Friday, April 05, 2013

Early To Bed, Early To Rise...

Up early (deliberately) so that I could spend the morning writing up my Foodbank recipes.  Let us hope all goes as planned. 

Thanks for comments.  Don't worry about not being able to make pastry Mandy,  neither can I.  It seems that some are good pastry-cooks, others aren't.  My mother made the most wonderful pastry, yet - working side by side with her, doing exactly what she did - her pastry ended up melting in the mouth and mine was as tough as old boots.   Many cooks/chefs seem better at making one thing than another, so a good - and large enough - restaurant will employ someone to be a pastry-cook, or one to make stocks and sauces, or desserts.

Almost all TV chefs have admitted to buying the ready-made puff pastry, and myself do this, although in the past have made 'rough puff' pastry, and 'flaky' pastry.  I also buy filo pastry AND (dare I even admit this) the ready made shortcrust pastry because I CANNOT make pastry as good as this however hard I try.

The mention of an uncooked chocolate cake: 'tiffin', sounded interesting Mandy.  Would that be what we call 'refrigerator cake'?

Sad that the Warwick Doll's Museum is no longer there Rachel, let us hope the contents were able to be placed in another museum.  Good to hear that the property now is a tea-room (even though no parking outside for mobility scooters).
This is the problem I'm finding here in Morecambe.  Although the pavements are wide enough to park a scooter outside a shop on the main road that runs at the side of the promenade, the many side streets that house the most interesting shops/cafes etc, have pavements really too narrow to allow pedestrians to have ease of room to walk between a parked scooter at the side of a shop and a parked car in the road.  This even prevents me slowly having a pavement-scoot to just 'window-shop'.  Perhaps, if I had a smaller, three-wheel scooter, this would take up less room, mine is a four-wheeler, and larger because of this, but at least the size does give a more comfortable ride.

Haven't been to the cinema for YEARS Pam, mainly because we get to see them on TV.  At one time we had to wait for 10 years to see a film, now it can be as little as one year.  See that 'The King's Speech' will be shown, think this weekend, and it doesn't seem too long ago when that was first shown in cinemas. 
Part of the pleasure of 'going to the 'flicks' in the old days was waiting for the interval and 'here comes the girl with the tray'.  She would stand at the end of the aisle and people would queue up to buy those little tubs of ice cream that would be given with a little flat spoon for eating.

Surprisingly, there are still some characters in both Eastenders and Coronation Street (aka 'Corrie') that I'm sure you will remember Pam.  'Ken Barlow' is still in Corrie (married to Deidre for the second time).  Also 'Rita' at the Kabin. ' Elsie Tanner's' son, 'Dennis' has returned to the series, now an older man of course, but still the actor (in the series he has recently married 'Rita'). 'Sally Webster' ('Kevin's' wife) still there, her two daughter's now grown up, one still in the series.

 'Emily Nugent' before she married (now 'Emily Bishop') is still in Corrie, and of course there is 'Gail', who married several times.  Her family now grown up.  'Nick Tilsley' (her eldest son) now owns the 'Bistro' at the end of Coronation Street, he recently re-married 'Leanne Battersby' (do you remember the Battersby's?).  Youngest son David, now also married and they live with Gail in the Street.  

'Phil Mitchell', 'Ian Beale', 'Dot' (married to 'Jim Branning'), are still in Eastenders, and 'Sharon' has just returned to the series.  One of the stalwarts 'Pat' who seemed to have married many times, and who seems to have been related by marriage to almost all the characters in Corrie, recently died (but only in the series). Oh yes, 'Bianca' has returned to the series after a long absence, although 'Rickeee', has now left (but he may return as he sometimes does occasionally).

Right, it's now close to 8.30am, so just time for me to write up a few recipes, then I'll really have to get on with writing up the Foodbanks ditto. 
First recipe is a great one for those who prefer to 'grow their own', but of course can be made using bought fresh produce (or even with canned new potatoes).  Like most salads, we  can vary the ingredients.   The recipe for 'salad cream' (included as part of the complete recipe) is worth knowing, and a little icing sugar could be added to make it taste more like the commercial variety.
Garden Salad: serves 4
12 oz (350g) new potatoes
4 eggs
10 oz (300g) runner beans, stringed and sliced
3 oz (75g) radishes, sliced
1 Little Gem lettuce, leaves separated
2 tblsp olive oil
salad cream:
3 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tblsp English mustard
1 x 142ml tub single cream
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch salt
Start by making the salad cream (as when this is made a few hours ahead of serving, it will thicken naturally), and to do this all we need do is whisk the ingredients together, then cover and leave to thicken.
Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a large pan of boiling water, and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender.  Halfway through the cooking time, add the eggs to the pan so they hard-boil alongside the potatoes.  Drain both, and then leave to cool before slicing the potatoes and shelling the eggs.
Boil the beans for about 5 minutes until just tender, then drain and refresh under cold running water. Drain well again, then set aside.
When ready to serve, put the sliced potatoes, radishes, and beans in a bowl and drizzle over the oil, then toss together.  Line a bowl with the salad leaves, then pile the veggies in the centre.  Cut the eggs into quarters and arrange these around the edges.   Serve the salad cream separately,in a small jug, to allow everyone to help themselves.

Next recipe is a traditional British favourite.  Basically the same ingredients/weights as when making a Victoria sandwich cake, but with the addition of syrup and breadcrumbs.  If you feel like pushing the boat out, serve with clotted cream, or return to the more (and cheaper) trad. way and serve with more syrup and custard.
Schoolboy's Favourite Steamed Pud: serves 4 - 6
3 tlblsp golden syrup
1 tblsp fresh white breadcrumbs
6 oz (175g) butter, softened
6 oz (175g) caster sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs, beaten
6 oz (175g) self-raising flour
2 tblsp milk
Put the syrup and breadcrumbs into a bowl and mix together.  Place these in the base of a well buttered 1 ltr  pudding basin.
Put the butter and sugar into a bowl with the lemon zest, then beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then fold in the flour and finally, the milk.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared basin, then cover with a double layer of buttered foil and baking parchment, making a pleat in the centre to allow room for rising.   Tie the cover securely to the basin with string, then place in a steamer or large pan containing enough water to come halfway up the sides of the basin.   Cover pan and steam for one and a half hours, topping up with more boiling water if necessary. 
When cooked, turn out onto a serving dish.  Pour a little warmed syrup over the top if you wish, and serve with clotted cream, pouring cream, or custard.

That's it, time is up, so having left myself plenty of time this morning, should now have no need to take a couple of days off blogging.  All being well, should then see me returning tomorrow to have another 'chat'.  Hope to see you then.