Thursday, June 06, 2013

Field Fare...

Managed to return home this morning in time to write my blog, even though B drove on to the Half-Moon Bay Cafe after we left the surgery.  Was pleased to find my blood pressure was down even though the doc. had stopped my B.P pills (due to them possibly the cause of my allergy - which seems to have been the case as since then have had no allergic reaction.  Cannot believe it was just those pills that caused the problem).  B and I had a sausage butty each (B had a fried egg with his), naughty by nice. 

It is such a beautiful day the temptation was to drive further afield, but we both had things to do here, so I might take a scoot out on Norris this afternoon (or later this morning) down to the local shopping parade - this beginning to be trimmed up with flags and bunting ready for the Bare Festival, this coming Saturday.  With the weather still expected to be set fair over the weekend, there will be hundreds of people coming to our 'village', and having experienced this before realise no way could I join in the fun as it is impossible to get through the throngs of people on a mobility scooter. As they even close the road through the village, this too is used for walking to and fro.  
B will probably walk down as they have a 'hog roast' on the tiny 'village green' and he had some last year and said it was absolutely gorgeous and wants more this year.

Did have an hour sitting in the garden again yesterday but although the sun was shining, there was enough small clouds to lower the temperature and it was still quite chilly when the sun went behind one of them.  Today it should be warmer and so  far no clouds, even warmer tomorrow - said to be 21C (although it gave 17C closer to our neck of the woods).   Just right for me, don't think I could cope with it any hotter (as seems to happen in Texas, Toronto, and of course - other places).

Thanks Eileen for instructions on keeping/storing the pickles.  Most things these days have instructions on the label to 'store in the fridge after opening', even tomato ketchup (not that I follow this, usually putting the bottle back on the shelf in the larder).  Think perhaps less preservatives are used these days compared to the past, so they won't keep as long at 'room temperature'.

Your mention of having a deli close to where you live Margie, would be very useful in the summer when it is too hot to cook.  It could work out not much dearer than if you had to cook much of the same things yourself, the cost of fuel (for cooking) being so high these days.  Even here, in the UK, we can buy a ready-roasted (cold) chicken in the supermarkets that is not much more expensive than buying a raw one. 
I have worked out it is MUCH cheaper to roast a large joint of beef (or gammon) to then slice and eat cold than to buy the same weight - already sliced - in the small packs from the supermarket.  This economy works only if we have a freezer to store the remaining slices (as there are a lot from one 'roast').

Yes Margie, do let us now what you think of Paul Hollywood and 'friend', when you watch the next episode of the US bakery competition.  Am hoping that this would be repeated over here, if not on the BBC, maybe on the Food Network.  Do hope so. 

Am sure one of my readers has mentioned that she is a 'mystery shopper', but don't think it was you Pam, so am very interested to hear more about what you have to do.  Was about to ask what 'kolaches' were, but you gave a sort of explanation - it sounding like a bun or roll filled with the egg, bacon and was it sausage? 
It also sounds rather similar to the first recipe I'm giving today, this being another suggestion for Kathryn's OH's lunchbox (and of course for other reader's lunches or picnics).

In the old days, this type of mid-day 'snack' would be taken to farm workers, labouring in the fields, where they would probably sit down, leaning against a hay-stack and enjoy eating a 'Ploughmans' and guzzling down a pint of home-brewed beer or cider.  In those days just a working man's lunch, but today, with the ingredients being much more expensive, probably eaten by 'yuppies' (young and upwardly mobile I think that means), again down with some sort of booze, but almost certainly eating it 'al fresco' at a wine bar, perhaps close to the Thames.

