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Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

Shortcrust pastry formula

Posted by --- on Thursday 11 November, 2010

This is another post made primarily as a reference for myself. I’ve noticed that Shortcrust pastry has a rough formula of 100, 50, 24 %

So for 1kg flour, add 500g fat (250 butter & 250 lard) and 240ml water. Roughly flour, fat, water would be:
500g flour, 250g fat and 120ml water.
400, 200, 95
300, 150, 70
200, 100, 50
100, 50, 25
(water rounded up or down for simplicity)

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Fruit flies

Posted by --- on Friday 28 August, 2009

Yesterday I decided to try making relish’s with the fruit we’ve grown.  I had a couple of large cucumbers that weren’t going to get eaten. I scoured the web and came up with these:

Cucumber & Green Tomato

  • 2 lb (900 g) green tomatoes
  • 2 lb (900 g) cucumbers
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 6 oz (175 g) white sugar
  • 1 pint (570 ml) white vinegar


  1. Chop all the vegetables finely. Put in layers in a large bowl, sprinkling each layer with the salt. Leave to stand overnight. Tip into a colander and drain well.
  2. Put the vinegar, sugar and spices into a pan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and add the vegetables.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is fairly stiff but still moist.
  4. Pack the relish into hot, clean, sterilized jars, right to the top.
  5. Cover and seal immediately.
  6. Label when fully cool.

Makes 3 -4 lbs (1.4 kg – 1.8 kg) of Cucumber and Green Tomato Relish. Ready in about 4 weeks.

Cucumber and Pepper

  • 1 lb 8 oz (750 g) cucumber
  • 2 large red or yellow peppers
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 6 fl oz (175 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds


  • Cut the cucumbers in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Chop coarsely into a colander or sieve, sprinkle with the salt and leave for at least an hour.
  • Squeeze out the excess moisture.
  • Core, de-seed and thinly slice the peppers, put into a bowl with the lime juice and mix well.
  • Bring the vinegar to the boil and add the cucumber, peppers, lime juice and mustard seeds.
  • Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.

Makes about 1lb 12 oz (750 g) of relish.

I used all of the green tomatoes we had from two baskets and I had to buy another cucumber to make up the recipie. The recipes say to chop the veg but last time i made a relish, I left the pieces too big and I dont like it so I thought I’d chop it all small. It took ages, a good hour or more. The recipe then says to sprinkle with salt and leave. (Why is that? to remove the excess fluid? Why?) So I did and today it’s full of hundreds of fruit flies. And we have no more fruit to make more and this is just worm food. At least I’ve prepared it nicely for them…

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elderflower jelly

Posted by --- on Saturday 20 June, 2009

Elderflower Jelly Recipe

  • 2.5 kg cooking apples, washed and roughly chopped (you can also use 1kg crab apples)
  • 20 elderflower heads, roughly chopped
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 75g sugar per 100ml liquid
  1. Place the apples and the elderflower in a heavy-bottomed saucepan along with just enough water to cover.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until very soft.
  3. Pour into a jelly bag or a sieve lined with several layers of muslin and allow to drain into a bowl (do not be tempted to squeeze the bag as this will only make the jelly cloudy.)
  4. The following morning discard the fruit (I tend to freeze them to make pies later) then measure the volume of the liquid and add 75g sugar per 100ml of fluid.
  5. Place the fruit juice, lemon juice and the sugar in a saucepan and heat through, then add the sugar stirring until completely dissolved.
  6. Bring to a boil and cook rapidly for about 15 minutes.
  7. Test for setting by placing a plate in the fridge. Spoon a little of the jelly onto the plate, allow to cook then move it with your fingernail. If a crinkly skin forms then the jelly is ready. If not continue boiling for 5 minutes more and test again.
  8. Skim the surface then ladle into sterilized jars that have been warmed in an oven set to 100°C for 5 minutes. Allow 1cm of head space then secure the lid, allow to cool and store.

My method Changes.

To remove the flowers from the stems I used a fork and because I love the taste of elderflowers, I filled a medium bowl with flowers. The heads had wilted so it was difficult to tell if I was using large or small heads but it was way more than 20 – at least double that.

I put the fruit pulp into a mulsin lined seive but after 8 hours I wasn’t happy that all of the juice had drained out so I gathered the edges of the muslin, tied it with a shoelace and hung it from the cooker extracter overnight and quite a lot more juice drained out.

I used 4 tbsp of lemon concentrate becuase I had no more lemons.

I read that the temperature for jam setting is 220F so instead of testing with a cold plate, I used a thermometer. I did do a plate test which wasn’t crinkling but I put it in jars anyway.

I used the oven to sterilise the jars as it says here but I must have had it too hot (the problem with my oven) and when I put the jelly into the jars it boiled on contact. I put a spoon in the jar to try to stop it from cracking but still lost one jar. I also melted the rubber lining on the metal lids in the oven!

Early Results:

This tastes more of apple with hardly a trace of elderflower. I was really disappointed becuase I wanted it to taste like the cordial.

This recipe made far too much for us too and used up all of my remaining seven jars. I don’t think it will get eaten; DSK tried it and hates how sweet it is. They say that about all of my jams.

Update on the taste trials July 2009:

DFS and others love this jelly. I can now taste the much loved elderflowers. It will be on my list for next year!

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Elder flower time again.

