Sunday, August 05, 2012

Labour Intensive

Thank goodness that's over. Everything now taken to the club house, and I have the rest of the day to myself. Not that there is any relaxing - have mounds of washing up still to be done, and clearing the kitchen table, putting away baking tins, and some ingredients. The kitchen looks as though a bomb has hit it!

Not everything went to plan with the big 'bake-in'. There was so much baking, that I was fast running out of eggs and fats. However, reduced the amounts of some of the traybakes (making one large instead of two), and instead made 'something else' that didn't need so many eggs.

In the end made a huge Carrot Cake (traybake), and Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies (traybake), Gingerbread (traybake), a lot of Scottish Shortbread (cut into fingers) as this didn't need eggs, a good number of Banana muffins (as only needed 1 egg and oil - no butter), a big batch of Chelsea buns, and a big box of Oat and Ginger Cookies.
That was Saturday.

On Friday made gingerbread, and early Saturday lots of scones. One interesting thing - as had to bake the scones in two batches, rolled out and cut the dough whilst the first batch was cooking, then placed the scones on the very hot baking tray (once the first scones had been placed on a cake airer), the second lot of scones stayed a better shape and rose up more, so perhaps this is the secret: First heat the baking tray!

Late last night when most of the cooking had been done (the Banana muffins made fresh this morning), came to the conclusion that 'baking a large amount - like ALL day' gave me almost the same feeling as giving birth! First the 'labour' of mixing the cake batters (contractions?), then small relief whilst the cakes baked, than another 'labour/contraction', and another relief. This went on most of the day, and by the end of it I was aching all over and very, very exhausted, with the well-known cry of a mother who has just given birth "Never Again!!!". And of course, after a good night's rest, all forgotten and ready to start again.

Several comments have flowed in since my last blog. So good to hear from Les again (and would you believe I dreamed about him last night. Went to his house to visit him and he wasn't pleased to see me. Next door lived another of my 'readers', and she wasn't pleased to see me either. Oh dear!).

Anyway, we are all very sorry to hear that you have been poorly Les, and do hope you are on the mend. We have missed you.

Like your 'knitting acquaintance' Catriona, 'wool is wool' and anything else 'cotton, man-made fibres etc is yarn!' Not sure what the true definition of 'yarn' is - today this probably means anything threadlike that can be knitted, crocheted or woven.

As you say Jane, 'Superscrimpers' does tend to give hints and tips that most readers already know, but we are perhaps in the minority, especially amongst the younger folk who have to re-learn all the old ways that older folk were taught at their mother's knee. Better to be shown 'how to' than not at all. This series seems better than previous ones in that it is teaching me things.
Thanks Mabel for letting me know the repeats can be seen on Freeview 47. Am assuming now I've returned the digi box, it will have picked up this channel.

The Food Network I am really loving, and am really wishing I could now live in the US as the portions served are 'enormous' and watching what goes onto plates I am getting really envious.
Yesterday two chefs were cooking fish 'al fresco;. One made a 'ceviche' (a raw fish dish) but forgotten the name of the fish, it was 'hog something'. The very thinly sliced fish was then 'cooked' in citrus juice. I couldn't believe the size of the lime, lemon and orange used. Twice the size of those sold here. The grated zest was sprinkled over the fish and the juice from all three also added. Plus the juice and seeds from inside two large passion fruits, and a couple of diced avocado. Think also a finely diced red onion. Meanwhile the other cook was boiling up a large pan of water to which he added lots of what looked liked cayenne pepper (but could be any spice that colour, I missed what he said), then - when the water was nearly simmering - on at a time the chef lifted (with tongs) four live crabs (think they were spider crabs, had very long legs), and placed them in the pot, lid on and left them to cook. Think a green salad was also thrown together.
Next thing done was to fillet two fish, not sure of the full name but he called it 'yellow tail' and it looked like a large sea bass or small salmon in size. The fillets were then cooked on a griddle on the outdoor hob. When cooked, placed on a large dish with some quartered tomatoes for garnish. Then the crabs were taken from the pot, sprinkled with more of the 'spice', and the ceviche, the 'yellow- tail' and crabs taken to the table, and shared between the two. The ceviche alone (in the UK) would have served 3 - 4 people, who needs the fillets of fish and crabs. Obviously the cooks did, and we saw them eating it all with glee. How I wished I could have joined them.

