Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Smell of Success...

Yesterday cooked the silverside in a lidded roasting tin that had a lid (gift from my neighbour who is down-sizing and no longer uses it).  Inside the tin was a grid, and the silverside rested on that, with the fat covering the top.   Decided to cook it at a fairly low temperate (140C) and after 4 hours took its temperature and it was 150deg (rare), so turned the oven down to 50C, and left in in for a further hour while I cooked B's supper.  By then the temperature was 160deg, and that was 'medium' (well-done would have been 170deg). 

Removed the meat from the tin and poured off all the dripping - quite a goodly amount due to the extra clarified beef dripping I'd added.  That was covered, cooled and chilled and have yet to check this, but waiting until I have further rendered down the fat that I've removed from the top of the joint, knowing there is quite a bit more dripping I can get from it.

The meat was chilled in the fridge overnight and this morning I sliced it using my electric slicer.  My goodness what a lot of slices I got!! Some slices were very thin (others medium and a few thicker - according to the meals/snacks they are used for).  At least 70 slices in total PLUS three bags of small 'batons' (cut from the end chunk of the joint) that will be used in stir-fries,  AND about a quarter of a pint of tiny scraps that was left on the paper (where the slices of meat fell from the machine) including scraps caught in the machine itself.  These will be made into beef paste. 

The weight of the joint - once cooked and before slicing g - was 2.5kg.  After checking the Tesco website and averaging the price of pre-packed sliced cooked beef,  it would cost me at least £50 to buy the same amount (the price of  potted beef spread was 85p per 100g).
Just goes to show that cooking a large joint of beef (pork, or lamb....) even if only once a year, can save us a LOT of money.  The slicing machine would pay for itself after slicing two joints.

Slice beef freezes very well, have found it worth buying the largest affordable joint we as then B can have roast beef regularly throughout the year (takes only minutes to re-heat in gravy). Instead of using freezer bags (I don't have a vacuum sealer), have found that wrapping closely in thin (cheaper) kitchen foil removes almost all the air.  I write on the bag of each pack of slices whether it is thin, medium, thick, or 'bits'. 
Wrapping fresh salmon in foil before freezing also works well and when unwrapped/thawed it as good as 'fresh'.

Because the kitchen was full of the glorious aroma of roasting beef yesterday (and still hanging around) B has requested the full Monty for his supper - Roast beef, gravy, Brussel sprouts, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding.... Not sure if I have sprouts in the freezer, but the green string beans will be fine.  Perhaps should also cook carrots.  Who wants such a heavy meal on such a lovely day?  You can guess who.

Have to say it is usually the smell of certain foods being prepared/cooked that gets our mouths watering.  Who doesn't love the smell of bacon frying, maybe even fried onions, certainly bread that has just been baked, also cakes such as gingerbread....  and of course - roasting meat, especially beef.
Have readers any other likes/dislikes when it comes to the smell of certain foods?

Many cakes do keep fairly well in tins Jane. Am thinking of the moister ones such as Lemon Drizzle, but of course the longer keeping ones such as gingerbread, flapjack, and parkin that need several day to 'mature' before cutting, come first to mind.

Myself find that layers of sponge cake freeze very well (when properly wrapped), and as these thaw out quite rapidly, two (or more) can quickly be filled with jam (also whipped cream if you have it), to serve within - say - half an hour of removing from freezer.
A complete jam-filled Victoria sponge cake will freeze perfectly, but will take longer to thaw than single sponge layers, and useful to know that unfilled sponge cakes (like bread) are one of the few foods that can be frozen, thawed, and then re-frozen.  When first filled with jam/cream, this can be frozen, but once thawed not refrozen (because of the cream).

When freezing a larger cake, always worth partly freezing, then slicing it  (easier to slice when nearly frozen, especially if filled with cream). Separate each slice with baking parchment, before re-assembling and returning to the freezer, then easy to remove one slice if that is all you need (allow about 15 mins for it to thaw, longer if the room is cold).

The richer the cake, especially when containing fruit, the longer it will keep, but it is worth having a go at baking the following that contains fruit (dates, apple) and said to keep for up to a week.  These 'up to' dates rarely mean 'use-by', more as a guide, so am sure this one would keep well (especially if kept chilled) for longer.  In any case, this cake can be frozen (un-iced) if you wish.
If you haven't fresh ginger, use stem ginger, or crystallised ginger, shredded as small as you can - OR use a teaspoon (or two) of ground ginger.

Squidgy Lemon and Ginger cake: serves 12
7 oz (200g) dates, stoned
7 oz (200g) butter, diced
11 oz (300g) dark muscovado sugar
2 eggs
2 oz (50g) grated fresh ginger
grated zest of 1 lemon
7 oz (200g) self-raising flour
1 Bramley apple (9oz/250g) peeled
2 oz (50g) white chocolate
1 tsp candied lemon peel or cryst.ginger, chopped
Put dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Heat the butter in a small pan until melted, then stir in the sugar.  Cool slightly then beat in the eggs. Stir in the ginger, and lemon zest.
Drain the dates and chop them finely, add these to the date/egg mixture, then stir in the flour. Chop the peeled apple finely then add this to the mixture.
Spoon mixture into a greased and lined 8"/20cm round cake tin.  Put the tin on a baking sheet (this prevents the base browning too much) then bake for 1hr.15mins at 160C, gas 3 until well risen. A skewer stuck into the cake will probably have a few moist crumbs sticking to it.  That's how it should be.  Leave to cool in the tin.   When cold,  remove from tin, and peel of the parchment. Wrap well, and it will keep for up to a week.  If wishing to freeze do this before decorating with the chocolate.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over just simmering water.  Then remove cake from the tin, remove the parchment, and drizzle the chocolate over the cake, scattering the top with the candied peel/ginger if using.

Will see if I can find other recipe for cakes that will keep well in a tin (other than the heavy fruit ones), so watch this space.

As you can see, this is another mid-afternoon blog.  Seems to be working best for me as am able to get a lot more work done in the morning and also after blogging.  Gives me time for knitting/crochet during the evening, and if nothing worth watching on TV - off to bed by 10.00am (often before B - and that doesn't happen often).

It has been another beautiful day, although it does seem that some parts of the country have had some rain and a few thunderstorms here and there.  We - as always, here in Morecambe - have been more fortunate.

Tomorrow we should get the result of the Scottish vote and who knows whether the 'Yes' or 'No' will win. Am hoping the majority choose to stay in the UK more for their financial security than any other reason.

Call me daft if you like, but in the end asked B to get me '50 Shades of Grey' from the library.  They didn't have it in at the time, but today they did and so this morning B went and fetched it. Just wanted to know what all the fuss is about. Will let you know what I think about it when I've read it.  Could be I won't want to read more than the first chapter - but who knows?  Even an 81 year-old lady might enjoy a bit of raunchy reading (that's what I believe the book consists of, on nearly every page)
As am a fast reader, could be by tomorrow I'll have finished reading and be able to give you my opinion (who cares anyway?). 

Must be the new pills (supplements), seem to be 'feeling my oats' as the saying goes. A couple of weeks ago I felt very, very old,  now I feel much the same as when I was thirty (well perhaps 35). Must enjoy it while I can.

However much the book is calling me, really have to go and start preparing B's supper (and dessert - want to use up the oddments of fresh fruit that need using, in a 'fruit salad'), then the evening is my own to do what I like with (watching TV, finishing knitting another cushion cover, maybe a bit of crochet, then reading, reading, reading.....could be it will be after midnight before I go to bed. And what did I say about going to bed early?  The road to hell is paved with good intentions. TTFN