Sunday, October 21, 2012

More Experimenting

Yesterday baked LOADS of tiny pastry canape bases.  Made the way as larger pastry  'flan' bases (blind-baked etc), this time pressing in small square of foil to fit inside each base then filled them with copper 2p and 1p pieces (we have a big box of these that we use when playing poker etc).  The foil was large enough to protect the rims of the cases, so they baked golden instead of turning too dark, then - after removing the coins and foil, put them back into a low oven (50C) to make sure the bottoms cooked to crisp - which they did.  Was well pleased.

One of my worries (and a big one) was that when plated up the canapes could so easily be shaken around, maybe the pastry bases broken, and impossible to protect several with cling-film over the tops as this would crush those piled high.  
Discovered yesterday - when putting my baked pastry cases into a box to store, that they fitted perfectly, each just touching the other with no room to get disturbed, so have now decided to pack up all the canapes (that need extra care) in boxes in single layers, and then let the catering committee plate them up at the venue.  Some others CAN be plated in advance, but doing this will make it a lot easier for me.

As well as baking the pastry cases yesterday, also made a big bowl of chicken stock.  The cooked chicken from the drumsticks and thighs (used to make the stock) was picked from the bones (I was wearing protective gloves when I did this), and this has been packed away and frozen to add to a later cooked and shredded chicken breast to make the Coronation Chicken.

Also made chicken liver pate, and instead of packing it in a bowl (to cover with butter - it will then keep for a week in the fridge), decide to put it into a plastic oblong shallow box (the ones that the Chinese takeaway comes in - I save all of these), the pate covered in butter and has now been frozen. On the day it can then be thawed and cut into slices to place on selected bases, instead of having to pipe it all out (although may pipe some of it).

Lying in bed this morning, my thoughts (of course) of what else I can do that is 'different', suddenly remembered I had a large number of even sized smallish organic potatoes.  If I cook these in the microwave, then could scoop out the flesh, brush the skins with butter and crisp them up in the oven to (hopefully) make another type of 'container'.   Will do a trial test of that today.

Earlier this morning (and before Gill phoned) made a batch of ganache (half double cream that was brought to the boil, and the same amount of grated chocolate then added, stirred until melted and smooth, then  poured into a cling-film lined 8" square shallow baking dish (to later cut into cubes to form 'dice').
Cling film is not the easiest of 'plastics' to handle, it so easily crumples up, and one good tip (used today) is to wet the inside of the mould to be used and then press in the clingfilm, smoothing it into place, it then sticks firmly to the moisture and makes it much easier to press into place.

Thanks for your comments.  If your icing sugar has gone hard in its box Jane, put it into a bowl and place a damp cloth over the top, then a plate on top of that.  Next day the sugar should have 'collapsed' again.  This works with granulated sugar anyway.

Was very interested in reading about your 'budget check' Lisa, you sound very organised and it seems as though you are able to plan your meals well ahead for many months to come - for the price you can still afford. 

Forgive me for finishing without a recipe.  Have quite a few things to make/bake today and it is necessary for me to do just this or I'll end up having a panic attack on Friday/Saturday.
Was just copying out a complicated recipe for Game Pie on our printer, and only the last page got printed, one sheet of paper stuck in the printer, and so now it won't print anything until that is sorted  (an don't have time to do that at the mo).   My fault as I was trying to print it out just when Gill phoned and so wasn't concentrating properly.   When doing anything, it is always best to concentrate on one thing at a time, although having said that, if I don't multi-task, I'll never get it all done in time.

Looks like being a good day weatherwise, so hope everyone is able to enjoy it.  Will be back tomorrow with more 'tales from canape corner', hope you can join me then.  TTFN.