One phrase that keep cropping up in almost every US cookery prog is 'good to go'. We don't say that in the UK, so am presuming this means what has been made is ready for serving (although in the fish prog above one cook said it before the other had completed the dish).

Another thing that is different to our cookery progs is that most cooks in the US explain why they use certain ingredients, and why and how they cook each dish. This makes it very clear and very helpful, already I have learned a lot. Like our cooks, they talk all the way through the programme, but perhaps slightly faster and say a lot more (useful things) than our cooks do. We should follow their example.

Did have a comment from Amateur Cook - but as she was promoting her own web site, it may possibly have been deleted as 'spam' by Worth a mention as she said my blog was 'boring, no photos, and a single minded approach, so biff it'.
Just for interest logged on to her interesting site to see all her photos and openmindedness, and there was really nothing there at all. If that wasn't boring - what it? But maybe she did have a point about mine, not quite sure what 'a single minded approach meant', as hoped I never have a closed mind about anything. I may have firm views about a lot of things, but this doesn't mean I'm always right. Although none of us like to be criticised, 'positive criticism' (as B calls it), should be helpful, so on the rare occasions when someone wags their finger at me, I listen then try and improve.

Am really chuffed how well we are doing in the 'medal listing' at the Games. We are now third from the top, and as it is the US and (I think) China above us, considering the size of both their countries and their much larger populations, think that for our small, wee island we have done brilliantly. And still another week to go.

The weather was sunny yesterday, and although there were a few clouds to be seen, and we had one small shower mid-day, was really surprised to hear thunder late afternoon, and it kept thundering, almost without a break between rumbles (but didn't see any lightening), and this whilst the sun still shone. Luckily it went away, and while today has begun sunny, it is now clouding over and looks as if it might rain. As today is a 'swimming' in the Bay, several hundred competitors (the sailing club doing the catering), and there is no wind at all, almost perfect conditions for swimming, as doubt any rain will bother those competing (they being wet anyway), but it might stop a few spectators.

Beloved will no doubt be able to grab a snack (bacon butty he thought), at the club, with maybe a cake or two, so doesn't want much for supper. Am in the process of making a trifle with sponge cake, jelly, and fresh strawberries. Also making a 'strawberry and cream' EasyYo to put on top instead of custard (this will be ready by late afternoon), and B can pour cream over that as well if he wants.

Now think I will take an hour off, make myself some brunch (don't seem to have eaten more than a nibble of this, a nibble of that yesterday), and sit down and read the Sunday Express and it's magazine. Also do the crossword, and then go back into the kitchen to do the necessary clear and clean before sitting down to watch Andy Murray play the tennis final. He is playing Federar, so wouldn't it be great if this time Murray won? Even if not he will still get the silver medal.

My mind is still a bit confused after yesterday, so sorry if I've missed replying to anyone, remind me if you need an answer to a query that I've missed giving. Thankfully no more 'club cooking' for two weeks, when 'numbers and details' will be sent to me later.

Before I go, a query for Kathryn. I watched some of the dressage, and I'd love to know how the horses are taught to make the special movement, like trotting on the spot, and making diagonal movements across the arena, this without any noticeable movement from the rider. Am assuming a lot of it is to do with leg pressure, but even then how does the horse know what to do each time? And how does it know when to stop and act 'normally'?

As ever, hope you all enjoy your day, and look forward to 'meeting up' with you again tomorrow. TTFN.