Sunday, April 29, 2012

Still Experimenting

Yesterday B suggested a trip out to Glasson, this pleased me as I wanted to go to the Smokehouse to see if they had any farmed salmon available shortly, also wanted to buy some of their smoked cheeses. Then B he discovered a footie match on TV that he preferred to stay in and watch, so did. Myself decided to make another batch of choux pastry using my easiest every recipe (previously given). As I was piping out the choux, B wandered into the kitchen to say the match was boring and he was going to do some birdwatching. As I was then too busy to accompany him, he went out on his own and on his return told me he'd been to Glasson anyway! But hadn't called in the Smokehouse, so now I'll have to phone them to find out about the salmon.

This time made chocolate eclairs that were standard size (rather than the gynormous couple made previously and shown on this site. The one-egg batch of choux this time made five eclairs, four made from the pastry 'spooned' onto the baking sheet, the fifth made using a piping bag (mainly to see if it made THAT much difference). Below you can see the end result of the piped eclair, and have to say it is somewhat neater than the rest, but for 'family eating' doubt anyone would mind if an eclair is a bit 'rocky' on top. This next photo shows all five of the eclairs, considerably filled with whipped cream (because B just loves cream, and when whipped, only needed 4 fl oz of double cream to fill the five). I asked B to save me at least one (so I could try it), at which his face fell "that leaves only four for me" he whimpered. This morning discovered he had already eaten three (and these must have been when I wasn't watching for I can't remember him bringing any into the living room during his continual evening 'snacks'. Naturally he had chosen the three that had the most cream!)
I ate he least-cream filled eclair this morning for my 'breakfast' (and it was very, very good), so will let B have the last one.
For B's 'supper' last night he had a 'sort of' salad. This being a mixture of salad leaves, tomatoes, radishes, strips of bell peppers, sliced beetroot, hardboiled eggs, and sausages. There was a can of corned beef chilling in the fridge to add slices to the above, but as he chose to the last of the lemon jelly with bananas and cream for 'afters' (not to mention the eclairs) he decided what was already on his plate was enough (or was it that he couldn't be bothered to open the tin all by himself - he usually leaves these 'chores' to me).

Yesterday spent a little time watering all the plants in the conservatory, and took a couple of photos so you can see how the plants are growing. Below is the tray holding a few courgette plants, with a few of those 'lemon trees' between them. On the windowsill can be seen the floral pot where I recently planted a 'mat' containing coriander seeds, and these too are growing well. Almost ready to be used.Final photo shows the tub of mixed salad leaves where the different varieties can now be clearly seen. These will all be eaten within this coming week, and have sown a couple more tubs over the past weeks so there will now be always be some ready to eat, and will continue wih this succession throughout the rest of the year. In the photo can be seen the small plastic tub (that held mushrooms) used to hold the compost, this standing in a shallow plastic tray (that I think held some sausages). Everything gets a second use in the Goode kitchen.

Other than making a loaf of brown bread yesterday, can't remember doing anything else worth writing about, and today really MUST try and sort out my kitchen once and for all. It's all becoming very cluttered (again). Mainly because when I get things out, often don't put them away. So on the kitchen table are pots of mustard, a bag of flour, several different sized mixing bowls (all bowls are clean but left there by B after he moved them from the drainer by the sink), a couple of cookery mags, a bottle with a bit of olive oil still left in, and these (plus countless other things I can't now remember) fill the gaps left by things I tend to always leave on the table (such as my knife rack, my small bag containing all my pills/medication, salt and pepper grinders, tub of margarine, a mug containing ball-point pens, marker pens, tweezers, small scissors. Also on the table are my weighing scales, and B's bottle opener for wine....). If I had a much larger kitchen and huge table, and even with plenty of storage space, I'd still leave things out. It's just the way I am.

Having said that, I used to be far tidier in our Leeds kitchen, probably because everything was stored within easy reach, so all I had to do was turn round from the table and things away. Wen had the old bunk-bed ladder hanging horizontally from the ceiling to hold the big pans on top, and this had butchers hooks around the sides so things could be hung from it. Over the window the wooden pelmet had lots more hooks, and from these would hang my numerous frying pans, colander, sieves etc.

