Sunday, August 17, 2014

Quick Chat

Lovely sunny day but too breezy for me to sit in the garden.  Am not a happy bunny today as our smoke alarm keeps going off several times due to it having reached the end of its life.  We cannot remove it as the fire department fitted it, and they have to deal with it. Pressing the button doesn't stop it.  Hopefully they will come early next week as the noise is driving me mad.  Very loud but fortunately it stops after about 10 bleeps. 

The way the cards are being dealt at the moment, what's the betting the fire department have to come at the time I have (a) the surgery appointment tomorrow or (b) the day after when B would normally be taking me to the church meeting.  The fire dept. can never specify time, just 'morning' or 'afternoon'.  But that's life, should be grateful that is all we have to worry about.

What a good idea Kate to soak the fruit pulp and then use the liquid to make fruit jellies.  I've frozen the fruit but will follow that idea later.  I've also frozen the strained liquid as I just didn't feel like making jam at the moment. 

As I haven't had much experience of reading other peoples archives Margie, can't comment on how they work, but anyone who does want a recipe that I've given previously, usually I'm able to give the correct year/month/day when it should be found almost instantly.  If - for some reason - the info is not available (I've not kept recent records in my personal data bank), am happy to give the recipe/s again.

Wow buttercup!  What a lovely lot of friends you have.  My imagination is now picturing your kitchen table and units covered with baskets of apples, plums, potatoes, onions and tomatoes. With bowls of blackberries and tucked in somewhere the couple of cucumbers.  Not to mention pears to come.  Could make a lot of work for you over the next few days, but if you have room in your freezer then it is worth freezing some of the tomatoes whole (still in skins - then end up feeling and looking like snooker balls) as these could later be popped into a bowl of hot water - the skins then sliding off instantly, then left to thaw fully to use for making a rich tomato sauce for pasta and pizzas (which can again be frozen).

Blackberries freeze perfectly as-is, plums also (bur first remove the stones), potatoes and onions should keep well.  Apples also keep well if perfect (and of the cooking variety), dessert apples keep longer if kept cool (in the fridge), but of course can also be prepared and frozen or cooked/frozen. 

Do hope you have good weather buttercup for your 'open garden' day today, and will enjoy it all the more due to the way you funded it.  Am repeating your words "anything struggled for is always far more appreciated", as this really works. 

Yesterday was is so much pain with my knee - it even began to hurt a lot when I was sitting down - so when I went to bed I 'had a word' with my guardian angel, respectfully asking if he/she could lessen the pain for me a bit. 
Strangest thing was, when I woke in the night to go to the bathroom (as old people always do) my knee hardly hurt at all, and all through today it has been quite bearable.  Could be coincidence of course, but then the spiritualists say there is no such thing as a coincidence.  Maybe the pain in my knee is like toothache - the day we go to the dentist the ache goes away, and it is tomorrow I see the doctor.

This afternoon watched 'Cook's Questions' on one of the Freeview channels.  It was quite interesting for the more dedicated cooks I suppose.  Count myself in that category so did learn a few hints and tips that I might put into use, but can still feel comfortable keeping at the lower end of the domestic scale as there is nothing like 'farmhouse fare' to warm the cockles of our hearts.  That is real 'comfort eating'. 

As not everyone logs on to read my rambles, with those hoping for an interesting and economical dish to be included, am today giving one that is (almost) a made-from-stores meal.  Most of us buy puff pastry (keeps well in the freezer), and although this recipe uses the ready-rolled, no need to pay extra for this as we can easily roll it out ourselves.  Can't we?
At one time I used to buy the large red/orange/yellow bell peppers, but now buy the bags of smaller peppers (same colour range) as these keep well in the fridge and one (or two) can be the perfect size for adding to a dish such as this one (and chopped to add to salads etc).
If you wish you could use pre-cooked potatoes, just adding them after you have cooked the broccoli.

Tuna Puff Pie: serves 4
1 x 375g pk ready-rolled puff pastry
1 oz (25g) butter
1 onion, chopped
1 small red pepper, seeded and diced
1 oz (25g) plain flour
1 pint (600ml) milk
1lb 9oz (700g) potatoes peeled/cut into chunks
8 oz (225g) broccoli florets
1 x 185g can tuna (pref in brine) drained
salt and pepper
handful chopped fresh parsley
Cut the rolled pastry into four 5" x 4" (13 x10cm) rectangles.  Place on a baking sheet.  Lightly score (not right through) the tops diagonally, and bake at 200C, gas 6 for 15 - 18 minutes until golden and puffed up.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan, fry the onion with the pepper until softened but not browned, then stir in the flour and cook/stir for 1 minute.  Gradually stir in the milk, and keep stirring until thickened slightly.
Add the potatoes to the sauce, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes (or until just tender) then add the broccoli and cook for a further 10 minutes (if using cooked potato, add the broccoli to the sauce and when tender, add the spuds).
Stir the tuna into the sauce mixture, and when heated through add seasoning to taste, fold in the parsley, and spoon onto serving plates, topping each with a pastry lid. 

A final tip.  The other day mentioned giving chickens orange peel/zest to improve the colour of their egg yolks, and it made me realise that we don't use citrus zest often enough.  It has immense flavour with even a small amount so here is a recipe that uses orange zest as a topping for fish. 
Nowadays farmed salmon is probably one of the cheaper fish that is sold, but other chunky fish could be used, and if white fish, then lemon zest (or even lime zest) would work equally as well as orange zest.

Orange Crumbed Salmon: serves 4
3 oz (75g) fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tblsp olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
3 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets
1lb (450g) new potatoes
2 tblsp mayonnaise
Mix together the breadcrumbs, oil, orange zest and half the parsley, adding seasoning to taste.
Place the salmon fillets onto a baking tray that has been lined with lightly greased foil.  Press the orange crumbs onto each fillet so they stick to the surface, then bake at 200C, gas 6 for 15 - 20 minutes or until the salmon is just cooked and the crumbs are golden.
Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a pan of salted, boiling water for 15 or so minutes or until tender, then drain.  Stir the remaining parsley into the mayo, thinning it down with a little orange juice until the consistency of single cream. 
Serve the salmon with the potatoes and the herb mayonnaise.  You can serve each item separately, or - if you prefer - toss the potatoes in the herby mayo before plating up.

That's it for today.  Not sure when I'll be blogging - could be tomorrow or the next day - all depends on how I feel (even saying that makes me feel both selfish and guilty but am sure I'll get over it). Just watch this space, and if nothing new is there to read - then go and read through some of my Archives, because I KNOW you will find some really amazingly good recipes, not to mention hints and tips. TTFN.