Instead of serving the cheese, apple, crusty bread etc. separately.  Here is an all-in one version, very handy (as I said) for those packed lunches/picnics.
As ever, we can change a few ingredients.  Instead of celery seeds, we could use celery salt or leave them out altogether.  We could choose to use different cheeses.  Why not a pickled onion instead of spring onions? Or sesame seeds rather than poppy seeds?  You're the cook, you take control.
Ploughman's Pack:  makes 8
1 tblsp celery seeds (see above)
1 x 500g pack bread dough mix
7 fl.oz (200ml) milk
approx 11 fl oz (325ml) water
4 oz (100g) extra-mature Cheddar, grated
3 oz (75g) Brie or Camembert, diced
1 apple, cored, and diced into small chunks
2 spring onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper
Stir the celery seeds into the bread mix.  Heat the milk with the water to blood heat (easily done in a microwave) then add this to the bread mix and work together as per packet instructions (or you could make the dough in a bread machine). Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, mix together 3 oz (75g) of the Cheddar with the Brie, apple, and spring onions, adding seasoning to taste.
When the dough has risen, knock back gently then divide into 8 even sized pieces.  Roll them out, one at a time, to a roughly 4" wide circle, then spoon an eighth of the cheese mixture into the centre. Gather up the edges of the dough up around the filling, pinching together to seal firmly, then turn the roll over so the sealed bits are underneath.  Flatten slightly and repeat using the remaining dough and filling.
Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise again, in a warm place, for 30 minutes (or as long as it takes), then place, well apart, on a baking sheet. Brush each with a little milk and sprinkle over a few poppy seeds (and more celery seeds is using).  Finish by sprinkling over the last of the Cheddar, then bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 20 - 25 minutes.  Eat warm or cold, with some pickle (if you packed some).

Next recipe is one that is perfect for those hot days when we crave something a bit more interesting and flavoursome than our traditional English salad of lettuce, cucumber and tomato.  Mangetout peas could be used instead of 'sugarsnap', but I prefer the latter as these can be cut through lengthways (to expose the peas), this in turn making them go twice as far.   You could use Japanese Soba noodles (cooking them as per instructions on pack) or go the cheaper route and buy some of those Tesco 11p packs of Chinese Noodles (you don't have to use the chicken flavouring sachet inside, but you could if you wish).  In any case, the noodles are first cooked, then rinsed under cold running water, so that after draining well, they won't warm up the other ingredients.
The dressing could be altered.  You may prefer to use a Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce diluted with a little of the soy and vinegar,  or a little sesame oil instead of the tahini.  Even a little peanut butter diluted with the water would make a good substitute for the tahini.

Oriental Salad with Sesame dressing: serves 2
7 oz (200g) noodles, cooked (see above)
4 oz (100g) sugar snap peas, halved lengthways
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and finely sliced
half cucumber thinly peeled into ribbons
half a red onion, thinly sliced
3 - 4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
for the dressing:
2 tblsp tahini paste
2 tblsp soy sauce
2 tblsp rice vinegar (or wine vinegar)
1 tblsp caster or icing sugar
First make the dressing by blending the tahini with 2 tblsp water, then stir in the remaining ingredients.
After draining and rinsing the noodles, place in a bowl and pour over half the dressing.  Toss well then sprinkle over the sesame seeds, toss again (so the seeds stick to the noodles, then divide between two bowls, and top with the prepared peas, red pepper, cucumber, onion, and radishes.  When ready to serve, pour over the remaining dressing and serve immediately.

Final recipe is for a fat-less sponge cake.  This may seem dry compared to the Victoria Sponge type cakes, but is exceptionally light in texture and with a gooey filling (which could be mashed fruits mixed with low-fat fromage frais or low-fat cream cheese) still makes healthy eating.  Unfilled sponge cake will freeze, so if living alone on a low-fat diet, then bake layers, cut each in half, then thaw out one half at a time (which can itself be halved and sandwiched together to give two or three slices).
Fat-free Sponge Cake: serves 8
2 oz (50g) plain flour
3 tblsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, separated
6 oz (175g) caster sugar
Sieve together the flour, cornflour and baking powder. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then beat in the sugar. Beat the egg whites quickly, then whisk these into the beaten whites.  Using a metal spoon, fold in the dry ingredients, the divide mixture between two greased and base-lined 8" (20cm) sandwich tins. Bake at 180F, 350F, gas 4 for about 20 minutes until risen and light golden in colour.  Do the usual 'check with skewer' to make sure it comes out clean.  Cool in tins for 10 minutes before removing gently to a cake airer and leave to get cold.  Sandwich together with chosen filling.  Best eaten on day of making, but the cakes (without filling) can be frozen.

Time has caught up with me, so must now take my leave.  Have an unexpected visitor tomorrow morning after Normal has left, so unless I get up early enough won't have time to write a blog tomorrow.  On the other hand - might cancel my hair, so all I can say is 'watch this space'.  If I can't be with you tomorrow, will see you on Saturday.  Enjoy the sun! TTFN.