Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Having an early hair appointment is changing my routine considerably. Today weighed out all the ingredients ready to make a gingerbread, and also put the yeast and flour in the bread machine. After my hair was done, added the liquid to the bread mix, put into the machine and switched to 'dough'. Switched the oven on and mixed the ingredients for the gingerbread - put this in the prepared tin and into the oven. Set the timer to remind me when they would be ready (the dough 5 mins before the cake but the cake needs checking then anyway (which means I'll have to nip out in the middle of writing today's blog to check).

Managed to do another wash in the machine yesterday, but the towels were very rough so feel it is not changing the water/rinsing as it should. But things do become clean. The spin cycle won't switch off which is quite good for if I leave it a minute longer than the usual cycle the contents come out with even less water than normal.

Can smell the gingerbread, is that a good sign? Perhaps I should check to see if it needs the top protecting with foil (shiny side up to reflect the heat). Will leave it until I've replied to comments, then nip out and see....

Boycotting supermarkets is a brave move Sue15cat, for 'local' shops always do charge more for the same items. Even so - if sticking to a budget - this should make us more aware of what we buy and then buy only what is necessary at the time, for all too often we buy more in an attempt to keep our larder shelves full.

Thanks Stephanie T (who I believe is not the same Stephanie who has also sent a comment so welcome) for the info on the stores that stock gooseberry jam.

Reading your comment Lisa you have proved that very often we don't need to go out to work to 'earn' more money, as almost all the wage goes on buying convenience foods etc, because we then have no time (or energy) to cook the foods at home. Just as long as we can all cover our overheads and live comfortably enough, we really don't need more money (even though it can be useful at times).
My Beloved is often envious of those who have larger cars, bigger boats, and it doesn't seem to matter what he has (which is quite a lot by some standards) he always wants more. Yet I am the opposite. When I see people driving in large cars, wearing costly clothes, and who choose to dine out in expensive restaurants, I actually feel sorry for them (in truth feel sorry for B that he has this greedy side to his nature). Everyone who can afford to pay for what they want misses out so much on life. All the pleasures that you and I experience purely because of our own efforts. Worth more than gold!
Bleepers gone for the dough, so must just nip out and put it onto a baking sheet to prove.....
,,,,,,that didn't take long, less than 5 minutes. Gingerbread was ready too, so that is now out of the oven. Bread dough proving so that leaves me at least 45 minutes before I need to check. By then my blog may have been completed.

Returning to Lisa's comment (sorry I had to stop in the middle). Did try the self-checkout a couple of times, but unlike you who had kind thoughts about putting a check-out girl out of a job, myself felt a bit bitter as I realised that I was doing work that someone else would have been paid to do. In other words, the supermarket was 'using me'. Suppose it ends up the same thing, but my thoughts were more selfish than yours.
Anyway, much prefer to go through a 'normal' checkout, for at least it is good to have someone there to 'pass the time of day', even if only time for a few words. This from someone who hardly ever sees anyone other than B (who hardly ever talks to me anyway).

Regarding Cauliflower Cheese Cheesepare, myself tend to steam the cauli in the microwave, meanwhile making a cheese sauce (grated cheese already to hand from the freezer), then put the cauli into a bowl, pour the sauce on top, sprinkle over more grated cheese and then pop under the grill. This way the meal can be made in 15 minutes from 'raw' to 'serving'.
Alternatively, put the cold cooked cauli in a dish, cover with cold cheese sauce, then reheat in the microwave, sprinkle grated cheese on top and finish under the grill.

Interesting what you said Stephanie about not illegal to sell our own 'stuff'. With produce (whether home-grown or home-cooked) there always seems to be a retailer who gets the hump and then contacts Trading Standards. As you say, with garden produce, as long as scales are used and they are correct, then no problem. But then not everything is sold by weight, so what happens then?
Home-cooked food has even higher standards, kitchens have to be checked by 'elf and safety and hygiene, and '0ld style' kitchens (such as mine) would never pass their high standards, although I have been allowed to sell marmalade and jam due to the extreme heat used (no bacteria then able to survive), but even the rules for this may have changed.

Your mention of home-crafts and having to 'register' when selling such things is another annoyance. Seems that even if we are on our beam ends, when we begin to earn even a few pennies someone has to be told and (if enough earned after deductions) tax then has to be paid. Think the one good thing (if we profess ignorance) is that when we have done something 'illegal' we are first given a warning, and if we continue ignoring the rules, then we get prosecuted. Personally I'd go for barter rather than sell for money, they (hopefully) we can avoid the problems above.

