So in the buildup to the big weekend I will be donning the full HazMat protective gear and baking an item a week. This weekend Frankenstein’s Monster will be a Sponge Cake, sounds simple. However let’s remember some of the high end cuisine this kitchen has yielded in the past.
The relative calm before the arrival of the next two Atlantic storms. What’s it to be this week. Direct hits or glancing blows.
Definitely soup weather.
Today felt like a carrot and ginger soup affair. Plenty of carrots to be used up. Eight carrots later, throw in a sweet potato, already to go. Just need to add some cut ginger root. Hawklad came to see what was cooking.
Perfect timing Hawklad. Here you take the bag of ginger and you can add it to the soup.
As I explained the soup and the merits of adding ginger.
“Dad what are you adding to the soup now”
I’ve just explained, it’s the ginger.
“But Dad I’m holding the pack of ginger, I will say it again, what are you adding the soup…”
Erm I’m not entirely sure now. Oh pants. You are holding the ginger and I’m holding a bag of chamomile herbal tea…. It’s now become Ginger and Chamomile Tea soup.
“Is that going to be a soup sensation Dad”
It might need something else to give it some panache….. what to add. Something spicy.
“What about Ginger”
That would be admitting my cooking failings.
“Leave it with me Dad.”
Ok I’ve turned my back, what are you adding. Something spicy like curry powder, cumin, chilli.
“No it appears to say Ground Lavender, is that spicy enough for you…”
You have no idea what Lavender is have you son.
“No I don’t but looking at your face and smelling that soup, it’s the perfect choice. And the best thing about this whole deal. It’s your soup, I’m having fish fingers for lunch, so it’s all yours……”
There you go. Carrot, Chamomile and Lavender Soup. Eat your heart out Heston Blumenthal.
It’s been a while. Too long. But fear not. Baking is back. As Spock would say, it’s baking Jim but not as we know it…. I like to call it Weaponised Baking.
I know so many of you wait for those Michelin Standard baking tips. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
So here goes.
I was about to bake a loaf of bread but I wanted to spice it up a tad. Maybe add some cheese, or a few Mediterranean herbs. But it just didn’t go far enough. What could I find in the fridge or cupboards which was game changing..
A few hours later we have……
I give you gluten and dairy free, no added sugar – BLACK FOREST FRUIT BREAD.
The end result, just a bit different from cheesy bread. The taste, well it’s different. As Hawklad described it
“Well it doesn’t taste poisonous, it’s a unique sensation. Its like my taste buds are being assaulted…..”
While I was rummaging around the loft I came across a box from mums old house. Inside I found all sorts of things. Decades old bus timetables, shopping lists, out of date vouchers, instructions from long lost video recorders, random keys and coins from long defunct foreign currencies. My mum had a philosophy – you never know when you might need this. Actually the answer was invariably – NEVER.
But as I still have the box I must clearly have signed up to mums philosophy. But I did find and one of my old school reports. All pretty boring apart from the Home Economics page. I quote
“He shows some talent in cooking. He has mastered a number of baking recipes. He has produced some very good bread loafs and cakes.”
This morning I mentioned that school were kinda hoping that parents would help with a homework task of forage jam making. I was not hopeful as basically I am the culinary equivalent of an accident prone Lemming.
But I had missed the obvious. Much wiser friends than me came up with the idea of just substituting some shop bought Jam. That’s a plan we can sign up to. That’s a worry. A couple of years back Hawklad would have been mortified at the thought of breaking the rules. But now not he is not so principled. That is my influence.
So we ransacked the cupboard. Can you believe it. No Jam. Not even any deeply hidden years out of date jars. The nearest thing was jar of Mango Chutney. Needs must. We steamed the label off and we had forage jam…
But we had a problem, the first home label said ‘Mango Jam’. Ok Mango isn’t a fruit you often find foraged in Yorkshire 😂😂😂😂😂 So we now just have Fruit Foraged Jam. Hopefully the colour and the lumpiness of the Jam won’t be questioned.
Thursday night is chip night here. When we moved into this little house on the hill two decades ago we quickly found out the real pace of village life. The ultimate highlight of the week here was the Thursday night visit from the mobile chip van. It parked in the road 50 yards from our house. Rapidly the tradition of Thursday Chip night was set. Eventually we even discovered that the new mad dog was also a chip monster. His favourite food.
A pandemic then happened.
Suddenly Hawklad was not comfortable with getting chips from the van. So we stopped being part of the chip social. But the tradition lived on. Now replaced with oven chips. A vegetarian pie for me and skinless sausages for Hawklad. And yes a small plate of chips for the mad one.
So last night was THURSDAY. Time to dine like royalty. Well that was the plan. If you look back a few months you will see a certain muppet falling fowl of the crime of not labelling freezer items. Guess what happened last night. No pies were available from the store so it was time to root around in the deepest recesses of the chest freezer. Success a fine looking pie. Maybe a mushroom one. Maybe a Quorn one.
Chips and a pie smothered in Tomato Ketchup, salt and vinegar. Result…..
The reality sweet cherry pie is and interesting taste sensation when combined with vinegar and ketchup. Heston Blumenthal eat your heart out….
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….