Friday, May 30, 2014

Just Dropping In...

A short blog this evening due to B going out to his weekly social 'do' at the sailing club, and - for some reason - I feel very tired and wanting an early night.  So am taking the opportunity to get to sleep before B returns and does his extra-noisy Friday night puffing and blowing over me as he sleeps. And talks out loud, sings (all in his sleep bless him) and generally keeps me awake.  If I can get to sleep before he returns then I can sleep through it.

Don't know why, the forecast is for milder weather, but today I felt very cold again, had to tuck myself up with two quilts as I sat in my chair and eventually put the central heating back on.  It is only the living room that is cold (east facing), the other side of the house (kitchen, conservatory - that gets the afternoon sun) that is warm, but not comfortable enough to curl up and relax in.  Of course if I wore a long-sleeved jumper I would feel much warmer, but I can only work in short sleeves, and am never fond of keeping my forearms covered except during the winter months.

Enough of my moans.  A thank you to the two Alisons (Essex and Shropshire) also Margie who are encouraging me to take a taxi to the church.  Still not sure (I find it difficult to spend money on myself), but B is able to take me to the church tomorrow evening and also collect me.  Will see how I feel when next Tuesday comes.

Your mention Margie, of eating Cheddar cheese with apple pie is also traditional in the UK but certainly in Yorkshire the Wensleydale cheese seems to be preferred when eating with apples.  We like to eat rich fruit cake (like Christmas cake) with cheese, usually cheddar.
Sometimes I add grated cheese to pastry, either to the flour when making, or sprinkled over the ready-made, then folding before rolling it out.  Works well when making quiches and also apple pies.

Always looking for simple ideas to use cheap (or left-over) ingredients to make an interesting meal, happened to come across the following recipe (published in More For Your Money).  I've probably given it before (maybe several years ago) but worth a repeat especially as it is an unusual way to use up thick left-over cold custard (made with custard powder).  Or cold blancmange - this being just a flavoured custard (strawberry, chocolate etc).

The name of this dessert translates literally as 'fried milk', but when I used to make these (the children loved them, and so did B), we called them 'lecherous pancakes'.
If you make custard that is 'pouring' consistency, then this would not be solid enough when cold, but worth making some specially for this dish by using three-quarters of a pint of milk instead of a full pint, but keeping to the 'pint' quantities of custard powder and sugar.   Pour into a shallow dish when made and leave to get cold, the chill in the fridge for several hours until very firm. Cut into inch and a quarter (3cm) squares with knife dipped in hot water.

Leche Frita: serves 4 - 6
3/4pt thick custard (see above) cut into squares
2 large eggs, beaten
2 oz (50g) fine fresh breadcrumbs
2 oz (50g) butter
1 tblsp sunflower oil
1 tblsp caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Dip the custard squares into the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs.  Place on kitchen paper until ready to cook.
Melt the butter and oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat, then when hot, place the squares - a few at a time - in the pan and brown them for about a couple of minutes, then - using a fish slice - turn them over and brown the other side for a further 2 minutes.  Put them on a heated plate and sprinkle with a mixture of the sugar and cinnamon.  Serve at once.

Here is another cheapo dish from the above book, useful when you have left-over fruit cake (ordinary fruit cake is fine, it doesn't have to be the heavy fruit cake - but this can also be used).  This is another of those traditional puds, the original name being Cabinet Pudding (sometimes called Parliament Pudding). As you can see, my adaptation has been given a third name - but still keeping with government boundaries so to speak.

Westminster Pudding: serves 3 - 4
3 slices of bread, crusts removed
5 fl oz (150ml) milk
1 egg, beaten
6 oz (175g) stale fruit cake (see above)
Grease a 1pt (570ml) pudding basin or ring mould.  Break the bread into small pieces and put them into a bowl.  Mix in the beaten egg and milk, then leave to stand for 15 minutes (longer if you wish).
Break up the cake into small pieces and add to the mixture, then pour this into the prepared basin and cover with pleated baking parchment/foil.  Steam for 1 hour if using a basin, or 45 minutes if cooked in a ring mould.

Final recipe today is slightly more expensive than the above, but for readers who make their own lemon curd and yogurt (or a long-life double cream (such as Elmlea), then the makings are to hand. 
What amuses me is that the recipe says 'not suitable for freezing', yet when fully prepared this HAS to be frozen for up to 1 1/2 hours before serving.  Possibly they mean not long-term freezing as these can be made the day before and kept in the fridge, then placing in the freezer for the time stated just before you plan to serve them.

Am giving the recipe as published, but myself prefer to use home-made Greek yogurt instead of the cream.  Or half the yogurt and half the cream - this makes the dessert taste lighter and less rich.  Your choice of course.

Iced Lemon Mousses: serves 6
11 oz (300g) lemon curd
grated zest of 1 lemon
half pint (300ml) double or whipping cream..
..OR Greek yogurt
few shortbread biscuits, crushed
Put two-thirds of the lemon curd into a bowl with the lemon zest and cream, then beat with an electric whisk until it just holds its shape (if using Greek yogurt instead of cream just fold together, if using both yogurt and cream, beat the lemon curd and cream then fold in the yogurt).
Drizzle the remaining lemon curd over the mixture, then spoon into 6 small glass pots or glasses, allowing the curd to marble through.  Place the pots on a small tray, then cover pots and tray with cling-film and place in the freezer for 1 1/2 hours before serving.  If you wish to make these ahead of time, cover and chill in the fridge for a day before freezing/serving.
To complete the dessert, remove from freezer - they should be ice-cold, but still a bit soft and creamy - and sprinkle the shortbread crumbs on top.  Serve immediately.

If you wish to make a frozen dessert that is more solid than the above, mix equal quantities of lemon curd (pref home-made) with the same amount of Greek yogurt, then freeze for several hours, an keep for several days/weeks to eat as ice-cream (frozen yogurt). If very solid allow to soften in the fridge for an hour (or room temp. 20 minutes) to make it easier to scoop out.

As the weekend starts just about now (for those returned home from work and for those who now don't work), we now have a couple of days to relax (or do all those chores that have been mounting up).  A good time to do some gardening, preparing for the summer bedding (or veggie growing). Definitely time for me to clean all the windows in the conservatory.  I've twice asked B but he has short-term memory, and so I might as well do them myself.  Not difficult, just have to don my window-cleaning hat and role-play.  Less chance of me then getting distracted.  Role play ALWAYS works.  I should do it more often.

As is now usual, I won't be blogging tomorrow.  Possibly will Sunday night, but maybe might leave it until Monday morning.  Depends on what's on TV, and how I feel at the time.  There was a time when I felt I HAD to blog early each morning and every morning except Christmas, but now I'm tending to give myself a bit more 'me' time, and feel all the better for it.  Also am running out of recipes and hints/tips.  There is only so much I've learned over the years that I share with you, and in danger of repeating myself (to often). 

Myself feel there are now so many cost-cutting/home-cooking sites (all with glorious photos) that all I'm left to give are a few suggestions as to reduce costs even further, then fill the rest of the page with my moans, groans, and putting the world to right (aka 'my ramblings'), always hoping that tomorrow will be the day that something really interesting happens that I can write about - but nothing so far has occurred that is of much interest to me, let alone anyone else.  Let's hope I get a 'message' through the medium at the church tomorrow.  I need to know what direction to take next.  Or stop going altogether. Mrs Impatient, that's me.

Hope you all have a good weekend, and looking forward to getting more comments (only a few sent recently, but I do know my blog does not have top priority).  Roll on Monday.  TTFN.