them in a saucepan with a little oil and butter and began to saute them.
Put minced beef into another pan to start browning.

10.12am. Broke up two trifle sponges and shared this between two individual dishes. Added the canned syrup to the jelly and made up to nearly a pint with water. Poured some of this over the sponge and put the dishes in the fridge to set. Left remaining jelly in jug at room temperate to stay liquid.
Went to hob to turn mince in pan, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.

10.20am. Snapped 2 carrots into chunks, broke celery into chunks, cut an onion in half and put in a pan with trimmings from spag blog veg. Added a couple of bay leaves and placed chicken carcase on top. Covered with water.
Removed mince from pan and added to sauteed vegetables. Placed chicken stock-pot on back burner and lowered heat to a simmer.

10.25. Chopped crystallised ginger for marmalade. Put sugar, water, and orange MaMade in the jam pan and start to heat it up.

10.30. Take mince-veg pan from hob, bring to table, break up any remaining lumps of meat, add a good dollop of HP sauce and several dashes Worcestershire sauce and a can of chopped tomatoes. Return to heat giving it a good stir. Put on lid and bring to simmer.
Gave marmalade a stir to help dissolve sugar.

Tidied up the table a bit. Put sauce bottles back in larder and bring out a Bovril stock cube, broke this up into the empty chopped tomato can, added boiling water, stirred to dissolve and added to spag bol meat sauce (this gets to use all the tomato residue in the pan and and cleans the tin at the same time. Put empty tins into the recycling box. Sugar bag into paper box..
Switch on oven, and place jars in to heat/sterilise.

10.42. Make myself a cup of coffee, and sat at table to have a think. Kept getting up to stir marmalade and spag.bol sauce. Wondered what else I could be doing. Decided to grate some Parmesan cheese to later sprinkle over the spag bol.

10.51. Marmalade now fast boiling.
Checked chilled jellies - now set. Spooned fruit cocktail over top of jelly/sponge, and covered with more jelly. Filled a large ramekin with remaining fruit and jelly (this for my own supper). Returned to fridge to set.

Did the washing up (some dishes left over from previous day). Turned out heat under spag. bol meat sauce as the meat was tender.

11.00. Had to hunt for jam funnel, eventually found it. Put board on kitchen table to stand hot jars on, checked marmalade.
Stock not yet reached the simmer (good - it needs to cook slowly).
Turned out oven and left jars in.

11.06. Marmalade ready. Turned off heat, put jars on the board, kept ladling marmalade into 1 pint Pyrex jug and filled jars using the funnel. Filled 10 jars of varying sizes. (Ignoring the amounts given on the tin, I use 1 pint of water and 2kg sugar - this makes an extra jar which sets perfectly).

11. 12. And that was it! Nothing else to do except let the stock simmer for some time (and this I forgot to turn off when we went out, so perfectly cooked and reduced by half on our return). The trifles B would top with fruit yogurt and/or custard yogurt, with a final topping of cream when he was ready to eat them.

Allowing for the time it took me to write all the above down after each application - plus the coffee break it was barely more than an hour's work (if that), and - as I said - could have made and baked several cakes in the remaining 48 minutes.