Saturday, June 21, 2014

So We Think it's All Over....?

So England is now out of the world football series.   Was expecting B to not bother watching the remaining matches, but he tells me he will be.  Not that footie is THAT important, he missed one this evening as he was going to the social, and missing another at this very moment as he has still not returned (and it is after midnight).

Was hoping B would now find time to do all the necessary bits and bobs around our house, but still there is work to finish at 'the shed', and also working again next week for his friend AGAIN!.  Told B that I want to go to the spiritualist meeting on Tuesday and asked him to take me, as a taxi costs too muc), and after much sighing and 'will then have to start work early to take the time off',  explained to B  that it would take no more than half a hour (his work is close to the church), and as he normally leaves work at 3.30pm, he could leave at 4.00pm, in time to collect me at 4.15.  A few shrugs later he agreed that it was OK.  I mean, he's only helping out his friend, not as an employed assistant, so don't see why he can't give me half an hour of his time.  The rest of the week he does exactly what he wants.

The morning began with the sky covered with heavy black clouds.  Looked as though we would be getting a downpour, but although remaining overcast for most of the morning, it stayed dry, and my neighbour and I had coffee sitting in the garden, it was lovely now that we had lots of flowers to look at, and tubs of lavender close by to brush against as we walked past.
By noon most of the clouds had rolled away and the sun came out, hot as ever, and it was 1.30pm before we broke ranks and went our separate ways.  Sad to say my neighbour has decided to sell her flat and move to Shropshire where her sister lives.  It could be some months before the flat is sold, or she might strike lucky and sell it sooner, but I will miss our coffee mornings and her company very much.

Even  if England have not been lucky with the football, we still have tennis to look forward to, Wimbledon starting on Monday, and do hope that Andy Murray gets through to the final. 
At one time I used to watch all the tennis, but that was in the days of Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors etc, and names/faces I could even recognise as well as pronounce correctly.  In those days the ladies didn't grunt each time they hit the ball, and the balls themselves didn't seem to be hit as hard as they are now. 

Even up to a few years ago I used to settle down to watch the matches, and during the second week would make sure I had those traditional bowls of strawberries and cream to eat while sitting in front of the TV, and also swigging down some BabyCham.  Is BabyCham still sold?  I so, will do it again.

In the Harmsworth Encyclopedia (c.1910) that belonged to my grandparents, there is a recipe for 'Tennis Cake', to be served at those garden parties (or clubs) where posh people played tennis.  I'll hunt it out tomorrow and include it in my (late Sunday) blog this weekend, and then it can be made to be eaten during Wimbledon fortnight by those who like to return to those good old days and eat cake 'like grandma used to make' (or perhaps great-grandma, or even great-great grandma).

When the weather is warm we don't feel like eating much more than salads, maybe with cold meats/pork pies.  Sometimes though we prefer something cooked, and so today's recipes are both suitable for hot summer days.

First recipe is a cross between a risotto and a savoury omelette.  Ideally serve with a rich home-made (or bought) tomato sauce/relish, and even better with the addition of cool, crispy green salad.
Ideally used a non-stick frying pan for the final frying.

Pesto Rice Cake: serves 4
1 oz (25g) butter
1 large leek, finely chopped
12 oz (350g) risotto rice (Arborio)
1.75pts (1 ltr) hot vegetable stock
4 oz (100g) green pesto
2 eggs, beaten
ground black pepper, to taste
5 oz (150g) ball mozzarella, thinly sliced
tomato sauce for serving
Melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the leek for about 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the rice then pour in a ladleful of the stock.  Simmer until almost all has been  absorbed, then keep adding more stock, a ladleful at a time, simmering and continuously stirring, for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and creamy.
Remove from heat and leave to cool for a few minutes, then spoon the rice into a bowl and add the pesto, eggs and black pepper.  Return half this mixture to a non-stick 9"/23cm frying pan (omelette pan size), and flatten the surface.  Arrange the mozzarella slices on top and cover with the remaining eggy rice.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, then put a plate over the frying pan and carefully turn it over so the rice cake sits on the plate, cooked side facing up, then slide the cake from the plate back into the pan to cook the underside. If necessary, press down using a fish slice to reshape the rice cake, and cook for a further 5 minutes until golden.  Serve with tomato sauce and salad.

