Sunday, May 19, 2013

Nose to the Grindstone!

Just grabbing a few minutes 'relaxation' to have my morning chat with you.  Not a lot of cooking needs to be done today, most of it being done either next Friday or on the Saturday, but still plenty of preparation of the non-food type.  So today am sorting out all the various canned foods that I'll be needing to use (chickpeas, tomatoes etc), the dry goods (lentils, gram flour...), canned fruits (tropical fruit, pineapple...), then moving on to collecting together all the various baking tins, serving dishes, serving bowls that will be needed, and from then it is a matter of 'head down' and get on with the cooking.

Today hope to find time to make some small meringue 'swirls', in dual colour (pink and white stripe effect) just in case I change my mind about the dessert to make.  Probably will make three different desserts anyway so the 'diners' can choose which they want (or even have some of each).  Today want to make a mini 'Eton mess' (berries, whipped cream and crushed meringues) so that I can see how long the meringues will stay crunchy when prepared in advance.  I don't want to have to start putting things together just prior to serving.   Anyway, the club kitchen is so small (like a galley), that I'm not allowed in there once I've got the meal sorted as there is only room for two ladies to stand and serve the curries.  The rest of the 'sides' are placed on a table in front of the hatch on a 'help-yourself' basis.

On Sunday will be able to give you a run-down on all the food served, and the thought of it now is making my mouth water, yet not even sure I'll be eating any on the night as I'll have been tasting my way through most of it during the day (a cook has to keep tasting to make sure it is as good as it could be).

I've ordered from Tesco for a Tuesday delivery this week - just the fresh veg and a few other things needed for the party.  Noticed they did have the Paul H's 'Bread' book, so reluctantly ordered one as am sure the recipes are good even if P.H. has toppled himself off his pedestal.   Think it's very unlikely that he will be asked back to do 'The Great British Bake-off', in fact hope he isn't for his very appearance will put me off watching.   Still hope the series continues.  Perhaps they could use one or both of 'the Baker Boys'.  They seem clean-living enough,.

That preserving book you mentioned Sarina sounded a worth-while buy, especially if it covers a lot more than just making jams and marmalade.  In the old days a lot of foods were preserved to feed a family through the winter months (and this included eggs!).  Nowadays, with fridges and freezers a lot of the old ways are being forgotten.

Good to hear that you have got at least one man to attempt to cook himself that sausage casserole Janet.  If classes can be held and/or tasting sessions made, am sure a lot more people will have a go at cooking a meal for themselves, especially if they are given a 'feedback' form so they can let you know how they got on, or came across any problems.  Perhaps manufacturers could be persuaded to give free samples for the 'clients' to use (and then report back). Certainly am sure many would give money-off vouchers for their products.   'Something for nothing' is always guaranteed to bring people back to a cookery class.

I understand that when it comes to the Morecambe Foodbank 'allocation', this can be given out only three times to the same person/family, by then they are expected to have got their benefits etc sorted out.  Does this apply to the one you are associated with Janet?  Am assuming all the Foodbanks in this country are 'voluntary' (funded by donations etc) and have to conform to the same rules, although the Rossendale one does sound slightly different in that its 'allocation' includes other (fresh) foods that are not on the 'prescribed' list. 

Have to take my leave of you today as time is moving on.  It's the only way I get things done and still find a little time for relaxation (which I need).  I feel great when my adrenalin has kicked in, but have enough sense (now) to stop when I begin to feel stressed.  So far no stress has reared its ugly head.  Let us hope it stays that way, although on Thursday, having to spend the evening at a cookery class and THEN eating an Indian meal, followed by an early appt. on Friday for a weight check (by then I'll have gained back 7 lbs!!), and then getting on making three curries for Saturday (these improve by standing overnight before reheating).  Not to mention making the desserts, and - on the Saturday, as late as possible, frying/baking samosa, frying bhajis and pakoras, frying poppadums, cooking koftas. Oh yes, cooking rice and assembling the biryani.  Reheating all curries, making salads, and cooking chapatis on a hot dry pan.  Also putting mango chutney and lime pickle into serving bowls, and making lots of Raita. Well, that's the idea anyway. It could be a few things might have to be left out.  It all depends how well I get on.

Have a feeling that even if I change into my 'party gear', I'll smell of frying that evening because the 'fumes' will have stuck into my hair.  Maybe, by putting the extractor fan on over the hob, and using my deep fat fryer will help to keep a lot of the smell off me.   Perhaps it would be a good idea for some perfume manufacturer to make a special scent especially for cooks.  'Eau de Chippie' perhaps.  Or 'Garlic for Girls'.   

Perhaps the not-very-well-known 'free' scent (at least for cooks) is Vanilla Extract.  Dab a bit of that behind the ears and on the wrists, and often people think it is an expensive perfume.  Men particularly like it as it makes their subconscious think of food, and we all know the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach.  At least it is with my man.

With that thought, really MUST zoom off into the kitchen.  Should be able to find time to drop in for a 'bit of a blog' tomorrow.  Hope to see you then.  TTFN.