28 October 2012

Just a Quickie to say …

I sent my manuscript off this morning.  Hurrah - a day early!  Bit of a bugger really because now I have no excuse for avoiding all the other things that need doing.  For weeks I have been saying “Well I’d like to help but …” and now I have to sort out cupboards and clean things.

So the first thing I did was have lunch …

~  Menu  ~

Potato and Salmon Hash
Bit of Salad
Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise
Small Glass of Secret White

I bought some bargain potatoes the other day called Blue Belle.  They put me in mind of the Apache potatoes I had a few months ago but l are not the same. 

The label said they are excellent for baking and how right it was.  I baked several specifically so that I could play with them once cooked but they had such lovely creamy, fluffy interiors and such tasty crispy skin that  things didn't go according to plan, we ate all but one small one. 

Today I made a hash with it together with a little leftover salmon.  It was dead simple I just diced and crushed and mashed the potato in a little oil, added the salmon when it was crisp and served it in a terribly fancy way so I could take a photo (which I am not very pleased with!).

I’m just watching Nigel (Slater of course) on the telly – he’s one of my absolute favourite famous cooks but I think he must have been reading Sudden Lunch!  He’s making sudden suppers from what he finds in the fridge!  Good man.

Incidentally I saw poppies in flower yesterday - in the snow!  

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23 October 2012

Testing, Testing (or Frittering my Lunch Away)

I feel that if I am serious about being a writer I need to have these punny titles occasionally, I do apologise.

~  Menu  ~

Fritter Testing Platter
Fizzy Water
Nothing else

Some while ago I suddenly made Cauliflower Cheese Fritters and wrote in the relevant post that I supposed 100g of any leftover could be similarly treated. Today I put it to the test with random stuff out of the fridge.  

Useful All Purpose Fritter Batter  (click to tweet, please!)

2 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
seasonings which could include cheese or sugar
1 egg
a little milk
approx 100g of leftovers

~   Mix together the dry ingredients.
~   Stir in the egg and enough milk to make a thick batter.
~   Stir in the leftovers.
~   Fry by the spoonfuls in a little hot oil till crisp and golden on both sides.

I divided the batter in four and added the following - from the back ...

1.    25g of grated Cornish Crackler and a pinch of mustard powder. The dollop on top is my favourite tomato and chilli pasta sauce.
2.   25g of diced courgette cooked with garlic and a spoonful of Parmesan.  It is drizzled with balsamic glaze.
3.   A few more bits of diced courgette which I cooked with about 20g of finely diced chorizo and Exotic Peppercorn Mix (as it says on the grinder!).
4.   25g mashed chickpeas and ¼ teaspoon curry paste.

Doesn't look bad, does it!  Conclusion – yes, that works and I must say today’s lunch was much more … um, cohesive than yesterdays which was, of course, made entirely of leftovers too.

As you can see in the last few days running up to my book’s deadline I am busy checking a few things here and there.  I did find a recipe which I had inexplicably written in a combination of imperial, metric and American measurements.  It reminded me of my funny brother-in-law once saying something was an inch yard and a thick wide. 

All this picking at the thing is daft really because I think it’s about as good as I can do. Once I've sent it off I think I shall have a meal entirely made of brand new ingredients just to celebrate!

In Other News …

We’re still Up North and the weather has finally gone off.  Up to Sunday (2 days ago) it was pretty well constant sunshine up here and Northumbria is very lovely so we went and had a look at it.

Oh, and this made me laugh, especially the comments - Ice Cube Recipe

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17 October 2012

Duck, and other rude words!

~  Menu  ~

Toasted Sandwich of Roasted Things
White Wine Spritzer

We had roast duck for dinner the other night, duck is my favourite meat and I wasn't disappointed.  My real man ate both its legs and I ate one of its breasts. The following night I made Roasted Butternut Squash and Duck Risotto which worked out well (for how to make risotto see here, and for how toroast squash see here) which is more than I can say for its photo – not shown!

Today’s lunch was obvious as soon as I opened the fridge; a toasted sandwich filled with leftover squash in roasted garlic mayonnaise and the last of the duck breast.

