What is never beautiful is my food skills. What words are more appropriate.
Well today I almost outdid myself. Nearly messed up the easiest thing. All I had to do was make strawberry jelly. The supermarket didn’t send the Jelly Cubes but that was not a major issue. I had rather cleverly put aside a packet of the powder jelly just in case.
So I came to make the said jelly. All I had to do was add boiling water, stir then put the bowl in the fridge. So I emptied the powder into the bowl, added the water and stirred.
Ok why is strawberry jelly brown coloured……
I continued to stir expected it to turn red eventually. No that is definitely brown. Now it was time to check the jelly packet. Ok ot was the same shape as a jelly packet. The same colour as the normal brand of jelly we buy. BUT the words STRAWBERRY JELLY did not feature that prominently. What did feature prominently was the words CHINESE BROWN GRAVY.
In my defence why would you put Brown Gravy in a bright Red Jelly looking packet…
Jelly is off today’s menu, Stir Fry is strangely very much on….
Oh no it’s pancakes. I have been let back into the kitchen. How can I wreck the pancakes this year. Like most things baking – they don’t come naturally to me. So this year the ingredients are ready. Carefully measured out.
What could possibly go wrong…
AND the results…..
Where do I start….
Not exactly round. Not exactly fluffy and light think putty. Either to thin or verging on a bread loaf. The taste well I thought ‘delicate, unobtrusive flavouring’ while Hawklad thought ‘tasteless mush only saved by mountains of sugar’.
So somewhere between 5 out of 10 to 1 out of 100. But here’s the thing. Pancake Day was special this year. Really special. It made the day DIFFERENT. In these lockdown times that makes it special.
Our little part of the world has been rather cut off from civilisation. The occasion delivery person and the daily postie have been our only visitors really for months. Well that’s not strictly true. We have daily visitors. The birds.
Well when I say daily there was one exception to this. The weekend of the national Birdwatch garden survey. We sat for hours and guess what. Our daily visitors decided to give us a miss that weekend. No amount of food could tempt them. Yet as soon as they Birdwatch was over they flocked back again. Pesky characters they are.
But I will forgive them for messing my survey numbers up. They provide so much joy. Over the many months you start to recognise the individual birds. Many having really unique personalities and habits.
One really odd thing is the ‘pecking order’. Small birds first, big birds second. As soon as the food is put out the small ones arrive. The larger hooligan gang start to gather in the trees. After the small ones start to fly off the hooligans arrive. Then it’s about an hour of them squabbling. A few wiser ones just feed while the others are distracted.
That happens like clockwork everyday 363 days a year. Rain, sun and snow…. They obviously take two days off for the Bird Survey. I will grant them that especially as they like my baking. That’s got to count for something.
There comes a time to bake. A time to bake that Christmas Cake. So the festive playlist was cranked up. The baking implements readied. Time to get the ingredients out. That’s when the plan unravelled slightly.
Butter, eggs and Marzipan FOUND.
Oranges, orange juice or orange peel
So I had better add those to the next order. But what to do. Simple make egg sandwiches and then start to nibble on the marzipan. That’s a result.
Then go outside and catch a beautiful sun setting moment. Yep that Christmas Cake turned out very nicely.
I do like a good slice of cake. Like it just a little too much. Especially Christmas Cake. That’s with icing, that’s with marzipan, that’s with a slab of cheese, that’s au naturale. My family knows this. Every Christmas my mum would bake me a cake, my sister would do the same. Both most definitely knew how to bake a top cake. So every December I was well fed. Too well fed. That’s why this Thor like muscle structure hides under a Homer Simpson baggy exterior.
But times move on. Mum has now left us. But my sister still comes up with the goods every year. And then 2020 hit. Due to covid restrictions and Hawklads anxieties I’m not meeting up with my sister this December. So no chance of a cake handover.
That means one thing. One scary thing. I either buy one or I BAKE ONE. The bought ones are never as good as my family ones. So……
It’s baking time. I don’t have a good track record on the baking front. But there is always hope. Always a first time. So you have been warned. Things could get interesting here. You had better not stray too far from your panic room.
That’s so unlike our kitchen which certainly does not keep on giving. We are not having much luck with shopping over the last week. No pumpkin for Halloween and now no toffee apples for bonfire night. Our local store is only stocking essential items. Clearly they don’t have children– toffee apples are most definitely essential. Our supermarket is not stocking them this year. But most helpfully are stocking toffee apple flavour breakfast bars (not very good on a stick) and toffee apple flavour strong alcoholic cider. Actually cider might work for some teenagers but again not very good on a stick.
So the only option was to try and make them ourselves. I’ve had major issues with toffee apples before. Looking good as we had golden syrup and caster sugar in stock. Attempt 1 and 2 arc welded to the pan. Attempt 3 had the stickiness factor of water (even after 20 minutes boiling away).
Attempt 4 produced a little bit of stickiness so we took that one.
“Dad I will get the wooden sticks, where are they?”
Oh no I forgot to get them. We can just use forks stuck in the apples….
“What a muppet.”
“Dad where are the apples.”
Pants I didn’t get any apples as well….. We’ve only got the ones from our tree. They taste super sour.
An apple crumble. One of my apple crumbles. Actually not a bad one at all. Very tasty.
Unfortunately not all crumbles are the same. Certainly not mine. Like the one I made a couple of nights back. All seemed on track. Apples picked from the tree. Apples cored, peeled and cut into pieces. Placed in a bowl and seasoned – generous helpings of sugar added – these are sour apples. Then a fine gluten free crumble was made and applied lovingly to the pie dish. The crumble was cooked at the right temperature and for the right time. A beautiful custard was prepared. Just perfect. What could possibly go wrong.
“Dad I can’t taste any apples. In fact I can’t find any apples in my portion!”
Nonsense must be there Hawklad. Your just imagining that……
Oh hang on I can’t find any apples in my portion as well, just crumble and custard….
**** So I went into the kitchen and there on the table was the unused bowl of apples. I had made Apple Crumble Surprise. The surprise being that it contained no apples. ****