In today's recession you would think that the government would prefer us to earn money in whatever which way we can, rather than claim extra benefits. Seems this is not the case. We have to do what they want ALL THE TIME, and very rarely allowed freedom to find ways to cope with our problems without them shoving one rule after another in front of us to tell us we shouldn't be doing any of it.
Possibly the only thing we can do legally (and this is debatable) is to 'pull up our drawbridge' and care for our own families within our 'castle' boundaries. Step beyond that and we could be in for trouble.

With B away am able to watch more 'interesting' TV, and last night enjoyed seeing Gok Wan's prog where he showed how we can get an expensive look but at much lower cost. Really admired the gorgeous ear-rings he had made from Christmas tree decorations (not that I would have worn them myself, but they were lovely.
A new Jamie Oliver series began last night, but not yet sure about it. Supposed to be about British food, but he began with an oriental filled bun (street food). Then went on to show four different ways to serve oysters (does he think we can afford to buy these?). Later something more like a McDonalds (burger in a bun), but cooked at another street-food venue. Agree that many of our dishes did originate from abroad, but would prefer to see something a bit more 'English' (and affordable). Maybe I'm just too picky.

Was (almost) criticising Gino d'Acampos afternoon 'There's No Taste Like Home' yesterday when one of the contestants made a chilled Kedgeree. Even though this particular recipe wa supposed to originate in India, it appeared to have no curry flavouring AT ALL, and to my mind was more like a chilled fish risotto. Gino suggested serving it with chapatis, so that was as near an Indian dish as it got.

But at least the simplicity of making chapatis led my mind to contemplating trying different versions of this 'flat-bread'. Chapatis/chappatis are not a million miles away from the Mexican tortillas, and if different grains (ground rice, cornmeal, wholewheat flour, plain white flour etc....) were used, and also different flavourings added (dried mixed herbs, curry powder, chilli powder, Cajun seasoning etc....) then a very wide variety of 'flat breads' could be made, each having a suitable dish to go with.

With that thought in mind, here is the traditional recipe to make Chapatis (a chapati is sometimes called a Roti - and also known as 'everyday bread' as it is made 'to order').
Although white flour can be used to make these, it tends to produce a sticky and leathery dough, so wholewheat is more popular (or we could use a blend of both).
Chapatis: serves 4
1 lb (450g) wholewheat flour
2 tsp sunflower oil
warm water as needed
clarified butter if desired
Blend together the flour and the oil, then mix in just enough water to bind to a pliable dough. Knead for 5 minutes (the longer you knead the softer the chapatis).
Divide the dough in portions the size of a tennis ball. Roll lightly in flour then shape into a round in the palm of your hand and flatten slightly.
Roll each ball into flat discs, fairly thinly into the width you want (at least 4"/10cm dia), if necessary flouring the board to prevent the dough sticking.
Dry heat a griddle or large frying pan, then place a dough-disc onto the base and heat until the underside is beginning to brown (the topside will also start 'bubbling'). Turn and press down with a clean cloth so the disc cooks evenly on the underside and brown spots appear. Remove and serve warm (or reheat under a hot grill (making sure they do not burn) and they can be served spread with ghee/clarified butter if you wish. Mostly they are served 'dry', and usually with curry but could make at alternative 'wrap' (around a filling) instead of using a tortilla.

A very similar recipe is for 'puffy bread', normally fried and served instead of chapatis with curry.
Pooris/Puris: serves 4
1 lb (450g) wholewheat flour
1 tblsp sunflower oil
scant half pint (22ml) warm water
oil for deep frying
Using your fingers, mix the flour with the tblsp oil, aim to bind to a stiff dough by adding water a bit at a time. You may not need all the water, or you may need a bit more depending upon the flour used.
Divide dough into small, equal sized balls. Smear the palms of your hands with some oil to help shape each ball smoothlly, then - on a lightly floured board - roll out each ball into a disc about 1" (3cm) in diameter.
Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer (or saucepan) until hot enough to make a tiny bit of dough dropped in immediately float to the surface, then gently lower each disc into the hot oil and press down with a slotted spoon. The disc will only puff up if the oil is hot enough and the dough is submerged.
As soon as puffed, turn over and fry for a further minute, then lift out with the slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat, cooking all the puris in the same way. Serve warm.

Because of the late start, see we have now reached noon (and beyond) so time for me to say farewell for today and hope you will be joining me again tomorrow.
Have just had a text to say that B will be returning this afternoon - a day earlier than expected, so will now have to think about his supper. Having just nipped out to put the bread in to bake, that's just about all my 'chores' for today (other than doing the washing up) so had better go on with that. It's lovely weather here at the moment, so hope you all have this too and managed to enjoy it. TTFN.