Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Different Approach

Short blog today as still have some desserts to make/complete.  Hoped to have them finished by now - even stayed up all night to achieve this, but although they were not difficult, a couple were very time consuming.   Like the trifle.

I'd decided to make the trifle in one large glass bowl - and it was a BIG bowl, wide at the top, tapered towards the base.  My idea was to make the trifle in layers so they looked good seen through the glass, but had to wait for each layer to set before I could add the next - so base was trifle sponges soaked in a little red wine, topped by sliced strawberries  with strawberry jell poured over.  When set this was topped with a strawberry 'whip' (in place of custard).  When this was set, some more sponge was put on top, then more fruit/jelly.  When set another layer of am now waiting for this to set before I add the final topping of strawberry whip, finishing with a layer of whipped cream.

The Tiramasu has been made (sponge fingers drizzled with Limoncello, topped with mascarpone cheese whipped with cream and ginger syrup, this sprinked with chopped stem ginger.  Then more sponge fingers, more limoncello drizzle, then cream cheese topping, and finally the surface liberally sprinkled with grated chocolate and finely diced stem ginger.   Not a true Tiramasu, but I felt like doing something different. 

The peach cheesecake has had the crumb base made (am waiting for this to set), the later this morning will make the filling, using some 'peaches and cream' EasyYo whipped into the cream cheese/double cream, also spreading some of the yogurt on the top to hold sliced peaches.  The problem is with all - not enough room in the fridge to chill all at the same time.  But its pretty cold in the conservatory, and if it stays cloudy, the sun won't come out and warm it up, so the trifle can stand on the table with a plate on top and some 'ice-blocks' to keep it cold.  Then have room to chill the cheesecake.

The quiches were baked during the night.  Made a slight error by trying to shave off the overlapping pastry (cooked blind) while the pastry case was empty, and of course it cracked.  Luckily had some left-over pastry left so used that as 'patchwork'.  I left the other quiche base unshaved - this can now be done as the filling is cooked and cooled.

One interesting discovery made yesterday.  This to do with making chicken stock.  Previously always put the chicken carcase/bones/wings etc (whatever I've got) into the pot with a carrot (cut into three) a rib of celery (ditto), and a halved onion. Plus two bay leaves and some seasoning, then left it to simmer over the lowest heat for a couple (or so) hours.
This time I'd put half the pack of thawed chicken portions into my crock-pot, and no room for anything more but water to cover, one halved onion, and the bay leaves, then left it overnight to slow-cook.  The remainder of the pack of chicken - if you remember - I roasted, and once we'd eaten those (or saved some of the flesh), the bones went into the stock pot with the rest and I carried on slow-cooking it.

Because the crock-pot capacity was smaller than my stock-pot, did not use as much water, so the 'stock' made was fairly concentrated, but unfortunately tasted only of chicken (with a hint of bay).  No reason why this couldn't be used, but as I wanted to add the extra flavour of veggies, then put the stock in a normal saucepan (after draining and discarding bones etc), adding the veggies (carrot, onion, celery and also a leek) all diced.   These then cooked to tender after about 30mins simmering, and I drained off the stock (at the moment this is in a bowl in the fridge as a thick gel).

This is the interesting bit.  The diced veggies looked very appetising, so I put them into a shallow baking dish and decided to top them with some mashed potato and then browned this off under the grill.  The chicken stock had added extra flavour to the veg, and as they hadn't been cooked as long as normal (when making stock), they still retained much of their flavour (but enough going into the stock), and with the potato topping, this made me a gorgeous lunch.  Was so pleased - so think I'll now make my stock this 'new' way in future.

Forgive me for not 'rambling' on today, as still have much to do (plus the washing up - B having gone out until lunch - or maybe even later!!).  Have just time to reply to comments.

Thanks Alison for reminding me about how we can make up our own selection of veggies (and also other things) to be delivered by Riverford.  Had thought of doing this before, but having had some veggies that I thought we wouldn't like (then - as I had to use them up of course - found we really did like them), think I prefer to have what is on offer.   At least for the time being.  It's probably the only way I would get to try veggies that I've not bought before (and probably wouldn't order from them if they weren't included).

The German Market in Leeds - I believe - was pretty much like the ones in Germany Sarina.  All the stalls were manned by Germans (presumably English speaking) and they sold traditional German gingerbread, Stollen, and their range of breads and spiced meats etc., also cooking their sausages for customers to eat hot. 
There were other stalls with Christmas toys (usually wooden), and decorations.   I've seen on TV cooks travelling to Germany and being filmed in their Christmas markets, and they did look very similar to the one in Leeds, although having said that I was never able to 'see' it for myself, but there were plenty of brochures and articles in the newspaper about it, also heard 'word of mouth'.

We do like Stollen, and that seems to have been around for some years now.  Rye bread can also be bought, and I'm quite fond of pumpernickel - eaten with cheese.  One of my favourite cheeses is Wensleydale, and this eats really well with apples (or apple pie).

Looks like you're just about ready to start the new challenge Jane as you sound well-stocked.  Don't be tempted in January to go out and buy something just because it is half-price or on offer (I usually can't avoid such delights and inevitably one or ten would end up in my shopping trolley), and this is the main reason why I make myself stay away from the shops for as long as possible.  Also throw the supermarket 'flyers' into the waste bin without reading them, because this is another way to get us back into their store - and no point going just for one bargain, might as well buy more as we're there.  Well, that's what they want us to do.
When we still have food in the house that we can make a meal from, then we should always use that instead of buying more.  

Good to hear you have Christmas markets in Canada Margie, the one you mentioned sounded lovely.

Would you believe it - B has just returned home from the garage where he took the car the MOT "oh it'll pass" he said airily before he left.  Seems it has failed and has to have several things done, and it has now to be 'off-road' and not used until repaired early January.   That means I'll have to make arrangements to get the food delivered to the social for tonight, and the final shopping for Christmas at Morrison's that B was going to do for me tomorrow, has now had to be cancelled.  But of course we have plenty of food in the house already, the rest was just bits and bobs that are not really necessary.

We'll now have to take a taxi to go to our daughter's on Christmas Day (probably double fare on that day - serve B right),  and another thing - we have two sacks of rubbish (one food, such as chicken bones, fruit peelings etc), that were going to be taken to the tip today.  This is typical of B. He 'forgot' about his MOT until too late, and now it's reached the date he can't drive the car.  He just never EVER plans ahead and - as ever - his 'forgetfulness' causes me more work in the long run.
Still, that's a challenge anyway, and you know how I love challenges.  

Will be back tomorrow (perhaps later as Gill will be phoning at 9.00 for her Sunday 'hour-long-chat'. And then will be taking three days off to celebrate Christmas.   Then back again on the Thursday to begin the run-up to the new challenge that is planned to start the following Sunday.
Hope you can join me tomorrow for the final blog before Christmas.  TTFN.