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Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

Farm shop bargains

Posted by --- on Monday 20 October, 2008

Popped in to the farm shop today to get some potatoes and found some other bargains. This cabbage has to be the biggest I’ve seen. You wont see one that big in Asda! I was trying not to be greedy and picked a medium one but the old  farmers shouted “what are ya doin lass? If you’re gonna have one of em, pick a bloody big un. Here av this un!” and passed me one of the biggest ones there. It weighs a ton and cost …. 50p. The cauli was 60p and the marrow (yippee. Wine!) was 75p. The other farm shop I went in  – no I dont shop there – sold caulis at 75p per 1b. They also sold “homemade” jams that had an address up north somewhere.

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Breadmaking starts again!

Posted by --- on Monday 29 September, 2008

After my mishap earlier this month, I have been looking to get another breadmaker. I haven’t tried lots of different machines but was quite happy with the resuts of my last one (morphy richards 41210). Being concerened that trying a new brand would leave me disappointed, I continued to look at morphy richards models. My only problem with my last one (until I cooked it that is!) was it’s size. It was quite a long machine so I wanted something a little smaller.  I continued looking on ebay and was considering buying a 48280 when a 48285 was listed with a buy it now. I’m not sure what the difference is between the two models but it was within travelling distance, around the going price and looked in good condition so I bought it on Saturday.

The lady was lovely and DSK and I fetched in Sunday morning. DSK was bouncing up and down it DFS’s van he was so pleased we’d got another! By tea time we’d eaten the first loaf and I must say it was cracking! I really missed the smell of baking bread. I used the recipe from the Bread Improver packet using Asda’s own flour and yeast and it turned out great. I made another as soon as the machine had cooled using a hovis bread mix and was just as happy with that.  It’s lovely to have a bread machine back again! I can only compare the mod

els I’ve used which have all been morphy richards and I’m not what you’d call a baker but I’m pleased with the results and so are the family. My two problems are slicing it (I’ve bought a cheap electric knife which is tons easier than trying to slice it with an ordinary bread knife) and the size. The bread is gone after doing us all a sandwich! I also find it annoying that the kneading blade gets stuck either in the bread or in the pan. I’m wondering if I can watch the cycle and see if there is a stage I can remove it at before it cooks – I dont think so but will try it when I’ve made a few loaves.

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Breadmaking disaster…..

Posted by --- on Saturday 20 September, 2008

Ok this is embarrassing. My breadmaking escapades have hit a small snag. Well, not quite that small. I will explain.

After having made another successful loaf using my latest recipe, I left the breadmaker on top of the cooker to cool (yes, some of you are ahead of me…). I thought I’d put a pan of water on to boil for the runner beans I was picking from the garden. I turned on the halogen hob and continued preparing the dinner, not quite registering what the strange smell was. When the smell eventually filtered through from my nostrils to my brain I assumed there was something burning off the ring (happens occasionally). Then I realised my mistake. I’d turned on the wrong ring, the one under the breadmaker! Like an idiot, I picked up the breadmaker which only made things worse as huge thick trails of melted plastic poured from the bottom of the machine over the cooker. Most of the smoke was inside the closed machine.  I turned off the cooker, opened all the windows and turned the extractor on to full. As I opened the back door to let out the smoke that was now escaping out of the opened lid, Lexie shot outside scraping her nose with her paws – can you blame her?

Once it had cooled sufficiently, I tipped the machine on its side and plonked it in the garden.  There was a massive hole in the bottom of it. It took me hours to alternatley scrape and scrub the hob clean. Even after it looked clean it took a few days for the smell to go. Not only that but I have no breadmaker! DSK is most upset that I can no longer make his bread!

Am I a dipstick or what?!

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Breadmaking experiments 2

Posted by --- on Monday 1 September, 2008

Quantities as before but added in this order with some changes:

Tepid water (200ml warm, 100ml cold)
half the flour added on top but spread about not domed up (flour at room temp, not experimenting with faulty microwave!),
added the salt now to avoid contact with yeast (spread about on surface),
added 3 tsp bread improver,
Extra added 1 tsp dried milk powder (to combat paleness?),
Added vit C tablet
added remainder of flour
Added 1 1/2 tps Asda Yeast in a small indentation in the top of the flour.

Used setting 2 (2lb loaf)

This one worked out tons better! Not perfect but it was nice and didn’t last very long. The family have said they’d like it to take to work/school so we’re definitely getting somewhere. I’ve been breadmaking for ages but only recently experimenting to see what improvements I can make and also keeping a (b)log. I’ve had lots of successes before but until now, I didn’t remember exactly what I’d done!

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cooking liver treats

Posted by --- on Thursday 28 August, 2008

In an attempt to entice Lexie to heel, I’ve made these for her this evening. They are cooling now so will try them tomorrow.

Liver Brownies [adapted from this website]

1 lb liver
1 cup of corn flour
1 tsp garlic power/granuals or 1/2 tsp fresh garlic

1 – 1 1/2 cups of wholewheat flour
1 egg

  • Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
  • Puree liver in food processor or blender, add garlic and blend for a few seconds more to mix
  • pour into mixing bowl
  • Add egg
  • Add corn flour,
  • Add flour a bit at a time until you have a stiff mixture, (I used just over 1 cup).
  • Pat and spread out on a baking tin.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until dry.
  • Cool and cut into squares.
  • Refrigerate or freeze.

