Monday, October 14, 2013

'Souper Trooper'...

The days are getting shorter, the dark mornings make me believe it is earlier than it is.  Our lovely summer this year is fast becoming a fond memory.  Do hope that our overseas readers are able to watch 'The Great British Year' (BBC 1) series, currently being shown.  Yesterday watched the repeat of the second episode - this showing spring and summer.  As this was filmed last year, we were reminded of how wet a summer we had then, and how difficult filming was.  But - as ever - they made a good job of it, and there were some lovely scenes of our British countryside, flora and fauna.
Felt the bluebell woods did not show their true beauty, not enough blue to be seen.  Have the same trouble when taking a photo, the blue comes out much paler than it really is.

Was able to watch the '...Bake Off'' repeat in its entirety.  Not the most interesting, I prefer to see cake rather than breads being made, although bread has its place, and certainly more and more people seem to be baking bread these days.   Ruby was her usual helpless self bless her (I am trying to be nice but agree with you Kathryn), and despite breaking a glass bowl, managed to end up 'best baker' of that session. 

Back to baking again today for me, as it is now getting eaten as fast as it is made. Today I'll be making another batch of (extended) dough, turning it into one loaf and several smaller buns.  After watching a bit of Anna Olsen baking bread yesterday, will try my hand at Porter-House Rolls, and some braids (slightly different way of plaiting).  Also want to tray making some cheese and bacon filled 'rolls' (rolled out dough, spread with fried and crushed bacon, sprinkled with grated cheese, rolled up then sliced.  Baked cut side up like Chelsea Buns).  All these rolls will be served at my 'soup kitchen' this lunchtime.

Certainly my soup (and esp. the home-made bread) is enjoyed by the menfolk.  Friday's offering was (as ever) a home-made, make-it-up-as-I-go soup, this time a base of beef broth, in which I cooked some finely diced carrot, celery and onion, and adding some pre-cooked minced beef.  Then blitzed most of the soup (leaving a bit with chunky bits in), found the flavour a bit bland, so added a good squirt of tomato ketchup, pepper and salt.  Finally folded the chunky bits back into the soup and it was pretty good though I say it myself.

As it happened, B's friend was late (he phoned to say he was held up, but an hour later than expected anyway, but then soup is easily warmed up).  This time the apprentice wasn't with him (although expected), so I had a portion of soup left.  B asked me if it would freeze, I said it would but I'd have it for my supper.
I'd made extra small loaves (bread rolls) to go with the soup, serving seven in case one of the 'diners' wanted more than one, but they were all demolished, so must have been enjoyed.

Apparently the soup was so nice that B forgot (?!!) what I'd said and re-heated the leftovers for part of his own supper before I got a chance to have it.  Not that it mattered.  What did make me smile was late (you'll appreciate this bit Eileen) was when B returned from his Friday night at the social club, he told me that the friend - who was there - bought him TWO drinks "as a thank you for the hospitality and the lovely food".  Good to know that in a back-handed way what I do has been appreciated.  Roll on this week, maybe B will have more free drinks bought for him.  Me, I just do the washing up!  I know my place.

Your mention of having an open fire Les (for special occasions) reminded me of how we used to burn all our rubbish/waste on our living room fire when we lived in Leeds.  There is so much more than wood (or smoke-less fuel) that can be burnt, and every bit saves the cost of heating by other fuel.  Citrus peel skins burn well as they are 'oily',  tightly folded strips of newspaper make good fire-lighters, and oily pans wiped with kitchen paper or newspaper also burned well.  As do those ends of tea-lights (candles).  
Pine cones burn well, and certainly all meat bones (the latter as good as logs). any kitchen waste (peelings, apple cores etc) we used to pile on the top of the fire to 'damp it down' and keep the embers hot until ready to rake through the next morning and get it going again by putting on fresh kindling.  The only waste products that weren't put onto the fire were the plastics. 

We used to save the ashes (and any soot we managed to brush down) and spread it over the garden soil.  Tomatoes grow particularly well in the greenhouse if their bottomless large pots are stood on a base of ashes.  My dad used to grow them this way, and I once did a trial with two tomato plants grown on the ashes, the other plant pots just standing on grow-bags, and the ones on ashes grew much better and had larger crops than the others.

Loved hearing about your holiday in Morocco Sarina.  Could visualise you sitting on the roof with a drink in hour hand.  Also sitting and eating couscous and tagine.  It sounded a wonderful place.
Am pretty sure I've seen some of the cookery (almost travel) progs given by Ottolengi and really did enjoy watching them.   It is good to get a 'taste' of the country as well as the food.

Thanks for reminding me of when the clocks go back Joy,  B told me they would be going back this (last) weekend, and reminded me of this on Saturday evening, but as I was up normal time, and actually forgot (didn't feel right time of year to do it anyway), was not surprised to find that B had made a mistake.  After pointing out that the TV supplement didn't show a GMT change of time with their late-night progs on the Saturday (the change is at 2.00am on the Sunday), asked B to check, and he said he had got it wrong.  We have to wait until the 27th (I think that was the date), so a couple or so more weeks to go.

Am sure you are right Joy, a slow-cooker could give off a small amount of heat, and - when switched on - left in a room for several hours where the air is fairly still, this could help to raise the temperature a bit.  Often I put stewing meat into the slow cooker to cook through overnight (an extra hours cooking makes the meat even more tender), and going into the kitchen first thing, the room (normally colder than the others) feels comfortably warm, and of course the meat has given off a lovely aroma.
Suppose light bulbs also give off heat (as do our bodies), so sitting by a standard lamp, or beside another person (on a couch?) means we gain a little more heat.

Not quite sure how your Dad managed to reach Heysham Head from the Trough of Bowland Janet, he must have driven through Morecambe to reach it.  Or maybe Heysham Head is where the nuclear power station now is.  Certainly no go-cart track in Heysham now, however it is still a very pretty village, full of fishermen's cottages, and almost every one with hanging baskets and window boxes outside full of flowers.  For several years it has won 'The Prettiest Village' for its floral displays, and believe opted out of entering again to give others a chance.

Forgive me for writing a shorter blog today, have to start making the bread dough soon, and prepare the ingredients for the 'soup du jour' (today's will be Chicken and Mushroom). Also need to make a dessert (more than one) for B's evening 'afters'.  Plus putting a load of washing in the machine, then hanging it on airers in front of some radiators.   Also have to make a batch of marmalade. 
Once the 'soup kitchen' has closed down, then should have more time to ramble on.  Certainly will find time to have another chat tomorrow, so hope then to meet up with you all again.  TTFN.