Posted by --- on Wednesday 17 June, 2009

This past week I’ve been driving around looking for accessible elderflowers that aren’t growing next to the busy main roads or motorways that surround me. I managed to spot some on a housing estate so I screeched to a halt, parked on the verge, pulled a carrier bag out of the boot and ignored the strange looks I got from local residents. I came home with a carrier bag full and spent the night stripping the flowers off with a fork. I then browsed the web for recipes andI used the recipe I used for the cordial last year andthe champagne recipe from river cottage :

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Pineapple Jam

Posted by --- on Monday 15 June, 2009

2 pineapples – peeled, cored and chopped finely
1lb sugar per lb of fruit ( I used a 1kg bag)
2 lemons.  Use all parts (zest, juice. Roughly chop reamins and place in muslin bag)

Place fruit in pan with sugar, the lemon  zest and juice and heat gently to disolve the sugar.

My attempt didn’t go to plan and ended up simmering for a few hours. I began rapid boiling for 5 minutes, testing and reboiling for a further 5 minutes if it didnt look as if it was going to set. I tested the setting point but I really haven’t got the hang of it and boiled it for ages.

Early results are that DDJ whom I made it for doesn’t like it. I dont mind it but woudln’t rave about it. It’s pretty much citrusy like marmalade.

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turkey curry

Posted by --- on Saturday 6 December, 2008


Made an ettempt at turkey curry – made lots of changes in last minute. Added 2 more tbsp mild curry powder, added 1 tsp cumin – will find recipe soon and post it

made mixed jam jam tarts and blueberry jam jam tarts with pastry made for pies on sunday

day 6 (&?) no hair washing. hair is so greasy it looks and feels wet. Have taken to wearing a wooly hat if I go out. Thank goodness it’s cold enough to wear one or I’d look a complete idiot. I still brush every day with a natural bristle brush but I am rapidly losing faith that this is going to work.

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soap and toasted sandwiches

Posted by --- on Tuesday 2 December, 2008

Made oats, milk & honey soap today

Walked up to asda in the freezing cold to fetch a sandwich toaster (£4.95) as DDj wants ham and red sauce toasted sandwiches for school. Made them all toasted sandwiches. DDJ had ham, DSK had liver sausage and DFS had corned beef

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Chicken & Leek Pie

Posted by --- on Thursday 23 October, 2008

OK my first attempt at a recipe. I actually measured everything and wrote down what I did in case the family liked it and everyone loved it! It was made out of things we had already and made enough for two days meals. I was going to freeze it but it didn’t last long enough!


  • 350g Leeks cleaned & sliced
  • 200g Carrots cleaned & diced
  • 450g courgette cleaned & diced
  • 450g chicken, diced and
  • 500g bacon bits (cheap pack from Asda) roughly diced
  • 1 knorr chicken stock cube (can use any chicken stock)
  • 1 oxo chicken stock cube (can use any chicken stock)
  • 800ml boiling water (can use any chicken stock)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil to fry
  1. Pan fry the chicken in a little olive oil until sealed, place in very large saucepan
  2. Pan fry the bacon pieces in olive oil, add to the pan with chicken
  3. Add all the vegetables to the saucepan
  4. Make up the stock with the water
  5. mix the cornflour in a little water and stir into the stock, add to the saucepan
  6. Add seasoning
  7. Bring the pan to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for a couple of hours (can be less but I left it while I did other jobs!)


  • 400g Flour
  • 100g butter
  • 100g lard
  • about 8 tbsps very cold water (add ice cube if necessary)
  1. Sieve flour into a bowl
  2. cut fat into flour roughly
  3. briefly and with fingertips only, rub fat through flour
  4. add 2 tbsp water and mix lightly with knife
  5. keep adding water 1 tbsp at a time reducing to 1/2 tbsp until mixture starts to bind, then gently draw together with fingers.
  6. leave to rest in the fridge until ready
  7. remove from fridge, roll out to fit plate
  8. line plate
  9. add filling
  10. add pastry top
  11. Bake at 180 (turning every 5-10 minutes if it’s my oven!) check regulary and remove when golden brown

Easily enough for two family meals feeding large hungry men!

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Posted by --- on Wednesday 22 October, 2008

With the uneventful bubble & squeak we had for tea, it was a relief that the hobnobs were received with much greater enthusiasm! The recipe I used was from a forum

HOBNOBS (makes 30+)

  • 230g SR FLour
  • 230g Sugar
  • 230g Porridge Oats
  • 230g Butter
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 1tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  1. Mix sugar, flour, and oats in a bowl.
  2. melt butter, syrup and water together ( I placed all in an oven proof bowl and put it in the oven while it warmed up)
  3. add bicarb to melted butter etc
  4. mix melted ingredients into dry ingredients
  5. form small ballsand place on baking tray, flatten very slightly with a fork
  6. Reipe says to bake at 180 for 15 minutes. In my oven I baked at 100 for 5 minutes, turned, and left for another 2 minutes.
  7. Leave for a minute or so on the tray and then using large flat spatula, transfer to cooling tray (or grill pan in my case).
  8. The hobnobs will be soft and may fall through large gaps.
  9. leave to cool, transfer to biscuit tin or plastic tub before you (or everyone esle) eats them all.

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Vegitarian Bubble & Squeak

Posted by --- on Wednesday 22 October, 2008

As I had so much cabbage to use due to my farm shop bargain, I was looking up recipes and found this

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, instead I used the same ingredients but in larger quantities.

It uses:

  • potatoes, boiled & mashed
  • carrots, sliced & cooked
  • onions, sliced & cooked
  • cabbage, sliced & cooked
  • cheese, grated

I used very little milk & butter in the mashed potatoes but followed the recipe by layering the veg and ending with potato. It wasn’t really a success though it was edible. DFS said it was “bland” which is a shame as I made enough to make two so one is in the freezer for another day – that will go down well…

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