Next recipe is a good one for eating al fresco, or even sitting in front of the TV watching the sport of the moment.   Although the recipe suggests using pizza-base mixes, we could use home-made bread dough that has been thinly rolled (I sometimes save surplus unbaked bread dough and freeze it in small bags ready to thaw and bake later as rolls/pizzas etc).  Note that the recipe requires a small can of chopped tomatoes, I have yet to find these, most cans seem to hold 400g, but we always find a use for the surplus (but never leave it in the can, always place in a not-metallic dish and chill for a couple or so days, or freezer for several weeks),.Although intending to make four portions (called 'squares' but if cooked in the size tin suggested they would turn out as oblongs)., Served as part of a buffet or TV eating, this could be cut into 8 or even 12 pieces to eat as 'finger food'.

Tuna Pizza Squares: serves 4
2 x 145g packs pizza-base mix
9 fl oz (250ml) warm water
3 tblsp olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 x 200g can chopped tomatoes
pinch dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 x 200g can tuna, drained
2oz (50g) black olives, pitted then sliced
2 oz (50g) cheddar cheese, grated
Put the pizza-base mixes into a bowl and mix in the water to make a smooth dough. Knead for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a floured board and roll to the size to fit into a greased Swiss-roll tin (13" x 11"/ 33 x 28cm).  Place the dough in the tin and brush with a tablespoon of the oil (you may need less).
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the onions until golden, then set aside.  Spread the tomatoes over the dough and scatter the oregano on top, also adding seasoning to taste.
Flake the tuna and spread this over the pizza base, tucking in the sliced olives evenly.  Cover with the fried onions, and finally scattering the grated cheese over everything.
Bake at 200C, gas 6 for 15 - 20 minutes or until dough is risen, cooked through and golden. Cut into four and serve with a salad.

Final recipe today is an easy dessert.  I say 'easy' because most of the ingredients we would probably already have in our larder.  At the moment I don't have meringues, but as I was planning to make some lemon curd tomorrow (in the microwave), I will have saved two egg whites, and would use these to make meringues. Once made, these will store well in an airtight tin for weeks (even months).
My Beloved loves ice-cream, he also loves ginger, so am sure he will REALLY love eating this.
Instead of kirsch we could use a little limoncello, or Cointreau (if using the latter use orange zest not lemon). Or just a little rum - enough to taste but not overtake).

Although the suggestion is to serve this as one solid 'cake', to be cut into wedges, that's fine if intending it to be eaten all up.  As my Beloved will only want one piece at a time, I'll be potting it up in individual containers (with lids) that I've saved once empty (yogurt pots, half-pint cream cartons, tubs that held bought hummous or glace cherries etc).  Then freeze so that just one can be taken out to be eaten as and when required.

When lining tins with clingfilm, it clings better (with less creases) if first the surface of the tin has been wetted with cold water.  Or grease the tin first using oil.

Ginger Ice-Cream: serves 6
6 ready-made meringues
half-pint carton double cream
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tblsp kirsch or other liqueur
2 tlblsp caster sugar
4 pieces stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped
Break the meringues into chunks.   Whisk the cream until just stiff, then fold in the lemon zest, chosen liqueur, sugar, ginger, and the meringue pieces.
Spoon into a 7" (18cm) round cake tin that has been lined with clingfilm (see above tip), level the top and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, turn out of the tin and leave for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges. Drizzle each portion with the syrup from the jar of ginger.

Nearly 2.00am, so time for bed.  B returned home about an hour ago and is now watching a football match.  What is it about men and football?  For goodness sake, it's only a game, and not that interesting to watch anyway. If I had to make a choice, give me Rugby anytime.  That's played by real men who take the rough and tumble in their stride, and don't lie there whimpering if they've suddenly been kicked in the shin or tripped up as the soccer lads do.

As usual, I won' be writing a blog tomorrow, probably returning some time on Sunday, maybe during the day or later in the evening.
Just time to give a reply to the one comment sent in by Granny G.  Why not include cup-cakes along with the other treats you will be making for and with your grandchildren? Not what I would sever at a coffee morning, but youngsters love them and have a lot of fun decorating them.

Enjoy your weekend all my lovely readers, the weather still set fair for the next few days, so hoping it keeps dry for longer, at least until the tennis has finished. Yet we need the rain for the garden, it takes ages to water the containers using watering cans (silly me, I should get B to attach the hose-pipe to the outside tap and then I can just sit in the middle and just turn around pointing the hose in the right direction).  TTFN