Sunday, August 10, 2014

One Man's Meat.....?

With the remnants of hurricane Bertha crossing the UK, probably there won't be many readers this weekend, and can only hope that most of them managed to avoid the flooding and wind damage (let alone a small tornado) that hit many parts of the country. 
Here in Morecambe we got off lightly.  The 'tasting session' run by the sailing club was expected to be cancelled, but we woke to a very still day, with barely enough wind to fill the sails.  So the turnout was great.  Slightly more wind as the day went on, and although we have had rain, not much more than drizzle.   It is only now (8.00pm) that the wind has picked up, but still not enough to cause any problems (like sending wheelie bins hurtling down the street scattering their contents).   Have noticed a lot more apples on the lawn, blown down by the wind.

By the end of this coming week the weather is said to improve, and now the hurricane has nearly past (at the moment at the top of Scotland), am hoping all we get is normal British summer weather (which usually means rain, but then it could return to sun and more sun again - we just have to wait and see).

Yesterday was thinking about my 'media work'.  In general, not specifically.  What does happen with most media cooks is that normally it is the producers of the programmes that set the scene and decide what they want to be demonstrated.  Certainly with live programmes (such as Pebble Mill at One) I didn't have a script to remember, to some extent I could say what I liked, but still had to fit it into the time allowed, so there was some sort of 'verbal' rehearsal.

Don't know how readers feel, but most cookery programmes never give as much detail as I wish they would, but then no two viewers are the same, each wanting to know something different.  Several times I've wanted to ask a TV cook to give me some info, and the only way I could reach them was by their website, and because these were 'run' by website staff, was never able to get a reply by the cook/chef, or get any reply at all. 
This is why I used to enjoy giving live demonstrations to local groups as then there was always an opportunity for individual members of the audience to ask questions and come up and speak to me individually after the demo.

With this blog am hoping something similar can be achieved as although I do give random recipes in the hope they will appeal to at least someone (hopefully more than one), the only way I can do a one-to-one is for someone to send in a comment requesting certain info or recipe or 'uses for' a seasonal vegetable or something, then at least I can reply to these individually, even though the answer is read by all.

How I wish I could do something like the politicians do:  have a weekly 'surgery' where people could come and speak to the person, ask questions and hope to get the answer they wished.  At least being able to send comments to this blog is almost as good, even though it does take longer to get a reply, and of course not a proper conversation that could go on for hours (once I get the cost-cutting' bit between my teeth you would find it hard to get a word in edgewise).

Managed to watch the repeat of '....Bake Off' yesterday morning, am not surprised I nod off, it is such a gentle show.  There was also a repeat of the new series about making sweets, but that was on much earlier and I didn't know until too late.  Still feel that with everyone urged to eat less sugar, I'm surprised this programme was made.  But then as it was almost certainly filmed before the 'sugar-scare', a waste of money if not transmitted.  One good thing is that if we HAVE to eat sweets, or wish our children to have some as a treat, then home-made will always be best, and nothing like 'knowing how to...' if we plan to make a box of assorted sweets to give as Christmas presents (as eating sweets is part of the tradition).

Instead of recipes, today am giving a few hints and tips because these can save both money and time, or at least make cooking easier. 

With this being the season for fresh corn on the cob, the way to remove the silk threads quickly is to wipe the cob from top to bottom with a clean damp towel or damp kitchen paper.
To remover the kernels from the cop, use a shoehorn.

When preparing a salad (especially when using a crisp lettuce such as iceberg) don't cut the lettuce leaves with a knife (although a plastic knife is ok) as the cut surface then turns brown.  Tear off the leaves instead.

Make a large quantity of vinaigrette dressing (aka French dressing) and store this in the fridge.  Don't add garlic or herbs to a dressing when keeping it (as it won't then keep), but chop them and add them fresh to each amount of salad dressing used when making/serving a salad.
vinaigrette dressing:
8 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp white wine vinegar
good pinch of salt
plenty of ground black (or white) pepper
and half tsp dry mustard
Put everything into a screw-top jar, place the lid on and shake vigorously.   Store in the fridge, but always give a good shake each time before using.

Always use cold water to mix mustard (powder) and mix it at least 10 minutes before serving, to allow the flavour to develop.  If you have made too much mustard, pour a very little oil on top to keep out the air, but use within a few days.
As English mustard is very hot, it can be made milder by making it with milk, but only make as much as needed as best not kept (as above).

Final tip is for those who do craftwork (dressmaking etc).   Use pinking shears to cut strips of pastry when decorating tarts.

Yes, I know it is early, but am sure everyone has better things on their mind (due to the storms) than sitting in front of a computer.  By tomorrow expect the worst will be over, and 'catch-up' can be done, so will keep this short, and return sometime tomorrow inviting you all to maybe enjoy more 'media moments', or whatever comes to my mind at the time of writing. 
Whatever the weather, hope you all have a restful evening and a good night's sleep.  TTFN.