The biggest problem I had was I really couldn’t decide on red or white wine but was a good girl, I didn’t have both.

My real man and I also enjoyed nibbling on a few grattons – duck skin cooked in its own fat till crispy, at which stage I did wish I'd gone for the red.

Other Rude Words …

As you may know I am nearing the deadline to submit my book manuscript and so was um … disappointed to discover that the word count on my computer has been ignoring all the words in text boxes which is how I have chosen to display my more major recipes.  This has put me 12,000 words over the limit.  On the plus side (slightly) I also find that bullet points count as a word so I can offset some of these against the other problem. 

Apart from saying rude words I am dealing with this situation by editing the duck out of it.  Not really, more like editing the bottargo and jackfruit out of it.

I have always fancied being a food writer – working at home, cooking and eating and sitting around writing about it.  The reality is a little different; this constant typing has given me bursitis in both shoulders and a squint! 

In Other News

I would just like to say how very, very, very (you can see why I fancy myself as fluent!) pleased I am to hear that Paul Ainsworth has received his first Michelin star. His restaurant, No. 6 in Padstow, is my favourite place to eat out of a more than our fair share of excellent restaurants. Congratulations to Paul and his staff.

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12 October 2012

The Sheer Sausaginess of Glamorgan Sausages!

~  Menu  ~

Glamorgan Sausages
Tomato and Chilli Sauce
Glass of Secret Red
Leftover Popcorn

Today I had something I haven’t eaten for years – Glamorgan Sausages, and despite having had them on the menu for a few years I was surprised at the sheet sausaginess of them.  Although made almost entirely of just cheese and bread the texture is decidedly meatesque.  So here’s the cheap, quick, easy and sausagy recipe.

Glamorgan Sausages for 2

120g fresh breadcrumbs
100g grated Cheddar
2 spring onions – finely chopped
1 egg yolk
a pinch of mustard power
salt and pepper
another egg - beaten
more breadcrumbs or, even better, panko crumbs

~   Mix everything together and munge into 6 small sausages.
~   Dip in the beaten egg, coat in the crumbs and shallow fry till hot, crisp and golden.

I ate them with a goodly dollop of my favourite tomato and chilli pasta sauce which I use for a myriad of things.

And then I had lunch pudding.  I bought a cheap bag of salty popcorn in the supermarket the other day so just melted butter, brown sugar and tad of vanilla essence together, tossed in the popcorn to coat and ate the result with a cup of coffee.

In Other News

My Forthcoming Book is probably going to look like this, I've just got to finish writing it, so I’d better stop looking out the window at the pretty autumn going on.

(Note from the future - now published and it does look like that!)

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8 October 2012

Peanut Butter Pancakes and Pics of Up North

~  Breakfast  ~

Crunchy Peanut Butter Pancakes
Maple Syrup

Yesterday we suddenly and almost inadvertently went out for the day into the wilds of Northumbria – which are FAB! 

We had intended a quick trip to Barter Books in Alnwick (we have been there before – see here  – and so should you) which is the bestest second hand bookshop in the whole wide world with open fires, a model railway, interesting quotes and its seriously huge.

After a satisfying browse the weather was so glorious it seemed a bit daft not to go and look at the scenery.

We found (not that it was lost) the remains of a lovely old fortified house, Edlingham Castle, and had a wander about. I stood in the kitchen bit for while trying to commune with cooks of the past and we walked up what was left of the staircase and touched the old stones and thought about history. 

There is a strange old church right next door to the house with an Italian looking tower and a flat roof although evidence of a pitched roof.

The trouble was we forgot to have lunch and so, when we got in about 5 had toast and chocolate and stuff and ruined out appetites for dinner.  What pratts!

I was hungry to say the least this morning so tried an idea I’ve been pondering for a while; stirring crunchy peanut butter into pancake batter.  It worked.

For pancake recipe see here and stir in a tablespoon or so of crunchy (or smooth I suppose) peanut butter. The frilly edge to the pancake is caused by naughtily cooking it in a tablespoon of oil rather than a greased pan.  This makes the edge deep fried and crisp.

I'll try to be more foodie next time-  life is still a bit strange and busy (apart from yesterday!).

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