Here we have no hooks at all, although have now begun to hang the couple of soup ladles that I have (one large, on small - they have a useful 'U' bend at the end of their handles) on the door handles of cupboards close to the hob. Think I'll ask B to fit a wide shelf above the entrance to our conservatory (this has no door - we step into it directly from the kitchen), and this could house the two large casserole pots etc that I've recently been given (B's birthday present to me). Room also for other large pots on this potential shelf as well. On the other hand could remove some of the things from the several shelves that B has already built for me and find another place for these (maybe the top shelves in the larder). Yes, I do have more space that could be filled, but all (including the topmost shelves in each of the kitchen cupboards) are far too high for me to reach. Perhaps time for me to bring out the low stool I always used in Leeds (where some shelves were also high), and could stand on that to fill the empty spaces. B forbid me using it when we moved here as I was still a bit 'shaky', but now am just about back to normal think I'll use the stool again. Otherwise my table remains cluttered.

Due to rising late, then Gill's phone call, see it is now nearly 11.00am, and as most readers spend weekends 'catching' up (both indoors and out) will finish today with replies to comments, then back again next week with more recipes. So if you don't read my blog at weekends, you won't have missed anything worth reading about.

Good to hear from you again Sarina. The 'fish in a bag' is always an interesting meal to cook, as the bag can be served as-is after cooking, placed on the plate for the diner to open (and enjoy). Your second comment was sent via an earlier posting (the one titled Retail Therapy), so will not be seen by readers who view only the most recent comments (sent via the previous blog), however you tip is so good, hope you don't mind me repeating it.
Sarina extends her washing-up detergent by saving her empty bottles, then refilling each with one third of the ordinary detergent, plus one third of water and one third of vinegar. She says this gets her pots squeaky clean, and certainly cheaper than using the detergent as bought.

Suppose in this country we also have a wide variety of the fresh produce you mentioned Lisa, although we may tend to choose the 'favourites' rather than work our way through the full range. Myself tend to stick to iceberg lettuce, and occasionally buy Little Gem (a small 'cos'). Also there are several varieties of apples on sale, and potatoes (with the latter we tend to prefer the well-known (and loved), these being King Edwards, Jersey Royals, and the red Desiree, although the 'baby new' potatoes on sale today can be many different varieties. A new one (to us) is Rooster, a good all round spud.

As to grapes, cannot say I've ever looked to see if the variety is named, for me it is just the 'seedless' green grapes I look for (although sometimes do check the country of origin). There are seedless red grapes, but we prefer the green and these are gorgeous eaten straight from the fridge as they are chilled.

Suppose onions are also sold by the 'variety', but usually shown as 'cooking onions', 'red onions', 'large whites', etc. If by 'peppers' you mean the sweeter bell peppers, again these are sold by colour (red, yellow, orange, green...). A few varieties of the hotter chilli peppers are on sale, but only a handful of different ones.

Tomatoes are one of the few salad veg that I tend to choose by variety if I can, but again these are usually sold as 'cherry', 'small plum', 'beefsteak', and 'on the vine', so unless actually shopping in store, any of the above foods bought on line are shown by type only, and very few (other than potatoes) are sold by their given 'variety'.

Have never come across the giant couscous you mentioned Catriona. Not sure whether I like the sound of it or not. Maybe it might appear more like the larger grains (rice, quinoa, pearl barley...) once cooked, so its 'mouth appeal' might be better. Does anyone know if this larger couscous is now available in supermarkets?

That's it for today. Am hoping to discover a few cookery progs (on Freeview) that I can watch whilst B is out sailing this afternoon. Not that there will be sailing, for the wind is very strong today, but he will go 'out' anyway. Might even watch the repeat of the Friday episode of EastEnders (shown as the last episode on the 'omnibus' this afternoon) as watching it the first time round thought it was the best bit of acting I've ever seen. Towards the end was crying along with Bianca as in the past have almost 'been there, done that', and the feelings I had at that time) came flooding back. Thankfully did not have to resort to theft (a la Bianca), but the sheer horror and memories of 'being broke' has stayed with me ever since, and one of the reasons I still do cost-cutting-with-a-vengeance and not just with food.

Gill tells me it is pouring with rain in Leicester, and has been throughout the night (well they did need rain!), Here is is fairly dry, but very cold and windy. Last week we even had a couple of tornadoes (but nothing like as strong as those in the US). Tornadoes we very rarely have, and so far all have done little more than blown down a shed and lifted off roof tiles. so we shouldn't be too concerned.

Whatever the weather, please enjoy your day, and with May beginning next week, believe the following weekend (plus Monday) will be the first of the May Bank Holidays, with the 'Spring Bank holiday, coming at the end of the month. Then surely we have another for the Jubilee celebrations in June? I'm having trouble keeping up. But we'll still have time to keep in touch with each other won't we. In other words, keep logging on and keep those comments flooding in, and - of course - hope you can join me again tomorrow. See you then.