Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More Experimenting

Had a very interesting day yesterday. Pottered around trying new ideas and used my ice-cream machine - first time since we moved here, but results so good it will not now be put back on the high shelf but somewhere where it can easily be reached.
To make my 'ice-cream, lightly whipped some cream sweetened with icing sugar, then folded in some strawberry EasyYo, then poured it into the machine to 'paddle and freeze', halfway through added some crushed fresh strawberries.
To stop my Beloved from eating the lot in one go (it is gorgeous!!), put it in those small individual EasyYo containers. Have now five of these in the freezer, and tomorrow will make a new batch (this time chocolate ginger). Luckily (from Lakeland) had ordered a couple of packs of ginger (not sugar coated) and this - when finely chopped - will be perfect to add to the ice-cream and also the orange and ginger marmalade I'll be making for the fund-raising this weekend. Goes without saying, the cans of 'ready-to-use' oranges (for making marmalade) also from Lakeland. What would I do with that company. It is the best thing since sliced bread for us cooks. I must have been one of their first customers, ordering plastic bags when the company started selling from a garage I think. Could this be as long as 40 years ago? Since then have been a regular customer, and cannot recommend them highly enough.

Back to 'my' ice-cream, made using half lightly whipped double cream and half a natural (or Greek yogurt) or a fruit-flavoured one. Instead of yogurt I sometimes use the EasyYo 'custard' as this is perfect when wishing for a plain 'vanilla flavoured' ice-cream, and saves all the hassle of making custard from eggs etc.

As well as the above was able to buy a very small sieve (for sifting icing sugar over things). Lakeland sell this under the name of 'tea-strainer' (in my day tea-strainers were like little solid 'scoops' with a few holes in them. The fine (new) strainer is much more useful).
Am still hoping the store will eventually sell conical sieves as I'm continually having to wipe up splashes from my unit tops when pouring chicken stock through my colander or larger round wire sieves.

Two other 'best buys' are fairly recent additions to the Lakeland products. First is their book on cheese making, and I cannot WAIT to start making my own mozzarella and feta cheese. It all looks so simple, and EXACTLY what we cost-cutting cooks need to be thinking about, for to buy any of these over the counter is expensive, and home-made - as always - MUCH cheaper.

Second is their sausage-making kit that I also purchased. Again cannot wait to try that out. This is basically a 'beginners kit', and in a fairly small and attractive box that - when wrapped - would make a perfect Christmas (or birthday) gift to give a cook.
At the moment Lakeland are not selling sausage skins on their own (hope they do as they also sell a table mincer that has a sausage attachment, so we need skins as well), then I'll be making load and loads of 'bangers', and by doing so again saving myself loadsa money
What I'd really hope to make is my own chorizo sausage (one of my favourites), so will have to look up a recipe how to make these.

Late starting my blog today due to waiting until Norma the Hair had left (then needing to reply to an email that told me what cooking was needed for the fund-raising this Saturday. Sliced ham requested (luckily I bought two gammon with the Tesco recent order and as it needs to be sliced thinly my electric slicer will do the job. They also want home-made bread,l chocolate eclairs, meringues, quiches, and the usual scones and jam. Forgot to tell me how much of each will be needed, but hope to know by the end of today.
Can at least make meringues today, also the strawberry conserve, and two different orange marmalades (Lakeland stock the canned fruit for these). Thank goodness I already have the electric slicer and bread maker, not to mention enough baking tins. Not that we really need 'tins' anymore as the new flexible silicone bake-ware are amazingly good. So far have only bought a 'macaroon' mat, and with this order a flat 'tray' for baking Swiss Rolls and roulades, but as ever already know they can be used for other things too.

As I'm going to be quite busy the rest of the day (fortunately my Beloved is out until mid-evening and said he'll be eating out anyway, so no meal to prepare for him) will finish today's blog with replies to your comments.

Don't care how small a bathroom is Lisa, just having two would be a luxury for me. Although with only two of us now, one is enough.
Watching the Food Network yesterday was surprise to see one of the cooks make her mashed potato by putting the cooked potato into her food processor, then adding a lump of butter before she blitzed the lot to a puree. Chefs here would NEVER process potatoes as it changes their texture and they are not nearly so pleasant to eat as when mashed in the normal way, either with a potato masher or (my favourite way) pushing through a potato 'ricer'.

Keep wondering whether I should start having a 'veggie box' delivered. Yours sounded quite good Jane, and my only concern is do we get 'value for money'? In other words, would we be able to buy the same products cheaper elsewhere? Yes, I know veg boxes contain very fresh and seasonal produce, possibly organic and we expect to pay a bit more because of the delivery, but am still not convinced.

Must finish now as have to get my marmalade started (doesn't take long to make anyway and so easy peasy when using the prepared fruit, but I'll be making several batches instead of the normal one).
As it is coming up to the jam making season, and although I've enough experience to tell when the jam is at 'setting point', it is best to check the temperature, and another recent purchase of mine mentioned before but so good that everyone should have one (as everyone cake-maker should use one of those 'cake testers' - again from Lakeland - but then where else could I buy such useful things?) is a 'paddle' that has a thermometer in the handle (and across the open part of the 'paddle'). It reads the temperature in both F and C, and can also be removed from the shaft to use for other purposes.
I find it useful for checking the temperature in a room (just leave it lying around then press the button to turn on the 'reading'. But as I said, I always try to find a second use for all my kitchen equipment (and usually do)., this then makes the purchase more than worth the money.

We are supposed to have a very wet day today, so of course it is dry, windy and occasionally sunny, but that's Morecambe for you. Hope you all have a good day, and tomorrow I'll be telling you how I got on with my preserving and baking. See you then.