Update: Lexie loves these and will even ignore the cats mostly for these! Now that’s saying something!

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Breadmaking experiments

Posted by --- on Thursday 28 August, 2008

Our main problems with bread making are that the bread is often heavy, doughy and tastes yeasty. DFS and DDJ love the rolls I make but they are time consuming, DSK loves the bread. I want to find a recipe we can use for our daily loves to cut down on the amount of money we spend on bread that is currently around the £1 per loaf price range.

today’s recipe and method are:
All ingredients put into bread pan in the following order

300ml water (200 warm/100 cold)
500g Allinsons Strong white flour [warmed 1.15 in microwave (900w) = too long, flour is semi-solid, had to break up in bread pan as I didn’t realise till I’d added it to the water!]
3 tsp Farmhouse bread Improver
1crushed Tesco Value Vitamin C tablet
3/4 tsp lo salt
3/4 tsp Asda Fast Action Dried Yeast

Setting 1 on my bread machine

Waiting to see how it turns out.. 🙂

Disappointed. The loaf is pale and under risen. It is heavy and a greyish colour. DSK likes it and DDJ likes it toasted. Plenty of room for improvement so am going to read my breadmaking books!

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Posted by --- on Friday 21 December, 2007

This is one of S’s favourite foods so I thought I’d try and make him some. The recipe I’m using is from The StMichael All Colour Cookery Book by Jeni Wright.

150g flour
pinch of salt
25g ground rice
50g caster sugar
100g butter (chilled)
Caster sugar for dredging

Sift flour, salt and rice into a bowl. Stir in the sugar. Add the butter in one piece and rub into the ingredients. Knead until well mixed but do not allow the mix to become too sticky. Wrap in foil or polythene (I’m using a plastic bag) and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, press the chilled dough into a  greased, 17.5cm round tin (the recipe calls for a fluted edged flan ring but I don’t have one). Mark into triangular sections with a knife and prick with a fork. Chill in the fridge for a further 15 minutes.
Remove from the fridge and bake at 325f/160c for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cover with foil if it starts to burn. (note to self; due to dodgy temperature on oven, cook at “100” uncovered for the 1st 15 minutes, mark with a knife again and then cook covered for the next 15 minutes and finally uncovered for 10)
When cooked, allow to cool slightly before removing from pan and cooling on a wire rack. When completely cool, drege with caster sugar and cut or break into sections.

Well this went well! I’d made 8 pieces. S had eaten half before it had finally cooled. L said he was impressed, I liked it and I’ve had to hide the last two pieces for K & J to try when they come home from school. I will be making more later.

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Crunchy fudge.

Posted by --- on Friday 21 December, 2007

454g granulated sugar
300 ml milk
57g tablespoons  butter

Put the ingredients into a strong saucepan.
Put saucepan onto the lowest heat of the smallest ring and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved.
It is EXTREMELEY IMPORTANT that all the sugar is dissolved. Test for this by tapping the wooden spoon on the bottom of the pan. If there is any undissolved sugar there it will “crunch” under the spoon. Just leave the pan on the lowest setting and it will boil. Boil steadily leaving the heat at the lowest setting. Do not turn the heat up. Stir only VERY occasionally and gently just to make sure the mixture isn’t burning. Just do this (i.e. boil and stir VERY occasionally) until the mixture forms into a soft ball when a little is dropped from a spoon into a saucer of cold water. This means that you can squeeze the mixture dropped into the cold water together with your fingers and it will form a very soft ball. THIS CAN TAKE WHAT SEEMS LIKE A LONG TIME, up to about 20 mins but the most important thing is what happens when you test a drop of mixture in the saucer of water. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO BURN YOURSELF BECAUSE THE FUDGE MIXTURE IS VERY HOT.Remove from the heat and stir with a wooden spoon (careful it is very hot) until the mixture starts to thicken. It is now beginning to set and will do so rapidly.
Pour into a prepared tin greased with butter or vegetable oil.
When nearly set cut into pieces.

I’ve followed this recipe twice now and each time I’ve added some vanilla extract. The first time I boiled it for hours – literally – waiting for the soft ball stage. I put the pan half on the smallest ring on the cooker so that it heated slowly, I tested that all of the sugar had disolved and waited with the occasional stir to ensure the heat was distributing. Then, again with the odd stir, I left it exactly where it was to gradually boil. It took too long that way so I ended up putting the pan on to the whole ring and turning it up to 1.5 – 2 and letting it boil. When I dropped a small amount – about half a tsp – into cold water it flattened into disc shapes very much like erythrocites! In the recipe it says it may take as long as 20 minutes… I kept putting the timer on for 10 minutes at a time and I gave up on it after 2 and a half hours and poured it into a foil-lined tin to set. It sets very fast and tasted ok but had a crunchy, crystalised texture.  The second time didn’t take as long. I heated it slowly to make sure the sugar had time to disolve, again on as low a heat as possible by putting the pan half on and half off the ring, then leaving it in the same possition I turned up the heat to 1.5 as soon as it had disolved. This time though I had a sugar thermometer. I boiled it until it reached the “soft ball” stage that is printed onto the thermometer – around 240c, poured it into the foil-lined tin to set and still ended up with crunchy fudge. The colour is right, the taste is too but the texture isn’t like the fudge we get here in the UK.  I’m going to look for a different recipe.

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