Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Testing Takes Time

Am beginning to understand why we follow recipes.  All the testing of dishes and meals has been done before publication so we end up with something worth eating. Saves an awful lot of time when someone else has done most of that work for us.
Discovered this yesterday when I was testing more 'make a hot meal when all we have to 'cook' with is a kettle of boiling water'.  Still working with the pasta discovered that adding a couple of sachets of tomato cuppa soup to the dry pasta before adding boiling water did NOT end up with a tomato flavoured pasta in a thick tomato sauce (the aim of this was to make the lot in one go, not have first to cook the pasta, then to make the soup/sauce).  The pasta was a bit pink and did have a bit of flavour, but the 'soup' was very watery with very little colour and taste.  So - after several more trials - back to my first thought - make up a concentrated tomato cuppa soup and add this to the drained and cooked pasta. That DID work.

Today I have a LOAD more testing to do as I've read through all my cookery mags and many books and marked all recipes that could be adapted to use the allocated foods.  It's going to take me some time as need to test all of them, so early this morning am off to Morrison's where B will leave me there for an hour while I scoot up and down the aisles seeing what packet items only need water to bring them back to life (many sauces need milk, but if there is dried milk given out, then this could be used).  Also need to buy things I would normally not buy (but I noticed in the Foodbank stores ) such as canned hot dogs!  Need to know what they taste like, whether they have skins that can be removed, whether they would heat up in boiling water.
It will be interesting to see if M's still have plenty of reduced items that might have been 'left over' from the previous evening.

Looks like this next week (and maybe the following) will be a busy time for me as I've also our own meals to cook (B would not really be happy with ones as basic as the Foodbank 'recipes' although I could improve them of course (and would give suggestions in the booklet on 'how to') .

Understand about the Rossendale Foodbank being independent Janet, and although the Morecambe Foodbank is run by a church, am pretty sure that more than one Christian faith work together on this (as originally heard about it through a R.C church, but believe it is Methodist based.  What religion is of little interest to me as long as the food is given out to everyone who needs it, which I am sure it is as their religion doesn't come into it. It is the benefit people or social services (or whoever) who hand out food vouchers to the people who still haven't had their benefits sorted, these then taken to their nearest foodbank to be exchanged for food.

Was not able to watch the new Paul Hollywood series last night TravellingNinjas, due to watching Corrie (and couldn't knock that back an hour as B wanted to watch a drama about an exploding rocket or something, so had to miss half of Broadchurch as well).  But did manage to see the last five minutes of Paul H's prog.  D'you know, I was immensely irritated by the way he appeared to be talking to someone at the side of the camera, when all I wanted him to do was talk directly to the camera with those gorgous eyes and look straight at ME!  To feel someone is talking to the person watching really does make quite a lot of difference, in the same why I hope that when I reply to comments I hope the 'recipient' feels I am 'speaking' only to them.  That's how I feel when I'm writing the reply anyway.

A welcome to Diana who also enjoys Paul Hollywoods progs.  Unfortunately, it seems as though you will still have to wrap up warm as the weather forecast shows no sign of warming up for the rest of this week. 

So now my thoughts are with you Kathryn as I pen my reply.  Good to hear that 7.00pm is a good time to go to Morrison's for deli bargains, although I'd be wanting to be settled in my chair that time of the evening (glued of course to the TV).  Tongue is a cooked meat that I've never liked much although B loves it, and once or twice have cooked a tongue when 'catering'.  I didn't have a tongue press, so used to roll up the cooked (and peeled) tongue and push it into a deep and fairly small (about 8" wide) cake tin that had a loose base, then turn it upside down and place in a shallow dish so the loose base was then uppermost, and stand heavy weights on it.  This would then push the base down and 'squash' the tongue underneath.  After 24 hours in the fridge it ended up just like the 'rounds' of tongue you see in the deli. 

Yes Pam, I've often included young radish leaves to other salad leaves.  They taste a bit 'peppery' like watercress or rocket (think this is called 'arugula' in the US).  Older leaves become a bit hairy with less 'mouth appeal'.  Young beetroot leaves can also be eaten as a 'salad leaf'.
You are lucky with your weather, perhaps not lucky, it's normal for the season.  Here the forecast is snow for the east of Scotland, and as mentioned above, very cold for the rest of the UK, with possibly more snow later in other parts.  Suppose we should be grateful that we are not having the heavy rain that cause so much chaos last year.   If the rain can keep off, then the ground will have a good chance to dry out a bit and crops can be sown and hopefully grow to maturity.

As I finish a paragraph, tend to lift my eyes up and my attention has just been caught by a young grey squirrel sitting on the fence between our garden and next door.  On this our neighbour has fitted a little box with a glass front and liftable lid (about the size of a bird box) in which he appears to have put some monkey nuts.  The squirrel keeps going to the box, lifting the lid, taking a nut, giving it a bit of a nibble, then running down the side of the fence, ending up burying the peanuts in our lawn.  In fact in several places, as with two nuts in a shell, two different burying places, and with continuous repeats (have seen the squirrel do this about 7 times this morning) our lawn could end up like a groundnut farm.   Or perhaps, when there are no nuts in the box, the squirrel then goes and digs them up to eat.   Not a lot of difference to me going to the supermarket then 'hiding' my purchases in the larder, ready to 'dig out' when I need to eat or cook something.

Don't know if anyone watches 'Ade in Britain', weekdays 4.00pm ITV.  'Ade' is a very pleasant presenter who travels the UK seeking out traditional crafts, music, dancing and food.  He also does some cooking using a tiny trailer behind his equally tiny car as his 'kitchen', although most of the cooking is done 'al fresco'.
Yesterday Ade was in Wales and as our daughter had brought us a traditional 'Bara Brith' (cross between a fruit loaf and a fruit cake) when she returned from her holiday in Wales, was very pleased to see a demonstration of how it was made by a member of a local W.I.   Was able to take down the recipe all except for how long it should bake, because B entered the room at that moment and started speaking to me and so I missed that bit.  At least have enough experience to know when it is cooked, and have a 'cake tester' that I can stick in which changes colour when a cake is cooked through, so no problem. 
First must soak fruit et al in boiling hot tea, leave it overnight and then add all the other ingredients and then can bake the Bara Brith. The reason why I want to do this soon is because already we've eaten what was given us (and I ate most of it!!!) so want MORE.   Can soak the fruit today, make and bake the Bara Brith tomorrow.

So looks like being a busy week but fortunately (for me) Norma the Hair won't be coming on Thursday, she has to have a minor op (so not so fortunate for her).  At least this will give me a couple of extra hours to do things with.  My thoughts are focussed mainly on the recipe booklet, for if I do this in short bursts, then I'll lose concentration.   When it comes to writing them down (possibly later this week, or maybe next), this would be better done before writing my blog as my mind is always clearer first thing.  This would then mean my blog would be published later, probably around noon (although this often happens now when I'm in full flow and can't stop rambling), but will warn you the day before I start so you won't expect an early blog.  It might be a take a day off from blogging just to get the booklet completed to my satisfaction, then I can sit back and have to find something else 'interesting' to do.  Now the bug has bit, feel that I'd like to do more 'working with others' if I can.

Anyway B has just popped his head through the door to remind me of the time.  We hope to be at M's as close to 9.00am as poss, so must sign off for today.  More news of the Goode life tomorrow. TTFN.
p.s. spellcheck not working and haven't time to scroll through an edit out my errors - so live with them!